Proposals for a revamp of England’s electoral map in 2023 have today been revealed, which the Boundary Commission for England says will make Parliament fairer by giving each MP a roughly equal pool of voters.
The changes - which will involve redrawing constituency borders and renaming some seats - will see some constituencies in the North and the Midlands axed, while some parts of Southern England will gain new seats.
Owing to population changes, England would gain a further ten MPs [rising to 543] under the proposals, while Wales would lose eight seats [reducing its share to 32] and Scotland would see its share reduced by two [down to 57 overall]. The total number of seats in the House of Commons would remain at 650.
Within England, the Northeast, Northwest, and West Midlands would lose two seats each, with the capital gaining two, the Southeast gaining seven and the Southwest handed a further three.
The plans under the review for England - which is believed to cost £2.5 million - are intended to make the election system fairer with some MPs currently in the Commons looking after 50,000 constituents and others having double that amount.
Redrawn seats will by law be required to have between 69,724 and 77,062 registered voters each, except for some island seats such as the Isle of Wight and Anglesey which will be given special exclusion status from the ruling.
Some new constituencies are set to cut across county boundaries, with 31 constituencies in London to straddle borough borders.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s Holborn and St Pancras constituency is set to be affected, while chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Richmond [Yorkshire] seat could also be altered.
Lichfield’s Conservative MP Michael Fabricant has blasted the proposals as “nonsense” for changes set to occur in his constituency, which would see Lichfield Trent Valley train station “divided in two”.
Fabricant said: “It [the plans] bears all the hallmarks of boundaries drawn in the 19th and 20th centuries by Whitehall mapmakers in days of empire without any knowledge or care of the regions and people concerned.”
Boundary Commission secretary Tim Bowden has said that the proposals only represent “initial thoughts” and will go to consultation and revision processes to ensure “that we get the new boundaries for parliamentary constituencies right”.
The first consultation will be active for eight weeks and close on August 2, and then the Spring of 2022 will see a second consultation with public hearings, followed by a final four-week consultation process on the revised plans in the autumn of 2022.
Final recommendations are scheduled for July 1, 2023, after which stage the government will have four months to enact the plans. The changes will then finally be applied in late 2023.
If a general election is called before the changes take effect, the election would be contested according to the existing constituency framework.