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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  1. Going back through the contributions here since the election I can understand the bitterness but a I think few more contributors should acknowledge their own foolishness rather slamming the pollsters.

    Polls are not predictions in themselves but they do have value if analysts have the sense to both understand what polls are and also are able to IMPARTIALLY interpret them.

    A poll of how people CLAIM they are going to vote does have value but only if used as the basis for an objective assessment of how this might relate to how people will ACTUALLY vote.

    Number Cruncher did this in his widely lauded analysis the day before the election. Notably even pollsters such as ICMs Martin Boon acknowledged the merit of his analysis despite their polls at the time saying something completely different.

    In contrast this site has mostly been a delusional echo chamber for the last 2 years.

    Now a number of contributors are blaming the pollsters and saying “not our fault, we were just following the polls”.


    Most contributors here were denying even the conservative assumptions made BY pollsters.

    Pollsters such as Peter Kellner did cite swingback, incumbency effect and differential turnout.

    Because of their childish inability to look beyond their own bias, contributors here were denying even these over conservative assumptions.

    I remember reading here that the Labour Party were GUARANTEED a majority 18 months ago despite only having a 6 point lead.

    If one is going to deny the reappearence of recurrent historical trends one needs much better justifications than those offered here.

  2. Unicorn

    “Another thing that perplexes me was the basis on which you made your earliest projections. ”

    I believed that the economic measures Osborne had taken were going to work, unlike most on here. As your will know from my posts I would have cut deeper and quicker than Osborne but i still felt that his measures would work, although slower. That is exactly what happened and he and the Conservatives started to get credit for it. If you read my early posts i always said double and triple dips would not happen, again i was right. Close, but didn’t happen.

  3. @Millie
    “I will be voting to stay in the EU, but you are right, Cameron will not get many concessions from his renegotiations.”

    You may be correct,but I am not so certain,the EU would be devastated if the UK left,they are in my opinion a fairly spineless organization.If we left,you can be sure others would follow.They know it is a knife edge vote and Cameron wants mainly to stop free movement or something akin to that,the human rights act will shortly be dIspatched to the bin replaced by a British bill of rights.Cameron is gradually detaching us from Europe’s grasp and they really cannot do anything about it.This their worst nightmare and faced with losing the UK or giving in to demands,they will cave in,in my opinion.

  4. I have wanted to post several times since the GE, but the sheer volume of posts rendered mine redundant the moment I’d written them.

    Obviously a very poor result for Labour, the LD hammering was consistent with the polls (even if the final result wasn’t …), and well done to Con for pulling off an unexpected OM.

    Labour need to regroup fast around a centrist candidate. We have seen that the comfort zone doesn’t work. I’m disappointed Dan Jarvis won’t run (this time), but I fully understand his reasons, and also note he didn’t rule out going for deputy leader. Ideally the new leader would come out of the unexpected leftfield (not ‘left’ – you know what I mean). US comparisons have been done to death, to our detriment, but I do remember that Clinton and Obama were relatively unknown and thus outside the normal dynamics inasmuch as they didn’t have a full press folder of public gaffes (although goodness knows Clinton made up for lost time), and voters could ascribe qualities to them that hadn’t been debunked (yet). Jarvis would have been my choice.

    But barring Jarvis, I can’t help but wonder if Umunna is not the man now. His TV persona is far more at ease than Ed’s was. Liz Kendall is hopefully in line for a swift promotion. The current hierarchy need to step aside. So no Cooper, Burnham, etc. Balls losing has probably done Labour a favour – although he is a formidable intellect, results are all, and he fell short.

    If I were the Labour party I’d grovel to Blair, Mandelson and Campbell and ask them to write the manual for the next generation of Labour leadership. Put our differences to one side – two election losses is enough, and Con’s majority and popular vote are slim enough to be reversible.

    I left Labour over Iraq and was disillusioned by the Blair project by 2004. But winning beats losing any day, and I’d rather win ugly than lose in a blaze of ideological purity.

    @Anthony – could I ask that you pass on my email address to @Crossbat? He’s left UKPR for now, but we seem to live in neighbouring constituencies.

  5. Scotland is a different beast to England. With respect, the SNP can offer fantasy socialist economics, as they don’t have fiscal.autonomy, Labour can’t, so it’s much easier for the SNP to sell a dream, which is what they did. Labour would be scrutinised to a far higher degree, see EM on QT last week.

  6. @Andy S

    Thanks for your thoughtful posts. I think people have appreciated the international experience you have been able to bring to our discussions.

    In that regard I must say I felt completely shunned on here for arguing that the LD were going to almost completely disappear.

