The Times this morning report that the government are to drop the 600 seat boundary review and start again with a 650 seat review. A few technical points on this:

  • The rules and timetable for the Boundary Commission are set out in statute, meaning that any changes will require primary legislation. Until the law is changed the current review will continue, based on 600 seats and a deadline of 2018. To go back to a target of 650 seats the government will need to pass new legislation changing the rules to 650 seats, and starting up a new review from scratch.
  • That legislation will be an opportunity to change other boundary rules. In the Times article there’s a quote from Labour saying they’d support the change back to 650 seats, but no doubt they’ll have some other recommendations too were the government to try and get cross-party support for the Bill. Even if the government aim to change only the 600 seat rule, there will be opportunity for the Bill to be amended in other ways as it passes through the Commons and Lords. Two things to really keep an eye on are how close to the quota the boundary review requires seats to be (currently 5%, but the Private Member’s Bill that Labour supported last year would have changed that to 10%) and how often they need to happen (currently 5 years, but the Labour Bill last year suggested ten years). Either change would make things a bit better for Labour – as a general rule, strict equality requirements and frequent reviews favour the Tories, more flexible equality requirements and less frequent reviews favour Labour.
  • Timing will be a little tight, especially if the Bill doesn’t get cross-party support and gets tied up in the Lords. On the current rules it takes three years to carry out a review, and that was achieved by cutting the process down as much as possible. If the government want a review conducted in time for 2022 they need to get that legislation going soon so the Boundary Commissions can scrap their current review and start again on a new one next year.
  • If the review happens it will still favour the Tories a bit, regardless of tweaks to the rules. The current constituency boundaries are based on the electorate in 2001, so updating it for sixteen years of demographic change is still going to move things about quite a lot. Taking the electorates from the 2017 general election, by my reckoning a boundary review on 650 seats would still produce 7 extra seats for the South East, 3 extra seats for the South West and 3 in the East (presumably mostly Tory), and seats being lost in the North East, North West, Scotland and especially Wales.

Meanwhile there are two voting intention polls to update on:

YouGov for the Times had voting intentions of CON 41%(nc), LAB 42%(nc), LDEM 6%(-2), UKIP 4%(+1). Fieldwork was Wednesday and Thursday last week and changes are from a week before. Full tables are here. YouGov also released some interesting European polling on Brexit, asking other EU countries how they’d react if Britain did an about face and decided that we did, after all, want to remain in the European Union. This would be welcomed in Germany – 49% of Germans would rather we stayed, 25% that we left and the most common emotional reactions to Britain staying after all would be “Relieved” (23%) and “Pleased” (22%). Contrast this with France – 32% of French respondents would prefer that Britain stays, but 38% would rather we go. The most common French reaction to us changing our minds would be “Indifference” (23%) (tabs for the EU polling are here.)

Meanwhile Survation in the Mail on Sunday had an online poll in the Mail on Sunday with topline figures of CON 38%(nc), LAB 43%(+2), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 4%(-2). Fieldwork was Thursday and Friday last week, and changes are from Survation’s last online poll in July. For the record, there is a very minor method change in the Survation poll – UKIP are no longer prompted in the main question. Full tables are here.


628 Responses to “Boundary review and polling update”

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  1. valerie

    Eh?

    [one word]

  2. @ PeterW The prognosticators appear able to take 15 months of data and as Trevor Warne, predict when there will be a general election and who will win it, a bit more than saying the polldrums mean it all be a bit close!!

  3. “it all be a bit close!!”
    My attempt at the Blackadder cronespeak that it be, that it be!!

  4. *

  5. I don’t believe the polls, the local by election results suggest that the polls are underestimating labour.

  6. Somerjohn

    ” I’d be intrigued to hear some examples.”

    Just from memeory of what i have read about UKIP policy.:
    I am happy we spend 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid although I would probably spend it differently.
    I am against keeping some pensioner perks such as winter fuel allowance and free bus passes.
    I am strongly n favour of FPTP, I do not want PR.
    I am against renationalisation of the railways.

    I am sure there are many more where I disagree with them.

    On Carswell, your wrong yet again, he resigned from UKIP in May. Your not very hot on facts today.

  7. CAMBRIDGE RACHEL

    Although AW tells us not to take much notice of local elections I would tend to agree with you. That’s my feelin as well.

  8. TOH: I am happy we spend 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid although I would probably spend it differently.
    I am against keeping some pensioner perks such as winter fuel allowance and free bus passes.
    I am strongly n favour of FPTP, I do not want PR.
    I am against renationalisation of the railways.

    And do you think any of this would get you chucked out as a UKIP MEP? Or as an MP for any political party, for that matter?

    As for Carswell, you said “an odd UKIP spokesman,” not a current one.

    As well as your self-proclaimed GSOH going AWOL today, your superior politeness seems to have gone the same way.

    Or perhaps “You really should get your facts right before you post such nonsense” is what passes for pleasantry in Brexitland.

  9. THE OTHER HOWARD

    “On Carswell, your wrong yet again, he resigned from UKIP in May. Your not very hot on facts today.”

    I think the point was he was always a Tory in Ukip’s clothing, or that’s how I read it… Farage and Banks hated him towards the end.

