Redrawing the electoral boundaries in Brighton and Hove

There has been some speculation about the possible redrawing of boundaries in Brighton and Hove. The Sage that is Anthony Zacharzewski says that he would “be interested to hear what the BPB makes of either scenario, assuming that the Boundaries Commission don’t want to go beyond the Downs to incorporate Ditchling, Poynings etc into the city’s constituencies”.

The Sage describes these two scenarios: “There’s one scenario where the new constituencies are drawn on a baseline of the eastern edge of the city, with Telscombe etc falling into a new Lewes constituency and the city being basically East Brighton (not in the ward sense), Central Brighton with Hove, and Portslade with Shoreham. Alternatively, as someone suggests upstream, they could pivot the other way, and take in bits of Newhaven.”

Others have speculated on how boundaries might be redrawn. Mark Shappard writes: “In the 2010 election Brighton Kemptown constituency had 6,253 fewer registered voters than the minimum that will be required in the next general election. As Brighton Pavilion had a number that’s well within the correct range I imagine the boundaries for that will stay pretty much the same, forcing Brighton Kemptown to be extended further outside the city. So it may well end up taking in the whole of Newhaven, which has just voted in Liberal Democrats to all 18 of its town council seats.”

The range, according to Mark, is that each constituency in the future must have between 72,810 and 80,473 electors and that the three local constituencies had the following number of electors at the 2010 GE:
Hove: 71,181
Brighton Pavilion: 73,430
Brighton Kemptown: 66,557

But nobody has suggested a third way (why does nobody talk about the Third Way anymore?) – leave Hove as is, other than with the addition of a couple of hundred voters along, say, the ‘Brighton’ side of Dyke Road and Dyke Road Avenue, thus achieving the c73,000 minimum. Then create Brighton Coastal and Brighton North. Brighton Coastal could extend beyond Rottingdean Coastal and into Lewes District to get it over the 73,000 mark.

This would split and undermine the Greens, with Regency, Queens Park, St Peters and North Laine, and Hanover becoming part of Brighton Coastal, and being ‘neutralised’ by the weight of Tory votes in Rottingdean Coastal and beyond. There is no particular logic to this option other than to gerrymander constituencies to reduce the chances of Caroline Lucas being re-elected. But then the presence of someone like Ms Lucas threatens and undermines the consensus between the three main parties.

The reality for many, particularly in Labour (including those on the left) is that they would rather see a Tory left in place than a Green winning.

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10 Responses

  1. I continue to think that much vexation is being given to the boundary changes, if indeed they happen in any dramatic way, perhaps with a view to quashing Green chances.

    While not wanting to follow Warren Morgan’s “first East Brighton, tomorrow the Universe” approach to such matters, I am wondering whether any of these mooted boundary changes might in fact increase Green support in points east, west and north east.

    And I suppose south, if that architect’s idea of a housing island in the Channel had come to anything… doesn’t that one now seem part of a surreal phase in local govt?

    Then again, to watch the Tory faces at the Council on Thursday was to realise that they thought the turn to events completely out of order.

    That said, it was a good and amiable time this evening at Local Action Team with Andrew Wealls.

  2. Gerry Mander? Who he?

  3. Gerrymandering boundaries is inevitable, and with the Tories in power, of course they will do what is best for them.

    I think there could be a positive scenario for the Green Party, if the outer reaches of Hove and Kemptown are lost to neighbours, leaving two seats for B+H, broadly East and West. I don’t know the size of Shoreham and Lewes to know if they will need any more voters.

    The Green Party may wish to consider that everyone else is obsessed with Caroline, and that she is seen as threatening – always important to big yourself up – but people will be more concerned with what works for them, rather than what works against others.

    Interesting comment about Labour preferring a Tory to Caroline. At the last GE it was clear that the Green Party preferred two Tories in Kemptown and Hove to Labour winning either seat (important that they didn’t have a focus to build from, reducing Green Party chances in the locals)- and I’m sure that will be their position next time as well.

  4. Dr. Faust, your last comment is ludicrous and insults those who opt to vote Green.

    I think Labour might have had something to do with them losing in Kemptown and Hove. Needless to say but the Green vote actually went down in those constituencies. Given the results in the locals two weeks a go, it is fair to see Green voters gave their preference to Labour in Kemptown and Hove by voting tactically.

    • Luke – I was talking about the Green Party, not their supporters, many of whom will have voted Labour in Kemptown and Hove. It was all about Pavilion for them, and I know people in the Party who actively wanted Labour to be defeated in all three constituencies as that would further the Green Party agenda in B+H. As the Green Party was never interested in who ran the country, as it could not be them, they needed, and got, the right tactical result across the three seats. You can hardly deny that the defeat of Labour across the City worked to your advantage.

      By the way the Green Party vote went down across the country as a whole – not just Hove and Kemptown.

  5. I agree it would be better for Lab to wish the Tories to win rather than the Greens. The workers are lured into false consciousness if they vote Green- they forget the class enemy. So it is better if the class enemy wins -certainly, there can then be proper hostility towards that enemy.

  6. I’ve been trying to find the article which said that the boundaries are being redrawn to ensure all sitting Tory MPs have their seats largely preserved/enhanced for them – I think it was the Telegraph or somewhere. Would suggest the addition of more “Tory” areas for KT and Hove.

  7. Am I the only one here who believes in democracy?

    Surely with an independant commision set on the most important boundary changes in recent history, every effort will be being made to make this fair and reasonable. If you fear it is not, best write to the commission, government and your MP as well as bitching on a blog.

  8. The Boundary Commission say we will get a chance to give our views only when they have published their preliminary recommendations in the Autumn:
    http://boundarycommissionforengland.independent.gov.uk/2011/03/redrawing-parliamentary-constituencies-begins/

  9. Last time the Boundary Commissioners followed ward boundaries designed by the Conservatives. Will they re-ward the council at the same time as fixing new boundaries? We can be confident Tories will be ready and have a scheme(even if it doesn’t favour tham as much as expected), so progressive parties also need to be ready and have a scheme based on coherent communities-if it is to hold water.

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