Results 1–20 of 9556 for speaker:Mark Harper

Public Bill Committee: Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill (20 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: I want to put a few remarks on the record on the motion to adjourn because things have changed a little bit from the last time the Committee met. On previous occasions, the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton has referred to the decision the House took to pass his Bill on Second Reading. This is and remains entirely true. The difference today is that the House was explicitly asked a question...

Public Bill Committee: Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill (20 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: The hon. Gentleman makes the perfectly fair point that bringing forward the Orders in Council, and scheduling the debate and the vote on those, are obviously matters for business managers—both Government and Opposition business managers, working in conjunction and having conversations with each other. That is entirely true. However, I think I am right—I may be wrong, but I think I...

Public Bill Committee: Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill (20 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: I take the hon. Gentleman’s point, which is perfectly sensible. I just do not agree with matters being conducted “in parallel”, for two reasons. First, if we are going to debate the Bill, we should find out the House’s view of the boundary proposals. Although he asserts, as he did yesterday, that he knows what the answer is, in my experience—as a Back Bencher, a...

Public Bill Committee: Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill (20 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: It is very clear. Certain motions passed by the House are binding, and motions such as yesterday’s, which was to direct the business of the House, are binding, so the vote yesterday was binding. However, some of the other motions that the hon. Gentleman is talking about are not binding, so to do what he suggests would require primary legislation.

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill: Committee Stage (19 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: The hon. Gentleman makes a very sensible point about the geographical size of constituencies. That was indeed considered when we looked at the rules that the Boundary Commissions were set. I accept that he may not feel that there was sufficient flexibility, but there are rules that govern the maximum geographical size of constituencies, thus giving the Boundary Commissions some scope to...

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill: Committee Stage (19 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: It is absolutely right that a significant number of entries were removed from the register, but the point was that many of them were not legitimate. Individual electoral registration was introduced to deal with accuracy and completeness. Having lots of people on the register who do not really exist is not a good thing—it is a bad thing—and it is good that we fixed it.

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill: Committee Stage (19 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: The hon. Gentleman and I enjoy our sparring on Wednesday mornings, and I look forward to doing so again tomorrow. I have just a couple of points to make. First, the Democratic Unionist party has not been given a single penny. That money is for the people of Northern Ireland, and it is important to make that point. Secondly, the House decided the composition of Public Bill Committees, not the...

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill: Committee Stage (19 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: My hon. Friend’s point about objections relates to my point about the proper consideration of the Bill. One reason why we should not accept the motion is because this is a constitutional matter. If we were to proceed with the Bill’s Committee stage, that should be done not upstairs, where only a relatively small number of Members are able to participate, but on the Floor of the...

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill: Committee Stage (19 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: I wish to make a public service announcement, Madam Deputy Speaker. In case other hon. Members wish to make interventions referring to me, I wish to let them know that my constituency is the Forest of Dean, not West Gloucestershire. It could possibly become West Gloucestershire if the current Boundary Commission proposals are voted in, but at the moment it is the Forest of Dean, and very...

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill: Committee Stage (19 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: I am grateful, Madam Deputy Speaker. I will be mindful of your injunction and try hard to stick to it. I am going to do something radical—I will try to stick to the motion—but first, since this is a debate, I want to deal with a number of points that Members have made. I should declare my interest as a member of the Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Public Bill Committee....

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill: Committee Stage (19 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: The hon. Gentleman makes a good point, but the point about the Boundary Commission review is that there has been clear public consultation, with 35,000 responses from participants, meaning that this was a democratic process. The Boundary Commission has undertaken a clear process in coming to its conclusions. People outside the House may think that September is a long way away, but it is only...

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill: Committee Stage (19 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: I listened carefully to the hon. Gentleman, but he is not right. The previous Parliament passed an Act that remains the law until another piece of legislation changes it. That has not happened. A motion in the House has not in itself changed the law. I shall come on to the point about process.

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill: Committee Stage (19 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: If my right hon. Friend will forgive me, I will make a little process because I am mindful of Madam Deputy Speaker’s injunction about trying to keep our remarks to nine minutes. I want to gambol through some of the points made by the shadow Leader of the House, including what she said about numbers. As the Minister who introduced the original legislation, may I say that there is nothing...

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill: Committee Stage (19 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: I took a lengthy intervention from the hon. Gentleman, so I will make a little progress. The issue of the so-called missing voters was raised by the hon. Member for Walsall South and in a couple of interventions, including from the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Nick Smith). Matt Singh from Number Cruncher Politics has done a significant piece of work on this, which was also validated by the...

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill: Committee Stage (19 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: I do not agree with that at all. I would argue that the individual electoral registration system that we introduced, which addressed the accuracy and completeness of the register, as well as the fact that we enabled online registration made it much easier for people to register to vote. The vast majority of people who register now do so online, using a very straightforward piece of software...

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill: Committee Stage (19 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: I think I can help the hon. Gentleman a little by explaining why there have been several such examples. It is because private Members’ Bills have started to be used inappropriately by people trying to deliver significant constitutional change, which should properly be done in detail on the Floor of the House. Perhaps that is why the Government have reflected carefully on whether they...

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill: Committee Stage (19 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: On procedure, there is a wider point than just the money. The boundary commissions, as part of their review, have carried out a very democratic process. They have listened to thousands of responses, not just from Members of this House and political parties but from thousands of members of the public. Would it not be an abuse just to throw all that away and start all over again?

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill: Committee Stage (19 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: Perhaps I can give the hon. Lady a very good reason. She may be familiar with the e-mail that Members received on 14 June from the Boundary Commission for England, in which it confirms that it will report to the Leader of the House on or before 5 September, so that the Leader will have an opportunity to lay the orders in the House during that month. It plans to report in just four full...

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Commencement and short title (13 Jun 2018)

Mark Harper: It was a pleasure to listen to the thoughtful and considered speech of the right hon. Member for Don Valley (Caroline Flint). She made some sensible points about immigration, on which I will focus in my remarks. Many Members have spoken in favour of joining the EEA but, as I said briefly at Prime Minister’s questions, immigration was one of the most important issues that decided the...


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