Labour’s only seat to vanish under boundary proposals

The only Labour seat in Edinburgh will vanish in the redrawing of constituencies.

The only Labour seat in Edinburgh will vanish in the redrawing of constituencies.

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SCOTLAND’S only Labour MP has hit out after his Edinburgh South constituency was wiped off the map in proposed boundary changes for the next Westminster elections.

Ian Murray said it looked as if the redrawn constituencies for the Capital had been produced by someone with little knowledge of the city.

Under the proposals – part of a scheme to reduce the House of Commons from 650 to 600 MPs – Edinburgh South would disappear, some of it going into Edinburgh East and the rest into a new Edinburgh South West and Central, covering Colinton, Morningside and into the Old and New Towns.

Edinburgh would still have five seats, but one would straddle the border with West Lothian. Edinburgh North and Leith would be largely unchanged, with Edinburgh West mostly intact apart from losing Ratho, which would move into a new Edinburgh Pentland and Livingston seat.

This would include Juniper Green, Currie and Balerno as well as Livingston itself, while much of the rest of the current Livingston seat, including West Calder, Addiewell and Fauldhouse, would move into the Linlithgow constituency.

East Lothian would stay exactly as it is, while Midlothian would add a chunk of the Borders and be known as Midlothian and Peebles.

Mr Murray said: “This appears to be a map drawn by someone who knows very little about our capital city.

“The proposals would split communities down the middle, with one seat stretching from Bonaly Country Park in the shadow of the Pentland Hills all the way to the top of Leith Walk in the city centre.”

And he criticised the overall plan to cut the number of MPs, adding: “These Tory proposals to redraw constituency boundaries are unfair, undemocratic and unacceptable. They are based on an out-of-date version of the electoral register with nearly two million voters across the UK missing.

“In the past, ministers have argued that cutting the number of MPs will save the taxpayer £12 million, but David Cameron created scores of extra unelected peers in the House of Lords, costing £34m.”

The boundary shake-up would cut the number of Scottish MPs from 59 to 53. The Boundary Commission for Scotland, which drew up the proposals, had to put forward constituencies whose electorate is within five per cent of 74,769.

The new Edinburgh Pentland and Livingston seat would be one of the largest in Scotland with a population of 78,164, while Edinburgh North and Leith would be the smallest by area at 20 sq km.

The commission stressed it was independent and did not take political considerations or voting patterns into account.

A consultation on the proposals runs until January 11. There will be a public event in Edinburgh on December 7 and final proposals must be published by September 2018.

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com