Edinburgh constituencies: New boundaries for Edinburgh and Lothian seats by the next UK general election
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The map of Edinburgh and Lothian’s Westminster constituencies could look a little different by the time of the next general election.
Boundary changes and new names for some of the seats are among the proposals expected to be in place by 2024, when voters are expected to go to the polls again. The number of Scottish seats in the House of Commons is being cut from 59 to 57, but thanks to their growing population Edinburgh and the Lothians do not lose any representation.
The Boundary Commission for Scotland launched a four-week consultation on revised proposals which take into account comments on its initial plans first published in October last year.
The initial proposals included moving part of old Musselburgh from the East Lothian constituency into Edinburgh East and the latest proposals move a bit more. The commission says the changes mean the new constituency will follow the same boundary as the old Edinburgh East and Musselburgh constituency which existed between 1997 and 2005.
And the East Lothian seat, renamed East Lothian Coastal in the initial proposals, is now to be called East Lothian and Lammermuirs. The “Coastal” name had been criticised since many communities in the constituency were nowhere near the sea. The commission says the proposed new name reflects the extensive geography of the constituency and that it no longer follows East Lothian council area boundary. It does not signify any boundary change.
The commission must work within strict rules about how many voters there are in each seat, so constituencies are roughly equal, which is why East Lothian had to be reduced in size. East Lothian Alba MP Kenny MacAskill said: “East Lothian as a county is an entity with a spirit and community with Musselburgh a vital part. That said, if voter numbers are the critical factor, growth in the county sees change needed and I recall first being elected for Edinburgh East and Musselburgh as links along the shore into the city are longstanding.” He also said he was “relaxed” about the new name. “The county runs from the Lammemuirs to the Forth – it’s a longer name for what has always been.”
In the rest of Edinburgh, only minor boundary changes are proposed, with the dividing line between Edinburgh North & Leith and Edinburgh West moving to follow the community council boundary at West Pilton and then Crewe Road instead of a cycle path further south; and small changes in Edinburgh South to align with ward boundaries.
Two Lothian constituencies – Edinburgh South-West and Midlothian – remain entirely unchanged. Meanwhile, Linlithgow will no longer be linked with East Falkirk, but become part of a new constituency named Bathgate and Linlithgow, which will also include Whitburn. The other West Lothian seat, Livingston, will include Broxburn.
Lord Matthews, deputy chair of the Boundary Commission for Scotland, said: “We are grateful for the responses received during our previous consultations including those presented at the five public hearings that we held across Scotland earlier this year. We have considered all representations very carefully and, where possible, have tried to respond positively to suggestions.
"The legislative requirements of the review do mean we are not always able to incorporate alternatives and sometimes of course we receive conflicting views or suggestions with unintended consequences for other parts of Scotland. We very much look forward to receiving views on the revised proposals, after which we will finalise our proposals before submitting them to the Speaker of the House of Commons by July 1 next year.”