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

    “…………..or less disruptive.”

    It’s not my intention to be that either.

    Yes your correct, my son who is a very clever professor doing important medical related research does suffer from depression which is controlled by drugs thank goodness. What’s that got to do with my posts if you don’t mind me asking?

  2. TOH, sorry but I give up. I honestly think you do post to offend and lines like

    ” I was not intending to be offensive but was expressing very genuine concerns about obsessive behavour.”

    surely are trolling.

    I will take your advice and skim past your posts so i dont get vexed. I will leave it there as ther is no hope.


    freedom of speech is often used as freedom to offend. My view is that we now have a society where we have a situation of spectacular, and inane together. It is a space where Katie Hopkins can survive since she is given the oxygen of publicity. It also bring out the me too in manypeople as this becomes a branding exercise.

    One friend who worked for a lad magazine pointed out. That we we now drive to excess in everything and extremes in everythign and with a widening a somewhat democratisation of media mean that extremes tend to blot out the norm.

    The point is now is not that Katie Hopkins is seen as a viable and marketable opinion to be aired but it seems to drown out any other opinion. How we resolve this will be interesting.

    What I found absolutely scary was how media can be a misrepresentation of the facts on the ground. If you had said that Corbyn would get 40% of the vote even on 9pm on June 8th you would have been laughed at indeed there was one pollster that was actually laughed at when they showed their result which were indeed very much closer to the facts.

    I suppose my point about freedom of speech is not actually about freedom of speech but actually accessibility to the media. katie Hopkin views have accessibility because they are spectacular.

    I hark back to EU referendum, it is easy to paint a negative story ‘bendy’ bananas as a simple one but if you get a steady drip drip of the effect creates a situation that is hard to overcome. I am minded by a person whom said the best time to be an african american is during the olympics, the positive image of black people winning for America means that they have a positive image overall for a period. it also works against african americans when the US basketball team lost the world championship negative views of black people went up across the board.

    My fear is not freedom of speech but credence we give certain speech over others.

    A last example of how our views could be distorted. During the Iranian revolution, there was many factions vying for power some ultra religious and others very much to the left as many pro western and pro isolationists. I remember even during the invasion of the US embassy there was massive divide in Iran which was equally split. We sold the Iranian revolution was as a religious revolution and that was incorrect. but it suited our viewpoint and it becomes the norm. Indeed in the aftermath of 9/11 there were marches in Tehran in support of the US.

    Simply put freedom of speech has never been an issue for me what has been is that the extremist in view have now disproportionate access to media because human nature tend to look at extremes.

    Just watch traffic slowing to rubberneck any nasty crash.

  4. COLIN

    Absolutely correct, paying some largish one-off sum does not in any way predicate using the on going savings for that purpose. Not that I’m in favour of the one off sum.


    @” my view is that employment and migration policy have to be based on accepting that it is now – as the statistics show – at least fifty per cent from the international labour market that skills and labour in the UK economy have to be – and will be – derived.”

    So-lets see if this statement allows you to escape my criticism.

    First-you start with an immigration figure-which is what I suggested.
    Second-you justify it with an erroneous “statistic”.

    I refer you to “Immigration & the UK Labour Market” -LSE-May 2015 , in which you will find these statements :-

    “The share of immigrants among working age adults in the UK more than doubled between 1995 and 2014 – from 8% to 17% – and now stands at over 6.5 million.Immigration is now the top concern in opinion polling.”

    “Almost 40% of all immigrants live in London and 37% of Londoners were born abroad. Around 60% of the working age populations of Brent and Westminster are immigrants compared with under 3% in Knowsley and Redcar & Cleveland.”

    “Immigrants do not account for a majority of new jobs. The immigrant share in new jobs is – and always has been – broadly the same as the share of immigrants in the working age population. ”

    So-I repeat-You start at the wrong end of the telescope-numbers & not requirement -ie you make the same mistake as the Conservative Parties Net Migration target.

    Not only that-you start at that end with a false statistical justification.

  6. MarkW

    Trolling as a concept is something relatively new to me but as i understand it as my concerns are genuine, and I have no desire to disupt or offend, then i cannot be trolling.

    Anyway, lets leave it. Your advice to yourself is very sound. Please ignore my posts.

