HC Deb 05 March 1985 vol 74 cc1045-138 12.45 pm
Mr. Jones

I shall not disagree with my hon. and learned Friend, because what he said is exactly what I tried to get out of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State — a projection of the future increased costs if the present illegal operations were made legal, or the savings that could be achieved to the public exchequer if those illegal operations were stopped. The amendment cannot achieve a twin objective, but I tell my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary that I intend to press the amendment to a Division, and I hope that it will be accepted, for the sake of the greatest public good.

Mr. Edward Leigh (Gainsborough and Horncastle)

The amendment has important implications for manpower, so I shall go into some detail on the implications that it may have for manpower in the various water authorities. To that end, I have obtained from the Vote Office the annual reports of all the water authorities, so that the House may consider them.

I shall deal first with the Anglian water authority. It is of particular interest to me because it covers my constituency. At 31 March 1983, that water authority employed 3,057 full-time permanent staff and 62 part-time permanent staff. One should consider the effects of the amendment on those numbers. One might imagine that the addition of fluoride to the water supply would not have an immense effect on them, but it might have a small effect. The Anglian water authority employs 70 temporary staff, making a total of 3,189.

The employment cost is of some interest, because it is a considerable burden on public spending. It amounts to £30,825,000—a very large sum. Overhead costs also have to be taken into account, as well as social security costs of £2,352,000, and even pensions costs of £2,810,000, making total employment costs of £35,987,000, less the sum attributed to capital schemes and rechargeable work.

I receive a number of letters from my constituents complaining about the recent large increase in the water rates imposed on them by the Anglian water authority, and I am worried about the effect of the Bill on the costs. It should be a matter of concern to all of us that the overall financial position of the Anglian water authority does not decline too much.

Mr. Fairbairn

Will my hon. Friend explain, first, how the social security costs apply in the case of the Anglian water authority? I should have thought that one did not pay people not to throw fluoride in the water. Secondly, can my hon. Friend tell us about the implications for Scotland, or any Scottish water authority, of the cost of this absurd totalitarian operation?

Mr. Leigh

My hon. and learned Friend makes a fair point about the Scottish water authorities. As I said at the beginning of what I hope will be my very short remarks, I have all the reports of all the water authorities. I hope to arrive at the figures for Scotland shortly.

My hon. and learned Friend speaks with great knowledge of Scotland, which is an area I certainly want to include in my remarks about the manpower and financial implications of the Bill. The point that he makes about social security is interesting, although I am not sure what impact fluoridation would have on the social security costs of the Anglian water authority. I suspect that it would be minor.

I shall now deal briefly with the Severn-Trent water authority. [Interruption.] No, I do not want to detain the House any longer than necessary, but I am interested in the Severn-Trent authority because it covers my constituency—

Mr. Christopher Hawkins

And High Peak.

Mr. Leigh

Yes, it includes High Peak. It is a wide-ranging water authority, running right across the country, as one might expect, from the Trent to the Severn.

The authority's turnover is extremely large— some £341,778,000. I am trying to find out the manpower implications of fluoride on an authority with a turnover of that figure. I have no doubt that they will be considerable. It cannot be said—it is brought home by the amendment—that if a water authority imposes the fluoridation of its water, it will not have some impact on the number of its employees. I have before me an analysis of total numbers of employees and employee costs in the Severn-Trent water authority, which is set out in note 19 on page 12 of the document. The figures are of great interest.

The number of full-time permanent staff employed by the Severn-Trent authority is given as 4,935; of part-time permanent staff, 72, and of temporary staff, 106. That gives a total of 5,113 employees. Those figures relate to 1982, but it is possible that as a result of the pressure being put on water authorities to put fluoride in the water, the numbers may increase, although by the year 1983–84 the number had gone down, being listed for that year as, full-time permanent staff, 4,833; part-time permanent, 77 and temporary, 77. The numbers now employed by the authority total 4,987.

I do not think it will be possible for an authority to put fluoride in the water without employing more staff. It affects all those who pay water rates to the Severn-Trent authority, which is wide-ranging and covers the constituencies of a number of my hon. Friends. My hon. Friend the Member for High Peak (Mr. Hawkins) is in his seat and may wish to comment on water rates and the manpower implications of the amendment.

Mr. Fairbairn

I am not sure whether I am fully awake. I hope that I am not. I am not sure where High Peak is. The water authority of which my hon. Friend is either boasting or complaining, has 4,833 employees already, in other words, it is an authority which says to itself, "Hurrah, let us employ people to do nothing". If it has to put in fluoride it will employ 10,487.

Mr. Leigh

My hon. and learned Friend makes an interesting point.

I think that my hon. Friend the Member for High Peak would be interested in the employment costs for the financial year. Large sums of public money are already being spent on staff, and I do not think it would be possible for fluoridation not to have some impact on employment costs.

