House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1944

The House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1944 (7 & 8 Geo.6. c.41) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that established permanent boundary commissions for each of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom, and provided for the periodic review of the number and boundaries of parliamentary constituencies.

The Act established the membership of each commission, the procedures to be followed by the commissions, and the rules for the redistribution of seats for the commissions to observe. The commissions' initial reviews of constituencies under the Act were implemented by the Representation of the People Act 1948.[1]

The boundary commissions

The Speaker of the House of Commons was to be the chairman of each of the four commissions. The remaining members were as follows:

Boundary Commission for England

Boundary Commission for Scotland

Boundary Commission for Wales

(For the purposes ot the Act Wales included Monmouthshire)

Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland

No member of the Commons, or of either house of the Parliament of Northern Ireland was qualified to be a commissioner, and any serving commissioner would be disqualified on becoming a member of any of these bodies.

Rules for redistribution of seats

The Act contained a number of rules to guide the work of the commissions.

Number of constituencies

Rules on dividing and combining counties and districts

"As far as practicable" in England and Wales:

In Scotland:

In Northern Ireland:


The electorate of any constituency should not differ from the "electoral quota" by more than 25%.

The electoral quota was obtained by dividing the total electorate for either Great Britain or Northern Ireland by the number of allocated seats.

Special geographical considerations

Each commission were allowed to depart from the rules on areas or electorate in special cases "including in particular the size, shape and accessibility of a constituency" in order to form constituencies.

Amendment and repeal

The 1944 Act was amended by the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1947, and succeeded by the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1949 which amended the rules for the redistribution of seats, but did not change the membership or procedures of the commissions.


  1. The Boundary Commissions: redrawing the UK's map of Parliamentary constituencies; D J Rossiter, R J Johnston, C J Pattie; Manchester University Press, 1999.
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