Review of Parliamentary Boundaries

Proposer: Vicky Seddon

Seconder: Jenny Cronin

The current proposals from the Boundary Commission, to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600, and which are now out for consultation, are flawed. The Commission has had to work to the Government approach to the process, despite advising against some of it elements. Problems arise because: 

  • the move to individual voter registration has not been introduced in a manner that ensures full registration
  • the proposals are based on number of registered voters, rather than on the size of the population that is eligible to vote. Communities of high mobility (e.g. areas with lots of rental properties, often city centres, or student areas) show the lowest registration rates,and hence under these proposals will be under-represented
  • the figures used in these proposals are those voters registered by December 2015, but, largely due to the EU referendum, there have been many more registrations since then. Why not use the most up to date figures?
  • community boundaries (whether natural communities, ward boundaries, local authority boundaries) should be honoured, but in seeking to equalise the size of constituencies, the + or – 5% that has been used is too tight to enable those natural community boundaries to be respected; other suggestions are for 7.5% or 10%

No doubt many of these points will be made in the consultation process that ends on 5th  December, but to prevent such a flawed set of proposals becoming the basis for the general election expected in 2020, there is a need for a significant campaign to expose the unfortunate biases which will occur if they are agreed. To prevent our democracy being further undermined, Unlock Democracy will support that campaign.