HC Deb 20 February 1985 vol 73 cc1101-13

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

Mr. Simon Hughes

It is important that we have a debate on this clause, given that about 10 minutes ago the Secretary of State did not know that it was in the Bill. In my two years in the House I have never known a Bill to have clauses that were not known to its drafters. I remind the Committee that the right hon. Gentleman told the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) that it did not say much for her confidence if she did not realise that it was a one-clause Bill.

I know that we have descended to personalities, but it is important that the world should know that the Secretary of State for Transport introduced a Bill and did not spot one of the clauses. If we did not have the clause, the Bill would have no name. If the Bill had no name, it might have no consequences. If the Bill had no consequences, many of us might be a great deal happier, because clause 2 says something important. It states: This Act may be cited as the London Regional Transport (Amendment) Act 1985. Most Bills have something like that at the end because they like to have a name when they become law. The significance of the name of this Bill is that it is important that the history books should record that the Secretary of State needed to introduce not just one London Regional Transport Bill but two, the second being the London Regional Transport (Amendment) Bill. That is the title of the Bill, but not the name of the clause. It shows that the first time around the Secretary of State got it wrong.

Out of respect for the Committee, I shall reserve my remarks about the other things that the Secretary of State said in reply to the hon. Lady on the earlier clause until Third Reading. That means, as I understand it, that I shall not have to reserve my remarks for long.

It is a pretty odd state of affairs when 50 per cent. of a Bill is unknown to its master. Perhaps the arguments have been put so badly because, as some hon. Members believe, 50 per cent. of them are also unknown.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill reported, without amendment.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.—[Mr. Ridley.]

8.30 pm
Mrs. Dunwoody

Today's The Standard carries an interesting editorial. It says: Mrs. Thatcher's terrible twins were at it again yesterday: Mr. Patrick Jenkin and Mr. Nicholas Ridley reminding us that, for some Ministers, banana skins don't have to be special, just part of life's routine. Mr. Ridley was involved in what one MP happily described as a piece of legislative Tippex, to correct a court ruling that had unfortunately gone against him. … Mr. Ridley, in other words, broke the law. So yesterday he used the full weight of the law-and-order Party to change it. … The problem with both Ministers is that these are not isolated blunders. Mr. Ridley's recent record features own goals on Stansted, heavy lorries in London, and private buses. What each man has in common (apart from a certain baffled charm) is an unerring ability to turn a perfectly logical case into an unholy mess. Mrs. Thatcher's Cabinet would be stronger without them. That well-known Socialist newspaper, the The Standard, is expressing in fairly calm terms the sentiments of every hon. Member who has sat through the passage of the London Regional Transport (Amendment) Bill.

The Bill was created out of chaos, it has been prosecuted with prejudice and it passes on to the statute book with a distinct odour of disgrace.

It is not often that the House is asked to deal with badly drafted legislation that has been taken to court almost as soon as it has passed on to the statute book, that has a specific and damaging effect on the ratepayers of London yet is presented to them by the Secretary of State for Transport as amending legislation that is saving them from the rapacious and all-embracing Greater London council.

The reality behind the Bill is a simple one, but it bears repetition simply because the House has a responsibility to make sure that when Ministers make radical and serious mistakes they do not rewrite the legislation but come to the House and admit, first, that they have got it wrong. The Secretary of State asked for more money than he had a right to ask for. He persisted, when a court of law found that he was acting illegally, in demanding that the House should not discuss the matter, because, he said, it was sub judice. He said that not once but four times. When I suggested that he had no intention of appealing, he said that I was misreporting him. The Secretary of State claimed that he had said that the matter was sub judice because it was sub judice to him.

From the beginning of the debate the truth is that the GLC has been asked to hand over money that it has raised from the ratepayers, which belongs to the ratepayers and which should go back to the ratepayers if it is not required for the operating costs of London Regional Transport. But the Secretary of State has been prepared to accept neither that he made a mistake nor that he should now no longer demand that the mistake be put right by legislation, in whatever form it is written, the intention of which is to have retrospective effect. He is seeking to put right something which a court of law found was based on an illegal demand. I can think of no other way of expressing it.

