600 seats

I’ve written a lot about AV over recent days, what about the boundary review. Now we know the new target number of seats upon which the quota will be set (600), the tolerance that will be allowed either side of that quota (5%), and the exceptions that will be allowed (the Western Isles, Orkney & Shetland and a cap by area), we can take some guesses at what the overall impact will be.

The North East is rather tricky to fit into the new quotas. Northumberland only qualifies for 3 seats (while Berwick-upon-Tweed is a large, underpopulated seat, it doesn’t come close to the geographical limit!), but they would be grossly overpopulated so would need to be paired with one or more Tyne and Wear Boroughs. Durham could be divided into 6 seats, but the Cleveland Boroughs need to be paired with it if not to produce oversized seats. We’d end up with 14 seats in Northumberland and Tyne and Wear, down 2, and 12 seats in Cleveland and Durham, down 1.

In Yorkshire North Yorkshire would not lose anything, and would presumably have only minor changes. Humberside would lose 1 seat, as would both South and West Yorkshire.

The North West is also relatively straightforward on paper, Merseyside would lose 2 seats, Cheshire would lose 1, Lancashire would lose 1, Manchester would lose 1 and so would Cumbria. In practice there are probably some tricky problems to solve. The Wirral would currently get three seats, but they would be just above the 5% limit, so unless the quota has risen by December 2010 (or the population of the Wirral fallen), the spectre of a cross-Mersey seat would rise again. Cumbria is also probably also going to be tricky to divide into 5 neat seats.

In the East Midlands, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire would retain 10 and 7 seats, so would probably have only minor changes. Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire would both lose a seat. Northamptonshire would qualify for 7 seats, but they would be too small to be within 5% of the new quota, so it would need to be paired with a neighbouring county. The most obvious candidate would be Bedfordshire to the South, which also needs to be paired to avoid undersized seats. Between them they would have 12 quota sized seats, compared to 13 currently.

In the rest of the East of England Hertfordshire and Suffolk would have only minor changes. Cambridgeshire could also be treated alone, but Norfolk needs to be paired in order to produce seats within the quota limits, and a pairing with Cambridgeshire would produce seats closest to the quota – between them the two counties would retain 16 seats. Finally for the East, Essex would need to lose 1 seat.

The West Midlands are another tricky region. Worcestershire, the West Midlands (down 3) and Staffordshire (down 1) can all be divided into seats within 5% of quota (though dividing Birmingham’s huge wards into seats within the 5% tolerance will be fun!). Shropshire and Herefordshire would need to be paired, but putting them together doesn’t help, so they would need to be dealt with together with Worcestershire (between them losing one seat). But this leaves Warwickshire too large to result in 5 seats inside the 5% limit. It could be paired with some of the Metropolitan boroughs, but a neater solution may be pairing Warwickshire with Oxfordshire, which would otherwise be oversized – together the two seats would retain their existing number of seats.

The rest of the South East should have very little disruption from the review. Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East and West Sussex, Surrey could all retain the same number of seats and hit the new quota. Hampshire would lose a seat based on its own electorate, but unless an extra exception is made it will need to be paired with the Isle of Wight creating a cross-Solent seat. Between them the Isle of Wight and Hampshire will retain the same number of seats. Kent therefore becomes the only county in the South East to lose a seat.

In the South-West Cornwall will probably be upset about being paired with another county, but it is unavoidable. With an entitlement of almost exactly 5.5 seats it will need to be paired with Devon, between them having 17 seats, one down on currently. The former county of Avon will lose 1 seat, Gloucestershire will be largely unchanged. This leaves Dorset and Wiltshire where the average seat sizes will be too small, and Somerset where they will be too large. To me, the most sensible solution is pairing Wiltshire and Dorset, with Somerset paired with one or both of the parts of Avon originally drawn from Somerset. The result will be that Avon/Somerset lose one seat between them, and Dorset/Wiltshire lose one seat between them.

London as a whole will have 70 seats, down from 73. There are obviously a large number of possible pairings of Boroughs to get to this point.

