Just a quick line to point out that the Constituency guide part of the site has now been updated to reflect the general election results and the new MPs elected, including the target and defence lists for the parties (SNP and UKIP to follow). Before anyone points it out there’s still lots to do – including new swingometers and updating MPs profiles to reflect the reshuffles.

345 Responses to “Constituency Guide update”

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  1. @ Guymonde

    ‘Of course, 5 years of pure Tory rule may define the battle lines even more clearly next time but my worry is that with Liz K I and fellow travellers might start agreeing (Horror of Horrors) with OldNat, that ‘they’re both the same’

    If LK is elected and the left exits, it is likely that the main parties will be pretty much ‘the same’.

    Ed Miliband should not have resigned so precipitously. In a few years time, the ‘battle lines’ might have produced a very different sort of leadership line-up. As it is, one wonders whether the LP is heading into the wilderness with other European social democratic parties.

  2. My problem with FPTP is not that constituencies are different in size – I can live with that. It is not that the representation in the Commons is wildly different from the number of votes cast. I can even live with that. My problem is that the number of safe seats is so great that most votes are completely pointless and/or are made tactically and therefore against the direct wishes of the voter, who deliberately votes for a party he/she does not support. I am frankly tired of having spent the last forty years voting for a party I do not support, and with the outcome known years in advance. That does not seem right.

    That is then compounded by the fact that my constituency, as a safe seat, never receives any government investment.

    Even my Bishop has never sat in the Lords.

    Whilst I am normally a staunch defender of the ‘if its not broke don’t mend it philosophy’, can we not do better?

  3. @Sunreada

    It must be remembered that for any Labour leader, especially when in government and so by definition doing well from FPTP, it has to be considered that any form of PR would likely ensure seat losses (unless you increased the total number of seats which won’t happen). That means unhappy MPs facing defeat and waving good bye to any realistic hopes of a majority. It isn’t hard to see why Labour ignored the Jenkins Commission in the late ’90s (and their proposals weren’t even proper PR, could be described as AMS-lite with AV for the constituencies and only a limited number of top-ups).

  4. Good Afternoon All from Bournemouth on lovely sunny afternoon.

    I think if Liz K does not become leader she may have done the Labour Party a service by reminding Labour that voters are not ‘left wing’ generally.

  5. @Jack Sheldon

    You point out a major issue with a likely path to electoral reform.

    Whoever is in power has something to lose, and are unprepared to act in the long term interest of our democracy.

    This is why electoral reform needs to be looked at by people beyond those who immediate career incentives.

    When Parliament acts for short political advantage, very little comes of it for the country.

  6. @Syzygy

    Labour does indeed look to be in a very deep hole.

    They have lost Scotland for a generation.

    They have lost much of their traditional working class strength. UKIP are not going away anytime soon in England, and for Scotland see above.

    Although small in number, the radical left have given up as well.

    To recover where will Labour get theirvotes from? In the past, with few options, they be be supported by being ABT (anyone but Tory). There are other options now for voters.

    They have a difficult time ahead.

  7. This may have been said by others, but I feel that reform of the Lords is a vital part of whatever new set up is planned.

    I am a strong supporter of the constituency system, where an MP is known and works for the constituency as a whole and not just his/her own supporters. I agree that it is frustrating when one party dominates a certain constituency for generations at a time, and I’m not sure how that could be dealt with (other than with the sort of revolution the Scots inflict upon themselves every now and again).

    It seems to me that there is also strong resistance to increased power to the ‘upper house’ in case it threatens the supremacy of the Commons (in theory the ‘lower house’ but in practice the one in charge of things).

    I wonder if one way out of this would be for the Lords, or whatever replaces it, to be elected on the basis of % of votes cast for the candidates in the Commons – that is to say, the Upper House would reflect the votes cast for the Commons, and therefore be ‘proportionate’ whilst not having a separate and therefore in theory potentially ‘equal’ mandate to challenge the Commons.

