Former Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillian's fewer MPs call

Debate in House of Commons Image copyright PA
Image caption There are still 40 MPs in parliament who represent Wales

Former Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said Wales should have fewer MPs now the Welsh government has more powers.

Mrs Gillan said the UK government should follow the example set after devolution to Scotland where the number of MPs was cut from 72 to 59 in 1999.

Wales still has 40 MPs in parliament.

Mrs Gillan said with constituency and regional assembly members, each Welsh constituency had two and a half politicians doing the work of one English MP.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Cheryl Gillan said the number of MPs should be decided by the boundary commission

The Conservative MP said the Arfon constituency in north Wales had fewer than 40,000 voters but her own seat in Buckinghamshire had more than 72,000.

"It's a difficult nettle to grasp but the last Labour administration grasped it when the powers went to Scotland and I think now the powers have gone to Wales it needs to be grasped for Wales otherwise you have a great disparity in terms of the costs to the taxpayer and the level of representation," she said.

The Liberal Democrats vetoed Conservative plans to cut the number of MPs to ensure each one represented roughly the same number of constituents.

Mrs Gillan said the exact number of MPs should be decided by the boundary commission rather than by politicians.

"I would have said that the precedent had been set in Scotland and it's not a bad one. Otherwise you do have this great disparity between the devolved administrations and other parts of the United Kingdom," she said.

"I think you need to even up that balance and make people feel that there is an equity between representation on one side of a country boundary within the United Kingdom and another."

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