There is a further exchange between Rob Hayward and Lewis Baston on Conservative Home about what the results of the boundary review may or may not look like. Meanwhile Democratic Audit have put up a lot more detail on their proposals on their website here.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been playing with possible boundaries myself (in my case it’s mainly as a distraction to doing the preparatory work for calculating notional figures when proper proposed boundaries appear) and came up with very different overall figures to Lewis – I haven’t done every region yet, but so far have Labour losing about 18 seats more than the Conservatives (and haven’t done Scotland yet!)*. That’s not to say that my proposals are in any way more likely to reflect what the boundary commissions come up with than Lewis’s are – only that it is possible for different people to come up with what they think are plausible and non-partisan boundary changes…but have significantly different results.

A few further observations though – when I started looking at the detailed differences between my guesses and Lewis’s, they were oten quite minor, counties where we had both come up with the same basic layout in seats, but had put just a couple of wards in different places leading to different notional winners for seats. Those very marginal differences aren’t really important (indeed, as Lewis has said, despite the positive headline figures for Labour in their projection, underlying that there are fewer winnable marginals for Labour making the boundaries worse for them). Of course, there are also some areas were my own ideas of what is likely are very different to Lewis’s.

Rob Hayward makes a couple of criticisms of Lewis’ projections in the article. In terms of split wards, Democratic Audit have used a reasonable amount of them (so have I), Rob suggests there are too many and that the boundary commissions really will avoid them at all costs. He suggests there may end up being virtally none of them. We know from the Commission’s guidance that they will only be splitting wards in exceptional and compelling circumstances, but have no idea how high the Commissions will set that bar in practice.

As far as I can tell splitting wards probably can be avoided in most cases if you work hard enough at it…but that doing so sometimes requires sacrifices in terms of making seats that look rational, that don’t split small towns, that don’t cross too many boundaries and so on. Personally I think it better to split wards sometimes, but the Boundary Commissions don’t make their decisions based on my preferences! Whether these issues count as exceptional and compelling in the eyes of the Commissions remains to be seen – there is some logic in what Rob says… whether or not such arguments are compelling, they are likely to be so common that it’s going to be a push to say they are exceptional.

Rob then picks up a couple of odd-looking constituencies on Lewis’s model – I think that an almost wholly rural North Lancashire isn’t wholly incredible, but agree with Rob that linking Powys in Wales westwards across the mountains rather than northwards looks unlikely (though I’ve not seen a plan for central Wales that doesn’t have to resort to something clumsy). I’ve already said that I think linking Suffolk to Essex is unlikely when you can divide Essex up reasonably enough without the link, leaving minimal change in Suffolk.

The point that Rob ends on is also the thing I think is most unlikely in Lewis’s recommendations – there are some instances where Lewis’s proposals produce seats that cover wards from four or more local authorities, sometimes in different counties. The Bolsover & Ollerton constituency that Rob highlights is indeed a shocker! I think Lewis’s Mid-Kent (the M20 seat!) is pretty horrid too, but then, I’m a Kentishman and I’m sure any plan I came up with for Lewis’s back-yard in Camden would equally ring all sorts of alarm bells for him.

All that aside, the original purpose of Democratic Audit’s paper was to make a plausible projection of what the Boundary Commissions may suggest. There are some odd bits in there, but I expect the Boundary Commission’s actual proposals will have a few odd bits in them too. I’d be very surprised if the Boundary Commissions proposed something like Lewis’s Bolsover & Ollerton, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they came up with something just as odd somewhere else in the country that none of us could possibly have guessed (as Lewis mentions – last time round they suggested a Wallasey & Kirkdale seat that crossed the Mersey Estuary, so they have form for somewhat surprising proposals!).

(*Someone will ask soon if I’m going to release them. I don’t know – I may set up some specific threads for discussing county or regional boundary changes in the constituency guide part of UKPR and stick them up there at some point. I don’t intend to make a big fuss though – if nothing else, I haven’t even started collating data for Scotland and by the time I get round to that we’ll probably be on the final straight to the real provisional recommendations!)

