Constituency boundary reforms before 2015?

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billydisco
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#1
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#1
Could somebody familiar with the subject tell me whether its possible the Tories and Lib Dems could get together to make the boundaries more fair towards both parties and therefore get this pushed through Government before 2015 GE?

In other words- can we remove the unfair bias in the current system which favours Labour (of all parties!).......

If it benefited the Lib Dems too- I cant see why they wouldn't vote for it??
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nulli tertius
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#2
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#2
(Original post by billydisco)
Could somebody familiar with the subject tell me whether its possible the Tories and Lib Dems could get together to make the boundaries more fair towards both parties and therefore get this pushed through Government before 2015 GE?

In other words- can we remove the unfair bias in the current system which favours Labour (of all parties!).......

If it benefited the Lib Dems too- I cant see why they wouldn't vote for it??
If you read this you will see how we are where we are.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21235169

Perhaps I should add three things.

Reducing the size of the Commons increases the power of the government because a greater proportion of MPs are members of the government or the opposition front bench.

Since the 1950s Labour tends to become over-represented without regular boundary reviews as it has tended to represent seats with falling populations. This effect is less marked in the current Parliament than in several previous ones, particularly at the extremes.

Traditionally, apart from the Scottish islands the smallest constituencies have tended to be the city centres of Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. For 50 years or so, the boundary commission would create a constituency of the right size but by the time of the next review the population would have fallen to 10,000 or so. The recent boom in inner city flats has reversed that trend and currently Labour held Manchester Central is one of the most over-size constituencies and the Tories represent one of the most under-sized rural Welsh seats.

However, despite the extremes no longer fitting the pattern, on the whole Labour seats have falling (or slower rising) electorates than Conservative held seats.

Politicians tend not to worry about these things because the first past the post electoral system produces far greater distortions. In you look at 1951 and 1974, you can see the effect of this on Labour and the Conservatives respectively. In 1951 Labour polled 1.3 million more votes than the Conservatives and lost. Its policies over the preceding 6 years enabled it to pile up huge majorities in its heartlands but those policies did not appeal to marginal seats which went Tory. In the February 1974 election the Conservatives won 200,000 more votes than Labour and lost. That was mostly because the Liberals took a lot of votes off both parties but more Labour than Conservative without winning seats.
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Davij038
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#3
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As first pass the post is fundamentally flawed anyway I don't see how it matters...

The voting system needs to be changed to AV
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Cerdic
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#4
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#4
(Original post by Davij038)
As first pass the post is fundamentally flawed anyway I don't see how it matters...

The voting system needs to be changed to AV
AV suffers from similar problems to FPTP. It is not proportional, but I suppose it is better within constituencies.

Better systems include additional member system (used in Welsh Assembly), single transferable vote (used in Northern Ireland) and my personal favourite: mixed member proportional.
Here's a video about MMP:


Trouble is MMP would either require a doubling of seats (impossible) or a doubling of constituency size, which is doable, but complicated.
Another problem is Lab and Con don't want to change the system because it favours a binary party system and larger parties, which is what they are.
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meenu89
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#5
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#5
(Original post by billydisco)
Could somebody familiar with the subject tell me whether its possible the Tories and Lib Dems could get together to make the boundaries more fair towards both parties and therefore get this pushed through Government before 2015 GE?

In other words- can we remove the unfair bias in the current system which favours Labour (of all parties!).......

If it benefited the Lib Dems too- I cant see why they wouldn't vote for it??
It is just too late.
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Rakas21
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#6
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#6
(Original post by billydisco)
Could somebody familiar with the subject tell me whether its possible the Tories and Lib Dems could get together to make the boundaries more fair towards both parties and therefore get this pushed through Government before 2015 GE?

In other words- can we remove the unfair bias in the current system which favours Labour (of all parties!).......

If it benefited the Lib Dems too- I cant see why they wouldn't vote for it??
It could be done but the Libs will only do it if the Tories give them HOL reform. The back benches won't so the boundaries stay as they are.
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Moosferatu
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#7
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#7
Nothing like a bit of prospective gerrymandering to increase the power of your party.

All hail our beautiful British democracy.
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billydisco
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Moosferatu)
Nothing like a bit of prospective gerrymandering to increase the power of your party.

