Boundary Update

I expect this will be the last one of these for a few years, as the Commons looks likely to vote to approve the Lords amendment abandoning the current boundary review and setting the next boundary review to begin in 2015, reporting in September-October 2018. Today should see an end to matters one way or the other – looking in detail at the amendments before the House today, the government has tabled a counter amendment that would reject the Lords amendment, and adopt the Boundary Commissions final recommendations without the need for further votes in the Commons and Lords.

415 Responses to “Boundary Update”

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  1. DC has been demonstrating his knowledge of geography. He’s telling everyone that Mali is not Afghanistan. Huumm I guess we will see

  2. I’d go for census too. Equalise constituencies but allow more leeway and consideration of historical and political ties/boundaries. Keep the number of MPs at 650.

    Well done to Arsenal for coming back from 2-0 down. Was a bit of a bummer from a Spurs perspective. Happy that Spurs came back too, though – Bale yet again proves his worth!

  3. statgeek

    As an active member of the community and as an active voter, do I not deserve more rights than those who ignore the system?

    Um no. That way madness lies. Do you get extra votes for being a JP? Joining the National Trust? Helping in the local soup kitchen?

    Actually I think your question betrays a subtle confusion that others have also fallen into when discussing this topic. Someone who doesn’t register is actually only disadvantaging themself for that particular year. They might move elsewhere and register in future. But if that happens to be the year which is chosen as the basis for the allocation of constituencies, then it’s the people who live there in later years are disadvantaged by being under-represented.

    This would not matter if such non-registrations were evenly spread across the country, but they tend to be concentrated in areas with certain characteristics such as high levels of private rented housing. So you end up imposing a sort of ‘collective punishment’ and not even for current faults but for those committed by people in the past.

  4. Re Boundary Commission,

    Can any organisation be truly independent or free from bias???

    Since organisations are made up of human beings, all of whom have opinions (and who vote), surely it is impossible for an organisation like the boundary commission to be totally free from political bias?

    Just a thought.

  5. @ Billy Bob

    “Glad to hear the link (ACE/Electoral Knowledge Network “your portal to the world of elections” ) might be of help.

    Me a swing voter? SMukesh (to whom the “love-bombing” post was addressed and I hope, appreciated the joke) probably has a pretty good idea which way I vote. With a few exceptions the sympathies of most people who post on a neutral background can be guessed at… perhaps it takes a little local knowledge to be able to do that.

    Did I tell you that (as a three-years-old) I was on a street in London to see Churchill’s funeral cortege pass by?
    Whose funeral did Harold Wilson fail to attend because he had tooth-ache, was it Bobby Kennedy or Martin Luther King Jr? Sadly I think he was into the paranoid phase by then because of the numerous shadowy plots against him.
    Watching Nixon on TV… I’ll stop there – the free association promted by you asking if I was a swing voter – let’s just say from age eighteen onwards I saw the new Thatcher/Reagan/GHWBush era as a major blight on the world, and I still feel that way. You know the rest.”

    I agree with you on the first two (though lately I have found myself quoting Reagan….positively) but not on the last one. While he wasn’t the world’s greatest parent, he wasn’t an evil man and he actually did a lot of good things for U.S. foreign policy, restoring us to our democratic roots as President. He also did a lot ot weaken the CIA and reign it back in under control. Granted he did throw up on the Prime Minister of Japan but that was an accident.

    Do you remember Churchill’s funeral at all? I forget when he died and how old that would make you. I’m sure if Wilson failed to attend the funerals of Bobby Kennedy and MLK Jr., he had a legitimate reason. Although would British PMs be expected to attend?

    I remember Reagan’s funeral. That was awful. Perhaps the worst traffic jams in LA I’ve ever seen, took me 3 hours to get home from work. And the day before, I was getting my teeth whitened that day. It was highly painful as is and the office had FOX News on (something I didn’t realize until after the process had begun) and it was just gushing over Reagan and I couldn’t talk and ask that the channel be changed.

    I love it when I am a swing voter, though it’s very rare and almost never is over a candidate race. Usually over ballot initiatives.

