HL Deb 18 March 1986 vol 472 cc950-1

8.56 p.m.

Viscount Davidson

My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Glenarthur, I beg to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 20th February be approved.

This draft order is meant to give effect to the Boundary Commission for England's recommended alterations to 19 constituencies following the completion of its 1985 interim review. The report on that review was submitted to the Home Secretary on 23rd January and he proposes that the commission's recommendations should be implemented without modifications. If the draft is approved by your Lordships today, it will be submitted to Her Majesty in Council to be made.

Articles 2 to 6 of the order substitute the constituencies in the schedule for the existing constituencies created by the Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 1983. Article 1(3) provides for it 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-elections held in the meantime will therefore be unaffected by this order.

This was the second of a series of interim reviews necessitated by alterations to the boundaries of several counties, districts and district wards which originally coincided with those of the constituencies created by the Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 1983. The first was completed in 1985 and the commission recently announced the start of a third involving a further 42 constituencies. The Scottish and Welsh Commissions are currently engaged on similar reviews in their respective areas. This means that most of the present anomalies caused by the local government boundary commissions' reviews should be removed in time for the next general election.

The English commission published its provisional recommendations for these 19 constituencies last summer. Since it proposed in each case that the constituency boundary should simply be aligned with the altered local government area, it is hardly surprising that the majority of the representations received by the commission supported its proposals. The only exception was an objection to the boundary between two constituencies, one of which was not included in the review. The commission accordingly confirmed its original proposals as its final recommendations. Your Lordships will readily appreciate, therefore, that the review was relatively uncontentious and that the commission's proposals seem to have commanded widespread acceptance in the areas concerned.

No representations have been received by the Home Secretary since the receipt of the commission's report, and the number of electors affected by each of the proposed changes is quite small, ranging from two to 246. I therefore invite your Lordships to approve this draft order for implementing the commission's recommendations in full. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 20th February be approved. [13th Report from the Joint Committee.]—(Viscount Davidson.)

Lord Underhill

My Lords, I need not detain the House more than a few moments. I thank the noble Viscount for explaining the order.

As I read the report of the Commons Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, it appears that the only issue which arose was an alleged imbalance of the constituencies in Hampshire. However, as the Commons report does not appear in Hansard—they debated it last night—we do not know whether any other issues arose. However, as the noble Viscount said, the changes are so minimal that I can content myself by saying, as the spokesman said in the standing committee, that the Opposition approve this order.

On Question, Motion agreed to.