On Monday the government tabled the final recommendations of the boundary review. As usual, I’ve done updated notional calculations for what the results of the 2017 election would have been if fought on the new constituency boundaries. They are viewable in full on a google spreadsheet on the link below:

2017 notional election results on new boundaries

For those who have followed the process these recommendations are not much different from those at the revised stage. The Commissions have altered a number of proposed constituency names, and moved a few wards back and forth here and there, but in most cases the broad recommendations are very similar to the last lot – the most significant differences are in East Sussex and around Stockport. As such the party partisan impact of the proposed boundaries are also much the same. If the last general election had been fought on these new boundaries the result would have been something like Conservative 307(-10), Labour 234(-28), SNP 30(-5), Liberal Democrats 8(-4), Others 21(-3). All of the high profile seat changes are largely the same – Boris Johnson and Iain Duncan Smith still both see their seats become tight marginals, Jeremy Corbyn’s seat is still carved up and combined with half of Dianne Abbott’s seat.

A few caveats to those numbers. First, for the avoidance of doubt, they are not a prediction of what would happen now, it’s an estimate what would have happened if the votes cast in 2017 had been counted on these new boundaries. Secondly, they cannot take account of whether people would have voted differently if the boundaries had been different. My feeling is that always someone understates how well the Lib Dems would have done – someone in a Lab-Con marginal might have voted differently if their ward had been included in a Con-LD marginal. Thirdly, these are just one estimate. Rallings & Thrasher, who produce the official estimates that the BBC, Sky and other media outlets would use to calculate swings at the next election have already produced their own totals, which are similar to the ones I have (for good reason, I use pretty much the same method that Rallings & Thrasher do) – their totals are CON 308, LAB 232, SNP 33, LDEM 7, Other 20.

The most important caveat however is that these boundaries still have to be voted on by Parliament to actually come into force. The DUP may back them after all (the initial recommendations were very bad for them and good for Sinn Fein, but the revised and final recommendations retained a four seat arrangement for Belfast, meaning the DUP should retain all their seats), but that still leaves the government with a wafer thin majority. It will only take a handful of rebels (either worried about their own seats, or objecting to things like the seat crossing the Devon-Cornwall border, or opposed in principle to the reduction in seats) to block the changes. We won’t find out in the immediate future, as the government have said the vote will be delayed for some months while the necessary legislation is drafted.

For more on the boundary review, Keiran Pedley has done a nice interview with the great Professor Ron Johnston on his podcast here.

While I was playing with boundary data yesterday, there was also a new YouGov poll of London for Phil Cowley at Queen Mary University London that I haven’t had time to write about yet. Full details of that are here.

705 Responses to “The end of the boundary review”

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  1. Alec;

    What you have written at 6.54 pm is fine by me. It`s broadcasters and the columnists of so-called quality newspapers who to me have not probed hard enough

  2. @Sam – that links helps. Clearly there have been some serious problems with the NI RHI!

    The fact that the unit RHI is above pellet costs isn’t so much the problem, but the tiering is. The English scheme adopts the 1314 hours for the Tier 1 payments, which means that you get the full RHI price for a system output of (boiler capacity in kW) x 1314 (hours operation pa).

    The 1314 hours bit is assumed to be 75% of the average 1800 hour pa heating season (eg most heating boilers work for 1800 hours per year). Above this level of output, you get the Tier 2 RHI, which is a much reduced rate, and crucially less than the fuel cost. This generally limits the incentive to burn the boiler while providing something like a 7 year payback for the investment, subject to other site specific variables.

    The NI variant of the scheme appears to have a 3000 hour Tier 1 limit, which is more than double what we have here and seems remarkably generous. It looks like this issue was identified by officials and ignored, and so this is where the scandal arises.

    Whether or not this is basic incompetence or a deliberate move to favour a friendly industrial sector by politicians I can’t say, but I guess that’s what the enquiry is all about. certainly, in my view someone should have resigned over this, as it is a scandalous waste of public money.

  3. Recall petition for Ian Paisley has now closed – result expected around 1 am.

    It’s unknown whether Paisley will be including others in a Conference call to find out the result and intimidate the returning officer. :-)

  4. @Davwel,

    I didn’t respond to a few of your earlier posts on Salisbury (or at least not successfully) mainly because of problems with UKPR. Now I seem to have found a workaround I’ll try responding again!

    Firstly, on your specific point about Montgomery Gardens, if you look at the CCTV image at 11:58:58 and look at the white markings on the road, and then compare this with Google Earth, you will see that they were just a few yards East of the junction with Cherry Orchard Lane. They had therefore passed the footpath leading to Montgomery Gardens (which is more or less opposite Gorringe Road).

    If they did walk to the Skripals, it is more likely they did so along Canadian Avenue (a relatively wide street).

    However, having done a lot of house to house enquiries in my life, I can tell you that it is very rare to find a witness who remembers seeing passers-by. Besides which, given the weather conditions, I’m not sure many people would have been out on foot or at the front of their houses. I wouldn’t set too much store by the lack of sightings in the CPS package – and remember they might be withholding something.

    As for needing a lift from the vicinity of the Skripals back to town. That’s a more plausible suggestion. Looking at the images I can’t find an exact match on Google Earth for where they were, but the closest is the junction with Summerlock Approach, heading North West. That doesn’t really make sense, if they had walked from Wilton Road to Christie Miller Road. Google Maps suggests this is a 22 minute walk but a 4 minute drive. Making some assumptions – that they were at that junction and not another spot that has changed since Google Earth last visited the street – that the time clocks on the CCTV are both accurate – then they got from Wilton Road to the Skripals and then to the Fisherton Street junction in 10 minutes. They simply couldn’t have been on foot. Of course they could have hailed a taxi etc, but the notion of a conspirator picking them up is definitely not fanciful.

    When it comes to “believing the Tory government” remember that most of what is being set out for us isn’t from “the government” but from the police and CPS which isn’t the same thing. I am not suggesting that the police and CPS aren’t susceptible to a degree of pressure on timings and presentation, but I see no reason to believe or even to suspect that they would be involved in some political conspiracy with Theresa May. This is real life, not a Jed Mercurio drama.

    The bits that we are getting only from the government (as a conduit from the security services one assumes) are that the suspects are GRU officers, and that the Russian government / Putin are responsible.

    Even if you take that bit with a pinch of salt (and remember, Iraq wasn’t about inventing false intelligence, but about political manipulation of real intelligence to make it look more convincing and reliable than it was) then it still looks pretty convincing from the evidence presented that these two gents were responsible. And we know from RT that they genuinely are Russians (not Ukrainians, Israelis or Brits).

    If you take a look at the Bellingcat stuff Alec linked, there is are some images of documentation that, if genuine, certainly points to them being GRU agents. Of course you can dismiss Bellingcat as a CIA front etc, but the information looks fairly convincing at face value (and much more convincing than RT have presented).

    I am sure that you are right that there is a lot more to come out about this incident. I tend to lean the other way to you as to what the additional stuff to come out will tell us. I suspect it is likely to more evidence of guilt that the police are still investigating, rather than startling new facts that undermine the prosecution case.

  5. @Davwel

    Arrgh! Ignore what I said about the journey to Fisherton Street. I misread the timings. They had an 70 minutes not 10 minutes, so could easily have walked to town and a third person / vehicle is not necessary.

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