Chris Rennard backs move to kill off, not just delay, boundary changes

PoliticsHome reports:

Chris RennardLabour peer Lord Hart has just tabled an amendment to the Electoral Registration Bill which would have another major impact on the timetable of the Coalition’s plans to cut seat numbers.

The amendment, which seeks to amend a clause in Section 10 of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011, declares that the Boundary Commissions reviews will not take place until….2018. Yes, you read that right, 2018.

The move is Labour’s attempt to get certainty for the whole PPC selection process and crucially means that a whole cycle of boundary reviews is killed off (as opposed to getting it in place after 2015)…

The amendment (which will appear tomorrow on the Order Paper) has not just Labour signatories. It has also been signed by Plaid peer Lord Wigley…and Liberal Democrat heavyweight Lord Rennard.

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12 Comments

  • jedibeeftrix writes:

    one of the clear requirments of the FPTP system is that regular boundary reviews occur in order to equalise constituency sizes

    No, this would be true for proportionate systems and for AV, but FPTP removes correlation between votes cast and the member elected. % votes required can be anything from 50% to as low as 20% and often as low as 30%.

    FPTP improves as a voting system as constituencies get smaller and more members are elected. If the UK is to keep FPTP it would be better to split larger constituencies and create equalisation by increasing the number.

    In short it is right that how the equalisation process is put into effect should be reconsidered.

  • jedibeeftrix

    2018 does seem a long way but it is another example of why the Coalition has mishandled this situation!

    There is not time before 2015 to do another review so the work done on the reduced number of constituencies is the only option and will be until another review is launched, when they will come back again with their options. Parliament(Government has to give the framework for the BC to work in and at the moment the framework is apparently no longer supported

    In effect this amendment (as I see it but I am no expert so happy to be corrected) is just saying that in the normal timeframe expected there will be a review – in place before the 2020 election

    The fault lies with the Coalition and is not a Labour trick (although clearly they are the main beneficiaries)

  • David White 31st Oct '12 - 9:58am

    A BIG well done to Lord Rennard. The Tories shafted us over both AV and Lords reform, so Our Brave Boys and Girls should stuff them every time they attempt electoral reform.

  • Well done. The fact is FPTP results should be based on the number of votes cast not the size of a constituency. And neither the Tories or labour have had legitimate majorities since the 1970s,

    The boundary changes are designed to reduce the visible impact of changing voting patterns. It does not boost the number of people voting for particular parties. It mere shuffles them about until one party can claim a majority based on numbers that don’t add up.

  • “As the party of high-minded and non-tribal constitutional reform, isn’t your attitude both low and rabidly partisan in its attempt to block a necessary electoral function?”

    The party has blocked a measure which it previously claimed to support as a matter of principle, in retaliation for the failure of the plan for a proportionally elected House of Lords.

    The cynicism of the response surprised me at the time (even though I thought I was beyond being surprised by the cynicism of politicians). It’s difficult to resist the conclusion that there never was anything “high-minded” about the party’s advocacy of constitutional reform.

  • Malcolm Brown 31st Oct '12 - 1:59pm

    Coming from Cornwall, I believe any action that results in this appalling review being stopped completely until the next Parliament is fully justified. People here remain appalled that the rules were so ill conceived that they allowed the famous “Devonwall” constituency combining part of our duchy with part of neighbouring Devon. This must be killed off once and for all,

  • Stephen W

    Reduction in constituencies was in the manifesto but clearly linked to STV. I oppose strongly a reduction in seats without a constitutional review to improve overall representation.

    Secondly, I support equalisation but on population rather than electoral roll. An MP should represent all constituents in a FPTP system and so to me just basing it on those who have registered to vote is wrong.

    That is why I oppose the unilateral decision by the Government to change the rules without full cross-party consultation

    Also, rotten boroughs does not really describe what we have. There is an imbalance in FPTP where the distribution is as important as the constituency size. Labour tends to win seats on smaller majorities with smaller turnouts than the Tories do thus the imbalance. LD tend to have more even spread and so gain less seats.

    FPTP is inherently unfair and should be done away with!

  • Stephen W. equalisation and reduction of the number of constituencies makes no sense under FPTP. FPTP might be the worst electoral system, but reducing the number of seats make it worse. Reducing the number of seats would have the result that involvement of Liberal Democrats in government had left the country with a less democratically representative electoral system than before Lib Dems were involved. No one who calls themselves a Liberal and a Democrat can find that acceptable.

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