A final post on boundary changes (at least until the Scottish proposals next month). This comes from a discussion I had with Mark Pack. Normally the thing we look at with boundary changes is what the party-partisan effect is, how the new boundaries would change the sort of swing that Labour need to win a general election. However, currently Labour are a very, very long way from the sort of polling lead they’d need to win a majority, so a small change in that figure really doesn’t make a lot of difference. More interesting in the current political climate is the effect it would have on Labour internal battle and any potential deselections.

The rules for how Labour will deal with re-selections after boundary changes are yet to be confirmed, so these are based on the rules set out for 2011 in the Labour rule book, on the assumption that Labour’s NEC will use similar rules this time round. A Labour MP has a right to seek selection in any seat that contains 40% or more of the electors in their existing seat. If an MP’s seat is divided up so much that no single seat contains 40% of their old electors then they’ll have the right to seek nomination in a seat with less than 40% of their old voters. If they are the only sitting MP to seek selection in a seat, they are nominated through the normal trigger ballot process. If more than one sitting MP seeks the nomination in a new seat there is a members ballot to pick between them.

Applying those rules to the provisional boundaries we can see where there may be contests under those rules. Note that this list is exhaustive, it contains every case where Labour MPs could compete against each other under the selection rules… but in some cases it will be easily avoided through either agreement (there are enough seats to go round) or retirement (an MP will be well over 70 come the general election and possibly considering retirement anyway). Of the 231 Labour members of Parliament in England & Wales, 142 of them should not face any re-selection difficulties connected to boundary changes – they may well see changes to their seat, but there is a single notionally Labour seat to which they have the sole right to seek selection. What about the other 89?

Avoidable Challenges

There are six places where more than one MP would have a right to seek selection for a seat, but where there are enough Labour seats to go round, so if MPs co-operate and agree between themselves who will stand where, no head-to-head challenge is necessary and no one is left empty handed. These are:
Alfreton and Clay Cross. Nastasha Engel and Dennis Skinner both have the right to seek selection here, but Skinner also has the right to seek selection in Bolsover, so a challenge seems unlikely.
East London. Mike Gapes’ seat is sliced up into tiny pieces, and if the NEC follow past practice he should have the right to seek selection in any of the successor seats. He is the only sitting MP with a right to seek selection in the new, ultra-safe, Forest Gate & Loxford seat so I imagine he will go there. If not, he could challenge Wes Streeting, Margaret Hodge or John Cryer (who could, in turn, seek selection in Stella Creasy’s Walthamstow)
Redcar. Andy McDonald and Anna Turley can both seek selection in Middlesbrough NE & Redcar, but McDonald is also eligible for the safe Middlesbrough W & Stockton E seat, so a challenge is avoidable.
Ashton Under Lyne. Jonathan Reynolds and Angela Rayner are both eligible, but Rayner is also eligible for the safer Failsworth & Droylsden.
Stockport. This is avoidable, but not without some pain for Ann Coffey. Andrew Gwynne & Ann Coffey are both eligible for the safe Stockport North & Denton seat. Ann Coffey is also eligible for the Stockport South & Cheadle seat, but that is far more marginal (that said, Coffey will be 73 at the next election, so may not stand).
Pontefract. Yvette Cooper and Jon Trickett are both eligible to seek selection, but Yvette Cooper also has a free run at Normanton, Castleford and Outwood.