  6. Further to my last point, surely the fact that the boundary commission may favour employment of certain individuals (intentionally or unintentionally) from certain backgrounds may preclude individuals who are more likely to vote or identify more with party X? Surely, by so doing, they are likely to encourage some degree of political bias?

    For instance, if most of the individuals at the head of the boundary commission are male, well-educated, and generally from a wealthier background, isn’t it possible that such individuals would be less likely to, perhaps, sympathise with centre-left political parties (and, thus, favour the conservatives more, for instance)??

    Despite a conscious effort, is it ever possible to get the commission’s employment policies totally equal/representative or equal so that it can overcome this problem?

  7. No Sun tweet; see you all bright & early tomorrow? My thanks to Tinged who appears to have volunteered to be the YG morning monitor. ;-)

  8. Ambi/Amber

    “electoral commission/bias”

    This is why Alec’s idea of having badgers involved is a guddun.

  9. You don’t become a non-person if you haven’t registered to vote and you still deserve an MP working in your interests just like everyone else. I’m amazed that’s even slightly controversial.

  10. @Berious,

    I think you’ll find that non-voters do have MPs…

    I just don’t like the idea that their non-voting is taken as tacit support for Labour, and that their neighbours effectively get to vote Labour on their behalf (by virtue of wielding more “electoral power” than others).

    I can forsee a Labour government with a healthy majority, despite a vote share of 32-33% and a Tory lead of several points. May as well just have a revolution and be done with it.

  11. NeilA

    I like your attitude, I’m right behind you

  12. @SoCalLiberal

    Harold Wilson was opposition leader in 1963 and along with the Duke of Edinburgh and Sir Alec Douglas Home (PM) he did attend JFK’s State funeral… fwiw the story about Harold not turnig up to an important event because of a tooth-ache I can’t track down atm.

    I do remember seeing Churchill’s cortege go past on a very grey London day in 1965. A policeman had just closed an intersection and let us stand in the road, otherwise we wouldn’t have seen anything from the crowded pavement. Also watched it later in the day on TV and had a weird felling that I was in two places at once. We moved house around my fourth birthday, and strange to say, I do remember quite a lot from before that.

  13. A couple of streets behind cos I don’t like water cannons and rubber bullets

  14. @Charles

    Found it!

    Hooe that helps, rgdsm

  15. @Neil: “I just don’t like the idea that their non-voting is taken as tacit support for Labour, and that their neighbours effectively get to vote Labour on their behalf”

    That’s the system we have unless you’re a Conservative MP grumbling about how undemocratic those awful <50% union votes are. ;)

    With FPTP many millions get an MP they never voted for if a plurality of electors vote on their behalf. Not to mention votes in a marginal might be worth hundreds of votes in a safe seat. That's unfairness built into the system and I don't see Lab or Con losing too much sleep over it.

  16. A couple of points.

    Firstly now that we have agreement on the question;

    “Should Scotland be an independent country”

    I would expect at least one new poll on it, probably by a Sunday paper.

    Secondly, the new bit is the Electoral Commission’s (EC) request that both governments sit down and agree on information that the electoral commission can distribute on what happens next.

    It seems to be along the lines of if it is “Yes”;

    Who will be doing the negotiations, how long will it take, will it be done by 2015 and if not will we still be able to vote for Westminster in 2015, will it be over by 2016 and will that be the first Independence referendum.

    I suspect issues about the EU etc will also come up.

    If it is a “NO”, then what?

    This is trickier as the impression given was that people want clarity on devomax, which there just isn’t at the moment, all three unionist parties have ideas but no actual policies.

    Despite the EC request I think both Governments will produce there own versions which will be interesting.

    I suspect the EC’s call for joint neutral information for Referendum Day+1 might fall on deaf ears, although the first side to put it’s referendum leaflet to the EC will put pressure on the other side.

    Equally the UK government might have some trouble sustaining the “We won’t say because we don’t want it”, line when the independent EC is effectively saying that the public have a right to know and the government a duty to tell them.

    That may make the strategy of emphasising uncertainty while with holding information harder to maintain.

