The election of a majority Conservative government means that the Parliamentary boundary review will presumably go ahead on the rules passed under the last government, but delayed by the Liberal Democrats (the review that was started in the last Parliament was abandoned before it was completed after the law was changed). There is no need for the government to pass any laws to implement this, it will start up automatically early next year once electorate numbers are available, though Parliament will still have to vote to implement the Boundary Commissions’ recommendations, and with a small majority that is not necessarily a given – last time round there were a couple of Tory MPs who said they were going to vote against the new boundaries, and the government doesn’t have much of a majority to begin with.

Anyway, a couple of people have asked me how this election would have looked had the revised boundaries proposed in the last Parliament gone through. I’ve done a rough rejig of my provisional boundary calculations using the result of this election, and had the new boundaries gone through the Conservatives would have won 322 seats, nine fewer than they did but enough to give them a healthy majority of 44 in a Commons of 600 MPs. Labour would have won 204 MPs (28 fewer), the SNP 50 seats (and would have pushed Labour out of Scotland entirely) and the Lib Dems just 4.

Of course, this is not necessarily a good guide to what the new review this Parliament will produce – electorate numbers will have changed since 2010 and given some of the discussion after the abandoned review I suspect the English Commission may be a little more open to splitting wards so the proposed changes are less disruptive (something that requires only a change of mindset, not a change of rules!), but we shall see.

1,050 Responses to “What the election would have looked like on the new boundaries”

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    A 15 seat majority ain’t that big a cushion when considering naughty back benches.

    Certainly John Major struggled in the same circumstances. However I do think the Conservatives are so relieved and surprised that they have a majority that there may be more support than usual for Cameron. He is also making much more conciliatory moves to the 1922 commitee. He started his 2010 tenure by trying to take it over and failed! This time he is striking a much more collegiate tone. The party may also remember the Major years and how that opened the door for Labour. I wait to see. There are obviously huge tensions too and maybe unrealistic expectations over the EU etc.

    I know galling isn’t it. Perhaps some of your colleagues will take your message on board when describing ex Eton scholars.

  3. As for when Labour will ‘return’. What we do seem to have is a basic vote for the main parties again.

    The Conservatives lost out to Labour following black Wednesday. Labour lost out to the Conservatives following the banking crisis.

    It is all about economic confidence/competence. So, impossible at the moment to tell when Labour will be called up again. It depends on the Conservatives being competent and no major economic shocks. Could be ten years or ten months.

  4. @catoswyn

    “A 15 seat majority ain’t that big a cushion when considering naughty back benches. ”

    He has earned a honeymoon period, and all the signs are that he is going to push ahead quickly with some of his priority issues. The limited reshuffle very much ties in with this. The awkward squad will most likely behave itself while the EU terms are being haggled. What happens after that is another matter.

  5. Allan Christie
    I am not jumping up and down, but I am certainly not listening to any more anti Tory bilge for a week or two.

    I was very gracious until the pathetic excuses started.

  6. Gove’s former adviser on the difficulties in repealing in HRA because of English law.


    Thank you. It is good for everyone to watch their language and their manners, as in fact most people tend to do on UKPR.

  8. Roly
    Take care or you’ll end up in the brig, courtesy of Cap’n Wells.

  9. Roly
    Or you might even have to walk the plank!


    Words like ‘pathetic’, ‘bilge’, ‘toerag’ and so forth are too emotive.

    Even if some views expressed have irritated you there is no need to resort to this and in fact the site specifically asks that you do not.

    Please stop.

  11. @Carfrew,

    An excellent post, yes Tories have challenges, but in some ways Tories know their target audience and don’t need to change. Tories, it does what it says on the tin.

    But Lab, who do the appeal too? Like you said, they lost members to UKIP (not looking after middle class / immigration), Greens & SNP (not left enough), middle class (not centre right enough). It’s going to be tricky to rebuild. Of course they will at some stage, as politics is cyclical to an extent, but they have an incredible challenge identifying a central core message and main target market. It’s almost impossible to be a broad church these days in politics. Thatcher and Blair did it, but those days are gone for now.


