HC Deb 02 August 1905 vol 150 cc1326-8
SIR CHARLES WELBY (Nottinghamshire, Newark)

To ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he is aware that the county of Lincoln has from time immemorial been divided into three parts, viz., the Parts of Lindsey, Kesteven, and Holland; that each of these parts is a separate county for the purposes of local government; and that they contain, in round numbers, four-sevenths, two-sevenths, and one-seventh, respectively, of the population of the county, exclusive of the large boroughs; whether he is aware that Lincolnshire has now seven Parliamentary divisions, the boundaries of which follow in the main the boundaries of the three parts; whether, under the scheme of the Government, it is proposed, while preserving the borough of Boston, with 20,456 population, to abolish a county divison with a population of some 50,000, thus obliterating, for Parliamentary purposes, the historic division of the county into parts; and whether he will consider the alternative of making the borough of Boston the centre of a county division and thus bring up the average population per division to some 53,000, and the total population of the county to some 370,000, at which figure it would, under the scheme, be entitled to retain its seven Members.

(Answered by Mr. A. J. Balfour.) Lincolnshire is and has been divided into three parts, viz., the Parts of Lindsey, Kesteven, and Holland. Each of these parts is a separate administrative county for the purposes of local government. Exclusive of the two county boroughs of Lincoln and Grimsby and the extramunicipal areas attached to these county boroughs to form the two Parliamentary boroughs of Lincoln and Great Grimsby, the aggregate population of the three parts, according to the Census of 1901, is 370,073, made up as follows:—

Lindsey (exclusive of the two boroughs) 188,501
Kesteven (including Grantham) 103,962
Holland (including Boston) 77,610

One-seventh of 370,073 is 52 867.

Lindsey has therefore less than four-sevenths of the total population. Kesteven has therefore nearly two-sevenths of the total population. Holland has therefore more than one-seventh of the total population. The Parliamentary county of Lincoln as at present constituted his a population of 330,452, and seven Members. The average population per Member being 47,207. The historic divisions of the county wire deviated from to some extent in 1885. It does not seem impracticable if the county (minus Boston) is divided into six divisions, as proposed in the Government scheme, to observe more strictly than at present the historic divisions referred to, but this would be a matter for inquiry. If the Parliamentary borough of Boston were merged in the county, the Parliamentary county, with a population of 370,073, would be entitled under the Government scheme to six Members only. To entitle it to retain its present seven Members the population would have to be more than 390,000, i.e., six times 65,000. If the Government scheme was modified by merging Boston in a county division, as proposed, the number of the Lincolnshire borough Members would be reduced to two; whilst the number of the county Members would be six as under the scheme, eight. But under the scheme, as it stands, the total number of the Lincolnshire Members would be nine, viz., six county Members and three borough Members.