    I’ll also chance my arm and say polls will show a slight increase for the Yes campaign because the news has raised the profile of the issue and the EC’s comments on the evaluation have been upbeat and complimentary to the Scottish people.

    By and large if news tells people nice things about themselves thy are more positive about it.


  17. PeterCairns: “…the first Independence referendum”



    You’ll know better than me, but I assume that the SNP tactics have worked rather well.

    1. Including “Do you agree” in the original proposal , was rather clever. Since that was what the Scottish media, and No campaigners leapt upon, it wasn’t surprising that the EC research found that most of their responses commented on that, and the resultant question they proposed is perfectly acceptable to the SNP.

    2. Suggesting finance limits that advantaged the No parties puzzled me at the time, but in retrospect, it should have been obvious that application of the EC principles would lead to spending limits being based on the 2011 voting figures – resulting in Yes parties having higher funding limits than the No ones.

    3. The real bonus for the Yes side was the recommendation that both Governments should agree public statements as to what process should occur in the event of a Yes or No vote. That has real implications for both governments, but especially for the UK one. Notable that while Scottish Government, Michael Moore and Alastair Darling for the No campaign all said they would accept/support all the EC recommendations, Cameron declined to do so at PMQs – and he controls the UK Government, not Moore or Darling.

  19. from the Guardian, very interesting video, what is the best way to ensure that there is no gerrymandering? The answer is rather surprising. Also take a look at some of his other videos, so informative and funny at the same time.

    I would go for census, OMOV

  20. Still no YouGov tweet.

    I think someone needs to go down the shop and have a look for themselves. I nominate Paul Croft as he has given himself some cushy jobs on here recently so he can have the “I wasn’t looking at the t*ts honest guv” monitor.

  21. “As an active member of the community and as an active voter, do I not deserve more rights than those who ignore the system?”

    To which I reply –
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” … “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. The principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation.” … “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government.”, etc

    I realise that our nation isn’t founded on the ‘Will of the people’ sovereign myth, instead that God granted the Queen magical powers, but our system of government is (after God decided to behead one of his magical God-Kings).
    Each person has one equal unit of power and as such is equal in dignity and rights as anybody else in the nation – you don’t get to ‘buy’ extra power or rights (which effectively amount to the same thing – power) through good deeds.

  22. Shevii –
    Con 33, Lab 42, Lib 10, UKIP 7
    Looks like 9% lead may be the new trend.

  23. MitM

    No problem, its just as I said, the reformation of higher education is an interest of mine so I had the info at my fingertips.

    Support will be a problem I think as it is minimal (hence the cost). What you will have to do is find a good forum where economics is discussed that can help with any issues you have (try the online courses I sent). You will have to get creative – but the payoff is saving a lot of money!

    I would then go and do a Masters using the funds you have saved at a respected institution to give yourself that gloss.

    Finally, I would not become an accountant – your passion is economics and you will find precious little of it in accountancy! Interesting economics jobs are rare though – strategic planning departments of large companies (particularly oil majors) or working for international organisations – European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, World Bank, UN etc would seem most interesting (although most of the international jobs will require fluency in 2 or 3 languages).

    I have a bit more I could say on both economics and accountancy, but again I have wittered on long enough, if you want to continue the conversation without polluting AW’s boards with non-relevant topics send me an email to my user name and I will reply.

  24. @ Tinged and Hucks

    Thanks for the update. It’s part of my morning routine now to check the polls- sad innit?

    I think it is too early to say the lead has settled at 9. I find it odd if the ‘bounce’ lasts less than a week- even to the extent of 1 in one hundred thinking on Saturday I will vote Tory and then 3 days later 1 in one hundred deciding they won’t! Although to be fair the Tory figures seem to not have moved as much as it is the Labour figure has moved up a bit.

  25. Labour will be pretty pleased if the 9% lead is sustained. If it is, it was just a weekend wobble in the party’s lead, and would make Cameron’s speech look less like a game-changer.

  26. shevII

    My jobs are neither cushy nor self-appointed – a higher authority is involved as I’m sure you are aware.

