Ten boundary changes flashpoints

Who's laughing now? William Hague, George Osborne and Nick Clegg all face boundary changes
Who's laughing now? William Hague, George Osborne and Nick Clegg all face boundary changes

Here's our pick of ten key politicians - and why they should be worried by the redrawn constituency boundaries unveiled today.

By Alex Stevenson and Ian Dunt

Iain Duncan Smith - Chingford

The former Tory leader and current work and pensions secretary had enjoyed a safe electoral cushion in his old constituency. Not so now: the new Chingford and Edmonton seat crosses the River Lee, in a rather awkward geographical shift, and is only really linked by the north circular road. The result is a marginal seat which could prove tricky come 2015.

Tim Farron - Westmorland and Lonsdale

The Liberal Democrat party president has worked hard to cultivate his Lake District seat, building a strong reputation locally. He'll face a tough ask in 2015, though, as the constituency is being split into three. A new seat of Kendal and Penrith has been created. Might Farron have to take on Tory backbencher Rory Stewart as a result?

Tessa Jowell - Dulwich and West Norwood

South London is being shaken up dramatically. Four wards from deprived Lewisham are being lumped into a new Dulwich and Sydenham constituency, which includes affluent Dulwich currently represented by Labour frontbencher Tessa Jowell. Meanwhile Chuka Umunna, the current MP for Streatham, finds his seat split into three. He could find himself up against shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan, the current MP for Tooting.

Chris Huhne - Eastleigh

The energy secretary clung on to his seat by the skin of his teeth at the last election. This time it has been "significantly configured" - words that will send shudders down Huhne's spine. His newly altered constituency now includes part of the city of Southampton, as well as many Tory-voting areas. Holding on here, already a tough ask, just got tougher.

Ken Clarke - Rushcliffe

The justice secretary was looking a little flustered as he wandered around Westminster yesterday. This may be because his seat is being divided into four. It appears the area as a whole will become more strongly Tory, however, in spite of some odd decisions from the Boundary Commission. Gotham, part of Ken Clarke's existing constituency, goes to a new Broxtowe seat, despite the fact there's no direct link between Gotham and the rest of the proposed new seat.

Caroline Lucas - Brighton Pavilion

The Green party has spent years cultivating its parliamentary prospects in Brighton, culminating in the election of its first MP, leader Caroline Lucas, in last year's general election. They'll have to go back to the drawing board in 2015. Brighton Pavilion is being turned into Brighton Pavilion and Hove, gaining three wards and losing others in the north. This change sucks in parts of East Sussex, Kent and Medway; it means the Greens have new wards to work, but insiders say they are "quietly confident" nonetheless.

Vince Cable - Twickenham

The merger of business secretary Vince Cable's Twickenham seat with Tory backbencher Zac Goldsmith's Richmond Park could prove problematic to both men. Initial reports that Cable would be a real loser of the process faded away once it was noted that a new seat in Teddington and Hanworth covered much of his previous area. Party managers are likely to make sure someone with Cable's name-recognition is found a role somewhere. Goldsmith's Richmond-upon-Thames seat may now be a tougher proposition, although his moderate political credentials and liberal stances could see him win support with Lib Dem voters. He ousted Lib Dem Susan Kramer in 2010, after all.

George Osborne - Tatton

The changes here are a result of the nearby headache of Stockport, one of the most inconveniently sized boroughs in the country for the boundary commission. They've had to spill over into neighbouring Cheshire, creating exactly the kind of local authority spillover the commissioners have been keen to avoid. The chancellor's seat is disappearing in name, but not completely on the ground. The newly-created seat of Northwich contains many of its current wards, including Knutsford and nearby. But there's no doubt Osborne's local party activists will be scratching their heads at the new configuration.

Nick Clegg - Sheffield Hallam

The disappearance of the deputy prime minister's constituency demonstrates just how the boundary changes won't all be bad news for the Lib Dems. On the face of it, you might think Nick Clegg could be facing tougher odds in his constituency after new wards are incorporated. But on the basis of last year's local elections, the coalition's junior party could stand to gain in two new seats - Sheffield South West and Sheffield West and Penistone.

Morley and Outwood – Ed Balls

Local Conservative chiefs piled attention on Ed Balls' Morley and Outwood seat in the 2010 campaign - but their real target was Labour MP Mary Creagh in nearby Wakefield, from whom they had hoped to divert resources. They narrowly failed, but boundary changes could finish the job. Balls' seat is being split into Leeds South and Outwood and Leeds South-West and Morley, potentially putting him at loggerheads with fellow shadow Cabinet member Hillary Benn - whose Leeds West seat is effectively being abolished. Nearly half of its voters are being merged into the Leeds South and Outwood seat. Meanwhile, Wakefield is also being divided up. As elsewhere, the face face of the local political landscape has been well and truly transformed. 


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