Parliamentary Constituencies Bill - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:20 pm on 27th July 2020.

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Photo of The Earl of Shrewsbury The Earl of Shrewsbury Conservative 7:20 pm, 27th July 2020

My Lords, I congratulate my noble friend the Minister on introducing the Bill most ably. I welcome the Bill and will make a couple of brief observations.

Times have changed dramatically since the early part of this year, let alone since 2000. The circumstances in which we now find ourselves are, at the very least, most challenging, and the future extremely unclear. Before Covid-19 hit, we had a vibrant jobs market with many and varied skill requirements. That meant a considerable movement of labour around the country, and demographics had already undergone much change in recent years. With the uncertainties of today and a jobs market under enormous negative pressure, it is highly likely that when we reach a new normal, those demographics will change even more, and even more often.

This situation, and the challenges of life outside the EU—of which I am a strong supporter—indicate that the voting public need more and better representation in Parliament. Consequently, their representatives will have an increased workload, so I support Her Majesty’s Government’s plans to maintain 650 constituencies and introduce an automatic system for implementing boundary changes recommended by the commission. Very little good came out of the coalition, but I am delighted to wish this Bill well.