    As I recall, your main argument was to dubious corrections were being made to adjust for dont know/won’t say responses. In particular you questioned the wisdom of going back to 2010 figures to reassign VIs. Your repeated suggestion was that this overstated LibDem support and underestimated thst for UKIP and the Greens.

    I think people here took this on board. But in the absence of any objective evidence at the time, didn’t know what to do about it. I don’t think,you were being shunned at all.

    As you probably recall, along with others I had completely different reasons for predicting much lower LibDem vote tallies. I was prepared to accept the non-response adjustments. But I never saw any reasoned arguments for going with the Ashcroft CVI figures in making seat projections.

    I haven’t yet had the opportunity to analyse the results thoroughly. But on preliminary examination it seems to me that there has turned out to be no solid basis for your methodological objections.

    In the weeks before the election the polls were saying that the LibDems had about 8% of the support and this is almost exactly the figure that emerged in the election. Basis on this, there is no evidence at all that reallocating don’t knows in proportion to 2010 voting shares had any effect in inflating LD support.

    Based on this, I would put it to you that your predictions of LibDem collapse were based on a false argument. You expected this to happen because you believed that the polls were systematically overstating LD support. You therefore thought LD real support would be much lower and they would do worse than expected. In practice, the polls’ predictions of support proved accurate but the LD seat count dropped anyway. (The reason for this was that the drop from 23% in 2010 to 8.1% last week was in itself sufficient to wash away the LD seats. There was no need to call upon the polling inaccuracy you were alleging was happening.)

    A similar argument applies to UKIP. You regularly suggested that their real level of support was being understated and posted on more than one occasion about the dozen or so seats they might win. In the event, the actual vote share was again within about a point of the most recent polls, and there was absolutely no evidence that the VI reallocation algorithms were getting things wrong.

    So, in sum, I think you were raising important issues and at the time there was no basis on which to counter your arguments. In the event, I think the results have proved you wrong. Given this I am a little surprised to see you writing as if your arguments (as opposed to ultimate conclusions) were vindicated.

    Given this, id be interested to read your own post mortem of your adjustment criticism.

  7. Good morning all from Mount Florida. Very sunny today.

    What the election would had looked like using PR. (difference in brackets)

    Tory….240 (-91)

    Labour…197 (-35)

    SNP….30 (-26)

    Lib/Dems..51 (+43)

    UKIP..82 (+81)

    Greens..25 (+24)

    Others..23..(-2)….pc sf dup etc

    Totals to 648 but close enough to show how PR would had worked out for the parties.

    Food for thought peeps.

  8. @Allan, very interesting, but irrelevant, as it’s not going to.change!! Cons & Lab main losees, zero.chance.

  9. Some random streams of consciousness

    1.the exit poll.wasnt as accurate as 2010 why ?

    2.why did ed drop one nation ? priti patel the next leader of the tory party? politics now about maximising your vote rather than winning?

    5.why did tony blair create the structural deficit(no tax increases,big increases in nhs and education spending,wars in afghan and iraq)and why did mr browns boys accept the blame.?

    6.will england vote to leave the EU?

  10. @rich

    The economic plans put forward by Labour and SNP were pretty similar, per IFS. It’s just that Labour put more emphasis / spin on their plan “cutting the deficit each year” (wrongly thinking this would help in middle England), whereas the SNP put more emphasis on their plan “ending austerity” (rightly thinking this would help in Scotland).

  11. @James, the Snp raise 3% less tax per citizen, yet spend 15% more due to barrett, tuition fees

  12. RICH

    I agree it’s not going to change for the reason you stated but its ironic the party who complained most about FPTP (UKIP) by highlighting the SNP and their seat total as a percentage to their vote is the biggest loser yet the SNP who would lose under PR are one of the biggest beneficiaries of FPTP but are against it and are for PR.

    It’s a strange ole parody.

  13. Curtice article about the accuracy of Scottish polls.

    Tories bang on, SNP slightly under-estimated, Labour over-estimated by quite a bit.

  14. @Allan, interesting to see. Although, the outcome would have been Con-UKIP Coalition. If I remember, that was percieved more negatively than a Con majority (can’t find the poll – on phone).

  15. @rich

    The “SNP” raise next to nothing per citizen, given that very few taxes are collected by Holyrood – just the rates and the new form of stamp duty, really.

    Any discussion of how much or little a Scottish deficit would be is mostly based on (hypothetical) estimates of how central British taxes and spending would be split up.

