The English, Scottish and Northern Irish boundary commissions all published their provisional recommendations in the Parliamentary boundary review last autumn. The Welsh Commission, however, was delayed until today as new Commissioners needed to be appointed.

The initial proposals are now available on the Commission’s website. On the current boundaries Welsh seats have the smallest average electorate size, and hence they lose the most seats under the new rules, with 40 seats being reduced to 30, a loss of the quarter of the seats. These, naturally, involve some major changes to most of the seats in Wales (and in a handful of cases, the Welsh boundary commission have split council wards between seats).

Having had an initial look over and run notional figures for the new boundaries, my projection is that at the last election these boundaries would have produced six seats for the Conservatives (two less than they won on current boundaries), twenty seats for Labour (six less), the Liberal Democrats two (down one) and Plaid two (down one).

Seats that have been effectively abolished are:

Aberconwy (C)
Arfon (PC)
Caerphilly (L)
Cynon Valley (L)
Delyn (L)
Gower (L)
Montgomeryshire (C)
Newport East (L)
Ogmore (L)
Preseli Pembrokeshire (C)

Although Cardiff Central also doesn’t form the largest part of any new seat (the largest part of both the new Cardiff Central & Penarth and the new Cardiff East seats is made of up the current Cardiff South). The following four seats would have had a different winner under the new boundaries:

Cardiff East, which I have as the successor to Cardiff Central, flips from LD to LAB
Caerphilly and Cardiff North, the successor to Cardiff North, flips from C to LAB
Glyndwr and North Powys, the successor to Clwyd South, flips from L to C
Gower and Swansea West, the successor to Swansea West, flips from L to C (though would have been extremely close)

I’ll put up some full notionals and some information about the effect the whole of the provisional recommendations would have later on today.

UPDATE: Overall UK notional results for the 2010 general election on the provisional boundaries are CON 299, LAB 230, LD 46, Others 25. The Conservatives lose 7 seats, Labour 28, Lib Dems 11, Others 4.

UPDATE2: There’s a full spreadsheet of notional results now available here.

92 Responses to “Welsh provisional boundary recommendations”

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  1. JOE

    “Wonder if anyone would answer 1) No 2) Yes”

    When they are asked as two wholly separate questions, there are a small group of independence supporters (the same kind of folk who opposed devolution of any kind) reject enhanced devolution.

    Any problem would be obviated if Q2 were phrased more cleverly than I did, and included both extra devolved as well as powers leading to independence.


    With no disrespect to the Welsh referendum on the detail of how legislation was to occur, I don’t think the gulf that they found in Wales for their referendum would apply in our situation – where the debate has carried been carried on for a very long time – and polls suggest that the number of DK’s is very low.

  3. I’ve been looking at the Acts of Union (one in each country). They each start:

    “THAT the two Kingdoms of England and Scotland shall upon the first Day of May which shall be in the Year one thousand seven hundred and seven, and for ever after, be united into one Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain”

    I’m sure this has been thought of, but how do we get round the phrase ‘for ever after’? Is it as simple as just passing another bill in each country?

  4. Richard in Norway / Anthony W

    Welsh polls are still pretty rare (every few months). I’m also afraid that we’re just not as interested in our national politics here in Wales as they are in Scotland, so the lack of polling is probably due to a perceived lack of interest. Assembly elections are fought as mid-terms by the London parties. Still, it’d be nice to have a section for the Welsh polls, just to remind people that we do exist!

  5. @Max kent, Fantastic County King thing – “So if all the boundary changes were put in place, Conservatives would have exactly 300 seats, where 301 is needed for a majority?”

    Assuming Labour were stuck on 29% of the vote, surely? @Ambivalentsupporter suggested that under current VI numbers Labour would ‘lose’ even more seats, but unless I’ve misunderstood things, this ‘loss’ would be against expected seats under the current system.

    Overall, the Tories won’t get 299/300 seats under current polls.

    @Anthony W – “That Ed Miliband has a lean and hungry look”

    Finish the quote….’He thinks too much, such men are dangerous’.

  6. Aw

    Strange, I think I can hear Welsh muttering but that’s impossible because Wales and the Welsh are just figments of our imagination :smile:

  7. When does the electoral commission come to its final decision about boundaries following the relevant consultation period ? I am presuming the that commissions final decision is just that ‘final’ and that parliament or the courts will not get involved.

