South West

Posted by on June 15, 2015 in Electoral Boundaries | 0 comments


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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