Picture: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images
October 17, 2017 by Joe Vesey-Byrne
Jeremy Corbyn had a brilliant response to proposals that would abolish his parliamentary constituency.
Under the proposals currently put out to consultation by the Boundary Commission, the seat of Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, Islington North, would be carved up and added to neighbouring constituencies.
It would form part of a move to reduce the number of MPs elected to the House of Commons from 650 down to 600.
Uneven seat sizes in terms of population can mean that the single vote held by each voter is less influential if a constituency is particularly large.
For instance the Isle of Wight has 108,600 voters (as of December 2016), compared to the constituency of Na h-Eileanan an Iar which has just 21,200, giving voters in the Scottish seat a greater impact on the result in their constituency, in all likelihood, than their fellow subjects on the Isle of Wight.
The current changes suggested by the commission would come into effect at the next election, currently scheduled for 2022.
Corbyn, who has represented the seat since 1983, responded to the proposals aby once again throwing down the gauntlet to Theresa May.
Speaking to the Islington Gazette, Corbyn said:
…we’re not quite sure when the next election is going to be.
If I have anything to do with it, it will be very soon, so the new boundaries will not come into force.
I’m not a supporter of unnecessary changes in boundaries and I’m not a supporter in reducing the size of the House of Commons because I think we need to have effective democratic representation all across the country.
But, whatever the boundaries are, I will be fighting the election and very proud to do so.
In addition to his opposition to the principal of ‘unnecessary’ boundary changes, Corbyn also commented on the historic character of Islington North.
It would be very sad. There’s been an Islington North for a very long time [since 1885] and I’ve been the MP for the current Islington North boundaries ever since they were established in 1983. And I’m very proud, too.
The third period of consultation on the new boundaries, will last for eight weeks, beginning on 17 October. So there’s still time to write to your MP about Islington North.
Responses in the consultation will inform the final recommendation, to be made to Parliament in September 2018. Parliament will then vote whether or not to adopt the changes.
Plans to reduce the size of the House of Commons have been raised and shelved before under David Cameron in 2013.
As one can imagine, it is difficult to get 50 MPs to vote themselves out of a job, and in that instance the changes were voted down by Liberal Democrat and Labour MPs who thought the proposals unfairly benefited the government.