  7. markw

    Well, I did already say myself that it wasn’t directly related – but it was tangentially so. I was quite simply, and genuinely, asking your opinion on the issue that the radio programme programme brought up yesterday and which has been on my mind since.

    Personally I am slightly conflicted about the issue of banning people from speaking in debates but, if you don’t wish to discuss that then, of course, that’s fine.


    @”I’m assuming this is sarcasm? ”

    No-President of the EU Council until a few months ago.

  9. Paul, I didn’t hear the program so I cant really discuss it.

  10. @TOH

    Thanks for your reply, and I’m very happy to see your softer side in evidence! The plight of the young is indeed very worrying, as is that of those approaching retirement with inadequate resources; those of us who have been dealt a better hand should thank our lucky stars.

    Or is it a case of prudence and diligence on the one hand, and profligacy and short-sightedness on the other, getting their just rewards?

    I think it’s more down to luck, in the sense of when and where one was born (as you say), and with what – none of us earn the abilities we’re born with or deserve the disabiities. Would you or I have transcended the misfortune of being born into a third-generation non-working family, with no aims beyond drink, drugs and cigarettes, no settled family life and no encouragement towards education or self-improvement? I’d like to think so, but honestly in my case I doubt it. Which is why the story of people like Geoff Palmer, who was assessed as educationally sub-normal on arrival in this country, and went on to become a professor and leading world expert on brewing, is so inspiring. I, at least, think “I would never have achieved what he has, starting from where he did”

  11. Returning to polling research

    I have not seen this in earlier discussions: if I missed it forgive me I have been to York on a training course.

    Interesting breakdown that may have significance for the way in which views on Brexit has groups which are subject to influences which alter that group’s opinion and those groups which are made up of those whose opinion is fixed.
    With “moderate leavers” and “disengaged remainers” making up 34% of voters it would appear that these are the groups which might most affect opinion polling. However, on the limited information available it is not clear what might be a unifying message for both groups, clearly their views on immigration differ. However the one element of similarity from the tables of these groups appears to be levels of home ownership: if brexit were seen to threaten or alternatively enhance that aspect of their lives it might impact on opinion.

  12. @ COLIN – and now the mayor from a small island 2/3 the size of Leeds!

    @ BZ – at some point may has to pick a side. Her mandate is so weak that she is unable to sack Hammond or Boris but at some point one faction or the other will force her hand. I think most agree the Repeal bill hold up is for now due to CON internal mess.
    I’m a very long way removed so by the time chinese whispers get to me I treat them with a large scoop of salt, however, i doubt anyone is going to disagree that CON-DUP is a coalition of chaos and at some point May will have to pick a side.

    It would be political suicide for May to pick Alastair Campbell’s original version – not just for her but for the CON party. I doubt she’ll do my version either but of the two it would be more politically believable – IMHO.

    I see John Curtice has thought this through a little but he’s got it a little backwards IMHO. I’m not quoting from gutter press but fell free to look it up.

  13. Somerjohn

    Thanks for that, and I don’t have any major disagreement with the points you make.

    I think it was Carfrew, who said he thought I had bit of a Darwinian approach to life, and I found it hard to disagree with him. My wife has it to. I think it stems from our early days. We both lived in what were rather deprived parts of London when children. My wife’s family were badly affected by the second war, and they were very poor when she was a young girl. She tends to be rather scathing when people talk about childhood poverty, as she has problem toes due to the fact that the family could not afford to buy her new shoes when she was a young growing girl. My father was a shoe repairer with a small shop which made little money. I lost my mother when I was eleven, and my father worked three evenings a week in addition to his day job to afford to give a reasonable start in life, first at a good Grammar and then at University. I became self reliant at about twelve, able to cook, clean the house and do washing etc

    I think our early life experiences are probably largely responsible for the people we are as adults.

  14. Lord Colin Campbell :-)

  15. Howard: re early experiences, they are, indeed, vital.

    Imagine your own life transposed to being brought up by two adults who were abusive or simply lacking in love and so on and so on.

    Possibly nature would have triumphed over nurture for you. But the imagine if these people were your real parents – and nature and and nurture both conspired against you.

    Obviously I’m not discussing anything that you wouldn’t know anyway; but I think it is essential to get away from the sort of thinking that says: “Well I managed to make good despite the obstacles so others should be able to do so equally as well.”

    I always felt that that was my own father’s attitude and I have tried to learn from seeing that first-hand.

