Today Parliament debated Labour MP Pat Glass’ Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to reverse the decision to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600. I made the following contribution:
Under the terms of this boundary review, Port Talbot, the town at the heart of my Aberavon constituency, would be cut in two, quite literally down the high street; and the steelworks would be cut off from the Housing Estate that was built for its workers.
The clear and unified voice of Port Talbot and its people is being threatened by a government determined to smash it apart.
Port Talbot and Aberavon have had a difficult fifty years given the challenges faced by the steel industry, but we are starting to see the benefits of investment in our area.
If we are to build on this and overcome the current uncertainty around the future our steel economy, we must work to both remain as one community and work to maintain our unified political representation.
And that is why the Boundary Commission’s proposal is completely unacceptable.
As much as iron needs oxygen to be transformed into steel, so our area needs unity, if we are to build a future of security and opportunity.
Jim Cunningham: Does he think that peoples votes don’t count because the government have excluded nearly 2 million people from the register that was used for the referendum but has not been used for the purposes of this boundary review?
Stephen Kinnock: I thank the Hon Member for his intervention, and agree absolutely. This is a bare faced gerrymander on so many levels, one of which is the missing off of the 2 million registered electors.
By running a dividing line through the heart of Port Talbot, the Boundary Commission’s proposal threatens to shatter the unified political representation that our communities so desperately need.
Instead of pressing forward with this act of constitutional vandalism that will disenfranchise and fracture communities; strip this House of its independent voice and compromise our ability to stand up for our constituents; let us stand up and fight for our constituents, let us fight for our communities: let us support this Bill.