In spite of the best efforts of its ministers in the Lords, it looks as though the government is going to face a vote on the dreaded boundaries legislation early next year, with the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill returning to the Upper Chamber in January.
The big story is that the Lib Dems will be able to kick the reforms away until 2018 using an amendment, but it isn’t just the members of the smaller Coalition party who will be rebelling against government policy. Tory MP Glyn Davies has now come out as an opponent of the reforms, too. On his blog, he writes that he is ‘contemplating voting against my government for the first time’ for a number of reasons. The first is that he never believed the proposal to reduce the number of MPs was a sensible one, and secondly the proposals for boundary reforms in Wales were ‘even worse than I had imagined’, with ‘catastrophic’ consequences for mid Wales. He adds:
‘So what do I do if, as is rumoured I am faced with a crucial vote on the issue next month. If passed, the Montgomeryshire I have known man and boy would be no more. The new constituencies that touch on mid Wales will have population centres elsewhere. My local party association is so horrified by the implications of the proposals that it has told me in no uncertain terms that they want me to oppose the new boundaries. And at a personal level, I would hate to see all the work we have done to build our Association in Montgomeryshire disappear in a cloud of angry blue smoke – because I believe those who have done this transformational work will not carry on.