Changes to the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 Mar 25, 2020 15:16:33 GMT via mobile
Post by bjornhattan on Mar 25, 2020 15:16:33 GMT
I'm in two minds about it. On the one hand, the EU electoral regions allowed definite allotments of whole numbers of seats to the various parts of England, and this simplified and clarified the process (and I suspect also made Mr Larkin's life easier).
On the other hand, regional boundaries that are in practice uncrossable create some rigidities. The obligation to treat N Lincs and NE Lincs UAs separately from Lincs is one example. Another is Milton Keynes UA: obviously we haven't got the numbers yet but we can pretty sure it will be too big for two seats and too small for three, so it will have to be paired. If you use the existing regions, or ceremonial counties, that pairing can only be with Bucks. It so happened that under the 2018 review (or 'Zombie II' as we should perhaps start to call it) a pairing with Bucks worked out reasonably well; but what if, when we see the numbers for the new review, it is obvious that a pairing with Nhants or Beds would work far better?
It's a finely balanced argument. I think on the whole I prefer retaining the regions, but I can see a strong case either way.
If the regions are dropped, I think there should remain a rule that no constituency should cross the boundary of Greater London.
Finally on the tolerance: I've said this before (so feel free to stop reading at this point) but I strongly disagree with greenrobinhood's suggestion of 10%. It would mean that, if we assume for the purposes of illustration an electoral quota of 72500, you could have adjoining seats with electorates of 65251 and 79749 and you be obliged to regard this situation as perfectly regular and satisfactory. Even if there were a ward or two on the boundary ripe for shifting, you would not be able to make the change (absent some other factor such as better community ties with the smaller seat) because the obligation is only to get seats within the range, not to aim for the middle of the range. I do agree that the slightly smaller seats under the new review will make 5% very challenging to achieve, so I suppose I could live with 7% or 7.5%, but 10% is far too much.
Even with that, I'm not entirely convinced - what if the numbers work out best if you have a Romford and Brentwood or Dartford and Crayford? The Greater London boundary isn't always clear cut on the ground.