HC Deb 15 December 1983 vol 50 cc1191-204


As amended (in the Standing Committee), further considered.

Amendment proposed [14 December]: No. 43, in page 51, line 14, leave out clauses 56 to 68. — [Mr. Fisher.]

Question again proposed, That the amendment be made.

5.4 pm

Mr. John McWilliam (Blaydon)

As a former treasurer of the city of Edinburgh, I have never been so tempted to intervene but I managed to avoid getting involved in the previous business.

When the guillotine fell last night we were dealing with a debate initiated by my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mr. Fisher) on the Government's reasons for privatisation. It may be convenient if I summarise briefly the reasons given. The Government argue that the creation of competition will be an inevitable consequence of breaking BT's monopoly, that privatisation will free BT of state control, provide free access to capital markets and commercial freedom for managers and spread share ownership. In the short time available for the debate, I intend to prove that the Government are wrong.

The first and fourth arguments — the creation of competition through the breaking of BT's monopoly and the provision of commercial freedom for managers—are not compatible. If managers exercise that commercial freedom BT's monopoly will not be broken. Freed of the main fetters of answerability to the state, this giant in communications technology will rapidly begin to gobble up all its competitors. I do not believe that the Office of Telecommunications set up by the Bill or the Secretary of State's powers under clause 3 would always provide protection against that.

As for freeing BT from state control, clause 3 was extensively debated yesterday. Anyone who doubts that the Secretary of State will still have considerable residual powers of control over BT cannot be aware of that debate. There is no intention to free BT from state control until 51 per cent. of the shares have been sold. As my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central reminded the House, the proceeds of the sale will probably be about £4 billion. That already includes a 12 per cent. discount on valuation when, given the prospects of BT and the information technology industry, the shares should be sold at a premium rather than a discount. Nevertheless, that has been the case in almost every instance of privatisation so far.

The Minister singularly failed to convince the Standing Committee that the Bill would spread share ownership, nor can he cite any instance in the Government's privatisation activities thus far to suggest that that is anything other than a spurious argument. One has only to look at the Amersham International experience. In February 1982, there were 65,000 successful applications for shares, but those shares now rest with only 8,601 holders. Further investigation shows that less than 9 per cent. of the holdings are in lots of under £12,000 and two thirds are in lots of more than £250,000. Anyone with any knowledge of social trends and the distribution of wealth in this country will quickly realise that very few people are in a position to hold shares in lots of more than £250,000. It is therefore neither reasonable nor credible to say that share ownership in BT will spread.

As for free access to capital markets, my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central rightly pointed out that for some time BT has not needed free access or indeed any access to capital markets. In the last financial year its external financing limit was a negative one, with £100 million coming from BT to the state rather than the other way round. Moreover, the projected figure for the next financial year is £350 million. In a sense, that is unfair. The Minister is asking existing telephone customers to pay for services to be provided for future customers. That is a crazy way to proceed. Given the Government's daft attitude to the public sector borrowing requirement, it is understandable from the Government's point of view, but from any sensible point of view it is plain daft.

The public sector borrowing requirement is a unique conception. For a start, in evidence to the Select Committee on Procedure (Finance) the Treasury officials said that the PSBR was the difference between two sums, both of which were estimates, and that the difference on any one calculation was liable to be accurate within plus or minus £1 billion. That is not very accurate. They spend their lives defending such issues. No other western economy operates a concept such as the public sector borrowing requirement. The reason why the Government operate such a concept is that it subsumes within it their own borrowing requirement.

Statements were made yesterday and today about the rate support grant order—a factor within the PSBR. We have a PSBR to enable the Government to hide their profligacy with regard to their steadily increasing borrowing requirement underneath the blanket of local government and the nationalised industries. That is why they continue with it, and it is an absolute nonsense. There can be no reason for a measure such as the Government's own borrowing requirement which refers to borrowing against needs such as social security, the cost of the Civil Service and so on. It is crazy to equate a figure which applies to public sector borrowings that are essentially commercial and paid for entirely by the relevant concerns — in the case of BT, more than entirely — to any Government activity in the public sector. I assume that that is not done for the best possible reasons.

