At midnight on Monday the Boundary Commissions release revised recommendations for the boundary review. A few notes to aid in understanding what it means.

Firstly, and probably most importantly, they are still pretty unlikely to happen. The Boundary Commissions are obliged by law to continue with the review, it doesn’t mean the government have the support to implement it. When the review produces its final recommendations next September the recommendations need to be approved by Parliament before coming into force. This would have been tricky for the Conservatives to do with a small majority (there were a few Tory MP threatening to rebel), it will be all the harder to do without a majority at all. They cannot currently rely upon the support of the DUP to push them through – the initial recommendations in Northern Ireland were very favourable to Sinn Fein, very unfavourable to the DUP, and the DUP were very critical of them. Of course, it’s possible the revised recommendations may be less offensive to the DUP, but we shall see – in that sense, probably the most interesting recommendations will be those for Ulster.

Two – this is not a new review, it’s a revised version of the one that started in the last Parliament. The current rules for the Boundary Commissions require them to deliver a review every five years, the fact that there has been an early election doesn’t affect this at all. The recommendations published today are based on the ones from last year, taking account of all the comments the Boundary Commissions recieved during their consultation period.

Three – they are still for 600 seats. There were reports in the press that the government were intending to scrap this review and start again with a new review based upon 650 seats. These reports have not been confirmed and at the moment the old 600 seat review is going ahead. Neither the Boundary Commissions or the government have the power to change the rules from 600 to 650 at will; it is set in law. If the government do want to change the rules and go back to a 650 seat review, they’ll need to get primary legislation through Parliament (and then the Boundary Commissions will have to start all over again).

Four – I will, as ever, seek to work out notional figures for what the 2017 election would have been on the proposed boundaries. That will, however, take a couple of days. I can tell you now that the changes will almost certainly favour the Conservatives, at least a little. This is not because the Boundary Commissions are partisan – they are resolutely and genuinely neutral. However, the pattern of population movement in Britain means that boundary reviews almost always favour the Conservatives. Generally speaking, the population in Northern inner cities (that tend to vote Labour) is falling relative to commuter areas in the South (that tend to vote Conservative). Therefore over time the electorate in the northern cities falls, the electorate in the home countries rises and we end up with Northern urban seats having lower electorates than Southern commuter ones. That means when boundary reviews take place, it tends to result in seats in northern cities being abolished and new seats in the south being created.

Fifth – MPs whose seats are “abolished” are not necessarily in any trouble. When boundary recommendations come out the first thing lots of people look for is big name MPs who appear to have lost their seats. It’s normally more complicated that that – parts of their seat will have gone into neighbouring seats and it will often be easily to work out a place for everyone to stand with a few retirements or peerages to help ease the way. While the reduction from 650 to 600 would make this review a little more challenging than usual, in the case of past reviews the vast majority of MPs who have seen their seats “abolished” have actually ended up staying on in a neighbouring seat. In short, Jeremy Corbyn is unlikely to struggle to find a Labour seat willing to take him.


1,017 Responses to “Some notes on tomorrow’s Boundary Review recommendations”

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  1. @ MARKW – cake and eat it is popular yes!

    @ TOBY EBERT – I would like a much better technical education system in UK with policies to address the demand and supply issues. Cutting uni fees on all courses to zero would make the demand side worse without addressing supply of graduate jobs. That policy would further crowd out alternate options for young people. Students see no product differentiation between degree courses and institution where as employers do. Young people also are being offered few alternatives. IMHO the post secondary system is broken but Corbyn’s solution would make the problem worse.
    Far left is a relative term by country and by time.

  2. TW,
    @ MARKW – cake and eat it is popular yes!

    In one flippant sentence you dismiss the dire needs and concerns of many, and trash one of the foundations of sensible discourse on this site.

  3. ANDREW111

    I think it could get through the Commons pretty quickly. However it seems to take the BC 4 years to complete a review from start to finish, so even if it restarted tomorrow it would probably not be finished before the next election.

