THE ORKNEY and Shetland parliamentary constituency will be unaffected by boundary changes being announced this week to reduce the number of MPs at Westminster from 650 to 600.
Under the new arrangements constituencies should be within five per cent of the UK electoral average of just under 75,000. Essentially, no seat should be smaller than 71,000 voters or larger than 78,500.
The Northern Isles’ combined electorate, at just over 33,000, is less than half that but – along with the Western Isles – is to be made an exception. In addition to the Scottish islands, other exceptions would be where a constituency’s geographical size exceeds 12,000 square kilometres.
The Orkney & Shetland constituency has been held since 2001 by Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrats’ last remaining MP in Scotland who fought off a legal challenge to his 2015 victory over the late SNP candidate Danus Skene.
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