Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 17 October 2018.

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Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, Assistant Whip 10:15, 17 October 2018

I will make a few comments this week. The first is to extend my sympathy and my very best wishes to the hon. Member for Glasgow East. I, too, am a relatively new parent, and I entirely understand how very difficult things must be for him and his family. We all wish his family well.

On the point that the hon. Member for Lincoln made, I am afraid her anger is misplaced in being directed at me. It is not for me to answer as to why we gather here every Wednesday to discuss adjourning. That is for you, Mr Owen, or the Member whose Bill this is. All arguments have been made about the status of the Bill. There are few arguments to add that would be fresh to this Committee, so I will not try to do so. Nor will I bring to this place arguments that relate to the Overseas Electors Bill, which will rightly be discussed in another Committee.

I am none the less happy to account to Parliament for the progress of the order. I can confirm that the legislation requires it to be prepared as soon as may be; that is the legal position, as set out in legislation. There need be no further secret advice of any kind; it is there for all to see. Therefore, the order is being prepared and the House will absolutely have its chance to examine it in line with the legislative process that we are following. I should note that it was of course this House—Parliament—that agreed and set out that process.

In closing, I will just offer a little further information to the Committee, which I hope might be of interest and which is slightly in response to the hon. Member for City of Chester, who chose this morning to talk of politics and absurdity. However, he may like to reflect on what happened in the fifth boundary review, which, Mr Owen, you may recall was carried out under a Labour Government.

The hon. Gentleman may like to know about the reports and the orders at that time. I am talking about a period from 2004 to 2007—it took a little time to do the work—when the reports and orders were done separately for each nation of the United Kingdom. He may already know that the report for England was handed to the Government in October 2006 and the order was laid in Parliament four months later. He may like to know that the report for Northern Ireland was handed to the Government in September 2007 and the order was laid in Parliament six and a half months later; and that the report for Wales was handed to the Government in January 2005 and the order was laid in Parliament a whole 10 and a half months later. The hon. Member for Glasgow East may be delighted to know that the report and order for Scotland were done a little quicker—inside 2004—but a maximum time of 10 and a half months is something that members of the Committee may like to reflect upon when they talk party politics, because it was the Labour party that achieved that.