Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan has today published a green paper on future electoral arrangements for the National Assembly for Wales.
Currently the constituencies used to elect assembly members are the same as those used to elect members of Parliament. However the move to a smaller House of Commons with more equally sized constituencies breaks that link, and, subject to parliamentary approval, there will be a reduction in the number of parliamentary constituencies in Wales from 40 to 30.
The green paper:
- looks at the effect of these changes on the National Assembly for Wales;
- asks whether people would be better served by continuing to have 40 Assembly constituencies but with modified boundaries to make them more equal in size or to re-instate the link with Parliamentary constituencies by changing to an assembly of 30 constituencies.
In each case the size of the 60 member assembly would not change and so the number of regional members would increase from 20 to 30 if the link with parliamentary constituencies is re-established.
The Green Paper also seeks views on:
- whether the National Assembly for Wales should have 4 or 5 year terms
- removing the prohibition on standing as a candidate in an assembly election in both a constituency and a region
- whether assembly members should be prohibited from sitting in Parliament
The consultation closes on 13 August 2012 and the government will consider carefully the responses we receive before deciding how best to proceed.
Speaking after the announcement, Mrs Gillan said:
The programme of political reform that we have undertaken since the coalition government was formed impacts on all parts of the United Kingdom. In Wales, it will mean changes to the constituency map with 30 new parliamentary constituencies and we now need to look at the effects of these changes on the make-up of the National Assembly for Wales.
I want to ensure that we have the right structures in place in Wales to deliver for our citizens and what this consultation does is give everyone the opportunity to contribute their views. We will carefully consider the results of this consultation before deciding on any changes necessary.
We will aim to announce the results of this consultation later in the year and will work closely with institutions in Wales in taking our proposals forward. Any changes that arise will be implemented at the earliest opportunity.