Northern Ireland will lose 3 seats.

Wales will suffer the harshest reduction in seats, down from 40 to 30 as its quota comes into line with the quota elsewhere in the country. Once again, there will be some tricky decisions for the boundary commission. My guess is Gwynedd will need to be linked with Clwyd (losing 3 seats between them), Powys will need to be linked to some other county – perhaps Gwent. The ERS’s stab at what sort of result boundary changes might produce had a rather odd link between Powys and Dyfed, which looks unlikely, but does make the maths work nicely. Either way, most of the rest of Wales will need to be linked up and there are various ways it might pan out.

Finally, Scotland would have a quota of 51 seats, down from 59. However, we know there are exceptions to the rules for the Highlands and Islands. These mean that the Western Isles and Orkney and Shetland retain their current undersized seats. The Highlands are entitled to 2 seats based on the quota (though they would be more than 5% from the quota, so it would need to be paired.) In practice, I think it would be impossible to come up with a solution that didn’t involve a seat larger than the current Ross, Skye and Lochaber, which is to be the statutory geographical limit on size, so the Highlands will probably retain three seats (one possible solution that kept all the seats within 5% of the quota and under the geographical size of RS&L would be to put the south of the current RS&L with the undersized Argyll and Bute, then splitting the remainder of RS&L between the other two highland seats – I think one would still end up being too large geographically though. With the Highlands and Islands taken care of, the rest of Scotland would be entitled to 48 seats, producing a total of 52 or 53, down 6 or 7.


263 Responses to “600 seats”

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  1. @Amber
    Thank you for clarifying
    i therefore apologize for my misunderstanding of the reply.I will however look in detail at this article as it is something I do feel quite strongly about.;-)

  2. Interesting article today in the Independent by Steve Richards on the identity crises produced for each political party by Blair/Cameron and Clegg over the last decade.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/steve-richards/steve-richards-av-doesnt-make-up-for-rabid-cuts-2019235.html

    I had forgotten that Cameron once asked Greg Dyke (a Lib Dem) to stand as a Conservative/Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London.

    Some interesting bits:

    Clegg is in a similar position in relation to his party as Tony Blair was over Iraq. Blair used to go around telling his colleagues: “It’s worse than you think. I believe in the policy.” Clegg is known to have told friends after George Osborne’s Budget: “The good news is I’m not a patsy. The bad news is I believe in the Budget.”

    Each party has undergone something of an identity crisis in recent years. As Labour leader, Tony Blair spoke of a new era of political cross-dressing. For someone who could be modestly self-deprecating, he had a genius for extrapolating from his own rootless politics to an entire global phenomenon. As a result Labour is unsure whether it won three elections because it had a leader who was not on the centre-left, or whether England is now a more progressive country that is ready to hear a message a millimetre to the left of Cameron.

  3. @ Eoin

    Well as Laszlo point out it is illegal to not return the form. We don’t want your Mum going to jail. (That was going to be “keep yer Mammy out of Maghaberry”, but they stopped having women prisoners a while back :) )

    @ Laszlo

    You’re right – it always amazes me. Future government finances, local and national, are horribly distorted for decades ahead by the payments due under PFI etc and no one takes it into consideration.

    It’s like cutting jobs and ignoring the consequent social security costs or retiring people early onto pension to reduce job numbers – both of which we’re about to see lots of. If you make it somebody else’s problem it goes away: but it doesn’t if you’re the government and your just transferring expenditure!

    It’ll be interesting to see how registration officers react not just to the coming of individual registration, but in pressure to achieve fuller registration (the Electoral Commission has been nagging for a while). After all it’s not normally a front line service.
    Apparently Hammersmith force landlords of multiple occupation properties to register their tenants – that might be one way to go.

    Incidentally I assume that the BCs use the figures with the “L” s (or whatever it is) taken out.

  4. @ Chris Todd

    Although it will favour the Conservatives and to some degree LibDems, it is not gerrymandering. It just happens to have this outcome and hence there is a vested interest to implement it/resist it. But it’s not possible to argue against it on “equality” basis.

