Tories ‘big winners’ of Commons downsizing

By staff

The Conservatives are likely to be the big beneficiaries of plans to cut the number of MPs, research has suggested.

Projections by Democratic Audit for the BBC2’s Newsnight programme found the Conservatives would lose four per cent of their seats, or 13 of their 307 seats, if the coalition government’s proposals to reduce the MP headcount from 650 to 600 become reality.

Based on 2009 electoral statistics, the Labour party would lose the most MPs – down 25 from their current 258 – but in percentage terms the Liberal Democrats would be worse off, losing seven MPs – a 12% fall.

“These estimates suggest that, if the 2010 election had been fought on the basis of 600 seats with equalised electorates, Labour would have lost ground relative to the two other main parties,” the researchers concluded.

“As many as half of the 50 seats due to disappear from the Commons could be notionally Labour seats.”

Labour has consistently accused the coalition government of pushing through the electoral changes, which could be implemented in time for the 2015 general election, because of partisan motives.

The measures are currently being debated in parliament as part of the parliamentary voting system and constituencies bill, which also includes plans to hold a referendum on electoral reform next May.