Committee (11th Day) (Continued)

Part of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – in the House of Lords at 9:02 pm on 19th January 2011.

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Photo of Lord Rennard Lord Rennard Liberal Democrat 9:02 pm, 19th January 2011

Before the noble Lord develops his argument much further, perhaps he could tell us what consultation he has had with the Electoral Commission about this rather unusual proposal, which gives the Electoral Commission potentially tremendous power that could involve it in huge political controversy? We have always agreed in this House that it is important that the Electoral Commission is seen to be above party political controversy wherever possible. Does the noble Lord not think that conferring on the Electoral Commission the power to make crude estimates of the electorate for the purpose of redrawing constituency boundaries and somehow to define socio-economic profiles in making those estimates would embroil it in such huge controversy that it would undermine much of the rest of its work? Perhaps he could tell us what consultation he has had with the Electoral Commission.