    If the BC starts to carve the new constituencies in a particular manner – then it can be scrutinised in the way you suggested. But I just cannot imagine that it would be the interest of either the government or the Commission.

  5. @ Eoin

    Well as Laszlo point out it is illegal to not return the form. We don’t want your Mum going to jail. (That was going to be “keep yer Mammy out of Maghaberry”, but they stopped having women prisoners a while back :) )

    @ Laszlo

    You’re right – it always amazes me. Future government finances, local and national, are horribly distorted for decades ahead by the payments due under PFI etc and no one takes it into consideration.

    It’s like cutting jobs and ignoring the consequent social security costs or retiring people early onto pension to reduce job numbers – both of which we’re about to see lots of. If you make it somebody else’s problem it goes away: but it doesn’t if you’re the government and your just transferring expenditure!

    It’ll be interesting to see how registration officers react not just to the coming of individual registration, but in pressure to achieve fuller registration. That’s not just financially for better allocation and politically for increased representation; the Electoral Commission has been monitoring for a while.

    However registration’s not normally “a front line service” and times ate tight. Apparently Hammersmith force landlords of multiple occupation properties to register their tenants – that might be one way to go.

    Incidentally I assume that the BCs use the figures with the “L” s (or whatever it is) taken out.

    [Modified and re-posted for EMA purposes]

  6. Anthony

    Any idea why the Electronic Maiden Aunt has thrown my last post (plus attempted modification) into Limbo? Second version if possible (reading “are” for “ate” folks). Thanks

  7. @ Anthony

    I know (from you) that the redrawing of the boundaries are decided on the basis of the electoral roll, but even in your article you wrote:

    “The Wirral would currently get three seats, but they would be just above the 5% limit, so unless the quota has risen by December 2010 (or the population of the Wirral fallen), ”

    I guess in most parts of the Wirral the registration is quite high, but it’s not the population. Could you please clarify it.

    Would be interesting to see a cross-Mersey constitutuency, but I don’t think it would happen.

  8. At the moment it is expected that the changes will be detrimental to Labour & that the Conservatives will benefit This is simply based on the math of Cons needing a higher % vote to get the same number of seats as Labour.

    But the BC will not arrange the new boundaries specifically to redress electoral bias. It may be that the outcome will not be as favourable as the we currently think.

    It is a widely agreed assumption that Labour voters do not turn out in seats that are safe for Labour, or in which Labour appear to have no chance of winning. It is also an agreed assumption that Conservative voters tend to turn-out regardless of the safety of the constituency they are voting in.

    Therefore changing the electoral map may simply require Labour activists to work harder at getting their vote out to off-set the impact of boundary changes.

    And if any marginals that went against Labour are topped up from Labour voting areas, it could just swing a seat in Labour’s direction.

    Basically, I am pointing out that there are too many unknowns to go by the simple math. There could be some surprises in store for us all along the way.
    8-)

  9. Anthony

    EONI gives a NI electorate of 1196138 as at 1 July 2010.

    ht tp://www.eoni.org.uk/july_2010_electorate_by_ward.pdf

    I think this comes to 15.68 seats with your quota of 76262. So they’ll either have to give them 16, add on a few Scottish islands or invade the South. ;)

    Laszlo

    The drop in population will be caused by elderly Wirral matrons having heart attacks at the thought of being in a Liverpool constituency (come on, these people even refuse to have a Liverpool postcode). :)

  10. Roger, If you divide that 1196138 by 16, you get 74759, which is within 5% of 76262. It may well be tough for BC to construct 16 constituencies within 5% of 76262, though. But that suggests NI losing 2, not 3 as AW says.

  11. @ Roger Mexico

    :-). Yes, though probably Birkenhead would be the only feasible one (I don’t think the constituents would mind FF disappearing, although probably not at the cost of merging with Liverpool 1.

    My point was that Anthony mentioned population and not registration. I guess even in some of the better off parts of the Wirral the registration is far from 100%.

    Some of these changes would be rather problematic in Merseyside – could cause resentment and could cause all kinds of prediction problems.

