Monday, 12 September 2011

The Sixth Periodic Review is here!!!

Although the new boundary changes are not due to be released by midnight the odd decision to give information to 650 MPs 12 hours early has been exposed by Guido and they are already available for all to see. Until some clever people knock up maps for these new seats I can only really comment on the places I've lived all my life; Plymouth and Cornwall.

The anticipated Devonwall seat has been drawn, as expected, along the north coast –combining parts of the North Cornwall (Dan Rogerson – LD) and Torridge & West Devon (Geoffrey Cox – Con) constituencies. Unsurprisingly this will create LD/Con marginal, which will be named Bude & Bideford, in which one of the coalition parties will lose a seat.

Along with the problems associated with crossing the sacred border, the Commission have come up with some interesting constituencies to get our heads around. The county only had five constituencies in the 2005 election and then gained one in the Fifth Periodic Reveiw. Therefore there was a bit of material available to help draw boundaries with Cornwall's new five and bit quota. Despite this they have managed to produce a brand new seat in the county.

The new Liskeard seat is reminiscent of the South East Cornwall constituency I grew up in and at the other end of the County Andrew George will be a familiar face to most in St Ives

The old Falmouth & Camborne seat has essentially been resurrected and is sure to remain a three way marginal. Labour lost this area in 2005 when Julia Goldsworthy won a heated battle with Candy Atherton. The 2010 boundaries have/had (depending on whether the new boundaries are actually approved by Parliament!) a Camborne & Redruth constituency which concentrated the county's two most deprived areas. This new seat won't be as naturally Labour as that but this arrangement was always on the cards.

Where it all gets quite new is the Truro & St Austell seat. The name was around pre-2010 but the new constituency is a bit different. Instead of incorporating the north coast around Perranporth it sticks with area south of Cornwall's two biggest towns. The new Bodmin & Newquay seat stretches east along the coast, to Perranporth and beyond, and incorporates areas like Wadebridge from the current North Cornwall seat. This is probably the most unpredictable of the Cornish seats given the two areas have been split since the 1992 election.

As for Plymouth, it's two constituencies have returned to their traditional names of Sutton and Devonport. Bar a couple of changes they are quite similar to their pre-2010 namesakes, with Devonport a likely Labour seat and Sutton the better bet for the Conservatives.

That's all I have for now; more will follow over the next few days. For the time being I would suggest following the dedicated threads on Vote-UK as everyone slowly digests the review.

If anyone has any interesting findings from an area they are familiar with feel free to leave a comment!


Tom Harris


  1. I have outlined a quick overview of the North West at my blog

  2. Its interesting to see that Exeter, North Devon, Torbay and Tiverton & Honiton are all unchanged.

    So that means Labour are as you were in Devon, and the Lib Dems have two fairly safe seats (well, as safe as you can get these days).

  3. In North Staffordshire, it would appear that Labour have slightly tightened their grip on Stoke-on-Trent South, regaining 95% of what was transferred into Stoke-on-Trent Central in 2010, this stays a Labour-leaning borderline marginal. Stoke-on-Trent Central appears to have come off extremely well, gaining three rock-solid Labour areas from Stoke-on-Trent North, which only retains three (Labour) Stoke-on-Trent Wards, and adds 12 Wards from Newcastle-under-Lyme, most of which are traditionally Labour (the Liberal Democrats had made some gains prior to May when they were decimated). This looks to remain a pretty safe Labour seat, but might provoke an intra-Party challenge, as both Joan Walley (Stoke North) and Paul Farrelly (Newcastle) have a significant constituency interest in this seat.

    Bill Cash's Stone seat disappears entirely, with six Wards placed in the new Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stone seat, along with 12 existing Newcastle Wards. At first glance this looks a pretty safe Conservative seat (which makes me think that Paul Farrelly might be tempted into a run against Joan Walley) conceding this seat to Bill Cash (presuming the veteran anti-EU Tory doesn't opt for retirement).

    Staffordshire Moorlands remains largely unchanged, and remains on paper a Conservative favoured seat, but one which Labour held between 1997 and 2010 on pretty much the existing boundaries. A lot will depend on whether the towns of Biddulph, Cheadle and Leek revert back to Labour after flirting, at local level at least with Independents and UKIP.

    Jeremy Lefroy seems to have been reinforced in Stafford, gaining most of the rest of Bill Cash's current Stone constituency and four Wards from South Staffordshire (two of which might, in a good Labour year, marginally increase the Labour vote).

    I'm not overly familiar with the South of Staffordshire, but note that Cannock Chase seems to be pretty much unchanged, and will take some defending by the Conservatives, after only once before being Conservative (when it included Burntwood and was held by current Aldershot MP and Defence Minister Gerald Howarth) between 1983-87 prior to its surprise switch to the Conservatives last year following the retirement on health grounds of Tony Wright.

  4. I have looked at all the current LibDem seats and the Guardian's estimate of 14 LD losses is way out . I make it 5 or 6 net losses . 11 or 12 seats lost but 5 or 6 seats gained . There are a number of very marginal seats where the methodology of calculating the notionals is the deciding factor .
    On my calculations I still have LD's in a narrow lead in Eastleigh , the Southampton and Test Valley wards moving in to the seat were all LD in 2010 and 2007 respectively . My figures and some other calculations have the LD's in front in BOTH the new Portsmouth seats nut because of the uncertainty re the Havant ward moving into East I have given the Conservatives and LD/s one seat each .