Politicians clash over boundary split plans
DUNFERMLINE'S MP is offering to "lend Jim Tolson a calculator" over plans to split the city in two for future General Elections.
Thomas Docherty said the Lib Dems' sums were all wrong and they didn't have a viable alternative to Boundary Commission proposals.
Those proposals will redraw the political map and see all of the Clackmannanshire Council area, the West Fife villages and half of Dunfermline sharing a UK parliamentary constituency.
The idea is to have roughly the same number of voters in each constituency but, in Dunfermline, residents could cross the road and be in a different constituency and be represented by a different MP.
Mr Docherty, the Labour MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, said, "Under the Boundary Commission's proposals, if you're on Townhill Road you're in one constituency but in Appin Crescent you're in another.
"I'd rather have the current boundaries and I voted against the bill but it's now law so we have to come up with something coherent, which Jim's plans are not.
"I've offered to meet with the Lib Dems to see if there's something we can all agree on and I'm happy to lend Jim a calculator if it helps.
"His plans don't make sense and don't meet the legal requirement, which is ironic as it's a Lib Dem bill."
The Lib Dems have launched a 'Dunfermline United' campaign to stop Dunfermline "splitting in two".
Mr Tolson, the former Dunfermline West MSP, said, "I know from personal experience that split boundaries in a recognised settlement cause a great deal of confusion to individual constituents and many local organisations seeking help from their MP.
"The Boundary Commission's proposals would create an east/west split in Dunfermline that would include all of Clackmannanshire and run to Kirkcaldy.
Labour's Thomas Docherty would prefer a north/south split of Dunfermline that would also include Clackmannanshire to Kirkcaldy.
"However, Dunfermline Lib Dems feel that Dunfermline should not be split at all."
The Boundary Commission's proposals were published in October last year and seven of Scotland's 59 UK parliamentary constituencies would disappear under plans to make the constituencies more evenly balanced.
There will be four MPs covering Fife and, overall, the changes would lead to a reduction of 50 seats at Westminster, taking the number of MPs down to 600.
The proposed dividing line in Dunfermline runs through Bellyeoman and then south along St Margaret's Drive and Bothwell/St Leonards Street.
The new Dunfermline East seat would stretch almost as far as Kirkcaldy and include Kinghorn, Lochgelly and Auchterderran, although Kingseat and Kelty would be part of the new Clackmannanshire and Dunfermline West seat.
Mr Tolson added, "We have put a submission to the Boundary Commission's recent first-round consultation that would bring together the West Fife villages, Dunfermline and northern villages, Rosyth, North Queensferry, Dalgety Bay and Aberdour in one constituency.
"This proposal would meet with the population basis the Boundary Commission are using and keep local communities represented by a single MP."
However, Mr Docherty said, "It is complete nonsense to say I want to split Dunfermline into two and I'm angry he has said that.
"The new boundaries have to have approximately 80,000 voters in each constituency and the Boundary Commission's starting point is Clackmannanshire sharing a constituency with Fife.
"Jim's proposals don't say what he would do with Clackmannanshire, is he going to leave 38,000 voters without an MP?
"My proposal would keep 96 per cent of Dunfermline in one constituency.
"It would be Clackmannanshire, the West Fife villages, Kelty and Kingseat but I would add Lochgelly and Cardenden too, in Dunfermline West.
"That would allow 96 per cent of Dunfermline to be in one constituency, Dunfermline East."
The Electoral Reform Society has also criticised the proposals, pointing out that 16 Westminster seats would cut across council boundaries and that traditional communities such as Dunfermline and Ayr would be split in two.
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Mar 23, 14:12
Politicians clash, now thats a surprise!!
Its not often i agree with Thomas Docherty but his time i think he is correct. I dont see the need to change, if change is coming, it must be right to keep as much of Dunfermline together as possible.
Recommend? Yes 5 No 6
Mar 24, 08:58
Tolson said "This proposal would meet with the population basis the Boundary Commission are using and keep local communities represented by a single MP."
Having checked the Boundary commission web site http://www.bcomm-scotland.gov.uk/6th_westminster/ it shows that new boundaries should be between72,810 and 80,473. Tolson's proposals to keep Dunfermline together as part of one constituency total 78,871.
Looks like it's Docherty that needs the calculator!
Recommend? Yes 10 No 2
Mar 24, 19:16
Another non story generated by a second division politician attempting to get free publicity. Mr Docherty, just pay for an advert and put it on your expenses along with your pointless airfare to the Falkland Islands
Recommend? Yes 10 No 3
Mar 28, 21:22
Just another labour / libdem ploy to look after their @sses , Wastemidden obviously dictating to both to help with the west lothian question . After Inde we won't need either of these muppets . Wake up dumps , you voted labour for years , look at the state of the place and the fact you still keep voting them in beggars belief !
Recommend? Yes 6 No 2
Mar 29, 20:38