    LibDems had some hopes in West Derby and had even more in Wavertree (cf. the number of party chief visits). But Wavertree also has Kensington and Old Swan not only Childwall.

    West Derby is interesting from the point of view of the current issue. Originally the BC proposed to merge Croxteth with Kirkby, but essentially the inhabitants refused it (public consultation). This meant that LibDem hopes faded, because while WD is relatively well off, the constituency also has Croxteth, Norris Green, Tuebrook, etc..

  12. Laszlo – my clumsy writing. Any reference in there to population should read electorate. Incidentally, a cross Mersey seat was provisionally recommended in the boundary review just gone, but did not survive to see the revised recommendations.

    Roger – the EONI are rather wonderful people for putting up data like that! I wish the rest of the country did. Anyway, I’m using electorate figures from May 2010, hence the difference. The HoC Library has the electorate of Northern Ireland on election day as 1,169,184.

  13. As Merseyside was the subject, my home city also lives in a parallel world. :-)

    ht tp://www.liverpool.gov.uk/Council_government_and_democracy/Political_parties/index.asp

  14. A 5% deviation is way too restrictive. In Germany, where the average FPTP seat has 207,000 voters, the commission is allowed a deviation of up to 15%, while a boundary review is automatically triggered if any seat deviates by more than 25%. (That’s narrowed from the 25% deviation and 33% “trigger” that was permitted pre 2002.) That seems a sensible enough system, especially given the lower electorates in the UK.

    Eoin, I recently drew 15 Northern Ireland seats on the basis of the current council boundaries (as the new ones are still in limbo) and Mid Ulster got the chop, with Belfast losing two seats. North and West Belfast ended up with 26 Belfast city wards with South and East Belfast having 25 wards, including Ladybrook.

  15. I like the idea of smaller majorities that will ensue from this. Under normal circumstances no government really needs a majority over 100 to get its election manifesto promises and anything else not completely weird through parliament.

    Yet out of the last 30 years we had majorities over 100 and we can see what happened. A smaller majority is less likely to lead to arrogance and being out of touch with the electorate. Those thumping victories came probably too easily.

    Not so sure about what will happen in NI, though, but overall sounding okay.

  16. @ Anthony

    Thanks.

    ” a cross Mersey seat was provisionally recommended in the boundary review just gone, but did not survive to see the revised recommendations”

    Yes, and I mentioned above the redesign of West Derby, which did not survive either.

    I think BC will have a very tough job and quite a few turmoils and nightmares for the polling companies.

  17. Valenciano

    Belfast could lose all four seats and it would cause me know lack of sleep

    I am sure my own constituency will be first to go… my postcode had a turnout of less than 30% which compared to some areas of NI is about 2.5 times the average…

    Voter apathy rules supreme. I am not sure what voting system we use for NI will make the blind bit of difference. Catholics vote for catholic parties and prods vote for proddie parties….

    Laszlo,

    Your post on mersyside is very interesting indeed… that would break with convention would it not? To stradle a river (electorally speaking)

  18. @Amber Star

    Labour voters generally will be more energised (having been reminded about the Conservatives), and especially so where they have had to absorb part of a blue area (in which there may be some red ‘sleepers’ ;) ).

  19. Roger Mexico – “EONI gives a NI electorate of 1196138 as at 1 July 2010.
    I think this comes to 15.68 seats with your quota of 76262. So they’ll either have to give them 16, add on a few Scottish islands or invade the South. ”

    HaHa!! Made me lol. Mind you the way things are looking…..

    Thank you Amber, you were entirely right. This so called bias to Labour is negligible, and as someone said earlier (sorry I forget who) often it is a case of believing the propaganda only to find that in fact the mere percentages don’t tell the whole story.

    Therefore taking 12 or so seats away from Labour might be reasonable. Taking 58 would be a pitiful attempt to create a bias the other way.

    Still, the reason for my cheerful philosophy is the more Labour are restricted, the harder we fight the chains. Tis what we exist for. As Eoin said, it won’t matter when Labour win the next landslide anyway.

