Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 24th October 2018.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Immigration) 10:00 am, 24th October 2018

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

The way that we draw our boundaries in this country has until recently inhabited a sacred space in our politics. We have four independent boundary commissions that independently consider the population and community ties across the UK and produce proposals for how many MPs there should be and where the boundaries of those constituencies should lie.

It is essential that that process remains independent. We need only look to the United States to see the danger of their approach. Extreme gerrymandering has eroded public faith in the political system. Debate around boundaries has been poisoned by party-political fighting, and lengthy lawsuits have recently reached the Supreme Court.

I believe strongly that we must keep our process independent. The current proposed boundaries have been expressly designed to benefit the Conservative party, and 2 million people have been disfranchised from the process. The Government have cut the number of MPs to an arbitrary 600 and equalising electorate size has been given priority over community ties.

My Bill has cross-party support. It is nonsense that we are in these endless Committee sittings, wasting time instead of pressing ahead with my Bill to produce the new boundaries our democracy needs.