Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans

Lib Dem and Tory MPs are beginning to wake up to the reality of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act, that will result in 50 fewer seats.

Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs are beginning to wake up to the reality of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act, that will result in 50 fewer seats.

Lib Dems Charles Kennedy and Danny Alexander may have to fight it out for one Highlands seat, with leading Tories Graham Brady (chair of the 1922 Committee), sports minister Hugh Robertson, housing minister Grant Shapps, and even George Osborne all facing heavy redrawing or even abolition of their constituencies.

The Indy reports:

“…minds are turning to moves to redraw the UK’s electoral map, as plans are published to scrap 50 of the 650 parliamentary constituencies and alter the boundaries of the vast majority of the rest.

“Scores of party colleagues will suddenly find themselves pitched into battles to contest merged seats, while hundreds of MPs will be fighting such radically revised constituencies that previously comfortable majorities cannot be guaranteed…

“The planned overhaul has left MPs of all parties anxious and apprehensive. That mood could turn to fractiousness among backbenchers – particularly those with little chance of preferment – who see their survival in peril.”

The seat cull was agreed by the Lib Dems in return for the Tories agreeing to the Alternative Vote referendum; it could turn out to be a win-win for David Cameron and a big lose-lose for Nick Clegg, the referendum lost and the Liberals set to lose out most from the constituency redrawings and abolitions required to bring about a reduction in the size of the Commons to 600 seats.

As Left Foot Forward reported in July 2010, and which the Lib Dems only seem to be grasping now, Mr Clegg may come to regret his constitutional reform compromise:

“The Liberal Democrats will be the party most affected by the cut in the number of seats announced by Nick Clegg on Monday, research undertaken by Left Foot Forward reveals…

“More than 40 per cent of Lib Dem seats (23 out of 57) are isolated, surrounded entirely by seats of opposing parties – including Mr Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam constituency – while his coalition partners are the least likely to be affected: just 1.3 per cent of Tory seats (4 out of 307) are isolated. For Labour, the figure is 4.7 per cent (12 out of 258).

“As a consequence of the boundary review, some seats will stay the same size while others will get much larger, which we haven’t accounted for. On a uniform enlargement, however, it is clear the Liberal Democrats stand to be affected the most from enlarging constituencies to take in areas of non-Lib Dem held seats.”

On these pages, we’ve long highlighed the flaws in the coalition’s constituency redrawing plans, namely that they appear undemocratic and partisan; smack of a return to Tory gerrymandering; and will prevent equal representation, fail to correct distortions in the electoral system, and result in a less representative Parliament, delaying and slowing progress towards gender equality in the House of Commons.

The Boundary Commission’s initial proposals for redrawn boundaries will be published next week.

24 Responses to “Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans”

  1. larryb

    finally. Good. RT @leftfootfwd: Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans: http://t.co/WSVNbYY by @ShamikDas

  2. Hastings 1066 CAB

    Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans: http://t.co/4vntgin by @ShamikDas

  3. E Azicate

    Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans: http://t.co/4vntgin by @ShamikDas

  4. william haymes

    Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans: http://t.co/4vntgin by @ShamikDas

  5. Alec Speight

    Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans | Left Foot Forward – http://t.co/DhUaEKC

  6. InterUncut

    RT @leftfootfwd: Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans http://t.co/ViMQCbv

  7. Michael

    Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans l Shamik Das l Left Foot Forward – http://j.mp/oLXiVC

  8. Watching You

    Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans l Shamik Das l Left Foot Forward – http://j.mp/oLXiVC

  9. Political Planet

    Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans: Lib Dem and Tory MPs are beginning to wake up … http://t.co/PzdNewD

  10. Jill Hayward

    Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans l Shamik Das l Left Foot Forward – http://j.mp/oLXiVC

  11. Shamik Das

    RT @leftfootfwd: Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans: http://t.co/5OdiCXn by @ShamikDas

  12. Chris Paul

    RT @leftfootfwd: Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans: http://t.co/5OdiCXn by @ShamikDas

  13. Kevin Matthews

    RT @leftfootfwd: Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans http://t.co/sMIbJzp

  14. Duncan Stott

    If the proponents of the boundary changes are Tory gerrymanderers, then the opponents of the boundary changes are Labour gerrymanderers. This line of argument is nothing than pie slinging and will get us nowhere.

    I’m opposed to the reduction, but see no issue with having equalised populations in each constituency.

  15. Hugh

    This shouldn’t surprise the LDs.  If there were c40m seats (1 for each voter), a third party on 20% of the vote would get 20% of the seats.  If there was only 1 seat, a third party on 20% of the vote would get 0% of the seats.  The fewer MPs, the more a small party would typically be punished.

  16. Phil Hunt

    the coalition’s constituency redrawing plans […] prevent equal representation, fail to correct distortions in the electoral system, and result in a less representative Parliament

    You are absolutely right. FPTP gives both the Conservative and Labour parties disproportionately high representation. Because Labour failed to replace FPTP with PR when they were in power, they are as responsible for this undemocratic gerrymander as the Tories.

    Both Labservative parties like FPTP, because it allows them to take turns at thwarting the will of the British people.

  17. Kevin leonard

    My main concern is when are the “Changes” promised by both coalition liars going to be introduced? One simple “change I would wish for is that prospective candidates regardless of party MUST be born within the constituency for which they are standing. I could say they must reside there but really with communications the way they are these days there is no need for anything other than an office.
    I am also wondering when if ever the Lords are to be reduced to anything like the numbers within the HoC. The only “changes” this shower of parasites have made so far is to increase the tax burden by multiplying the amount of free loaders within the house of lords whilst moaning about the lack of any “real expenses” payments to boost their bank balances.

  18. Karl Jayasingha

    Nick Drops a Clegg (and a constituency or two!) http://t.co/OzgJHtn

  19. Leon Wolfson

    Duncan – The VERY narrow population lines the Tories insisted on are, frankly, suspicious as heck. They were not willing to compromise even in the slightest on it, despite everyone else wanting them to, and many people expecting them to.

    And yes, there is yet be to an offer of effective – PR – voting reform put before the people.

  20. Kevin Richards

    Turkeys voting for christmas RT @leftfootfwd: Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans http://t.co/dwBJ3tH

  21. John Ruddy

    Duncan,
    The thing is, this isnt about equal populations – its about equal number of electors. And folk in tory constituencies tend to go on the electoral roll more than those in Labour seats.

  22. Ashley Harnett

    RT @leftfootfwd: Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans http://t.co/xtJbeSt

  23. Mr. Sensible

    this process remains a big mistake.

  24. The coalition are conspiring to lock the left out of the electoral process | Left Foot Forward

    […] Reality dawns for Lib Dems who’ll lose out under seat cull plans – Shamik Das, September 5th […]

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