Not Enough Labour seats to go round

The following seven areas have enough seats to go round, but one or more of them is notionally Conservative, so there may be a contest for the winnable seat or someone may be left in a seat that is notionally Conservative:
South London. Siobhain McDonagh’s seat is sliced up. Two of the successor seats, Merton & Wimbledon Common (a potentially winnable marginal) and Sutton & Cheam (no hope) are notionally Conservative, so she will have the choice of fighting one of them, or challenging either Chuka Ummuna or Rosena Allin-Khan.
South-East London. Erith and Thamesmead is split up into Erith & Crayford (a Tory seat) and Woolwich. The only option for a Labour seat for Theresa Pearce is to challenge Matthew Pennycook for the Woolwich nomination. Pennycook has the option of seeking the Woolwich nomination, or going up again Vicky Foxcroft for the Greenwich & Deptford nomination.
Coventry. Geoffrey Robinson’s seat becomes comfortably Conservative on new boundaries, but he has the option of going up against Jim Cunningham for the Coventry South nomination. He’ll be 81 by the next election, so I assume he won’t.
Nottingham. Vernon Coaker’s Gedling seat disappears. Half goes into the Conservative Sherwood seat, so there is the potential of a battle against Chris Leslie for the nomination in the Labour Nottingham East and Carlton seat.
Cumbria. The Workington seat disappears. Part of it goes into the very Conservative Penrith & Solway seat, which is unlikely to be attractive to Sue Hayman, leaving her the option of fighting Jamie Reed for the Whitehaven & Workington seat.
Wrexham. Susan Elan Jones’s Clwyd South seat is dismembered. Part of it goes into the elaborately named De Clwyd a Gogledd Sir Faldwyn seat, but that is notionally Conservative. The other part goes into Wrexham Maelor, where she would have to compete against Ian Lucas for the nomination.
Newport. The Newport seats are combined into one. Jessica Morden would also have the right to seek nomination in Monmouthshire, but that’s solidly Tory leaving one Labour seat between her and Paul Flynn. Flynn will be 85 come the next election, so the issue may well be resolved by retirement.

Straight two way fights

There are seven Labour seats where there are two Labour MPs who are eligible for that seat, and that seat only – meaning a straight fight is unavoidable unless someone stands down:
Sunderland West – Bridget Phillipson vs Sharon Hodgson
Newcastle North West – Catherine McKinnell vs Chi Onwurah
Wednesfield & Willenhall – David Winnick vs Emma Reynolds (though Winnick will be 86)
Stoke South – Rob Flello vs Tristram Hunt
Dudley East & Tipton – Ian Austin vs Adrian Bailey (though Bailey will be 74)
Neath & Aberavon – Stephen Kinnock vs Christina Rees
Cardiff South & East – Jo Stevens vs Stephen Doughty

More complicated fights

There are eight areas where there are rather more complicated fights… but where ultimately there are more Labour MPs than there are seats, so something will have to give:

Birmingham. Roger Godsiff’s seat disppears. He will have the right to seek election in four other Birmingham seats, putting him up against Gisela Stuart, Jess Phillips, Richard Burden or Steve McCabe. He will be 73 come the election though, so may choose to stand down.
Islington & Hackney. The change that got the most attention when the proposals were announced. Essentially Meg Hillier, Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and Rushanara Ali have to somehow share out the Finsbury Park & Stoke Newington, Hackney West and Bethnal Green and Hackney Central seats. Someone is going to get stuffed.
Rochdale & Bury. Debbie Abrahams, Ivan Lewis, Liz McInnes and Simon Danzcuk are in play, with Rochdale, Prestwich and Middleton and Littleborough & Saddleworth. If Danzcuk remains suspended from the Labour party then the problem presumably resolves itself.
Liverpool. Steve Rotheram’s seat disappears and he would be eligible to challenge Louise Ellman, Peter Dowd or Stephen Twigg for selection in their seats. Rotheram himself is standing for Liverpool mayor, so it won’t be an issue for him. If he steps down though whoever is elected in the subsequent by-election would face the same issue.
Bradford & Leeds. Judith Cummins seat disppears. She is eligible to seek selection for Bradford West (against Naz Shah), in Spen (against Jo Cox’s successor) or in Pudsey, where Rachel Reeves will likely also be seeking the nomination (Leeds West vanishes, but Pudsey takes much of its territory and becomes a notionally Labour seat)
Sheffield. Newly elected Gill Furniss sees her seat dismembered – she is eligible to seek nomination in Sheffield North and Ecclesfield (against Angela Smith) or Sheffield East (against Clive Betts).
Pontypridd. Owen Smith’s seat is dismembered and he will have the right to seek nomination in either Chris Bryant’s Rhondda & Llantrisant or Ann Clwyd’s Cynon Valley and Pontypridd. Ann Clwyd will be 83 by the next election, so it may be resolved by retirement.
Islwyn. Chris Evans’ seat also vanished, and he will have the choice of competing against Nick Smith in Blaenau Gwent or Wayne Davies in Caerphilly.