Mr. Robert C. Brown

Perhaps I should declare an interest. I am secretary of the GMBATU group of Members of Parliament. That union organises the workers in the water industry. The hon. and learned Member for Perth and Kinross (Mr. Fairbairn) who just made an intervention is obsessed, among other things, with a reduction in manpower in the public services. He ought to be aware that the story of the water authorities is one of reductions in staff over recent years because of modernisation of methods. Every water authority has reduced its manual work force.

In a situation where water authorities will be forced to increase their manpower temporarily to cover safety requirements it is irresponsible of Conservative Members to argue that in no circumstances should any water authority have the right to increase its manpower. That is utterly irresponsible. The hon. and learned Member for Perth and Kinross is frequently irresponsible, but I am sure that the hon. Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh) would want to be responsible in his contribution.

Mr. Leigh

The hon. Gentleman makes some reasonable points. I would be the first to pay tribute to the way in which water authorities in recent years, no doubt with Government guidance and prompting, have succeeded in reducing staff. I hope that my hon. Friends will forgive me for saying this but I am worried about the amendment for that very reason. It is undoubtedly important to employ staff to maintain safety standards if fluoride is to be put in the water. In my short remarks today I wish to look at the manpower implications of putting fluoride in the water. I was dealing with employment costs.

Mr. Christopher Hawkins

I thank my hon. Friend for giving way. I feel that I should first tell my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Perth and Kinross (Mr. Fairbairn) that High Peak is south of Manchester and includes Buxton, Glossop, Whaley Bridge, New Mills, Chapel-en-le-Frith and 32 villages. With regard to the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh), I believe that there will have to be an increase in manpower. In the north we shall welcome that, as we could do with a reduction in unemployment. Since we are taxing water it would be rather nice to see something beneficial coming out of water, at least in terms of jobs even if it is water that we do not particularly want to drink.

I should like to remind my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle that on either the first or the second time that the Government tried to introduce this Bill—I do not think that it was the third time—I think the Minister for Health said that the Government would accept monitoring. That would also involve extra staff. There were proposals to monitor fluoride levels. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle knows that the studies that have been carried out in the United States show a massive variation in fluoride levels from house to house and area to area in towns even when it has been tried scientifically to make it one part per million. In some areas it has been above two and three parts per million, which is well above the recommended safe level.

Mr. Leigh

My hon. Friend the Member for High Peak in his usual thoughtful way makes an interesting point. I know that he speaks with great experience as an industrialist. No doubt as an industrialist he has been worried about the imposition of higher water rates. He has devoted his life to trying to improve job prospects and is now devoting himself to improving the water supply and the prospects for his constituents. I know that he will be concerned about the implications for the Severn-Trent authority water rates.

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Perth and Kinross made an interesting point earlier about social security costs. I do not know what the impact of the amendment will be on the social security costs of the Severn-Trent authority, but staffing costs alone already amount to the staggering sum of £3,711,000. That is a large enough imposition on the public purse, but when I add that the total social security costs stand at £6,923,000, the House will understand the concern about the impact that fluoridation may have.

1 pm

The authority's total employment costs are £99,308,000, manual workers accounting for £43,409,000 and staff for £55,899,000. That is less the sum attributable to capital schemes. Will such schemes be needed to put fluoride in the water? The accounts also relate to rechargeable works, and I am not sure what effect fluoridation will have on those. But because the sum that I mentioned earlier is less the sum attributable to them the total amount chargeable to profit and loss account in the Severn-Trent authority is £48,078,000 for staff alone. I should not have thought, though, that fluoridation would have much effect on the staff. Presumably it is mainly a manual operation. The costs of manual workers will be £35,334,000, chargeable to profit and loss account. The total is £83,412,000.

I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for High Peak, who is still in his place, will forgive me if I now deal with Yorkshire. The many hon. Members who represent Yorkshire constituencies will be interested in the implications of the Bill and the amendment on manpower, safety and health, a subject that takes up a considerable part of the report from the Yorkshire water authority. The report gives the number of employees, both permanent and temporary, on 31 March 1982, 1983 and 1984, converting full-time employees into full-time equivalent numbers.

It is, admittedly, unfortunate that such reports, which are a matter of considerable public interest, do not deal more fully with the impact of fluoridation on staffing. However, it is interesting to note that on 31 March 1982 the Yorkshire water authority employed 3,030½ permanent staff. That is an extraordinary figure.

Mr. Marlow

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. We have reached such a stage in this long debate that I cannot follow what my hon. Friend is saying. It is my fault, because I am exhausted, although I wish to speak. I beg to move, That the Question be now put.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Ernest Armstrong)

Not just at the moment.

Mr. Leigh

I regret the discourtesy of my hon. Friend in interrupting me when I was trying to inform the House of some very important facts.

Mr. Fairbairn

If my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle had been up all night he might understand the rather flaccid condition of our hon. Friend. But some of us have been doing this sort of thing for so long that we do not worry about it.

