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Boundary reviews

UK Parliamentary constituency boundaries are reviewed periodically to take account of population changes. Reviews are carried out by four Boundary Commissions, one for each part of the UK.

The Commissions must follow certain rules but they also rely on public feedback to help create seats that have local support and take account of local community ties where possible. This briefing explains the public consultation process used during reviews.

The 2023 Review

The current review was formally launched on 5 January 2021 and must be completed by 1 July 2023.

The Boundary Commission for England announced its initial proposals on 8 June 2021. This triggered the initial phase of public consultation. The other three Commissions will announce their initial proposals later in 2021.

There are several stages of public consultation. The timings are a matter for each Commission but there are some statutory provisions that they must follow. They are set out in set out in the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986, as amended.

Consultation stages

For the 2023 Review the following consultation periods will be held:

The initial consultation period

Publishing initial proposals triggers an eight-week consultation. This stage allows people to make written representations. 

Each Commission must publish all submissions received at the end of the eight weeks. Publishing these triggers the secondary consultation.

The secondary consultation period

This lasts six weeks. Representations can include comments on submissions from the initial consultation.

The secondary period includes public hearings, which each region must hold. There must be at least two and no more than five per region, lasting up to two days.

After the secondary consultation period, each Commission must publish any written submissions and transcripts of the public hearings.

The third consultation period

If a Commission decides to publish revised proposals because of the first two consultation periods, this triggers a third consultation.

This lasts four weeks and there are no public hearings.

Making submissions

Anyone can make a submission. This includes MPs but they must make submissions the same way as everyone else.

A Commission will give equal consideration to each submission regardless of how it is submitted. This could be a presentation at a public hearing or a written submission. Written submissions can be electronic or hard copy but people are encouraged to respond via the review websites each Commission provides.

The Commissions encourage people to say whether they agree or disagree with proposals. If someone disagrees, they are encouraged to suggest alternative proposals.

The Commissions will publish more details on their websites:

Boundary Commission for England

Boundary Commission for Scotland

Boundary Commission for Wales

Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland

There is more information on the background to boundary reviews and the number of Members of Parliament in the Library briefing Constituency boundary reviews and the number of MPs (SN05929).


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