wales

Reshaping the Senedd: New report shows how to elect a larger, more effective National Assembly

30th November 2016
30 Nov 2016
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wales
ERS Wales
welsh assembly
Reshaping the Senedd
Size Matters

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For immediate release: Wednesday 30 November 2016

Contact: Richard Thomas, Wales Governance Centre, 07960 688851. Owain ap Gareth, Electoral Reform Society, 07771 661802


New proposals for electing a larger, more effective and accountable Assembly have been set out by Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre and Electoral Reform Society Cymru.

In the first analysis of how a larger Assembly should be elected as it takes on increased powers, the report – Reshaping the Senedd – outlines seven principles, such as simplicity and proportionality that should inform how a larger Assembly could be elected.

It recommends two preferred options:

Single Transferable Vote (STV) –  87 members elected in 29, 3-member constituencies

Open List – 87 members elected in 29, 3-member constituencies

Adapting the current Additional Member System (AMS) is also a plausible, if unwieldy, option.

The report follows the cross-party Silk Commission’s recommendation for a larger Assembly, which formed the basis of the cross-party St David’s Day Agreement in March 2015.

The Assembly is set to be given the power to change its size and voting system, subject to the passing of the Wales Bill, but only with two-thirds of AMs voting in favour, meaning cross-party agreement is needed. 

Co-Author and ERS Cymru Campaigns and Research Officer, Dr. Owain ap Gareth, said:

“New tax powers, and the prospect of additional powers from Europe make the case for a larger, fairly-elected Assembly, stronger than ever.

“Given that many now recognise the need for a more effective and accountable Assembly, Reshaping the Senedd’ moves from the ‘why’ to the ‘how’.  It looks at practical ways to achieve a larger, more democratic Assembly that can deal with the new challenges and opportunities that will arise through the Wales Bill and following Brexit.

“Consensus is not just desirable but essential for change to happen.  That is how it should be: changes to the rules of the game require a different kind of debate that goes beyond partisan politics.

“This report gives people the key principles and practical tools to have a clear-headed and positive debate about how we make a bolstered Assembly work better for voters and Welsh politics as a whole.”

The Acting Director of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, Professor Roger Scully said: 

“Our report provides seven principles against which to assess the main possible voting systems. We want all parties to sign up to these principles as a basis for rational debate.

“The report finds several systems, such as Westminster’s “First Past the Post” system, unsuitable. Adapting the current system is more palatable, whilst the systems that best balance the principles are either an “open list” or the Single Transferable Vote in 29, three-member constituencies.

“There is no perfect system that fully satisfies every principle, so this is about finding the right balance. 

“We know that parties will approach this from different standpoints, so this report can be used as a serious basis and common ground for discussions that can help build the necessary agreement to take Welsh democracy forward.”

ENDS

Editor’s Notes:

1.     A full copy of the report is attached and also available at http://sites.cardiff.ac.uk/wgc/publications/:

2.     The earlier Size Matters report which made the case for a larger Assembly is available here.

3.     Electoral Reform Society Cymru is an independent campaigning organisation working to champion the rights of voters and build a better democracy in Wales. We offer an independent voice, and work to shape the democratic debate at all levels. We put the interests of the citizens within our democracy first.

We believe:

— Every vote and every voice has value and should be heard

— Everyone should be able to shape the decisions that affect their lives

— Our institutions should reflect the people they serve

— People should be able to hold those in power to account

— Politics should offer people real alternatives

For more information about the Electoral Reform Society, please visit: www.electoral-reform.org.uk

4.     The Wales Governance Centre is a Cardiff University research centre undertaking innovative research into all aspects of the law, politics, government and political economy of Wales, as well the wider UK and European contexts of territorial governance.

5.     Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework ranked the University 5th in the UK for research excellence. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University Chancellor Professor Sir Martin Evans.  Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise encompasses: the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences; and the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, along with a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff’s flagship Research Institutes are offering radical new approaches to pressing global problems. www.cardiff.ac.uk

ERS Cymru call for votes at 16 and e-voting pilots with launch of democracy manifesto

18th February 2016
18 Feb 2016
Tags: 
ERS Cymru
ERS Wales
wales
Cymru
democracy
manifesto

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***Neges Ddwyieithog: Scroliwch Lawr am y Gymraeg // Bilingual Message: Scroll down for Welsh***

ERS Cymru call for votes at 16 and e-voting pilots with launch of democracy manifesto     

Campaigners are calling on parties to get behind votes at 16, a monthly ‘Citizens’ Question Time’ and online voting trials in the Assembly in the run up to May’s election.

