United Kingdom constituencies

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In the United Kingdom, each of the electoral areas or divisions called constituencies elects one or more members to a parliament or assembly.

The United Kingdom now has five bodies with members elected by constituencies:

One member is elected to these bodies for each constituency by the first past the post system of election, except in the Northern Ireland Assembly, where six members are elected for each constituency using the Single Transferable Vote system (A single member is returned to the House of Commons for each Northern Ireland constituency). In addition, the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh and London Assemblies elect further members under the Additional Member System.

As of 2005, the House of Commons has 646 constituencies representing the whole of the United Kingdom. The Scottish Parliament is a devolved parliament with constituencies representing Scotland. The London, Northern Ireland and Welsh assemblies are devolved assemblies with constituencies representing Greater London, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly have legislative powers while the Welsh and London Assemblies do not.

Outside Greater London, England has no directly-elected devolved assembly or parliament and all constituencies are of the House of Commons.

Greater London, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales all have two kinds of constituency: House of Commons and devolved assembly or parliament. A House of Commons constituency may have the same name as that of a devolved body: it does not have necessarily the same boundaries.

For local elections, areas are known as ward or electoral divisions.

[edit] Scottish Parliament constituencies

The Scottish Parliament itself and all its now existing constituencies were created, effectively, in 1999, when the first Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) were elected to the then new parliament.

In 1999, Scottish Parliament constituencies were based on pre-existing United Kingdom House of Commons constituencies. All but two had the same names and boundaries. The two exceptions are Orkney and Shetland: Orkney and Shetland was then, and is now, just one House of Commons constituency and, dating from 1707, the oldest of those constituencies.

For the 2005 House of Commons general election, the number of House of Commons constituencies in Scotland was reduced from 72 to 59 and the Scottish Parliament constituencies remained as they had been in 1999. Just two House of Commons constituencies now have boundaries identical with those of Scottish Parliament constituencies. However, both now have different names: Na h-Eileanan an Iar instead of Western Isles and Renfrewshire East instead of Eastwood.

Scottish Parliament constituencies are grouped into eight electoral regions, each electing seven additional members from party lists, to produce a form of proportional representation.

[edit] See also

United Kingdom constituencies

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