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Standing Orders (Public Business)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:24 pm on 22nd October 2015.

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Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 2:24 pm, 22nd October 2015

I am finding this debate quite depressing. During my time in the House of Commons, when I have walked into this Chamber, I have done so and been able to speak on behalf of my constituents on issues that they have raised with me—irrespective of my majority, irrespective of how long I have served here, irrespective of my service to this House and irrespective of whether I am a Privy Councillor. I have been able to speak as an equal Member of this House. Tonight, however, that circumstance will change—[Interruption.] It will.

I served as an equal Member of this House during the time that John Redwood was Secretary of State for Wales even though he did not represent a constituency in Wales. I have served as an equal Member when I was a Northern Ireland Minister, dealing with Northern Ireland matters, even though I was not a Member representing a constituency in Northern Ireland. From tonight, however, there will be a very subtle difference, because as a Member of Parliament representing a constituency in north-east Wales, I will not be able to table amendments or vote on them in Committee.

Why does that matter? It matters because my constituents use services in England and pay general taxation for services in England. Before any Members shout “Oh, yes”, let me point out to them that my constituents use health services in England because the local general hospital is the nearest general hospital that was designed to serve Chester and north-east Wales; they use services in Liverpool; they use specialist services in Manchester; and they use specialist health services in Gobowen in Shropshire. Indeed, some 66,000 people from my area used the Countess of Chester hospital last year because it was the hospital they were meant to use under legislation passed by this House.