HC Deb 24 October 1985 vol 84 cc508-61

Lords amendments again considered.

Question again proposed, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Best

One can understand the argument that the majority must always have sway, that it is a question of the greatest good done for the greatest number. Perhaps I have not quoted Bentham with complete accuracy. It is one thing to say that in matters which do not affect the health and well-being of individuals, but it is an entirely different matter to say that in respect of an individual who for the sustenance of life must drink from the water supply and has no alternative source. I do not subscribe to this view, and I hope that the House rejects the view that in this respect the greatest good for the greatest number must hold sway.

Mr. John Golding (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that Jeremy Bentham is one of the deader constituents in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson)? The hon. Member looks as if he died from fluoride poisoning.

Mr. Best

The hon. Gentleman has made a personal reference and I will not follow him down that route.

Many people claim to be adversely affected by fluoride. Some of those claims are groundless. One also knows that there is conclusive evidence that fluoride can be harmful. It was said somewhat uncharitably about my hon. Friend the Minister then responsible for the passage of this Bill —not by me, I hasten to add—that he had been an opponent of artificial fluoridation for most of his life and I think he said it was his duty to oppose it. He is no Longer a member of the Front Bench and is not dealing with this Bill. He answered a parliamentary question of mine which I quoted in the earlier debate. I do not have it to hand, but it demonstrated quite conclusively that in certain concentrations fluoride causes harm to people.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Member has strayed from the amendment.

Mr. Best

I am properly brought to order. I do not wish to allege that the hon. Gentleman led me astray. It is my own misfeasance if I allowed him to do so.

Mr. Hickmet

My hon. Friend complains about the amendment inasmuch as it deletes the requirement that the water undertaker shall not at the same time increase the fluoride content of water supplied by it to areas outside that covered by the application. As my hon. Friend will appreciate, that is an absolute test, an absolute rule. If the statutory undertaker, even minutely or in a limited way, were to affect the water supplied to areas outside the area covered by the application, the statutory undertaker would be in breach of the Act.

Will my hon. Friend address his mind to how we can enact a Bill to give a right to fluoridate water to the relevant statutory undertaker if we wish to prevent it from being supplied to an area outside that covered by the application when there is an absolute test? In other words, an absolute test would negate the whole purpose of the Bill. An absolute test would make it virtually impossible for a statutory undertaker to fluoridate the water without in some respects affecting water outside the area of the application. How would my hon. Friend like to see the Bill drafted? What is wrong about the way it has been amended? What is wrong with an amendment which gets round the absolute test without which one could not possibly fluoridate the water?

Mr. Best

If the House will forgive me, I shall play the devil's advocate and give what I suspect would be the Government's answer to that question. No doubt they would say that it is impossible to have an absolute test to ensure that any area outside that covered by the application would not receive artificially fluoridated water. We cannot draw boundaries with the necessary distinction and clarity. No doubt the Government would also say that it is common sense to delete the words—though that means that the original clause must have been nonsense —because we cannot ensure that outside areas will not be artificially fluoridated.

I was asked how I would overcome that problem. I would lean in favour of the individual and of the individual's choice. Therefore, I would put the onus on the health authority or authorities and the statutory water undertaker or undertakers to ensure that anybody who was likely to receive artificially fluoridated water was covered by an application. If a health authority made an application and there was a likelihood or a danger of fluoridated water going into an area outside that for which the application was made, the authority should have to ensure that its neighbouring authority, covering the outside area, made an application in respect of that area.

I would shift the onus on to the bodies that sought to fluoridate the water supply. The trouble with the clause is that the onus is on those who do not wish to receive fluoridated water. I find it extraordinary that more hon. Members, especially Opposition Members, do not understand that insidious development.

Mr. Golding

I do not see how the transportation of fluoridated water can be avoided. When some of us go fishing, we fill flasks with tea or coffee which may be made with fluoridated water. We may go to a river 70 or 80 miles away and at the end of the day pour into a stream the tea or coffee that we have not consumed. How could a water authority or a health authority control that massive transportation of fluoridated water?

Mr. Best

The hon. Gentleman's argument is flawed, not to say transparent. In the circumstances outlined by the hon. Gentleman, control would be impossible, but, in fairness to the Bill, I should make it clear that it says that the statutory water undertaker is obliged to ensure that water supplied by it to areas outside that covered by its application will not be artificially fluoridated. So there is a measure of control there.

I can answer the hon. Gentleman with an example from my own constituency. As well as being the most beautiful constituency in the country, it is also an island and is able to receive water supplies fairly isolated from the mainland. In consequence, it would be very easy to ensure that fluoridated water went only on to the island of Ynys Môn and did not go to Gwynedd. Indeed, there is a new water link from the mainland to Ynys Môn which tops up the water to Anglesey in the event of drought or of reservoirs reaching a low level. The nonsense of that is that that water is not fluoridated and so the amount of the fluoride which is provided to Ynys Môn is unknown because it is dissipated by the addition at certain times of non-fluoridated water.

Mr. Bruinvels

Has my hon. Friend considered the point that in Eire the water is fluoridated already? Are not the hon. Members' constituents already in danger of fluoridated water coming across the Irish sea?

Mr. Best

Much comes across the Irish sea and I will not speculate on whether it is all beneficial or harmful. If my hon. Friend will allow me, I will not follow him down that path.

Mr. Hickmet


Mr. Best

I will give way in a moment.

The problem of this amendment is not just what I have already stated. The notes on the Lords amendment—one is always grateful to the Government for producing notes on Lords amendments or on any other matter, and I congratulate them on having done so—on clause 1 say: This amendment clarifies the meaning of Clause 1 subclause 1 by deleting the final wording. "Clarifies"!

The House may well feel enlightened as a result of my words tonight, but I doubt whether I shall have clarified the matter because it is not capable of clarification. Members may feel like the judge who listened to F.E. Smith when he said, "Your Honour may well be none the wiser but he is certainly better informed." I feel that I may well have better informed the House tonight, but it may well be that the House is none the wiser.

Mr. Gwilym Jones (Cardiff, North)

In his attempt to be fair-minded and even-handed, and even in his attempt to put the Government's case for them on this Lords amendment, on which I doubt that they would have dared to put such an argument, I am worried by the horrifying prospect that is being opened up as a result of the Lords amendment. My hon. Friend has talked about the onus on the health authority having regard to a neighbouring health authority, but where is the onus or obligation on the water authority? Take the remote possibility of a request being made for the Ynys Môn water supply to be fluoridated. The onus having been removed as a result of this amendment, what control would there be on the water authority for it not to treat the rest of its area in the same way? We would have the ridiculous situation of the Welsh water authority deciding, if it has a request for Ynys Môn water to be fluoridated, that there is no obligation on it not to fluoridate neighbouring areas. By that interpretation, my constituency of Cardiff, North, 200 miles——

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harold Walker)

Order. I thought that the hon. Member was making an intervention, but it is now turning into a speech. Interventions must be brief.

Mr. Best

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I hope that he will be able later to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and will amplify his point.

These are the inherent anomalies. This is a very limited debate because it is entirely about the words to be deleted. Unfortunately, there is much more to be said on other amendments, so I shall proceed.

10.15 pm

Hon. Members have done the House a service by pointing out that anomalies will result from reducing safeguards. The Lords amendment removes the safeguards in a poignant and insidious way. If we knew on the best evidence available that the majority of people in the country, or even the majority in certain areas, were in favour of the artificial fluoridation of water supplies, the debate would not be so important. However, the debate is about areas outside those covered by an application and it is important precisely because we know on the best evidence available most people are against the fluoridation of water supplies.

The people might be misinformed. They might be totally misguided. They might be the lackeys of those who use scaremongering tactics to lead people down a path where no rational human being would go. Socialists behave like that every time Conservative Governments are elected and Conservatives do the same whenever Socialist Governments are elected. Misguided or misled, that is their view and it is the substance of democracy.

I take issue with the hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis) who in an intervention quoted a letter. He suggested that people were incapable of expressing their view with clarity. He suggested that every answer to an opinion poll was weighted either by the way in which the question was put or by the way in which the questioner asked the question. That is insulting. People are capable of expressing views.

The hon. Gentleman cannot challenge the Leicestershire community health council survey on the basis of the questions being interested because they are manifestly and patently disinterested. One could not find a question which was more evenly balanced. The hon. Gentleman cannot attack the poll at that level and therefore he is forced to attack it by accusing an unnamed questioner who pushed a lady up against a wall and threatened either physical or mental violence to persuade her to say something which was alien to her. I find that incomprehensible.

Mr. Terry Davis

The hon. Gentleman is putting words into my mouth. He must read carefully what I said. I did not suggest that the interviewer used threats. The hon. Member made a silly statement. I suggested that there was bias in the conduct of the survey. That is based on the letter which I quoted.

The hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) referred to a letter in a newspaper which supported the poll. I was drawing attention to other letters which the hon. and learned Gentleman chose not to read or had not seen. I allege that there is some evidence—I put it no higher—that the poll was not scientifically conducted. Bias can occur in the way in which a sample is drawn as well as in the way in which a question is phrased. Surely the hon. Gentleman is aware of that. He asserts that the majority of people are opposed to fluoridation. Where is his evidence?

Mr. Best

If I followed that argument, I should be out of order. If I have misunderstood the hon. Gentleman, the fault is mine. I am grateful for the clarification because the hon. Gentleman apparently is not attacking the survey on the basis of the questions asked or on the way in which those taking the survey conducted themselves in public.

Mr. Terry Davis

But I am.

Mr. Best

The hon. Gentleman shifts his ground. He says that there might be some evidence, but nothing tangible.

I understood the hon. Gentleman to say that the survey was not conducted scientifically. That may be so—I do not know. It may not have been conducted in the way in which National Opinion Poll and Marplan conduct their surveys, although I suspect that the hon. Gentleman and I would have some misgivings about the scientific nature of those surveys, too. Nevertheless, it remains the best evidence that we have in answer to disinterested questions as to the recent opinion of people in a particular area who have now had the benefit of a very wide-ranging debate about fluoride, both within and outside the House.

If the deletion proposed in the Lords amendment is accepted, we shall be telling people in areas outside those covered by an application that we do not care about their opinion because the Bill provides no way in which that opinion can be assessed. The consultation procedures, such as they are, apply only to areas which are the subject of an application. No reference is made to and no cognisance is taken of areas outside. In other words, we do not care about people who will incidentally receive fluoride in their water because it is impossible to draw the thin dividing line between an area which is the subject of an application and one outside. The opinion of people in areas outside is apparently immaterial. It does not even feature in the consultation process set out in the Bill.

I find that offensive not just because of the inherent denial of the right of individuals to be consulted and to have a say about what they drink. In a free society as we know it, and certainly in a free Conservative society as Members on this side know it, people should be able to choose what they eat and drink so long as it is safe. Indeed, I hope that that proposition does not find any great dissent in any part of the House. I do not pretend that the evidence is the most conclusive, but it is the best available and it shows that a large number of people in many parts of the country are against artificial fluoridation of the water supply. For whatever reason, and however misguided they may be, they are against it. What comfort can the hon. Member for Hodge Hill—I direct these remarks at him in view of his earlier intervention, but I am sure that he will not take them personally—and what comfort can the proponents of the Bill offer, for instance, to the 3,506 people in Leicestershire who, out of a total 5,590, in answer to the disinterested question, If fluoride can reduce tooth decay, do you think it should be added to the public water supply? replied with an unequivocal no? What comfort can they offer those people if, perchance, those people happen to live in an area adjacent to one which is the subject of an application for artificial fluoridation of the water supply?

