‘Londonderry’ to be taken off electoral map

Posted By: September 06, 2016

THE IRISH NEWS – Tuesday 06 September 2016

John Manley. Irish News (Belfast). Tuesday, September 6,2016

THE name ‘Londonderry’ is set to disappear from the north’s electoral map as part of a major shake-up of parliamentary


Boundary Commission proposals would see Northern Ireland’s 18 seats cut to 17, with West Belfast, Lagan Valley and Mid Ulster also confined to history.

Belfast’s four constituencies would be reduced to three, with Alasdair McDonnell’s South Belfast seat going and the potential for no unionist MPs representing the city.

Gregory Campbell’s East Derry constituency – officially called East Londonderry – would also be redrawn and renamed Glenshane, in a move that could cause controversy.

Other new seats planned as part of the overhaul include Dalriada, Belfast North West, Belfast South West, North Tyrone and West Down.

The changes, which would see Westminster’s 650 seats reduced to 600, are designed to make voter numbers in constituencies roughly equal and should be finalised in time for the 2020 general election.

Political commentator Brian Feeney last night said it could result in eight nationalist MPs and eight unionists – with Alliance strongly in contention for the final seat.

“In East Belfast Naomi Long looks in with a very good chance, indeed she is a certainty if there is not an agreed unionist candidate,” he said.

“Elsewhere, despite new names like Dalriada and North Tyrone, it’s pretty well as you were, though Fermanagh and South Tyrone will, as ever, be a nerve-wracking contest.”

The changes could also mean that the number of assembly members would be reduced from 108 to just 85 for the 2021 election.

Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey last night said there would be concern about the impact on assembly representation and such decisions should be transferred from Westminster to politicians in the north.

The DUP said the proposals were a “first draft of what will be a very long and convoluted process which will not conclude until late 2018”.

“As we know from all previous boundary revisions, there are always major changes as the process plays out.”

The SDLP said it would examine the proposals.