    I would ‘appoint’ member of the Lords/Senate firstly on %age of votes cast throughout the UK – so, for example, the SNP would have less than 5% of the seats in the Lords, rather than the nearly 10% they have in the Commons;
    secondly, I would have them chosen on the basis of votes won by losing candidates: the ones who lose most narrowly being the first to be chosen, to enter the Lords, as they can be argued to have ‘almost’ received a mandate to be in the Commons – at least in some cases. This would at least give the LDs, the Greens and UKIP some presence in the Legislature.

    A House of Lords/Senate of, say, 200 members would on this basis, following this election, require around 73 losing Tories, Labour 60 etc.
    This would not be controlled by the party bosses, as those entering the Lords/Senate would do so entirely on the voting outcome from the Commons – agreed not necessarily the ones getting the highest votes getting in, but those closest the one above them, which might be seen as unfair, but hey ho, no system is perfect….. One problem would be to find more than two losing SNP candidates, as eight or nine would be required, but this is a temporary blip…….

    Does this make any sense…..?

  8. “They have lost Scotland for a generation.”

    I dunno. According to the SNP, in Scotland the timespan equivalent to a generation seems to be quite short really.

  9. @Alec



    “I think if the public were asked how much they like FPTP, the answer now would be much different.”

    I totally disagree. Maybe one of the pollsters will ask the question some time soon. I think Jack Sheldon’s correct on this.

  11. @ Sunreada

    The Burnham thing was quite significantly skewed in the Guardian. There was a terribly important bit thrown in about the the benefit cap: “if the safeguards are in place”. It is difficult to put through discerning messages (but, yes he tries to position himself towards the right as his main opponent appears to be on the right).

  12. If you look at the 2005, 2010, 2015 elections there are about 4.3 million transient voters (obviously influenced by population growth and turnout). I would be rather cautious about burying the chances of any party.

  13. Syzygy

    “Liz K I and fellow travellers might start agreeing (Horror of Horrors) with OldNat, that ‘they’re both the same’.”

    I don’t think that I ever suggested that both parts of the Con/Lab duopoly were identical on all matters – just on many.

    However, since within a UK structure we are usually stuck with the Government that England selects from that pairing – that is what passes for democracy – there will still be a preference in most of Scotland for England to select the least right-wing variant, in the hope that we can boost the valiant few in Labour still struggling to maintain some semblance of civilised values.

    The problem will arise as Labour inexorably slide to the right of Jacob Rees-Mogg. :-)

  14. Laszlo,

    Agreed. I think tribal voting is in decline and so we shall see much more churn between parties than in the past, even when the vote shares are stable.

  15. @ John B

    I understand where you are coming from, and it makes sense, there are much deeper problems with the fundamentals of the election systems.

    The assumption about constituency system is based on the common interest, responsibilities, and accountability by the place of living. It has had its meaning, and rightful place.

    Now. There is a company in the automotive industry. They are entirely dependent on the German automotive industry (in Germany). Of the 14 employees 3 live in Liverpool, 6 more in Merseyside, and the rest outside.

    There are three software companies working very closely together in Barnsley and the surrounding area. All employees leave in Barnsley (but not all companies are in Barnsley). They revenue depends on the U.S. economy.

    How does the modern socioeconomic system justify the constituency-based elections?

  16. Apologies for the atrocious typing …

  17. @John B

    I actually think having a PR HoL based on the votes for the HoC is possibly the worst of all worlds.

    To have one election producing two (possibly very contrasting) results, would inevitably lead to descriptions of the HoL membership as the ‘true’ will of the people and the HoC membership as a ‘distorted and biased body’ that didn’t represent what people really voted for.

    At best it would lead to a situation where MPs had the moral right to speak on behalf of their constituents, but not necessarily the moral right to determine what was right for the country.

    The central problem with having an elected second house is home to make it legitimate to some extent, but not “too legitimate”. It would help if it was elected in a totally seperate process to the Commons so that MPs could at least say “we were elected to run the country, you were elected to revise and comment upon the laws we enact”.