Electoral Reform Society Cymru are laying down a challenge for parties to get behind proposals for ‘revitalising democracy in Wales’, with the launch of ‘Breathing New Life into Politics’ [1], the first of three manifestos being published by the campaign group ahead of May’s Assembly elections [2].

The 19 policy recommendations in the democratic reform manifesto include piloting a ‘Citizens’ Committee’ in the Senedd to scrutinise Ministers, introducing Proportional Representation for local elections, and making it possible to vote anywhere in Wales – all of which will be possible under the new Wales Act.

The Society are calling on parties to kick-start a ‘democratic revival’ in Wales as the election race heats up, with parties planning their manifestos in the run up to May.

Read the report here in Welsh and English

Steve Brooks, Director of ERS Cymru, said:

“As the Assembly gains new powers over elections, there’s a real opportunity for parties and the next government to revitalise Welsh democracy, and this manifesto lays out the way forward.

“With innovative reforms like votes at 16, a monthly Citizens’ Question Time and online voting trials, we can make the next Assembly more engaging and participatory than it has ever been. 

“We hope all parties embrace the recommendations as crucial moves to change the way we do politics in Wales for the better. We’ve laid down the challenge – now’s the chance to embrace this opportunity to make Wales a world-leader in democratic reform.

“Over the last two decades the shape of Welsh politics has changed enormously. We now live in an era of multi-party politics. But our institutions are under growing strain, while voters in Wales feel increasingly disconnected from politics. It’s time to bring democracy closer to the people.

“Wales will soon have the power to do so – and we hope parties use those powers for the good of voters.”

For more information or to arrange an interview, comment piece or coverage in advance, contact Josiah Mortimer, ERS Cymru Communications Officer - josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07717211630

Notes

[1] Read the embargoed report, Breathing New Life Into Politics, here (bilingual)

[2] The next two policy-themed mini-manifestos will be launched in March and April, on diversity/accessibility and open government/transparency. Contact Josiah Mortimer (details above) to discuss further.


 

ERS Cymru yn galw am bleidlais yn 16 oed ac e-bleidleisio gyda lansiad maniffesto ddemocratiaeth

Mae ymgyrchwyr yn galw ar y pleidiau gwleidyddol i gefnogi pleidlais yn 16 oed, pleidleisio ar-lein ac yn ‘Hawl i Holi Dinasyddion’ misol yn y Cynulliad yn y cyfnod cyn etholiad y Cynulliad ym mis Mai.

Mae Electoral Reform Society (ERS) Cymru wedi gosod her i bleidiau I gefnogi cynigion I 'adfywio democratiaeth yng Nghymru', gyda lansiad 'Adnewyddu ein Gwleidyddiaeth', y cyntaf o dri [1] maniffesto sy'n cael eu cyhoeddi gan y grŵp ymgyrchu cyn etholiadau'r Cynulliad ym mis Mai.

Mae'r 19 argymhelliad yn y maniffesto dros ddiwygio democrataidd yn cynnwys treialu 'Pwyllgor o Ddinasyddion’ yn y Senedd i graffu ar Weinidogion, cyflwyno cynrychiolaeth gyfrannol ar gyfer etholiadau lleol, a gwneud hi’n bosibl i bleidleisio yn unrhyw le yng Nghymru - bydd pob un ohonynt yn bosibl o dan y Ddeddf Cymru newydd.

Mae'r Gymdeithas yn galw ar bleidiau annog 'adfywiad democrataidd' yng Nghymru wrth i'r ras etholiad boethi, gyda pleidiau yn cynllunio eu maniffestos yn y cyfnod hyd at fis Mai.

Darllenwch yr adroddiad dan embargo yma

Dywedodd Steve Brooks, Cyfarwyddwr ERS Cymru:

"Wrth i'r Cynulliad yn ennill pwerau newydd dros etholiadau, mae cyfle go iawn i bleidiau a'r llywodraeth nesaf i adfywio democratiaeth Cymru, a mae’r maniffesto yma yn dangos y ffordd ymlaen.

