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    Cutting UK MPs From 650 to 600: 'Pie in the Sky' Plan May Unlikely to Deliver

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    UK Prime Minister Theresa May is reportedly scrapping a plan to reduce the number of British MPs from 650 to 600. A British MP told Sputnik why Mrs. May would not dare put the proposal to a vote in the Parliament.

    Meg Hillier, the Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, said the whole idea was "pie in the sky" and few MPs believed Mrs. May would go through with the plan "when their [Conservatives] majority is like it is."

    Reportedly Mrs. May had already decided to scrap the idea because it would be too difficult to get it through Parliament and might alienate some MPs who she needed on board to push through Brexit legislation. Moreover, her Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) allies in Northern Ireland are among those opposed to the changes. Earlier this month they said plans to reduce the number of MPs representing Belfast to three was "simply wrong."

    This is a July 25, 2016 file photo of of Arlene Foster, left, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, during a meeting in Belfast.
    © AP Photo / Charles McQuillan
    This is a July 25, 2016 file photo of of Arlene Foster, left, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, during a meeting in Belfast.

    The idea to reduce the number of MPs in Parliament from 650 to 600 was one of David Cameron's manifesto pledges in 2010 and his Liberal Democrat coalition partners reluctantly went along with the idea. Among the 50 constituencies which would have been abolished was Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's Islington North seat.

    Liberal Democrat Rebellion

    Mr. Cameron claimed the reduction would save £50 million ($67 million) over a five-year parliament. But in 2013 Lib Dem MPs rebelled and voted with Labour to block the change going ahead before the 2015 election. David Davis — who is now the Brexit Secretary — was one of four Conservative MPs who also voted against the plan. It meant the reforms were postponed until September 2018 at the earliest.

    ​The Boundary Commissions in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have been told to redraw their constituencies to ensure all MPs are representing roughly 76,000 voters. The only exceptions would be Shetland and Orkney, the Isle of Wight, the Western Isles and the huge seat of Ross, Skye and Lochaber in the Scottish Highlands.

    The changes would hit Labour the hardest as it would reduce the number of urban constituencies and remove 10 London MPs. MP Hillier said that this removal is not a big concern at the moment.

    "If you had asked a year ago the answer might have been different but now, with the government having no majority, this is not uppermost in our minds. We are not quaking in our boots," said Ms. Hillier, who said the next election was not due until 2022. If a week is a long time in politics, then five years is like a million years."

     

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    constituency, voters, MPs, parliament, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Conservative Party, Labour party, Liberal Democrats, Westminster, Scotland, Northern Ireland, England, London
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