Theresa May scraps plan to reduce number of MPs

The plans join the Theresa May's growing list of abandoned manifesto promises

Tom Peck
Wednesday 06 September 2017 08:37
Plans to reduce the number of MPs appear to be dead
Plans to reduce the number of MPs appear to be dead

Theresa May is expected to scrap plans to reduce the number of MPs to 600, despite a Conservative manifesto commitment to do so in both 2015 and 2017.

The independent Boundary Commission has published plans for reducing constituencies and re-balancing their size in order to cut the number of MPs, in measures that would reduce what is regarded as an in-built favorability toward the Labour Party.

But, according to The Times, senior Conservatives have said that the fierce local arguments that would ensue over precise seat boundaries and who should contest the new seats would be profoundly unhelpful at a time when the party’s parliamentary position is already so precarious.

It would mean the plan joins the growing list of Theresa May’s manifesto commitments that have been scrapped since she lost the party’s parliamentary majority in June’s disastrous election.

Notably, on that disappointing night for the Conservatives, it reversed its fortunes in Scotland, winning twelve extra seats. The Commission’s recommendations in Scotland redraws all but three of the country’s 59 seats, jeopardising the only part of the country in which support for the Conservatives appears to be growing, under Scottish leader Ruth Davidson.

The Democratic Unionist Party also refused to sign up to the boundary review as part of its £1bn agreement to support the Conservatives in a confidence and supply arrangement that has allowed Theresa May to command a commons majority and form a government.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The independent Boundary Commissions are continuing the process set out in the Parliamentary Voting Systems and Constituencies Act 2011 to bring forward proposals for a fairer House of Commons based on 600 equally sized seats, and these will be brought forward to parliament in due course."

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