Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:39 pm on 6th September 2010.

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Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw Shadow Deputy Prime Minister, Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice 4:39 pm, 6th September 2010

If the hon. Gentleman will excuse me, no.

In contrast, Margaret Thatcher's 1986 system recognised the need for balance, which allowed local commissioners and the commission to take account of historical and natural boundaries, and density as well as sparsity of population, and to do so with the widest public acceptability. That ability to achieve balance has also meant that long-standing problems such as the under-registration of voters has had less impact on the final outcome. The problem of under-registration goes back to the 1990 poll tax. We sought to stabilise registration levels, but that poll tax legacy remains. The right hon. Gentleman must recognise that his reliance on arithmetic above all makes the problem of under-registration so acute and so potentially unfair.