Number of British MPs

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Number of British MPs

Over the history of the House of Commons, the number of Members of Parliament (MPs) has varied for various reasons, with increases in recent years due to increases in the population of the United Kingdom. There are currently 646 MPs, corresponding to approximately one for every 92,000 people, or one for every 68,000 parliamentary electors.

Total number of MPs (1918-)

  • 1918    707    (Lloyd George)
  • 1922    615    (Bonar Law)
  • 1923    615    (Baldwin)
  • 1924    615    (Baldwin)
  • 1929    615    (Macdonald)
  • 1931    615    (Macdonald)
  • 1935    615    (Baldwin)
  • 1945    640    (Atlee)
  • 1950    625    (Atlee)
  • 1951    625    (Churchill)
  • 1955    630    (Eden)
  • 1959    630    (Macmillan)
  • 1964    630    (Wilson)
  • 1966    630    (Wilson)
  • 1970    630    (Heath)
  • 1974    635    (Wilson)
  • 1974    635    (Wilson)
  • 1979    635    (Thatcher)
  • 1983    650    (Thatcher)
  • 1987    650    (Thatcher)
  • 1992    651    (Major)
  • 1997    659    (Blair)
  • 2001    659    (Blair)
  • 2005    646    (Blair)


The total number of MPs elected is given for each General Election, with the winning Prime Minister shown in parentheses. The period between 1918 and 1922 saw the most MPs in the history of Parliament. The sharp decrease in 1922 was due to the independence of the Irish Free State.

Total number of MPs (1688-1918)

Following the Glorious Revolution of 1688 there were 513 MPs, until the Act of Union 1707 added 45 MPs for Scotland. These 558 were again increased to 658 by the Act of Union 1800, with the addition of MPs for Ireland. Over the next 80 years the number varied only slightly, despite the Reform Act 1832, and the 658 MPs dropped to 652 by the General Election of 1880. With the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885, introduced in the wake of the Reform Act of 1884, it was increased to 672 and remained essentially steady until the Representation of the People Act at the end of the First World War.

Number of Scottish MPs

The total number of MPs representing Scottish constituencies has been varied by Act of Parliament several times since the Acts of Union. These are the occasions on which the number has been changed, and the number of MPs following the change is given in each case.

  • 1707    45
  • 1832    53
  • 1867    60
  • 1885    72
  • 1918    74
  • 1948    71
  • 1983    72
  • 2003    59


In 2003, following the creation of the Scottish Parliament, the Boundary Commission for Scotland met to recommend a decrease in the number of Scottish MPs to bring the average number per head of population in line with the national average. This change came into effect following the May 2005 General Election.

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