Working Paper 11/259 - abstract

‘A naked scrap for party advantage, dressed up as a principled defence of democracy’: the House of Lords on the number of MPs and defining their constituencies (PDF, 317kB)

Ron Johnston and Charles Pattie

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government formed in May 2010 in the United Kingdom has instituted a programme of considerable electoral and constitutional reform. The first major element of this was the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill, which was debated at great length in Parliament over a five‐month period. During its passage through the House of Lords debate over this Bill raised a number of issues relating to both the country’s constitution and the role and operations of that House. This paper uses those debates, in particular the sections dealing with the number of MPs and the rules for defining constituencies, to illustrate those substantial concerns and their implications for the future role of the House of Lords.