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Thursday, 7 February, 2002, 18:38 GMT
Bell tolls for Scottish MPs' seats
There will be fewer Scottish MPs at Westminster
Click here for a closer look at the changes.

The number of MPs representing Scottish constituencies will be cut by 13 under proposals published by the Boundary Commission.

The report, which has been widely leaked in advance of publication, plans to cut the number of members elected to the House of Commons from 72 to 59.

Labour, which holds 56 of Scotland's 72 seats, looks set to be the biggest loser under the shake-up which has been brought about by that party's decision to introduce devolution north of the border.

Click here for a detailed map of the new seats

The Scotland Act, which paved the way for the establishment of the Scottish Parliament, contained an agreement to end the anomoly of Scotland's over-representation at Westminster.

The three other parties could also lose seats under the redrawn boundaries.

The Tories could witness their only Scottish seat fall into Labour hands as the Galloway and Upper Nithsdale constituency is extended to include Dumfries.

The Liberal Democrats could go down from 10 MPs to nine as one of the Borders constituencies disappears.

And the Scottish National Party could also lose one of its five seats as Tayside North disappears.

The most high-profile politicians to see their seats disappear are Chancellor Gordon Brown, Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid and Work and Pensions Minister Alistair Darling.

Serious fight

Labour Party sources say senior ministers are assured selection in whichever new seats they may choose.

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown: Assured selection by party
But other MPs will be left to battle for new constituencies as their present berths vanish.

The most serious fight could be in Glasgow, where commission officials have recommended 10 constituencies - all Labour held - should be reduced by three.

Edinburgh and Aberdeen will also lose seats under the proposals.

Orkney and Shetland are set to remain as one constituency.

Ayrshire will have a reduction from five seats to four, which may put pressure on the Scotland Office Minister, George Foulkes.

MPs have one month to lodge appeals with the Boundary Commission objecting to the changes.

Two Labour MPs have already said that they intend to challenge the redrawn constituencies.

Labour MP for Ochil, Martin O' Neill, is not pleased that his constituency will be extended to include Strathearn.

Dumfries MP Russell Brown has stated that he will challenge the plan to split his constituency in two.

See also:

06 Feb 02 | Scotland
Boundary change plan challenged
05 Feb 02 | Scotland
MPs learn of boundary changes
31 Jan 02 | Scotland
MP's independent run threat
29 Jun 01 | Scotland
Axe hangs over Scots MPs
08 Jun 01 | Scotland
Labour's Scots glory
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