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I thank the Secretary of State for that answer but it is my understanding that under the Scotland Act 1998, Scotland is supposed to have the same electoral quota for parliamentary constituencies as England. Will he look again at reducing the number of Scottish MPs from 59 to 57, thereby henceforth having the same electoral quota as parliamentary constituencies in England?
As the hon. Gentleman is, I think, aware, the number of Scots MPs was reduced at the last general election and the quota is broadly the same. The boundary commission recognised that the Western Isles and the Northern Isles present particular difficulties in terms of reducing the number further, but there is now broad parity between constituencies, even allowing for the problems associated with the geographical spread. However, these are matters for the boundary commission and the Electoral Commission, and they will doubtless keep them under review.