Committee (11th Day)

Part of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 19th January 2011.

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Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Labour 6:45 pm, 19th January 2011

My Lords, I declare an interest in that I have holidayed on the Isle of Wight for some 40 years in a family cottage, I have been a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes for 30 years, I lived in Southsea and Portsmouth for some 20 years, I am the chancellor of Southampton University and know that town well, and my family come from the New Forest. So I know both sides of that not inconsiderable patch of water. A battle was fought at Spithead and I parked more than 170 ships in the east Solent for the bicentennial. It is a large stretch of water.

I can assure the House that there is a huge difference between the people who live on the Isle of Wight and those who live on the shores of the mainland. I am sure that this is an oversight. It is extraordinary that the Government could even consider having a constituency across a piece of water such as that. I do not intend to speak for long because I think it is an oversight. It makes absolute sense to leave the Isle of Wight as one constituency-or two-but certainly not to stretch it across the water.