Wrexham’s Westminster parliamentary constituency could be made larger and Clwyd South ceasing to exist altogether as part of proposed electoral boundary changes.
The changes feature as part of a review carried out by the Boundary Commissions for Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which could see the number of MPs reduced from 650 to 600. The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 requires a reduction in the number of UK constituencies from 650 to 600 and for every UK constituency to have an electorate within the range of 71,031 to 78,507.
Across Wales there could be a major shakeup with parliamentary constituencies, with the Boundary Commission proposing the number is cut from 40 to 29.
Last year the Boundary Commission for Wales published its proposed map as part of the final eight-week public consultation period.
The map published yesterday by the Commission looks near identical revised proposals first unveiled last year, with potentially some big changes on the horizon locally.
Under the proposals the Wrexham constituency – represented by Labour MP Ian Lucas – would take in more of the county borough than it does currently and contain 72,137 electors.
Currently Wrexham areas including Rossett, Gwersyllt, the town centre, Pentre Maelor through to Isycoed.
However the final recommendations would see the constituency go as far as the Wales / Shropshire border – along with taking in current Clwyd South areas such as Brymbo, Bwlchgwyn and Bangor-on-Dee.
It appears current local MP Ian Lucas may well have saved the name of the constituency, with the full report noting: “The Commission initially proposed the name Wrexham Maelor. The Commission received representation from the Member of Parliament for the existing Wrexham constituency which stated that Wrexham is a very recognisable name and that adding Maelor was unnecessary and would create confusion. The Commission changed the name of the proposed constituency to reflect this.”
The Clywd South constituency – represented by Labour MP Susan Elan Jones – is amongst those in Wales which could undergo the biggest changes, which could see parts of Wrexham such as Rhos, Ruabon and Penycae covered by the same MP as Welshpool.
Under the changes Clwyd South would merge with parts of Montgomeryshire and Clwyd West under the wide ranging new name of South Clwyd and North Montgomeryshire and have 71,570 electors.
The report notes a specific issue with Ponciau being split, “Some representations argued the division of the electoral ward of Ponciau between this proposed constituency and the proposed Wrexham constituency was unnecessary and that the whole ward could be retained within the proposed Wrexham constituency. A representation from the Community Council of Rhosllanerchrugog states that the Community Council would like their community to be wholly contained within a Wrexham constituency.”
A lengthy explanation is given citing ‘statutory electorate ranges’, which if our understanding is right means Ponciau / Johnstown /Pant have been used as a balancer for both Wrexham and the new South Clwyd and North Montgomeryshire.
The Boundary Commission for Wales has published representations, noting six based off the Wrexham constituency, including submissions from Sesswick Community Council, Rhosllannerchrugog Community Council, and Rhosddu Community Council. Someone from Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset also made their views known about Wrexham, having ‘spent a lot of time in north Wales’. Clwyd South saw five representations, all quite scathing of the plans.
The plans will still need the backing of Parliament, which with the current make up of the Westminster Government along with Brexit taking main stage, could mean the plans are a long way away from being agreed – if at all. A previous adjustment was due during the recent Coalition government, however the Liberal Democrats withdrew their support and the plans were scrapped.
(Previously the Boundary Commission for Wales spent thousands in an attempt to publicise their consultations (for the record Wrexham.com has covered it previously unpaid, and their communications provider did not ask) to get feedback from the population, and at one point we were the only place to get a document as their website had crashed before launch morning.)
Top pic: Ian Lucas being returned as MP for Wrexham