Liberal Democrats back Westminster boundary changes

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THREE Liberal Democrat councillors from the Borders will travel to Edinburgh on Monday to lend their support to proposals for a shake-up of the Westminster parliamentary boundaries.

The Boundary Commission for Scotland has launched a public consultation on its proposals to accommodate a cut in the number of Scottish MPs from 59 to 52.

As previously reported, the Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (BRS) constituency, currently represented by Liberal Democrat Michael Moore, will remain 99 per cent intact with an electorate of 73,395 – within the defined scope of the new legislation.

But the 67,000-electorate Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale (DCT) seat, held by Tory David Mundell, falls below the minimum required and the commission wants virtually all of Peeblesshire to link up with Midlothian to form Midlothian and Tweeddale with an electorate of 77,563.

And that proposal has been welcomed by local Liberal Democrat leader Graham Garvie, his depute Catriona Bhatia and constituency association secretary Frances Renton.

The three, all elected members of Scottish Borders Council, will, as part of the boundary consultation process (which ends on January 4), give evidence at a commission hearing in Edinburgh on Monday.

“The fact is that DCT was an ill-conceived idea from the off and Peeblesshire and Midlothian have much more meaningful links – historically, culturally and logistically – and that is what we will be telling the commission,” said Councillor Garvie.

The new boundaries, which will see the number of UK seats reduced from 650 to 600, will be in place for the 2015 General Election.