Jones links assembly changes to Westminster decision

Are changes to parliamentary constituencies dead in the water? Does, as someone once asked, a one-legged duck swim in circles?

The Liberal Democrats have promised to block changes to Westminster boundaries proposed as part of a cut in the number of MPs from 650 to 600 (and from 40 to 30 in Wales).

David Cameron has said he'll push ahead with the plans but few at Westminster expect him to succeed despite recurrent rumours of a mathematically improbable deal with the SNP.

It looks as if the Liberal Democrats may, in the process, kill off changes that would mean more members of the National Assembly for Wales are elected by a proportional voting system.

The Wales Office has suggested half the 60 AMs, rather than the current one third, could be elected via lists rather than individual constituencies.

Now Secretary of State David Jones has admitted that the assembly boundary changes are based on parliament approving the changes to Westminster constituencies.

Mr Jones said: "The changes to Welsh assembly constituency boundaries proposed in the green paper on Future Electoral Arrangements for the National Assembly for Wales are predicated on parliament approving the new parliamentary constituencies proposed by the four UK Boundary Commissions.

"The Government will therefore await parliament's decision before deciding how to proceed in respect of Assembly constituency boundaries."

If parliament doesn't approve those changes - and few think it will - then it looks as if the assembly constituency changes are equally doomed, if not the rest of the green paper.