“This vote now draws a line under this issue…”

Or not, as the case may be.  ANYhoo…  A Conservative Party backed proposal to redraw UK parliamentary constituency boundaries has been defeated in the House of Commons.  As the BBC reports

MPs voted by 334 to 292 to accept changes made by peers, meaning the planned constituency shake-up will be postponed until 2018 at the earliest.

It was the first time Lib Dem ministers have voted against their Conservative coalition colleagues in the Commons.

The two parties have been in dispute since proposed elections to the House of Lords were dropped last year.

The majority of 42 indicates that Labour and Lib Dem MPs were joined by those of smaller parties to defeat the proposals.

Labour whips also said four Conservatives – David Davis, Philip Davies, Richard Shepherd and John Baron – rebelled against their party.

A senior Lib Dem source insisted to the Press Association that the vote would not damage the coalition.

“Both sides of the coalition have known what the position is for months now. There are 101 other things the Government is doing and we will get on with those,” the source said.

“This vote now draws a line under this issue.”

Or, as the Economist predicted in August 2012, sets the scene for “a new era of tit-for-tat politicking.”  And no change here

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  • boondock

    Relief for Campbell and McDonnell, squeeky bum time for Dodds!

  • Boondock,
    Correct! Hence the disgraceful Girdwood nonsense. Still, it makes things much easier for us number crunchers

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    What is the new constituency of North Belfast and how will it affect Droopy???

  • boondock

    Ardoyne – North Belfast wont change thats the point as Im sure you are aware Dodds majority has been shrinking fast meaning an election in 2015 will be a tight call. This is where spineless Mike steps in or pulls out shall I say and gives the DUP a free run, this would give Doddsy an extra 2000 votes which would see him home as a nationalist pact is never going to happen whilst McDonnell is in charge of the SDLP.

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    I thought the new North Belfast boundary was to take in Highfield, Westway, Lynhurst and Glencairn, all Unionist areas currently in the west constituency. With no other changes???

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    Should have added that’s swings and roundabouts???

  • Comrade Stalin

    Given that Nigel Dodds has been doing his utmost to persuade SDLP voting Alban Maginness supporters to tactically vote for Gerry Kelly I think the result of that election is a cert at this point.

    If Naomi manages to hold onto East Belfast, there will be no unionist representation for Belfast in Westminster.

  • 6crealist

    I agree Comrade.

    cf. Ritchie/Ruane in South Down.

  • boondock

    ‘Given that Nigel Dodds has been doing his utmost to persuade SDLP voting Alban Maginness supporters to tactically vote for Gerry Kelly I think the result of that election is a cert at this point.’

    Not that long ago I would have said there was still a substantial hardcore SDLP element that would never ‘lend’ Gerry Kelly a vote but in fairness to Gerry Kelly he came out of ”that’ Nolan show looking almost respectable so a big SF pat on the back goes to Wilson and Bryson for doing the impossible.

  • GEF

    Dodds vote in N Belfast went up from 13,935 in 2005 to 14,812 in 2010, so you could hardly call that shrinking.

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    “Given that Nigel Dodds has been doing his utmost to persuade SDLP voting Alban Maginness supporters to tactically vote for Gerry Kelly I think the result of that election is a cert at this point”.

    Why would Dodds be asking for McGuinness voters to vote for Kelly??? If anything it would be the other way around???

    General Election 2010: Belfast North

    Party Candidate Votes % ±%
    DUP Nigel Dodds 14,812 40.0 -2.9

    SF Gerry Kelly 12,588 34.0 +7.1

    SDLP Alban Maginness 4,544 12.3 -4.5

    Con+Union Fred Cobain 2,837 7.7 -1.8

    All Billy Webb 1,809 4.9 +2.0

    Inde Martin McAuley 403 1.1 +1.1

    Majority 2,224 6.0

    Turnout 36,993 56.5 -1.1

    Democratic Unionist hold Swing 5.0

  • Gopher

    North Belfast

    Nationalist vote

    1998 Assembly 42.60%
    2001 Westminster 46.20%
    2010 Westminster 46.30%
    2011 Assembly 43.90%

    Nationalist quotas

    2007 3.10
    2011 3.07

    Its hardly the Pannonian Legions at the gate now is it

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru


    The areas you mentioned were suggested boundary proposals. The point is ALL boundary changes are scrapped and kicked into the long grass. So Dodds doesn’t get to enjoy the benefits of three wholly unionist wards beefing up his lead.


    You’re not comparing like with like. Between 2005 and 2010 there was a large boundary change as all the Belfast seats were just too small. N. Belfast took in densely populated parts of south and east Antrim to bring the electorate up from what was <50000 to ~65000. The fact that <1000 more people voted for him is the remarkable part. Besides, in the same period Gerry Kelly went from ~8700 to 125000 so relative to the share Kelly's vote went up, Dodds vote is shinking.

  • boondock

    Its the DUP majority that is shrinking not actual votes!

    A couple of obvious incidents happened over the summer which Dodds didnt cover himself in glory over. I think Dodds getting an SDLP vote is extremely unlikely

    No point comparing block voting patterns its a FPTP election better to actually compare like for like ie
    ND 46% GK 29%
    ND 40% GK 34%
    Just being fickle but your stats also seem to have left out smaller nationalist parties or independents which generally adds a % or 2

  • Comrade Stalin


    Why would Dodds be asking for McGuinness voters to vote for Kelly???

    I didn’t say he was “asking”. I mean that by his actions concerning what happened at St Patrick’s and over the marching season in 2012 generally, Nigel together with his wee mate Nelson McCausland are (unintentionally) making the case for SDLP voters to tactically vote for Kelly in order to remove him. The gap between Dodds and Kelly was about 1500 votes. Alban had about 4500 votes so only 1/3rd of the SDLP would have needed to switch to remove him.

    I’ve commented here on Slugger that if I still lived in North Belfast I’d almost certainly be voting for Kelly in 2015 purely to explain to Nigel what happens when he gets on the side of people playing into the hands of the dissidents by attempting to restart the troubles outside a church. The DUP reckon that their votes lie in supplicating marching bands at the expense of moderate opinion. That is their prerogative, but it’s wrong, and somewhere like North Belfast it’s not without consequences.

    The only thing that can possibly save Nigel is a unionist pact. But such a pact would probably galvanise even more nationalists into supporting Kelly, as well as turning off unionist voters, much as happened in F&ST.

    The DUP need to figure this out. The true blue Prod vote isn’t going to win them elections anymore. If they continue to chase it they’ll die out in the long run.


    Talking about percentages doesn’t make sense. Most Westminster seats are won by <50% of the vote. We are rather ironically at the point where unionism is going to get unfairly screwed by the FPTP system – which the unionists all strongly support.

  • Gopher


    Yup percentages are pretty stupid unionism lost SB with 51%. That weren’t the point. Neither was it my point to make a ringing endorsement of NIgel Dodds. Whatever happens to Nigel is no concern of mine. His big mistake was letting his wife stand for euro election. Apart from the fact she was painfully under qualified it reeked a bit of filling your boots and the electorate thought that too. The seat is still Dodds to lose. The only question is can Nationalism increase on 46.30%. Both parties are basically the same it’s just a question is how much the SDLP vote goes to the other anti NHS party or to the pro NHS Alliance party.