Parliament should vote on boundary review as soon as possible, say MPs

Written by Nicholas Mairs on 19 February 2018 in News

Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee warns that current system has “serious problems”

House of Commons - image credit: PA

The House of Commons should decide whether to scrap the review on reducing the number of seats from 650 to 600 or to press for a fresh study, MPs have said.

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee said it was “unlikely” MPs would back proposals to cut the total number of seats when the final report is out in September, but added the current system had “serious problems”.

In a report they said MPs should be given the chance to ditch the plans “as soon as possible” – or risk leaving it too late for any changes to be made before the next election.

They added that MPs would need to debate the options for a new boundary review with 650 seats in order to get legislation through before the summer.

According to the committee the current twenty-year-old boundaries “do not reflect the current reality of devolution” and to continue using them is a decision that "should not be taken lightly".

Controversial plans to slash the number of seats by 50 have been criticised by opposition parties which stand to lose seats under the changes.

Committee chair, 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choice: either approve the new boundaries or hold the next election on boundaries that will be over twenty years out of date.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, 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.”

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