The boundary changes which make Evan a notional MP… but does he want to do it?

by Stephen Tall on September 24, 2011

The Oxford Times has crunched the numbers and reckons that his full title would still be Dr Evan Harris MP if the proposed boundary changes for his old Oxford West & Abingdon seat had been in force at the 2010 general election:

Changes proposed in the re-drawing of England’s constituency map could have meant Liberal Democrat Evan Harris holding on to Oxford West and Abingdon with the second smallest majority in the country at the last General Election. The Oxford Mail has calculated Dr Harris would have won by 25 votes under the proposed changes. Instead, Conservative Nicola Blackwood secured a 176 majority after an election night recount. … Both Radley, which is leaving the Oxford West and Abingdon constituency, and Carfax, added to it, have a history of voting Lib Dem. But past voting data suggests the larger Carfax ward, which includes a sizeable student population, would have brought enough votes to push Dr Harris over the winning line in 2010.

Of course all this is purely notional stuff: the 2015 general election will clearly not be a re-run of the 2010 general election. (And it’s far from clear that the Lib Dems will be able to call on the student vote next time round.)

Perhaps the bigger question is whether Evan will want to fight again. As the Telegraph’s list of top 50 Lib Dems noted (when ranking him the 10th most influential, higher than he was as an MP):

One of the doughtiest Lib Dem campaigners, Harris is an inveterate ‘taker-upper’ of causes. And since he lost his seat at the election he has had more time to do so. Even though he is not in parliament he is often seen as a Lib Dem spokesman on the media and retains strong support amongst the Lib Dem grassroots members. He is seen as a spokesman for the left of the party. He has been vocal over phone hacking and abortion counseling. His position in the party has been consolidated through his election to the party’s Federal Policy Committee.

Will Evan want to return to the grind of constituency business? He wouldn’t be drawn when asked by the local paper:

Dr Harris hung up when asked whether he hoped to fight the seat again at the next General Election.

No comment to a journalist’s question… that must be a first for Evan 😉