Parliamentary Constituency Boundaries

Oral Answers to Questions — Deputy Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 8th January 2013.

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Photo of Jim Dobbin Jim Dobbin Labour, Heywood and Middleton 11:30 am, 8th January 2013

What his policy is on the review of parliamentary constituency boundaries.

Photo of Iain McKenzie Iain McKenzie Labour, Inverclyde

What his policy is on the review of parliamentary constituency boundaries.

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

The boundary commissions are continuing with the boundary review in accordance with the legislation that requires them to report before October 2013.

Photo of Jim Dobbin Jim Dobbin Labour, Heywood and Middleton

Yesterday’s coalition renewal document, “The Coalition: together in the national interest”, includes a vote on the boundary change proposals for constituencies. I know that the Minister is to answer, but I would like to know whether the Deputy Prime Minister will campaign for a no vote.

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

I think that the parties within the Government have made their positions clear on the matter. As the Prime Minister said yesterday, there will be a vote, it will take place, and I suppose that is that.

Photo of Iain McKenzie Iain McKenzie Labour, Inverclyde

Does the Minister believe that it is right to redraw parliamentary boundaries on the basis of data from which millions of eligible voters are missing?

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

It is the Government’s intention to proceed with the individual electoral registration programme, which will increase and improve the accuracy of the registers we work with. It is really important that we all continue with the support that there is across the House for those proposals.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

Can my hon. Friend guarantee that the next general election will be fought according to the new parliamentary boundaries recommended by the Electoral Commission, and that it will be fought with individual voter registration?

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

I think that the answer to my hon. Friend is best given within the point that there will be a vote on those proposals, as I think he knows. On individual electoral registration, I can confirm that the programme is proceeding as planned, and I am happy to give him further details on that.

Photo of William McCrea William McCrea DUP, South Antrim

If the Lib Dems are still voting against the recommended parliamentary boundary changes, should this House not have the earliest opportunity to vote on the issue, thereby possibly saving unnecessary public expenditure at a time when the public finances are limited, and when should such a vote take place?

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

I am terribly sorry to be boring, but there will be a vote on those proposals.