‘Significant’ boundary changes for Eastleigh

Will boundary changes cost Chris Huhne his seat?

Proposed changes to size of parliamentary constituency are published by the Boundary Commission today sparking speculation as to safety of Chris Huhne’s Eastleigh seat in a future election if the recommendations are adopted.

The Commission claim the Eastleigh constituency will be ‘significantly reconfigured’ under the proposals which aim to ensure all seats have the same size population- between 73,000 and 80,000- and to fulfil  David Cameron’s pledge to cut the number of MP’s by around 50.

While seats will be disappearing in other parts of the country, the density of our local population means a new constituency to be called Hedge End and Hamble will be created out of eight of Eastleigh Borough wards  – Hamble, Netley Abbey, Bursledon, Botley , all three Hedge End wards and West End South .

Eastleigh Constituency will regain four of the wards currently represented by Winchester’s conservative  MP Steve Brine and will gain three wards from the Romsey constituency which are also part of Test Valley Borough Council.

In addition Eastleigh will  gain Swaythling from Southampton Test  – which means the giant Ford Transit plant will now be located  in the constituency.

The size of the new constituency will stay the same at around 78,000 voters.

In the new Hamble constituency the Lib Dem represented HEWEB wards will be combined with five staunchly conservative wards from the Fareham constituency.

The tables below show the political support in the two proposed constituencies based on the total of votes cast for the main political parties in the local elections last time out.

Wards in proposed Eastleigh consituency with recent local election results

In the wards that will form the new Eastleigh seat the Lib Dems polled 24,409 votes (50%), the Conservatives 17,684 (37%) and Labour 6,160 (13%).

This compares with the 2010 election figures when Lib Dems won 24,966 (47%), Conservatives 21,102 (39%) and Labour 5,153 (9.6%).

The results would suggest that Lib Dem vote would hold up well although conservative voters tend not to turn out for local elections and a larger turnout in the general election could favour the Tory’s.

It should be remembered though that the Conservatives have an albatross dangling from the neck in the shape of UKIP – whose growing ranks of dissenting Tory’s could yet stymie their chances if the vote goes close.

It would seem the greatest danger to Chris Huhne’s seat will come from the public verdict on the performance of the Coalition and his well publicised personal difficulties – and not boundary changes.

Recent local election results from the wards in the new Hedge End & Hamble constituency suggest the General Election result could be close with the advantage to the Conservatives.

These proposals have yet to be voted through Parliament before they take effect but it won’t stop speculation  as to who might stand in the new constituency and if any of the current sitting councillors will fancy a stab at the top job.

There can be no greater honour than to represent one’s own home town in Parliament – surely local boy made good, Council Leader Keith House would be tempted?

Perhaps next time Michael Crick will go easy on him?

More posts about Chris Huhne

boundary changes South East

see also:

Hedge End Blogger

TGR Worzel

  12 comments for “‘Significant’ boundary changes for Eastleigh

  1. September 13, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Interesting analysis of the possible result. The Guardian has used the general election results from 2010 rather than recent local elections, but they have assumed that the voting pattern was identical across each ward was identical to the constituency result.

    Their method gives Eastleigh to the Tories by about 50 votes and Hedge End and Hamble goes blue by about 5000 as opposed to the 500 in your method.

    Lots of things will have changed by 2015 though. What will happen to the tactical votes Chris Huhne has eased from Labour in the last two GEs? Will UKIP start working in Warsash and Sarisbury and what impact will that have on the Conservative vote there? Will the turnout drop in Swaythling and Bitterne if voters feel no connection with Eastleigh or Hedge End?

  2. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    September 13, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    “Lots of things will have changed by 2015”

    I’m not convinced this lot are going to make it to 2015…well, at least not all of them 😉

    Yes I’m sure you’re right about Labour support reverting, we can see that it has happened in National polls.

    I was wondering which seat Maria might contest – there was such a lot of fuss between her and Chris last time as to who actually had a home in the constituency.

    I have to say that although Chris Huhne’s house is only yards away from Lidl I have NEVER seen him there in all the time it’s been open.

  3. September 13, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    I think this is an astonishing development that should in theory leave this part of the South of England much better represented with an extra MP. That was not what I had expected given that the idea was to reduce the number of MP’s overall.

    But I’m not sure I like the name of the new constituency, which immediately prioritises two districts (Hedge End and Hamble) over all the others and creates a reason for other districts to feel that they don’t belong. I’d much rather the name was based on a geographic feature and called something like Hamble Valley…

    I’d find it very tempting to stand if I can find the funding. Unlike the local elections, there’s a £500 deposit for Parliamentary elections on top of the cost of leafleting 76000 voters, so it isn’t going to be a pocket-money exercise…!

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      September 13, 2011 at 9:17 pm

      What you need is the backing of a local press baron 🙂

      • September 13, 2011 at 9:50 pm

        Lol.
        Thanks for the idea…!

  4. Graham Hunter
    September 14, 2011 at 7:24 am

    It would be good to see the existing pie charts redrawn with the correct parliamentary data not local election data.

    Get this done before the ECHO does!!!

    I am not sure why West End has been split? This seems to be splitting a community with the same issues and concerns. Also Bitteerne & Thornhill is a bit strange also.

    But I guess changes will be negotiated in the next two years

    It would be nice also to see the Borough carved up in a similar way by the Boundary commission, with even fewer wards!!!

  5. September 14, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Graham, I’m not sure the data is officially available for general elections on a ward by ward basis. So you either have to go on the last local election results (which carries the innacuracy that people vote differently in different elections) or do what the Guardian have done and us the last GE data but assume that voting patterns in every ward are the same as the overall result in the constituency (which is also not true).

    Eastleigh Lib Dems (who probably have the most accurate data but don’t make it public) think that one of the new consituencies is “quite easy” and the other “a doable challenge”.

  6. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    September 14, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Yes, Keith is right. I couldn’t find any GE data for the Wards. I did add the caveat that for some inexplicable reason, Conservative voters tend to go AWOL in local elections and we probably can expect the GE to be as tight as it ever was in Eastleigh.
    Overall though I dont think the proposals have done Eastleigh Conservatives any favours as the wards that the Constituency have acquired from Romsey are solidly Lib Dem.
    Keith points out in his blog that in H & H staunch Lib Dem wards from Eastleigh will be pitted against True Blue wards from Fareham.
    It’s not going to be a happy marriage.
    Although the numerical advantage seems to lie with the Conservatives it could go either way.
    I expect it will be the swing voters verdict on the candidates and the parties that will determine the outcome in both seats.
    That’s the way it should be decided – on Politics not tribal loyalties.

  7. Jeff
    September 14, 2011 at 10:25 am

    All i can say is if the Libs think they are going to have an easy ride in Eastleigh off the back of the last local election results then they have a bloody big shock coming to them

  8. September 14, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Conservative candidates also went AWOL in the last set of elections for Hedge End Town Council. A lot of the seats were uncontested, so they were picked up very easily by the Lib Dems…

    • Anne Romaine
      September 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm

      For Parish and Town Council elections look for Conservative candidates under the “Independent” banner

      • September 19, 2011 at 4:08 pm

        Not in Hedge End, Anne.

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