MP debuts with seat warning

EAST Lothian Labour MP Fiona O'Donnell used her maiden speech in the House of Commons to warn the UK coalition government against changing the constituency's boundaries.

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat programme for government includes a pledge to reduce the number of constituencies, though no specific proposals have yet been published.

But Ms O'Donnell paid tribute to the "genuinely close-knit and vibrant communities" in the area.

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She said: "My constituency is clearly one that does not easily lend itself to dissection, the arbitrary redrawing of boundaries and the random consequence of arid mathematical formulas dreamt up in Conservative central office and breathed into life in Whitehall.

"The coalition government cannot take a community such as East Lothian, with its sense of self, its sensible and natural boundaries and institutions, and its hundreds of years of organic community development, and simply apply the chainsaw of narrow party advantage in the way that has been proposed."