    What analysis has been done about the parties reach within key parts of new constituencies. By this I mean that parties could look at council election voting in certain wards and if these wards might be significant in winning the seat for their candidate at the GE, the party might put extra resources in, including setting up an office. This is where the Tories might have an advantage, if they have more money to spend on increasing their support in areas of the country. They do this by helping with local campaigns and by distributing party news leaflets on local issues. The Lib Dems were good at this using Focus teams and the Tories also do similar.

    Such men were all the rage in my young day, WLSC, Ernie
    Bevin ect ect, but for all the cigars, port, brandy, claret, champagne, they didn’t seem to die young.

  9. Bevan was only in his early 60s

  10. @R Huckle,

    I wonder if Lord Ashcroft has analysts straining at the leash, waiting to commission local polling once the ink has dried on the local maps.

    AW probably knows, but of course won’t tell us..

  11. @JOE
    I am talking about Bevin, my only Labour hero and a very great man. I remember Anurin Bevan died fairly young. But then so did most people in those days.

  12. @NEIL A
    I have heard that AW is Lord Ashcroft.

  13. Has everyone seen this

    Very scary, even more scary is that even after reading this I can’t conceive of boycotting Chinese goods, I think I might be a bad person!!

  14. I hate to change the subject and talk about the new Welsh constituencies ( :-) :-) ), but they’ve split the Cynon Valley in two: everything from Aberdare up is assigned to the new Merthyr constituency (“Heads of the Valley”), everything from Aberdare down is assigned to the new Rhondda constituency (“Rhondda”).

    I keep saying this (and nobody listens), but the Valleys are geographically peculiar – moving East-West from valley to valley is physically difficult (there are few connecting roads). So we have the following problem:

    * if the commissioners don’t include the A4233 in the new Rhondda constituency then the east of the constituency (Mountain Ash) can’t be gotten to from the west of the constituency (Treorchy) without going via another constituency
    * if the commissioners do include the A4233 in the new Rhondda constituency then it’ll split Aberdare in two

    Regards, Martyn

  15. Given how many seats the Lib Dems are going to lose, I’m surprised they pushed so strongly for this reduction in seats. Labour will numerically lose the largest number of seats but the Lib Dems will lose 20% of their caucus…..and that’s before any actual votes are cast and there’s blowblack for the Coalition.

    I’m also surprised that politicians of any party went for this. It’s one thing to maintain yourself in an exclusive club, it’s another thing to take away your own jobs.

    There are too many MP’s, we do not need them all. They cost too much and the existing benefit to one party needed sorting. This benefit was not the fault of the beneficiary, but a shell shocked Tory party after Blair had mullahed it, and it knew not whether it was on its fanny or its head.

    The usual cry now from Labour is ” if you want to change things, move away from FPTP. That option is now dead as a Dinosaur.

  17. @Max

    On the first page you state that this must be accepted as fair because it reduces the bias towards Labour.

    If you look at the numbers though then you see what the Tories have done is actually increase the unfairness of the bias against the LD which surely is the most iniquitous where they receive far less of the seats then their votes should give them (well that was before the Coalition).

    I think it is a bit rich of any Tory saying these changes reduce bias when you look at the actual numbers.

    If Tories are so concerned about fairness then surely they would support a more proportional system!

    It also makes me wonder about the intelligence of the LD leadership when they will lose out significantly, depute them already being massively underrepresented.

  18. @Martyn
    Not going to bugger up the Rugby on a Saturday, is it boyo?

  19. @Chouenlai

    Why are there too many MPs? Why 600 rather than 550, why not 500 or 50? Where is your cut-off

    The quality of MPs is something to question but I still do not get this argument of too many.

  20. PETE B
    It must already have been changed by the Act of Union with Ireland which created the United Kingdom of GB and Ireland and later GB and northern Ireland.

    Ireland was created into a kingdom by an Act of English Parliament by HVIII.

  21. One bad point about reducing the number of MPs (whoever is in power) is that a greater proportion of the governing party will be members of the government, thus reducing the impact of any backbench rebellions and making it easier for the government to force through unpopular legislation.

  22. Bazsc

    Even one would be too many!!


    They’d hoped to get AV in return….

