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Constituencies and the Electoral System

  • Dick Leonard
  • Roger Mortimore

Abstract

The House of Commons has at present 659 members, each of whom is the representative of a single-member constituency.1 The origin of the different constituencies is diverse. Some constituency names, particularly those comprising medium-sized provincial towns, go back several hundred years, though the precise boundaries of the constituencies are unlikely not to have been altered at some time. The vast majority of constituencies were in fact newly delineated prior to the 1983 general election, and three-quarters were redrawn again before 1997.

Keywords

General Election Electoral System Proportional Representation Labour Party Proportionate Share 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Detailed and entertaining pen-portraits of every constituency, and their MPs, their histories and political and social characteristics, can be found in Robert Waller and Byron Criddle, The Almanac of British Politics, 7th edition (London: Routledge, 2002).Google Scholar
  2. Simon Henig and Lewis Baston, The Political Map of Britain (London: Politico’s Publishing, 2002) has similar coverage with comprehensive historical statistics.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    The history of the Boundary Commissions is told, and the effects of each of their boundary reviews analysed, in D. J. Rossiter, R. J. Johnston and C. J. Pattie, The Boundary Commissions (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999).Google Scholar
  4. For a wider view of the principles involved see Iain McLean and David Butler (eds), Fixing the Boundaries (Aldershot: Dartmouth, 1996)Google Scholar
  5. and Ron Johnston, Charles Pattie, Danny Dorling and David Rossiter, From Votes to Seats (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001).Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    John Curtice and Michael Steed, ‘An Analysis of the Voting’, in David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh, The British General Election of 1983 (London: Macmillan, 1984), p. 361.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    John Curtice and Michael Steed, ‘The Results Analysed’, in David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh, The British General Election of 1992 (London: Macmillan, 1992), p. 351.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    A Rossiter et al., Boundary Commissions (p. 359), disagreed. Using a different method from the other analysts to estimate the effect of the boundary changes, they concluded that the Conservatives gained a net 24 seats over other parties. For details of the 1994 boundary changes and calculations of their electoral effect in individual constituencies by the more generally accepted method, see Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher, Media Guide to the New Parliamentary Constituencies (London: BBC Publications, 1994).Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    John Curtice and Michael Steed, ‘The Results Analysed’, in David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh, The British General Election of 1997 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997), p. 315.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    John Curtice and Michael Steed, ‘The Results Analysed’, in David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh, The British General Election of 2001 (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002), pp. 331–2.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dick Leonard and Roger Mortimore 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dick Leonard
  • Roger Mortimore

There are no affiliations available

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