Amendments 44, 45, 46 and 47, standing in the name of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, have suddenly appeared on the Amendment Paper. An article in today's Financial Times states: Move over BT pension fund deficit". I am fairly certain that my eloquence yesterday did not cause the sudden panic, but other activities within the market were responsible. The article states: The Government took an important step yesterday to clean up"— note the phrase "clean up"— British Telecom's balance sheet before it is privatized … by agreeing to remove £1.25 billion pension fund deficit from the organisation's balance sheet. The article continues: liability for the deficit will not be transferred to BT when the organisation is turned into a public limited company next year, but will remain with the shell of the BT nationalised industry structure. I do not know the meaning of the last phrase because under the terms of the Bill such a structure will not exist.

The article continues: BT plc will issue to the Government debentures, the value of them to be decided later,"— that is interesting— on which it will make payments. If its contributions are insufficient to discharge the liability, the shortfall will be made up by the Government. The formula is intended to reassure prospective investors who might be deterred from buying shares in BT if the large pension fund deficit were to remain on its books. BT welcomed the decision. Of course it welcomed the decision.

Several questions arise from that article, not least, why was it leaked to the press? Why did not the Minister tell the House what he would do? Why did he not table the amendments and inform the House of the programme? I admit that he said that he would do something, but that seems a little less than kind.

Mr. John Golding (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

The only charge that can be laid against the Minister is that he did not speak to the amendment when replying to questions from my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mr. Fisher) yesterday. We could have asked about the specific amendment but we did not. We asked general questions. In those circumstances, the Minister cannot be charged with not tabling the amendment.

Mr. McWilliam

I am grateful to my hon. Friend and I accept his admonition. I charge the Minister not with failing to table the amendment, but with not making a statement during yesterday's debate, which would have been the appropriate time. Perhaps it occurred to the Minister that if one includes the pension fund deficit with the other liabilities of BT, which are geared at 57 per cent., investors might not consider the proposition to be attractive.

Will the Under-Secretary of State explain the loss, as it is something about which I am not clear? I am fairly certain that my hon. Friends are not clear about it and I am absolutely certain that the Under-Secretary's right hon. and hon. Friends are completely mystified by it. Will the Under-Secretary, for the convenience of the House, explain the state of affairs and say what will happen?

5.15 pm
The Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. John Butcher)

I appreciate fully the reasons for the concluding remarks of the hon. Member for Blaydon (Mr. McWilliam). I thank him for his invitation to enable me to clarify the matter, especially bearing in mind that the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mr. Fisher) raised several searching points. The motivation of the hon. Member for Blaydon was to seek reassurance so that the pensioners of BT are absolutely clear about the commitments that the Bill and the Government make towards them. The pension fund obligation, which passed from the telecommunications part of the Post Office to British Telecom when the Post Office was split in 1981, would, under the Bill as currently drafted, pass to the successor company on the transfer date.

The presence of this obligation in British Telecom's balance sheet gives rise to strong emotions. I sympathise with the feeling of BT management, its work force and with hon. Members who would regard the obligation as an anomalous and inappropiate part of the endowment to the successor company as it starts its private sector life. The deed of covenant obligation might also put the successor company in an unnecessarily unfavourable light with investors. In the exceptional circumstances of this particular, the Government have therefore decided that the deed of covenant obligation should not pass to the successor company. Instead, it will remain vested in the residual shell of the public corporation, British Telecom, which under clause 65(1) is to remain in existence for a period after the transfer date to carry out functions assigned to it by schedule 5. For ease of reference, henceforth, when I refer to British Telecom my remarks will relate to the residual company and not to the successor company.

The amendments necessary to ensure that the deed of covenant remains with the statutory corporation and that the obligations under it are properly discharged are somewhat complex and include a substantial number of purely technical consequential amendments to the Bill's provisions on other matters such as accounts. The House may find it helpful if I summarise the main points.

Amendments 45 and 46 to clause 56 achieve the essential first step of excepting the obligations under the deed of covenant from the vesting of British Telecom's liabilities in the successor company. Amendments 103 and 104 apply this exception to paragraphs 36 and 37 of schedule 5, which are concerned with particular aspects of the vesting operation.

The new paragraph 38A to schedule 5 provides for the fulfilment of the deed of covenant obligations by the residual statutory corporation British Telecom. Paragraph 38A(1) places British Telecom under an obligation to discharge the liabilities concerned as they fall to be discharged.

