Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein MP Molloy slams revised Westminster election map 'gerrymander'

By Suzanne Breen

Sinn Fein has claimed the Boundary Commission's redrawing of Northern Ireland's electoral map smacks of gerrymandering.

Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy voiced disappointment that in its final proposals, the commission had conducted a "total reverse" of its original suggestions and was now putting forward "constituency boundaries remarkably similar to those proposed by the DUP".

Mr Molloy said: "It's hugely disturbing that the Boundary Commission, despite a huge response from the nationalist community throughout the consultation, have abandoned their earlier proposals in favour of a version that is remarkably similar to DUP's proposals.

"Earlier this year nationalists were outraged at the effect of the reversal in its position by the Boundary Commission.

"The commission has yet to explain the rationale or reason for this, a failure that can only lead to further unease and suspicion."

Mr Molloy claimed nationalist responses to the consultation had been ignored.

"This report could lead to an increase in the number of constituencies with no nationalist representation, either at Westminster or Assembly level, and potentially reinstating a unionist majority at Stormont," he added.

"Fifty years on from the civil rights campaign, the suggestions of gerrymandering are unavoidable."

The Boundary Commission declined to comment on the Sinn Fein MP's allegations.

Northern Ireland is set to lose one constituency, decreasing from 18 to 17 MPs, as part of a wider move to cut the number of seats in the House of Commons from 650 to 600

Thirteen of the existing constituencies will retain their names, though each will have some changes to their boundaries to adjust the population size.

Five constituency names will disappear, with four new constituencies created to replace them.

Belfast Telegraph

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