Parliamentary Constituencies Bill (HL Bill 140)

A

BILL

[AS AMENDED ON REPORT]

TO

Make provision about reports of the Boundary Commissions under the
Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986; to make provision about the number
of parliamentary constituencies and other rules for the distribution of seats;
and for connected purposes.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Reports of the Boundary Commissions

1 Reports of the Boundary Commissions

(1)Section 3 of the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 (referred to in this Act
as “the 1986 Act”) is amended as follows.

(2)5In subsection (1) (duty on Boundary Commissions to submit reports to the
Secretary of State), for “Secretary of State” substitute “Speaker of the House of
Commons”.

(3)For subsection (2) (deadline for reports) substitute—

(2)Each Boundary Commission must submit a report under subsection
10(1)—

(a)before 1 July 2023,

(b)before 1 October 2033, and

(c)before 1 October of every tenth year after that.”

(4)After subsection (2) insert—

(2ZA)15On submitting a report to the Speaker under subsection (1), a Boundary
Commission must send a copy of it to the Secretary of State or the
Minister for the Cabinet Office.

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(2ZB)On receiving a report under subsection (1), the Speaker must lay it
before Parliament.

(2ZC)As soon as reasonably practicable after a report of a Boundary
Commission has been laid under subsection (2ZB), the Commission
5must publish it in such manner as they think fit.”

(5)In subsection (2B)(a) (duty to submit progress reports to the Speaker), for
“January that begins one year and nine months before that date” substitute
“relevant January”.

(6)After subsection (2B) insert—

(2BA)10For the purposes of subsection (2B), “the relevant January” means—

(a)January 2022, in the case of a report required by subsection (2)
to be submitted before 1 July 2023, and

(b)in the case of any other report required by subsection (2) to be
submitted before a particular date, the January that begins one
15year and nine months before that date.

(For example, January 2030 in the case of a report required to be
submitted before 1 October 2031).”

(7)Omit subsections (5) to (5C) (duty to lay reports and draft Order in Council).

2 Orders in Council giving effect to reports

(1)20Section 4 of the 1986 Act (Orders in Council) is amended as follows.

(2)For subsections (1) to (4) (procedure for draft Orders in Council) substitute—

(1)After all four reports under section 3(1) which are required by section
3(2) to be submitted before a particular date have been laid before
Parliament under section 3(2ZB), the Secretary of State or the Minister
25for the Cabinet Office must submit to Her Majesty in Council a draft of
an Order in Council for giving effect to the recommendations in those
of the four reports (if any) which are reports under section 3(1)(a)
(report with recommendations).

(2)The draft of an Order in Council must be submitted under subsection
30(1)—

(a)as soon as reasonably practicable after all four reports have been
laid before Parliament as mentioned in that subsection, and

(b)in any case, no later than the end of the four month period
unless there are exceptional circumstances.

(3)35“The four month period” means the period of four months beginning
with the first date on which all four reports have been laid before
Parliament as mentioned in subsection (1).

(4)If the draft of an Order in Council is not submitted under subsection (1)
before the end of the four month period, the Secretary of State or the
40Minister for the Cabinet Office must lay one or more statements before
Parliament in accordance with subsection (4A) specifying the
exceptional circumstances.

(4A)A statement must be laid—

(a)before the end of the period of 10 sitting days beginning with
45the first sitting day after the end of the four month period, and

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(b)before the end of each subsequent period of 20 sitting days
beginning with the first sitting day after the previous statement
was so laid, until the draft of an Order in Council is submitted
under subsection (1).

(4B)5A draft of an Order in Council submitted under subsection (1)

(a)may give effect to recommendations in the reports with
modifications only if that is required under section 4A, and

(b)may make provision for any matters which appear to the
Secretary of State or, as the case may be, the Minister for the
10Cabinet Office to be incidental to, or consequential on—

(i)the recommendations in the reports, or

(ii)those recommendations together with the modifications
that the draft is required to give effect to under section
4A.”

(3)15In subsection (7) (validity of Order in Council not to be called in question), omit
the words from “and” to “Parliament”.

(4)After subsection (7) insert—

(7A)In this section, “sitting day” means a day on which both Houses of
Parliament sit; and for that purpose a day is only a day on which a
20House sits if the House begins to sit on that day.”

