The proposed creation of a new Ceredigion & North Pembrokeshire UK parliamentary constituency (plans for which were published earlier today in a review of all Welsh constituencies) brings back memories of 1992, when Cynog Dafis made a historic breakthrough in first winning that seat - with almost the same boundaries - for Plaid Cymru and the Greens.
Ceredigion & Pembroke North was the name of the constituency for 14 years from 1983. When the boundaries shrunk back to just Ceredigion again for the 1997 election I remember the disappointment of friends in North Pembrokeshire who couldn’t vote for Cynog again.
Incorporating the largely Welsh-speaking North Pembrokeshire will, of course, significantly change the political make-up of the constituency. It will incorporate the northern half of the current Preseli Pembrokeshire Constituency (held by Stephen Crabb for the Conservatives), as per the 1983-97 model, with the addition of the wards of Maenclochog in Pembrokeshire and Cenarth in Carmarthen East & Dinefwr constituency (held by Jonathan Edwards for Plaid). The population of the constituency will rise from the current 56,000 to 74,000.
The proposed expansion of Ceredigion is due to take effect for the next UK election in 2015 (unless the current government collapses before then) and is part of the Westminster government’s plan to cut the number of Welsh constituencies from 40 down to 30.
Although the proposals are clearly not going to help Wales’s representation at Westminster, the idea of a reduction in MPs is probably fair enough given the now enhanced powers of the National Assembly and the consequent lessening in importance of the UK parliament to Wales.
The proposals for the new Welsh constituencies are out for consultation until April 4th. Most commentators think the final version will be pretty close to the draft proposals. Click here for the full details.