The Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith says the defeat of plans to cut the number of Welsh MPs from 40 to 30 means the Wales Office should abandon its consultation on cutting the number of Assembly constituencies and increasing the number of AMs elected from regional lists.
Today’s vote is a victory for Wales and a defeat for the Tory party that sought to sacrifice Wales’ voice at Westminster in the narrow interests of their party. Had these boundary changes gone through Wales would have seen a 25% reduction in the number of Welsh MPs, resulting in a certain reduction of Wales’ influence in our British parliament. The Welsh Secretary of State, David Jones, trooped through the lobby to diminish Wales’ voice, though a number of his Conservative colleagues had the courage to defy their government whip and vote to retain a powerful Welsh contingent in the Commons.
David Jones will now need to explain whether he will drop his own gerrymandering plans to alter the boundaries of the National Assembly for Wales. Those plans, which are clearly designed to benefit the Conservatives and the other minor parties in Wales, were clearly predicated on the changes to the Westminster constituencies and, as such, should also now fall. I have written to David Jones asking that he concede that the Green Paper is now defunct and I hope he will do so at the earliest possible opportunity.
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