*** Stephen Kinnock MP: This ill-conceived boundary review severely weakens our democracy and damages communities. ***

Commenting on the Boundary Commission for Wales 2018 Review of Parliamentary Constituencies Initial Proposals, Stephen Kinnock, Member of Parliament for Aberavon, said:

“This ill-conceived boundary review severely weakens our democracy and damages communities.

“Firstly, at a time when people are feeling excluded and marginalised from the political system, reducing the number of MPs only reduces engagement and representation.

“Secondly, the Review is based on an electoral roll that does not include the 2m people who registered to vote in the EU Referendum, or the 1.9 million people who were struck off the electoral roll by the Conservative’s changes to Voter Registration rules, against the advice of the Electoral Commission.

“The combination of these decisions makes it clear that party political interest is the primary motive, not the national interest. If this Review were truly about cost, as the Tories claim, they would first seek to reform the House of Lords, rather than adding more peers per year than at any time since 1958, costing the taxpayer an additional £28,500 for every day the House of Lords sits.

“Given the clear frustration that many have with our politics we should be doing everything we can to strengthen our democracy, not stacking the deck for party political gain, as Conservatives are clearly doing here.

“These proposals will hurt our democracy and will hurt communities.

“In my Aberavon constituency, the new boundaries would cut right through the heart of Port Talbot, ludicrously separating the towns shopping centre from the high street. In a community whose future is already under threat due to the uncertainty around its steelworks, to split the town in such a way that puts the steelworks in one constituency and most of the steelworkers in another is to potentially weaken the community even further.

“Carving Port Talbot up to suit mathematical formula risks the longstanding cultural and historic ties that exist within this community and makes the revitalisation of its local economy much more difficult.

“In addition, in these proposals Coedffranc North, West and Central are added to Swansea East when their natural geographical and historical ties are with Neath, rather than Swansea, this would leave the community of Skewen isolated.

“These proposals must be challenged. They demonstrate why the system of setting an arbitrary figure for a constituency electorate and then moving the boundaries to meet that figure is so fundamentally flawed.”

You can respond to the consultation at: http://www.bcw2018.org.uk/

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