My hon. Friend has given us some figures about the Yorkshire authority's staffing. I must admit that my grandmother was a Yorkshirewoman, so I am not all bad. But my hon. Friend says that there are 3,000 employees in this water authority and 4,333 in the last one that he mentioned. How does the water authority, which I imagine is smaller, employ 1,000 more than the others? Can my hon. Friend justify that? If he cannot, will he say what the Government will do if the amendment is made? My guess is that those smaller water authorities that employ far more people than they need will take the view that this is a marvellous opportunity for jobs for the boys, and poor old Yorkshire will have only two others shovelling the fluoride into the water.

Mr. Leigh

My hon. and learned Friend is wrong. The Severn-Trent water authority is large, and covers much of the country from the lower Severn, from as far south-west as Gloucester — including Tewkesbury, Worcester, Shrewsbury, Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry and Derby—and, in its most north-eastern corner, it covers Gainsborough in Lincolnshire.

Mr. Fairbairn

My hon. Friend cannot have it both ways. Either the Yorkshire water authority is so minute that it does not justify 3,000 employees, or the other marvellous place that he mentioned does not justify 4,333 employees? Which does he mean? He must justify one or the other. Either one is overstaffed and the other overstaffed, or both are overstaffed. What are the implications of the amendment?

Mr. Leigh

Yes. I think that the implications of the amendment are worrying. However, I do not take my hon. and learned Friend's point about overstaffing. I beg to differ with him on that. The Severn-Trent water authority is a fine authority which has succeeded in reducing the number of employees. All water authorities have that record, and I should like to pay tribute to the fine public service that they provide. My hon. and learned Friend's intervention on this point did not have its customary—

Mr. Peter Bruinvels


Mr. Leigh

Yes, finesse. I hope that my hon. and learned Friend does not mind my saying that.

It is extraordinary that there seems to be half an employee employed by Yorkshire water authority. Perhaps that has something specifically to do with Yorkshire. It is interesting that the number of temporary staff is only 98. That is fewer than the number employed by the Severn-Trent authority. The number of temporary staff may have to increase if the amendment is agreed to. That makes a total of 3,128½—the half member of staff has not gone from the total—employed at present by Yorkshire water authority. I correct myself: that figure applied at 31 March 1982.

I turn to 31 March 1984. I am pleased to tell the House that the half member of staff seems to have been excised from the accounts. In response to the hon. Gentleman's point, the number of permanent staff has declined to 2,910. That is a great achievement by Yorkshire water authority which ratepayers there will welcome. However, the authority will be worried about the impact of the Bill upon the numbers of staff that it will have to employ That is listed under "Staff—others", which shows the figure of 3,085, with only 22 temporary staff.

The total permanent staff at present employed by the authority is 5,995. As last year's report makes clear, the staff figures for 31 March 1983 were considered artificially low at the time, because, prior to the reorganisation of April 1983, the authority had been cautious in recruiting. This left vacancies which later had to be filled. There were also new staff posts to be filled, and to set against the reduction of almost 300 which followed the reorganisation—including 60 new posts for the programme of renewing and refurbishing unlined cast iron mains. The House will wish to know that interesting statistic.

Much has been said in the debate about the damage that fluoride in mains may cause, although this has been denied. I am anxious about the possible impact of the Bill on the fine record and capital works of the Yorkshire water authority.

The report went on: The number of other employees continued to fall as the authority introduced more productivity payment schemes. That is an interesting point and I am sure that my hon. Friend will be anxious to try to ensure that there is more productivity in water authorities. If fluoride is put into water that may help productivity, but somehow I doubt it.

The report stated: As envisaged in the report on reorganisation, a new structure created the opportunity to develop better management information systems". Management information is most important and the water authorities have been criticised on occasions for not putting their views across and informing the public. However, lately they have had a good record of informing the public of their policies. Of course, there is still great public concern about fluoride.

The report continues: and by using that information to plan for increased efficiency. By the end of the year a number of cost saving initiatives were being considered which will reduce manning levels during the next performance aims period which ends in 1987. Clearly, the Yorkshire authority hopes and intends to reduce staff, but in view of the amendment we cannot be certain that it will succeed in its excellent aim. The report mentions training and explains that the authority is playing a leading role in taking part in the Government's youth training scheme. However, I do not wish to go into that matter but to stick strictly to the manpower consequences. Therefore, I shall deal briefly with the manpower implications of the amendment on the Welsh water authority, which will be of interest to all hon. Members.

I am now dealing with the Welsh authority's employee numbers and costs. The full-time permanent staff employed by that authority in 1983–84 stood at 2,442. That is an interesting point and I am sorry that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Perth and Kinross is not present because earlier we had a slight disagreement about the numbers employed and I believe that he made the point that too many were employed by the Severn-Trent authority. However, I am delighted to tell the House that Wales, which, although I have not visited it recently, is, obviously, a very large area with considerable responsibilities for the provision of water, has succeeded in employing a total of only 2,442 staff. That is a fine achievement on the part of the Welsh water authority.

