Tag Archives: parliamentary boundary review

Paul Tyler writes: What would Keynes do?

Amidst all the sound and fury (from the Conservative benches), about the delay in implementing boundary changes, agreed by a substantial majority in the Lords last Monday evening, one important argument seems to have got lost.

When Labour left office in May 2010, we were given to understand that the electoral register was some 92% complete.  Parliament decided in the discussions on the Parliamentary Voting Systems and Constituencies Bill that this was a sufficiently robust basis for the redrawing of constituencies along strict arithmetic lines.

Subsequently, research by the Electoral Commission established that it was nothing like as complete.  Nationally, the figure …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Constituency boundary changes are dead.* Unlike the House of Lords.*

House of Lords. Photo: Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of ParliamentThe House of Lords has today voted to block a reduction in the number of MPs from 650 to 600 as part of the review of constituencies that might have seen the Conservatives gain up to 20 seats. The BBC reports:

The House of Lords voted by 300 to 231 to delay until 2018 a boundary review necessary to make the change. … Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that his party

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 26 Comments

Chris Rennard backs move to kill off, not just delay, boundary changes

PoliticsHome reports:

Chris RennardLabour peer Lord Hart has just tabled an amendment to the Electoral Registration Bill which would have another major impact on the timetable of the Coalition’s plans to cut seat numbers.

The amendment, which seeks to amend a clause in Section 10 of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011, declares that the Boundary Commissions reviews will not take place until….2018. Yes, you read that right, 2018.

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

The Conservative candidate dilemma

Unsurprisingly, both the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties have decided to go ahead with selecting candidates for the 2015 general election based on the current constituency boundaries.

Where does that leave the Conservatives? In rather a tricky position given David Cameron’s talk of still pressing on hoping to win the boundaries vote.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Opinion: What the Tory backbench rebellion means for parliament

Failing to get reform of the House of Lords through the Commons shows a parliamentary asymmetry. There are enough Tory backbenchers to defeat the government, but not enough Liberal Democrat backbenchers to do so. One party’s backbenchers have de facto veto power, but the other’s do not.

There are three responses to this constitutional oddity.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 18 Comments

Changes to your local party boundaries are coming

Next year all Liberal Democrats in England are going to have to get used to new local parties. The coalition government’s plans to change the boundaries of parliamentary constituencies across the UK, assuming they get passed into law, will have implications for how we organise ourselves at a local level.

Traditionally Liberal Democrat local parties have been organised on a constituency basis. The local party would cover one or more parliamentary constituency. More recently a change was made to allow local parties in London to be based on borough boundaries, but for the rest of England local parties remained tied …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged | 18 Comments

Q: What links the AV referendum, boundary changes & Lords reform? A: The Coalition Agreement

It appears the Tories are attempting a sneaky re-write of some very recent, and well-documented, history. What prompts me to say this? Let’s look at the FT’s Kiran Stacey’s report of Nick Clegg’s feisty performance at yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions:

asked why he was so focused on House of Lords reform when there were so many other more important issues to tackle. Clegg’s response was very telling:

There are other issues like changing the boundaries which I know are close to his party’s heart…

The Tories will absolutely hate that. They say the original agreement between the two parties was

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , , , , and | 6 Comments

Opinion: The good, the bad and the ugly of the Lib Dems

This week has been something of a mixed bag for the Liberal Democrats. Aside from getting over the fact we have lost one of our most respected and feared heavyweights in Chris Huhne, we have been forced to accept that a serious reassessment of our position within government is required and necessary.

Needless to say, the ceaseless commentariat and Westminster gossips are not helping matters. There have been three stories – all different in topic and angle – that have focused attention on the junior coalition partner in recent …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 41 Comments

The Parliamentary Boundary Commission for Scotland impresses…

… with its rather nifty interactive online tool for examining the details of its draft proposals and commenting on them: https://consultation.scottishboundaries.gov.uk/.

The Scottish Boundary Commission has an advantage over the one for England in having a much better IT (GIS) system, courtesy of proper geo-coding of the electoral register to deal with previous reviews at other levels of election and the more unified handling of the electoral register across Scotland compared to England. That is why they are able to provide tools like this and also why the Commission has the level of accurate data which means they can split …

Posted in Election law | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

Boundary Commission for Scotland publishes its initial proposals

As ever remember that (a) these proposals are draft and (b) many a person has made a fool of themselves with crude projected vote figure calculations.

