Theresa May would have kept Commons majority under new boundary proposals, study says

Posted On: 
17th October 2017

Theresa May would have kept the Conservatives’ majority at June’s election were it fought under the new boundary proposals, a study has revealed.

The analysis comes as the Boundary Commission revealed the detail of plans to slash the total number of MPs from 650 to 600.

Research by leading political pollsters Professors Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher suggest the Tories would have effectively enjoyed a majority of 25 seats under the new system - months after Theresa May's snap election call saw the party squander its position.

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The move that would see England’s seat total reduced from 533 to 502; Scotland’s from 59 to 53; Wales’ down from 40 to 29 and Northern Ireland’s from 18 to 17 is, if passed by parliament, expected to be rolled out at the 2022 election.

However, while the Tories are expected to push ahead with the proposals they could face the stumbling block of the DUP, who could lose out to nationalist parties in Northern Ireland under the changes.

Labour are also expected to veto the changes, after it was revealed Jeremy Corbyn and a number of other top London Labour MPs could be under threat – including Diane Abbott and Emily Thornberry.

Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer, Public Accounts committee chair Meg Hillier and prominent backbencher David Lammy could also face challenges to retain their seats.

The data also reveals Boris Johnson may have to switch to another seat unless proposals are changed to keep his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel and widely tipped rising star James Cleverly may also have to contest the same seat.

The seat of the SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford, is also expected to be axed, while former deputy leader of the party Stewart Hosie's Dundee East seat is to be taken in by a wider Angus South and Dundee East constituency.

Wales is set to lose 11 of its 40 seats, including that of Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns.

‘DEAD-DUCK’ REVIEW

The Government's Constitution minister Chris Skidmore said: "A boundary review is needed to ensure fair and equal representation for the voting public across the UK by the next general election.

"Without any boundary reforms, constituencies would be based on data that is over 20 years old.

"This would disregard significant changes in demographics, house building and migration."

Labour's shadow minister for voter engagement and youth affairs, Cat Smith said: "Labour stands ready to work with all parties to ensure that a boundary review can go ahead in a way that benefits our democracy, not just the Conservative Party.

"However it has been clear from the start that the Tories have only been interested in their own political advantage rather than what is in the best interests of the country."

And the Liberal Democrat chief whip Alistair Carmichael said the boundary commission should drop the "dead-duck" review.

"The DUP will not wear this review. Nor will many Tory backbenchers. The Government should stop wasting public funds and bow to the inevitable."