HC Deb 21 July 1986 vol 102 cc82-95

Lords amendment: No. 2, in page 2, line 22, leave out from "shall" to end of line 25 and insert so far as practicable, ensure—

  1. (a) that the members of the Council include members who, by reason of their familiarity with the special requirements and circumstances of the different areas of Great Britain or of small businesses, are able together to represent the interests of consumers of gas supplied through pipes in all those areas and of such businesses; and
  2. (b) that the interests of consumers of gas supplied through pipes in different areas are represented by different members wherever that appears to the Secretary of State to be appropriate having regard to the manner in which the various parts of the gas supply industry in Great Britain organise themselves."

Read a Second time.

Mr. Stanley Orme (Salford, East)

I beg to move, as an amendment to the Lords amendment, in line 6, after `businesses', insert 'or of trade unions'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take the following: amendment (b) to the proposed Lords amendment, in line 12, after 'members', insert 'who shall be nominated by County and District authorities'. Lords amendment No. 10, in clause 26, in page 31, line 22, at end insert "and to the Council".

Lords amendment No. 18, in schedule 2, page 65, line 23, at end insert— (2A) For the purpose of ensuring that there are persons available in particular localities to assist the Council in the performance in those localities of its functions under this Act, the Council may, without any such approval as is required by subparagraph (1) above, appoint such persons to be so available as it may determine. (2B) Persons appointed under sub-paragraph (2A) above shall not be paid any sums by the Council for or in resepect of their services except sums reimbursing them for their travelling expenses and such of their other out-of-pocket expenses as do not relate to loss of remuneration.

Mr. Orme

The amendments deal with trade union and local authority representation on consumer councils. This is linked directly to consumer representation. As we have seen from the history of Oftel, Professor Carsberg and the problems that have arisen from the British Telecommunications Bill, we believe that stronger representation is needed for consumer protection when the British Gas Corporation is transferred to a private monopoly as opposed to a public monopoly. At the moment the corporation is subject to parliamentary and ministerial accountability. The Secretary of State has been pleased to tell us on many occasions that that accountability will be removed when the corporation becomes a plc and a private monopoly.

Although there will be an office in all but one of the regions, that is no substitute for a full regional structure with sustained lay involvement. The abolition of the regional councils means that the regional offices will be rudderless. They are likely to become transmitters of policy from above instead of acting as independent representatives of their regions.

The inclusion of one regional member on a national council is hardly an adequate replacement for a full regional council. There can be no informed discussion of the issues and the problems relevant to a particular area. The Government have included in that representation country and small businesses. Local voluntary representatives will also be appointed. We are not opposed to that, but it is not sufficient. There ought to be more representation. We recommend that trade unions and local authorities should have statutory representation. That is the core of our argument.

In another place Lord Belstead talked about a rigid, regionalised structure that could be improved. How can the reduction in consumer council staff by 40 per cent., and the downgrading of the status of regional secretaries, coupled with the abolition of the councils and lay representation in favour of one centralised structure, be said to be an improvement in consumer representation? We raised this issue consistently in Committee, and it has been raised in another place. On both occasions, we have not had satisfactory answers from the Government.

Paid regional managers are not the answer to consumer representation. Because of the limited time, I shall keep my remarks fairly brief. We think that the amendments are important. We believe that the Government could accept them. They would broaden the base of consumer representation.

Mr. Gordon Wilson (Dundee, East)

I am glad that the right hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Orme) has moved amendment (a). I am not sure about amendment (b), since advertently, or deliberately, he has contrived to miss out Scottish regional councils.

Mr. Orme

I am sure that that is an error.

Mr. Wilson

I am sure, from the look on the right hon. Gentleman's face, that he is truly penitent, but I did not know that it was Labour party policy to go for single units in local government in Scotland. If it is, it will be an improvement.

