Stephen Twigg - Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby and Chair of the International Development Parliamentary Select Committee, spoke to one of our recent meetings on the Boundary Commission proposals and reported.
In 2016 the Boundary Commission published its initial proposals for new parliamentary boundaries. There will be a reduction from 650 to 600 constituencies. Here in Merseyside these changes will mean that Wirral will have one less MP and the Liverpool Walton constituency will be abolished. Many concerns have been expressed about this reduction. The elected House of Commons is being reduced in size, yet the unelected House of Lords is one of the biggest legislative chambers in the world. We know that millions of eligible adults are missing from the electoral register. Analysis suggests that Labour will lose out more than the Conservatives from these proposed boundaries. The Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party will also lose seats and the one Green MP, Caroline Lucas could lose her seat.
In a move to reduce the number of MPs to 600, the Conservative Government have instructed the Boundary Commission to propose new electoral boundaries. To meet this target, they will attempt to balance out the number of electors that each MP will have.
Parliament instructed the Boundary Commission to use the Electoral Register from 1st December 2015. The problem is that this register is missing millions of names.
Those people missing are more likely to be:
- In urban areas;
- Private renters or recent movers;
- EU Nationals;
- Those with learning disabilities;
- Young people;
- Those from poorer backgrounds.
These groups will receive less representation in Parliament. This political inequality will be weaved into the fabric of our House of Commons.
With an estimated eight million voters missing from the register, there is a strong case for using the June 2016 register. Two million people registered to vote in the EU Referendum - and they are being excluded.
As a General Election has been called by the Prime Minister Theresa May, which has been endorsed by a two thirds majority in Parliament. Depending on the outcome of the 2017 General Election, these proposals may be changed. Currently they will apply to the 2022 scheduled next General Election under the “Fixed Term Parliament Act”.