§ Lord Beaverbrook
My Lords, I beg to move that the draft order laid before the House on 30th April be approved. For brevity I shall call it the No. 2 order. The Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments has considered the order and has approved it.
We are considering here this evening the recommendations contained in a report made by the Parliamentary Boundary Commission for England. The commission has the statutory duty to keep the distribution of seats under continuous review. It has to review the whole country every 10 to 15 years, and the last of these general reviews was completed and implemented in 1983. However, in the interval between general reviews, changes are made to local authority boundaries at parish, district and county levels which mean that constituency boundaries no longer coincide with local government boundaries. The commission has been working to remove these anomalies to avoid the confusion and inconvenience they cause to electors, local authorities and political organisations.
The draft order before your Lordships' House is similar in structure to those considered on previous occasions. Article 2 substitutes the constituencies in the schedule for those set out in the Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 1983. Article 1(2) enables the order to come into force forthwith once it is made by Her Majesty in Council. Thus the new boundaries will be available for the general election.
The No. 2 order deals with two constituencies in Berkshire that were originally included in an earlier review by the commission. This House considered the other 40 constituencies in this review on 17th March this year and the commission's recommendations 609 were implemented in the Parliamentary Constituencies (England) (Miscellaneous Changes) Order 1987. A separate report was made on these two constituencies because the proposals were considered at a local inquiry in February. The assistant commissioner who conducted the inquiry concluded that the commission had been right to recommend that the newly enlarged parish of Finchampstead should be placed in the constituency of Reading, East, rather than being left divided between Reading, East and Wokingham. This would not only enable the ties within the newly created parish to be developed but also would reduce the disparity between the electorates of the two constituencies from 12,033 to 6,991.
I invite your Lordships to approve this draft order for implementing the commission's proposals in full.
§ Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 30th April be approved. [19th report from the Joint Committee]—(Lord Beaverbrook.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.