David Linden hits out at bill that will see Scotland lose seats to England

AN SNP MP has hit out at a bill that will see Scotland “losing two to three seats to the advantage of England”.

David Linden made the statement in the House of Commons during a debate on the Parliamentary Constituencies Bill.

The Government has been defeated five times on the bill that will encourage 16-to-17-year-olds to register, on the permitted variation in the number of voters per seat, on who appoints Boundary Commissioners and on the interval between revisions of constituency boundaries.

Parliamentary research suggests England will gain ten seats because, the research paper says, it has historically been under-represented in the UK parliament.

At the last election, the Conservative Party had 10% of the seats in Scotland, 35% in Wales and 66% in England.

The English regions set to gain most MPs are the South-East, the South-West and the East followed by London and the East Midlands.

Linden said the bill undoes the 2011 legislation which would have reduced the number of constituencies in the House of Commons from 650 to 600.

He said: “With new legislative powers coming back from Brussels post-Brexit, it would surely have been bonkers to reduce the number of MPs whilst increasing the legislative power of the executive.

“So, this is another welcome U-turn and I am glad to once again place on record my support for clause 5 of the Bill.”

But he went on to say that it “makes a mockery of the promises made after the 2014 independence referendum” because Scotland will lose out on two to three constituency seats.

The Tories boundary review director, Roger Pratt, previously told parliament that Wales would probably lose 8 of its 40 MPs and that Scotland would lose two or three of its 57 MPs.

“In fact, it seems that all of the devolved nations will lose out on constituency seats under the new calculations,” Linden continued.

“Scotland is currently represented by 59 MPs – and whilst I continue to work towards the day in which Scotland will no longer be governed by Westminster – until that day I will fight for Scotland to be fairly represented in this Chamber.

“Based on the proposed electoral quotas, we would see Scotland losing two or three seats to the advantage of England, which strikes me as being wholly unfair and flies in the face of the rallying calls that Scotland should lead the United Kingdom – not leave it.”

He continued: “After the 2014 referendum, Scotland was promised that it would be considered an equal partner in this union. However the fact that Scotland is now set to lose three constituency seats should continue to highlight that the promises made after the 2014 campaign have been proven to be empty once again.”

“It should have been a priority to members to the House of Lords to protect Scotland’s 59 seats in this Parliament – to protect our ability to represent our constituencies and not to diminish Scotland’s voice.”

Linden said the SNP supports the proposal to renew the boundary every every 10 years, as opposed to a shorter time frame of eight.

If passed by parliament, this boundary review will be in place before the 2024 general election.

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