  16. JP
    Good post. You obviously thought so too as you posted it twice. ;)

    Re the Polls

    Polls are only an indicator of what the position is, not an absolute. It’s similar to reading the accounts of a business, you look at all sorts of ratios as indicators but you don’t stop there, you look at the order book, the management, if it’s retail, are their stores busy,,etc, etc.

    Maybe if a few politicos actually got off their backsides, travelled round the country more and discovered the mood in the Dog & Duck, they might learn what matters to the ordinary person. And it probably won’t be the same as was discussed at the last Islington dinner party they attended.

    As for labour, in my view, they are dead in Scotland as the SNP fills the left wing space. The Scots will unite behind a strong leader, if I was Scots I would have done the same, despite being a Tory, because I would be Scots first and Tory second.

    In the fullness of time, and that could be another 20 years, once I felt that Scotland had got its true recognition, whether that be independence or whatever, i would return to voting as before. So the tartan Tories will return eventually and Scotland will not be a one party state forever but there will be no place for Labour.

    Question is, how successful are Labour going to be in stopping UKIP pinching their Northern English voters? Ukip have a good start after this election and if Paul Flynn becomes leader, that’s the vote they will go after.

    Fact is, are Labour a bit irrelevant in 21st century. Will 2015 prove to have be, what 1923 was for the Liberals?

  17. I don’t think Labour are in danger of disappearing (not yet, anyway). If anything, there was a reassertion of two party politics in England and Wales. Unless UKIP are able to develop further or the Lib Dems recover, it’s hard to see where a challenge to them is coming from.

    Con + Lab won all but 8 seats in England (six Lib Dems, Caroline Lucas and the speaker). I think both of their vote shares increased.

    Con + Lab won 36 of 40 seats in Wales and both of their vote shares increased. For further info, see Roger Scully’s blog below.

  18. @Rich et al

    Can we please stop the nonsense about how poor Scotland is, we have had this drummed into us through out the referendum campaign and the GE campaign: the people that voted Yes and SNP do not accept it. This is not the site to re-hash the arguments but ‘too wee, too poor, too stupid’ will no longer wash.

  19. Andy Shadrack

    “I wish you all well in your various political futures, but would encourage you to think about what kind of world you are construting for your children and their children for seven generationse beyond yourself”

    That’s exactly what millions of voters did last Thursday and why David Cameron is in no. 10. We want the budget back in balance and the debt reducing because we don’t think it’s right to saddle future generations with the results of our generation’s profligacy.

  20. Forgot Carswell in the above post re England. I suppose you could just substitute him for Bercow though, as the Tories would undoubtedly have won Buckingham but for the existence of a speaker’s seat.

  21. @alan christie
    a Tory/UKIP coalition under PR then,wonder how that would have gone down ? Would have been interesting,but I wonder if more people would have voted UKIP if they knew they would get this much power under PR.

  22. @ Andy Shadrack

    I agree withe point on the effects of the generational changes especially if the fixed-term parliament stays.

  23. For labour and aspirational voters from families there are four key policies for the elderly is in the private sector ,nhs in the public.To care for mum and dad without spending the inheritance from the family home the two need to be merged.Very expensive .

    2.housing -no chance for first time buyers without an increase in supply.As the private sector owns all the development land and wont or cant build more, then direct build by the state using compulsory purchase is required.Very expensive

    3 Pr to lock the tories out of downing street.Cant happen until after the next general election but requires a labour leader committed to it as a policy.

    4.welfare to be recast based on the contributory principle with varying benefit rates -much higher for some ,lower for those who can but wont work.

  24. Looking at the overall turnout percentages for each party, it confirms my view that the Conservatives not so much won the election as stayed numerically ‘loftily aloof’ while all around them churned. Good for them; that is what you have to do in FPTP, divide and rule.

    Using the churn verb, reminds me to ask Spearmint if she will kindly inform us if she has a summary of 2010 to 2015 churn for GB.

  25. Anybody interested in the inter-party swings behind last Thursday’s vote? I’ve got a neat spreadsheet that reverse-engineers the underlying swings and shows:

    Con to UKIP = 19%
    Lab to UKIP = 10%
    Lib Dem to Lab = 21%
    Lab to SNP = 35%
    Lab to Green = 2%
    Lib Dem to Green = 10%
    Con to Lab = 1%
    Lib Dem to UKIP = 2%
    Lib Dem to Con = 25%
    Lib Dem to SNP = 40%
    Lib Dem abstentions = 7%
    Con to SNP = 40%

    I’m confident in these numbers as my methodology reproduces the national votes shares and is reasonably accurate at forecasting seats as well.

