Tory boundaries blow

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The Independent Online
THE CONSERVATIVES will gain only six seats in England from the Boundary Commission review of parliamentary constituencies, according to an independent survey which dashes Tory hopes of being virtually assured of retaining power through the changes.

The finding contradicts earlier predictions that the Tories stood to gain more than 30 seats in England, Scotland and Wales at the next general election - a change that would have made Labour's task almost impossible.

The survey, by a political lobbying group, Westminster Communications, aimed to discover what would have happened in England at the last general election had the boundary changes been in place.

Using district council results to piece together the political complexion of the new constituencies, Westminster Communications concludes that the net effect of the review on the 1992 election result would have been a Conservative gain of six seats, a Labour loss of one seat, and no change for the Liberal Democrats.

The report says that its figures 'indicate that the Conservative Party will gain considerably less from the boundary review than was predicted as long ago as February 1991'.

The Commission's proposals for changes, which are not yet complete, are designed to take account of shifting patterns of population. Moves out of urban areas and the decline in people registering for elections to avoid poll tax are most harmful to Labour.