MP reduction plans challenged

Plans to change Welsh parliamentary constituencies, cutting the number of MPs by a quarter, will be blocked by the Liberal Democrats. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says it's in response to the Conservative revolt against Lords' reform.

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'Coalition cynicism exposed' says Owen Smith

Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith MP has claimed that Nick Clegg's decision to oppose cutting the number of MPs has exposed the Coalition's divisions. He has called on Cheryl Gillan to drop her own plans for changing the way that the Assembly is elected.

This exposes what boundary changes were about all along – a cynical attempt from the Tories to gerrymander the results of the next election. In Wales, we were set to lose a quarter of our MPs, more so than anywhere else in the UK, and the Lib Dems were more than content to go along with this. But now the Tories have reneged on Lords reform, Nick Clegg has delivered the latest in a long line of government u-turns.

It’s almost beyond belief that the Coalition can treat such important constitutional issues with a complete absence of principle. They’re in total disarray and this open warfare between the two Coalition parties ill-serves our national interest. I trust that Cheryl Gillan – who has treated constitutional issues with similar disdain – will now also drop her own disgraceful attempt to rig the electoral map in Wales and I, along with the First Minister, am writing to her to demand that she do so.

– Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith MP

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