Committee (11th Day)

Part of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 19th January 2011.

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Photo of Lord Pannick Lord Pannick Crossbench 7:00 pm, 19th January 2011

The strength of the case for this amendment confirms the mischief in this part of the Bill which we debated in Committee yesterday. The rigidity in the formula contained in rule 2 allows for these vital geographical and local considerations to be taken into account only in the two specific cases or within the rubric of the 5 per cent tolerance that the Boundary Commission has. We can seek to address this specific case, and there are many other examples-perhaps not quite as strong as the Isle of Wight-of particular local and geographical considerations, by adding one or two more exceptions to rule 2. Or, as I would prefer, the Government could now recognise that the rigidity of the Bill is quite indefensible. We desperately need a broader exception which allows the Boundary Commission to take account of these factors in what it regards as exceptional cases, of which the Isle of Wight is plainly one.