The detailled legislation for the boundary review and the AV referendum is now out – if you are not a hardcore political anorak, you may wish to skip this post! For those who are left, here are the details.

Alternative Vote is the more straightforward section. The referendum is May 5th and the question is “Do you want the United Kingdom to adopt the “alternative vote” system instead of the current “first past the post” system for electing Members of Parliament to the House of Commons?”. There is no minimum turnout or anything on the referendum and it is binding – if the referendum is won, the minister must bring the provisions introducing AV (which are all in the Bill) into effect.

Rules for boundary changes are much more complicated. First, the legislation proposes boundary reviews every five years, significantly speeding up the current timetable where they occur between 8 and 12 years apart (normally at the latter end). With fixed term Parliaments of 5 years, that means seats would change every Parliament (though it would also mean that the changes were normally quite small).

There will one national UK quota, rather than seperate quotas for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There is, however, an exception to this for Northern Ireland, where if the number of seats Northern Ireland is entitled to is more than a third away from a whole number (as it probably will be this time round), they will have their own quota to aim at, which prevents the boundary commission in Northern Ireland being left with an impossible task.

The quota will indeed be based around the electorate of the UK, minus the two protected seats, divided by 598. All seats must be within 5% of the quota, with three exceptions: the two preserved seats (the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland), Northern Ireland under the circumstances discussed above, and any seat with an area above 12,000 sq. kilometers where the commission is satisfied it is not possible to get it within quota. As proposed before, there is a cap of 13,000 sq km on the size of consistuencies.

The Commissions may still take in account special geographical considerations, like size and shape, local government boundaries, local ties and minimal change (except, that is, for the coming boundary change, when they should not pay heed to minimising disruption). They may now also take into account the European electoral regions (making some of the possiblities I wrote about in this post less likely). All these considerations are subject to the rule on seats being within 5% of quota, which means that the boundary commissions will have to cross county boundaries if it is necessary in order to get within 5% of quota.

There is no mention of splitting council wards, but then, the old legislation doesn’t refer to them outside Northern Ireland either. In practice, the rule about seats being within 5% of quota may compel Boundary Commissions to split wards in places like Birmingham with very large wards.

In terms of speeding up the review process, the Bill is pretty brutal. Local inquiries on boundary changes are abolished – though it is slightly balanced out by the period for written representations being extended from 1 month to 12 weeks.

All of this is, of course, subject to whatever amendments get made as it trundles through the Commons. I expect some bits may have a tricky passage.


361 Responses to “AV referendum and 600 seats”

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  1. @Aleksandar
    Presumably construction activity was harmed in the first quarter by an exceptionally cold winter.
    Initial GDP figures are never very reliable anyway – they are continually being revised. The expectation of many in the City seems to be that the figures for Q1 will be revised upwards at some point, and the figures for Q2 will be revised downwards. Don’t actually think there is much room for political point scoring here – but that is what politicians do I guess.

  2. @The Last Fandango

    I’m afraid you are quite explicitly wrong. The handover period does apply to the US legislature as well as the executive.

    In the US, all ‘Federal Offices’, including those in the Legislature, are elected on the “Tuesday after the first Monday of November”. But the new term of congress does not start till January 3rd, with outgoing incumbents retaining their seats until then. This produces a comfortable hand-over period.

  3. @Johnty

    I would agree that the weather almost certainly distorted construction activity and the data.

    GDP data tends to lag and is notoriously unreliable due to general collection difficulties and the impact of the black economy. The latter is not measured but is economic activity and contributes to it. In a recession the black economy expands and especially in construction.

    Norman Lamont was ridiculed for his ‘green shoots of economic spring’ comment made in October 1991 as the recession continued to bite. However revisions of the GDP data showed that the trough of that recession was in fact Q4 1991. Lamont was spot on but his reputation was in tatters. Baroness Vadera may well suffer the same fate.

  4. @Ben Foley

    You said “…in my mammoth post of July 23rd, 2010 at 10:57 pm, that I think was in moderation when you posted, Martyn…”

    I didn’t see it when I posted, Ben. If I had I wouldn’t have posted, since you covered all the points I did and did it better.

