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Northern Ireland to lose 2 MPs as new electoral boundaries revealed

The number of constituencies in Northern Ireland will fall from 18 to 16 by 2015, according to the Boundary Commission’s new proposals.

Alasdair McDonnell's seat in Belfast is to disappear under new proposals by the Boundary Commission in Northern Ireland.
Alasdair McDonnell's seat in Belfast is to disappear under new proposals by the Boundary Commission in Northern Ireland.
Image: Paul Faith/PA Archive/Press Association Images

NORTHERN IRELAND IS to lose two of its seats at Westminster as electoral boundaries are amended.

The Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland revealed its initial proposals this morning, which will reduce the number of parliamentary constituencies from 18 to 16.

From 2015, each seat will be filled by a politician representing not less than 70,583 people and not more than 80,473. The tight numbers mean the Commission had a task in reconfiguring the map.

The five newly configured constituencies are: Belfast South West, Belfast South East, Mid Antrim, Glenshane and Mid-Tyrone.

Under the new proposals, Belfast will lose one of its four seats and initial proposals show that the SDLP’s Alasdair McDonnell’s will be the one to lose out as the South Belfast constituency disappears.

BBC‘s Nicholas Whyte reports that Sinn Féin is likely to win the newly-formed South West Belfast seat. The South East Belfast seat could go to either the DUP or Alliance.

Elsewhere, Mid Ulster, East Derry and West Tyrone will now just have two seats in constituencies renamed as Glenshane and Mid Tyrone. Gregory Campbell of the DUP is the likely loser under these new plans.

Overall, the DUP will be the biggest loser, says the BBC, while Sinn Féin should hang onto all of their seats and maybe gain the Glenshane one.

There are less significant reconfigurations in most of the other constituencies in Northern Ireland under the proposals.

The changes will also impact Stormont, which will see its Assembly numbers drop by 12, according to the BBC.

A 12-week public consultation will now begin and UTV reports that three public hearings will be held.

Across the UK, England will lose 31 constituencies, while seven in Scotland will get the chop. In Wales, the current 40 constituencies will be reorganised into just 30 different areas. Overall, the shake-up will see the number of constituencies reduced from 650 to 600.

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