The House of Commons is currently debating the amendments made to the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill by the House of Lords. The Government is intending to oppose virtually all of the changes on which they were defeated in the Lords – in particular, the 40% threshhold on the AV referendum and the 7.5% tolerance around the electoral quota.
So what are they ready to concede?
The Deputy Prime Minister has tabled an amendment to the Lords change to the Bill (originally proposed by Lord Fowler) that set out the principle that it would be wrong for any Parliamentary constituency to link the Isle of Wight to the English mainland. Norman Fowler’s amendment proposed a single (over-size) constituency for the Isle of Wight.
And the Deputy Prime Minister’s concession?
There should be two (under-size) constituencies for the Isle of Wight.
Two safe Coalition seats rather than one*.
Did anyone ever doubt that this Bill was about gerrymandering?
*At the last General Election the combined Conservative and LibDem vote amounted to 78.3%.