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

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

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

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, while 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.

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

Based on the new boundaries, the Conservatives would have won 352 seats across England in 2019. This is an increase of seven from the previous boundaries. It should be noted that many of the newly created seats are in the south of England and not in areas traditionally represented by Labour.

In the case of Labour, we calculate that the party would have won 179 seats across England at the last general election, down one.

The Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, would have won 11 of the 543 English seats, an increase of four.

Tories net seven seats from the English boundary changes
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.

For Labour, we find that the party has notionally flipped some constituencies. Dewsbury goes from Conservative at the last general election to Labour, as do West Bromwich East, Wakefield, Hendon and Golders Green, and Peterborough. 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 Batley and Spen seat (which will hold a by-election on 1 July), now titled Batley and Hipperholme. Heckmondwike, the neighbourhood of Labour’s by-election candidate, is absorbed by Dewsbury.

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

Doncaster Town, formerly Doncaster Central, would have been won by the Conservatives, not Labour, at the last election based on our projections, as would Eltham and Chislehurst, Halifax, and Walsall.

In the north, the net changes 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. 

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 just seven points) and Worthing. And the redrawing makes a great many of those “Red Wall” seats lost to the Tories much more marginal than before. 

 Ben Walker is a data journalist at the New Statesman

Free trial CSS