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. This short piece of written evidence by an Oxford law professor to the HoL Constitution Committe is a good introduction to some of the complexity and difficulties arising from the UK Government’s current EU Withdrawal Bill:

    http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/constitution-committee/european-union-withdrawal-bill/written/69633.html

    The author notes that it only touches on the devolution issues. It was reported over the weekend that the Welsh and Scottish Governments will be laying papers before the Assembly and Parliament tomorrow explaining why they will be recommending the withholding of legislative consent for the Bill as currently drafted. I had not realised – if true – that the Bill will give the UK Ministers powers to unilaterally change aspects of full-time devolved subjects such as the Scottish legal system without consultation. If that is true “power grab” may be a very apt description of the UK Government’s intentions rather than just a political slogan.

  2. @oldnat and @cambridgerachel

    I have always liked the old English Book of Common Prayer’s phrase ” those of riper years”. Ripe but not rotting.

  3. PTRP,

    I did not give a view but tried to explain the Labour Party position for those who seems to have a problem grasping it (I think they want it to be something different than what it is either because they don’t like it or because they want to attack it).

    FWIW, I am not sure your certainty about public opinion shifting re immigration is necessarily accurate. The vote was close, the analysis suggest that it was referendum vote only people that tipped the balance and demographs are moving.

    R Huckle believes a second ref could be held next year some time and achieve a different result; I think that is unrealistic but 2022/3 is a long way off. Post May, Corbyn, Junker, Trump, probably Merkel and after a new French Presidential Election..

  4. R Huckle.
    “Before anyone says it, no of course most who voted Brexit are not xenophobes or racists. But many don’t like the influx of other cultures into the UK and its affect on British life.”

    I recall looking at the referendum voting figures and noting that the most mixed race areas generally produced the most pro remain result. Now, it has been suggsted that some of these people of foreign extraction would be entitled to vote, and this might account for extra votes to remain, but I have also heard stories of new immigrants being amongst the most likely to vote leave. The result seems to be that exposure to immigrants generally encourages people to favour immigrants.

    Of course, it might be there are different circumstances in different places, and I have seen reports that farming areas which are very dependent on cheap immigrant labour are also very leave. Paradoxical since it seems likely those immigrants are contributing to the local economy. I can see why a depressed area might not be happy with lots of immigants apparently contented and spending money, when the locals are unemployed. But this is a function of expectations from work, not of locals being excluded from the job market.

    I suspect that new regulations requiring firms to seek labour locally will be a total waste of time, effort and money, because firms would naturally do that anyway. How is the government going to arbitrate in a sitution where imigrants would come here to work for £5, but locals would only be willing to do so for £10? I’m sure locals would pick asparagus if they felt the wages were right. But if there is no link to wage level in the legislation, it will still be an employer advertising £5 worldwide including the UK, and only getting takers from abroad.

  5. @TOH Whats unreal about that.

    It seems obvious that Oldnat’s quip about lack of realism in Brexit campaigning referenced the many now rather risible claims (£350m a week for the NHS; flood of Turkish immigrants on the way; easiest deal ever; we’ll have trade deals before we leave etc etc)

    But it was a joke. Where’s that much-paraded sense of humour gone? Anyone would think Brexiters were getting a bit touchy…

  6. New Welsh Westminter VI out, showing similar swings post-election to what national polls have been showing:

    Welsh Westminster VI:

    Labour: 50% (+1.1)
    Conservatives: 32% (-1.6)
    Plaid Cymru: 8% (-2.4)
    Liberal Democrats: 4% (-0.5)
    UKIP: 3% (+1)
    Others: 2% (+1.5)

    via @YouGov, 05 – 07 Sep
    Rounded chgs. w/ GE

    How this would affect seats:

    Labour: 30 seats (+2)
    Conservatives: 7 seats (-1)
    Plaid Cymru: 2 seats (-2)

    Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (+1)

    (For comparison, Blair got 34 seats out of 40, and the Tories 0, in 1997 and 2001. In 2005, Labour got 29 of 40).

    Think what’s interesting about this is that, despite being predominately Labour, Wales was also voted for Brexit, and yet VI here is in-line with national polls post Labour’s U-turn. This may be to do with regional-specific factors (e.g. Welsh Labour’s brand), however, if we recall, Labour were behind 10 points the Tories in
    April / May.

