PLANS to slash the number of Scottish and Welsh MPs have been published, demonstrating the need for "full control of our own democratic decisions", the SNP say.

The Boundary Commission for Scotland has launched an eight-week public consultation on the proposals, which would see the number of MPs returned to Westminster go from 59 in previous votes to 57.

Widespread changes would see boundaries shifted and constituencies renamed across the country, in the first change since 2005 - when they were cut from 72.

England will see an increase of 10 MPs, while Wales will lose eight, if the changes are implemented, while Northern Ireland is set to remain on the same number of seats.

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The two seats set to go in Scotland will be cut from the Glasgow City, Inverclyde and Renfrewshire council areas and the Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, Highland and Moray council areas.

Both groupings currently have 10 constituencies, which the proposals will reduce to nine each.

Two Scottish constituencies - Na h-Eileanan an Iar, and Orkney and Shetland - will not change as they are protected under legislation.

The SNP have said the plan to reduce Scottish seats and boost the number of English MPs “underlines the need for Scotland to become an independent country”.

The proposals, which aim to resolve parity issues in the number of voters in constituencies, will have to be approved by parliament, but the commission said it hopes any changes would be in place by 2024 – when the next General Election is expected.

The parameters of the review have said the number of voters in each constituency must fall between about 70,000 and 77,000, unless the area would cover more than 12,000 square kilometres.

The National:

The proposals would redraw many boundary lines and reduce the number of MPs by two

Lord Matthews, the deputy chair of the commission and the person leading the review, said: “I believe this is a promising start to delivering the requirements of the new rules that mean the number of constituencies in Scotland will reduce from 59 to 57, and that each mainland constituency must have broadly the same number of electors.

“We have set out proposals today which do that and are, we believe, a good implementation of the rules set by parliament.

“Today is the beginning of a process, and we now want to hear the views of the public. We will reflect on responses to the consultation and make changes where appropriate and where the legislation allows us to do so. We strongly encourage voters to make their views heard.

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“We welcome all comments on our proposals on our consultation site at

“We particularly want to hear suggestions on two aspects, suggestions for alternative boundaries that comply with the legislative requirements and constituency names.”

The National:

The proposals include the creation of a Highland Central constituency, encompassing Fort William, Inverness and Skye 

In a briefing on the changes, Professor Ailsa Henderson, who is also a commissioner on the review, said shifts in population sizes in different parts of the country had prompted the changes.

She said: “The result of that is that there is a wide range of electors across the existing Scottish constituencies.

“The constituency with the smallest electorate is Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross which has 46,000 – almost 47,000 electors – but the constituency with the largest electorate is in Linlithgow and East Falkirk with 88,000 electors, which is a range of around 41,000 electors.”

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The National:

A number of changes will be made in the central belt, where population density is highest

The difference in Northern Ireland is just 18,000, 36,000 in Wales and 57,000 in England.

Henderson added: “When there are wide variations in parity, that means that the votes in the small constituencies can be worth the equivalent of two votes in the larger constituency.

“So if everyone is selecting representatives to the same legislature, but their votes are worth more based purely on where they live, then, that obviously is a problem.

“The legislation is designed to ensure that electoral parity is the engine of electoral fairness in Westminster elections.”

The National:

The Glasgow City constituency boundary will be extended under the proposals 

According to Henderson, 27 constituencies in Scotland were below the quota set for the number of voters and 12 were above it.

SNP Westminster deputy leader, Kirsten Oswald MP, said: “Tory plans to further reduce Scotland’s representation at Westminster, while increasing the number of MPs for England, underlines the need for Scotland to become an independent country – in full control of our own democratic decisions and with the full powers needed to build a stronger, fairer and greener future.

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“The SNP will strongly oppose any attempt to weaken Scotland’s voice in the UK Parliament but the reality is Scotland will always be outvoted under the broken Westminster system – as we have seen with Tory austerity cuts, Brexit and power grabs imposed against Scotland’s will.

“Independence is the only way to keep Scotland safe from damaging Westminster decisions and Scotland’s best future lies as an independent country.”