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The UK Boundary Commission’s proposals to make Argyll the second largest constituency in Scotland, absorbing Morvern, Ardnamurchan and Moidart, are being considered by Argyll and Bute Council today (Thursday November 25).
The Boundary Commission for Scotland has published its initial proposals for a new map of UK Parliamentary constituencies in 2023, in an eight-week public consultation on the proposals, running until the end of Wednesday December 8.
Two Scottish Members of Parliament stand to lose their jobs, as legislation cuts the number of Westminster seats in Scotland from 59 to 57 in 2023. England has been allocated 543, plus 10; Northern Ireland 18, no change, and Wales 32, down eight.
Most of the current Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency, represented by the House of Commons’ SNP leader Ian Blackford MP, will be replaced by a new Highland Central constituency, which takes the Highland capital away from the current Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey constituency, held by a fellow SNP MP Drew Hendry.
The Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency’s northern boundary retreats south from Lochinver down to Strathcarron, lost to a new Highland North constituency covering the north of Scotland from Torridon and Beauly up to Cape Wrath and John o’ Groats.
In return for its lost northern territory, the new Highland Central constituency spreads eastwards, subsuming all of Loch Ness from Fort Augustus to Inverness, before wiggling back down through the Monadhliath Mountains to Roybridge.
Meanwhile, the current Argyll and Bute constituency creeps northwards, taking away the peninsulas of Morvern and Ardnamurchan up to the A830, plus Glencoe, Duror and Onich, from Ross, Skye and Lochaber, with the Corran Ferry in between.
A report before Argyll and Bute Council explains: ‘Under the proposals, the current Argyll and Bute Constituency boundary will be spread north to incorporate part of ward 21, Fort William and Ardnamurchan, within Highland Council including Ballachullish, Kinlochleven, Morvern, Ardnamurchan, Moidart and Ardgour.
‘The new constituency will be called Argyll, will have 71,422 electors and cover an approximate area of 9,294 square kilometres. Geographically this is the second largest constituency in Scotland.
‘It is clear there is no established link, other than an historical one, between the communities of the Lochaber ward and the rest of Argyll and Bute but it is fair to assess that the communities share similar issues around ‘island proofing’, remoteness, rurality, sparsity and economic challenges arising therefrom.
‘In early 2022 the Commission will hold a secondary six-week consultation period where all the comments received on the initial proposals will be published.
‘After the secondary consultation period, the Commission will consider all the evidence and the resulting revised proposals will be published for a four-week public consultation in 2022 with final recommendations being submitted to the Speaker by July 1 2023.’