Questions to Government Ministers, like buses, seem to come in twos or threes.
Each day, Ministers from a different department answer questions. Any backbench MP can submit a question and then the Table Office does a draw to determine which order they are asked in. In practice, only the first few will get asked. I've gone several weeks without being shortlisted but this week I was first out of the bag both for the Prime Minister tomorrow and the Deputy Prime Minister today.
My question today was about the Government's plans to ensure that Parliamentary constituencies are more equally-sized in future. The Office for National Statistics published some new figures last Wednesday which show just how unfair the current boundaries are. Croydon - which currently has 3 MPs (myself, Richard Ottaway and Malcolm Wicks) - had 243,641 electors as of 1st December 2010; the borough of Wirral on Merseyside - which currently has 4 MPs - had just 239,479. So roughly speaking that's 1 MP for every 60,000 people in the Wirral but 1 MP for every 80,000 people in Croydon.
And this unfairness is replicated around the country in a way which favours the Labour Party. A report by the highly respected and thoroughly independent British Academy calculated that it was worth an additional 18 MPs to them last May.
Thankfully, the Government has passed an Act to require reviews every 5 years, which will put more weight on numerical equality. The Boundary Commissions will be publishing their draft proposals later this year and the new boundaries should be in place in time for the next Election.