Boundary changes: the rumours

Could Vince Cable and Chuka Umunna lose their seats? Here is a full list of the rumours circulating

MPs are queuing up in Portcullis House to get a first look at the proposed boundary changes, which have just been released. The changes are under embargo until midnight tonight, but some rumours are already leaking out.

Some 50 MPs could face losing their seats. It is speculated that three cabinet members could be at risk: the Chancellor, George Osborne, the Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander.

Boundary changes not only change safe seats into marginals (and vice versa); they can also end up pitting members of the same party against each other.

Here are some of the rumours circulating around Westminster at the moment:

- Nick Clegg could also face problems. Paul Waugh reports that his constituency might be gaining a section of Labour Sheffield, which would dilute his share of the vote.

- Vince Cable's Twickenham seat could be merged with Zac Goldsmith's Richmond Park. It is unconfirmed whether Cable will be losing his seat.

- If these rumours are true, there is lots of bad news for prominent Liberal Democrats. The outspoken party president, Tim Farron, may have his constituency carved up between John Woodcock's Barrow and Furness and Rory Stewart's Penrith. If both Farron and Cable lose their seats, there is likely to be a Lib Dem backlash against the bill.

- It's not all bad for the Lib Dems though. Simon Hughes' seat is set to become Bermondsey and Waterloo, which Mark Ferguson reports may be even safer post-changes.

- There could be some tough choices for Labour. Changes to Streatham mean that rising star and shadow business minister, Chuka Umunna, could lose his seat, as could Kate Hooey.

- Ed Balls' seat is reportedly being split into Leeds South and Outwood and Leeds South-West and Morley.

We'll be confirming (or not) these rumours when more concrete information becomes available.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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Tim Farron sacks former MP David Ward

The Liberal Democrat leader said Ward's remarks made him "unfit" to stand. 

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has sacked David Ward as a candidate declaring him "unfit to represent the party". 

Ward, who lost his seat in Bradford East in 2015, once said "the Jews" were "within a few years of liberation from the death camps...inflicting atrocities on Palestinians". At the time, the comments caused outcry, and Ward faced disciplinary procedures - later adjourned.

Farron, though, doesn't intend to revisit this particular episode. After news broke that Ward had been re-selected to stand as a candidate, he initially said it was not the leader's job to select candidates, but hours later had intervened to stop it. 

In a short statement, he said: "I believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united. David Ward is unfit to represent the party and I have sacked him."

Although Ward has been involved in anti-racism organisations, he has courted controversy with his conflation of Jews with Israel, his questioning of Israel's right to exist, and his tweet in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack, in which French Jews were targeted, that "Je suis #Palestinian".

While the anti-Semitism row threatened to knock the Lib Dem's early election campaign off course, Farron's decision may help him avoid the ongoing saga haunting the rival Labour party. In April, Labour decided not to expel Ken Livingstone for his claim that Adolf Hitler supported Zionism "before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews".

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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