Wednesday, 14 September 2016

England's electoral boundaries are changing

The Boundary Commission for England published its draft plans for reducing the number of MPs in the UK from 650 to 600.

Under the formula devised by the the British government, England will lose 32 of its 533 MPs, Northern Ireland will lose one of its 18, Wales will lose 11 of 40 seats and Scotland will lose 6 of its 59 MPs. The opportunity to remove Scotland disproportionate representation in the House of Commons - both in terms of its population and in recognition of the extensive range of devolved powers the Scottish Parliament has - has been missed. As has the opportunity to purge the House of Lords to get their numbers down to a reasonable level.

Labour is affected much more than the Tories under the boundary review as they have benefited enormously from smaller urban constituencies where they need far fewer votes to get an MP elected than elsewhere in the country. The big winners are the SNP, though, who will probably win all 53 seats next time round. If Scotland had 5% of British MPs to reflect the 5% of the population the Scots make up they'd have just 30 MPs. If they lost three quarters of their MPs to reflect the extent of the Scottish government's devolved powers then they'd have just 8 MPs.

UKIP's only MP, Douglas Carswell - who represents nearly 4m voters - has escaped relatively unscathed from the review. His Clacton constituency has lost the deprived area of Jaywick but has gained Harwich which has a lot of UKIP support.

You can see how the boundary review affects your area at the BCE Consultation Portal.