Proposed new boundaries for Dumfries and Galloway

The proposed new boundaries
The proposed new boundaries

The Boundary Commission for Scotland today publishes its Revised Proposals for United Kingdom Parliament constituencies in Scotland as part of its 2018 Review.

This marks the start of an 8 week public consultation process, lasting from Tuesday 17 October until Monday 11 December.

Galloway and Dumfries town are joined to make one constituancy while Dumfriesshire and Lanarkshire South East make another.

The Commission has prepared these Revised Proposals after considering the responses to its consultations on the Initial Proposals which were published in October 2016.

The UK Parliament has decided to reduce the number of constituencies from 650 to 600. In Scotland this means that 59 constituencies will be reduced to 53.

Galloway MP Alister Jack said: “I broadly welcome the proposals for the Galloway and Dumfries County Constituency. I am pleased to see the town of Dumfries united in one constituency with the rest of Galloway. I would be interested to hear what my constituents think of the proposals and if anyone has any issues they should respond to the Boundary Commission for Scotland’s consultation by 11 December 2017.”

But South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth is urging the UK government to drop plans to reduce the number of MPs in Scotland and make Parliamentary constituencies even bigger.

Mr Smyth said: “To have a constituency with the name Dumfriesshire, which historically is the county of Dumfries, that doesn’t actually contain any part of the town of Dumfries is just typical of the type of ill–thought out nonsense you come to expect from the Boundary Commission. Having voters in Gretna share an MP with those on the outskirts of Glasgow is pretty much the death nail of MPs representing a particular local area with clear links. The failure of the commission to even consider linking parts of Galloway with Ayrshire, which have far closer links than Annandale has with Lanarkshire, was also a missed opportunity.

“However, the real issue is the fact these proposals to cut the number of MPs in Scotland under new rules brought in by the current Government to favour the Tories, is no more than a desperate bid to save a floundering Conservative Government. It is blatant gerrymandering that will create constituencies where our Westminster MPs are even more remote from their constituents and it will weaken Scotland’s voice, showing once again that the Tories are prepared to put trying risk the UK with their anti-Scottish polices, just to try to save their own skin.

“Boundary reviews should be about updating Parliamentary constituencies to take account of population changes not fiddle the size of constituencies to suit the party in Government. The last time the Tories tried this with the review before the 2010 election, it was booted out by Parliament and that means the current constituencies are out of date. The Government should do the decent thing and drop these plans before Parliament boots them out as well and carry out a proper, independent review to update current constituencies.”

Lord Matthews, Deputy Chair of the Boundary Commission for Scotland, said:

“After careful consideration of all of the comments received during the consultations on the Initial Proposals, the Commission has designed this revised set of constituencies. Where the legislation has allowed it, we have tried to respond to the views expressed to us. However, in some areas, we have been unable to make changes because of the constraints on constituency design within which we work.”

“This is the final opportunity we have to obtain views on our proposals so we can further improve them where the legislation allows us to do so. I hope people will take the opportunity to contribute, whether for or against what we have proposed.”