Recently, the new proposed boundaries for England’s Parliamentary seats were released. This caused quite a lot of interest as it appeared at first look that the seats were generally more favourable to the Conservatives, after what was apparently 10 years of a map that was more kind to Labour, despite the party having never actually won an election with this map.
Thanks to our friends at LeanTossup, we now have estimates for how these constituencies would have voted in previous elections. You can find these estimates on their website; we’ve also compiled a spreadsheet with the results.
Before we go into analysis, it’s important to note that the figures are solely projections. It is possible that some of them are wrong, and there are a couple I have seen myself that I question and are skeptical over. It is calculated by several layers of code, and not man made therefore local knowledge is not at all factored in. For example, in the 2015 General Election in Watford, I am able to use my local knowledge to presume that the result that’s been projected is likely to be wrong. Though they have stated the Conservatives would have won that seat, which they did, they have put it a lot closer than the real result, and with what appears to be removing more anti-Conservative wards from the Watford seat, I personally would suppose that the majority would increase. This is just one example, but please remember that there’s a possibility that the projections are just that: projections:
Comments from contributors
Elections Daily contributor Max Woods said:
Under the proposed boundaries, It is clear that the North of England will be the key battleground in 2024 with over half the seats won by less than 10 points in 2019 in this area. It is this area which has shifted massively to the Conservatives recently and they will hope this trend continues in 2024 with many seats only needing less than three-point swings to flip. Labour will be aiming to make up ground in London, the East, the South East and South West, where most of the vulnerable seats are Conservative. However, most of the most marginal races can be found in the North, a clear benefit to the Conservatives unless Labour reconnects with their traditional base in places like Bury, Durham and Warrington which all have multiple seats held by tight margins.
The Liberal Democrats only have two vulnerable seats whilst they can target sixi marginals, which are fairly scattered. Sadly for them, they lose former leader Tim Farron in the process. Most of their stronger numbers continue to be put up in the South. The Greens can be happy, with Bristol Central and Sheffield Central becoming even stronger for them. They now can put up strong numbers in two seats in the Isle of Wight and Brighton Kemptown gets a chunk of Caroline Lucas’s Brighton pavilion (which remains safe Green), making it 10 points stronger for them.
Sarah Stook, also an Elections Daily contributor, said:
Boundary changes are never smooth sailing. The rough idea is that areas have equal representation based on population, but is it really that simple? Areas which see their population growing are rewarded, while those who have a dwindling number of residents are quite the opposite.
One could argue that these changes favour more prosperous areas, as these are the ones who are benefiting from population change. It also definitely benefits the Midlands and South of England, which will see an increase in seats. Contrast this with the North of England as well as the other nations – will it help the argument of devolution that the SNP and Plaid Cymru are pushing.
I’m unsure as to how it will play out. Our constituencies have needed changing but nobody really knows how it will work until it happens. I’m inclined to say it will benefit the more populous areas and London, though that really isn’t anything new.”
In my view, these seats will be fascinating to look at. The last election and last local elections suggested a shift in the electoral map history that has taught us the Tories do badly in Sunderland and Labour do badly in places like High Wycombe, yet both parties were close to taking seats. These proposed seats, I believe, are going to boost shifts in the electoral map and make the parties have to appeal to a new sort of voter that they have not been able to. This is because the shifts are making the parties more competitive in areas they have not been before, and if these seats are more Tory-centric, as they appear to be, then the fight for northern identity will be imperative for either party, much like it was in Scotland throughout the second half of the 20th Century.
Looking at what these seats would mean historically, it shows that these seats would in fact help the Conservatives. If these results would have borne out in reality, the entire makeup for the 2010’s politics would be cataclysmically different, as the Tories would have had a lot more seats, and probably more power for their leaders when they faced tough times and backbench rebellions. For Labour, one of the main rays of sunshines is that out of the 90 marginals projected, they do not have the most number of seats, having 41 compared to the 47 for the Conservatives, but they should still be worried if the Conservatives have another positive night.