Clause 2 — Electoral Commission Recommendations
European Parliament (Representation) Bill
Ms Yvette Cooper (Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department; Pontefract and Castleford, Labour)
I recognise the point that the hon. Gentleman has made, but it is probably right to have a minimum of three MEPs in any region; it is difficult to see how a result could be properly proportionate if the number fell below three in any region.
The nationalist parties need to recognise another issue. They are trying to set this up as an opportunist issue—them versus the rest of England, them versus the rest of the United Kingdom. That is not what this is about. They are arguing to maintain the status quo: to maintain the number of MEPs that they have. A number of states are acceding to the European Union. Everyone has argued across Europe that it is important that they should be given representation in the European Parliament; everyone else accepts that. Everyone accepts that, overall, in order to achieve that, and so that we do not have a massive explosion in the size of European Parliament, all member states should see a reduction in their MEPs as a result—except Scottish National Members, who believe that Scotland should have special treatment within the United Kingdom.