Lib Dem anger over Bute ward boundary report

Alan Reid is the Liberal Democrats' candidate for Argyll and Bute in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.
Alan Reid is the Liberal Democrats' candidate for Argyll and Bute in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.

The Liberal Deomcrat candidate for Argyll and Bute in next year’s Scottish Parliament election has criticised a decision not to publish a final report on new ward boundaries for the area until after polling day.

Alan Reid - one of many critics of the proposals put forward by the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland - also higlighted the absurdity of proposals to create a single ward covering Bute and west Cowal, at the same time as views are sought on whether islands within mainland authorities should have their own dedicated councillors.

The government has already said in its Islands Bill consultation that island-only councillors will not be considered until the next boundary review, due in 2027.

Mr Reid, who was the area’s Westminster MP for 14 years until May, said: “It is very disappointing that the SNP government, although consulting on changing the rules to allow the Boundary Commission more flexibility to give islands a ward of their own, have already ruled out any action before 2027.

“This is far too long to wait. The SNP Government should stop the Boundary Commission now, tear up their ridiculous proposals and start again on the basis of island wards.”

Referring to the Boundary Commission’s decision to wait until after the May 5 poll before publishing its final report on council wards, Mr Reid said: “There is a pattern to this. Very worryingly the SNP are also keeping back an announcement on whether or not they will privatise CalMac until after people have voted.

“They clearly realise that neither the new ward boundaries nor CalMac privatisation will be popular decisions.”