Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Fewer MPs, more constituents

Jack Straw makes a decent case against cutting the number of MPs, covering a number of points that I’ve made before (although his opposition to this has as much partisan interest as the Tory support for it does).

Today I just want to illustrate one consequence of the proposal to shrink the Commons. If the number of MPs is cut by 10%, as the Tory manifesto proposed (the Lib Dems wanted a 25% cut), and if the electorate grows by half a million over this parliament, as has been the average recent trend, then the number of voters per constituency will shoot up:

When you hear someone in government saying we should have a smaller Commons, ask them why they want their own constituents each to be able to have less access to them.


Liam Murray said...

The level of access individual constituents have to their MPs isn't a function of surgery hours over the number of constituents; for even average constituencies that would be <30 seconds & would mean there are already huge differences across the country.

It's more subtle than that so there's at least a case to be made that the numbers could be cut.

Anonymous said...

To be fair to the Lib Dem 25% cut, that was in a manifesto that also proposed switching to an STV electoral system, not one that didn't want to change from FPTP partly on the grounds that the link between MP and constituency was too valuable to muck about.

I also liked a point made by John Thurso, picked up by Michael White, 'the quality of service that one can give with a constituency of 3,400 square miles is dependent on the time available, which is greater in metropolitan constituencies where travel is not such an issue'.