Reform needs to be opposed

Alan Campbell MP
Alan Campbell MP

Parliament returned for two weeks in September with important matters to consider, including the NHS and the proposed return of grammar schools.

Members could be forgiven, however, if their minds drifted elsewhere with the Boundary Commission publishing initial plans to cut the number of MPs.

After the 2010 election the coalition committed to fewer and equal sized constituencies. Equal electoral districts were an objective of the Chartists 150 years ago, but they’ve proven difficult to achieve. The motivation for the Conservatives is that Labour stands to lose most seats.

The Conservatives claim they are making democracy fairer and saving money. But by rushing in they are excluding more than two million new voters who signed up to vote in the EU Referendum, many of them young people.

The plan aims to save £12m, but ignores the fact that David Cameron created 260 new Lords at a cost of £34m, on top of spending £45m on special advisers.

And with MEPs going, the workload for MPs can only increase.

There’s a wider point as well. By cutting the number of MPs, but not the number of ministers the executive faces even less scrutiny.

There is a case for saving money and for real political reform, but I fear this is more about the interest of the Conservatives and deserves to be opposed.