The deep blue sea

Fourteen Labour MPs do not have a notionally Labour seat they would be eligible to seek selection in. In some cases this is just because of a slight change to an already ultra-marginal seat (e.g. Chris Matheson in Chester notionally loses his seat, but there’s really little change from 2015), in other cases it leaves them with a very difficult fight:

Andy Slaughter would face a Tory majority of 14% in the new Hammersmith & Fulham seat
Gareth Thomas would face a Tory majority of 11% in the new Harrow and Stanmore
Joan Ryan would face a small Tory majority of just 3% in the new Enfield seat
Ruth Cadbury faces a 10% Tory majority in Brentford & Chiswick
Tulip Siddiq faces a 9% Tory majority in Hampstead and Golders Green
Alex Cunningham is only eligible for the nomination in Stockton West, with a 7% Tory majority
Chris Matheson doesn’t actually face much change, but Chester would have a 1% Tory majority on paper
Jenny Chapman faces a notional Tory majority of 1% in Darlington
Madeleine Moon’s Bridgend is merged with the Vale of Glamorgan to create a notionally Tory seat, but with a majority of only 3%
Alan Whitehead’s Southampton Test would have a 4% Tory majority on paper (Southampton Itchen would flip to Labour… but Whitehead doesn’t have the right to go there under Labour rules)
Melanie Orr would be eligible to seek selection in either Grimsby North & Barton or Grimsby South and Cleethorpes. Both, however, would be Conservative.
Holly Walker-Lynch faces a similar situation, under Labour rules she can apply for Calder Valley or Halifax, but they are both notionally Tory.
Finally, in the sorriest situation of all are Margaret Greenwood and Alison McGovern. They are both only eligible to seek selection in the new Bebington & Heswall seat… and even if they do get it, it’s now notionally Tory.

So, by my reckoning there will probably be around 15 re-selection battles where a sitting Labour MP faces up against another sitting Labour MP on the provisional boundaries, though remember that these are subject to change (and it only takes a small adjustment by the boundary commission to shift the number of voters from an old seat above or below 40%). It’s also worth noting that you don’t need boundary changes for a deselection – there is a normal trigger ballot process than can be used to deselect an MP and some of the speculation about deselections – Peter Kyle for example – is not due to Labour seats being merged together.


553 Responses to “Boundary changes – the impact on Labour reselections…”

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  1. Thoughtful

    “The second chamber is supposed to evaluate , and modify government business, impartially, and with the well being of the people in mind.”

    Please provide evidence from the myriad of laws and conventions, that make up the uncodified UK constitution, that your assertion has any basis whatsoever.

  2. Oldnat

    http://www.parliament.uk/documents/lords-information-office/lords-briefing-papers/15595HoLBriefing-work-role-function.pdf

    The House of Lords has important law-making and scrutiny functions but its powers are limited by a combination of law and convention.

    Hopefully without having to actually cite those laws this will suffice?

  3. And who chooses the ‘experts’? It’d just be another version of what happens now.

  4. Old Nat
    ‘Correction ALL reasonable decent people are!

    I think TOH is in favour of capital punishment.
    I remember when the discussion touched on the likelihood of innocent people being executed, he commented that this was a price worth paying.

  5. Pete B

    Yes it would! Successive governments get to create their peers, but maybe limiting that to certain categories and numbers will give the reforms called for.

    What we have now appears to be working quite well in any event.

  6. Thoughtful

    That is a useful note of what the HoL says it does – and indeed, it can and does do many of these things.

    However, it will not suffice.

    Your claim was that the HoL was “supposed to evaluate , and modify government business, impartially, and with the well being of the people in mind.”

    I’m not suggesting that it never does these things.

    However I am contesting that there is any supposition, or requirement, that it will actually do them.

    The power of the HoL to do any stupid, partial, self-interested thing, utterly disconnected from the well-being of the people, is only restricted by the Parliament Acts, and any conventions – which it can choose to ignore if it wishes.