"Gyda diwygiadau arloesol fel pleidleisiau yn 16 oed, Hawl I Holi misol i Ddinasyddion a phleidleisio ar-lein, gallwn wneud y Cynulliad nesaf yn fwy deniadol a chyfranogol nag a fu erioed.

"Rydym yn gobeithio I bob plaid groesawu’r argymhellion fel symudiadau hanfodol i newid y ffordd yr ydym yn gwneud gwleidyddiaeth yng Nghymru er gwell. Rydym wedi gosod yr her - nawr yw'r cyfle i achub ar y cyfle hwn i wneud Cymru yn arweinydd byd o ran diwygio democrataidd.

"Dros y ddau ddegawd diwethaf mae siâp gwleidyddiaeth Cymru wedi newid yn aruthrol. Rydym bellach yn byw mewn cyfnod o wleidyddiaeth aml-blaid. Ond mae ein sefydliadau o dan straen, tra bod pleidleiswyr yng Nghymru yn teimlo'n fwyfwy wedi datgysylltu o wleidyddiaeth. Mae'n amser i ddod â democratiaeth yn agosach at y bobl.

"Cyn hir bydd gan y Cynulliad y pŵer i wneud hynny - ac rydym yn gobeithio I’r pleidiau ddefnyddio'r pwerau hynny er lles pleidleiswyr yma yng Nghymru."

Am fwy o wybodaeth neu i drefnu cyfweliad, sylwadau darn neu sylw ymlaen llaw, cysylltwch â Josiah Mortimer, Cymru Swyddog Cyfathrebu ERS - josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07717211630

Nodiadau

Darllenwch yr adroddiad dan embargo yma

Bydd themau y ddau mini-maniffestos nesaf yn cael eu lawnsio yn Mawrth ac Ebrill, ar amrywiaeth / cydraddoldeb, ac ar  llywodraeth agored a thryloyw. Cysylltwch â Josiah Mortimer (manylion uchod) i drafod ymhellach.

Electoral Reform Society Cymru to launch Democracy Manifesto: ‘Breathing New Life in to Politics’

11th February 2016
11 Feb 2016
Tags: 
wales
ERS Wales
ERS Cymru
democracy
manifesto
Assembly elections

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Forward Planning Note: 

ERS Cymru  to publish key policy recommendations to parties for revitalising democracy in Wales, ahead of Assembly elections and forthcoming new powers

Release date: Thursday 18th February. 

Contact: Josiah Mortimer, Communications Officer - josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07717211630. www.electoral-reform.org.uk

 

Electoral Reform Society Cymru will launch its manifesto on democratic reform next Thursday (18th February), as part of the first of three manifestos [1] ahead of May’s Assembly elections.

The manifesto will call on all parties to get behind policies to improve democracy in Wales as they write their own manifestos.

The 19 key policy recommendations – on issues covering elections, getting young people active in democracy, and bringing power closer to the people - will draw on new powers over elections and the running of the Assembly and local councils coming to Wales, including the franchise age and the voting system used for local elections.

Distribution:

A full briefing/press release and embargoed digital version of the report will be sent out on Wednesday 17th at 10:00, embargoed for Thursday 18th, 00:01. Print copies will be available on request.

For more information or to arrange an interview, comment piece or coverage in advance, contact Josiah Mortimer, ERS Cymru Communications Officer - josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07717211630

Notes

The next two policy-themed mini-manifestos will be launched in Marched and April, on diversity/accessibility and open government/transparency. Contact Josiah Mortimer (details above) to discuss further. 

ERS Cymru: Wales TV debates need to include all six parties

29th January 2016
29 Jan 2016
Tags: 
ERS Cymru
TV debates
Assembly elections
wales

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***Neges Ddwyieithog: Scroliwch Lawr am y Gymraeg***

***Bilingual Message: Scroll down for Welsh***

 

Electoral Reform Society Cymru is calling on broadcasters in Wales to include all six major parties in their election debates, to make the upcoming broadcasts as inclusive as possible.

While arrangements for the TV elections debates have yet to be decided, Electoral Reform Society (ERS) Cymru say there is a clear case for including six parties in the TV debates, following the UK general election debates last year which featured seven leaders.