Mr. Hickmet

Is not my hon. Friend inviting the House to defeat the Bill altogether if he opposes the amendment because of the effect on water supplies in areas outside those covered by an application? He has agreed with me and argued persuasively that it is impossible to avoid water being affected outside the area of an application. If he argues that the Lords amendment must be rejected for that reason, he is effectively seeking to prevent the fluoridation of water altogether. Is not that right? My hon. Friend suggested how the fluoridation of water outside the area to which the application applies could be got around—by other applications to cover those other areas. Should such applications be made if the water in those other areas is affected minimally? At what level and in what circumstances should an application be made?

Mr. Best

My hon. Friend has asked several questions. I shall not answer them because others wish to speak. My hon. Friend is right to say that to reject the amendment is to kill the concept of fluoridation. I have attempted to be helpful. I accept the fact that the Bill received a Second Reading and that it was not defeated in another place, however the vote in favour of it was assembled. Much has already been said about that. I accept that the democratic will of the House is that the Bill be enacted, so I am not suggesting that it be killed; I am merely suggesting how safeguards can be introduced. That is why I have tabled the three amendments on the Notice Paper. The most important is amendment (e), which proposes in line 1, at end add and insert provided that no resolution of any local authority or community health council within the area exists opposing artificial fluoridation of the water supplies. The amendment would enable the Bill to be enacted and create a safeguard which many of us want in the interests of the British people.

Sir Ian Percival (Southport)

I hope that my hon. Friends will not think me discourteous if I do not follow their arguments but rather take my own line.

Clause 1(1) is the principal provision of the Bill. This is the provision which will almost certainly result in millions of people having to take more fluoride, irrespective of whether they want it or not, and even if they very much do not want it. We really ought therefore to be sure of what the provision means and how it will work. It is extremely difficult to be sure of either after listening to as much of this debate as I have. Let me examine it myself to see whether I can be more sure of it.

It is pretty clear that if the Lords amendment is accepted, the fluoridation ought still to be limited to the area to which the application relates. What worries me is how on earth anybody will know. That could be so even if the other words are included, but the additional words which it is now proposed to leave out do at least draw the attention of water undertakers to something that they must not do and make it clear that they must not do it.

Before I give the impression that those words are clear, I must say that they are not. They are as much of a muddle as the rest of the clause and do not clarify it as much as I should like. They are not even grammatical. I am not sure whether we should read the "and" in the middle as if this is a hendiadys, or as if there are two separate parts. One thing is clear, however, while the words remain there, namely, that the water authority must not add fluoride if that entails there being more fluoride outside the area which figures in the application.

I have listened to everything that my hon. Friend on the Front Bench below the Gangway has said. I shall not say with how much of it I agree. I am trying to stick to things that are clear. The one thing that is clear is that so long as those words remain the water authority is put on notice that it must not add fluoride even within the area to which the application relates if greater fluoridation would thereby spread into other areas.

10.30 pm

I do not regard the additional words as very satisfactory either. They are not even grammatical. They should, I think, read: provided it is in the opinion of the statutory water undertaker reasonably practicable to do so and without, etc. But it is made clear that such an undertaker must not add fluoride unless it can confine the added fluoride to the area in question.

There are therefore two sets of uncertainty, and it is not easy to tell which is the least unsatisfactory. To help me arrive at a conclusion, I pray in aid the principle that those who propose fluoridation—which many others do not want—have the burden of justifying it. It should be upon them to ensure clarity.

I shall not rehearse the views that I have frequently expressed in the Chamber as to why I place that burden on those who want to do this, and I shall say no more about the evils of compulsory medication against the will of anyone, let alone against the will of substantial numbers. But I hope that the House will never lose sight of the important principles of personal freedom involved in those arguments.

I want to relate a story of something that happened to me this evening. I was discussing this matter with a friend and he asked, "Why don't you want it?" I told him, and then I asked, "Why do you want it?" He replied, "Because I want to look after the teeth of my children." I said, "But you have that absolutely the wrong way round. You want it because you do not want to look after the teeth of your children. You want authority to look after the teeth of your children, and in order to shift that burden on to authority you are willing to foist what you want on to people who do not want it." For me that conversation encapsulates so much of what I so dislike about what is being done, and I find it difficult to understand how many of my right hon. and hon. Friends, for whom I have such respect, can be party to it.

I pray all of this in aid because I believe that the onus is on those who want fluoridation to justify it and to ensure clarity. We have now reached the point at which that cannot be achieved, so we must chose the lesser of two evils. For me, that is to leave the words in the clause to make it absolutely clear that a water authority cannot add fluoride unless it can ensure that the fluoride will not go outside the area specified in the application.

Sir John Page


Sir Ian Percival

I give way to my hon. Friend, only because he looks at me with such appealing eyes.

Sir John Page

I am grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend for allowing me to intervene, because I respect tremendously what he says. Does he accept that the amendment leaves it crystal clear that a water undertaker may not increase the fluoride content in the water supplied by it outside the specified area? It is technically feasible, and nothing is more simple and straightforward than to keep the fluoride in water within the specified area. Technically, there is nothing to it.

Sir Ian Percival

I knew that I should have resisted my hon. Friend's appealing eyes. I guessed that he wanted to make a second speech, particularly that part of his previous one which unfortunately I did not hear. I repeat that it may be clear to him, but it is not clear to me. The test should be whether it is clear to everyone. If it was clear to me I would be the first to say so, but I remind my hon. Friend that I said that I too think it means what he thinks is clear, but I am not so sure as he is that it is as clear as he thinks.

As I have said, the amendment also has this defect: even if what is left would be clear, how in the world would anybody know whether effect had been given to it? The additional words put the water authority on notice that it must pay attention to this point and ensure that the fluoride does not go outside the area specified. For that reason, I consider it marginally preferable that the extra words should remain in. But let there be no misunderstanding. Either way, the position is unsatisfactory, and that is another reason why I shall vote against this Lords amendment, if I have the chance. I shall do so to show once again what I think of the Bill in principle, this subsection in particular, and the confusion around which this debate has, not exactly raged, but continued for so long.

Mr. Peter Bruinvels (Leicester, East)

I am sorry to begin with a note of caution, but it was disappointing to hear some hon. Members attack the Leicestershire community health council survey entitled, "Fluoridation in Leicestershire". I do not know all the people who took part, but I know that it was an unbiased survey. The last paragraph states: Many conclusions and interpretations can, and doubtless will, be drawn by the differing lobbies, from the data contained in this report, but it is not the intention of the Leicestershire Community Health Council to so indulge itself. An unbiased survey has been conducted; the view of 5,590 persons obtained and their opinions honestly and clearly depicted within these pages. It is the sincere hope of the Leicestershire Community Health Council that full account will be taken of their wishes. It is rather sad that a report which involved 148 parish councils is called "biased".

Mr. Terry Davis

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Bruinvels

The Lords amendment is bad. It is unreasonable for a water authority to ignore the wishes——

Mr. Terry Davis

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is a poll conducted by some parish councils and the community health council in Leicestershire relevant to the Lords amendment?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

It seemed to me to be stretching matters a little, but it might be construed as being relevant to the arguments being advanced.

Mr. Bruinvels

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Indeed, the survey was mentioned first by not me but by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis). We are talking about whether it is reasonable——

Mr. Terry Davis

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. Gentleman is misleading the House. Everyone who was present will remember that the matter was introduced by the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence). The hon. Gentleman must be scared of something if he is behaving in this way.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman did not intend to mislead the House, if indeed he did.

Mr. Bruinvels

I would never wish to mislead the House. I enjoy being here, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and I enjoy your indulgence. However, I repeat that the person who questioned the validity of the survey was the hon. Member for Hodge Hill. All that I am trying to show is that the survey was a reasonable one, which resulted in Leicestershire community health council being congratulated throughout the county, and Leicestershire health authority now listening to the views of the people who took part in the survey. It is important, because it proves that the water authority must also listen to the wishes of the people who reside in the county. They have a valid wish not to have fluoride in their water supply.

The survey asked: Who do you think should take the decision whether or not to add fluoride to the public water supply? In reply, 1,001 people thought the national Government should; 752 believed that local government should, 1,003 believed that the water authority should; and 2,265 believed that the local health authority should. Therefore, the question that we must ask is whether it is reasonable and practicable to involve the community health council. Of course it is, and it is certainly wrong and unfair for the health authority to ignore the wishes of the community health council.

Mr. Dobson

Is it only in this respect that the hon. Gentleman wishes the House to agree with the views of Leicestershire community health council, or does he agree with everything that it says?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I fail to see what that has to do with the Bill.

Mr. Bruinvels

I presume that I need not answer that question. but I shall say that I agree with the council when it conducts such a survey. I had no influence in the survey, and it is notable that the council was courageous enough to undertake a public opinion survey. It had no fixed views and was not approached by either the pure water, fluoride or anti-fluoride associations. It did it off its own bat, paid for it itself, and is to be congratulated on it. As I have the honour to represent part of the area within which the survey was conducted, I am delighted to congratulate Brian Marshall and his team on carrying it out. I am sorry that some hon. Members are frightened at what it revealed. The survey released on 11 September 1985 clearly showed that the majority of British people did not want fluoride added to their water compulsorily, even if it was good for them.

It is important that no statutory water undertaker should be allowed to introduce further fluoridation without the approval of the people who drink that water supply. What is available to those people who do not want fluoridated water is still in question. How can there be consultation without the opportunity for it? How can there be consultation without the opportunity for it? Leicester community health council has allowed us that opportunity. but many other areas have not.

Many people do not want fluoride, and in the United States regular referendums are held, yet fluoride is to be added to our supplies without the authority o the people who pay the bills for having water piped to their homes.

I am particularly worried about drought. As soon as the Minister responsible for water was appointed——

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I think that the hon. Gentleman has crossed the line. I hope that he will speak more closely to the amendment under discussion.

Mr. Bruinvels

I thank you for that, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but I am speaking to amendment (d), which deals with the point that the fluoride content of the water supplied to areas outside that covered by the application may not be increased. There will be occasional shortages of water when it must be brought in. In those cases——

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is addressing himself to an amendment which has not been selected for debate.

10.45 pm
Mr. Bruinvels

With respect, it is part of Lords amendment No. 1. We are talking about the dangers of water being corroded by foreign bodies if fluoridation is introduced——

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is perhaps being a little misled. We are discussing only Lords amendment No. 1. The amendments tabled by his hon. Friends and himself have not been selected for debate.

Mr. Bruinvels

Prior to regular interruptions by some hon. Members who may not be pleased with some of our views — there is in this Chamber such a thing as freedom and courtesy — we were discussing artificial fluoridation having to be discontinued.

Only a few weeks ago it was said that that could not happen. Well, it has happened. On 20 May 1985 the South Derbyshire health authority disclosed that its 14-year old fluoridation scheme had ceased in October 1984 because the new water supply system meant that it could no longer have an exclusive supply of artificially fluoridated water — it would fluoridate water for Nottingham and Leicester.

Mrs. Edwina Currie (Derbyshire, South)

The authority is, in fact, called the Southern Derbyshire health authority. A large amount of water in that area is already naturally fluoridated.

Mr. Bruinvels

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for her intervention. I note that she has recently joined us in the Chamber.

We do not want any problems in Leicester, which does not want fluoridated water. It is not reasonable or practicable to have that water appearing in our area.

Mr. Lawrence

The decision of the Southern Derbyshire health authority not to continue with the fluoridation of water because it would contaminate areas that did not wish to have fluoridation appears to have been taken after the publication of this Bill, which contained in clause 1(1) the proviso that, the application should not increase the fluoride content of the water supplied to areas not covered by the application.

Does my hon. Friend agree that the publication of the Bill may have influenced the decision of the authority, which no doubt knew what the legislation contained? The removal of that safeguard by another place, which is what we are debating, takes away the reminder to which my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Southport (Sir I. Percival) referred. Does it not underline the danger of taking out that safeguard?

Mr. Bruinvels

That is the very point — it will happen unless we overturn the Lords amendment. We must make that strict instruction clear so that all water authorities are reminded that they must not tamper with the water of a neighbouring authority. There is no way in which the areas can be cross covered.

The Leicestershire community health council, which set a good example, is still worried that its views are being ignored. Other health authorities will, I hope, listen to what the community health council suggested. I should have preferred not to go through all the stages to Lords amendments until we had taken further opinion polls to guage the views of the people.

All persons of sound mind have a right to choose what they and their children will or will not consume, and the bodily treatment which they will or will not have in their everyday lives to maintain health and prevent disease. Fluoridation deprives consumers of water to which fluoride has been deliberately added of this right, forcing one and all to consume more fluoride in uncontrolled and uncontrollable amounts.

It is reasonable to believe that it will be possible to restrict the amount of fluoride to be added to water supplies? I fear that, rather than keeping fluoride to a minimum, we shall be increasing its use. I am alarmed by what is happening, because this is a totalitarian action. We are a democracy. We make surveys and listen to the views of the people. We in Leicestershire do not want the national Government to tell us whether we should have fluoride in our water. That is a matter for the local health authority to decide. We are going too fast in this matter. We need a public referendum, rather than rule by diktat, and——

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I am endeavouring to be flexible and tolerant with the hon. Member, but he is now going beyond what is reasonable. This is not a Second Reading debate. The House has given the measure a Second Reading. References to referendums are not within the scope of the debate on the amendment.

Mr. Bruinvels

I apologise, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but I am extremely concerned about the state of play tonight. This is a bad amendment, and even at this late stage I am desperately trying to stop fluoride being added to our water. The health authority is out of touch with the wishes of the people. Althought we are having a free vote for many hon. Members, the payroll vote will defeat the wishes of the people in the country.

The addition of fluoride has not been proved to be successful. It might help youngsters, but it does not necessarily help other people. As a loyal Conservative, I regret to say that this is a bad Bill, and I urge my hon. Friends to support those who do not want fluoride added to their water supply without their consent.

Mr. Gwilym Jones

Some of my concerns about the amendment have already been voiced by my hon. Friends. With how many nonsenses are we dealing in considering the Bill? It is not of earth-shattering moment. our constituents are not impressed by it, and it is regarded lightly at best or otherwise greatly feared because of its compulsory mass medication aspect.

In the months that have passed since the measure was before the House the Bill seems to have changed out of all recognition, for what little protection was previously in it is now being struck out by the amendment. It has been suggested that the amendment will make the subsection crystal clear. I could only think that, at best, that was a pun on words in a water context, for I support my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) in saying that it is a tragedy that that protection is being removed.

After all, the words that the amendment seek to delete are specific. They are most specific about the onus of responsibility that was to be on a water authority, and the concern that it must have for adjacent or other areas that would be affected by the fluoridation of one area in response to an application by a health authority. With what protection are we left after striking out that? There will be the clear implication that Parliament is saying that there need be no concern, and any area alongside or even some way away can be fluoridated without an application by a health authority.

In our earlier debates, concern was expressed about whether a health authority was the right body to make such applications. It is possible that the health authority for Ynys Môn represented by my hon. Friend the Member far Ynys Môn (Mr. Best) might make an application for the water in its area to be fluoridated. Although it is an island off the north-west corner of Wales, it has the same water authority as my constituency of Cardiff, North, 200 miles away.

The implication of Lords amendment No. 1, which takes out the firm responsibility placed on the water authority, is that there is now nothing to encourage, let alone compel, the water authority not to treat Cardiff water in the same way as that for Ynys Môn.

Just because the Ynys Môn health authority has asked for fluoridation the Welsh water authority can now, when it orders the special equipment to supply Ynys Môn with fluoridated water standardise, and order the same equipment for every area.

The Bill is far worse now than it was when we last debated it in March, on that last long night. I can sympathise with my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Bruinvels), in referring to opinion polls or any other such test of opinion. The Bill has been altered dramatically, particularly by Lords amendment No. 1, from when we gave such long consideration debating to 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning, and even until 9 o'clock the following night on the last occasion. The Bill has changed so much that it should not be bulldozed through at the tail-end of the Session, when debate is necessarily confined to the Lords amendments.

I feel as strongly as any hon. Member who has spoken about Lords amendment No. 1. At the very least, it must be struck out so that the direct instruction to the water authorities is retained. If health authorities are to be the bodies making the requests to fluoridate an area, other areas that might come within the water authority deserve the protection that is now being denied to them by the amendment. I hope that we can take out the amendment, although, like my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East, I would dearly love to kill the whole dreadful Bill.

11 pm

Mr. Golding

I support the Lords amendment. Those Conservative Members who oppose it are misguided. I apply this test to it: it must have been a daft amendment to have been passed, because all of our sensible, sound amendment were whipped against and defeated by the Government. The Government only allowed those amendments which support fluoridation to be passed. The other place was right to flush out the Government and to say to them that this amendment is a nonsense. Of course it is a nonsense. Why did the Government permit it to be agreed to? It was to keep the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Sir J. Page) happy, to give him a moment of pleasure and a degree of satisfaction that on one point at least his parliamentary career has been successful.

I shall probably vote for this daft amendment, in the belief that those hon. Members who oppose fluoridation will be successful. It says that a statutory water undertaker may increase the fluoride content of the water supplied by them within that area, provided that it is in the opinion of the statutory water undertaker reasonably practicable to do so. A statutory water undertaker may increase the fluoride content of the water if he believes that it is reasonably practicable to do so. If the amendment said that the statutory water undertaker can do it, provided that it believes it to be reasonably practicable, it would make sense. But it makes no sense to say that the undertaker may do it if he believes that it is reasonably practicable to do so. The undertaker would not dream of doing it if it thought that it was impracticable. The amendment is a nonsense.

Mr. Lawrence

Can I put to the hon. Gentleman the point made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Southport (Sir I. Percival). The result of this clause is that large areas of the country will probably have their water supplies fluoridated because the water undertaker and the health authority may decide to introduce fluoride into the water. Unless a restriction is laid down which draws to the attention of the water undertaker the need to be reasonably practicable or to restrict the use of fluoridated water to areas within a particular boundary, does not the hon. Gentleman consider that the mere use of the word "may" means that all of the defences are down and that any water undertaker can stand up without fear of contradiction and introduce this dreaded substance into the water supply, even though it is not wanted? Is that not the danger. Will the hon. Gentleman kindly address himself to the position if that marker is deleted?

Mr. Golding

I am not defending the Bill. It is abhorrent. Clause 1 is abhorrent. I do not think that this will be a good marker. If we had been wise enough to say, "provided it is in the opinion of" the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) and the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyne, and if responsibility had been placed on those two distinguished Staffordshire Members of Parliament to decide whether it was reasonably practicable, it would have made sense. It is no marker to say to a water authority, "You may do this, but you may do it only if you think that it is reasonably practicable." That is no restriction and is not worth having. What will happen? The people who are hell bent on poisoning the water supply will not admit that what they are about to do is not reasonably practicable. They will say, "It is reasonably practicable so we may do it."

If the hon. Member for Harrow, West who proposed the amendment in the first place had thought of that, he would have proposed that the test should be applied by the Staffordshire Members of Parliament. We would have applied an objective test and taken a detached view. The statutory water authorities will be prejudiced and will take a subjective view. There is no defence in the amendment.

I do not know whether the hon. and learned Member for Burton will say that it is better than nothing. Certainly it is not perfect. We must accept that their Lordships were right to say that it was not worth having these words. They are a sop permitted by the Government and the payroll vote to one of the more distinguished Members on their side.

Mr. Lawrence

I hesitate to interrupt the hon. Gentleman again. It was not just that it was a sop to one of our distinguished colleagues; it was the fact that the Bill would never have come about if the water authorities had not demanded it. Will the hon. Gentleman take that matter on board?

Mr. Golding

It was not only the water authorities that demanded it. The hon. and learned Gentleman has exposed all the pressure groups and prejudiced people who have tried to foist this legislation on us.

Mr. Lawrence

The water authorities broke the camel's back.

Mr. Golding

I think that the hon. and learned Gentleman is saying from a sedentary position that the water authorities drove it through. I am not sure about putting all the responsibility upon them. I think it was misguided health authorities——

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. On this amendment we cannot discuss what are the presumed reasons for the introduction of the legislation. We should stick to the amendment that is before the House.

Mr. Golding

I totally agree and I regret having given way to the temptation to comment on sedentary interruptions. If there were fewer sedentary interruptions, I would be less tempted to reply to them. The constant danger is that the sedentary interruption is reported in Hansard and it looks to one's own constituents and to the world outside that one has no answer. That is why I am tempted to comment. If a little more order were imposed on those hon. Members opposing this amendment, it would be helpful. The amendment says, … provided it is in the opinion of the statutory water undertaker reasonably practicable to do so and without at the same time increasing the fluoride content of the water supplied by them to areas outside that covered by the application. Hon. Gentlemen on the Government side will explain to me what that means, perhaps after I resume my seat. I do not understand what it means, I am lost. I do not know whether it is the grammar or the syntax or what it is, but it does not seem to be perfect. … it is in the opinion of the statutory water undertaker reasonably practicable to do so and without at the same time … I do not understand how that follows and I keep on puzzling about it. What does it mean? I heard only a moment or two of the speech by the right hon. and learned Member for Southport (Sir I. Percival). I had to go to find out about fog conditions in the midlands, but I heard him begin his speech supporting the rebellion on the Government Benches by saying we wanted clarity. There is no clarity here. The sentence does not seem to hang together. Who can explain to me what is meant by, … without at the same time increasing … Where does that tie into the sentence? I look pleadingly at the hon. Gentleman who moved the amendment. What does that relate to? It is suspended in space and it is as though he forgot to put some words in. That may happen: it is one of the dangers of the technical revolution. Word processors are all very well, but sometimes the word processer misses words, and words must have been left out of this amendment. It is bad enough inflicting fluoride on the population, but how can one inflict this wording on them at the same time?

I agree with the hon. Gentleman on the Government side that nobody ought to have fluoride inflicted upon him. If that is not possible, then no one should have fluoride inflicted upon him in an area where the health authority and that person's authority have opposed fluoridation. That must be acceptable to Government, or should be. If they are writing into the legislation that everything depends on health authorities applying in writing and statutory water undertakers agreeing to it, if they are talking about agreement between the health authority and the water undertaker, then the logic of that is that when those bodies do not want fluoridation, fluoridation should not take place. I have sympathy with those hon. Members on the Government Benches who say clearly that fluoridation should not take place in those circumstances. But does the clause say that? Will Conservative Members tell me that I have got the wrong end of the stick and that the Bill is clear?

