Modifications of recommendations in reports

Parliamentary Constituencies Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 25 June 2020.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Cabinet Office)

I shall be as brief as I can. Clause 3 inserts new section 4A into the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986. New section 4A sets out the circumstances in which the recommendations made in a final report of a boundary commission may be modified. The purpose of the clause is to provide for a process by which a boundary commission may submit to the Speaker a statement of modification that the commission considers should be made to the recommendations after they have been submitted to the Speaker.

That will be the only process by which a boundary commission’s recommendations can be modified. Under new section 4A, the only modifications that could be made are those that the commission would request in order to correct an error. That can occur once the reports have been submitted, and where an Order in Council implementing the recommendations has not yet been submitted to Her Majesty in Council.

New section 4A(6) requires that any subsequent Order must give effect to any such modifications when implementing the recommendations. Currently, the commissions may notify the relevant Minister of modifications to recommendations in the report and the reasons for them, and the Minister will then give effect to them. The clause changes that process so that the commissions may submit a statement of modifications to the Speaker, who lays that statement before Parliament. A copy of the modifications sent to the Speaker is also sent to the Secretary of State. That is so that any commission modifications are reflected in the subsequent Order in Council that implements the recommendations, as we have just been discussing.

New section 4A(5) requires the commissions to publish a statement of modifications as soon as reasonably practicable after it has been laid in Parliament by the Speaker. These are sensible, technical changes, which I hope will not trouble the Committee greatly, to reflect the smaller role of the Government in implementing the recommendations and the increased role of the Speaker, as set out in clauses 1 and 2. I therefore urge that the clause stand part of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 3 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.