Committee (8th Day)
Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill
Lord Lipsey (Labour)
I rise briefly to support my noble and learned friend. His amendment calls attention to something that is implicit in the whole structure of the Bill. It is simply too rigid to be fit for purpose. There is the rigid 5 per cent tolerance, with only two exceptions. However, the real problem is the rigid five-year review timetable. If something gets knocked out of place in this timetable, the whole thing does not work and, as the noble and learned Lord said, one will get boundary reviews with no time for new candidates to be selected for seats. This is not a matter that should be difficult to rectify, and nor should there be much controversy about rectifying it. One simply has to allow the existing Government, when the situation arises, to relax the five-year rule. There is no problem in doing that if the will is there. If it is not, the Government will find that a great many people are cursing, because if there is an early election, as the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill will allow, the whole overrigid structure of the Bill will crumble.