Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:30 am on 20th June 2018.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Immigration) 9:30 am, 20th June 2018

I beg to move, That the Committee do now adjourn.

I thank everyone for being here once again. We were all reunited yesterday, albeit in the Chamber rather than in our usual Committee Room. I was disappointed with the result of the motion we debated yesterday, but I will continue to do whatever I can to push the Bill forward. It was very disappointing that the Government would not allow us to make any progress in today’s Committee.

We are now somewhat used to the back and forth of these debates. The Government continue to make the argument about the sovereignty of the Crown and the separation of powers. There seems to be some overreaction to what is being proposed. We do not want to rob the Government of their control over the country’s finances or to overturn centuries of parliamentary conventions and the separation of powers. We just want to make some progress on the Bill.

The Government argued that, since we are in this position, we may as well wait for the Boundary Commission to report in the autumn. May I remind members that my Bill was passed on Second Reading unanimously on 1 December, and that was 201 days ago? To now say that we may as well wait until the autumn reveals that the Government never intended to follow proper procedure and allow us to consider the Bill in good time. They have delayed until the point at which they can say, “We may as well wait.”

As much as we all enjoy meeting on a Wednesday morning, I did not come to Parliament, and my constituents did not elect me, to discuss procedure. I am here to pass legislation. I believe that my Bill is necessary and is worth considering in line-by-line detail, which would allow us to work through any amendments hon. Members might propose. Boundary changes are a fundamental part of our democracy and it is worth considering them carefully. Unfortunately, we are again discussing only an adjournment motion. The Government have decided not even to table a money resolution. Time is running out for us to work on a viable alternative to an inevitable defeat on the boundary changes in the autumn.