Boundary change will damage Highlands

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Further to the letter from Mr C Morrison (The Oban Times, December 29), may I point out the following: I did not suggest that the Scottish Government was responsible for the proposed changes to constituency boundaries.

I indicated that the Boundary Commission for Scotland, based in Edinburgh, was responsible.

Mr Morrison mentions constraints but omits one crucial fact. Here is the relevant section (copied from the Boundary Commission for Scotland website): ‘The electorate of every other constituency in Scotland must be between 71,031 and 78,507 electors, ie, within five per cent of the UK-wide electoral quota of 74,769, unless its area exceeds 12,000 square kilometres.’ (Readers will note the important qualification contained in the last few words).

The only seat in Scotland to have more than 12,000 sq kms will be Highland North at 12,985 sq kms. It could lose up to 984 square kilometres and still be above the 12,000 square kilometre baseline. It could, therefore, have fewer electors (ie,  below 71,031).

The Boundary Commission for Scotland has choices. It has chosen to make Highland North more than 12,000 square kilometres and within five per cent of the electoral quota. It has chosen to make Inverness and Skye the third largest seat in Scotland by area and the fifth largest by electorate.

It has chosen to make Argyll, Bute and Lochaber the second largest by area and the 12th largest by electorate (out of 53).

I believe the Highlands will suffer from these choices and encourage people who agree with me to write to the Boundary Commission for Scotland.

Denis Rixson,
8 Fank Brae, Mallaig.