Report (3rd Day)

Part of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 9th February 2011.

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Photo of Lord Hamilton of Epsom Lord Hamilton of Epsom Conservative 6:30 pm, 9th February 2011

I say to the noble Lord, Lord Rowe-Beddoe, that the union is threatened, and has been for some time, by devolution. Once you start the process of devolution, it becomes a ratchet, with more and more powers then transferred, in the case of Wales, to the devolved Assembly. That is a very good reason for not supporting the amendment. The Welsh have their own Assembly, whose Members deal with many local matters. I think most people would think that the referendum that is coming up in Wales was very likely to transfer further powers to the Welsh Assembly-it would be very unlikely if Wales said, "No, we don't want to have these extra powers".

We have had previous debates about very large geographical areas in Scotland. Orkney and Shetland might have only 30,000-plus electors, but they have three Members of Parliament-two in Edinburgh and one in Westminster. The same principle applies to Wales. It seems to be almost overrepresented as things stand today, and I sincerely hope that the Government will resist the amendment.