Dozens of British MPs, including secretary of state Priti Patel, face uncertain futures under proposals by an independent commission charged with cutting the number of parliamentary seats.
The Boundary Commission for England unveiled its proposals on Tuesday (September 13) to meet parliament’s decision to reduce the number of constituencies, or voting areas, to 600 from the current 650 in Britain to make sure the number of voters in each region is similar.
Labour MPs say they will oppose the changes, arguing they disproportionately affect the left-leaning party. However, Patel, Conservative MP for Witham, could potentially be moved into another Essex seat vacated by a retiring colleague.
The proposals are not final: they will be debated by the public before being presented to parliament in 2018. They are aimed at creating constituencies of 71,000 to 78,500 voters, compared with a current range between 55,000 and 95,000.
Other high-profile politicians who will have their seats withdrawn include Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, former chancellor George Osborne and foreign secretary Boris Johnson. Yvette Cooper, Tristram Hunt and Owen Smith are also set to be affected.
“Today’s proposals mark the first time people get to see what the new map of parliamentary constituencies might look like,” Sam Hartley, secretary to the commission, said in a statement.
“Parliament has set us tight rules about reducing the number of constituencies, and making them of more equal size, and we now need the views of people around the country to help us shape constituencies that best reflect local areas.”
The commission said England will lose 33 constituencies.
Robert Haywood, an analyst and member of House of Lords, said Labour could lose up to 30 seats, with the ruling Conservative Party set to see between 10 and 15 of its seats disappear.
More broadly, the changes, if accepted, would make it harder for Labour – which is expected to lose some 25 seats under these proposals – to take power, and easier for prime minister Theresa May’s Conservatives to stay in office.
As well as reducing the number of MPs, the review aims to balance out the size of constituencies, which have been altered by demographic change over the years, to an average of 74,769.
Corbyn said he was “very unhappy” about the suggested size of a new constituency. His party has said it will fight the proposed changes.