Reducing number of Welsh MPs from 40 to 32 ‘diminishes the democratic voice of Wales’
Plaid Cymru have criticised the UK Government’s plan to reduce the number of Welsh MPs from 40 to 32 as the proposed boundary changes were published today.
Liz Saville Roberts MP, whose constituency of Dwyfor-Meirionnydd faces significant alternations as a result of the proposals, said that it was the “the most recent of steps on the Tory pathway to taking back control to Westminster”.
Under new rules passed by Westminster each constituency – apart from island seats such as the Conservative seat of Ynys Môn – must contain between 69,724 and 77,062 electors.
The Boundary Commission which set the new borders said that it has no power to set the number of MPs, which was decided by Parliament, and will not be able to consider arguments around the number of constituencies in Wales.
Liz Saville Roberts however said that the overall aim of the changes was in order to “tighten the Tories’ grip on power”.
“From disenfranchising younger people and minorities through mandating voter ID, to reducing Wales’ representation in Parliament by 20% – Westminster offers little more than a pretence of democracy,” she said.
“The people of Wales have a choice: accept Westminster’s latest attack or take a different path with a truly representative, participatory and open democracy in an independent Wales.”
Ceredigion Senedd Member and Llywydd Elin Jones also took to Twitter to criticise the specific proposals for Ceredigion, which would see it combined with the former Preseli Pembrokeshire into one very long constituency.
“It’s 85 miles between Glandyfi and St David’s in the propsed new Ceredigion Preseli constituency,” she said. “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, secretary to the Boundary Commission for Wales, Shereen Williams MBE OStJ 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.