Paragraph 38A(2) provides that the liabilities are to be discharged out of the moneys that British Telecom—the residual statutory corporation — receives from the holding or disposing of debentures of the successor company assigned to it for the purpose by the Secretary of State.

Paragraph 38A(5) provides for the Secretary of State to stand behind the fulfilment of the deed of covenant obligations to the pension funds. I shall clarify that further in a few moments.

Certain other arrangements supplement this basic framework. Under paragraph 38A(3), the Government's consent would be required before BT sold any of the loan stock — the debentures — assigned to it, and under paragraph 38A(4) the Government would control the investment of any surplus moneys from the loan stocks held from time to time by BT.

In practice, such funds would be likely to be deposited in a Government account, and would be repaid to the Government to the extent that they were not needed to fulfil BT's obligations to the pension funds.

Paragraph 38A(6) provides for the operation of the arrangements to be reported annually to the Government and to Parliament. It would not be sensible to subject the receipts of the residual company—which are essentially concerned to fund the payment of pensions — to taxation, and the necessary taxation exemption to this effect is contained in paragraph 38A(7). Paragraph 38A(9) maintains the present tax exemption status of payments from BT to the pension funds.

Mr. Mark Fisher (Stoke-on-Trent, Central)

What exactly are the obligations about which we are talking? Is it only the pre-1969 deficit or the pre and post-1969 deficits? What sums are involved? There seems to be a difference between the figures in the Financial Times and the figures that I used yesterday.

Mr. Butcher

The latest figure available to me is about £1.25 billion, but I understand that the trend of the deficit is falling. We are talking about the deficit in toto.

Mr. Rob Hayward (Kingswood)

Will a copy of this statement be placed in the Library for our consideration before this debate is completed, as important implications are involved?

Mr. Butcher

Yes, of course. If it is helpful to the House, we shall be happy to place a copy in the Library.

We must raise no doubts about the fulfilment of the payments due to the BT and Post Office pension funds, in full and on time. For that reason we have provided in paragraph 38A(5) that if at any time the sums of money available to the residual company were to fall short of those needed to fulfil the obligations under the deed of covenant the deficiency would be made good by the Secretary of State out of money provided by Parliament.

Obviously we do not expect this guarantee to be called, but it is there as a necessary reassurance to telecommunications and postal employees and to pensioners whose pensions depend on the pension funds concerned.

We are looking at the wording of clause 65(2), which states: The Secretary of State may, by order made by statutory instrument after consulting British Telecommunications and the successor company, dissolve British Telecommunications on a day specified in the order, as soon as he is satisfied that nothing further remains to be done by British Telecommunications under Schedule 5 to this Act. Amendment No. 107 to schedule 5 states: During the transitional period it shall be the duty of British Telecommunications to discharge the excepted liabilities". I also refer hon. Members to amendment No. 46, which defines BT's excepted liabilities—that is, the residual company — in terms of the obligation to the pension fund deficiency. That makes the position absolutely clear.

Mr. Fisher

I am grateful to the Minister for giving way again. What about the status of the debenture stock? As a loan stock, what is its relationship to BT's new capital formation?

Mr. Butcher

I cannot at present give the hon. Gentleman the exact figures, but I shall be pleased to get back to him, either by writing or in conversation after the debate.

It may be helpful if I now deal with some of the questions that have been raised on many occasions. I am mindful of the fact that other hon. Members wish to speak on this tranche of clauses under which the privatisation will take place. We have had a long and interesting debate on such things as employee shareholding, foreign control and national security. We have also discussed a number of issues concerned with wider share ownership.

We are determined that this sale should go ahead and that it should involve the widest possible share ownership. We shall bring forward measures to provide incentives to BT employees, whom we hope will take full advantage of them and will take part in share ownership.

We also wish to see as many subscribers as possible buying shares in the company whose services they value. It may be that the Bill will mark a watershed in this trend and will ensure that large sections of the public take part in the share ownership of a national and public service of this kind.

It is against that background that I regret that during opposition to the Bill Labour Members have perhaps been motivated by the need to make the share issue as complicated or as cumbersome as possible. They may wish to make the new corporation as unattractive as possible in terms of the sort of obligations they may wish to impose on it.

