MSP criticises “democratically deficient” plans to reduce number of Highlands MPs to two

Plans to reduce the number of MPs serving the Highlands have been criticised by the constituency MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch.

Kate Forbes MSP said it was “the height of hypocrisy” for the number of representatives in the democratically-elected House of Commons to be reduced whilst expanding the unelected House of Lords.

Under the proposals from the Boundary Commission, two seats would cover the Highlands – one seat stretching from Inverness to Skye, and the other encompassing most of Caithness and Sutherland. 

The Houses of Parliament at Westminster

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: “The key issue here is democratic accountability and accessibility.

“Whilst I’m strongly in favour of reducing the financial cost of democracy, it is the height of hypocrisy to be reducing the size of the democratically-elected House of Commons, whilst increasing the size of the unelected House of Lords. 

“The proposed boundary changes don’t take into account the vast areas that politicians have to cover and the diverse nature of communities within our constituencies. In the end, it will be Highland constituents that miss out.

“Whilst the Scottish Government is seeking greater powers for rural communities with its progressive Islands Bill, the Westminster Government is taking retrograde steps by reducing the number of MPs in the Highlands from three to two.” 

The Boundary Commission’s plans can be viewed online, and a consultation on the proposed changes is running until 11 January 2017.

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