PASC urges early vote on parliamentary boundaries

19 Feb 18

A vote on new parliamentary boundaries should be held as soon as possible to ensure changes are in place in time for the 2022 elections, a cross-party group of MPs has said.

Currently, there are four independent boundary commissions, one for each nation of the UK, which propose changes to constituency boundaries. These are then either accepted or rejected by parliament.

The four commissions are due to propose a new set of boundaries by 1 October 2018, which would have the effect of reducing the number of MPs in the House of Commons from 650 to 600.

According to the public administration and constitutional affairs committee, which issued its report on boundaries today, this proposal is unlikely to pass a Commons vote because the government will not be able to secure a majority.

If this transpires, the committee suggests it would be too late to conduct a new boundary review in time for the 2022 election, leaving existing boundaries in place, which are based on data collected in 2000 and 2001.

Using data from two decades ago, the committee argued, would not reflect changes in population since 2000, nor would it represent how devolution has impacted the UK’s constitution, especially in respect to Wales.

Consequently, the committee is calling for the current review to be voted on early.

Committee chair Bernard Jenkin said: “The time to decide this in principle is now.

“If the government waits until the autumn, parliament will be faced with an invidious choice: either approve the new boundaries or hold the next election on boundaries that will be over 20 years out of date.”

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