§ 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 Members shall have its representation reduced to less Members than the integer obtained by dividing its population by £50,000, the number of the Members of 1382 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 recommend the amendment of the scheme on the lines indicated.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I replied on Monday † to a similar Question put to me by the hon. Member on this subject, but the modification now made in the terms of the Question and some explanation which he has been so good as to send me, render necessary a modification in the Answer. I think that the plan which he now proposes would have the result which he anticipates subject to this, that when the borough of Stafford, the population of which is under 25,000, had been merged in the county, the population of the county would entitle it under Rule 3 of the Government scheme to eight Members instead of to the seven now allotted to it. Consequently the effect of the hon. Member's proposal would seem to be to increase the number of Members of the House by one. I could not give any promise that the Government scheme would be amended on the-lines indicated.