Parliamentary Constituencies Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:30 am ar 25 Mehefin 2020.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Llafur, Warley 11:30, 25 Mehefin 2020

On a point of order, Mr Paisley. I seek your guidance before we start to move to details on the clauses. During one of the evidence sessions, we were given evidence on a matter that came up elsewhere. Mr Pratt quoted the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s observation that

“in a majority voting system, the size of the electorate should not vary by more than approximately ten percent from constituency to constituency.”––[Official Report, Parliamentary Constituencies Public Bill Committee, 18 June 2020; c. 36, Q64.]

The officials helpfully provided us with the documentation of the OSCE report and of the Venice commission on which that is based, and I thank them for that. The “Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters” produced by the Council of Europe’s Venice commission states that the

“The maximum admissible departure from the distribution criterion…should seldom exceed 10%”.

I think we should ask the officials to seek a full definition of what the “distribution criterion” is. Is there is a fixed figure from which one can deviate either side by up to 10%, or must it lie in the middle of that 10%? It would be enormously helpful to get clarification on that.