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Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 5th June 2019.

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Photo of David Linden David Linden SNP Whip 10:00 am, 5th June 2019

It is a pleasure to see you in the Chair, Mr Owen. I am grateful for your permission to remove our jackets, because it is very hot.

The hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton is absolutely right that the Government are completely in meltdown. In many respects, it is good to attend this Committee, because it is the one thing that can be guaranteed to run like clockwork. At a time when many bizarre things are happening in this country—whether it is that complete and utter moron President Trump coming to visit and having the red carpet rolled out for him, or the fact that almost half the Conservative party seems to be running for leader—it is just fantastic to be here to focus on what I think is called getting on with the day job. But of course we cannot get on with the day job, because a money resolution has not been provided for the Bill.

As the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton said, a member of our Committee is running for leader of the Conservative party. The hon. Gentleman is right that whenever this circus leaves town and we finally have a new Prime Minister, it will be interesting to see what they will do about parliamentary boundaries. Will they push ahead with the democratically unjust proposal to reduce the number of seats from 650 to 600, or will they recognise—as the Procedure Committee has done—that Parliament has a lot more legislation coming forward? The Procedure Committee, which is probably the weightiest in this Parliament, is looking at whether there should be a budgetary Committee, given how much pressure and scrutiny is on us.

On the one hand, Ministers are saying, “There is so much for MPs to do at the moment,” and on the other hand I suspect that the Minister will tell us, “It is very important to cut the cost of politics and reduce the number of seats to 600.” Someone is wrong somewhere along the line. I think the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton is right to try to protect the number of seats at 650.

We shall see what happens over the next few weeks, and whether we face the prospect of people backing Boris and having Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. We would then have two blonde-haired eejits running a country, one here and one on the other side of the pond.