§ MR. LAMBERT (Devonshire, South Molton)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to the fact that by changing 18,500 to 25,000, as the proposed population limit for the disfranchisement of boroughs, and 75,000 to 65,000, as the population limit for the disfranchisement of double Member constituencies, and by providing that no county or borough with more than two 880 Members shall have less Members than the integer obtained by dividing its population by 50,000, the number of the Members of the House will be left unaltered at 670, whilst the English counties of Cornwall, Devon, Lincoln, Norfolk, Somerset, and Wilts would not be deprived of one Member each; and whether, in view of the advantage thus obtained, he would be prepared to amend the Redistribution scheme on the lines indicated.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I do not think that the proposal of the hon. Member would have the result which he supposes. Its effect would be largely to increase the number of the Members of the House, while, as regards the counties of Lincoln and Norfolk which he mentions, the number of Members in each case would still be diminished by one. The hon. Member's plan would, moreover, involve applying a different minimum to counties and boroughs. I could not undertake to amend the Redistribution scheme on the lines indicated.
§ MR. CROOKS (Woolwich)
Does the right hon. Gentleman consider one man in King's Lynn equal to six and a-half men at Lewisham?
§ [No Answer was returned.]
§ MR. LAMBERT
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that if the Redistribution scheme is passed as proposed, the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Lincoln, Norfolk, and Wilts, with a present population of about 50,000 to every Parliamentary constituency, will be deprived of one Member each, and six small boroughs, with populations averaging about 20,000 each, will retain the privilege of sending a Member to Parliament; and whether such inequalities are intended to be remedied before the Resolution is passed.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I am aware that the effect of the schem 881 would be substantially as stated in the Question, but perhaps I may be allowed to refer the hon. Member to the observations contained in the last paragraph of my Memorandum of July 10th which has been presented to Parliament.