    As AmberStar has now authorised TF to be Morning-Poll-Monitor; [a bit above her station but I shall let that pass] I think it is now time to introduce my “A job-for-everybody scheme”.

    Choose yer own job and title and Bob’s-Yer-Uncle.

    [You can’t be a Czar tho’.]

    Looks like Cons have got a bit back from UKIP. Playing Devil’s advocate one could suggest that if remaining LD voters are pretty OK with Cons then Con + UKIP + LDs is a high %. Dunno if that is the case though – the problem being that the LD policy – iiterally – in reply to the question:

    “Who’s side are you on?” is

    “Who’s winning?”

  27. NEILA

    @”May as well just have a revolution and be done with it.”

    Yep-could come to that.

    As the disenfranchised masses rise up against a dictatorship of the minority.

    Going to have my zimmer frame armoured.

  28. Good interview by John Humphries with Ken Clarke on the euro speech this morning.
    As Humphries pointed out, working to reform the EU is one thing, UK asking for powers to be repatriated is another thing entirely.
    Clarke struggled to square this circle.
    I think as we get closer to the GE this will be where Camerons strategy will start to come undone. In his speech he spoke of the need for reform and gets support on that from Germany etc.. but that is not what is right wing are interested in they want repatriation as a minimum and exit as a preference.

  29. Dave Hartnett is to join HSBC as an adviser to ‘enforce the highest standards’ at the company.

    You really could not make this stuff up-I think Anthony Jay & Jonathan Lynn are in charge of PR at the Civil Service & the BBA.

  30. I am 100% in favour of the census being used for boundary considerations for pretty much the same reasons numerous people have expressed above – that I believe MP’s represent the entire population in their constituency, not just those who vote or have registered to do so. However I do accept the current system is too slow to react to population changes which unfairly hinders the conservatives and so would propose introducing a mini-census in between each census that would sample maybe 1% of the population and use those figures to track population migrations and be used to adjust the boundaries accordingly. If the Election dates and census were synchronised, no election would be fought on out-dated boundaries.

  31. KC is in the “don’t ask questions -we might get the wrong answer” camp of Europhiles.

    Since EM is in that camp too & looks likely to win the next GE now-Ken can relax. All his worries will disappear when EM becomes PM.

  32. @Barnaby Marder

    “Labour will be pretty pleased if the 9% lead is sustained. If it is, it was just a weekend wobble in the party’s lead, and would make Cameron’s speech look less like a game-changer.”

    I think the more sober minded amongst us never thought Cameron’s speech and Referendum pledge would be a game changer, certainly not in terms of the polls or even likely voting behaviour in May 2015. That said, the speech wasn’t totally devoid of significance, and it shored up Cameron’s position with his rebellious backbenchers and spiked some of Farage’s guns. In that sense, it was a speech aimed primarily at his own party and, from a short term political point of view, probably ticked most of the boxes for him and his strategists. It also wrong-footed Miliband for a while and will, eventually, force Labour to deal with the EU Referendum issue nearer the election. I suspect they’re currently developing a counter-punch for a later date and now that Cameron has been spoked out early, I think, tactically, time may be on their side.

    On the boundary changes and related topics, I think we all need to remove narrow party interest from the debate. I’d be quite happy if Labour went into the next election offering a Referendum on PR. Not only would this enlist Lib Dem support and, if required, their involvement in a centre left Coalition, but it might also mean that we would never have a majority Labour Government again. I’d accept that probability in return for a much more representative and healthy democracy. That’s why this debate on boundary changes was so depressing for me because it became reduced, in essence, to an argument over which of the two main parties would be best placed to swindle the electorate at the next election.

    It would be interesting to know how many of the estimated 6.5 million who don’t bother to register to vote do so because they think that their vote is effectively meaningless and a waste of time. We all have to wake up to the reality that we’re living with an ailing democracy and retaining FPTP, fiddling with constituency boundaries and reducing the numbers of MPs was never going to fix it. In that sense, I’m greatly pleased that the proposals have ended up in the dustbin and that, finally, Labour and the Lib Dems might have a chance in 2015 to make an offer to the electorate that truly transforms our democratic processes. That’s what I’d expect truly radical and progressive parties to do and I hope Cruddas and his policy review teams are taking this on board. And the increasingly friendly Miliband and Clegg too!

