COMMONS

House of Commons should vote on new parliamentary boundaries now

19 February 2018

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee calls for the House of Commons to be able to vote as soon as possible on whether to continue with the present boundary review or to hold a new review in time for a 2022 general election.

Give Parliament the opportunity to debate Boundary Reviews

In their report, the Committee recommends that the Government should not wait until the current review is completed in September to give Parliament a say. The House of Commons should vote as soon as possible on whether to continue with the present boundary review, which reduces the number of seats from 650 to 600, or to hold a new review of Parliamentary Boundaries at 650 seats in time for a 2022 general election, according to the cross party Committee.

PACAC concludes that it is unlikely that the Commons will support the recommendations of the current review based on 600 constituencies, but if the decision is left until the autumn there will not be time to carry out a new one before 2022. Instead, the Government should give Parliament the opportunity to debate the options for a new review, in time for legislation to be passed before the summer if needed.

Chair's comments

Chair of the Committee 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choice: either approve the new boundaries or hold the next election on boundaries that will be over twenty years out of date. But, if we decide this now, now it would be possible to change the law so new boundaries at 650 seats can be in place before the next election.

We therefore recommended that the House of Commons should be given an early opportunity to debate the options for reform and to decide whether or not to continue the current boundary review.

Our predecessor committee, PASC, recommended in a report, Too Many Ministers, that if the House of Commons is reduced in size by 650 to 600, which is 9 per cent, then the relevant legislation should also be amended to ensure that there would be 9 per cent (eight) fewer ministers in the House of Commons.

If the government wants to keep the present number ministers, then the House of Commons should remain the same size it is now."

Further information

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