House of Commons
Labour has branded plans to redraw parliamentary constituencies “unfair” and “undemocratic” after it emerged the party would end up the losers.
Under the proposed shake-up to cut 50 of the 650 MPs in the House of Commons, Labour would lose around 25 seats, based on the 2015 General Election results.
The Conservatives would have a 40 seat majority, rather than 12.
Twice as many seats held by the Labour Party would be affected compared with those represented by Conservative MPs.
Those whose constituencies would disappear under the proposals include the leader Jeremy Corbyn – as well as his rival for the top job Owen Smith.
Mr Corbyn said he is “very unhappy” that the Islington North constituency he has represented for 33 years could vanish.
He said the changes were based on an out-of-date version of the electoral register and left a “democratic deficit”.
Mr Corbyn said the figures, taken from electoral registers and published by the Office for National Statistics in February, were from December and meant two million people were not represented.
However, Conservative MP Mark Harper said the current boundaries were based on data from 2000 – and would be 20 years out of date by the next General Election.
Shadow minister Jon Ashworth said the Boundary Commission review was “about what is best for the Tory Party” and not about “fairness to voters”.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner accused Theresa May of attempting to “gerrymander” the Commons. But the commission denied the Conservatives had influenced the proposals, saying that was “absolutely not the case”.
A spokesman said Mr Corbyn would see many of his Islington North supporters shift to the new constituency of Finsbury Park and Stoke Newington, so there’s “every reason to believe” he will remain in Parliament.
He will be fighting his key allies Emily Thornberry and Diane Abbott for one of the two seats that will remain. The concern for many Labour backbenchers facing reselection who voted against the leader is that the grassroots movement Momentum might field candidates more sympathetic to Mr Corbyn’s cause. They include Yvette Cooper, Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt.
Conservatives whose constituencies will vanish include Boris Johnson, George Osborne and the Education Secretary Justine Greening.
Former deputy prime minister and Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg would also see his constituency of Sheffield Hallam vanish.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s constituency would not be affected, neither would the constituency of the Chancellor Philip Hammond.
The political map of all four nations of the United Kingdom will be redrawn so each seat will contain an average of 75,000 voters.
Education Secretary Justine Greening may face a battle to retain her seat
The constituencies earmarked for extinction will be absorbed by their neighbours to save £66m over five years, as well as giving equal weight to each seat.
Constitution minister Chris Skidmore says the Government is “committed to ensuring fair and equal representation for the voting public across the UK”.
The initial proposals for England and Wales will be the subject of public consultation before the final map is submitted in 2018 to be used in the next election in 2020.
Mr Ashworth said: “There is nothing fair about redrawing boundaries with millions left out, and reducing the number of elected MPs while the unelected House of Lords continues to grow.
“These changes are not about fairness to voters, they are about what is best for the Tory Party and they must not go ahead. The commission must rethink and ensure that no elector loses out.”
The number of MPs will be cut from 533 to 501 in England, from 59 to 53 in Scotland, from 40 to 29 in Wales and 18 to 17 in Northern Ireland.
Scotland’s Boundary Commission will publish its proposals on 20 October.
The reductions put forward for each region by the Boundary Commission are:
Eastern: 58 current (57 proposed)
East Midlands: 46 current (44 proposed)
London: 73 current (68 proposed)
North East: 29 current (25 proposed)
North West: 75 current (68 proposed)
South East: 83 current (81 proposed)
South West: 55 current (53 proposed)
West Midlands: 59 current (53 proposed)
Yorkshire/Humber: 54 current (50 proposed)
Wales: 40 current (29 proposed)