Boundary Review puts too many MPs ‘in the pocket of the PM’

Increasing proportion of government payroll MPs reduces backbench scrutiny


The government’s plan to cut the size of parliament will increase the proportion of MPs on the government payroll, the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) has flagged.

According to new research, in a 600-seat Commons some 23 per cent of MPs would be on the government payroll, the highest proportion ever. The ERS warns that this could have ‘deeply worrying’ effects on parliamentary scrutiny and is calling for a cap on the number of payroll MPs.

‘This research shows we risk a crisis of scrutiny if the cut in MPs goes ahead without a corresponding cap on the number of payroll MPs,’ ERS chief executive Katie Ghose commented.

Having nearly a quarter of all MPs in the pocket of the PM is not a healthy situation for our democracy.

“By cutting the size of the Commons without cutting the size of the payroll, Parliament’s ability to scrutinise the government will be weakened. Now is the time to take notice of this much-ignored but highly concerning trend.

“While having enough MPs on the payroll is essential for good government, the numbers have been inflating for decades. Being on the Prime Minister’s payroll ties MPs’ hands – they’re locked into collective responsibility, meaning they can’t speak publicly about policy failures or air important differences of opinion in parliamentary debates.”

The final boundary review proposals will be published by September 2018, allowing for implementation in 2020 general election.

See also: Maine makes history as first US state to back fair votes

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3 Responses to “Boundary Review puts too many MPs ‘in the pocket of the PM’”

  1. Clipper

    Will this spell the end for the Labour and SNP rotten boroughs up north?

  2. Mick

    Aaaaaaaah! LFF knows that Labour are losers as it is, without losing more seats in boundary changes! This is another whinge and here’s why:

    Tony Blair abolished hereditary peers – independent and scrutinising – and instead replaced them with elevated cronies to further marginalise the Tories. THAT was a scandal, this isn’t.

    Parliamentary seats will shrink but MPs ‘on the payroll’ will not expand. And anyway, aren’t these people subject to the Whip on government policy anyway?

  3. Tony

    This is true enough. A cut in government posts is not being proposed at all. The number of unpaid Parliamentary Private Secretaries (PPS) should also be cut. These people used to be allowed to vote against the government on matters that did not concern their own departments.

    And why, in the post-devolution era, do we still have a secretary of state for Scotland, one for Wales and another for Northern Ireland?

Comments are closed.