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Clause 8 — Reports of the Boundary Commissions

Part of House of Commons Disqualification (Amendment) – in the House of Commons at 8:15 pm on 19th October 2010.

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Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Labour, Swansea West 8:15 pm, 19th October 2010

I want to follow on from the point about under-registration. The response to Gavin Barwell, whose constituency I know quite well, is that, on average, there are more registered voters in Conservative seats than in Labour seats. The differences referred to are more than explained by that demographic bias. Many Labour seats contain as many people of voting age as Conservative seats. For example, Bradford West has an 18-plus population of 77,848, but the registered electorate is just 62,000. Bermondsey and Old Southwark is a starker example. There, the 18-plus population is more than 101,000, but only 76,000 people are registered. Does my hon. Friend accept that this is systematic bias against poorer people in Labour seats? If we compare the number of seats with the size of the 18-plus population, we see that there is no bias. This is about gerrymandering, not fairness.