Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:07 pm on 6th September 2010.

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Photo of Nick Clegg Nick Clegg The Deputy Prime Minister , Lord President of the Council (Privy Council Office), Leader of the Liberal Democrats 4:07 pm, 6th September 2010

As the right hon. Member will know, anyone can seek judicial review in normal practice, but on the criteria given to the boundary commissions, it is worth stressing that they will retain their existing ability to refer to local links, geography, county boundaries and so on, but subject to a principle of equality. That is a simple-yes, it is simple-straightforward principle of equality that we are enshrining in the legislation.

By having more frequent boundary reviews-one every five years-constituencies will be kept more up to date, reflecting changes in where people live. In order to make that possible, we are changing the consultation process. Consultation is, of course, vital, but as leading academics concluded in a report published just last week, local inquiries have become "the playthings" of political parties and have had, in practice, little impact on the commissions' final recommendations, so we will abolish local inquiries. Instead, we will triple the time that people have to make representations to the commissions to have their say-from one month to three months. Residents will have-