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Wednesday 22 February 2012


Cabinet Office

Boundary changes (Edmonton)

The Petition of residents of Edmonton and others,

Declares that the Petitioners are opposed to the proposed boundary changes put forward by the Boundary Commission for England in relation to the constituency of Edmonton, as the Petitioners believe that the proposed changes will undermine existing community ties and declares that the Petitioners believe that the integrity of Edmonton should be maintained through links with other adjacent communities.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to make time for a debate on the proposed changes by the Boundary Commission for England to the constituency of Edmonton.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr Andrew Love , Official Report, 22 November 2011; Vol. 536, c. 268.]


Observations from the Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform (Mr Mark Harper):

At present there is a significant difference between the sizes of many parliamentary constituencies. This has the effect of making some people’s votes count more than others, depending on where they live. This situation is unfair to many electors and last year the Government introduced the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies (PVSC) Bill into Parliament to address this issue. The PVSC Bill received Royal Assent on 16 February 2011 and is now an Act of Parliament.

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The PVSC Act 2011 provides for more equal sized constituencies, as well as for a smaller House of Commons (600 seats rather than the current 650). In the Act, all constituencies are to be within 95% to 105% of a single United Kingdom electoral quota. At this review the Boundary Commissions when deciding boundaries may also take account of certain other factors, including: special geographical considerations, including the size, shape and accessibility of a constituency; local government boundaries as at 6 May 2010; the boundaries of existing constituencies; and any local ties that would be broken by changes in constituencies. However, these factors are subject to the overriding principle of equality in constituency size.

As a result of the reforms contained in the Act, votes will be more equal in weight throughout the UK, and each nation will have a share of the seats in the Commons that is broadly in proportion to its share of the UK electorate.

The Boundary Commission for England published its initial proposals for the new parliamentary constituencies on 13 September 2011. I have noted the comments in relation to the constituency of Edmonton. However, it is for the independent Boundary Commissions to make recommendations, weighing the various factors in legislation, and it would be inappropriate for me to comment as a Government Minister on the merits of individual cases.

Between 13 September and 5 December 2011, the Boundary Commission for England consulted on its initial proposals for the new parliamentary constituencies. The Boundary Commission for England has explained that all the representations received by the closing date will be published on 6 March when people will have the opportunity, until 3 April, to see and comment on what has been said. The PVSC Act requires the Boundary Commission for England to complete the boundary review and submit its report to the Government by October 2013, and the legislation giving effect to the Boundary Commission’s final recommendations must be debated and approved by Parliament before it can come into force.