Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Stop whingeing about boundaries, Dave

In today’s House of Commons debate about constituency boundary changes (aka the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill), Tory MPs will doubtless whinge about how unfair the present boundaries are. But the facts don’t support their arguments.

PoliticalBetting.com has today published statistics proving that the electoral system is not biased against the Tories. At the 2010 general election, it took an average of 34,940 votes to elect each Conservative MP compared with 33,370 for each Labour MP. The equivalent figure for Liberal Democrat MPs is 119,944.

As discussed in a previous post, any imbalance is mostly due to low turnouts in safe Labour seats. No amount of boundary changes can solve that problem.

To deal properly with unfairness, you would need a system of proportional representation and a serious voter registration drive in the inner cities. When the Tories support both those policies, then we’ll know how sincere they are about being fair.

POSTSCRIPT: The Tories lost the vote. No surprise there. But why are the Liberal Democrats still justifying voting against the boundary changes on the grounds that it is revenge for the loss of Lords reform? As this post points out, there are perfectly good arguments against the boundary changes that rely on neither vengeance nor petulance.

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