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There is, however, a practical solution for any part of the UK that seeks and is given an elected assembly with legislative and tax-raising powers. It is to raise that region's electoral quota by an appropriate percentage over the standard electoral quota for the UK as a whole. By way of guidance, my Bill proposes that, if the powers of such a devolved Parliament were to cover the whole range of domestic affairs, its electoral quota would be doubled, and pro rata for any lesser devolution of powers. Its duly elected Westminster Members of Parliament would then be fewer in number, but they would be free to vote on all issues and to hold all offices. We should also reduce still further the overall number of Members at Westminster, which would be a step for the better. Of course, we should have to brace ourselves for the loss of some respected colleagues who would wish, no doubt, to make their futures in Scotland.

Some people, however, would argue that the Bill would be unattractive to those who seek devolution. I respond by saying simply that the downside is not of my making. It is inherent in the concept of devolution. There is not a sustainable halfway house between a unitary UK and full independence. People who do not like the destination should not start down the slippery slope.

4.22 pm

Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Port Glasgow): I wish to oppose the Bill. There is no doubt that it is inherently anti-Scottish. As a Scots Member of this Parliament, I represent a Scottish constituency in the Parliament of a multi-national state. With the creation of a legislature in Northern Ireland, that multi-national state will be restructured--I would have thought that that was the inevitable result of the creation of a legislature in one part of the United Kingdom. In that sense alone, the Bill of the hon. Member for Elmet (Mr. Batiste) is precipitous. Change will have to take place in a careful way, based on a rigorous analysis of what is likely to happen as a result of the restructuring that follows that brave document--the framework document.

What the hon. Gentleman says about Scottish constituencies does not stand up to examination. In a multi-national state's Parliament, there must be, as it were, a conglomeration of unevenness, and constituencies where there are more electors than in others. For a whole raft of reasons, which I do not have time to mention now--I am sure that I would earn your displeasure, Madam Speaker, if I attempted to mention them--I object to this ill-advised and unpleasant measure.

Question put, pursuant to Standing Order No. 19 (Motions for leave to bring in Bills and nomination of Select Committees at commencement of public business): --

The House divided: Ayes 53, Noes 162.

Division No. 88] [4.24 pm


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Alexander, Richard

Banks, Robert (Harrogate)

Batiste, Spencer

Booth, Hartley

Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes

Brown, M (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)

Butcher, John

Butterfill, John

Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln)

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Carrington, Matthew

Carttiss, Michael

Congdon, David

Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)

Dover, Den

Duncan, Alan

Elletson, Harold

Fabricant, Michael

Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)

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Fry, Sir Peter

Gorst, Sir John

Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)

Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)

Hannam, Sir John

Harris, David

Hawkins, Nick

Hill, James (Southampton Test)

Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter

Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)

Hunter, Andrew

Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey

Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine

Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)

Lamont, Rt Hon Norman

Lord, Michael

Maitland, Lady Olga

Mitchell, Sir David (NW Hants)

Neubert, Sir Michael

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Nicholson, David (Taunton)

Pawsey, James

Porter, David (Waveney)

Powell, William (Corby)

Riddick, Graham

Robathan, Andrew

Shaw, David (Dover)

Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)

Stewart, Allan

Thornton, Sir Malcolm

Townend, John (Bridlington)

Tracey, Richard

Twinn, Dr Ian

Vaughan, Sir Gerard

Whitney, Ray

Wiggin, Sir Jerry

Tellers for the Ayes: Mr. P. Nicholls and Mr. J. Brazier.

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Adams, Mrs Irene

Ainger, Nick

Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)

Alton, David

Armstrong, Hilary

Austin-Walker, John

Banks, Matthew (Southport)

Bayley, Hugh

Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret

Beggs, Roy

Beith, Rt Hon A J

Berry, Roger

Betts, Clive

Blunkett, David

Bradley, Keith

Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)

Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)

Burden, Richard

Byers, Stephen

Callaghan, Jim

Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)

Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)

Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)

Campbell-Savours, D N

Carlile, Alexander (Montgomery)

Chidgey, David

Chisholm, Malcolm

Clapham, Michael

Clark, Dr David (South Shields)

Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)

Clelland, David

Clwyd, Mrs Ann

Coffey, Ann

Cohen, Harry

Connarty, Michael

Cook, Frank (Stockton N)

Corston, Jean

Cousins, Jim

Cummings, John

Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)

Dafis, Cynog

Dalyell, Tam

Davidson, Ian

Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)

Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'l)

Denham, John

Dewar, Donald

Dixon, Don

Donohoe, Brian H

Dunnachie, Jimmy

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eastham, Ken

Etherington, Bill

Ewing, Mrs Margaret

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