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. @TechnicolourOctober

    “I suggest that you were knowingly trolling ”

    of course he was.

  2. @ Somerjohn

    Charles: (Suez). In some ways the emotions that power Brexit seem to me similar to those which powered that ill=fated adventure.
    That is an interesting observation because at first sight an opposite interpretation is equally plausible.

    I am sure you are right in the sense that European leaders do frequently refer to the need to create blocs that have clout that is commensurable with that of China, India, USA etc.

    That said, I used the word ’emotions’. I think that Eden and many of those in high positions in Whitehall had this belief that Britain was indeed great and needed to believe in herself and behave accordingly. Boris Johnson is trying to appeal to this emotion when he talks about the lion roaring, ToH is getting into trouble for planning VE style celebrations for Brexit day and the ex-soldier who burst into tears on getting his country back is harking back to something similar.

    We need someone who feels this patriotism in a genuine way, realises the folly of giving it a Brexit expression, and is able to harness it for the common good. After all, we did not feel less good about ourselves in W!! because we had to collaborate with the Americans and the Russians, submit to an American commander for D day (or in the end a French one in world war 1). Why has working with Europeans comes to be seen as such a betrayal of our national identity?

  3. Chris Riley: @TechnicolourOctober

    “I suggest that you were knowingly trolling ”

    of course he was.

    We have to leave him space to deny it.

  4. @Chris Riley – you’re right.

    My mistake.

  5. “There is now a clear rift between the likes of Rudd and Hammond who clearly want a deal compared with Johnson and Rees Mogg who would be perfectly happy without one. I suspect these views are evenly split within Tory backbench ranks too leaving the partly completely divided.”

    Looking at that in a positive way [for me] then is simply proves what I have written over the past few months: there is a substantial majority in both houses, once you add in all the other parties, that are strongly against leaving the EU in any form.

    The ONLY reason they are, half-heartedly, sitting on the sidelines while the current charade goes on is because the “nation” spoke – even though, in reality, it was only a minority of the electorate that actually did so.

    All that the political majority are waiting for is for that pendulum to swing back to a genuine majority of the electorate saying FFS stop this.

    I know Alec disagreed with this but, in my view, somewhere around a consistent 60/40 in the polls would almost certainly do it. In any event, and at the very least, we are going to be looking at a second referendum which, of necessity, will be based on much clearer and more honest information.

  6. correction

    “majority………………………….. that IS”

    [not “are”]

    Bleedin’ shocking eh?

  7. A voice of reason
    Amidst some noisy vessels
    Jim Jam rules, OK

  8. A voice of reason
    Amidst some noisy vessels
    Jim Jam rules, OK

  9. As to loathing of views:

    From a cursory review of post most of us are not teenagers(at 52 I feel I am the youngest here at times), I fear we seem to get into the Youtube comment explosion at times. AS COLIN intimated comment explosion in 3…2…1.

    I would like people to take a step back. We are clearly divided, I use TREVOR WARNE as an example because I find what he says fascinating and confusing at the same time.

    I fear we are mixing problems of our country with our countries relationship with externalities. I personally reject that brexit solves any of our internal issues but I believe some people voted to leave the EU because they see a direction of travel that theydo not either like or see it as our interest. I understand the sentiment although as a remainer I don’t agree. Indeed I have used the issue of the EU army as an example of our fear and indeed the fact that Holland Romania, and the Czechs already have units deeply integrated in the German Army ( and there is no EU Army still) so our problem seems to be for me one of seemingly in control. When I asked a Romanian Colonel whether he felt not in control he said it was a stupid question, he was joining the German army to make sure his countrymen maintained control. For the UK it history, and thus it shaping its mentality we can see that control is a problem, some of this is couched in loss of face for example.

    The point is that we do not really have much control and we sometimes have to accept that we do not. I fear this is something that Leave and Remain will have to reconcile but I also believe that in the main we need to have honest politicians to point out these limits. I feel we have politicians that can not say what they feel because that would put them at a disadvantage in the polls and with the situation we have our weird electoral process gives a miority overwhelming power (just think May had a bigger vote share than Thatcher and no majority)

    I think t has led to much of the weakness in our negotiating position, it has led to much of the schism and by it nature has led us to be more tribal.

    All that said I will say my view of Politics has changed discretely 4 times in my life. My first was when I really recognised racism when I was 19 and understood its effects on me. The second was the Iraq war of 2003. The third was doing a NMW job and lastly campaigning for Remain and speaking to people whom were voting leave.

