HC Deb 02 December 1986 vol 106 cc894-904 11.46 pm
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Douglas Hogg)

I beg to move, That the draft European Assembly Elections Regulations 1986, which were laid before this House on 18th November, be approved. The regulations are needed to take account of the changes in electoral law made by the Representation of the People Act 1985. They represent a further step in the process of following up all the consequences of the 1985 Act. The House may recall that some provisions in that Act, notably the increase in the deposit and the extension of the franchise to overseas electors, are already in place.

The present regulations introduce several changes, but I shall mention only three substantive changes. The first deals with absent voting. Schedule 1 to the regulations lists provisions in the 1983 and 1985 Acts which are to apply to Assembly elections with any necessary modifications. The new provisions on absent voting at parliamentary elections introduced by the 1985 Act will also apply to Assembly elections.

The second deals with deposits. Schedule 1 also has the effect of increasing the deposit at Assembly elections to £750. The House will remember that in 1979 the deposit at Assembly elections was fixed at £600. Schedule 2 applies provisions in the Representation of the People regulations and the corresponding regulations for Scotland.

The third major change deals with combined elections. Schedule 3 makes detailed provision, similar to that for parliamentary elections, for the conduct of any Assembly election, the poll at which is combined with a parliamentary or local government election.

Subject to the regulations being approved by Parliament, our intention is to make them by the middle of the month. The provision on absent voting would then come into force on 1 January 1987, which is the same time as they come into force for parliamentary elections. These will deal with elections held on or after 16 February 1987. The provisions on the combination of elections will come into force for any election, notice of which is published on or after 16 February 1987, again as for parliamentary elections. The increase in the deposit will apply at any election, notice of which is published on or after the fourteenth day after the regulations are made.

These are fairly complex regulations, and I have explained only the three major changes. I commend them to the House.

11.48 pm
Mr. Robin Corbett (Birmingham, Erdington)

The House has previously endorsed the principle of consistency of electoral arrangements for Parliament and the European assembly elections. These regulations, which the Minister with such commendable lucidity and brevity has outlined, achieve that. The Minister explained the modest purpose of the regulations, which are complex, and the Opposition do not intend to divide the House on them.

The regulations honour and reflect what we did in the Representation of the People Act 1985 about absent voters, proxy votes, the deposit and combined elections. On the basis of consistency, I invite the House to endorse the regulations.

11.49 pm
Mr. David Alton (Liverpool, Mossley Hill)

We do not under-estimate the importance of these regulations, because they will give effect to the third round of elections to the European assembly. They contain three key points to which I should like to refer hon. Members. The first is rule 17 which says that there will be no change in the electoral system.

The second is on page 38 of the regulations and in describing the ballot paper it says that there will be a chance to, "vote for one candidate only." That excludes an opportunity for a regional list or for any other form of proportional representation. [HON. MEMBERS: "Shame."] Page 49 of the explanatory memorandum which goes with the regulations says quite clearly: Such elections are conducted in accordance with the simple majority system of elections. It will come as no surprise to hon. Members to know that the Liberals and the Social Democrats are opposed to the House agreeing to the terms of the regulations and we hope that the Government will agree to withdraw them and give them further consideration. Hope springs eternal, and the reason why we have to keep on pressing the Government on these matters is that it is quite clear that they would like to carry on with the cosy arrangement that has existed for far too long for European and Westminster elections.

We do not like the way in which the regulations were brought before the House last week. In an almost surreptitious way, the Government tried to slip the regulations through to a Standing Committee. The last time we discussed these regulations was in January 1984 when they were, quite properly, debated in the House and not sent off to a quiet corner of the building where in a Standing Committee a small cosy group of people could just push them through without any ado.

Curious as it was, that time hon. Members from all parts of the House rose in unison to block the motion and to stop the regulations from being sent to a Standing Committee. It is significant that leading members of the Government party as well as people from outside the House joined together to ensure that there would be a debate today.

The history of these regulations goes back to the first round of the European elections, at the time of the Lib-Lab pact. The Labour Government of the day put forward two options. The first was for England, Scotland and Wales and the second was for Northern Ireland. The option for Northern Ireland was for a system of proportional representation. Presumably, that was because, when people take to the bullet and the bomb, the way to ensure that minority views are adequately heard is for the Government to introduce a fair electoral system. That seems an extraordinary way to go about things, but in this part of Britain, because we conduct our affairs in a more democratic way and without the violence that, sadly, characterises Northern Ireland, we are excluded from having the option that Parliament deemed appropriate for Northern Ireland.

