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Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:04 am on 18th November 2016.

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Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper Conservative, Forest of Dean 10:04 am, 18th November 2016

I have. But things have moved on. There are modern communication mechanisms. Members of Parliament for constituencies that are spread out and require Members to travel more than would be required in urban seats can claim more money for that travel through the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority; that is why, unsurprisingly, we see MPs with more rural and far-flung constituencies claiming more money. It is perfectly reasonable for them to do so, and that budget is unlimited, to reflect the fact that those MPs will have greater travel challenges in representing their constituents than MPs in more compact constituencies.

The fact is that we represent the people who live in constituencies. If we followed the hon. and learned Lady’s argument to its logical conclusion, we would end up with massive disparities in constituencies, as we have today; the votes of some electors in very urban constituencies are worth far less than those of electors in other parts of the United Kingdom. I do not think that that is fair or reasonable to those voters.