HC Deb 20 February 1985 vol 73 cc1081-100
Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody (Crewe and Nantwich)

I beg to move amendment No. 2, in page 1, line 11, at end insert 'after deducting therefrom any money paid pursuant to the said section 49 and in anticipation of a direction under the section being money paid prior to the passing of this Act'. Normally when we move amendments we have had sufficient time to study the implications of the speech by the Secretary of State on Second Reading and also to ensure, with the assistance of the Clerks, that our amendments are within the rules of order. One of the problems about the debate on this shoddy little Bill has been the propensity of the Secretary of State to throw around various sets of figures, as though he were Will Hay in one of his madder sketches. This has caused considerable difficulty. We are still not clear exactly what the GLC will be required to provide and whether the Secretary of State is prepared even to accept the arrangements that have already been entered into.

It is important to remember that we are talking about large sums of money and about an authority which has to raise that money properly. The GLC will be asked to pay London Regional Transport £258,179,588 for the remaining part of 1984–85, which is called the initial year after the transfer of control of London Transport to the Secretary of State, between 29 June 1984 and 31 March 1985.

We must make certain that, as the GLC has already paid £177 million, the Bill will not add to that sum but will give the GLC credit for the amount that has already been paid. There is doubt about it, because the Secretary of State said on Second Reading: Subsection (2) provides for the phasing of payments by the GLC. Its intention is to avoid requiring the GLC to pay money to LRT in advance of when it would have had to do so under the section 49 direction. It allows for two possibilities. If Royal Assent is received before 25 March, the first instalment of grant is payable on the day following Royal Assent. That instalment is the amount which would have been due under the section 49 direction by 25 February, less the two sums of £10.2 million and £12.9 million now conceded to the GLC. A second instalment will then fall due on 29 March and under the section 49 direction this was divided into two payments, due on 25 and 29 March." —[0fficial Report, 19 February 1985; Vol. 73, c. 874.] That may be factually correct, but the basis is wrong. The figures that should have been used are the current cash flow needs of LRT, not what was estimated last June. Had we been given more time to consider the Bill, we would have tabled amendments relating to this point. The narrowness of the amendment has been dictated by the narrowness of the Bill and the speed with which it has been dealt. It is a fundamental consideration. We should ensure that credit is given for the £177 million that has been paid by the GLC since the appointed day for the operation of the London Regional Transport Act 1984.

It has been noticeable throughout the entire battle—a word which I use deliberately because it has been a battle; the Secretary of State has tried to ride roughshod over the interests not only of London's ratepayers but of Members of Parliament — that the GLC has behaved properly. It explained to the Secretary of State in the first instance that it did not believe that the sums of money that he was demanding were accurate. However, because of LRT's operating needs the GLC continued to pay the money, explaining that it was doing so without prejudice. The GLC also made it clear that it would appeal against the actions of the Secretary of State.

Since that is the case, the Secretary of State has a responsibility to write into the Bill a much clearer undertaking that he has taken account of the £177 million that has already been paid over. If the GLC had been seeking to cause untold difficulty, it could have withheld, until the court case was over, the amount of money that the Secretary of State was demanding. Because it knew that the money was needed for the operating costs of LRT, it behaved properly by warning the Department of Transport what it was doing, but nevertheless continuing to make the payments. Therefore, it is all the more dispiriting when there is no clear indication from the Secretary of State that he will take account of the money that has already been paid.

So far the Secretary of State has shown no intention to take account of the needs of the passengers of London Transport, the wishes of elected London councillors or the needs of the House of Commons. The Secretary of State would show a welcome and astonishing degree of flexibility if he were to accept that his calculations were done on the wrong basis. The figures that should have been used were the current cash flow needs. Therefore, I ask the Secretary of State to accept the amendment.

7 pm

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Nicholas Ridley)

It may be convenient if I intervene now because I can give the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) a categorical assurance that the money paid by the GLC to LRT since 29 June will be taken into account in calculating what the GLC owes in future.

To help the Committee, perhaps I may be allowed to take the hon. Lady through the figures. She took me to task for what she described as throwing around sets of figures. I am certain that she would have been even more critical if I had not tried to give the maximum information during our many discussions about the Bill. I think that I can give her a little more information, provided that she does not then blame me for having done so and accuse me of throwing around even more figures.

Mrs. Dunwoody

I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman quite understands my argument. I am happy that he should give accurate information. However, we are extremely worried because, during our different debates, different sets of figures have been given to the House at different times. We are told that this is simply a case of interpreting them in different ways but, frankly, everyone would be happy if we knew the basis on which the Department was doing its calculations.

Mr. Ridley

I do not think that that is sustainable. All the figures that I have given are totally compatible. I think that the hon. Lady is trying to say that the GLC would have preferred to work them out in a different way and to have got a different answer.

Before 29 June of this year, the GLC had paid, taking into account the £10.2 million, a total of £88.9 million. Section 49 and this Bill do not apply to that. We leave that on one side, because it was before the date of the LRT Act.

Since the Act, the GLC has deposited £177 million with LRT. We agree about that. The Bill requires that £258 million-odd should be paid when the Bill becomes an Act. The difference which will have to be paid is the difference between £177 million and the £258 million — £81 million-odd which is not yet paid. It has to be done this way because the section 49 direction that I made in June was quashed by the court and is therefore invalid. That means that there is no basis for regularising the money which has already been deposited by the GLC.

As the hon. Lady said, the GLC has behaved correctly in this respect and has left the money there, but it cannot be said that that money is there as part of any instalment or debt or obligation which lies upon the GLC. There would be such an obligation only if the direction had been upheld and had come into force. With the quashing of the direction, that money was left by the GLC as an instalment of what it expected to have to pay either when there was a new direction or, as it turns out, when this Bill becomes law.

To have specified in the Bill that the £177 million had to be paid would have been retrospective, and retrospectivity is an accusation which has been thrown about frequently in these debates and which I deny. But if I had so drafted the Bill that the £177 million which the GLC has already paid was included as if it was required to be paid, it would have been retrospective because, when the GLC deposited it, it did not know that it would have to pay it.