11.15 pm

I have listened to the Conservative lawyers tonight. That is a terrible combination; to be a lawyer is bad, to be a Tory is terrible, but to be a Tory lawyer is worse. The hon. Member for Ynys Môn (Mr. Best) said that he did not think that he had made us any the wiser, because he had given a complicated explanation. However, he chastised my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis) and claimed that all people were very clear in what they said. That did not make sense.

The Tory lawyers do not seem to understand what the clause means. In that case, we should not be putting it into legislation. When I was a Whip on a Committee, a Conservative Member asked the Labour Minister to explain a clause. The Minister did not give a straightforward explanation and the hon. Member, who was courteous and tolerant, asked again, "Will the Minister tell us what the clause means?" There w as no reply. The hon. Member, who was one of the most tolerant Members that I have ever known, then said, "Let me put it this way. If a constituent came to the Minister's surgery on a Saturday morning and asked him what the clause meant, what explanation would the Minister give?" I shall remember the Minister's reply to my dying day. He said, "If a constituent asked me what the clause meant, I would tell him to consult a lawyer." That is not the spirit in which to pass legislation.

If lawyers do not understand this clause, how can we expect people outside to understand it? I withdraw that question; I am being unfair to the people outside. If all the supporters of the clause say that they do not understand it and cannot explain how it hangs together, how can we justify its inclusion in the Bill? It is crackers.

The responsibility lies with those who oppose the legislation. It is not the Government's fault. Their object has been to foist rotten legislation on the nation. They have given way to the health lobby and succumbed to all the arguments of the professional health industry. Those of us who are more interested in freedom than in health have opposed the measure. It is, and has been, our responsibility to get it right. I must say to the hon. Gentlemen opposite that we did not get it right and, because we did not get it right, we really must not be muleish, stubborn, pig-headed, and say, "Ah, the Lords have seen through us, the Lords have exposed our weakness, but because we do not like the legislation we are digging our heels in." We ought to be bigger than that and acknowledge that we got it wrong. Our case was right, our objections were well founded but the amendment that we moved, for which hon. Members accept collective responsibility, was defective and we failed our people. Let us say that tonight instead of trying to insist that this defective amendment should remain.

If it is removed, we will not actually get a different result because the wording of this is not such as to prevent fluoridated water being taken from one area where bodies, perhaps representing the people, have decided that the water can be fluoridated to areas where that is not the case. The wording will not do that. It is very clear that, whether the wording is in or out, water is going to pass from one area to another.

I say this because it does not seem to me that the problem that I raised here as the Bill was passing through this place was tackled in the Lords. The Bill does not include only reservoir water; it is not confined to water which itself is confined in lakes and reservoirs. It was established as the Bill went through the House that if applies equally to flowing water. If water is fluoridated, how on earth can anybody stop its flow? How can this particular piece of legislation do that? Certainly the amendment does not. The amendment that we passed did not say — perhaps it ought to have said — that water should never be fluoridated where there is a risk that it will pass from an area in which permission has been given to another area.

This amendment should rest in the Bill. The Lords were right to correct all the mistakes that we made. All that we should do tonight is to apologised to the people whiom we represent because the safeguards that we wrote into the legislation were not strong enough, and we ought to have realised that when the Government did not resist them at the time of the debate.

Mr. Bill Walker

You will be aware, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that when the Bill passes into law it will affect Scotland as well as England and Wales. You will also be aware that until now the debate has concentrated largely on the problems that will occur in England and Wales when this part of the Bill, were it to be passed, comes into operation. You will, of course, also be aware that the law in Scotland is different from the law in England and Wales, and that the statutory water undertakings in Scotland are quite different from those in England and Wales.

As the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding) said, the lawyers who spoke so eloquently in the debate did not know what the amendment meant or how it would effect water undertakings in England and Wales. I drew attention to the difference in Scotland and that caused interest, but there was little response to the problems that would be caused by the amendment.

In England and Wales the statutory bodies are appointed. In Scotland the water authorities are the regional councils, which are elected. There is an immense difference between an elected and an appointed body.

Many difficulties would arise if the words were taken out of subsection (1), as suggested in the Lords amendment. The relevant words are: provided it is in the opinion of the statutory water undertaker"— in Scotland that is the regional authority— reasonably practicable to do so". Time has been devoted to discussing what "reasonably practicable" means in England and Wales. It probably means much the same in Scotland, although I am not a lawyer.

The Bill was drafted because a lady in Scotland took the regional authority to court and won her case, much to the astonishment of the authority, because it thought that it had the power to put fluoride in Scotland's water. The Scottish courts decided that it did not have that power and that resulted in an enormous lobby of support for the Bill.

Hon. Members have referred to oninion polls and to asking the electorate to vote on whether certain action should be taken. That means asking people whether they would be prepared to have their water fluoridated and whether they would vote for it.

The area of Scotland which I represent has beautiful highland water, untouched by any of the ghastly things that we put into waters elsewhere. The Tayside regional authority—the water authority—has said that it will not fluoridate the water. That is vital because if the words which we are discussing are deleted the areas outside that covered by the application will be affected. What will be the effect of the amendment if areas outside Tayside decide to go ahead with fluoridation? I share the view expressed by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence).

11.30 pm

Tayside region has voted clearly. Its council has stated that it will not fluoridate our beautiful clear highland water, but what will happen in the kind of situation that occurred this year? People talk about droughts, but we have had the opposite problem. We have had far too much water, and for various reasons water overflows from one authority area to another. That means that fluoridated water could come into Tayside region even though the regional authority is adamant that it will not fluoridate its water.

I am not opposing the amendment. I am seeking clarification. Will the amendment strengthen the hand of the water undertaker—in this case the Tayside regional authority—in saying yea or nay? I think that this is a bad Bill, and an even worse amendment, because I do not understand it, but if my right hon. Friend the Minister can give me that assurance I shall be happier than I was when we last discussed the subsection, before it was amended in another place.

In this House we spend a great deal of time on legislation, but we often miss the obvious. It is obvious to me that there are great difficulties in producing legislation that can be operated properly and effectively when Scotland has different laws and differently constituted undertakers operating differently both by law and in practice. I hope that my right hon. Friend can assure me that the Tayside regional authority will be strengthened by the amendment in taking the decisions that it wishes to take. Whether the decision is for or against fluoridation is not important.

I have sat through these debates from the beginning. and virtually all the arguments have been based on the problems of England and Wales. I do not want an amendment put into statute which solves the problems faced by non-elected statutory bodies in England and Wales if the elected water authorities in Scotland are in any way disadvantaged by it. Can my right hon. Friend assure me that the Scottish water authorities will not be disadvantaged and that the amendment will not affect their ability to operate the subsection as they otherwise might have done?

So far, I have had no explanation at all on that point. I have read the debates on this amendment in the other place and I have not been assured. Doubt and lack of explanation influence one's vote. Although I oppose compulsory fluoridation, I would support an amendment that gave my authority the right to say no as well as yes.

Mr. Terry Davis

I shall leave it to the Minister to reply to the question asked by the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker). I should like to comment on the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding). He and I strongly disagree about the merits of fluoridation. He, I think, would regard me as part of the health lobby. Having listened carefully to his speech. I conclude that the fog this evening is not restricted to the west midlands.

My hon. Friend and I agree about the Lords amendment—we will both support it if it is pressed to a Division—and the hon. Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Bruinvels) can hardly describe me as part of the payroll vote. I assume that the Minister will recommend support for the Lords amendment. My hon. Friend and I agree about something else: it is difficult to refuse to reply to sedentary interventions. Constituents assume that if a Member refuses to reply, he does not have any answer to the interruption. The point is even more valid in regard to an hon. Member refusing to give way to another who wishes to press him on a point. That is what happened today when I tried to intervene in the speech of the hon. Member for Leicester, East when he described the poll conducted in Leicestershire. It was a pity that I was unable to make several points about the way in which the sample was derived. The hon. Gentleman's constituents must conclude, as my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme said, that he was afraid of the question because he was not confident of the answer.

The hon. Member for Ynys Môn (Mr. Best) also asserted that the majority of people in Britain oppose fluoridation. He, with his usual courtesy, gave way when I wanted to intervene to ask for evidence of that assertion, but he then took shelter in the rules of order. He regarded his assertion as being in order but did not regard providing evidence of that assertion as being in order. I therefore conclude that he, too, does not have the answers to the questions.

Mr. Hayhoe:

With the leave of the House, I should like to respond briefly to the debate.

I want only to re-emphasise that the amendment's purpose is very limited. It removes superfluous and perhaps legally ambiguous words from the Bill. I must reject and repudiate the absurdly exaggerated and emotive comments made by some of my hon. Friends on matters which have been fully debated and fully answered previously in our long discussions on the Bill. I commend the Lords amendment to the House.

Question put, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 135, Noes 14.

Division No. 299] [11.38 pm
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.
Ancram, Michael Dunn, Robert
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble) Durant, Tony
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E) Dykes, Hugh
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y) Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Eggar, Tim
Beggs, Roy Emery, Sir Peter
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh) Fenner, Mrs Peggy
Biffen, Rt Hon John Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Boscawen, Hon Robert Fraser, Peter (Angus East)
Bottomley, Peter Garel-Jones, Tristan
Brittan, Rt Hon Leon Golding, John
Brooke, Hon Peter Goodlad, Alastair
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E) Gow, Ian
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Gregory, Conal
Burt, Alistair Gummer, Rt Hon John S
Butcher, John Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hanley, Jeremy
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Hayhoe, Rt Hon Barney
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Henderson, Barry
Chapman, Sydney Howard, Michael
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n) Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Hunt, David (Wirral)
Colvin, Michael Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Coombs, Simon Jackson, Robert
Cope, John Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Couchman, James Jessel, Toby
Currie, Mrs Edwina Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l) Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
Dobson, Frank King, Rt Hon Tom
Dorrell, Stephen Lamont, Norman
Lang, Ian Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel Rifkind, Malcolm
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Robinson, Mark (N'port W)
Lilley, Peter Roe, Mrs Marion
Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham) Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Lord, Michael Ryder, Richard
Lyell, Nicholas Sackville, Hon Thomas
McCurley, Mrs Anna Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Soames, Hon Nicholas
McKay, Allen (Penistone) Spencer, Derek
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute) Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Major, John Squire, Robin
Malone, Gerald Stanley, John
Mather, Carol Stern, Michael
Maude, Hon Francis Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire)
Mayhew, Sir Patrick Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Mellor, David Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Mills, Iain (Meriden) Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
Moore, John Thurnham, Peter
Morrison, Hon P. (Chester) Tracey, Richard
Moynihan, Hon C. Trippier, David
Newton, Tony Waddington, David
Nicholls, Patrick Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Normanton, Tom Waldegrave, Hon William
Norris, Steven Walden, George
Ottaway, Richard Wallace, James
Page, Sir John (Harrow W) Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Page, Richard (Herts SW) Watson, John
Patten, Christopher (Bath) Watts, John
Patten, J. (Oxf W & Abdgn) Wheeler, John
Pattie, Geoffrey Whitney, Raymond
Pawsey, James Wood, Timothy
Pike, Peter Young, Sir George (Acton)
Pollock, Alexander
Powell, Rt Hon J. E. (S Down) Tellers for the Ayes:
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Mr. Michael Neubert and Mr. Tim Sainsbury.
Renton, Tim
Rhodes James, Robert
Best, Keith Lawrence, Ivan
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) Percival, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Bruinvels, Peter Skinner, Dennis
Butterfill, John Stevens, Martin (Fulham)
Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y) Walker, Cecil (Belfast N)
Ground, Patrick
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Tellers for the Noes:
Hickmet, Richard Mr. Gwilym Jones and Mr. Bill Walker.
Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Lords amendment: No. 2, in page 2, line 16, after "so" insert "—(a)"

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security (Mr. Ray Whitney)

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments:

No. 3, in page 2, line 17, at end insert ; or (b) in connection with the carrying out of any works (including cleaning and maintenance) by any of them.