  24. @bazsc
    BTW, thanks for confirming my comment to SOCAL.
    550 – less 50, every one else is having to “downsize” so should these greedy sod’s.

  25. @Chouenlai
    am talking about Bevin, my only Labour hero and a very great man. I remember Anurin Bevan died fairly young. But then so did most people in those days

    We share a hero – he was in ill health during his later stages at the FO, if I remember correctly he died of a heart attack at the age of 70 but I think he had one prior to that.

    On the topic of portly politicians – have you seen the size of the Gov of New Jersey? He really does go against the current stereotype of what a politician should look like.

  26. Richard in Norway

    With the current quality I sympathize with the comment!

    This whole constitutional change program started by Labour and followed on by the Tories has been incoherent to say the least.

    Labour did have a plan for devolution but is was not followed through on and Blair was never really convinced was he.

    The Tories have been even worse as any cut in MPs should have been made alongside a change to the voting system and the setting up of an English or Regional Parliament.

    Just cutting MPs and keeping FPTP/same framework
    seems a crap idea


    I think what matters to the lib dems is “how likely are we to have influence on the government”. No matter how many seats they pick up, if one side has an OM the libdems will be reduced to “second opposition”

    It might well be that although the numbers of lib dems MPs will be reduced quite heavily, it’ll actually present more opportunities to become the “king makers”.

    It’s certainly reduced the likelyhood of a labour OM (where previously they only needed to equal the Tory vote to gain an OM). A Tory OM would still require a decisive lead over Labour. Overall what Labour loses is probably more than the Conservative gain, for a given LD vote.

    If every 3 or 4 GEs result in a hung parliament with the LDs becoming junior partners in a coalition, it would be a huge victory for the Lib Dems.

    There’s also the question that Lib Dems tend to target single “winnable” constituencies, with the bordering constituencies not gaining much traction.

    In the case of boundaries moving, the libdems have shown they can react to this and spread their influence (Sarah Teather’s seat in Brent was a good example of this). It’s quite possible that the LDs could stop seats flipping due to suddenly including a large swathe of another constituency, when projections would have the seat comfortably flipping.

    Of course, this is dependent on the LDs actually capturing significantly more than 10% of the share of the vote, if they poll that low they’d face oblivion no matter how the boundaries were shaped.

    The lib dems would love to be in the position that “If we get above 20% of the share of the vote, there are a large number of likely results that will leave us in the position of junior member in a coalition”.

    Of course it could be that the lib dems have been totally suckered and have no way of backpedalling without it looking like a purely political move and not really having the option to pull out of the coalition at this point, especially not over a “we brought down the government to save our own hides”. I doubt that would get much support from the LD voters who seem to have deserted the party.

  28. @redrich
    The Ruskies feared and loathed him, they were much more comfortable with Eden. Ernie saw through their treachery and played them at their own game.

  29. @Chouenlai

    But why does 550 MPs make our democracy better with no other changes? Surely, as Pete B says, the executive becomes more powerful – which is particularly problematic in a FPTP system.

    Less ‘Federal’ MPs would be a good idea but it has to be linked to decentralization and empowerment of the local authorities – something neither of the main parties seems to want.

  30. @Chouenlai

    “There are too many MP’s, we do not need them all. They cost too much and the existing benefit to one party needed sorting.”

    I can’t think that the most centralised of the European and western states with one of the weakest structures of local government needs necessarily fewer MPs. Moreover we’ve already reduced the number of the MPs without making any concomitant reduction in the size of the Treasury bench which efficiently makes the central government even stronger.

    If the role of an MP is dual…a party role in maintaining his government in power and a constituency role maintaining the interests of his/her constituents vis a vis government.

    Given the range of interests from Health, education, social services, tax and benefits that this means for every single of the 80.000 voters in a single constituency let alone those actually living in the place….it might be argued that fewer will not mean better. It will merely make government and its structure even more powerful and less representative.

  31. @redrich
    The Mayor of New Jersey is one of the thinnest people in New Jersey. He won slimmer of the year North East USA.

  32. @john murphey
    It might reduce the number of time serving party hacks also.

    @john murphey
    It might reduce the number of time serving party hacks also.
    It might equally increase them by making central party organisations even more powerful.

  34. @Chouenlai

    Thats because he knew what they were really like from his experience of dealing with them in international trade union movement, and fighting communist entryism in the TGWU

  35. @Chouenali

    You have made a few sweeping statements – again, why does reducing the number of MPs with no other changes improve our democracy.

