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Eureka!

In redistricting on October 14, 2011 by dadge

One of the slides in my presentation in Chester this afternoon looked something like this:

The 5% Law versus the No Ward-splitting Rule

constituency electorate: minimum  72,810, maximum 80,473

Once ward size reaches 8,000 redistricting is effectively impossible:

9×8,000=72,000, 10×8,000=80,000

8×9,000=72,000, 9×9,000=81,000

7×10,000= …

You do the math.

Then, on the way home I realised I might’ve found a way for the Commission to allow ward-splitting without opening the floodgates: allow it only in districts where it is mathematically necessary, i.e. with an average ward size of a certain amount. I calculated this amount as 102.5% of the average constituency size, divided by 10, which at this review is 7,856, and I modestly named this the Bailey Number. 😀

Most, if not all, metro boroughs would qualify (Rochdale’s average is 7,867, for example), giving the Commission the necessary flexibility in those places.

And there’s more…

We can also put a cap on how many splits are allowed in a particular review area, and I suggest this could be: number of seats divided by two, rounded down. In Rochdale’s case this would be 1, in Leeds’s 3, in Birmingham’s 4, in Cheshire & Wirral 5.

I think the foregoing is a recipe is a Commission could accept. The question is, am I too late?

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4 Responses to “Eureka!”

  1. Very good. How did the Bailey formula appear to go down with the Commissioners?

  2. “constituency electorate: minimum 72,810, maximum 80,473

    Once ward size reaches 8,000 redistricting is effectively impossible:”

    Well this is utter bollocks because the Commission have done it, not spectacularly well, but it has been done. In fact a 33 seat South + West Yorkshire with no ward splits has even been done, and was presented by the Tories at the Leeds hearing. I’m afraid you’re trying to use maths without great understanding of it.

    • They have only done it by failing to give sufficient weight to Rule 4 of the 1986 Act, which states, put more simply:


      So far as is practicable no part of a county or London borough shall be included in a constituency which includes part of any other county or London borough.

      You either don’t know or have forgotten that in order to comply with this law the Commission have gone to great lengths at past reviews to keep seats within county, unitary authority and London borough boundaries, sometimes creating seats that were 15% above or below the quota in order to do so. Also, wherever possible, they have also paid attention to metropolitan borough boundaries, and the second-tier boundaries in other counties.

      Because of the new 5% Law, what used to be difficult is now impossible in London, the met counties, some unitaries and Cheshire.

  3. You seem to forget that (a) Rule 2 of Schedule 2 in the 2011 Act completely outweights the 1986 Act; (b) Rule 4 of the 1986 Act was never absolute. In the case of Leeds, Rothwell was in the Normanton seat from 1983-97, and now Morley shares a seat with Outwood; and (c) Rule 5 (b) in the 2011 Act – no split wards.

    You refer to past Commissions tolerating 15% deviances to fit within counties or met boroughs (I’ll bet it was even higher in the days of sticking within London borough boundaries), but that is irrelevant with the 5% rule.

    Let’s face it, if they put the borough of Knowsley into 5 different seats, none entirely within Knowsley, then complaining about bits of Leeds (bits that were only added to Leeds in 1974, like Morley, Pudsey, and Otley, which don’t feel like Leeds) being placed in 5 seats with 3 core Leeds seats, isn’t going to cut much mustard.

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