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Number of MPs (Proposed Reduction)

Volume 599: debated on Thursday 10 September 2015

2. What assessment he has made of the effect of the proposed reduction in the number of Members of Parliament on the scrutiny of Government. (901257)

The next review of UK parliamentary constituencies—a subject of interest to one or two Members—will be based on a reduction in the number of Members of Parliament from 650 to 600, and it will be undertaken by the UK’s various boundary commissions, and not the Electoral Commission. As such, neither the Speaker’s Committee nor the Electoral Commission has made any assessment of its potential impact.

Of course, one of the advantages of reducing the number of MPs is that fewer Whips will be required, but the first job of a Member of Parliament, who is not part of the Government, is to scrutinise the Government. By taking 50 out of these Members, the Government will not be scrutinised so well. Does my hon. Friend have a view on whether the size of the Government should be reduced proportionately to the reduction in the number of MPs?

My hon. Friend speaks powerfully and with a modicum of common sense, as always. He may well have half a point, but this is not a matter for the Electoral Commission and it is not a matter for me.

As I have indicated, it is not a matter for the Electoral Commission, but from my next-door knowledge of the Boundary Commission I am confident that this will be in place. I am sure that will be of great encouragement to my hon. Friend.