The 2018 Boundary Commission Report was made available to the public last week, and the process has taken around two and a half years to complete.
To decide how a constituency is formed there are a number of factors and these are the number of electorates (to the nearest thousand), the number of square kilometres that the constituency covers and local government boundaries. There are individual reviews for the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the Isle of Weight is not counted in the South East total number of constituencies.
So, how would each region be affected?
London is a strong Labour city. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency seat of Islington North is set to be abolished under the 2018 commission plans, then merged with the Islington South and Finsbury seat of the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry. Boris Johnson’s seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip would go, meaning the public would see a drop in his majority of 5,034. Other seats to be abolished would include Lewisham East (which was recently contested and won by Labour’s Janet Daby after the resignation of Heidi Alexander), and some shadow cabinet members such as Dawn Butler and Marsha De Cordova would see their constituencies abolished. Vauxhall, which is held by controversial Labour MP Kate Hoey would also see its seat abolished under the proposals. Over half of the London constituencies will either be abolished or reconfigured under current proposals.
East of England
In the East of England, 13 seats will be abolished, 12 of which are Conservative strongholds and 1 was a Labour seat. The most prominent names to lose out here are the current Lord Chancellor Liz Truss, former International Development Secretary Priti Patel, Sir Bernard Jenkin and former Labour, but now independent, MP Kelvin Hopkins. Priti Patel’s seat of Witham will be split into three new seats, but if all are under 40%, she will be unable to challenge for any of them due to the current rules.
Prominent Tory rebel Anna Soubry and Father of the House Ken Clarke will be the biggest names to have their constituencies abolished in this region. It is expected that should these proposals go ahead, Ken Clarke will be elevated to the House of Lords. Other names to lose out include controversial Labour MP Chris Williamson, and former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.
It is expected that two Newcastle seats, held by Labour’s Chi Onwurah and Cathrine McKinnell, will have their seats merged together to create Newcastle upon Tyne North West. Labour Party chair Ian Lavery will have his Wansbeck seat split into two, whilst parliamentary Vice-Chair of the Co-Operative party, Anna Turney, will see her Redcar seat abolished. There will only be one Newcastle seat, two seats covering Middlesbrough, and one covering the city of Durham. It is expected that North West Durham, held by Laura Pidcock, will stay as it is.
Like London, most of the North west abolished or merged seats will be Labour, although the biggest loser here will be the current Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey. All round campaigner Alison McGovern would see her Wirral South seat abolished, and merged with the current Shadow Secretary of state for Work and Pensions Margaret Greenwood’s seat of Wirral West.
Scotland is set to lose their SNP spokesperson, Ian Blackford should these changes happen. His seat of Ross, Skye and Lochaber is set to be abolished, as is Alison Thewliss’s constituency of Glasgow Central. The SNP would still remain the biggest party in Scotland.
The biggest change is set to be a cross border seat between the counties of Devon and Cornwall. The seat of North Devon, which includes major towns such as Barnstaple and Ilfracombe, will be abolished. It is due to be combined with the seat of Bideford, Bude and Launceston. Other South West Conservative strongholds to be abolished include Yeovil, Thornbury and Yate, and Dorset North.
John Bercow's seat of Buckingham is in line to be abolished in this region. Canterbury, which was won by Rosie Duffield whilst making history in the process, is also in line to be changed. The current Immigration minister, Caroline Noakes, will have herseat of Romsey abolished. Southampton North is also in line to be changed according to the 2018 plans.
All bar one of the Birmingham seats are in line to be changed, although the boundaries of the remaining Birmingham constituency, Yardley, will be changed in some way. The current Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, will see his seat of Bromsgrove abolished. Another high-profile MP in line to have his constituency abolished in this area is the current deputy leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson.
Yorkshire and Humberside
David Davis constituency of Haltemprice and Howden will be abolished. The other high-profile MP to lose out in this area is Tracy Brabin, who won her seat in a by-election which was called in unfortunate and sad circumstances for all participating. The new Sheffield city region mayor, Dan Jarvis, will also lose out.
With many MPs such as Tulip Siddiq having major on-going issues, this will not help. The overall feeling is that these proposals should not go ahead, due to Labour seeing it as a power grab, and Wales losing 11 seats. One has to ask whethere there is a plan for devolved governments in the pipeline?