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Large constituencies ‘inevitable’ says Commission as it begins work of reducing Welsh MPs from 40 to 32

17 Mar 2021 3 minute read
A rural village

Geographically large constituencies are “inevitable” as the Boundary Commission begins the work of reducing Wales from 40 to 32 MPs, they have said.

Wales will lose 20 per cent of its representatives under the change, despite the number of MPs across the UK staying the same at 650.

England’s allocation of MPs will rise from 533 to 543, while the number of MPs in Scotland will be reduced from 59 to 57, and in Northern Ireland the figure will remain at 18.

The Boundary Commission for Wales published its Guide to the Review of the constituencies today.

“The Commission wishes to make clear from the outset that, given the relatively small number of electors in rural parts of Wales, it is inevitable that there will be some geographically large constituencies,” it said.

“Also, due to the limited numbers of electors in some of the South Wales Valleys areas, constituencies may be formed that encompass more than one valley. Furthermore, in some areas the division of principal councils may be unavoidable.

“Compromises will need to be made in order to create a pattern of constituencies across Wales that adheres to the Rules of the legislation. It is important to understand that even small changes to one constituency may impact on adjacent areas and possibly the whole of Wales.”

The commission previously published a 29-constituency plan in 2019, before plans to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 were scrapped:

The Boundary Commission for Wales’ Recommendations in 2019 before the number of UK-wide constituencies were changed from 600 to 650

Under the new plans, each proposed constituency must now contain between 69,724 and 77,062 electors based on the electorate figures supplied by the ONS on 5 January 2021. Ynys Môn is a protected constituency and will therefore not be subject to any changes.

The Boundary Commission is now calling for people in Wales to contribute as the process unfolds, and will hold three consultation periods.

Secretary to the Boundary Commission for Wales, Shereen Williams MBE OStJ said, “We’re delighted to be publishing our Guide to the Review today.

“We’re determined to develop the best possible proposals for Wales’ new constituencies, and we know that we can only do that by having the greatest public involvement we’ve ever had.

“Our Guide sets out clearly how we’ll go about developing proposals, and crucially, how you can get fully involved in the process.

“Accessibility is at the heart of what we’re trying to achieve. Everyone in Wales has a valuable voice to add to the discussion about Wales’ boundary changes, and we want to make sure everyone can express their views.”

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