In the Conservatives’ 2015 Manifesto, they committed to a review of constituency boundaries, reducing the number of Members of Parliament to 600. Much umbrage was taken to this, as instead of being based on constituency population, it’s instead based on registered electors. As such, the Tories have been accused of trying to create an in-built majority to the House of Commons. Politics isn’t easy to understand – especially statistical politics like this – so Pulse Politics are doing the legwork for you, and finding out how this would affect the UK’s political landscape.
Our fair hometown of Preston changes dramatically. Previously, Preston City Council was split into three constituencies – Lea ward (depicted on the above map in blue) voted for the Member of Parliament for Fylde – most recently Tory Mark Menzies. Fulwood (in purple) consists of five wards of Preston – Cadley, Greyfriars, College, Garrison, and Sharoe Green – and together with Preston Rural North and Rural East (in red) made up part of the Wyre and Preston North constituency, which is currently held by Tory Ben Wallace. The yellow section – urban Preston – sits as one to return a single Member of Parliament for the Preston constituency – Labour’s Mark Hendrick.
The new constituencies see only Lea stay with Fylde. Fulwood and urban Preston combine to make a much larger – and much less safe – new Preston constituency. Rural Preston becomes part of the new Lancashire North constituency – which is absolutely massive.
Now, for the part everybody wants to know about – the projections. Using basic calculations, we can provide a rough estimation of vote share. Labour has a 17% majority over the Tories, which sounds sizeable, but all it would take is a swing of 8.5% to take the constituency. With the Tories currently around 14% ahead in most polls, this seems like a possibility. It would be disingenuous to say it’s likely, but possible, definitely.
An interesting development is the swing-back of the Liberal Democrats. Using the forecasting system we do, the Lib Dems’ recent swing in Preston’s local elections (an average of 55% in target wards), plus the pattern of swings in local by-elections suggests that they could keep their deposit, and even replace UKIP as the third-place party. This would be no mean feat as it would require an increase of 7% at the expense of UKIP and Labour to do, but again, it’s a definite possibility.
Even the Greens fare well from this – they keep their 4% or so of the vote. It seems that everyone wins from this – Labour keeps the seat, the Tories get in an attack position, UKIP still maintain a sizeable presence, the Lib Dems start to rise from the ashes of their electoral massacre, and the Greens keep their vote stable.
All in all, this is an exciting development for the political landscape of Preston – with recent polls showing Labour losing all but two of their seats in Lancashire (losing Burnley to the Lib Dems, and everything else but Blackburn and Preston to the Tories), these new constituency boundaries could really mean a reshaping of our popular climate.
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