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 1147.

    Catch 22: to change anything about our administration, we can only vote - for groomed, selected and installed career pathways. Who do appear to benefit from the system These are administered by two wholly un-elected autonomous organisations that fully control all aspects of everything. Voting is the only way in & everything else is just baggage in the cart.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1146.

    Looks like Central Office is struggling for quality trollers - well, I suppose it is holiday season.

    Yes, and now Cameron's give Gideon the Theresa May vote of confidence it looks like a triple dip is on the cards, assuming we manage to escape from the current - so, perhaps not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1145.

    Absolutely right. And the voters know that the Tories are only trying to set right all the mistakes which Labour made. Don't worry - Labour will never win another election

    Err... there isn't a day goes by without revelations of corruption in the financial sector and, look who is defending them. That's right, Cameron and his cronies. The public see this and, will vote accordingly. Trials now

  • rate this

    Comment number 1144.

    When will DC stop feathering his own nest and concentrate on trying to put the country back in shape. Changing the boundaries again will cost a fortune by changing all the road signs, town signs etc not to mention the waste of all the already printed paperwork to be replaced. He says we are all in this together so The signs can only be to make things better for him. Wake up DC help the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1143.

    Cameron is deluded. Is he seriously going to waste time with a policy that stands no chance of getting through? At last the libdems have seen the reality of the coalition. They have been totally blinded by status and power into letting a tory party enact dogma under the cover of the deficit and they have no intent in letting the libdems have anything

  • rate this

    Comment number 1142.

    Here are the facts:


    "The Boundary Commission for England is an independent and impartial advisory non-departmental public body and is sponsored by the Cabinet Office.

    The Commission is required by the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 to review the Parliamentary constituencies in England every five years."

  • rate this

    Comment number 1141.

    @ 1116 Dave
    it will be good for this country once the boundary's are changed and the system is fairer,at least labour wont have all the feckless non working class sweeping them into power as before

    So Dave, how many feckless non working class do you think there are.? Last census there were 49mil voting adults in Great Britain and unemployment figures are 2.65mil...Think you need to redo your math

  • rate this

    Comment number 1140.

    For all the difference this makes to our current political landscape, the "Parliamentary Commission", might as well re-instate some rotten boroughs.

    "Gerrymandering" - look it up. There is no way that the recipients of the votes can be a satisfactory group to determine the source of the votes.

    Specifically, my ward will be attached to an overwhelming Labour area.

    Democracy? Cr*p!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1139.

    I took the trouble to furnish you with facts that you were apparently oblivious to. I really don't wish to see you make an ignorant fool of yourself again so perhaps we should first agree that I was right about the Tea Party tories and then we'll have a look at raising your awareness levels in other areas. You might be able to make an informed comment then -how nice would that be?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1138.

    AV as a system would have ensured that the third party elected would always be the king maker, by creating a coalition ..... The experience of this government was enough in a few months to ensure that was not going to be good for this country. Having the courage to stand up for declared principles may have got Clegg a better outcome

  • rate this

    Comment number 1137.

    to concentrate on righting the economy, but we need to ram through boundary changes to secure overall Tory majority at next General Election.

    Haven't the Tories been concentrating on the economy these last 2.5 years? Look at the results, recession to depression and still sinking. They will need more than boundary changes to explain their collusion with the culprits of the mess, the banks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1136.

    "its labour that is corrupt from the bottom all the way to the top"

    Absolutely right. And the voters know that the Tories are only trying to set right all the mistakes which Labour made. Don't worry - Labour will never win another election.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1135.

    1111 - I wouldn't class myself as particularly socialist just reacting to what is the opposite of left-wing i.e. taking money from the hard working masses to safeguard the wealth of a few

    I've never even voted Labour but given what an MP elected leader does a la Clegg I will vote Labour next time as the MPs didn't want Ed - he needed votes from more than 600x as many workers -that's of the people

  • rate this

    Comment number 1134.

    @ lifelongrugbyfan 1121

    You say "All governments make boundary changes, which tend to improve the MP count in their favour"

    This is factually incorrect. Governments do not decide 'boundary changes'.

    The Boundary Commission is an INDEPENDENT body. Don't take my word for it, see for yourself!


  • rate this

    Comment number 1133.

    I also have two issues with the elections in Wales;

    1. Why is the number of Welsh MPs being reduced by 25% (40 to 30) when the UK average is about 10%?

    2. Why is the UK government, and not the Welsh Assembly, deciding how a democratically elected assembly in Wales will be elected in the future?

    The answer to both is most likely the poor Tory representation in Wales.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1132.

    1125. Steve_M-H
    Can I come and live in your world?

    It sounds great, totally devoid of reality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1131.

    #1119. NorwichDave
    I agree that we need Single Transferrable Vote (STV) but with multi-member constituencies. With single member constituencies we would have AV!
    I would also point out that NO-ONE rejected PR in the referendum! people voted against AV and NOT in favour of First Past the Post, which is a discredited form of voting!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1130.

    The tail has wagged the dog for too long .Ditch the lib dems . Lets have a new election . I voted for cameron who has proved useless .Labour is even worse. Who do we have credible to vote for . Basically no one .
    UKIP or BNP could do a better job maybe even the Muslim Brotherhood .Britain is finished . Lets turn the lights out and leave .

  • rate this

    Comment number 1129.

    Call me Dave stuck the boot into Lib Dems at the last minute on the AV vote. After cancelling the coalition agreement pledge on HoL reform, he's now sticking the boot in on Constituencies boundary vote.

    Logically, we need not spend time on the HoL reform to concentrate on righting the economy, but we need to ram through boundary changes to secure overall Tory majority at next General Election.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1128.

    It's laughable that the Tories are complaining about the number of seats they get per vote when you consider how few other parties get for theirs.

    They actively lied in their campaign against AV (which being presented as the only option was itself was a slap in the face) and they threw out Lords reform. They should expect to be beaten on this and I really hope they are.


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