Committee (11th Day) (Continued)

Part of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – in the House of Lords at 10:45 pm on 19th January 2011.

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Photo of Lord Lipsey Lord Lipsey Labour 10:45 pm, 19th January 2011

My Lords, I did not just propose this amendment because it allowed me to get a formula on the Order Paper. I was going to describe it as a paving amendment when I moved it, but it is no longer a paving amendment. The formula in the Bill has as its denominator the number of constituencies not otherwise exempt in the Bill-598. When I drafted the amendment, I thought that was a silly way to do it, because if we added to the list of exemptions the formula as in the Bill would no longer apply. It would have to be changed, which seemed a waste of everybody's time, since it is perfectly easy to draw up a formula which adapts to however many exemptions you want to make.

I would not want to claim foresight; that would be a very dangerous thing to do in your Lordships' House. But in fact it turns out that this showed some foresight, because the Committee has agreed to add the Isle of Wight to those constituencies, so it is now 597 not 598. I believe that there is a large clutch of other amendments to be put before noble Lords, which the noble Lord, Lord Hamilton, will of course oppose. For example, the noble Lord, Lord McAvoy, wanted to make one in the case of his local area, and there will be other cases for exemptions. Who knows, noble Lords may want to agree to them. So making this amendment at this stage not only accommodates the change that we have already made but will allow the Bill to accommodate future changes without us needing to return to this and go over it. I therefore commend the amendment to the House.