    You may wish that their powers were restricted to those you outlined (and may have a magic formula to ensure that they act in no other way) but that is not the current reality of what they are entitled to do.

  7. Valerie

    In which case, I consider ToH to be unreasonable, in that regard.

    He seems a “decent chap” in many ways, but I have met a lot of folk over the years with whom I can get along with fine, but have views on some issues that I find wholly execrable.

    No doubt, they think the same about me.

  8. Stockport S & Cheadle will be bell-weather for the Corbynistas. They’d love to get rid of Coffey, but her anti-Corbyn credentials might give her (or a like-minded younger replacement) a chance in Tory Cheadle. Whereas someone acceptable to Momentum will gift the seat to the Tories. But I suppose from Momentum’s perspective an anti-Corbyn Labour MP might as well be a Tory. The seat is Owen Jones territory who pretends it was a bit rough whereas in fact it is very posh. Speaking of which, it was interesting to see Jones returning to the Corbynite fold this weekend after having briefly stumbled into the electoral daylight in recent writings.

  9. Thomas

    How many vote in particular constituencies are influenced in their vote by the individual predilections of the candidate, as opposed to the perception of the stance of the party in government?

    I have no idea of the answer!

    However, I suspect that no matter how right wing Jim Murphy was, he couldn’t have taken and held East Renfrewshire if the SLab stance had been more radical.

    When the general electoral stance changed, he lost just as much as the “Corbynista” MPs such as my former SLab one.

  10. Thoughtful: “Election of this house would inevitably bring a new set of political rubber stampers to power, with the mandate of yes to everything, or no to everything as in the US.”

    As a second house elected by party list would be directly proportional, the government of the today would almost certainly not have a majority, so it would be anything but a rubber stamping operation. LDs, Greens and UKIP would be fairly represented.

    An additional benefit would be that, if based on votes at a GE, there would be no wasted votes – even if voting for a minority party in a safe HoC seat, the vote would count towards the second house election.

    Of course, if the HoC then morphs into an English Assembly, the Senate would become a unicameral federal parliament. But that’s not necessarily a problem. Around half of the world’s nations have unicameral legislatures – examples include Denmark, Sweden and New Zealand.

  11. Sunday Times Panelbase Scottish GE Poll

    SNP 50%

    Tories 21%

    Labour 16%

    LD 5%

    SG 4%

  12. SOMERJOHN

    I think I prefer the situation as it is thank you, and not as you suggest.

    Maybe a personal preference but I do believe most would share it.

  13. Thoughtful

    You may be right that most people prefer a bloated, unelected second chamber. Or I could be right that a slimmed-down, directly elected chamber would be more popular. We need a poll!

  14. Hireton

    So United Brits at 42%, and the Tory faction providing half of that.

    I also noted that Braden Davy (former Labour candidate for Gordon) has joined the Tories. Fortunately, not a single one of his principles had to be abandoned during that switch!

  15. @oldnat

    It looks like peak SNP has not yet passed!

    Also Twitter reports that Cornyn will try to block new NEC seats for Scotland and Wales at NEC tomorrow morning.

  16. Hireton

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Corbyn blocked it (he is in the strongest position right now). Both the Scottish and the Welsh LP have seats on the NEC already (not the NI for some reason or other), and the arrangement was clearly for eliminating the pro-Corbyn advantage.

    Arguably, if policies are devolved then … But this is the LP.

  17. Thomas

    I genuinely think that the influence of Momentum is highly exaggerated- I went down to Blackie today (for some reason in the national press it is Black E – maybe this is the real name of the community centre). This is where Momentum is gathering.

    They don’t have any meaningful influence on policy formulation.

    However, I agree that Stockport&Cheadle is interesting (though Cheadle are full of people who would vote for a radical LP just for curiosity, but they won’t matter).

  18. The seeming rigidity of the Labour rules could cut off a potential solution to the problems in Islington, Hackney & Tower Hamlets. If Rushanara Ali were able to transfer to the Poplar & Limehouse constituency (Jim Fitzpatrick is retiring) then Corbyn, Abbott and Hillier could all simply shuffle round a little. A variation would involve Mike Gapes retiring (as heavily speculated both on and off this thread) and Lyn Brown going for Forest Gate & Loxford, with Ali instead going for Bow & Canning Town.