In 1977, we decided to carry on with the first-past-the-post system in European elections. Labour Members had a free vote, but members of the then Labour Government were urged to support proportional representation. Conservative Members also had a free vote. It is interesting to look back at the figures in the Official Report for the vote at the end of that debate, because 224 hon. Members voted for the regional list option, one of the two options before the House. That figure included 147 Labour Members and 61 Conservative Members.

Among the Conservative Members who supported us that night in 1977 were the present Secretary of State for Energy, a former Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Mr Heath), the present Secretary of State for Education, the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the present Solicitor-General, the Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office, the Secretary of State for Defence and the Secretary of State for Scotland. We look forward to seeing them all in the Lobby with us tonight supporting us again. We know that they are always consistent in their support in such matters.

At that time, the present Home Secretary said from the Front Bench that the first-past-the-post system had to be used in the first round of elections, but he then said that we should move to proportional representation when we had become used to European elections. During that debate in 1977 he said: I say this as one who actually favours electoral reform in this Kingdom and who has spoken and voted for it accordingly."—[Official Report, 13 December 1977; Vol. 941, c. 318.] The delight of our party when we learnt of his appointment can be imagined.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean)

Order. I apologise for interrupting the hon. Member, but there are fairly narrow regulations. They are concerned with the rules and practices governing the administration of elections. It is not in order to go into the merits of first-past-the-post or proportional representation. I am sure that the hon. Member will relate his remarks to the regulations.

Mr. Alton

I shall indeed, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but on advice from the Clerks, whom we consulted on the matter, because there are references to the kind of electoral system that will be used——

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I am sure that, on reflection, the hon. Member will not in any way wish to involve the Clerks. I have made, I hope politely and kindly, a suggestion as to what is and what is not in order, and I am sure that the hon. Member will take note of that point.

Mr. Alton

Yes, I shall, and I am grateful for your help, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I shall carefully refer to the regulations and to the explanatory note that accompanies them. Rule 17 on page 19 refers to the method of election. According to the regulations that are before the House tonight, the modifications list no change whatsoever. Our objection on these Benches is that there is to be no change. The way in which the Assembly elections will take place is set out on page 38. The colour of the ballot papers is specified. It says that people will be able to vote for one candidate only. That is another of our objections to the way in which the elections will be conducted.

On page 49 we find the following paragraph: These Regulations provide for the conduct of the election of representatives to the European Assembly in England, Wales and Scotland. Such elections are conducted in accordance with the simple majority system of elections. You will understand, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that that is deeply repugnant to those hon. Members who sit on these Benches.

We were pleased, therefore, when the present Home Secretary was appointed. We wrote to him and he replied in these terms: Thank you for your letter of 3 September and for your kind words about my appointment as Home Secretary. My views on the principle of electoral reform have never been a secret, but they are of course personal, and not shared by the Government as a whole or by a majority in the House of Commons. I obviously therefore cannot give you the undertaking for which you ask. Delighted as we were by his appointment, it seems that the Home Secretary would be more of a friend to the cause of electoral reform if he returned to the Back Benches.

We want the regulations to be rejected, first, for reasons of elementary justice. During the 1979 European elections, the Liberal party polled 13.1 per cent. of the vote. In 1984, the alliance polled 19.5 per cent. of the vote. That gained us no seats whatsoever in the European Assembly. It cannot be right that when so many people in 1979—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman again, but he must realise, as must the whole House, that I have to observe the rules of the House. These are very narrow regulations. I have to tell the hon. Gentleman once more that, although I know that he feels strongly about the method of election, he is not in order on the regulations that we are debating now.

Mr. Alton

I refer you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to column 1153 of Hansard of 26 January 1984 when we had a debate on these regulations. My hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) was able to put forward the kind of arguments that I am putting before the House tonight.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

We are not debating that matter. We are debating fairly narrow regulations, and I must ask the hon. Gentleman to accept the ruling that I have now given to him twice.

