Saturday, 15 June 2013

Next Labour Government top Piority: Gerrymandering in Wales?

According to Wales Online
" Labour is planning to introduce quick legislation if it wins the next general election that would make it very difficult for Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood to retain her seat in the National Assembly after 2016.
A senior party source told WalesOnline that, if elected in 2015, an incoming Labour Government at Westminster would reimpose a ban on Assembly candidates standing in both constituency and regional list seats".
You may wonder who the source is and how senior, but unless we are told we can only guess if Labour are going to reintroduce a piece of electoral legislation that was nothing but a piece of gerrymandering.
The Assembly has 60 members, 40 of whom are elected from constituency seats with the remaining 20 being allocated to parties via a form of proportional representation. 
In the first two Assembly elections, candidates were able to stand in both sections of the ballot, and many did so including Labour candidates . But in 2006 the Labour Government at Westminster changed the law to introduce a ban on what had become known as “dual candidacy”.
The move followed unease that some candidates were gating elected by the back door a prime example was Clwyd West which saw three of the defeated candidates there being elected on the North Wales Regional List.

Welsh Assembly Election 2003: Clwyd West
LabourAlun Pugh7,69334.8+3.8
ConservativeBrynle Williams Elected on North Wales List7,25732.8+4.8
Plaid CymruJanet Ryder  Elected on North Wales List4,71521.3−6.0
Liberal DemocratsEleanor Burnham Elected on North Wales List1,7437.9−5.8
UKIPPeter Murray7153.2N/A
Labour holdSwing−0.5

A Ban on this suited Labour as it saw most of its AMs elected via Constituencies and although there was a feeling among many that there was a legitimate argument that the practise  ofAssembly candidates standing in both constituency and regional list seats was not ideal . It is clear that Labour  introduced the ban in Wales for their own advantage rather than any democratic reason.
They did not do this in Scotland where I believe some dual candidates have been elected on the regional list for the party.
However it it is likely the ban will be reversed and it would be astonishing that one of the first actions of a new Labour government would be to introduce the ban just before the Assembly Elections.
Mind you maybe it might be that if they did it would be seen as a stop Leanne at any price measure and could will backfire as voters in the Rhondda see this as a form of gerrymandering and give to Two fingers to the party they see as being responsible.

1 comment:

  1. Complete non story. The legislation would never in a million years pass in time. As you say, it would pretty much have to be the Labour Government's number 1 priority..... A new Wales Bill being Labour's number 1 priority? Nope, nothing to see here. Just Welsh Labour talking out of their arse again.