    One thing we did find out though, from the aborted BCs in the 2010-15 Parliament, was that they could work a lot quicker if enough resources were put into them[1]. So it shouldn’t take that long. More important there will be a lot of data available from the two failed reviews. The demography will be known, the likely objections can be catered for or refuted. The Commissioners must know this stuff backwards by now and should be able work quickly.

    One objection is that there could be another election and the whole thing might change again, but a cross-Party agreement might help something go ahead in any case.

    [1] Of course that undermined the ‘saving money’ argument for reducing the number of MPs, but that never made much sense anyway.

  4. https://twitter.com/JolyonMaugham/status/921068161692205057

    This link might be of interest to:

    Brexiters who like the cut and thrust of debate

    Remainers who want some one liners to aim at Brexiters.

    It should not be read by Brexiters who are bored with the whole thing and just want to get on with it or by remainers who are so depressed at the likely consequences of Brexit that any further evidence will make them suicidal.

  5. This IOG briefing is a good introduction to the ECAA and the implications of Brexit.

    https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/european-common-aviation-area-ecaa-brexit-explained

    The UK was instrumental in the liberalisation of air services in the EU. It will be deeply ironic if Brexit means we lose the benefits of it.

  6. MarkW

    Nobody would argue that Corbyns policies were popular amongst those who would most benefit ,however it is a easy matter to produce popular policies whilst your in opposition because at that stage they are just words,
    however as allways when Labour get in power they have to generate the money to pay for all those promises.
    The problem as I see it is once Labour realise that the rather empty promise of “making the rich pay” fails to generate enough cash then the rich threshold begins to get lower as more people are asked to pay extra tax to fund Labours give away culture, all those younger devotees who are finishing university who will be the very type of people asked to stomp up more cash to fund that version of Corbyns socialist dream may find it not quite such an attractive proposition come the subsequent GE.
    It will certainly be interesting is see how Corbyns policies which are seen by some as something new and exciting when they are nothing more than the rehashed socialism that once dominated the sixties and seventies which by any measure ended in failure, stand up to being in power should he get there rather than being in opposition.

  7. @Colin

    “I’m not aware that “current immigration levels” have caused a lack of doctors ?

    But anyway-If post Brexit Political parties win General Elections, then we must assume that their immigration policies have been acceptable to a majority of voters.”

    ———-

    Well quite, but we haven’t left the EU yet have we. It is once we leave the EU we will supposedly have the craved-for control and ability to limit immigration rather more. Though again, people on this board have been keen to put out we haven’t used the controls we could have.

    Winning elections doesn’t mean they like the immigration policies. It just means that they might worry about some other things even more, e.g. that their windfall gains on housing might get snaffled.

    The point about the EU ref was that it decoupled concerns about immigration from other concerns like house prices. General Elections don’t do that, so that many people may continue to vote Tory or Labour regardless. And this is before the possibility of the economic impact of limiting immigration.

  8. It is also before the possibility of demographic change making the EU acceptable again to a majority.

  9. And then, with nursing shortages, economic impact and demographic change we rejoin on more integrationist terms. Well done Brexiters!!

  10. CARFREW

    @”It is once we leave the EU we will supposedly have the craved-for control and ability to limit immigration rather more. ”

    Quite so-and if a Government spends 5 years with an immigration policy which produces less doctors than required-how would they get re-elected?

    @” The point about the EU ref was that it decoupled concerns about immigration from other concerns like house prices. ”

    How did that happen work?-When we leave the EU , how does that stop you voting for housing & immigration policies you like, and against ones you don’t like ?

    @”General Elections don’t do that, so that many people may continue to vote Tory or Labour regardless.”

    Regardless of what?

    You seem to be saying that post -Brexit voters will suddenly start making irrational choices in a GE-but it is always possible that I m have misunderstood you.

  11. @Colin

    “Quite so-and if a Government spends 5 years with an immigration policy which produces less doctors than required-how would they get re-elected?”