    The last two made me understand that we need a sea change in our approach. Something that actually I applaud in TREVOR WARNE since we come from different perspectives much of the prognosis is the same, My concern is that brexit has become a monster of its own making and therefore the seachange needed is lost in tribalism of remain and leave.

    The one thing I would say however without the EU referendum I do not think the discussions and the broad agreement about the issues facing this country (housing,skills rebalancing the economy) would be happening. Indeed I think I have thank EU referendum for making this debate even possible I also feel that Corbyn has a big hand in this which Is why I think TREVOR is agitated ;-)

    So all I ask is we never lose sight that while our opinions are going to be different our experiences even more so, we are not at war with each other as of yet.

  10. @ PTRP – Red Tory policies:

    – Scrap triple lock on pensions and make it a double lock
    – Means testing of Winter Fuel payments
    – Robin Hood tax on postcode lottery winners to help fund Social Care

    Recognise any of those? All these would also have redistributed the inter-generational wealth divide.

    – lower the retirement age

    Recognise that one? That is a really bad policy IMHO

    Hammond was supposed to be a break from Osborne. May was supposed to want to help the JAMs. I’d like to rebalance the budget quicker and pay down our debt but I’m aware of the political winds so respect that must wait. I’m also a fan of dynamic models and see merit in modest Keynesian boost given our weak productiviy, current account deficit, Brexit and the threat of renationalision and reunionisation.

    Somehow the CON party have this bizarre split where the centre-right are LDEM (Remain and balance budget) and the far-right are UKIP (Leave, spend money but packaged with absurd immigration target and ideological view to free trade in Project After). May+Hammond are picking the worst parts of each camp (botch leaving, stick with budget balance, immigration targets and no plan for Project After)

    What I’d like to see from Hammond on 22 Nov:

    – interest rate on student loans changed to CPI (from RPI+3%), zero cost if you tweak the RAB %
    – big boost in corporate tax incentives to encourage companies to train workers (funded by delay of final corporate tax rate cut)
    – bursaries for STEMM (but not for course that offer low future earnings, further, if it wasn’t for the polls I’d then scrap the fee cap and totally revamp SLC to prioritise lending to those more likely to be able to pay it back and more socially in need of help – means testing of fees)
    – detail on Project After for everything EU funds: CAP, EIF, regional development, Unis, Arts, etc. Commitment to increase these funds (small 1-2bn net cost but add in the 5bnish we get from EU to make it sound better)
    – formal headline grabbing announcement to scrap public sector pay cap. I’d go further and give a £200-500 one off ‘bonus’ to front-line public sector workers (paid for by no further EU payments)
    – scrap the immigration target (OBR would see this as boost to future revenues and more importantly it is the right thing to do!)
    – increase top rate of tax by 1p, NI by 2% (raises 2-3bn)
    – speed up good policies on housing, T-levels, etc (all funded just delaying)
    – policies to build on greenbelt, etc for social housing and commitment that by 2025 no front line public sector employee would be priced out of their community (largely funded just lacking the spin)
    – boost to NPIF (confusingly double named as Northern Powerhouse and National Productivity) (costs 2-3bn)
    – recognise the unique aspects of Brexit and explain the ‘no deal’ contingency plan and drop the balanced budget goal until we know the Brexit outcome (ie commit to do whatever it takes to make Brexit a success)

    I’d like the ‘triple punch to pensioners’ back but respect that is probably politically stupid at the moment – worryingly the internal rumours are that they are bringing those policies back to ‘win’ the youth vote!?! Political incompetence of the highest order – if true CON deserve to lose the next GE.

  11. Good afternoon to all at IUK Polling

    The Other Howard

    We, no doubt, are on different ends of the political spectrum, but it appears we both see the European Union as a danger to Great Britain. And we both voted to leave.

    This is not a “left/right” issue, this is a control issue. The EU is a cabal controlled by the international elites and their political lieutenants who all have their snouts in the same trough – a trough that the ordinary working man has always been excluded from.

    Those that want to re-fight the referendum are the useful idiots for those that want the same world order to be maintained, so the EU and international financiers can continue to live the high life whilst the jobs of British workers are sacrificed on the high altar of globalisation.This is not about economics – recessions and booms happen in or out of the cabal – this is about respecting the will of the people.

    Well, the people have spoken, and they will not be denied.

  12. Two pertinent issues that have already been raised are, why would the EU take negotiations seriously when they have no confidence that the UK – or even the “responsible” Ministers – have a settled position and, very worryingly from my point of view – how keen are they now that we should change our mind and stay?

