Parties react to new Boundary Commission constituency proposals

Nigel Dodds, DUP deputy leader, was elected MP last year in Belfast North - one of the constituences that may be changed
Nigel Dodds, DUP deputy leader, was elected MP last year in Belfast North - one of the constituences that may be changed

The Province’s political parties have offered a cautious reaction to plans which would see Northern Ireland’s current electoral boundaries radically redrawn.

While the proposed changes were only published as of midnight on Monday, details had been circulated among political parties and the media beforehand on Monday.

Some had suggested that unionist seats could be under threat as a result – see here, including details of the planned changes.

All five of the main political parties in the Province were asked for their official take on the blueprints.

Four of the five had responded by deadline time.

The DUP said: “The Boundary Commission proposals are 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.

“On top of that, there is still the question ultimately of Parliamentary approval in both Houses being needed for any final proposals.”

Sinn Fein said: “Clearly this is a substantial piece of work proposing significant changes and will require a detailed response.

“Sinn Fein do have concerns regarding the use of data from the December 2015 electoral register as their basis for drawing the new constituencies rather than Census data which is standard international practice.”

It added that a boundary commission should be established “to deal exclusively with the Assembly constituencies”.

Alliance said: “Alliance will be examining these proposals in detail to see how they reflect the natural communities of each area.

“We will be responding further once we have done so.”

The SDLP said: “We have received the suggested changes to constituency boundaries from the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland and the party will be examining these proposals in the time ahead.”