Select Committee on Procedure Minutes of Evidence


Letter from Mr Stan Smith to the Clerk of the Procedure Committee

  I understand you looking into the relationship of Westminster and the new Parliaments/Assemblies (see cutting from Daily Telegraph).[5]

  I am enclosing copies of letters, which have appeared in local newspapers on these issues for information.

  There is no question that the setting up of the Scottish Parliament in particular, will unbalance the constitution of the United Kingdom. It is a matter of concern in the North East, perhaps because we are so close to Scotland.

  Up to now that Scotland had more MPs than it was entitled to was a matter of indifference, most people were not aware of it. That they seemed to have an advantage over us in attracting inward investment and getting special advantages was not a matter of great concern. Many people took the view that Scotland had high unemployment, it had old industries in particular shipping and mining, both very unattractive industries to work in as we in the North East well know. This has now all changed, it could be said that with the setting up of the Scottish Parliament we have crossed the Rubicon.

  Certainly the number of Scottish MP's should be reduced, because there will be so little Scottish business at Westminster they should be reduced below 58. I understand that when there was a Northern Ireland Parliament the number of Irish Westminster MP's was reduced in relation to the population in Northern Ireland. If this were so it would certainly set a precedent for reduction of the Scottish MP's. I see no reason why this reduction should not take place now, for implementation for the next General Election.

4 March 1999

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