Davis Responds to PM regarding Constituency Boundaries

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Hon. Philip Brave Davis MP

STATEMENT BY PHILIP DAVIS MP
ON THE CONSTITUENCIES COMMISSION
17 November 2011

I wish to respond to the misinformation put in the public domain yesterday by the Prime Minister with regard to the constituency boundaries. The new lines are manifestly unfair to the voters of the country.

The question that must be asked with regard to the Constituencies Commission report is whether or not the report is drawn having regard to constitutional norms and secondly whether the result is fair to the voters of the country.

We do not believe that the two issues are unrelated.  The PLP’s position on this has to do not with what is fair to politicians but with what is fair to the voters of the country.  It means therefore that you cannot simply have a more or less equal distribution of electors in a seat and then say that this brings about a fair result.  That is clearly and patently wrong.

We accept that the constituencies have to be more or less equal but we say that one must have regard for the status quo, the existing electors and constituencies and the ability of voters to make a judgment on the individual or party who has served them in the preceding years.  When you eliminate that possibility, there is an unfair result.

Further, we continue to disagree with the majority party on the question of on how you determine parity of the electors in a constituency.  The majority has again determined the numbers based on the registered voters instead of the entire total potential pool of voters based on the census.  Again, what has come forward from the majority on the commission is an unfair result.

The matters which are now in the public domain are not in the possession of the PLP.  For the Prime Minister to suggest that it was the PLP who leaked information about the boundary changes to the press is reprehensible.  The information could only have come from the majority party.  He should remove the mote from his own eye.

There was no reason in law or in the interest of fairness for there to be any change in the number of constituencies up or down.

We believe that voters are disadvantaged by what has been done by the majority party. I did not therefore sign the report.