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Scottish Parliament

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 6th November 2001.

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Photo of Mrs Helen Liddell Mrs Helen Liddell Secretary of State, Scottish Office, The Secretary of State for Scotland 2:30 pm, 6th November 2001

I welcome the hon. Gentleman to his new responsibilities. His promotion is rapid after such a short time in the House, although I suppose that he served his apprenticeship in another place.

I do not wish to prejudge the consultation exercise, but one of the great successes of devolution is the spirit of partnership that has developed between the Government and the Scottish Executive and between individual MPs and MSPs. If the consultation exercise concludes that the number of MSPs should remain at 129 or thereabouts, while the number of MPs is reduced, real and practical issues relating to how that relationship works will need to be addressed.

For the anoraks, that issue involves the co-terminosity of constituencies. Those of us who deal with those matters as part of our day-to-day living have a contribution to make. In all seriousness, I urge all Members to turn their attention to how we can make things work where the boundaries for Westminster constituencies do not match those for Scottish Parliament constituencies.