ALLAN Faulds runs the Ballot Box Scotland website, which tracks data from elections across the country.

The Barrhead News asked him for his opinion on the proposed changes:

As part of the UK Government’s plan to cut the number of MPs from 650 to 600, Scotland’s 59 constituencies have been redrawn to 53 new areas.

The Boundary Commission for Scotland, the impartial body tasked with carrying out reviews, released their final proposals. It’s not clear whether Parliament will approve them.

East Renfrewshire is facing some of the most dramatic changes.

When formed out of the old Eastwood district, plus Barrhead and Neilston, it created an odd mix. The latter were quite strongly working-class, whilst Eastwood had developed into a collection of relatively affluent commuter suburbs. That the proposed boundaries separate them may therefore seem quite positive. 

However, placing Barrhead and Neilston within a Renfrewshire West and Garnock Valley constituency wouldn’t simply re-connect them to areas of Renfrewshire they have much in common with - it also crosses into Ayrshire. If a Neilston resident feels distant from someone in Clarkston, how much further does Dalry feel?

Scotland fares poorly compared to our European neighbours when it comes to representation. Elsewhere, large towns like Barrhead would have their own town councils.

It may never feel like an entirely natural fit to have Eastwood, Barrhead and Neilston grouped together, but it’ll be even less natural to divide and combine them with Ayrshire.