‘It could be worse’: Plaid Cymru MP confident of winning new Ceredigion-North Pembrokeshire seat
The Plaid Cymru MP for Ceredigion has said that he is confident that he can keep hold of his seat at the next General Election despite it being combined with part of the north of Pembrokeshire as part of Boundary Commission changes.
The new Ceredigion Preseli seat revealed yesterday is a return to the pre-1992 arrangement when Ceredigion was combined with parts of what is currently former Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb’s seat of Preseli Pembrokeshire.
The new constituency includes some Plaid Cymru friendly areas south of Cardigan but also some areas further west towards St David’s that are thought to favour the Conservatives.
The Tories emerged as the second-largest party in Ceredigion at the 2019 General Election, knocking the Liberal Democrats into third place.
“It could have been much worse for us [as a party],” Ben Lake told Golwg360 on seeing the changes announced. “But remember, no MP can take his position for granted.
“It was inevitable that Ceredigion would have to inherit parts of other constituencies, and from my perspective and I am quite confident that we will be able to compete and win.”
Ben Lake was however keen to stress that these are the first proposal of the Boundary Commission and may change as the consultation process progresses.
“But at present, if current boundaries were made the seat will be very similar to the old Ceredigion and North Pembrokeshire seats,” he said.
“We must remember that Cynog Dafis won that seat for Plaid Cymru in 1992 and I think we will be very well placed to win that seat for Plaid.
“Bearing in mind [Plaid Cymru’s] position in Ceredigion and there are Plaid Cymru county councillors in the north of Pembrokeshire at a local level.
“It must also be remembered that there are 56,000 electors from Ceredigion and only a further 20,000 from this new Pembrokeshire.”
Plaid Cymru has two councillors within the new electoral boundaries, in Clydau and Crymych.
Ceredigion Senedd Member and Llywydd Elin Jones meanwhile have the specific proposals for Ceredigion a frostier welcome.
“It’s 85 miles between Glandyfi and St David’s in the propsed new Ceredigion Preseli constituency,” she said on Twitter. “That’s a busy Zoom-MP for you! And at least 10% of the Coast Path in one constituency!
“It’s impossible to imagine canvassing or serving an area that big.”
‘Likely to make changes’
Commenting on the publication of the initial proposals yesterday, secretary to the Boundary Commission for Wales, Shereen Williams said she was “delighted to be publishing these proposals today”.
“This publication is the result of months of hard work from our Commissioners and staff, and we’re excited to read the public’s views during our consultation period,” she said.
“We’ve had to propose significant changes due to the reduction in the number of Welsh constituencies and that’s presented a particular challenge as we seek to develop a map which meets the conditions laid out in the Act, but also meets the expectations of the people of Wales.
“We’re confident that our proposals are a strong first attempt to create a workable map of 32 Welsh constituencies. The purpose of our initial proposals however is to start the conversation about how the new map will look.
“Nobody will know your local area as well as you do, so get involved in the consultation and let us know your views.
“As we proceed with the review, we’re highly likely to make some changes to our proposals, so your responses to the consultation could make a significant difference.”
An online consultation portal at bcw-reviews.org.uk features the proposals in full, and members of the public can submit their views directly through the portal.
People can also take part in the consultation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to the Commission in the post at Boundary Commission for Wales, Hastings House, Cardiff, CF24 0BL.