Mr. Cyril Smith (Rochdale)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. If an instrument is before the House that says that there shall be no change, are we not entitled to pray in support of our case reasons why, in our view, there should be a change?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Not in this particular case, because it is quite outwith the regulations that we are debating.

Mr. Robin Squire (Hornchurch)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I think that the Chair will recognise that I rarely raise points of order. I have read the document that we are debating, and I have also seen the words that specifically state the way in which the elections should be conducted. As we know, within the Chamber, hon. Members have a wide variety of views on the matter. I say this without wishing to upset the Chair's judgment, but I should have thought that it would be difficult for a speech to be out of order that included some reference to what is in the regulations.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

A marginal reference is not out of order, but what I had to say to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) was that I understood that he would seek, at an appropriate moment, to speak about different methods of election. This is not within the regulations that we are debating, and it is my job to ensure that the debate is conducted within the rules. I am sure that the hon. Member for Mossley Hill will respond to my request.

Mr. Alton

I will indeed, Sir.

Mr. Cyril Smith

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Member for Mossley Hill has already said that he will respond to my request, so he should proceed.

Mr. Cyril Smith

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. If regulations before the House say that there shall be only one name on the ballot paper, is that not setting out the form that the elections should take, and, if that is what the regulations say, are we not entitled to argue that that is wrong and to argue why it is wrong?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The hon. Gentleman is certainly entitled to argue that, but not on this occasion.

Mr. Tim Rathbone (Lewes)

Further to the point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Without in any way challenging what you said, Sir, I would like to draw your attention to the first paragraph of the explanatory note on page 49, which I shall read out for the benefit of those hon. Members who do not happen to have the regulations in front of them, or have not yet turned to page 49: These Regulations provide for the conduct of the election of representatives to the European Assembly in England and Wales and Scotland. Such elections are conducted in accordance with a simple majority system of elections. Surely, if that is in the explanatory note, it has been put there to explain matters to those hon. Members who are taking part in the debate. Therefore, is it not within the rights of every hon. Member to argue against that, as the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) has just been doing, as he does not believe in the system of simple majority elections? That must be within the terms of the draft European Assembly Elections Regulations 1986, which we are discussing. Is it not reasonable for hon. Members on both sides of the House to apply their minds and their arguments to the system of elections which may not be in accord with the simple majority system because they do not believe that that is the correct way to do it?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I have already said that a passing reference would be in order, but these regulations deal with the rules and practices governing the administration of the elections. They do not deal with the method of election. A passing reference to the method of election would be in order, but it would not be in order to have a long debate on the merits of the first-past-the-post system or proportional representation. The hon. Member for Mossley Hill has already accepted my ruling on that matter, and I am sure that he does not intend to pursue it any further.

Mr. Alton

I intend to pursue the points that I have raised that are in the regulations, as you have directed, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

On page 38, there is a proforma ballot paper which will be used if the regulations are passed. By the same token, if the House decides to reject these regulations, we would have to go away and devise some other way of doing things. My point about the ballot paper as it appears in the regulations is that it lead to the disfranchisement of large numbers of people. A total of 2.5 million people were disfranchised at the previous European election and 1.6 million people were disfranchised at the election before that. If the ballot paper in the regulations is accepted, it will be a monstrous piece of villainy and a blatant injustice and millions of our citizens will be cheated of their democratic rights. Surely that would be totally unacceptable.

Mr. William Cash (Stafford)

Would the hon. Gentleman accept that the mere fact that they have not managed to accumulate the necessary number of votes to win an election does not mean that people are disfranchised, but simply that they have lost an election?

Mr. Alton

It is obvious that the hon. Gentleman does not care a great deal about justice. If he subscribes to the adage of Edmund Burke that there should be no taxation without representation, I am sure that he will agree that the millions of alliance voters who are completely without representation in the European Assembly should be entitled to have large amounts of tax given back to them.

The next point about the regulations concerns the treaty of Rome. Article 138 of the treaty says quite clearly; The Assembly shall draw up proposals for elections by direct universal suffrage in accordance with a uniform procedure in all member states. The Council shall, acting unanimously, lay down the approriate provisions which it shall recommend to members states. The treaty of Rome makes it clear how we should proceed in organising our European elections. The ballot paper before us in the regulations and the qualification on page 19 of the explanatory memorandum that there will be no change made in the modifications to the elections, make it clear that we will not comply with the treaty of Rome. The Assembly will never be able to act unanimously because the British Government refuse to accept any fair voting system. The ballot paper we are going to approve tonight will distort the entire make-up of our delegation in the European Asembly.

