Clause 11 — Number and distribution of seats
Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill
Andrew George (St Ives, Liberal Democrat)
My hon. Friend is absolutely right, but I think that the inflexibility of the proposals will result in much more significant changes across the country. Having argued that we should have far fewer MPs than even proposed in the Bill, I am not averse to the idea of significant changes being made at one time to the process by which MPs are elected, but I do not think that it should happen every five years, irrespective of what has happened before. That will happen across the country every five years, and as a result of these proposals the changes will be very significant indeed.
All I am asking is that the Government take a less intransigent and more flexible approach-the 7.5% figure is a reasonable extension, frankly. In order to be able to address many of the anomalies, from Argyll and Bute to the Cornish seats and the highlands, the Boundary Commission will need to be given a great deal more latitude than the amendment proposes, as the Minister has rightly said. We had the opportunity to extend the exceptional geographical circumstances of the Western Isles-