Boundary Commission recommendations to take effect from next election
The Boundary Commission for Wales’ Final Recommendations report has been laid by the Speaker of the House of Commons, and the new map of parliamentary representation in Wales has been published.
The Boundary Commission for Wales commenced the 2023 Review of parliamentary constituencies in Wales in 2021 and the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 (as amended) required the Commission to submit its Final Recommendations to Parliament by 1 July 2023.
The Act determined that Wales would have 32 constituencies following the review, a reduction from the current 40. Every constituency recommended by the Commission had to contain between 69,724 and 77,062 electors, other than Ynys Môn which was a protected constituency and remains unchanged following the review.
Three consultations periods, and 5 Public Hearings were held during the review with over 2,000 representations submitted to the Commission both orally and in writing.
The Commission’s Final Recommendations, which will take effect automatically at the next General Election, see further significant changes from the Revised Proposals published by the Commission in October 2022, in light of the representations received by the Commission.
21 constituencies remain unchanged from the Revised Proposals:
- Ynys Môn
- Bangor Aberconwy
- Clwyd North
- Clwyd East
- Alyn and Deeside
- Ceredigion Preseli
- Mid and South Pembrokeshire
- Vale of Glamorgan
- Cardiff North
- Cardiff South and Penarth
- Cardiff East
- Cardiff West
- Brecon, Radnor and Cwm Tawe
- Newport East
- Blaenau Gwent and Rhymney
However, changes have been made to the other 11 constituencies following representations received throughout the review process:
Merthyr Tydfil and Upper Cynon becomes Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare
The Geography remains the same however the Commission has recommended a name change to Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare as proposed in the initial proposals. The Commission felt that the name was more identifiable and relates to the 2 main settlements in the recommended constituency.
Dwyfor Meirionnydd / Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr
The electoral wards of Corwen and Llandrillo have been included in the Dwyfor Meirionnydd constituency (revised in Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr). The Commission received representations that stated that the electoral wards have more local ties with Dwyfor Meirionnydd and have better road links to that constituency. The new constituency also respects the historical county of Merionethshire. The Commission was able to include these wards while maintaining the UK Electoral Quota and therefore there was no knock on effect to other constituencies.
Caerphilly/Newport West and Islwyn
The Commission made significant changes in this area during its revised proposals in response to the representations that stated that Newport West should not be combined with Caerphilly. Following publication of the revised proposals the Commission did receive opposition to the revised proposal to combine Newport West with Islwyn. The Commission however did receive significant support for the proposed Caerphilly constituency.
The Commission did make some minor changes to the electoral wards that it used to form the proposed constituencies in response to the representations it received. Cefn Fforest is now included in the recommended Newport West and Islwyn constituency in order to combine Cefn Fforest and Blackwood in the same constituency. In order to maintain the UKEQ the electoral ward of Ynysddu is therefore transferred to the recommended Caerphilly constituency. The Ynysddu ward has good road links with the recommended Caerphilly constituency and shares local ties being within the same local authority.
Bridgend, Rhondda and Aberafan
The Commission received opposition to including the Town of Pencoed in the Rhondda constituency at the revised proposals stage. The Commission has as part of its final recommendations included the Town of Pencoed within the recommended Bridgend constituency.
The Commission received opposition to including the Town of Porthcawl in the Aberafan Porthcawl constituency at the revised proposals stage. The Commission has as part of its final recommendations included the Town of Porthcawl within the recommended Bridgend constituency.
Both the Town of Pencoed and Porthcawl share strong links with the Town of Bridgend and are in the Local Authority area of Bridgend. However, in order to maintain constituencies that fall within the UKEQ the Commission has had to make significant changes to the constituencies in the area. The Commission has combined the Rhondda and Ogmore Valleys in a constituency building on the shared valleys identities and it has combined Aberafan with Maesteg in order to achieve the UKEQ. There are however good road connections between the two areas. The Commission has also had to include the electoral ward of Pelenna which currently forms part of the Neath constituency in order to achieve the UKEQ.
Neath and Swansea
The Commission received opposition to including the Town of Skewen in the proposed Aberafan Porthcawl constituency and the representations stated that Skewen should be included in a Neath constituency. In order to include Skewen in the recommended Neath and Swansea East constituency the Commission has had to make some significant changes to the arrangements in the Neath and Swansea area.
As part of its final recommendations the Commission has proposed 3 constituencies in the Neath and Swansea area; Neath and Swansea East, Swansea West, and Gower. The Commission has included the electoral ward of Landore in the Swansea West constituency and Skewen in its Neath and Swansea East constituency.
The recommended Gower constituency includes all bar one of the electoral wards that form the existing Gower constituency along with 5 wards from the existing Swansea West constituency, the whole of this constituency is within the Swansea Local Authority area. The recommended Swansea West constituency is formed by the remainder of the existing Swansea West constituency and parts of the existing Swansea East constituency again all within the Swansea Local Authority area. The recommended Neath and Swansea East constituency combines the Town of Skewen with the majority of the existing Neath constituency and the remainder of the Swansea East constituency.
The Commission was tasked with considering special geographical considerations, including in particular the size, shape and accessibility of a constituency; local government boundaries which existed or were prospective on 1 December 2020; boundaries of existing constituencies; any local ties that would be broken by changes in constituencies; and the inconveniences attendant on such changes when developing its recommendations.
The Commission was unable to consider future election results or the impact changes would have on any political parties when developing its recommendations.
The largest constituency recommended by the Commission geographically is Dwyfor Meirionnydd at 2,613Km2, with the smallest being Cardiff East (33km2).
In terms of electors, the largest constituency is Mid and South Pembrokeshire (76,820 electors) and the smallest is Ynys Môn (52,415 electors).
No electoral wards or Communities have been split by the Commission in its Final Recommendation.
Commenting on the laying of the Final Recommendations report, Shereen Williams MBE OStJ DL, Secretary to the Boundary Commission for Wales said:
“The Commission is delighted that its Final Recommendations report has been laid by the Speaker.
“It is our firm belief that these recommendations represent the best way to create 32 constituencies in Wales which meet the requirements of the Act, including taking account of geography and local ties.
“Though managing a significant reduction in the number of constituencies is never an easy task for a Boundary Commission, it has been made significantly easier thanks to the number and quality of representations we have received from the public, from Members of Parliament, from Political Parties, and from Principal Councils across Wales.
“The Commission would like to put on record its thanks to everyone who took part in the Review and strengthened the recommendations.”
The Commission’s Final Recommendations will now take effect automatically, without the need for parliamentary or government approval, from the next scheduled General Election.