Mr. John Butterfill (Bournemouth, West)

Can the hon. Gentleman tell me whether the Council has come forward with any such proposal that the British Government have refused to accept or, if it not true, that no such unanimous proposal has emerged to date?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I hope that the hon. Member for Mossley Hill will resist the temptation to widen the debate. I have already said more than once that we must stick to the regulations, which are fairly narrow.

Mr. Alton

I do not wish to be drawn down a road which you will rule against, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Political Affairs Committee has recently recommended the regional list system for the next round. In the March 1982 vote, about eight Conservative Members of the European Parliament voted for the regional list system. Therefore, the system has great support in Europe and in many quarters of the House.

My next point is that the ballot paper in the regulations does not provide for more than one candidate. That will mean that we will be back to the massive Euro-seats we have used in the past two elections, which are on the simple first-past-the-post system. In a debate in 1977, the right hon. Member for Morley and Leeds, South (Mr. Rees) recommended the regional list system: We are talking not about 635 constituencies, but about 81 constituencies. There is no doubt that with 81 constituencies for Europe, if we go through the normal method of election, the slightest swing will result in the parties in this country being under represented in the councils of Europe. We are talking about an Assembly that does not spawn a Government, a body which is advisory and supervisory. The list system is appropriate for Europe. A different type of representative will be created, perhaps with a regional interest that is not in competition with the House of Commons."—[Official Report, 13 December 1977; Vol. 941, c. 416.] We have failed in the regulations to incorporate the thinking of the then Home Secretary into the way we go about our affairs. I regret that. Our failure to provide a fair electoral system will make us the laughing stock of Europe. It demonstrates that there is no spirit of fairness or justice in this place and that we are not committed, to the concept of a far-reaching European Community where there is harmonisation of many of the things that we should ensure are harmonised. A common voting system for the European Assembly would be one step in that direction.

A common voting system would at least mean that people throughout the European Community vote in the same way. It would be a signal from the House that we intend to ensure that people's votes, regardless of where they live or where they come from, will count equally. In the regulations, we carry on the nonsense that we have one system for Northern Ireland, yet a different system for England, Scotland and Wales. That cannot be right. Therefore, I invite the House to reject these regulations.

12.10 am
Mr. Robin Squire (Hornchurch)

I did not intend to speak in this debate, but, in a sense, I have been spurred on by one or two of the observations made by some of my hon. Friends. It is important in a short speech—I assure you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, in view of your earlier strictures, that it will be a short speech—to put on record the fact that many Conservatives in the country and a number of Conservatives in the House equally regret that the system is as it is set out in the regulations.

Mr. Keith Best (Ynys Môn)

As one who stood with me to ensure that these regulations should be debated tonight, rather than be referred to the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, will my hon. Friend agree that, had it not been for the presence of Conservative Back Benchers who believe in electoral reform these matters would not now be debated?

Hon. Members

That is right.

Mr. Squire

At least some hon. Members have already given the answer to my hon. Friend. I need add no more. My hon. Friend is right.

I regret that it has been made clear that we are the only western European country that still defends an out-dated and out-moded system. I do not wish to refer to the arguments, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am aware of your earlier comments. It is clear that, on the central question that one should address to any electoral system, it fails. Quite simply, it produces a result that does not reflect the votes cast. I urge all hon. Members to ponder that point. It applies on many other levels that are not covered by the regulations, but it holds true in this respect. The sooner we recognise that we are losing some friends in European Governments who are otherwise supportive of us, because of our obstinacy, the sooner we may grudgingly and belatedly be dragged into a realistic, modern system.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Member has suggested that he is out of order. Of course he is. I hope that he will either resume his seat or address his remarks to the narrow regulations.

Mr. Squire

I am happy to say that much of the regulations are such that I would not question them. I have made clear the point of my objection. It applies to matters already covered by one or two other hon. Members. It is important to put on record that there is also objection on the Government side.

