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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 February 2008, 01:40 GMT
New electoral boundaries unveiled
Scottish Parliament
Holyrood keeps its current number of constituencies
Proposals to reshape the electoral map which sends MSPs to Holyrood have been unveiled.

Glasgow would lose one Holyrood seat but some other areas would gain under the plans from the Boundary Commission for Scotland.

The present 73 Holyrood constituency seats will remain but their boundaries are being rejigged to take account of population changes since the 1990s.

Scotland's 59 Westminster seats are unaffected by the new proposals.

The Westminster seats were reduced from 72 ahead of the 2005 General Election, in order to bring them closer to the size of English constituencies.

This should have brought about a reduction in the number of Holyrood seats but the then Scottish Secretary, Helen Liddell, decided to keep the number of MSPs unchanged, to the annoyance of some MPs.

The reduction in Westminster seats caused problems for Labour, whose MPs in some areas had to engage in a game of political musical chairs to save their careers.

It is ridiculous that these boundaries are being decided in Westminster
SNP spokesperson

In Holyrood the effect could be less pronounced because of Labour's poor performance in last year's election, where it lost some traditional heartland seats such as Govan.

The reorganisation which will take place because of population changes is most evident in Glasgow whose current tally of nine seats, excluding Rutherglen, goes down to eight.

Old-established names such as Glasgow Cathcart and Glasgow Govan would disappear, to be replaced by constituencies like South Glasgow.

In Glasgow and elsewhere, names have been chosen in an attempt to differentiate them from similarly-named Westminster constituencies, which cover similar areas but have different boundaries.

However, a spokesperson for the SNP said: "We are disappointed that the commission has depersonalised the names of many constituencies and will be making representations on this point.

"However it is ridiculous that these boundaries are being decided in Westminster.

"The Scottish Parliament should decide the constituency boundaries for Holyrood elections."

'Further confusion'

Under the new proposals, Edinburgh would keep six seats, the city of Aberdeen three, and Dundee two.

Representations to the new-look electoral map can be made within one month, and these could trigger local inquiries by the commission, which is due to complete its final report by June 2010.

Jeremy Purvis, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale, said he would challenge the commission's proposal to remove Selkirk and the Valleys from his constituency.

"The fiasco of the previous election should have made the commission pause for thought before adding even further confusion to the electorate for the next election," he said.

"A time of stability in boundaries would have been welcomed."

John Lamont, Conservative MSP for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, said: "It is concerning that the Boundary Commission, in their wisdom, are insisting that all parliamentary seats should be the same population, regardless of their rural character.

"In practice, this will result in rural seats being made up of even bigger geographical areas."

SEE ALSO
Scotland 'still has too many MPs'
14 Nov 07 |  Politics
The case of the disappearing ward
29 Aug 07 |  South of Scotland
Constituency boundaries reviewed
03 Jul 07 |  Scotland

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