In News on October 7, 2016 by dadge


Under the terms of the current (“2018”) UK parliamentary boundary review, Scotland will be entitled to 53 seats at Westminster. This report describes the possible new geography of those 53 constituencies, and should be read in conjunction with the official rules and data.

The best way to view the proposals is on the map above. Since it’s based on Google Maps, it can be zoomed in or out, you can move the map about, and you can choose between a normal map and a satellite view. Click on any seat (on the number on the map or on the list alongside) and its electorate and ward information will be displayed. The full list of seats is accessed by clicking the symbol in the top left of the map, and you can get a full-screen map by clicking the symbol in the top right. An explanatory guide to the proposed seats can be found further down this page.

If you’d like to make an informal comment about any of the seats, please click on “Leave a comment” at the bottom of this page. If you’d like to make an official response to the boundary commission, about this plan or about your own ideas, email before the end of 2016.

This report is broken down by area as follows:

Highlands and Islands – 6 seats
North East – 7 seats
Perth & Fife – 5 seats
North Central – 5 seats
South Central – 8 seats
Edinburgh and South – 9 seats
South West – 7 seats
Glasgow – 6 seats

The exact entitlements for various areas are shown on this map. In theory the Central area “owes” the Edinburgh/South area a ward, but the judgment call has been made that crossing the boundary for the sake of a few thousand voters would be too disruptive to the overall pattern of seats.

Highlands and Islands

Orkney & Shetland 33229
Na h-Eileanan an Iar 20887
Highlands North 77938
Highlands South 76334
Argyll & Bute 73889
Moray 78294*

As well as the island seats with protected status, namely Orkney & Shetland and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, this area includes the Highland, Moray and Argyll & Bute council areas. There is a legal limit on the geographical size of the seats in this area, and probably the best way to keep the seats within that limit is to divide Inverness between the two Highland seats, and include Badenoch & Strathspey in the Moray seat. Note that Lochaber is now split between the Argyll and Inverness-shire seats. If it’s felt that Caol should be in the same seat as Fort William, it can be added to the Argyll seat.

Names: if possible it would be good to come up with properly representative names for the two Highland seats that are not too cumbersome.

Unfortunately since the Moray seat would be illegally large (in terms of electorate) otherwise, it’s necessary to include a small area – Rothiemay and Grange, near Keith – in the Gordon seat. Although it’s possible to arrange the seats north and east of Aberdeen without dividing a ward (see here), this would create a 3-district seat stretching from Aberdeen to Kingussie.

North East

Banff & Buchan 77582
Gordon 74328*
Aberdeen North 78274
Aberdeen South 71961
Montrose 76952
Forfar 77988
Dundee 76317

Dundee is too large for one seat, and the Broughty Ferry and Fintry areas are included in the Forfar seat. The Montrose seat includes Arbroath and Stonehaven. Aberdeen City is just the right size for two seats.

Perth & Fife

Perth 72831
South Tay (North Fife & Strathearn) 75957
Glenrothes & Kinross 75077
Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath 73323
Dunfermline 78254

Although the North Fife-South Perthshire seat is something of a novelty, at this review it’s the only elegant solution, given the relative sizes of the two council areas. Also, Kinross has been paired with Glenrothes, but if it’s preferred, Kinross can be included in the South Tay seat in exchange for the East Neuk going into the Glenrothes seat.

North Central

West Dunbartonshire 77006
East Dunbartonshire 71846
Clackmannan & Stirling North 74113
Stirling South 77238
Falkirk 74092

This area corresponds approximately to the old counties of Stirlingshire and Dunbartonshire. The two current Dunbartonshire districts are entitled to two seats between them, but Milngavie needs to be in the West seat because of the numbers. This leaves the East seat as rather an odd shape, but that is of little consequence.

Stirling is split between a mainly north-of-the-river seat including Clackmannan and the Trossachs, and a southside seat going down to the small towns north of Falkirk. It is possible to have seat that includes all of Stirling, but that would mean the neighbouring seat would be slightly odd, combining Clackmannan with Denny and Stenhousemuir across the Kincardine bridges.

The Stirling South seat also includes Kilsyth. It’s a compact seat with good communications, but it is a three-council seat. The pattern of constituencies in the region is not as good if Kilsyth is removed and replaced with Grangemouth, but a possible arrangement can be seen here. (n.b. That map does not show the ward splits that would be required around Banknock, Bonnybridge and Wishaw.)

