David Cameron to press ahead with boundary changes plans

David Cameron speaking to teenagers taking part in an activity camp in mid-Wales Mr Cameron has said the government must focus on the economy

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David Cameron has said he will press ahead with proposed changes to the House of Commons despite the Lib Dems saying they will vote against them.

The prime minister said plans to redraw constituency boundaries would be "put forward" to MPs and urged all parties to back the "very sensible" proposals.

Senior Lib Dems have said they will oppose them after Tory MPs blocked proposals to reform the House of Lords.

They say this meant the Tories "reneged" on the coalition agreement.

Changes to the Lords - the plan was to make 80% of peers elected and to halve the number of members to 450 - were a long-held goal of the Lib Dems.

But more than 90 Conservatives defied the government in a vote on the issue in July and Mr Clegg pulled the plug on the plans on Monday.


Speaking on a visit to a children's activity centre in Wales, Mr Cameron said it was "frustrating" that the Lords plans had been dropped in the face of opposition "from Labour and others" in Parliament.

Start Quote

All of these claims about the coalition being on its last legs are simply not true”

End Quote Jeremy Browne Foreign Office minister

But he said he could not allow "month after month of wrangling" over the plans and there would now be extra "space" to concentrate on the government's priority of the economy

The climbdown over Lords reform has thrown into doubt its plans to reduce the size of the Commons from 650 to 600 and redraw constituency boundaries to make them roughly the same size.

Mr Cameron, whose party are seen as most likely to benefit from the changes to the Commons, said that "obviously we want the boundary vote to go ahead".

"I am going to say to every MP 'look the House of Commons ought to be smaller, less expensive and we ought to have seats which are exactly the same size'," he said.

"I think everyone should come forward and vote for that proposal because it is a very sensible proposal and it will be put forward."

When he appeared before a committee of MPs earlier this year, Mr Clegg said there was no link between Lords reform and the boundary changes.

But Lib Dem Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne said on Tuesday that they were "part of the same constitutional package".

He told Radio 4's Today programme he would oppose boundary changes in a vote expected to take place next year but insisted the dispute would not wreck the coalition.

"Let's get on with the huge areas where we do agree and where we think we can work constructively in the national interest," he said.

"All of these claims about the coalition being on its last legs are simply not true. We can get on with that huge body of work instead."

'Electoral disadvantage'

The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson said the Lib Dems were facing up to the prospect of not being able to deliver any constitutional change of any significance while in government.

Start Quote

For the time being, at least, life in the Lords will carry on as normal ”

End Quote Sean Curran BBC Parliamentary Correspondent

The Conservatives, meanwhile, may have to live with the current parliamentary boundaries which meant it took many more thousands of voters to elect a Conservative MP than a Labour MP.

Tim Montgomerie, editor of the Conservativehome website for party activists, suggested losing the boundary changes would be a "huge blow" to the Conservatives' chances in the next election.

He told the BBC News Channel: "If you look at the electoral system, Labour can get a parliamentary majority with just a 3% lead in the opinion polls.

"The Conservatives need an 11% lead to get the same result. And one of the reasons for that is that Labour seats tend to be smaller in size than Conservative seats.

"Boundary reforms would not have reduced all of the disadvantage in the electoral system but would have given the Conservatives about 20 more MPs."

Labour has said the boundary changes were "arbitrary" and designed to benefit the Conservatives rather than improve the political system or save money. The party says Mr Clegg did not oppose them when they were agreed in principle by Parliament last year.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 607.

    Every time in the past when the Tories have gerrymandered the boundaries, it has been to their benefit and Labours detriment. That is why prince of privilege, Cameron want them changed. Because he knows that armageddon awaits his right wing nutters at the next election.

  • rate this

    Comment number 606.

    @465.Ex Tory Voter
    "That's why we need 'Non Of The Above" - MPs representing voters first, party second."
    Yes but the problem with voting for nobody can be more dangerous as what can happen if everybody thinks along the same lines then a hand full of people who are voting BNP could end up winning their seat, What we need is an entire new system not just a reduction of constituencies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 605.

    3 Hours ago
    The Lib Dems have broken most of the pre-Election promises they made"

    No, they haven't. They promised what they would do if elected, not what they might have to do as part of a coalition.
    They laid out (in theory) their core beliefs and principles.
    You go back on these and your finished.
    They could have walked at any point.
    Power corrupts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 604.

    The problem as I see it isn't how we vote but what we vote for.

