Plans to cut number of Welsh MPs from 40 to 29 abandoned by UK Government

A row of election signs in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

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:

The proposed changes: The Boundary Commission for Wales’ Final Recommendations

 

‘Disproportionate’

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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Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Shame that. It would have been a neat step towards cutting to 0 zero. In this climate of self-isolation it would be good to remove Wales some distance from the toxic politics of EnglandUK.

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Sure is.

Ernie The Smallholder
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Ernie The Smallholder

As long as it does mean Welsh independence.

Gareth Phillips
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Gareth Phillips

Bet Huw Irranca Davies, the former Ogmore MP is sorry he jumped ship from Parliament to the Assembly. Feared a selection process involving him going up against Stephen Kinnock for the Ogmore and Aberavon seat would not have gone his way. Jokes aside, I am delighted that Johnson’s government has kicked this one into the long grass.

Rob
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Rob

According to the BBC they are still looking at amending the constituencies so that they are all of equal size. Therefore Wales could still lose some MPs as we are currently overepresented.

Sion ap Dieniol
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Sion ap Dieniol

What a shame a few less time serving M.Ps from labour’s valleys fiefdom would have done wonders for Wales

Ernie The Smallholder
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Ernie The Smallholder

The reduction of Welsh (and Scottish) MPs at Westminster would only act in England’s favour.
Even changing the boundaries can rig the result.

If the unionists really want for Wales and Scotland to remain in the UK then THEY must provide us with a robust and fair electoral system such as the Single Transferable vote (STV) reform of PR.

If this is not for coming then our only option will be total independence. We are not overwise staying in a UK without proper representation. OK ?

Kerry Davies
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Kerry Davies

Carwyn Jones has been banging on about a “citizen led constitutional convention” for years and Brexit is proving him correct, the UK constitution is not fit for purpose.
FPTP is pretty poor but when English votes always determine the outcome for what is supposedly a “union of equals” it becomes farce.

Glen
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Glen

Would anyone miss them?
Most Welsh MP’s only loyalty is to themselves and their party.

John Ellis
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John Ellis

I wonder how much this ultimately abortive exercise has cost? Like all the vastly expensive preparations for the ‘no-deal’ Brexit which the government always assured us would never happen.

it’s amazing how that supposedly non-existent ‘money tree’ springs into being when it suits the purposes of the politicians in power at the time.