The Liberal Democrats will select their candidates to fight the next election on the basis of current Westminster constituencies, it emerged yesterday, in the wake of Nick Clegg's pledge to veto boundary change.
The move means it is now only the Conservative Party that is pressing ahead with plans to select candidates and campaign on the basis of the revised boundaries.
That could present problems for the party if David Cameron loses the vote on the issue when it is debated in the House of Commons late next year or in 2014.
It could mean selected Tory candidates having to campaign in areas which they will not actually be contesting in a general election. But Conservative sources insisted they would still have time to campaign actively even if they lost the vote.
"The Prime Minister has made clear we are pressing ahead with the boundary vote and we will continue as a party to plan around those new boundaries," they said.
But the Liberal Democrats claimed this would disadvantage them. "Ideally in key seats you'd spend the next two years making sure voters had been approached at least once on the doorstep and seen literature promoting our candidates," said one source.
"The danger is if you try to do this on the basis of seats that don't even exist – and are unlikely to – you may have a lot of catching up to do at the end."