    ——

    That is my point! If there’s a shortage of people in critical posts, and a more general impact beyond that in losing the lower-paid immigration, then they might well not get re-elected.

    So there’s a big incentive to continue with current levels, especially while things like housing windfalls might dominate voter concerns.

  12. @Colin

    “How did that happen work?-When we leave the EU , how does that stop you voting for housing & immigration policies you like, and against ones you don’t like ?”

    ———

    Exactly the point. As JP points out, immigration may well continue at current levels post Brexit because people may prioritise other things.

  13. Interesting to see Conservative former chancellor Ken Clarke has said he believes there is now no way to prevent the UK leaving the EU in a report in the Independant.

    The staunch Remainer said there was “little doubt” that Brexit would take place and argued a second referendum on any deal would be “folly”.

    So even dear old Ken thinks it will happen.

  14. Turk, what you say is pure opinion.

    I was pointing out the policies poll well.
    This has been the case since the election.

    How much this translates into VI will depend in part on how many share the opinions you express.

  15. @Colin

    “Regardless of what?

    You seem to be saying that post -Brexit voters will suddenly start making irrational choices in a GE-but it is always possible that I m have misunderstood you.”

    ——-

    Regardless of immigration levels.

    Yes, you have thrown up a straw man again. I didn’t question voter rationality, I pointed out how they might rationally continue to accept immigration levels. Because other things matter more.

  16. COLIN
    You are right that my post:
    ”I can see that my opening statement – that 50% of new entrants to the labour market are derived from immigration, or words to that effect – could be misintepreted”
    was wrong. The figures for April 2016 to June 2017 appear to show that 32% of new entrants to the labour market are non-UK citizens – not 50%.

  17. Colin/Carfrew

    Fewer doctors please.

  18. Valerie

    More, surely???

  19. CARFREW

    @”That is my point! If there’s a shortage of people in critical posts, and a more general impact beyond that in losing the lower-paid immigration, then they might well not get re-elected.
    So there’s a big incentive to continue with current levels, especially while things like housing windfalls might dominate voter concerns.”

    Sooo——you fear that a Tory Government , having spent five years with an overly restrictive immigration policy which caused a lack of doctors will think———–the thing to do to stay in power after the GE …………is not change this immigration policy .

    I think that is an irrational concern Carfrew :-)

    @”As JP points out, immigration may well continue at current levels post Brexit because people may prioritise other things.”

    So-what does that mean exactly?
    You are worried that voters may say hmm-don’t like their immigration policies too much , but I like lots of their other policies-so I’ll vote for them on the balance of things ?

    Ummm-I thought thats what always happens in GEs. Are you proposing a system where you only get elected if voters like everything you propose?
    How would that work?

  20. TURK

    I think-to the extent that younger demographics produce a winning vote for Corbyn, we will all just have to experience his policy outcomes so they can know how they actually work in practice.

    THey are too young to remember what we remember-its ancient history to them.

  21. Turk

    “…the rehashed socialism that once dominated the sixties and seventies which by any measure ended in failure”

    Actually they ended with Thatcher. By a lot of other measures they worked pretty well. They lasted from 1945 till 1979, well over 30 years – whereas your beloved Thatcherite replacement tripled unemployment, gutted UK industry and went bust in the 90s and again in in 2008. Most of Corbyn’s policies work pretty well in Germany, for instance.

    You know nothing John Snow.

  22. @Colin

    “Soooo – you fear that a Tory Government , having spent five years with an overly restrictive immigration policy which caused a lack of doctors will think———–the thing to do to stay in power after the GE …………is not change this immigration policy.”

    ——

    No, these are invented. I said nothing about fearing Tories, and I didn’t talk of a policy reversal. I pointed out they might not change policy in the first place.

  23. JOHN PILGRIM

    Thanks.

  24. CARFREW

    @” I pointed out they might not change policy in the first place.”

