Islwyn MP Chris Evans has spoken out at proposals that would see his constituency abolished in a shake-up of Parliamentary seats.
In September last year, the Boundary Commission for Wales first published plans which would see the number of Parliamentary seats in Wales fall from 40 to 29, as part of a larger UK-wide review into reducing the amount of MPs by 50.
It is the biggest single change to Wales’ electoral map since the Boundary Commission was created in 1944.
Under the proposals, the Islwyn constituency would be carved up for the UK Parliament, with its areas absorbed by the existing constituencies of Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, and Blaenau Gwent.
However, the changes will not affect seats in the National Assembly for Wales.
The second consultation on the changes has now closed and a final eight-week public consultation has begun.
Labour Member of Parliament Mr Evans, who has held the seat since 2010, said: “The proposals as they stand will break strong local ties and make no geographical sense whatsoever.
“For example, the central and important town of Blackwood becomes an add-on to Blaenau Gwent even though the areas have totally different socio-economic profiles.
“The commission has failed to acknowledge this and has instead just lumped them together to make up the numbers. In doing so they have totally disregarded the views of my constituents.
“That is why I put forward a detailed counter-proposal last year which would have remedied these issues but has been totally ignored.
“The Boundary Commission’s inconsistent application of its own guidelines is a real cause for concern. I believe the way the consultation has been handled is deeply flawed.
“I have written to the Secretary of State for Wales and the Boundary Commissioner about these concerns. The future of democratic representation in Wales is at stake and we have to get this right.”
Steve Halsall, Secretary to the Boundary Commission, said: “The commission has produced a set of proposals which meet the requirements of the 2011 Act. It has also taken into account other relevant factors and has sought to identify the solutions most suitable to local needs within Wales. I would emphasise that these are not the final set of proposals so I urge the Welsh public to take this opportunity to have their say during this consultation period.”
Mr Halsall added: “Over the next eight weeks people may visit our consultation portal, write in or email us to let us know what they think of the commission’s proposals.
“Whether they accept or object, we are keen to hear people’s views. Where they object – particularly where they can supply counter-proposals – the Commission will give full consideration and may amend its proposals accordingly.”
Caerphilly MP Wayne David has also been critical of the proposals but cast doubt over whether they would be implemented because of the impact it would have on the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland.
He said: “Wales is to lose 11 Parliamentary seats. This makes it inevitable that many of the new seats have little integrity. This is the worst kind of political gerrymandering. The Labour Party will lose the most seats because Wales is a Labour stronghold.
“But it is unlikely that this boundary review will be implemented because it will hit the Democratic Unionist Party and they are the Government’s partners.”
The commission’s final proposals will be submitted by October 2018.
The shake-up is part of the The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011, which requires that every UK constituency has an electorate within the range of 71,031 to 78,507 voters.