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Page last updated at 08:52 GMT, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 09:52 UK

Boundary changes 'like MPs' redundancy plan'


The Boundary Commission for England has published proposals for the biggest re-drawing of the electoral map in a generation.

The Commission's Simon James told Today presenter James Naughtie: "This is the most significant change for a generation and the level of those changes is as a direct result of the very very tight rules that were handed down to us by parliament."

John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, said that the motive behind the proposals was "to make it somewhat easier for the Conservatives to win a majority at the next election and somewhat more difficult for Labour".

He added that the average Labour constituency at the 2010 election had 4,000 fewer voters than an average Conservative seat.

In addition, he said, although Labour won a Commons majority in 2005 with a 3% lead in the polls, the Conservatives were unable to secure a majority at the 2010 election even though they polled 7% more votes than Labour.

Professor Curtice said that although the proposed changes "will reduce some of the bias that the electoral system currently has against" the Conservatives "it certainly won't be eliminated".

And the BBC's political editor, Nick Robinson said that "virtually every MP - bar 77 - will be wondering if they are going to be made redundant" following the changes.

"This is the political equivalent of a redundancy plan being announced."

The changes will result in 31 fewer MPs at Westminster. Among the politicians facing big changes to their constituencies are the chancellor George Osborne, the Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, as well as Ed Balls and Tessa Jowell for Labour.

In Northern Ireland, two seats will go; proposals for Scotland and Wales will be published later.

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