HC Deb 23 July 1891 vol 356 cc134-5

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury if his attention has been called to the following facts recorded in the Preliminary Report upon the Census of England and Wales for 1891, namely, that the number of Members of the House of Commons for England and Wales, irrespective of the Universities, being 490, and the enumerated population being 29,001,018, an equal numerical distribution would give one Member to 59,186 persons (p. xii.); and that the present population of the Cardiff District of Boroughs exceeds 132,000, and is represented in the House of Commons by one Member only, while the aggregate populations of Durham City, Pontefract, Bury St. Edmunds, Grantham, Penryn and Falmouth, King's Lynn, and Boston, which amount only to 120,239, are represented in this House by seven Members (Table III.), and whether he will undertake to submit to Parliament, in its next Session, a measure for giving to the Cardiff District of Boroughs more adequate representation?


I am not prepared, on behalf of the First Lord of the Treasury, to give the pledge suggested by the hon. Member. If the question of proportional representation is to be dealt with, it would have to be considered generally and would raise some extremely interesting issues. I do not think it could be dealt with in the piecemeal manner proposed.

MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)

Is it a fact that many of the London divisions have over 100,000 population with only one Member?


I think that if this question were opened and considered generally it would give rise to some extremely interesting issues.


May I ask whether there cannot be some automatic arrangement for a periodical revision of representation such as is the practice in the United States?


The hon. Gentleman asks me a question of great political scope, and I do not feel that I am able to deal with such a wide issue on this occasion.