Presented to Parliament pursuant to Section 3(2C) of the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986, as amended by the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 and Parliamentary Constituencies Act 2020.
Annual update to the Speaker
House of Commons
17 January 2023
- As required by section 3(2B)(a) of the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 (as amended by the Parliamentary Voting System Act 2011 and Parliamentary Constituencies Act 2020), hereafter referred to as ‘the Act’, we are required to submit to you a report setting out the progress we have made on the current boundary review. As you will be aware, you are required by section 3(2C) to lay our report before Parliament.
- On behalf of the Commissioners and Secretariat we are pleased to report that we are on course to deliver our report on the 2023 Review – including our final recommendations – to you within the statutory period stated in the Act of ‘before 1 July 2023’. We have set out below the key actions and stages we have undertaken and completed since our last update to you in January 2022.
Secondary consultation period and public hearings
- Following the collation and preparation of the 34,000 written representations on the initial proposals, we published these representations on 7 February 2022. On 22 February we commenced the statutory six-week public consultation. This consultation closed on 4 April 2022. We promoted this consultation through digital adverts and social media activity.
- Section 5(1)(b) of the Act requires us to hold public hearings in every region in England during the six-week secondary consultation period. During this six-week period, we held a total of 32 public hearings across the regions in England. Each hearing was completed within the statutorily required two days and each was chaired by an Assistant Commissioner. The hearings were held between 24 February and 1 April 2022. All three boundary commissioners attended a number of the hearings to observe the public hearing process in action.
- We received over 10,000 written representations during this consultation period and received over 1,000 oral representations at the public hearings. Of the written representations received over 90% were received through our consultation portal.
Analysis of responses
- An initial desk analysis of all the responses received in the first and second consultation periods was undertaken during April, May, June and July by the Assistant Commissioners and Secretariat. This informed the selection of where to conduct site visits, where we believed a closer personal inspection of the area would improve our consideration of the options for that area. Across England over 190 site visits were conducted during this period. We subsequently settled on our revised proposals at a series of meetings held in August.
Consultation on our revised proposals for new constituency boundaries
- Following quality assurance and print production processes conducted through September and October, we published our revised proposals for 543 constituencies in England on 8 November, and invited responses on those by the close of the four-week statutory consultation period on 5 December. We promoted awareness and engagement of the public with the consultation through national and local press, print advertising and supported by digital website and social media advertising.
- As required by the Rules in Schedule 2 to the Act, all but the two ‘protected constituencies’ in England (covering the Isle of Wight) had electorates within 5% of the electoral quota of 73,393 (i.e. fell in the range 69,724 – 77,062). Our revised proposals made changes to 254 (47%) of the 533 constituencies set out in our initial proposals. The revised proposals retained 57 (11%) of the existing 533 constituencies without change.
- By the close of the consultation, we had received over 18,500 representations, along with numerous signatures on petitions and mailing-letter campaigns. Over 90% of these representations were made through our specially-designed consultation website.
Final analysis, report and recommendations
- The next stage of the review will see us consider all the responses to our revised proposals, and – on the basis of such evidence as they contain – make any amendments that we believe would be appropriate, before agreeing our final recommendations in the spring of 2023. Our final report will then be drafted, and associated maps prepared, ready for submission to you by the end of June 2023. Submission of our final report and recommendations will conclude our involvement in the 2023 Review of Parliamentary constituencies in England.
Mr Justice Lane
Deputy Chair of the Commission
Secretary to the Commission