Downing Street rejects calls for MPs to be given vote on scrapping boundaries review

Posted On: 
19th February 2018

Downing Street has dismissed calls for MPs to be given a vote on scrapping plans to reduce the size of the House of Commons.

The Government wants to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600.
PA Images

A report by the cross-party Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee said the MPs should be given the chance to ditch the plans "as soon as possible".

Under the proposals, which were first proposed by David Cameron ahead of the 2010 general election, the number of MPs would be reduced from 650 to 600.

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But Labour says the changes would unfairly advantage the Conservatives at general elections.

The Boundary Commission is currently reviewing the proposals and is due to report its findings in September.

PAC chairman Bernard Jenkin said: "The time to decide this in principle is now. If the Government waits until the autumn, Parliament will be faced with an invidious choice: either approve the new boundaries or hold the next election on boundaries that will be over twenty years out of date.

"But, if we decide this now, it would be possible to change the law so new boundaries at 650 seats can be in place before the next election.

"We therefore recommended that the House of Commons should be given an early opportunity to debate the options for reform and to decide whether or not to continue the current boundary review."

But Theresa May's official spokesman insisted there would not be an early vote on the proposals.

He said: "The Boundary Commission is due to report in September with their proposals for revised constituencies. The final proposals must then be debated and approved by parliament for them to take effect.

"We're committed to delivering a more equal and updated boundaries so our parliamentary system represents everyone equally."

Labour frontbencher Louise Haigh accused the Prime Minister of running scared of parliament.

She told the BBC's Daily Politics: "With the Tories' wafer thin majority at the moment I think they would struggle to vote to reduce the number of MPs to 600."