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     Scotland and London could lose MEPs  <<back  next>>

Six areas in the UK could lose some of their representatives in the European Parliament under Electoral Commission recommendations.

The move comes after the UK's allocation of seats was reduced to 78 to 72 following the latest waves of accession to the EU.

And on 4 July the commission said Scotland and London should each lose one seat, leaving them with six and eight MEPs respectively.

The remainder of the seats would come from removing one representative from the east and west Midlands, one from the north west and one from the south west.

Electoral Commission chief executive Peter Wardle wrote to justice secretary Jack Straw explaining the recommendations on how to distribute seats in the European Parliament across the 12 electoral regions in the UK.

He said that during the consultation period many respondents "argued that there were specific reasons why Scotland's situation is unique and that these would justify the retention of its current allocation of seven MEPs".

"These reasons relate to the impact of devolution, geographic size, expected population growth and political culture," he added.

"Given the concerns expressed in response to our consultation, and particularly given the strength of feeling among Scottish stakeholders, we wish specifically to draw the government's attention to these criticisms, and to suggest that the government may wish to consider the current statutory requirements in the light of the comments we have received," the letter said.

Elections are due to be held in 2009 and Wardle pointed to many submissions, particularly from London, which questioned the requirement to use electorate figures from December 2006 to calculate the number of MEPs.

However, the commission defended the use of these figures as being from a specific point in the electoral cycle.

SNP MEP Alyn Smith told the BBC the proposals were "deeply unsatisfactory" and amounted to "a further degradation of representation in Europe".

"Scotland has separate institutions including our Parliament, our legal system and our education system that need strong European representation," he added.

1 August 2007

 Last updated: 22/02/2008 10:03:00

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