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Pushing the boundaries

An unlikely alliance; Paul Murphy and Elfyn Llwyd have joined forced to petition for a Welsh day debate (Photo: Dan Luker)

The Lords and the UK government may have reached a compromise agreement on the bill that will usher in a new voting system but Welsh MPs are still angry about the other part of the bill which will redraw Westminster constituencies.

Apart from their concerns about the loss of ten Welsh MPs, one of their big complaints is that they were denied their chance of a debate in the Commons.

They may still get their day though if an unlikely alliance succeeds today.

Labour’s former Welsh Secretary, Paul Murphy and Plaid Cymru’s Elfyn Llwyd are joining forces to petition the Backbench business committee for a Welsh day debate.

More specifically, they’ll be asking the committee’s chair, Natasha Engel, for a debate on the planned boundary changes which should give Welsh MPs from all parties chance to vent their spleen.

Incidentally this is the first time since 1944, apparently, that a Welsh day debate hasn’t been planned.

That’s because it used to be part of government business in the commons but is now part of 35 days of parliamentary time given to backbenchers to divide up as they wish.

UPDATE 1210

As another side issue, I’ve been given conflicting views of the Secretary of State’s role in trying to secure a Welsh day debate.

Cheryl Gillan has written to Natasha Engel ‘flagging it up’, in order to underline its importance, but with the acknowledgement that it’s no longer the government’s role to schedule this debate.

But one Labour MP I spoke to interpreted that act differently, saying it showed a ‘naive’ understanding of how the Backbench business committee works.

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About Adrian Masters

By day, Political Editor at ITV Wales. By night, obsessed with music and books.

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