    So Wales is exactly the kind of place you might expect to see a pro-Brexit backlash against any move which is seen as supporting soft Brexit – the kind of backlash that Trevor Warne has argued might occur (and which I’ve always been skeptical of since Labour were always perceived as being the soft-Brexit alternative during the election, regardless of the actual stance – 9% of 2015 Labour voters switched already, and so I don’t think there are many more who would be motivated enough to change their vote over Brexit if they hadn’t at GE2017). Would be good to see the crossbreaks but for now, this poll is the sort of thing I would’ve expected to see.

  7. ““I won’t be voting against the bill, this is probably the most important constitutional piece of legislation since the European Communities Act of 1972… I believe Labour’s job is to improve this bill not to kill it as it begins its passage through Parliament.”

    Caroline Flint.

  8. @analyst

    Thanks for the Welsh Westminster VI. Hopefully we will get a Scottish one soon together with the Lucid Talk NI poll!

  9. Dimming fire

    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

    but the fire is still dimming.The current legislation will pass with amendments,the negotiations will proceed to their inevitable breakdown and on March 30th we willl find ourselves out of the the EU. The remainers will become the rejoiners.
    I have come to the view that the EU as an instituion cannot allow a template to be created whereby one can leave the EU down a trodden path and then have a trade deal remotely akin to present. That will be supported by Germany in my view. It will not be a commercial decision and will cause some political ructions within the 27 but they will go along with it.The uK needs to brace itself for this commercially and manage it politically.
    The only humerous side to this is that it will probably be Labour which has to weather the initial economic consequences and introduce austerity . Oh those disappointed students !

  10. @JIM JAM

    Look historically at people concern about immigration it has been long standing and at the same percentage at every major downturn in the UK. When people a squeezed economically they become more tribal. Thatchers swamped by alien culture speech stopped the National Front successes in 79- through early 80s and when there was a boom nobody cared.

    I believe that immigration will be the only thing that brexit points to as a success. I agree that demographics are moving in direction of the young however I also see the parliamentary seat situation favours leave supporters. hence the 30 Labour MPs that do not want to be seen defying the will of the people. The situation is more complex than you think. Most people were ambivalent about the EU. it is why the young for example did not turn out to vote. I think that referendum that overturns the brexit is not going to happen at all because the EU will have moved on from Brexit since they do not have to take into account a semi detached member.

    There is not a poll which has either leave or remain positions more than 3% ahead. which means that it is a toss up and immigration is the only thing that leavers can point to as a position of control. It will be hammered to death.

    As I said the people you need to flip are not buying the reality of immigration, Even post Merkel, Macron, Pot May/Corbyn. they same situation will persist regarding the low skills and the the way the workforce is being currently constructed. I do not see a change in policy until 2022 by which time brexit will have happened and most people would want to move on.
    I often point to the Iraq war as a situation where people hanged their mind but basically felt that the situation has happened and there is nothing you can do about it. You also discount the level of pride that would need to be swallowed for people to change their mind after all part of the reason for doing this is that we can be strong on our own. Turn back and saying that we cannot would be a interets sell.

  11. SThomas but the fire is still dimming.

    Yup. And soon it will go out and we’ll be out in the cold.

    “I am just going outside and may be some time.”

    Personally, I’m reconciled to this, as they say many about to go over the top were. The difference is that I won’t be the one face down in a shell hole, but that doesn’t mean I can stop caring about those whose future will be made so much worse: the pbi of the 1st Loyal Brexiters, whose generals plot and quarrel in their cushy quarters some way behind the front line.

  12. “The uK needs to brace itself for this commercially and manage it politically.
    The only humerous [sic] side to this is that it will probably be Labour which has to weather the initial economic consequences and introduce austerity .”

    So the Brexiters start to concede they were wrong all the time. Excellent, some progress at last.

  13. A poll on universal basic income.
    More supportive than I imagined would be the case.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/universal-basic-income-benefits-unemployment-a7939551.html

  14. PTRP,

    I did not know that I have said the situation was not complex, I just avoid long posts covering all eventuailties as peeps tend to skim those. (take that as a bit of free advice from a fellow Teesside Poly alumnus)

    I agree with you about it being unlikely that the EU will make meaningful concessions (if they make any at all) around free movement sufficient for a second indy ref.