  33. Er, that should have been “smoked out” and not “spoked out”!!

    Spoked out was something John Prescott used to suffer from!

  34. Of course there would be one unintended side effect of moving to basing boundaries on the ER. At the moment, like a lot of the electorate, I vote against a disliked party rather than positively – in my case the party most likely to defeat the conservatives. However living in a safe Tory seat in the south east my vote is irrelevant. Now I have the option of ‘forgetting’ to include myself on the electoral register, and if enough anti-Tories did likewise we could reduce the number of voters in this area thus the number of safe Tory seats! So while my vote will have no effect in a general election, my giving up my eligibility to vote could!

    I can see it now – the Tories campaigning for their supporters to “fall off” the ER in the North, Labour doing likewise in the South! OK, even our politicians are not that cynical, but not registering would actually be a useful strategy in a safe seat for your opponents (far more effective than actually voting).

  35. @Alec
    “[When was the last time you sat next to a badger on the bus?]”

    Wasnt there a Bus company in the Bristol area called “badgerline”?

    I presume concessionary fares for our monochromatic woodland colleagues were withdrawn when it was taken over by first.

  36. Steve2,

    Opps…… I had ment o right “election” not “referendum”, the perils of late night posting.


  37. This is a link to the EC methodology conducted by Mori on the referendum question.

    it was done on focus groups covering about 200 people.

    Interestingly what it doesn’t give are any tables.

    I have no problem with the new question, I actually prefer it. It is short sweet neutral and generally better than the original.

    What I would like to know is;

    Did people fell the “agree” made them more inclined to vote yes or were they just concerned that it might make others do so?

    What was the actual difference between “agree” and “should” in statistical terms.

    I get the impression that the evidence for the change might not be that robust and that they have put the right solution forward never the less.


  38. TingedFringe,

    ‘I realise that our nation isn’t founded on the ‘Will of the people’ sovereign myth, instead that God granted the Queen magical powers, but our system of government is (after God decided to behead one of his magical God-Kings).’

    I thought that John Locke and Walpole had ironed all that out in the early 1700s.

    We are sovereign as a people and the queen rules with our consent. That was the settlement arrived at to justify overthrowing the catholic king James and the subsequent presence of the Saxe Coburg Gothas on the throne.

  39. @ Valerie X

    Nice to see my fellow Mancunian back on site. But note your sneaky attempt to replace emoticons with Xs. We have entered a new age of maturity on this site: see Paul Croft’s posts. He is an exceptionally precocious 9-year-old viola player & polymath: a cross between Mozart & wee Bertie in McCall Smith’s Scotland Street novels, if you know any of his v funny Edinburgh novels.

  40. Billy Bob
    “but I will say anti-communism as a driver of ideology has never been all sweetness and light.”

    I agree but as someone once said (Churchill?) all the alternatives tried so far, have proved worse.

    “I’d be quite happy if Labour went into the next election offering a Referendum on PR. Not only would this enlist Lib Dem support and, if required, their involvement in a centre left Coalition, but it might also mean that we would never have a majority Labour Government again. I’d accept that probability in return for a much more representative and healthy democracy. ”

    I don’t agree. (neither do I see Labour wanting it) I would rather have a system that can throw out a bad government at the next election, whether left or right. With PR we would have the same government permanently as everyone seems to assume that the LD’s would be permanently wedded to Labour and therefore in a permanent majority.
    After the shenanigans of the last 2 years, ANY decisive government (red or blue) is better than this mish-mash of a coalition. I was in favour of it originally but the opportunistic antics of Clegg & Co recently, has changed my mind totally.


    @”(neither do I see Labour wanting it)”

    I had always understood that the PLP were not in favour of PR-something I have never understood, for the reason you give:- the prospect of permanent coalition with LibDems.

    Now that the constituency playing field will not be levelled,& Labour’s advantage remains, I assume Labour will feel they don’t need that prospect .


