§ 6.8 p.m.
§ Lord Beaverbrook rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 16th July be approved. [31st Report from the Joint Committee.]
§ The noble Lord said: As your Lordships know, the parliamentary boundary commissions have powers to conduct reviews of constituency in the years between their major reviews of all the constituencies in the country. Since the last general review of constituency boundaries, which was implemented in 1983, the local government boundary commissions have been making changes to local authority boundaries. As the parliamentary boundary commissions use ward boundaries as their building blocks for creating constituencies, this has meant that in some places local government boundaries and parliamentary constituency boundaries are now different, causing inconvenience and confusion to electors, returning officers and political organisations alike.
§ The Parliamentary Boundary Commission for Wales has accordingly reviewed the boundaries of nine constituencies in north and mid-Wales, and has recommended changes which will bring the separate local government and constituency boundaries into alignment. Except in one case, the commission decided to make the minimum change necessary to align the boundaries. The exception concerns the community ward, Eglwysbach, which is presently divided between two constituencies with a small part lying in Meirionnydd Nant Conwy and the larger part in Conwy. The commission considered that Eglwysbach had stronger ties with Meirionnydd Nant Conwy than with Conwy and therefore recommended that the larger part of the community ward, 1,018 electors in total, should be transferred to Melrionnydd Nant Conwy.
§ The commission published its draft recommendations in the summer of 1985, and five representations were received. One resulted in a local inquiry being held about the transfer of Eglwysbach. The assistant commissioner who held the inquiry decided that the commission had judged the situation rightly and upheld its proposals. Another four representations were received, three of which supported the proposals although one suggested a change of name for one constituency. The fourth suggested much more wide-ranging changes in the Wrexham area which the 1121 commission rejected. The commission published its final proposals on 16th July, and no representations have been received by the Home Secretary.
§ The form of the order before your Lordships' House is similar to the two English interim review orders approved in the past year. Article 2 substitutes the constituencies in the schedule for the existing constituencies created by the Parliamentary Constituencies (Wales) Order 1983. Article 1(2) provides for the order to come into operation 14 days after it is made, and for the new boundaries to take effect at the next general election. Any by-election held in the meantime will be held on the existing boundaries. I commend this draft order for implementing the commission's recommendations in full.
§ Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 16th July he approved. [31st Report from the Joint Committee.]—(Lord Beaverbrook.)
§ Lord Mishcon
My Lords, my only comment is that I am deeply grateful that the Leader of the Opposition and my noble and learned friend Lord Elwyn-Jones were not present during the pronunciation of some of the parts of Wales.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.