93 Responses to “More on the boundary review”

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  1. Anthony

    I know I keep on saying this, but I really do worry about the process undermining the perception of the BCs’ impartiality. When different experts can produce such different results, whatever the BCs produce will be denounced as biased. The fact that the whole thing is much higher profile this time won’t help and of course Labour has already started out with conspiracy mindset.

    I can’t see how you can avoid splitting quite a lot of wards in the big cities (because if the mathematics) without either very strange shaped constituencies and/or a lot of crossing of the local authority boundaries. Both situations will give rise to cries of gerrymandering.

    But even splitting wards won’t help because there will be numerous ways in which this can be done – all equally valid but with differing outcomes. Again there will be accusations of bias.

    On a different note, do you know what happened to last night’s tables? I can’t see them on the archive yet.

  2. Whilst there has to be a levelling out in seats per se, in favour of the Conservatives, the problem I have with the (proposed) review that I have seen is as follows: it seems to make around 40 marginal Conservative seats safer. But only around 15 marginal Labour seats safer.

    I cant for the life of me see why there has to be this secondary effect. Often caused – presumably – by the unnecessary addition of just one or two (more) rural wards to (more) urban seats.

  3. Roger – given that in the past we’ve (a) had government’s refuse to implement the recommendations and vote them down and (b) party leaders go to court to say the BC had done their job incorrectly and try to have their recommendations overturned, I think the BC’s reputation for impartiality has survived worse! There was certainly not some golden age of non-controversial boundary changes.

    The political classes’ response to the 4th and 5th boundary reviews was a LOT more adult than the 2nd and 3rd. One can hope the 6th will be more like the former!

    Tables were put up very late, but should be there now

  4. As a PR supporter, I wondered, after the apalling AV campaign, where we reformers were going to find a way to resume an effective PR campaign.

    I am sure Anthony is right about the uncontestability of what is likely to emerge from the BC’s work and I hope he is. I would like to see the Labour Party in particular, and the general public, become so digusted with the whole process, that a coaltion for implementation of PR will be a pushover.

    I suppose slavery abolitionists in the early 1800s used to dream like this. :-)

  5. Anthony

    I’m not sure I agree about the reactions to the BC reports. In the past Labour were reacting to an expected loss in seats at the end of the process and it was seen to be about Party advantage. The row wasn’t so much about the BCs as the principles they used. In a sense they’ve already gone through that (and used similar arguments) when the Bill went through Parliament.

    I’m more worried here about how the new seats and the various possible alternatives will be seen at the local level. You can see all sorts of accusations about constituencies that look odd or appear cobbled together. Of course not just Labour may be objecting. in some cases disquiet may become wider that usual political geeks (and not just across the Tamar).

    The political classes’ response to the 4th and 5th boundary reviews was a LOT more adult than the 2nd and 3rd. One can hope the 6th will be more like the former!


  6. @ Howard

    If what Chris Todd has said is true – that not only do Labour lose several dozen seats, but they end up making marginal Tory seats safer you could be looking at a situation where Labour would struggle to govern again – enough to adopt PR for self-interest (that’s crucial) – but alas that would took several elections of failure and seeing their votes not translating into seats.

  7. I’ve always thought the abitrary decision to reduce the number of seats by 50 was a bit more dodgy dealing than the equalisation of constituents in each constituency.

  8. One might say that the abolition of 57 rotten boroughs in 1832 was something of a golden age. Back then the beneficiaries would a distinct shade of blue.

  9. That is of course until the 57 seats were redistributed to the great industrial cities emerging as a result of industrialization.

  10. Craig – remember that the seats that change hands are often ultramarginals anyway. Imagine an election when there was a swing to Labour of 4% – ultramarginals that had flipped to the Tories would go straight back to Labour anyway, those minor changes would have made no substantive difference at all. In that case, it would be the changes to seats that currently have Conservative majorities of 8% or so that matter.

