Corbyn and top Tories facing redrawn seats

LONDON • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and leading Conservatives George Osborne and Boris Johnson are among high-profile British politicians who will see their seats redrawn in a dramatic shake-up of the country's electoral map.

The proposals by the Boundary Commission for England are intended to reduce the number of MPs to 600 from 650 and create a more balanced number of voters in each area. Constituencies would each have 71,000 to 78,500 voters compared with the current range of 55,000 to 95,000.

But the Labour opposition is crying foul, claiming the shake-up favours the ruling Conservatives.

The changes would mean a significant shift for Mr Corbyn, who has represented his London constituency of Islington North since 1983. His electorate would be divided into two new voting areas - Islington, and Finsbury Park and Stoke Newington, for which The Guardian forecasts he would have no problem being selected .

The plans also potentially pit Mr Corbyn against two key allies in his shadow Cabinet - Ms Diane Abbott and Ms Emily Thornberry - who represent neighbouring seats and would have to be found new ones in the reduced number.

Mr Corbyn is currently facing a leadership challenge following the resignation of about 20 members of his shadow Cabinet and a no-confidence vote in which 172 of Labour's 230 MPs voted against him. Many opposition politicians fear that local party members will use the shake-up to try to deselect them if Mr Corbyn retains the leadership later this month.

There are leading Conservatives among MPs looking for new seats in the reduced total, including Mr Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, who would have to contest a newly created constituency in west London. It will contain more wards that usually vote Labour than his present seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip. And Mr Osborne, the former chancellor, would lose his north-western England constituency of Tatton.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2016, with the headline 'Corbyn and top Tories facing redrawn seats'. Print Edition | Subscribe