The GLC now knows that the total will be £258 million-odd and I give the Committee the categorical assurance that under the Bill, as drafted, there is no suggestion that the £177 million already deposited will not be counted against the total sum that is owed.

That means that the amendment is unnecessary. The Bill is drafted exactly to take account of the hon. Lady's point. The amendment is also defective. As it is neither correctly drafted nor necessary, I hope that the hon. Lady will feel able to ask leave to withdraw it.

Mrs. Dunwoody

Since what in this case is sauce for the gander should be sauce for the goose, if the amendment is neither necessary nor well drafted, it appears to be in line with all that has happened in relation to London Regional Transport ever since these debates began. But having a degree of graciousness which is not always found on the Government Benches, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Roger Stott (Wigan)

I beg to move amendment No. 3, in page 1, line 13, leave out from 'paid' to end of line 16 and insert 'on the third day upon which banks are open for business after that on which this Act is passed'.

The Second Deputy Chairman

With this, it will be convenient to discuss amendment No. 4, in page 1, line 13, leave out 'on the day after that on which this Act is passed' and insert 'on the third day upon which banks are open for business after that on which this Act is passed'.

Mr. Stott

These are two inconsequential amendments in respect of the main purpose of the Bill. They have been tabled merely to make sense of a measure which we thoroughly oppose.

You, Sir Paul, will not permit me to go into the argument conducted up until 10 minutes ago about the way in which we have arrived at this position. It is a great pity that only three Opposition amendments have been selected. That is not my fault. I was not a party to the usual channels negotiations last night, and I have to tell the Minister of State that it was the Opposition's wish to table a great many other amendments of much more substance if we had had the opportunity to do so.

I was one of those hon. Members who spoke at great length and in great detail in last night's debate. The Secretary of State had some very serious questions addressed to him which he answered by bringing in new figures which we are not allowed to challenge. I feel that I ought to make that protest even though I may be out of order.

The amendments are designed to assist the GLC if this measure is carried into law. I was reminded of the speech made by the Secretary of State for Transport at the annual dinner last week of the Bus and Coach Council, when he referred to another Transport Bill and said: We should really try to fashion a better Bill in Committee. I hope that we can fashion a better Bill in Committee today. If these amendments are accepted, in my view the Bill will be marginally better.

The amendments attempt to ensure that the GLC is given two working days in which to arrange to have available the money that the Secretary of State is about to take from the GLC, money which a court of law found to be unlawful. The Secretary of State has not accepted that judicial decision. He has introduced legislation to overturn that decision. That being the case, having secured a Second Reading for his Bill, he will appreciate that the GLC is anxious to be given time to provide him with the money. Simply because the GLC may have budgeted for the money does not mean that tomorrow morning it can lay its hands on £80 million. It cannot. It needs time to do it.

That is the reason for these amendments. The GLC needs time to ensure that the Secretary of State cannot require the money to be paid on a non-banking day.

If the amendments are defective in drafting or inhibiting in any way, I have no doubt that the Minister of State will say so, but I hope that she will take on board the spirit behind them. It is simply to ask that, if the Bill is passed, having been rushed through the House tonight, at least she will be gracious enough to allow the GLC time to marshal its forces and come up with the money.

The Minister of State, Department of Transport (Mrs. Lynda Chalker)

I understand what the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Stott) said about the spirit behind the amendments, but I hope that I can assure him that there is no difficulty here.

I assume, although he did not say so, that the hon. Gentleman considers the amendments as alternatives. If he does not, they can be shown to be contradictory. I shall not discuss that point. I understand the hon. Gentleman's difficulty only too well. If I understand his intentions aright, amendment No. 3 makes the whole sum payable to LRT on the third working day after Royal Assent and amendment 4 retains the framework of the stage payments as set out in clause 1(2)(a) and (b), but also involves payment by the third working day. The two amendments are exclusive rather than to be taken together.

Mrs. Dunwoody

indicated assent.

Mrs. Chalker

I see that the hon. Lady and I understand each other, on that point at least.

The amendments are unnecessary. There is nothing in law to prevent the GLC from paying up on the day after Royal Assent, which may well he some time away. It does not need more time. The money could be paid by electronic transfer within a single day, or the GLC could write—[Interruption.] It is perfectly possible to transfer money in a single day.

Mrs. Dunwoody

If you have it.

Mrs. Chalker

We are discussing these sums and it is obvious, from other decisions that it has been making, that the GLC has the money. It has undoubtedly been warned in the past and by means of the passage of this short Bill. As the Bill progresses, it will be up to the GLC to have the money ready to pay over in good time. There is no way in which amendments such as these could be made in terms of other transactions that pass between public bodies, referring to a specific third banking day after the due date. The whole process is designed to take place when the sum becomes payable.

I think that, if the Bill is passed before 25 March, there will certainly be enough time — that is the reason for bringing the Bill forward now — for that money to be raised and paid over as agreed in clause 1(2)(a) plus the remainder at the end of March.

My right hon. Friend explained just now why the total figure was in the Bill. We are really talking about a remainder figure.

Mrs. Dunwoody

It is a big remainder.

Mrs. Chalker

I do not dispute the fact that it is a large figure. The figures have been around for a long time. They were fully known during the court case. There is no reason why the money should not be available when it is required to be paid over.

I shall not indulge in any nit-picking over the wording of the amendments. I could do so, but that is not my purpose. I understand the spirit behind the amendments, but I assure the hon. Gentleman that there is no need for the concern that he has expressed, and no need to press the amendment.

7.15 pm
Mr. Frank Dobson (Holborn and St. Pancras)

The Minister graciously tells us that she is not going to involve herself in nit-picking about the details of the amendments which have had to be cobbled together by the Opposition. We do not in fact regard that as especially gracious on her part, because it was only because we were not given sufficient time to consider the matter that we had to produce the amendments in a rush. Still, perhaps we should be thankful. No doubt, had the Secretary of State dealt with this part of the Bill, he would have made nitpicking criticisms.

