How will the boundary changes to Yorkshire seats impact the next election?

At this year’s general election, constituencies will be divided using new boundaries which could have a significant impact across the country.

On a national level, analysis has found that Labour’s task of winning a substantial majority is slightly harder than it would be otherwise, but in Yorkshire, the picture is slightly more mixed.

In seats where there is a clear predecessor to compare it to, Labour are set to lose 3 seats to the Conservatives and pick one up from the Tories if we were to re-run the 2019 election with these new seats.

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The new boundaries have given the Tories a combined points increase of around 50 points according to experimental modelling.

Rishi Sunak speaks with Eastleigh FC players and staff during a visit at Silverlake Stadium on January 19, 2024 in Eastleigh, Hampshire.Rishi Sunak speaks with Eastleigh FC players and staff during a visit at Silverlake Stadium on January 19, 2024 in Eastleigh, Hampshire.
Rishi Sunak speaks with Eastleigh FC players and staff during a visit at Silverlake Stadium on January 19, 2024 in Eastleigh, Hampshire.

Labour on the other hand are seeing a combined 26 point move away from them.

However, when we look at the average across the seats, Labour are only seeing half a point move away from them, while the Conservatives are seeing a 1 point boost in their favour.

Despite this positive outlook for the Conservatives, if Labour’s poll lead continues at current levels then most of this will have very little impact on the result at the next election.

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This week opinion polling put Labour’s lead over the Tories at 27 points, the highest since the party enjoyed historic leads under Liz Truss in the aftermath of her mini-budget.

This would totally eclipse any modest gains the boundary review has given the Conservatives.

Where the boundary review will become more important is if the Conservative position begins to improve.

Seats such as Doncaster East and the Isle of Axholme, Colne Valley, Scunthorpe, York Outer, Great Grimsby and Rother Valley which are currently held by the Conservatives are all more favourable for the party under the new boundaries.

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A significant tightening in the opinion polls, where the party picks up more undecided voters or those looking at voting for Reform, could mean that these seats are among the ones which could deny Labour a majority at the next election.

A lot of these seats have vocal and popular MPs, despite their party’s general unpopularity, and strong local campaigns could eat into Labour’s national poll lead.

Labour’s has a lot of target seats in Yorkshire, seeking to regain those it lost it 2019, regain support that has been slipping in recent years, and in some cases make inroads into areas that need to be won if a landslide victory is on the cards.

York Outer, a key seat, has only had a small improvement for the Tories under the boundary review.

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Other seats such as Penistone and Stocksbridge, Shipley, and Keighley and Ilkley have seen no changes in the boundary review and are must-wins for a good majority in the House of Commons.

Some senior Labour MPs faced a real scare in 2019 when swathes of voters plumped for the Brexit Party.

Seats around Bansley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Wakefield all saw votes as high as 30 per cent in the last election, with shadow cabinet ministers such as Yvette Cooper, John Heeley, and Ed Miliband coming much closer than any of them would have liked to losing their seats.

Whether this Brexit vote translates to a vote for Reform, and whether these votes will be massively affected by the boundary changes, is one of the great unknowns of the next election.

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These boundaries will most likely be in force for many years to come and will tell us a lot about how areas will be viewed as Tory or Labour-leaning.

North Yorkshire is perhaps one of the best examples, with the county viewed as almost entirely Conservative, rural and better off than the other parts of the country.

However, new boundaries around Selby and around York could see Labour’s best performance in the county and could be a real foothold into challenging the seats, such as the Prime Minister’s in Richmond, or the ever-blue Skipton and Ripon.