MSPs have today unanimously voted against controversial proposals to change several Highland Council wards, and which had the potential to reduce local representation in the region.
Edward Mountain MSP has welcomed this development and called it a “victory for common sense and a huge relief” for rural communities.
Since the proposals were announced by Boundaries Scotland, Edward Mountain MSP had lobbied both the Deputy First Minister and the members of the Local Government, Housing and Planning (LGHP) Committee to consider the concerns of the communities that would have been impacted.
Indeed, in his letter to the Convener of the LGHP Committee, Edward Mountain MSP wrote:
“I feel that there is a real danger that the proposals put forward by Boundaries Scotland do not have the full backing of the local communities they impact and have the potential to reduce representation in the Highlands.
“I would therefore ask that all Committee members give serious consideration to the points that Highland communities have raised with me and that I have highlighted in this letter during your forthcoming evidence sessions.
Following the news that the LGHP Committee rejected the proposed council ward changes in the Highlands, Edward Mountain MSP said:
“I am delighted that the LGHP Committee have voted against the ward changes proposed by Boundaries Scotland.
“It is clear that these proposals threatened to separate communities and reduce local democracy in the Highlands.
“Today’s unanimous vote against these proposals is a victory for common sense and a huge relief for all the rural communities who voiced their concerns and opposed these unnecessary changes.
“I now look forward to the Deputy First Minister withdrawing these proposals and now taking action to promote, rather than undermine, local democracy in the Highlands.”