Scottish Labour have been accused of “betraying” Eastwood after it was revealed the party are supporting Boundaries Scotland plans to break-up the constituency at future Scottish Parliament Elections.
In a written submission to a local inquiry on the proposed constituency changes at the Lynnhurst Hotel in Johnstone near Paisley, Labour made clear that they did not oppose the dismantling of the parliamentary seat.
In the response submitted by Scottish Labour, the party state clearly “We do not wish to make any objection to the Provisional Proposal that would include two wards of East Renfrewshire council in a Glasgow Priesthill & Giffnock constituency.”
Labour attempted to avoid scrutiny in Eastwood by only speaking on the submission in Johnstone, while remaining silent on the contentious issue at another inquiry meeting later the same day in Newton Mearns.
Boundaries Scotland have proposed merging the Eastwood communities of Giffnock, Thornliebank, Clarkston, Busby and Netherlee with areas including Carnwadric, Kennishead and Priesthill in a new Glasgow Priesthill and Giffnock parliamentary seat.
The Eastwood localities of Newton Mearns, Waterfoot and Eaglesham would join a revised Renfrewshire South constituency.
The Scottish Conservatives are supporting the retention of Eastwood and local MSP, Jackson Carlaw made a written submission to Boundaries Scotland in June opposing the plans to discontinue the constituency.
He also spoke at Thursday’s local inquiry meeting in Newton Mearns on why the constituency should be maintained.
Dr Sandesh Gulhane, who is the Conservatives Westminster candidate for East Renfrewshire, is against the break-up of Eastwood and he has said Labour’s response shows their parliamentary candidate, Blair McDougall is not capable of standing up for the area.
Scottish Conservative MSP for Eastwood Jackson Carlaw said:
“Scottish Labour’s submission to the Boundaries Scotland inquiry is nothing less than a complete betrayal of Eastwood.
“It is astounding that Scottish Labour are backing the unacceptable plans to dismantle the enduring parliamentary geography of Eastwood and supporting the imagined new boundary of Glasgow Priesthill and Giffnock.
“Scottish Labour are out of touch with local opinion on this hugely important issue and endorsing the plans to break-up Eastwood highlights their total lack of respect for the strong links between our communities.”
Scottish Conservative parliamentary candidate for East Renfrewshire, Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP added:
“Let me be absolutely clear, I fully support the retention of Eastwood and constituency arrangements whereby the Levern Valley areas of Barrhead, Neilston and Uplawmoor belong to Renfrewshire South are long-established and work well.
“It was disingenuous of Scottish Labour to sneak-out their submission for Eastwood at a public meeting discussing a neighbouring constituency’s boundary proposals, rather than being honest and upfront with local residents when they had the opportunity to do so the same day in Newton Mearns.”
“Scottish Labour’s submission to the Boundaries Scotland inquiry suggests that Blair McDougall has either been unwilling to challenge his party on their betrayal of Eastwood or his party’s colleagues simply don’t care about what he thinks.
“In any event, Labour’s written response demonstrates that Mr McDougall is incapable of properly defending the best interests of our local communities.”