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New constituencies, old rivalries

Patrick Burns | 09:34 UK time, Monday, 11 April 2011

On this week's Politics Show, BBC WM's Michelle Dawes examined the Government's plans for fewer, and therefore bigger, Parliamentary constituencies.

The Democratic Audit 'think tank' told her the biggest impact would be in places like the Black Country, with fierce local loyalties and rivalries where larger constituencies would inevitably cut across local borough boundaries.

You may remember the Government fought a determined battle with Labour peers earlier this year to preserve the link between the redrawn constituencies and the AV Referendum.

Why did they fight so hard to keep them coupled together?

The referendum to say 'Yes' to AV, might cost the Conservatives up to 20 seats. But reducing the number of MPs by 50 would hit the Tories less hard than rival parties, to the extent that they might improve their position relative to the others by about, you guessed it, 20 seats!

I put it to the Conservative MP for Stratford-on-Avon, Nadhim Zahawi, that it was no wonder his party was being accused of 'gerrymandering'.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Since no boundaries have actually be redrawn yet, it would be hard to make the accusation of gerrymandering stick. While the Electoral Commission has been effective in creating equal seats, the process has introduced biased redistricting that has gone unchallenged, and which could more accurately be termed gerrymandering (even if inadvertently so.) Availability of US-style redistricting software (of which Maptitude is the most used) will enable serious partisan and non-partisan (interest group, local group, etc.) opposition to be mounted.


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