The GLC may have the money in its budget. It may have raised the money. However, that does not mean that the money is instantly available to be handed over to someone else without damage to the ratepayers' interests. Conservative Members — there are not many of them here — know more than I do about having money on account. They are probably aware that local authorities, other organisations and rich individuals may invest money in such a way that an instant withdrawal to meet the needs of instant payment will damage the person who has invested the money. It is quite conceivable that, like other local authorities, the GLC invests the sums at its disposal that are not needed at once in such a way that an instant demand to hand money over to LRT would result in a loss of interest to the ratepayers. There might be genuine difficulties and genuine losses as a result of what the Government are demanding, if they will not accept either amendment or something on these lines.

I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) is not slavishly committed to the wording of the amendments and would be happy to accept a Government amendment on Report—

Mrs. Dunwoody

Hear, hear.

Mr. Dobson

—that was better than the ones that she was able to devise in the few minutes available to her yesterday.

Mrs. Dunwoody

Given all their resources, the Government do not seem to have done very well up to now.

Mr. Dobson

It is true that most faults discovered in legislation spring not from things that happen in the House or in Committee but from the parlous standard of parliamentary draftsmanship. It may well be that our innocent efforts will produce better and more accurate legislation than the Minister could achieve.

We have to have this debate, either because the Bill that became the London Regional Transport Act 1984 was a mess or because the Secretary of State has administered the Act badly. In either case, as the right hon. Gentleman was responsible for both the Act and its administration, he takes responsiblity. The drafting of my right hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich may be better than anything that the ministerial advisers could produce for Report.

There is one further point to be made on the Bill, if the Government will not either accept the amendment or produce a variation of their own. If the crucial stage of the Bill were taken late on Friday, the GLC might have to find the money to hand over to LRT on a Saturday. Even using electronic means to shift money, the Minister must accept that Britain's financial institutions are not usually at their best on a Saturday. In practice, the demands might be difficult to meet. We are merely saying that we want to avoid such practical difficulties for the GLC to stump up the money on the instant, and the financial losses to London's ratepayers that might be suffered as a result of the precipitate withdrawal of GLC funds.

One would have thought that a touch of humility would have been appropriate from the Government now. It ought not to lie in their power, still less in their desire, to pass legislation which might prove difficult for the GLC, as all the difficulties that have led to the Bill spring from shortcomings on the part of the Government. Just this once, the Government might listen to what the GLC is saying.

If the Secretary of State had taken one minute's notice of what the GLC said about his direction under section 49, the courts would not have found that he had acted unlawfully, irrationally and procedurally improperly. In those circumstances, we should not have to put up with listening to him again. I hope that the Minister will be able to accept the spirit of the amendment and do the decent thing.

Mr. Harry Cohen (Leyton)

My hon. Friend made an excellent point when he said that it would be difficult for the GLC to stump up the money at a moment's notice from the Government. Does he agree that it is not beyond the Government, who have been vindictive to the GLC all along, to insist that the money be stumped up at a most inconvenient time?

Mr. Dobson

Yes. It beggars the imagination that any hon. Member should be expected to say that he is willing to accept the Government's good faith in their dealings with the GLC. The Government have had the ultimate in bad faith in their dealings with the GLC since the Prime Minister precipitately introduced at a late stage into the Tory manifesto a draft commitment to abolish it. As my hon. Friend the Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) said, the Government might deliberately time the demand to cause maximum embarrassment and difficulty. They have always done that in other respects. The same is true of rate capping for other local authorities in London.

It is preposterous for Ministers to expect us to accept that they will act reasonably and in good faith. They sit there having been found guilty by Mr. Justice McNeill of having acted unlawfully, irrationally and procedurally improperly. The trouble is that in all three respects he found them acting characteristically. If we no longer accept their word or that they will act in good faith, they have only themselves to blame. I hope that the Minister will accept the amendment or agree to come up with a better Government amendment on report. Without such an amendment, we shall leave the GLC and the ratepayers of London vulnerable to more of the Government's malignance.

Mr. Stott

The amendments are contradictory simply because, at 10 o'clock last night, my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody), after spending the whole day in the Chamber debating the Bill's Second Reading, had to cobble together some amendments to enable us to debate the matter today. We had no time for preparation, or to consult anyone, or to consider the Secretary of State's responses, and the amendments were put down as a marker to give the Committee something to talk about. If my hon. Friend had not had the foresight to table these amendments at the eleventh hour, we should have not one amendment to debate.

I accept that, in the circumstances that I have described, the amendments might be badly drafted or contradictory, but the spirit behind them is worthy of discussion. By virtue of his huge majority the Secretary of State will get his way and his money—well, not his money, but the money of London ratepayers. Unfortunately, we cannot prevent him from getting his way because we do not have the troops in the Lobby to stop him.

We are merely asking that, once the Bill receives Royal Assent, the Minister should please listen to advice that we have received from the GLC about getting the money together. The Secretary of State is requiring £80 million of it. Amendment No. 4 says that he should be able to do that on the third day upon which banks are open for business after that on which this Act is passed". What is unreasonable about that? It gives the GLC time to marshal its resources and to give the Secretary of State his ill-gotten gains.

Mr. Ridley

Not me.

Mr. Stott

Well, LRT, but some of that money will be filched away to the Treasury, because LRT does not need it all.

Mr. Ridley


Mr. Stott

The Secretary of State ought not to lead me down that line of argument. I am trying to concentrate on the amendments.

My hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) asked the Minister a simple question — whether, if the Bill became an Act of Parliament on a Friday, the following day, logically, being a Saturday—

Mr. Dobson

Not necessarily with this Secretary of State.

Mr. Stott

I have to take each point slowly so that the right hon. Gentleman understands. If it were to be a Saturday, the Secretry of State could demand that the Greater London council should pay over this money to him.

7.30 pm I want to draw the Committee's attention to the fact that it is in Committee that hon. Members get down to the nuts and bolts of altering, changing, amending and improving legislation. If the Standing Committee that considered the London Regional Transport Bill had done what it should have done, or if the Secretary of State had responded to the suggestions made by my right hon. and hon. Friends, legislation of this kind would not have to be debated tonight. We are engaged in writing legislation, and it is beholden upon the Committee to get it right. The Secretary of State must not be forced to introduce another Bill because he cannot get the money from the GLC on a Saturday. That might appear to be ludicrous, but unless this legislation is corrected that is what might happen.