    Essentially, given that most of the perceived bias is due to things other than the boundaries, even on the new boundaries it is still going to be easier for Labour to get a majority than the Conservatives.

  11. Anthony

    Do you guys get to complain at all to your Boundaries Commission and ask for changes? And do they ever hold hearings open for public comment and public testimony?

    (I’m thinking of writing my own Boundaries Commission on a very ill thought out redistricting and I need advice on how to write in a way that doesn’t cound classist or elitist)

  12. Craig
    Yes that was what I was hoping for in my ‘i have a dream’ scenario.

    Think back to the heady days of the post May 2010 GE. Some were talking about AV without a referendum, as an offer.

    I think a 2015 result without an OM, would perhaps push the matter to, say, the Roy Jenkins proposal, that, because of Blair’s respect for RJ, probably would have happened, were it not for the dinosaurs being still influential, and the minor handicap of a 150 odd Labour majority.

  13. SoCal – under the old rules the boundary commissions published provisional recommendations, then there was a period of 4 weeks for written representations, then normally public hearing where people could put forward ideas (in practice, these were dominationed by hte political parties, who put foward their own plans, called witnesses and cross examined each others proposals.) The assistant commissioner then made revised recommendations based on the written submissions and public hearing.

    Under the new rules, there will be a 12 week period for written submissions, during which there will be public meetings (we don’t yet know how they will operate). Following that all the written submissions will be published, and then there will be a further 4 week consultation period where people can respond to other people’s submissions. Then an assistant commissioner will make revised recommendations based upon the written submissions and public meeting.

  14. Alec Iceman and Roger M
    I have responded to you on the previous thread.
    Interesting by election result in Aberdeen to day. SNP win from previous poor third. Labout come second from very poor fourth. Lib Dems fourth from previous strong first. OK one Lib Dem previous incumbant in jail
    Transfers interesting given discussion on last thread. Greens more to Labour than SNP: Lib Dems roughly equal to Labour, SNP and Tories but biggest to Tories: and Tories split but mainly to SNP cf Labour.

  15. I must agree that Mid-Kent looked crazy.

    I’m sure once the commission publish their provisional recommendation there will be equally strange decisions that hopefully can be rectified through the public consultations.

    I’m also sure that political parties of all flavours will draw up their “ideal” maps of the regions and try to make arguments for changes that more closely resemble their ideal map.

    The really interesting metric to look at is how “fair” the end result is.

    I’d determine fairness as equalising the Con/Lab vote from 33% to 40% (reasonable bounds for the highest/lowest shares they could split) and see how the share of seats is spread by a UNS model. Another useful measurement would be to look at 1%, 2% 3% etc swings from each of these positions and see how the votes change as this would determine the “ease of majority” for both parties.

    Obviously red will want to keep their inherent advantages and the best blue can hope for is an erosion of the advantage red currently enjoys. As for yellow, I’m sure they will be looking at the effects of these changes with keen interest as it could be potentially very unpleasant for them.

    (I’d be interested to know if AW’s model predicts the same massive impact on the LDs as Lewis Bastion predicted as they are obviously two very different solutions and if they both predict the LDs losing a lot of seats that would be interesting)

    It’s all speculation now but it seems as though there is a wide range of potential shifts that could happen from a “no effect at all” to the Con/Lab balance to a moderate shift in the balance of seats. Chances are we’ll end up somewhere in the middle and neither side will be happy. In fact, if both sides complain that is probably enough evidence that the results probably were fairly balanced.

  16. I’m pretty sure Labour will lose at least 10 seats more than the Conservatives in the boundary changes and that the Conservatives will be within 10 seats of a majority: that is at least 290 seats out of 600.

    With respect I don’t think the Bastion proposals are very likely to resemble what will actually happen. But we don’t have long to hear the first proposals – only 4 months or so.

