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Constituencies to change in voting reforms.

SWEEPING reforms to parliamentary constituencies will be introduced alongside moves to change the voting system.

The Government's proposed boundary review, equalising the size of all but two constituencies, would be in place in time for a 2015 general election, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said yesterday.

He also confirmed that a referendum on replacing first-past-the-post Westminster elections with the Alternative Vote (AV) will be held next May 5. He said that legislation on the boundary review would pave the way for the process to be completed by 2013, in time for the selection of candidates ahead of a poll on May 7, 2015.

"That means that, in the event of a vote in favour of AV, the 2015 general election will be held on the new system and according to new boundaries," Mr Clegg told MPs.

The boundary review would result in the number of MPs being cut from 650 to 600. Mr Clegg said that would save pounds 12m a year in pay, pensions and allowances.

The Boundary Commission will be required to bring all but two constituencies within 5% of a target number of registered electors. The two exceptions were the Western Isles and Orkney and Shetland.

Mr Clegg also overhauled plans to enshrine fixed-term parliaments in law, renouncing a previous controversial plan requiring 55% of MPs to vote for a dissolution.

Under a Bill to be introduced within the next few weeks, Parliament would be dissolved and an election held if no Government could be formed within 14 days of a simple majority vote of no confidence.

There would also be the power for MPs to call an "early and immediate" dissolution, but a majority of two-thirds would be needed.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 6, 2010
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