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The UK’s new political map?

The UK’s new political map?

The documents below provide the full details of Democratic Audit’s model of how constituency boundaries could change using the new rules contained in the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011. Please note that this model was published in June 2011, three months in advance of the publication of the Boundary Commissions' offical proposals  for the redrawing of constituency boundaries.

The model, devised by Lewis Baston, Senior Research Fellow, with assistance from Kevin Larkin used the December 2010 electorate figures, as the Boundary Commissions are required to do. It also adhered to a number of principles which the Boundary Commissions had indicated they would seek to apply, such as avoiding constituency configurations which cross English regional boundaries.

It should be emphasised that this is only a model. It was not produced as a precise prediction, but as a projection of what the outcomes could look like. There are many possible patterns for drawing up constituencies that will be consistent with the new rules, and this is but one solution. The political parties have no doubt done similar work. But the final word will go to the Boundary Commission working in each of the component nations of the United Kingdom – and their results will be different in significant ways from any other model set of boundaries.

The authors of this work on boundaries hope that it will raise public awareness of the issues involved, and encourage a maximum of informed public participation once the Boundary Commissions invite consultation on their proposals. Members of the public may, for instance, wish to consider whether aspects of our proposals could be put forward to the Commissions as alternative configurations. 

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Lewis Baston, The Democratic Audit model of new Parliamentary boundaries: methodological note, 6 June 2011 (PDF)

This paper summarises the assumptions and methods used to undertake the modelling and provides a number of important caveats about how the results should, and should not, be interpreted.

Lewis Baston, Summary of Democratic Audit boundary simulation, 7 June 2011 (PDF)

This paper provides an overall summary of the model findings for each standard English region as well as for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. (Note - this is an updated version, with minor changes to the two Warrington seats, which replaces the version published on 6 June 2011).

Lewis Baston, Constituencies left unchanged in the Democratic Audit boundary model, 7 June 2011 (PDF)

It has been widely assumed that the new rules to be used by the Boundary Commissions will require changes to the boundaries to almost every constituency. This paper provides details of 88 constituencies, listed by region, which remain unchanged in the Democratic Audit model.

Detailed regional summaries

We have now released all our detailed regional summaries of the model constituencies contained in the mapping exercise. These provide details of the wards making up each proposed constituency in the model.

Region Summary (PDF) Maps
Scotland               Download  Scotland with central belt detail (PDF)
Wales Download Wales and South Wales detail (PDF)
Northern Ireland Download  No map currently available
East of England Download  Eastern region map (PDF)
East Midlands Download East Midlands region with cities detail (PDF) 
Greater London Download Greater London and Inner London detail (PDF)
North West Download  North West region and metropolitan detail (PDF)
North East Download North East region and metropolitan areas (PDF)
South West Download South West region and Bristol area detail (PDF)
South East Download  South East region with county detail (PDF)
West Midlands Download West Midlands region and metropolitan (PDF)
Yorkshire & the Humber Download Yorkshire & Humber region and metropolitan (PDF) 

Each regional summary has been produced by Lewis Baston. The maps have been produced by Kevin Larkin, using Ordinance Survey data.

An overall summary of the research findings, and the approach used, can also be found on The Guardian’s datablog.

Alternative regional summaries

In June 2011 we published detailed regional summaries of model constituencies. We have now published alternative regional summaries with revised sets of boundaries. The constituency boundaries in these summaries can be compared with those in the original plan to see which best fit the Boundary Commission’s priorities and local views.

Region Summary (PDF) Maps
East Midlands Download Eastern region map
West Midlands Download West Midlands region and metropolitan

Harry Hayfield, one of the authors of the Britain Votes website, approached Democratic Audit and volunteered not only to calculate 'notional’ 2010 results for the model parliamentary seats, but also to write some commentary, this can be found on the Partisan Impact of Boundary Changes: Alternative Modelling page of this site.

Note: The above research updates our previous estimates of the potential political impact of the 'reduce and equalise’ provisions had the new boundaries been in place at the 2010 General Election – published in August 2010 and January 2011. These previous studies used 2009 electorate figures and were based on the initial rules proposed in the draft Bill and are therefore superseded by these new estimates.