Amendment (a), in line 1, leave out 'to end of line 13' and insert 'to "without" in line 11'.

Amendment (b), in line 1, at end add 'and insert provided that they are requested to do so by a resolution of each local authority whose area falls wholly or partly within the area affected by the application".'.

Amendment (d), in line 1, at end add 'and insert "provided that it may not increase the fluoride content of the water supplied by them to areas outside that covered by the application.".'.

Mr. Whitney

Clause 1(5) as currently drafted allows a statutory water undertaker to supply fluoridated water on a temporary basis to an area whose health authority has not requested it to deal with an emergency. An emergency is currently defined in clause 1(7). This simply provides a specific statutory power for current practice. However, it was brought to our attention in Committee by my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Sir J. Page) that the Bill should also provide for the current practice whereby fluoridated water must be supplied to a non-requesting area because of routine maintenance, such as cleansing or pump maintenance. As such maintenance is planned and carried out on a regular basis, it cannot fall within the definition of an emergency. This amendment remedies that omission.

I would stress that neither the amendment nor the text of clause 1(6)—[Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. Will the hon. Members who are standing at the Bar either withdraw from the Chamber or make less noise?

Mr. Whitney

Neither the amendment nor the existing text of clause 1(6) provides a legal power to fluoridate a normally unfluoridated area, except for the duration of the emergency or the maintenance work. As soon as the emergency or work is over, the supply of non-fluoridated water must be resumed.

I commend the amendment as a small, but useful, addition to the Bill.

Sir John Page

It is again my pleasure to thank my hon. Friend the Minister for accepting amendments which were suggested by me in Committee, where I declared an interest as a director of a water company and as a spokesman for the water industry. Some of the criticisms made by my hon. Friends—mostly hon. and learned Friends—contain an element of slur against the water industry, which is especially responsible, efficient and effective. From the way in which some of my hon. Friends speak, it sounds as though water undertakings would be casual about their responsibility to provide wholesome water to the community, which I believe that they have done efficiently and effectively for more than 100 years. It is obviously right that in an emergency fluoridated water might have to be passed to a non-designated area. It is obviously also sensible, as the Minister said, to make such provision for routine maintenance.

If the Bound Volume of Hansard of the debate were to be given a name, perhaps it should be called "Ivan the Terrible" or "The Worst of Best". Both seem to be appropriate, but an even better name is "As the weary hours of the night go on".

Mr. Lawrence

I thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for selecting the amendments in my name.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Sir J. Page). If I could take a page out of his leaf, I would try to work a pun into his name. When I was recently in Moscow, I learnt that Ivan the Terrible did not mean Ivan the Terrifying but Ivan the Awesome. Therefore, I hope that from now on people who refer to me as Ivan the Terrible will be in proper awe of my sensible remarks.

I do not attack the water authorities for the way in which they provide, have provided and intend to provide, water, but because they are the motive power behind the Bill, and the Government fall over themselves backwards to accept any amendment, however well or badly worded. My hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West told us how the last proviso in clause 1 was added on the back of a menu in the best musical composers' traditions. The Government immediately snapped it up and added it to a Bill which would have become an Act, if the Lords had not decided that it was nonsense.

If the water authorities, specifically the Severn-Trent water authority, had not said to the Government, "Come on. Now that Lord Jauncey has said that this is unlawful, please regularise the position, otherwise we shall have to claim large sums from you" — I do not know their precise argument — the Government, who are usually committed to the freedom and rights of the individual, and who pre-eminently stand through the Conservative party for the right of freedom above all, would not have lent themselves to mass medication and the worst act of collectivism one can consider. The water authorities have insisted that such a Bill be passed to regularise the position, and that is our criticism of them. It is not a slur, but a downright criticism because, but for their activities the Bill would not be being considered and would not shortly reach the statute book, as a result of which many areas which do not have fluoridated water will probably have it.

It is all very well for the water authorities to say, "We are neutral in the matter. We do not particularly want fluoride, but we are under pressure from the health authorities and, therefore, please introduce legislation to make it lawful for us to fluoridate the country. Help us get the health authorities off our backs and have an easy life." If that is one's attitide in this world, one cannot expect praise. The water authorities should not expect praise, and my hon. Friend, who represents them so well in the House, should not be particularly sensitive when we say that they do not require praise, but condemnation.

Again, my objection to the matter is that the amendment expands the effects of the Bill. It extends the opportunity for fluoridation in the nation's water. It does more than this House gave permission for it to do. It extends the power of the fluoridators.

12 midnight

People who have changed their views on this matter keep telling me that the Whips have made concessions. They are not making concessions to those who do not want this substance forced down their throats; they are making concessions to the water authorities and those who want that. It is an expansion of the terms of the Bill. We gave our permission only for the water authorities to fluoridate water in an area where there was not usually fluoride—because it was not wanted—in an emergency. That is good sense. We can imagine an emergency where something goes wrong with a water supply and people are without water to wash or to flush their lavatories.

Given that this rotten Bill will be on the statute book, those who oppose fluoridation on principle and because it is harmful would not object to an exception for an emergency. But this goes further than emergency; it is an open gate through which the unruly horse of the do-gooders—the bureaucrats, those who say, "Never mind freedom, we know better", those who want the health authority off their backs—want to bolt. Their Lordships want to extend it to include: in connection with the carrying out of any works (including cleaning and maintenance) by any of them. I have no objection to the words "cleaning and maintenance" because that is obviously good sense. However, I object to authorities being allowed to fluoridate areas where there is no request or permission for or no decision to fluoridate, but simply where the neighbouring authority wants to carry out any works—that is, not just cleaning, maintenance or emergency works.

What does that mean? It means a very wide hole. A water authority may wish to extend its pipes, to put in a new kind of pipe or to develop some high-tech equipment with which it wishes to experiment—all of which may take a considerable time. If one visited a computer unit in my constituency, in one of the largest firms, one would go in one door and see that unit full of computers. But they are not stationary — they are moving out because at another door new computers are moving in. All we would see is computers moving through—bigger ones, wider ones, fatter ones, shorter ones. Modern technology does not allow a computer to stand still for five minutes. I do not know whether our water pipes can or will be computerised, but that is the sort of thing that happens with modern technology. There is always movement and change.

If a water authority decides that it wishes to undertake any work—I repeat, any work—no one can challenge that. In a court a judge would say, "The expression 'any works' is very wide — it is not cleaning works or maintenance works or emergency works, but any works." The authority can fluoridate the water while that work takes place—perhaps for six months or a year. The poor people in the area who voted against fluoridation and persuaded the health and water authorities that they could not have fluoridation are stuck with it because "any works" is what their Lordships permit in their amendment. That would cause harm.

I do not want to bore the House, and no doubt I should be ruled out of order if I tried, but we have spent sufficient time on the passage of the Bill reiterating the well-known harms. Many scientists have said, for example, that this stuff aggravates diabetes, allergic conditions, kidney diseases and thyroid abnormalities and that it has something to do with arthritis, hardening of the arteries and triggering cancer.

On the subject of triggering cancer, perhaps the Minister will report on the latest state of play in the research project that the Medical Research Council is undertaking, at the request of the Department of Health, to identify whether sodium chloride has the ability to induce gene mutations in mouse lymphoma cells.

The Medical Research Council has reported that that project is being carried out in Brighton and that its report will be released later this year. We are now late into the year. If he receives an adverse report, I should like an assurance that the Minister will make it his business to see that fluoridation is stopped while further inquiries are made into whether there is a connection between mouse lymphoma and all sorts of other animal growths whih are caused when reasonably low amounts of fluoridated water pass through their bodies.

This harm is not talked of by a few crackpots. A large number of reputable scientists take this view, and if a handful of experts say it is safe and another handful say it is not safe, what on earth are we doing forcing this substance down people's throats? There is a doubt about it.

The amendment will make it easier to fluoridate more water. Let us not forget the harm that is done to the environment, as the Quebec inquiry discovered, for example to the embryonic development of frogs' eggs and the eggs of trout, preventing them from hatching. That is all part of the harm that fluoridation can cause.

Mr. Golding

The hon. and learned Gentleman is speaking so quickly that some hon. Members may have difficulty in following his argument. If he wishes to persuade my hon. Friends to support him, will he explain in full what that inquiry was about?

Mr. Lawrence

The hon. Gentleman seems to want me to delay the termination of my speech. I am reluctant to go into more detail, for two reasons. The first is that other hon. Members are present on a free vote, feeling so strongly in favour of fluoridation that it would be an unkindness to expect them to stay much longer. The second is that the hon. Gentleman is perhaps unaware that I made the point in full in my introductory speech, which occupied four and a half hours when the matter was last before the House. That appears in Hansard, with all the references, and it would be an abuse of the House if I were to take the hon. Gentleman up on his offer, although 1 appreciate that he made it with the best of intentions.

Mr. Golding

I assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that I do not need to be persuaded of the rightness of his case. I thought that he might care to try to persuade my hon. Friends, who may not have been present to hear his memorable, eloquent contribution in the early hours of the morning some months ago.

Mr. Lawrence

The hon. Gentleman is most kind, but it does not seem to matter whether his hon. Friends are here or not; they still do not listen. They enter the Chamber and make the speeches they intended to make, having been unaffected by whatever truths have come at them from these Benches. I appreciate, however, that the job of Opposition Members is to oppose, and they oppose any suggestions of ours on the subject of fluoridation. The hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) is not here to tell us, but it appears to be part of the Labour party's policy to support fluoridation.

Mr. Golding

The hon. and learned Gentleman is doing my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover a great disservice by saying that. The hon. and learned Gentleman should consult my hon. Friend as to his opinions on this matter. The hon. and learned Gentleman should not be accusing me of departing from party policy.

Mr. Lawrence

I withdraw that remark, because it is wrong that an injustice should be done. The Labour party is divided between those who are in favour of fluoridation. and those who are not, and the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding) is of the latter philosophy. I wish that more Labour Members were of that opinion. Some of them have been good enough to join us in the Lobby, which was a wise act, and helped to make up for the fact that hon. Friends have gone into the other Lobby, something about which we can do little.

The harm that has been done by this amendment—giving the opportunity to fluoridate the water— is not just harm about which I am complaining, and about which I have railed on many occasions because it is brought about by taking the opinion of those scientists that one wants to accept, and rejecting the opinion of those whom one does not want to accept. It is harm that has repeatedly been raised in important councils.

The harm was referred to in the Pittsburg, Texas and Illinois cases, in all of which the judges ruled that fluoridation is unlawful. It has caused West Germany, Greece, Holland, India, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Austria, Belgium, Chile and Denmark to have no fluoridation. Some of these countries, like Switzerland, had fluoridation but then decided to forbid it. Are these countries, and more such as France and Portugal, which has only one experimental plant, depriving their citizens of a health-giving benefit? Is the advice from all their doctors, dentists and politicians all rubbish? Are we, with Northern Ireland and America, the only ones to think that there is no harm? I believe that New Zealand has begun to shut its fluoridation schemes in the past few weeks.

If so many countries, on the advice of their medical people and their freedom-supporting politicians, have decided that there should not be fluoridation, surely there is room for doubt about whether we should be doing it.

