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Clause 11 — number and distribution of seats

Part of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill (Programme) (No. 4) – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 1st November 2010.

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Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Conservative, North East Somerset 6:15 pm, 1st November 2010

It had occurred to me that I might suggest to my noble kinsman that he might wish to move a similar amendment. I look forward to doing that after this evening's debate, if Her Majesty's Government are not kind enough to accept my amendment.

I hope I do not bore the House by going on about history too much, but not far from here, outside the House of Lords, is a statue of Richard the Lionheart-Richard I-who was a great, noble king of England. It was in his reign that people first came from the shires to advise the king. His reign began in 1189-that is more than 800 years of counties being represented in Parliament. I am sorry to say that those Members who represent boroughs are very much the Johnny-come-latelies-they only got here in 1265. However, those of us representing counties have been here since the reign of Richard I.

I tabled my amendment because it seems a great shame to get rid of a long-standing historic tradition by accident, by a rule of the pen, by just doing something because it is there and it is tidy. I accept, as the hon. Member for Rhondda did, that we need to have a numerical approximation, but it does not need to be utterly rigid, and it ought, as far as possible, to respect our historical traditions.