Steve Brooks, Director of ERS Cymru, said:

“It’s clear that with six parties in the running for Assembly seats, they should have their voices heard. The public deserve as open and inclusive a debate as possible, especially given that the proportional electoral system means we truly have a multi-party political system in Wales, with a diverse range of viewpoints in the democratic arena. ..

“With the Assembly getting more powers, we need as open a debate as possible, and voters should be given a true representation of the options available in May.

“We call on the broadcasters to look at the success of last year’s Westminster TV debates which drew in millions of viewers because there was a real debate with clear differences of opinion.

“It would be wrong for broadcasters in Wales to exclude the Greens and UKIP, given the fact that their support has grown significantly since the last Assembly elections. Both parties are in the race to secure their first Assembly Members this May – and it’s only right that they should face the scrutiny of the public and other parties.

“Let’s open up these TV debates to reflect the diverse political landscape Wales has today. To exclude serious contenders for seats would be a missed opportunity and would only let down voters here in Wales.”

For more information, quotes or to arrange an interview/comment piece, contact Josiah Mortimer on 07717211630 or josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Josiah Mortimer will be working with Electoral Reform Society Cymru in the run up to the Assembly elections in May.

ERS Cymru will be releasing three mini-manifestos ahead of the Assembly elections, as well as polling, research and projections for May.

 

--------

 

ERS Cymru: Mae angen i ddadleuon teledu arweinwyr pleidiau Cymru gynnwys pob un o'r chwe plaid

  • Datganiad gan Electoral Reform Society Cymru
  • Embargo hyd nes 00:01, 29 Ionawr, 2016
  • Am fwy o wybodaeth, dyfyniadau neu i drefnu cyfweliad / sylwadau, cysylltwch â Josiah Mortimer, Swyddog y Wasg ERS Cymru, ar 07717211630 neu josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk.  
  • Am gyfweliadau yn y Gymraeg, cysylltwch â Dr Owain ap Gareth ar 07771 661 802 neu owain.apgareth@electoral-reform.org.uk

Mae Electoral Reform Society (ERS) Cymru yn galw ar y darlledwyr yng Nghymru i gynnwys pob un o’r chwe prif blaid yn eu dadleuon ar gyfer etholiad cyffredinol Cymru, er mwyn gwneud yr ymgyrch mor gynhwysol â phosibl.

Er bod y trefniadau ar gyfer yr etholiadau teledu dadleuon i'w benderfynu, mae ERS Cymru yn dweud bod achos clir dros gynnwys chwech plaid yn y dadleuon teledu, yn dilyn dadleuon yr arweinwyr yn etholiad cyffredinol y DU y llynedd a oedd yn cynnwys saith arweinydd.

Dywedodd Steve Brooks, Cyfarwyddwr ERS Cymru:

"Mae'n amlwg gyda chwe blaid yn y ras i ennill seddi yn y Cynulliad, dylent i gyd gael llais cyfartal. Mae'r cyhoedd yn haeddu dadl mor agored a chynhwysol a phosib, yn enwedig o ystyried bod y system etholiadol gyfrannol yn golygu ein bod gyda system sy’n wirioneddol aml-bleidiol yng Nghymru, gydag amrywiaeth eang o safbwyntiau yn cael eu hadlewyrchu yn yr arena ddemocrataidd Gymreig.

"Gyda'r Cynulliad am ennill mwy o bwerau, mae angen dadl agored, a dylai pleidleiswyr gael syniad o'r opsiynau sydd ar gael iddynt wrth fwrw pleidlais ym mis Mai.

"Rydym yn galw ar y darlledwyr i edrych ar lwyddiant y dadleuon teledu yn San Steffan y llynedd a oedd yn tynnu mewn miliynau o wylwyr oherwydd bod dadl go iawn gyda gwahaniaethau barn clir.

"Byddai'n anghywir i ddarlledwyr yng Nghymru wahardd y Gwyrddion a'r UKIP, o ystyried y ffaith bod eu cefnogaeth wedi tyfu'n sylweddol ers etholiadau diwethaf y Cynulliad. Mae’r ddwy blaid yn y ras i sicrhau eu Haelodau Cynulliad cyntaf y Mai hyn - ac mae hi ond yn iawn iddynt wynebu craffu a scriwtini iawn gan y cyhoedd a gan y pleidiau eraill.

