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13 October 2011

Scotland to lose seven MPs

Boundary changes could mean a fight to the death between Charles Kennedy and Danny Alexander.

By James Maxwell

A reduction in the number of Scottish Westminster seats and a re-ordering of Scottish constituency boundaries means some of the most high profile MPs north of the border could be ejected from parliament at the next UK general election in 2015.

The Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale constituency currently held by David Mundell, the sole Tory MP in Scotland, is going to be absorbed into an expanded Dumfries seat encompassing areas with high levels of Labour support.

The amalgamation of Paisley and Renfrewshire South with Paisley and Renfrewshire North ensures Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander will be forced to contend with his Labour colleague Jim Sheridan to stand for the newly re-drawn Paisley seat.

The stage is also set for a pitched battle between former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, widely thought of as a flag-bearer for his party’s social democratic wing, and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, a staunch advocate of the Coalition’s austerity programme. The looming abolition of the latter’s Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey constituency means they will going head to head in the Highlands.

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In total, Scotland is losing seven MPs, down from 59 to 52. Boundary changes to the Moray stronghold of Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminster leader, are unlikely to threaten his chances of re-election.