    Recently [following shingles] I suffered around five years of chronic fatigue and it was awful being utterly unable to do the simplest thing without needing sleep. That made me more empathetic to other people suffering from what we widely refer to as “mental” health problems and aware of how limited their options in life often are.

    Which is why the welfare state is so very important and I am relatively unfussed about the limited numbers who abuse the system.

  16. Thinking again about the nature/nurture thing, it occurs to me that, as one of three brothers [the youngest] the other two thought quite differently to me [both right wing voters for example].

    This despite the fact that we were all, one way or another, arts based in our careers and had the same parents.

  17. @ Somerjohn

    I was born into a working class family in Swansea, my father abandoned my mother, younger sister and brother and myself first when I was about nine and finally when I was 14 (albeit he intermittently returned for the next five years and my mother, as most of her generation would, attempted to reconcile to maintain a family) a knock on effect of my father’s conduct was that we moved home frequently and, as a result I attended a total of 12 schools including 4 comprehensive schools. I left school with no qualification to speak of at 16 (even if my education had not been disrupted I would have to have left at this age because of our financial circumstances). I had a few low paid jobs between 16 and 18 and then began work as a bus conductor (work I considered very well paid in comparison). Whilst working for South Wales Transport two things happened, the first was they trained me to drive a bus the second was I became a shop steward and the youngest member of our branch committee (4/17 TGWU). The TGWU began training me, as they did all shop stewards, and on one of those training courses (held at the Agricultural College in Cheltenham) I met a tutor called John Whitehouse: he told me I had a brain and that I should stop wasting my time and get an education, he advised me to apply to Ruskin College and he ensured that he supported me with a reference and assisted me in my application for a union bursary. I went to Ruskin and did my diploma in Labour Studies, I gained a distinction in Labour Law and was offered a place at Balliol College Oxford studying jurisprudence. I would not have applied to Oxford save that John Hughes, Principal at Ruskin, when dealing with my reference for my UCCA form called me in and suggested that I apply to Oxford and suggested which five Oxford colleges and in what order they should appear on the Oxford supplement to the UCCA form. I gained my law degree, went to Bar School and qualified as a barrister, a career that I pursued until a few years ago when I took an appointment which precludes me from engaging in active politics. I earn in excess of £100k each year and I have a pension which will mean I am not greatly affected by brexit.
    All of this arose from good luck and not just hard work. I have childhood friends, just as bright as me, who did not meet John Whitehouse or an equivalent, who are still in low paid jobs where they could barely afford to live let alone save for a pension and/or invest. I count my lucky stars each and every day, and anyone who was born into my circumstances would have to because so few escape those circumstances. So just to say I agree with your sentiments on luck wholeheartedly, I picked up the equivalent of a winning lottery ticket in life, and just for a bonus I met a woman who is my soulmate and after many years still holds hands with me in the cinema.
    It is because of my good fortune that I feel so angry at those who misled many of those working class people who voted brexit and will now suffer, perhaps “unto the seventh generation” so to speak.

  18. @ WB

    Thanks, really nice article on the six tribes. Here’s the bit that struck me most:

    This largely well-educated group has grown up in multicultural Britain, with more than half living most of their lives under a Labour government. As a result, they are militantly Labour and fiercely pro-immigration — and are as firmly Remain as the “British values” group is Leave.

    This certain rings true to me from my experience of working with young people early in their careers. The part that always surprised me is how keen they are on Labour given that they lived through what some may regard as the ‘sham’ Labour government of TB and the Iraq war. Usually living under 10+ years of one government and seeing it (typically) fall apart might be expected to put people off that party. Apparently not in this case. And despite the fact that JC is rather different to TB, the tribal allegience seems to be holding fast.

    This is what the Tories need to be worried about in the future I think.

  19. Much evidence has accumulated in the past month that the tide has turned and the majority for Brexit no longer exists.

    National opinion polls have tilted slightly against Leave, 76% think Brexit negotiations are going badly (thanks BZ), and as an example this week`s Any Questions coming from a New Forest area that voted Leave, had the audience very vocal in supporting Remain panellists.

    The 76% doubtless has a large component who blame the Tory negotiators, but I reckon there are also many people now realising that their dreams of June 2016 were false and undeliverable but are blaming the negotiations rather than their own failure to vote in their own best interest.

