Publicity and consultation

Part of Parliamentary Constituencies Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:30 pm ar 25 Mehefin 2020.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of David Linden David Linden Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 2:30, 25 Mehefin 2020

It is a great pleasure to see you in the chair, Sir David—welcome to our deliberations. I certainly do not wish to detain the Committee long, not least because I see that the Minister is chewing a sweetie, and if I sit down quickly, I will put her in a difficult position. Amendment 10, which is supported by the hon. Member for Ceredigion, was tabled with a view to making the lives of the boundary commissioners a little easier by giving them some room for manoeuvre.

As the Committee will recall, during the evidence session on 19 June, Ms Drummond-Murray of the Boundary Commission for Scottish, in response to question 6, spoke of things being “problematic” in the last review because of the restrictions in the number of hearings set out in statute. She made it clear that covering a country the size of Scotland, and doing so with only five hearings, was problematic. The amendment would remove that restriction.

As I was gently discussing this with the hon. Member for West Bromwich West earlier, something that came through from the evidence sessions and over the course of this morning’s sitting was a respect for the boundary commissions and a desire to try to make their lives as easy as possible. The amendment would not alter the fundamental principles of the Bill; it seeks merely to give the commissioners the flexibility to undertake the public engagement that is welcomed—and not just by the hon. Member for West Bromwich West, but by us all in our communities. It seeks to give that flexibility to commissioners to undertake public engagement. I hope that the Government will support my amendment, and I look forward to hearing her thoughts on the proposal.