    Regards, Martyn

  5. @Billy Bob

    I think there are 630 CLP’s and this weekend i believe was the cut off for supporting nominations. We didnt have to go to second preferences as Ed Milliband was the clear winner.

  6. We agree with you Wood – that’s why we have launched a cross-party campaign led by the Island’s MP, Andrew Turner and supported by the local political parties, the local newspaper and radio station and other Island organisations, including the Chamber of Commerce.

    Five of our 33 parish councils have already formally supported the campaign – many of the others have advised us that they are in the process of doing so. The IW Association of Local Councils also support us (they represent 27 of the 33 parish councils).

    The Isle of Wight will not be divided without a fight! Do pop over to OneWight.org.uk if you want to know more

  7. Following on from my mammoth post of July 23rd, 2010 at 10:57 pm in which I gave my take on how many seats for each (grouping of) council area(s), I tried a little look to see how the 4 constituencies that will be split between Bedford and Central Beds unitaries would work, assuming that there would be less crossing of the boundary between them. This is on current ward boundaries that are in the process of revision, whereas the BC will work on the new ward boundaries, but it gives an idea of possibilities.

    The current element of Mid Beds constituency in Bedford Borough can be dealt with reasonably easily: Wootton and Turvey join Bedford constituency and Wilstead joins NE Beds constituency. Turvey is rather out on a limb, but it would be joining NE Beds anyway (and currently is, in Mid Beds). Langford and Henlow would move from NE Beds into Mid Beds. Mid Beds would also gain Tebworth and Hockliffe from SW Beds, but this wouldn’t be enough. Mid Beds would also need another 4000-odd voters: 1145 Heath and Reach aren’t enough, but Tilsworth and Stanbridge as well would just about get Mid Beds over 95% of the UK wide quota, thus avoiding the need to take in voters in Leighton Buzzard, and also just about avoiding splitting SW Beds completely in two. On these thoughts, SW Beds could also take back the voters of Caddington, Slip End and Hyde from Luton S constituency, although given that Luton will need to take voters from Hertfordshire, I don’t think it will. Luton North would perhaps be of suitable size with the addition of Dallow Ward, or Biscot Ward (perhaps with High Town to reduce the pressure on constituency size the voters of Luton South would put on a combined Luton and Hertfordshire 12 constituencies, including the one-and-a-bit in Luton).

  8. @Ben, Martyn, RAF (and anyone I forgot)
    Many thanks for your overnight thoughts and extrapolations.

    I presume that the new constituencies will break the ‘incumbency’ factor in the following elections.

    On those, if indeed neither the new constituencies nor AV take root until 2020, we will all have beeen indulging in somewhat non-urgent discussion!

    I suppose it was like this in 1820’s when people discussed the likelihood of a Reform Act.

  9. @ Raf – DangerMouse! :) I’m hoping he’ll sqeak through to outwit those pesky coalition cats, Dodger and Nippy.

    @ Epochery – Thanks for that, interested to know… why EM so emphatically?

  10. Thinking ahead to the AV referendum I think it will be a ‘no’. Rightly or wrongly, anti-AVites will be stating time after time after time that people will not really know what they are voting for – just look at the current coalition — FPTP is much more predictable erc etc. There’ll also be people who support proper PR but who will vote ‘no’ because they think (with some validity) that AV is worse than FPTP in some respects.

  11. I personally think no introduction of a minimum turnout is the coalition playing a very dangerious game. I mean, it would just add insult to injury if something like 30% of the public decided the outcome of the future of how we as a democracy vote for the other 70% of the population.

    I also think they are playing a dangerious game on not having a threshold for how many people support it. I think that they should have a 60% of the people have to agree on it or at least something like 55%, i would even settle with 52% but no less because I believe that come the referendum it will be a tight result. One that would come as tight as the infamous tight labour party leadership election between Tony Benn and Dennis Healey when Healey won by a 0.25% majority.

    Honestly, low turnout and a low majority is just asking for trouble and it might be one that a future electorate will hold the coalition or maybe just the libdems responsible and one that a future party which promises a minimum threshold with complusory voting (which can be done even if only 90% of them do vote) might end up winning some key marginals.