    **********************************************************

    I’d just like to say one thing however. Imagine if you all will, that Brown won the election. Those of a blue persuasion woke up on May 7th dismayed to find Gordon “clinging onto power by his fingertips” for another term.
    A week or two later, he announces he is going to cull about 60 seats from Surrey, Sussex, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, legislate for a 5 year term, come what may and insist on 66% of MPs voting to get rid of him.
    Those same blueys accusing reds of blinkers, tribalism and goodness knows what just now, might want to think about that scenario for a minute and ponder the words they would be using to describe our good leader.

  20. @ Sue Marsh

    Imagine if you all will, that Brown won the election. _________________________________________

    I would rather not if you don’t mind. Would give me sleepless nights :D

  21. Just one thought. If we can start calling MPs ‘the six hundred’ (or even ‘the noble six hundred’) are we to rename the House of Commons ‘The Valley of Death?

  22. Alec – Oh, very good! :)

  23. @ Eoin

    “that would break with convention would it not? To stradle a river (electorally speaking)”

    It would be quite a challenge, I think. I expect that the BC would avoid it (consider that when Everton was tossing with the idea of moving it’s stadium, the chanting response was that they are not a Liverpool team). And Wirral people make a point that they are not even Merseyside – I guess to manage the process the easiest would be to expand the Wirral towards Chester and Liverpool just absorbs the edges of the other Merseyside sub-regions and loosing the two seats in this way.

    Culturally Wirral and Merseyside are very different (perhaps with the exception of Birkenhead as I said and there are some, though limited similarities between some parts of the Wirral and St Helens) even though lots of people from from the Wirral work at Liverpool (but less so vice versa). Quite a challange to any MP candidate to try to sell a unified message. And quite a challange to get through the public consultations.

  24. If Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland are to get special treatment, it should be compensated for by increasing the size of the other Scottish constituencies. Why should Scotland (including Shetland for this purpose) be over-represented when Westminster has fewer posers for Scotland than England? The West Lothian question applies.

    Thanks, Anthony, for pointing out that Kent would be discriminated against by being the only South-Eastern county to lose a seat. So, as the Con-Dem coalition (like Labour previously) discriminates against Kent in terms of NI relief for small employers, high train fares due to privatisation of the high-speed line and tolls on the Dartford Crossing, we would get less representation for more taxation, compared to other parts of England. That’s not right.

    We people of Kent should perhaps stand in soldarity with the Cornish, who it seems will also be harshly treated. Mebyon Kentow?!

  25. Anthony

    I’ve been investigating on the EONI site (it is very useful, isn’t it) where the discrepancy comes from between our figures. I had the total electorate not the parliamentary; and 10,637 are on the local but not parliamentary lists as at 1st July. Presumably mainly EU nationals, though also an underestimate (I’ve heard figures as high as 100,000 quoted for NI – though that will have dropped).

    But 16,242 are additions to the parliamentary register since May. Now there may have been was a very bad power cut in NI 17 years and 3 months before – normally you’d expect say 4k new voters for that period, even if no one tells them about deaths. Otherwise the rest must be people when they found out they weren’t registered when the election came round. If you remember I thought their British equivalents might be responsible for some of your polling discrepancies.

    Oh and there’s also a difference of 75 between local and total registrations. I haven’t got the faintest why.

    The reason Northern Ireland figures are interesting is that they already have had individual registration since 2002. When it came in registration dropped 10%. Part of this was the vote early, vote often crowd; but there was also a big drop among groups already poor at registering such as 18-24. See the report here:

    ht tp://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmniaf/131/131.pdf

    If the government is not careful there will be serious under-representation of areas high in these poorly registered groups (much worse where we don’t have highly efficient and well funded organisations such as EONI running things).

    And given that the small gap between our figures produced a difference of one MP within two months; how is this new ultra-sensitive MP allocation going to cope if it gets out of date so quickly?

