Sweeping reforms to parliamentary constituencies in Britain will be introduced alongside moves to change the voting system, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced today.
The UK government’s proposed boundary review, equalising the size of all but two constituencies, would be in place in time for its planned 2015 general election, he said.
Mr Clegg also confirmed that a referendum on replacing first-past-the-post Westminster elections with the Alternative Vote (AV) will be held on May 5 next year.
He said that legislation on the boundary review would pave the way for the process to be completed by 2013, in time for the selection of candidates ahead of a poll on May 7 2015.
“That means that, in the event of a vote in favour of AV, the 2015 general election will be held on the new system and according to new boundaries,” Mr Clegg told MPs.
The boundary review would result in the number of MPs being cut from 650 to 600. Mr Clegg said that would save £12m (€14.4m) a year in pay, pensions and allowances.
The Boundary Commission will be required to bring all but two constituencies within 5% of a target number of registered electors.
The two exceptions were the Western Isles and Orkney and Shetland because they are “uniquely placed, given their locations”.