Anger over carve-up of constituencies

Most of Clydesdale would be in huge constituency.
Most of Clydesdale would be in huge constituency.

A proposed re-drawing of Scotland’s Westminster electoral boundaries could see most of Clydesdale become part of a giant constituency stretching from Carluke and Forth in the north to the English border in the south.

The suggested new Dumfriesshire and Lanarkshire South East constituency would largely replace the existing Lanark and Hamilton East and Dumfriesshire, Tweeddale and Clydesdale constituencies.

David Mundell faces losing the Tweeddale section of his constituency.

David Mundell faces losing the Tweeddale section of his constituency.

It would be the ninth largest Parliamentary patch in Scotland if Boundary Commission recommendations designed to cut Scots seats in Westminster from 59 to 53 go ahead.

One other outcome of the changes would see one local council ward – Clydesdale South – sharing three different MPs.

However, most of the main communities in Clydesdale – Carluke, Lanark, Biggar, Forth, Law and Douglas – would find themselves in the new monster constituency along with towns such as Sanquhar, Moffat, Lockerbie, Gretna and Annan.

The proposals, now subject to public consultation, have already drawn fire, with South Scotland Labour list MSP Colin Smyth calling them “crazy”.

He states that parts of the new electoral map are “typical of the type of ill-thought out nonsense you come to expect from the Boundary Commission”, adding: “The proposed new Dumfriesshire and Lanarkshire South East constituency, which stretches as far north as Carluke, will see voters in Gretna share an MP with those living on the outskirts of Glasgow in a new constituency of over 78,000 voters, compared to the current constituency of 67,000.”

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “It remains a great privilege to serve as MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, so naturally it is a disappointment that the proposals would mean losing the Tweeddale section of my constituency.

“I do support the reduction in the number of MPs as we need to make Parliament cost-effective, but, of course, these changes will only happen if Parliament votes for them.

“The revised proposals from the Boundary Commission have taken into account the views of local people, and that looks to be the case across Scotland in terms of the revised proposals, which shows that the consultation system is working.

“There is further consultation to be carried out, and I would encourage local people to get in touch with further comments on the proposed new constituencies to the commission by December 11.”

The sitting Scottish National Party MP for Lanark and Hamilton East, Angela Crawley, doubts the House of Commons will back the proposals, however, adding: “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.”