    You are right, I apologise to you.

  13. Old Nat

    That’s an interesting link you posted.

    Although not directly related to the reason you posted, it also reminded me of the rather fraught legal minefield that might also accompany an Out vote in the forthcoming EU Ref. To quote Dominic Cummings

    “The fact that a referendum on the EU would not only be very hard to win but would also not even guarantee victory anyway has been almost entirely ignored. “


    Thank you :)

  15. Allan Christie

    Even more remarkable than Cameron’s majority is that I agree with TWO of your posts! :-)

  16. Robert Newark
    ‘After 1979 it took Labour 4 more GE’s to get back a majority.

    After 1997 it has taken the Tories 4 GE’s to regain a majority. ‘

    But on none of those occasions was the Government’s majority as slim as 12 at the outset of a Parliament. Even post-1992 Major’s majority did not reach that level until early 1995. Also constant tight whipping is likely to be stressful on the Government side particularly – increasing probability of by-elections.

  17. @Rich – sorry but I think your taking the majority of 12 as some glorious indication of the countries love with the Tories and massive euphoria griping the nation – sorry don’t sense it not see it. I think a lot held their nose and voted for the save option with the doubts over Miliband a major reason: this was no 1997 and 1983

  18. Smithy

    Agreed. Cameron & co have the benefit of the doubt / second chance, for now.

    They weren’t loved back in.

    Nor, of course, were they as widely loathed as their opponents would like to think.

  19. BT SAYS

    Ah, there you are. The overall winner of the prediction game! Well done you. :)

  20. Grant Shapps new international Development Minister, that surprised me

  21. @ Norbold

    Stop being so bitter, I told you the fall would be harder.

    2020 will be here in no time at all.

  22. @neil j

    You sure? It says Grant Shapps is the new Defence Secretary on Wikipedia.

  23. The European Question still has the capacity to wreck the Tory Party. It depends on DC’s success in negotIating with the other 27 leaders. Will they make a genuine effort to accommodate him or will Dave get off the plane waving a worthless piece of paper. Some euro sceptics will never ever be satisfied. What ever DC manages to bring home..

  24. NeilJ

    No doubt he’ll be flogging double glazing to Eritrea.

  25. I also think the Tories will vacate any notion of holding the centre ground over the course of this parliament – the one success of the LD’s was keeping them grounded to the centre as much as possible now the increased power of the back benchers will move the Tories increasingly to the right – not a week in and already noise around Human rights abolishment is a good indicator of the direction where the Tories will head to.

    My point is labour won’t need to do much to be the party of th centre

  26. NEILJ
    Grant Shapps new international Development Minister, that surprised me
    You sure? It says Grant Shapps is the new Defence Secretary on Wikipedia.


    Well, he has been known to do two jobs at once before!

  27. @ Valerie

    Some will not be satisfied no matter what he does in Europe, but the coming referendum will keep them happy.

    I do not speak as much as I did with the two Tory MP’s that I once had contact with but when I last asked the raging hatred for Europe was not such a factor anymore.

    The party is different to how it was 20 odd years ago.

  28. Shapps has been appointed as minister of state at the department for international development which is seen as a demotion as it isn’t a cabinet position. Lord Feldman on the other hand has been promoted to full chairman of the party.

    I think the various Shapp revelations that emerged have displeased Cameron somewhat.

  29. @AW

    I haven’t been on much since Thursday (in the hope of missing a surfeit of gloats and excuses). But I’m seriously interested in why the pollsters en masse got it so wrong.

    I know there’s an enquiry going on, but my first instinct is that it comes down to the reassignments of don’t knows based on other factors (past voting or party affiliation). In normal cases this seems to make no difference, but this time it was hugely important. For four of the main contenders (LD, GRN, UKIP, SNP) it turned out there was no significant relationship between past voting and 2015 voting, so any reassignment would be distorting.

    Might it not be better to simply discard the don’t knows?

  30. @ Catoswyn

    “Well, he has been known to do two jobs at once before!”

    Haha, that made me chuckle.

  31. @bluebob
    “when I last asked the raging hatred for Europe was not such a factor anymore.”

