Results 121–140 of 163 for speaker:Baroness McDonagh

Monday 17 January 2011 (17 Jan 2011)

Baroness McDonagh: I thank the Minister for responding to the points raised in the debate and I thank everyone for their contribution. I intend to be very brief. I believe that the purpose of an amendment at this stage of the process is to probe the thinking of the Government and to raise points that the Government will consider before coming back on Third Reading. I always live in hope and I hope that they...

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill — Committee (9th Day) (Continued) (17 Jan 2011)

Baroness McDonagh: I thank my noble friend for that intervention. I hope that noble Lords opposite will not see these points as being petty. These matters really mean something to people; people really know where they live. I have witnessed many noble Lords taking groups of people around the House. It does not take long-it is usually two minutes into the conversation-for them to tell the assembled group,...

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill — Committee (9th Day) (Continued) (17 Jan 2011)

Baroness McDonagh: Perhaps I may answer my noble friend's point. I will then be happy to give way to the noble Lord.

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill — Committee (9th Day) (Continued) (17 Jan 2011)

Baroness McDonagh: No, it is my point to answer, I believe. I shall be happy to give way to the noble Lord afterwards, if he will let me answer. I thank my noble friend Lady Armstrong for making that point, which she managed to put much more articulately than I could. If the Government want to break with a community of interest, they should introduce a system like that which exists in Israel. It is a pure PR...

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill — Committee (9th Day) (Continued) (17 Jan 2011)

Baroness McDonagh: I have asked for this amendment to stand alone in the group. I believe that it is right to get on with the business of looking at the number as it was adequately debated in the other place. I believe that 630 will give the Government the ability to achieve all their aims: to reduce the number of constituencies, equalise the number of voters, and for our constituencies to represent a community...

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill — Committee (9th Day) (Continued) (17 Jan 2011)

Baroness McDonagh: The difference in the situation proposed under the legislation from that which has formerly been is simply that the number of voters in a constituency is taken together with a whole series of other factors, one of which does not have primacy-so you do not split local government boundaries or county boundaries. You can take into account the geography in the Boundary Commission's book when you...

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill — Committee (9th Day) (Continued) (17 Jan 2011)

Baroness McDonagh: I thank my noble friend and I shall deal with all three interventions, as well as that of the noble Lord opposite. When my noble friend Lord Anderson of Swansea said that the number of constituencies has political consequences, the noble Lord shouted back, "Of course it does. We all know that". That is the first admission that we have had in this debate so far that there is a political reason...

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill: Committee (8th Day) (Continued) (12 Jan 2011)

Baroness McDonagh: I appreciate that the noble Lord, Lord King of Bridgwater, has not taken part in previous debates but, by getting to his feet, he has exposed the problem with the legislation. The problem is that it is built on a falsehood, which, as he explained, is that there has been a bias in recent elections. There has not. His problem, as he set out in his 2001 example, is that he believes that the...

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill: Committee (8th Day) (Continued) (12 Jan 2011)

Baroness McDonagh: I ask the noble Lord, Lord Lester, or anybody on the government Benches: why are the roles of government and the big society mutually exclusive? I find the notion quite shocking that it should exclusively be political parties that deal with underregistration and with underregistration of individual groups. I think that government and not-for-profit membership organisations in the voluntary...

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill: Committee (8th Day) (12 Jan 2011)

Baroness McDonagh: I thank the Minister for giving way. It is better that we register the 3.5 million people who are not registered because the constituencies are not representative. The important points are that, first, constituencies are largely the same size and, secondly, the people not on the register are those most in need of representation. They tend to be disadvantaged and in inner-city areas. I do not...

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill: Committee (8th Day) (12 Jan 2011)

Baroness McDonagh: To save time for your Lordships, I shall speak to Amendment 56. I put my name to this amendment because of my understanding of politics and government, which is that what can go wrong will go wrong. It seems a complete folly to introduce a major change to the voting system when none of us knows whether the referendum will be carried or not, which means that we have to organise the legislation...

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill: Committee (7th Day) (Continued) (10 Jan 2011)

Baroness McDonagh: I thank the Minister for his comments. I certainly appreciate some of the things that he is looking at. However, to return to the point about evaluation of the registration system used by the Government, is he aware that this is self-assessment and that there is no independent validation of the system that the Electoral Commission uses? Will he look at an independent validation of the system?

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill: Committee (7th Day) (Continued) (10 Jan 2011)

Baroness McDonagh: My point is that the figure that the noble and learned Lord is using of 96 per cent validation that the register has been compiled to the best of the person's ability is completed by the person operating the system. They are the ones who sign a form to say that the work has been done adequately. There is no independent validation of the electoral registration system in this country. As part...

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill: Committee (7th Day) (10 Jan 2011)

Baroness McDonagh: May I add to that?

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill: Committee (7th Day) (10 Jan 2011)

Baroness McDonagh: I want to add that not only has the number has crept up but the electorate has increased from 33 million to 42 million in this period.

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill: Committee (7th Day) (10 Jan 2011)

Baroness McDonagh: That is quite a different argument. I am saying that I do not know whether it is better for a Member of Parliament to represent a much broader area of the country and our communities and therefore to unite and understand those, or whether it is better for them to be very specialised and to represent an area that feels very close together with a lot of shared interests. I see the merit of the...

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill: Committee (7th Day) (10 Jan 2011)

Baroness McDonagh: With regard to the newspaper article by the noble Lord, Lord Baker, does my noble friend agree with me that there are no significant size differences between Conservative and Labour seats in the other place?


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