Plans which would have seen the number of MPs from Wales cut from 40 to 30 look all but dead following an extraordinary debate taking place right now in the Commons. Liberal Democrat MPs, including cabinet ministers, are set to defy government efforts to introduce the planned boundary changes.
One Welsh Conservative, Glyn Davies, has already said that he'll defy party leaders to abstain in the vote. At least one other has yet to make up his mind. Labour, Lib Dem and Plaid MPs will back a Lords amendment which effectively kills off the plans by delaying them until after the 2015 election.
Plaid's Dafydd Wigley, who was one of the Peers behind the amendment, said today's vote means Wales avoids 'madcap boundary changes.' He added:
*Scrapping the proposals for the 2015 elections also gives an opportunity to think again on the unacceptable proposals put forward for Wales, which stood to lose 25% of its seats, compared to a 6% drop in England. Constituencies running from Denbigh to Welshpool totally fail to create a community of interest on which MPs can focus their work. *
– Lord Dafydd Wigley, Plaid Cymru
The delay should also allow Parliament to think again, in the wake of the Scottish Referendum result, whether there should be more fundamental changes to the constitution, including dealing with the West Lothian Question and the role – if any – of a reformed Upper Chamber.**