Following the passing of the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 2020 in December 2020, and the publication of the relevant Parliamentary electorate data in January 2021, we have now begun a new review of all Parliamentary constituencies in England. We refer to this as the ‘2023 Review’, as we are required to report with our final recommendations by 1 July 2023.
Applying the statutory formula to the electorate figures means the total 650 constituencies will be distributed during the review to the four parts of the UK as follows:
- England = 543 (includes two ‘protected’ constituencies on the Isle of Wight);
- Scotland = 57 (includes two ‘protected’ constituencies for specified Scottish islands;
- Wales = 32 (includes one ‘protected’ constituency on the Isle of Anglesey); and
- Northern Ireland = 18
This Commission has applied the same distribution formula to the English allocation, which results in the following redistribution of constituencies among the English regions for the 2023 Review:
- Eastern = 61 (increase of three)
- East Midlands = 47 (increase of one)
- London = 75 (increase of two)
- North East = 27 (decrease of two)
- North West = 73 (decrease of two)
- South East = 91 (increase of seven)
- South West = 58 (increase of three)
- West Midlands = 57 (decrease of two)
- Yorkshire and the Humber = 54 (no change)
Application of further statutory rules to the published electorate also means that all recommended constituencies must have no less than 69,724 Parliamentary electors and no more than 77,062 (except those ‘protected’ constituencies mentioned above).
What happens now?
The BCE will now begin to develop initial proposals for how the new constituencies across England should be drawn up according to this new distribution and the permitted electorate range. We hope to be in a position to publish these initial proposals for public consultation in the early summer, when we will be particularly interested to hear from residents about the extent to which the proposals reflect the local ties in the area.
Will you be using the ward-level data published by ONS in January 2021?
Mostly. The ONS publication reflects wards as they currently are, but December 2020 legislation introduced the concept of our work having regard to ‘prospective’ local government boundaries, i.e. wards that have been ‘made’ by legal instrument, but not yet implemented at a subsequent local election. Nearly 10% of local authorities in England (mostly in London) have such ‘prospective’ ward boundaries, and we are currently working with the local Electoral Registration Officers for those areas, to re-allocate the electorates according to those new wards. We will publish the updated ward electorates for those areas with prospective boundaries once we have determined them all.
The list of authorities with ‘prospective’ wards as at 1 December 2020 is: 1) Barnet; 2) Basingstoke and Deane; 3) Brent; 4) Buckinghamshire; 5) Cambridge; 6) Camden; 7) Chorley; 8) Cornwall; 9) Ealing; 10) Enfield; 11) Halton; 12) Hammersmith and Fulham; 13) Haringey; 14) Harrow; 15) Hartlepool; 16) Hillingdon; 17) Hounslow; 18) Isle of Wight; 19) Islington; 20) Lewisham; 21) Merton; 22) North Northamptonshire; 23) Oxford; 24) Pendle; 25) Richmond upon Thames; 26) Rotherham; 27) Salford; 28) Sutton; 29) West Northamptonshire; 30) Westminster; 31) Wiltshire.
What will be your process and policies for the 2023 Review?
We aim to publish a ‘Guide to the 2023 Review’ this spring, which will set out the detail of the process we will follow through the course of the review, and the policies we will follow in doing that work. Our initial outline timetable is planned as follows:
- Jan 2021: Begin development of initial proposals;
- Spring 2021: Publish ‘Guide to the 2023 Review’, and ward-level electorate figures for areas with ‘prospective’ wards;
- Early summer 2021: Publish initial proposals and conduct eight-week written consultation;
- Early 2022: Publish responses to initial proposals and conduct six-week ‘secondary consultation’, including between two and five public hearings in each region;
- Late 2022: Publish revised proposals and conduct four-week written consultation
- June 2023: Submit and publish final report and recommendations.
All information will be published via this section of our website, with key updates and notifications also issued via our Twitter account @BCEReviews.
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