Voting for change

WHEN voters next go to the polls for a General Election, most likely in 2015, the constituencies could look very different to last time around with the Westminster seats reduced from 650 to 600 and Scotland’s share going down from 59 to 52.

The Boundary Commission for Scotland, which is currently undertaking a review, ahead of the widespread changes - the number of constituencies in the UK is being cut from 650 to 600 in time for the next general election.

The changes stem from the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011, steered through by the Lib Dems. They mean constituency boundaries need to be redrawn so that the number of electors is spread more evenly across parliamentary seats - the average electorate per constituency in the UK has been set at 76,641, and each constituency must be within 5% of that quota. The smallest permitted electorate is 72,810, and the largest is 80,473.

The Borders council area has an electorate of 88,972 which means the area is entitled to 1.161 MPs, and the way it is divided at the moment with part of Tweeddale with will

Exceptions to these limits apply in the Western Isles), Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands council areas and further exceptions can be made for very sparsely populated areas.The Boundary Commission for Scotland which has until October 2013 to come of with their proposals, said the review would result in “significant change” for many constituencies.

Proposals will be published for public consultation towards the end of the year.

Scottish Labour accused the Liberal Democrats of introducing special measures likely to protect the existing seats of Lib Dem MPs; the SNP claimed the reforms were rushed and could lead to huge rural seats.