Local Liberal Democrats welcome proposed new Rutherglen seat – but believe the first past the post system is “crazy”


15th October 202

The new Westminster Parliamentary constituencies recommended by the Boundary Commission for Scotland have received a mixed welcome from local Liberal Democrats. The proposed new Rutherglen seat includes all 5 wards in Rutherglen, Cambuslang, Halfway and Blantyre with Bothwell and Uddingston coming into the seat in place of Hamilton West.

Rutherglen South Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown has seen many variations of parliamentary boundaries over his years in local politics. He believes the whole system is flawed and should be replaced by the system of proportional representation used for local councils in Scotland.

 

Robert Brown said:

“The proposed new Rutherglen seat is probably the best for local community identity I have seen. I like the fact it keeps the historic constituency name of Rutherglen which has been used for most of the period since 1918. It contains the whole of Rutherglen and Cambuslang – unlike the previous crazy proposals which would have chopped it up into bits. The link with Blantyre and Bothwell and Uddingston draws together local towns on either side of the Clyde and makes sense.

Over the years, I remember at different times that Toryglen, Castlemilk, Carmunnock and Carmyle/Mount Vernon were variously part of the constituency.

However the whole system is flawed. The First Past the Post system used for Westminster MPs distorts the votes of the public. It is time to change to a system of proportional representation which is far better suited to reflecting the public mind. The Boundary Commissioners are required to obsess about getting constituencies of roughly equal size – it would be far better if Parliament reflected the political divisions in the country more accurately. Both the Conservatives and the SNP are over-represented and get far more MPs than the size of their votes deserves. The result is an unhealthy focus on Brexit and independence, neither of which are in the best interests of the country.

The first past the post system is crazy. If you were devising the worst possible system, where MP can be elected on less than 30% of the vote in some instances, you would be challenged to do better.

However the new Rutherglen seat is promising for the Liberal Democrats and I think we will do well in it if it is approved for the next election.”


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