Removal of duty to review reduction in number of constituencies

Part of Parliamentary Constituencies Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 30 June 2020.

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Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Cabinet Office) 10:15, 30 June 2020

Here we go again, Mr Paisley.

This clause is connected to clause 8, in that, as I have already said, the Bill seeks to maintain the number of constituencies at 650, reversing the changes from the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 that provided for 600. Section 14 of the 2011 Act also imposed a requirement on the Government to make arrangements for a committee to carry out a review of the effects of the reduction to 600 constituencies. I know we all love being on committees, but I think we can agree that we do not need another committee to do that particular function, having just agreed clause 8 and, earlier, that there should be 650 constituencies. Therefore we are cancelling those arrangements. They would have been required to be made no earlier than 1 June 2020 and no later than 30 November 2020—in other words, this year. As the reduction in the number of constituencies has not taken effect and clauses 5 and 8 already stand part of the Bill, the duty to review the reduction in the number of constituencies is entirely redundant.

Like clause 8, this clause is retrospective, and it will be treated as having come into force as of 31 May this year. That is obviously the day before 1 June—the start of the period within which the Government were to be required to make arrangements for a review to be carried out. Without this clause, the Government would be legally required to make those arrangements to undertake a redundant review, so I urge hon. Members, on the grounds of sensible work and governance and the need for no more committees, to support the clause’s standing part of the Bill.