HC Deb 19 July 1977 vol 935 cc1379-80
Mr. Speaker

The House will recall that on 30th June the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland referred to the issue of Northern Ireland's representation at Westminster and said that agreement had been reached with the party leaders for this matter to be referred to a Speaker's Conference. The Prime Minister has now formally invited me to preside over such a conference and I have agreed to do so. The terms of reference of the Conference will be as follows: To consider and make recommendations on the number of parliamentary constituencies that there should be in Northern Ireland. The following right hon. and hon. Members have been good enough to indicate their willingness to serve on the Conference: the right hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. Hughes), the hon. Members for Antrim, South (Mr. Molyneaux), Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart), Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt), Birmingham, Edgbaston (Mrs. Knight), Blackpool, North (Mr. Miscampbell), Brent, South (Mr. Pavitt), Bristol, North-East (Mr. Palmer) Chester-le-Street (Mr. Radice) and Croydon, South (Mr. Clark), the right hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Irving), the hon. Members for Dearne Valley (Mr. Wainwright) and Devon, West (Mr. Mills), the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell), the hon. Members for Eastbourne (Mr. Gow) and Esher (Mr. Mather), the right hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. Stewart), the hon. Members for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Small), Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Watkinson), Goole (Dr. Marshall) and Hemsworth (Mr. Woodall), the right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Sir D. Renton), the hon. Members for the Isle of Ely (Mr. Freud), Leeds, South-East (Mr. Cohen), Newbury (Mr. McNair-Wilson), and Rother Valley (Mr. Hardy), the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Fraser) and the hon. Members for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee) and Woolwich, East (Mr. Cartwright).

I am asking the Conference to hold its first meeting on Wednesday 27th July. The joint secretaries attending the Conference will be Mr. J. H. Willcox, a principal clerk in the Department of the Clerk of the House, to whom all communications regarding the Conference should be addressed, and Mr. D. Chesterton, Northern Ireland Office. It will, of course, be open to hon. Members, party organisations and other bodies concerned to submit representations to the Conference on matters falling within the terms of reference. Such representations should be addressed to the Joint Secretaries of the Speaker's Conference on Electoral Law, the Department of the Clerk of the House, House of Commons.