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Frequently Asked Questions - Constituencies

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These Frequently Asked Questions provide information about us and our work. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for in the sections above, contact us using the details at the bottom left of each page.

Why do you change constituencies?
The rules for constituencies require that there should be similar numbers of voters in each constituency, and that constituency boundaries should take account of local authority boundaries. Since the population in different parts of Scotland changes over time, and also local government boundaries change, constituency boundaries have to be reviewed to reflect those changes. The website has full details of the law, including the rules for designing constituencies.

How often do you review constituencies?
Starting from our next expected review of UK Parliament constituencies between 2016 and 2018, we will review UK Parliament constituencies every 5 years. We review Scottish Parliament constituencies and regions every 8 to 12 years. The legislation sets those timescales, and the website has full details of the law about our work.

When did you last review constituencies?
The most recent review of UK Parliament constituencies in Scotland reported in November 2004, and the constituencies have been used in elections since May 2005. We began our Sixth Review of UK Parliament constituencies in March 2011 which, due to changes in legislation, we stopped in January 2013 prior to its completion. The most recent review of Scottish Parliament constituencies reported in May 2010, and the constituencies have been used in Scottish Parliament elections since May 2011.

Does the Commission recommend how many MPs and MSPs there should be?
No. For the Scottish Parliament, the number of MSPs is fixed by legislation as 129, made up of 73 constituency MSPs and 56 region MSPs. For future reviews of United Kingdom Parliament constituencies, the number of constituencies in the United Kingdom is set as 600, and the number of those in Scotland is determined by the proportion of the total electorate which is registered in Scotland. In 2011, that proportion would have resulted in 52 constituencies in Scotland: there are currently 59 UK Parliament constituencies in Scotland from 650 constituencies in the United Kingdom.

Why am I in different constituencies for the Scottish Parliament and the UK Parliament?
For the Scottish Parliament, the number of constituencies is fixed by legislation as 73. For the UK Parliament, the law is different, and there are currently 59 constituencies. Since the numbers of constituencies are so different, the 2 sets of constituencies are unrelated to each other. Details of the legislation that determines the numbers of constituencies are available on the website.

Can you tell me the current number of electors in a constituency?
We do not hold current electorate figures for constituencies. These can be obtained from the relevant page of the National Records of Scotland (formerly the General Register Office for Scotland) website: http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/statistics/theme/electoral-stats/index.html.

How can I find out how constituencies fit with local authority areas?
We have Information Papers about Scottish Parliament and UK Parliament constituencies in Scotland which are available on the Publications section of this website. Each one lists the constituencies that cover each local authority area, and the wards that are covered by each constituency. There are also Information Papers about past constituencies in Scotland.

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