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Why Liberals should seek repeal of the 1832 Reform Act

Inspired by an map of Parliamentary representation prior to the 1832 Reform Act (in my handy Atlas of Universal History (Philip & Son, 1953)) , I have been engaging in a little light number crunching.

Always supposing that voters in the pre'32 seats would divide in the same way that they did in 2005, and doing what one can with the odious 1972 dismembering of the historic counties, the LDs perform far better under the '32 arrangements, securing 80 English seats, compared to 46 in 2005. The Conservatives also fare rather better, winning 243 of the English seats, rather than 197 while Labour's tally drops from 265 to 160. The butchering of Scottish counties renders the task of sorting out Caledonia far too complicated, although I might have a crack at Wales and NI later.

2005's results look like this:
Where the LDs really lose out under current boundaries is Cornwall, as in the unreformed house Cornwall had 44 MPs, as opposed to the five it has now. Following the rules of the game I have concocted, the Libs would scoop all 44. Similarly, Wiltshire becomes a particularly seat-rich environment for the blue team, as that fine county had 34 MPs pre-32 to its six now. Looked at from the other perspective London/Westminster/Middx had 8 MPs, but now has 73, and Lancs/Cheshire/Merseyside/Gtr Manchester drops from 70 to 18.

Thoughts, additions etc in the spirit of the exercise are welcome.

Commentator James D has been kind enough to do a number on Wales, for which thanks:

"Wales would be interesting. Although it's a bit hard to separate the boroughs out from the counties, it would have been something like:

Plaid Cymru 12
Liberal Democrats 11
Labour 10
Conservative 4

I bet Plaid and the Liberals could have ganged up to cause a nice little constitutional crisis there. There might even have been splinter groups of Liberal Unionists and the like".


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Blogger Blue Eyes said... 11:54 am

I think your plan of disenfranchising us urbanites is probably sound, overall.

Were there roughly as many members in total at that time?  



Blogger Croydonian said... 12:02 pm

Yes, not far off. I make it 483 pre-32 and 529 now. Doubtless I have slipped up in places, and there are the fun and games with university seats, Monmouthshire etc etc.  



Blogger James D said... 11:09 pm

Wales would be interesting. Although it's a bit hard to separate the boroughs out from the counties, it would have been something like:

Plaid Cymru 12
Liberal Democrats 11
Labour 10
Conservative 4

I bet Plaid and the Liberals could have ganged up to cause a nice little constitutional crisis there. There might even have been splinter groups of Liberal Unionists and the like.  



Blogger Croydonian said... 11:52 pm

James - thanks for that. I'll add in your figures to the main post.  



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