Parliamentary Constituencies

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th November 1964.

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Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Cheadle 12:00 am, 19th November 1964

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will instruct the Boundary Commission to make a further review of Parliamentary constituencies.

Photo of Sir Frank Soskice Sir Frank Soskice , Newport (Monmouthshire/Gwent)

Under the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act, 1958, the Boundary Commissions for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are required to submit their next reports on a general review of constituencies between November, 1964, and November, 1969. Within these limits it is for the Boundary Commissions to decide when to proceed. I have no authority to give instructions to the Commissions.

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Cheadle

Is it not a fact that, due to the recent inactivity of the Commissions, many constituencies are now reaching abnormal size? Is it not essential that something should be done about this before the next General Election?

Photo of Sir Frank Soskice Sir Frank Soskice , Newport (Monmouthshire/Gwent)

There have, of course, been substantial changes in constituencies, and I realise that there are disparities between them, but under the existing legislation this must be left to the Commissions.

Photo of Mr Merlyn Rees Mr Merlyn Rees , Leeds South

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that because extensive changes are now taking place inside some of our older industrial cities and more will take place in the next decade, if constituencies are redistributed on the facts of 1965 or 1966 these facts could themselves have changed within a couple of years and that it is the long-term changes that must be taken into account?

Photo of Sir Frank Soskice Sir Frank Soskice , Newport (Monmouthshire/Gwent)

I am conscious of that and I agree with my hon. Friend.