Why should some Scottish votes be worth up to 3.5 times more than English ones?

A Facts4EU.Org exposé of current parliamentary democracy in the United Kingdom

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2021

Post-Brexit, isn’t it time to ‘level up’ democracy in the UK?

The simple fact is that if you voted in the last UK general election in December 2019, your vote had a wildly different value based on where you lived in the United Kingdom.

Ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections in six weeks’ time, Facts4EU.Org looks at the state of parliamentary democracy in the post-EU era in the UK as a whole.

The Westminster Parliament remains the sovereign parliament in the United Kingdom, following the decision of the Scottish people to stay in the Union in their “once in a generation” referendum of 2014. In this report we review democracy in respect of the United Kingdom Parliament and consider one key metric:

How much is your vote worth?

The simplest way to measure this is to look at how many people in each constituency are eligible to vote for a Member of Parliament to represent them. In principle, it might be thought that each of the 650 MPs should represent broadly the same number of voters.

Not only is this not the case it is in fact a long way from reality. We examined the official data on the size of the electorates for each constituency across the UK in the 2019 general election and our findings are below.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

The top 10 and bottom 10 places to live in the UK, for the power of your vote

Top 10 constituencies

  1. Na h-Eileanan An Iar (the Western Isles)
  2. Orkney and Shetland
  3. Arfon
  4. Dwyfor Meirionnydd
  5. Aberconwy
  6. Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
  7. Montgomeryshire
  8. Wrexham
  9. Rhondda
  10. Blaenau Gwent

Bottom 10 constituencies

  1. (England) Isle Of Wight
  2. (England) Bristol West
  3. (England) West Ham
  4. (England) Milton Keynes South
  5. (England) North West Cambridgeshire
  6. (England) Sleaford and North Hykeham
  7. (England) Bermondsey and Old Southwark
  8. (England) Hackney North and Stoke Newington
  9. (England) Manchester Central
  10. (England) Poplar and Limehouse

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

  • The SNP MP Angus MacNeil in the Western Isles won his seat at Westminster by garnering a total of just 6,531 votes
  • The Conservative MP Bob Seely in the Isle of Wight won his seat at Westminster by securing 41,815 votes
  • In terms of representation, a vote in the Western Isles is worth 3.5 times more than a vote on the Isle of Wight
  • Angus MacNeil's winning votes in Scotland would barely have kept his deposit in the Isle of Wight

If you're English, your vote is worth less than if you live in Scotland, Wales, or N.I.

The UK Parliament service does not give a summary of the average size of constituencies in each of the four nations of the United Kingdom: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It does so for the latter three, but not for England. The Parliament service chooses to break England into regions and then give averages for each region.

Facts4EU.Org felt that readers might wish to know the average size of a constituency in each nation, giving England a comparable status to the other nations, and the results of this analysis are below.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

How much more is your vote worth in each of the UK's four nations?

  • The percentage worth of an average Welsh vote compared to an average English vote : +29.1%
  • The percentage worth of an average Scottish vote compared to an average English vote : +9.0%
  • The percentage worth of an average Northern Irish vote compared to an average English vote : +4.1%

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

Note: The official flag of Northern Ireland is the Union Jack, so this is what we have used in the chart above.

If the UK Parliament represented the four nations' electorates numerically, how many MPs would each nation have?

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

If Parliament represented the four nations' electorates equally, this is how the seats would change

  • England: +12 seats
  • Scotland: -4 seats
  • Wales: -8 seats
  • Northern Ireland: No change

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

What is the Boundaries Commission doing?

Every five years the Boundaries Commission has reported on the size and coverage of parliamentary constituencies. In December Royal Assent was given to the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 2020. This new legislation makes amendments to the process for the next and subsequent Parliamentary constituency boundary reviews. Amongst the changes were:

  1. Restoring the total number of constituencies to 650 (reviews since 2011 were required to be based on 600)
  2. Adding an additional ‘protected’ constituency, i.e. not subject to the general requirement of a minimum and maximum electorate that they can recommend, of Ynys Môn (Anglesey)

None of this is relevant, of course, unless a government acts on the recommendations which the Boundary Commission presents, which is becoming extremely rare.


Whenever we research and publish a report such as the one above we are accused of 'nationalism' by - ironically - nationalists. All we have done is to try to present summary information on the parliamentary democracy in the United Kingdom, to inform the debate.

Our readers come from all across the UK, and from many other countries. The Brexit Facts4EU.Org team is the same. There is no question in our minds that democracy is much safer in the United Kingdom than it is in the European Union bureaucracy in Brussels, but this does not mean that we should not constantly seek to improve.

Democracy - served best with the consent of the majority in all nations

Clearly the size of constituencies in the UK in terms of the number of their registered voters is a crude measure but it is nevertheless important. People should feel that their vote is broadly worth the same, no matter where they live in the United Kingdom.

In a sense, the Boundaries Commission has an impossible task. They have to look at a great many factors, including local authority boundaries, people's sense of identity in given areas, and the matter of physical geography. That said, for the people of the Isle of Wight to know that the people of the Western Isles (now known as Na h-Eileanan An Iar) have a vote which is 3.5 times more powerful in terms of representation in Westminster cannot be a comfortable thought.

Not one single English constituency appears in our analysis of the top 10 constituencies by voter power. Indeed only three English constituencies appear in the top 30, yet England has by far the largest population of all four nations.

Democracy and freedom have been hard fought over for centuries. Our Union has been in existence for over 300 years. Surely the United Kingdom needs more of what the EU calls a ‘level playing field’ for English people when it comes to parliamentary representation?

Democracy might be much healthier in the UK than in the EU machinery of Brussels, but in this post-Brexit world perhaps ‘a refresh’ would not be a bad thing.

Where would we be without you, our readers?

Producing reports like the one above take time and they are unique. No-one at the BBC seems to be the least bit interested in investigating and revealing information like this to the public. If fighting for British sovereignty and freedom is important to you, please read on.

We are most grateful to readers who have donated so far this year, but we badly need more readers to do the same if we are to continue in our sixth year - researching facts, scrutinising, publishing, and lobbying MPs. Quick, secure, and confidential donation links are below this article, or you can use our Donations page here. 10 readers donating £500 per month, or 50 readers donating £100 per month, or 1000 readers donating £5 per month - on top of the one-off donations and monthly donations we currently receive, this would just about keep us going. If you have never donated before, please, please, keep us going with a donation now. Thank you so much. You will receive a personal 'thank you' email from a member of the team, but you will not be badgered by us for more funds, unlike some organisations!

[ Sources: UK Parliament service | ONS ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Sat 27 Mar 2021

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