    The question is how far will Brexit support drop. We have had in the past decade two big bursts of support bubbles — LibDems at 30% in April 2010 were down to c. 10% 3-4 years later, and UKIP averaging 16% in autumn 2014 and now down to c. 4%. So could Brexit support be halved to 25% in two years time?

    I reckon much depends on how Jeremy Corbyn directs Labour supporters. Most of them joined in the bubble in 2016 because they really believed they would be better off, but they will be angry when they realise they could be £1000 each worse off a year. However, JC could point to some advantages of not being in the EU that a Labour government could exploit.

    But will he do this, or will he allow majority Labour opinion to translate into outright whole-party Labour opposition to Brexit in HoC votes?

  20. Valerie

    I am bemused, what has “Lord Colin Campbell :-)”
    got to do with the current discussion?

  21. It was tougher in Yorkshire-tha knows.

  22. WB

    Thanks for sharing that with us.Understanding each others beginnings perhaps to help us understand each others point of view


    Sorry to her about your shingles, very unpleasant i understand.As we age we all have our health issues.

  23. @ToH

    “I think it was Carfrew, who said he thought I had bit of a Darwinian approach to life, and I found it hard to disagree with him”


    Ah, well I mentioned it because you’d said it to me first, and it had set me thinking about it!

    (It may have been around the time during the exchanges on the death penalty that you said you favoured capital punishment and were ok with the loss of any of those who were wrongly convicted).

  24. Colin

    Very good I remember that sketch well. Reminiscing is a failing of us oldies I think you will agree.

    Did you enjoy the rough weather?

  25. Carfrew

    Thanks, I thought you said it to me first but I wouldn’t argu

    I no longer support the death penalty by the way..

  26. TOH

    Yes thanks-some spectacular waves.


    I think it’s more down to luck, in the sense of when and where one was born

    I’m certainly with you there. My paternal grandfather volunteered to serve in the marines, and in mid-May 1916 was serving on HMS Invincible, when he was injured in a gunnery accident and transferred to a hospital ashore. At the battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916, HMS Invincible sank with only six survivors. My grandfather was invalided out and after a hospital stay found employment as a fireman in Woolwich Arsenal, from which he retired in the late 1940s – a very lucky survivor of both WWs.

    I was disappointed by TOH’s VE day post mainly because it made no mention of the Attlee government immediately thereafter. The postwar consensus after 1945 honoured by both Lab & Con governments until the arrival in #10 of the milk snatcher was what gave us three a relatively safe childhood and unprecedented opportunities for a free education, as well as unprecedented affordable housing in both the public & private sectors. As young adults, from 1973 we also had unprecedented opportunities to work in, explore and understand our fellow europeans.

    I don’t believe the next generation will ever forgive those opportunities being denied them by ours.

    Of course not everyone grabbed the opportunities available, but the point of a decent society is to provide a safety net for everyone, IMO.

  28. @ WB – thank you for sharing. I’m curious how your pension will be badly affected by Brexit? I can but guess.

    I’ll do the share thing one day soon. Folks round for a few days so no time right now.

    The 6 tribes post also very good. I hate stereotypes but would agree 20%+ swing voters. IMHO it will depend on who those people blame.

    FWIW I still want a good deal. The pressure is on May and Hammond for a good reason and hopefully Merkel understands


    at some point may has to pick a side
    i doubt anyone is going to disagree that CON-DUP is a coalition of chaos

    I’d agree that it is surprising that May has kept us all guessing which side she’ll pick.

    I’m less sure re the DUP. Their UDA wing would definitely like a hard border, new smuggling opportunities and a return to the troubles but the electoral consequences for them could turn out to be dire. It would also remove any possibility of any power sharing government in Stormont.

    They have always said they want a soft border and may well have no choice but to switch their support should May follow the route you suggest. The next LucidTalk poll is due next week, and may tell us more.

  30. @TRIGGUY

    I think we tend to point to failure of government rather than successes since successes become a norm no matter how it comes about

    Indeed failure also seem to be skewed in terms of perception

    The three I always point to are National Minimum Wage, Iraq war vote, Gay Marriage Vote

    The NMW was fiercely opposed by the Tory party, but we now have accepted this as a standard thing it is completely uncontroversial. Indeed there is not a politician left or right that says that we should not have it

    Now consider the Gay marriage. If you ask a person that is not that interesting politics they would tell you that Gay marriage was a big Cameron/Tory initiative hell they have a Lesbian Leader in Scotland. Yet more than half of all Tory MPs voted against the bill.

