“Political duty must be placed before private feeling”. This was the theme that Bill used in his speech to the House of Commons debating the impact of planned boundary changes on Herefordshire before concluding that his constituents’ interests must come first.
During his speech Bill praised the Conservatives for championing a ‘fairer system’ of evenly sized seats, meaning that each vote would carry equal weight.
He went on to explain that his problem lay not with the theory behind the shake-up but ‘how it had been conducted in practice’, criticising the Boundary Commission for England for riding rough-shod over the history of North Herefordshire and failing to show Herefordshire the ‘respect’ it deserved.
Bill also condemned Labour for their rank opportunism and the Lib Dems for saving his seat after trying unsuccessfully at every election to take it away from him.
At several points he referred to his predecessor, Sir James Rankin MP, who had similarly stood up in Westminster and fought for the county’s interests nearly 130 years ago.
Bill finished by stating:
‘The economic and other damage left by the Labour party, and the need for equality in votes, shows the greatest good to my county and my country although it may cause me the most harm personally. Putting aside all temptations and fears, my conclusion is that the sacrifice made by the loss of my seat must be worth it for my constituents. They deserve promises to be kept, fairness and justice to be paramount, and for their vote to count as equally as any other. I therefore support the Government and disagree with their lordships.’
Later that day MPs voted by 334 to 292 not to proceed with the Sixth General Review until 2018 at the earliest.
The full text of Bill’s speech can be found here: