HC Deb 17 June 1997 vol 296 c110
14. Mr. Nicholas Winterton

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the average number of voters in a Scottish constituency. [2342]

Mr. McLeish

The average size of the parliamentary electorate in Scottish constituencies, based on the 1997 electoral register, is 55,339.

Mr. Winterton

I am grateful to the Minister for his answer. I represent an English constituency with about 72,000 electors. Does he believe that such inequality between the sizes of constituencies in Scotland and England can remain? As a matter of urgency, will he ask the boundary commission to start its work in Scotland to bring the size of Scottish constituencies into line with that of those in other parts of the United Kingdom?

Mr. McLeish

I do not accept the hon. Gentleman's comments. Scotland's entitlement to not less than 71 seats has been in place since 1948 and successive Governments of all persuasions have endorsed the provision currently contained in schedule 2 to the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986. There has never been an equivalent provision for England.