Kirkintilloch united again – but will election shake-up be given green light?

Jo Swinson
Jo Swinson

CONTROVERSIAL plans to reunite Kirkintilloch’s communities within one constituency for the next General Election have been given the green light – despite concerns from the current MP.

The Boundary Commission has confirmed proposals to redraw the East Dunbartonshire constituency map – rejecting pleas for a rethink from MP Jo Swinson.

It means Kirkintilloch would be reunited, but Bearsden would be split.

However, Ms Swinson insists that her fellow MPs will vote against the changes.

If they are implemented she could face an uphill battle to be re-elected in 2015.

The UK Parliament has proposed reducing the number of Scottish constituencies from 59 to 52, each of which must have between 72,810 and 80,473 voters.

Currently the East Dunbartonshire area has an electorate which is 332 over the limit – meaning the boundaries will have to be redrawn.

To make the numbers stack up the commission has proposed splitting Bearsden, with the Bearsden North ward moving to a new West Dunbartonshire and Bearsden seat.

The Bearsden South constituency would remain with the rest of East Dunbartonshire, along with ward one of North Lanarkshire which contains Kilsyth.

The changes would mean that all of Kirkintilloch would come under the same East Dunbartonshire and Kilsyth constituency.

Currently the town is split between the East Dunbartonshire and Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East seats.

Ms Swinson said: “Despite the hundreds of responses sent in against the proposed changes, the Boundary Commission has decided to stick to their initial wrong-headed proposal for our area.

“While the plan to reunite Kirkintilloch East with the rest of Kirkintilloch is a good one, I remain disappointed that the commission thinks Bearsden should be cut up with a section of it lumped in with West Dunbartonshire.

“I’ve never seen the point in uniting one community, only to divide another.

“However given that proposed boundary changes will not now command a majority in the House of Commons, the East Dunbartonshire constituency will remain in its current form for the 2015 election.”

Dr Hugh Buchanan, commission secretary, said: “After careful consideration of all of the comments received, the commission has designed this revised set of constituencies.

“In some areas, we have been unable to make changes in response to opposition to the initial proposals because of the constraints on constituency design within the legislation.”

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