The Boundary Commission for Wales today published comprehensive details of its proposals for a revised Parliamentary constituency map following an initial consultation in 2016.
The launch marks the start of the final eight-week public consultation period during which the Commission has taken on board comments and concerns raised by the Welsh public during the 2016 consultation and is asking people once again to ‘have their say’ on the proposals by submitting written representations by post or online.
We have created this quick overlay map to show the differences locally, which would see a larger ‘Wrexham’ and elongated version of Clwyd South:
Wrexham’s MP Ian Lucas told us “While I am happier with these proposals than previous ones, they remain a cynical exercise by the Conservatives – and one which is unlikely to pass given the current political situation.
“What remains important to me is working for the people of Wrexham – whatever that seat ends up looking like.”
Current Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones told us, “The current Clwyd South constituency already covers 240 square miles; 549 of the UK’s current 650 constituency are smaller than it.
“Under the revised proposals, the new South Clwyd and North Montgomery constituency is well above 1,000 square kilometres – with Welshpool, Machynlleth, Denbigh, Ruabon and Llandrillo in the same seat! Some people from our area go on holiday to Welshpool and Machynlleth, so it’s just unbelievable to think that all those places and many more are supposed to be in a single parliamentary constituency.”
“My main concern in all this is about proper constituency representation, based on an MP and their staff team helping real people who live in real communities in our area. Regardless of which political party we support, how is that supposed to happen if we end up with these enormous constituencies?”
“I know many people think that the revised boundary changes won’t be adopted because the Tory Government doesn’t have the required support to get them through Parliament. My view is that they should be dropped anyway. If the Government seriously wants to reduce the costs of Parliament, why don’t they cut the number of members of the unelected House of Lords? Some peers do really good work, but I don’t think we need 800 of them! 300 maximum would be fine for an effective, revising chamber. That’s where savings should be made, not by reducing the number of parliamentary constituencies.”
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. In all bar one case, the number of eligible voters in each proposed new constituency is much larger than in the current Welsh constituencies.
Compliance with the legislation requires a reduction in the number of constituencies in Wales from 40 to 29, which is the biggest single change to Wales’ electoral map since the Boundary Commission was created in 1944.
There are changes to 19 of the Commission’s initial proposals in the Commission’s revised proposals, and some of the proposed alterations are considerable. These proposals have taken into account comments, considerations and concerns raised during the two public consultations in late 2016 and early 2017.
The Commission points out that, while its proposals meet the statutory criteria, it has also taken into account other relevant factors important to Wales, such as: geographical considerations, including the size, shape and accessibility of constituencies, local government boundaries; boundaries of existing constituencies and any local ties that would be broken by changes in constituencies.
Steve Halsall, Secretary to the Commission, said today, “The Commission has produced a set of proposals which meet the requirements of the 2011 Act. It has also taken into account other relevant factors and has sought to identify the solutions most suitable to local needs within Wales. I would emphasise that these are not the final set of proposals so I urge the Welsh public to take this opportunity to have their say during this consultation period.”
The Commission has sought in its revised proposals to identify the solutions most suitable to local needs within Wales. It now wants to hear what people of Wales think.
Mr Halsall added: “Over the next eight weeks people may visit our consultation portal, write in or email us to let us know what they think of the Commission’s proposals. Whether they accept or object, we are keen to hear people’s views. Where they object – particularly where they can supply counter-proposals – the Commission will give full consideration and may amend its proposals accordingly.”
The Commission’s final proposals will be submitted by October 2018.
Full details are available at www.bcomm-wales.gov.uk, www.bcw2018.org.uk and http://bcomm-wales.gov.uk/2018-review/faqs?lang=en
The proposed new Parliamentary constituencies are: Alyn and Deeside; Blaenau Gwent; Brecon, Radnor and Montgomery; Bridgend and Vale of Glamorgan West; Caerfyrddin; Caerphilly; Cardiff North; Cardiff South and East; Cardiff West; Ceredigion a Gogledd Sir Benfro; Conwy and Colwyn; Cynon Valley and Pontypridd; De Clwyd a Gogledd Maldwyn; Flint and Rhuddlan; Gwynedd; Gower and Swansea West; Llanelli; Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney; Monmouthshire; Neath; Newport; Ogmore and Aberavon; Rhondda and Llantrisant; Mid and South Pembrokeshire; Swansea East; Torfaen; Vale of Glamorgan East; Wrexham; and, Ynys Môn a Fangor .
15 existing constituencies would be wholly contained within a new constituency – namely Alyn and Deeside, Blaenau Gwent, Brecon and Radnorshire, Bridgend, Cardiff West, Ceredigion, Cynon Valley, Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Llanelli, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, Neath, Rhondda, Torfaen, Wrexham and Ynys Môn.
The Commission wish to stress that these revised proposals relate solely to Parliamentary constituencies and do not affect the National Assembly for Wales constituencies, the structure or arrangements of local government or the services they provide.
Note: Previously the Boundary Commission for Wales has spent thousands in an attempt to publicise this information, for the record Wrexham.com has covered it previously and today unpaid. Likewise, the Boundary Commission for Wales, nor their communications provider, has not asked.