Plans to cut number of Welsh MPs from 40 to 29 abandoned by UK Government
The UK Government has abandoned proposals to cut the number of MPs in Wales from 40 to 29.
Parliament approved plans to slash the number of constituencies to 600 in 2011 but moves to implement the changes has been repeatedly delayed.
Proposals published in 2018 by the independent Boundary Commission recommended scrapping 32 seats in England, six in Scotland, 11 in Wales and one in Northern Ireland.
Cabinet office minister Chloe Smith said: “The UK parliament will have a greater workload now we are taking back control and regaining our political and economic independence.
“It is therefore sensible for the number of parliamentary constituencies to remain at 650.”
The Electoral Reform Society welcomed the Government’s decision to cancel the cut – which they say would have reduced backbench scrutiny at a time of increased pressure.
These were the now scrapped Boundary Commission recommendations for the new constituancies:
Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said that plans to cut voters’ representation in the Commons would have undermined the voices of ordinary people in Parliament and hurt democratic scrutiny.
“The proposals always seemed more like an executive power grab than a genuine move to improve the function of the commons. So this is a small but welcome victory for backbenchers and voters,” he said.
“Once the pandemic is over, we need a root and branch reform of how our democracy works in the UK. We need proper principles to underpin how many MPs we have, how boundaries are drawn and how the franchise works. Time to move away from ad hoc partisanship to real democracy.
“Without shrinking the size of the Government, cutting MPs would have done little more than enhance the already disproportionate power of ministers. Now that the Government have accepted the need for proper representation in the Commons, they must focus on reducing the number of unelected peers in the bloated House of Lords. At 800 members, it’s the biggest second chamber in the world and needs a genuine overhaul.
“When it comes to reducing the size of the chamber it is the unelected Lords that is crying out for reform. After this quiet announcement on maintaining voters’ representation in the Commons, we urge the Government to get to work on overhauling the private member’s club of the Lords.”
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