3 Modifications of recommendations in reports

After section 4 of the 1986 Act insert—

4A Modifications of recommendations in reports

(1)Subsection (2) applies where—

(a)25a report of a Boundary Commission has been submitted to the
Speaker of the House of Commons under section 3(1),

(b)it is a report under section 3(1)(a) (report with
recommendations), and

(c)no draft of an Order in Council has yet been submitted to Her
30Majesty in Council under section 4(1) in relation to the report.

(2)The Commission in question may submit to the Speaker a statement (“a
statement of modifications”) specifying—

(a)the modifications which they consider should be made to the
recommendations in the report in order to correct any error in
35those recommendations, and

(b)their reasons for those modifications.

(3)On submitting a statement of modifications to the Speaker under
subsection (2), the Commission must send a copy of it to the Secretary
of State or the Minister for the Cabinet Office.

(4)40On receiving a statement of modifications under subsection (2), the
Speaker must lay it before Parliament.

(5)As soon as reasonably practicable after a statement of modifications has
been laid under subsection (4), the Boundary Commission which
submitted the statement must publish it in such manner as they think
45fit.

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(6)Where a statement of modifications in relation to a report has been laid
under subsection (4), the draft of the Order in Council to be submitted
under section 4(1) in relation to the report must give effect to the
recommendations in the report with the modifications specified in the
5statement.”

4 Publicity and consultation

(1)Section 5 of the 1986 Act (publicity and consultation) is amended as follows.

(2)In subsection (1)(a)(iii) (length of initial consultation period), for “12 weeks”
substitute “eight weeks”.

(3)10Omit subsections (1)(b) and (3) (duty to hold public hearings during initial
consultation period and related provision).

(4)In subsection (4)(a) (duty to publish information after the initial consultation
period), omit “and records of public hearings held under subsection (1)(b)
above”.

(5)15In subsection (4)(b) (the secondary consultation period)—

(a)for “things” substitute “representations”, and

(b)for “four weeks” substitute “eight weeks”.

(6)After subsection (4)(b) insert—

(c)shall cause public hearings to be held at such times during the
20secondary consultation period as they think fit.”

(7)After subsection (4) insert—

(4A)Schedule 2A contains further provision about public hearings under
subsection (4)(c).

(4B)After the end of the secondary consultation period, the Commission—

(a)25must publish, in such manner as they think fit, records of public
hearings held under subsection (4)(c), and

(b)must take such steps as they think fit to inform people in the
proposed constituencies that written representations with
respect to those records may be made to the Commission
30during a specified period of eight weeks (“the third consultation
period”).”

(8)In subsection (5) (requirements if revised proposals)—

(a)after “revised proposed constituencies” insert “before the beginning of
the third consultation period”, and

(b)35in paragraph (c), for “a specified period of eight weeks” substitute “the
third consultation period”.

(9)In subsection (7) (the taking of steps), after “(4)” insert “, (4B)”.

(10)In subsection (8) (duty to consider certain matters)—

(a)in paragraph (a), after “(4)(b)” insert “, (4B)(b)”, and

(b)40in paragraph (b), for “(1)(b)” substitute “(4)(c)”.

(11)In subsection (10)(b), after “(4)” insert “, (4B)”.

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(12)After subsection (10) insert—

(11)If the report mentioned in subsection (1) is a 2023 report, this section
applies in relation to that report as if—

(a)in subsection (4)(b), the reference to eight weeks were a
5reference to six weeks, and

(b)in subsection (4B)(b), the reference to eight weeks were a
reference to four weeks.

(12)In subsection (11), a “2023 report” means a report that is required by
section 3(2) to be submitted before 1 July 2023.”

5 10The Boundary Commissions: constitution

(1)Schedule 1 to the 1986 Act (the Boundary Commissions) is amended as follows.

(2)At the end of paragraph 2 insert “in accordance with paragraph 3A below”.

(3)In paragraph 3(a), for “Lord Chancellor” substitute “Lord Chief Justice of
England and Wales”.

(4)15In paragraph 3(c), for “Lord Chancellor” substitute “Lord Chief Justice of
England and Wales”.

