Consolidating the system: 1930–2010
in Representative democracy?
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With the achievement of the universal adult franchise, it became increasingly important to find an agreed mechanism for periodically redrawing the map of parliamentary constituencies to take account of the countries’ changing population geography. The 'British solution' – periodic redistricting carried out by impartial Boundary Commissions – emerged from debates before 1945, and was codified in legislation passed immediately after the Second World War, That legislation, adapted in various ways down the years, is the focus of this chapter, which examines how the rules evolved and how the redistricting process operated (and with what effect). The rules required the Boundary Commissions to balance two principles: the organic (the representation of distinct communities) and the arithmetic (ensuring, as far as possible, that constituencies contained near-identical electorates). But the relative balance to be achieved between these two imperative was not clear in the legislation.

Representative democracy?

Geography and the British electoral system

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