A national review of MPs’ constituencies gets underway today (Thursday, February 25).
Rules introduced by the UK Government in 2011 result in a decrease in the number of constituencies in Scotland from 59 to 53.
Across the UK, the number of constituencies is being reduced from 650 to 600, with similar reductions in each part of the UK: England 501 in place of the current 533; Wales 29 in place of the current 40; and Northern Ireland 17 in place of the current 18.
The electoral quota for the review, which is the average electorate per constituency across the UK, is 74,769.2, with the electorate of each constituency having to be within five per cent of that, which is between 71,031 and 78,507.
The Boundary Commission for Scotland, responsible for reviewing parliamentary boundaries in Scotland since 1945, must make recommendations on new constituency boundaries to the Secretary of State for Scotland by October 1, 2018, in time for the next Westminster elections in 2020.
Proposals will be published by the Boundary Commission for Scotland for public consultation later in 2016.
Lord Matthews, Deputy Chair of the Boundary Commission for Scotland, said: “The rules within which we work put great emphasis on equal electorates across the UK, and as a result the review is likely to result in significant change for many constituencies in Scotland. Consultation remains a key part of the review process and we will fully consult upon our proposals in due course so people across Scotland can feed in their views.”
The rules require broadly equal numbers of voters in each constituency, except where a constituency is larger than 12,000 square kilometres.
The rules also limit the size of a constituency to 13,000 square kilometres. The constituencies of Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles) and Orkney and Shetland are preserved in the legislation, so are not under review.
Further information on the 2018 Review can be found on the Commission’s website at www.bcomm-scotland.gov.uk