  17. @ Anthony Wells

    Thanks. Having a Boundaries Commission (well we call it something different) is a new experience for me. Normally it was much easier when politicians drew the maps themselves and much more self-explanatory. So actually, reading about how you guys do it and all the analysis really helps me understand this new round of redistricting a lot better.

    I would also note that if Clegg’s plan has gone through to equalize constituencies to no more than within 5% difference in population (I forget what our variance is exactly), it’s going to be a lot harder to draw constituencies based on keeping certain wards, towns, counties, and boroughs together. And some of the new constituencies might look a little strange at first.

  18. Anthony,

    Another question for you. Is your Boundaries Commission supposed to take into account keeping “communities of common interest” together when it draws boundaries for new constituencies?

  19. I think all parties should just accept the Provisional Recommendations of the BC, whatever the BC say.

    After all in any process where the work is entrusted to an independent administrative body (and the BC’s independence is beyond reproach), and people generally agree that the administrative body has followed the adminstrative process in a reasonable manner, it is rather bad form to challence the conclusions that emerge from that process.

    I think we all generally assume before a ball has been kicked (or more topically, it being the cricket and grass court tennis season, struck) that the Labour will notionally lose around 10-25 seats to the Tories. It would therefore be quite wrong for any party to howl indignation if the BC conclusions end this way.

    By the way AW – Do real Kentishmen regard London Kenters as Londeners or Kenters? I know that Kent play some of their County Championship games at Beckenham, so that may muddy the water somewhat.

  20. @ RAF

    ….that the Labour will notionally lose around 10-25 seats to the Tories.
    Do you mean 10-25 more seats compared to number of seats the Tories will lose?

  21. @Amber,

    Yes, I assume RAF is talking about a Tory net gain over Labour. The thing is some of the Labour marginals are bound to tip slightly in the Tories favour too. In fact, Lewis made the point that although the net gain will be minimal under their model, the Tories would still benefit through the marginal seat allocation. Something he quoted on Conservativehome.

    “The headline figure looks a bit better than might have been expected for Labour, but as I wrote in my LSE piece ( this is a bit illusory because the DA model would probably involve a big reduction in the number of target marginals available for Labour to win with a small swing, making it significantly more difficult for Labour to win outright than on current boundaries.”

  22. Either way, the changes are certain to be bad for Labour. This is, no doubt, what the Tories were planning! More from Lewis:-

    “It is difficult to be precise, but the Democratic Audit model appears to depopulate a vital area for Labour – seats with narrow Conservative majorities that would be susceptible to a small to medium sized pro-Labour swing. Of the 50 top target Tory seats for Labour on current boundaries (winnable with swings of up to 4 per cent), 15 would see Labour’s prospects improved, 17 would see the Conservatives strengthened instead, 14 would be unchanged or not significantly politically altered, and 4 would be abolished – a fairly even spread.

    Of the seats improved for Labour, 8 of them would be flipped to the party on the notional 2010 results, and therefore not available for gaining in 2015. Eight of the seats are also so much improved for the Tories that they would no longer count as marginals. This makes 20 seats taken out of Labour’s easiest target list. In exchange, four new targets result from Labour seats being flipped into being Tory marginals by boundary changes, and probably four previously safer Tory seats now made marginal. The number of Tory seats vulnerable to a pro-Labour swing of 4 per cent or so falls from 50 to 38. The hill Labour has to climb to get an overall majority is therefore steeper than it would be under existing boundaries, while it is probably a little easier for the Conservatives.

    This was probably the intention of the more sophisticated Conservative supporters of this proposal – to put a finger on the scales a little by systematically adding bits of rural territory to marginal seats in towns outside the big metropolitan areas (e.g. Great Yarmouth, Harlow, Redditch, Stevenage, Lincoln, Stafford, Tamworth, Brighton, Dover – and indeed Bath and Southport…). They may have been less aware that there will be locations where increased size of seats might lead the Boundary Commission to create a core urban (Labour-inclined) seat rather than two increasingly Tory marginals (as for instance in Thanet and Norwich in the Democratic Audit model).

