The Shetland and Orkney and Western Isles seats will not be lumped together or in with those on the mainland as part of the coalition government’s plan to create more uniformly sized parliamentary constituencies because they are “uniquely placed given their locations”.
Revealing plans for political and constitutional reform in the House of Commons today, including a referendum on the alternative vote electoral system, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said the Boundary Commissions would be required to set new constituencies within five per cent of a target quota of registered electors “with just two exceptions”.
The decision to maintain Orkney and Shetland as a separate parliamentary constituency is a “welcome piece of commonsense”, according to MP Alistair Carmichael.
He said: “I know that local people will welcome the announcement that the future of Orkney and Shetland as a parliamentary constituency has been guaranteed by the coalition government.
“The work of equalising the number of voters in parliamentary constituencies is important, but was never intended to impact adversely on island communities such as ours. That is why the coalition agreement said that constituency sizes should be more equal rather that absolutely equal, as was the Conservative manifesto position.
‘This announcement is another demonstration of the coalition government’s commitment to island communities.”