The Secretary of State says that we claim that the legislation is retrospective, but we never expand on the point. The crux of the matter is that the Secretary of State asked for something to which he was not entitled. When he was found out and taken to a court of law he said that it did not matter and that he intended to create a new Bill to cover what he had not done in the first instance.

That is a shameful way to proceed. Hon. Members representing London constituencies have consistently asked him not to rush the Bill through Parliament. They have asked him to give us time in which to table amendments that would at least explore some of the extraordinary reasoning behind the Bill.

The Secretary of State has made a number of speeches, everyone of which has given a different set of figures, sometimes amended because he says there has been a printing error. Sometimes he has claimed that we have not understood the full implications and sometimes he has done this simply because he is shifting the grounds of the argument as we proceed.

I believe that this incident has been one of the most shabby in which I have been involved since I was elected to Parliament. It has demonstrated the will of a Government who are no longer prepared to concern themselves with the interests of the ratepayers or the taxpayers. The Secretary of State has encapsulated that view in his attitude to the Bill.

Tonight we have not had sufficient time to debate the few inadequate amendments that have been tabled.

Tonight the House has moved from Committee to Report to Third Reading without the chance to amend or even fully to explore some of the figures that the Secretary of State has given. Tonight we have seen as fine an example of completely arrogant disregard for the interests of the people of Britain as we are ever likely to see even from a Conservative Government.

This has been a shameful episode. I am deeply depressed that the Secretary of State will use his majority to push this nasty little measure on to the statute book.

8.37 pm
Mr. Simon Hughes

On 12 February the Minister of Transport at 11.55 pm introduced to the House a debate on the draft London Regional Transport (Levy) Order 1985. That order sought approval for the budget for London Regional Transport for the coming financial year. In remarks relating to the year that is about to begin the Minister of Transport explained to the House, in answer to a question, that the matter was difficult, complicated and complex. After a debate which lasted one and a half hours, the Minister of State, in reply to the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody), said: I agree wholeheartedly … that the order is complicated." —[Official Report, 12 February 1985; Vol. 73, c. 306.] The House was of course asked to decide on that matter before we had sorted out the budget for this year, so it was an illogical order.

It was even more illogical when one considers what the Secretary of State said on 7 February: LRT has to budget and plan ahead for 1985–86 and beyond, as well as to settle its 1984–85 accounts. The GLC is at the crucial final stages in its annual budgetary and rate-precepting processes. Legislation is the only way to resolve the uncertainties and give Parliament the opportunity to determine the outcome in a way that is reasonable as between the parties concerned. The right hon. Gentleman then said: This matter must be urgently resolved, if possible, before the end of the financial year. We should have done things in the right order. We should, first — to use the Secretary of State's words — have settled the 1984–85 accounts. We should have been given the opportunity to determine the matter, as the right hon. Gentleman said, in a reasonable way as between the parties concerned. To have had to go through this process in two days has been unreasonable and not in keeping with what the Secretary of State said, for he claimed: This matter must be urgently resolved, if possible, before the end of the financial year. He did not say that it had to be resolved within a week or by the end of February, or that the LRT could not go ahead unless the issue was resolved by a date in March, or that it had to be finalised by the end of the financial year. He simply said: This matter must be urgently resolved, if possible, before the end of the financial year." —[Official Report, 7 February 1985; Vol. 72, c. 1198.] A steamroller has brought in an alteration of the Secretary of State's own making, getting all stages of the Bill through in two days. No wonder there have been protests. No wonder hon. Members complain when the figures do not add up—I am not talking about a printing error—when statistics given in the last 24 hours are not explained and when the right hon. Gentleman does not give the statistical detail to justify the Bill.

The Secretary of State told me not to interfere in matters that I did not understand. The job of hon. Members is to examine legislation, and the Government have a duty to provide us with an opportunity to examine legislation in a responsible way so that the people whom we represent get a decent service, by the legislature tempering the activities of the Executive.

I do not pretend to be an expert in transport subsidy matters. Does the Secretary of State believe that he improves the chances of hon. Members understanding such issues when he pushes legislation through in 24 hours? Does he think that Parliament passes better legislation by that means?

