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Clause 8 — Reports of the Boundary Commissions

Part of House of Commons Disqualification (Amendment) – in the House of Commons at 8:30 pm on 19th October 2010.

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Photo of Greg Mulholland Greg Mulholland Liberal Democrat, Leeds North West 8:30 pm, 19th October 2010

I must start by saying that I did not know that the word "majoritarian" existed until now, so, as a politics graduate, I have learned something new. I rise to speak in support of amendments 341 and 342. I am pleased to say that they are, in parliamentary terms and in common-sense terms, remarkably simple. Amendment 341 would simply delay the introduction of new boundaries following any boundary review, whatever its findings, until after the next but one general election. That would mean that the next election would be fought on the current boundaries, and that the new boundaries-whatever they might be-would be introduced afterwards, in time for the election in 10 years' time, if we have fixed-term Parliaments.

Amendment 342 relates to the regularity of boundary changes. Redrawing the boundaries every five years, for every Parliament, is simply not sensible. I am happy to support the principle of having more equal constituencies, but the proposals as they are now worded show no recognition of the reality of the process of introducing boundary changes. Every boundary review and change incurs a significant cost, which we should surely be concerned about in a time of austerity. They also cause chaos for the constituents of all hon. Members around the country, and for all the local authorities that have to work out the boundaries. Recently, I found out that one of my local pubs had been wrongly put into Leeds Central as a result of the latest boundary changes.

This illustrates the point of amendment 341. We introduced significant boundary changes for the election that took place just six months ago, and to ask the people of this country to understand why we are now going to redraw them again, even for a good reason, is simply not common sense. It is simply not acceptable.