Cutting the number of MPs is undemocratic because it means your MP will have a larger number of constituents and your voice is less likely to be heard if you ever have to contact him or her on any subject.
And the way the Conservatives are deciding to do it is also undemocratic because a cross-party Commons committee has made it perfectly clear that there is no justification for it.
Therefore the only reason remaining is political gain – the Conservatives wish to gerrymander constituency sizes in order to increase their chances of winning a greater majority at the next general election.
We have seen many such slimy tricks over the past few weeks and months. When the Tories threatened the so-called ‘Short money’ paid to opposition parties to conduct Parliamentary business, Labour threatened to end all co-operation with the Conservative Government.
That threat has not yet been put into practise – but it should.
If Conservatives are so keen to threaten democracy, the democratic response is to obstruct them – by all possible means.
The government has confirmed that it will cut the number of MPs in the House of Commons from 650 to 600, rejecting a report by a cross-party committee of MPs that described the move as unjustified.
Responding to a report by the Commons political and constitutional committee published last March, the government said it saw “no merit in reopening the issue”, and it would press ahead with plans to reduce the number of MPs in parliament and to ensure that no constituency contained more than 5% above or below the national average number of voters.
The size of Westminster constituencies varies wildly, ranging from 21,769 voters in Na h-Eileanan an Iar (the Western Isles) to 108,804 in the Isle of Wight. The Conservative party manifesto contained a pledge to equalise the size of constituencies in order to “cut the cost of politics and make votes of more equal value”.
Studies have suggested that the changes could result in the Conservatives gaining up to 20 more seats in parliament, and Labour politicians have accused the government of pushing through the changes for party political gain.
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