Are members of the Government now forbidden to apologise to Parliament? Cannot a Minister say, "I am sorry, I got it wrong. I will see if we can agree a procedure that we should have sorted out in the first place." Do the Government presume that, because they are in office, they always get it right and need never be criticised? Governments all over the world make mistakes, sometimes fatal ones, occasionally involving millions of people being killed.

Compared with some of the world's catastrophes, this Bill can be described as a minor mistake. Nevertheless, it is expensive and it is important. Hon. Members might have been more sympathetic to the Secretary of State had he apologised and said, "Mr. Justice McNeill said that I was unlawful, irrational and procedurally improper. He was right and I apologise to the House. I made a mistake. I shall try to do what I failed to do at the beginning. I shall now try to consult; I shall try to do what I said on 7 February, and resolve the issue in a way that is reasonable." What the right hon. Gentleman has done has been wholly unreasonable. Not only is the procedure unreasonable, but it is unconstitutional and unacceptable. Only because the Government, by our electoral system, have a majority in Parliament — though they have a gross minority of votes in the country—can they get a measure such as this on to the statute book. [Interruption.] Conservative Members should accept that their party is in power on the basis of a minority of votes.

I do not know whether the occupants of the official Opposition Front Bench were consulted through the usual channels about the business statement that was made last night. If they were—and I guess that they were—they must be considered to have been a party to today's exercise. I know that my colleagues were not consulted. [Interruption.] My colleagues are in the building and will come in later to register their disapproval; they trust me to make these points. There is probably a greater percentage of my party present now, personified by me, than of the Conservative party as personified by the occupants of the Government Benches.

If there was an agreement with the Labour party that all stages of the Bill should be taken so quickly, it should never have been made, for it goes against constitutional precedent and the right of hon. Members to have time to reflect and discuss so that they can do their job properly. That is why I say that the official Opposition must take their share of the blame.

The real blame, however, must be laid at the door of the Government and the Secretary of State. Once they decided to take over transport in London, they were asking for trouble. When they decided to nationalise London Transport, against all their declared policies, they were interfering. Having done it, they had a duty to try to do a better job than those who had been running London Transport previously. If this Bill is the first evidence of the Government running transport in Britain, and it is, it is a pathetic, sorry and bad example.

I hope that we learn the lesson never again to commit local authority functions to Government, because the Government are not worthy of the trust that they usurped when they took over those functions. Their interference has been shown by the courts to have been a disgrace, and by the high court of Parliament saying that the Bill is disgraceful and should not be passed. Only because the Government, for the time being—I hope for not much longer—have sufficient troops to get it through are they likely to succeed in doing so. We do not wish the Bill any success. I hope that the Secretary of State and his Department learn never to treat the House of Commons with such cavalier disrespect and lack of apology.

8.48 pm
Mr. Spearing

The Bill seeks to give authority to the Secretary of State to receive £258 million from the ratepayers of London to pass to LRT. During our debates there has been some argument whether that is £50 million or £30 million more than it should be.

We have had little time to probe the technical complexities of the matter. Anybody who doubts that needs only to read the speech made yesterday afternoon by the Secretary of State. In the debate yesterday, at column 903, I asked the right hon. Gentleman a question, but he did not, when he replied, answer me specifically. I shall put it to him again. I referred to the proceedings in Parliament on the money resolution which we passed on 7 February, and said: I assume that all the additional revenue over and above the requirements for this year will be used for improving the service or reducing fares. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman can give me that assurance. The right hon. Gentleman said: I am happy to give the hon. Gentleman that assurance categorically "— [Official Report, 7 February 1985; Vol. 72, c. 1214.] The right hon. Gentleman has used that adjective several times today. I gave grateful responses, but said that people would always be suspicious of the right hon. Gentleman whenever there was a bus around.

