Scotland's MPs cut from 59 to 53 in constituency review

Wide-ranging changes to Scottish constituencies which will see Scotland's MPs cut from 59 to 53 are being announced tomorrow.

Ian Murray stands to lose his seat. Picture: JP
Ian Murray stands to lose his seat. Picture: JP

Labour’s sole Scottish MP Ian Murray and the former SNP depute leader Stewart Hosie could be casualties of plans to reduce the number of Westminster seats.

The redrawing of the political map will see the total number of Westminster constituencies reduced from 650 to 600 ahead of the 2020 election.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

The number of Scottish seats will fall from 59 to 53, according to the proposals published by the Boundary Commission today.

Mr Murray sees his Edinburgh South constituency ­disappear, absorbed into newly expanded Edinburgh East and Edinburgh South West & Central seats.

He could face a battle against current Edinburgh East SNP MP Tommy Sheppard or Edinburgh South West MP Joanna Cherry, also of the SNP.

Mr Hosie, who stood down as Nicola Sturgeon’s deputy earlier this year over allegations about his private life, faces a similar problem in Dundee, with his Dundee East seat largely absorbed into the new Angus Glens & Dundee East constituency.

He faces challenging his fellow Nationalist Chris Law, MP for Dundee West, for the ­newly-created Dundee seat or battling Mike Weir, whose ­current Angus seat covers much of the new Angus Glens and Dundee East seat.

In Glasgow, the number of seats is reduced from seven to six. SNP education spokeswoman Carol Monaghan sees her Glasgow North West seat substantially merged into SNP MP Patrick McGrady’s Glasgow North seat, which retains its name.

The Central Ayrshire seat of SNP health spokeswoman Philippa Whitford is squeezed by the new Ayr & Carrick, Kilmarnock, Cumnock & Doon Valley and Cunninghame West constituencies.

In Fife, Roger Mullin is threatened as his Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath constituency is absorbed into the new ­Kinross-shire & Cowdenbeath and Glenrothes & Kirkcaldy seats.

The Highland region reduces from three seats to two, raising the prospect of the SNP’s Ian Blackford, MP for Ross, Skye & Lochaber, going against the SNP transport spokesman Drew Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, for one of the redrawn seats.

The Conservatives’ hold on their only seat north of the Border will be challenged by the abolition of David Mundell’s Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale constituency.

Mr Mundell’s seat will be replaced by the new Clydesdale & Eskdale, and Midlothian & Peebles seats.

Clydesdale & Eskdale takes in a chunk of the ­current Hamilton & Lanark East constituency ­comfortably won by the SNP at the 2015 election while Midlothian & Peebles similarly includes the current Midlothian seat also comfortably won by the SNP in that poll.

Last night Mr Murray reacted angrily to the changes. He said: “These Tory proposals to redraw constituency boundaries are unfair, undemocratic and unacceptable. They are based on an out-of-date version of the electoral ­register with nearly two million voters across the UK missing.

“While the Tories say this is to reduce the cost of politics, they are cutting directly elected representatives and stuffing the House of Lords with their own supporters.

“In the past, ministers have argued that cutting the number of MPs will save the taxpayer £12 million, but David Cameron created scores of extra unelected peers in the House of Lords, costing £34m.”

The SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson MP also attacked the plans. 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.”