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.