    I think it will actually have a negative effect as it increases the number of constituents, the number chosen marginalizes even more the parties most punished by FPTP and it increases the power of the executive.

    What are the benefits apart from the rather superficial ‘they will cost less’

  36. Anthony Wells @ Chouenlai

    ” – what makes you think that portlyness is a negative for public image in a politician? Let me have men about me that are fat; Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o’ nights.”

    I guess you have the common post-Christmas problem too.

    Roland is clearly referring to the chattering-class assumption that you need to be a Blair clone to be PM. I don’t think he believes it either.

    So who is it that peddles that nonsense? Should we believe anything they say? Does any of it have an objective basis in empirical research?

    No it doesn’t. It’s just fashion.

    People follow leaders and when the conventional view changesand they forget that it was ever otherwise. How long is it since a man who wasn’t at least on the point of being married to a certain type of woman had any chance of even being selected as a Con PPC in a hopeless constituency?

    Who says you have to be lean fortyish, male, in a suit, fragrant and made-up without any grey hairs? Who says you need to feign an interest in sports and popular TV programmes?

    If the PM didn’t hang about with celebs, or watch TV and didn’t know who Jerremy Clarkson was I would think that was good, for he might be spending more time thinking about his job.

    Who says he has to do that?

    The same people who advise Labour to keep moving to the right (which allows the Cons to do the same).That is in line with their own preferences.

    There is no objective basis for this belief.

  37. Max King Of The Fantastic County of Kent

    “…when campaigning, you need to take a different approach to Scotland completely.
    They have differing values, when campaigning, you need to take a different approach to Scotland completely. Policies that go down well in the rest of the UK, rarely go down well in Scotland.”

    Do mention this to Dave, Ed and Nick next time you see them.

    They need to present different aspects of reality in Scotland.

  38. Chouenlai

    ” Salmond, I am sorry to observe, looks like the next on the list of Great Scottish Political Heart Attacks.”

    Actually there was much less of him than I expected last time I saw him. The Scotsman usually manages to print an unflattering picture of him frowning, but they can’t do that if he is putting the squiggly marks on hand made chocolates or visiting a cake shop.

    Shortly after DC, GB and AS had got new jobs, I saw a report that DC had seen a picture of himself without a shirt, and decided to lose weight, and the PM and FM decidds they had to be fit for their new jobs.

    AS was quoted as havng given up “late night curries and the much loved Lucozade”

    I do not believe the FM was ever a regular drinker of Lucozade which is just a sugary fizzy drink which was sold as a health drink, only available in chemist’s shops when I was a child.

    IrnBru as another carbonated sugary drink known as “Scotlands other national drink” and in the Highlands, the name is used as a euphemism for another beverage of similar colour.

    The FM has a duty to support healthy living initiataves and Scottish exports.

  39. DM decided it was time to get back onn his bike

  40. richard in norway @ Oldnat

    “Read your link and now my blood is boiling and I’m not even Scottish. Moore and Cameron are $$b$ and ***s* underhanded devious %$£%£”

    n the attachment, which is the consultation document, I thought I detected a more juvenile literary style than usual in civil service texts. I suspect Moore has insisted in writing parts of it himself.

    The legal problem has been known
    since before the election, though it was brought up by Labour possibly inspired by the SNP blog Oldnat gave you.

    At the end of the previous thread I too gave that URL and also a Youtube video of Iain McWhirter laughing atthe idea of anyone daft enough to try it. The Labour man says something that sounds like “Boil Locks”

    You will,and I agree with McWhirter as does OldNat and Roger.

    Donald Dewar said:

    “Scotland will be independent when people vote for it”

    Think of the converse of that. It’s untenable.

  41. RiN

    Moore and Clegg signed it. D C is just reading fro his script. If you read the SNP blogger you have a far deeper understanding of the issue than DC.

    I doubt if he would recognise a reverse Sewell motion.

    Lords Forsyth and Foulkes see to favour these games.

  42. My constituency of Alyn & Deeside remains surprisingly intact, but with bits of Delyn added. It even keeps the same constituency name but I must admit I am saddened as Delyn’s AM David Hanson is a top bloke so I really hope he stays in politics.

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