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9 June 2021updated 04 Sep 2021 1:19pm

Conservatives and Lib Dems set to gain from English boundary changes – notional results

Our exclusive analysis reveals that the Tories are likely to gain ten seats from the boundary changes while Labour loses just one.

By Ben Walker

The proposed parliamentary boundary changes for England have now been fully analysed by the New Statesman. In terms of the headline numbers, the biggest beneficiary is the Conservative Party, as England also gains MPs from the redrawing. 

But according to our modelling, which reverse-calculates local election swing at a ward-level from the old boundaries to the new, the gains are not as sizeable as some may have thought, or as big as those suggested by the boundary reviews of 2018, 2013 and 2007.

In terms of constituency majorities, there are about as many marginal Conservative and Labour seats as there are under the old boundaries.  

Who are the winners and losers of the English boundary changes?
Notional 2019 election results for England on the proposed boundaries

Nonetheless, under the new boundaries the Conservatives would have won 355 seats across England in 2019. This is an increase of ten on the previous boundaries. It should be noted that many of the newly created seats are in the south of England and not necessarily in areas traditionally represented by Labour. 

In the case of Labour, we calculate that the party would have won 178 seats across England at the last general election, down one from the old boundaries.

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The Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, would have won 8 of the 543 English seats up, an increase on the old boundaries of one.

English boundary changes – the headline figures
Notional 2019 election results for England on the proposed boundaries

Esher and Walton (the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s seat), Wimbledon, and Finchley and Muswell Hill are but some of the seats in which our modelling suggests the Lib Dems are notionally ahead.

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For Labour, we find the party has notionally flipped some constituencies that were previously Conservative but are now, according to our calculations, in their favour. Dewsbury goes from Conservative at the last general election to Labour, as does West Bromwich East, Bury South, and Kensington and Westbourne. Blyth and Ashington, which takes a greater portion of its geography from Wansbeck than from Blyth Valley, is notionally Labour.

The Conservatives, meanwhile, notionally gain the redrawn Lancaster and Fleetwood seat, now titled Lancaster. Other seats flipped include Halifax, Walsall, and two of the three constituencies that make up Kingston upon Hull.

Where do the seats change hands?
Notional 2019 election results for England on the proposed boundaries when compared to the old

While the Tories are the net beneficiaries overall, the net changes in the north are far more minor; parties trade marginal seats for marginal seats. But the reality of these boundary changes is that they reflect population change. Most of the new Tory seats are not in the north but the south. 

Notional results, tabulated
Notional 2019 election results for the redrawn boundaries

To my eye these boundary changes aren’t dramatically helpful for the Conservatives, nor disastrous for Labour. In the south the redrawing helps Labour in striking through at newly proportionate seats, most notably Swindon South (which has a notional Conservative majority of eleven points), High Wycombe and Worthing. And the redrawing makes a fair few of those “Red Wall” seats lost to the Conservatives much more marginal than before.