SNP big guns face losing seats under shake-up of boundaries

SNP, Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs have united to demand that plans to redraw the political map of Scotland are dropped.
SNP home affairs spokeswoman Joanna Cherry could face a battle to hold on to her seat. Picture: Jane BarlowSNP home affairs spokeswoman Joanna Cherry could face a battle to hold on to her seat. Picture: Jane Barlow
SNP home affairs spokeswoman Joanna Cherry could face a battle to hold on to her seat. Picture: Jane Barlow

The number of Scottish MPs would be cut from 59 to 53 as part of a move to reduce the total number of Westminster seats from 650 to 600 ahead of the 2020 general election.

The Boundary Commission for Scotland has released a revised set of proposals after a consultation on the original plans attracted more than 2,000 responses.

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Senior SNP parliamentarians including Westminster leader Ian Blackford and home affairs spokeswoman Joanna Cherry could face a battle to hold on to their seats under the proposals unveiled today.

Other high-profile Nationalists, including former deputy leader Stewart Hosie, could face a battle for their political future.

The SNP, Labour and the Liberal Democrats warned against the prospect of any reduction at a time of political upheaval, while sources close to Prime Minister Theresa May indicated she is poised to abandon the plans.

SNP Edinburgh East MP Tommy Sheppard said: “At a time when the whole country faces the huge threat of an extreme Tory Brexit, fiddling the boundaries of MP’s constituencies is the last thing the UK government should be wasting its time on.

“The Tories must now scrap their completely unacceptable plans to slash Scotland’s representation at Westminster.”
A Labour spokesman said: “At a time of significant constitutional upheaval, it makes no sense to cut the numbers of MPs there to hold the government to account and represent the interest of their constituencies.”

Liberal Democrat chief whip Alistair Carmichael MP, who represents Orkney and Shetland, said the review was a “dead duck” as it was unlikely to win the support of either the DUP or Tory backbenchers.

The electoral map would be almost completely redrawn with only the East Lothian, Western Isles and Orkney and Shetland seats set to remain unchanged.

The Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency of Mr Blackford would be largely merged with the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey constituency of fellow SNP MP Drew Hendry.

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In the Lothians, Ms Cherry’s Edinburgh South West constituency and Livingston constituency of fellow Nationalist Hannah Bardell are also being amalgamated to a significant extent to form the new Edinburgh Pentlands and Livingston seat. It could mean a selection battle for the two high-profile SNP figures.

The number of seats in Glasgow would fall from seven to six. The current trio of seats held by the SNP’s Carol Monaghan in Glasgow North West, her fellow Nationalist Patrick Grady in Glasgow North and Labour’s Paul Sweeny in Glasgow North East would be largely cut back to two – Glasgow North West and Glasgow North East.

In the north east, the Tories would face losing a seat as Colin Clark in Gordon and Andrew Bowie in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine have their constituencies largely merged.

Mr Hosie’s Dundee East would be heavily shifted out of the city to become the new Angus South and Dundee East County constituency, taking in much of the current Angus constituency which was won by the Tories earlier this year. A new Dundee Burgh constituency would cover the city.

Chris Skidmore, UK Minister for the Constitution, said the review is needed to ensure “fair and equal representation” for the voting public across the UK by the next general election.

“Without any boundary reforms, constituencies would be based on data that is over 20 years old,” he said.

The full list of 53 Scottish constituencies at Westminster as set out in the Scotland Boundary Commission’s revised proposals, replacing the 59 existing seats:

Constituency - electorate - status

U = unchanged from original proposals; B = boundary changed from original proposals; N = name changed from original proposals; BN = boundary and name changed from original proposals.

Aberdeen North 77,677 B

Aberdeen South 77,106 B

Angus South and Dundee East 71,383 BN

Argyll, Bute and Lochaber 77,661 B

Arran and Cunninghame 74,566 N

Ayr and Carrick 77,352 U

Banff and Buchan 78,079 B

Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk 73,812 B

Clackmannanshire and Dunfermline 75,735 BN

Dumfriesshire and Lanarkshire South East 78,301 BN

Dunbartonshire East 76,393 BN

Dunbartonshire West 72,459 BN

Dundee 76,317 U

East Lothian 76,153 U

Eastwood and Loudoun 71,251 N

Edinburgh East 74,455 B

Edinburgh North and Leith 71,541 U

Edinburgh Pentland and Livingston 78,164 226 County U

Edinburgh Southside 76,583 38 Burgh BN

Edinburgh West 77,738 91 Burgh U

Falkirk South 71,118 190 County BN

Fife South 77,327 226 County BN

Galloway and Dumfries 74,882 BN

Glasgow Central 73,735 B

Glasgow East 75,433 U

Glasgow North East 71,443 N

Glasgow North West 75,983 BN

Glasgow South East 73,621 B

Glasgow South West 76,138 B

Gordon and Deeside 78,028 B

Highland North 73,147 U

Highland South 78,133 BN

Inverclyde and Erskine 77,184 BN

Kilmarnock, Cumnock and Doon Valley 78,431 U

Kincardine and Angus North 73,849 BN

Lanarkshire North 77,877 BN

Lanarkshire North East 72,316 BN

Lanarkshire North West 74,263 N

Lanarkshire South West 76,833 N

Lanarkshire West 76,341 N

Linlithgow 78,026 U

Mid Fife 75,166 BN

Mid Lanarkshire 76,158 BN

Midlothian and Upper Tweeddale 76,824 BN

Moray and Nairn 78,477 U

North East Fife 76,900 U

Paisley 75,648 B

Perth and North Perthshire 72,831 N

Renfrewshire West 71,422 BN

Stirling and Falkirk North 71,177 BN

Stirlingshire and South Perthshire 71,299 BN

In addition:

Na h-Eileanan an Iar - no change under review legislation

Orkney & Shetland - no change under review legislation