Black September for MPs as boundaries scramble begins
Expect MPs to be very nervous this September. That's when the Boundary Commissions are going to make their provisional recommendations for the new, larger, Parliamentary constituencies.
The number of seats in the Commons is being cut from 650 to 600, and the size of seats being made more equal, which will require new boundaries to almost every constituency in Britain.
I have learnt that at a meeting a few days ago, representatives of the three main parties were told that the proposed new Welsh boundaries will be unveiled in the week beginning 5 September.
The new English boundaries will be announced the following week, starting 12 September.
The proposed new Scottish seats will be announced after the party conferences.
So expect frantic activity, rather akin to musical chairs, as MPs rush around trying to establish themselves in new seats, and maybe fight MPs from their own parties for nominations.
After the provisional new seats are announced, the Boundary Commissions will hold a series of hearings - "hearings" I stress, not the former system of enquiries.
Individuals and political parties will be able to make submissions to these hearings, but there will be no system of cross-examination as there was in the past at public enquiries.
And these hearings will devote very little time to each seat, since there will be up to five hearings, lasting just two days each, in each English region. I reckon that works out about six or seven constituencies a day - about an hour each.
The Boundary Commissions will take most of 2012 to consider everybody's submissions, and then revise their provisional boundaries. The revised seats will be announced around the end of 2012, or early 2013.
The final constituencies have to be decided by October, and agreed beforehand by votes in both Houses of Parliament.
And it must be far certain that both Houses will pass such a resolution.