Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill
Baroness Hanham (Conservative)
At present, the Secretary of State alone will carry responsibility for deciding the outcome of the soundings exercise. The criteria have been blurred, so it is hard to know the basis. The websites are not much more helpful.
It seems to us that sole burden should be shared by Parliament knowing the basis on which the Secretary of State is proposing to unleash a Boundary Committee review. I hope that the Minister agrees and, if not today, will return with the news that the Secretary of State will publish the evidence on which he makes his decisions region by region—not a broad overview but what the soundings have produced, what questions have been asked and who has been consulted. It is important that all the interests that the amendment lists, who will make up a fair part of a community, have the opportunity to say whether they would consider voting—which presumably will be the basis on which the Secretary of State will judge the level of interest.