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Boris Johnson’s boundary boost: Prime Minister is set to gain TEN seats in the South when constituencies are re-drawn… but the ‘blue wall’ could crumble
The Tories could gain up to ten seats when parliamentary constituency boundaries are redrawn, it has emerged.
A review into the size of MPs’ seats will benefit traditional Conservative heartlands, but will also mean the party’s new ‘blue wall’ seats are more vulnerable.
It will make welcome reading for Boris Johnson after a poll yesterday suggested that his support has collapsed during the pandemic. It found that if a general election were called tomorrow, the Tories would lose their majority and the Prime Minister would lose his seat.
The Tories could gain ten seats as the parliamentary constituency boundaries are redrawn tomorrow.
A review by the Boundary Commission into the sizes of the UK’s 650 parliamentary constituencies will be announced tomorrow.
Second Scottish independence referendum ‘not until 2055, says Prime Minister Boris Johnson
A second Scottish independence referendum should not take place until 2055, Boris Johnson indicated.
The Prime Minister signalled a hardline approach to dealing with Nicola Sturgeon’s continued demands for a fresh vote, claiming it should be a ‘once in a generation’ event.
The First Minister pledged that her SNP party will put holding a re-run of the 2014 vote at the centre of its campaign for May’s Scottish Parliament elections. But the PM told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday that the 41-year space between Europe referendums – 1975 and 2016 – was ‘the right sort of gap’, suggesting the next independence vote could be in 2055.
The 2014 vote resulted in 55.3 per cent opposing Scotland going it alone. But 17 consecutive polls have found a majority backing independence.
The last survey took place in 2000, meaning the current constituencies are 20 years out of date. Legislation passed last year means reviews will now take place more regularly to ensure constituencies keep pace with shifts in the population.
Parliament will not have a vote on the decision, which will come into effect automatically by 2023. The next election is set for 2024.
The new boundaries are expected to benefit the Conservatives because areas in traditional strongholds for the party, such as Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Kent, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, are likely to gain parliamentary seats.
This could give the Tories up to 14 seats, but they are likely to lose some of the more marginal ones that they gained from Labour in the North and Wales.
Lord Hayward, a Tory peer and political analyst, predicted the Tories would gain between five and ten MPs after losing some of the ‘blue wall’ seats.
‘The extra seats are in what one would describe as Tory heartlands in the South. Creating an extra seat in those areas would effectively be giving it to the Tories,’ he said.
‘But the blue wall areas, which are on average small seats, are places which are going to lose seats.
‘Yes, the Tories did well in these territories but they are small seats.’ He added that Scotland could lose up to three seats, meaning the losses will not all be Labour’s.
Meanwhile, a Sunday Times poll, carried out over the festive period by Focaldata, found that neither the Tories nor Labour would win an outright majority if an election were held tomorrow. The MRP [Multi-level Regression and Post-Stratification] survey, supposed to be more reliable than traditional polling, gives the first major insight into how the pandemic is affecting Mr Johnson’s electoral chances.
It was, however, conducted over four weeks in December – when Christmas was cancelled for millions, a new strain of the virus emerged and the UK faced the possibility of a No Deal Brexit.
The survey of 22,000 people suggested the Conservatives would lose 81 seats, wiping out Mr Johnson’s majority.
This would leave them with 284, while Labour would win 282 – an increase of 82.
The Liberal Democrats would be left with just two seats and the SNP would win 57 of the 59 seats in Scotland. Labour would win back half of its constituencies where voters backed the Tories for the first time in the last election.
Justin Ibbett, Focaldata’s founder, said: ‘It is clear that the Conservatives already have a lot of work to do if they are to replicate their 2019 success in future elections.’
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