I am afraid that I had to ask further questions about that yesterday. I asked what the money was being spent on, and the Secretary of State said that the surplus was not £50 million, but £30 million, and that the liabilities would be £37 million, so there would be a deficit of £7 million. He said: The expected current cash surplus at the end of this financial year is not £50 million, as he said, but £30 million. As I said, it is necessary to provide for the needs of LRT, and they are, including the accrued unfunded liabilities, the following sums: £21 million for voluntary severance payments already agreed and accepted"— I take it that that is before 31 March— £6 million for insurance claims against LRT, which it will in due course have to pay; £4 million for claims outstanding on the Jubilee line"— the Jubilee line opened some years ago, so I cannot understand why it is still being paid for— £5 million in relation to development land tax which it owes and will have to pay; and £1 million for land compensation claims. That makes a total of £27 million". That does not tally with what the right hon. Gentleman told me on 7 February, when he said that the funds would be used for improving services and reducing fares. Is there compatibility between those two statements? I ask the Minister of State, who sometimes has to field the awkward balls for the Secretary of State, to reply to that point. There may be an explanation for it. I may have missed the vital clue, and the Minister knows what I mean by that. Whether or not the answer is satisfactory, this is an unhappy Bill.

Mr. Ridley

The understanding that I gave in the money resolution debate remains. Not one penny of this money goes to the Exchequer. It will all go to LRT. There has not been a change, and there will not be one. The hon. Gentleman asks whether the items that he has read out are compatible with improving the service and reducing fares. I listed those items in the context of the accrued liabilities and needs of LRT for the financial year ending 31 March 1985. It was an accountant's balancing that I gave. They are needed because the efficiency of London transport is going up and the costs are coming down. That means things such as redundancy and other costs that LRT will have to meet. I do not see the inconsistency that the hon. Gentleman is suggesting.

Mr. Spearing

I am grateful to the Secretary of State, and I hope the House will be indulgent, because this is the problem of rapid legislation. The extract from which I have just quoted continues to say that "auditors will certify" the £37 million as being due and having to be covered in this year's accounts." —[Official Report, 19 February 1985; Vol. 73, c. 945.] That may include redundancy, but one can have two views of this. Whether or not these sums are paid, the quality of services and the level of fares will not be affected one whit. I leave it to the House, the readers of Hansard, and perhaps the other place to judge between us on this matter.

The whole Bill has a whiff of impropriety about it. I shall go further and, in great seriousness, say that it has a whiff, slight though it be, of the Reichstag. We have only to think of the Secretary of State's behaviour at Question Time on this matter a little time ago and his statement yesterday excusing his sub judice gaff by saying that it was sub judice to him. When he was subjected to a genuine sub judice constraint, the result was a phrase which I hope will go into parliamentary language—it deserves to be written to some catchy tune— unlawful, irrational and procedurally improper". Had the Secretary of State taken the trouble to consult before making the direction, he might not be in this mess. Consideration before legislation is the historic watchword of this place and of parliamentary democracy. The right hon. Gentleman is not in tune with that, otherwise he would not have broken that law.

As there was no proper consultation, the whole affair was conceived without consultation. It was born out of illegality, brought before the House irrationally and is being passed by improper procedure. It will be remembered for the injury that it has almost certainly done to parliamentary democracy and if, as I very much hope, it has not done that, it has certainly done an injury to the Secretary of State and to the Government who have put him where he is.

We have not had proper time, but we are not the only people who have not had proper time. Because we did not have much time last night, and perhaps because he did not consult as widely as he might have done, the hapless Leader of the House had to accept the Prime Minister's motion earlier today, which means that there will be a plundering of London's ratepayers of £30 million to £50 million over what they should justifiably pay.

This is a contemptible Bill, and that is not surprising because it comes from a contemptible Government and from a Prime Minister who has contempt for the House. It may be that today, in two great democratic Assemblies across the Atlantic, both of which owe a great deal to the procedures of the House, the right hon. Lady will be praised for making a speech which she did not write. At home, that motion in her name has ridden roughshod over the procedures of the House. Even if she did not personally approve it, it is redolent and typical of the hon. Lady's attitude to this place.

It is not only typical of the right hon. Lady's attitude to this place, but typical of her attitude to the ordinary people of London—the least well-off people of London, mostly from Newham. It is mostly east London that has carried the debate today, and in previous stages, and that is no accident, because the Government do not understand ordinary people. There is anger in the country and it is being expressed in a way that Conservative Members do not understand.

