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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 7:15 pm on 1st November 2010.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Shadow Minister (Justice) (Political and Constitutional Reform) 7:15 pm, 1st November 2010

My hon. Friend Kevin Brennan knows perfectly well that I entirely agree with him. I note that at least 12 Labour Members have not yet been able to speak, and that is why I will speak very briefly now.

Let me just say this to the Government. The danger is in their desire to create mathematically perfect constituencies and to allow only 5% of leeway to the boundary commissions, and in creating the exemptions for three seats in Scotland, they will undermine the three Scottish constituencies and make them seem like rotten boroughs. The Government will make the whole country look like a mathematical exercise, and not like anything that recognises the facts of life.

When miners went down the mines in the Rhondda in the 19th and 20th centuries, they had a number stamped on their miners' lamps. The people of this country do not want to be just numbers on a miner's lamp. The people of this country want to be recognised for the constituencies and the communities that are represented in it, and it is their voices that should be heard in the House rather than just the statistics with which the Minister agrees.