Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Impact of boundary review on Guildford

So, because I'm rather a sad political wonk with nothing better to do, this morning I decided to sit down and check the impact on my home constituency of Guildford of the boundaries commission initial proposals to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600.

As it turns out, the changes won't be that big. Basically, Guildford will lose the Ewhurst ward (Waverley Borough) to the Mole Valley Constituency and it will lose the Pilgrims Ward (Guildford Borough) to a new Woking constituency.

These are just the initial proposals of course and will now be subject to two separate consultation where changes can be made and it will also require to be approved by parliament in order to be implemented.

Nevertheless, if we assume the changes to the boundaries go ahead without any further alterations, this is what Guildford would look like:

Am I the only one who thinks this is a very odd shape for a constituency?

Unfortunately, the data available for the 2010 constituency result doesn't include a break down of how each ward voted so I can't give a notional result for the proposed seat. However, I can say that both of the wards which have been removed from the seat are tory voting wards and therefore these changes are likely to be to the benefit of the Liberal Democrats in Guildford. That said, Anne Milton, Guildford's current MP, will probably still have a sizeable majority given her rather depressing success in 2010. One further point I would make is that Cranleigh in the southern part of the constituency has historically shown stronger support for the tories while Guildford has shown stronger support for the Lib Dems. It might be the case that the boundary changes will make this disparity in voting trends even more apparent.

UPDATE: Despite my inability to do it, the Guardian have managed to work out notional results for constituencies. According to them, Anne Milton would have a majority of 7,472 on the new boundaries (310 votes less than at present). The Lib Dems would have 871 fewer votes and the Tories would have 1,181 less votes. So, as I said, a slight benefit to the Lib Dems. But a net gain of 310 votes is statistically insignificant in a seat where 55,567 people voted last time. Basically, it'll be business as usual for Guildford.

2 comments:

  1. I don't think that they will get it through.

    Overall, without the Welsh and Scottish seats (and the Irish ones, which make no difference to government parties), the Tories are set to gain. So they will vote for it (with the exception of the few who will lose their seats). Labour who stand to lose the most will vote against it. The Liberals will lose overall, so are they likely to vote for it?

    What the SNP and Plaid does, is probably not that important, their numbers being so small.

    But I heard some Lord saying that they were unlikely to vote for it (I imagine that they will be looking for quid pro quos when (if ever) Lords reform rears its pretty head.

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  2. I don't know whether it will get through or not but I doubt there will be a Lib Dem rebellion on this issue. I think there will be rebellions though - mainly from MPs of all stripes who find themselves either losing their seats entirely or having their seats altered beyond all recognition by the boundary review - and there will be a lot more than fifty of them.

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