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 1167.

    1155. Steve_M-H


    Facts?? Haha, dont make me laugh Billy!
    Sorry, I suspected that weaning you off a diet of empty rhetoric would be trickyt - should have taken it more slowly. It can't be easy learning to think.

    Just to recap.You made naive baseless and juvenile criticism - I posted several links by way of being objective.
    What exactly was wrong with the Telegraph article?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1166.

    Cons need to start conceding some ground on policy otherwise this coalition is not going to make it to 2015.

    What coalition? All the general public have seen is a toff with his poodle. It looks very much as if the poodle has come to its senses and is hankering to be let off the leash. Can you honestly imagine the state of the economy by 2015 based upon Osbornes record of bungling so

  • rate this

    Comment number 1165.

    You are totally ignorant of what PR is, it was AV that was rejected, that is not a proportional system. If Clegg had insisted that PR be on the ballot he would have won.The Tory position on the Lords is anti-democratic. It should be 100% elected, the boundary changes are gerrymandering, equalising is fine,but cutting 50MPs is arbitrary,& designed to swamp labour marginals with rural Tory voters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1164.


    Of course you can. Just follow the same ethos as I do... if you dont like your reality, then change it. You get out of life what you put in.

    Or, you could wait for the state to do it for you. You might be waiting a while if you make that choice....

  • rate this

    Comment number 1163.

    1136 what an utterly ridiculous comment, how on earth would you know the outcome of the next general election,me thinks it is just wishful thinking on your part

  • rate this

    Comment number 1162.

    I believe that this move is tantamount to fiddling the results. It further demonstrates the complete lack of understanding and consideration for the ordinary people of GB by the tories.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1161.

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

    Due to the current economic climate and, the essential cutbacks identified by the current regime we have sadly had to make the quality trollers redundant. Further cutbacks resulted in holiday entitlement being reduced to zero. We are just filling in for those made redundant.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1160.

    Cameron IS concentrating on the economy. Just that his level of concentration is very limited and ideologically driven - too many Tea Parties with his American friends. The proposed boundary changes are just gerrymandering, so we'll have a Tory administration for a good while yet: and a Real Man will be waiting in the wings, to take over with a vengance from good old 'Call Me Dave'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1159.

    I think DC realises he has the Lib Dems to thank for being in government, however many grass roots Conservatives and backbenchers are failing to grasp this. Clegg could easily have gone with Labour and given Brown another 5 years....imagine that. Cons need to start conceding some ground on policy otherwise this coalition is not going to make it to 2015.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1158.


    Could be a plan, push the Lib dems to leave the coalition, so they carry the can again, and hope that all the newly redundant workers, or people who have to wait years to retire, or lost their homes or businesses. or the ones who are paying more for less pension, and facing years of a pay freeze,all go on holiday at the same time, and forget to book a postal vote.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1157.

    it was always going to happen and its designed to give them a majority, he says he is sad the lords reform didnt go through but lm sure he means otherwise..

  • rate this

    Comment number 1156.

    Constituancies should not be all the same size in population terms. Only an city dweller would come up with that nonsense. They should be a combination of population size and travel time - after all it should not take a trip of more than 2 hours to see your MP. Personally I would not trust any of the parties to put forward proposals that did not favour their own party.

  • Comment number 1155.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1154.

    There have always been boundary changes so not sure what Clegg is going on about here having seats the same size seems democratic to me if the coalition falls apart on this he will lose what little credibility he has left with the public. Think the tories will call his bluff and have autumn election on the back of Olympic success.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1153.

    So if it's the boundary commissions job why is Cameron poking his nose into their business?
    "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. Now I see.
    Explain how this helps the economy out of depression Cameron You are the ones who converted recession to depression

  • rate this

    Comment number 1152.

    The coalition is only a convenience pact so that the consertavitives could form a govt and the libdems had a moment of being in "power".Partisan politics will ruin the counrty.. For crying out Loud will those in the parliament work together to actually help our country. We could lead the word if we joined up thinking and use our potentiall. .

  • rate this

    Comment number 1151.

    146. Billythefirst
    Looks like Central Office is struggling for quality trollers - well, I suppose it is holiday season.
    I've been accused of being a troll on a few occasions but I don't think I could accept Murdoch's Shilling.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1150.

    Just thought:

    Posh boy sets Clegg up so that Clegg has no option but to wreck the coalition.

    Posh boy riding on the wave of Olympic bon homie calls a snap election.

    Wrong footing all.

    Just a thought...

  • rate this

    Comment number 1149.

    @ 2squirrels 1144

    You say "Changing the boundaries again will cost a fortune by changing all the road signs, town signs etc"

    It's just the constituency boundaries - where people are registered to vote.

    Road signs are not affected!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1148.


    Very good, this is an impartial process. So, being a democracy, let the boundary reform be put to a referendum.


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