    The Wales poll shows, however, that Labour can be seen as soft Brexit with possible single market access (or membership if concessions are given) and still have a chance Electorally.

    Finallly, I do think the level of certainty in some posts is misguided whatever is being suggested.

  15. Jim Jam

    PTRP

    My interest was in exploring the wishful thinking in the Labour party’s position. The apparent belief that the EU will change its treaties to accommodate only the UK follows the Conservative example. Both have unrealistic expectations.

  16. danny

    “I’m sure locals would pick asparagus if they felt the wages were right.”

    I admire your confidence but I find it hard to visualise young, local, unemployed people picking asparagus, at the speed required, all day long, for five full days every week.

  17. Sam: The apparent belief that the EU will change its treaties to accommodate only the UK follows the Conservative example. Both have unrealistic expectations.

    Yes. I think these unrealistic expectations underlie the “everything’s going swimmingly” viewpoint.

    There’s a good exploration of this here:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/11/uk-sweet-brexit-deluded-eu-europe-single-economy

    Whilst Brexiteers will probably dispute Joris Luyendijk’s analysis, it should nevertheless be useful as an insight into how the EU27 tend to see things. Know your enemy, and all that.

    I was particularly struck by his suggestion that ‘single economy’ is a more accurate descriptor than ‘single market’:

    Products such as cars, computers or aeroplanes are now built from components made in factories and production units scattered across the EU, with employees moving seamlessly between them. For this reason “single economy” is a far better term than “single market”.

  18. HIRETON

    Good timing re LucidTalk; see their latest tweet:
    13 mins ·
    LT NI-Wide Tracker Polls – September 2017 (Poll 1)
    Now less than 10 Hours to go to poll close (9pm tonight) – Over 2,700 responses so far from our representative NI Opinion Panel. Want to participate?, and not already a member of our Ni Opinion Panel? – then take the poll, and join our panel at the poll close – see link below: http://surveys.lucidtalk.co.uk/s/LTSeptember2017NITrackerP…/

    NI-Wide Autumn (September) 2017 ‘Tracker’ Poll – No 1. Poll Period: 8th September (1pm) – 11th September 2017 (9pm): 80 Hours
    SURVEYS.LUCIDTALK.CO.UK

  19. This tries to look at the four freedoms from the EU’s point of view (and why FoM is so important):

    https://www.ft.com/content/542a5536-9482-11e7-a9e6-11d2f0ebb7f0
    The perils of a hard line on post-Brexit immigration

    “Why will the EU be so hardline on this issue? The EU does not object to passports as the sole identification documents. Nor does it object to biometric residence permits. But discrimination between low-skilled and high-skilled workers is deeply problematic because it effectively discriminates between EU member states. A threshold for highly skilled work, set at an annual salary of £30,000 would discriminate against a large number of EU citizens from eastern and south-eastern Europe. The vast majority of German or French residents in the UK are comfortably above that threshold. So, from an EU perspective, this is a rule that says: we don’t want Romanians or Bulgarians, but we don’t mind French or Germans.”

  20. PAUL CROFT

    Its not very fast really-and you get great music.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGIEORtYQxA

  21. S THOMAS

    @”I have come to the view that the EU as an instituion cannot allow a template to be created whereby one can leave the EU down a trodden path and then have a trade deal remotely akin to present.”

    I’m struggling with the conviction to disagree with that. See what they all say in October.

    JIM JAM
    @” I just avoid long posts covering all eventuailties as ”

    Very wise.

    SAM

    @” Both have unrealistic expectations.”

    Could be.

  22. The Welsh poll shows Labour taking Preseli Pembrokeshire from the Tories as well as Aberconwy. It only requires a swing of 0.4% and this poll shows a swing nearly a percentage point higher than that.

  23. SOMERJOHN

    Thanks for the grauniad link, which is too new to have appeared in their daily briefing.

    One sentence in particular stands out:

    To be sure, the EU will be damaged if in 18 months Britain crashes out of the EU, the way your suit is ruined with blood stains if the person standing next to you decides to shoot themselves in the foot.

  24. PTRP @ 8.30 am

    1,120 words

  25. Jim Jam’s response to PTRP @ 9.07 am – 133 words,

  26. Interesting BBC article on the Con-DUP C&S deal, which it seems will have to be agreed by the Westminster Parliament.

