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Andrew Turner has expressed his anger that the House of Commons has been preventedfrom discussing the effect that re-drawing constituency boundaries would have on the Isleof Wight. Because of parliamentary timetabling, his amendment that would protect parts ofthe Island from being merged with the mainland, were not discussed during the CommitteeStage of the Bill culminating on Monday. Mr Turner’s amendment prevents any part of theIsland from being merged with the mainland but does not specify whether the Island wouldhave one or two MPs – that decision would be left to the Boundary Commission, who wouldtake evidence from interested parties and the public, and would balance the needs of the Isleof Wight against those of the rest of the UK. Other areas, such as Cornwall, who also believethey should receive special treatment were similarly frustrated.
Mr Turner said :
“Because this Bill involves major constitutional change, detailed discussions takeplace in the main Chamber of the House of Commons and include all MPs, rather thanbeing dealt with by a Committee. This Bill is extremely contentious and the five fulldays set aside for discussion at this stage have been insufficient – and time when myamendment could have been debated has passed. I have asked for my amendment tobe discussed during the next stage of the Bill (Report Stage) next week; if that failsI shall be working with Peers in the House of Lords to ensure that proper account istaken of the Island’s needs.”
Mr Turner said he had already held discussions with members of the House of Lords whoopposed the fact that the Island had not been given special consideration in the plans. He alsocriticised the decision to push this Bill through Parliament saying :
“With the problems facing the nation at the moment, people are amazed that theGovernment is spending so much time discussing these issues. We had an electiononly six months ago and no political party promised the change to the voting systemincluded in this Bill. Time can be saved by careful scrutiny before things are put infront of Parliament and there has been no time for that. I understand that this is theprice the Liberal Democrats demanded to go into coalition with the Conservativesbut I fear that the outcome will be a shoddy piece of law that will not command thesupport of the public.”
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