2018 Review FAQs

Parliamentary boundaries define the area where a person votes for their local MP – their parliamentary constituency. A boundary review examines these areas and makes proposals for a new set of boundaries which are fairer and more equal, while also trying to reflect geographic factors and local ties.

The Commission will also look at current constituencies and local government patterns in redrawing the map of boundaries in England, before making a recommendation to Parliament in September 2018. The review involves regularly consulting members of the public for their views on their local area, and refining proposals in a number of stages.
The Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 (as amended in 2011) requires the four Boundary Commissions for the UK to carry out a review of constituencies and to submit final reports to Parliament in September 2018. Parliament has specified that the 2018 Review must reduce the number of constituencies, and therefore MPs, in the UK, to 600. It has asked us, as an independent and impartial body, to consider where the boundaries of the new constituencies in England should be, ensuring that every new constituency has roughly the same number of electors; no fewer than 71,031 and no more than 78,507.
The Chair of the Commission is the Speaker of the House of Commons but by convention he or she does not participate in the conduct of the review or formulation of the Commission’s recommendations.

The Deputy Chair therefore leads the Commission in the conduct of its review work and is supported by two other Commissioners. The current Commissioners are:

• Deputy Chair - current vacancy
• David Elvin QC
• Neil Pringle

You can read more about the Commissioners here. The Commission is supported by a small team of civil servants provided by the Cabinet Office and led by the Secretary to the Commission, Sam Hartley.
There are separate Boundary Commissions for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Commissions will run similar reviews for their own nations and are subject to the same requirements as BCE, though each Commission has discretion on the timing of consultation stages, and certain matters of policy.
The review will take place over approximately two and a half years, with final recommendations submitted to Parliament in September 2018.

We published our initial proposals for new boundaries on 13 September 2016, which began twelve weeks of public consultation, including holding public hearings in each region of England.

All feedback from the initial consultation was then be published on 28 February 2017. This was followed by a four-week consultation period during which the public were invited to comment on that feedback.

The Commission will then review all comments from the initial and secondary consultation to revise the proposed boundaries. In late 2017/early 2018 there will be a third period of consultation lasting eight weeks, where the public will be invited to comment on the revised proposals.

After looking at whether any more changes need to be made, in September 2018 the Commission will make final recommendations in a report published and presented to the Parliament.
The review will finish when the final report of the Commission’s recommendations is provided to the Secretary of State in September 2018. The Government will then place before Parliament a Statutory Instrument containing those recommendations (which may not be amended by the Government) and Parliament will debate the changes. If Parliament agrees the changes to boundaries, the new constituencies will take effect at the next scheduled General Election in 2020.
The new rules mean that there must be 600 constituencies in the UK, as opposed to 650 previously. This means the number of constituencies in England will be reduced by 32, from 533 to 501. We must also ensure that each constituency has a similar number of registered electors. Both of these factors mean that there will be some changes to the majority of the existing constituencies.
The new stricter limits on the size of the electorate in each constituency and the reduction in the number of seats will mean that the majority of existing constituencies are likely to have to change to some extent. It also means fewer options for creating constituencies than in previous reviews.
The electorate numbers are taken from the electoral registers maintained by local electoral registration officers and the data they provide to the Office of National Statistics. These were published on 24 February 2016.
The electoral quota is 74,769 to the nearest whole number. The electoral quota is established by taking the number of the electorate of the UK (44,562,440) and dividing it by 596 (this excludes four constituencies, two in Scotland and two for the Isle of Wight, that have been made special cases in the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011.
Every other constituency the Commission recommends must fall within 5% of the electoral quota. This means the largest constituency electorate permissible is 78,507 and the smallest constituency electorate permissible is 71,031.
We first calculate the electoral quota. This is the number of registered electors in the UK divided by the number of constituencies (not including four exempt constituencies). The current electoral quota is 74,769. Every constituency in the UK – except two covering the Isle of Wight and two Scottish island constituencies – must have a number of registered electors within 5% of this figure.
Using this quota, and a formula set out in the Act, the four Boundary Commissions calculate how many constituencies each part of the UK is allocated. We then use the same formula to allocate the specified number of constituencies among the nine regions of England.
When we launched the review in February 2016, we also announced the number of constituencies in each region. We worked this out using the same formula that the legislation uses to work out the number of constituencies allocated to England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – known as the Sainte-Laguë method. We felt it was important to mirror the spirit of the legislation by allocating the number of constituencies to each region in England – this also replicates the widely welcomed approach we took at the same stage in the 2013 review. The allocation of constituencies to each region is as follows:

RegionElectorateExisting constituenciesProposed constituencies
Eastern4,242,2665857
East Midlands3,275,0464644
London5,118,8847368
North East1,874,3962925
North West5,074,3027568
South East6,067,475*83*81*
South West3,930,7705553
West Midlands3,989,3205953
Yorkshire and the Humber3,722,0355450
Total37,294,494*532*499*

* figures exclude one current Isle of Wight constituency and its electorate, and two proposed Isle of Wight constituencies, which are protected under the Act and removed from the calculation to allocate constituencies
Our first consultation - on the initial proposals - ran for 12 weeks between 13 September and 5 December 2016. All comments from this consultation were published on 28 February 2017 as part of the secondary consultation, and the public were invited to comment on those representations for a four-week period. There will then be a final consultation on our revised proposals in late 2017, before we report to Parliament in 2018.
There are a number of ways to comment on the initial proposals but we strongly encourage people to use our consultation website. You can also provide your comments by attending a public hearing, which will be held across England, and make an oral representation there. Equal consideration will be given to all representations. If you would like to respond in writing, you can write to us, but we would prefer people to submit their views through the website, where you can see the maps of your local area while you comment.
All comments from the initial consultation were published on our website on 28 February 2017 - this is a legal requirement. Comments received during the secondary consultation stage will be published during our revised proposal consultation in late 2017, and those received on the revised proposals will be published at the end of the review.
No. The boundary changes only relate to parliamentary constituencies. Services and council tax charges in your local area are set by your local authority and these will not be affected. Insurance premium calculations are based on postcode so will not be affected.
As independent and politically impartial bodies, the Boundary Commissions do not take into account patterns of voting or the results of elections when reviewing constituency boundaries. Nor do the political parties’ views on where boundaries should be have any more weight than those of members of the public.
No. The Act of Parliament that governs the conduct of a Parliamentary Boundary review requires the electoral register data used in it to be that in force two years and ten months before the date by which the final report of the review is required to be submitted. The 2013 review was conducted on the basis of electoral registers as at 1 December 2010, but the current review – required to report in September 2018 – will use the published electoral register data as at 1 December 2015.
Under statutory rules, the Commission can only take into account local government boundaries as they were at the most recent ordinary council elections before the ‘review date’. The 2018 review date is 1 December 2015, so we may only consider ward boundaries that were in place on 7 May 2015 – the last election date.
No, we not are responsible for ward boundaries. While we use wards as the building blocks for constituencies, we do not create them. The Local Government Boundary Commission for England, a separate independent body, is responsible for ward boundaries - www.lgbce.org.uk