    Personally, i think the Conservatives have deliberately planned this so that come the low turnout and low majority they can exploit that and attack the libs. Possibly demand a dissolution by 2012 with a promise for a better referendum package. Or, it might be a plan that the Tory right are just rubbing their hands with. I think the Tory right what AV to win more than the Cameron government because again they can exploit this by demanding to remove Cameron and his “centre Tory” agenda. Ballot him out and them replace him with a more prominate Tory right figure.

  12. @Aleksander & Johnty – I think the construction numbers are significant, although all the caveats you mention will apply. The sector showed the fastest growth since 1963 which is in itself remarkable, even if there are some revisions.

    Goldman Sachs published some research recently showing a systematic under estimation of GDP on the first estimates and this led to a bit of a debate about the ONS methods. Whether or not this applies to Q2 we will have to wait and see, but that still won’t bring us any closer to knowing what Q’s3 and 4 might bring.

    While there has been a crop of generally better news in the last week, the previous few weeks have been pretty dire globally, and even this week figures of falling lending to UK companies might give some cause for concern.

    I’m personally also not very reassured by the EU bank stress test results. I’m no expert on this but I gather the benchmark was whether they could survive a 0.4% contraction in Eurozone GDP – hardly a real shock event.

    Add all of it together and I get the distinct feeling that GDP has responded to the stimulus quite well, and may respond to the austerity measures with equal, if negative, vigour. If Eurozone banks aren’t in very good shape this could lead to an altogether more unpleasant situation than if we timed the austerity to be a little more measured to give banks and the economy a little more adjustment time.

    The truth is, who knows? Economists are like blind people feeling different parts of an elephant. If you’re feeling the wrong end, you rapidly conclude that a shed load of sh*t is just about to land right on top of you. Maybe I’m at the wrong end?

  13. “Maybe I’m at the wrong end?”

    I’d rather be at your end & wrong Alec-than at the other end & right………….elephantwise that is ;-)

  14. @Alec
    I agree the economic outlook is as murky as the political outlook. The German economy has reported very strong numbers – totally against the predictions of the pundits who have been lambasting its sclerotic industries for a decade or more and preaching the virtues of the Anglo-Saxon model. For me the most worrying thing internationally is US unemployment – perhaps more worrying than the sovereign debt and banking problems in Europe – but who knows what is around the corner? Internationally corporations seem to have plenty of cash – and there is a fair bit of M & A in the pipeline.

  15. A threshold would be silly – it would introduce a tactical consideration whereby opponents of AV would feel they had more chance of getting their way by abstaining than by voting against.

    It is the electorate’s own fault if they don’t get what they want and haven’t bothered to vote.

    We don’t have thresholds for elections (so why would we for referenda?), though I think a few countries do.

  16. ALL

    The MPs expenses/allowances scandal of 2009 gave us all an insight into MPs lives and resulted in a much more transparent system.

    Over the next year Parliament is going to be making some major decisions about public sector cuts. I think we should know whether the people who make these decisions have experience of these services as users. It is believed, for instance, that the majority of Tory MPs and quite a few Lib Dem MPs use private health services and private schools (some of them will have used private security services) and yet they are going to make decisions of a momentous nature about such services.

    Lansley was interviewed last week and was asked whether he relied 100% on the NHS – he had to admit he had used private health care and he might have gone on to say (but he didn’t) that he was a wealthy man and could afford to do so.

  17. The Isle Of Wight is already up in arms and organising opposiition to splitting the constituency into 2 seats ( one a cross Solent seat . All the 3 main local constituency parties are opposed .

  18. @Alec

    The EU bank stress tests have done nothing to reassure me as they are fundamentally flawed. It is a PR excercise to cheer up the markets.

