Wales’ political parties suggest alternative Westminster constituencies as axe falls on number of Welsh MPs
Wales’ political parties have suggested their own Westminster constituencies for Wales after the Boundary Commission held a consultation period on their own proposals for how Wales would look after eight seats were cut.
Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Conservatives submitted their own maps of how they’d like Wales’ new constituencies to look, including changes that would benefit both parties.
Labour also called for changes to some constituencies as part of the consultation, and the Liberal Democrats called for “significant reconfiguration” to 12 of the 32 new seats.
The changes to Wales’ boundaries come as the country is due to lose eight MPs, reducing the number of representatives at Westminser from 40 to 32 by the next General Election.
That was decided by Westminster, and the Commission is unable to affect this decision – however, the public, parties and other organisations were asked what they thought of the shape of the new constituencies. All the responses have now been published here.
The biggest change requested by Plaid Cymru is in the north-west where they object to much of the current seat of Arfon becoming part of a more solidly Conservative seat including much of Conwy.
The Conservatives meanwhile suggest a number of changes to the swing Labour-Tory seats in the north-east and oppose changes that would see part of the current Conservative constituency of Bridgend, Porthcawl, included with Port Talbot.
Labour have mainly requested changes around Swansea and the new Ceredigion Preseli and Pembrokeshire seat. The Liberal Democrats also want changes around Swansea and also to seats in Powys.
The Boundary Commission said that they received a record 1211 representations during the Initial Consultation Period, approximately three times the number received during the equivalent consultation period in the last (2018) review.
Representations were received from every existing constituency in Wales, with the highest numbers coming from the current Arfon, Ceredigion, and Caerphilly constituencies.
The consultation opened on 8 September 2021 and closed on 3 November 2021 with respondents able to contribute via an online consultation portal, through email, or in the post.
Many respondents were opposed to the proposals, with many making comments on the reduction in the number of MPs in Wales – “over which the Commission has no control,” they said. Others however commented that they were supportive of the proposals for their area.
Approximately 20% of respondents submitted counter-proposals. 19 of the current 40 Welsh MPs submitted their views, along with 7 of the 60 Members of the Senedd.
A spokesperson for the Boundary Commission for Wales said: “We’d like to take this opportunity once again to thank everyone who submitted their views during the initial consultation period.
“We’re currently considering the representations we’ve received, and they will have a big impact as we develop our Revised Proposals.
“We’re looking forward now to our second consultation period, which opens on 11 January, where you will have the opportunity to make comments on the representations that were sent in during the initial consultation.”
The Commission’s second consultation period opens on 11 January and lasts for 6 weeks and gives the public the opportunity to make comments upon the representations already received.
During this period, the Commission will also hold 5 Public Hearings in Aberystwyth (13 Jan), Bangor (19 Jan), Wrexham (3 Feb), Swansea (10 Feb), and Cardiff (17 Feb), where the public can submit their views in person.
Those wishing to speak at the Public Hearings are asked to email the Commission at email@example.com as soon as possible to book a slot.