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Division No. 2

CONTENTS

Addington, L.
Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Bath, M.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Blatch, B.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Burnham, L.
Byford, B.
Cadman, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Clanwilliam, E.
Clement-Jones, L.
Courtown, E.
Cross, V.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Falkland, V.
Ferrers, E.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Gladwyn, L.
Goodhart, L.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hooson, L.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Hylton, L.
Jacobs, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kinnoull, E.
Kintore, E.
Lauderdale, E.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Lucas, L.
Ludford, B.
Luke, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNair, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marsh, L.
Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Mersey, V.
Methuen, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Milverton, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Newby, L.
Nicholson of Winterbourne, B.
Nickson, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Ogmore, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Pender, L.
Perry of Walton, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Rennell, L.
Renton, L.
Renwick, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Rowallan, L.
Russell, E.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
Selkirk of Douglas, L.
Sempill, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Stair, E.
Stanley of Alderley, L.
Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Sudeley, L.
Swinfen, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L. [Teller.]
Thurso, V. [Teller.]
Torphichen, L.
Vivian, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Warnock, B.
Weatherill, L.
Wigoder, L.
Wilson of Tillyorn, L.
Wise, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Bach, L.
Balfour, E.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Borrie, L.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Chandos, V.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Diamond, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Gallacher, L.
Gilbert, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hacking, L.
Hanworth, V.
Hardie, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Jay of Paddington, B. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Levy, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lovell-Davis, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Paul, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Serota, B.
Sewel, L.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Thornton, B.
Tryon, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

22 Oct 1998 : Column 1608

6.38 p.m.

[Amendment No. 4 not moved.]

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendment No. 5:


Page 60, line 7, after ("Islands,") insert--
("( ) the Western Isles,").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a small amendment. Despite the amendment which has been carried, it is still in the text of the Bill. I checked that during the last debate.

It addresses the question of why Orkney and Shetland are mentioned specifically and the Western Isles are not. I put the argument in Committee and I shall not go over it at length. But if Orkney and Shetland are mentioned specifically as two areas which should be constituencies

22 Oct 1998 : Column 1609

on their own account in the Scottish parliament, so also should the Western Isles. I made the same case in relation to what was Clause 81 and is now Clause 82 about the United Kingdom Parliament.

In reply in Committee the Minister described my point as a fair one. He said:


    "We had presumed that the geographical nature of the Western Isles would result in their forming a single constituency for all time, although I recognise that, the way the Bill is framed, that is not guaranteed. However, I shall be more than happy to take back this matter and consider the point further".--[Official Report, 8/7/98; cols. 1328-29.]
Before the last Boundary Commission, there was some serious conversation and talk of the Western Isles being joined with Skye. Given modern transport methods, that argument, which once would not even have begun to run, is now something for which one could put forward a reasonable submission. I do not believe that even the reasonableness of that submission should in any way add the Western Isles to any other part of Scotland, including Skye. I should simply like a little protection in the Bill.

I will not go on at length. The Minister said that he was sympathetic and I hope to hear from him that he will accept my amendment. I beg to move.

Viscount Thurso: My Lords, it was my understanding at Committee stage that the Government accepted this amendment. Therefore, if the noble Lord, Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, wishes it, we shall support him.

Lord Sewel: My Lords, I have to put a stop to this somehow. The arguments on the merit of providing in the Bill an entrenched position for the Western Isles as a separate constituency have been well aired. I took many of the arguments that were made in Committee and have thought about the case since. However, I am not persuaded.

We would start again with the question of why we were putting in the Bill the provision for separate constituencies for Orkney and Shetland. The reason is simple. At the moment Orkney and Shetland form a single Westminster constituency. To provide for separate Holyrood constituencies for Orkney and Shetland it is necessary to make that explicit in the Bill because of the way in which the building blocks of the Westminster constituencies drive the number and structure of the electoral arrangements for Holyrood.

In relation to the Western Isles there is no need to do that. The Western Isles is already a separate parliamentary constituency and there is no need to secure a separate representation of the Western Isles by putting that provision in the Bill. The effect of putting Orkney and Shetland into the Bill gives a degree of entrenchment to those arrangements, but the entrenchment is not the purpose behind that. The purpose is to create two separate constituencies in the first place.

The difficulty is that if we start from the basis of somehow entrenching present arrangements or the arrangements one wants in terms of constituencies, we

22 Oct 1998 : Column 1610

are faced with the difficulty of where to draw the line. Strong arguments will be put forward from a whole number of constituencies that that constituency, as it exists at the present time, should never be changed. If we went down that road, we would be in the strange position where some constituencies in Scotland would be somehow entrenched--fixed for all time--and in others there could be adjustments over a period of time in the light of Boundary Commission decisions.

I can understand the reason why the noble Lord, Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, tabled the amendment. But it is based on a misunderstanding of why the Orkney and Shetland provision is in the Bill in the first place. As I said, it is necessary to put them in the Bill in order to create two Holyrood constituencies out of what is one Westminster constituency. That does not apply to the Western Isles.

It may be argued that at some future date the Western Isles may be associated with another part of Scotland in a single constituency. But I have greater faith in the ability of the Western Isles to argue the case. The distinctive social, cultural, economic and even political values of that part of the world are such that I would rest assured that the Boundary Commission would find it extremely difficult to disturb the arrangement which exists at the moment. On that basis, I hope the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.


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