We don’t want less MPS

SNP chal­lenge over pro­pos­als to re­duce num­ber of con­stituen­cies Com­pe­ti­tion... Com­pe­ti­tion... Com­pe­ti­tion... Com­pe­ti­tion

Hamilton Advertiser - - NEWS - Ste­fanie Mccourt

La­nark and Hamil­ton East MP Angela Craw­ley has called on the UK Govern­ment to scrap plans to re­duce the num­ber of Scot­tish con­stituen­cies.

The plans, pub­lished by the Bound­ary Com­mis­sion for Scot­land, would see the num­ber of con­stituen­cies in Scot­land fall from 59 to 53. The move is part of the 2018 re­view of par­lia­men­tary con­stituen­cies which would also see con­stituen­cies in Eng­land re­duc­ing from 533 to 501, 40 to 29 in Wales, and from 18 to 17 in North­ern Ire­land. The com­mis­sion’s re­port was submitted to the Sec­re­tary of State for Scot­land last month and sub­se­quently laid be­fore the UK Par­lia­ment. It came af­ter the re­view, which in­cluded pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions, was launched in 2016. La­nark­shire is cur­rently spread over the con­stituen­cies of Air­drie and Shotts; Coat­bridge, Chrys­ton and Bell­shill; Cum­ber­nauld, Kil­syth and Kirk­in­til­loch East; Dum­friesshire, Cly­des­dale and Tweed­dale; East Kilbride, Strathaven and Les­ma­hagow; La­nark and Hamil­ton East; Mother­well and Wishaw; and Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West.

The re­port rec­om­mends these are re­placed with con­stituen­cies of Dum­friesshire and La­nark­shire South East, La­nark­shire North, La­nark­shire North East, La­nark­shire North West, La­nark­shire South West, La­nark­shire West and Mid La­nark­shire.

The SNP’S Ms Craw­ley – who says her con­stituency would be “split in half ” – says the plans would “di­min­ish Scot­land’s abil­ity to hold the UK Govern­ment to ac­count”.

She said: “In­stead of re­duc­ing the num­ber of demo­crat­i­cally-elected MPS, there should be a re­duc­tion of the 791 un­elected peers in the bloated House of Lords.

“These pro­posed plans would see Scot­land’s rep­re­sen­ta­tion at West­min­ster slashed by over 10 per cent, with Scot­tish MP voices fur­ther di­min­ished in a Par­lia­ment that looks in­creas­ing like it’s set up to work against those pro­tect­ing Scot­land’s in­ter­ests.

“There is no ap­petite for these changes and I am con­fi­dent that these pro­pos­als won’t see the light of day.

“At a time when it is more im­por­tant than ever to hold this hap­less Tory Govern­ment to ac­count, Theresa May wants to cut the num­ber of Scot­tish MPS at West­min­ster.

“It is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able that the Tories con­sider bound­ary changes a pri­or­ity when they have their own chaotic Brexit to deal with. If the UK govern­ment wants to re­duce the cost of pol­i­tics, the pri­or­ity must be to abol­ish the un­elected, un­demo­cratic House of Lords, which has zero ac­count­abil­ity to vot­ers.”

Lord Matthews, deputy chair of the Bound­ary Com­mis­sion for Scot­land, said: “The Com­mis­sion is ex­tremely grate­ful to all those who as­sisted us in de­vel­op­ing our fi­nal rec­om­men­da­tions by sub­mit­ting views or at­tend­ing pub­lic hear­ings.

“We lis­tened care­fully to com­ments made on our re­vised pro­pos­als and made a num­ber of changes to bound­aries and to con­stituency names.

“We be­lieve our fi­nal rec­om­men­da­tions meet the re­quire­ments of the leg­is­la­tion gov­ern­ing the re­view, and within those con­straints, fairly re­flect the views ex­pressed to us dur­ing our con­sul­ta­tions.”

Mpan­gela Craw­ley

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