YOUR quotes from Mary Creagh MP in reagards to parliamentary boundaries give the distinct impression that the government is planning a gerrymandering of the voting system in order to secure extra seats at the next election.
That is completely untrue. For most people life is too short to worry about the inherent flaws in our electoral system but it is a system that has a built in Labour advantage….not because anyone fiddled it but because it has simply developed that way.
The fact is that under the current boundaries Labour have a 4% to 6% advantage (depending on which figures believe). That is to say that the Conservatives need a 6% lead over Labour in the polls, simply to gain the same number of seats. This is because in many Labour strongholds, like Workington or Wolverhampton SW, the electorate is less than 60,000. By contrast, in Conservative strongholds like North West Cambridgeshire or Meriden, the electorate is well over 80,000. Therefore, on average, it takes many more votes to get elected as a Conservative.
What the government is planning is quite simply to make all constituencies more or less the same size. Naturally, Labour are wholly against this. It may well be that the Conservatives would be against it were the boot on the other foot.
The Electoral Commission is a wholly independent body and have the task of re-drawing the boundaries. I have to agree that their initial proposals for Wakefield were a bit of a dog’s dinner and were wholly unacceptable for a myriad of reasons. Alternative proposals have been submitted and I was involved, first hand, in putting forward alternative proposals for the West Yorkshire re-draw submitted by the Conservative Party. We are reasonably optimistic that these proposals will be accepted. What is fairly certain is that the initial proposals, as quoted in your article are unlikely to be what we end up with.
The overall effect of these changes, should they go ahead, will not just mean that Labour’s unfair advantage is expunged, but thankfully there will also be 50 less MPs, a fact that some MPs are none too happy about.
Unfortunately, if politicians didn’t exist we would have to invent them, if only for the entertainment. I will be disappointed if the changes do not now go ahead as I was quite looking forward to watching our 650 MPs fighting like ferrets in a sack, in order to get one of the newly formed 600 seats before the music stops.
Tony J Homewood