Marco Longhi – 2020 Speech on the Parliamentary Constituencies Bill

Below is the text of the speech made by Marco Longhi, the Conservative MP for Dudley North, in the House of Commons on 2 June 2020.

Although I listened carefully to the hon. Member for City of Chester (Christian Matheson), there does seem to be the common theme that both Labour Governments and Labour in opposition seek to put up smokescreens for more and more delay, whether in getting Brexit done or indeed updating our boundaries. They are determined to delay, and one does have to wonder why.

Our seats across this nation have changed a lot since the last boundary changes over 20 years ago, and it will take a Conservative Government once again to bring about fairness and equality for the people who have put their trust in us. We see such a disproportionate size-balance across constituencies, and our electors need fair representation; it is simply not fair that some seats have as few as a few tens of thousands of electors, yet others have well over 100,000, with both just having one Member representing each group.

Dudley has just shy of 62,000 electors and last saw a marginal change in 2010, following a bigger change in 1997. I appreciate that my seat, should I—as I hope, obviously—retain it at the next election, will need to increase in size by approximately 10,000.

It would also make sense for constituencies to align more closely with local government boundaries. For example, at present, I have a single lone ward that sits with an MP in Wolverhampton, while it sits in fact in Dudley. We should be keeping communities together, and that would of course help and make sense.

Finally, the covid-19 pandemic will have had an impact on our local communities well above and beyond the awful, tragic loss of life, but the proposed review presents an opportunity to take full consideration of every aspect that the virus could have had an impact on.