I do not wish to labour the point. Both the Minister of State, Department of Transport and I want to make progress. We have both been involved in many transport Bills, and no doubt there will be many more. I ask the Minister of State to look carefully at the amendment and at least to take on board the spirit of it. If it is inadequately drafted, perhaps she will be able to say that in the other place she will meet the point that I have made.

Mrs. Chalker

Because of the complicated nature of the days when the money might be paid, I suspected that we might spend a little longer on this amendment than upon the previous one. However, since the amendments are based upon the advice that the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends have received from the GLC, I believe that it is unreasonable that the hon. Gentleman should have referred to the time that was needed to draft the amendments. This problem has been known for quite some time and the hon. Gentleman knows that. There is no reason why the GLC should need two extra days in which to transfer funds to London Regional Transport.

The GLC has already been given notice that it will be required to pay this money. If the payment has to be made on a banking day which, for the purposes of any Bill, including this Bill, is Monday to Friday inclusive under the terms of the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971, it can be made immediately, on the same day. That is how the GLC has made payments to London Regional Transport during the past six months. If the due day is at the weekend, the GLC can discharge its liability to pay by dispatching a cheque on that day. The money would not necessarily have to be received on that day — [Interruption.] I am certain that the GLC would not do such a thing. The hon. Lady knows that only too well.

Mr. Dobson

What about American Express?

Mrs. Chalker

I believe that the hon. Gentleman's limit on his credit card might be exceeded by this particular sum. It is no part of our intention that the GLC should suffer any financial penalty by having to have the money ready for payment on the due date. When the Bill passes through the other House, the GLC will know when it has to have the money ready. Until that date there is no reason why the GLC should not continue to receive interest on the money that it will eventually pay over. The hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) suggested that Royal Assent might be given on a Friday or a Saturday.

Mr. Dobson

I did not say Saturday.

Mrs. Chalker

The hon. Member says that he did not say "Saturday". However, for the sake of argument, let us take either a Friday or a Saturday, in particular a Friday. The hon. Gentleman's fear is unfounded, because the Commission for Royal Assent hardly ever sits on a Friday or a Saturday. I can give that assurance to the hon. Gentleman and to the Committee.

Mr. Dobson

Will the hon. Lady accept that if a measure is not urgently required to be passed into law the House of Commons very seldom sits on a Wednesday to debate the remaining stages of a Bill that received its Second Reading on a Tuesday?

Mrs. Chalker

If I were to stray back to the last business of the House I think that you, Mr. Chairman, would rule me out of order. Nobody has made any bones about the fact that this is an unusual situation. As the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Stott) said, had the Committee which considered the London Regional Transport Act drafted that Bill in a different way, probably a far greater sum, namely £23 million, more would have been paid over during the year than will be paid over as a consequence of this amending Bill. There is no reason for Opposition Members or for the GLC who briefed them to believe that there will be any problem over this payment. The GLC can discharge its obligations by drawing a cheque or another payable instrument whenever it wishes to draw it. When the other place has considered the Bill, the GLC will know what sums will be owing and those sums can be drawn in due time.

These amendments are unnecessary. This procedure is designed to do no more than rectify the manner and the timing of the payments before the end of the financial year. The Bill enables the GLC and London Regional Transport to know exactly where they are over the payments due to LRT.

Mr. Stott

The only saving grace is that our proceedings are being recorded by Hansard and that their Lordships will have more time than the Opposition have had to study what has been said before they debate this Bill. I hope that their Lordships will take note of what the hon. Lady has said. At least they will have more time to consider what has been said than the Opposition have had between Second Reading and today's proceedings. Since the other place will have more time in which to study the response of the hon. Lady to these amendments, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Mrs. Dunwoody

In a two-clause Bill, in which the second clause simply relates to the name, clause 1 is almost inevitably at the heart of the Bill. Before we allow such a measure to be put on to the statute book we must look closely at its provisions. This entire saga has been a disgrace from beginning to end. It is appalling that we have had to sit through the proceedings on a Bill which ought to have been unnecessary. We should not be wasting the time of the Committee by debating clause stand part. It is putting right not only the sums of money that should be paid but the way in which they should be paid and the liability or otherwise to the interest payments to be made by the GLC if the sums are not paid on the due date. The Bill is the result of the Secretary of State's desire to push ahead with improperly drafted and ill-thought-out legislation.

This clause is part of the Bill for one reason alone—because the Secretary of State pushed through a Bill which was so badly drafted that he was found to be in default of his proper responsibilities. We cannot reiterate that too often.

I know that we are not supposed to use foreign languages in the House, although occasionally some of the gobbledegook that goes through in the form of legislation constitutes practically a different language, but from the beginning to end of the Bill the Secretary of State has acted as if he had droit de seigneur over the entire transport system. He says what he wills will be done and then, irrespective of the needs of the ratepayers, the elected councillors, the House of Commons and anyone else involved in the legislation, what the Secretary of State wants shall be done. If that means bringing in the odd Bill every now and then to amend the Bill that he originally thought of before he got it wrong and had to redraft it and bring it all back, that is unfortunate. It becomes a rather complicated game.

We are told that we must discuss the clause today because the money is urgently needed. There is considerable doubt about that. LRT may go into deficit by the end of February, but it has considerable borrowing powers — of up to £10 million — given to it by the Secretary of State. Yet he stands at the Dispatch Box and says that he must push the Bill through because if he does not LRT will not be able to cope.

It may well be that LRT's borrowing powers need to be extended, but there is nothing to stop the Secretary of State extending them. He could do that if there were any question of LRT not being able to pay its operating costs. If there really were any urgency, why would this Bill say that there is a possibility of the Bill becoming an Act after 25 March? In other words, when the Secretary of State was having the Bill drafted by his own infallible means he wrote into it the assumption that if the Bill were not passed before 25 March it would be passed afterwards. That is the general level of assessment that we have had all the way through this bit of nonsense. Nevertheless, we should take account of it.

