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Second review of Scottish Parliament Boundaries sees revised Morayshire constituencies

By David Porter

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Boundaries Scotland has this week published its revised proposals for new constituency boundaries for the Scottish Parliament. It marks the start of a one-month public consultation on the proposals, running until Wednesday, May 15.

The second round of public consultation on Scottish Parliamentary area boundaries has opened seeking further views on changes.
The second round of public consultation on Scottish Parliamentary area boundaries has opened seeking further views on changes.

Boundaries Scotland consulted on provisional proposals for constituencies between May and June 2023. That consultation returned very useful feedback and suggested improvements to proposals in Edinburgh, Prestonpans, Kilmarnock, Clydebank, Johnstone and East Renfrewshire. As a result, they also held six local inquiries to gather further views on proposals in: Musselburgh; Kilmarnock; Clydebank; Johnstone/Newton Mearns; Edinburgh; and Peebles and have considered the comments made at the Local Inquiries along with all other consultation responses in producing the Revised Proposals for further consultation.

From the provisional proposals:

• 22 constituencies are unchanged.

• 18 constituencies have minor changes to boundaries but retain their names.

• 3 constituencies have changes to their names but retain their boundaries.

• 30 constituencies have both new names and new boundaries.

There are 73 Scottish Parliament constituencies, three of which are protected in the legislation and therefore are not subject to review (Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands).

Ailsa Henderson, Chair of Boundaries Scotland, said “We were very pleased with the number of responses, as well as the quality of arguments and varied suggestions submitted during our first consultation. These have helped us to improve upon our provisional proposals and we have made changes to over two-thirds of the constituencies as a direct result of responses submitted during the consultation and at local inquiries. We think we have managed to address the vast majority of concerns while also following the rules as set out in legislation. We would now like to hear further views from the public on our revised proposals over the next month. Have we addressed the earlier concerns? Could we make further improvements? Have we got accurate namesto describe new constituencies? We strongly encourage people to make their viewsheard. We particularly want to hear suggestions for alternative boundaries that complywith the legislative requirements and for constituency names.” We welcome all comments on the proposals on our consultation site at https://consult.boundaries.scot/

When the consultation closes, Boundaries Scotland will consider all responses received and whether further revision is necessary. If changes are made, another one-month consultation will be held. The Review is required under the terms of the Scotland Act 1998 and will recommend constituencies, and regions, of similar electorate size while also taking account of local authority areas, special geographical circumstances, maintenance of local ties and any inconveniences caused by the alteration of the existing boundaries.

As part of this Review,they will consult on the boundaries of Scottish Parliament regions later in 2024.

They developed proposals within single or groupings of council areas. From the provisional to the revised proposals they changed the council groupings where they felt they could achieve better constituency boundaries. A summary of changes by groupings for the north-east, Moray and Highland is as follows:

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus and Moray Council areas - Retained six constituency boundaries from the provisional proposals. Made minor changes to the Aberdeenshire East; Banffshire and Buchan Coast; and Moray constituency boundaries by Arradoul – to align with a ward boundary, and by Longside following feedback from the public consultation.Retained all of the existing constituency names.

Highland Council area - Retained one constituency boundary – Caithness, Sutherland and Ross from the provisional proposals. Made changes to the other two constituency boundaries (Inverness and Nairn; and Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) to the south of Inverness to align with a ward boundary, following feedback from the public consultation. Retained all of the existing constituency names.

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