The most important question about the new constituency boundaries is how much the Conservatives will gain from them, but we won’t have a very accurate estimate of that effect for some time. The maps published today are the initial proposals for England. Plans for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will follow. The independent commissions will listen to objections and then publish revised plans, on which there will be further consultations before the final boundaries come into effect in July 2023.
However, we know that the changes will benefit the Conservatives, because Tory seats have tended to grow in population, while Labour ones have shrunk. The purpose of the boundary review is to equalise electorates between constituencies, which means more seats in generally Tory areas and fewer in Labour.
The effect is unlikely to be as big as it would have been in the previous two attempts to redraw boundaries, which were abandoned because the government was trying not just to equalise seats but to reduce the total number of MPs. That created too many individual losers, including among Tory MPs, which made it impossible to get the changes through the Commons.
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