The Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland started its 6th review of Westminster parliamentary constituency boundaries on 4 March 2011. The review was to be completed before 1st October 2013.
The review followed the enactment of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 which provided for a 5-year cycle of reviews and introduced new rules and procedures to be followed by the Commission in the delineation of parliamentary constituency boundaries together with a new method of allocating constituencies to the 4 regions of the United Kingdom.
For the 6th review, the number of constituencies in Northern Ireland was to reduce from 18 to 16. On 29 January, Parliament passed an amendment to the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill 2013. The amendment made a change to the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 which set the rules for the Commission’s 6th review. The date by which the Commission is required to report its recommendations for revised Parliamentary constituency boundaries was changed from “before 1st October 2013” to “not before 1st September 2018 and before 1st October 2018”.
The amendment to the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill 2013 has the effect of terminating the current review. The Commission has therefore ceased working on the Sixth Review of Parliamentary constituencies and will no longer be reporting to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in the autumn of 2013.