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The “we need to change the size and number of constituencies” Bill

Next Discussed

20th
Jun.

Current
Stage

What

This Bill would amend the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986, in order to alter the size and number of parliamentary constituencies in the UK.

Why

In 2011 the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act altered the rules of parliamentary constituencies so that the House of Commons would have a fixed number of seats - 600. This has not yet been implemented as it is a very complex and time consuming project to redraw constituency boundaries, so the last election was held with 650 constituencies and there still 650 MPs.

Some MPs opposed the changes made in 2011 and think the number of MPs should remain at 650, as a reduction in seats means that each MP has considerably more constituents and each vote cast at elections effectively carries slightly less weight.

There was also concern at the reduction in the size of the House of Commons without any corresponding reduction in the number of Ministers and the relative power of the front bench in proportion to the overall size of the House of Commons.

Who

This is a Private Members Bill from backbench MP Afzal Khan.

Other Arguments

Changes to parliamentary constituencies are usually controversial. The number of seats in the House of Commons has changed a number of times, and every time a boundary is redrawn it can jeopardise the incumbent MP.

Arguments against a higher number of seats in the Commons are often based on the notion that parliament and government can become bloated - too expensive and inefficient. However, reducing the ratio between the electorate and the elected could be argued to be less democratic.

How to get involved

| You can contact your own MP, or Afzal Khan MP.

If I don’t act, will it go through?

This Bill was drawn third at the Private Members Bill Ballot, so it does have a chance at becoming law.