Taking account of local government boundaries

Part of Parliamentary Constituencies Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 30th June 2020.

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Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Conservative, Basingstoke 10:00 am, 30th June 2020

My right hon. Friend makes an extremely important point. Again, we can all think of constituencies, either our own or in our area, where that will be a considerable challenge for the boundary commission—where, in their words, there is going to be a significant review of constituency boundaries, particularly in constituencies such as mine, where the town of Basingstoke is now, one could argue, really too big to be one constituency. The debate is important and the Committee has shown the value of the process in raising this.

I note from the boundary commission’s response that they are not against looking at sub-ward level splits, which is obviously a matter of fact and they have done that in the past. However, I sense a reticence there for the future. I hope when the Minister responds she can underline the importance of ensuring that reticence is alleviated. Mention is made of the cost of splitting wards and pulling together data at a sub-ward level. There is a great focus on polling district data, which was not the only source of information that was mentioned in the evidence sittings and our debate. Yet the focus in the Boundary Commission for England’s response seems wholly to be on that form of information. Scotland and Wales already use postcode data, yet no mention is made of that in the response.