    See DUP/Tory deal: ‘No time schedule’ for £1bn funding.

    Presumably there’ll be a majority in the HoC from Con + DUP anyway. Scotland at least will be looking at how the new SCons vote, I suspect.

    The Belfast Telegraph has it as their top story, here.

  27. S Thomas,
    “I have come to the view that the EU as an instituion cannot allow a template to be created whereby one can leave the EU down a trodden path and then have a trade deal remotely akin to present.”

    Have you? That has been the belief of remainers throughout. Interesting that leave are coming round to the remain view of Brexit. The question is, what proportion of leave voters did so vote in expectation that such a deal would happen?

    Paul Croft
    ” I find it hard to visualise young, local, unemployed people picking asparagus, at the speed required”
    Yes I understand, but asparagus pickers ought to be getting the wages achieved by bankers, while bankers ought to be getting those of asparagus pickers, judged by the desireability of the jobs. But I can see even the current wages for picking asparagus becoming desireable if the banks all depart.

  28. Given the recent unexpected results in a number of elections and the referendum, I am amazed at the posters who are prepare to prognosticate about the future without any data at all. In my judgment there is a degree of wishful thinking in the predictions given (you can tell who is a brexiteer and who a remainer from reading the specific prediction. It reminds me of the start of every Six Nations tournament when I confidently predict that Wales will win the championship and probably a Grand Slam by referring to all the good qualities of the Welsh players whilst ignoring the qualities of players in all the other teams.

  29. SOMERJOHN

    No problems with my humour thank you. Just giving a fact based response to OLDNATS comment.

  30. TOH: No problems with my humour thank you. Just giving a fact based response to OLDNATS comment.

    Either you didn’t realise Oldnat was joking; or you did and chose to respond in a non-humorous way (while missing the point).

    Either way, bit of a humour malfunction.

  31. The qualities of the Southern Hemisphere coaches has an impact of course.

    Perhaps the UK Government could get an Aussie or New Zealander to conduct the Brexit negotiations?

  32. flattered though i am that you think that i represent anybody but myself or that i speak for the brexiteer community i simply assess what is the reality. Would that remainers would also grasp reality instead of the fantasy politics that constantly gets posted here.
    I will be delighted to be proven wrong but it will be about 5 years before we are able to do a sensible commercial deal with the EU. in the meantime our economy will adapt, the EU will change, Irexit will be on the agenda and we will all wonder what all the fuss was about.

  33. SOMERJOHN

    Are so you don’t like fact based responses if you don’t like the facts. Now you have got me laughing again. Well done. :-)

  34. I prefer evidence-based to fact-based.

  35. Somerjohn

    Delete the Are at the beginning.

  36. LASZLO

    You must be a lawer then.

  37. WB

    “Given the recent unexpected results in a number of elections and the referendum, I am amazed at the posters who are prepare to prognosticate about the future without any data at all. In my judgment there is a degree of wishful thinking in the predictions given (you can tell who is a brexiteer and who a remainer from reading the specific prediction.”

    Interesting comment, but not very accurate. I forecast that Remain would win the EU Referendum by 10%. I think you would agree that was certainly not wishful thinking for a committed Leaver like me.

    You can imagine my delight the next morning. :-)

  38. St T
    Are you in France yet? Cos your last epistle sounds awfully Panglossian, and Voltaire’s good doctor was of course, French.

    “All for the best in the best of all possible worlds”.

  39. Hireton

    Thanks for the link. There is another post on this subject by Professor Keating of Aberdeen University. The link is below along with an extract

    http://www.centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk/blog/devolve-or-not-devolve

    “There is no doubt that, as a strict matter of law, Westminster could go ahead and take back the powers anyway. The UK Supreme Court, in the Miller case, on the role of Parliament in Brexit, insisted that the Sewel Convention is not legally enforceable. In fact, we knew this already. The more relevant question is the status of Sewel in our unwritten constitution and in underpinning the institutional balance of devolution. Much of the UK constitution is based on conventions. These are not, as the Supreme Court suggested, mere matters of political convenience but are part of the rules of the political game. From this perspective, the conventions around legislative consent are the equivalent, in our unwritten constitution, of those provisions that elsewhere prevent central government changing the rules of the game unilaterally. They are what distinguishes devolved national legislatures, established by referendum, from mere local authorities and give the UK constitution a federal spirit. From this perspective, the fact that it might be complicated and difficult to leave powers at the devolved level during Brexit, or that the devolved legislatures are already restricted by EU laws which the UK will merely replace, is irrelevant.”

