Boundary Update

I expect this will be the last one of these for a few years, as the Commons looks likely to vote to approve the Lords amendment abandoning the current boundary review and setting the next boundary review to begin in 2015, reporting in September-October 2018. Today should see an end to matters one way or the other – looking in detail at the amendments before the House today, the government has tabled a counter amendment that would reject the Lords amendment, and adopt the Boundary Commissions final recommendations without the need for further votes in the Commons and Lords.

415 Responses to “Boundary Update”

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  1. Imaginary voters-what a great idea.

  2. I think that constituencies should be based on the electorate, not population. However, I think the incompleteness of the electoral roll should be acknowledged, and data from the census used to estimate what the total electorate of an area actually is. I don’t using the electoral roll alone will give a fair distribution of seats.

  3. Eric
    Blimey! Perhaps the UK population is really only 50m?

  4. “Yesterday, officials were forced to defend a decision to send a census form to a car park ticketing machine in Hampshire.
    It was addressed to “The Occupier: Pay on Foot Shelter” and posted to the machine in the Moors Valley Country Park, in Ringwood, Hants.
    Kate Davis, from the park, said staff were still deciding whether or not to answer questions about the machine’s religious beliefs.
    A spokesman for Census UK said they prefer to err on the side of caution and send forms to all properties.
    He said: “The postal address list used for census has been built from the best and most up-to-date national sources.”

    Daily Telegraph
    March 2011.

  5. @DaveM

    “But non voting peopl are voters who with the right to vote but do not. They are part of the community and have rights there are represented by their local MP. To exclude them from the counting when drawing up new seats would be undemocratic in the extreme!”


    The lack of democracy as you put it is in the lack of people voting; not the lack of people eligible to vote.

    As an active member of the community and as an active voter, do I not deserve more rights than those who ignore the system?

    One other thing. The census was compulsory. I objected to that out of the principle that governments will not make voting compulsory (with option to spoil). It translates to me as “we want to know where you are, but your vote is not important”.

    I decided to have an experiment. I did nothing, and when the date expired, a person appeared at my door within three days to query as to why it had not been completed (with notice of fines for not completing). I assured them I would complete it, and left it to sit for a bit. Within a week another visit and I completed it that night. It was a tiny bit of civil disobedience so I could discover how efficient they were at chasing the census forms.

    A street light on my street took 3-4 weeks to have its bulb replaced, despite numerous calls.

    The system (as it is) is not there to serve the voters. It is there to serve the system.

  6. Of course, there is another option. Only allow those who are over 65, and can prove that they have voted Conservative in the past, to go on to the electoral register. We can then call them the deserving electorate as opposed to the undeserving non-electorate. Strivers deserving of the franchise, the rest can go hang! lol

  7. Colin

    “Is there any research on the demographics of those who are eligible to vote , but have not registered to do so?And is there any research on their reasons for not registering.? It would be interesting to know if this was an act of commission , rather than omission for some, and if so how many-and for what reason.”

    Good questions. I’m guessing that its easy to fall off the register if you are moving about a lot but other than that I don’t have answers, prehaps others know more.

  8. Fed is hinting that QE4ever could be increased from its current 85 billion a month!!

  9. CB11

    To be on the safe side dead people over 65, who previously voted Tory, should also be included in the family vote.

  10. @RiN,

    It depends what you mean by “easy to fall off the register”.

    Each time I’ve moved, it has been very simple to register to vote. What is probably more of an issue is not falling off the register at your previous address.

  11. @Paul C

    “To be on the safe side dead people over 65, who previously voted Tory, should also be included in the family vote.”

    Lol. I’m warming to the theme. What about Tory Party donors being given 100 votes for every £1000 donated and being allowed to cast them in the 50 most marginal constituencies? It’s genius!

  12. Following on from the discussion about the eligibility to vote, I note that the Australian PM has deliberately disenfranchised one ethnic group in her choice of date for the next Australian GE, and in addition de facto criminalised them en masse as voting is mandatory in Australia. In this regard, she seems to be following in the footsteps of the NSDAP, but she must feel that there is an electoral advantage in taking this action.

  13. The Poles have a system which bypasses the whole thorny problem. They divide the whole country up into 13(?) equalish-sized constituencies, and the number of MPs elected by a constituency depends on the number of votes cast in that constituency

    If we did it that way in the UK we could use your proper old-fashioned ceremonial counties like your mum used to make, and if lots of people moved in, well you got three MPs, and if lots of people moved out, well you only got one MP. The system is self-correcting.