12.14 am
Mr. Keith Best (Ynys Môn)

I ask the House to look briefly at schedule 3, which refers to the modification of Assembly elections rules. Paragraph (2)(e) of the regulations was referred to by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton). It states that the ballot paper shall be of a different colour from that of any ballot papers used at an election the poll for which is taken together with the poll for the Assembly election. This encompasses a situation in which European Parliament elections take place at the same time as domestic elections. My concern is that the regulations specify that the ballot paper for the European Parliament elections will be a different colour from the ballot paper for the domestic election.

Any elector may infer that, because the colour is different, the system of election might be different. Some people may consider that the different colour demonstrates whether the elections are fair or unfair. Many Conservative Members consider that electoral reform is necessary. We can no longer be the odd man out in Europe. Conservative Members believe that electoral reform will be inevitable. We favour that approach because we believe that it will safeguard this country from the tyranny of domination by one part or the other.

12.15 am
Mr. Tim Rathbone (Lewes)

Some minor points have not been touched on so far. One is the fact that the Labour Benches are completely denuded, except for the presence of the distinguished hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Mr. Corbett), who is resting his feet on the Table. The lack of attendance is a condemnation of the Labour party's lack of interest in Europe generally—

Mr. Alex Carlile (Montgomery)

In democracy.

Mr. Rathbone

—and in democracy specifically.

There has been much discussion about the pros and cons of electoral systems for this House and for local government and assemblies, but those pros and cons tend to centre on the creation, or lack of creation, of strong government. That question does not arise in respect of elections to the general Assembly. We are not talking about a choice of Government; we are talking quintessentially about the representation of all parts of national interest and nation political belief in an assembly in Europe. It is a tragedy that the measure has not been drawn up in a way that would allow us to debate in full, according to your ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker, the pros and cons of the various systems of election. I would not think of challenging your ruling on that, Sir, but it is sad that we cannot go into all the details of the advantages not only of proportional representation generally as opposed to first-past-the-post but different systems of proportional representation as opposed to first-past-the-post.

Mr. James Wallace (Orkney and Shetland)

The proposed system, which will involve marking X on the ballot paper, means that the representation from the United Kingdom will not necessarily be truly representative. Does the hon. Gentleman accept that that has implications for our European partners? The unbalanced nature of our delegation to the European Assembly affects the committee structure within that Assembly? Therefore, the electoral system will have consequences not only in this country but in the Assembly.

Mr. Rathbone


Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Member for Lewes (Mr. Rathbone) said that he he was sad that he was not able to develop the argument. Indeed, the whole House may be sad, but the fact is that it is my job to ensure that the debate is directed to the regulations. If the hon. Member were to follow that line, he would be out of order, as I am sure he knows.

Mr. Rathbone

I would not think of doing so, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but I have to give credence to my honourable opponent, the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace). It seemed that there was a germ of truth in what he said, even though it may have been out of order.

It is more than sad that we are considering a measure that will set the direction for important elections in the knowledge that, whatever the intricacies and details of the regulations, they will guarantee—it is not by chance—that the outcome of the elections will not he representative of this country. As a good Conservative, I believe that those elections would be much more sensibly conservative if we had another form of election rather than the one laid down in the regulations. I hope that the House will ensure, for the future, that we have the opportunity to debate the system as well as the details of elections.

12.20 am
Mr. Douglas Hogg

There is a handful of Liberal Members here tonight, which is an extremely large number for them. That makes me suppose that they intend to vote against these regulations. We need to understand what they will achieve by voting against them. The hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) accused the Government of disfranchising electors, and said that the electors had been cheated of democratic rights. What rubbish! It is the Liberals who propose to disfranchise electors and to cheat them of their democratic rights by voting against the regulations. I shall explain why.

One of the most important results of the regulations is that we shall extend to overseas citizens the absent voting procedure in respect of the European Assembly. Liberal Members are taking advantage—

Mr. Alex Carlile

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Hogg

I shall not give way. The Liberal party may not like it, but unfortunately it will have to listen to it. The Liberals are seeking tonight to deny to British citizens overseas the ability to vote in European Assembly elections. That would be the result of their actions. I hope that the electorate understands that it is the Liberals, not us, who are cheating them of their democratic rights.

