South West

  Current seats Entitlement Change Avon 11 10.49 Cornwall 6 5.42 -1 Devon 12 11.31 Dorset 8 7.47 -1 Gloucestershire 6 6.02 Somerset 5 5.25 Wiltshire 7 6.56 SOUTH WEST 55 53 -2   The South West is likely to be one of the uglier sets of boundary changes, not because it is losing that much but because so few of its counties are the right size for a whole number of seats. There are a number of permutations of cross-county seats that might work. As in the aborted 2011-13 boundary changes, one of the most controversial elements will be ‘Devonwall’. Cornwall cannot keep its six seats and is too big for five, so it is arithmetically necessary to create a seat straddling the border with west Devon (this is unpopular in Cornwall). There would also be a messy and complicated set of changes in mid Cornwall. Five Conservative MPs (George Eustice, Sarah Newton, Geoffrey Cox and the newly elected Steve Double and Scott Mann) would be battling it out for four constituencies (including ‘Devonwall’) in a game of musical chairs. One logical solution would be a straddle seat between Wiltshire and Dorset, setting up a conflict probably between Simon Hoare (North Dorset) and Andrew Murrison (South West Wiltshire). The most logical seat to be entirely disbanded in the area would, however, be Mid Dorset and North Poole (Michael Tomlinson). It would probably be necessary to create an Avon-Somerset straddle seat, There would be complex and far-reaching changes in this area to resolve some relatively small discrepancies in electorate. Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset, a sometime critic of the boundary proposals) would see his constituency radically altered because Bath would need to expand. The Plymouth seats – both narrowly Conservative held marginals – would have to be altered, probably to create one reasonably reliable Labour seat and one Conservative seat; the two Plymouth Tory MPs would probably be pitched into battle for the better prospect. While the notional boundary changes in Plymouth would probably create a new Labour seat, the party would not be best pleased because it would lose the chance to gain 2 marginals in the city.  ...

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East Midlands

  Current seats Entitlement Change Derbyshire 11 9.94 -1 Leicestershire 10 9.64 Lincolnshire 7 6.90 Northamptonshire 7 6.51 -1 Nottinghamshire 11 10.18 -1 EAST MIDLANDS 46 43 -3   Derbyshire loses a whole seat. Nottinghamshire probably loses a whole seat. The other seat disappears from Northamptonshire, with some of Northamptonshire being used to bulk out a south Leicestershire constituency. There will probably be radical change in mid Derbyshire – the constituencies of Derby North, Amber Valley, Erewash and Mid Derbyshire – with four Conservative MPs fighting for three constituencies. The straggly Mid Derbyshire constituency is likely to be the one with no recognisable successor, to the displeasure of its MP Pauline Latham who will be thrown into a battle with three colleagues. Nottinghamshire is more complicated. Either Anna Soubry’s Conservative-held marginal in Broxtowe could be radically (and unfavourably) altered for her, or possibly two Labour front benchers Vernon Coaker (Gedling) and Chris Leslie (Nottingham East) could be competing for one safe seat. In Leicestershire and Northamptonshire there are some interesting possibilities. Liz Kendall’s seat of Leicester West is small and will require alteration. If it pushes further into the city centre and the other Leicester seats move out a bit, no worries for Kendall – but if West is the seat that is made to extend further out into the suburbs it could become vulnerable to the Conservatives. That would be quite a decapitation. The vanishing seat is likely to involve some sort of mash-up between South Leicestershire, Harborough and Daventry, pitting three Tories against each other (Edward Garnier, Chris Heaton Harris, and Alberto Costa) for two seats. The Northampton seats are both very small. Northampton North is likely to be improved a bit for Labour, but South probably wrecked from the Labour point of view.  ...