However, I return to the point. Will the Bill have an impact on the numbers employed by the Welsh water authority, which has made great progress since 1982? In 1982–83, the number of staff employed by that authority stood at 2,558. That figure relates to full-time permanent staff and its manual staff stood at 2,625. I repeat that this is an interesting point but I should not think that whether an authority puts fluoride in water would have much impact on staff numbers although it may have one on the number of manual workers. That is of great interest in relation to the amendment because I believe that we are concerned about manual workers. Those figures give a total of 5,183 full-time and temporary staff employed.

I am sure that other hon. Members will want to deal with that point because the amendment would have an impact on the numbers of temporary staff. The annual report reveals that the Welsh water authority has a fine record, and I believe that the whole House will wish to pay tribute to it. I am glad to see my hon. Friends from Welsh constituencies in their places because they have consistently put forward the case for low water rates. I know that they are concerned about the impact that fluoride may have and they may later wish to intervene in my speech to raise particular points relating to Wales.

1.15 pm

I am dealing with the Welsh water authority. I was discussing the number of temporary staff, and I note that in 1983–84 the Welsh water authority employed 176. It is unfortunate that when the number of temporary staff is listed in the accounts, they do not mention how many of those temporaries are involved in fluoridation. Hon. Members are worried about those who are concerned with putting fluoride in water, but there were 176 temporary employees in 1983–84, but that number has decreased. I am sure that Welsh Members will be glad to know that the number of temporary staff employed by the Welsh water authority is now only 163. My mathematics are not good, but that shows a significant reduction.

Mr. Peter Bruinvels

It is 13.

Mr. Leigh

My hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Bruinvels) says that it is 13. I do not know whether he has managed to work out the percentages in his head—that may be more difficult. However, it shows that he has an impressive grasp of mathematics.

Mr. Gwilym Jones

I am pleased to see my hon. Friend taking such an interest in the Welsh water authority as I am sure he followed with great interest the Welsh day debate that we had in the Chamber last Thursday.

Does my hon. Friend accept that my constituents in Cardiff, North and, indeed, all constituents in the 38 Welsh constituencies, do not want the costs of the Welsh water authority to increase, whether for manpower on fluoride or anything else? Our constituents would prefer to see the costs of the Welsh water authority fall by eliminating the present fluoridation schemes in Wales. Costs could be saved if those activities did not continue.

Mr. Leigh

My hon. Friend is well known for standing up for the water ratepayers in his constituency and in Wales generally. The knowledgeable and thoughtful points that he makes will wing their way back to the main newspapers in Wales. I know that he is concerned—as I am—that if we pursue the policy of fluoridation, the excellent record of the Welsh water authority and other water authorities in decreasing staff may decline.

I have been quoting figures, but the public do not really understand figures too well. It is interesting to note that the total cost of the wages and salaries of the Welsh water authority in 1983 was £26,057,000, which is a considerable sum. I am sorry that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Perth and Kinross is not here as I know that he is very interested in social security costs. The social security costs of the Welsh water authority were £2,014,000 and pensions costs were £2,450,000. I am not sure what the impact of fluoridation will be on pension costs, but if a water authority must take on more staff—perhaps detailed specialists—that could have an impact on pension costs. Therefore, employment costs totalled £30,521,000. That figure is less the sum attributable to capital schemes and chargeable works which is £4,078,000, with a chargeable profit and loss account of £26,443,000.

Mr. Greg Knight (Derby, North)

I am grateful to my hon. Friend and am most interested in what he is saying. Is he aware that some years ago, home rule fanatics in Wales threatened terrorist activity against the water supply? Is there not a danger that if the measure is passed, there may be an increase in such terrorist activity against the Welsh water supply which would increase running costs?

Mr. Leigh

My hon. Friend makes an interesting point, but I do not wish to comment, as my knowledge of Welsh politics is not up to it.

I shall refer briefly to the Wessex water authority. I am not sure whether any of the hon. Members in the House at present represent Wessex seats. However, this matter will be of interest to hon. Members generally whether the amendment is accepted or not. Wessex water authority is a large authority and covers a considerable area from Bristol to Bournemouth, Poole and Dorchester, and includes Taunton, Bridgwater, Yeovil and Salisbury.

It is interesting to note that 1,202 full-time permanent staff were employed by the Wessex water authority on 31 March, although I am not sure how many were involved in the process of putting fluoride in water. That very large water authority employs a very small number of staff. I do not know whether that is due to the fact that the area is mainly a Conservative part of the country. No doubt the representatives of the water authority are concerned with cutting staff and Conservatives will be especially concerned that the number of staff does not increase. There will be concern about the impact of the Bill on the number of staff.

Only 10 part-time permanent staff are employed by the water authority and the number of temporary staff is 83. Again, the number of temporaries employed is lower than in other water authorities. I cannot give the number of temporary staff engaged in fluoridation of water.