(5)After paragraph 3 insert—

3AThe two members of each Commission appointed by the Secretary of
State shall each be appointed in accordance with the following
20process—

(a)a selection panel shall be convened by the Secretary of State
to select the members of the Commission, which shall
comprise—

(i)the deputy chairman of the Commission, and

(ii)25two persons appointed by the Speaker of the House of
Commons;

(b)the selection panel shall determine the selection process to be
applied and apply that process;

(c)the selection panel shall select only one person for
30recommendation for each appointment as a member of the
Commission;

(d)the selection panel shall submit to the Secretary of State a
report stating who has been selected and any other
information required by the Secretary of State;

(e)35the Secretary of State shall on receipt of the report do one of
the following—

(i)accept the selection,

(ii)reject the selection, or

(iii)require the panel to reconsider the selection;

(f)40the power of the Secretary of State to require the selection
panel to reconsider a selection is exercisable only on the
ground that, in the Secretary of State’s opinion, there is not
enough evidence that the person selected is suitable for
appointment as a member of the Commission;

(g)45the power of the Secretary of State to reject a selection is
exercisable only on the ground that, in the Secretary of State’s

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opinion, the person selected is not suitable for appointment
as a member of the Commission;

(h)the Secretary of State shall give the selection panel reasons in
writing for requiring the reconsideration of, or rejecting, any
5selection.”

(6)In paragraph 4, at end insert “, but the term for which each member (other than
the chairman) is appointed shall be a non-renewable term.”

Rules for the distribution of seats

6 Number of parliamentary constituencies

10In rule 1 of Schedule 2 to the 1986 Act (number of parliamentary constituencies)
for “600” substitute “650”.

7 Electorate per constituency

(1)Rule 2(1) of Schedule 2 to the 1986 Act (electorate per constituency) is amended
as follows.

(2)15In paragraph (a), for “95%” substitute “92.5%”.

(3)In paragraph (b), for “105%” substitute “107.5%”.

8 Taking account of local government boundaries

(1)Rule 5 of Schedule 2 to the 1986 Act (factors a Boundary Commission may take
into account) is amended in accordance with subsections (2) and (3).

(2)20In rule 5(1) (list of factors), for paragraph (b) substitute—

(b)local government boundaries which exist, or are prospective,
on the review date;”.

(3)After rule 5(1) insert—

(1A)In the case of a local government boundary which is prospective on
25the review date, it is that boundary rather than any existing
boundary which it replaces, which may be taken into account under
sub-paragraph (1)(b).”

(4)In rule 9 of Schedule 2 to the 1986 Act (interpretation), after sub-paragraph (3)
insert—

(3A)30A local government boundary is “prospective” on a particular date
if, on that date—

(a)it is specified in a provision of primary or secondary
legislation, but

(b)that provision is not yet in force for all purposes.

(3B)35For that purpose—

(a)“primary legislation” means—

(i)an Act of Parliament,

(ii)an Act of the Scottish Parliament,

(iii)an Act of Senedd Cymru, or

(iv)40Northern Ireland legislation, and

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(b)“secondary legislation” means an instrument made under
primary legislation.”

9 Improving completeness of electoral registers for purposes of boundary
reviews etc.

(1)5Within a year of this Act coming into force, the Secretary of State must lay
before Parliament proposals for improving the completeness of electoral
registers for purposes of boundary reviews.

(2)The proposals in subsection (1) may include requirements for either—

(a)the Department for Work and Pensions to provide every registration
10officer with the name, address, date of birth and nationality of each
individual in their district to whom they issue a National Insurance
number ahead of their 16th birthday, and for registration officers to add
to the full electoral registers those electors who they are satisfied are
eligible for inclusion; or

(b)15the Department for Work and Pensions to notify individuals of the
criteria for eligibility to vote and of the process for making an
application to join the register when they are issued with a new
National Insurance number.

10 Protected constituencies

(1)20Schedule 2 to the 1986 Act is amended as follows.

(2)In rule 6(2) (protected constituencies), after paragraph (b) insert “;

(c)a constituency named Ynys Môn, comprising the area of the Isle
of Anglesey County Council”.

(3)In rule 8(5) (the allocation method)—

(a)25in paragraph (b), for “6(2)” substitute “6(2)(a) and (b)”, and

(b)after paragraph (b) insert “;

(c)the electorate of Wales shall be treated for the purposes
of this rule as reduced by the electorate of the
constituency mentioned in rule 6(2)(c)”.

