2023 Parliamentary boundaries – proposals

2023 Parliamentary boundaries – your chance to comment

Almost five years after the 2018 Review, the Boundary Commission for England (BCE) is conducting another review (the 2023 Review) of parliamentary constituencies.

BCE published their initial proposal on 6 June 2021. The sections below are a very short summary from the 2023 Review FAQs on the BCE website and other sources.

In 2011, the coalition government passed the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act, which changed the rules guiding how the UK’s parliamentary constituencies were to be drawn up. Boundary reviews were to take place every five years (more frequently than before). Almost all new seats (with four exceptions) were to have electorates within +/-5% of the national quota (the average electorate). And the House of Commons was to be reduced in size from 650 to 600 MPs.[1]The Constitution Unit Blog

After the rejection of initial proposals based on this premise, the House of Commons established the cross-party Political and Constitutional Reform Committee. Their report, dated 9 March 2015, included the following:

The primary reason for the unsatisfactory nature of the proposals brought forward during the 2013 review of parliamentary constituency boundaries was the strict arithmetic rule regarding the electorates of all but four constituencies—that they be within +/- 5% of the average constituency size of the UK. That said, we have noted the current wide variation in the number of registered electors from constituency to constituency, and concluded that it would be desirable for that to be reduced. The evidence we have received is that increasing the allowable variance to +/- 10% would, in the vast majority of cases, alleviate the challenges experienced during the 2013 Review.[2] What next on the redrawing of parliamentary constituency boundaries? (House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, Eighth Report of Session 2014–15),[3]Constituency Boundary Changes – this affects us – this website

After the 2015 Election, the government legislated for the 2018 Review to go ahead on the original rules (reduction to 600 MPs with a mandatory +/- 5% variation in electorate).

BCE had to to respect ward boundaries which, in our case, were already obsolete. The final proposals of the 2018 review[4]2018 Constituency Boundary final recommendations – this website would have moved Compton & Shawford, with Otterbourne and Hursley, into a new Test Valley Constituency.

The 2018 Review did not receive parliamentary approval. In March 2020, the government abandoned plans to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600.

Cabinet Office minister Chloe Smith said it was because Brexit would lead to Parliament having a “greater workload” in the future.[5]Politics Home: Government ditches plan to cut number of MPs from 650 to 600 because ‘Brexit will increase their workload’

On 14 December 2020 the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 2020[6]New Law Passed Will Make Voting in UK General Election Fairer – Cabinet Office Press Release received Royal Approval. The number of MPs remains at 650. The requirement that all constituencies (with four exceptions) should have an electorate within +/-5% of the national average remains. That is, between 69,724 and 77,062 electors.

There’s another change, which would have helped us in the previous review. The Boundary Commission must take into account ward boundary changes which have been approved.

The Boundary Commissions must recommend a new set of 650 constituencies by 1 July 2023. That’s in time for the next general election, due in May 2024. After receiving the final reports, the government must submit to the Privy Council an order giving effect to the recommendations. No parliamentary vote is needed. 

Subsequent reviews will then take place on a slightly longer timetable than under the 2011 Act – every eight years.

Our parish, with our whole District Ward of Badger Farm and Oliver’s Battery, would remain in a revised Winchester County Constituency. Winchester expands to the south east to include part of the now-defunct Meon Valley constituency. Winchester loses Hiltingbury which moves into Eastleigh constituency.

The electorate of the revised Winchester County Constituency will be 76,577, only just under the maximum allowable size of 77,062. If Winchester grows faster than the overall population, the constituency would need to split at the next boundary review.

The Boundary Commission does take into account comments made during the consultation period. They say

..if you support our proposals, please tell us so. Past experience suggests that too often people who are happy with our proposals do not respond in support, while those who object to them do respond to make their points.


What we do not yet have is sufficient evidence of how our proposals reflect or break local community ties, although we have drawn on evidence of such ties provided in previous reviews.

So your comments should if possible include evidence of local ties that would be preserved by staying in Winchester.

Monday 2 August 2021 is the last day for comments in the eight-week consultation period.

The Parish Council has submitted a response supporting the initial proposal. They have encouraged the various residents’ associations to do the same.