Clause 11 — Number and distribution of seats

Part of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:15 pm on 15th February 2011.

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Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office 7:15 pm, 15th February 2011

If the hon. Gentleman will let me finish my argument, which does not have very much- [Interruption.] No, I am just saying that I have not got to that bit yet. If he will let me, I will get to it.

The amendments that we have proposed in lieu of Lord Fowler's amendments would resolve the problems that I have mentioned. The Boundary Commission would be required to create two constituencies wholly on the island. They would obviously be outside the range of 5% either side of the quota-otherwise we would not be having this debate in the first place-but each would be closer to the quota than a single island constituency would be. That would ensure that electors' votes were closer in weight to those cast elsewhere in the UK, which we believe is important.

Our amendments also make consequential adjustments to the formula used to apportion seats to the constituent parts of the UK and to calculate the UK electoral quota, so as to be consistent with the approach taken to the other exceptions in the Bill. To pick up on a point made by my hon. Friend Mrs Laing, who is not in her place, they will therefore provide the Boundary Commission for England with a clearer task than under the amendment made in the other place.