Posted in Election law and Scotland | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

New constituency boundaries in Scotland: the impact on the Lib Dems

Last month it was the turn of English MPs to look nervously at the proposals of the Boundary Commission’s re-drawing of constituencies — Scotland’s turn has now come, with its national Boundary Commission yesterday publishing its proposals for public consultation.

The Financial Times has undertaken a quick reccy to work out what it might mean:

Posted in News and Scotland | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments

The 7 Lib Dem MPs unaffected by the Boundary Commission proposals

The last 24 hours’ political news has been dominated by the Boundary Commission for England’s proposals for new parliamentary constituencies — and in particular the reduction from 533 to 502 in accordance with the Coalition Agreement to reduce the size of the House of Commons.

I’m a self-confessed politics geek, so I find this stuff interesting. But I was surprised that it should be the lead news item on BBC Radio 4′s Today Programme this morning — does the public care as much as us anoraks? I doubt it.

True, some members of the public will have particular concerns about …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 25 Comments

The most exciting part of the Parliamentary Boundary review proposals

This is, colleagues in Scotland in particular note, an England only policy announcement:

We consider that the use of commas in existing constituency names is currently inconsistent and sometimes does not aid clarity. We have therefore taken a policy decision that commas will no longer be included in the names of constituencies.

Posted in Election law | Also tagged | 16 Comments

Redrawing the Parliamentary boundaries: busting some myths

With the Boundary Commission for England set to publish its provisional proposals for England’s Parliamentary constituencies next week, expect plenty of talk about how the process will then work with the initial consultation period, the public hearings and then the post-Christmas period for further written submissions. However, on past form there is likely to be quite a lot of mistakes or misinformation about how the review process works. The Guardian, for example, has been particularly poor when it has not been Julian Glover writing pieces.

So in an attempt to guide you through the information, here are some of the myths …

Posted in Election law | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Boundary Commission for England publishes its explanatory booklet

Yesterday the Boundary Commission for England published its booklet explaining how it will be running the review process. The content does not contain any surprises, though it is worth noting the strength of its comments about (not) splitting wards:

In the absence of exceptional and compelling circumstances … it would not be appropriate to divide wards in cases where it ispossible to construct constituencies that meet thestatutory electorate range without dividing them.

The Lewis Baston / Guardian projected constituency boundaries which got a fair amount of news coverage recently divide wards in far more cases than is compatible with this sort of language, which is worth bearing in mind as another reason not to place too much weight on them.

I’ve posted up in the Members’ Forum details of the regional and state coordinators for the boundary review process. By all means post any questions there or pop me an email if you’d like to discuss issues about the review. (I’m helping with the central co-ordination of the boundary review work.)

Boundary Commission for England – Guide to the 2013 Constituency Boundaries Review

Posted in Election law | 5 Comments

The perils of projecting the impact of boundary changes from previous election results

There’s been an understandable flurry of interest in The Guardian’s reported projections of what boundary changes might mean for the parties, but there are two major caveats about the nature of such projections.

From what I’ve seen, Lewis Baston (as I would expect) has done the numbers well, but not only do we not yet have the actual boundaries on which to make projections but also projections based on looking at previous election results have a decidedly ropey record when it comes to Liberal Democrats MPs.

That is because the party’s voting support is far less polarised demographically than that of …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 14 Comments

The Independent View: Good News for Lib Dems in Devon and Cornwall boundary changes?

After the polls, some perhaps more welcome news for the Liberal Democrats.

I’ve recently started running a series of articles on the allthatsleft.co.uk website that set out how the boundary changes in 2015 could play out and what this would mean for the political parties.

On Tuesday, I looked at the impact of changes for Devon and Cornwall.  These two counties will be linked in the next review, creating a controversial trans-Tamar seat linking parts of both counties.  The two counties are set to lose one seat between them, falling from 18 to 17.

It looks as if the changes could be to the Liberal Democrats’ benefit.  I …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | 9 Comments

How are Parliamentary boundary reviews carried out?

The Boundary Commissions: Redrawing the UK’s map of Parliamentary constituencies first came out in 1999 but got a much newer paperback edition as boundary reviews have come back into the news in recent years. It easily wins the title of best book on the topic by being pretty much the only one, but even against competition it would be a worthy tome.

