I rise, my Lords, with a deep sense of disappointment at the fact that the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, has risen twice. I have been in keen anticipation of the remarks he was about to make on the substance of the amendment-indeed, of the Bill-and I will now have to postpone the satisfaction of my appetite for a later date, at which I look forward to hearing his views on these matters, expressed with his usual skill and verve.
I am not disappointed at the Minister's reply. My noble friend is absolutely right about the effect of this amendment-it is a circumstance that fits all; 598, 600, 520 or whatever. When the noble Lord, Lord McNally, considers this, he will see that it will be useful for the future. Let us suppose that the House of Commons overturns the Isle of Wight amendment. Let us suppose that, at the next general election, it returns the "Home Rule for the Isle of Wight" candidate, throwing the two Conservative candidates who will then be sitting for the island out of office. Suppose that whatever Government who are then in office quite rightly decide to respond to that by giving the Isle of Wight a constituency of its own. This is one piece of legislation they will not have to change; the formula still works. It is a form of future-proofing, to use the modern phrase.
I am grateful to the Minister for agreeing to consider this further. I am grateful for the support I have had from all over the House, including from the esteemed noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay, who knows much more about the law than I do. I very much hope that this may yet be my one mark, in my 10 years here, upon the statute book.
Amendment 66A withdrawn.
Amendment 66B not moved.
Moved by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale
66BA: Clause 11, page 9, leave out lines 25 to 27 and insert- where U is the electorate of the United Kingdom minus the electorate of the constituencies mentioned in rule 6, and P is the population of prisoners who at the time of Royal Assent are serving prison terms of 4 years or less"