Jo Swinson has slammed Labour proposals to block Milngavie and Bearsden being joined in a single constituency ahead of the next Scottish Parliament election.
The plans put forward by the Labour Party to the Scottish Boundary Commission propose putting Bearsden in with Clydebank in a new constituency, while combining Milngavie in a separate seat with Bishopbriggs and Kirkintilloch.
The Boundary Commission is currently holding a series of public inquiries on proposed boundary changes. Changes affecting East Dunbartonshire are due to be discussed at an inquiry later this month.
“The Boundary Commission plans to rejoin Bearsden and Milngavie within a new Scottish Parliament constituency. Milngavie and Bearsden go hand in hand and it makes perfect sense to group them together under one MSP.
“Labour’s proposal to block this move shows scant regard for the wishes of Milngavie and Bearsden residents. I doubt many residents would be in favour of dividing Bearsden and Milngavie in this way.
“Milngavie residents will be bemused by a plan that splits them from Bearsden and instead joins them with Bishopbriggs and Kirkintilloch. Meanwhile, Bearsden residents will surely be unhappy with Labour’s proposal coming out of the blue to link them in with Clydebank.
“Constituencies should keep natural communities together wherever possible. East Dunbartonshire Council area is too large to be one constituency, so a boundary must cross it somewhere. The Boundary Commission have seen sense and recommended that this falls through open countryside, rather than splitting either Milngavie and Bearsden or Kirkintilloch and Lenzie. Many issues affecting the area are common to Milngavie and Bearsden – having them dealt with by a single MSP would benefit local residents.
“David Whitton has publicly stated his reluctance to lose Bishopbriggs from his constituency under the Boundary Commission proposals. It is a shame that he has not shown the equal respect for his constituents in Bearsden by saying the same for them.”
Meanwhile, Jo has also encouraged Milngavie and Bearsden residents to put forward their views on the proposed new Scottish Parliament constituency boundaries.
The Boundary Commission for Scotland plans to establish a constituency covering Milngavie, Bearsden and Bishopbriggs, provisionally named ‘Milngavie and Bishopbriggs. Earlier this year, Jo Swinson launched a campaign to ‘Save Bearsden’s Name’ after it was left out of the proposed constituency title.
Public inquiries will take place from 10am in John Wilson Town Hall, Airdrie, on September 23 and 24, the County Buildings, Ayr, on September 26 and 29 and in the council offices, Lanark, on September 30 and October 1. Members of the public will be able to put forward their views on the Boundary Commission proposals and on counter-proposals that have been submitted.
Commenting, she said:
“These proposals set out what the shape of East Dunbartonshire’s Scottish Parliament constituencies will be at the next election, so it is really important for people to have their say. The public hearings will allow people to put their views across on the proposals and the written submissions that have been made.
“My own submission pointed out that it does not make sense to leave Bearsden, as the biggest town in the new constituency, out of its name, which as things currently stand will be ‘Milngavie and Bishopbriggs. I received strong support locally for this change and I am optimistic the Boundary Commission will see sense and alter the name.
“I think the boundary of the new constituency is sensible and does not require any major alterations. In particular, it certainly makes sense to group Bearsden and Milngavie together in one constituency.”