  14. CB11

    I am NOT half-time happy/

    Electora Roll;

    Eligibility inyterviews should include the question:

    “Have you ever previousy considered voting for any party other than the Sensible – sorry, Conservative – Party……?”

  15. If people, having received a free invitation to be on the register (you do have to walk to the post box with the envelope, or go online and do it, what a drag) do not avail themselves of the opportunity, one could reasonably surmise their likelihood to vote or their interest in doing so.

    I assume colleagues who ponder why people do not register have never canvassed on the doorstep. It is not so much that one is met with anger (sometimes) but more a curiosity as to why anyone should be ‘bothered’. They are not ‘bothered’..

  16. Martyn, assuming you were serious, it does not sort out rurals vs urbans, because counties are rural and most unitaries are urban.

  17. Colin

    If finding a way to enfranchise those who have disenfranchised themselves ; by seeking an alternative to the ER is considered necessary-then it becomes logically necessary to make Electoral Registration legally mandatory

    It (sort of) is already. According to Nottingham Council for example:

    It is also a legal requirement that you return a registration form each year and failure to do so could result in a fine of up to £1000. Even if you are registered to vote, you are obliged to return a completed canvass form annually.

    That said I think there are very few prosecutions, possibly because you would probably have to prove that someone had received the form and not returned it.

    Actually one important reason for compulsory registration has nothing to do with voting. The electoral rolls are the basis for jury service and that is a civic duty that many feel should be enforced.

    As far as research into no-registration goes, the latest report from the Electoral Commission is here:

  18. HOWARD

    @”I assume colleagues who ponder why people do not register have never canvassed on the doorstep. It is not so much that one is met with anger (sometimes) but more a curiosity as to why anyone should be ‘bothered’. They are not ‘bothered’..”

    You assume correctly Howard-good god , perish the thought.

    But I just wonder whether there are some who positively do not want to be registered -because they don’t wish to vote.

    In any event it would be interesting to know who all these people are & into what demographic groups they fall.

  19. Was it in Ulster that they used to advise the electorate to “Vote early and vote often”? That might be an answer to low turnout.

  20. Colin
    JWs will not register and others of certain outlook make a positive decision not to.

  21. CROSSBAT11.

    Yes, and until the end of the 1960’s there was plurality of voting. So if you owned more than one house or business you had more votes. The 1949 (maybe 1948) Govt of N.Ireland Act entrenched this situation: ‘A Protestant Parliament for a Protestant State’
    The Cameron Commission (1971 ish) explained all this.

    The Civil Rights movement, later subverted by B.Devlin, campaigned for OMOV. Hence ‘The Troubles’ began.

    Heath ‘betrayed’ his Unionists by stopping all this.

  22. Roger


    Some interesting clues to the missing in there.

    Will read & digest.

  23. @Martyn – Do the Poles allow their constituencies to vote in fractions of an MP? And if so how do they deal with this fraction in reality?

  24. Howard:

    Martyn did refer to “old fashioned ceremonial counties” which would mean counties before 1974 reform – there wouldn’t be any unitaries. Middlesex would be urban but everywhere else would be a mix of rural and urban, pretty heavily biased one way or another in some cases [e.g. Cornwall rural Surrey pretty urban.]

    I suppose there would be pros and cons of combining rural and urban – it might help unify, it might lead to domination of one by the other.

  25. daodao

    Following on from the discussion about the eligibility to vote, I note that the Australian PM has deliberately disenfranchised one ethnic group in her choice of date for the next Australian GE, and in addition de facto criminalised them en masse as voting is mandatory in Australia

    What ethnic vote do you mean? You can’t be referring to people of Jewish origin[1], because even if you accept this as an ethnic identity, the prohibition is a religious one not an ethnic one. A non-religious Jew would feel no scruples about voting.

    I suspect even most practicing Jews would see voting as a duty rather than work and so vote on the day. But if not there are a whole range of ways you can vote in advance with religious beliefs being explicitly mentioned as reason for doing so.

    [1] This is the only possibility I can think of because the election day (14 September) is a Saturday. But elections in Australia are always on a Saturday

  26. Well I’m studying for an OU degree. Flippin hard work which is why I’ve not been around much.

    I’m intrigued by M in the M tho’. Is he the same guy who reigns over Kent?

    Valerie x

    “The local Muslim religious leaders have condemned the vigilantes on many levels including Islamic teachings, which as a Tower Hamlets resident was good to see and took the sting out of the vigilantes tail.”

