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Clause 8 — Reports of the Boundary Commissions

Part of House of Commons Disqualification (Amendment) – in the House of Commons at 8:00 pm on 19th October 2010.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Shadow Minister (Justice) (Political and Constitutional Reform) 8:00 pm, 19th October 2010

The hon. Gentleman is right in a sense, although I expect that the under-registration in his constituency is nowhere near as high as it is in, for example, Hackney North and Stoke Newington or Hackney South and Shoreditch, which have much more mobile populations, in part because the people there do not own their own homes and because of the ethnic mix. Clear evidence has also been provided showing that people from black and ethnic minority groups and poor people are far less likely to register. We need to bear that in mind. I shall refer to that again when we discuss how many MPs there should be.

Mrs Laing said that we should have mathematical purity when drawing boundaries. Wales has 22 local authorities. That was not our choice: they were given to us by Mr Redwood when he was Secretary of State for Wales. It is a crazy number, and would make it very difficult to draw boundaries without crossing in some cases more than one local authority boundary. That is a political problem.