Thursday, July 14, 2016

Boundary changes

How am I supposed to find time to blog when the political world is in such turmoil? So much going on. Starting early and working late - just to keep up with what's happening.  Today has been the 'Day of the long stiletto', more brutal than any 'night of the long knives'. I've never seen the like of it. David Cameron was a pussy cat compared with this. Mrs May has been magnificent, striding through the Westminster jungle, scything down saplings and giant oaks with abandon, giving an almighty shake-up to the cosy politics of Westminster.

But I'm blogging about a different issue. I've promised to provide an update (more a recap actually) on where we are in the process of redrawing Parliamentary constituencies boundaries.

It began before the 2010 General Election, at which I was first elected to Parliament. MPs had been up to all sorts as claiming their expenses, and the Telegraph printed it all. Was astonishing stuff, which seriously damaged public confidence in politicians. The then Conservative Opposition Leader reacted by making a manifesto commitment to reduce no of MPs from 650 to 600. I disapproved of this, but was in a minority of about 1%!! After the election, bill was passed by the Coalition Gov't to deliver this manifesto pledge. The Boundary Commission was asked to draw up new constituency boundaries, based on roughly an equal number of voters. But the Lib Dems (together with Labour) in the Lords reneged, delaying approval of the new boundaries for 5 years - or until Sept 2018. 

In Wales the proposals will be made by the Boundary Commission for Wales. So far we have been told that there will be a reduction from 40 seats to just 29 seats, far bigger fall than anywhere else in UK (which reflects historic over representation). The actual new boundaries as proposed by the Boundaries Commission will become public on September 13th.

This will almost certainly be a sad day for Montgomeryshire. It's almost certain that the historic Parliamentary constituency of Montgomeryshire will disappear under these proposals. Not enough people live here. We are probably about 25,000 short of the population needed. All looks so neat and tidy on paper, and "reduces the cost of democracy". It's all total cobblers of course. It destroys accessible democracy in rural areas, and the extra cost of the expanded House of Lords is far greater than 50 fewer MPs.

But there is hope. The final vote will be in Sept 2018. Who knows what will have happened by then. I know it's to my Conservative Party's disadvantage, but I do hope this anti-rural vote bites the dust. I think we all know that 3 yrs is a long time in politics!!

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