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Voting shake up

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Voting shake up

CONSTITUENCY boundaries for the region are set to be redrawn again, with Dumfriesshire linked up with Lanarkshire South East to form a new Westminster seat.

The Boundary Commission for Scotland this week laid out its final recommendations for UK Parliament constituencies.

And under their recommendations, the Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale (DCT) constituency would disappear, being largely replaced by a Dumfriesshire and Lanarkshire South East seat containing 78,301 voters and covering 3772 square kilometres.

Meanwhile, the neighbouring Dumfries and Galloway seat would be renamed Galloway and Dumfries. It would then cover a 4168 square km area and incorporate 74,882 voters.

If agreed, the changes would come into force in time for the scheduled May 2022 General Election and would see Lanark and Carluke added to the area, but Peebles and Innerleithen dropped.

A controversial plan to move Annan into the same constituency as Dumfries and Stranraer, which was outlined in the Commission’s initial proposals, has been changed following a public outcry and it will now remain part of Annandale and Eskdale and therefore part of the new Dumfriesshire seat. However, a rural corridor on the east bank of the River Nith, including Glencaple, will become part of the neighbouring Galloway and Dumfries constituency.

In their official report, the Commission noted that there are still local concerns: “We received 51 representations in response to the consultation on our Revised Proposals for Dumfries and Galloway, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire council areas. The responses opposed the proposed Galloway and Dumfries constituency name, stating that there are no historic links between Dumfries and Galloway and South Lanarkshire council areas.”

The UK Parliament will now have to decide if the recommendations should be implemented.

Commenting on the likely changes, David Mundell, the current MP for DCT, said: “Having represented Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale at Westminster for over 13 years, I would be extremely disappointed to see the constituency broken up. However, at least the revised proposals for new constituencies have taken on board local concerns in Dumfriesshire and will see the Annan area be in the same constituency as Annandale and Eskdale and Heathhall and Locharbriggs will remain with Dumfries.”

The Boundary Commission for Scotland carries out reviews of constituencies in Scotland for the UK Parliament every five years. Each constituency must have an area of no more than 13,000 square kilometres and an electorate no fewer than 71,031 and no more than 78,507.

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