Boundary change 'could cost Lib Dems quarter of MPs'

The Liberal Democrats could lose a quarter of their seats under boundary changes currently being drawn up by the Government, more than four times that of Labour, according to a new study.

Academics at Liverpool University found that the Liberal Democrats would lose 14 of their 57 seats, or 24.6 per cent, under the proposed changes. Labour would lose 17 (6.6 per cent), while the Tories would be least harmed, losing 16 seats, or 5.5 per cent.

The current review on constituency boundaries was agreed by the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg in return for a referendum on the Alternative Vote, and aims to reduce the number of MPs by 50. The study, published in The Guardian, was conducted by Democratic Audit, a research group working out of Liverpool University. It is the most detailed of its kind, and paints a much bleaker picture for the Liberal Democrats than previous studies.

The findings could lead to further tension in a coalition already at odds over NHS reform, and with Liberal Democrat MPs concerned over consistently poor polling results for the party.