    Politics has become a joke and lets face it, we have little to no confidence that the people we elect will actually make a difference. The fact is, they're the only people to elect. Even with the best of intentions they eventually succumb to the game of politics.

    The process doesn't need fixing, the motivation does.

  • rate this

    Comment number 603.

    How can anyone trust a Government whose Chancellor of the Exchequer imagines that "110%" concentration is actually a real number? I think he meant 100% but that would leave no time for his other job would it? Perhaps meant 11%, that would probably be more accurate! As t o boundary changes, is that part of the 110% of concentrating on the economy?

  • rate this

    Comment number 602.

    Boundary reviews are done by neutral civil servants and the work has already been undertaken. If the Limp Damps don't like it, they can vote against and be sacked. Somehow I think Limp Damp ministers will develop doctors' appointments and fact-finding missions that day, such is their mania for power. Memo to Dave: Sack Clegg Now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 601.

    It REALLY IS TIME that politicians stopped behaving like spoiled brats and STARTED to do whatever is best for THIS country and its majority population ! I don't know about everybody else , but I am REALLY fed up with childish tit for tat behaviour , these people elected to power need to start acting like responsible grown adults who have not their own interests at heart but that of the country !

  • rate this

    Comment number 600.

    I can understand why the Tories would like to gerrymander boundary changes to favour themselves, but surely if they were genuinely concerned with every vote counting equally they would support some form of PR?

  • rate this

    Comment number 599.

    If Labour was bad enough, what made you think the Tories were better.
    does "Black Wednesday" ring any bells? or the two recessions during Thatcher's time? or unemployment hitting 3 million?
    Yes people do have short memories-your memory perhaps being the shortest-double dip recession?

  • rate this

    Comment number 598.

    @560 Son of Maggie and Norman

    "I'm suggesting it's fair to have an equal number of voters in each consituency[sic]. Is this so hard to understand?".

    Yes it is. How does an equal number of voters in each constituency improve democracy? Especially, how does it improve Mrs Blog's life by being represented as a homogeneous clump of voters?

  • rate this

    Comment number 597.

    After the last election I compared the average number of voters in a Labour, Conservative & LibDem seat.

    Typically an inner city Labour seat had about 50-60,000 voters, a Conservative Seat 70-80,000 voters and a Lib-Dem seat about 90-100,000 voters

    This reflects the decline in the inner cities which hasn't been reflected in the electoral boundaries.

    This is overdue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 596.

    Boundary changes won't make a blind bit of difference as no MP actually stands up for what the people want (although that is technically their job) Just ask a Labour supporter who was against the Iraq war, a Lib Dem voter who now has to pay £9k uni fees per year or a Tory who wanted anyone caught with a knife to go to prison. The last honest man to enter the House of Commons was Guy Fawkes

  • rate this

    Comment number 595.

    David Cameron is totally deluded. Has he seen what the state of this country is in? Has he seen how many election promises he has failed to carry through? if boundary changes are the only thing he will actually achieve he is going down in history as the worst prime minister ever ,he yet again lets down every hard working tax paying person in this country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 594.

    I think the only change we need is a probationary period for new governments, say a year to deliver a portion of promises made and if unsatisfied the electorate get to revoke their vote and then the votes are recounted at the end and they can see where they stand in the public and if necessary a new government is formed, again on probation..

  • rate this

    Comment number 593.

    551.catherine beak
    How does it give each MP the same number of Votes? Does it stop people from moving in or out of the new boundaries, it doesn't stop development within the new boundaries, so the 'Right' people move in to swell their Votes

  • rate this

    Comment number 592.

    3 Hours ago
    The Lib Dems have broken most of the pre-Election promises they made"

    No, they haven't. They promised what they would do if elected, not what they might have to do as part of a coalition.

  • rate this

    Comment number 591.

    Mr Cameron... do you have anymore thoughts on what to do with the million or so people who have lost their jobs over the past two years?"

    Unemployment was 2.48m in May 2010 and is 2.68m today.

    If I were you, I'd be more worried about my awful maths than the unemployment figures.

  • rate this

    Comment number 590.

    hoi there, cameron youve had it,capput,finito. you horrible little man. do the 'right thing' (your phrase) like menchy and quit!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 589.

    come to wales - most things are free

  • rate this

    Comment number 588.

    Read that Cameron will press ahead with boundary changes, so once again Mr Clegg you are not being listened to!


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