"Gadewch i ni gael trafodaethau teledu gwbl agored i adlewyrchu'r tirwedd wleidyddol amrywiol sydd yng Nghymru heddiw. Mi fyddai gwahardd cystadleuwyr difrifol ar gyfer seddi yn colli cyfle euraidd ac yn gadael pleidleiswyr Cymru i lawr."

Am fwy o wybodaeth, dyfyniadau neu i drefnu darn cyfweliad / sylwadau, cysylltwch â Josiah Mortimer ar 07717211630 neu josiah.mortimer@electoral-reform.org.uk

DIWEDD

Nodiadau i Olygyddion

Bydd Josiah Mortimer yn gweithio gyda ERS Cymru yn y cyfnod hyd at etholiadau'r Cynulliad ym mis Mai.

Bydd ERS Cymru yn rhyddhau tri mini-maniffesto cyn etholiadau Cynulliad, yn ogystal ag pleidleisio, ymchwil a rhagamcanion ar gyfer mis Mai.                                     

The worst councils in Wales to be a woman

6th July 2012
6 Jul 2012
Tags: 
wales
council
elections
women
representation

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The worst councils in Wales to be a woman

Wales' progress on getting more women elected is stalling, according to a new report released by the Electoral Reform Society today.

Women now constitute 26.3% of local councillors in Wales, lagging behind England at 31%. After this year’s local elections the figures show a gain of a paltry 1.5% from 2008 - a much slower rate of progress than in the last two elections where the ratio improved by around 3% each time.

There is however significant variation between councils’ performance. Six councils in Wales have achieved above the 30% ‘bare minimum’ mark while six have failed to reach 20%, and often by a significant margin. 

Best performing councils in terms of gender balance:

  • Swansea 38.9%
  • Cardiff 37.3%
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf 37.3%
  • Torfaen 34.1%
  • Monmouthshire 30.2%
  • Flintshire 30%


Worst performing councils in terms of gender balance:

  • Anglesey 5%
  • Merthyr Tydfil 12.1%
  • Ceredigion 14.3%
  • Pembrokeshire 15%
  • Wrexham 15.4%
  • Blaenau Gwent 16.7%

Stephen Brooks, Director of the Electoral Reform Society Wales, said:

This poor performance in the 2012 local elections shows that all parties need to pull their socks up and demonstrate some local leadership to make our councils properly representative.

 

Women in Wales deserve an equal say in how their taxes are spent and local parties’ performance in more competitive areas shows that where they do make the effort they can make a real difference.

 

We’re supporting the Counting Women IN campaign to demand 50/50 gender representation across Welsh politics. We can’t expect women to wait until their retirement for an equal say and where there is a political will, there is a way.

 

ENDS

Download Women and Local Government Report

For more information contact the media office on mediaoffice@electoral-reform.org.uk or call 020 7202 8601.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Electoral Reform Society is an independent campaigning organisation working to champion the rights of voters and improve UK democracy.
  2. Find out more about our work at http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk
  3. For more on the Counting Women IN campaign: http://www.countingwomenin.org

Support for a UK constitutional convention

23rd April 2012
23 Apr 2012
Tags: 
wales
constitutional reform
carwyn jones
lords reform
house of lords

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Support for a UK constitutional convention

Responding to the Welsh first minister, Carwyn Jones' calls for a UK Constitutional Convention and equal seats in a reformed Upper House for Wales, Scotland, NI and England, Stephen Brooks director of the Electoral Reform Society Wales said:

We would welcome the establishment of a UK constitutional convention, as suggested by the first minister, Carwyn Jones. The Coalition and the previous Labour government only looked at individual pieces of the constitutional jigsaw.

A UK constitutional convention would allow politicians and
voters to consider the big picture and how it all fits together.

There is a strong argument to give equal representation to UK constituent nations; however this proposal should not be used as a delaying tactic by those who are against the principle of an elected Upper House. We’ve been waiting for Lords reform for over 100 years. Public opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of change; and the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats all backed reform in their 2010 manifestoes.

The Electoral Reform Society would urge MPs and peers to give careful consideration to equal representation for Wales, but all parties must stay committed to reform."

ENDS

Are cracks in the devolved governments' gender equality already starting to show?