    Whilst I agree with your overall sentiment about PR, I think one thing that is overlooked is that if we did have PR the existing 2 (3?) big parties would break up. They are broad coalitions (especially Labour and Tories) and under PR there would be no reason for this to continue. Tories would break into at least 3 parties I would suggest, and Labour probably 2 at least.

    Big downer for me is that the coalitions are then formed AFTER the GE, whereas with FPTP they are formed BEFORE the GE – much better and more democratic I would say.

  43. Those that think Labour will be pretty pleased with a 9% lead your right, however I’m not sure the Tories are that upset either.
    Of course the Tories would rather the polls were closer but they would take heart that when there is a fluctuation in the polls because of a positive message from the government it closes the gap to make a outcome in a GE seem uncertain for either side.
    Before those who say wishful thinking, lets be honest any main opposition party couldn’t fail to be leading in the polls because of the governments currant recession policy’s with so much focus on austerity and cuts.
    The Tories will take heart in the fact that Labour have not been able to increase there lead in the polls for nearly a year despite the many government U turns unpopular policy’s and cuts, in fact it seems if Cameron say’s something popular with the public the Tories share of the vote goes up almost overnight , if the Government manages to grow the economy over the next couple of years they can expect the polls to close on a more permanent basis.
    The run up to the next GE is likely to focus on who do the public trust to run the economy and to increase employment which if their still in place will focus on choice between Miliband/Balls and Cameron/Osborne none of whom are particularly popular with the public so it will be more about who can convince the public who is the most competent and who comes over as more trustworthy in public debates.
    None of the currant polls can predict whether when it actually comes to the next GE people vote with there hearts or there heads despite what they say now, it will depend on the state of the economy and in which direction unemployment is going, not only here in the UK but how the UK is doing compared to it’s European neighbours.

  44. Where are the New Thread Monitors?

  45. @Robert “With PR … that the LD’s would be permanently wedded to Labour … ANY decisive government (red or blue) is better than this mish-mash of a coalition.” (edits mine)

    I’m unsurprised a right winger is quite happy the leftie vote is permanently split! Also I disagree a decisive government is necessarily better. Bad as I’ve found the coalition they’d have been much worse if Cameron had got his way entirely on issues like where tax cuts should be targeted, NHS “reform” etc. I suggest you’d find a Labour government much more tolerable if they had to make deals with the Orange bookers rather than running amok unchallenged.

  46. Colin

    Dave Hartnett is to join HSBC as an adviser to ‘enforce the highest standards’ at the company.

    I actually burst out laughing when I read that. Satire is officially dead – how can it match reality.

    It’s surprising how little coverage there has been of the appointment, neither the Guardian nor Telegraph seem to have mentioned it and even the Mail’s coverage isn’t that prominent (their main story seems to be that a woman who was in the news 20 years ago now looks 20 years older).

  47. Does anyone pontificating on the failings of PR actually have experience of living in a PR democracy. Always the same govt!! Are you kidding the centre left govt we have now is very different from the centre right govt we had before and that was very different from the centre minority govt before that and later this year we will probably have a pure right wing govt and that will be very different. The process of forming coalitions is something that is an ongoing process, the last 4/5 years here have seen constant negotiations between the various centre, centre right and right wing parties with occasional attempts to resurrect a centre alliance. While we don’t know the exact policies of the likely next govt we can see the basic outlines, the detail will be filled in after the election when the relearive strengths of the parties are known, but anyone who wants a softer right wing govt will be voting for the Christian peoples party(conservatives with a social conscience) those that want more hard line positions will be voting for the ironically named progress party(ukip style ultra conservatives) we know that Erna will be the prime minister candidate for the right side which is a huge reversal of fortunes from 4 years ago when most commentators thought her political life was hanging by a thread, but she seems to have pulled off the impossible and created a viable right wing coalition with the Christians to the left of her and the ukip nutters to the right with even the liberals prepared to give tactic support as long as Erna can control the more racist and illiberal tendencies from her ukip allies

  48. New Thread :-)

    I was waiting for Roger to finish. We have a lot of respect for Roger.

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