The Conservative government pushes ahead with planned boundary reform that will reduce the size of the House of Commons from 650 to 600:
England would change from 533 seats to 501, losing 33 constituencies but gaining one when the Isle of Wight is divided into two seats.
Wales would lose 11 of its 40 seats, leaving it with 29. This is the biggest proportional change across the nations and reflects that fact that many of the Welsh constituencies have low numbers of registered voters. It would be the biggest single change to Wales’ electoral map since the Boundary Commission was created in 1944.
Scotland, which will announce detailed proposals next month, would change from 59 seats to 53.
Northern Ireland will see its constituencies reduce from 18 to 17.
This is a story which has the potential to be useful for a variety of topics:
Unit 1 Democracy & Participation: This planned reform is an attempt to make Britain’s representative democracy fairer (under the current system constituencies vary in size from over 100,000 to under 30,000 – this means some people’s votes are worth more than others). However, we could argue that by reducing the number of constituencies overall, many MPs have MORE constituents to represent and therefore will find this more difficult – the people are LESS represented.
Unit 1 Elections: If this reform goes ahead, it looks likely that it will have a significant impact on the likely outcome of future general elections. It will be extremely difficult for Labour to manage to secure a majority (especially if the SNP keeps its grip in Scotland).
Unit 1 Parties: Watch out for divisions in parties over this matter. The re-drawing of boundaries will force some MPs in the same party to compete with each other, since there are fewer seats. This is likely to be particularly vicious in the Labour Party, with the left probably looking to take the opportunity to drive out anti-Corbyn figures (particularly in Wales like Chris Bryant and Owen Smith).
A good article from the Telegraph on this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/06/the-great-boundary-reform-might-kill-off-the-labour-party/