We see in the Bill the onward march of centralisation. Prior to 1972, there were autonomous gas boards in different areas of the United Kingdom. The Scottish gas board was an independent unit and was able to take full decisions. It had control over management functions and consumer operations in Scotland. The Gas Act 1972 absorbed the Scottish gas board into the British Gas Corporation. Incidentally, that was at the same time as gas was discovered off the shore of Scotland. I have often wondered whether that was a coincidence. In due fullness of time, I have come to the conclusion that it was foreseen and that it would have been undesirable to have a Scottish gas board in possession of large quantities of natural gas exclusive of London. The Scottish gas board became a division of the British Gas Corporation. No sooner was the Bill published than we saw the encroachment of centralisation. Scottish Gas, a hallowed name in the energy field, to be was obliterated and would become British Gas (Scotland). In addition, the Bill proposed to abolish consumer councils in Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

We are seeing the creation of a huge private monopoly which will not be accountable in any way to consumers. There will be no watchdog body left in Scotland, Wales or in other areas to bark if British Gas plc acts out of turn. It is highly desirable that there should be such a watchdog separate from the consumers council in Scotland which can look at policy considerations and raise matters on behalf of consumers with the Director General of Gas Supply.

7.30 pm

It is a pity that the Lords amendment does not go far enough. It provides that the members of the Council include members who, by reason of their familiarity with the special requirements and circumstances of the different areas of Great Britain". They are lumped together with people who represent other interests. I am not satisfied with the formula that has been approved by the other place or with what the Government initially came up with.

We are failing to take account of the full importance of the regional factor and of the need for decentralisation of policy making, management and consultation. Since the Bill was first considered, in Scotland we have noticed that the Law Lords have allowed the TSB to become privatised and Guinness has taken over Distillers. In Committee Ministers said, "We can all trust British Gas because the management will be the same." Some of us were inclined not fully to agree with that statement. The ink on the takeover document was hardly dry when it was decided cavalierly to throw overboard the Scottish dimension—the promise had been made to maintain it — by Mr. Ernest Saunders, the chairman designate of the amalgamated company. That shows what will happen to British Gas in the self-regulated atmosphere of the City of London. It could run amok as Guinness has done. Who will be able to halt it?

I do not believe that the consumers council in Scotland will have sufficient powers to control British Gas. That is why I should have preferred British Gas to be dismembered so that regional and national companies could operate in each autonomous area of the United Kingdom. But such a formula is not available.

I welcome the Lords amendments, which are slight, but I believe that the Government have taken leave of their senses in abolishing the Gas Consumers Council for Scotland.

Mr. Paddy Ashdown (Yeovil)

I am glad to be able to follow the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson) who made a number of points on the creeping centralisation which has been inflicted on us by the Government and on the demise of the recognition of regional status in Britain. The Lords amendment goes some way towards recognising a regional dimension. It must be welcomed, although I believe that it was a reluctant measure by the Government and that the hon. Member for Dundee, East accepted it without much enthusiasm. The recommendations are as vague and weak as possible. We should have come to expect that from this Government. They have provided the minimum possible that they can get away with. This is a strange departure by a Government who, when they came to power, committed themselves to giving local people and areas much more responsibility and a greater say in their affairs. Instead, the amendment is minimalistic, referring to different areas without defining what they should be.

I believe that a regional structure for Britain is the right and sensible way to proceed. With such a structure, we would know precisely what we mean by different areas. The structure would be defined in the Bill and given some form of expression. I look forward to the day when that happens.

I welcome the inclusion in Lords amendment No. 2 of small businesses, although, again, there is no definition of how they shall be drawn up and who shall represent them. Close reading of the Bill has led me to believe that the people who represent the different areas of Great Britain and the representatives of small businesses must be one and the same people. I feel certain that that is not the Government's intention. I hope that the Minister will clarify that technical point and make it clear that the Government see them as being different people.