Mrs. Chalker


Mr. Spearing

The Minister says "Nonsense". She is entirely out of touch.

Mr. John Ward (Poole)

It is a big act. The hon. Member deserves an Oscar for that performance.

Mr. Spearing

I am grateful for the attribute. This is not an act, because there is growing anger among many people, particularly those who are the least privileged and who have to pay more and more taxes that are required by this unjust Government. The Government say stupidly to the electorate that they want to reduce rates, yet, as a result of the Bill, people will have to pay more rates. The Bill is contemptible because it is in contempt of Parliament and, therefore, in contempt of the British people.

8.59 pm
Mr. Dobson

Perhaps I might begin by referring to the diversion caused by the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes). Had he listened to what the shadow Leader of the House said in the lengthy debate on whether all the remaining stages of the Bill should be taken today, he would have heard that the Labour party was not a party to any agreement to take the remainder of the Bill today. We were simply told that that was what the Government had decided. Had the hon. Gentleman been here at some ungodly hour this morning, at around 2.30 am—

Mr. Simon Hughes

I was.

Mr. Dobson

He may have had his eyes closed—he might have seen me sitting on the Front Bench shouting "Object" when the Government Whip moved that the Question be put.

The only reason why we had an opportunity to debate the business motion this afternoon, according even to the Leader of the House, was that I shouted "Object" at that time. I do not recall any brilliant Liberal or alliance contribution then. Instead of trying to suggest that there was collusion between the Labour party and the Government to try to smuggle the remaining stages of the Bill through today, the hon. Gentleman should get the facts straight. There was no collusion. Our response was complete opposition and we made use of the opportunities that were available, in a way that alliance Members did not.

Mr. Simon Hughes


Mr. Dobson

I am not giving way.

The Bill is unnecessary. The Secretary of State, following the decision of Mr. Justice McNeill that his original direction in the matter was unlawful, irrational and procedurally improper, could have issued a new lawful direction that would have met the operating needs of London Regional Transport in 1984–85. He did not choose to do that because he wanted to go beyond the law that he had proposed in 1984. Section 49 of the London Regional Transport Act 1984 permitted him only to meet the operating needs of LRT. He told the Committee on that Bill that he would call only for the sums that were strictly necessary. We have to consider the Bill in this shabby and hurried way because the Secretary of State wants to do more than that. He wants to require the GLC to pay to LRT a sum that will mean that it will have £50 million surplus to its operating needs. That is why the law has had to be changed and why the Secretary of State has not relied on making another direction.

The Bill is not about redrafting, but about changing the law. The Secretary of State is going back on a solemn undertaking that he gave in Committee on the London Regional Transport Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing), not a man given to making impassioned speeches, made an impassioned contribution. Conservative Members should ponder for a moment why he feels so passionately. It may be that, despite all their cant, he is upset about what has happened and feels that the people whom he was elected to represent are being robbed by the Secretary of State. They are sick of it, and my hon. Friend is sick of it. He is sick of being totally ignored by the Government when he is attempting to represent the interests of Londoners.

Mr. Spearing

Let us get the facts straight. It is one thing for the Government to do things legally and properly to the disadvantage of my constituents, immoral though the Government may be; it is quite another to do them by adopting an improper parliamentary procedure. That is why I was angry.

Mr. Dobson

That is right, and I do not think that my hon. Friend need explain his anger.

If we started awarding Oscars, perhaps the Secretary of State would get a few nominations. In 1984 he might have been Legislator of the Year, having introduced his own apparently inadequate section 49, or perhaps he might have been Issuer of Directions of the Year that have been found to be unlawful, irrational and procedurally improper. Tonight we have his final effort, presumably as Parliamentary Mathematician of the Year. He sought to upbraid my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) by asserting that the Bill had only one clause. I can only plead that the Chairman of Ways and Means then proceeded to call a clause stand part debate on clause 2.

I shall always defer to Mr. Speaker or to the Chairman of Ways and Means if there is any dispute about the number of clauses in a Bill. But if we have a Secretary of State who cannot even get that right, the chances of this legislation proving to be up to the job are not very good, and it is conceivable that we shall be back here again considering the London Regional Transport (Amendment) (Amendment) Bill if the right hon. Gentleman's track record is anything to go by.

