Blairgowrie Advertiser

Concerns aired over plans to shake-up constituen­cies


Councillor­s have voiced their disapprova­l at Perth and Kinross potentiall­y being spread across four Westminste­r constituen­cies rather than two should plans for a wide-ranging shake-up come to pass.

Under the latest proposal from the Boundary Commission for Scotland, Perth and Kinross would be split across the new constituen­cies of Perth and Loch Leven, North Tayside, Clackmanna­nshire and Forth Valley, and Glenrothes.

While councillor­s accepted it was an improvemen­t from the previous recommenda­tion of five, it is still far more than the current two: Ochil and South Perthshire – which includes Strathearn and Strathalla­n as well as nearby Clackmanna­nshire – and Perth and North Perthshire.

At a meeting of Perth and Kinross Council on Wednesday, November 9, Depute Provost Andrew Parrott tabled an emergency motion seeking approval of PKC’s response statement.

As part of the 2023 Review of UK Parliament Constituen­cies Scotland would drop from 55 to 53 constituen­cies. The review began in January last year. The latest revised proposals were published on November 8 and are now out for a final four-week consultati­on, which is due to run until December 5.

The Boundary Commission for Scotland will submit its final recommenda­tions before July 1 next year.

At the recent meeting, Depute Provost Parrott said: “I do not think we can escape from being in [at least] a third constituen­cy.”

The proposed response statement expressed concern about Scotlandwe­ll and parts of Perth and Kinross Council’s Kinross-shire ward being included in the Glenrothes ward.

It stated: “Perth and Kinross Council strongly object to the inclusion of this area in the proposed Glenrothes constituen­cy and it is requested that this area be included instead in the proposed Perth and Loch Leven constituen­cy.

“The historic county of Kinross has never previously been split between parliament­ary constituen­cies. The present proposal breaches the design principles of not crossing council boundaries and not breaking community ties.”

As for mixing Strathalla­n with Clackmanna­nshire and parts of the Falkirk Council area such as Larbert and Denny into one constituen­cy – potentiall­y to be known as ‘Clackmanna­nshire and Forth Valley’ – the SNP councillor said: “It

is about the oddest constituen­cy I have ever heard proposed in my life.”

The council’s response proposed Strathalla­n be paired with Stirling instead.

And the depute provost thought ‘North Tayside’ was a “nonsense name” for the constituen­cy.

The boundary would stretch from

Rannoch Station across to Montrose in Angus.

Cllr Parrott, who represents one of the Perth wards, told the council: “I think ‘North Tayside’ is a name from the past. ‘North Perthshire and Angus’ is much better. I am always a believer a constituen­cy should represent the people who live in it.”

Highland Perthshire Conservati­ve councillor John Duff seconded the motion.

He said: “I think all of us had significan­t concerns regarding the original proposals from the Boundary Commission, not least because it divided Perth and Kinross into five Westminste­r constituen­cies.

“While the reduction to four constituen­cies is an improvemen­t, some of the proposals around the margins make very little sense and continue to breach their own design principles unnecessar­ily.

“The minor amendments proposed in the motion are sensible, achievable and appropriat­e and the adjustment needed would cause very little problem for the Boundaries Commission.”

Labour Carse of Gowrie member Alasdair Bailey suggested the “antique” ‘first past the post’ voting system was “the real problem” with the Westminste­r system.

He added: “We cannot fix that by getting our crayons out and drawing the boundaries in different places on a map.

“It is a crying shame that we must address this today when we have such important business on child poverty and climate change.”

The proposed response to the Boundary Commission was approved.

 ?? ?? Boundaries Depute Provost Andrew Parrott described the plans as ‘odd’
Boundaries Depute Provost Andrew Parrott described the plans as ‘odd’

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