Confusion over boundary changes that could see same MP for parts of Flintshire and Wrexham
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
Politicians have voiced confusion over proposed parliamentary boundary changes which could see one MP represent parts of Flintshire and Wrexham.
Plans were published by the Boundary Commission for Wales earlier this month which would see the number of Welsh MPs drop from 40 to 32.
It would result in a major transformation of the country’s political map, with the name of almost every Westminster seat changed and some disappearing entirely.
Councillors in Flintshire met today (Tuesday, September 28) to discuss the proposals which would impact the area, including alterations to the Alyn and Deeside constituency.
It would see the seat currently held by Labour’s Mark Tami being widened to take in more communities as the commission said it is “below the statutory requirements in respect of the size of the electorate.”
The review would result in two villages in Wrexham which are in the existing Clwyd South constituency, Brymbo and Minera, becoming part of Alyn and Deeside.
However, members of Flintshire Council have challenged the logic of the proposals, which would also see the Argoed, Leeswood and New Brighton electoral wards added in from the current Delyn constituency.
‘I find it odd’
Speaking at the virtual meeting Cllr Mike Peers, leader of the Independent Alliance opposition group, said: “I find it odd that Brymbo and Minera from Wrexham county are being brought in as that is only a total electorate of under 5,000.
“It just questions whether it has simply been brought in to make up the numbers to bring it to the rate that they require.
“I would’ve thought the 5,000 they’re looking for if that’s the case could’ve come from Delyn and keep it within the Flintshire area.”
There are currently 40 constituencies in Wales, with the number of voters in each ranging from 42,657 in Arfon to 78,238 in Cardiff South and Penarth.
The aim of the review is to increase the number of electors to between 69,724 and 77,062 in every seat.
The addition of five wards to Alyn and Deeside would see the number of voters increase to 74,144 from 65,183.
Questions were also raised about Minera and Brymbo being included by Cllr Neville Phillips.
The council’s chief executive Colin Everett said he agreed there were grounds to question the decision but added it would have no impact on council boundaries.
He said: “If you look very closely at the proposals for Flintshire, the changes are not insignificant, but interestingly the two Flintshire constituencies of Alyn and Deeside and Delyn are largely protected and expanded.
“One could argue that Flintshire, in terms of profile and representation, actually comes out of a challenging and controversial review for some areas fairly well.
“You could though counterbalance that by saying that the fit of some of the community ties with parts of Wrexham and more particularly Denbighshire perhaps are questionable.”
Labour council leader Ian Roberts highlighted that areas of Wrexham such as Marford historically formed part of the old East Flintshire constituency.
While he encouraged councillors to make their views known on the proposals, he said there was a chance they might not move forward.
Those present at the full council meeting voted to note the initial proposals for the two Flintshire constituencies, with a formal response being submitted by the local authority at a later date.
The consultation period ends on November 3, 2021, with the changes taking effect from the next general election if they receive the go ahead.