James Forsyth

Downing Street’s boundary review problem

Downing Street's boundary review problem
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I understand that Number 10 will lean on Cabinet ministers not to object to what the boundary review does to their seats. This is an intriguing development because at least three Tory Secretaries of State are deeply unhappy with the proposed changes to their constituencies. It’ll be fascinating to see whether Downing Street can persuade them to hold their peace on the matter.

Their disquiet reflects broader grumbling throughout the Tory parliamentary party. All sorts of conspiracy theories are doing the rounds. Number 10 needs to move quickly to offer some reassurance to nervous MPs.

If the boundary review’s plan is to be made agreeable to the Tory parliamentary party, Cameron is going to have to persuade an awful lot of MPs to retire. But, with reform of the House of Lords in the coalition’s legislative programme, a peerage has less appeal than it once did. Although, what will play the most important role in determining what Tory MPs think of the plan in 2013 will be where the party is in the polls at that point.