The Boundary Commission last week published its revised proposals for the shape of parliamentary seats at the next general election, drawn up on the basis that the total number of MPs will be cut from 650 to 600.
Based on the commission’s initial plans for Jo’s seat of East Dunbartonshire, 11,066 electors in Bearsden would have been removed from the constituency and transferred to West Dunbartonshire. In the revised proposals, this number is lower at 5,734.
Commenting on the changes, Jo said:
“The Lib Dems have fought to keep East Dunbartonshire together. The Boundary Commission’s original proposals were divisive and failed to account for the strong ties that exist within local communities here.
“The revised proposals show that they have listened and done their best to address the concerns expressed by people in Bearsden about being lumped in with West Dunbartonshire for Parliamentary representation. However, while fewer Bearsden residents are therefore affected in these new proposals, 5,734 people still are.
“The Government should recognise that the numerical constraints imposed on the Boundary Commission are too tight and inflexible to allow for constituencies that reflect natural community boundaries.
“This whole process is doomed anyway due to opposition from the DUP and Tory backbenchers, so the Government must stop wasting public money on a boundary review that is already dead in the water.”
Local councillor Rod Ackland said:
“The Liberal Democrats strongly believe that the whole of East Dunbartonshire should be kept together in one constituency, but the Tories are trying to rig constituency boundaries to help them win the next election.
“As the Lib Dems have warned previously, the outcome of the Tories' proposals would be ridiculous constituency boundaries which ignored local communities.
“Last year's Boundary Commission proposal took about 10,000 electors out of East Dunbartonshire. Since the Tories' rules said that at least 3,620 people had to be moved out of East Dunbartonshire, the Liberal Democrats tried to persuade the Boundary Commission to move as few people out of out of East Dunbartonshire for Parliamentary representation as the rules would allow.
“We put forward two ways in which this could be achieved - one was to take out of the original plans a part of Bishopbriggs, the other to take out a smaller part of Bearsden than what was originally proposed. The Boundary Commission chose the Bearsden option.
“In our eyes, this is still not an ideal scenario for East Dunbartonshire, but we do accept that the situation is better compared to last year’s proposals.”