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Parliamentary Relations

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 28th February 2006.

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Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Conservative, Hammersmith and Fulham 2:30 pm, 28th February 2006

What recent assessment he has made of the relationship between the Scottish Parliament and the UK Parliament.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Conservative, Hammersmith and Fulham

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?

Photo of Alistair Darling Alistair Darling The Secretary of State for Scotland, The Secretary of State for Transport

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.