    I’m setting up a new blog but thought I’d toss these numbers into the discussion.

    More tomorrow.

  26. @Mibri

    In a hypothetical campaign under a PR system the campaign strategies would have been very different. The Tories would have been much more concerned about UKIP than they were in FPTP and some of the energy they put in to the anti-SNP fear mongering would have been directed toward contaning UKIP. Also their targeting of LD would have had poorer payoff so would have got less attention.

    UKIP/Farage would have had much more attention (they might have cracked or blossomed), SNP would have had less expect within Scotland. Lab and LD would also have had to change thier strategies.

    About all we can say with confidence is that it would have been different. They are just too many variables,

  27. Sunreada 11.14
    Yes your point 3 is what Labour chiefly needs, but don’t hold your breath, as I think they are still in denial about the situation, as it has developed.

  28. @Andy Shadrack
    ” a majority of the English are both too arrogant and stubborn to make the changes nccessary to build a cooperative future that would see a more equal arrangement between the four nationalities and nations.

    Farage wanted to punish the Scots, Cameron embraced crude jingoism, purely for personal political advantage and
    Miliband looked and acted like a spineless jelly fish in the face of Tory press rhetoric.
    ……. so what reason do they (Scots) have to stay when they were simply used as a political football to decide the outcome of the election of English MPs?”

    Precisely, unionists think on.

  29. @sunreada, PR would not lock tories out of power, it would probably have given a tory / UKip coalition…

  30. Sunread

    “1.the exit poll.wasnt as accurate as 2010 why ?”

    Seems likely that it understated Tory support slightly – enough to swing a few more marginals their way. Factoring in the effect of UKIP, the Greens and the Lib Dem slump across the country added extra complexity. It’s impressive it was as accurate as it was.

    “2.why did ed drop one nation ?”

    You’d have to ask Ed but I suspect it wasn’t seen as effective. I think Lab probably missed a trick by not wrapping themselves in the union at an early stage and continuing the pursuit of middle england votes. However the opinion polls were telling them that they already had enough support in middle england to win so maybe that played a part in the miscalculation.

    “ priti patel the next leader of the tory party?”

    Err. I’d be surprised. But I don’t have a vote. Find her quite annoying actually.

    “ politics now about maximising your vote rather than winning?”

    The two things are linked. You need to maximise your vote in order to win.

    “5.why did tony blair create the structural deficit(no tax increases,big increases in nhs and education spending,wars in afghan and iraq)and why did mr browns boys accept the blame.?”

    Hmmm – to build schools, hospitals, sure start centres etc. Big increases is over the top though – they paid down debt in the first parliament and after about 2002/2003 they started to run deficits again, but debt levels as a share of GDP remained lower than when Lab came to power.

    Would they have been better paying off more debt in that time from 2002 – 2007 and not increasing spending? Given the economic collapse then yes however the pressures from the public at the 2001 election were primarily around frustration at the slow pace of improvement / investment in public services such as the NHS.

    “6.will england vote to leave the EU?”

    I doubt it. Staying in already has a poll lead and people generally default to the status quo when there is any fear / anxiety about the alternative.

  31. @exileinyorks
    oh don’t get me wrong the strategies would have been very different,but the Tories targeted UKIP voters big time as I said they would,it paid big dividends as the Bluekippers in general came home.true mostly over fear of SNP/LAB,however without that factor they may well have stayed and we may well have seen more votes for UKIP,given they hurt Labour much more.
    So yes there are a lot more variables,but UKIP could see serious power under PR ,.Hence why they are a bit miffed.

  32. lets face some facts on Blair v Brown

    who rallied against overspending in the early 2000s?

    who kept Britain out of the Euro?

    who played a major role in stablising the world financial markets following the banking crisis?

    While Blair went on his ideological crusade to the Middle East spunking a load of cash with it

    I am not staying that Brown was brilliant, but he is seriously underated by the British public

  33. Rich

    I disagree because PR will result in new voting intention (including present Conservative VI) and ultimately new parties or reformed parties. .

  34. Sunreada

    “For labour and aspirational voters from families there are four key policies for the elderly is in the private sector ,nhs in the public.To care for mum and dad without spending the inheritance from the family home the two need to be merged.Very expensive .”

    Agreed – popular but expensive – not something you can realistically promise from opposition.

    “2.housing -no chance for first time buyers without an increase in supply.As the private sector owns all the development land and wont or cant build more, then direct build by the state using compulsory purchase is required.Very expensive”

    Possibly less of a problem than the first given the GDP benefits of boosting the building trade. Would have to be realistically funded though and would people believe the promises about 200,000 homes etc? They’ve heard it all before

    “3 Pr to lock the tories out of downing street.Cant happen until after the next general election but requires a labour leader committed to it as a policy.”

