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Parliamentary shake-up for Wales in “disarray”

Published in News at 09:07, Tuesday August 7th, 2012.

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A planned shake-up of Parliamentary constituencies which would see Caerphilly and Islwyn wiped from the political map were last night described as being in “disarray”.

Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister of the Coalition UK Government, said his party would no longer support plans to cut the total number of MPs to 600 from 650.

The move follows a rebellion by Conservative MPs over Lib Dem-backed plans for House of Lords reform.

Wayne David, MP for Caerphilly and Labour Party’s frontbench spokesman on Constitutional issues, said: “The Coalition Government’s programme is in disarray.

“Lords reform and boundary changes have been withdrawn. Given that Labour supported Lords Reform in principle, I am disappointed that the Reform Bill has been withdrawn. But I am delighted that the plug has been pulled on the boundary changes. The boundary changes were all about Tory gerrymandering and not about reflecting the needs of communities.

“I now look forward to the Government also withdrawing their Green Paper on changing Welsh Assembly boundaries.”

Mr David’s sentiments were also shared with Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith.

Mr Smith said: “This exposes what boundary changes were about all along – a cynical attempt from the Tories to gerrymander the results of the next election.

“In Wales, we were set to lose a quarter of our MPs, more so than anywhere else in the UK, and the Lib Dems were more than content to go along with this. But now the Tories have reneged on Lords reform, Nick Clegg has delivered the latest in a long line of government u-turns.

“It’s almost beyond belief that the Coalition can treat such important constitutional issues with a complete absence of principle. They’re in total disarray and this open warfare between the two Coalition parties ill-serves our national interest.

“I trust that Cheryl Gillan – who has treated constitutional issues with similar disdain – will now also drop her own disgraceful attempt to rig the electoral map in Wales and I, along with the First Minister, am writing to her to demand that she do so.”

The Boundary Commission for Wales had proposed slashing the number of Welsh MPs’ seats from 40 to 30, with the names and sizes of constituencies being changed.

Caerphilly would mostly be merged into Cardiff North to create Caerphilly and Cardiff North, while Islwyn, currently held by Labour’s Chris Evans, would be split in two and merged with neighbouring constituencies of Newport West and Blaenau Gwent.

Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney would largely remain intact, but have the addition of some wards from the Rhondda Cynon Taf area.

The changes would mean the area of Caerphilly County Borough would have four Members of Parliament instead of the current three.

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  • Cllr. Richard Willia

    Whilst I agree with Wayne David that the planned boundary changes were based on gerrymandering by the Conservative government the editorial statement that “A planned shake-up of Parliamentary constituencies which would see Caerphilly and Islwyn wiped from the political map” is not accurate. Islwyn would go, but Caerphilly would remain. The change would have involved some of it becoming part of the existing Cardiff North constituency.

    The current plan is indeed in “disarray” because of political differences of opinion between the Tories and their glove puppets, the Liberal Party, but changes will come at some point. The USA manages with 435 voting members of their equivalent parliament, The House of Representatives, despite being vastly greater in size than Britain.

    There are two main reasons for the coming reduction in MPs, one is devolution and the other is European Union. Many English people deem Welsh parliamentarians to have undue influence at Westminster as they believe we have our own Parliament at Cardiff. Also much of the work, and associated political power, of Westminster has been gleefully handed over to Europe by our political masters.

    I am not saying that a reduction in the number of Welsh MPs is a good thing but I do see it as inevitable given the policies of the main parties.

  • Phil Lib

    Point of clarification – the Liberal Party are NOT the Liberal Democrats. They are a political party in their own right and have no involvement in the Coalition. Please do not confuse the two.

  • Cllr. Richard Willia

    Your clarification accepted Phil, there is a Liberal Party maintaining their traditions, they do not have association with the Liberal Democrats and are not part of the coalition with the Conservative government. My apologies to any Liberals I may have inadvertently offended.