Labour accuses Tories of constituency boundary ‘power grab’

From The Guardian: The final plans for revamped parliamentary constituencies have been published, which would cut the number of seats in the House of Commons from 650 to 600, proposals condemned by Labour and electoral campaigners as unfair and pointless.

Labour has fiercely opposed the idea, and with some Conservatives expected to rebel it remains by no means certain that the plan, which has to be approved by parliament, will be put into effect. The government has not yet announced a timetable for presenting the proposals to parliament.

Initial proposals for constituencies in England and Wales brought calculations that the changes could cost Labour 23 seats, with the party calling it “gerrymandering”.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, Cat Smith, said the final recommendations amounted to “an undemocratic power grab”. She said: “With no plans to reduce the number of ministers, the government is weakening the role of parliament and creating unprecedented levels of executive dominance at the expense of backbenchers, when parliament is meant to be taking back control. Cutting the number of MPs by 50 as we prepare to leave the European Union is further proof this government is clamouring to tighten its grip on power.”

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Sinn Fein hit out at ‘gerrymandering’ electoral boundary changes

From Belfast Telegraph: Sinn Fein MP Francie Molloy has described proposed changes to Northern Ireland’s electoral boundaries as “gerrymandering to placate the DUP”.

An official map obtained by the Press Association shows changes to electoral seats in Northern Ireland to facilitate a reduction from 18 seats to 17 – something which comes as part of an overall reduction in parliamentary seats from 650 to 600.

“The Boundary Commission proposed and consulted on new electoral boundaries in 2016 as part of an overall plan to reduce the number of MPs here from 18 to 17,” Mr Molloy said.

“Unsurprisingly, the DUP rejected the plan despite the fact that the proposals reflected the terms and remit under which the Boundary Commission was established.”

Read more

Young, poor and minorities ‘cut out of map’ in Tory boundary changes

From Left Foot Forward: Tory changes to election boundaries will redraw the political map by ignoring those with the least power – the poor, young people, and ethnic minorities.

That’s the stark warning from the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) over proposals from the independent Boundary Commission review ordered by the (now defunct) Conservative-Lib Dem coalition.

The ERS highlighted five major failings in the plans and their threats to a healthy democracy:

  • Changes are based on registered voters rather than actual population
  • Changes are based on outdated figures that leave out two million people
  • Changes ride roughshod over communities
  • Fewer MPs means more cabinet power
  •  Meanwhile, we are getting more Lords and no PR.

[Read full article on Left Foot Forward…]

Labour To Be Hit Hardest By Boundary Changes, Sparking Claims Of ‘Gerrymandering’

From HuffPost UK: Labour is likely to be hit hardest by changes to parliamentary boundaries, potentially losing 30 seats altogether.

Two hundreds Labour seats could be affected by plans to cut the number of Westminster constituencies, new analysis has found.

The boundary review will see the number of MPs in the Commons reduced from 650 to 600.

Analysis by election expert and Tory peer Lord Hayward indicated that Labour will “suffer most” as a result of the proposals – leading to claims of “gerrymandering” from the Opposition.

[Read full article on Huffpost UK…]