Thursday, September 15, 2016

Boundary Commission recommendations

These are the recommendations regarding Wales of the Boundary Commission set up as as result of the government decision to reduce the number of Westminster constituencies to 600 at around 75,000 electors each. The proposals affecting Neath, Port Talbot and adjacent areas are shown below.

It seems to us that the Boundary Commission has paid insufficient attention to one of its rules, namely special geographical considerations, including in particular the size, shape and accessibility of a constituency; local government boundaries as they existed on 7 May 2015 and any local ties that would be broken by changes in constituencies.

Local Liberal Democrats have consistently opposed the break-up of natural communities purely in the interest of electoral arithmetic. At the previous Boundary Commission review we asked for the Coedffranc wards (including Skewen) to be moved back into the constituency of Neath of which they naturally form part. On that occasion we were unsuccessful, but at least Coedffranc remained within a constituency contained within the same (Neath Port Talbot) local council area. It seems to us that the current proposals unnecessarily break the local government/constituency link (e.g.
Skewen merged with Swansea East, Port Talbot and Margam with Ogmore).

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