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. Coups

    Like, pointing out the rubbish talked about oil prices was not “denigrating Scotland” either. It’s just pointing out that some peeps spoke rubbish for electoral/VI purposes…

  2. @graham
    major managed to lose a whole chunk of the majority given to him by Mrs T.
    Granted the tories are not universally popular,however UKIP too over 12 % of the vote and despite claiming some of their votes back,,I am pretty certain a couple of % were tories.It is up to Cameron to get them back and get back to polling 40%.Personally,I think the Tory performance was pretty impressive.Given we have almost 5 party politics now,polling of 37% is no mean feat in my humble opinion

  3. @ Unicorn

    Very nice analysis. But if the LibDems are overestimated, then, because of the implicitly applied churn model, Labour would also be overestimated.

  4. @Rich
    i agree with you about social media,it was pretty vociferous at times,not just from those of the left,but UKIP voters also were pretty forthright.
    I think it has it’s uses,but when faced with aggressive barages,people often do retreat to their own thoughts and decide on the day,that the pen is mightier than the sword or keyboard

  5. And “denigrating” the SNP is not the same as “denigrating Scotland”. The SNP are a political party. They are not the voice of Scotland. They are riding high but Scotland is not a one party state. I realise I’m stating the obvious but some nationalists don’t seem to grasp this.

  6. @Mibri
    I don’t really disagree. Without the collapse in Scotland Labour would have managed 32.5% – barely 5% adrift of the Tories.
    Cameron’s majority at 11 or 12 – depending on whether we count Bercow – is much more waferthin than Major’s 21 in April 1992.There has to be a real possibility that by late 2017/early 2018 his majority will be in low single figures. Memories of the Callaghan Govt might then re-emerge.

  7. I have a question for our Scottish friends who may be able to shed some light on this. On my lunch break today I was reading the summary report from the Smith Commission. Like most policy documents, it’s full of woolly language and fairly meaningless rhetoric about love and cooperation between the UK and Scottish governments :) I was very interested in Pillar 3 (Strengthening the financial responsibilty of the Scottish parliament). To my (uneducated in legal stuff) reading, the points 75-79 on income tax are incredibly confusing and contradictory.

    In Point 75, it states that “MPs representing constituencies across the whole of the UK will continue to decide the UK’s Budget, including Income Tax.” (that’s fair enough – although what that means for EVEL is anyone’s guess).

    Then in Point 76, it states that “the Scottish Parliament will have the power to set the rates of Income Tax and the thresholds at which these are paid….” (that’s also clear, therefore if the Scottish parliament decides to change the income tax rates, it can do so presumably independently of Westminster).

    However, in Point 77, there is the statement that “All other aspects of Income Tax will remain reserved to the UK Parliament, including ….the personal allowance” (surely the personal allowance is an effective minimum threshold?).

    And then in Point 79, “the Scottish Government will reimburse the UK Government for additional costs arising as a result of the implementation and administration of the Income Tax powers described above”. (This is gloriously vague. It could mean merely that there are some small administrative charges due to reorganisation of HMRC, *or* the word “implementation” could imply that if the Scottish government were to reduce taxes, that they would have to pay the extra directly to HMRC. Probably not, but there’s a lot left to interpretation.)

    I would be interested in hearing how this whole section is interpreted by both Scots and English/Welsh voters. In particular, it’s very easy to imagine difficulties with a Conservative Chancellor setting a UK budget , while the SNP wish to, for example, decrease taxes for lower earners.

  8. @valerie

    After reading the posts I was about to make the same point

    Criticism of Scottish Nationalists is NOT criticism of Scotland or the Scots. There are people who make this “mistake” both sides of the border, and often it’s just a pathetic attempt to sow division.

  9. Sorry to rabbit on (as usual), I would also be interested in reader’s views on Section 95.5 on the ability of the Scottish government to borrow. One particularly revealing paragraph (95.5.a) is as follows:

    ” The Scottish Government’s borrowing powers should be agreed by the Scottish and UK Governments, and their operation should be kept under review in conjunction with agreement on the mechanism to adjust the block grant to accommodate the transfer of taxation and spending powers.”

    Much as I like to believe that the UK government and Scottish government could sit down and thrash out a deal on this, it might be rather tricky getting a law through either or both parliaments, and I can’t imagine it being a popular move with some of the Conservative-leaning newspapers.