(4)30In rule 9(7) (references to areas in rule 6)—

(a)after “6” insert “(2)(a) or (b)”, and

(b)after “2011” insert “, and the reference in rule 6(2)(c) to the area of the
Isle of Anglesey County Council is to the area as it existed on the
coming into force of the Schedule to the Parliamentary Constituencies
35Act 2020”.

11 Registers used to determine the “electorate” in relation to the 2023 reports

(1)In rule 9(2) of Schedule 2 to the 1986 Act (definition of the “electorate”), for
“The” substitute “Subject to sub-paragraph (2A), the”.

(2)After rule 9(2) of that Schedule insert—

(2A)40In relation to a report under section 3(1) that a Boundary
Commission is required (by section 3(2)) to submit before 1 July 2023,
the “electorate” of the United Kingdom, or of a part of the United
Kingdom or a constituency, is the total number of persons whose

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names appear on a register of parliamentary electors (maintained
under section 9 of the Representation of the People Act 1983) in
respect of addresses in the United Kingdom, or in that part or that
constituency, as that register has effect on 2 March 2020.”

12 5Alteration of the “review date” in relation to the 2023 reports

In rule 9(5) of Schedule 2 to the 1986 Act (definition of the “review date”) for
“two years and ten months before that date” substitute “—

(a)1 December 2020, in the case of a report required to be
submitted before 1 July 2023, and

(b)10in the case of a report required to be submitted before any
other particular date, the date which is two years and 10
months before that date.

(For example, 1 December 2028 in the case of a report
required to be submitted before 1 October 2031).”

15Current reports and reviews

13 Removal of duty to implement etc. in relation to current reports

(1)Any duty of the Secretary of State or the Minister for the Cabinet Office under
section 3(5A) of the 1986 Act to lay before Parliament the draft of an Order in
Council for giving effect to the recommendations in current reports of the
20Boundary Commissions is to be treated as having ceased to have effect on 24
March 2020.

(2)Any other duties, or any powers, of the Secretary of State, the Minister for the
Cabinet Office or any other person under the 1986 Act in relation to a current
report of a Boundary Commission are to be treated as having ceased to have
25effect, or as having ceased to be exercisable, on 24 March 2020.

(3)A report of a Boundary Commission is “current” if, immediately before 24
March 2020—

(a)the report has been submitted to the Secretary of State or the Minister
for the Cabinet Office under section 3(1) of the 1986 Act, but

(b)30no Order in Council under that Act has been made for giving effect to
the recommendations in it.

14 Removal of duty to review reduction in number of constituencies

(1)Omit section 14 of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act
2011 (duty to review reduction in number of constituencies to 600).

(2)35That repeal is to be treated as having come into force on 31 May 2020.

Northern Ireland Assembly constituencies

15 Effect of Orders in Council under the 1986 Act on NI Assembly constituencies

(1)Section 33 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (Assembly constituencies and
numbers of members) is amended as follows.

(2)40In subsection (3) (effect on Assembly constituencies of Orders in Council under

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the 1986 Act), for paragraph (a) substitute—

(a)the first election under section 31 or 32 for which the notice of
election, which is required to be published under Assembly
Election Rules, is published—

(i)5on a day after the end of the period of six months
beginning with the day on which the Order comes into
force, or

(ii)if sooner, on or after the day on which Parliament is
dissolved prior to the first parliamentary general
10election in relation to which the Order has effect; and”.

(3)After subsection (3) insert—

(4)In subsection (3), “Assembly Election Rules” means the rules in
Schedule 1 to the Representation of the People Act 1983, as applied by
Article 3 of, and Schedule 1 to, the Northern Ireland Assembly
15(Elections) Order 2001 (S.I. 2001/2599).”

General

16 Minor and consequential amendments and savings

(1)The Schedule to this Act contains minor and consequential amendments
(including the repeal of some provisions which are spent).

(2)20The amendments made by this Act do not affect the continuing validity of any
Orders in Council made under the 1986 Act before this Act comes into force.

17 Extent, commencement and short title

(1)This Act extends to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

(2)Subject to paragraph 4(4) of the Schedule, this Act comes into force on the day
25on which it is passed.

(3)This Act may be cited as the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 2020.