MP Column: A boundary of convenience but for whom?


Categories: News

Dave’s column in the Angus County Press, 23rd February 2022

Scotland is to lose two of her seats in the House of Commons at the next general election in a move which will see boundaries redrawn across Scotland and the rest of these islands. Angus is not immune and is indeed in my view a casualty of decisions taken in abstract with the goal of balancing the numbers while unbalancing communities.

In our constituency of Angus, we had approximately 64,000 electors at the last election in 2019. But to fit 59 constituencies’ electors in to 57 new constituencies those constituencies need to roughly 10,000 electors larger. From an Angus point of view this could easily have been achieved by incorporating Carnoustie and District Ward, currently in Dundee East, within an enlarged boundary for the Angus Constituency and that would have been job done.

This was the substance of both of my submissions to the Boundary Commission for Scotland. But I greatly fear they will ignore me and the many other Angus residents who protested. Their proposal will require the removal of both Arbroath Wards, and therefore the largest town in Angus, from the greater Angus constituency. The Commission’s new constituency proposal will consist of Forfar & District, Montrose & District, Kirriemuir & Dean and Brechin & Edzell wards in Angus. These will combine with most of Strathmore, Strathtay and Highland Perthshire wards in Perth and Kinross to form the – ‘North Tayside’ constituency.

This new constituency is vast in area, larger in population which is of course by design, cuts across two local authorities and three Scottish Parliament constituencies. In my final submission to the Commission, I made the case again to reconsider the boundary but I’m certain now that as they have their numbers across Scotland they will not yield. I have also appealed to them to change the proposed constituency name to something much more appropriate. Tayside is now an irrelevant hangover from the regional days with little or no relevance to anyone except to territorialise our Health Board here.

Ours is one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland and promises to become even more so with the inclusion of East and Highland Perthshire with these rivers and Glens too. Therefore, I have suggested two names to the Commission to choose from: Angus & Perthshire Glens or Strathmore, Angus & Highland Perthshire. Neither is perfect of course but both are an improvement.