    Who?
    Which policy?
    Would that be a problem-if so why?

  25. TURK
    Nobody would argue that Corbyns policies were popular amongst those who would most benefit ,however it is a easy matter to produce popular policies whilst your in opposition because at that stage they are just words,

    I suppose that is why those politicians who promised Brexit would lead to an extra £350m to be spent on the NHS, A free trade deal being the easiest thing to do in the world and it would lead to to the sunlit uplands will soon be shown to have been making ’empty promises’.

  26. CARFREW…..Remove your head from your fundament immediately, your last post did you little credit. Remember, we Brexiteers are only human, we don’t share your EUphoric EUtopian vision, I know you are a reasonable person, so please don’t try to force EUgenic nonsense down our throats, otherwise I
    might suggest EUthanasia. ;-)
    My view, for what it’s worth, ( and to the self-admiring metropolitan elite, that ain’t much ) is that the EU will gradually collapse from being a large group of mainly small bickering entities, into, a small group of mainly large bickering entities…..we’re simply the first to go, we’ll discover, in due course, which side in the debate has been the most prescient, until then, perhaps a little less hubristic posting might be appropriate.

  27. @Colin

    “So-what does that mean exactly?
    You are worried that voters may say hmm-don’t like their immigration policies too much , but I like lots of their other policies-so I’ll vote for them on the balance of things ?
    Ummm-I thought thats what always happens in GEs. Are you proposing a system where you only get elected if voters like everything you propose?
    How would that work?”

    ——–

    I didn’t express any worry, that’s you projecting needlessly.

    Nor am I complaining that people might vote on the balance of things. I am simply pointing out that this fact may support JP’s point about the possibility of substantial immigration levels continuing

    Which you have not challenged. You’ve thrown in much unjustified noise about “worry”, voter irrationality etc though.

  28. Apologies for having to repost these links but some seem to believe Corbyn is not far-left. ‘far-left’ is a relative term in both time and inter-country comparison.

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/08/19/which-leaders-have-most-successfully-shifted-publi/

    Corbyn to the party to the ‘far left’ relative to the ‘left’ of Miliband and the ‘centre’ of Blair.

    Also you can look on political compass, maybe some flawed questions but here is 2017 with LAB to the left of SNP.
    https://www.politicalcompass.org/uk2017

    to avoid the 3link auto-mod the 2015 link below:

  29. @Ken

    Lol, as you may know I am not Pro EU. I’m just pointing out immigration levels might not drop as hoped.

    Regarding the EU collapse, you are not alone in this view. ToH Howard shares it, and I must say it hasn’t received much attention from Remainers, though they complain if he doesn’t address their points!

    P.s. how’s the Hydrogen thing going?

  30. CARFREW……Sorry, my response was to your post of 3-12, since then you have reverted to your admirable, reasonable style. ;-)

  31. NICKP

    @”Most of Corbyn’s policies work pretty well in Germany, for instance.”

    Are you sure about that?

    :-https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/20/row-over-autobahn-renewal-selling-it-off-like-a-second-hand-car-german-election

    I note that ” In a recent survey for Der Spiegel, 86% of respondents said the government was investing too little in public infrastructure.”

    Is that a vote of confidence for Corbynite policies do you think ?

  32. @Colin

    “Who?
    Which policy?
    Would that be a problem-if so why?”

    ——–

    This is sinking to new levels. It is obvious I am addressing jP’s point. That immigration levels may not decline as hoped.

  33. CARFREW

    Glad you understand what you are on about :-)

  34. CARFREW

    @”That immigration levels may not decline as hoped.”

    Why ?

  35. @Ken

    Lol, that post wasn’t what I was wishing for! I was just pointing out the irony that there’s a chance that Brexiters might be the unwitting architects of the thing that they wish to avoid. And that there is more than one potential driver for this: economic impact, impact on services, and demographic change.

