The principles and processes of redistribution: Issues raised by recent UK legislation

Ron Johnston*, Charles Pattie, David Rossiter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In 2011 the UK Parliament enacted fundamental changes to the country's procedures for electoral redistributions - redefining Parliamentary constituency boundaries. After five reviews conducted under rules which gave precedence to organic criteria - creating a map of constituencies to reflect and represent distinct communities - it switched to a radically revised set in which arithmetic criteria predominate; all constituencies must have electorates within 5 percentage points of a national electoral quota. This new procedure - outlined here - raises a number of fundamental issues regarding redistribution that are relevant to the large number of countries, many of them in the British Commonwealth, that also elect legislators from single-member constituencies: the relative importance of organic and arithmetic criteria; whether special cases should be allowed deviating from the main rules; the frequency of redistributions; and the role of public participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-26
Number of pages24
JournalCommonwealth and Comparative Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Constituencies
  • Organic and arithmetic criteria
  • Redistribution

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