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Clause 8 — Reports of the Boundary Commissions

Part of House of Commons Disqualification (Amendment) – in the House of Commons at 10:00 pm on 19th October 2010.

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Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Conservative, Epping Forest 10:00 pm, 19th October 2010

It is not; on the contrary, in fact. The last Government, with the support of the then Conservative Opposition, introduced individual voter registration and this Government have speeded up the process.

I am not going to take up much of the Committee's time as we have heard many speeches on these subjects tonight and I have had the good fortune of being able to make many interventions in other Members' contributions. In counting the number of people who are represented by each Member of Parliament we should count on the basis of democracy and the workings of democracy, not on the basis of social work. [Interruption.] Well, we all have several roles as Members of Parliament, and one of our roles is the pastoral one of looking after the people who live in our constituencies regardless of whether they are registered to vote, of their nationality, and of where they live. We are all decent Members of Parliament, and if someone comes to us with a problem, it will be dealt with-or it certainly would be in my constituency surgeries. I am sure that that is the case for almost everybody here. I see assent from Labour Members. However, we must separate those two roles, and that is integral to the point that we are discussing.

Stephen Pound may have thousands of people in his constituency who are not voters-who are either not eligible or not registered to vote. He therefore possibly has more casework, but that can be dealt with by giving him greater resources to deal with it. The issue should not be dealt with by distorting the democratic process and the way in which the Chamber works.