I accept the concern of hon. Members about pensions, but I hope that when the great day comes, and when Labour Members recognise the inevitable, they will positively encourage employees whom they represent to take a real part in the ownership of a company to which they have dedicated their working lives. There is surely no better form of participation in a company than to take a part of its ownership.

The Government's financial advisers, the six brokers and the London Business School have all stated with confidence that the sale can be made. We shall need to consider the methodology. For example, payment by instalment is an acceptable City practice. This is now under active consideration. As I have said, we are determined to bring forward attractive incentives for employees and subscribers.

I again make it clear that the Government will give every BT subscriber—some 18 million ordinary people —an opportunity to purchase shares in BT. It is right that customers who, through the tariff, have paid to build up BT should have the right to buy back a direct share in their own company.

My hon. Friend the Minister of State is incapacitated temporarily but, we hope, not for long. He has a touch of the "Islwyns" or what used to be called the "Bedwelltys". He has temporarily lost his voice, no doubt through great works in the public service. He has spearheaded a personal campaign to ensure that wider share ownership lives and breathes through the Bill. The Bill will be his testimony to an important trend that the Government are anxious to pursue and enhance.

I commend these many clauses, which deal with the heart of privatisation and flotation, to the House. I trust that they will be supported.

5.30 pm
Mr. Stuart Randall (Kingston upon Hull. West)

I should like to refer to the whole of this part of the Bill on privatisation and the introduction of private shareholding in BT. Conservative Members are aware that we are very much against this because we believe it will be disadvantageous to the people, to BT and to the telecommunications industry and all that it stands for. No matter how much it is knocked or what is said about it, BT has had a remarkable achievement. Investment in the industry has been notable. Its assets amount to about £16 billion.

It is these assets which will be sold by the Government. In terms of its financial performance, BT is not a burden on the taxpayer. It has been running at a profit over the last eight years, a period during which there has been much change. There have been technological changes as we have shifted from Strowger to crossbar and now to the complex electronic exchange equipment. There has been a difficult period because of the changes in cable technology, but BT is making good progress. In regard to the organisation of the corporation, this legislation is a real kick in the teeth from the Government for the people who have done so much to build up the industry.

As a publicly owned corporation, BT is accountable. The public has certain statutory rights through consumer watchdogs which have helped the consumer in many ways. In addition, BT is obliged to submit to Government Departments its annual operating plans so that its performance and what it is aiming to do are known and monitored. That is for the good of telecommunications.

BT also has social and community obligations. This is where hon. Members divide strongly. My hon. Friends and I believe this is important in ensuring that there is equity in communications and that there should not be a privileged few who get certain services. BT is carrying out a massive investment programme in switching and cabling equipment. British suppliers are getting about 95 per cent. of this business. It is these industries that the Government are so intent on destroying as they rush ahead with the programme of privatisation and the sale of assets.

Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North)

It beggars all understanding that the hon. Gentleman can stand there and say that the Government are intent on destroying certain parts of British industry, particularly when he well knows that those parts of British industry are supporting the Government in their endeavour to liberalise and free the telecommunications industry. What motive could the Government possibly have for wanting to destroy a large, important, successful, growing part of British industry? Gracious me, what is wrong with the hon. Gentleman?

Mr. Robert Hughes (Aberdeen, North)

They have been destroying British industry since 1979.

Mr. Randall

The hon. Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) clearly does not understand the implications of Government policy and of the White Paper for British manufacturing industry. He should go to a telephone and ask Lord Weinstock what he thinks of the Bill; no doubt he would condemn it just as I have done.

A privatised BT will not be obliged to support British industry. There is no question about that. Sir George Jefferson has made it clear that he will be out to maximise his profit. He will buy switching equipment on the world market. Many hon. Members understand the telecommunications market throughout the world. We must remember that manufacturers in many countries are subsidised to an incredible extent. Equipment will be coming into this country below cost price. Under the Bill BT will be able to buy this equipment and it is for this reason that I believe British manufacturing industry will be annihilated.

Mr. Marlow


Mr. Randall

If I may finish the point, the loss of job prospects will have a detrimental effect upon the British telecommunications industry. I mean it in the kindest possible way when I say that the Minister has effectively brought home to the British people the consequences of information technology. To destroy the industry which would implement many of the ideas which he has effectivly put over to the country would mean the destruction of those ideas for the development of information technology.

