News | Published March 26 2020

Number of MPs to remain the same following Brexit vote

David Cameron’s 2012 proposal to cut the number of MPs from 650 to 600 has been dropped due to “a greater workload” following Brexit.

The former prime minister proposed the idea in an attempt to reduce the cost of politics.

The changes proposed would have removed 50 constituencies from the electoral map, including that of current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

However, the government have said it is “sensible” to continue to operate with the present number of seats.

Chloe Smith, the cabinet office minister, authored a written statement following the UK’s departure from the EU, which considered the additional work required due to Brexit.

Plans to create constituencies with near-equal numbers of voters will still go ahead, however, which could result in a considerable redrawing of the electoral map which may turn some marginals into safe seats and vice versa.

The plan also asks for boundary reviews to take place every eight years rather than every five.

The four constituencies, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Orkney and Shetland and two seats on the Isle of Wight maintain special status, and therefore are protected from any potential reorganisation plans proposed.

Darren Hughes, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said that: "Plans to cut voters' representation in the Commons would have undermined the voices of ordinary people in Parliament and hurt democratic scrutiny.

"The proposals always seemed more like an executive power grab than a genuine move to improve the function of the Commons, so this is a small but welcome victory for backbenchers and voters."

David Linden, the spokesman for local government for the SNP said he welcomed government’s "screeching U-turn" to keep on all 650 MPs.

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Authored by

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
March 26 2020

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