Wales to lose 11 MPs

Fewer Welsh people are registered to vote Credit: PA

Wales will have just 29 MPs after the next Westminster, 11 fewer than the present 40 and the lowest number since 1832. It's largely the result of legislation introduced by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government to cut the total number of MPs from 650 and 600 and reduce the inequality in constituency sizes.

The number of Welsh MPs was nearly cut to to 30 for the 2015 election but the changes, which were seen as benefitting the Tories, were blocked by the Liberal Democrats after the coalition partners fell out over reform of the House of Lords. Today's announcement has been condemned by Labour and Plaid Cymru.

The drop to 29 is the result in a further fall in Wales' share of the total UK electorate. Some parts of Wales have been particularly badly hit by the new system of voter registration. In fact, one Welsh council, Ceredigion heads the list of shrinking electorates in England and Wales. Here are the top three for voters disappearing from the registers between March 2014 and December 2016:

  • Ceredigion -12%

  • Cardiff -11%

  • Oxford -11%

The common factor between all three is a large student population. Students are particularly likely to have been missed by the new system of individual registration. In the past landlords and the wardens of halls of residence would have automatically put their names on the electoral register.

The Electoral Reform Society is calling for voter registration to be made easier and allowed right up to polling day. It's also calling for a major push to get people registered under the new system before the National Assembly election in May. However, it's now too late to affect the cut in the number of MPs, which will be based on how many people were registered to vote last December.