Boundary changes are sticking plaster solution

You can comment in your own words on the Boundaries Commissions’ proposals by pointing out that changing the boundaries of single-member constituencies for FPTP elections is only tinkering with the problem; it’s a short-term sticking plaster solution. For this kind of comment, it’s probably better to make a “general comment” although you can make specific comments (e.g. on your own constituency) if you wish.

One of the advantages claimed for FPTP is the alleged link between MP and constituents, but it’s not much of a link when constituents are shipped arbitrarily from one constituency to another just to make the numbers right. This can happen every few years.

The Commissions have to produce constituencies that are similar in numbers of voters. They are also expected to try to keep natural communities together (e.g. not cross county or district council boundaries) but that’s impossible if the constituencies are to be about equal in size, so they do sometimes split communuities.

The only long-term solution is to introduce proportional representation, where boundaries are less crucial. With STV, for example, about five of the present single-member constituencies could be merged into one five-member constituency.

That could be one recognized community, like a town or county. Then that constituency and the nation as a whole would be represented in Parliament in proportion to the votes cast.

The Boundaries Commission for England has published its proposals and you have until 5 December to comment on them.

The Commission is holding hearings around England, where you can appear in person, but you need to book your 10-minute slot in advance. You should visit to do that.

In addition or alternatively, you can express your views online and is the site to visit for that.

You may find it helpful to read “Review details” on the site before you comment but don’t let them put you off. The Commission’s purpose and powers are very closely regulated by the conditions established by Parliament, so it will probably ignore the kind of comments suggested above.

Nevertheless, every comment made online or at a hearing will be recorded and be on record for the public and news media to see. Imagine the impact if thousands of people call for PR!

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own Boundaries Commissions and will be consulting the public in their own areas on their proposals. If you live in any of them, you can search for your own Boundaries Commission’s proposals and how to comment on them.

Please post your comment or book your slot to comment in person. Please do it now – before you forget!

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