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SNP attacks constituency shake-up

Scotland to lose six MP seats in boundary changes

David MundellScotland is to lose six MPs under boundary changes, sparking a row between Holyrood and Westminster.

Initial proposals, announced by the the Boundary Commission for Scotland, will mean reducing the number of Scottish seats from 59 to 53. The recommendations will go out to a 12-week public consultation, concluding on 11 January. 

The change is in line with the UK Parliament’s decision to reduce the number of Commons representatives from 650 to 600.

Among those who seats will change is that held by Scottish Secretary and South of Scotland Tory MP David Mundell.

His constituency of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale will lose Peebles and Innerleithen but gain an area of South Lanarkshire including Lanark.

The new constituency, Clydesdale and Eskdale, will stretch more than 70 miles from Gretna near the border with England to Carluke, under eight miles south-east of Motherwell.

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson attacked the proposals.

He said: “The proposals to cut the number of elected representatives in Scotland are unacceptable.

“At a time when Scotland already faces a deep and growing democratic deficit, with a Tory government that we didn’t vote for imposing increasingly right-wing policies against our will, it is vital that the Scottish people have strong elected representation at Westminster to stand up for Scotland’s interests and to hold the UK government to account.

“Furthermore, it is outrageous and undemocratic that the UK government is planning to cut the number of Scottish MPs while it continues to pack the unelected and unaccountable House of Lords with yet more Tory donors and cronies to do the government’s bidding.

“Under this government the already bloated House of Lords has grown to over 800 members and is now the second largest legislature in the world – second only to the National People’s Congress of China – costing the Scottish taxpayer millions every year and making a mockery of the Tory claim that reducing the number of Scottish MPs is an attempt to cut the cost of politics.”

Under the proposed changes two constituencies in Scotland, Na h-Eileanan an Iar (the Western Isles) and Orkney and Shetland, are defined in the legislation and will not be subject to change. 

Lord Matthews, deputy chairman of the Boundary Commission for Scotland, said: “Each mainland constituency must have broadly the same number of electors.  We have set out proposals today which do that and are, we believe, a good implementation of the rules set by Parliament.

“Today is the start of a process, and we now want to hear the views of the public.  We will reflect on responses to the consultation and makes changes if needed where the legislation allows us to do so.  We will be running a number of public events across the country in the coming weeks and hope that voters will make their views heard.”

The proposals include:

Two constituencies wholly within Aberdeen City council area

Six constituencies wholly within Glasgow City council area

Six constituencies wholly within City of Edinburgh and West Lothian council areas

Two constituencies wholly within Midlothian and Scottish Borders council areas

Five constituencies wholly within Fife and Perth and Kinross council areas

Argyll and Bute, Highland and Moray council areas together contain four constituencies

Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling council areas together contain three constituencies

Five constituencies wholly within Aberdeenshire, Angus and Dundee City council areas

Eight constituencies wholly within Dumfries and Galloway, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire council areas

Seven constituencies wholly within East Ayrshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, Renfrewshire and South Ayrshire council areas

One constituency for East Lothian council area

Two constituencies within East and West Dunbartonshire council areas

On average, an existing constituency has around 66,000 electors and an area of 1,360 square kilometres: a proposed constituency has, on average, around 73,500 electors and an area of 1,514 square kilometres.

Only one existing constituency, in addition to the two set out in legislation, is retained with boundaries unchanged (East Lothian, which is coterminous with East Lothian council area). Nineteen other proposed constituencies retain the name of a similar existing constituency.

Almost two thirds of proposed constituencies are each within a single council area; no constituencies contain parts of three or more council areas

Almost a quarter of proposed constituencies contain only whole wards.

Members of the public and interested parties can get further information and submit views on the Commission’s interactive portal at www.bcs2018.org.uk. A number of public events will also be held around the country:

Glasgow: 24 November

Dundee: 29 November 

Ayr: 1 December 

Inverness: 5 December 

Edinburgh: 7 December 

 



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