  26. Wouldn’t the birth surge have been have been 18 years 9 months after the power cut?

  27. To my mind, the 600 is a fudge worse than AV which at least has a noble element (50% plus).

    If there is any worth in local representation in national issues (which escapes me) it must be based on social and environmental characteristics, coupled with economic connection.

    So cross river (e.g. Tamar and Mersey) is irelevant in these days of bridges and tunnels (why not give Calais a vote?).

    It’s the feature of commencing reform with a temporary political scandal, rather than starting with a deep-seated feeling that demographics would make a change seem sensible.

    If I am to feel interested in the fate of people in Northumberland beacause they have a gunman on the loose or are suffering foot and mouth, then I don’t see why they should have their own representative any more than I should have one. Mine will doubtless feel as concerned as their own.

  28. @ Mid-Ulster Midwife

    Well I suppose I could say that they vote early as well as often, but you’ve got me by the forceps. ;)

  29. Sue Marsh

    Excellent contribution – the one positive is that Labour will campaign around a gerrymandering theme and may well benefit as the average UK citizen doesn’t take kindly to institutionalised unfairness

    John Fletcher

    In a year or two, many people will look back on the Gordon Brown days and kick themselv es over and over again for not voting Labour.

  30. Frederic

    “Mebyon Kentow?!”

    Mebyon Kernow

    …Cornish wife!

    Nos dha

  31. For Labour to talk about gerrymandering would take considerable brass neck even for them. For quite a while the constituency boundaries have favoured Labour to a fantastic degree. How else could they have got a massive majority with 36% of the vote in 2005? Last time they go 1 point more than they got in 1983, but still finished with 258 seats.
    I am surprised that the Boundary Commission was under no obligation previously to equalise seat sizes. The average Tory seat has 3,000 more electors than the average Labour seat. That’s worth a million votes to Labour at a General Election. More than time it was sorted.

  32. @DAVIDB

    the one positive is that Labour will campaign around a gerrymandering theme
    _________________________________________

    I cannot see what is gerrymandering about having equally sized consitiuencies (+ or – 5%).

    IMO Lab will have a job to spin a system that makes all MPs represent roughly the same number of votes as unfair.

  33. I am wondering how much cutting MP numbers to 600 will save in the overall scheme of things.

    In some of the new, larger constituencies MPs will require additional staff and office resources to service an increased Electorate, and bigger travel expenses to get around them (assuming that an MPs travel costs on constituency business do not come direct from their pocket.)

    I think that taken the increased costs in these areas, and the cost of changing constituencies will easily make the saving of 50 MPs costs meaningless.

    That leads me to the conclusion that the whole idea is political and not economic ( a Blue and Yellow smokescreen!!)

  34. The bias in favour of Labour at the moment is not small – it is quite significant.

    They won a stomping majority of 66 seats with 36% of the vote in 2005. The Tories won 37% this year but fell short of a majority. That isn’t a small bias.

  35. I presume that my constinuency will merge with its neighbour.

    If I was redoing the bouderies, I for one would make sure that we would get rid of the tiny looking constituencies. No wonder it favours Labour. My friends have taken to calling them “Rotten Boroughs”. However, I wouldnt go that far.

  36. David P – I refer you also to the Electoral Bias bar Anthony has provided on the left of the page.

    David B – Obviously not to be confused with David P, I thank you.

    John Fletcher – Just read Anthony’s review above!! Notice anything about the seats that will be lost?? Or the areas that will remain untouched?? Genius bit of politicking from DC, but changing a pro-Labour bias of 12 to a pro-Tory bias of 46 is what it is. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it gerrymandering, but a wolf dressed as a sheep is still a wolf.

    Still, if DC’s realised this is the only way he’ll ever win an election, then I suppose I can see why he thinks it’s worth a try.

  37. It would have been more logical to start with sub-regions that made sense in terms of ‘belonging to’ considerations and then determined the number needed, thereafter, instead of starting the other way around bwith an arbitrary number.

    But party politics knows no logic.

  38. Andy JS – AAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHH – PLEASE will someone who voted Tory read Anthony’s section on electoral bias on the left of the screen. Anyone??

