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Number of Welsh MPs being cut because of ‘overrepresentation’ says Blairite columnist

05 Jan 2021 3 minutes Read
John Rentoul

A Blairite columnist has said the number of Welsh MPs is being cut because of “overrepresentation”.

John Rentoul, Chief Political Commentator for the Independent, made the comments following the announcement of a review that is set to reduce the number of Welsh MPs from 40 to 32.

Despite Wales losing 20 per cent of its representatives, the number of MPs across the UK will stay the same, at 650, and this will “diminish” the voice of Wales, according to grassroots pro-independence group YesCymru.

But John Rentoul, who wrote a biography of former Labour Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and has been described as an advocate of “unadulterated Blairism”, said the cut in the number of Welsh MPs was a “trade-off for extra powers for the Welsh parliament”.

He said: “Change in number of seats by nations and English regions proposed in 2023 parliamentary boundaries reviews.

“The big cut in Wales ends previous overrepresentation, a trade-off for extra powers to the Welsh parliament.”

His comments come despite the UK Government also pressing ahead with the Internal Market Bill, which was rejected 36 to 15 by the Senedd.

The Welsh Government had branded it a “power grab” and “attack on democracy” because it takes away devolved powers and centralises them in Westminster.

 

‘Diminished’

Under the Parliamentary Constituencies Act, which recently received Royal Assent, England’s allocation of MPs will rise from 533 to 543, while the number of MPs in Scotland will be reduced 57 to 59, and in Northern Ireland the figure will remain at 18.

It set out the number of constituencies to be provided for the 2024 Westminster Parliamentary Election.

YesCymru said that the change meant that Wales would have less of a voice at Westminster.

“And so Wales’ voice in Westminster is diminished to the point of inconsequence,” they said.

“The lie that there’s any form of parity amongst the Nations of these islands is finally put to bed.”

Plaid Cymru said that “Wales will lose out more than any other nation in the UK as a result of this law – with our voice and representation diminished. Westminster just isn’t working for Wales.”

The Act will take into account five protected constituencies which must remain as they are out of geographical necessity – including Ynys Môn.

Under the legislation, the Commission will be required to base its recommendations on the number of electors whose names appear on the register of parliamentary electors published by the Office for National Statistics on 5 January 2021.

The Commission will develop initial proposals for Wales’ Parliamentary constituencies ahead of a period of consultation. It must present its final report to the Speaker of the House of Commons by 1 July 2023.

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