21/09/2010

Will this be the shape of the new Ceredigion?



It looks as if we’ve seen the last Ceredigion Westminster election as we know them. When the Conservative/Lib Dem government proposed cutting the number of UK parliamentary constituencies from 650 to 600 it became clear this would affect Wales more than anywhere else. Because we’re reckoned to be ‘over-represented’ compared to the rest of the UK (i.e. have fewer electors per constituency), MPs here are set to be cut by a quarter.

Above, therefore, is a rather ungainly-looking map of a proposal for an expanded Ceredigion constituency drawn up by the Electoral Reform Society WalesIt adds north Pembrokeshire, south-west Montgomeryshire and west Radnorshire to the current Ceredigion, not all areas that readily sit together.

The problem with setting constituency boundaries purely on numbers rather than local identity is that it becomes very hard for people to relate to the seat. Ceredigion constituency currently very helpfully has the same boundary as the County Council which makes it easy to feel a part of.


Another map, drawn up by the  Electoral Reform Society UK looks more plausible, involving a large part of north Carmarthenshire along the Teifi Valley.


Of course, there is a recent precedent for a different boundary. Between 1983 and 1997 Ceredigion was part of a larger Ceredigion and Pembroke North constituency.

Whatever is finally adopted, there’s no question the plans will lead to the loss of a considerable number of Welsh MPs.  If the Assembly were to get substantially more powers that could be a reasonable exchange. But many of the 11 Welsh Lib Dem and Conservative MPs who, like Ceredigion's MP, supported the measure were effectively voting themselves out of office.

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