    The Iraq war vote was another one where by we seem to associate it clearly with Labour, 80-133 Labour MP opposed the war in various votes and but most Tories voted I believe 16 voted against the war.

    In the end if you were a left winger you would most probably think that Blair was a sham government but would prefer that to Cameron government it is not so much tribalism in my view but the idea of the best of two evils. You can see some of this in the views of TREVOR WARNE for example whom clear prefers the Tories to be in power but want Labour styled policies.

    Indeed I have shown this several times and it always cracks me up not be cause am a Corbyn supporter but because people whom basically hate him love his policies


    “I no longer support the death penalty by the way”


    Okies, I shall try and remember. Not that it comes up that often….

  32. While we’re on the subject of confessions and what made us who we are in our early life, may I recommend this excellent book, which will explain how one UKPR member became who he is today…:)

  33. @Colin

    “Immigrants do not account for a majority of new jobs. The immigrant share in new jobs is – and always has been – broadly the same as the share of immigrants in the working age population. ”
    So-I repeat-You start at the wrong end of the telescope-numbers & not requirement -ie you make the same mistake as the Conservative Parties Net Migration target.
    Not only that-you start at that end with a false statistical justification.”


    This doesn’t challenge JP’s point though. It may be that the “majority” of new jobs go to immigrants, but that doesn’t mean that current numbers won’t be maintained.

    To challenge JP’s point you have to show that in future there will be a major reduction from current levels of immigration.

  34. Or rather, “It may be that the “majority” of new jobs do NOT go to immigrants, but that doesn’t mean that current numbers won’t be maintained.”

  35. @WB That’s an inspiring story. Clearly luck played a big part as it always does. But the thing would not have worked if you had not made the best of your luck and If some of the people you met had not made the best of their opportunities to help.

  36. DAVWEL

    You’re welcome.

    Perhaps worth mentioning that both Any Questions and Any Answers are available for 30 days as a free podcast here.

    I haven’t had chance to listen to this week-end’s episodes yet but will be very interested to listen to the Any Answers responses.

  37. @WB

    That’s a pretty inspiring personal journey and, like the Geoff Palmer link that Sam pointed us to, testament to the huge difference that recognition of untapped potential by a benevolent observer can have. Encountering such an individual is largely a matter of luck, though you do have to show the potential for it to be recognised.

    I’ve read your posts with interest and been impressed not only by their content and your evident expertise, but also your unflappable courtesy. I’m sure you were a very good bus conductor, but thank goodness you had the opportunity (and clearly grasped it with both hands) to do much more. As you suggest, the sad thing is that many such talented people don’t have the same opportunity, and I feel we as a society are failing such people (and thereby ourselves as a country. Is that why we end up importing so much talent?)

    As an aside, it seems to me that Trump’s personal journey is the polar opposite of yours: a deeply flawed individual, with a mediocre intellect and unpleasant personality, who owes his success largely to a privileged and sheltered upbringing which allowed him to learn the lesson that unscrupulous mendacity and the exploitation of others (and their credulity) was the key to personal aggrandisement and to rising way above the level predicted by the Peter principle.

  38. @TRIGGUY

    I don’t like this expression ‘tribal’ because I believe it disparages a quite rational preference for one of the two main parties and suggests it is irrational.

    Of course, there is plenty of difference between a JC Labour party and a TB one but the demise of the TB/GBs and the change to Tory administrations has reinstated my view that there is a fundamental difference between the two ‘tribes’. In the end, the Labour tribe always has the priority of improving public services and is reasonably sanguine about growing the public spending share of the economy. The Tory tribe has the priority of reducing the public spending share and is reasonably sanguine about allowing public services to wither.

    Different flavours of either lot push the boat in ‘their’ direction at different rates but the dichotomy is always there. According to one’s political instincts, some will prefer one philosophy, some t’other.

    Perhaps I shouldn’t be so touchy about ‘tribal’, but I am!

  39. Norbold

    I bought it when you first recommended it :-) it’s a great book.

  40. @Guymonde

    “In the end, the Labour tribe always has the priority of improving public services and is reasonably sanguine about growing the public spending share of the economy.”


