Skip to main content
Menu

Lords examines Parliamentary Constituencies Bill

16 October 2020

PA-ballot-box-standard.jpg

The Parliamentary Constituencies Bill had its third reading, a chance for members to make sure the eventual law is effective, workable and without loopholes, on Thursday 15 October.

Members discussed the progress of the bill through the House at its conclusion of Lords stages.

Following completion of third reading, the bill now passes to the Commons for consideration of Lords amendments.

Report Stage: Thursday 8 October

Members discussed a range of topics on the bill and asked the government to think again on deadlines for Boundary Commission reports and appointments of its members, the size of the electorate in each constituency and improving the completeness of electoral registers.

There were five divisions (votes) on proposed amendments (changes) to the bill.

Division 1

The first amendment (amendment 2) proposes that, following the Boundary Commission's report scheduled for July 2023, the deadline for the next report should be extended from October 2031 to 2033.

Members voted 261 in favour and 240 against, so the change was made.

Division 2

The second amendment (amendment 3) proposes that, following the October 2033 deadline, subsequent Boundary Commission reports should be scheduled every ten years, rather than every eight years.

Members voted 251 in favour and 214 against, so the change was made.

Division 3

The third amendment (amendment 11) ensures the appointments of Boundary Commissions members are made independently to remove the possibility of political interference in setting parliamentary constituency boundaries.

Members voted 319 in favour and 224 against, so the change was made.

Division 4

The fourth amendment (amendment 13) proposes that the electorate in each constituency be reduced from 95% to 92.5% to allow commissions the flexibility to respond to community needs when drawing boundary lines.

Members voted 269 in favour and 235 against, so the change was made.

Division 5

The fifth amendment (amendment 16) requires the government to make proposals for improving the completeness of electoral registers, and
suggests two possible ways in which National Insurance numbers could trigger the inclusion of 16 and 17 year olds.

Members voted 293 in favour and 215 against, so the change was made.

Committee stage: Tuesday 8 September

Members discussed a range of topics, including consideration of local factors, separation of Devon and Cornwall constituencies and Welsh and Scottish electorate.

The committee stage of this bill took place in Grand Committee, away from the chamber. In Grand Committee, any member can take part and decisions on amendments (changes) can be made but no votes can take place.

Committee stage day two: Thursday 10 September

Members discussed a range of topics, including the Boundary Commissions's constitution, local factors such as council boundaries and the constituency quota for Wales.

Committee stage: Tuesday 8 September

Members discussed a range of topics, including the reduction in voting age, the size of the electorate in each constituency and reports of the Boundary Commission.

Second reading: Monday 27 July

Members discussed a range of topics highlighted by the bill, including the impact of COVID-19 on the electoral data for the next boundary review, people eligible to vote missing from the electoral register and the difficulties in representing geographically large constituencies.

Lord True (Conservative), Minister of State in the Cabinet Office and the bill's sponsor in the Lords, opened the debate. 

Speakers included a number of former MPs and a former member of the Advisory Board, Wales Governance Centre.

Parliamentary Constituencies Bill

This bill aims to:

  • ensure there are equal Parliamentary boundaries on the basis of 650 constituencies
  • change the rules governing the setting of the boundaries of parliamentary constituencies
  • make changes to the timing and process of boundary reviews by the Boundary Commission
  • add the constituency of Ynys Môn, comprising the area of the Isle of Anglesey County Council, to the list of protected constituencies.

Further information  

Image: PA