Mr. Forth

In his riveting presentation to the House my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh) put the thought into my head and, I suspect, those of other right hon. and hon. Members that it might be a good idea if water authorities were asked in future, especially in the context of this legislation, to include in their annual reports details of the number of employees and, therefore, the cost of fluoridation of water. My hon. Friend has expressed the view several times—I agree with him on this matter—that we are unable to extract from the annual reports and accounts the exact cost and resource element of fluoridation. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the House might make a recommendation, if not a statutory obligation, to water authorities to include such information in future reports?

Mr. Leigh

Yes. I agree with my hon. Friend, who made a very fair point. I have gone through the reports in great detail and I have been concerned that, although clearly some staff are involved in the fluoridation process, the accounts do not list them. Those members of the public who are concerned about their water rates and about fluoride being put into water will want to know the exact cost and the number of staff involved. That is an important point.

I want to turn to a very important authority. The Thames water authority covers a considerable area of the south-east and will be of interest to the House. It covers Swindon, Banbury, Marlborough, and extends from the west to Reigate and Crawley. I do not see my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley (Mr. Soames) in the Chamber, but I know that he was here earlier and that he is interested in this matter.

A considerable proportion of this document is concerned with the manpower of the Thames water authority. It says that this is the significant event of the year affecting industrial relations, with the abolition of the National Water Council. The sponsors of the amendment should address themselves to this important point and I hope that the Government will take cognisance of it.

Mr. Michael Brown

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I beg to move, That further consideration of the Bill be now adjourned.

We are now at an appropriate stage of the proceedings when the House should have the opportunity to consider whether, bearing in mind the relevance of the hour, we wish to continue further debate on this Bill or to debate the business set down for Wednesday 6 March. Purely on the basis that it may be a convenient opportunity now for the House to take that decision, I beg to move.

Mr. Marlow

It would be irresponsible of the House to prevent Wednesday's business from being considered. Many hon. and right hon. Gentlemen are exhausted. We are discussing an important issue. The Minister has made many important points. Many hon. Members who will be speaking to later amendments wish to consider the matter and to do further research. The best thing that we can do today is to adjourn the debate and hear Wednesday's business. We can return to the debate at a later stage. I beg to move, That further consideration of the Bill be now adjourned.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

That is the question before the House. It is now debatable.

Mr. Martin J. O'Neill (Clackmannan)

The Opposition are not in favour of the closure at this time, although it is true that we have been discussing the issue for a considerable period. More hon. Members are coming into the Chamber now and are taking a new-found interest in the matter. It is wholly appropriate for those individuals to have the opportunity to speak if they so wish. We all have priorities in our work and in many instances people are now able to devote more time to it. Pressing matters which might have been debated today will probably involve many hon. Members in the preparation of speeches which they would not have been capable of making without copies of the Bridge report. The tardy way in which that has been made available has enabled individual Members to divide their time clearly. Hon. Members are now coming into the Chamber and we can expect the debate to go on for some time.

I do not wish to use the word hypocritical, but it is difficult to find any other word that would adequately describe the attitude of Conservative Members who, having held up the proceedings of the House for a considerable time, now wish to terminate it because it suits their purpose. If it were not for the fact that Conservative Members in large measure form a section of the awkward squad, I would have suggested that they may have been got at by the Whips. I am led to believe that that is not the case and so far as this matter is concerned, their integrity is unsullied.

Mr. Christopher Hawkins

I wonder whether the hon. Member should assume that any Conservative Member wants to draw stumps or even imagines that there is the remotest chance of stumps being drawn at this stage, because we know that there are others who do not want to draw stumps. The hon. Gentleman might like to bear in mind the fact that voting takes 15 minutes. The time does not have to be filled with speaking.

Mr. O'Neill

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that helpful intervention. I am not quite sure what he intended by it, but Opposition Members would be happy for the debate to continue for as long as necessary. My colleagues and I will be joining those who oppose the closure as and when an opportunity to vote on the matter arises. Until then, we await information of a more substantial nature from Conservative Members.

Mr. John Patten

Perhaps it might be appropriate for me to draw to the attention of the House that thus far we have had a very interesting debate. Those who have been in the Chamber throughout the debate, as so many right hon. and hon. Friends have been, will not need that drawn to their attention. The debate has been very level-headed and good tempered and I pay tribute to my colleagues and to right hon. and hon. Members of the Opposition for the way in which the debate has been conducted.

We have made considerable progress in the debate. It is manifestly clear that everyone to whom I have listened is well aware of the issues. They have discussed the issues crisply and clearly and the debate is making good progress. We are now in the fourteenth hour of the debate. It is going well and good progress is being made. We in Parliament are working while the shops and offices of the nation are working. It is appropriate for us to be discussing these issues and to give ourselves the chance during what remains of today's Sitting to examine the issues at greater length.

