Keeping the British public safe is the Government’s top priority. However, Parliamentary business continues, and with a potential debate on the topic of Parliamentary boundaries in the Commons this week, the Government has taken the opportunity today to set out its thinking on this issue via a Written Ministerial Statement. The full statement is enclosed below.
The Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto pledged: “We will ensure we have updated and equal Parliamentary boundaries, making sure that every vote counts the same – a cornerstone of democracy.”
To deliver this pledge, and having carefully considered representations from across the Party and Parliament, the Government is announcing today that it is minded:
- When Parliamentary time allows, the Government will legislate to conduct a new Boundary Review on the basis of a House of Commons with 650 seats.
- The current Boundary Review proposals, based on 600 seats, will not be implemented. However, the previous rules on an electoral quota of +/- 5% and the number of protected seats will remain in place.
- Future boundary reviews will take place on a cycle of eight years, to balance updating boundaries whilst avoiding constant disruption.
- The independent Boundary Commissions’ recommendations will be commenced automatically once they are laid before Parliament.
- The Government will engage with political parties and other interested parties on the scope for condensing the Boundary Commissions’ review process and minor consequential amendments.
This is a change in policy from that enacted under the Coalition Government. However, now that the United Kingdom has left the European Union and no longer has MEPs, we would expect the work of the House of Commons to increase as we take back control.
Updated and equal boundaries will ensure that people in every constituent nation in the United Kingdom has equal representation in the UK Parliament, with parity of representation across the United Kingdom’s constituencies.
If we do not update boundaries, the data currently in force is already 20 years old – and the youngest voters will have been born since then. Without a change in the law, the Government would be legally obliged to implement the current review and future reviews based on 600 seats.
The Conservative Party is committed to successfully delivering these changes, based on our manifesto pledge. We trust that all colleagues will actively support us as we pass the necessary legislation in due course, and we will work together collectively to ensure all parts of the United Kingdom are fairly represented in the UK Parliament.
Chloe Smith MP Amanda Milling MP
Minister for Constitution & Devolution Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party
Cabinet Office & Minister without Portfolio