Westminster Boundaries for Wales – best of a bad job?

Wales On-Line reveals the new Welsh Westminster boundaries, which cut the nation’s MPs from 40 to 30.

Such a radical cut obviously requires some bold swipes on the map. Here’s a PDF of the new constituencies.

The effect? – Currently the 40 MPS are split Labour 26, Tory 8, Lib Dem 3, Plaid 3.

Taking the easiest first and extrapolating 2010 results (without assuming any change in voting patterns) Plaid’s two Gwynedd seats are merged into 1 in the North and in the South the old Carmarthen seat is re-introduced (as Caerfyrddin) which would have gone Plaid in 2010.

For the Lib Dems – Ceredigion is expanded southwards into North Pembs. 2010 would have seen an easy Lib Dem win. Brecon and Radnor is pushed upwards into Montgomeryshire to create South Powys – again Lib Dem in 2010. Their third seat, Cardiff Central, is merged with the greater part of Cardiff South and Penarth – I think Labour would have taken this in 2010.

As for the Tories – one of their 2 Dyfed seats disappears as the new seat of South and West Pembs consolidates two Tory seats. In the North the three Tory seats of Aberconwy, Clwyd West and Montgomery disappear. The new North Wales Coast (what a dull, terrible name) would have been Tory – as I think would have been Glyndwr and North Powys (for which Plaid will, however, have some hopes next time) so two seats kept out of 3. In the South both enlarged Monmouthshire and the Vale of Glamorgan would have been safe in 2010. However the revised Cardiff North, including parts of Caerffili, would have been Labour.

So of the 30 seats we have Plaid 2(-1), Lib Dems 2(-1), Tories 5(-3)..so by elimination (I’ve done this the easy way ..) that leaves Labour on 21(-5).

Two decisions worth commenting on – the new Newport West and Sirhywi Valley includes the good sea-faring folk of Pontllanfraith and Ystrad Mynach – very strange – whilst the two seats of Blaenau Gwent and Heads of the Valleys have a socio-economic profile on a par with Belarus – I think that that concentration of deprivation isn’t very healthy.

Here’s the BBC’s report.

Welsh Nationalist. Rugby Fan. Know a bit about History and Railways…

  • Those of us who encountered Idris Davies (at least XV from his Gwalia Deserta) through Pete Seeger, or who remember our Nye, prefer to recognise constructs like “Blaenau Gwent” and its environs by venerable and melodic constituent names — Rhymney, Merthyr, Rhondda, Blaina, Caerphilly, Ebbw Vale, Tredegar, Nantyglo, Abertillery.

    Much of that space was not pretty last century, and — despite garden centres and cleaner air — … well, enough said.

    So, back to Davies:

    When April came to Rhymney
    With shower and sun and shower,
    The green hills and the brown hills
    Could sport some simple flower,
    And sweet it was to fancy
    That even the blackest mound
    Was proud of its single daisy
    Rooted in bitter ground.

    Yes, Dewi, I think we’d appreciate “that concentration of deprivation isn’t very healthy”. The Marquesses of Bute, to whom the rents and the coal royalties accrued, waxing rich on the squalor, the subterranean sweat and blood of its residents, themselves wisely chose to live in Rothesay and Ayrshire.

    Which is why Tories tend to come last.

  • Alanbrooke


    there’s a very nice picture of Mr. Salmond sitting in Bute House in the DT.

  • With all due respect to the excellent Dewi and the principality, I think there’s a story in here even bigger than Wales, and even more relevant for Sluggerdom. [That’s remembering that 1NI=0.6662 of a standard Wales.]

    Try James Ball reading the runes for today’s Guardian:

    Using the voting results of the 2010 general election with the proposed boundaries, the model predicts the Conservatives would have won 296 seats – five short of a majority in the smaller House of Commons that the new rules would create.

    With the Conservatives’ longstanding allies in Northern Ireland, the DUP, projected to have won seven seats, the Conservatives could have commanded a slim majority without having to enter into coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

    Hmmm … “longstanding allies”: not quite my reading.

    Even so, outside the laager, how would the great British public take to their Cameroon government being wagged by the DUP tail?

    Alanbrooke @ 8:19 am reminds us that Wee Eck has a renewable lease, from the National Trust for Scotland, on one the finest urban residences anywhere. Before Bute House, it was 6 Charlotte Square, a magnificent Robert Adam house built for a shoemaker. Quite why it should be “Bute House” (for a later, undeserving owner) rather than “Hart House” (for he who commissioned it) defeats me.

  • Christian Schmidt

    Overall the proposals look good – with the exception of the horrible Newport West – Sirhowy and Caerphilly – Cardiff seats

    Surely, if these are combined with Cardiff East, there should be a Caerphilly/Ystrad Mynach seat, a Cardiff North East seat and a (leftover) Lower Ebbw/Wentloog seat.