    However the rules seem to lock Ali down to Hackney West & Bethnal Green rather than allowing her to follow the parts of her current seat into either of the other two. And by my calculations Lyn Brown misses out on a claim to Forest Gate & Loxford by less than 0.7% (and although the calculation may be based on a later date than December 2015, the population & electorate growth in the current West Ham seat seat is heavily in the west and south). Does the NEC have any power to pass waivers that would allow individual MPs to shuffle into >40% seats in order to avoid head to head conflicts?

  19. The NEC has power to anything it wants, although it had some problems with stopping the Sun :-)

    I think seniority will play a significant role in the compromises over the new seats.

  20. One of the puzzling aspects of the last 24 hours (interpret it as you wish) in the boring affairs of the LP is the inactivity of the Corbynites. They are in a position to push through things, yet they are busy with promising macaroons to the well behaved PLP members (mind, there are some very good macaroon shops in Liverpool and they are cheaper that those in London).

    Unless Corbynites are in the minority among the delegates (it is possible), they could just simply use the conference.

    Mind boggling, but not very interesting.

  21. On the HoL, I’d favour the Scottish solution, a single chamber elected by PR.

    Not ideal if one party becomes so popular it gets more than half the vote, but then a party that has majority of the public backing it arguably has a mandate for it’s policies.

    There was a challenge to the SNP Finance Minister by the SNP chair of the Finance Committee last week , but I’d like to se a bit more of it.

    Even if a Party gets over 50% of the seats you could still see the same as a Government with a small majority at Westminster where a small number of back benchers having a lot of influence.

    No system is prefect but I’d I think Single Chamber, Open list STV is the right balance.

    Peter.

  22. LASZLO

    @”I genuinely think that the influence of Momentum is highly exaggerated-”

    Mr Corbyn has a different view entirely :-

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/momentum-s-ideas-absolutely-essential-says-jeremy-corbyn-a7329276.html

  23. Colin

    “Mr Corbyn has a different view entirely”

    (I don’t know if a smiley was only half put there).

    You are surely not serious, not even if you read the article, let alone if you continue to evaluate it.

    In any case,mint is a democratic deficit that none of the major English parties (I don’t know SNP or PC) has internal capabilities to develop coherent packages of policies. So they are reliant on think tanks, charities and the civil service – none of which are accountable in any shape or form. On the other hand maybe this democratic deficit is a worthwhile price to pay for, if I think of some of the politicians “ideas”.

  24. New Panelbase / Sunday Times poll on WM VI (I understand, but being Panelbase, expect the tables in a couple of years!)
    SNP 50%
    CON 21%
    LAB 16%
    L-D 5%

  25. the problem with electing people to the HoL is that you tend to get politicians, along with party political ballache.

    which you can avoid by selecting peeps via lottery a la jury service

  26. OLDNAT does that represent a change from the last Panelbase WM VI poll?

  27. Perhaps I should make it clear that my PR elected Senate would not be the second chamber, but the first, as it would contain the Executive. It would be up to the parties to put in it suitably skilled and qualified people to form the government.
    It would be up to local constituency organisations to seek similarly skilled candidates to represent them, not on party grounds. Two MPs per constituency, not necessarily sharing the same views, would be a possibility. With total membership as now of about 600, each would represent about 75000 people, but would be chosen first and second past he post in constituencies of 150.000.
    They would be voted for on the basis of a ‘candidates statement’. Members of political parties would be ineligible, as they would presumably have some role in choosing the members of the Senate, though different parties might choose on different bases.
    The various Ministers would have to justify their policies and the proposed measures to implement them before both Senate and the Commons, which would have powers to reject them, to suggest amendments, and in some instances to dismiss ministers,

  28. I’m not in the slightest bit surprised that the mechanism for having Scots and Welsh reps on Labour’ NEC continues to be part of Labour’s civil war.

    In a reasonable organisation, it would be a fairly non-contentious issue, but it seems to have been so elevated to criticality, that its going to b debated again at 7:30 am tomorrow at NEC.

