By Tim Montgomerie
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On ConHome 45 minutes ago and on Comment Is Free yesterday two Tory MPs – Bernard Jenkin and Sarah Wollaston – have both highlighted the Liberal Democrats' extraordinary hypocrisy on boundary reform. Later today Tory MPs will vote against some dubious parliamentary manoeuvring by LibDems in the Lords which will almost certainly mean the review is rescheduled for 2018 not, as originally intended, in time for the next general election. I'm hearing that two or three Tory MPs may vote with Labour and the Liberal Democrats because they, personally, would have suffered from the redrawing of constituencies. I hope that, even at this late stage, they'll have a change of heart. Today's vote isn't about boundary changes but about LibDem skulduggery and betrayal. If this handful of Tory MPs can't vote with the massed ranks of their Tory colleagues they should at least abstain. Pasted below are two extracts from the Jenkin and Wollaston pieces that may help them understand what today's vote is all about.
Bernard Jenkin: "Neither the AV referendum result, nor the failure of House of Lords reform, can alter the simple principle of fairness: that votes should be of more equal weight, so constituencies should be of more equal size, so a vote matters the same where ever it is cast. Now Liberal Democrats find themselves in the invidious position, having argued for a ‘fairer’ and ‘more proportional’ electoral system, while they are blocking the reform they have voted for and which would deliver what they say they believe in."
Sarah Wollaston: "There is another charge that will be hung around the necks of the Lib Dems if they reject reform; the sheer scale of the waste of public money for a boundary review which they initially accepted but now reject in their long sulk over Lords reform and a lost referendum. If the Lib Dems abandon the coalition agreement on boundary reform they will be seen to be abandoning fairness for narrow-self interest. The only consolation will be that they will have to stop lecturing the rest of us about it."