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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 7:00 pm on 1st November 2010.

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Photo of Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Conservative, Isle of Wight 7:00 pm, 1st November 2010

I tabled amendment 1 to protect the Isle of Wight. The needs and interests of the people of the Isle of Wight are different from those of people living on the mainland. However, it is not only on behalf of the islanders that I oppose the change; my proposal makes better sense for the mainland as well. The island needs local representation, whether by one or two Members of Parliament. What will not do is the creation of one whole constituency with an electorate of 76,000, with the remaining 34,000 forming part of another constituency extending across the sea to the mainland.

On 15 July, the Deputy Prime Minister told the Select Committee on Political and Constitutional Reform that we must

"come to terms with the need for extensive political reform in order to re-establish public trust in what we do here".

I agree with the Deputy Prime Minister's words, but it is hard to reconcile them with his actions. His aim is the establishment of 600 constituencies of more or less equal size. He says that he wants greater public trust and transparency, yet he has arbitrarily decided that exceptions will be made for some Scottish islands and not others. That is it: no discussion, no consultation, no justification. I am not criticising the Deputy Prime Minister for what he said, but he has not satisfactorily explained why Isle of Wight residents are not entitled to the consideration that is given to Scottish islanders. Like the Scottish islands, we on the Isle of Wight are physically separate from the mainland, but our uniqueness is totally ignored. We have no roads, trains or planes-