HC Deb 12 June 1947 vol 438 cc1340-3
60. Lieut.-Colonel Geoffrey Clifton-Brown

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the report of the Parliamentary Boundaries Commission, extracts from which were recently published in the Press, will be available.

Mr. Ede

Full provisional recommendations for England with the exception of the counties of Lancashire, Cheshire, West Riding, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Lincolnshire and Rutland will, I understand, be published tomorrow and a copy will be placed in the Library. The recommendations in respect of the English counties I have just named will be available next week and those in regard to Wales will follow at an early date.

Professor Savory

What about Northern Ireland?

Mr. Ede

I will make inquiries as to when the proposals with regard to Northern Ireland will be available.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

What about Scotland?

Lieut.-Colonel Clifton-Brown

Can the Home Secretary say how it is that a statement was given to the Press two weeks before it was available to this House?

Mr. Ede

A copy of the recommendations was not given to the Press, but in view of the general interest in the overall arrangement the Commissioners decided to give to the Press the figures there would be in each of the new constituencies. The full recommendations will be much more detailed than the statement issued to the Press.

Captain Crowder

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether maps will be presented with the report showing the boundary alterations?

Mr. Ede

Yes, Sir. I hope that I shall not be accused of having an undue privilege, but I have seen the recommendations relating to the administrative County of London in which a map is included, and a map will also be included, I understand, with each of the other county reports.

Mr. Dumpleton

I understood my right hon. Friend to say that copies of the report would be available in the Library. Will they not be available to Members at the Vote Office, and will there not be an opportunity for discussion by Members of this House before the recommendations are confirmed?

Mr. Ede

Hon. Members have no more right in this matter than the people who aspire to be Members. That was laid down in the last days of the last Parliament, when a somewhat similar situation arose with regard to the 25 new constituencies. The procedure followed will be that, after the publication of the recommendations there will be one month in which objections may be lodged by people who have the right to lodge such objections, and after that the Commissioners will consider the objections and submit a final report.

Mr. Marlowe

The right hon. Gentleman referred to the right of objections, the period for which, I believe, is a month. As the report is being published in parts, can he say when the time will begin to run? Will it begin to run in respect of those parts published tomorrow, from tomorrow, and in respect of those published next week, from next week?

Mr. Ede

From the date of the publication of the part of the report referring to the particular constituency. It will be within the recollection of hon. Members that when we had a similar report about a year ago, the various counties were dealt with over a much longer period of time than appears to be likely in this week and next.

Mr. Nicholson

When the right hon. Gentleman says "publication," does he mean publication in the sense that copies will be available at county halls, or publication in the local Press?

Mr. Ede

When the report is published —I am judging from the copies I have seen with regard to London—there will be a statement made with regard to each Metropolitan borough as to the places at which the document can be seen. Adequate publicity will be given as to those places, and persons interested will have the opportunity of inspecting both the report and the maps.

Mr. Maclay

To make the position clear, will the Home Secretary confirm that after the report of the public inquiries, if any, are known the Boundary Commission reports back to the Government, and the report will be made into a form of Bill which will be debated in that form in this House?

Mr. Ede

When the report is received, the Government will have to consider it, and judging by what happened in 1918—I am not going beyond that—the probability is that it will appear as a Schedule to a Representation of the People Bill, or some such Measure.

Mr. Cocks

Why cannot the report be published as a White Paper so that anyone can have it?

Mr. Ede

I will consider that. It certainly was not done at the end of the last Parliament.

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