KILBIRNIE and Beith have been joined by West Kilbride and Largs in a revised Westminster seat split between North Ayrshire and Renfrewshire.

There was criticism last year, when initial proposals to include Kilbirnie and Beith in a new West Renfrewshire constituency reaching as far north as Erskine were revealed.

The proposals seek to address a reduction in the number of Scottish MPs in the House of Commons and the need to ensure they have a similar number of voters.

Following consultation, the Boundary Commission has now proposed the new constituency of Renfrewshire West.

This seat has a more even split between Renfrewshire and North Ayrshire and reaches to Kilbarchan and Milliken Park.

The lack of reference to the local area has sparked further criticism, with North Ayrshire Council chief executive Elma Murray vowing to urge the commission to ensure the area is represented correctly.

Her suggestion of Renfrewshire West and North Cunninghame would still result in the loss of reference to Ayrshire at Westminster, with both the existing North Ayrshire and Arran and Central Ayrshire disappearing.

At the moment, North Ayrshire is represented by two MPs - Patricia Gibson for North Ayrshire and Arran and Philippa Whitford for Central Ayrshire. North Ayrshire and Arran is fully contained within the North Ayrshire Council area, while Central Ayrshire includes Irvine in North and Troon in South Ayrshire.

Last year’s proposals saw the North Coast towns annexed as part of an Inverclyde and Largs constituency, with Kilbirnie and Beith to be absorbed into West Renfrewshire - which reached as far north as Erskine, while the remainder of North Ayrshire formed a third constituency - Cunninghame West.

The proposals put forward are for two new constituencies in North Ayrshire: *Arran and Cunninghame, which would cover Irvine, Kilwinning, Ardrossan, Saltcoats, Stevenston, Dalry, Barrmill, and the Isle of Arran. *Renfrewshire West, which would see West Kilbride, Fairlie, Largs, Skelmorlie, Kilbirnie, Beith and the Isle of Cumbrae form part of the same constituency as towns and villages from Renfrewshire including Johnstone, Linwood, Howwood and Lochwinnoch as well as parts of Paisley.

Ms Murray, who is also the North Ayrshire Returning Officer at elections, said: “I think this consultation is particularly important for our residents who are currently part of the North Ayrshire and Arran constituency but will find themselves part of the proposed Renfrewshire West constituency.

“I will be making the case to the Boundary Commission that the Ayrshire towns and villages must be represented in the name of the constituency, perhaps Renfrewshire West and North Cunninghame.

‘‘I strongly believe that the name of the constituency must be one which the voters can relate to and the proposed name does not achieve that.

‘‘I hope residents take the time to visit the Boundary Commission’s website to offer their views.’’

You can view and comment on the Boundary Commission proposals online at www. and the consultation will run until 11 December 2017. Arrangements are also being made to display the proposals in North Ayrshire libraries.

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