SNP to snub Tory plans for boundary changes

Angus Robertson, SNP Westminster leader. Picture: TSPL
Angus Robertson, SNP Westminster leader. Picture: TSPL
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THE SNP insisted last night that its MPs will not join Tory MPs in the lobbies on Tuesday for a crunch vote on boundary changes despite suggesting late last year that they would.

MPs are due to vote today on the proposal to reduce the number of constituencies from 650 to 600 and redraw the constituencies to make most of them around the same size with about 75,000 voters.

The move was part of the Coalition agreement but is now unlikely to go through because the Lib Dems withdrew their support after Tory MPs scuppered plans to bring elections to the Lords.

The original agreement was that the Lib Dems would support the changes, which would give the Tories an extra 20 safe seats, in exchange for a referendum on electoral reform, which they subsequently lost.

When Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that his party was pulling out of that part of the deal the SNP indicated they would still back the changes which would reduce the number of Scottish MPs by seven to 52 but protect their six seats while possibly giving them two more.

However, the party appeared last night to have bowed to pressure from Labour who had warned them that voters in Scotland “will not forgive a party which makes a Tory government more likely”.

The SNP were punished by the electorate after backing Margaret Thatcher in 1979 to help bring down the Labour government in a vote of no confidence.

There was speculation that the six SNP MPs will now abstain on the vote with the party refusing to say whether they would vote against.

Last night an SNP spokesman said the party has “no intention” of supporting the Conservatives in any vote on the boundaries plan.

He added: “There have been no discussions and no deal will be done on the boundary review.”