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Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:12 pm on 18th November 2016.

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Photo of Steven Paterson Steven Paterson Scottish National Party, Stirling 1:12 pm, 18th November 2016

Indeed. It takes an hour and a half to drive across my constituency. That is manageable for me as a constituency MP, but in the case of my hon. Friend Ian Blackford, if the southern end of his constituency were where I am standing now, the northern end would be beyond Nottingham. We have to be realistic. It is not the BBC weather map but an actual map that we need to look at if we are to understand how big some constituencies are. If they are to have proper representation, it is essential that their geographical size is taken into account. We should also bear in mind the distance of some constituencies from the seat of power here in London.

If we are to do a proper job of representing our constituents, as we are determined to do, we have to consider the size of the constituencies, as well as their population. That is why I welcome the figure of 10% as an indication of the quota. That is a reasonable suggestion that we can look at in detail, but flexibility must be built in to make it work.

The second point has been covered to some extent—I am referring to the circus that is the House of Lords. It is obscene that we continue to see that revising Chamber stuffed with yet more unelected lords and ladies with no mandate and not answerable to the people of this country. At the same time, we are entertaining a conversation about reducing the size of this elected Chamber. We really need to have a look at this. David Cameron, the former Prime Minister, put 261 new lords and ladies in the circus down the corridor, and we are exercising ourselves about reducing our numbers by 50, with all the complications and all the unpleasant and unnecessary things that that entails for democracy.