We are not far from the end of our consideration of the amendments. It would be a disservice to the House if the Government recommended that we should report progress at this stage, draw stumps, and discuss the matter on another occasion. It would be much more appropriate to go on and complete the discussion.

1.30 pm
Mr. Marlow

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. All I ask is for the House to be given the right to vote on the issue now.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. That is not a point of order. The Question is before the House.

Mr. Greg Knight

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. Member for Clackmannan (Mr. O'Neill) said that he thought that Conservative Members had been got at by the Whips. That is an outrageous suggestion, which impugns our honour. I invite the hon. Gentleman to withdraw that remark.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman knows that that is not a matter for me.

Mr. O'Neill

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I was careful not to say that; I said that the thought had passed through my mind, but I had dismissed it from my mind. I am afraid that the length of the debate may be such that some hon. Gentlemen are not paying their usual attention.

Mr. Knight

I accept that explanation.

Question put, That further consideration of the Bill be now adjourned:—

The House divided: Ayes 48, Noes 196.

Division No. 147] [1.31 pm
Alton, David Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)
Ashby, David Hunter, Andrew
Beith, A. J. Irving, Charles
Bellingham, Henry Jones, Robert (W Herts)
Blackburn, John Kirkwood, Archy
Budgen, Nick Knight, Gregory (Derby N)
Carttiss, Michael McCartney, Hugh
Cash, William McGuire, Michael
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.) McNamara, Kevin
Cohen, Harry Morris, M. (N'hampton, S)
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Norris, Steven
Conway, Derek Park, George
Corbett, Robin Parris, Matthew
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Parry, Robert
Dalyell, Tam Patchett, Terry
Dixon, Donald Penhaligon, David
Evans, John (St. Helens N) Rost, Peter
Fairbairn, Nicholas Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Fookes, Miss Janet Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
Grist, Ian Terlezki, Stefan
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Williams, Rt Hon A.
Hancock, Mr. Michael
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Tellers for the Ayes:
Hayward, Robert Mr. Tony Marlow and
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Mr. Michael Brown.
Alexander, Richard Boscawen, Hon Robert
Ancram, Michael Bottomley, Peter
Ashton, Joe Bottomley, Mrs Virginia
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y) Boyes, Roland
Barron, Kevin Brandon-Bravo, Martin
Bevan, David Gilroy Bright, Graham
Biffen, Rt Hon John Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E)
Blair, Anthony Bruinvels, Peter
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Buchan, Norman
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Lyell, Nicholas
Butler, Hon Adam McCrindle, Robert
Butterfill, John McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Campbell-Savours, Dale Macfarlane, Neil
Canavan, Dennis MacGregor, John
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Chalker, Mrs Lynda MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n) McKelvey, William
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Mackenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Maclennan, Robert
Clarke, Thomas McQuarrie, Albert
Clwyd, Mrs Ann McTaggart, Robert
Cockeram, Eric Major, John
Colvin, Michael Malins, Humfrey
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston) Marland, Paul
Cope, John Maude, Hon Francis
Corrie, John Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Couchman, James Mayhew, Sir Patrick
Currie, Mrs Edwina Meadowcroft, Michael
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l) Mellor, David
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Dubs, Alfred Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)
Duffy, A. E. P. Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Dunn, Robert Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Durant, Tony Monro, Sir Hector
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Moore, John
Eggar, Tim Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)
Eyre, Sir Reginald Moynihan, Hon C.
Fallon, Michael Murphy, Christopher
Farr, Sir John Needham, Richard
Fatchett, Derek Nellist, David
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Nelson, Anthony
Fisher, Mark Neubert, Michael
Fletcher, Alexander Newton, Tony
Foulkes, George Nicholls, Patrick
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Page, Sir John (Harrow W)
Freud, Clement Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Galley, Roy Patten, J. (Oxf W & Abdgn)
George, Bruce Pavitt, Laurie
Golding, John Pollock, Alexander
Goodlad, Alastair Powley, John
Gorst, John Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Gower, Sir Raymond Randall, Stuart
Grant, Sir Anthony Rees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover)
Greenway, Harry Renton, Tim
Hamilton, James (M'well N) Rhodes James, Robert
Hanley, Jeremy Richardson, Ms Jo
Hannam, John Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Harris, David Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Hawkins, C. (High Peak) Robinson, Mark (N'port W)
Hawkins, Sir Paul (SW N'folk) Roe, Mrs Marion
Hayhoe, Barney Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Henderson, Barry Ryder, Richard
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Hordern, Peter Scott, Nicholas
Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S) Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Hunt, David (Wirral) Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Shelton, William (Streatham)
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Shersby, Michael
Jessel, Toby Skinner, Dennis
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Smyth, Rev W. M. (Belfast S)
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Soames, Hon Nicholas
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Soley, Clive
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Spencer, Derek
Kennedy, Charles Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Kershaw, Sir Anthony Squire, Robin
Kilroy-Silk, Robert Stanley, John
King, Roger (B'ham N'field) Stern, Michael
King, Rt Hon Tom Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Knox, David Stradling Thomas, J.
Lambie, David Taylor, John (Solihull)
Lamond, James Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
Lang, Ian Thornton, Malcolm
Lee, John (Pendle) Thurnham, Peter
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Tracey, Richard
Lilley, Peter Trippier, David
Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham) Viggers, Peter
Lord, Michael Waddington, David
Wainwright, R. Wells, Bowen (Hertford)
Wakeham, Rt Hon John Wheeler, John
Waldegrave, Hon William Whitfield, John
Walden, George Whitney, Raymond
Walker, Bill (T'side N) Wilson, Gordon
Wallace, James Wolfson, Mark
Waller, Gary Young, Sir George (Acton)
Ward, John
Wardle, C. (Bexhill) Tellers for the Noes:
Watson, John Mr. Archie Hamilton and
Watts, John Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones.