Mr. Marlow

The hon. Gentleman is entitled to his misjudgment as to what is likely to happen. What the hon. Gentleman started by setting out was that it was the Government's intention to destroy sections of British industry. How on earth could any Government have the intention to destroy sections of British industry? Can the hon. Gentleman explain that?

Mr. Robert Hughes

They have been doing it since 1979.

Mr. Randall

As we have said in Standing Committee, the whole theme of the Bill is privatisation and the maximisation of profit. Those are the goals of the Government. They want to create an environment in which profits can be made. Manufacturing industry therefore has second priority. The effect on jobs is a second priority and of no interest to the Government. That is why we are so unhappy about the Bill.

Investment in manufacturing industry is taking place at the rate of £2,000 million per annum, so the effect on jobs will be considerable. BT is an efficient and good company, however people may knock it. Over the last 10 years it has made remarkable productivity gains. In [971 the total number of telephones was 9,214,000 and the work force was 232,377. By 1983 the number of telephones had gone up to 19,429,000—a remarkable advance although there is much further to go--with a work force of only 245,976. That is a remarkable track record. Of course, the increase in the work force, as we are talking about productivity, is trivial.

The BT work force has shown that it is willing to adapt to change. There have been no disruptions in the industry in an environment where there is changing technology. It is important that good telecommunications services should be provided for everyone. There should be no discrimination.

In regard to residential use, all citizens should have a high standard of telecommunications services. Let us not be equivocal about this. High standards of communications are of the utmost importance to the people and to the economy. These high standards of communications facilities should be available to people irrespective of what part of the country they live in, whether it be a rural part of Scotland or the south-east of England. We believe that there should be no discrimination between the residential user and the business user, but the Government's policy is unquestionably biased against the residential user in favour of the business user. We believe that nowadays the telephone is a necessity of life and that everyone should have a telephone irrespective of social status.

Mr. Marlow


Mr. Randall

The hon. Gentleman is always intervening. I shall carry on.

Mr. Marlow


Mr. Randall

I have given way enough times. I shall finish my argument.

Our philosophy is to provide a national high quality telecommunications service for all people. Such a service will end once BT is privatised. That is what the people of this country will face. Private shareholders will inevitably tell BT to concentrate on profitable routes. They will insist that profits and dividends are maximised. Although there have been some noises from the Conservative Benches about cross-subsidies, they will be strongly discouraged, with the result that emergency services and people in rural areas will suffer. The residential user will lose as a consequence of privatisation.

The main adverse effect of privatisation will fall on residential customers. Conservative Members may shake their heads in disbelief, but that trend has already started. In November 1981 average bills for residential users were increased by twice as much as those for business users as a result of tariff increases. The July 1983 increases that have just been implemented show that that trend is continuing. The latest figures show a 3.2 per cent. increase for residential customers and only a 2.7 per cent. increase for business customers. That is the Government's philosophy. The Government are prejudiced against residential users, pensioners and poorer people. The Government are rebalancing the tariff structure against the people of this country.

As a nationalised industry BT has important responsibilities to the community, especially to people with difficulties, the chronically sick and disabled. They will be lashed ruthlessly by a Government who have so little compassion. As a privatised company, BT will face the pressure of market forces. It will not have the time and money and, most importantly, it will not have the incentive to do anything for the people to whom I have referred.

We believe it important to have a good telecommunications service for all rather than one that will be completely biased towards maximising profit and ripping off the people of this country.

If the Government have less than a 50 per cent. holding in BT, they and therefore Parliament will lose the ability to influence the operation of the company. That is a significant threat to the public accountability of the company. I find it surprising that the Government have set profit levels and are forcing prices up to increase profit levels to finance their abortive economic strategy. We oppose the losing of public accountability and that is why we oppose the clauses.

Mr. Timothy Wood (Stevenage)

I must admit that last evening, when I heard who I regard as the odd job man of the Labour Benches, the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mr. Fisher), making one of his familiar three quarters of an hour contributions, I thought the prospect of catching your eye in that debate, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to be rather remote. I thank you for giving me that opportunity.