    Fortunately, polls suggest that few voters in Scotland give a damn about anything that Labour gets up to.

  29. House of Lords – said it before, and will no doubt say it again many times, but I suspect the problem we have in agreeing how it should be formed is that we don’t start by defining what it’s role is and then establishing the principles that are required to meet this purpose.

    Personally, I see it as having purpose as a revising and amending chamber, not dominated by partisan political influences but having an ability to draw on expert views, from across society. It has, in my view, to function on fully democratic lines, while at the same time not establishing a competing democratic mandate with the HoC.

    Given these factors, my proposals are rather straightforward. The principle is set that all members are elected for a fixed term. 50% of these would represent political parties, being elected by strict proportional representation, (calculated on a regional basis to ensure geographic representation) without the need for a separate vote – it could be based on the GE results, for example. [The use of a list system would also preserve an element of political patronage, which has it’s uses in the lower house].

    The remaining 50% would also be directly elected, but the electorates would represent specific interest groups. So, for example, trade unions could be granted a number of seats, along with business lobby groups, with both holding elections to select their representatives. Charities, local government, sports associations, universities, Royal Societies, professional bodies etc could all hold a seat or seats, which their members elect (at their own expense) to ensure a wide ranging level of expert opinion needed for a proper revising chamber.

    Everyone is therefore elected, without introducing rampant party politics or permitting a government to dominate, and this would ensure you have the knowledge and diversity to effectively revise legislation, without establishing a competing constitutional power.

  30. Prof Howard

    “does that represent a change from the last Panelbase WM VI poll?”

    Quite possibly – but I don’t know when the last Panelbase WM VI poll was!

  31. Alec

    “but the electorates would represent specific interest groups”

    That would raise interesting questions for religious groups.

    The only Established Church in the UK might have to compete for representation (though since it “represents” the largest country, it should have no problems).

    Given the history of Presbyterianism, I could envisage a repetition of the Disruption on that issue, however. :-)

  32. @Oldnat – I’m also slightly baffled about the fuss over Labour NEC members from Scotland and Wales. I thought this was all agreed, but I get the feeling that Corbyn’s intervention will further damage his standing in those parts. That latest Scottish poll is dire for Labour.

    On Labour in general: no change then. Corbyn calls for unity, while implying everyone will need to face selection and standing by while his supporters make divisive speeches, the Labour rebels coalesce and make it clear they aren’t going to go quiet and even in the hours after Corbyn’s re-election, start misbehaving and undermining.

    Meanwhile, Jeremy ‘I must learn to do better’ Corbyn appears live on TV and says lots of things that are guaranteed to lose Labour moderate support and say some things that are downright stupid (like, are we really asking why, in 2016, we need more MI6 operatives? Duh!)

    I hope we can start to move on from the Labour sideshow, as the electorate certainly are.

  33. Alec

    “I’m also slightly baffled about the fuss over Labour NEC members from Scotland and Wales”

    I thought it was obvious.

    It’s round two of the Lab civil war.

    Having lost the leadership election, the plotters now move to Shadow Cabinet and NEC membership as ways to nullify Corbyn.

    The interests of Scotland and Wales are sod all to do with this internecine warfare.

  34. I love political rumours!

    “I am hearing BBC has a letter embargoed until tomorrow announcing some of PLP resigning & forming a separate party.”

    Sometimes, they are even true!

  35. OldNat

    “The interests of Scotland and Wales are sod all to do with this internecine warfare.”

    Or the LP, or Labour voters, or anything really. I don’t think it is for personal issues.

    Once I saw a huge carp (yes, the fish this time) caught in the Lake Balaton. The feet of a black kite was still in it, the rest of the bird was washed away. The bird tried to catch the fish, but it was too big to lift it out from the water, and the instincts of the bird didn’t allow it to let the fish go …

  36. Laszlo

    Great (and appropriate) story!

  37. I cannot believe Hillary Benn said this

    “I listen to the advice of my grandfather who said you should never wrestle with a chimney sweep because you will also end up covered in soot. We should not stoop to that level,”

    I would be angry if a tory said this, but for someone who is supposedly labour its obscene

  38. CR

    It seems a strange thing for anyone to say about anything!

