ERS:Scotland’s New Political Map – ‘One Size Doesn’t Fit All’

The Electoral Reform Society Scotland has commented on the publication of new Scottish parliamentary boundaries. [1]

Publication comes little over a week after Conservative cabinet minister Baroness Warsi dubbed the revised constituency map of England both "mad and insane". [2]

The Society has attacked the "thankless task" handed to the Boundary Commission for Scotland. It is now calling on the government to reassess the extremely tight variance of 5% between constituency sizes – which has meant 16 Westminster seats will cross council boundaries, breaking up traditional communities such as Ayr and Dunfermline.

Willie Sullivan, Director of the Electoral Reform Society Scotland said:

"If Scotland's new boundaries seem as "mad and insane" as England's then responsibility must lie with the British government.

"The Boundary Commission for Scotland was given a thankless task. This government's rigid 'One Size Fits All' approach was never going to fit Scotland – its cold mathematical vision of equality flies in the face of real communities, simple geography and common sense.

"The call for equal size seats dates back to the Chartists, but we doubt they would recognise the results. Instead the government risks making the constituency link a thing of the past."

Key Points
· The Boundary Commission for Scotland has published detailed proposals reducing the number of Scottish MPs from 59 to 52.

· Only two of Scotland’s seats – Na h-Eileanan an Iar (the Western Isles) and Orkney and Shetland – have been protected under the proposals.

· The remaining 50 constituencies must now have a number of electors set at between 72,810 and 80,473 – the maximum ‘5% variance’. A wider variance would have allowed the Commission to be more sympathetic to geography and traditional communities.

· The Boundary Commission has been forced to draw 16 proposed mainland seats that spread across two local authority boundaries. Ayr is now split between Kyle and Cumnock and North Ayrshire and Arran, Dunfermline is now split into Clackmannanshire and Dunfermline West and Dunfermline East.

· Likely casualties include the seat of Scotland’s only Conservative MP David Mundell whose Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale constituency has been split three ways.

For comment contact Willie Sullivan, Director of ERS Scotland on 07940523842

[1] See

[2] See Lady Warsi: some proposed boundary changes are 'mad and insane', Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, 3 October 2011