  36. @Colin

    It’s ok, I don’t have to convince you! It’s obvious you understand my point anyway! You already agreed with it in fact.

  37. CARFREW

    @”It’s ok, I don’t have to convince you! It’s obvious you understand my point anyway! You already agreed with it in fact.”

    Did I ! ?

    Well how about that :-)

  38. CARFREW……I, along with a group of fellow Hydrogenistas, recently visited a hydrogen development facility in Palo Alto, we were slightly disappointed by its progress, but excited by the level of take-up in California as a whole, there are more hydrogen stations and more vehicles than we previously imagined, but at the moment the electric/ hybrid technology seems to be hogging the future space.
    The consensus in our group was generally positive but we are probably about 5 years from a real breakthrough. I will remain invested, the future in automotive is hydrogen, I hope. :-)

  39. Ken

    Well said, I have been a loan voice up until now pointing what I think is the obvious. I see the EU rather l;ike the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1900.

    Back to the Rugby.

  40. MarkW,

    Do you believe that all opinions – like people – are equal?

    If so, you have to accept that opinions diametrically opposed to your own are equally valid. How then do you resolve conflicts?

    If you reject that thesis, how then do you determine the relative value of each opinion?

    Opinions are formed from several key sources:-
    1. Pre-conceptions;
    2. Peer influence;
    3. Acquired information / objective data (aka knowledge);
    4. Experience – direct or reported.

    It is indisputable that we all have pre-conceptions. These are typically formed through our family background and childhood experiences. To a large extent, pre-conceptions are reinforced through peer influence since there is a natural tendency to select as peers those who share our pre-conceptions.

    Knowledge is primarily a function of education, but continues throughout life. Over time, one acquires more knowledge, which can be fed into refining opinions.

    Experience is also acquired over time. The more varied one’s life, the more different experiences one can acquire. Clearly older folk have more experience in general, but younger folk can compensate by learning from other people’s experience.

    Whether we allow each of these sources to develop our opinions is a function of openness and self-questioning. Learning from our own experiences is easy. Gathering knowledge from a variety of sources is not difficult – provided we remain open to challenging ideas. Resisting peer influences is a question of self-confidence. The hardest part is the ability to rise above our own pre-conceptions.

    So, next time you view an opinion that differs from your own, ask yourself first whether each opinion presented is likely to be based more on pre-conception or experience. Then question your own pre-conceptions.

    If people say that something has been tried before and produced certain outcomes, then ask what may have changed since which might lead to a different outcome. If the answer is not very much, then it is very likely that if tried again it will produce the very same – or similar – effect.

    That is why so many old folk are sceptical about Corbyn’s promises.

  41. @Ken

    I think what you are doing is fascinating, especially in not going down the typical fuel cell route.

    As a result of you, and folk like Alec, I’ve been following renewable tech quite a bit, and lately, Elon Musk, who as you may well know, is not overly keen on hydrogen and favours batteries.

    And he’s investing in bringing the cost of battery tech down with his gigafactories etc.

    He even thinks that the future of aviation is battery powered airplanes!

    Given Musk’s track record, from PayPal to Tesla to Space X and making rocket recovery landings work, one would be wary of betting against him.

    Supercapacitors are a bit of a worry, if they sort out the energy density, and possibly get graphene to work.

    However, the potential advantages of hydrogen are such that one can see it coexisting with other tech.

  42. Ken

    One of my better spellings :-)

    Should be “lone, not loan” of course.

  43. Perhaps I should have added that the above post is just “my opinion”.
    But it is based on observation and analysis over many years.
    I might add that those who are least secure in their opinions tend to shout them the loudest – almost as if to drive out opposing information with which they cannot cope.

  44. I will concede that renationalisation is popular in the polls. My guess is under ECJ progress in that direction would be limited and/or difficult given we’d be fighting against the EU’s stated liberalisation plans. Rail generally seems to be the most popular but unfortunately if renationalised via expiry of leases it will also take a very long time and a natural monopoly only works best as a full monopoly. That is a shame as if that one happened quickly we might see the union issue that I fear before we start going 1960s full bore. I hope I am wrong about the unions.

