David Cameron, it is said, will have a stage a final attempt to get the measure passed by the Commons later this month. But the prospect of the Tories persuading all the minor parties to vote with them and thus defeating the combined vote of the Lib Dems and Labour now seems remote.
And at it is possible that at least one Conservative will vote against the plans in the Commons. Here is Glyn Davies, the MP for Montgomeryshire, writing on his blog just before Christmas:
If passed, the Montgomeryshire I have known man and boy would be no more. The new constituencies that touch on mid Wales will have population centres elsewhere. My local party association is so horrified by the implications of the proposals that it has told me in no uncertain terms that they want me to oppose the new boundaries.
And at a personal level, I would hate to see all the work we have done to build our Association in Montgomeryshire disappear in a cloud of angry blue smoke - because I believe those who have done this transformational work will not carry on. The outcome would be so horrific that I simply couldn't carry on either. The principles which underpin an MP's work are country first, party second and self third - and this change will end Parliamentary democracy in mid Wales as we know it.
I face some choice. If I vote for the new boundaries, I will be turning my back on all I've worked for in public life and all those I've worked with in Montgomeryshire.Davies does not commit himself to voting against the measure in this post, but his views do seem to me to be just what a Conservative should believe on this question.
As I wrote on this blog in August of last year:
the argument that all local quirks and traditional loyalties must be sacrificed to abstract notions of fairness is an odd one in the mouth of a ConservativeI could add that Conservatives should also be keen to ensure that rural interests are not crowded out by urban ones. And if that means smaller constituencies in areas like the Welsh border, so be it.