  18. is home = is how

  19. Petition now lodged with the Court of Session suggesting that the election of the MP for O&S should be voided under S.106 of the 1983 RPA.

    That aspect of the Carmichael case is now in the hands of the Court.


  20. One unicameral legislature with 50% MPs elected from FPTP constituencies, and 50% MPs elected from STV constituencies made up of groups of five or six FPTP constituencies.

    Gives a constituency link and lets voters boot out bad MPs, but ensures Liverpool Tories and Kentish Reds still have a voice in Parliament.

  21. @Mr Nameless

    That’s a bit AMS like.

    That’s good :-)

  22. @JohnB

    How to appoint the HoL whilst maintaining the calibre of existing members, making sure numbers don’t become extortionate and making sure the party balance isn’t unrepresentative as it has now become is quite a conundrum.

    I looked closely at your proposal which I quite like because it is Lords reform that doesn’t make the Lords elected (directly), stop it being the House of Lords or move it out of Westminster. It also has the added benefit of putting wasted votes to use. How to appoint the HoL whilst maintaining the calibre of existing members, making sure numbers don’t become extortionate and making sure the party balance isn’t unrepresentative is quite a conundrum.

    Where I’d differ from you is that I would keep number much higher – 500 seems to me to be about right. And I’d keep a sizeable crossbench group – say 150, including the Lords Spiritual, appointed on a similar basis as now. Then I’d divide the remaining 350 between the parties based on Commons share. That gives approximately CON 129 LAB 106 UKIP 44 LD 28 SNP 16 LD 13 DUP 2 PC 2 SF 2* UUP 1 SDLP 1 Alliance 1. The rounding keeps that to 345 and SF wouldn’t take their seats but D’Hondt could sort that.

    I’d let the parties control the appointments but put some rules in place to help prevent cronyism. Only 25% of a group could be former MPs and nobody could contest a Commons seat in the election after serving a term in the Lords. I’d also say parties should take regional, gender and ethnic balance into account though that would be hard to police. Peers could only serve three terms – that would be hard on older and excellent members but would ensure renewal. I think 15 years is enough to make an impact. If a party had less peers than before after an election they’d have to think up a way of whittling numbers down if not enough had retired.

    I hope this would keep the second chamber active, full of experience and expertise but not of political careerists whilst going someway to addressing the problems of FPTP and giving the Lords a form of public mandate. I realise it wouldn’t satisfy everybody but it works quite well for me, offering something of a compromise between the things I like about the Lords as it is and the need to modernise.

  23. @ jack
    Dream on!
    it simply ain’t going to,happen.
    But your sentiment is good.

  24. 7.30am in T4 at Heathrow on May 8th, huge live TV screen, Balls losing his seat, the entire airport was cheering.
    That’s why you don’t understand that the people that create wealth in this country and pass it on properly to their staff have not got the time for Ed, Ed, or Nicola. Just Losers!

  25. Old Nat
    We won and you did not!

  26. @David in Oxford

    Welcome back to the partisan-free zone.

  27. @David in Oxford


    Though I do wonder how long having over 100 LD peers can be sustainable for. The Tories may look at doing something with the Lords if they find a LAB/LD/cross-bench alliance making life very difficult for them on justice/home affairs issues.

  28. David in Oxford

    I hadn’t realised that you were supporting Sepp Blatter for President of FIFA!

    Congratulations on your stunning victory.

  29. @Jack Sheldon

    Though I do wonder how long having over 100 LD peers can be sustainable for. The Tories may look at doing something with the Lords if they find a LAB/LD/cross-bench alliance making life very difficult for them on justice/home affairs issues.

    If any attempt was made to alter the Lords to get a partisan advantage that would look really bad.

    I assume the LD peers are life peers, so what could be done?

    The whole plan would like something Mr Blatter would cook up.