5.45 pm

The contrast between the approaches from the Government Benches and those from the Opposition were contained in the phrase "answerability to the state" used by the hon. Member for Blaydon (Mr. McWilliam). I believe, and I think most Conservative Members likewise believe, that management by Government and by Ministers is not the best way to run a large enterprise. When that is the position, all too often one is subjected to political interference at the expense of sound commercial judgment. It could be political interference of a delaying nature, hesitation while the various political lobbies put their case. In a fast moving world of information technology and telecommunications, such delays should not be accepted.

Mr. Butcher

One of the lobby groups about which we have been concerned in this debate has been the pensions lobby. I should like to make it absolutely clear for the record that, when responding to a question about the total deficiency, I was referring to the total deficiency of £1.25 billion, which is the pre-1969 deficiency. I should like also to make it clear that any subsequent deficiency since 1969 must be met by BT or the Post Office in the usual way from current expenditure as the trust deed obliges them to do.

Mr. Golding

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Would it not be better to adjourn the debate for the Under-Secretary of State to re-read his brief in case tomorrow another explanation is due and it is then too late?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Paul Dean)

Order. The hon. Gentleman knows that that is a point of argument, not a point of order.

Mr. Wood

That was yet another remark from the old suitcase that the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding) keeps for old speeches and for these occasions.

Mr. Golding

I will send it to the other place.

Mr. Wood

I can only commiserate with the other place.

It is essential that we provide commercial freedom in information technology and telecommunications and the opportunity for commercial fund raising and commercial investment decision making. We have suffered too long from having political decision making and political constraints on when and where investment should be made. I believe that the denationalisation programme will provide the opportunity. Furthermore, I believe that it is nonsense to say that, because we have the nice sounding concept of "public service", that in itself means that customers get a good service. All too often that is not the case. There are not opportunities for choice. For too long we continued with the black telephones. We did not provide a choice for customers, whether domestic subscribers or commercial organisations. Already the liberalisation methods that have been undertaken have improved the position. There is no doubt in my mind that denationalisation and the freedom of competition will act very much to the benefit of the consumer.

Mr David Penhaligon (Truro)

Has the fundamental problem of British Telecom over the years been that it is run by the state or that it is a monopoly?

Mr. Wood

It is a combination of the two. One follows from the other. If it is run by the state, it is a monopoly. I do not wish to see a monopoly, whether a state or privately run monopoly. We will initially have a duopoly for the major trunk networks. Within 20 years we shall see a vast change in the way in which telecommunication services are provided, with cellular radio links and other local networks. There will be major changes in provisions, not only for the domestic subscriber, but for advanced and necessary data networks.

It will not do to say, as Opposition Members have said, that what has been satisfactory for the past 20, 30, 40 or 50 years will be satisfactory in future. The position is changing too fast for that. I wish new companies to have the opportunity to get into the business. They will be successful because there is a rapidly growing market, and they will create good prospects for a better service for commercial and domestic users.

Furthermore, I believe that the Government have provided protection in the Bill for the various minority groups, about which the Opposition have sung so long. I agree with their song, but their arguments are answered by the Bill's provisions. Some of their arguments were answered by clause 3, which Opposition Members sought to delete yesterday. I hope, therefore, that these clauses will not be deleted and that the Bill will be passed.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 184, Noes 312.