    Might get some Liberal votes so electoral reform could be seriously considered however only a small percentage of people would use this as a factor in how they cast their vote. No change could be made without a referendum as well.

    “4.welfare to be recast based on the contributory principle with varying benefit rates -much higher for some ,lower for those who can but wont work.”

    Could be quite controversial – also risks increasing poverty / attack on the left. But Labour does need to change any perception that they are the party of the ‘benefit scroungers’ so I wouldn’t rule out tough policies in this area.

  35. @Gary O

    re Brexit, surely it is much too early to say. Depends on what (if anything) Cameron is able to get out of his renegotiation and how the Tories then split on the question. If opposition to the EU is just restricted to the usual ~50 backbenchers, UKIP and maybe a couple of papers, then obviously they’re not going to win. But a much deeper division would be more unpredictable in its effects.

  36. I always assumed the left would never do PR as you’ll get larger nationalist representation in england

  37. Which they long ago decided was bad.. (compared to Scottish or Welsh nationalism)

  38. how many Tories elected are eurosceptic? Really interesting question, though the polls will probably be 100 MPs out!

  39. Thoughtful,

    That’s not a Labour canvasser then. Contact Creator sheets look a lot different and use codes rather than summaries of voters. Plus the canvasser wouldn’t be carrying the sheet – it’d be held by a board runner.

    Possibly a Lib Dem? Could make sense for them to categorise voters like that.

  40. James

    True. You could be right and we don’t know what unpopular stories / decisions might crop up from the EU in the next 2 years that might significantly affect VI for a referendum.

  41. Couper.

    It’s not a question of Scotland being rich or poor.

    It’s also not a question of whether Scitland has a bigger or smaller deficit than the rest of the UK.

    The ONLY question, when considering FFA or independence as a very minor member of a currency union is how you borrow. THAT is the elephant in the room. If the EU crisis told us anything, it’s that the bond markets will crucify a country that tries to operate a significant degree of independence whilst not having it’s own currency.

    Unless and until the SNP finds a way to square this circle, they are peddling a myth to the Scottish people. Labour have been criminal negligent in not finding a way to make this point to the Scottish people. But if you really want FFA, YOU will have to explain it to the Scots sooner or later.

  42. “a significant degree of FISCAL independence”

  43. Rich

    Left has always been split on PR – partly for those reasons re extremist parties and partly for own electoral advantage.

    Probably a majority in Labour are against but it was party policy before 1997 (after 1992) so I wouldn’t rule out the party ever revisiting it.

  44. Re PR – it was dropped by Blair because of objections from John Prescott and other senior figures on the left (and presumably because TB wasn’t convinced either).

    If they had gone through with the Jenkins proposals then we might have had PR implemented via AV+ in 2005.


    “But all the time there were other (highly ranked) measures sending the opposite signal (such as NHS, immigration”

    Sorry i had to go out so did not have time to answer your other points.

    I largely discounted both for differing reasons.

    On the NHS the Tories always poll worse than Labour I regarded that as a given. It did become the number one issue for a time when their was the A& E crisis but again I discounted that as I felt that would not be news by May. I also felt that the voters would be put off by Labour’s lack of a clear plan on how to improve the NHS, their reluctance to talk about more money at the end, the Mid Staff’s problem, and the performance of the NHS in Wales.

    On immigration I felt voters perceived that the EU “open borders” agreement was largely responsible. Atr least the Tories were offering a referendum on EU membership which neither Labour ,nor the LibD’s did, a bad tactical mistake in my view. I felt that the voters were also quite clear that mass immigration was encouraged during the last Labour Government. Obviously immigration as an issue helped to give UKIP momentum and that was likely to adversely effect Labour and the LibD’s as much as the Tories. I think that is proved to be the case.

    The other significant factor to me was that voters saw a clear strategy from the Tories……”The Long Term Economic Plan”. They may not be enthusiastic about it but at least it was clear. I do not think they felt Labour had a clear strategy at all.

  46. The Conservatives got close to Labour on NHS before the 8 billion question, and I think even overtook Labour towards the end.

  47. Forgive me if someone has already picked this up.
    Survation gives Tories a 9% lead.
    A pity they didn’t a week ago.

  48. Sorry, I was reading the wrong column … Apologies. labour put an extra 2% on in the campaign.

  49. @ Roland

    I’m quite sure the Conservatives will increase their lead in the next few weeks.

    But yes, Survation saw the light …

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