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Clause 8 — Reports of the Boundary Commissions

Part of House of Commons Disqualification (Amendment) – in the House of Commons at 9:00 pm on 19th October 2010.

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Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Labour, Swansea West 9:00 pm, 19th October 2010

My hon. Friend makes a very interesting and important point. Wales is a nation of just 3 million people sitting alongside a larger nation that is 17 times its size. It is completely dependent on the financial stream from Westminster to fund the devolved Welsh Assembly. Historically, the relationship between the number of seats per head in Wales has been different to that in England because of the need to keep the Union together, in harmony, in a situation of great inequality between the two neighbours.

I fear that the haste with which this process is moving forward and the tremendous step change that it will make to the representation of Wales in Westminster-reducing the number of seats by a quarter from 40 to 30-will have such a dramatic effect on the people of Wales that they will be driven into the arms of the nationalists. There is a danger that we will fracture the United Kingdom. I am sure this could be part of a Conservative conspiracy, whereby some in the Conservative party think, "Well it is nice to have the Union, but these people in Wales keep on voting Labour, so wouldn't it be better to chop 'em down, cut their money and live with a world where we can guarantee continuous Tory government in England at the expense of an impoverished Wales that is split between Labour and the nationalists, who will then be thrown the right to raise their own taxes on a tax base that is a third poorer?" That is the sort of grand plan that seems to be emerging. It is very concerning that the haste and nature of the changes we are considering are such that they will risk and provoke rips in the fabric of the United Kingdom. That is absolutely terrible.