Mr. Gerald Howarth (Cannock and Burntwood)

My hon. and learned Friend mentioned New Zealand, and it is important that the House should know what I have heard this evening, that New Zealand is proposing to stop fluoridising the water, and that this is taking place on a regional basis—each authority is looking at the matter. That strikes me as being in sympathy with the amendment. Each local authority should be able to decide for itself. In the light of what is going on in New Zealand — we know that the country is misguided in a number of respects, although in this one it seems to have found some commonsense—is it not appropriate that this measure should be stalled, so that the experience of, and the evidence from, New Zealand can be examined and——

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean)

Order. This amendment deals with works. The hon. and learned Gentleman is straying into a general argument about fluoridation. I am sure that he will return to the amendments.

Mr. Lawrence

Certainly I shall, Mr. Deputy Speaker. In view of your direction, I shall not pursue my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Howarth) which I should like to make. Inevitably society will be harmed if there is further fluoridation. The inclusion of the words "any works" would open the floodgates.

I should be grateful, Mr. Deputy Speaker, if you would direct that the House should not vote just against the Lords amendment but that it should support the constructive suggestion contained in my amendments: that the words "for maintenance and cleaning" should be retained so that there are three categories of fluoridation where there is no fluoride already in the water. They are emergencies, maintenance and cleaning. However, the House should expunge from the Bill the words "any works" because they are far too wide. I should be grateful if you would consider having a separate vote on those matters.

12.15 am
Mr. Deputy Speaker

The Chair has already said that a Division on one of these amendments—(a), (b), or (d) —would be acceptable. I am not quite clear upon which amendment the hon. and learned Gentleman would like to have the Division. Perhaps he will say in due course upon which amendment he would like there to be a Division.

Mr. Best

I am grateful to Mr. Speaker for having selected for debate my amendment (d). At the end of the Lords amendment my amendment would add: provide that no such works shall continue for a continuous period of more than four weeks unless an application in respect of that other area has been made in accordance with subsection (1). Its object is self-explanatory. My hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Sir J. Page), whose interest in water undertakers is well known, is a stalwart defender of their integrity. I hope that he will acquit me of any charge of impugning their integrity, or of imputing dishonourable motives to them. I accept that water undertakers will wish to discharge their duties to the best of their ability. My concern is that by removing a large part of clause 1 the Government are not giving those water undertakers a fair chance to do so. By not providing guidelines there is room for error. This is unfair to water undertakers.

My amendment is necessary because of the way in which the Lords amendment is drafted. This is another case of fluoridation by stealth. Clause 1 provides that areas outside an area which is the subject of an application will, or can, receive fluoride without being in breach of the legislation. Now water authorities will be able to carry out works, including cleaning and maintenance—I do not demur at that; of course it must be necessary for them to carry out such works— and thereby ensure that areas outside the area that is the subject of an application received fluoridated water for an indefinite period even though there will have been no consultation with the people living in tha area. The trouble is that we do not know what the works might be. They might be new works or the extension of pipes to areas outside an area covered by an application made by a health authority under the legislation if it passes into law——

Mr. John Butterfill (Bournemouth, West)

Does my hon. Friend agree that, strictly according to the clause, the matter is entirely at the discretion of the undertaker? The clause does not require the works to have any connection directly with the provision of water. If the authority considered it appropriate, it might be the construction of a new headquarters building, something water authorities have been wont to do in the past few years.

Mr. Best

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. Every time an hon. Member makes a point, a new interpretation can be placed on the proposed legislation which unfortunately, in its wide-ranging generalisation, is capable of a large number of different interpretations. That must be not only impracticable but undesirable for legislation that has the fiat of the House.

To prevent fluoridation by stealth and to ensure that the essence of the Bill is carried out—in other words, that only those areas which are the subject of an application are fluoridated—ther must be some curtailment on works which could otherwise permanently extend fluoride to areas outside an area covered by an application without an application ever having to be made in respect of those areas. That would mean that any water authority, not for arcane or malicious reasons but simply because it was a way of providing new water supplies, could find itself in the position of providing fluoridated water to areas outside the area of an application.

There is nothing in the Bill which allows a water authority to require a health authority to make an application to it for the purposes of extending fluoridation. Therefore, there could be continuing fluoridation outside those areas. For that reason, I hope that my amendment will find favour with the House.

Mr. Michael Brown (Brigg and Cleethorpes)

There are considerable implications in the clause as it is intended to be amended by the Lords amendments under discussion. We are imposing an unfair burden on water authorities. The Government have made it clear throughout the discussion on the Bill that water authorities shall not carry any blame for fluoride being added to the water. One of the central tenets of the Government's arguments in favour of the Bill is that the decision of local health authorities will be the determining factor in deciding whether the water in an area is fluoridated.

I can foresee a problem in that my parliamentary constituency is represented by' two district health authorities, one in Scunthorpe and one in Grimsby, and it is therefore conceivable that the Anglian water authority, which serves the whole of my constituency, could receive an application under the proposed legislation from, let us say, the Scunthorpe water authority to have fluoride added to its water supply. The health authority in Grimsby, which serves part of my constituency, might decide not to have fluoride in its water supply. Therefore, half of my constituents will have fluoride added to their water on the decision of the Scunthorpe health authority, and the other half served by the Grimsby health authority might not have fluoride added to the water supply.

My constituency is an area of about 450 square miles, and if any water works are undertaken in, say, the area around Brigg, or the area around Barton or Immingham, which are right on the boundaries of the two health authorities, it is perfectly conceivable that while those works are being carried out some of my constituents will have fluoride in their water supply for an indefinite period. That will be the effect of the proposed Lords amendment. It is therefore right that we should consider the amendment tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn (Mr. Best).

Is it not unreasonable for the Government to make provision for such an eventuality, because it is conceivable that one could have a breakdown in water supply on the boundary between two local health authorities which have different views on fluoride in the water supply. We know that often when water works are undertaken they can be of long duration. Whenever one engages in some kind of pipework renewal, one does not know how long the work will take until one actually sets about the work, digging up roads and looking at the state of the pipes. In a situation like that, the area around Brigg, for example, would have to take water which might contain fluoride from the Grimsby health authority, or the area around Immingham might have to take water from the waterworks of the Scunthorpe health authority which might or might not contain fluoride. One can see that there could be cause for grave public concern.

I suppose that some people would say that fluoride in the water supply for just a week may not be harmful. I do not think that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) would agree with that. I am perhaps going slightly soft in favour of the Government on this point. One of the arguments which my hon. Friends and I have made about the dangers of fluoride is that we are concerned about the build up over a period of years. If water works are being undertaken for a short time and somebody in a non-fluoridated water area is being asked to accept water from a health authority which has decided to have fluoride in the water supply, it is reasonable to say to him, "Look, this is only for a week, it will not harm you. There is a time limit on it." However, we do not always know in advance how long pipework renovation will take, and that is why I believe that a time limit should be placed on the powers sought by the Government.

12.30 am

We could face fluoridation by stealth. One can imagine a health authority saying to its local population, "You may not be aware of this, but we had to undertake pipework renewal in your area over several months and, under the terms of the Water (Fluoridation) Act 1985, you have been receiving fluoride in your water supply during that time. We received no complaints and we do not think that it has done you any harm. We treated it as an experiment and on that basis we shall be making an application to fluoridate the water supply." That could happen if a health authority decided to play the game below the belt.

Those who share my view are right to ask the Government to consider the amendments to the Lords amendments. There must be many constituencies where there are two health authorities and one water authority and people might receive fluoride for a short time. We must have a safeguard to ensure that they will be told if they are to receive fluoride for more than four weeks.

We are not nit-picking. Those who worry about fluoridation by stealth perceive a weakness in the Bill. Local health authorities which do not play fair couid misuse the rights given to them under the Bill.

Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

I have been struck by the debate on this group of amendments, particularly on the amendment put forward by the hon. Member for Ynys Môn (Mr. Best) and supported by the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) The situation that the latter described is not the only possible one. He referred to the existence of two health authorities and one water undertaking in his constituency. The situation of which I have more experience is one in which there are several water undertakings. There are three or four in my constituency and one health authority. However, one of those undertaking supplies a neighbouring health authority which has long and fiercely resisted the addition of fluoride to the water supply because it believes that it would be a danger to the health of the people that it is-intended to serve. This exasperates the water undertakers because they find that they are supplying water to an area determined on grounds of water supply but which contains two health authorities, and they do not know how to cope with the situation. They find it very irritating and wish that the recalcitrant health authority would comply and simplify their task.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that water undertakers exchange water with each other extensively, according to what is going on in the water cycle, which one has an ample supply of water, which river flows need to be maintained in order to preserve fisheries and so on. I can foresee a situation such as the hon. Member has described in which the advantage of works being carried out would be seized upon gleefully.

Can the Minister remember a time in his own constituency when water supply works were not being carried out? As I go about my constituency—and there is not much going on in the more deprived regions of the country these days—the only vehicles that I see are those of the county council, and the water authorities. The deeper we go into winter, the more obvious this is. It is partly the result of our crumbling Victorian heritage of water and sewerage systems, but it is a fact that at any one time a water undertaker, whether it be the Northumbrian water authority, the Newcastle and Gateshead water company or the Coquet water board, will be engaged in works which can be described as relevant for the purposes of this Lords amendment.

Unless the Minister can reassure me that this cannot be implied, there can never be a situation in which, by some process of argument, an authority could not contend that it was justified in introducing fluoridation by stealth into an area which had not even had the benefit of a health authority decision. In my constituency, of course, I am further irritated by the fact that, unlike the people in the constituencies of my hon. Friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) and of my immediate neighbour, the Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood), I do not even have a democratically elected body making this decision. The decision is made by the health authority. But even that decision could be denied to my constituents in the circumstances described.

The Minister has, therefore, some explaining to do, and I hope that he can say something convincing. I find this Lords amendment wholly unsatisfactory.

12.38 am
Mr. Whitney

For the reasons that I have given, I commend Lords amendments Nos. 2 and 3 to the House.

My hon. Friends show a fundamental misunderstanding of the realities of the water industry. Necessary routine work may not only be cleaning and maintenance: there may be other work such as relining a main or the installation of new pumps. It is most unlikely that it would take more than four weeks to carry out routine work, but we can never rule out that sort of possibility. It may, for example, be necessary to clean out a service reservoir. To stop the fluoridation while that work was done would interrupt the undoubted benefits which children derive from fluoridation.

I, therefore, urge the House to reject amendments (a), (b) and (d).

Question put, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 121, Noes 13.

