Boundary change complaints show SF ‘opening up new front’

Gregory Campbell
Gregory Campbell

Sinn Fein is attempting to “open another front” in terms of its political grievances with an increasing campaign on the proposed boundary changes.

That is the view of veteran DUP MP Gregory Campbell, who was responding to what he dubbed an “increasing campaign” from republicans over a planned redrawing of the Province’s political map.

Michelle O’Neill has repeatedly spoken out about the issue in the past several days, including on Friday when she issued a statement calling for “language rights”, “equality measures”, and a demand to “resolve legacy issues”.

She went on to add the party has also “raised our concerns with the boundary commission recommendations that amount to gerrymandering”.

Mrs O’Neill was referring to the plans which are now under way to alter the shape of constituencies in the Province, as part of a long-running government plan to cut the number of MPs from 650 to 600 – something which will see Northern Ireland drop from 18 to 17 seats.

Sinn Fein has claimed that the changes would leave at least four constituencies with no nationalist representation in the Assembly, whilst there will be unionist representation in every constituency.

Sinn Fein was the only major party which had not sent its views to the Boundary Commission as part of its initial consultation on the plans back in 2016.

Gregory Campbell, MP for East Londonderry, told the News Letter that “it does look like an attempt to complain and open up another front in terms of a false sense of being victimised” by Sinn Fein.

He added that the fact Sinn Fein had not offered its own views in 2016 when invited to “throws into question any belated concern they may have”.

The SDLP’s Mark H Durkan told the News Letter that, like Sinn Fein, his party “has concerns about the new proposals”.

See more about the planned changes here.

The proposals can be found at www.bcni2018.uk .

The consultation on them ends on March 26.