Scotland could lose two Westminster seats as boundaries are redrawn

The proposals could see Glasgow and the north of Scotland lose out on seats.

Scotland could lose two Westminster seats as boundaries are redrawn iStock

Scotland could lose two MPs at Westminster under new boundary proposals.

The Boundary Commission for Scotland has launched an eight-week public consultation on the proposals, which would see the number of MPs returned to Westminster go from 59 in previous votes to 57.

Glasgow and the north of Scotland would be the places which would lose seats, while widespread changes would see boundaries shift and constituencies renamed across the country, in the first change since 2005.

In comparison, England will see an increase of 10 MPs, while Wales will lose eight, if the changes are implemented.

Northern Ireland is set to remain on the same number of seats.

The proposals look to resolve parity issues in the number of voters in constituencies.

The commission hopes any changes will be in place by 2024, when the next general election is expected.

The parameters of the review have said the number of voters in each constituency must fall between about 70,000 and 77,000, unless the area would cover more than 12,000 square kilometres.

Lord Matthews, the deputy chair of the commission and the person leading the review, said: “I believe this is a promising start to delivering the requirements of the new rules that mean the number of constituencies in Scotland will reduce from 59 to 57, and that each mainland constituency must have broadly the same number of electors.

“We have set out proposals today which do that and are, we believe, a good implementation of the rules set by Parliament.

“Today is the beginning of a process, and we now want to hear the views of the public. We will reflect on responses to the consultation and make changes where appropriate and where the legislation allows us to do so. We strongly encourage voters to make their views heard.

“We welcome all comments on our proposals on our consultation site at

“We particularly want to hear suggestions on two aspects, suggestions for alternative boundaries that comply with the legislative requirements and constituency names.”

In a briefing on the changes, Professor Ailsa Henderson, who is also a commissioner on the review, said shifts in population sizes in different parts of the country had prompted the changes.

“The result of that is that there is a wide range of electors across the existing Scottish constituencies.

“The constituency with the smallest electorate is Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross which has 46,000 – almost 47,000 electors – but the constituency with the largest electorate is in Linlithgow and East Falkirk with 88,000 electors, which is a range of around 41,000 electors.”

The difference in Northern Ireland is just 18,000, 36,000 in Wales and 57,000 in England.

“When there are wide variations in parity, that means that the votes in the small constituencies can be worth the equivalent of two votes in the larger constituency,” Prof Henderson said.

“So if everyone is selecting representatives to the same legislature, but their votes are worth more based purely on where they live, then, that obviously is a problem.

“The legislation is designed to ensure that electoral parity is the engine of electoral fairness in Westminster elections.”

According to Prof Henderson, 27 constituencies in Scotland were below the quota set for the number of voters and 12 were above it.

SNP Westminster deputy leader, Kirsten Oswald MP, said: “Tory plans to further reduce Scotland’s representation at Westminster, while increasing the number of MPs for England, underlines the need for Scotland to become an independent country – in full control of our own democratic decisions and with the full powers needed to build a stronger, fairer and greener future.

“The SNP will strongly oppose any attempt to weaken Scotland’s voice in the UK Parliament but the reality is Scotland will always be outvoted under the broken Westminster system – as we have seen with Tory austerity cuts, Brexit and power grabs imposed against Scotland’s will.

“Independence is the only way to keep Scotland safe from damaging Westminster decisions and Scotland’s best future lies as an independent country.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “Reforms to parliamentary boundaries will ensure fair and equal representation for the voting public across the United Kingdom.

“Every constituency will be equally represented in the UK Parliament, with Scotland’s most rural constituencies continuing to receive special protection.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code