The following is an extract from the speeches of the hon. Member for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart) and the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, the hon. Member for Forest of Dean (Mr Harper) in debate on Second Reading of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill:
Fiona Mactaggart (Slough) (Lab):
Let me say that the ward does not send Labour councillors to the borough; it elects Liberals, so no particular borough advantage was involved. However, the change respected the views of people about their communities. The real problem with the latter part of the Bill is that it does not do that. It specifically says that unitary authority boundaries-and all the authorities in Berkshire are unitary authorities-shall not be counted as local authority boundaries, so they
are absolutely irrelevant. It also says that inconvenience to voters that comes out of the first boundary review shall be discounted by the Boundary Commission.
Mr Harper: I can assure the hon. Member for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart) that the reference in the Bill to "counties", which she discussed, does include unitary authorities. So the Boundary Commission for England will be able to take into account the boundaries of all the unitary authorities in Berkshire as it draws up new constituency boundaries, subject to the issues relating to parity.