Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill

Charles Walker opposes the Bill which increases the powers of the Executive at the expense of Parliament as the number of MPs will be reduced to 600 but the number of Government Ministers remains unchanged.

Mr Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con): I shall be brief, Mr Deputy Speaker.

I could have just about brought myself to vote for the Bill, but for the fact that once again it plays into the hands of the Executive. Once again, we see the Executive seizing more powers at the expense of Parliament. The House will be reduced to 600 Members of Parliament, while the Executive will remain as large as it is now.

I really did think that we had learned our lesson in the last Parliament. I really thought that, after 100 years of giving powers away, we might do things differently in this Parliament. I now wonder what on earth is the point of being a Member of Parliament in this place. Only three hours ago, we were informed that prisoners would be given the vote. We would not have a say in it; it would be done over our heads.

Tonight, my constituents have every right to ask, "What is the point of Charles Walker? What is the point of having elected representatives?" This is an appalling state of affairs. Once again, we are increasing the powers of the Executive at the cost of Parliament, and we deserve absolutely no sympathy. Whatever befalls us over the next four years as Back Benchers, we will have brought it on ourselves. However, I say to new parliamentary colleagues in particular that it is very difficult to vote against this Bill, because their political virility will be measured by whether or not they become a Minister, and if they do not become a Minister they do not get the extra money, the car or the red box, and when they leave this place as a humble Back Bencher there will not be people queuing up to offer them jobs as companies want only politicians who have had the red box to serve on their boards. I therefore say to any Back Bencher who votes against this Bill tonight, "You are extremely brave, and if you do vote against the Bill you, like me, won't have a career going forward, but you will have my undying admiration."