Long says Westminster boundary plans provide opportunity to reduce number of MLAs

East Belfast Alliance MP Naomi Long, speaking after the publication of the provisional recommendations of the new Westminster constituency boundary review has said that the Assembly should take the opportunity to reduce the number of MLAs and to consider other reforms.

Naomi Long MP said: “Whilst the final detail of the boundaries will only be settled after public consultation, it is clear that Northern Ireland will have 16 parliamentary constituencies at the end of the process.

“If future Assembly elections are fought on Westminster boundaries, the change to 16 constituencies, even with no other changes, would reduce the number of MLAs 108 to 96; however, this would be a good opportunity for the Assembly to consider further reducing its size and, potentially, also other reforms to make it more efficient and effective.

“The Assembly could, for example, choose to go further and reduce the number of members in each constituency from 6 to 5, taking the overall size of the Assembly to 80 members, and delivering cost savings of around £1 million.

“Alliance has always favoured an Assembly of 80-90 members, which would better balance the need for effective representation with cost effectiveness and this could be an opportunity to deliver on that issue.

“Such discussions might also pave the way for discussion of wider reforms of the Assembly structures, such as the voting system, which together would help deliver more efficient and effective governance for the people.”


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