Scroll down to read three more contributions on this issue from Gloria De Piero, Lord Robert Hayward and Tom Brake
There is no doubt that Britain’s constituency boundaries should be updated. It is true that, Scotland apart, the current boundaries were first used as recently as the 2010 election. But the review that led to their creation started in 2000, and thus these boundaries will be some 20 years old by the time of the next general election. Population movement has rendered them out of date, leading to considerable disparities in the size of constituencies.
At the 2015 election the smallest constituency in England, Wirral West, contained just over 55,000 registered voters. The largest, the Isle of Wight, had nearly 109,000 names on its electoral register.
Meanwhile, Wales is heavily over-represented. The average constituency there had just over 57,000 voters at the last election, compared to 72,500 in England. Perhaps that over-representation—much of which happened by accident rather than design—could be justified before devolution, but now the country has its own Assembly with full legislative powers. Scotland’s representation was cut back in 2005, not long after the introduction of devolution there.
These two features of the current boundaries have partisan consequences. The average seat won by the Conservatives in 2015 contained over 73,300 voters, while the average constituency won by Labour had just 69,500. All other things being equal, this inequality is unfair on the Conservatives, as they need more votes to win.