§ 1. Mr. Marten
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the current activities of the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland.
§ The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Merlyn Rees)
The Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland has recently notified me of its decision to begin a general review of parliamentary boundaries in Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. Marten
I am glad to hear that. Will the Minister at the same time seek to amend the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1949 so that the number of seats for Northern Ireland is increased, not because of the emergency but for reasons of pure justice?
§ Mr. Rees
I am responsible for Northern Ireland, and I am glad that I am not responsible for Scotland as well. I am sure that the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) has enough on his plate without including Scotland. I am responsible for Northern Ireland and in that sense we stick to the 12 seats.
§ Mr. Kilfedder
Does the Minister realise that the people of Northern Ireland assume that the right hon. Gentleman is against an increase in the number of Northern Ireland seats because he puts party advantage before the democratic rights of the people of the United Kingdom?