Division No. 300] [12.40 am
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard
Ancram, Michael Brittan, Rt Hon Leon
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble) Brooke, Hon Peter
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E) Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E)
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y) Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A.
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Burt, Alistair
Biffen, Rt Hon John Butcher, John
Boscawen, Hon Robert Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Bottomley, Peter Chalker, Mrs Lynda
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)
Chapman, Sydney Moynihan, Hon C.
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n) Newton, Tony
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Nicholls, Patrick
Colvin, Michael Normanton, Tom
Cope, John Norris, Steven
Couchman, James Ottaway, Richard
Currie, Mrs Edwina Page, Sir John (Harrow W)
Dobson, Frank Page, Richard (Herts SW)
Dorrell, Stephen Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Patten, J. (Oxf W & Abdgn)
Dunn, Robert Pattie, Geoffrey
Durant, Tony Pawsey, James
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Pollock, Alexander
Eggar, Tim Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Emery, Sir Peter Renton, Tim
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Rhodes James, Robert
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Fraser, Peter (Angus East) Rifkind, Malcolm
Garel-Jones, Tristan Robinson, Mark (N'port W)
Goodlad, Alastair Roe, Mrs Marion
Gow, Ian Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Gummer, Rt Hon John S Ryder, Richard
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom) Sackville, Hon Thomas
Hanley, Jeremy Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Hayhoe, Rt Hon Barney Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Henderson, Barry Soames, Hon Nicholas
Howard, Michael Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Squire, Robin
Hunt, David (Wirral) Stanley, John
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Stern, Michael
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Jessel, Toby Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire)
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
King, Rt Hon Tom Tracey, Richard
Lamont, Norman Trippier, David
Lang, Ian Waddington, David
Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Waldegrave, Hon William
Lilley, Peter Walden, George
Lord, Michael Wallace, James
Lyell, Nicholas Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Watson, John
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute) Watts, John
Major, John Wheeler, John
Malone, Gerald Whitney, Raymond
Mather, Carol Wood, Timothy
Maude, Hon Francis Young, Sir George (Acton)
Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Mayhew, Sir Patrick Tellers for the Ayes:
Mellor, David Mr. Michael Neubert and Mr. Peter Lloyd.
Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Moore, John
Beith, A. J. Lawrence, Ivan
Best, Keith Skinner, Dennis
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) Stevens, Martin (Fulham)
Bruinvels, Peter Walker, Bill (T'side N)
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.)
Ground, Patrick Tellers for the Noes:
Hickmet, Richard Mr. John Butterfill and Mr. John Golding.
Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Lords amendment: No. 3, in page 2, line 17, at end insert ;or

  1. (b) in connection with the carrying out of any works (including cleaning and maintenance) by any of them."

Read a Second time.

Amendment (a) proposed to the Lords amendment, leave out "any works (including".

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 13, Noes 120.

Division No. 301] [12.50 am
Beith, A. J. Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) Skinner, Dennis
Bruinvels, Peter Stevens, Martin (Fulham)
Butterfill, John Walker, Bill (T'side N)
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.)
Golding, John Tellers for the Ayes:
Ground, Patrick Mr. Ivan Lawrence and Mr. Keith Best.
Hickmet, Richard
Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Malone, Gerald
Ancram, Michael Mather, Carol
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble) Maude, Hon Francis
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E) Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y) Mayhew, Sir Patrick
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Mellor, David
Biffen, Rt Hon John Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Boscawen, Hon Robert Moore, John
Bottomley, Peter Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Moynihan, Hon C.
Brittan, Rt Hon Leon Neubert, Michael
Brooke, Hon Peter Newton, Tony
Brown, N, (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E) Nicholls, Patrick
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Normanton, Tom
Burt, Alistair Norris, Steven
Butcher, John Ottaway, Richard
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Page, Sir John (Harrow W)
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Page, Richard (Herts SW)
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n) Patten, J. (Oxf W & Abdgn)
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Pattie, Geoffrey
Colvin, Michael Pawsey, James
Cope, John Pollock, Alexander
Couchman. James Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Currie, Mrs Edwina Renton, Tim
Dobson, Frank Rhodes James, Robert
Dorrell, Stephen Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Rifkind, Malcolm
Dunn, Robert Robinson, Mark (N'port W)
Durant, Tony Roe, Mrs Marion
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Eggar, Tim Ryder, Richard
Emery, Sir Peter Sackville, Hon Thomas
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Fraser, Peter (Angus East) Soames, Hon Nicholas
Garel-Jones, Tristan Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Goodlad, Alastair Squire, Robin
Gow, Ian Stanley, John
Gummer, Rt Hon John S Stern, Michael
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom) Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Hanley, Jeremy Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire)
Hayhoe, Rt Hon Barney Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Henderson, Barry Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
Howard, Michael Tracey, Richard
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Trippier, David
Hunt, David (Wirral) Waddington, David
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Waldegrave, Hon William
Jessel, Toby Walden, George
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Wallace, James
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
King, Rt Hon Tom Watson, John
Lamont, Norman Watts, John
Lang, Ian Wheeler, John
Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel Whitney, Raymond
Lilley, Peter Wood, Timothy
Lord, Michael Young, Sir George (Acton)
Lyell, Nicholas
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Tellers for the Noes:
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute) Mr. Peter Lloyd and Mr. Mark Lennox-Boyd.
Major, John

Question accordingly negatived.

Lords amendment No. 3 agreed to.

1 am

Lords amendment: No. 4, in page 2, line 18, leave out from beginning to end of line 39.

Mr. Hayhoe

I beg to move. That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take Lords amendment No. 7, insert the following new clause—Interpretation etc..— 1) In this Act—

  1. "application" means an application under section 1(1);
  2. "appropriate authority", in relation to a fluoridation scheme which is operated by virtue of section (Continuity of existing fluoridation schemes), means the Regional or District Health Authority to whom the statutory water undertaker concerned are answerable in accordance with the arrangements under which the scheme is operated;
  3. "emergency" means an existing or threatened serious deficiency in the supply of water (whether in quantity or quality) caused by an exceptional lack of rain or by any accident or unforseen circumstances;
  4. "health authority" means—
    1. (a) in relation to England and Wales, any District Health Authority (within the meaning of the National Health Service Act 1977); and
    2. (b) in relation to Scotland, any Health Board (within the meaning of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978);
  5. "local authority" means the council of a county or district, the council of a London borough or the Common Council of the City of London; and
  6. "statutory water undertaker" means—
    1. (a) in relation to England and Wales, any water authority or statutory water company within the meaning of the Water Act 1973; and
    2. (b) in relation to Scotland, any water authority within the meaning of the Water (Scotland) Act 1980.
(2) The provisions of this Act apply to the Isles of Scilly as if the Council of the Isles of Scilly were a water authority and as if the Isles were the area of that water authority.

Mr. Hayhoe

These are simply consequential amendments that result from the two Government new clauses relating to the continuity of existing schemes and to publicity and consultation. The two new clauses are in Lords amendments Nos. 5 and 6, which we have still to discuss. I therefore commend these small, technical amendments to the House.

Mr. Lawrence

Consequential and small, technical, amendments they may be, but they reveal an awful deception in the Bill. My amendment (a) has not been accepted for debate and vote, but I consider this issue to be so important that I am driven to ask the House to throw out the definition section in its entirety and to reject Lords amendment No. 7.

The effect would be to make the Government take their Bill away and to re-draft it in the new Session. Although tiresome, that would be far from a tragedy, even from the Government's point of view. Those who will be fluoridated against their will will gain a respite, but that is not my purpose in seeking to reject the amendment.

The definition clause is objectionable because it contains no definition of the word "consult". There is no clear requirement whatsoever in the Bill for anything to be done in the consultation process. "Consult" and "consultation" are words that require definition, otherwise there could be countless legal actions and great expense. The only beneficiaries will be the lawyers, and I know that the lawyers are not very popular with this House.

The undertaking to consult local authorities is the one concession that the Government say they have made to the anti-fluoridationists. That is very deceptive because it turns out to be no concession at all. It would be a concession if anything was involved in the process of consultation. It would be a concession if, as we had asked, after consultation with the local authorities or the community health councils the water authorities were bound by the effect of that consultation. If, as happens in the west midlands area, nearly every county and district council says that it does not want fluoridation and the water authority, after pressure from the health authority, decides that it does, consultations would have some meaning if what resulted from it was binding. But that suggestion was rejected each time we made it.

We missed winning our case in the House of Lords by only three votes. Two or three of our supporters went home for dinner and forgot to come back; one supporter went into the wrong Lobby; and, unfortunately, one of our strongest supporters died. As a result, the teeth which were generally expected to be put into the Bill were not put in. When the Bill was published, hon. Members seemed to be saying that it was a good idea for the local authorities to control fluoridation. Democratically elected representatives, or, failing that, their nominees on community health councils, could express the wishes of the majority of people in their areas. The understanding was that, as the Bill went through the House, some measure of democratic control would be inserted.

Unfortunately, some people still do not understand—perhaps more understand now than did at the beginning —how important it is not to go ahead in the belief that fluoride is beneficial, when some scientists of repute say that it is not, or that it is completely healthy and safe when some scientists say that it is not. There is a doubt about it. However, there is no doubt about whether there should be democratic control over fluoridation. As the Bill progressed, its opponents were astonished that the Government repeatedly resisted any attempt to provide democratic control before fluoridation is inflicted upon the people who, in vast areas of the country, do not want it or need it, and some of whom consider that it is bad for them in any event.

Therefore, the Bill had no teethx0024;like most people in Britain, who cannot possibly benefit from fluoridation. Yet it is being forced down their throats as though they could.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I find it difficult to relate the hon. and learned Gentleman's remarks to the amendments, which deal with interpretation. Perhaps he can tell me how he relates what he is saying to the amendments.

Mr. Lawrence

The fault is mine, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am obviously not expressing myself clearly enough, and I hope to repair that defect in my presentation.

Although the Government refused to give the Bill any teeth, they did tell us that we could have publicity and consultation. Therefore, we must find out what "consultation" means, and my point is that it means nothing. It is a completely ineffectual word.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I am still puzzled by what the hon. and learned Gentleman says. I see nothing about consultation in the amendments. We are dealing with interpretation. Perhaps he has the wrong set of notes and is talking about a later amendment.

Mr. Lawrence

I think not, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am suggesting that amendment No. 7, which redrafts the definitions section, should contain a definition of consultation. If it does not, we should scrap the entire clause—lock, stock and barrel—until the Government come back with a definition of consultation which means something. I hope that I have satisfied you Sir, that my remarks are in order.

Therefore, I have suggested — but because the amendment was not selected I cannot——

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. and learned Gentleman again, but he knows very well that it is not in order to discuss amendments that have not been selected.

Mr. Lawrence

It is because the amendment has not been selected that I am asking the House to follow me in rejecting the whole new clause. It must be in order for me to say that I reject it because it does not contain a definition of "consultation". It needs to contain one because the authorities make it clear that if it is not defined—and at present it is not defined in the Bill — the clause is meaningless.

I shall refer to the most important cases, which are not without interest because the matters involve planning applications under the Town and Country Planning Act 1947. In the Hemel Hempstead case of Fletcher and others v. Minister of Town and Country Planning, the plaintiffs submitted that no proper consultation took place. Discussions took place, representations were made to the Minister, and opinions were expressed, but, as Mr. Justice Morris said The word 'consultation' is one that is in general use and it is well understood. No useful purpose would be served by formulating words of definition. Nor would it be appropriate to seek to lay down the manner in which consultation must take place. The Act does not proscribe any particular form of consultation. If a complaint is made of failure to consult, it will be for the court to examine the facts and circumstances of the particular case and to decide whether consultation was in fact held. In other words, if the statute does not define "consultation" or proscribe any particular form of it, the court must decide whether consultation was or was not held. He said Consultation may often be a somewhat continuous process and the happenings of one meeting may form the background of a later one. The only guidance there is that if consultation is not defined and specified in a Bill, nothing much happens.

In the Crawley case of Rollo v. Minister of Town and Country Planning in 1947, which concerns the development at the Crawley Three Bridges area, the New Towns Act, 1946 section 1(1) required If the Minister … is satisfied, after consultation with any local authorities who appear to him to be concerned, that it is expedient in the national interest that any area of land should be developed as a new town by a corporation established under this Act, he may make an order designating that area as the site of the proposed new town. That is what has brought by my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley (Mr. Soames) to the House tonight.

