Getting rid of MPs may seem like a good idea.
That’s one of the reasons the Conservatives proposed it.
Their plan to cut the number of MPs in the House of Commons from 650 to 600 was bound to raise a cheer from some people.
But cutting the number of MPs in the House of Commons is daft.
It will only make it harder for constituents to get help from their local MP.
And however hard it is to make your voice heard now, it will get harder when their are fewer MPs to represent the same number of people.
A review of Parliamentary constituencies, designed to allow the number of MPs to be cut, began in 2011.
And it’s finally come to an end (although strictly speaking, the first review ended in 2013 and a second review was set up to do the same thing).
The Boundary Commission for England is presenting its findings to the Government this week.
It’s up to the Government what happens next, but they’ll probably hold a vote in Parliament on whether to change constituencies – and to cut the number of UK MPs by 50.
One of the original justifications for the change was that it would save money.
When the Government cut funding for police and local councils, it said it was only fair that MPs made cuts too.
But losing 50 MPs won’t make any difference to the public finances.
They get paid £77,379 each, although the salary goes up if you are a Minister or chair a committee. It’s a high wage and they also get expenses for things like rail fares and employing staff. But in the context of total government spending, it’s nothing.
Losing 50 MPs across the whole country won’t make any difference to our taxes, or funding for the NHS.
The other justification is that some constituencies have far more people in than others.
In a sense it means that some votes – those in small constituencies – are worth more than others, because every constituency gets one MP.
And it’s absolutely right that this should be dealt with.
That means changing constituencies so they have more or less the same number of people in.
But you can do that without cutting the current number of MPs.
As it stands, we’re likely to get some really weird seats.
One MP could represent parts of Birmingham and Bromsgrove at the same time.
Some Birmingham residents may be represented by the West Bromwich MP, and some might be represented by a Walsall MP.
It doesn’t make any sense, and it certainly won’t mean we get a better service from our MPs.