  40. TOH: so you don’t like fact based responses if you don’t like the facts.

    No, that’s not it.

    It’s just that I’m baffled by responses that aim to debunk a point by reciting a series of irrelevant facts.

    It’s a bit like reading:

    Poster 1: cheese is bad for you

    Poster 2: no it isn’t, pigs eat acorns.

    While the response may be true, it makes no sense. All you can do is go, “huh?”

    Or, to bring this back to context, when Oldnat joked about the unreality of Leave campaigning, you responded with facts relating to post-referendum actions. True but irrelevant.

    Anyway, it was your choice to respond with your irrelevant Brexit stuff to a whimsical exchange about a horizontal UK girdling the globe along the 51st line of latitude.

  41. Somerjohn

    Lovely stuff keep it coming, your like Alec, a laugh a minute.

  42. TOH

    You missed your vocation, TOH. With such devastating debating skills you’d have made a great UKIP MEP. Too late now, of course.

  43. As Analyst stated above, the latest Welsh Political Barometer (the first since the general election) is out and Roger Scully’s article covering it is now on his blog:

    http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/2017/09/11/labour-support-reaches-50-in-wales-the-new-welsh-political-barometer-poll/

    there’s not much movement since June on the Westminster election. On paper three very close seats flip, but who knows what would happen in reality, especially as two are Plaid where local factors matter.

    In terms of the Assembly, there’s not much change from the last polling in late May[1], though the slight increase in Labour’s vote is enough to give them an overall majority. The collapse of UKIP means that the Tories also benefit. The Wiki article has already been updates to provide some context:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Next_National_Assembly_for_Wales_election

    [1] Unlike their GB polls, YouGov’s Welsh Barometer was fairly close on the GE result in June, though it’s polling for the local elections in May overestimated Con and underestimated Lab severely.

  44. I do hope we don’t get a post a minute from Alec or SomerJohn, that would be tantamount to attempted board domination!

  45. SOMERJOHN

    You just made another error, I have never supported UKIP and have said so many times on here. I don’t actively support any of the UK parties as their economic policies are inadequate in my view.

    Do try and concentrate on facts.

  46. TOH: You just made another error, I have never supported UKIP

    I didn’t say you did. Just that you’d have made a great UKIP MEP. That doesn’t require any coherent set of beliefs except that the UK needs to leave the EU. Or seemingly any skills at all, though the ability to shout loudly in English and disparage (disfarage?) continentals seems helpful.

  47. Somerjohn

    “I didn’t say you did. Just that you’d have made a great UKIP MEP. That doesn’t require any coherent set of beliefs except that the UK needs to leave the EU. Or seemingly any skills at all, though the ability to shout loudly in English and disparage (disfarage?) continentals seems helpful.”

    It would be a very odd UKIP spokesman who didn’t support UKIP, so I think that’s just another piece of your nonsense. Again it’s also factually incorrect since I have a very clear set of beliefs and plenty of skills to express them when I feel the need. Admittedly that’s not very often here at the moment. I very seldom raise my voice and the only continentals I have disparaged in posts here are some of the EU bureaucrats.

    You really should get your facts right before you post such nonsense.

  48. @TOH

    I can’t recall any view you’ve expressed here that would get you into trouble with the UKIP leadership were you to be an MEP. I’d be intrigued to hear some examples.

    As for, “It would be a very odd UKIP spokesman who didn’t support UKIP,” I give you Carswell.

  49. WB “Given the recent unexpected results in a number of elections and the referendum, I am amazed at the posters who are prepare to prognosticate about the future without any data at all.”

    We do have data, and pretty relevant data in the context of this site. We have 15 months of polls. That have barely shifter on remain/ leave throughout, despite some quite astonishing upheavals elsewhere.

    I wouldn’t certainly extrapolate the last 15 to the next 15, but I’d say they could justifiably be seen as an indication that the evidence suggests that the big shift in opinion necessary to derail the process currently underway is more likely not to happen.

  50. colin

    aaaaaaaaaaaaarggghhhhh !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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