Question accordingly negatived.

Mr. John Cope

rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question put, That the Question be now put:—

The House divided: Ayes 140, Noes 87.

Division No. 148] 1.42 pm
Alexander, Richard Lee, John (Pendle)
Ancram, Michael Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y) Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)
Bevan, David Gilroy Lord, Michael
Biffen, Rt Hon John Lyell, Nicholas
Boscawen, Hon Robert McCrindle, Robert
Bottomley, Peter Macfarlane, Neil
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia MacGregor, John
Bright, Graham MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Maclennan, Robert
Butler, Hon Adam McQuarrie, Albert
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Marland, Paul
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n) Maude, Hon Francis
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Mayhew, Sir Patrick
Cope, John Meadowcroft, Michael
Corrie, John Mellor, David
Couchman, James Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Currie, Mrs Edwina Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l) Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Mitchell, David (NW Hants)
Dunn, Robert Moore, John
Durant, Tony Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Moynihan, Hon C.
Eggar, Tim Needham, Richard
Eyre, Sir Reginald Nelson, Anthony
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Neubert, Michael
Fletcher, Alexander Newton, Tony
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Nicholls, Patrick
Freud, Clement Page, Sir John (Harrow W)
Garel-Jones, Tristan Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Goodlad, Alastair Patten, J. (Oxf W & Abdgn)
Gorst, John Penhaligon, David
Gower, Sir Raymond Pollock, Alexander
Grant, Sir Anthony Powley, John
Greenway, Harry Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom) Rees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover)
Hanley, Jeremy Renton, Tim
Harris, David Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Hawkins, Sir Paul (SW N'folk) Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Hayhoe, Barney Robinson, Mark (N'port W)
Henderson, Barry Roe, Mrs Marion
Hordern, Peter Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Hunt, David (Wirral) Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Ryder, Richard
Irving, Charles Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Scott, Nicholas
Jessel, Toby Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Shersby, Michael
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Soames, Hon Nicholas
Kennedy, Charles Spencer, Derek
Kershaw, Sir Anthony Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
King, Roger (B'ham N'field) Squire, Robin
King, Rt Hon Tom Stanley, John
Knox, David Stern, Michael
Lamont, Norman Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Stradling Thomas, J. Ward, John
Taylor, John (Solihull) Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Thompson, Donald (Calder V) Watson, John
Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N) Watts, John
Thurnham, Peter Wells, Bowen (Hertford)
Tracey, Richard Wheeler, John
Trippier, David Whitfield, John
Viggers, Peter Whitney, Raymond
Waddington, David Wolfson, Mark
Wakeham, Rt Hon John Young, Sir George (Acton)
Waldegrave, Hon William
Walden, George Tellers for the Ayes:
Wallace, James Mr. John Major and
Waller, Gary Mr. Ian Lang.
Alton, David Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Ashby, David Hawkins, C. (High Peak)
Beith, A. J. Hawksley, Warren
Blackburn, John Hayward, Robert
Boyes, Roland Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) Hunter, Andrew
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E) Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Brown, R. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne N) Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Bruinvels, Peter Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Buchan, Norman Kirkwood, Archy
Budgen, Nick Knight, Gregory (Derby N)
Caborn, Richard Lamond, James
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Carttiss, Michael Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Cash, William McKelvey, William
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Mackenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Clwyd, Mrs Ann McNamara, Kevin
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.) McTaggart, Robert
Cohen, Harry Monro, Sir Hector
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Morris, M. (N'hampton, S)
Conway, Derek Norris, Steven
Cook, Frank (Stockton North) O'Neill, Martin
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Corbett, Robin Park, George
Cunliffe, Lawrence Parry, Robert
Dalyell, Tam Patchett, Terry
Dixon, Donald Randall, Stuart
Dubs, Alfred Richardson, Ms Jo
Duffy, A. E. P. Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Evans, John (St. Helens N) Skinner, Dennis
Farr, Sir John Smyth, Rev W. M. (Belfast S)
Fatchett, Derek Spearing, Nigel
Fisher, Mark Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
Fookes, Miss Janet Stott, Roger
Forrester, John Terlezki, Stefan
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Thornton, Malcolm
Forth, Eric Wainwright, R.
Galley, Roy Wilson, Gordon
George, Bruce Winnick, David
Golding, John Woodall, Alec
Grist, Ian
Hamilton, James (M'well N) Tellers for the Noes:
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Mr. Tony Marlow and
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Mr. Nicholas Fairbairn.
Hancock, Mr. Michael

Question agreed to.

