§ MR. FULLER (Wiltshire, Westbury)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he is aware that there are at present in the county of Wilts fire county constituencies with an average population of over 50,000 each; that there is in the same county a borough with a population of 19,421, as returned by the census of 1901; and that the proposals of the President of the Local Government Board entail the disfranchisement of one county seat, representing an average population of over 50,000, and the retention of the borough as a Parliamentary constituency with its population of 19,421; and, if, under these circumstances, he will reconsider the Redistribution proposals of the Government in so far as they affect the county of Wilts.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR, Manchester, E.)
As I think the hon. Gentleman will see, there is no possible principle to be laid down, short of equal electoral areas, which will not produce, or rather I ought to say leave, in a diminished form some anomalies. The Government are clearly averse from the principle of equal electoral districts, which as far as I know has never found any favour with responsible statesmen on either side of the House, and the hon. Gentleman, therefore, must not make it a matter of reproach that anomalies exist under the scheme we have submitted.