South Central

Cumbernauld & Airdrie 78098*
Coatbridge 73831
Livingston 74223
Strathalmond (Bathgate & Shotts) 74061*
Motherwell 78266*
Lanark 78248*
Hamilton 77592
East Kilbride & Rutherglen 77860*

This is a complex region covering the Lanarkshire and West Lothian council areas (except for Kilsyth). Every effort has been made not to split towns between constituencies, and this plan is successful when judged by that standard. Cumbernauld, Airdrie, Motherwell, Wishaw, Hamilton, East Kilbride and Livingston are not split between seats, except for a very small part of East Kilbride in the Lanark seat. One disadvantage of the plan is that Rutherglen is separated from Cambuslang.

There’s a new “Strathalmond” seat (Bathgate & Shotts) formed by the area between the main towns.

Edinburgh & South

Dumfries & Galloway 76394*
Roxburgh, Selkirk & Annandale (Borders South) 72456*
East Lothian 76153
Berwickshire & Peebles (Borders North) 71570
Midlothian 72173*
Edinburgh East 72944*
Leith & Queensferry 74438*
Edinburgh South (Pentlands) 75334
Edinburgh West 77294*

The decision has been taken to include Dumfries and Galloway council area in this region rather than with Ayrshire because the pattern of seats in the whole south of the country is better for it.

Lochar ward is split so that the whole of Dumfries town is in the Dumfries seat. The east Dumfries-shire area is in a new “South Borders” seat, alternatively called Roxburgh, Ettrick & Annandale. Although there is no motorway from Lockerbie to Jedburgh, there is a community of interest across the Teviothead.

The North Borders (Berwickshire & Peebles) seat is too small without part of Midlothian. The simplest arrangement is to add Penicuik and Loanhead. This side of Midlothian probably has more in common with Peebles than the other side of Midlothian (Dalkeith) has with Galashiels.

Edinburgh is entitled to 4.36 seats. There are three solutions to this problem. One is joining Edinburgh to East Lothian, but East Lothian is exactly the right size for a seat by itself. Another solution might be adding the Queensferry area to the Livingston seat, but there’s no room – so to do so would require rejigging a lot of constituencies. Finally, there is the possibility of crossing the Midlothian boundary. Liberton and Dalkeith make a reasonable combination. The main problem really is that in order to make up the numbers in the Midlothian seat, some of the Craigmillar ward also needs to be added.

Although the pattern of wards in Edinburgh could be ignored, the suggested plan is an attempt to suggest a simple arrangement of seats based mainly on ward boundaries. There’s just one split ward (Leith Walk) in addition to the one mentioned already. All of Leith is in one coastal seat with Queensferry.

South West

South Renfrewshire 77180
Paisley 77920*
Inverclyde (North Renfrewshire) 75885*
North Cunninghame 76827
South Cunninghame (Irvine) 72365
Kilmarnock & Cumnock 71824
Ayr 73853

This area comprises the six Ayrshire and Renfrewshire council areas. The South and North Cunninghame seats include part of Kyle and Inverclyde respectively. It is possible to form a North Cunninghame seat with Johnstone instead of Gourock (see here) but Johnstone and Arran would make slightly odd bedfellows.

East Renfrewshire council area is slightly too small for a seat by itself. This could be resolved by adding a chunk of Paisley, but the more elegant solution is probably the one chosen: swap Johnstone and Barrhead between the two seats. The Paisley seat thus formed would be slightly over quota – this can be solved by removing part of Renfrew, or, preferably, by adding the Ferguslie Park area (which has good connections to Linwood) to the North Renfrewshire seat.


Glasgow Craigton 73347*
Glasgow Cathcart 74012*
Glasgow Scotstoun 71996*
Glasgow Bridgeton 76415*
Glasgow Maryhill 74218*
Glasgow Provan 76365*

Glasgow is entitled to slightly under six seats, but there is no pressing need for a city seat to include part of a neighbouring district. As with Edinburgh, ward boundaries could be ignored, but in most parts of the city they work well as constituency boundaries, and the latter can be tweaked further if necessary.

There are three split wards: Craigton includes Kennishead from Newlands/Auldburn, Provan includes Royston from Springburn ward, and Scotstoun includes Kelvinhaugh from the Anderston ward.

Data table

A spreadsheet of the proposals can be downloaded here.

Note: an asterisk (*) next to an electorate total means that the seat includes both whole and part wards, and although the total is reasonably accurate based on the data currently available, it will be revised later as exact data comes online. Names in brackets are possible alternate names for constituencies. Locus gratefully acknowledges the invaluable help received from the Plan Builder online tool and the experts of the Vote UK forum.

The work of the author is copyright of the author. (c) Adrian Bailey 2016


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