Question put accordingly, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 60, Noes 156.

Division No. 149] [1.53 pm
Alton, David Campbell-Savours, Dale
Ashby, David Carttiss, Michael
Beith, A. J. Cash, William
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.)
Bruinvels, Peter Conway, Derek
Budgen, Nick Cook, Frank (Stockton North)
Butterfill, John Dalyell, Tam
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) Dixon, Donald
Fairbairn, Nicholas McGuire, Michael
Fallon, Michael McKelvey, William
Farr, Sir John McNamara, Kevin
Fookes, Miss Janet McTaggart, Robert
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Marlow, Antony
Forth, Eric Monro, Sir Hector
Galley, Roy Morris, M. (N'hampton, S)
Greenway, Harry Norris, Steven
Grist, Ian Parris, Matthew
Hancock, Mr. Michael Penhaligon, David
Hargreaves, Kenneth Randall, Stuart
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Hawkins, C. (High Peak) Smyth, Rev W. M. (Belfast S)
Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A) Stern, Michael
Irving, Charles Stevens, Martin (Fulham)
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
Kennedy, Charles Terlezki, Stefan
Kilroy-Silk, Robert Thornton, Malcolm
Kirkwood, Archy Woodall, Alec
Knight, Gregory (Derby N) Young, David (Bolton SE)
Lamond, James
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Tellers for the Ayes:
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Mr. Michael Brown and
McCartney, Hugh Mr. Neil Hamilton.
Alexander, Richard Harris, David
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Hawkins, Sir Paul (SW N'folk)
Ancram, Michael Hayhoe, Barney
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y) Henderson, Barry
Beckett, Mrs Margaret Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Bevan, David Gilroy Hunt, David (Wirral)
Biffen, Rt Hon John Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Boscawen, Hon Robert Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Bottomley, Peter Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
Boyes, Roland Kershaw, Sir Anthony
Bray, Dr Jeremy King, Roger (B'ham N'field)
Bright, Graham King, Rt Hon Tom
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E) Knox, David
Brown, R. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne N) Lambie, David
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Lamont, Norman
Butler, Hon Adam Lang, Ian
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Lee, John (Pendle)
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Lilley, Peter
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)
Colvin, Michael Lyell, Nicholas
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. McCrindle, Robert
Cope, John McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Corbett, Robin Macfarlane, Neil
Couchman, James MacGregor, John
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)
Currie, Mrs Edwina Mackenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l) Major, John
Dobson, Frank Maude, Hon Francis
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Duffy, A. E. P. Mayhew, Sir Patrick
Dunn, Robert Meadowcroft, Michael
Durant, Tony Mellor, David
Edwards, Bob (W'h'mpt'n SE) Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)
Eggar, Tim Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Evans, John (St. Helens N) Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)
Eyre, Sir Reginald Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Moore, John
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)
Fisher, Mark Moynihan, Hon C.
Fletcher, Alexander Needham, Richard
Forrester, John Nelson, Anthony
Foulkes, George Neubert, Michael
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Newton, Tony
Freud, Clement Nicholls, Patrick
Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde) O'Neill, Martin
Golding, John Page, Sir John (Harrow W)
Goodlad, Alastair Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Gower, Sir Raymond Patten, J. (Oxf W & Abdgn)
Hamilton, James (M'well N) Pollock, Alexander
Hanley, Jeremy Powley, John
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Taylor, John (Solihull)
Rees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover) Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
Renton, Tim Thurnham, Peter
Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas Tracey, Richard
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy) Trippier, David
Robinson, Mark (N'port W) Viggers, Peter
Roe, Mrs Marion Waddington, David
Rogers, Allan Wainwright, R.
Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Rumbold, Mrs Angela Waldegrave, Hon William
Ryder, Richard Walden, George
Sainsbury, Hon Timothy Wallace, James
Scott, Nicholas Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey) Watson, John
Sheerman, Barry Watts, John
Shersby, Michael Weetch, Ken
Skinner, Dennis Wheeler, John
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Whitfield, John
Soames, Hon Nicholas Whitney, Raymond
Spencer, Derek Wilson, Gordon
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Wolfson, Mark
Squire, Robin Young, Sir George (Acton)
Stanley, John
Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton) Tellers for the Noes:
Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire) Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones and
Stradling Thomas, J. Mr. Archie Hamilton.

Question accordingly negatived.

  1. Clause 2
    1. cc1060-138
    2. POWER TO VARY PERMITTED FLUORIDATION AGENTS 44,581 words, 2 divisions
Forward to