Boundary Commission proposals announced

27 September 2011

The Boundary Commission for England has published initial recommendations in its 6th General Review of parliamentary constituencies in England.

The Boundary Commission for England's proposals for the 2013 Review will reduce the number of constituencies in England from 533 to 502.

The Boundary Commission will now consult on the proposals and publish a final report by October 2013 which, if approved by Parliament, will be implemented at the following General Election. The first consultation period ends on 5 December 2011.

The public can respond to the consultation on the Boundary Commission for England's website where there is further information, statistics and maps of the proposed constituencies. The Boundary Commission will also be holding public hearings around the country to hear representations. While anyone can attend, The Boundary Commission encourages anyone wishing to speak to book a place in advance.

The Boundary Commission will publish all responses to the consultation, including transcripts of the public hearings, on its website. There will then be a further four week consultation on these initial responses. If the Boundary Commission amends any of its proposals following these two consultation periods there will be a further eight week consultation.

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011

The proposals follow the passing of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 which makes provision for the number of MPs to be reduced to 600 and requires greater parity between the number of voters in each constituency.

The Act states that each constituency must be within 5% of the UK Electoral Quota of 76,641 voters. The Isle of Wight in England and Na h-Eileanan an Iar and Orkney and Shetland in Scotland have been exempted from this rule as their island geography meant they were considered to be special cases. The Isle of Wight will be split into two constituencies, each with around 55,000 voters.

The boundaries of most constituencies in England will be altered in some way by the proposals although 77 constituencies are unchanged by the recommendations; some seats have been abolished and the area they covered has been split up into several new constituencies.

Proposed constituencies

The proposed constituencies are all wholly contained within larger regional boundaries. Wards are the smallest unit used when creating constituencies and the Commission has been able to avoid splitting them when drawing up the new boundaries.

To remain consistent with this methodology and achieve constituencies within 5% of the electoral quota, some proposed constituencies cross local authority boundaries or geographical features such as rivers.

The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 requires the total number of constituencies in the UK to be reduced from 650 to 600. The population distribution of the United Kingdom means the number of constituencies in Northern Ireland will be reduced from 18 to 16, Scotland 59 to 52 and Wales 40 to 30.

Provisional proposals for constituencies in Northern Ireland were also published on 13 September 2011. The initial proposals of the Boundary Commission for Scotland are due to be published on 13 October 2011 while the Boundary Commission for Wales intends to publish its initial proposals in January 2012.

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Further Information

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