    The Democratic Audit model illustrates the simple principle that altering something (constituency size) which is not much to do with the problem you are seeking to address (electoral bias) is unlikely to achieve your aim. It also illustrates some of the complexities in measuring the effects of boundary changes. It may superficially look a better outcome for Labour than expected, but there is a story below the headline numbers.”

  23. Then, of course, they have not discussed the impact on the second half of Labour’s top 100 target seats. I would reasonably expect that some of the least safe 50-100 (i.e. a net number) of Tory-Labour marginals would require a bigger swing too. I know this would require quite a significant swing even on 2010 boundaries, but it’s worth bearing in mind IMO.

    Either way, small tweaks make all the difference, but neither models would be good news for Labour.

  24. I am sure that there are plenty of examples of odd seats at present. Kenilworth & Rugby was very odd – 2 towns with absolutely nothing in common. This was a marginal, won back by blues in 2005. It became Kenilworth & Southam, a very safe blue seat but still two towns who have no links to each other whatever.

    But at the end of the day is it important? Most people haven’t a clue who their MP is, let alone meet him/her. I think it is far more important that the size of seats are equalised, as far as they can be, so that no party can get a 100+ majority on 36% of the vote. And yes, I do agree with the overall reduction in the number of MP’s. Even 600 is far too many, in comparison with other countries.

  25. Correction: I know *these seats* would require quite a significant swing even on 2010 boundaries, but it’s worth bearing in mind IMO.

  26. Is there a chance of publishing your map for an area alongside the Democratic Audit one and then comparing the two (and any others around) that could be properly debated.

  27. @AmberStar

    Indeedy. Minus 10-25 Netto.

  28. Talk of Conservative ‘net gains’ will only be part of the story, though IMO. What happens to the marginals on Labour’s top target seats (say, top 50 or 100) will also determine how much swing – and therefore how difficult it will be – for it to win a majority in 2015.

  29. Norwich appears to have changed to one pretty solid result for Labour rather than 1.5 seats on average,
    Norwich North going blue when they lose an election and both changing to Conservative when they get a landslide (in which case probably irrelevant anyway), I think Lab might prefer a single pretty safe seat to two of variously less certainty.

    Also in the south west the changes seem to make the LD’s more vulnerable to Conservative gain – they wouldn’t have to nibble quite so many votes away. Not that they aren’t going to be vulnerable anyway with the LD vote presumably dropping badly next time.

  30. according to the Guardian, David Cameron’s favourite big society youth centre, Base 33, is facing closure due to a funding crisis. Perhaps a PM ought not get too involved with situations on the ground, they don’t always go to plan.

  31. Re Aberdeen Airyhall etc council by election

    I don’t know whether the Aberdeen Airyhall council by election has been mentioned.

    First preference votes

    SNP 1,112
    Lab 783
    Con 649
    LD 554
    Green 101
    Ind 98, 32
    NF 25

    SNP gained the seat ater the 8th round of counting.

  32. @ Old Nat

    Who did you guys gain the seat from?

  33. News from the states:

    People began spontaneously celebrating in Sheridan Square outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City. :)

  34. @ Robert Newark

    “I am sure that there are plenty of examples of odd seats at present. Kenilworth & Rugby was very odd – 2 towns with absolutely nothing in common. This was a marginal, won back by blues in 2005. It became Kenilworth & Southam, a very safe blue seat but still two towns who have no links to each other whatever.

    But at the end of the day is it important? Most people haven’t a clue who their MP is, let alone meet him/her. I think it is far more important that the size of seats are equalised, as far as they can be, so that no party can get a 100+ majority on 36% of the vote. And yes, I do agree with the overall reduction in the number of MP’s. Even 600 is far too many, in comparison with other countries.”

