Clause 9 — Number and distribution of seats

Part of Police Terms and Conditions of Service (Redundancy) – in the House of Commons at 5:30 pm on 20th October 2010.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Shadow Minister (Justice) (Political and Constitutional Reform) 5:30 pm, 20th October 2010

This is what I meant by the double whammy element. Wales is caught both by the equalisation of the number of seats-we are not debating that now, but we will when we deal with the next set of amendments-and by the reduction in the number of seats. The net effect for Wales is that the number of seats will be cut by a quarter.

That presents some specific problems for Wales. It has already proved impossible for the present Government to ensure that the Secretary of State for Wales represents a Welsh seat-although I admit that she is Welsh-and it will become increasingly difficult to do so in the future. Because Wales, unlike Scotland, has never had a separate legal system, the Welsh Affairs Committee has to do a large amount of work, and that will continue. I think that it will be difficult to meet those needs with only 30 seats.

I am not arguing for the status quo in the number of Welsh seats. I am merely trying to present an argument, and I am sorry that it does not appeal to the hon. Gentleman. I hope that further elements of my speech will appeal to him more.