    While wrestling with a chimney sweep seems a strange fantasy, I never did understand the proclivities of the English aristocracy anyway.

    Still, each to their own.

  39. Cambridge Rachel:

    I think it means one should maintain high standards.

  40. @CAMBRIDGERACHEL

    It’s hardly obscene. It’s simply an analogy. Chimney Sweeps got dirt and soot on themselves doing their jobs and wrestling one meant that you would quite obviously get dirt on you as well.

  41. I think when you embargo something that should include the existence of the thing.

    That BBC man who has tweeted “I know of an embargoed letter which says X” has surely violated the whole spirit of the embargo.

  42. I doubt if any significant resignations will happen – just a prediction.

  43. @OLDNAT

    It feels like I’m in an alternate universe seeing the Tories 5 points ahead of Labour in Scotland.

  44. Sea Change

    “It feels like I’m in an alternate universe seeing” people amazed that SLab are polling so low in Scotland.

    In the real world, no one is the slightest bit surprised – except, perhaps, that it took quite so long for SLab to dip from incompetence to irrelevance.

  45. oldnat

    The speed is quite staggering. Remember Labour had almost a 10% lead last year at the GE, that’s a swing of 15% in only a year from Labour to Tory. With the SNP staying steady on 50%.

    I watched Corbyn’s speech which is utterly disconnected from the electoral reality on the ground and realized that what has already happened in Scotland is likely to be replicated to a large extent in England & Wales. I believe the historic lows for Labour are in 1982/83 and were 23%. I wonder how quickly old Corby can match those lows or even exceed them.

  46. @Alec

    I rather like your idea of elected representatives of various interest groups and specialities: intriguing and possibly workable.

    I would have 300 seats in a 600 seat second chamber elected by STV, with each member representing two adjoining HoC seats. This would retain linkages with communities and regions: without such a connection, the HoL would inevitably be London-dominated.

    Since those 300 seats would presumably be party politically dominated, I would reserve the other 300 seats to be appointed, with those chosen being drawn from the vast majority of the population who are not politically affiliated. Membership of a political party would preclude your nomination.

    Who does the appointing? That’s when we use Carfrew’s jury system…

  47. OLDNAT & Valerie

    Valerie is quite correct up until recently I was in favour of the death sentence but following a long debate with my wife and daughters and their husbands over the dining table recently I came to accept their arguments and I am no longer in favour. The debate as might be expected centered around the possible death of innocents.

    The “Old Man” can be persuaded to change his view if the argument is good enough.

    :-)

  48. Re the ‘special interest groups’ idea for the House of Lords – I have long thought this the way forward! (Only quibble with Alec’s version of it is I think that should account for the whole chamber). Now, how do we get it enacted…

  49. LASZLO

    @”You are surely not serious, ”

    Of course !!

    What else can one do than listen to the words which come out of his mouth ? :-

    “Holding a copy of The World Transformed schedule of events, the Labour leader said: “This event here might be described as some kind of fringe extreme … I see the kind of discussions that are in this programme here absolutely central and mainstream to how people think and what we’re trying to do.”

    I think everything he says & does points in one direction. He intends to make Labour a mass protest movement , with “policy” emanating from the demands of the Membership, enunciated on the Streets by Momentum organised “Social Movement” Demonstrations. -an extra-parliamentary pressure group.

    Of course this is a complete denial of The Labour Parties historic purpose , which was to be the Parliamentary Voice of the “Social Movement” of the Working Class-ie The Trades Unions.

    It is to the PLP’s eternal shame that they can find no one to speak for the Party of Attlee & Bevan , whilst Corbyn, Lansman , McDonnell & co destroy it.

    Anyway-thats just my view-at some point The Voters will pronounce on the Corbyn, Lansman, McDonnell Project. Thats the Vote which will count & it will be fascinating to hear Corbyn’s reaction on that day to the Democratic Voice of The People which he holds in such esteem.

  50. ““I am hearing BBC has a letter embargoed until tomorrow announcing some of PLP resigning & forming a separate party.”

    Turns out this was not accurate.

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