    I actually think you guys have it better because you have so many MPs. People really get fuller and better representation from their MPs. And actually, watching your elections, it always feels like each constituency represents an extra large precinct.

    As for odd districts, I think it does matter if you have neighborhoods and cities that have very different needs and you put them together for seemingly no reason at all. Like if you split up City of London and Westminter and then drew part of it into a new constituency with the Tower Hamlets or Bethnal Green and Bow, I’m not sure people would like the districts.

    I believe (and things could change) I’ve been redistricted, which took me completely by surprise, and I’m not very happy about it. You had one Congressional District that contained a lot of areas that naturally fit together. Now it’s basically been split four ways with different parts going into four different seats, all of which are very different from the existing one.

  35. Gov (dis)approval continues its gradual decline. We seem to be slowly heading towards -30% again.

    Lab lead is back to 7% but it will probably return to ‘normality’ in the next poll. IMO Lab are not this far ahead.

    The link from the table here to the YG tracker tables has not been implemented yet.

  36. RAF
    “… Labour will notionally lose around 10-25 seats to the Tories. It would therefore be quite wrong for any party to howl indignation if the BC conclusions end this way. ”

    I totally disagee with the latter sentence.

    For me the motive of the reduction in MPs is political. If the result of the changes is to make it is more likely a party has an improved chance of staying in office or of being elected that IMO is undemocratic and should be challenged when the effect becomes clearer.

    IMO the Cons (and LDs) will be accused of rigging the system (if not gerrymandering). Those accusations will persist into the next GE (and beyond).

    The adjustment in the overrepresentation of Scotland and Wales is fine with me.

    And amongst this is yet another appalling miscalculation and a display of utter political incompetence on the part of NC and the LDs. The LDs wanted to reduce the number of MPs to 500 BUT this would have been accompanied with introduction of PR.

    NC accepted a referendum on AV and a reduction in MPs to 600 THAT will take effect even though the ref on AV has been lost.

  37. It seems amazing that a minority Government should succeed in getting such sweeping changes through, merely to improve the chances of the Tories winning next time.

    To do it, they had to hornswaggle the LDs, of course, who will end up in a worse position and with far fewer people willing to vote for them, all as a result of the deal that Clegg and co have done.

    An extraordinary example of electoral suicide.

  38. @Mike N

    Clicking “update 23rd June” on YouGov takes you to the 22nd June page. The tables are headed “feildwork 22-23 June”, but the results seem to be those for 22nd June (?) :(

    Looking at Peter Kellner’s article (pensions/unions), I’m wondering if the u-turns are setting up an expectation among sections of public opinion that government initiatives are likely to be misguided at the ouset.

    Can’t agree more with you on the conseqences for LDs… You give us a referedum on AV (which is an utter failure) and we let you redraw the boundaries to abolish a quarter of our seats (being optimistic we were only looking at 20 seats on current boundaries/polling anyway).

    Other news, Cameron reported to have alienated the military top brass. No funds for Greece will please eurosceptics, but sets up a solidarity deficit vis a vis our continental partners.

  39. I think the biggest misconception people currently have is that ONLY the net Tory seat figure is important. But as Lewis’s model – which produces virtually no Tory net gains over Labour shows – it’s not just this that is important, it’s also what happens to the Labour-Tory marginal seats which Labour would need to gain to get a majority in 2015. Under both models, Labour will therefore have a harder time getting a majority in 2015.

  40. Ambivalentsupporter
    “…it’s also what happens to the Labour-Tory marginal seats”


    IMO, we are seeing a fundamental change in our democracy.

    If this was a Lab gov doing this there would be fury and an outcry in the media.

    The only ‘good’ thing is that it may lead to PR.

  41. Whatever the ins and outs, the whole excercise is really a waste of money.

    Equalising constituency sizes does very little to address the chief problem of the system.