    Well, the question then becomes to what end? Given their more liberal concerns, it’s no surprise that things like ATOS were run privately, and the state jobs often went towards ID politics stuff, diversity officers etc.

    Under Nulab, the mechanism was set forth via academies to let the private sector in there, and then there was tuition fees.

    Given other privatisations, was quite a tilt away from the public sector there.

    Then there was not just failing to invest properly in the public sector but continuing the trend away from affordable housing, and decent jobs…

  41. @Norbold

    I love an unabashed plug. I’ve been meaning to get your book for ages, and have just ordered it. Should be an enjoyable complement to Young and Wilmott!

  42. @ GM

    Apologies for the use of ‘tribal’. I guess I was using it to mean someone who supports a certain party (any party), sometimes without knowing or agreeing with what that party have done in the past or what they fundamentally stand for. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want these young people to vote Tory, I’m quite happy that they keep voting Labour, but just I wonder what it is that motivates them to do so.

    Another better word for this phenomenon would be welcome.

    Talking of words, I love your “TB/GBs”. I had to re-read it a couple of times before I realised what it meant. Sounds like a corruption of heebie-jeebies. Which is maybe what many people get when they think of TB/GB.

  43. BZ:

    It`s not worth listening to the Any Answers responses if you want views on Brexit, since the 30 minutes was largely devoted to the Oxbridge admissions problems and perceived unfairness to applicants from ethnic minorities.

    This week`s lass chairing AA didn`t seem able to cut short waffling contributors repeating earlier views.

    On Brexit and progress in the talks, my take on Theresa May`s 5-minute slot during coffee at the meal end was that it achieved very little apart from gaining her some sympathy. It`s the three issues that are only part settled after months of detailed day-long negotiations that matter.

    The most definite thing to emerge is the definite no-hard-border in Ireland.

    Which must mean that NI stays in the Single Market and Customs Union, and paves the way for TM giving way on them for the whole UK, perhaps by some clever terminology. But TM feels she will have to wait till pressure from companies builds for an end to uncertainty, before she angers her Hard-Brexit gang and announces a one-off arrangement for this.

  44. Returning to the theme of this thread – which despite the majority of posts is not Brexit.

    I would not be certain that the new boundaries are not implemented.

    Most Con would see the new boundaries as better than sticking with status quo. Also, those who fear for their majorities may see an opportunity to move to bluer pastures.

    JC on the other hand has shown himself unnafraid of a challenge, and possibly believes he could win whatever the boundaries. Getting the new boundaries approved quickly and smoothly might also make a GE in 2019-20 more likely.

    The reduction to 600 is a red herring. Fewer MPs may hurt smaller parties, but not the two main parties. It is how those seats are distributed, not the absolute number, that matters. Since neither main party has a large majority, finding enough “winnable” seats for existing members is not as difficult.

    Earlier up thread Rachel asked how the revised proposals measure against 2015. I agree that that is a more telling comparison than 2017. I hope that we will have detailed analysis available soon, but note that as yet the constituency section of this site has still not been updated for 2017 results.

  45. Davwel,

    No hard border in NI can be achieved in two different ways.

    First, as you suggest, allowing NI to remain in Single Market and Customs Union. Only that really won’t work for the UK unless there is then a “hard” border in the Irish Sea. That is much worse for NI as it not only disrupts more trade, it calls into question NI’s status in U.K.

    The alternative, which is being considered, is for U.K. to simply have no border checks. It would then be up to EU / ROI to decide whether they want to create the disruption of a hard border.

    Obviously the fiscalimpact of no border checks depends very much on what policies the U.K. Chooses to follow post Brexit. If, as the government is inclined, free trade is the objective, then there will be limited fiscal impact.

    Immigration is a thornier issue, but is linked to what is agreed about rights of EU citizens to live / work in U.K. Since nobody envisages a visa regime for visitors, it will be based on what requirements U.K. has for access to employment and benefits. Not that difficult really.

  46. PAUL H-J

    JC on the other hand has shown himself unnafraid of a challenge, and possibly believes he could win whatever the boundaries. Getting the new boundaries approved quickly and smoothly might also make a GE in 2019-20 more likely.

