Constituency Boundaries

Oral Answers to Questions — Electoral Commission Committee – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 16th April 2007.

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Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Shadow Attorney General, Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, Party Chair, Liberal Democrats 2:30 pm, 16th April 2007

If his Committee will discuss with the Electoral Commission the effect of disparity in sizes of electorate on the constituency boundaries.

Photo of Peter Viggers Peter Viggers Conservative, Gosport

The Speaker's Committee has no plans to do so. Responsibility for review of parliamentary constituency boundaries rests with the four parliamentary boundary commissioners, not the Electoral Commission.

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Shadow Attorney General, Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, Party Chair, Liberal Democrats

Will the hon. Gentleman discuss with his colleagues on the Speaker's Committee and the Electoral Commission the proposal that is on the agenda to bring under one umbrella somewhere the review of all the boundaries of parliamentary constituencies for Westminster in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales, in order to ensure that whatever way people vote and whatever constituency they are in, the same criteria apply across the country, and above all that votes are worth the same because the constituency quota is the same whether in Scotland, Wales, England or Northern Ireland?

Photo of Peter Viggers Peter Viggers Conservative, Gosport

The Electoral Commission has no direct role in relation to parliamentary constituency boundaries. As to how the review might be carried forward, the last review was carried through by Parliament itself. The Electoral Commission has no opinion as to whether it should be responsible for the review. The hon. Gentleman will have noticed that the Committee on Standards in Public Life also expressed a view on this issue.