Electoral Reform and Boundary Change Bill to Be Rushed out Early

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

A MAJOR Bill tying together a vote on electoral reform with new parliamentary boundaries for the entire country is to be rushed out within weeks.

The Evening Standard has learned that David Cameron's plans are much more advanced than previously realised.

Senior sources say the far-reaching constitutional reform legislation will be published next month. The pace will allow for a possible referendum on the "alternative vote" system of voting in May next year.

The Bill will contain fast-track procedures for new equal-sized constituencies to be in place time for the 2015 general election. The new-look Commons will have 600 or 585 seats, meaning up to 65 MPs could lose their jobs. Linking the reforms in one Bill means the changes would become virtually unstoppable, even if one side of the coalition Government got cold feet. Mr Cameron and Liberal Democrat deputy premier Nick Clegg have agreed between them and are meeting MPs in their parties to convince doubters.

But Labour says the idea is "blatant gerrymandering" to make the electoral map more favourable to the Government.

Labour has most to lose, because its seats tend to be smaller in size, with some half the size of the national average of 73,000. Mr Cameron is expected to campaign for equalisation under the slogan "one vote, one value".

Senior Lib Dems say they may gain in some areas but lose in others, particularly Scotland where they have 11 MPs in smaller constituencies. …