Mr. Eric Deakins (Walthamstow)

Does not that suggest that LRT would, if it were a commercial organisation, be trading illegally if the Bill were not passed by 25 March? Is not that what the Secretary of State and his departmental officials must have anticipated and therefore must have also anticipated that LRT would be able to use the borrowing powers which the Secretary of State asked the House to approve last year? What other reason is there for the borrowing powers?

Mrs. Dunwoody

My hon. Friend has hit upon it. The reality is, as the Secretary of State knows, that we do not have to push this completely inadequate two-clause Bill through tonight. He understands better than anyone that there is no real urgency because he has the powers to give LRT the right to borrow the money to keep itself solvent. That would not be difficult for him to do. Indeed, it would not be an unusual thing for him to do.

The Bill is being raced through the House with what can only be called indecent haste. It would not be unusual if the Secretary of State were to say that if LRT wants to extend its borrowing powers it shall do so. He knows that that is almost the norm. It has been done many times before. What has not been done many times before is for a Secretary of State to produce a measure which is found by the British courts to be illegal and irresposible and then to compound the difficulty by bringing forward another Bill in which he seeks for a second time to do that which he was not able to do legally on the first occasion.

The Secretary of State has done that with no apology and very little explanation to the House of Commons. He says that we debated the Ways and Means Resolution and have had a debate again today so why should we go through the whole affair again? We need to go through the whole affair over and over again because the message behind clause 1 and the arrogant way in which it has been shoved through the House of Commons is that the Secretary of State's political view of transport, which bears a strong resemblance to Dante's "Inferno", is that if he wants to change the system he will. It does not matter whether he is talking about finance for LRT, about the services that are provided for London ratepayers or even about levying extra sums on the ratepayers, which is what he has been doing in advance of this nasty little Bill. As far as the Secretary of State is concerned, his word is law and anything else must be subsidiary to his narrow and blinkered view.

7.45 pm The Bill ought not to go through the House of Commons. It ought not to be pushed on to the statute book. The House should not be examining it today and we should not be asked to accept it. The Secretary of State will get it through, of course he will, because although Conservative Members are not prepared to make speeches about the Bill they will be prepared to vote for it tonight. If he is not ashamed of his behaviour, I hope that some of his hon. Friends will be. The Secretary of State's entire decision-making process on the Bill has been defective. It has been a disgrace from beginning to end and I am appalled that we should be asked to accept it tonight.

Sir John Page (Harrow, West)

I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on presenting this clear, simple Bill which requires no amendment. The hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) talked about the droit de seigneur. She is certainly the dame aux camellias tonight. The hon. Lady has bored us to death, as did her hon. Friends in the tedious repetition of the same shabby little argument. My right hon. Friend was wise and sensible to introduce the Bill and we welcome it tonight.

Mr. Ian Mikardo (Bow and Poplar)

After the speech of the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Sir J. Page), I hesitate about addressing the Committee because that which the hon. Gentleman supports with such exaggerated and baseless language is so manifestly invalid that it needs no one to oppose it. I shall confine myself to a single point and make it shortly.

Mr. John Fraser (Norwood)

Does my hon. Friend accept that the description, la dame aux camellias, is more apt for the Secretary of State than for my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) because the tragedy of the heroine of "La Traviata" was that she could not get her accounts right?

Mr. Mikardo

If I followed that line of thought, I should not get far before I was ruled out of order. Therefore, I shall not follow that line.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) pointed out, the Bill seeks retroactively to validate an Act which was invalid at the time that it was passed. That is the obverse of a method of which the reverse is retroactively to criminalise something which was not a crime at the time that it took place. One has only to say that to show how repulsive it is to democrats that, except in emergencies, retroactive legislation should be introduced. Such legislation is a common feature of police states. Totalitarian Governments who do not like what a chap is doing, but discover that it is not a crime, pass laws to make it a crime and make them retroactive for a couple of years to catch him. That is bad, but it is as bad to validate retroactively an action that was invalid.

When I first became a Member, everyone was horrified at the idea of retroactive legislation. A Minister who had to introduce it — it happened only when something drastic or deadly had to be coped with — came to the House in sackcloth and ashes, as a humble penitent, begging the pardon of the House for not having anticipated matters well enough to ensure that he did not need to be forced to legislate retroactively. It was considered to be a very nasty thing which Ministers should do only as a last resort, in a great emergency and on a matter of grave importance. It was also considered that they should apologise to the House for having to do it.

The mores of ministerial behaviour have changed since 1979. We saw some of that this week. I do not know whether the Secretary of State for Transport was an hon. Member when Sir Thomas Dugdale, who was an hon. Member in every sense of those words, was Minister of Agriculture, but someone in Sir Thomas's Department committed a not very grave impropriety. The Minister of Agriculture was not involved, but, being an honourable man, he took responsibility for the actions of his subordinates and resigned. There were later cases, one or two of which were painful, and on that account I shall refrain from mentioning them.

The standards of morality and decency that used to characterise the Conservative party and others have evaporated in what my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich rightly called the arrogance of Ministers, especially in their dealings with the House.

Ministers in this Government have ceased to see themselves as servants of the legislature, putting its decisions into practice. They now see themselves as masters of the legislature — deceiving and lying if necessary and, whether necessary or not, brazening and railroading things through the House. Today has been a prime example of that.

The Secretary of State is introducing legislation retroactively to make him an honest woman. He went whoring after false gods; he did not realise that they were false until a judge told him so. Now he has introduced legislation to make himself honest. It is a smelly business from start to finish. If I were in his place, I would be ashamed of it.

Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark and Bermondsey)

Clause 1, which the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) says is all that we are left to debate, is not, as the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Sir J. Page) claimed, before us without amendment. It is an amendment itself.

The basis of the argument—if it can be accorded that description — of the hon. Member for Harrow, West is that this is a wonderful, tidy little Bill. I was able to be in the House only briefly for last night's Second Reading debate, because I was upstairs in Committee on the Local Government Bill. The Government spend so much time interfering with local government that many of us have to occupy most of our time in Parliament on local government matters rather than national Government issues.