In Committee, the Secretary of State said, and people took him at his word, that the GLC had asked that LRT's auditors should be requested to certify what its operating needs would be. The officials of the Department of Transport—democrats all, apparently—no doubt under instructions from the Secretary of State, refused that reasonable request on the ground that is was not germane to the issue. However, it was germane to the issue because, as the judge pointed out, the right hon. Gentleman was entitled to direct the GLC only to hand over money which was directed to meeting those operating needs. If he had been prepared to direct the GLC to hand over money to meet the operating needs, it would not have been necessary to bother the House with changing the law. The right hon. Gentleman could have made a lawful direction, but that is not what he has tried to do.

That is why my right hon. and hon. Friends representing constituencies in London have been most perturbed. We believe that if money which was paid by ratepayers to the GLC is not needed for the operating needs of LRT, it should not be handed over to LRT. It does not need it. If the money stayed with the GLC, it could be used for one of two purposes, or a combination of both—either to reduce the rate precept on Londoners, or to improve its services. In that way the ratepayers of London would gain 100 per cent. from the money staying with the GLC.

There is a further point which should appeal to the Secretary of State, who appears to believe that the paymaster should have some control over those to whom money is being paid. Both under the present Labour-controlled GLC and under previous Tory-controlled GLCs, it has always been the practice to hand over money raised by the rate precept to London Transport against performance by London Transport. If London Transport failed to carry out what the democratically elected GLC from year to year decided were its obligations, the GLC used to withhold some of the money. That is what the Tories normally call an incentive. It is wholly proper therefore that the GLC should not hand over money to LRT if LRT has not done everything that it was supposed to do or if the programme laid down by the GLC has not been carried out. The ratepayers are entitled to that degree of protection.

On the other hand, because of the relationship between central Government finance and rate finance for LRT, if the surplus goes to LRT, the ratepayers' maximum benefit can be only two thirds of the sum involved. Far from London ratepayers paying twice, it is in their positive interests not to pay over money surplus to the needs of LRT, as they will under the Bill. If the Secretary of State was willing to accept that the money to be paid over to LRT should meet only its operational needs, he could make a valid directon under the present law and would not need to change the primary legislation.

That is our case against this squalid little measure. We deeply deplore the way in which the measure has been put before the House. The situation is quite extraordinary. The ways and means resolution, which normally flows from a public Bill, was introduced and debated 10 days before the Bill itself. We then had the Second Reading debate yesterday. Today we have been expected to respond as best we can to the points made by the Secretary of State yesterday and to give proper and detailed consideration to the Bill.

It would not necessarily have taken a long time to give proper and detailed consideration to a two-clause Bill. What would take time—if we were properly to represent the Londoners who elected us and who pay taxes and rates —would be proper consideration of the detailed drafting and of what the Secretary of State has said, and the tabling of amendments which would explore further the points that the right hon. Gentleman has raised or perhaps make changes to the Bill. We have been denied the opportunity to do that job properly.

Having sat through the whole Committee stage of the Bill today, I do not think that we have done our job properly. I am not proud of the quality of debate this afternoon. The debate has been a mockery of the legislative process. If the Secretary of State does not agree, I do not know what he thinks would constitute a mockery of that process. We are all entitled, especially the London Members, to give proper consideration to these matters. We have been denied that opportunity. We deplore what has happened. What the Secretary of State has done is damaging not only to himself—I do not mind that—but to the interests of those who elected me and my hon. Friends. For that reason, we reject both the Bill and the Secretary of State who introduced it.

9.14 pm
Mr. Deakins

The Secretary of State has told us that the money is to go to LRT, not to the Government. We know that that is correct, not because the Secretary of State told us, but because that is what the Bill says. However, he did not tell us that the Government plan to cut their subsidy to LRT progressively and that if the Bill was not passed there could be no such subsidy reduction. Moreover, if the sum in the Bill had been reduced by the £50 million that my right hon. and hon. Friends wanted the level of subsidy cut would have been affected.