  30. Seriously, if we want to discuss polling….
    From an entire laymans point of view, the pollsters concentrated on Lab v SNP in Scotland, and Lab v Con in E&W and got both pretty much spot on. What was totally ignored was Con V LD in E&W, and that was the error, it does not need an enquiry!
    Hey, Sepp Blatter is finished, no matter what happens next.

  31. @Catman Jeff

    Well, reform has long been talked about and it was until this month the convention to appoint members so as to move towards the proportions in the Commons. Given that can’t happen this time – the SNP won’t take seats, to get the LDs back into proportion would require about 500 CON and LAB peers to be made – I wouldn’t rule out action being taken later in the Parliament.

    Personally I think having a strong check on the govt. is quite healthy though Tories may not see it that way (at least Tory MPs might not – I’m not sure MPs always really get what the Lords is about). The numbers are quite scary for the govt. but in reality I don’t think the situation will be much different from before – the Lords will amend a lot, make legislation better but not block (something that happens extremely rarely on govt. bills and by convention not when something was in the manifesto).

  32. @OldNat

    You have to hand it to FIFA’s for including within its Presidential election statutes a provision even where there are only 2 candidates for a second round of voting in the event the leading candidate does not attain two thirds of the vote.

  33. The Lords have been quite good at holding Governments of all colours to account on the whole. I’m glad they do.

    We need reform of the Commons, Lords, the voting system and the constitution. I don’t want to see tinkering on this, but a deep look at the whole shabbang.

    This should be look way beyond the horizon of one Parliament, beyond any partisan advantage.

  34. David in Oxford
    In the end Sepp Blatter sent his and his men’s medals back to the
    Chancellor of Germany. Oh no that was Sepp Dietrich.

  35. @John B

    A far simpler idea would be for the HoL to become a regional/national Senate, with elections at the same time as the HoC, but on a regional PR basis. There should probably also be a minimum age requirement to discourage careerist politicians.

  36. I never cease to be mesmerised by the English belief in their constitutional system. Even if thirty years later, every year, we learn that a lot of things were unconstitutional, yet in an odd way, democratic …

    It is actually an extremely consensus driven system, even if different people get to the consensus at different times, which creates the semblance of a serious debate.

    Just for fun, I matched the Conservative, Labour and LibDem manifestos with the Queen’s speech. The common areas exceed what would you would expect by simple chance. Conservatives matched by 76%,, LibDem by 67%, Labour by 61%. This would suggest (if we can have the strange idea of SNP running the UK, a 59% match).

    Yes, the HoC is a coalition … Nothing wrong with it, but probably difficult to digest it for some or many people.

  37. Roland
    Sepp Dietrich was famous for only one thing, the murder of 80 POW’s at Malmedy in 1944.
    What weird planet do you live on?
    This site is supposed to be about polling.
    Oh Sorry, and the odd insult from North of the border from Old Nat.
    Get a grip mate!

  38. “There should probably also be a minimum age requirement to discourage careerist politicians.”


    Does it have to be just the careerist ones?…

  39. “There should probably also be a minimum age requirement to discourage careerist politicians.”

    What are you suggesting? 85 perhaps, to encourage continuity?

  40. @ Guymonde

    A miminum age of 85, or 85 politicians?

    (Not sure either impediment is sufficient, tbh…,)

  41. @ALEC

    Would you mind finding a reference to that ‘generation’ thing in the SNP manifesto? I have looked and looked and can’t find it. Strange that. ;)

  42. Good Morning All, lovely day here.
    On the polls; something DAVID OXFORD said: The E&W results surely did not pick up the fact that Cons would pick up Labour seats.

  43. OldNat

    “still struggling to maintain some semblance of civilised values.”

    To suggest that only the left can have civilized values is utter partisan tosh.

  44. Good morning all from a very sunny Giffnock. Some clouds but look harmless.

    I don’t know if anyone has discussed it but with Labour having only one MP in Scotland and Labour being the official opposition to the Tories at Westminster does this not throw up an awkward scenario at Scottish Questions?

