Committee (13th Day)

Part of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – in the House of Lords at 8:15 pm on 25th January 2011.

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Photo of Lord Roberts of Conwy Lord Roberts of Conwy Conservative 8:15 pm, 25th January 2011

I hope I may be able to say something as a native of the isle of Anglesey, which features in this amendment. The view from my home, which is of Snowdonia across the straits, is permanently engraved in my mind. Belonging, as I do by birth, to the southern part of the island, it is quite natural that I should look, as do others living in that part of the island, towards the Snowdonia end and the mainland. Of course, bridges have been built. We have virtually three: the Telford Bridge, since 1825; the Stevenson railway bridge; and now a road deck over that railway bridge.

Not only was I born in Anglesey, so I know something about the place, but I represented Conwy for 27 years in the other place. Conwy, in my day, included the city of Bangor, which, as my noble friend Lord Crickhowell said, is the shopping centre for Anglesey and contains a lot of people who had come from Anglesey, as I found among my constituents. It really looked as though Telford's bridge of 1825 had proved to be a floodgate for people from Anglesey to come over to the mainland site. Anglesey is small, with a total electorate of some 42,000. If we are to equalise and abide by that principle, the Ynys Môn electorate could be amplified to include the Bangor area. Indeed, this has been anticipated by the inquiry conducted by the Welsh select committee of the other place. It quoted in evidence Lewis Baston of Democratic Audit, who suggested this very combination, which would result in a constituency of some 73,400 people and meet the criteria required by the Government.

Of course, there might be some objections from the Holyhead end of the island, which has tended to dominate the island politically ever since the days of the much loved late Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos. On the whole, if we are going to move towards equalising electorates and constituencies, this would not be an impossible move. Indeed, it might very well be welcomed. It would give additional strength-the combination of Bangor on the mainland and Anglesey-to whoever represents that constituency. I simply plant that thought, which means, of course, that I am against this amendment.