The Bill displays two types of incompetence — incompetence in the reasons for the Bill, and incompetence in the handling of it. The Government have anticipated the possibility of further incompetence by clause 1(2), which provides that if the Act is passed before 25 March one set of provisions will apply, and that if it is passed after that date there will be different proceedings for the transfer of money. There could be no better example of the state that the Department of Transport and the Government have got into.

With their large majority, the Government are in charge of the parliamentary timetable. The Bill was given a Second Reading on 19 February and refers to the Act receiving Royal Assent on 25 March. Why should the five weeks between those dates pose any problem for the Government? Nevertheless, the Government have panicked and included clause 1(2).

Legislation undertaken in panic is rarely good. Like many other things, the Bill shows that the Government are losing their grip and, I suspect, their reason. That is one reason why the House should reject the Bill.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—

The House divided: Ayes 229, Noes 155.

Division No. 118] [9.17 pm
Alexander, Richard Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble) Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Jones, Robert (W Herts)
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Bevan, David Gilroy Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine
Boscawen, Hon Robert Kershaw, Sir Anthony
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Key, Robert
Brandon-Bravo, Martin King, Roger (B'ham N'field)
Bright, Graham King, Rt Hon Tom
Brittan, Rt Hon Leon Knight, Gregory (Derby N)
Brooke, Hon Peter Knowles, Michael
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) Knox, David
Bruinvels, Peter Lamont, Norman
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Lang, Ian
Budgen, Nick Latham, Michael
Burt, Alistair Lawrence, Ivan
Butcher, John Lee, John (Pendle)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Cash, William Lester, Jim
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Lightbown, David
Chope, Christopher Lilley, Peter
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Lloyd, Ian (Havant)
Clegg, Sir Walter Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)
Cockeram, Eric Lord, Michael
Conway, Derek Luce, Richard
Coombs, Simon Lyell, Nicholas
Cranborne, Viscount McCrindle, Robert
Crouch, David McCurley, Mrs Anna
Dorrell, Stephen MacGregor, John
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)
Dunn, Robert MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)
Durant, Tony Madel, David
Fairbairn, Nicholas Major, John
Farr, Sir John Malins, Humfrey
Favell, Anthony Malone, Gerald
Fletcher, Alexander Maples, John
Fookes, Miss Janet Marland, Paul
Forman, Nigel Marlow, Antony
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Forth, Eric Mates, Michael
Franks, Cecil Mather, Carol
Freeman, Roger Maude, Hon Francis
Gale, Roger Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Galley, Roy Mayhew, Sir Patrick
Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde) Mellor, David
Garel-Jones, Tristan Merchant, Piers
Glyn, Dr Alan Meyer, Sir Anthony
Gower, Sir Raymond Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Grant, Sir Anthony Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Greenway, Harry Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)
Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N) Moate, Roger
Grist, Ian Monro, Sir Hector
Grylls, Michael Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Moore, John
Hampson, Dr Keith Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)
Hanley, Jeremy Moynihan, Hon C.
Hannam, John Murphy, Christopher
Hargreaves, Kenneth Needham, Richard
Haselhurst, Alan Nelson, Anthony
Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Newton, Tony
Hawksley, Warren Nicholls, Patrick
Hayes, J. Normanton, Tom
Hayward, Robert Norris, Steven
Heddle, John Onslow, Cranley
Henderson, Barry Oppenheim, Phillip
Hickmet, Richard Page, Sir John (Harrow W)
Hicks, Robert Page, Richard (Herts SW)
Hind, Kenneth Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil
Holt, Richard Parris, Matthew
Howard, Michael Patten, J. (Oxf W & Abdgn)
Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A) Pawsey, James
Howarth, Gerald (Cannock) Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk) Pollock, Alexander
Hubbard-Miles, Peter Porter, Barry
Hunt, David (Wirral) Portillo, Michael
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Powell, William (Corby)
Hunter, Andrew Powley, John
Jackson, Robert Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Proctor, K. Harvey Terlezki, Stefan
Raffan, Keith Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Renton, Tim Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
Rhodes James, Robert Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Thornton, Malcolm
Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas Thurnham, Peter
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Townend, John (Bridlington)
Rifkind, Malcolm Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy) Tracey, Richard
Robinson, Mark (N'port W) Trippier, David
Rossi, Sir Hugh Trotter, Neville
Rost, Peter Twinn, Dr Ian
