The UK Government has accepted an amendment by a Conservative MP which means that Ynys Môn will remain a separate constituency from Wales’ mainland.
UK Government Minister for the Constitution and Devolution, Chloe Smith, announced that the Ynys Môn constituency will be protected in any planned boundary change.
There had been concerns that Bangor and parts of the rest of the Arfon constituency would be included as part of an attempt to make all constituencies in the UK roughly the same size.
Wales was expected to lose eight seats in the House of Commons, more than any other nation, or region of England, as a result of the legislation passing through the commons. It is unclear whether preserving Ynys Môn will change that.
The island is currently represented by a Conservative MP Virginia Crosbie. The amendment was tabled the MP for Basingstoke, Maria Miller
In proposing the amendment, Maria Miller, noted that that “the people of Ynys Môn retain a strong sense of independence borne of centuries of separation from the mainland” and referred to Ynys Môn’s historic position at Môn Mam Cymru. She added that “Ynys Môn possesses the same exceptional qualities of geography seen in the existing protected island constituencies” and that the amendment recognised “Ynys Môn’s distinctive geography, history and culture”.
After the amendment was accepted, Ms Crosbie said “I am delighted that this amendment has been accepted and that Ynys Môn is one step closer to becoming a protected constituency. I know just how important this is to the people of Ynys Môn and I have actively supported the amendment on their behalf.”
A Labour Senedd Member, however, suggested that the constituency was being retained because it was held by a Tory.
“Curiously when Labour held the seat the Tories refused this,” Alun Davies MS tweeted. “Sounds more like a gerrymander than a reform.”
Plaid Cymru had earlier proposed its own amendment to keep Ynys Môn as a single constituency, arguing that the island should be treated the same as other smaller island constituencies such as the Isle of Wight.
“Wales will lose out more than any other nation of the UK or region of England as a result of the Bill,” Ben Lake MP said. “Wales’s voice will be reduced by this legislation.
“While Westminster still has power over so many areas of policy in Wales it is only right that our nation is properly represented.
“One unacceptable outcome of the proposed Bill is that Ynys Môn, a constituency which has existed as its own entity for almost five centuries, could be lost. This simply cannot happen.
“Westminster cannot press ahead with these changes if it hopes to reflect Wales’s communities, let alone give voice to their concerns.”