HC Deb 23 July 1970 vol 804 cc743-5
42. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now take steps to implement the findings of the Boundary Commission.

44. Mr. James Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he proposes to take steps to carry out the findings of the Boundary Commission.

Mr. Carlisle

The necessary resolutions were tabled on 9th July and, as my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House said on 16th July, they will be moved as soon as possible after the Summer Recess.

Mr. Wall

Whilst I welcome the statement that we shall correct one of the anomalies on the last General Election, will my hon. Friend also try to do something about the other unfairness, to those who were disenfranchised by being away on holiday?

Mr. Carlisle

That is a matter which will also be considered.

Mr. Johnson

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the Boundary Commission's figures will possibly be 10 years out of date before the next General Election? Does he also agree that the figures will be even more warped in the big cities with slum clearance, like Manchester, Birmingham or Hull? Does he take that into account, and will he look at the matter again?

Mr. Carlisle

The Commission was required to submit reports on the basis of a 10 to 15 year programme. It produced those reports this year, and they should have been implemented by the previous Government. If they had been implemented, the comment which the hon. Gentleman made about discrimination between the sizes of various constituencies would no longer apply.

Sir E. Bullus

Will my hon. Friend ask the Boundary Commission to review individual proposals where there have been changed circumstances since the original proposals were made?

Mr. Carlisle

The Question dealt with the implementation of the findings of the present Boundary Commission. I think that I am right in saying that there is always power to review cases if they are referred to the Commission.

Mr. Leonard

Is the Minister aware that since the Boundary Commission Reports were produced the franchise has been extended to 18-year-old voters, which has increased the electorate by well over three million? Therefore, will he ask the Boundary Commissioners to look again at their proposals so that that may be taken into account well before the next General Election?

Mr. Carlisle

The fact stated by the hon. Gentleman has extended still further the discrepancy between existing constituencies and is still greater justification for carrying out the proposals of the present Boundary Commission, as we intend to do immediately after the Summer Recess.