15th March 2012
15 Mar 2012
Tags: 
women's representation
research
wales
scotland
devolved institutions

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Are cracks in the devolved governments' gender equality already starting to show?

The Electoral Reform Society have published a new report warning that progress on gender representation in the devolved governments will slide into a reverse unless action is taken.


Key points from report on women's representation in Scotland and Wales

  • Progress on women’s representation in Holyrood and the Senedd now stagnant or in decline
  • Disturbing void opening up in the talent pool of prospective female AMs and MSPs (of the candidates in 2011only 8 out of 23 AMs were female and a paltry 171 out of 579 MSPs)
  • In Wales current representation relies heavily on incumbents from the 2003 election who benefited from positive action which is no longer in place
  • In Scotland the decline in women’s representation is in large part concurrent with this loss of the ‘rainbow parliament’ and the rise of the SNP (only 28% of the SNP’s majority group of MSPs are female).
  • Scarcity of women at local government level (only 25% in Wales and 21.6% in Scotland compared with England’s 30%) contains an important warning for the future as many AMs and MPSs gain vital experience as councillors.

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society said

The pipeline of future female talent for the devolved governments appears to have sprung a leak. If this trend continues it could have a devastating impact on the Welsh and Scottish Parliament's future gender parity.

There is a very real threat that inertia on this issue will cause an embarrassing fall back for the devolved governments to the dismal lows of Westminster’s own levels of gender representation.

This cannot be allowed to happen. Our new coalition campaign: Counting Women IN, has a simple goal: 50/50 men and women in all our political institutions. This is the first time organisations across the gender and democracy sectors have come together in this way and we’ll be working closely with parties across the UK to help them get their act together.

END

Download: Women’s Representation in Scotland and Wales

Contact For more information or to arrange an interview with Katie Ghose, CEO of the Electoral Reform Society, contact Sophie Langridge at mediaoffice@electoral-reform.org.uk or call 020 7202 8601.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Welsh Assembly now has two out of four party leaders female: Plaid Cymru’s new leader Elin Jones/Leanne Wood and the Lib Dems' Kirsty Williams. The Scottish parliament also has two out of four female party leaders; Labour's Johann Lamont and Tories' Ruth Davidson.
  2. Plaid Cymru does however have a female Chair, Chief Executive, President and now a female leader.
  3. The Counting Women In campaign is a new coalition set up by five leading campaigning organisations in democracy and women’s rights; the Centre for Women and Democracy, the Electoral Reform Society, the Fawcett Society, the Hansard Society and Unlock Democracy
  4. The Welsh Assembly (41.6% female) and the Scottish Parliament (35% female) rank eighth and eighteenth wordwide respectively when it comes to electing women. The UK House of Commons currently ranks 53rd, tied with Malawi.
  5. To find out more about the Electoral Reform Society Wales and Scotland visit www.electoral-reform.org.uk/where-we-work/
  6. The Electoral Reform Society is an independent campaigning organisation working to champion the rights of voters and improve UK democracy.

Wales' New Political Map: Maths Matters, Communities Don't

11th January 2012
11 Jan 2012
Tags: 
wales
boundary review
constituency size
women's representation

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Wales' New Political Map: Maths Matters, Communities Don't

The Electoral Reform Society Wales has commented on the publication of new Welsh parliamentary boundaries. [1]

The Society has attacked the thankless task handed to the Boundary Commission for Wales. It is now calling on the UK Government to reassess the extremely tight variance of 5% between constituency sizes – which has meant many Westminster seats will cross and break up traditional communities in favour of large new artificial constituencies such as “North Powys”, and the “Heads of the Valleys”.

Unlike changes to Scotland’s political map, no Welsh seats have been protected under these proposals.

Stephen Brooks, Director of the Electoral Reform Society Wales said:

If Wales’ new boundaries seem to fly in the face of common sense then responsibility rests with the UK government.

The Boundary Commission for Wales was dealt a bad hand. The UK Government’s 'One Size Fits All' approach was never going to work for Wales. The UK Government chose to ignore the existence of our mountains and valleys in order to fit a bureaucratic formula. It’s a vision of equality where the maths matters but our communities don’t.

