Sir Hugh Cairns made a very able speech yesterday week,
taking the point that though the representation of minorities is not avowedly adopted in our Constitution, it is practically provided for by a great number and variety of constituencies. It is clear, said Sir Hugh Cairns, that if all the English members were elected by one and the same constituency, there would be no representa- tion of minorities at all ; and hence it follows that in proportion as you lessen the number of constituencies and accumulate a multipli- city of members on single constituencies, you diminish the provision for representing minorities. The Bill of the Government diminishes the number of constituencies by 17, and gives 25 seats to constituen- cies alreadyhaving 2 seats, —indeed 32 constituencies under the new Bill will elect three members. Thus the Bill materially diminishes the number and variety of the electing constituencies. This is an important objection, and might be remedied in great part by giv- ing only one vote to each elector in these " unicorn " constituen- cies, as Sir Hugh Cairns calls them, an expedient which would virtually divide each of these constituencies in two for the purposes of a general election.