Mr. Cyril Smith

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Am I right to assume that if the regulations are defeated it is perfectly possible for the Government to introduce new regulations; or are we to assume from what the Minister said that, if they are defeated, that is the end, and no other regulations can be introduced? Alternatively, is the Minister just being his usual silly, ridiculous, childish self?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The hon. Gentleman knows very well that that is not a matter for me. I am under the impression that the House now wishes to come to a decision—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—but that is not a matter for me.

12.24 am
Mr. Alex Carlile


Mr. Deputy Speaker

Does the hon. and learned Gentleman wish to raise a point of order?

Mr. Carlile

No, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I wish to intervene in the debate.

I was quite content to hear the debate out and to let it conclude until I heard the Minister's speech. He displayed an outrageous lack of logic in suggesting that by opposing these regulations—because his fourth-form debating tactics will not put us off—we would bring them to an end, along with a review of European electoral regulations. That is absurd. If these regulations are voted down, the Government will have to produce much better regulations. Schedule 3(6) states: After paragraph (1) of rule 29 (equipment of polling stations) there shall be inserted the following paragraph:— '(1A) The same ballot box shall be used for the poll at the Assembly election and the poll at the parliamentary election or, as the case may be, local government election.' Until I heard the Minister, I had assumed that the Government adopted a fairly serious approach to the regulations. I also assumed that that paragraph was inserted to provide convenient arrangements at polling stations. But, having heard the Minister, I am extremely suspicious about the motive for this change in rule 29. Why are the Government insisting that the same ballot box shall be used for Assembly elections, parliamentary elections and local government elections? Is it an economy measure, for which one could almost forgive them? Is it so that police cars are not too full with a multiplicity of ballot boxes, again for which one could almost forgive them? The answer is that the Government believe that they can hide the unfairness of the electoral system that these regulations continue within the darkness of a single ballot box.

It is my view—and I am sure my right hon. and hon. Friends agree—that when the electors go to the polling station, and the European elections and the parliamentary elections are taking place on the same day, they should have the advantage of separate ballot boxes for the different elections. Perhaps when there is only one election the Government can get away for the time being with perpetuating a bankrupt electoral system, partly because of the Labour party's apathy, but they should not be allowed to get away with disobeying the spirit of the treaty of Rome, ignoring the views of parliamentarians throughout Europe, casting aside the opinions of the British people and overturning democracy in this shameful way.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 74, Noes 12.

Division No. 17] [12.26 am
Alexander, Richard Nicholls, Patrick
Ashby, David Ottaway, Richard
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Page, Richard (Herts SW)
Baldry, Tony Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Bevan, David Gilroy Portillo, Michael
Boscawen, Hon Robert Powell, William (Corby)
Bottomley, Peter Powley, John
Bright, Graham Raffan, Keith
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) Rhodes James, Robert
Bruinvels, Peter Roe, Mrs Marion
Burt, Alistair Rowe, Andrew
Butterfill, John Sackville, Hon Thomas
Carttiss, Michael Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Cash, William Sayeed, Jonathan
Conway, Derek Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Cope, John Silvester, Fred
Currie, Mrs Edwina Sims, Roger
Dorrell, Stephen Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Durant, Tony Spencer, Derek
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Stern, Michael
Garel-Jones, Tristan Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Goodhart, Sir Philip Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom) Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
Hicks, Robert Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Thurnham, Peter
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Knight, Greg (Derby N) Trippier, David
Lilley, Peter Twinn, Dr Ian
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Lord, Michael Waller, Gary
Lyell, Nicholas Watts, John
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Wheeler, John
Maclean, David John Wolfson, Mark
McLoughlin, Patrick Wood, Timothy
Malone, Gerald Yeo, Tim
Maude, Hon Francis
Mitchell, David (Hants NW) Tellers for the Ayes:
Moynihan, Hon C. Mr. Mark Lennox-Boyd and
Neubert, Michael Mr. David Lightbown.
Ashdown, Paddy Meadowcroft, Michael
Beith, A. J. Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Bruce, Malcolm Steel, Rt Hon David
Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y) Wrigglesworth, Ian
Cartwright, John
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Tellers for the Noes:
Kirkwood, Archy Mr. David Alton and
Livsey, Richard Mr. James Wallace.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That the draft European Assembly Elections Regulations 1986, which were laid before this House on 18th November, be approved.