Key Points

  • The Boundary Commission for Wales has published detailed proposals reducing the number of Welsh MPs from 40 to 30.
  • No Welsh seats have been protected under the proposals. Exceptions have been made for two of Scotland’s seats - Na h-Eileanan an Iar (the Western Isles) and Orkney and Shetland.
  • The constituencies must now have a number of electors set at between 72,810 and 80,473 – the maximum ‘5% variance’. A wider variance would have allowed the Commission to be more sympathetic to geography and traditional communities. Conservative cabinet minister Baroness Warsi has already dubbed the revised constituency map of England both "mad and insane".
  • It is likely that the cut in the number of seats will disproportionately effect the proportion of women elected to parliament from Wales in the next UK general election.

ENDS

Notes to Editors
The Electoral Reform Society Wales aims to build a better democracy by ensuring that the electoral processes of Westminster & Wales are fair and accountable. ERS Wales’ report on the Conservatives’ “Reduce and Equalise” policy, including our own boundary proposals in the appendix, can be found here

Map Gwleidyddol Newydd Cymru: “Maths sy’n Bwysig, nid Cymunedau”

Mae Cymdeithas Newid Etholiadol Cymru wedi ymateb i gyhoeddi ffiniau seneddol newydd Cymru.

Mae’r Gymdeithas wedi datgan gwrthwynebiad i’r “dasg diddiolch” a osodwyd ar Gomisiwn Ffiniau i Gymru. Mae’r Gymdeithas nawr yn galw ar y llywodraeth i ail-asesu ei pholisi o adael gwahaniaeth o dim ond 5% yn maint gwahanol etholaethau – fformiwla hynod dynn sy’n golygu fod nifer o seddi San Steffan yn croesi ar draws neu’n torri drwy cymunedau i ffafrio etholaethau mawr artiffisial fel “Gogledd Powys”, a “Pen y Cymoedd”.
Yn wahanol i newidiadau ym map wleidyddol yr Alban, nid oes unryw un o seddi Cymru wedi’i amddiffyn rhag y argymhellion yma.

Dywedodd Stephen Brooks, Cyfarwyddwr Cymdeithas Newid Etholiadol Cymru:

Os yw ffiniau gwleidyddol newydd Cymru i weld yn mynd yn erbyn synnwyr cyffredin mae’r cyfrifoldeb ar Lywodraeth San Steffan.

Cafodd y Comisiwn Ffiniau i Gymru dasg diddiolch i’w gyflawni. Doedd agwedd “un maint i bawb” y Llywodraeth byth am weithio i Gymru. Dewisodd Llywodraeth San Steffan anwybyddu bodolaeth ein mynyddoedd a chymoedd i ffitio fformiwla biwrocrataidd. Mae’n weledigaeth o gydraddoldeb ble mae maths yn hollbwysig, ond nid ein cymunedau.”

Pwyntiau Allweddol

  • Mae Comisiwn Ffiniau i Gymru newydd gyhoeddi argymhellion manwl yn torri nifer ASau Cymru o 40 i 30.
  • Nid oes yr un sedd yng Nghymru wedi’i amddiffyn rhag y argymhellion rhain. Cafodd eithriadau eu gwneud i ddau sedd yn yr Alban – Na h-Eileanan an Iar ac Orkney a Shetland.
  • Mae’n rhaid i’r etholaethau nawr gael nifer o etholwyr rhwn 72,810 a 80,473 – y gwahaniaeth fwyaf bosib o 5% o’r maint cyfartal. Mi fuasai gwahaniaeth o ganran uwch wedi galluogi y Comisiwn i fod yn fwy ymatebol i ddaearyddiaeth a chymunedau. Mae’r gweinidog cabinet Ceidwadol, Barwnes Warsi, esisoes wedi galw’r map newydd yn Lloegr yn “mad and insane”.
  • Mae’n debygol y bydd y toriad yn nifer y seddi yn cael effaith anghyfrannol ar y nifer o ferched fydd yn cael eu ethol i Dy’r Cyffredin o Gymru yn yr etholiad nesaf.


Nodiadau i Olygyddion

Mae Cymdeithas Newid Etholiadol Cymru yn ymgyrchu i adeiladu gwell ddemocratiaeth drwy sicrhau fod prosesau San Steffan a Chymru yn deg ac yn atebol. Mae adroddiad CNE Cymru ar bolisi “Torri a Chysoni” y Ceidwadwyr, gan gynnwys ein argymellion ffiniau ni yn yr appendics, i’w weld yma.

