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Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill — Committee (14th Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:30 pm on 26th January 2011.

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Photo of Lord Strathclyde Lord Strathclyde Leader of the House of Lords and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 9:30 pm, 26th January 2011

My Lords, I, too, am delighted that the noble Baroness, Lady McDonagh, spoke to her amendment because my officials were confused as to the intention behind it. Now we are much clearer that it was so as to have a good discussion about the purposes underlying the Bill, the case for a written constitution, more referendums, and so on and so forth, and to say in particular that this part of the Bill is somehow to do with this aching desire by the Conservative Party to fix the electoral system so as to make life more difficult for the Labour Party. The noble Baroness will not believe it but I can assure her it has nothing to do with that whatever.

The proposition under this part of the Bill is the simplest one could possibly imagine. First, it is to reduce the number of Members of Parliament from 650 to 600-nothing hugely exceptional in that. It is a drop of 7 per cent which is, I believe, popular with people and should be done. Secondly, it is to make constituencies across the country more or less of equal size. One day noble Lords opposite are going to argue why they should be of unequal size in terms of numbers of voters and perhaps even bring forward legislation to that effect if they ever get back into Government. I look forward to that.