Amendment 6

Part of Parliamentary Constituencies Bill - Report – in the House of Lords at 2:45 pm on 8th October 2020.

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Photo of Lord Blencathra Lord Blencathra Chair, Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, Chair, Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee 2:45 pm, 8th October 2020

My Lords, I am delighted to welcome this amendment and to add my name to it. I can also be brief because of the excellent speech by my noble friend Lord Young of Cookham. I strongly supported the three-month provision in Committee, and I welcome this amendment, because it keeps the Conservative Party’s hands absolutely clean and above board. I make no apologies for reminding the House, as I did in Committee, that there have been only two occasions when Boundary Commission reports were abandoned: one was the disgraceful episode involving Jim Callaghan’s Government, who scuppered the report; and the other was a rather grubby move by the Lib Dems in 2011 to scupper the Boundary Commission report then. That was done purely out of spite because they had lost the PR referendum.

Enough of going over old bones: this now means that this Conservative Government will deliver on the commitment to make sure that Boundary Commission reports are presented automatically within four months unless there are these exceptional circumstances. My noble friend Lord Young cited a couple; they do seem to be rather serious and very exceptional circumstances. I will be grateful if my noble friend the Minister has got any more examples, but they do seem to set a standard that it would be very exceptional circumstances indeed before a Boundary Commission report did not proceed. Therefore, I welcome this compromise and I commend it to the House.