CROSSING THE TAMAR

27 January 2011

There were several amendments to clause 11 of the Parliamentary voting system and constituency (PVSC) bill which attempted to frustrate a Devonwall constituency, a constituency that would include part of Cornwall and part of Cornwall. They appeared on the agenda of the committee stage of the debate on the bill in the House of Lords.

Nothing came of any of them. There were debates and several members of the house declared their affection for and experience of Cornwall. Some of the amendments were withdrawn without debate, some were debated and not pressed to a vote.

So the present position is that the 5 percent limit on constituency electoral register variation remains – which probably means constituencies crossing county boundaries – and only the Isle of Wight is added to the two Scotland exemptions to the limit. The Tory Libdem government are sticking to the primacy over everything else of the 5 percent limit to ensure roughly equal sized electorates in constituencies.

It looks as though another attempt will be made to exempt Cornwall at the Report stage of the bill. At the end of the debate on Labour amendment 79A which exempted Cornwall and other named places and was not voted on, Charles Falconer, the Labour spokesman said: “…we will have to revisit Cornwall…we will obviously come back at Report with what may be a more honed amendment” (25 January 2011 Lords Hansard 25 January 2011 column 922-923).

NOTES

See the texts of amendments 68, 79,79A, 86, 87, and 88 affecting Cornwall here.

And while I’m writing about elections you might like to see Lords Hansard 26 January 2011 column 958 where the issue of second home electors was raised in the House of Lords.
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