Winners and losers in Westminster shake-up

Gareth Hughes predicts how the Welsh parties will fare when contesting the new Parliamentary seats

There is only one thing on your MP’s mind today, his job. Why? Because the number of Welsh seats in Parliament is being reduced from forty to thirty. And what’s worse many of them will have to fight colleagues for the right to represent the party in the new seat.

The accompanying map (below) shows the biggest change in election boundaries since the end of World War II. New constituency names will emerge such as the Dee Estuary, North Wales Coast, and Glyndwr and North Powys to name but a few. And even those that retain their original names are very different entities to the existing ones. No seat remains the same.

If you object you have 12 weeks to make your views known to the Boundary Commission.

And why the change? Well Mr. Cameron, in response to the universal disapproval over MPs expenditure, decided that to curry favour with voters he would reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 and that every constituency would be broadly of the same size. Resulting in every constituency being between 72,810 to 80,473 voters. All this was passed in The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011.

Now not many existing Welsh seats were within the new required range, hence the reduction of seats in Wales from 40 to 30 and the massive shake up now being proposed (full proposal available here).

So where does that leave the parties. Who will win and who will loose? Below is my quick look at the seats.

  1. Menai and Ynys Mon – This is likely to be a Labour/Plaid Cymru marginal, with Labour having the edge.
  2. Gwynedd – Plaid Cymru
  3. Ceredigion and North Pembrokeshire – Another marginal but this time between Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats with Plaid having the edge.
  4. South and West Pembrokeshire – Conservative
  5. Caerfyddin – Plaid Cymru
  6. Llanelli – Labour
  7. Gower and Swansea West – Labour
  8. Swansea East – Labour
  9. Neath – Labour
  10. Aberavon and Ogmore – Labour
  11. Bridgend – Labour
  12. The Vale of Glamorgan – Conservative
  13. Cardiff West – Labour
  14. Cardiff Central and Penarth – Labour
  15. Cardiff East – Labour
  16. Caerphilly and Cardiff North – Conservative/Labour marginal with the Conservatives having a big edge.
  17. Newport West and Sirhowy Valley – Labour
  18. Newport Central – Labour
  19. Monmouthshire – Conservative
  20. Torfaen – Labour
  21. Blaenau Gwent – Labour
  22. Heads of the Valleys – Labour
  23. Rhondda – Labour
  24. Pontypridd – Labour
  25. South Powys – Liberal Democrat
  26. Glyndwr and North Powys – Becomes the most interesting seat in Wales a four way marginal.
  27. Wrexham Maelor – Labour
  28. Alyn and Deeside – Labour
  29. Dee Estuary – Labour
  30. North Wales Coast – Conservatives

Labour will almost certainly have 19 seats and in a good year could be up to 23. They currently have 26. Conservatives are more than likely to have 4 seats and another 3 would be a realistic number for them to target. They have 8 seats in the current Parliament. Plaid Cymru will certainly hold 2 seats but have the edge in another one and who knows in a good year another 2 could be in their grasp. They have 3 at the moment. Liberal Democrats are almost certain to hold 1 seat. They may have a chance in another 2. But they have 3 at the moment. The review has not been kind to them.

But the interesting tussles will be between MPs of the same party. They will have to play the political equivalent of musical chairs to make sure they don’t loose out in the cull of seats.

Gareth Hughes is a political commentator who blogs here

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