    They have applied the test to trading positions only. Holdings of sovereign debt held in ‘banking/back books’ have been ignored. Trading positions are marked to market on a daily basis whereas the other holdings are viewed as investments to maturity and get valued through a cash flow analysis.
    If banks cannot sell a position due to price or liquidity reasons then ,usually after six months, it is deemed a loan. As such it heads to the banking book with all the other non-performing assets. Everyone crosses their fingers and hopes that everything is ok at maturity. According to Morgan Stanley holdings of Greek govt debt split 10% in trading books and 90% in banking books. I wonder why.

    To make matters worse the stress tests have rejected any sovereign default but have applied a ‘haircut’ to each countries debt. Greece is devalued by 23%, Spain by 12%, UK by 10% and Germany by 5%. This is an attempt to weight the risks however an actual default is ruled out. If Greece defaulted I would expect all these risk weighting to rise dramatically. This would reduce the value of all holdings however those in the banking book would not be revalued. Excluding them from the stress test invalidates the purpose ot the test.

  19. Whilst the move to AV is undoubtedly of a constitutional character, I don’t see that it is of earth shattering importance, compared with, say, the local government reorganisation of 1974 that saddled us with those three tiers in rural areas, and which has led to the result that hardly any of those voters are aware nowadays of what they are voting for. Nor do they in unitaries much better, as several issues voters moan about, don’t come under the control of them, let alone the financing issues.

    I would have thought the reduction of number of constituencies or the elected HoL issues to have equal importance and there is to be no referendum on those changes.

    Finally the fact that Labour would have introduced AV without a referendum says it all. The fact that so many of their supporters now adopt an opposite stance, simply because others are proposing it, or that they see electoral advantage in doing so, says all we need to know about why we desperately need to get away from partisan politics.

    I do believe the Milbands will give their party responsible leadership on this issue, especially if it’s the D one. I too would like to hear from Epochery about such unanimity in his branch, very interesting.

  20. @Mark Senior

    Isn’t that a rather strange reaction? The IOW would rather have one vote in Parliament than the most part of two . Surely their best interest would be served by the latter.

  21. @Alec

    Apologies. Should be ‘country’s’ and not ‘countries’.

  22. @ Woolly-minded Liberal

    Finally the fact that Labour would have introduced AV without a referendum says it all. The fact that so many of their supporters now adopt an opposite stance, simply because others are proposing it, or that they see electoral advantage in doing so, says all we need to know about why we desperately need to get away from partisan politics.
    —————————————————————
    I disagree that it is partisan politics which has caused Labour supporters to switch stance on AV.

    The facts changed & we changed our minds. To do otherwise is to be dogmatic.

    Firstly – Dems pre-election were much closer to Labour on the economy, public services & education than they appear to be now; &

    Secondly – AV under Labour wouldn’t have involved boundary changes.

    Planning an election strategy with a new system & new boundaries will cost masses more in time & money than with only one variable changed. Think of the time it will take to simply work through which MPs will have a constituency, never mind actually gear up for an election! 8-)

  23. Isle of Wight

    Totally stupid to have a single member constituency separated by a stretch of sea.

    Bad politics to try and do all this at the same time – good politics would have been to do 66% and 5 years first, AV second and boundary changes third – if the last hadn’t got sorted by the time of the next GE it wouldn’t matter that much! Is the lesson here that coalitions are inevitably prone to bad politics?

  24. The issue for places like Isle of Wight and Hebrides etc is simple; not all MPs should have the same expense allowances. One seat in Australia (Kalgoorlie) is 90% of Western Australia, so slightly smaller than Europe–that seat comes with a whopping expense allowance to cover renting planes etc . The idea should transfer to the UK–Hebrides / Orkneys / Shetlands require allowances beyond those who live in the SE of England…

  25. ‘ Is the lesson here that coalitions are inevitably prone to bad politics?’

    Mo; many coalitions work well worldwide. The tories in Australia are always in Coalition with the farmers party…

  26. I have now done more research on the relationship between the number of MPs in each county I am suggesting and those suggested by Anthony.

    As I pointed out in that mammoth post last night, my calculation was that London would have 68MPs. By contrast Anthony thought there would be 70. Using Pippa Norris’ figure for the 2010 London Electorate, rather than BCEs would give 69.48 constituencies, which probably explains the discrepancy, especially as the 503rd English constituency would have to be London’s 70th, even though the quota suggests only 69. Which Electorate is the better guide to the figures BCE will eventually use is hard to say. I think PN’s include voters who joined the register after BCEs figures were compiled, but now the GE is over, with high population mobility in London, will they drop back off the register?

