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Boundary Commission announces Assistant Commissioners to lead public hearings

13 Jan 2022 6 minutes Read
Boundary Commission for Wales

The Boundary Commission for Wales has announced a panel of Assistant Commissioners who will lead upcoming public hearings.

The hearings will be held on the planned boundary changes to Wales’ Westminster constituencies and the new appointees will report back to Wales’ Boundary Commissioners on the evidence they have received.

The boundary changes follow the decision by the House of Commons to cut the number of MPs in Wales from 40 to 32.

The Assistant Commissioners will form the panel of all upcoming Public Hearings before writing their own report on the representations received by the Commission.

They will be considered by the Commissioners as they prepare their Revised Proposals which will be published in Autumn 2022.

The four Assistant Commissioners are Dr Arun Midha, a lay member on the Select Committee on Standards, House of Commons, Steven Phillips, former Chief Executive and Electoral Registration/Returning Officer of Neath Port Talbot Council, Dr Gwenllian Lansdown Davies, Chief Executive of Mudiad Meithrin, and Andrew Clemes, a part-time Judge of the First-tier Tribunal sitting in the Social Entitlement Chamber.

Commenting on the appointment of the Assistant Commissioners, Secretary to the Boundary Commission for Wales, Shereen Williams MBE OStJ said: “The Commission is delighted to announce the four people who make up its panel of Assistant Commissioners.

“The expertise and enthusiasm they bring to our team will be of significant benefit to the Commission as we proceed with our Review, starting with the Public Hearings which begin in February.”

Dr Arun Midha was brought up in Gowerton and studied at a number of Universities (Swansea, Cardiff and Oxford) completing a PhD in the 1990s.

Following a number of years in the university sector firstly with the University of Wales College of Medicine and then Cardiff, Arun has built a portfolio of non-executive and lay member roles in the fields of regulation, standards, governance, health and education.

He is currently a lay member on the Select Committee on Standards, House of Commons, Independent Chair of Retrospective continuing health care reviews in Wales and England and a member of the General Pharmaceutical council.

Previous roles have included member of the General Medical Council serving as its Treasurer, and member of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. Arun has served as a Justice of the Peace and was also High Sheriff of South Glamorgan in 2012. Arun was also a Trustee of the Welsh rugby charitable trust.

He is a Governor of Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Plasmawr and an Assessor of the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Further and Higher Education. He is an active supporter of the Charities Save the Children and Street Child United. He is a season ticket holder with Swansea City FC.

Steven Phillips was Chief Executive and Electoral Registration/Returning Officer of Neath Port Talbot Council for 11 years until his retirement at the end of 2020.

Prior to that he held senior positions at both Cardiff County Council, the Welsh Government and the Welsh Office before devolution. Earlier in his career he worked in a variety of UK Government roles in London, the North East of England and overseas including trade policy, urban regeneration and financial regulation. He lives in Cardiff and holds a Masters in Public Administration (MPA).

Dr Gwenllian Lansdown Davies

Dr Gwenllian Lansdown Davies is originally from Bangor but now lives with her husband and four children in Llanerfyl, Powys.

She studied French and Spanish at Oxford and lived for a while in Galicia and Brussels before completing a MScEcon and PhD in Political Theory at Cardiff University where she also taught as a politics tutor.

After being elected to represent Riverside on Cardiff County Council in 2004, she worked as Office Manager for Leanne Wood MS in the Rhondda before being appointed Plaid Cymru’s Chief Executive in 2007. In 2011, she was appointed as a Publications Officer for the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol at Aberystwyth University where she was also responsible for its research journal, ‘Gwerddon’.

She became Chief Executive of Mudiad Meithrin in September 2014. Mudiad Meithrin is a voluntary organisation and is the main provider and enabler of Welsh-medium early years care and education in the voluntary sector with over 1000 settings (Welsh-medium playgroups / parent and toddler groups / ‘Cymraeg for Kids’ groups and nurseries) all over the country. Gwenllian is a Trustee with the National Library of Wales and volunteers at her local Cylch Meithrin on the committee.

Andrew Clemes is a part-time Judge of the First-tier Tribunal sitting in the Social Entitlement Chamber to hear appeals against decisions of the Department of Work and Pensions about benefits related to disability and fitness to work.

He also sits as a Judge in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber where he hears appeals against Home Office decisions and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal where he hears appeals against decisions of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

Andrew also chairs fitness to practise committees of the Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal, is a lay member for similar committees at the General Dental Council and is a Legal Assessor for the General Pharmaceutical Council.

He is also a Legally Qualified Chair for Police Misconduct hearings in Wales, the East of England and the North East of England. He is a former lay panellist for the Nursing and Midwifery Council. He is an Independent Member for hearing Service Complaints for the Ministry of Defence.

Andrew was a Law Tutor at Swansea University until 2020 and was a Barrister undertaking Criminal cases until 2001. He was called to the Bar in 1984 and is a member of Gray’s Inn. He lives in Swansea with his family.

The first Public Hearing will take place in Cardiff on 17 February. The hearings then move to Wrexham (23 February), Swansea (1 March), Bangor (9 March), and Aberystwyth (30 March).

The Public Hearings were previously postponed due to public health challenges arising from the Omicron variant.

Anyone wishing to give evidence at the Public Hearings is asked to email bcw@boundaries.wales as soon as possible to book a 10-minute speaking slot.

Full details on the Public Hearings are available at bcomm-wales.gov.uk/reviews/11-21/guide-public-hearings.


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Richard
Richard
5 months ago

This issue remains one of the greatest importance for the ordinary people of Wales ; who are living through Covid, worrying about energy prices and wondering when their hip opp is actualy going to take place or where their daughter is going to get a job ?

Time to get real – who really cares?

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
5 months ago

Yes indeed. I hope that we all care very much. Let us remember that Wales is to lose 8 MPs while England is to lose only 6. Thus the new system is well gamed to under represent the people of Wales. Of course, there is also the issue of Welsh folk electing tin ear Tory MPs who seem to feel it is their duty to do down the country they represent. The whole exercise rather ‘smells’ to my mind given the close association of the Tory Party and US Republican Party who are very keen on voter supression and messing… Read more »

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