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Boundary Commission have questions to answer on wholesale changes – Molloy

30 January, 2018 - by Francie Molloy

Sinn Féin MP Francie Molloy has said the Boundary Commission has questions to answer on wholesale changes to its proposals on electoral boundaries.

The Mid-Ulster MP also waned that the radically redrawn report from the Boundary Commission would lead to significant inequalities and closely resembles proposals tabled by the DUP.

Francie Molloy commented:

““The Boundary Commission proposals mark a significant shift from the 2016 proposals and confirm our worst fears about the new boundaries.

“The Commission has moved away from its own rationale about ‘retaining closer alignment to existing boundaries’ with four constituencies disappearing altogether and it has also abandoned its commitment not to apply Rule 7, a power which is not available to Commissioners in Britain and enables them to go beyond the normal constituency totals.

“This has resulted in proposals which, at first reading, will lead to clear inequalities. The impact of these changes will be most keenly felt in Assembly elections where there will be four constituencies with no nationalist representation whatsoever. That is in stark contrast to the fact that there will be unionist representation in every constituency in the north.

“In all, the Boundary Commission have made an unusually large number of changes to scores of wards when compared to their original proposals. Clearly they have questions to answer as to how their plan was so radically altered, particularly as many of the new proposals closely mirror a DUP submission to the Commission. 

“Sinn Féin President Elect Mary-Lou McDonald and Sinn Féin Leader in the North Michelle O’Neill will be raising these questions directly with the British Prime Minister Theresa May and Sinn Féin will be encouraging people to make submissions during the consultation on the latest proposals.

“Given the history of discrimination and gerrymandering of the northern political system we have to ensure that any boundaries accurately reflect the electorate.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

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