Edinburgh boundary changes: Lothian to get an extra MSP as 'controversial' boundary changes announced
and live on Freeview channel 276
But the proposed boundary changes look set to cause controversy with plans to link places across different council areas. Portobello would be transferred from Edinburgh Eastern constituency into Midlothian North & Musseburgh, which would also expand to include Prestonpans. The seat would straddle three local authority areas – Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian – the only one in Scotland to do so.
And a new seat called Edinburgh Forth and Linlithgow would be created, combining areas like Cramond, Muirhouse, Kirkliston and South Queensferry – all currently part of Edinburgh Western – with Linlithgow, Winchburgh and Broxburn. The proposals, drawn up by Boundaries Scotland, now go out to public consultation and people have until Saturday June 17, to comment.
The extra seat for Lothian – up from 11 to 12 – reflects the higher than average population growth in the region. Glasgow will lose a seat. Almost all the existing constituencies in Lothian are over the electoral “quota”, which represents the number of electors if all seats were equal. In putting forward changes, Boundaries Scotland is required to “have regard to” local authority boundaries and design constituencies as close to the electoral quota as practical, while also taking into account community ties.
Edinburgh Western MSP and Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "These reviews are an important opportunity to ensure that residents in a changing Scotland can have their voices heard on an equal footing. However, I am surprised to see they are proposing a constituency that takes long-standing and historic parts of Edinburgh and combines them with areas as far out as Linlithgow. This would seem to cut against Boundaries Scotland's responsibility to try and connect natural communities."
The proposals would also mean significant changes to the boundaries of other seats in and around the Capital. Edinburgh Southern would lose the Inch and Liberton to Edinburgh Eastern and Prestonfield and Newington to Edinburgh Central, which would end up extending south almost to the Braid Hills. Edinburgh Pentlands would lose Fairmilehead to Edinburgh Southern. And Edinburgh Western would extend as far east as the Royal Botanic Garden, currently in Edinburgh Northern and Leith.
Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs said: "The important thing is people are able to have their say. People want to make sure their communities are properly represented an although this is not a perfect science, I think some communities will be concerned about what these proposals present.”
Ronnie Hinds, chair of Boundaries Scotland, said he believed the proposals offered a “robust set of constituencies” within the rules set. “They represent a necessary rebalancing to reflect the movements of the electorate in Scotland since parliamentary boundaries were last reviewed. “Today is the beginning of a process, however, and we now want to hear the views of the public. We will reflect on responses to the consultation and makes changes where appropriate and where the legislation allows us to do so. We particularly want to hear suggestions for alternative boundaries that comply with the legislative requirements and for constituency names.”