Monday, May 21, 2012

Assembly Electoral Boundaries.

The Secretary of State for Wales has today published a Green Paper on 'Future Electoral Arrangements for the National Assembly for Wales'. Its a 12 weeks 'consultation paper'. There are several proposals up for consultation.

1) That the National Assembly should continue to have 60 members.

2) That the Assembly electoral boundaries should be changed to allow for 30 rather than 40 Assembly constituencies, coterminous with the new constituencies being introduced for the House of Commons.  Its also proposed that if the decision is to retain the current 40 constituencies, the boundaries should be adjusted to equalise the number of voters within each constituency. (to a tolerance of 5%).  The Government has a preference for the 30/30 split, though retains an open mind. Personally, I'm not expressing an opinion about this until the consultation period is over.

3)That the ban on candidates standing for a constituency and also taking a place on the 'regional list' should be removed. Now I am very much in favour of this, and considered the ban when introduced by Peter Hain and Rhodri Morgan to be a spiteful, opportunistic exercise in gerrymandering. Needless to say it didn't work.  Gerrymandering rarely does.

4)That Westminster politicians should not be permitted to stand for election to the National Assembly - an end to what's known as 'double jobbing'. Have to be an arrangement for individuals wishing to 'transfer'.  Wonder what Lord Elis Thomas thinks of this!

Not been much immediate reaction that I've seen.  The Welsh Government seem to be suggesting that this issue is a matter for the Assembly. And First Minister has said that the Prime Minister reassured him that there would be no change in opposition to the will of the Welsh Assembly. We will find out in due course whether this is in fact the case. Not sure whether Labour are still advocating the ridiculous suggestion of Peter Hain that there should be 60 elected by FPTP, two from each consituency. 

Its also interesting that the Assembly Conservative Group is in favour of the status quo. At least that's what one of the leading members of the Group made clear on yesterday's Politics Show. Another one to watch.

I wonder how much interest this matter will generate amongst the public!


Donovan950 said...

Surely the assembly electoral boundaries are the preserve of the Welsh National Assembly and has nothing to do with London in the slightest. Is Cheryl Gillen merely trying to look busy?

I wonder whether it would be more efficient to amalgamate the secretaries of state for wales, scotland and northern Ireland to one position and include various regionf England withing the remit. Perhaps tack it onto Pickles' job.

Anonymous said...

This won't be a popular suggestion, but given their workload (and lack of quality on the government benches) I think we should increase the number of AM's to 80 at the very least. Give stong candidates from the less well funded parties the chance to be elected. It's ridiculous that some county councils have more members than the National Assembly.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Donovan, it is still a 'reserved matter'. Carwyn claims the electoral system for the assembly is a matter for the people of Wales. If that is the case then it should have been included in the Government of Wales Acts, like Scottish devolution, when Labour were in power in Westminster. It wasn't. He cannot therefore object to 'reserved matters' when the Westminster government changes to a party not of his liking. Will Carwyn be backing up his statements and voting Plaid in the next Westminster election?

Anonymous said...

You say that Gerrymandering rarly works. From Labour's point of view in the run up to 2007 it did help them.

Labour hung onto the Vale by 83 votes. Had the dule mandate not kicked in I'm sure Alun Canies would have stood in the Vale rather than the last and surley would have got the extra votes needed to kick out Jane Hutt.