UK Boundary Commission report: fun ahead!

The UK’s Boundary Commission - responsible for drafting constituency boundaries - has made its report for the 2022 General Election and Guido has picked up two points of particular interest: firstly, the constituency of Jeremy Corbyn is going to be abolished so he’ll be looking for another constituency and secondly, the constituency of Tory Leadership hopeful Boris Johnson is going to be changed to include a large Labour-voting area and Boris’ majority is not large. Either might win the election but not themselves be elected.

There’s fun and games ahead.

There’s also fun and games in Scotland with the Tory revival under threat.

How non-partisan is the Boundary Commission? In name only, or for reals?

It’s pretty non partisan.

You can read more than you’d ever like to know here.

I thought the leader always took an extremely seat and was not particularly bound by geography in choosing one to run in. Even in the US, redistricting can slowly over 30 years move “your district” far away from where it started, even if it’s in the same state. I assume that likewise the lines never cross the borders of the 3 constituent countries on Great Britain and that MPs would stay running in whichever country one is known to be from, but otherwise they are free to move wherever. Or is it just simply Not Done anymore to tell some backbencher “Sorry mate, but our leader needs your seat more than you. Feel free to run in the toss-up district we’re vacating!”

In principal it’s up to local constituency parties to select candidates, subject to vetting and ratification by head office. In practice head office can usually find a safe seat for someone they really, really want to find safe seat for. There are 650 seats (soon to be reduced to 600) and because of the crapulous electoral system an awful lot of them are virtual rotten boroughs, and there’s a steady turnover of MPs retiring or contemplating retirement, etc.

Unlikely that Conservative Central Office would go out of their way to find a safe seat for Johnson, but he’s said to be popular with the party rank-and-file (who are a very odd bunch indeed) and so there are probably more than a few local branches who are looking for a candidate and who would be happy to nominate him. Simlarly Corbyites are influential in the Labour party and he would have no trouble being nominated in a safe seat. In neither case would head office have to intervene to get them a nomination.

They are civil servants so supposed to be neutral.

I wonder if I’m the only one who read the thread title and thought it was about the national borders. What an easy job that would be- “yep, water’s still there”

It’s great that the districts are done on a non-partisan basis. I wish the US would do the same. What’s the reason that the number of seats are being reduced from 650 to 600? Is the Commons chamber too crowded? Trying to reduce the cost of government?

If only! Just look at my avatar.

From the title, I assumed this was about post-Brexit policies along the new EU boundary slicing across the island of Ireland.

It’s the cost thing. The House of Commons is too crowded by design - there’s only seating for 437 Members.

It will save pittance, however.
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The reshuffle means that my ward will be moving from a constituency with a very safe Labour seat which parachuted in a party apparatchik in last year’s election to one with a safe Conservative seat held by a reactionary retired colonel / gladhanding jerk.

I supposed so, but reality doesn’t always match the design specs. :slight_smile:

Can you give more detail about problems in the electoral system? Is this the West Lothian question? Or first past the post?

(Off topic: USC is renovating the Coliseum, reducing the number of seats by about 20%, and oh the complaints I’m hearing from alumni with season tickets.)

First past the post tends to leave a lot of seats seemingly permanently safe for one or other of the two major parties (as in the US).

Demographic changes over time can affect this, but the boundary commissioners are supposed to come up with constituency boundaries that map on to existing local government boundaries, are as close to equal in the numbers of electors as possible, and reflect natural communities. So every time there’s a review, the local parties have to come up with seemingly well-founded socio-economic arguments about how people in DullSuburbEast couldn’t ever consider themselves related to [constituency they never hope to win] and always do their shopping in [constituency they’ve got their eyes on], and there are often local history obsessives with various precedents from mediaeval history. And when they yoke together separate places, there’s another row about the name as neither ThisTown nor NextTown is prepared to be dropped from the name. So they end up naming it after some shared local geographical feature, and the rest of the country asks “Where’s that then?” until the next review.

You are a very bad man! :slight_smile:

Ah, so while the Boundary Commission is non-partisan, there’s still some politicking going on that’s more effective than it should be?

Interesting that districts are named, I assume because it’s traditional? Over here in the US, House districts are simply numbered 1, 2, 3, etc by state. Senate seats are named for their state, but those are never redistricted.

As far as I am aware, there’s little accusation of partiality in the Commission’s work, and the Commissions (there’s one each for each country of the UK) are chaired by the (impartial) Speaker of the House of Commons.

Yeah, it’s traditional. Numbered constituencies sounds so cold and distant.

That’s why American politics is so passionless. :wink:

And MPs in British-style Parliaments are normally referred to by the name of their constituency. If Dave Broadfoot is elected as the MP from the constituency of Kicking Horse Pass, then in proceedings of Parliament he will be referred to as “The Honourable Member from Kicking Horse Pass”. Only if he is “named” by the Speaker for a serious infraction of the rules, will his actual name be used: “Order. Mr. Broadfoot, I must name you for disregarding the authority of the Chair. I ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to remove Mr. Broadfoot.”

Agreed. And numbers don’t really help you know where a member is from unless you already know the divisions.

For instance, in Canada:

Trudeau is from Papineau.

Scheer (Leader of the Opposition) is from Regina-Qu’appelle.

Caron (NDP House leader) is from Rimouski-Neigette-Témiscouata-Les Basques.

Fortin (Québec Débout) is from Rivière-du-Nord.

Beaulieu (interim BQ leader) is from La-Pointe-de-l’Îe.

May (Green) is from Saanich-Gulf Islands.

Weir (CCF) is Regina-Lewvan.

As soon as you hear the names of their ridings, you have some idea where they’re from.

It’s still a bit of a misnomer. Even as much of a political junkie as I am, I only know my own confessional district number. The only way I’d learn other confessional district numbers is if I’m working on a campaign or a voter registration drive. In the USA House of Representatives, you’re referred to by simply by state.

In Australia, electoral divisions are named either geographically (e.g. Sydney, North Sydney, Paramatta) or in honour of a historically significant person, usually with some local association (Wentworth, Bennelong, Curtin). A federal electoral division may share a name with a local government area and/or a state electoral division, but the boundaries of each will be different. For example, there’s a City of Fremantle, a State Electoral Division of Fremantle and a Federal Electoral Division of Fremantle, and they all have different boundaries.