  39. Are those in favour of changing the boundaries as they currently help Labour willing to tear up the boundaries if they go on to benefit The Conservatives?

    How often should be performed?

    As far as I am aware the Labour bias was a Conservative bias in the past.

    Surely a better solution would be constituencies of 375K and elects 5 MPs by STV.

  40. I sometimes think that reducing the number of MPs might give both the Tory and Labour leaders an excuse to get rid of some old war hourses. I think that a lot of Tory MPs will be force to take an “early retirement” and give the house some new blood.

    Also, presuming D Milliband will be leader, (help!) some Left Wingers like Diane Abbott and Dennis Skinner might be forced into retirement. Very interesting.

  41. @Kyle Downing
    “Rotten Boroughs. However, I wouldnt go that far.”
    —————
    You still repeated the claim though – based on what evidence ?

  42. @ Kyle

    Personally I like politics with old warhorses of all colours.

    Most MPs are as dull as ditch water. MPs like Dennis Skinner and Anne Widdecombe are great for politics.

  43. By the way, people may not like Dennis Skinner, but he is a very hard-working local MP

  44. Cozmo

    Unfortunatly people confuse safe seats with Rotten Boroughs. The argument being that one could put up a Donkey for the said party and the party would still win. However, I doubt that enlarging the contituencies would stop such a thing whatsoever.

    Also, the term is used by hysterical Right Wing journalists.

  45. Garry K

    I like the veteren MPs as well. They bring great character and experience to the house. My favourite be Sir Winston Churchill.

  46. @Kyle Downing
    I can only repeat Sue Marsh’s advice to read Anthony’s article about bias – under “Articles & FAQs” for further enlightenment.

  47. @ David P

    The Boundary Commissions do have an obligation to get the seat sizes the same. They also try to fit constituencies into local government areas (if you think about it, this is practical because the local government is what runs the election).

    But you can’t get the numbers exact and people are moving all the time. And 3,000 for example isn’t much to be out – if you move a ward from one constituency to another you will probably alter their figures by more than that.

    There was a big discrepancy at the previous election, but that was mostly corrected by the boundary review before this one and most of the rest of the difference is due to people voting more in safe Tory seats than safe Labour ones.

  48. @ Kyle

    I wouldn’t judge constituencies by how big or small they look on the map. Otherwise there’ll be lots of very happy highland crofters sending themselves to Westminster. :)

  49. Blue supporters thinking this is going to be a bloodbath for Labour in England may be disappointed. Take Derbyshire, which needs to lose one seat. The 2010 review just implemented gave the county an extra seat and we currently have two undersized Tory seats, “Mid” and “Dales” at 66247 and 63367 respectively. One of these is going to go, surely. ie reverse the 2010 review. In addition I believe those changes helped the blues in Amber Valley so that may flip back to Labour. Net result Con-2 Lab +1.
    Notts needs to lose a seat, the main disparity is in the City, with 186,000 electorate currently having three seats. Reducing the city to 2 seats means 34,000+ city voters being moved out into the surronding seats. Neighbouring marginals are Broxtowe, Sherwood (Con) and Gedling (Lab). Labour MAY pick up one or even both of those marginals. Net effect possibly Lab -1, possibly nil, possibly Lab +1

  50. *sigh* I’ getting a bit sick of being the flag-waver for the Reds.

    John Fletcher – I didn’t say it was gerrymandering. I wish everyone would stop asking me to speak for the opposition.

    Creating equal sized constituencies looks like it will create a Tory bias in the system – clear enough?

    [Sue – being a “flag waver for the Reds” is against the site’s comments policy, so if people ask you to do it, please resist (and for someone who points people to reading the article here on the “bias” in the electoral system, I’m not sure where you get the idea that a boundary change would have such a drastic effect! It sure as hell won’t benefit the Conservatives by 42 seats! As I write on the article, different seat size and out of date boundaries is a factor in the “bias” in the system, but one amongst many. Even with more equal sized seats based on more recent electorate figures the vote distribution and turnout difference should still ensure that the perceived “bias” towards Labour in the system will persist – AW)]

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