New boundary plans 'will tear Falkirk Council area apart' as area would be split
The new boundary proposals for UK Parliament constituencies have been branded “ill thought out” and something which will “tear the Falkirk Council area apart”.
That’s the response from Falkirk Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn on the initial boundary changes proposed by the Boundary Commission for Scotland which have gone out to public consultation until December 8.
There are some major alterations afoot for the Falkirk area, with Stenhousemuir, Larbert, Denny and even Skinflats being included in the new Mid Forth Valley region – which would have an electorate of 74,126 – along with Clackmannan and Alloa.
Falkirk, Grangemouth, Bonnybridge and Camelon, meanwhile, fall within the Forth Valley South area – which would have an electorate of 76,431 – and Bo'ness is included in the Linlithgow and Bathgate region.
Stirling is out on its own in the Stirling region with an electorate of 70,085.
Councillor Meiklejohn said: “I believe the proposals are ill thought out and will electorally tear the Falkirk Council area apart, with huge impacts on communities who have natural ties and synergies and has the potential to confuse constituents and voters who identify Falkirk as their constituency.
"While the Boundary Commission will argue it is based on numbers, those of us who have seen previous reviews that seek to reduce the number of Scottish MP’s, could look at this more cynically, particularly when Falkirk has returned an SNP MP, with this highest Scottish majority not just once.”
Scotland has been allocated 57 constituencies for the 2023 Review, two fewer than at present.
The UK Parliament has retained 650 constituencies, with England allocated 543 – an increase of 10 – Northern Ireland stays on 18 and Wales loses eight constituencies for a total of 32.
Each constituency the Boundary Commission recommends must contain no fewer than 69,724 parliamentary electors, and no more than 77,062.
If it considers it necessary, the commission can recommend a constituency with an electorate lower than the minimum if it is larger than 12,000 square kilometres. No constituency can be larger than 13,000 square kilometres.
Due to the reduction in the number of constituencies in Scotland and the requirements for each constituency to have a number of electors within set limits, significant changes to existing constituencies are required and these initial proposals are now set out for consultation.
Lord Matthews, deputy chair of the Boundary Commission for Scotland, said: “I believe this is a promising start to delivering the requirements of the new rules that
mean the number of constituencies in Scotland will reduce from 59 to 57, and that each mainland constituency must have broadly the same number of electors.
"We have set out proposals which do that and are, we believe, a good implementation of the rules set by Parliament. This is the beginning of a process, and we now want to hear the views of the public."We will reflect on responses to the consultation and make changes where appropriate and where the legislation allows us to do so. We strongly encourage voters to make their views heard."People can visit www.bcs2023review.com to see the proposed new boundaries for themselves.