Division No. 107] [5.51 pm
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Evans, loan (Cynon Valley)
Alton, David Evans, John (St. Helens N)
Ashdown, Paddy Fatchett, Derek
Ashton, Joe Faulds, Andrew
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham) Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)
Barnett, Guy Fisher, Mark
Barron, Kevin Flannery, Martin
Beggs, Roy Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Beith, A. J. Forsythe, Clifford (S Antrim)
Bell, Stuart Foster, Derek
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh) Foulkes, George
Bidwell, Sydney Fraser, J. (Norwood)
Blair, Anthony Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald
Boyes, Roland Freud, Clement
Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E) George, Bruce
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Brown, R. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne N) Godman, Dr Norman
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Golding, John
Bruce, Malcolm Gould, Bryan
Caborn, Richard Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) Hardy, Peter
Campbell, Ian Harman, Ms Harriet
Campbell-Savours, Dale Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Canavan, Dennis Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith
Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y) Haynes, Frank
Carter-Jones, Lewis Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Heffer, Eric S.
Clarke, Thomas Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Clay, Robert Home Robertson, John
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.) Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)
Cohen, Harry Hoyle, Douglas
Coleman, Donald Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Conlan, Bernard Hughes, Roy (Newport East)
Cook, Frank (Stockton North) Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Corbett, Robin Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Cowans, Harry Janner, Hon Greville
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) John, Brynmor
Craigen, J. M. Johnston, Russell
Crowther, Stan Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Kennedy, Charles
Cunningham, Dr John Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli) Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly) Kirkwood, Archibald
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l) Lambie, David
Deakins, Eric Lamond, James
Dewar, Donald Leighton, Ronald
Dixon, Donald Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Dobson, Frank Lewis, Terence (Worsley)
Dormand, Jack Litherland, Robert
Douglas, Dick Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Dubs, Alfred Loyden, Edward
Duffy, A. E. P. McCartney, Hugh
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. McCusker, Harold
Eastham, Ken McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Edwards, R. (W'hampt'n SE) McKay, Allen (Penistone)
McKelvey, William Rogers, Allan
Mackenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Rooker, J. W.
McNamara, Kevin Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)
McTaggart, Robert Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Madden, Max Rowlands, Ted
Maginnis, Ken Sedgemore, Brian
Marek, Dr John Sheerman, Barry
Martin, Michael Sheldon, Rt Hon R.
Mason, Rt Hon Roy Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Maxton, John Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Maynard, Miss Joan Skinner, Dennis
Meacher, Michael Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)
Meadowcroft, Michael Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'kl'ds E)
Michie, William Soley, Clive
Mikardo, Ian Spearing, Nigel
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Steel, Rt Hon David
Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby) Stott, Roger
Molyneaux, Rt Hon James Straw, Jack
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe) Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)
Nellist, David Tinn, James
Nicholson, J. Torney, Tom
O'Neill, Martin Wallace, James
Park, George Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Pendry, Tom Weetch, Ken
Penhaligon, David Welsh, Michael
Pike, Peter White, James
Powell, Raymond (Ogmore) Wigley, Dafydd
Radice, Giles Williams, Rt Hon A.
Randall, Stuart Winnick, David
Redmond, M. Woodall, Alec
Richardson, Ms Jo Young, David (Bolton SE)
Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N) Tellers for the Ayes:
Robertson, George Mr. James Hamilton and
Robinson, G. (Coventry NW) Mr. John McWilliam.
Aitken, Jonathan Butcher, John
Alexander, Richard Butterfill, John
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Carlisle, John (N Luton)
Ancram, Michael Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Arnold, Tom Carttiss, Michael
Ashby, David Chapman, Sydney
Aspinwall, Jack Chope, Christopher
Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H. Churchill, W. S.
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble) Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n)
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E) Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)
Baker, Kenneth (Mole Valley) Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Clarke Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Baldry, Anthony Clegg, Sir Walter
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Cockeram, Eric
Batiste, Spencer Colvin, Michael
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Conway, Derek
Bellingham, Henry Coombs, Simon
Bendall, Vivian Cope, John
Benyon, William Cormack, Patrick
Berry, Sir Anthony Corrie, John
Best, Keith Couchman, James
Biffen, Rt Hon John Crouch, David
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Currie, Mrs Edwina
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Dorrell, Stephen
Bottomley, Peter Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.
Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n) Dover, Denshore
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) du Cann, Rt Hon Edward
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Dunn, Robert
Braine, Sir Bernard Durant, Tony
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Dykes, Hugh
Bright, Graham Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)
Brinton, Tim Emery, Sir Peter
