Committee (12th Day)

Part of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 24th January 2011.

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Photo of Lord Howarth of Newport Lord Howarth of Newport Labour 5:15 pm, 24th January 2011

I would be very grateful if the Minister could give the House his response to the following observation made by Dr Lewis Baston in Democratic Audit: January 2011 on this issue of the splitting of wards:

"It is probably impossible to implement a 5 per cent rule without splitting wards between constituencies, something which the Boundary Commissions currently avoid doing because of the potential for voter confusion and highly artificial constituency boundaries, not to mention causing headaches for the organisation of all political parties. ... The worst-affected areas are those where wards have large electorates, such as the English metropolitan boroughs, most of Scotland and some unitary authorities and London boroughs. A rigid 10 per cent rule might still involve a few isolated cases of ward-splitting, but it is likely to be very uncommon in comparison with a 5 per cent rule".

Is there not a lot of very good sense in that?