Meet West Down, Upper Bann and Blackwater, North Tyrone, Glenshane, Dalriada and West Antrim …

The new provisional (and, therefore, consultative) report of the Boundary Commission has just been published, with some fascinating twists on several older themes… You can respond here on Slugger, or possibly more effectively, here… Great to see the Blackwater given equal billing to the Bann.
Update: Nicholas has a round up analysis, noting that these proposals not only face public consultation, but a vote in a numerically tight House of Commons.

  • Ryan A

    I’d argue the numbers out there are such that gerrymandering is about to become impossible. Particularly in Dungannon & Upper Bann.

    I think Brexit has very little to do with the community voting patterns – Lagan Valley & Upper Bann both voted 47% Remain to 53% leave on similar turnouts.

  • Paddy Reilly

    There seems to be some affection for the EU in prosperous areas, even those which are overwhelmingly Unionist, North Down being the shining example: elsewhere the equation Nationalist = pro-EU, Unionist = anti-EU is workable.

    In a six seater constituency it only takes 42.8% of the vote (after transfers) to gain half the seats (3/6) yet the Nationalist side in Upper Bann failed to do so both in 2011 and 2016. In 2016 the SF + SDLP 1st preference vote was only 34.4% of the total.

    Upper Bann is not currently (or at least was not in 2011) a majority Catholic area, nor have the SDLP and SF achieved a joint vote of over 40%. So one could not call it a Nationalist area. Equally the Dungannon area returns 3 Unionists in a 6 seater district, so there is no Nationalist superfluity here.

    My conclusion is that Upper Bann and Blackwater is not a majority Catholic or inherently Nationalist constituency, though I would accept that it stands at the top of the Nationalist wish list.

    Nevertheless, with the Catholic and Protestant populations due to reach parity in about 10 weeks time, it will be increasingly difficult for any election to be held in NI in which Unionists achieve more than a plurality.

  • Gingray


    Here is what you said:

    “Northern Ireland might still be left with 18 constituencies because it has a high voter registration relative to GB.”


    “I’m just stating an opinion that it may remain at 18 constituencies. I
    think there is a possibility that it could be delayed in Northern
    Ireland until 2025 general election.”


    “Politicians here will argue that the reduction to 5 MLA’s was based on
    18 constituencies. Westminster will accept that reducing NI to 17
    constituencies would interfere with the ‘Fresh Start’ agreement and a
    delay will be tabled.”


    Don’t get me wrong here, I am not mad, its just your wishful thinking does not seem to take into account the real world.


    You got it wrong re voter registration leaving NI with 18 seats, indeed if they had takent he June 2016 figures as a base rather than December 2015 we would be left with only 16 seats in NI.

    You then jumped to delayed introduction for NI – cannot happen as per the legislation, it is UK wide and making a tweak would be time consuming and difficult and with no pay off.

    In regards politicians here arguing for this delay, I may have missed them taking you up on this?

    This will be going through, and quickly, there will be small changes at the edges, but unless different registration figures are used NI will have 17 seats in 2017.

    Just let it go dude

  • Gingray

    Simple question then – in 2020, for the UK general election, who will be the SF candidate in Belfast North West?

    My view is that in elections when a new candidate comes in they need to fight for recognition, and I cannot see Kelly standing, tho I could be wrong.

    Ní Chuilín is awful, and Mallon would be stronger (I am not saying winning) than her. Maybe Mary Ellen Campbell could be a decent pick, but it would be a more difficult start.

  • Gingray

    Fantastic! That is quite a useful wee link

  • Gingray

    I would agree on that point!

    Can you make it work numbers wise however?

  • Declan Doyle

    A stronger fight from the sdlp? That’s like saying you will get a stronger fight from a wet paper bag.

  • Declan Doyle

    I honestly have no idea. Personally I would prefer Kelly to stand. He is popular in both North and West belfast among Shinners. It’s irrelevant anyway. The stoops will most likely split the vote to let a right winger take the seat.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Yes it would mean extending the 4 Belfast Constituencies up to about 75K each electorally. Could be easily done with the outskirts of the city North – 67K extend further to Carrick. East – 60K extend further to Holywood. West – 60K extend further to Lough Neagh. South – 60K extend further to Carryduff.

  • Gingray


    This website is fantastic for trying to build workable constituencies. You should try to make something work.

    Looking at East Belfast to start with – by adding in 5 wards out towards Bangor you can get to 74,913. These would be Loughview, Holywood, Cultra, Helens Bay and Clandeboye. It takes you right to the edge of Bangor. Scrabo is the next ward south, which takes part of Ards.

    You could offset these 15k seats by taking in the 15k running down the ards peninsula. However your North Down seat would still be some 13k short, Ards has around 24k people so half if it maybe?

    Either way, its messy!

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Thanks GG like you say it is messy but sentimentally I would still like to maintain the Belfast region into its 4 earthly directions and constituencies. The biggest headache seems to be West Belfast ?

  • Gingray

    Not really, with West Belfast, should you wish, you could run the wards out closer to the lough shore, add in glenavy perhaps, and parts of Lisburn etc.

    There is more room to play with around the other sides of Belfast – outside of East is quite tight.

    Happy to see what proposal you can come up with that actually works with the 75k limit and the wards available, I had no luck.

  • Gingray

    I like Kelly, but he has a limit in terms of the amount of nationalists who would vote for him – quite a few, for legitimate reasons, will never vote for him, and it was a seat nationalism should be doing better in.

    In regards letting a right winger taking a seat, stop being an ar$e, if you are really that concerned start advocating that SF step aside as well. Otherwise its just petty narrow minded one party loyalism, no different from any unionist unity supporter.

    Westminster is pointless, I have no real concern who wins the seat, it matters very little to anything other than the party coffers, and the fact they get to be a fancy British MP.

  • Gingray

    Ha ha ha, grow up Declan 🙂

    The SDLP have good and bad points, I quite like the way they have managed to completely refresh their assembly team with a lot of younger faces, SF have been very stale, other than Megan Fearon very few of the new people come in seem to be adding anything

  • Declan Doyle

    I like the SDLP, I just happen to like the Shinners more. There is little between them in my view in terms of policy etc. They are both in the left and both keen on irish unity. The fresh faces did not help them much in the last election , however that could change going foreward.

    I honestly genuinely don’t approve in pacts as a general rule, and I agree with you that Westminster we lectionary are bit like voting for someone to go stand as a statue in a very old building abroad. But the lack of buy in between the sdlp and SF, and the continuous bad blood is what might be turning nationalist voters off.

    You have to fight fire with fire in elections and if that means facing down pacts against right wing parties, then so be it.

  • Gingray

    Calling them stoops and weak is hardly something I would associate with a party you like tbh.

    Fresh faces generally stand less chance of getting elected, incumbancy is very strong, particularly in Ireland, so returning with 6 new people was not too bad.

    Pacts are good for short term thing, particularly when, like Unionism, the voting base you count on is declining. What nationalism needs however is less name calling between the parties, and more vote sharing. I would happily give a vote to a right wing nationalist party.

  • Jimbob7810

    “‘communities’ where there are a load of non-voting youngsters, non-citizens, disillusioned ex-voters, dissident non-voters, or feckless lazy oafs.

    Is that a description of a nationalist area?”

    No far aff!