    I hadn’t read the report before, having just heard little bits of information at the time of its release. However, reading through it does underline how rushed the “Vow” and the subsequent Smith Commision reporting was done, and what an absolute constitutional mess it could lead to (the worst since abdication? :) )

    And “denigrating” the SNP is not the same as “denigrating Scotland”. The SNP are a political party. They are not the voice of Scotland. They are riding high but Scotland is not a one party state. I realise I’m stating the obvious but some nationalists don’t seem to grasp this

    You are absolutely correct and the same was true when Labour dominated the political scene in Scotland with 75% of the seats on a vote share of 42%.

    A lot of people in England had the impression Scotland was Labour but in reality most Scots have never voted Labour and the party have never commanded a majority of the votes north of the border.

    @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)

    If i remember a Tory UKIP collation was more unpopular than a Labour SNP coalition.

    I suppose FPTP has its benefits when you think of the likes of UKIP.

  12. @allan christie

    “A lot of people in England had the impression Scotland was Labour but in reality most Scots have never voted Labour and the party have never commanded a majority of the votes north of the border.”

    Yep exactly. Similar to the “Tory England” thing (41% of England in this election)

  13. @Graham
    he really has the UKIP,DUP and UUP votes also,so he think he has around 25,he is more than safe in my opinion.The referendum I suspect,may not have to be along party lines.I think DC can afford to allow Eurosceptics to campaign to leave if they so wish,he can play it as everyone has a vote in a referendum.he can just recommend what he things.
    There is nothing to stay he will back staying in ! If Europe dig their heels (which I doubt) then the tories will back leaving,they will have no choice.
    He has already made progress with the right of the party by replacing the human rights act,with a BrItish bill of rights.He will go to Europe the most powerful and secure leader,all will face elections in 2016,.So I suspect his party will follow him

  14. Graham

    Possibly – although the number of elderly / unwill MP’s has significantly reduced in the Tory ranks since 2005 / 2010 and the most ecent election so don’t expect there to be anything like the number of Tory by-elections that Major had to endure.


    Interesting analysis. I’m guessing that electoral calculus would argue that the extra 2% vote share they had forecast for the Lib Dems would have been due to ‘swingback’ / ‘reversion to previous VI’.

    Pethaps models that predict swingback when there are two governing parties need to be adjusted to negate the swingback for the second party. I wonder if there are any similar elections on the continent with multiple parties in government that this could be applied to?

  15. Mibri

    I think there may be some rose-tinted specs there. Merkel is still far more powerful than Cameron, and there is absolutely no way that the Tory’s business wing will countenance him advocating an out vote.

    John Major also had 13 Unionists from various parties, although I acknowledge that the Sinn Féin factor did not apply back then.

  16. @Mibri RE: support from Unionists

    I don’t think Cameron can (or should) take the support of the DUP for granted – particularly on fiscal issues. If there are extensive welfare reforms that will impact on NI (NI has high numbers of people on disability allowance for example), the DUP wouldn’t support it. There will be elections for the NI Assembly next year and the DUP are under a certain level of attack from the UUP (who are on the up) and from more hardline unionists (including UKIP!). I think people forget that the DUP have no particular love for the Conservatives – they will support the Government if there’s money for NI, but otherwise, their support is not guaranteed.

  17. Just to clarify some factual issues. The Human Rights Act has not been repealed as yet. But if the Government wants to it can, it was enacted by a British Government to enable the ECHR issues to be decided in a British court. If the HRA is repealed it will just mean that instead of matters being decided in a British court in the first instance it would have to go straight to the ECHR.

    If the British Government did not want to be subject to the ECHR they would have to rescind their treaty obligations.
    They can of course do this, but it should also be noted that although the ECHR is not the E.U., it is a condition of the E.U. that members sign up to the ECHR. It would open a whole can of worms, which I don’t think David Cameron will do.

    An intelligent analysis of the issues here by Dominic Greive, writing in the Telegraph.

  18. I also don’t think that Cameron’s majority will decline as Major’s did either. Not only do they have to fall off their perch, they also need to be in fairly marginal seats.

    Another one for PR fans.

    In Germany, parties require a 5% vote threshold to gain entry to the Bundestag.

    I note that the SNP got 4.7% and the Greens 3.8%.

  19. An unbelievable result that nobody but nobody really predicted.

    Labours low of 232 will make it really difficult for them to win in 2020 – there is no way Labour will win back Scotland in the next 5 years (or ever) which simply adds to all their woe’s.
    Many Conservative wins and ‘holds’ last week saw quite a number of increased majorities which again makes things even harder for Labour next time.
    The drama was even added to by unexpected gains in Councils and Councillors.
    This just wasn’t supposed to happen bang in the middle of such an ‘unpopular austerity government’ – was it?