    Presumably David Mundell will take the questions and Labour’s only Scottish MP Ian Murray will have 3 questions being part of the official opposition but having 56 SNP MP’s in the chamber all from Scotland to Labour’s 1 MP does throw up a rather interesting scenario!!

  45. @David in Oxford

    “Old Nat
    We won and you did not!”

    That’s a bit ungracious of you, given that you won (in England) thanks to the SNP.

  46. On the EU, the last election I think showed that people will generally vote for the status quo unless they are given a really strong reason not to, and especially when they are worried about the economic implications. While I think the pro-side would be wrong to concentration entirely on economics, the warnings from most of big business that exit would be damaging are in my view likely to have a major impact

    On Liz Kendall, I really don’t understand her strategy for getting elected (assuming of course there is one). Perhaps, the idea was to get herself noticed early on, given that she’s a bit a ‘new gal on the block’, by being as outspoken as possible, but the problem is that she is alienating so many on the left and probably quite a few in the centre. She has certainly succeeded in attracting attention but she really needs to show more to the non-Blairites if she is to have any chance of becoming leader.

  47. Sadly, NFR, the days when Harold Wilson could say, “This Party is a moral crusade or it is nothing,” seem to be long gone.

    As I have said above, if she is elected, Liz Kendall will split the Labour Party and lose it many of its activists, the people who actually go out and do the work.


    If Labour want to be serious at getting back into power again then they really should hope that Dennis Skinner and Diane Abbott stand on a joint ticket, Dennis as leader and Diane his deputy.

    Dennis would appeal to the ole communist ranks in the North of England and Diane would appeal to the ethnic vote in London. Problem solved.

  49. I can see the headlines…Beauty and the beast stand on joint ticket for Labour leadership…

  50. I agree with Norbold.

    The Labour Party accepted Blair because they were absolutely desparate. They had been out of government for 15 years and a highly popular and well-liked leader (both within the party and outside it) had just been cruelly taken away from them. There was no challenge from the left or from populist forces on the right. There was Labour, an internally split and chaotic Tory Party, and the Lib Dems who were widely understood as an anti-Tory party.

    Blair was also highly charismatic and clearly able to win over many voters outside the traditional demographics. Frankly, any of the leadership choices in 1994 (including Prescott) would have trounced the Tories in 1997, but Blair looked the most likely to three years out to a Labour Party which in large part believed it could not win, and took the leadership easily (though I’d have voted for Beckett).

    Kendall’s situation is far different. The party has been out of government for five years, not 15. The departing leader is defeated, not dead. The party internally is in a fairly robust state, and is not so desparate they will take anything no matter how far outside their viewpoint.

    Unlike 1994, there are challenges from forces pitching themselves as left of Labour (SNP in Scotland, and the Greens aiming for the middle class left in England and Wales once they sort their own situation out) and from the right (UKIP in the heartlands, and the Tories in the suburbs). The base AND the floating voters have somewhere else to go.

    Labour are in a far worse predicament electorally than they were in 1994. Their target seats all require large swings and they need to take most of them to form a government. More worryingly, they’re under threat from three different angles and need one policy platform to address them all.

    That’s not to say there aren’t silver linings for them. The Lib Dems are all but wiped out as a threat in major city seats, freeing up resources for elsewhere. They have replaced the Lib Dems as the challenging party in large parts of the South and the countryside, providing opportunities for any leader capable of pitching well to those places. The SNP have little more they can take in Scotland so the party may as well go on an all-out attack footing there.

    The Tory majorities this time around seem to have often been built on last-minute fear of a Labour/SNP government producing artificially high vote share for the Tories. If Labour look sufficiently strong by next election to win, that fear may not remain a useful weapon for the Tories, and could produce bigger swings than expected.

    But there are still five years (less three weeks) left. Let’s see what happens. But Kendall is not Blair. She would not have an easy time even if she did win (as I suspect she won’t).

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