Dear Lord Falconer,
You have me confused with your claim that the Parliamentary Constituencies and Voting Systems Bill is a hybrid bill (and so should go through a different and slower Parliamentary procedure).
Now, I know that you have many more years of legal training and experience than me, so I wouldn’t be confused if there was just the one reason for you appearing to be wrong. But there are three, you see.
First, as you know when a Bill is introduced the Department of the Clerk of the House has to rule on whether or not it is a hybrid bill. We’ve already had that ruling for the second reading in the Commons.
Second, Parliament’s own definition of a hybrid bill really doesn’t seem to match what you’ve been saying in the media.
But third, let’s just suppose you are right. Let’s suppose that the special references to some constituencies make it a hybrid bill. Well, then there’s the question about why none of the previous Bills which have gone through Parliament that also changed boundary rules and made specific references to individual constituencies were counted as hybrid?
Take, as one example, Section 86 of the Scotland Act 1998 (introduced and sheperded through Parliament by a Labour government). This added Rule 3A to the Parliamentary boundary rules, specifically preserving Orkney and Shetland as a separate Parliamentary constituency.
So what makes this current Bill a hybrid Bill when those previous Bills, including ones taken through Parliament by the last government, were not?
As I said, I’m confused.