Breaking down the boundaries

Hello, it's Tomos Livingstone here, taking over blogging duties while the boss takes a well-earned break.

David Cameron told Welsh Conservative MPs he didn't want "any silliness" when the Boundary Commission published its plans for new constituency boundaries.

MPs of all parties have been pretty restrained so far, given that at least ten of them will be out of a job come the next General Election.

Reducing Wales' quota from 40 to 30 was never going to be easy, and all four parties agree that the Commission has made a pretty good fist of such a difficult task.

But behind the scenes all MPs are thinking of the future. No longer will there be a Conservative seat of Aberconwy and a Conservative seat of Clwyd West; there'll be a winnable seat called North Wales Coast, but who'll be selected to fight that? Guto Bebb, who represents Aberconwy, or David Jones, Clwyd West MP and a Minister in the Wales Office?

A similar contest brews in Pembrokeshire, where Stephen Crabb and Simon Hart will surely have to slug it out to carry the party banner in the new seat of South and West Pembrokeshire.

The fights aren't just blue-on-blue, either. What about the new seat of Aberavon and Ogmore? Two Labour MPs currently represent either half of the new constituency…only one can get on the ballot paper. Open primaries, anyone?

The next General Election, of course, is still a long way off. The focus now is on the Boundary Commission's 12-week consultation; the Commission wants to hear any alternative proposals for the boundaries, as well as for the proposed new constituency names.

One element that's received little attention so far is the legal requirement for a constituency to have one name, in either Welsh OR English. So the Boundary Commission suggests "Caerfyrddin" rather than "Carmarthen" for that seat; will everyone who lives there be happy with that?

On the other hand if Welsh-speaking north Pembs is joined to Ceredigion, shouldn't the seat be called Ceredigion a Gogledd Penfro, rather than Ceredigion and North Pembrokeshire? And what of "North Wales Coast" - hardly romantic in either tongue.

I suspect the Commissioners can look forward to a pretty hefty post-bag.