However, I have read the arguments adduced on behalf of the Government yesterday and they do not begin to persuade me that the sum set out in the Bill is the right sum. The Secretary of State said: The sum of £258.2 million roughly achieves just that. The "just that" was the amount that the Secretary of State regards as reasonable in relation to LRT's requirements. He said: It will leave a cash surplus of some £30 million at the end of the year. But LRT has liabilities of £21 million for voluntary redundancies and a further £15 million for other unfunded liabilities. Thus, the £285 million is certainly not more than LRT needs to balance its books this year."—[Official Report, 19 February 1985; Vol. 73, c. 873.] I am not a mathematician, but the figures in that paragraph alone do not justify the sum for which the Secretary of State is asking the House.

I remember the discussion in Committee on last year's London Regional Transport Bill. The reason for the clause empowering the Secretary of State to seek a direction was that when the governance of London Transport was broken in the middle of a financial and accounting year, the right hon. Gentleman would be allowed to do two things. Mr. Justice McNeill made clear what those things were. The first was to consult, and the second was to agree an appropriate figure to balance the books.

Clause 1 of this Bill seeks to produce that right figure; it is an accountancy figure. Yesterday's debate on Second Reading and today's debates on the business motion and the amendments were about whether we should agree a clause that gives a certain sum, under the control of the Secretary of State, from one authority to another. Is the sum that the right hon. Gentleman has determined is the right sum to go to the GLC and on to LRT to make up the balance for this year?

In considering those questions, we have to go on the evidence. There is no other way in which we can be persuaded. The only argument that we have been given and the only evidence presented to us is that contained in my quotation of what the Secretary of State said on Second Reading. That is not convincing.

We are being asked to agree the budget of LRT for this year. We need to know more about its liabilities for voluntary redundancies and whether they are attributable to the Capitalcard or are connected with the policies that LRT has implemented. We also need to know about its unfunded liabilities.

I have a duty to my constituents, who pay rates and travel by LRT, to find out whether we are providing the right sum. The money does not come out of the Secretary of State's pocket; he merely acts as the authority. The money comes out of the pockets of my constituents. Every extra pound paid to LRT means that my constituents have a pound less for something else.

We are talking about a substantial sum. The Minister of State says that she is not used to dealing in millions of pounds. We are talking about £258 million, which is a large sum. If it is divided equally among London citizens, of whom there are about 7 million, we are paying more than £10 each. Even if we knocked off a bit for the people outside London who use London's transport, we are still paying pounds as opposed to pence.

Mr. Deakins

It is £30 each.

8 pm

Mr. Hughes

Is is more than £30. That means that I and other London ratepayers and residents are paying more than £30.

Mr. Cohen

It is £37.

Mr. Hughes

The computations are being ever bettered around me. The further east we go the more accurate the accounting becomes. The amount has gone up to £37 per Londoner.

I should have liked to have time, without doing six other things simultaneously, to read all of last night's debate. I am not the transport spokesman for my party, but this is a London matter, and I should have liked to be able to consider amendments. Normally I would table amendments to Bills that relate to London. We know that it has been impossible to table amendments because we were sitting in Committee upstairs until midnight and then had to participate in a debate on fluoride, which continued until about 2.30 am.

The hon. Members for Wigan (Mr. Stott) and for Crewe and Nantwich said that it would be useful to talk about what will happen. It would be useful to check with officials whether or not the sums are correct. All political parties have their own advisers and are given the good offices of independent officials in the GLC, local councils and transport authorities to check figures. Accountants are also available to give plenty of advice if we ask for it. We have not been given a moment to ask for advice.

I shall not go on at great length, although I recall that last year when I was on a Committee I was able to speak, without any trouble, for 80 minutes. I am well minded to continue, because I am sufficiently angry about this matter. I have rarely been as angry in my time in the House, and I shall have been here two years this week. I am angry because I have seen what the Government are doing to justify this clause and this money.

The Government Front Bench have given muddled arguments with different figures. The Government want to rush through all the stages in the same day with no opportunity for proper consideration. This is all to do with the nationalisation of a public service by a Government who do not believe in nationalisation. It is all to do with handing over powers from local authorities to the present incumbent in the Department of Transport, who should never have had the powers in the first place.

As a member of the legislature my primary job is to control the Executive. My second role is as a member of a political party. The arguments I have been given do not begin to persuade me that this is the right sum. What do I do? I have one option — to vote against the clause. That option will be exercised when other hon. Members vote against the clause. I must register my grave dissatisfaction in being asked to vote for this financial measure, which is what Governments are all about, without the assistance or safeguards which we would normally have when financial measures come before the House. Taxation measures go through a special procedure with special examination in Committee upstairs. We normally have an ample opportunity to consider any measure of financial relevance, but for this measure we have been given no opportunities at all.

An amount of £250 million-odd is asked for as the last stage of the saga. As we have often been reminded, the Secretary of State got it completely wrong the first time around. I have no reason to believe that this figure is any more accurate than the first figure. Unless and until the Government's procedures improve to show that they believe that their duty is to prove the case, there is no option but for Committee members to do all that is left in their power—I wish that they could do more—and make it thoroughly difficult for the Government to get such business through the Committee, and later through the House.

There are only a limited number of options available to delay the Bill. If it were in the Committee's power, I would not be at all reluctant to delay well beyond 25 March, because that is the reward that the Secretary of State deserves for the appalling way in which he and his colleagues have treated the House of Commons in this small, but significant, piece of legislation, which has already, for no reasoned argument, broken two principles.

Mr. Ridley

I believe that the Committee would like me to reply briefly to the points that have been made. The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) has seen a misprint in Hansard. The figure of £285 million should be £258 million.

Mr. Dobson

Ha, ha.

Mr. Ridley

The hon. Gentleman laughs, but I may have something to say about him later. I do not think that the Committee would hold me responsible for a printer's error.

