Cutting them down to size
The government's plan to reduce the number of MPs may prove challenging
The thorny issue of constituency boundaries is once again in the spotlight today, with the news that several Conservative MPs intend to fight the government’s plan to reduce the number of Commons seats from 650 to 600. The reduction would come amidst a wider review of the current constituency system. While the issue is being presented as part of the government’s ongoing review of the ‘cost of politics’, the Conservatives are keen to redraw constituency sizes which are widely believed to give Labour an unfair advantage.
The government’s previous attempt to address the issue was blocked by the Liberal Democrats, in revenge for their failure to achieve House of Lords reform. This time however the Conservatives, with a majority in the Commons and an explicit pledge to cut the number of MPs in their manifesto, are in a far stronger position to enact reform. Whether it can convince MPs to effectively pass legislation which would put some of their own out of a job remains to be seen.
Meanwhile on the even more thorny issue of Europe, this week David Cameron continues his push to persuade European leaders to support his campaign for European reform. Following George Osborne’s trip to Europe last week, last night Cameron met EC President Jean-Claude Juncker at Chequers to discuss his plans. Later this week Cameron will meet with the Danish, Dutch, and Polish leaders, as he attempts to meet the leaders all 27 EU member states.