    It seems clear that of we did try to go down that route that they would want some form of guarantee – which I doubt we would be in a position to give, unless it was approved as part of a second referendum.

    It is a hideous mess and David Cameron should be utterly ashamed.

    At least Farage believed in what he did.

  13. Charles: Why has working with Europeans comes to be seen as such a betrayal of our national identity?

    A very good question. To which I don’t really have an answer except perhaps the continued existence of visceral emotions dating from C20th history. Bestial Germans, treacherous French, cowardly Italians, exploitative Swedes and Swiss (and, of course, noble, selfless, long-suffering Brits!)

    I think the football analogy is quite good. It’s hard to come up with a rational explanation for fervent support of one team and loathing of others, other than a human penchant for tribalism.

  14. Nowadays, when reading TOH’s posts, the phrase ‘give him enough rope…..’ comes to mind.

  15. Alec

    “Speak for yourself.”

    I was.

  16. EU withdrawal bill commitee stage delayed again, as Government is not ready to deal with all of the amendments.

    I wonder whether Theresa May will ask the EU for the A.50 date to be pushed forward by a year to 29th March 2020.

    If she did that then there is more breathing space in which to gain all of the agreements needed. It would relieve some of the pressure giving Brexit more chance of succeeding.

    Should such a request not be made, then i could see Brexit ending during 2018, as it become unpopular with a majority in the country and Parliament.

  17. Somerjohn

    “I think the football analogy is quite good. It’s hard to come up with a rational explanation for fervent support of one team and loathing of others, other than a human penchant for tribalism.”

    You’re probably onto something there. I don’t share the tribal joy in supporting a winning team myself (some posters explained it eloquently here a while back), but the euphoria of Leavers after the referendum very much reminded me of football supporters after an unexpected victory, along with the “You lost – Get over it!” approach to the rest of us, that was completely inappropriate given that we all face the same consequences.

  18. rudyard

    Calling other people “useful idiots” because you disagree with them is pathetic.

  19. Brexit has ruined this site

  20. @ Princess Rachel

    Your Highness is quite right!

  21. Chris Riley, TECHNICOLOUR OCTOBER, Alec

    I understand trolling is something that some people do on social media. I have never used social media so I’m not sure what you mean by trolling.

    I posted an unremarkable pro Brexit post this morning which seems to have upset some people. I was merely expressing my genuinely held opinions. If that constitutes trolling then I am proud to be called a troll and I will continue to post in that vein. Presumably most people who post here also give their genuinely held views so most people who post here are also trolling.

  22. Paul Croft

    I don’t think you understand. It was not directed at any individual.

    Please read the post again. I hope you can see the true meaning.

  23. Paul Croft,
    ” at the very least, we are going to be looking at a second referendum”

    Coming to the idea that the best way out for the current government would be some sort of parliamentary defeat and then another election.

    Or I just heard the leaving bill is being delayed. It might not ever get back to the house, but May instead calls for another election on the grounds she cannot conduct Brexit like this. The delay will allow time for negotiations to stall further.

  24. What the Princess said, yes.

    Some posters here are overwhelmed by people’s EU orientation and seek to corral and preen or heckle and mock depending on their assumed preference.

    I have mostly refrained from the debate cos I have little to add apart from heckling and I lack the knowledge others have on procedural matters.

    But that has not stopped several people putting me in their pro EU box and contextualising my posts erroneously.

    Then there is the blatant trolling, I wish it would stop.

    Brexit has ruined this site

    @ Princess Rachel
    Your Highness is quite right!

    @ RobbieAlive
    You’re quite right that Princess Rachel is quite right

  26. rudyard

    “Those that want to re-fight the referendum are the useful idiots [etc etc]”

    “I don’t think you understand. It was not directed at any individual.
    Please read the post again. I hope you can see the true meaning. ”

    As one of many individuals, here and elsewhere, who DO want to re-fight the referendum, but armed with clearer and more honest information I’m not sure at all what you feel I misunderstood by.

  27. TOH
    Trolling is deliberately setting out to annoy or antagonise other people online, and can range from witty to facetious to downright rude. It can be on message boards, social media or whatever.

    I know that some of the press defines trollling as, say abusing grieving people on facebook. This is just plain online abuse (or if the mail does it; journalism)

  28. Rudyard

    You are quite correct that we come from other ends of the political spectrum and I disagree with much of your post, but we can agree on:

    “We, no doubt, are on different ends of the political spectrum, but it appears we both see the European Union as a danger to Great Britain. And we both voted to leave.”