This may be a rushed job, but the hon. Members for Southwark and Bermondsey and for Bow and Poplar (Mr. Mikardo) have misunderstood the position. The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey got himself into a lather of bogus information and used the rest of his speech to mouth adjectives which he thought might hurt. I must include in that charge the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody).

I must make clear the errors of the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey. In the passage to which the hon. Gentleman referred I was talking about the balance at the end of the existing financial year, 1984–85. I was answering points put by hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Newham—

Mr. Spearing

Which one?

Mr. Ridley

Both, the hon. Members for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks), and for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing). I was referring to the surplus of cash and whether that sum was roughly equivalent to the accrued liabilities. I was doing so to justify my pledge that LRT's needs would be met—no more, no less. I cited figures showing that, roughly speaking, within the margins of error, that had been achieved. The hon. Gentleman mixed that up with LRT's total cash needs for the year and the amount in the Bill that should be taken from the GLC to fulfil the objective of financing LRT for the year.

The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey failed to understand that because of all the other things that he says he is doing. Why does he not do the other things and stop getting mixed up in matters that he does not understand? Having made his mistake, the hon. Gentleman started to abuse me. It is easy to do that, but he would have been right if he had leased his argument on the correct figures.

The hon. Member for Bow and Poplar made a similar mistake. He said that the legislation was retroactive and proceeded to castigate the Government for bringing in retroactive legislation. The hon. Gentleman failed to prove his point. The legislation is not retroactive. The GLC knew, when the London Regional Transport Bill was published in December 1983, that its exposure under section 49 was £360 million in toto for the year. That figure, less the amount that the GLC had already paid, was put into the direction made in June. Until that moment, the GLC had no doubt that that was the amount it would have to pay.

The judgment went against the Government and in favour of the GLC. That same morning I said that I intended to appeal. At no time did the GLC have any doubt that it could be liable for the full £360 million. In the event, it is asked to pay £23 million less than it was always on notice it would have to pay. The hon. Member for Bow and Poplar must withdraw the charge of retroactivity, because there is nothing about that series of events that is retroactive. If he does so, as he must, he must withdraw the adjectives.

Mr. Mikardo

I thought that I had made myself clear. The element of retroactivity arises from the fact that the Minister got it wrong the first time and is introducing this nasty little Bill to correct his error.

Mr. Ridley

The hon. Gentleman has not heard the precedents that I cited either. It is better to read previous debates. He will know the two precedents that I cited. They are cases where local authorities, one of which was the GLC, were busily paying concessionary fares, were taken to court and were found not to have the powers to pay them. Immediately the House legislated and overturned the illegality. There is no difference between those precedents and what I have done.

There are two reasons for urgency. First, London Regional Transport will be running out of money soon, will go into deficit and will have to pay interest on borrowings. The hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich picked up that reason. The second reason is an important one, which she conveniently ignored. The GLC needs to know what will be in the Bill in order to make its rate. It is typical of the hon. Lady to pick up one argument and ignore the other. Obviously, the two arguments go together, and are strong reasons why the Government wish to make progress with the Bill. Although we have had the debate about the day on which this matter is being taken, I wanted to put her right on that.

Mrs. Dunwoody

Has the right hon. Gentleman at any point said to the GLC in reply to its queries that it does not matter what happens with the Bill and that it can proceed on the figures because it should assume that the Bill will become law? Or has he given the GLC to understand, during the many months of argument, that it will have to make its calculations without any clear indication of the sums of money involved? I believe that there is considerable doubt whether he has made the position as clear as he suggests.

Mr. Ridley

The position is now totally clear—

Mrs. Dunwoody


8.15 pm
Mr. Ridley

Now. The sum of money is on the face of the Bill. I made it clear earlier that the £177 million deposited will be taken into account. If the House gives the Bill its Third Reading tonight, there will be no way in which the Bill can be amended, especially in relation to the sum or, indeed, to anything else. At the close of play tonight there will be certainty for the GLC. It will know what sum to work on for its budgetary purposes.

The hon. Lady had made a meal of these debates and heaped adjectives upon me, which I have taken in good part. I must tell her that she even made a slip tonight when she referred to the measure as a two-clause Bill. It is a one-clause Bill. If she cannot get even that right, it does not say much for her competence.

Mrs. Dunwoody

It is a two-clause Bill.

Mr. Ridley

It is a one-clause Bill.

Mr. Stott

On the Bill it says clause 1 and clause 2.

Mrs. Dunwoody

There are two clauses.

Mr. Ridley

It is a one-clause Bill in so far as what matters and the hon. Lady knows it. The hon. Lady has conducted her opposition with all the venom that she can muster, but she knows in her heart of hearts that this is the only possible way to redress the interests of the ratepayers versus the GLC. However much she may have enjoyed opposing the Bill, the ratepayers and travellers of London will not thank her for all the efforts that she has made.

Question put, That the clause stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 221, Noes 157.