Brittan, Rt Hon Leon Evennett, David
Brooke, Hon Peter Eyre, Reginald
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) Fallon, Michael
Browne, John Farr, John
Bryan, Sir Paul Favell, Anthony
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Fenner, Mrs Peggy
Buck, Sir Antony Fookes, Miss Janet
Bulmer, Esmond Forman, Nigel
Burt, Alistair Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Lloyd, Ian (Havant)
Fox, Marcus Lord, Michael
Fraser, Rt Hon Sir Hugh Lyell, Nicholas
Fraser, Peter (Angus East) McCrindle, Robert
Freeman, Roger McCurley, Mrs Anna
Fry, Peter MacGregor, John
Gale, Roger MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)
Galley, Roy MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)
Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde) Maclean, David John.
Garel-Jones, Tristan Macmillan, Rt Hon M.
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)
Glyn, Dr Alan McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)
Goodhart, Sir Philip McQuarrie, Albert
Goodlad, Alastair Madel, David
Gorst, John Major, John
Gow, Ian Malins, Humfrey
Gower, Sir Raymond Malone, Gerald
Greenway, Harry Maples, John
Gregory, Conal Marland, Paul
Griffiths, E. (B'y St Edm'ds) Marlow, Antony
Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N) Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Grist, Ian Mates, Michael
Ground, Patrick Mather, Carol
Grylls, Michael Maude, Francis
Gummer, John Selwyn Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom) Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Mayhew, Sir Patrick
Hampson, Dr Keith Mellor, David
Hanley, Jeremy Merchant, Piers
Hannam, John Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Hargreaves, Kenneth Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)
Harvey, Robert Miscampbell, Norman
Haselhurst, Alan Mitchell, David (NW Hants)
Hawkins, C. (High Peak) Moate, Roger
Hawkins, Sir Paul (SW N'folk) Monro, Sir Hector
Hawksley, Warren Moore, John
Hayhoe, Barney Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)
Hayward, Robert Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)
Heathcoat-Amory, David Neale, Gerrard
Heddle, John Nelson, Anthony
Henderson, Barry Neubert, Michael
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Newton, Tony
Hickmet, Richard Nicholls, Patrick
Hicks, Robert Norris, Steven
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Onslow, Cranley
Hind, Kenneth Oppenheim, Philip
Hirst, Michael Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S.
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Osborn, Sir John
Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling) Page, John (Harrow W)
Hooson, Tom Page, Richard (Herts SW)
Hordern, Peter Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil
Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A) Parris, Matthew
Howarth, Gerald (Cannock) Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford) Patten, John (Oxford)
Hubbard-Miles, Peter Pattie, Geoffrey
Hunter, Andrew Pawsey, James
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Irving, Charles Percival, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Jessel, Toby Pollock, Alexander
Johnson-Smith, Sir Geoffrey Porter, Barry
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Powell, William (Corby)
Jones, Robert (W Herts) Powley, John
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Price, Sir David
King, Roger (B'ham N'field) Prior, Rt Hon James
Knight, Mrs Jill (Edgbaston) Proctor, K. Harvey
Knowles, Michael Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Knox, David Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Lang, Ian Rathbone, Tim
Latham, Michael Rees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover)
Lawler, Geoffrey Renton, Tim
Lawrence, Ivan Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Lee, John (Pendle) Rifkind, Malcolm
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Roe, Mrs Marion
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Rossi, Sir Hugh
Lester, Jim Rost, Peter
Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd) Rowe, Andrew
Lightbown, David Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Lilley, Peter Ryder, Richard
Sainsbury, Hon Timothy Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)
Scott, Nicholas Thornton, Malcolm
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey) Thurnham, Peter
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb') Townend, John (Bridlington)
Shelton, William (Streatham) Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Trippier, David
Shersby, Michael Twinn, Dr Ian
Silvester, Fred van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Sims, Roger Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Skeet, T. H. H. Viggers, Peter
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick) Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Walker, Bill (T'side N)
Soames, Hon Nicholas Walker, Rt Hon P. (W'cester)
Speed, Keith Wall, Sir Patrick
Speller, Tony Waller, Gary
Spence, John Walters, Dennis
Spencer, D. Ward, John
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Squire, Robin Warren, Kenneth
Stanbrook, Ivor Watson, John
Steen, Anthony Watts, John
Stern, Michael Wells, Bowen (Hertford)
Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Stevens, Martin (Fulham) Wheeler, John
Stewart, Allan (Eastwood) Whitney, Raymond
Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood) Wilkinson, John
Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire) Winterton, Nicholas
Stokes, John Wolfson, Mark
Sumberg, David Wood, Timothy
Tapsell, Peter Woodcock, Michael
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E) Yeo, Tim
Temple-Morris, Peter Young, Sir George (Acton)
Terlezki, Stefan Younger, Rt Hon George
Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs M.
Thomas, Rt Hon Peter Tellers for the Noes:
Thompson, Donald (Calder V) Mr. Robert Boscawen and
Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N) Mr. David Hunt.

Question accordingly negatived.

It being after Six o'clock, Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to Order [21 November] and Resolution yesterday, to put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that hour.

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