    Namely; we still end up with the vast majority of the electorate having no effective say in who is elected government.

    i Only the marginal seats are likely to ever change hands.

    ii But even these only change if a small number of electors in each marginal seat changes their vote!

    So politics remains targetted at – what? – two percent of the population? (ie The swing voters in the marginal constituencies).

    Why not just replace the whole system with an oligarchy and have done? After all, there is very little real democracy going on here.

  42. Chris Todd
    I agree. Time for revolution?

  43. All right, here’s a new nuclear option that might come into play.

    If different experts are coming up with different projections on boundary changes, this gives a lot of room for allegations of bias irrespective of how the Boundary Commission behaves. (They will probably be fair, but that may be impossible to prove to the satisfaction of all parties.) And, I understand the changes have to be approved by Parliament before they can take place.

    So … if the Lib Dems can wait for a big row over boundary changes to kick off without their involvement, would they dare vote down the boundary changes in revenge for their coalition partner’s behaviour in the AV referendum? The excuse can go along the lines of “Although we supported the change in principle, we cannot support the recommendation made by the Boundary Commission as it does not have the confidence of the public.”

    It would of course be political suicide to do that now (the Lib Dems would look like sore losers), but in 2013, when memory of the referendum will have faded in the public mind, and the popularity of the parties may have shifted, who knows?

  44. Billy Bob @ Mike N

    “I’m wondering if the u-turns are setting up an expectation among sections of public opinion that government initiatives are likely to be misguided at the outset.”

    Nothing new in that.

    I think you mean that they the initial proposals from ministers are more likely to be modified by a restraining political/pragmatic influence from the PM and perhaps the Cabinet.

    That’s a good thng, but thanks to Mrs T’s soundbite, the opposition and press will always present it as a U turn.

    Formerly we had sofa government and a determination to overcome any opposition, except from the financial sector and business as distinct from industry.

  45. Billy Bob

    I think someone has been reorganising the front page of the Archive, hence the confusion, but yesterday’s polls are here are far as I can tell:

    The (updated) trackers for Party Images have also reappeared (the link was broken most of yesterday) here:

    ht tp://

    (losing the gap of course)

    [Anthony it would be so nice to be able to put more than one link up, pretty please]

  46. Democratic Audit’s suggested boundary revisions seem odd and excessive, e.g. several illogical boundary crossovers between Greater Manchester and Cheshire, including the abstraction of the north of the Macclesfield consituency into Stockport South. I would expect the BC to try to minimise both changes to existing constituencies that are within 5% of the target size (e.g. Macclesfield) and also the crossing of county boundaries. The BC’s main task is to reduce the number of significantly undersized (mostly inner city Labour-held) constituencies such as Stoke-on-Trent Central, by distributing their constituents to neighbouring areas within the same county. This would reduce the unfair Labour bias with the current boundaries. FPTP constituencies are here to stay for at least a generation, given the electorate’s massive rejection of electoral reform in the recent referendum.

  47. “FPTP constituencies are here to stay for at least a generation, given the electorate’s massive rejection of electoral reform in the recent referendum.”

    No, the electorate rejected one single option of electoral reform offered to them, which wasn’t even the one that the proponents of electoral reform called for. (And that’s if you believe the public actually voted on electoral reform instead of Nick Clegg, which I don’t.)

    If the Conservatives want a mandate against PR, they should have a referendum on one. And preferably also explain why 31% is a massive rejection but 37% is a mandate to get your way on everything (which is what the Mail and Express seem to think).

  48. Oh, and can someone explain when it was decided that a referendum ties the country’s hands for 25 years or however long a generation is? The public can undo the result of the last general election every five years, so why not a referendum?

  49. only once this is boundary review is complete and the labour parties built in electoral advantage is reduced, will the uk have any moral authority to police or comment on other backward electoral systems in other countries.

  50. Bill
    “…will the uk have any moral authority to police or comment on other backward electoral systems in other countries”


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