The proposals to cut the UK Parliament down in size from 650 to 600 MPs must not be abandoned. Money has already been spent painstakingly redrawing the constituency boundaries so they are each of a similar size. In the long term, this change would reduce costs (an expected £12.2 million saving) and why should MPs be exempt from austerity? If the police have to tackle rising levels of crime with fewer officers, is there any justification for Labour and The Guardian’s arguments against the reform?
Yes, of course, I would like to see a more comprehensive electoral revolution with no wasted votes or safe seats but don’t let the best become an enemy of the good. This re-adjustment has been completed fairly and impartially, so if (as predicted) Labour would lose out, they should be thinking how to appeal to a much broader range of voters, not bemoaning their lot.
There is only seating capacity in the House of Commons for 427 MPs, so even with the proposed reductions we will still have a packed Parliament. Opponents argue that 23% of MPs will have some sort of government position and be dependent on patronage but Parliament could easily introduce a measure to limit how many of its members can work with the executive branch. This could be tabled as an amendment to the bill, a condition for cross-party support.
There is no excuse for MPs to duck out of the unpleasant but necessary task that is cutting down Parliament to size. This is a chance to actually make change happen, so please lobby your MP and make sure they don’t duck out.