    I’m certainly not here to gloat but I stayed up until 4.30am and awoke at 8.00am and couldn’t quite believe what i was seeing.

    15 hours is certainly a long time in Politics!

  20. NEILJ

    Joshua Rosenberg has a good article on this in the Grauniad.

    He suggests that the repeal of the law as well as being legally problematic (e.g. Good Friday Agreement) is also pointless as it solves a non-existent problem.

    A lot of people suggest that governments should only legislate when necessary and not for symbolic purposes. I tend to agree.

    May 11th, 2015 at 3:57 pm’


  22. Nigel Farage has reverse-ferreted his resignation to stay on as UKIP leader.

  23. I was under the impression that all the Human rights act did was make access to those rights easier and faster.

    If a government wishes to repeal that act, that in itself will not unsign us from the ECHR. And if we did do that too? Whenever we complain about any other country on this subject, it will sound a little hollow.

  24. A lot has been written about the impact of the EU Referendum on the Tories – could they split afterwards? Could it be the end of the Tory party?

    I was reading this analysis earlier that suggested Labour are equally worried that this turns into another Scotland for them

    “There’s a scenario in which, during a referendum on EU membership, UKIP receive an SNP-type jolt of enormous energy, gaining new members and purpose even if they fail in the referendum campaign itself. Northern Labour MPs sitting on big majorities, with an eye to their now unemployed former colleagues across Hadrians Wall, feel that they’re perhaps not as safe as they might have once thought”

    I had not thought about that, but I guess it is true.

    Both parties may suddenly find their safe seats are not so safe post referendum. Perhaps that is a good thing.

  25. One of the conditions of being part of the EU is being part of the council of Europe. One of the conditions of being part of the Council of Europe is being part of the European Court of Human Rights so withdrawing from the ECHR would expel us from the Council of Europe and the EU. Perhaps that’s what Cameron wants through. Would make his job easier than dealing with a referendum.

  26. @mibri

    “he really has the UKIP,DUP and UUP votes”

    DUP support will be expensive. As the government is still in austerity mode, it’s doubtful that the PM will want to pay out unless he absolutely has to.

    UUP support seems more reliable but I’m no expert in their relationship to the Tories so others can correct or affirm that. That’s 2 MPS.

    UKIP – Carswell is a “maverick”, I get the feeling that he has his convictions and will vote that way, regardless of anything else.

    There’s also the LDs who will be in no mood to help the Tories but might be useful in a situation where Cameron is trying to pass something that his hardliners disagree with, which also has LD support. I can’t see this happening very often so there’s practically no help from that quarter.

    “If Europe dig their heels (which I doubt) then the tories will back leaving,they will have no choice.”

    I really doubt it. Leaving the EU would be an absolute disaster for British business. I would be completely amazed if the Tory leadership supported leaving. If the EU leaders dig their heels in, DC will just try and spin it to amplify the concessions he managed to eke out.

  27. So, the UKIP party persuaded NF to stay on. What body of the UKIP party is not mentioned.

    It’s UKIP’s business, but it’s neat.

  28. @hawthorn

    “Nigel Farage has reverse-ferreted his resignation to stay on as UKIP leader.”

    We all saw it coming right? This is the one thing that was easy to predict.

  29. I am beginning to think that Cameron should have used a bit of his political capital to remove the HRA barnacle.

    I cannot see the UUP/DUP supporting something that could risk the Good Friday Agreement. I would be surprised if a Libertarian like Carswell would like it (supposition).

    It would not take many Tories to scupper it, leading to an unnecessary loss for the PM.

  30. @Hawthron
    Merkel is coming under a lot of pressure in Germany,particularly over immigration,she is in a 3 way coalition and Germany is not in the same place it was 2 years ago.She will also be facing elections when our EU ref comes up.The business wing of the Tory party is important,but it is a referendum and if Cameron does not get what he wants (as I say I think he might) then ,ruling him favouring an out vote is not impossible.After all many on here thought it was impossible for him to get a majority

    My point was I doubt he will need other’s support,however the DUP want a EU referendum so make them at least in the same camp as the tories and the UUP are also close to the tories.
    As I say I doubt he will need this anyway,I think his party are glad to have a majority and they want it to stay that way,i suspect

  31. He said something silly and should have just said so on Friday. Doesn’t impact VI but if it does hit how much people take him at face value with what he says.

