Parliamentary Constituencies Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:06 pm on 2nd June 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Cabinet Office) 5:06 pm, 2nd June 2020

I understand the argument on census data, and I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for putting it, but I do not think it is the right thing to do. I am very happy to explain why, notwithstanding the perhaps obvious point that censuses are only every 10 years—they are on a different frequency to even the amended cycle we have here in front of us—so straightaway they are not suitable because of a different rhythm. There is an important point that we ought to recognise, which is that in a census a different group of people are counted. For example, censuses, naturally, count people who are not citizens and electoral registration must count those who are eligible to vote. That is an important distinction and I think it is right that we use electoral registers as the basis of the data. Another point on which we must all agree—I am confident that he does—is that we all ought to encourage everybody to be registered to vote, because that is the core answer to his point.