    “Nowadays, when reading TOH’s posts, the phrase ‘give him enough rope…..’ comes to mind.”

    Good to see you read them, there is hope for you yet.

    “I think the football analogy is quite good. It’s hard to come up with a rational explanation for fervent support of one team and loathing of others, other than a human penchant for tribalism.”
    You’re probably onto something there. ”

    I think he has, it explains one of the reasons why my view that the EU will eventually implode is very likely. Tribalism is a human trait.

    Princess Rachel

    I quite agree.

    R Huckle

    “……… i could see Brexit ending during 2018, as it become unpopular with a majority in the country and Parliament.”

    Yes, you say that most days and today you’ve said it twice.

  29. B&B

    Many thanks for that. Then clearly I was not trolling since I was just expressing my opinion without any desire to upset anybody.

  30. QED

  31. passtherockplease,
    “The one thing I would say however without the EU referendum I do not think the discussions and the broad agreement about the issues facing this country (housing,skills rebalancing the economy) would be happening.”

    Well. … … i agree. That is, I think some and maybe all the social issues would have arisen at the next election, but that would of course not have been until 2020. By that time Corbyn might have been ousted and therefore a ‘new leabour’ style leader of the opposition would not have raised the matter in the same way. Possibly the libs might have taken the cause, which served them well in 2010..until they ditched it the week after the election. The self destruction of the libs might well have still applied in 2020, so no one would have supported them either. Maybe a couple of green wins? Labour recovering some ground from tories, but little differentiation really on policy. Maybe another narrow result.

    As it stands labour have in prospect a big win, but an awful economic outlook. Or a Brexit U turn, which would unquestionably be divisive. As I said, I think conservatives best course is to get out before final brexit decisions are made. Will Corbyn agree to a new election?


    ” Brexit has ruined this site
    October 18th, 2017 at 1:14 pm”

    Brexit process is ruining this country and dominates most political issues.

    While politics is consumed by Brexit, all of the other important issues don’t get addressed properly.

    If Brexit were cancelled, life in the UK would go back to normal and the economy would perform better.

  33. to be or not — hmm
    so near yet so far away
    agh March 2019 soon!

  34. Paul Croft

    You make my point for me, I do believe.

    I don’t see what is democratic about a second referendum. We had one, after 40 years, and it was the biggest democratic exercise in British history.

    17.4 million Britons rebelled against the advice of virtually every part of the establishment and said goodbye to the EU.

    And ever since, the cry has gone up from the elites that the people were ill-informed, manipulated and in thrall to populism. British voters were “hoodwinked” by a “distortion of facts” and this result has to be overturned.

    How patronising. There is nothing as illiberal than a liberal it would seem.

  35. Princess Rchel,
    “Brexit has ruined this site”

    There is no other topic in politics today. The bottom line is, do polls show a change in support for Brexit, is there a trend, and if so will we reach a point where policy reversal is inevitable.

    There are enough sensible people posting here that I think politicians are firmly planning for the change in policy which they believe is inevitable. By which i mean, the arguments rehearsed here must have been rehearsed by all the parties privately, and they are convincing that hard Brexit is not going to be permitted to happen.

    So the debate now will be remain or soft Brexit, which is OK for the positioning of the labour party, but awful for the tories.

    Incidentally, there seems to be a change in postings I read on other websites too. The wind is changing. All those red skies we just had.

  36. @ToH

    I am very, very long in the tooth online being a very early UK adopter and being a veteran of the early Usenet days.

    I know exactly what trolling is and what it looks like.

    I am, of course, merely expressing an opinion, which is that you are trolling this site. You have only recently developed into trolling, and you are not very good at it – in terms of you not being very subtle. Your history as someone who used to be worth conversing with means it is effective.

    Your current behaviour on here would get you banned in almost every online community I have ever participated in and ostracised in most of the rest.

    It is the equivalent of going to a Lords during a county game and loudly abusing the opposition.

    In other words, the sort of thing you might expect a Surrey fan, or worse, still, a Yorkshireman to do. I use this extreme and offensive analogy for a Middlesex man in the hope that if brings across the gravity of your behaviour.

    When you post in future, try to think to yourself ‘is this just general abuse – in other words, the sort of thing a Surrey man might do’ and if you come to the conclusion that you are veering in that direction, please stop before you start to think kindly of Gareth Batty and Jade Dernbach.