    My prediction of 21MPs for West Yorkshire represents no change, whereas AW was suggesting a reduction of one. Again, the discrepancy is probably due to differences in number of voters in the figures we were using. If, as I suggest they will, BCE treat Merseyside and Cheshire (including Halton) together, then the 22MPs I think will be allocated is a drop of 1, not the 2 AW indicated. Other than that, I agree with AW that Greater Manchester will lose an MP, as will South Yorks, and that West Midlands Met County would lose 3. I also agree with him that Northumberland and Tyne and Wear together will lose 2, and the combined ‘Counties of Durham and Cleveland’ will lose 1. In non-Met NW of England, my calculation matches AW’s that Cumbria wil lose 1MP and Lancashire, Black and Black will be one down on current numbers. I also agree with him that the only reduction in non-met Y&H will be one less seat in former Humberside. Our calculatiobs match on leaving Lincolnshire County Council area still with 7MPs, and Notts and Derbys down one each.

    AW was suggesting solving Northants by pairing with Beds, which would have meant it losing part of a constituency, whereas I suggest pairing it with Leic. Whether the combined Northants, Leics (including the City of Leic) and Rutland would lose an MP is very marginal on my calculations: it wouldn’t if London only has 68 MPs and England 504 in total, but would if London had 69 and/or England 503 or less in total.

    I agree with AW that Staffs will be reduced by about 1MP, and Warwickshire by another, but AW would have solved the Warks problem of too many voters for 5MPs by giving some voters to Oxon (over a regional boundary), instead of my suggestion of Staffs. Despite it being difficult and unwieldy,both AW and I combine Shropshire, Telford &W, Hereford, and Worcestershire, and agree it will have 12 constituencies, down one from the present.

    Even though I wouldn’t give any Warks voters to Oxon, I still think it would keep the same number of MPs as at present, as would Berkshire, Bucks and MK, Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex (inc B&H), all as AW said. Hants and IoW, I also agree with AW would retain current total, while we agree Kent would be down one.

    In the South West, while my suggested groupings of councils is different from AW’s, the number of MPs over the area would be the same as AW suggested, with one less for ‘Devon and Cornwall’ and one less for whatever grouping includes (most of) the former county of Avon, but unchanged apart from that.

    Similarly for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, while my suggested groupings of councils is different from AW’s, the number of MPs over the area would be essentially unchanged as AW suggested. Both AW and I think Essex will lose a constituency. I am suggesting Hertfordshire and Luton combined would lose an MP, which would be a greater loss for Hertfordshire and the Eastern region than AW was suggesting with a cross-region seat with Northants that I don’t think will happen.

  27. As to Labour saying they would implement AV without a referendum, they were acknowledging, at that time, the polls showed the country to be very much in favour.

    Therefore, why go to all the trouble & expense when YouGov etc. had already done the work for them?

    But things have changed, therefore people have changed their minds; people are so underwhelmed by the prospect of a referendum on this, that Clegg had to insist it happened on the same day as other elections to ensure turnout would be respectable.
    8-)

  28. Although I am in favour of holding a referendum on AV ( and STV for that matter ) , it is worth noting that none of the great reform acts of the 19th century nor the reforms of the 20th century extending the franchise to all women and 18 year olds were put to a referendum . I wonder if they had been , women and those under 21 would have the vote today ?

  29. @Amber Star

    I’d urge caution about claiming that “the people have changed their minds”.

    We’ve only this one poll which shows such a strong NO response, all previous polling showing a clear YES lead. And even with this poll, YES still edges out above NO.

    Now, it may well be that this poll is dead on, and we’ll enter into the referendum campaign with a statistical tie between the two. But there’s a fairly significant chance that this poll is just sample error in the favour of NO votes.

