Belfast’s four electoral areas could face major expansion under revised plans for new Parliamentary constituencies in the North, it emerged today.
Nearly 50,000 voters across the province would be transferred to different regions as part of the proposed shake-up, representing 4.5% of the electorate.
Although the plans announced by the Boundary Commission for the North involve keeping the number of constituencies at 18, new borders would be drawn up for 12 of them.
One of the main changes would see the four Belfast boroughs extended out to include Carryduff, Dundonald, Dunmurry, Lagmore and Glengormley.
The Castlereagh wards of Hillfoot and Wynchurch would transfer from Belfast East to South.
The constituency of Strangford would be extended to include the Down local government wards of Ballymaglave, Ballynahinch East and Kilmore.
In East Antrim the Moyle wards of Glenaan, Glenariff and Glendun would be included at the expense of North Antrim.
Another of the changes involves Cloughford ward transferring from East Antrim to Belfast North, while South Antrim would be extended to take Glenavy from Lagan Valley.
The revised recommendations by the Commission, an independent body chaired by Speaker of the Commons Michael Martin, represents one of the last stages in the preparation of a report to be sent to the Secretary of State.
Although it may hold further local public inquiries, it is not bound by law.