  10. What happened to the great EU Centrist Macron?

    Now polling considerably worse than even Trump!

    Macron’s 30% approval is a historic low for a French President just 3 months after an election. His nickname doing the rounds is Monsieur Unpopular!

    And this is before any contentious legislation has been put on the statute book.

  11. CR

    What is it you don’t believe it’s perfectly possible for an opposition party to do well in local elections and not have that support reflected at a national level in fact I would suggest that has been the norm for many years.
    I remember previous Tory parties doing well in local elections only to fail at the GE.
    It would be interesting to see the age demographic of those now voting in local elections given the usual dismal turnout amongst voters ,now I don’t know if Labour have been able to increase turnout in the youth vote which have carried them over the line in local elections perhaps somebody has that information.
    However if that was the case in a GE the youth vote is just a small part of the overall voting electorate so although it may have an effect at local level it remains to be seen if this transmits to a GE.

  12. @ CAMBRIDGERACHEL
    “I don’t believe the polls, the local by election results suggest that the polls are underestimating labour.”

    I tend to agree – I think a Corbynite putsch in Scotland (and maybe in Wales) is coming.

  13. JiB
    Necessary in Scotland, less so in Wales?
    (A putsch, that is).

  14. With so many precedents being reported here I have tried in vain to find any posts about brexit that amused me, made me smile or, indeed, still leave me chuckling.

  15. With so many precedents being reported here I have tried in vain to find any posts about brexit that amused me, made me smile or, indeed, still leave me chuckling.

  16. This is not directly about polling, but an attempt to raise a subject other than Brexit.

    There has been a dustmen’s strike in Birmingham for months. Quite reminiscent of the good old 1970s.

    It’s a Labour council fighting the Unite union. All the local Labour MPs signed a letter asking the council to sort it out. The council leader (Labour) has resigned. It will be interesting to see if this affects Labour VI in the by-election or the whole council elections next spring.

  17. pete b

    Dustmen should be done under the trades description act; my house is always dusty.

  18. @Pete B

    I suspect the Birmingham Strike will make absolutely zero impact on VI.

    How many people outside Birmingham a) know about it or b) if they know about it actually care about it?

    Very, very few I think. In addition, the strike will largely reinforce the view of people who do take an interest. People do have an amazing ability for confirmation bias!

  19. PeteB
    Ain’t going to be a by-election, cos he has not resigned his seat, just as leader of the Lab group and leader of the council.

  20. CMJ
    I meant VI in and around Birmingham. Brummies are very aware of it! This picture was from over a month ago.

    http://metro.co.uk/2017/08/03/birmingham-streets-covered-in-rubbish-bags-as-bin-strike-enters-fifth-week-6825839/

    Sorry I didn’t make it clear that I was talking about the local elections in Birmingham.

  21. RJW
    The whole council election is less than 8 months away. People might remember.

  22. @Pete B

    Labour currently have 80 out of 120 seats, with the Tories on 29 next.

    I have no knowledge of how the strike is perceived in the locality but that is quite a significant position to overturn.

  23. PeteB
    Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. My guess is that, if the strike is solved, then eight months is a long time in politics.
    If the Tories are still in Govt nationally then my guess is that the locals will be used as an opportunity to kick Mrs May up the jacksy.

  24. CMJ & RJW
    Yes, I’m not saying that it will make a huge difference, and certainly very unlikely for the council to change hands, but it will be interesting to see whether there will be a significant difference in any swing compared to the national average.

  25. Interesting Commons debate.

    Do we think there is any chance of the Government losing this vote?

    I personally doubt it. I think some Tory will vote against, but be balanced by some Labour MPs voting for.

  26. @ CMJ

    “I have no knowledge of how the strike is perceived in the locality but that is quite a significant position to overturn.”

    Answering here, rather than on the new thread, since it’s hardly appropriate to Scotland and Wales.

    To be honest, I don’t speak to enough people to know the general feeling, but strangely I feel that this is one occasion where the national press has given Birmingham more prominence than was required. The usual rule is that Birmingham gets ignored.

    I’ve seen the pictures too, but I can’t say that it’s been as much of an inconvenience in my area as has been made out. The initial period was bad admittedly, as you had no idea when the bins would be cleared, and it happened with little warning. But now an emergency rota has been set up and advertised, bins are being cleared regularly, but less often than usual, so not a great problem really. Our wheelie bins have never quite overflowed, but I suspect many people generate more waste than us.

    People are probably blaming the council (not the workers), but that’s nothing new in Birmingham. We’ve whinged about the Labour council for years, but that hasn’t changed the VI much. Many people were still put out that other places in the West Midlands have foisted a Tory Mayor on us when Birmingham itself voted quite clearly Labour.

  27. @Trigguy

    Thanks for the information.

  28. S THOMAS
    There are about 10 posters on this site who sit ever closer to the dimming fire of remaining in the EU telling each other stories of new campaigns, new referenda, of a changing electorate and a nation coming to its senses and of rejoining in the future etc

    And there are about four trumpian evidence deniers who do little but poke them as if they were a nest of wasps, adding nothing to the sum of ukpr knowledge. And there are also a lot of really thoughtful posters who have read the comments policy

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