Scottish and London MEPs to be dropped

Commission lists MEP cuts
Commission lists MEP cuts

Scots could lose a representative at the European Parliament under new proposals from the Electoral Commission.

Despite protests from the Scottish executive that the unique status of Scotland meant it should not lose any representation in the European Parliament, the commission recommend the number of Scottish MEPs be cut from seven to six.

The allocation of seats in the European Parliament is being reviewed following the arrival of Bulgaria and Romania.

The lord chancellor asked the commission to look at the UK's allocation and recommend how the number of MEPs could be fairly reduced from 78 to 72.

Responding today, the commission recommended Scotland, London, north-west England, south-west England, the west Midlands and east Midlands all lose on MEP.

Representation in the eastern region, north-east, south-east, Yorkshire and Humber, Wales and Northern Ireland should remain unchanged, the commission recommended.

During public consultation, the commission was told Scotland was in a unique situation and should not lose an MEP.

Consultees cited devolution and Scotland's political culture, as well as its geographic size and expected population growth.

"Lowering the number of MEPs serving Scotland to six would not allow a properly balanced representation of all the main parties in Scottish political life," the Scottish executive had told the commission.

Under current legislation, each region must have a minimum of three seats. Only the north-east of England and Northern Ireland met this legal minimum, with the other regions having more representatives.

The commission told Jack Straw there may be a case for reviewing the statutory minimum.

Commission chief executive Peter Wardle told Mr Straw: "Given the concerns expressed in response to our consultation, and particularly given the strength of feeling among Scottish stakeholders, we wish specifically to draw the government's attention to these criticisms, and to suggest that the government may wish to consider the current statutory requirements in the light of the comments we have received".


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