    I’d also like to see some better likely-voter modelling on this, than simply having a “would not vote” option. Mid-term referendum tend to be about voter enthusiasm, if one side are less likely to bother to go out and vote, then the other side will get a win. I’d be surprised to see a huge turnout on this, and it may well be similar turnout to local and European elections. I would assume that a “keep the status quo” vote is going to face enthusiasm, as it’s a lot easier to get enthusiastic about changing something than keeping it the same.

  30. @ Richard P

    Yes, i understand that but it would be quite stupid if say 30% of the public were to decide the outcome of the future of our democracy for the rest of the 70%….or even the other 30% if we were to go by the last general election turnout.

    It’s just the principal…i mean, i believe that WE should have as a nation complusory voting like in australia…its an option i did not use to favour because of the fear of people using up a BNP vote but that would just not be democratic. I am a strong believer that people should not waste an opportunity that comes only every five years which will affect their future.

    I do not favour a threshold for turnout but I do for the majority. Mine would be between 55-60%. However, i do favour that it should be compulsory to vote in this referendum.

  31. @Richard P

    Also, not many people vote in local elections…in fact, where I live in Stoke-on-Trent less than 55% vote in the general election and on average local elections are 20%. In the UK on the whole the average turnout is 30% and I do not think this referendum will give that all important boast. I think come the cuts next year people will become very synical and angry about politics in general and just not bother.

  32. think there has been discussion previously on this or one or more other threads, but I wanted to add my voice to the argument that basing the constituency size on the registered electorate is inappropriate.

    Surely, size should reflect the actual number of residents because, simply put, even if people choose not to register, the MP for their constituency still represents them irrespective of their decision.

    Furthermore, those under 18 cannot vote but must surely be represented. I’m sure there are other groups who are similar.

    It seems to me that basing the boundaries on the electorate favours the Cons.

  33. Reading the above posts make me hope and pray this whole 600 seat equal size thing falls completely on its face. It is ridiculously complicated and expensive project motivated by party political gains. If people were truly worried about mps securing equal votes to be elected then we should go PR (AMS is the best IMO), if not then leave things as they are. If people are worried about cost therefore wanting to reduce no. of MPs then we should not have this whole equalling size shenanigans. When I was a teenager the system as it is favoured the tories, now it favours Labour, leave it alone and it may favour the Tories again another day. I wonder if some of this is down to DC embarrassment at not securing a majority, despite the most favourable set of circumstances he could have hoped for.

  34. ALEKSANDAR

    Your detail about the EU Bank stress tests is very interesting-thank you.

    The failure rate was 7 out of 91-with the recapitalisation requirement (3.5 bn euros) falling way short of expectations.

    In the US-which did their’s some time ago , the failure rate was much higher-and recapitalisation followed immediately.

    I wonder if there is a cover up being perpetrated?

    re:”The IOW would rather have one vote in Parliament than the most part of two . Surely their best interest would be served by the latter.”,

    I have family on the Island, and like so many island communities it is a close knit one. It has many economic difficulties , is heavily reliant on tourism, and suffers penal costs of travel to the mainland.

    It is not surprising that it wants to continue with its own identity, and representation, rather than being tagged on to some part of mainland Hampshire, with which it has little in common-least of all employment & income levels.

  35. It is extraordinary that just as UK population grows and is forcast to continue growing the UK government proposes to reduce the number of MPs.

    Basing the boundaries on the registered electorate is frankly outrageous, IMO.

    The more I think about this the clearer it becomes that the proposals amount to gerrymandering.

  36. Billy Bob – CLPs choose to nominate a candidate, but they don’t have to.
    Mine did not as we liked several of the candidates.

  37. MIKEN

    “It is extraordinary that just as UK population grows and is forcast to continue growing the UK government proposes to reduce the number of MPs. ”

    Why?

    Do you seriously suggest that we are poorly represented by elected representatives?

    Parish Councils
    District Councils
    County Councils
    Westminster + Devolved administrations.

    I suggest that we are over represented by international standards-and not particularly effectively, despite that.

    The cost is enormous.

    The reduction in numbers of MPs is a very sensible cost saving measure. It was born in the fury resulting from the MPs expenses scandal. They only have themselves to blame.