Division No. 117] [8.15 pm
Alexander, Richard Garel-Jones, Tristan
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble) Glyn, Dr Alan
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Gower, Sir Raymond
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Grant, Sir Anthony
Bevan, David Gilroy Greenway, Harry
Boscawen, Hon Robert Gregory, Conal
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Grist, Ian
Bright, Graham Grylls, Michael
Brittan, Rt Hon Leon Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)
Brooke, Hon Peter Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) Hanley, Jeremy
Bruinvels, Peter Hannam, John
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Hargreaves, Kenneth
Budgen, Nick Haselhurst, Alan
Burt, Alistair Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael
Butcher, John Hawksley, Warren
Butterfill, John Hayes, J.
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hayhoe, Barney
Cash, William Hayward, Robert
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Heddle, John
Chope, Christopher Henderson, Barry
Clegg, Sir Walter Hickmet, Richard
Cockeram, Eric Hicks, Robert
Coombs, Simon Hind, Kenneth
Cranborne, Viscount Holt, Richard
Crouch, David Howard, Michael
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)
du Cann, Rt Hon Sir Edward Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk)
Dunn, Robert Hubbard-Miles, Peter
Durant, Tony Hunt, David (Wirral)
Fairbairn, Nicholas Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Farr, Sir John Hunter, Andrew
Favell, Anthony Jackson, Robert
Fletcher, Alexander Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Fookes, Miss Janet Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Forman, Nigel Jones, Robert (W Herts)
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Forth, Eric Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine
Franks, Cecil Kershaw, Sir Anthony
Freeman, Roger Key, Robert
Gale, Roger King, Roger (B'ham N'field)
Galley, Roy King, Rt Hon Tom
Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde) Knight, Gregory (Derby N)
Knowles, Michael Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Knox, David Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Lamont, Norman Rifkind, Malcolm
Lang, Ian Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Latham, Michael Robinson, Mark (N'port W)
Lawrence, Ivan Rossi, Sir Hugh
Lee, John (Pendle) Rost, Peter
Lightbown, David Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Lloyd, Ian (Havant) Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Lord, Michael Sayeed, Jonathan
Luce, Richard Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Lyell, Nicholas Shelton, William (Streatham)
McCrindle, Robert Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
McCurley, Mrs Anna Skeet, T. H. H.
MacGregor, John Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire) Soames, Hon Nicholas
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute) Speed, Keith
Maclean, David John Spencer, Derek
Madel, David Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Major, John Stanbrook, Ivor
Malins, Humfrey Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Malone, Gerald Stevens, Martin (Fulham)
Marland, Paul Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Marlow, Antony Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire)
Mates, Michael Stokes, John
Mather, Carol Stradling Thomas, J.
Maude, Hon Francis Sumberg, David
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Taylor, John (Solihull)
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Mayhew, Sir Patrick Temple-Morris, Peter
Mellor, David Terlezki, Stefan
Meyer, Sir Anthony Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Miller, Hal (B'grove) Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
Mills, Iain (Meriden) Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon) Thornton, Malcolm
Moate, Roger Thurnham, Peter
Monro, Sir Hector Townend, John (Bridlington)
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Moore, John Tracey, Richard
Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes) Trippier, David
Moynihan, Hon C. Trotter, Neville
Murphy, Christopher Twinn, Dr Ian
Neale, Gerrard van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Needham, Richard Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Nelson, Anthony Waddington, David
Newton, Tony Waldegrave, Hon William
Nicholls, Patrick Walden, George
Normanton, Tom Wall, Sir Patrick
Norris, Steven Waller, Gary
Onslow, Cranley Ward, John
Oppenheim, Phillip Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Page, Sir John (Harrow W) Watson, John
Page, Richard (Herts SW) Wells, Bowen (Hertford)
Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil Whitfield, John
Parris, Matthew Whitney, Raymond
Patten, J. (Oxf W & Abdgn) Wilkinson, John
Pawsey, James Winterton, Mrs Ann
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Winterton, Nicholas
Pollock, Alexander Wolfson, Mark
Porter, Barry Wood, Timothy
Portillo, Michael Yeo, Tim
Powell, William (Corby) Young, Sir George (Acton)
Powley, John Younger, Rt Hon George
Proctor, K. Harvey
Raffan, Keith Tellers for the Ayes:
Renton, Tim Mr. Mark Lennox-Boyd and
Rhodes James, Robert Mr. Peter Lloyd.
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Alton, David Beith, A. J.
Anderson, Donald Bell, Stuart
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)
Ashdown, Paddy Bermingham, Gerald
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham) Bidwell, Sydney
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Blair, Anthony
Barnett, Guy Boothroyd, Miss Betty
Barron, Kevin Boyes, Roland
Beckett, Mrs Margaret Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E)
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E) Kennedy, Charles
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Kirkwood, Archy
Bruce, Malcolm Lamond, James
Buchan, Norman Leighton, Ronald
Caborn, Richard Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Campbell, Ian Lewis, Terence (Worsley)
Campbell-Savours, Dale Litherland, Robert
Canavan, Dennis Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y) Loyden, Edward
Carter-Jones, Lewis McCartney, Hugh
Cartwright, John McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Clarke, Thomas McKelvey, William
Clay, Robert Mackenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Clwyd, Mrs Ann McNamara, Kevin
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.) McTaggart, Robert
Cohen, Harry McWilliam, John
Coleman, Donald Marek, Dr John
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Cook, Frank (Stockton North) Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston) Maxton, John
Corbett, Robin Maynard, Miss Joan
Corbyn, Jeremy Meadowcroft, Michael
Cowans, Harry Mikardo, Ian
Craigen, J. M. Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Crowther, Stan Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Cunningham, Dr John Nellist, David
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli) Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly) O'Neill, Martin
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Deakins, Eric Park, George
Dewar, Donald Parry, Robert
Dobson, Frank Patchett, Terry
Dormand, Jack Pike, Peter
Douglas, Dick Radice, Giles
Dubs, Alfred Randall, Stuart
Duffy, A. E. P. Redmond, M.
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)
Eadie, Alex Richardson, Ms Jo
Eastham, Ken Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Evans, John (St. Helens N) Robertson, George
Ewing, Harry Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Fatchett, Derek Rogers, Allan
Faulds, Andrew Rowlands, Ted
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Sheldon, Rt Hon R.
Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn) Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Fisher, Mark Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Flannery, Martin Short, Mrs R.(W'hampt'n NE)
Forrester, John Silkin, Rt Hon J.
Foster, Derek Skinner, Dennis
Fraser, J. (Norwood) Snape, Peter
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Soley, Clive
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Spearing, Nigel
Gould, Bryan Stott, Roger
Gourlay, Harry Strang, Gavin
Hamilton, James (M'weil N) Straw, Jack
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)
Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith Wainwright, R.
Haynes, Frank Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Wareing, Robert
Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall) Welsh, Michael
Home Robertson, John White, James
Hoyle, Douglas Williams, Rt Hon A.
Hughes, Dr. Mark (Durham) Winnick, David
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Woodall, Alec
Hughes, Roy (Newport East) Young, David (Bolton SE)
Hughes, Simon (Southward)
John, Brynmor Tellers for the Noes:
Johnston, Russell Dr. Roger Thomas and
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Mr. Allen McKay.
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald

Question accordingly agreed to.

Clause 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

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