Rumbold, Mrs Angela van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Sainsbury, Hon Timothy Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Sayeed, Jonathan Viggers, Peter
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey) Waddington, David
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb') Walden, George
Shelton, William (Streatham) Wall, Sir Patrick
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Waller, Gary
Skeet, T. H. H. Ward, John
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Soames, Hon Nicholas Watson, John
Speed, Keith Wells, 'Bowen (Hertford)
Speller, Tony Wheeler, John
Spencer, Derek Whitfield, John
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Whitney, Raymond
Stanbrook, Ivor Wilkinson, John
Steen, Anthony Winterton, Mrs Ann
Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton) Winterton, Nicholas
Stevens, Martin (Fulham) Wolfson, Mark
Stewart, Allan (Eastwood) Wood, Timothy
Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood) Yeo, Tim
Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire) Young, Sir George (Acton)
Stokes, John Younger, Rt Hon George
Stradling Thomas, J.
Sumberg, David Tellers for the Ayes
Taylor, John (Solihull) Mr. Archie Hamilton and
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E) Mr. Mark Lennox-Boyd.
Temple-Morris, Peter
Alton, David Crowther, Stan
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Cunningham, Dr John
Ashdown, Paddy Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli)
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham) Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)
Barnett, Guy Deakins, Eric
Barron, Kevin Dewar, Donald
Beckett, Mrs Margaret Dobson, Frank
Beith, A. J. Dormand, Jack
Benn, Tony Douglas, Dick
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh) Dubs, Alfred
Bermingham, Gerald Duffy, A. E. P.
Bidwell, Sydney Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.
Blair, Anthony Eadie, Alex
Boyes, Roland Eastham, Ken
Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E) Evans, John (St. Helens N)
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E) Ewing, Harry
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Fatchett, Derek
Bruce, Malcolm Faulds, Andrew
Buchan, Norman Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Caborn, Richard Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)
Campbell, Ian Fisher, Mark
Campbell-Savours, Dale Flannery, Martin
Canavan, Dennis Forrester, John
Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y) Foster, Derek
Carter-Jones, Lewis Fraser, J. (Norwood)
Cartwright, John Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald
Clarke, Thomas Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Clay, Robert Godman, Dr Norman
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Golding, John
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.) Gould, Bryan
Cohen, Harry Gourlay, Harry
Coleman, Donald Hamilton, James (M'well N)
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)
Cook, Frank (Stockton North) Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston) Haynes, Frank
Corbett, Robin Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Cowans, Harry Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall)
Craigen, J. M. Home Robertson, John
Hoyle, Douglas Park, George
Hughes, Dr. Mark (Durham) Parry, Robert
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Pavitt, Laurie
Hughes, Roy (Newport East) Penhaligon, David
Hughes, Simon (Southward) Pike, Peter
John, Brynmor Radice, Giles
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Randall, Stuart
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Redmond, M.
Kennedy, Charles Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)
Kirkwood, Archy Richardson, Ms Jo
Lambie, David Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Lamond, James Robertson, George
Leadbitter, Ted Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Leighton, Ronald Rowlands, Ted
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Sheldon, Rt Hon R.
Lewis, Terence (Worsley) Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Litherland, Robert Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Short, Mrs R.(W'hampt'n NE)
Loyden, Edward Skinner, Dennis
McCartney, Hugh Snape, Peter
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Soley, Clive
McKelvey, William Spearing, Nigel
Mackenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Stott, Roger
McNamara, Kevin Strang, Gavin
McTaggart, Robert Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
McWilliam, John Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)
Marek, Dr John Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Wainwright, R.
Mason, Rt Hon Roy Warden, Gareth (Gower)
Maxton, John Wareing, Robert
Maynard, Miss Joan Welsh, Michael
Meadowcroft, Michael White, James
Mikardo, Ian Williams, Rt Hon A.
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Winnick, David
Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby) Woodall, Alec
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe) Young, David (Bolton SE)
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Nellist, David Tellers for the Noes:
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Mr. Allen McKay and
O'Neill, Martin Mr. Lawrence Cunliffe.
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.

Back to