    I think some Tories are starting to realise a functional EU is important for dealing with a resurgent Russia. NATO is only a military alliance, for energy policy, sanctions etc the EU is important.


    Agreed about the EU though of course there is still a cohort who care deeply. I think the boundary reviews and reduction in MP’s will be tricky. No one likes to lose their job even if it is all ‘fairer’ and ultimately better for the party.

  33. David Miliband is not very classy is he? I think Lab’s true problem was that all the candidates in the 2010 leadership election were a bit ropey – and that’s the fault of Blair and Brown for not nurturing the next generation.

    Hopefully this time they’ll fare better. They ought to do what Michael Howard did after the 2005 election – appoint all the candidates to shadow positions, have a long leisurely contest and see how they perform before voting. If the Cons had gone for a quick leadership election, David Davis would have been chosen and would have lost…

  34. Off topic – the polls now known to be wildly wrong, will the methodology be updated in light of the election? If so, how?

  35. Candy

    Milliband family gatherings must be so frosty they could be used as a cure for global warming.

  36. It is indeed a very different Conservative Party in comparison to the first half of the 1990s. However, some MPs, who would normally be in-EU, may get a bit fret because of UKIP.

    I don’t know if it is a clever move or a mistake to bring the referendum forward (as reported). Yes, it can swipe the problem off, but equally it could keep it on for the rest of Parliament.

    I have a strong feeling that the referendum will be about immigration rather than the EU, unless some consensus could be achieved across Parliament (unlikely, as it is a good chance for Labour).

  37. MOG – no, that’s not the reason. Most polls don’t do it, and it makes little difference to most of those that do. It makes the biggest difference to ICM’s polls, and in their case it made their final poll more accurate, not less accurate.

    There may be better things to do with don’t knows of course, but I think we can rule it out as the source of the error.

    Mico – certainly not off-topic, and yes. See the next post.

  38. @ Mico

    “Off topic – the polls now known to be wildly wrong, will the methodology be updated in light of the election? If so, how?”

    Judging from Survation, you add 7% to the Blues. It’s a bit unfair, but not too unfair. None of the polling companies has yet announced any methodological change.

  39. I think the EU referendum will be very tricky for DC and GO (whose leadership ambitions rest on it going well )

    I know a few voters in the south ,inc tory members ,who voted ukip in the euros ,tory in the GE and will vote out in the referendum.

    The tory press will go in different directions -murdoch titles out ,express out ,mail and telegraph may try to sit on the fence.

    I could see the vote in england being touch and go ,ditto NI,scotland solidly in favour of staying in ,wales in favour of staying in.

    So uk would vote to stay in but could be closer than scottish referendum and we know what has happened since.

    On labour nuanced and sensible comments from tristram hunt -identifies three problem issues -scotland ,ukip in the north and midlands and aspirational in the south.Some who have jumped in too quick only see the latter and gloss over the blairites culpability in the rise of the snp and ukip.

    And of course the three identified by hunt may require different solutions and policies which may not square up.

    Understandble response from miliband D but saying labour needs to go back to 1997 kinda ignores that they could have been lead by a sack of potatoes and still won (tho not by as much).In fact labour lead by ed miliband,gordon brown ,neil kinnock or michael foot would have won in 1997.

  40. Reports that EU referendum may be brought forward to 2016 .

  41. I’ve not posted since GE night so a few comments on various subjects.

    On the polls: well done to AW and others in the industry who have held up their hands and said “we got it wrong”. My take is that there was a systemic failure in the way the undecided were accounted for. In my humble opinion I think “don’t know” should be declared as part of the headline figure and one can make one’s own assumptions about where that may go. I think this is important because like it or not, opinion polls shape party strategies and can affect how people vote (a “protest” vote in a safe seat may be cast differently if it is suggested that the seat is not actually safe).

