By Paul Goodman
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There is a rush of interest in the boundary review. The Mail on Sunday reported yesterday that David Cameron is gearing up for another push. The Times reports today behind its paywall that William Macrea, the DUP MP, won't vote for it. The party may disagree with my view that without the changes David Cameron won't win a majority in 2015 – it could scarcely do otherwise – but its sense of urgency dovetails neatly with my analysis.
So it's worth reproducing the breakdown of the Commons numbers that I gave last year:
"First, add Ed Miliband's MPs, plus Corby, to the Liberal Democrats,
the SDLP, the single Alliance MP, the Green, Sylvia Hermon and George
Galloway. Then take away two Deputy Speakers.
I make that 320 MPs.
Then add the Conservatives to Plaid, the Scot Nats and the DUP, and then take the two Deputy Speakers away.
I make that 321 MPs.
I am not counting the five Sinn Fein MPs or the Speaker. One might
of course challenge these assumptions – the SDLP, say, could somehow be
induced to vote with the Tories. Who knows?"
On the bright side for the Government, it might be that some Liberal Democrat Ministers could be persuaded to stay away for the vote. On the darker side, the biggest Commons obstacle to the new boundaries could be Conservative MPs themselves. More gain than lose from the changes, but not all losers can be guaranteed to vote for their likely or certain removal from the next Parliament.
If anyone else has a better calculation, I'd be delighted to hear from them.