24 February 2016

17 MPs for Northern Ireland

The 2018 Review of Parliamentary constituencies starts today. In accordance with schedule 2 of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011, the number of Parliamentary constituencies across the UK will reduce to 600. In Northern Ireland, the decrease will be from 18 seats to 17 at the next Westminster elections, expected in 2020. This will mean redrawing the existing constituency boundaries.

Across the UK, the number of constituencies is being reduced:

  • in England 501 in place of the current 533;
  • in Scotland 53 in place of the current 59
  • in Wales 29 in place of the current 40; and
  • in Northern Ireland 17 in place of the current 18.

The legislation determines that in most of the UK the electorate of each constituency will have to be within 5% of the electoral quota (74,769). The smallest permitted electorate in any constituency will be 71,031 and the largest 78,507.

In Northern Ireland the legislation allows for a wider range, in certain prescribed circumstances, from 69,401 to 78,507.

The Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland, which is responsible for reviewing Northern Ireland’s Parliamentary constituency boundaries, will put its final recommendations to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland by 1 October 2018.

Eamonn McConville, Secretary to the Commission, said: “The Commission will now begin its work on developing provisional proposals. These will be published for public consultation towards the end of this year.

The proposals will be fully available for comment by everyone with an interest and the consultation process will include a number of public hearings.”