    If-as I hope- this goes hand in hand with more powers being pushed down to more local levels, it will improve our representation, and reduce it’s cost.

    I see it as very much part of the effort to reverse the top-down governance imposed steadily by the last administration. And that includes the arms of that central control vested in the unelected officialdom of the “regional ” quangos-which Mr Pickles is happily consigning to the cost saving scrap heap.

  38. MIKEN

    “It is extraordinary that just as UK population grows and is forcast to continue growing the UK government proposes to reduce the number of MPs. ”

    Why?

    Do you seriously suggest that we are poorly represented by elected representatives?

    Parish Councils
    District Councils
    County Councils
    Westminster + Devolved administrations.

    I suggest that we are over represented by international standards-and not particularly effectively, despite that.

    The cost is enormous.

    The reduction in numbers of MPs is a very sensible cost saving measure. It was born in the fury resulting from the MPs expenses scandal. They only have themselves to blame.

    If-as I hope- this goes hand in hand with more powers being pushed down to more local levels, it will improve our representation, and reduce it’s cost.

  39. Colin do you beileve all the propagander you read in the Daily Mail

  40. @ Colin

    I repeat if cost was the main driving force we would not have this ridiculous revision of the constituencies.

    If fairness is the driving force then we should go PR

    No Party political gain is the driving force, and as Mike says blatant Gerrymandering

  41. This thought has occurred to me following Amber’s earlier post, Labour should link there support for AV to the ending of the proposed boundary changes and reduction of MPs. They can defend themselves against accusations of unfairness by showing their support for AV which could lose themselves seats and play the cost card against the boundary changes. It would also mean that if the LIB DEMs vote for the changes they would be further reducing the chances of the referendum passing thus potentially levering a gap between them and the Tories.

  42. ‘If fairness is the driving force then we should go PR’ GRAHAMBC

    I contend AV is just as fair as PR and allows for individual member electorates.

    I could accept PR for an elected Upper House with Country wide constituency (by that I mean x amount of elected ‘Lords’ for England Y amount for Scotland and son on.)

  43. @COLIN
    Decisions are taken at national level that affect us all. Therefore IMO representation at national level needs to be maintained or increased in view of the growing population.

    To take your argument to its ‘logical’ conclusion, why have any MPs at all?

    It was the expenses scandal that prompted DC to say that the number of MPs would be cut by a Con gov. Blaming MPs for this is ridiculous.
    I don’t agree that it is sensible cost-cutting exercise. You can’t place a price on democracy and representation, IMO.

    Anyway, whether it’s 600, 700 or whatever number of MPs, representation must IMO be based on the population not those who want to register.

  44. Anthony
    If AV is adopted and a voter in the booth only chooses one candidate, is that ballot paper discounted?

  45. PR is clearly the correct ‘solution’ as it is fair.

  46. It all looks very suspicious: fixed term parliaments – why no referendum? Higher threshold for dissolving parliament – why no referendum? Why not let the independent Electoral Commission put a choice of systems to the electorate – AV, STV, – and leave party politics out of it? What we are being offered looks very much like self-preservation.
    If more powers are devolved locally. we would have less, not more, representation as local elections notoriously attract very small turn-outs.

  47. @ Jack

    IMO AV is not fair, maybe fairer, but not fair, AMS the German system is PR but allows for individual member electorates.

    But the point I am making is that the Tories argue for the boundary revision on the basis of unequal amount of votes per MP, the only logical conclusion of that argument is PR. However the Tories vehemently oppose anything other that FPTP. What they support is equal votes electing an MP where it suits them, party political advantage therefore Gerrymandering.

  48. @Colin

    I wouldn’t call it a cover-up, more a sleight of hand. The system must be very fragile for them to resort to these unstressful tests.

    Re:IOW. Thanks for the local input. If the people are happy to be represented by one MP then they should be. The extra 1/2 constituency might help accommodate some changes elsewhere.

  49. @ David

    If AV is adopted and a voter in the booth only chooses one candidate, is that ballot paper discounted?
    ——————————————————-
    No. Your first (only) choice will count for the candidate you pick. 8-)

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