  32. Well I did read that the Scotland would be exempt fro the removal of the Human Rights Act but as it’s been said its linked with the Good Friday Agreement so unless Northern Ireland stays in it wouldn’t take much for Sinn Fein to pull out of the NI government for it collapse. Similar thing could happen regarding the EU referendum. Sinn Fein wont want borders between it and the ROI.

  33. Mibri

    We’ll see.

  34. Even if they do manage to work a way around the HRA legal issues, it is still a lot of effort that would be better spent doing something useful.

  35. RICH

    I do hope you won’t find this partisan or offensive but could I suggest that if your friends on the far left ( or anywhere else really) are sending you aggressive and offensive texts then perhaps they’re not really friends?

  36. the removal of the HRA is a key part of the the Tory policy,it was something a Mr A Blair signed us up to and the Tories have wanted rid ,there is a lot of public resentment to our courts being overuled and this is an easy sop to the right of the Tory party.we just as I understand,withdraw ourselves as a signatory,this does not affect what we do with Europe,it is not a condition of EU membership.Yes it may affect our relationship with the council of Europe.
    I think we will see in the coming months as Gove is running this little operation.

  37. @ Mibri

    If one can believe Eurobarometer, Germany is still one of the countries with high tolerance to immigration. But again, it’s polling …

  38. @Hawthorn
    “Even if they do manage to work a way around the HRA legal issues, it is still a lot of effort that would be better spent doing something useful”

    that is your opinion and one you are entitled to,however I disagree and if polled on this issue,I suspect the public would be broadly in agreement.

    As you say we shall see,they have had long enough to plan to withdraw from it.

  39. Mibri

    Politicians break some manifesto promises for a reason you know.

    The Grauniad is claiming that Gove wants a draft bill (that could affect the Northern Ireland Peace Process) in 100 days.

    I don’t mean this to sound partisan but that is completely insane.

  40. @ Mibri

    Could you tell me how many times UK courts have been overruled under the HRA since 1997?

  41. @Lazlo
    interesting ,however Germany is now clammering for other EU nations eg Britain to take far more of their “perceived share” of immigrants,there has been a significant rise in the right wing in Germany,only recently there have been rallies.
    Merkel may well sense which way the wind is starting to blow.

  42. MIBRI

    Grayling promised a draft bill earlier this year which hasn’t appeared.

    Look, there is a reason why Dominic Grieve thinks this is a bad idea.

  43. There is complicated entanglement of the HRA in all 3 devolved components of the UK. So it’s removal being an “easy sop” as Mibri puts it, may be a tad optimistic. More details can be found in this link.

  44. @Hawthorn,
    i cannot comment on what a newspaper says,all I can say is from Tories I speak to ,it is a priority.They are like kids in a sweet shop with the majority.
    no idea ,but public perception is the thing that usually wins out

  45. To be part of the EU you must be an member of the council of Europe. So if you leave the Council of Europe or get expelled than you must leave the EU immediately.
    Most of the Public only hear certain cases due to biases in the press which Politicians never correct.

  46. Indeed, the right is increasing in Germany, and there was an increase of hostility against immigrants, although from a very low level. Having said that the same applies for Sweden …

    Eurobarometer could be very wrong.

  47. MIBRI

    If the Tories think they have the sweet shop with a majority of 12, then you give me hope for 2020.

    That is if Great Britain still exists.

    But, we shall see.

  48. However, there is an interesting attitude in Germany courts:

    One refused to expel an illegal immigrant from Germany to Hungary (an EU member state!) because the person human rights cannot be guaranteed in Hungary (which is true).

    The Hungarian government is now describing itself as an “illiberal democracy” following the term from a 1997 article in Foreign Affairs.

  49. Terrible grammar (more than usual), apologies.

  50. Unicorn

    Re LD performance.

    In the 10 mainland seats they formerly held in Scotland, LDs’ vote share ranged from 18.7% to 36.3% (clearly with a fair bit of ABS tactical voting).

    They lost their deposit in 47 seats, only just keeping it in Banff & Buchan with 5.1%

    Other parties gifting oodles of cash to Brenda were –

    UKIP 41 lost deposits out of 41
    SGP 28 lost deposits out of 31
    LiS 3 lost deposits out of 59
    Con 1 lost deposit out of 59

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