The speed with which technology has developed is shown by the book’s acknowledgements, which thank JANET for having made collaboration between the authors easier – JANET having been one of the early computer networks which let people at …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 4 Comments

Crossbenchers increasingly hostile to Labour as government makes boundary changes

Increasing anger from crossbench peers at Labour’s filibustering in the Lords looks to be preparing the way for either Labour backing down or (for the Lords) highly unusual procedural decisions to end the filibustering. As I put it earlier in the week, if Labour loses the support of the crossbenchers, it will not only lose the struggle over this bill but weaken its ability to successfully oppose other legislation in the future.

At the same time, the government has been showing its willingness to listen to scrutiny rather than filibustering by agreeing to two changes to the ways in which …

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged , , , and | 13 Comments

Nick Clegg and Simon Hughes ask: Are you registered to vote?

In the light of today’s news that 3.5 million voters are missing from the electoral register, and in view of the forthcoming boundary changes based on the number of voters on the electoral roll as it stands next month, a timely email reminder today to Liberal Democrat members from Nick Clegg and Simon Hughes:

I’m sure you will agree that we as Liberal Democrats need to play our part in helping to ensure that everybody who should have the right to vote is in a position to exercise that right come next May.

Tomorrow we will be debating the third reading

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Boundary review data and tools should be opened up to the public

There is a chance to introduce an imaginative new way of opening up the political process and public sector data to the public in the legislation currently going through Parliament to change the rules for Parliamentary boundary reviews.

As under the old rules, submitting proposals to the Boundary Commission, or commenting on their own proposals, will require access to electoral register and geographic data except for the most minor of comments (or debates over constituency names, which can generate deep passions). The better access you have to such information and the more sophisticated the computer tools you posses to manipulate it, …

Posted in Election law and Op-eds | 1 Comment

The political impact of Parliamentary boundary changes

Yesterday Sara highlighted the Newsnight report into the political impact of reducing the number of Parliamentary constituencies. Democratic Audit have kindly provided me with a copy of their research which was used for the BBC headlines about how the Liberal Democrats were likely to lose out disproportionately.

You can read their report in full below, but it’s worth highlighting the significant caveats that Democratic Audit put on their results: “While it is possible to draw conclusions about how the proposals could impact on party representation, these findings must be regarded as purely indicative … It is very difficult to produce precise estimates of the likely partisan impact of these changes”. They describe their political projections as, “a rough estimate of the likely impact”.

Moreover, their calculations are based on making very little allowance for how parties will change their campaigning in response to changing boundaries. So ready a fair few pinches of salt and read on…

Projecting the Impact of Reduce and Equalise

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

The coalition’s electoral reform plans for the Commons

As today’s Evening Standard reports, the government is planning to put both an AV referendum and reducing the number of MPs in the same Parliamentary bill, thereby making it harder for any possible rebels to unpick this part of the coalition agreement compromise.

For many the Conservatives, reducing the number of MPs and accompanying that with a speeded up boundary review which is completed before 2015 is an important consolation for the risk (as they see it) of the voting system being changed. That’s because on many estimates the net effect on the proportion of Conservative MPs of the boundary …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 31 Comments



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMatt (Bristol) 27th Aug - 11:54pm
    I feel like a dinosaur from another more introverted age (and I'm not that old!) and shudder whenever someone goes on about this whole thing....
  • User AvatarT-J 27th Aug - 11:51pm
    Oh, its not as bad as all that. Scotland will be fine setting up an interim currency all on its own, and it is highly...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 27th Aug - 11:44pm
    It occurs to me that "Are the Lib Dems a feminist party?" has much in common with "Are the Lib Dems a patriotic party?" It...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 27th Aug - 11:43pm
    I don't like it because of the coercive nature of it - I don't like the nominating, peer pressure kind of thing. However, it is...
  • User AvatarMatt (Bristol) 27th Aug - 11:42pm
    It's too easy now to ignore the fact that the 1910 government, after 2 elections, relied on Irish Nationalist votes, as well as a pact...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 27th Aug - 11:20pm
    I agree that a secular society is the one we need to aim for. I think we also need to aim for religious equality, otherwise...