Daft question

During the count, a friend asked if the result was like normal elections where the majority may vote one way in total but when done by constituencies the vote could go the other way.

Some of us found it amusing, and explained that it was a total count and not on constituency lines.

But now it seems things may not be so clear cut. Yes, the referendum was a straight count, but it is just a big opinion poll and not anything with any legal force.

Parliament ultimately will vote on this, and already, some MPs are saying they will vote based on the way their constituency voted. This makes sense given that an MP is there specifically to represent his constituents. Surely that is exactly how he should vote?

So we may yet have a crazy situation of the referendum going one way but the actual vote in parliament going the other.

We should all be used to this as number of votes overall has never been directly related to number of MPs and hence number of votes on any issue in parliament.

We'll have to wait and see...


  1. Has anyone done an analysis on the predicted outcome if every MP did that? Would be quite hard as the areas the votes were grouped by wasn't constituencies

    1. I was wondering the same. Would be interesting to know.

    2. No idea how accurate it was, but I saw a tweet where someone claimed to have done the analysis based on counting areas (so not the same as constituencies), and that actually resulted in a bigger majority for leave.

    3. Interesting... At least that would be more decisive though.

    4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36616028

      Leave polled the most strongly in 270 counting areas, with Remain coming first in 129.

    5. Oh well, that is indeed more decisive then... Wonder why the SNP MPs are plugging this idea.

    6. Why does an SNP MP ever do anything? Because it increases the chances of Scottish independence; there's no reason for Scotland to want to be shackled to an England that's driving itself into the ditch.

    7. Counting areas are on the whole larger than constituencies, so there might be a different story if you were to look at it in more detail. Unfortunately I doubt there's been any more specific data than counting areas released so breaking it down further is probably impossible...

    8. "Wonder why the SNP MPs are plugging this idea."

      It amplifies the (relatively small) differences between areas, of course! It turns votes of 51-49 and 49-51 into "polar opposites" instead of "almost the same", playing into their agenda of "two countries with nothing in common". (None of them seem to have mentioned yet that more Scottish voters voted to stay in the UK than to stay in the EU, yet somehow the latter is a "mandate" and the first just gets airbrushed out.)

      It's also the process which turned their 50% of the votes into 95% of the Westminster seats, so you can understand their fondness for that particular approach...

  2. Although I voted Leave, my general area was quite strongly pro-Remain, so I find this a very interesting question. Does an individual MP, representing a constituency that prefers Remain, have a stronger mandate to vote according to the wishes of his constituents (who actually elected him) even if it defies the mandate from the population as a whole as communicated via the referendum?

    I can certainly understand why MPs may feel that they should vote with their constituents first, however I think for Conservative MPs in particular this would be very risky, because even if THEIR constituency wants to Remain, the act of being seen to defy the result of the referendum could cause a large surge in support for UKIP in otherwise-safe Conservative seats with a lot of Leave supporters. So I think we can probably assume that Conservative MPs are going to be whipped into supporting the government's Brexit plans, and in the absence of a large Conservative rebellion by MPs who think attempting to block Brexit is worth the possible damage to their own party's parliamentary majority, the minority of opposition MPs won't be enough to actually stop anything.


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