All hail our beautiful British democracy.
Neutralising an inherent bias system you mean?
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Moosferatu
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#9
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#9
(Original post by billydisco)
Neutralising an inherent bias system you mean?
I have no idea, but I guess the merits of such an assertion would depend on which side of the chamber you sit.
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Cerdic
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#10
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(Original post by Moosferatu)
I have no idea, but I guess the merits of such an assertion would depend on which side of the chamber you sit.
The standard thing you hear is that they favour Labour. They said it on Vote 2014 or whatever the voting show was called yesterday, so if the BBC says it, it's probably the general consensus.
They list some reasons here
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Rakas21
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#11
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#11
(Original post by Moosferatu)
I have no idea, but I guess the merits of such an assertion would depend on which side of the chamber you sit.
Every government does it. Labour changed it last time so that they need 35% for a majority and the Tories need 38%. The Tories want to reduce the number of seats to 600 and change the boundaries themselves.
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Moosferatu
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#12
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(Original post by Rakas21)
Every government does it. Labour changed it last time so that they need 35% for a majority and the Tories need 38%. The Tories want to reduce the number of seats to 600 and change the boundaries themselves.
Just goes to show the sham elements of our ailing democracy. Typical political class.
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nulli tertius
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#13
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#13
(Original post by Rakas21)
Every government does it. Labour changed it last time so that they need 35% for a majority and the Tories need 38%. The Tories want to reduce the number of seats to 600 and change the boundaries themselves.
I am afraid this is rubbish. Since the War, population movements have tended to mean that over time the electoral system favours Labour. The Boundary Commission makes boundary changes to correct this. The Boundary Commission operates independently of government but government participation is needed to implement its recommendations. Labour governments drag their heels over implementation and Tory ones implement as quickly as they can manage it, but neither party actually rigs the boundaries in their own favour.
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Fullofsurprises
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#14
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
I am afraid this is rubbish. Since the War, population movements have tended to mean that over time the electoral system favours Labour. The Boundary Commission makes boundary changes to correct this. The Boundary Commission operates independently of government but government participation is needed to implement its recommendations. Labour governments drag their heels over implementation and Tory ones implement as quickly as they can manage it, but neither party actually rigs the boundaries in their own favour.
I think both major parties game to try to win advantage and whilst it isn't exactly 'rigged', it could be compared at times to a cosy gentleman's club, where the two big players divide up the spoils. In a 3/4 party system this is all getting increasingly implausible though.
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nulli tertius
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#15
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#15
(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
I think both major parties game to try to win advantage and whilst it isn't exactly 'rigged', it could be compared at times to a cosy gentleman's club, where the two big players divide up the spoils. In a 3/4 party system this is all getting increasingly implausible though.
That really describes the American system.

The Boundary Commission does play it fair. In the UK the politicking is over implementation. There is the famous occasion when Wilson refused to table the Regulations for the boundary changes. The Tories went off to court. Wilson lost. He tabled the Regulations and then put on a three line whip to vote them down. Yet although their was a Labour government, he couldn't actually produce a favourable review outcome. All he could do was block an unfavourable one.
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Fullofsurprises
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#16
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
That really describes the American system.

The Boundary Commission does play it fair. In the UK the politicking is over implementation. There is the famous occasion when Wilson refused to table the Regulations for the boundary changes. The Tories went off to court. Wilson lost. He tabled the Regulations and then put on a three line whip to vote them down. Yet although their was a Labour government, he couldn't actually produce a favourable review outcome. All he could do was block an unfavourable one.
I was talking about that kind of thing, but also the proposals the two main parties put forwards, the proposed total number of MPs, etc. There's a good article about it from a few years ago in the Guardian.
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/...urndary-reform
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nulli tertius
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#17
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(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
I was talking about that kind of thing, but also the proposals the two main parties put forwards, the proposed total number of MPs, etc. There's a good article about it from a few years ago in the Guardian.
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/...urndary-reform
I actually think the attempt to produce equal sized constituencies is a mistake, If you look at the last proposals map, you get a lot of funny outliers as the Boundary Commission has gone looking for extra population to make up the numbers. You don't get very good representation if you do not identify with and are not identified with the centre of gravity of a constituency. You have a constituency that starts in the suburbs of Newcastle and ends at Berwick on Tweed and a lot of the South Coast seats start high up on the Moors or Weald.
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Fullofsurprises
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#18
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
I actually think the attempt to produce equal sized constituencies is a mistake, If you look at the last proposals map, you get a lot of funny outliers as the Boundary Commission has gone looking for extra population to make up the numbers. You don't get very good representation if you do not identify with and are not identified with the centre of gravity of a constituency. You have a constituency that starts in the suburbs of Newcastle and ends at Berwick on Tweed and a lot of the South Coast seats start high up on the Moors or Weald.
Yes, it makes you wonder, if the constituencies get more and more unrelated to actual places then the much-vaunted link between MPs and recognised groups of people and places becomes so much hot air and therefore why we don't move to a system of multi-member seat PR as in many other countries.
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Rakas21
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#19
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#19
(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
Yes, it makes you wonder, if the constituencies get more and more unrelated to actual places then the much-vaunted link between MPs and recognised groups of people and places becomes so much hot air and therefore why we don't move to a system of multi-member seat PR as in many other countries.
See i don't have a problem with that, most people can't name their MP anyway and 30% of people don't vote (plus children). I'm not a fan of multi member seat PR though. I'd rather go for a closed party list at a national level across the whole country and then have an MP allocated to an area.
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