Could Tony Blair regret giving up 10 Labour MPs?
With just three months to go before a May 5th General Election the order confirming the Scottish Boundary changes has now gone through Parliament. This reduces the number of Scottish seats at the next election from 72 to 59 and has been designed to bring the average size of seats north of the border into line with the rest of the country.
At the 2001 General Election Scottish seats had an average of about 55,000 voters against 70,000 in England.
The changes mean that 646 seats will be at stake in the election compared with 659 last time. Martin Baxter’s site has a notional 2001 result based on a projection of what would have happened then if the new boundaries had been in force. This shows that four years ago Labour would have had 10 fewer MPs, with the Lib Dems, the Tories and the SNP losing one seat each.
If the General Election is, indeed, a close run thing then the loss of ten Scottish Labour seats could be crucial.
We’ve been pointing out for nearly a year that the spread-betting companies have been slow to catch up with the Scottish changes. At the 2001 General Election the three main parties had 629 seats between them. Taking away the 12 seats that are to go then the mid-points on the spread markets should add up to 617 seats. Currently these are the totals:-
Sporting Index – 627 seats (10 seats over)
IG Index – 622 seats (5 seats over)
Spreadfair – 622.8 seats (5.8 seats over)
IG Index spread prices: LAB 354-361 (-1) : CON 190-197 : LDs 70-74
Latest Spreadfair prices: LAB 355.5-358 (-1 to 1.5) : CON 191-194 (+2) : LDs 71-73.4
The changes mean that the Tory spread has gone up by seven seats since the new immigration policy was announced ten days ago.