    Yes, it seems that their response has been exemplary. The responses which I have read in respect to Islamic doctrine are important, because references to, for example, gender, have been used by extremists and bigots for many years to prevent tolerance of differing social behaviour – dress, dance, use of alcohol, freedom of independent movement etc – in national and religious cultures. Attempts by groups such as those at work in SE London to institutionalise intolerance are both dangerous and essentially political in intent.

  28. @ Roger Mexico

    Thank you for providing the web link, which does state that individuals can request an “early vote” (not available in the UK) or “postal vote” if they “have religious beliefs that prevent attendance at a polling place” (which to my knowledge also does not apply in the UK).

    However, if an individual fails to take appropriate action in advance of the election date, they would be obliged to mark a ballot paper, which would be prohibited to observant Jews on this date.

  29. VALERIE:

    Best not to sign off with a x – some ole codgers on here could get too excited.

    “MinM – is he the guy who reigns over Kent”

    I think not – but he certainly rains over this site.

  30. An early report by our Football Czar from the Emirates:


  31. @SoCaLiberal

    Glad to hear the link (ACE/Electoral Knowledge Network “your portal to the world of elections” ) might be of help.

    Me a swing voter? SMukesh (to whom the “love-bombing” post was addressed and I hope, appreciated the joke) probably has a pretty good idea which way I vote. With a few exceptions the sympathies of most people who post on a neutral background can be guessed at… perhaps it takes a little local knowledge to be able to do that.

    Did I tell you that (as a three-years-old) I was on a street in London to see Churchill’s funeral cortege pass by?
    Whose funeral did Harold Wilson fail to attend because he had tooth-ache, was it Bobby Kennedy or Martin Luther King Jr? Sadly I think he was into the paranoid phase by then because of the numerous shadowy plots against him.
    Watching Nixon on TV… I’ll stop there – the free association promted by you asking if I was a swing voter – let’s just say from age eighteen onwards I saw the new Thatcher/Reagan/GHWBush era as a major blight on the world, and I still feel that way. You know the rest.

  32. Paul Croft

    Best not to sign off with a x – some ole codgers on here could get too excited.”

    Oi! Less of the old. I assumed Valerie x was Malcolm’s sister.

  33. No Sun tweet today – Labour lead must be safe.

  34. Xanadan

    On the off chance you are reading this thank you for the link a few pages back to the London International page, it just seems too good to be true, when LSE charge 9k a year normally if your on site, but only £3,6K for the whole course if you only use the online materials and getting the same degree. The only thing I can’t work out is if you get confused is there someone you can ask for help, I’ll have to dig around more.

    My passion is for economics, but I don’t really know what career I could get from it, I applied to do ACA with KPMG and BDO, but both rejected me, BDO my interview was a disaster, but KPMG went really well, they just had too many people so had to reject even ones who were good enough. It’s unfair, as basically I was good enough, I just lost on the lottery, but then I guess life is unfair.

    Also, just to correct you re: social side, I have trouble with social situations, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want them, I’d really love to be like a normal guy and have mates who to hang out with in the evenings etc, go to clubs etc,but it’s just building a friendship strong enough with people to get them to invite me out thats the problem.

    My problem is that everyone “likes” me (well not on here :P ) but they don’t like me enough that they’d invite me out to places, I’m more an acquaintance than anyone’s friend and I really want to change that, even if it was just 1 best friend. Also I’m kinda forgettable.

    I find it hard to make small talk, once I’ve asked someone how they are etc, and replied, I never really know where to go from there, if I know something about a person i might try and ask them how that is going, but after that the conversation just dies.

  35. Oh no-run away. run away.

  36. LIZ H.
    Good Evening to you; another 10k tonight on beach.

    Chablis therefore.

    The EU issue has to fade at this stage.

  37. Billy Bob
    “Thatcher/Reagan/GHWBush era as a major blight on the world, and I still feel that way. You know the rest.”

    So you don’t acknowledge the part the first two in particular, (along with Gorbachev) played in the collapse of the USSR, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the cold war, with the subsequent introduction of democracy in the old USSR countries and the acceptance of some into the EU, with others queuing up to join?

    No, I agree insignificant really.

