Committee (11th Day) (Continued)

Part of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – in the House of Lords at 11:45 pm on 19th January 2011.

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Photo of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Labour 11:45 pm, 19th January 2011

I am grateful for that bit of advice, because I was finding it extremely hard to speak.

Historically, there has been a recognition, including in the boundaries, that the City of London is a special geographical area, that its boundaries are special and that that uniqueness should be recognised in the way in which the boundaries and the name of the constituency exist for election to the other place. The Bill would put an end to that and to the special nature of the City, which it is recognised should be a special part of the voice in the other place.

It is as important to take account of locality and the commonality of interests, which we have discussed, in this particular locality as in many others-as with the Isle of Wight. In the City we have an area with very special sorts of employers, its own police force and mayor. It has its own museums and theatres, too. When I was a member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel, I worked very closely with the financial world and took great recognition of how the City plays host to and is an ambassador for that financial part of our community. Of course, it has a small electorate, but for local elections it has a much larger one that is not recognised in the parliamentary boundaries. There is a recognition that, with the number of people who travel to work there and the identity of interests-it often has to talk to the Government-it is a very special area. It is also special in that it talks to the European Union, particularly on some of the negotiations over solvency or other things that different parts of your Lordships' House discuss at other times. This needs its own political representation.

Noble Lords might not expect to hear any of that from someone from this side of the House, but the issue is one of locality. It is similar to the commonality of interests, which I believe the drawing of boundaries for parliamentary representation should respect. I tabled Amendment 85C to recognise that special area at the very centre of the capital-of this great city of ours. We would be wise to preserve those boundaries, not necessarily as a single constituency but to ensure that the whole of the City is within the same boundary and that the name "City of London" remains with that constituency.