    I’d also like to mention for the record that I’d like prosperous EU economies – no matter what Brexit we get they will continue to be our largest trading partner for the next decade although as a % they will continue to drop as they have done in the last two decades – sadly for exports only! IMHO weaning off a prosperous EU is better than a hard break with a collapsing EU mostly due to the short-term factors. I was very encouraged by the Opinium poll on the long-term question altough surprised by the demographic breakdwon – I think PETE B caught my thoughts on that one!

    Personally I don’t see the current EU arrangement working but that doesn’t mean I wish their economies to fall. IMHO the Euro does not represent an Optimal Currency Zone and full freedom of movement shouldn’t include countries with vastly different wage levels. I also don’t like the empire building and believe the EU prioritises some countries objectives over and above the UK. NATO and EFTA+ would be my preference for UK’s future. I’m encouraged the weekend press didn’t have a Boris article and hearing good rumours from EU that Swiss+ might be the new trade arrangements. The negotiations are obviously difficult but if the political will is there a new future relationship should be very easy given we are currently in 100% alignment.

  45. @ MARKW – May is not what I had hoped. Something went wrong with her whole JAM stuff. Brown and other LAB CoE’s have been able to ensure a ‘social contract’ with the unions which IMHO was because they were not reliant on the unions. Austerity was supposed to end after Osborne was removed but Hammond just continued the same approach. I hope Hammond proves me wrong a month today!

    As you should know from my posts I am not a fan of Hammond and the lip service May gives to the social contract. If they don’t do something about austerity on 22Nov then they deserve the reaction I expect they will get.

  46. @Paul HJ

    “people say that something has been tried before and produced certain outcomes, then ask what may have changed since which might lead to a different outcome. If the answer is not very much, then it is very likely that if tried again it will produce the very same – or similar – effect.”

    ———

    Well things have certainly changed, given globalisation. But there is a chance that might make Corbyn policies more acceptable, as a defence against the ravages of global capital.

    As you say, people may go by experience and what has already happened. And if the current approach yields property prices out of reach, zero hours, high utility bills, big tuition debt and a big economic hit following the banking crisis, then they might wish to return to the approach that gave free tuition, cheaper rent, property prices and bills, full employment, being able to bring up a family on a single wage, and some protection from the ravages of the oil crisis, limiting unemployment to a bit over a million.

    We are currently seeing the drama of the competing approaches being played out, as in the States with Sanders, Trump etc.

    As in the States, we saw the analog of Trumpism taking hold, UKIP etc., but the EU referendum has changed things a bit, and put Corbynism on the table. Whether it’ll prevail we’ll have to see…

  47. THE OTHER HOWARD…..It is odd that so few people consider the probability of European history repeating itself, indeed, the jackboot mentality of the Rajoy government in its dealings with Cataluna shows how close to the surface their baser instincts lie, “ no one expects the Spanish Inquisition “ except, perhaps Catalonian politicians, and my friends in Gibraltar, who are getting slightly twitchy at the sight of it all. Take this with the bullying of the Greeks and the general unease in Hungary, Poland, Italy etc., and in my view, it’s a groaning volcano…..Of course, I wouldn’t wish ill on those wishing ill on me but I do get the impression that the EUstablishment seeks to teach us a lesson, Portugal encourager les Autorescue ( Pour encourager les autres, via spellcheck ) :-)

  48. PAUL HJ

    “I might add that those who are least secure in their opinions tend to shout them the loudest”

    They might just be jolly good shouters.

  49. CARFREW…….A member of our group in California is involved with the development team at Dyson, the level of investment James Dyson is committing to battery and fan technology equals that of Musk, Dyson are celebrating an automotive inventive step and anticipating car production from 2020, yikes, I can’t wait, ( to lose a shed load of cash ) :-)

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