  37. Thanks Valarie,

    Emotive feelings can sometimes lead to emotive language and not reading carefully what someone is saying as one disagrees with their basic position.

    Checking back on some of the posts I may have put on here before 2010 might be embarrassing for me so I try to be tolerant when reasonable posters occasional over-step.

    I do try to ignore a few whose overstepping is more than occasional.

  38. Rudyard

    I can totally agree with your 1.49 post and I speak as one of the “elite”
    at least in terms of the new socio-economic definitions.

  39. Have you forgotten to take your meds today, TOH?

  40. @Rudyard
    The difficulty for your thesis that the EU is a capitalist cabal is that the people funding the Brexit campaign were, to a man, globalists with a strong pro-capitalist, free market, free capital, minimal regulation bias.

    Now, I accept that there are foot-soldiers on the left who are pro-Brexit, who believe that the EU is a capitalist club. They have a point, in that the EU is essentially a creature of the centre right/centre left has managed Europe’s main economies for the last forty years. Put simply, the EU is designed to support views as diverse as the CDU and Sweden’s Social Democrats, but not AfD or the Communist Party of France.

    But the main authors of Brexit are the globalist elite that think the EU is not remotely capitalist enough; that capital should be free to maximise the share of wealth it can, and that labour should be constrained to the minimum share possible – think Ayn Rand, Newt Gingrich, Barclay Brothers…

    So – just as right wing Brexiteers like Trevor Warne need to consider that Brexit allows John McDonnell to take the reins of UK PLC and be sure that they are good with that, left wingers should remember that Brexit will – most likely – usher in the world of ReesMogg: lower taxes especially on the wealthy, reduced welfare and minimal regulation.

    Be very, very careful what you wish for….

  41. The last time I was able to follow this site closely there was a poster called Cambridge Rachel who always had interesting things to say. Now there Is a poster called Princess Rachel who also has interesting things to say. Cambridge Rachel appears to have left. Is this a coincidence or are the two connected in some way?


    Your post at 12.54pm was a poor effort and disappointing given we share similar political beliefs. The EU have done plenty to protect workers rights and I would trust them to do so over a right wing Tory Govt any day of the week.

    Yes Leave won the Referendum very narrowly in June last year so Brexit will take place. I have always accepted that but I think it is plain wrong. At the time of the vote many did not know what they were really voting for. Some did but some didn’t. By March 2019 The will of the people may well be hostile to Brexit. What then? Do we still embark on Brexit because the will of the people in June 2016 dictates that we do and thereby ignore the will of the people in March 2019? The will of the people can change from one day to another and a Referendum on any given date does not change that. The will of the people was not set in stone in June 2016.

  43. Chris Riley your1.54.
    An interesting set of comments and having examined them I can only assume you are talking about somebody else. I do not recognise myself at all in your comments. I find myself totally bemused to be honest. I don’t even agree with your sporting analogies; whilst I follow Middlesex I have no problem applauding good performances by Surrey and Yorkshire even against my own team. I don’t see sport in the same way as I see patriotism. I find many comments posted by a number of Remainers here deeply offensive, but most of the time I hold myself in but, I thought what TECHNICOLOUROCTOBER posted was outrageous. I actually got my wife to read this mornings posts to see if I had got something wrong. After doing so, her only comment was why do you keep posting on that site, you’ve a lot to put up with.

  44. Norbold

    By B&B definition I think you hav just trolled in posting that to me. Do I win a prize?


    I would like to take some credit for Cambridge Rachel’s disappearance.


    I think the two are the same person.

  47. Chris Riley/TOH

    I think the cricket analogy is interesting but in a more political context how about this Aunt Sally:
    1) Jeremy Corbyn narrowly wins the next election
    2) Corbyn supporters propose that since deposing Theresa May and her government is an event “equivalent to Victory in Europe in 1945” a national celebration should be held on the 1st anniversary.

    Does anyone here seriously think that Theresa should be compared, even obliquely, to a certain German leader who I cannot name for fear of moderation? I certainly do not!

  48. Trolling is like a person acting boorishly at a party.

  49. @ TOH

    “@R Huckle
    “……… i could see Brexit ending during 2018, as it become unpopular with a majority in the country and Parliament.”
    Yes, you say that most days and today you’ve said it twice.
    October 18th, 2017 at 1:32 pm”

    Just waiting until you realise that Brexit would be a mistake or won’t happen.

    Any day now. The orange sky on Monday was an omen for the conversion of TOH to the EU cause.

  50. R HUCKLE

    I think TOH may end up voting Socialist too.

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