The plaintiffs took objection to the process called consultation. The local authorities were informed at the meeting of the general nature of the proposal—the area and size of the proposed town, and what the Minister intended to bring about—discussion was invited, some questions were put by the authorities' representatives and answered by the Minister and his assistants, and a minute was prepared and a press notice issued stating what had happened. A second meeting was held at the local authorities' request to explain the Minister's considerations in arriving at the boundaries of the area. Objections were raised that that was not consultation, and that they had been told what had to happen. They said that they were allowed to express their views, the Minister remained silent and did not discuss anything very much, and that that was not consultation. The Master of the Rolls, Lord Greene, said that the Minister did not need to complete his consultation with local authorities before he published the draft order. In other words, the Minister could listen to comments, then publish the draft order an further talks could be held thereafter. That is an unsatisfactory form of consultation even though it was written into the Act, which it had not been in the earlier case.

The Master of the Rolls said: It is to be observed also that under the subsection the ultimate judge of what is or is not in the national interest is the Minister. 1.15 am

That decision was recently echoed in one prominent case. It is not the local authorities or the courts, but the Minister who is responsible to Parliament if he administers the Act badly and reaches conclusions open to criticism as not being in the national interest. That is a ministerial responsibility rather than one upon the shoulders of a local authority. The Master of the Rolls continued: The point immediately arises whether that interview alone could be a consultation within the meaning of the subsection, having regard to the fact that the Bill had not, at that stage, become an Act. I do not think that that question requires an answer, nor do I see any necessity for going into the question whether, assuming nothing else had happened, that could be described as a consultation contemplated by the subsection.

Lord Justice Bucknill said: A certain amount has been said as to what consultation means. In my view, as junior counsel for the Minister said, it means that, on the one side, the Minister must supply sufficient information to the local authority to enable them to tender advice, and, on the other hand, a sufficient opportunity must be given to the local authority to tender that advice. A rather difficult question arises whether the discussion was a consultation within the meaning of section 1, and he said that it was.

That underlines the necessity, if consultation is to mean anything, for its meaning to be laid down specifically in the Act of Parliament—especially the rather sensible suggestion of Lord Justice Bucknill that it should mean on the one hand that the Minister supplies sufficient information to the local authority to enable it to tender advice, and on the other a sufficient opportunity for it to do so.

If we apply that to a water authority, it must give all the information and allow the other party—the district or county council—the right to tender its advice. As the Bill stands, there is no such requirement. There is no definition in the relevant section; it has been laid down by the House of Lords. In other words, there is no protection. The Government have made no real concessions, they have used the hollow phrase, "You can consult", which is absolutely meaningless. It is deceptive in that it is intended to convey that the Government are conceding something that is of significance or importance. It is a hollow exercise.

I know that a number of parliamentary private secretaries and others will go into the Lobby with the Government in the belief that a concession has been made——

Mr. J. F. Pawsey (Rugby and Kenilworth)

It is a conviction.

Mr. Lawrence

It may be a conviction that drives a few such people through the Lobby on a free vote at 1.20 am, but some are misled into thinking that a substantial, important concession has been made. That is quite untrue —there are no concessions. Until there are, it cannot seriously be expected that those of us who think that this is a rotten Bill, but who are nevertheless obliged to support it, should do so without the faintest twinkle of any concession being made.

For that reason, I invite my hon. Friends to vote against amendment No. 7 and oblige the Government to take away the definition section, include a definition of consultation and then return so that something useful will have been achieved.

Mr. Michael Brown

I would not go all the way along the road of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence). If the definition of a local authority were not so tightly drawn, the Government's case would be stronger. That tight definition means the council of a county or district, of a London borough or the Common Council of the City of London. Under the heading of "local authority", I would have liked to have been included parish and town councils.

When a major item of planning is being undertaken by a district council, it is normal for that council — remembering that a district council often covers an area as large as that covered by a district health authority—to consult the parish or town council. We now have, as a result of the last local government reorganisation, a number of town councils which cover significant populations. It is right, therefore, that such councils should be asked to give a view on the type of issue that we are discussing.

I object to the subsection in its present form, not because the Government are seeking to do anything underhand — they have introduced what they have described as a concession, though I do not want to trespass on a debate we shall have on a later amendment—but because of the definition given to the expression "Focal authority." Town and parish councils could have an important role in offering advice to district health authorities.

There are in my constituency seven or eight town councils, one of which, Immingham, represents a population of about 10,000. I would have thought that the view of a body of that size should be sought in a matter of this kind. Indeed, it would be reprehensible if a major planning decision were taken in the Cleethorpes borough council area without Immingham town council being consulted.

I mention Immingham town council in particular because it covers a large area of the industrial part of my constituency. That contains many chemical factories. and effluent, particularly into water and sewerage pipes, front which occupies much of the concern of that council. If Immingham town council discovers that we have legislated to allow for consultation with local authorities along the lines in this measure, the mayor of Immingham will write to me asking, "Why has 'local authority' been defined in such a narrow way as not to include this town council?" The mayor and town clerk there will be extremely angry over that.

Immingham town council often finds itself in a peculiar position in relation to Cleethorpes borough council. Although the town council represents a small area of the borough geographically, it represents a large population. Its views often carry great weight with the borough council, and on occasions the borough has planned to take decisions but, after consulting the town council, has reversed its decision. If that can happen with local authorities, surely it is right and proper that it should happen with district health authorities. I do not want to nitpick on the local authority definition, but it is an important point which I hope my hon. Friend the Minister will consider.

I notice that the definition does not appear to include any of the Scottish regional councils, and I wonder why that should be. If the Bill were to become an Act, it would apply to Scotland, and I should be interested to know from my hon. Friend why the definition of "local authority" does not include the regional councils in Scotland.

Mr. Hickmet

Amendment No. 4, taken with amendment No. 7, asks the House to delete the definition section in clause 1(7) and to substitute a new subsection which would be the new definition or interpretation section.

I do not wish to delay the House unnecessarily, but when my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) referred to the lack of definition of the word "consult" or "consultation" in the new subsection (7), he made a telling point. My constituents are concerned because they would like to consult the appropriate authority about the contents of the water supply and to question whether it is fluoridated. They have one of the highest levels of nitrates in their water supply. Therefore, consultation about a proposal by a health authority to inject fluoride into the water concerns my constituents. Nobody has ever consulted them about the nitrate level in their water, which is so much higher than that recommended by the European Commission. They already have experience of the lack of consultation before additives are artificially injected into the water.

If the new subsection is to mean anything, and is to provide any protection to people who find themselves in the position of my constituents, some definition of "consultation" must be set out and defined. The amendment says: the health authority shall consult about their proposals.

With whom is it to consult? Is it to be with the local authority? What form will the consultation take? Is it to inform the local authority of the proposal when it was the body that took the decision? Suppose the local authority shows opposition to the consultative process. It matters not.

If the word "consultation" were to be defined, it would be open to those aggrieved by the consultative process to say that consultations had been held with the district health authority but that they were a waste of time because the district health authority had allowed the statutory water undertaker to put fluoride into the water. If the word "consultation" were included in the definition section, those who are concerned about the addition of fluoride to the water would be armed with a legal redress. It may be —my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton will, I hope, assist me here—that the matter could go to the Divisional court. A district health authority proposal which ignored the consultative process might be the subject of judicial review. It would be the only weapon that an individual would have with which to fight district health authorities and local authorities.

1.30 am

District health authorities will consult only the local authorities. The district health authority in my constituency is served by hard-working and worthy people, but most of my constituents do not know who they are. The definition section does no define the word "proposal". Subsection (2) of the new clause refers to a period of six months before the implementation of a proposal by a district health authority. If the word "proposal" is not defined, a district health authority could make a decision which it would ask the statutory water undertaker to implement. That decision could disregard entirely the consultative process.

If the words "consultation" and "proposal" are not defined, the new clause could be construed as a sop, because my constituents, and others, would be provided with no redress. My constituents would be most anxious to participate in the consultative process because the level of nitrates in the water is the highest in the country. It is in breach of all of the European Commission recommendations. Therefore, the addition of fluoride would cause grave concern. However, it appears that the Government do not care. If they did, the word "consultation" would be included in the definition section. Let the Government take the definition section, apply their minds to the concessions which they made in another place and define what they mean. If as a result the Bill should be delayed, the Government would have brought that on themselves.

Mr. Hayoe

My hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) referred to the definition of "local authority" and particularly to the position of parish and town councils. If they feel strongly about fluoridation, they will be able to make representations to the health authority in response to the publication of proposals in the local press. He also referred to the fact that there was no definition of "local authority" for Scotland. Such a provision is not needed for Scotland as the decision there will rest with water authorities which are the elected regional and island councils.

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) and my hon. Friend the Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe (Mr. Hickmet) spoke at some length about consultation. I imagine that they made their speeches on the basis that amendment (a) to Lords amendment No. 7 would be selected. It was not. Nevertheless, they made their speeches.

Question put, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 116, Noes 12.

Division No 302] [1.36 am
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)
Ancram, Michael Atkinson, David (B'm'th' E)
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y) Malone, Gerald
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Mather, Carol
Biffen, Rt Hon John Maude, Hon Francis
Boscawen, Hon Robert Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Bottomley, Peter Mayhew, Sir Patrick
Brittan, Rt Hon Leon Mellor, David
Brooke, Hon Peter Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E) Moore, John
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)
Burt, Alistair Moynihan, Hon C.
Butcher, John Newton, Tony
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Nicholls, Patrick
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Normanton, Tom
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Norris, Steven
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n) Ottaway, Richard
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Page, Sir John (Harrow W)
Colvin, Michael Page, Richard (Herts SW)
Cope, John Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Couchman, James Patten, J. (Oxf W & Abdgn)
Currie, Mrs Edwina Pattie, Geoffrey
Dobson, Frank Pawsey, James
Dorrell, Stephen Pollock, Alexander
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Dunn, Robert Renton, Tim
Durant, Tony Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Rifkind, Malcolm
Eggar, Tim Robinson, Mark (N'port W)
Emery, Sir Peter Roe, Mrs Marion
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Ryder, Richard
Fraser, Peter (Angus East) Sackville, Hon Thomas
Garel-Jones, Tristan Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Goodlad, Alastair Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Gow, Ian Soames, Hon Nicholas
Gregory, Conal Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Gummer, Rt Hon John S Squire, Robin
Hanley, Jeremy Stanley, John
Hayhoe, Rt Hon Barney Stern, Michael
Henderson, Barry Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Howard, Michael Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire)
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Hunt, David (Wirral) Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Tracey, Richard
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Trippier, David
Jessel, Toby Waddington, David
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Wakeham, Rt Hon John
King, Rt Hon Tom Waldegrave, Hon William
Lamont, Norman Walden, George
Lang, Ian Wallace, James
Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Watts, John
Lilley, Peter Whitney, Raymond
Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham) Wood, Timothy
Lord, Michael Young, Sir George (Acton)
Lyell, Nicholas
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Tellers for the Ayes:
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute) Mr. Archie Hamilton and Mr. Michael Neubert.
Major, John
Beith, A. J. Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Best, Keith Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Bruinvels, Peter Skinner, Dennis
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.) Stevens, Martin (Fulham)
Golding, John
Ground, Patrick Tellers for the Noes:
Hickmet, Richard Mr. Ivan Lawrence and Mr. Michael Brown.
Holt, Richard

Question accordingly agreed to.

  1. New Clause
    1. cc547-53
  2. New Clause
    1. cc554-61
    2. PUBLICITY AND CONSULTATION 4,506 words, 1 division
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