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West Midlands

  Current seats Entitlement Change Herefordshire 2 1.77 Worcestershire 6 5.59 Shropshire 5 4.56 -1 Staffordshire 12 11.07 -1 Warwickshire 6 5.48 -1 West Midlands 28 24.88 -3 Birmingham 10 9.20 -1 Black Country 13 10.77 -2 WEST MIDLANDS 59 53 -6   Staffordshire loses a whole constituency. The West Midlands metro area loses three seats – two in the Black Country and one in Birmingham. There will probably be a cross-county seat between Shropshire and Herefordshire, with those combined counties dropping one seat. There will probably be a straddle seat between Warwickshire and Worcestershire, the combined counties dropping one. However, the Boundary Commission last time round proposed some innovative and strange crossings of the border between Warwickshire and the West Midlands and could do so again, so that it can produce constituencies to the right size in the Birmingham and Coventry areas. It may therefore propose something more radical than this model.   Three Conservatives go into two in the combination of Shropshire and Herefordshire – The Wrekin (Mark Pritchard), Ludlow (Philip Dunne) and Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire). The review could be ugly for Labour in the Potteries. One possibility would trim the four Stoke and Newcastle seats down to three, with Tristram Hunt in the middle of the sandwich. Another option might create seats the Tories could  (Stoke-on-Trent South) and should (Newcastle under Lyme) win by adding Conservative-voting territory. In the West Midlands metro area there are too many permutations to model for the moment, but it looks as if a seat would vanish near Wolverhampton (probably South East, with Labour’s Pat Macfadden made homeless) and one in Dudley/ Sandwell, quite possibly Halesowen & Rowley Regis (James Morris, Conservative). It seems probable that a Conservative seat will disappear in Warwickshire/ Worcestershire, with three seats (Stratford-on-Avon, Mid Worcestershire and Kenilworth & Southam) going down to two, but the knock-on effects will make Nuneaton, Rugby, Redditch and Warwick & Leamington all more Tory than they are currently, so they may consider it fair exchange although the three most affected MPs (Nadhim Zahawi, Nigel Huddleston and Jeremy Wright) may beg to...

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North West

Current seats Entitlement Change Cheshire 11 10.19 -1 Cumbria 6 4.97 -1 Greater Manchester 27 25.18 -1 Lancashire 16 14.15 -2 Merseyside 15 13.03 -2 NORTH WEST 75 68 -7   Cumbria loses a whole constituency. Merseyside loses two constituencies, one on each side of the Mersey (the Wirral goes down from 4 to 3). It looks to me as if Lancashire loses two seats and Cheshire one seat, with Greater Manchester dropping one seat and having two straddle seats on each side (in the Cheshire commuter belt and in east Lancashire). There are many possible permutations of the constituencies in the densely populated area around Manchester and Liverpool. The Conservatives could clean up in the Cumbria boundary changes. Carlisle would get another 10-15,000 mostly Tory voters, Barrow could be flipped narrowly to the Conservatives and the two Labour seats of Copeland and Workington reduced to one (Jamie Reed v Sue Hayman). Tim Farron’s fortress of Westmorland & Lonsdale might be altered enough to endanger it. In north Lancashire the straggly seat of Wyre & Preston North could be broken up (bad for its Tory MP Ben Wallace but it would probably enable the creation of two safe-ish Conservative seats to replace Labour marginal Lancaster & Fleetwood and Tory marginal Blackpool North & Cleveleys). It is harder to make out what the changes further south in Lancashire may involve. It seems possible that Frank Field and Alison McGovern may be thrown into conflict (perhaps Field might choose to retire) for a possible spliced seat based on Wirral South and Birkenhead. John Pugh’s Lib Dem seat in Southport would probably be sunk by the addition of about 10,000 electors either from Formby or from Tory West Lancashire villages. A Labour seat would probably vanish in the Liverpool area. In Greater Manchester the most likely place for a seat to vanish is in the Stockport/ Tameside area – possibly Denton & Reddish (Andrew Gwynne, Labour) might be the victim. It seems unlikely that the Conservatives could hold a new expanded version of their gain of Bolton West. In Cheshire the most likely candidate for the chop is the Tory-held marginal seat of Weaver Vale. Labour’s new City of Chester seat, gained by 93 votes, would probably be flipped back to the Tories.  ...

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North East

Current seats Entitlement Change Cleveland 6 5.26 -1 Durham 7 5.93 -1 Northumberland 4 3.17 -1 Tyne & Wear 12 10.65 -1 NORTH EAST 29 25 -4   Cleveland has very slightly too many electors for five seats and nothing but, so there will have to be a cross-border seat pairing a small part of Cleveland with County Durham. Durham loses a seat; it takes a section from Cleveland and probably loses a section to Tyne and Wear. Northumberland loses a seat and donates a section to Tyne and Wear. Even with the help of additional territory from Durham and Northumberland Tyne & Wear loses a seat. Boundary Commissions work in mysterious ways but the easiest seat to abolish in Northumberland is probably Labour Wansbeck. The net effect in Cleveland will come down to detail – it is probably possible either to abolish or to strengthen the Tory marginal of Stockton South. Tony Blair’s former seat of Sedgefield looks like the most likely casualty in County Durham. Darlington would gain rural electors and probably be made significantly more winnable for the Conservatives. The Tyne and Wear changes will probably be complicated, with a seat probably vanishing in the Gateshead (Ian Mearns) and Jarrow (Stephen Hepburn)...

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