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Dominic Raab could be second high-profile casualty in boundary shake-up

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Dominic Raab – Rob Pinney/Getty News

Dominic Raab could be the second Cabinet casualty of a major shake-up of constituency boundaries, new modelling has suggested.

According to Britain Elects, the UK’s largest poll aggregator, proposed changes to the Foreign Secretary’s constituency of Esher and Walton suggest it now compromises more Liberal Democrat voters than Conservatives.

The modelling, which is based on how voters living within the redrawn constituency voted in 2019, suggests the seat is now split 48.1 per cent Liberal Democrat and 47.2 per cent Conservative.

It means that should proposals put forward by Boundary Commission for England be implemented before the next election, Mr Raab faces a fight to regain his seat, which he currently holds with a 2,743 majority.

However, Ben Walker, the co-founder of Britain Elects, wrote in the New Statesman that the findings also showed that Tim Farron, the former Lib Dem leader, would also struggle to hold on as the party’s only northern England MP as his Cumbria seat had “all but disappeared”.

The findings come after it emerged on Monday that Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, is among a small group of MPs who face having to find new seats due to their current ones being carved up under the commission’s proposals.

Sources close to Mr Wallace have stressed that he is relaxed about the proposed changes and expected the issue of reallocating constituencies in his region of the North West to be easily resolved.

Others include Ian Lavery, the former Labour Party chairman under Jeremy Corbyn, whose Wansbeck seat is also being absorbed.

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, appears to face having parts of his seat of West Suffolk merged with fellow health minister Jo Churchill’s constituency of Bury St Edmunds, although the creation of a new constituency in the region means neither are likely to struggle to find an alternative.

The proposed shake-up is a result of a review by the Boundary Commission, which has been tasked with rebalancing the size of all English constituencies to take account of population change over the years.

Within the agreed framework, each constituency will encompass between 69,700 and 77,000 voters. It also means that England is due to see its number of seats rise to 543, up by 10, while Scotland stands to lose two seats and Wales eight seats.

The plans will now be subject to a consultation period before revised proposals are published next September and finalised in July 2023.

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