Articles

West Midlands review

In redistricting, West Midlands on September 24, 2011 by dadge

The West Midlands region has been allocated 54 seats. Comparing the electorates of the counties and boroughs with the electoral quota produces seat allocations as follows:

voters seats
Staffordshire 654,692 8.54
Stoke 186,441 2.43
Shropshire 228,607 2.98
Telford 121,292 1.58
Herefordshire 138,063 1.80
Worcestershire 436,192 5.69
Warwickshire 407,922 5.32
Solihull 160,782 2.10
Birmingham 731,731 9.55
Sandwell 219,710 2.87
Walsall 191,056 2.49
Dudley 242,131 3.16
Wolverhampton 172,294 2.25
Coventry 224,755 2.93

Because of the 5% rule, most of these areas will have to be combined with other areas. For example, if Herefordshire had two whole seats, their electorates would be around 69,031, which is well below the limit. The way the Commission has combined the areas is probably the only sensible one, and it’s the arrangement I’m using, although I’ve extricated Sandwell fom the mix:

Staffordshire & Stoke
10.97 >>> 11 seats @ 76,467
Shropshire, Telford, Herefordshire, Worcestershire
12.05 >>> 12 seats @ 77,013
Coventry 2.93 >>> 3 seats @ 74,918
Warwickshire, Solihull, Birmingham
16.97 >>> 17 seats @ 76,496
Sandwell 2.87 >>> 3 seats @ 73,237
Dudley, Wolverhampton, Walsall
7.90 >>> 8 seats @ 75,685

These ad hoc pairings* aren’t ideal – at subsequent reviews the electoral statistics will have changed and areas will have to be uncoupled and recoupled, causing considerable regular disruption for MPs and constituents – but they will be a fact of life until the law is changed.

Where the Commission and I part company is in how to treat these groups of areas. Unlike in the past, the Commission seems now to have a cavalier attitude to boundaries. For example, in its proposals six constituencies cross the Birmingham city boundary. In my opinion, when two areas are combined there should ideally only be one seat that crosses the common boundary, and the seat should cross the boundary at a suitable place. I’ve included the Meriden area in a new Mid Warwickshire seat because that area has a rural character, and it was only removed from Warwickshire in 1974 because they needed a land bridge between Coventry and the rest of the conurbation.

*A group of three is two pairings! 🙂

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