The size of the House of Commons in historical context

Earlier today the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, announced plans to cut the size of the House of Commons to 600 seats from the current 650 size.

The Commons has often changed in size over the previous decades, but as this graph shows 600 would be the smallest number of MPs since the 1867 Reform Act and only the fourth time the Commons has been reduced in size. The cut however is smaller both in seat numbers and proportionate terms than that introduced after 1918:

Size of House of Commons since 1867

4 responses to “The size of the House of Commons in historical context”

  1. Interesting to note that the number of MPs when down between 2001 & 2005. Might point that one out to any Labour person who complains about the latest reduction!

  2. That was because Scotland didn’t need to be so overrepresented, Rosalind. Please note that the effect of that change was to reduce the Labour Government’s notional majority. The increases for 1974, 1983, 1992 (Milton Keynes only) and 1997 as well as the decrease for 2015 have been to increase the Conservative or Coalition Government’s notional majority.

    • I can dig out the census population figures, but as they are at ten year intervals which don’t neatly match up with elections, I think that would give a rather jumpy trend that wouldn’t say much. Unless someone can point me at good estimates for between census years?

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