They feel strongly about this. I have heard Sir John Major complain that the boundaries robbed him of a decisive victory in 1992, with the result that his majority had evaporated by the end of his time in office.
To an extent this is the Conservatives' own fault - Labour ran rings around them at the hearings last time there was a major redrawing of boundaries. And 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 Conservative, but that is how they feel.
So the Conservatives wrote a radical redrawing of constituency boundaries, with little room for variation in size, written into the Coalition agreement.
This would have given them a much better chance of winning an overall majority at the next election.But it looks as though they will not get it after all.
Because an article in tomorrow's Guardian says:
Nick Clegg is expected to announce next week he has been forced to abandon Lords reform in the face of implacable Conservative backbench opposition that David Cameron has been unable to overcome.
It is a bitter second blow to Clegg, who has already been forced to swallow abandoning electoral reform for the Commons, leaving the government's democratic reform agenda looking relatively threadbareThe same report points us to an article on the paper's website in which Chris Rennard says:
If the Lords is not to be given more legitimacy, then the case for reducing the number of MPs (and increasing the proportion of the payroll vote in the Commons) will also be weakened.Quite. And if the Conservatives are going to pick and choose which parts of the Coalition agreement they are to support they can hardly complain if we Liberal Democrats now begin doing the same.
The Conservatives' willingness to throw away the redrawing of constituency boundaries, and thus greatly diminish their chances of a majority at the next election, is odd to say the least.
It strengthens my belief that their backbenches are simply ungovernable. As I have argued before, One of the Coalition parties is not up to government - and it's not the Lib Dems and David Cameron is the new John Major.
Some Conservatives have principled objections to reform of the Lords - or at least the reforms currently proposed. (They are, after all, Conservatives.) Others have no wish to lose the probability of an agreeable retirement job if things go wrong at the next election.
But the argument I heard most often was that the Tory backbenches were furious that the Liberal Democrats had not supported Jeremy Hunt in the Commons vote of no confidence over his conduct during News Corporation's takeover of BSkyB.
It is not so long since a man who let a young subordinate take the rap for his own misconduct would have aroused the ire of the knights of the shires. Now the Tory backbenches hero is a silly man with a silly haircut. And they are prepared to sacrifice their chances at the next election to support him.