    On Labour: I can’t see how they can hold the traditional left and right of the party together any longer. They have to adopt a neo-Blairite line that appeals to the ambitions of middle England, and sacrifice the support of the “working class” in Scotland in particular, or move to a more traditional Socialist agenda with the reverse effect. For what it’s worth, my view is that their best bet is to appoint Chuka Amunna as leader because I can see, regardless of the substance behind what he says, him being adopted as the British Obama ( to the extent Obama was before he was elected)

    On the Tories: I suspect there is a very small part of DC who is also disappointed with the result. He now has to keep his backbenchers happy without being able to blame the LibDems. Europe has been the downfall of the Tories in the past and it may be again. I’m not doubting that the referendum will go ahead but he can’t win; if the result is stay in, then the anti EU element might defect to UKIP and if the result is leave, then he might lose the position of being the natural party for industry.

    If (and it’s a big if) Labour are able to be in a position where they have a clearly articulated, all inclusive vision expressed by credible leadership in time for the next GE I think the Tories will be in difficulties. In other words, the outcome of the 2020 GE lies more with Labour than it does with the Tories, regardless of how well the country is governed over the next five years.

  42. Chukka Ummuna could be the very worst choice for an electorate tired of an oppressive metropolitan elite of do gooding middle class ‘warriors’ who treat working people with contempt and a ‘we know best’ attitude.

    Ummuna is hardly a ‘man of the people’ and will no more be able to connect than Milliband was.

  43. @Sunreada

    A big factor will be how the EU themselves react to the referendum.

    They were shocked that Cameron allowed the Scottish referendum to go ahead, and the way they are reacting to the results of the Swiss referendum on freedom of movement is also unfortunate (it’s the equivalent of Scots voting Yes and the Rest of the UK saying we’re going to ignore the result and be mean and put all sorts of petty obstacles in the way).

    So lots and lots of things potentially to go wrong, not least some European saying something for home consumption that gets magnified by the press here.

    Another unknown is how the press react. They’ve loved playing the anti-EU card – but when it comes to an actual vote to come out? If I was Cameron I’d mischievously tie Leveson to the referendum – so the press play ball on the latter to avoid the former. Am I being too Machiavellian?

  44. Graham

    Yes of course a majority of 12 is slim but remember it wasn’t just bye elections that Major suffered from, it was his mP’s joining other parties as well. Lose a bye election and you have lost one seat, if somebody crosses the floor the effect is double that.

    I don’t know what the average age of the Tories is but there are many young ones and not so many old codgers, so hopefully by election as a result of death will be low. But we just don’t know and I agree, managing all the aspects of this house, is going to test his abilities to the limit. Time will tell. I read somewhere that the last parliament had one of the least number of bye elections and most of them were because of opposition deaths.

  45. Laszlo

    My reason for thinking UKIP could replace Labour in some seats next time, is that, whilst they only won the one seat this time, they amassed thousands of votes and came second in a great many seats. Depending how they play out the next 5 years, next time round they might get many seats.

  46. Or not if there’s a real referendum, when there’s a decisive vote to remain in the EU.
    What would become of UKIP then?

  47. I make attempt at any analysis, but the map of England for premature deaths bears quite a resemblance to the latest election results

    Or not if there’s a real referendum, when there’s a decisive vote to remain in the EU. What would become of UKIP then?

    There has been a lot of hints from UKIP that they will only accept the result if they believe the question was asked fairly and the campaign conducted in a balanced manner.

    There is some leeway therefore for them to reject any ‘yes to stay’ result as unrepresentative if they believe the above has happened. So I wouldn’t rule out them continuing on much the same lines as before.

  49. @DAIBACH

    “If (and it’s a big if) Labour are able to be in a position where they have a clearly articulated, all inclusive vision expressed by credible leadership in time for the next GE I think the Tories will be in difficulties.”

    The trouble with politics is that luck (aka unexpected events) trumps all. One Black Wednesday or 2007 crash and it’s curtains even if the opposition would have taken exactly the same decisions. One of these events (and there are more than enough of them potentially before 2020) and the Tories could be toast even to an unreconstructed Labour.

    I think it would be a mistake for Labour to react to current events with a lot of changes – it just makes one look frit and it could just set you up for another kind of disaster down the line. Considered steady progress that gives time to keep your supporters on board is rather better.

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