    No Labour has made it clear that they are opposed to the changes:

    Even without Tory rebels (from principle or self-interest) there don’t seem to be the numbers. Labour would probably back a revised Bill that would do a 650 (or thereabouts) seat re-draw – especially if the Procustean limits of making the seats very similar in electorate sizes were loosened. That would also help with local compliants against ‘unnatural’ boundaries.

    Unlike Anthony, I suspect a new 650-seat set of proposals could get through quite quickly, though there are problems with uneven registration (or which more later) and in future it would be wise to let local authorities (and political parties and electors) know which would be the important numbers.

  47. Paul H-J

    There is one small Party in particular that does not like the boundary review with the cut in seats to 600, and that is the DUP..

    My understanding is that although there are four boundary commissions, it is not possible to simply postpone the NI part of the review, mainly because then the seats will not add up to 600. And removing even one seat from the rest of the UK would mean a full new review. Possibly a law could be passed setting the number at 601? I suspect the reality is that the DUP would like to postpone the review till after 2022 anyway, and without their support there may be enough Tory rebels to stop it anyway.

    The briefing to the Times on Sept 6th saying the Tories were abandoning the current review seemed pretty. But I guess given the headless chicken nature of the Tory Party these days one is entitled to ask “so what?”

  48. Boundary Review seems unlikely to get the votes it needs in the present HoC. Therefore, it seems academic.
    The next election, whenever, seems to be set to be fought on present 650 seat basis.
    I mention the next point for pollsters and analysts to ponder.
    Do debate and correct me if I am wrong.
    Prior to the Farage Ukip surge of 2009 to 2015, the BNP were rising in council seat wins, Euro Parliament of 2009, and if memory serves opinion polls. Ukip seemed by 2015 General Election to have captured their voters.
    Given Ukip have (unless you know different) not surged since their latest leadership contest, will the BNP vote share trend which was growing 2001 to 2009 now revive and find an outlet ?
    Will it be Britain First (the breakaway from Ukip by the runner up in the leadership contest) with the main policy being zealously anti-Islam ?
    Are any pollsters looking out for this ?
    The Austrian, Dutch, German, French (FN) trend may or may not be out there in the UK ? We need a few by-elections or opinion polls (or in the immediate term at very least extremely well informed anecdotal evidence) ?
    The present polls suggest that the polls are broadly neck and neck between the Labour and Tory brand. Any surging disruptive third party could tip many marginals.
    The LibDems, short of a merger with Labour, seem to be in longterm decline based on the average opinion poll rating of 1980s, 90s, 2000, 2010 etc. But some of you guys do graphs better.
    The Uk seems to need a recognised ‘protest vote’ ‘plague on both your houses’ option and if neither Ukip nor the LibDems continue to grab this, then by-election shocks may be further to the right than we are used to. I assume no viable party can outflank Labour on the left under Corbyn management.
    On the other hand a surging far right party may guarantee we do not get a new election until 2022 because no MP will risk it. Once that penny drops, they may have to work together in a Brexit Parliament.
    Hard to believe that 2017 started as the year of Copeland, poor Labour Party council results and near certain Labour Party wipeout.
    Hard to believe post June 2017 that Theresa May may outlast every Premier League manager except maybe Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger.

  49. “Unlike Anthony, I suspect a new 650-seat set of proposals could get through quite quickly, though there are problems with uneven registration (or which more later) and in future it would be wise to let local authorities (and political parties and electors) know which would be the important numbers.”

    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. And there is no sign of anyone bringing the necessary legislation, except that Afzal Khan has a Private Members Bill due to be debated on 1st Dec on the subject

    There is no detail on the Bill as yet, but the list of supporters makes it pretty clear that a return to 650 seats will be proposed. The govt can probably end the current review with a minimum of fuss using this it it wishes

  50. @TRIGGUY
    Yes, I was pleased with the TB/GBs. I was not a member in that era, partly because I was getting on with my life and partly because I was a bit closer to the @CARFREW camp than I am now, and they were giving me a mild dose of the heebie-jeebies.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that outsourcing of front line public services went too far – outsourcing the back office, IT etc (which I was once involved with) was fine in principle. Trouble is a lot of unprincipled companies began to corner the market, especially in central government and the baby drifted off with the bathwater.

    However even a TB/GB administration for all its neocon dalliances was fundamentally different in spirit and objectives than even a ‘moderate’ tory like Cameron

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