Vote change will 'damage democracy and devolution'

22nd November 2011
22 Nov 2011
Tags: 
fptp
first past the post
welsh assembly
wales
research

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Contact Tel: 
07525619622

New figures released by the Electoral Reform Society Wales (ERS) show the extent to which Welsh Labour would disproportionately benefit if First Past The Post was exclusively adopted for future Assembly elections.

The figures are contained in a report² produced by the Society in conjunction with the Aberystwyth Institute of Welsh Politics and Prof. Roger Scully. The report details what the results in the 2011 Assembly election could have looked like under different voting systems.

The issue of electoral reform for the National Assembly is back on the agenda after the Secretary of State for Wales indicated she may change how AMs are elected.

The UK Government is likely to propose a reduction in the number of constituency AMs from 40 to 30, in line with the reduction in numbers of Welsh MPs³. To compensate, more AMs would be elected using the regional list system – 30, instead of the current 20.

Responding to this proposal, Welsh Labour has stated that it would prefer all AMs be elected by First Past The Post – two from each of the 30 constituencies with a system known as Two Member First Past The Post.

However, as ERS research reveals, Two Member First Past The Post would deny thousands of Welsh voters a voice in the National Assembly and disproportionately benefit Labour.

Steve Brooks, Wales Director of the Electoral Reform Society said:

Our research shows that Labour would have won nearly 70% of the seats in the National Assembly, had the last election been fought using Two Member First Past the Post. This is despite the fact that Labour secured around 40% of the vote.

“While this may be good news for aspiring Labour candidates, its bad news for Welsh voters. Two Member First Past The Post would rob thousands of voters of a choice and voice.

Over half of Welsh voters chose the Tories, Plaid Cymru or the Liberal Democrats in May this year, yet under Two Member First Past The Post, those parties would be left with less than a third of the seats in the Assembly. That would be damaging for democracy and damaging for devolution.”

The research from the Electoral Reform Society Wales also reveals how the different parties would fare if Wales used the Single Transferable Vote, the system used to choose MPs in Ireland.[4]

Professor Roger Scully, Director of the Institute of Welsh Politics, stated:

The Assembly voting system has already been discussed in detail by the independent Richard Commission. The Commissioners, chosen on a cross-party basis and looking at the evidence, came to the decision that 80-member STV was the most suitable voting system for a Welsh Assembly with legislative powers”.

Steve Brooks added:

Had the recommendations been implemented Labour would have secured 40 of the 80 seats. Voters would have had more of choice over who represents them locally, and who governs them nationally”.

Commenting on the row between the UK and Welsh governments on Assembly voting reform, Steve Brooks said:

A proportional system is part of the devolution package and it’s been endorsed in two referendums. How we choose our politicians is fundamental to how our democracy works. Any change to the voting system should be carefully considered, above day-to-day party politics. There needs to be a genuine cross-party dialogue with the people of Wales”.

ENDS

Download the full report here: Welsh Election Report (English language version) or here: Welsh Election Report (Welsh language version)

For more information or for interview requests you can contact:

Stephen Brooks stephen.brooks@electoral-reform.org.uk, 07525619622

Owain ap Gareth owain.apgareth@electoral-reform.org.uk, 07771661802

ERS London Media Office 020 7202 8601

Summary of Findings

The report examines the outcomes of 30 constituencies with two Assembly Members (AMs) elected in each under First Past the Post (FPTP), the Single Transferable Vote (STV) and the Additional Member System (AMS): See graphs and tables of the projected election results.

Notes to Editors

1. The Electoral Reform Society Wales aims to build a better democracy by ensuring that the electoral processes of Westminster & Wales are fair and accountable. Find out more at www.electoral-reform.org.uk/wales
2. The report, written by elections experts, academic Prof. Roger Scully and ERS Wales’ researcher Dr Owain ap Gareth, the report compares projections of what the results could have looked like under different voting systems and questions the impact of the proposed Boundary Changes. The report strongly recommends that any proposed change to the voting system would also need to take into account whether it is necessary or desirable to link the National Assembly for Wales constituencies to Westminster constituencies.
3. The boundary changes instigated by the UK Government propose to cut the number of Welsh MPs from 40 to 30.