  38. “EU issue has to fade”

    Ken Clarke thinks not

  39. Adam,
    My apologies to Martyn. I did not read his piece sufficiently assiduously.

    As a native Bristolian, I am only too aware of my ‘City and County of Bristol’. I don’t know whether it legally still exists, the City of Bristol does, after being …… oh let’s not go into that again. Now they have a Lib Dem Mayor, masquerading as an Independent. He’s just invited two more LDs to join his cabinet, including the former LD Leader and thus Bristolians of other persuasions are scratching their head (‘how did we bring that about?).

    Nowhere else in the world matters, to be honest, although my Dorset connections are strong.

  40. I’ve never fallen off a register, even when drunk although, come to think of it, I don’t really drink: when one has a brain like a laser one doesn’t want to take any risks.

  41. Good evening ChrisLane. Hope you enjoyed your run. No Chablis for me – I am trying to be good.

    Looks like people are not happy about sending troops to Mali. The PM is in Algeria – do you think he got the idea from watching Borgen?

  42. @Robert Newark

    “So you don’t acknowledge the part the first two in particular, (along with Gorbachev) played in the collapse of the USSR, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the cold war,”

    I love the inclusion of Gorbachev in brackets. Is this the equivalent of giving him a footnote in history? Mind you, I suppose he was only a bit part player in it all, messing around with trivialities like perestroika and glasnost in the background while good old Ronnie and Maggie went about dismantling the Soviet Union on his behalf.

  43. I remember Perry Striker playing for Arsenal.

    Oh no – am thinking of Perry Groves.

  44. @Paul C

    We used to have a player at the Villa called Oz Territy. Got him on a free transfer, paid him very little and he kept things nice and simple on the pitch. However, a lot of his passes went too far and he tended to play too deep so flogged off for a nominal fee after a few years. Swapped him for a player Ed Borrows.

  45. Crossbat

    I added Gorbachev to acknowledge his part in what developed and put him in brackets, as he was not part of the post by Billy Bob.
    The chemistry between these 3 changed the world for the better & it’s a little partisan not to acknowledge that.

  46. @Anthony – for me, it should be census. MPs represent the interests of everyone, whether they vote or not, whether they are registered to vote or not, or whether they are allowed to vote or not.

    The only trouble is, the census isn’t delivered to badger setts. This is a serious anomaly that should be addressed, before the badgers get really angry.

    @R Huckle – “One of the key issues affecting disease spread is the amount of movement of livestock. I just wonder whether if this was controlled in a better way, that the number of cattle affected by TB would be reduced.”

    This is what the studies have continually found. Once in an area, TB resides in the badger population, but they are rarely responsible for transmitting to new areas, and they don’t travel widely. [When was the last time you sat next to a badger on the bus?].

    Movement of live farm stock is the way bTB is spread.

  47. @Statgeek – “As an active member of the community and as an active voter, do I not deserve more rights than those who ignore the system?”

    No, I don’t think you do. To not vote, or to not register to vote, is a free and democratic choice people are allowed to make in this country. I can’t see why this should affect their rights.

  48. Can we not assume that, since badgers are clearly layabouts who don’t even take their role as forest policeman all that seriously, that they are almost definitely Labour supporters, and cast their votes accordingly?

    Re Badgers and buses, the last time was a while back for me – but then I don’t use the buses a lot myself.

  49. @Robert Newark

    You view is certainly shared by many, there are counter arguments but this is not really the place… it was a throw away comment if you like. but I will say anti-communism as a driver of ideology has never been all sweetness and light.

    Was it just buffoonery when (after raising ‘defense spending’ by 40%) he said into the microphone “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes”, the visit to Bitburg? Selling weapons to Iran to fund death squads in Nicaragua, arming the Mujahideens in Afghanistan?

  50. @ Anthony Wells

    “Just as a thought experiment, how many people here think that it would be better to draw up boundaries based on the census, rather than the electoral register?”

    Census. 100% census.

    “the boundary commissions are generally made up of a Judge, a senior barrister and a former senior civil servant/local government officer.”

    But how do they get selected or chosen for the position? Can they be affiliated with any of the parties?

    The best district maps drawn for California in the past 4 decades were drawn by a Republican judge, a very conservative and politically active Republican judge. This judge is incidentally part Scottish and is perhaps a Scottish Tory (albeit a non-voting one). Of course, he drew the maps acting in his independent capacity as a judge. This is why the new maps resulted in Democrats gaining seats in that very election (as well as in the long term).

    “There are no party appointees on them. If anyone here wanted to be on one, they’d probably be ruled out for having party affiliations, even if they were a senior barrister, a judge or a senior civil servant!”

    Makes sense. I don’t even know how our new commission members were selected. I should look this up though.

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