My noble Friend Lord Diamond asked the Government to reveal the overall size of the council. It was important for us to know whether those who represented the different areas of Great Britain would be swamped by the Government's nominees who represented the centralised view, which the Government put forward with such effect whenever they have the opportunity. I understand that the response in the other place was that the expected overall size of the council would be about 25 members. It will be helpful if the Minister can clarify that statement.

I welcome the Labour party's amendments. The key point is that the consumer's interest should be represented. Insofar as the trade unions have a voice which should be expressed in this regard, their representation would be welcome. However, I do not wish the council to become so overburdened with other representatives that the ordinary consumer is not properly represented.

Mr. Orme

When we talk about the trade unions, we are talking not just about the trade unions within the industry but in the wider context.

Mr. Ashdown

I am grateful for that clarification. I assumed that that was the case but it is useful to have it on the record.

Amendment (b), which refers to nomination by county and district authorities, does something to clarify an otherwise ridiculously vague definition, and I welcome it. I hope that, in the execution of the amendment, attention will be concentrated on those members "nominated by", rather than representatives of, county and district authorities. No doubt, local councillors have important views to put forward and a scattering of them should be members of the council, but I hope that county and district authorities will be prepared to nominate people other than local councillors. I welcome the amendments and hope that the Minister sees fit to accept them because they strengthen the Bill.

Mr. Peter Pike (Burnley)

I support the two amendments tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Orme). Throughout the passage of the Bill, Labour Members have recognised, despite their opposition to the principle of the Bill, that the Government with their majority would force the Bill through regardless of whether it was a good Bill for energy and for consumers. We have always sought to protect consumers' interests. That is why, even at this late stage, we put forward two amendments. The Government have repeatedly assured us that they believe that the consumers have been given the best ever deal with this Bill. We totally reject that view and believe that there is insufficient protection for the consumer in the Bill. It is vital to improve the role of consumers, especially once we have moved from a public to a private monopoly.

We have never argued that the present protection and safeguards for consumers are perfect, but we believe that now is the right time to improve them. The hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown) referred to the words "nominated by" in our second amendment. He was right to take the wider interpretation. It was not intended that they should necessarily be district or county councillors, although some might be. The hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson) was right to make the point about Scotland and about the miswording of the amendment. Even last week the Bill was still being debated in the House of Lords, so the amendment had to be drafted at very short notice.

Both our amendments are important. The one seeks to involve trade unionists, giving them a voice on the Gas Consumers Council and the other seeks to ensure that representatives are nominated by county and district councils. We recognise that the Lords amendment is a slight improvement on the wording of the Bill when it left this House but even at this late stage it would be further improved by our amendments.

Mr. Allan Rogers (Rhondda)

We hope that the House will support the amendments as they would considerably improve the Bill. Throughout the Committee stage we were extremely concerned at the lack of input in the control of the gas industry from people other than the poodles appointed by the Secretary of State. Throughout the passage of the Bill Ministers have taken a Stalinist attitude, increasingly gathering all power to the centre, which is so much a feature of Government policy and of the Bill. Our views will not find much support from the alliance, which did not provide much support in Committee. Nevertheless, it is nice to see the alliance achieving some kind of presence today.

It is important for district and county councils to participate, especially at regional level, because nominations will otherwise be entirely in the hands of the Secretary of State, which is a negation of democracy and democratic accountability to the consumer. The hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown) made heavy weather of consumer interests and the alliance being the party of the consumer, but my hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clwyd) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Orme) argued that point strongly in Committee. That is why we have put down these amendments. We want greater participation in the control of the industry.

Mr. Ian Wrigglesworth (Stockton, South)

I wish briefly to support the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown) and others who have spoken in this short debate. Our opposition to the Bill since it began its passage through the House has been based on the inability of the consumer to make a major impact on this privatised monopoly. We are totally dissatisfied with the Ofgas proposal and the proposal for the Gas Consumers Council. We want a much more powerful regulatory body and function and a much stronger consumer voice than is proposed in the Bill.

The Lords amendment is welcome, but it is extremely modest. The Labour party's amendments strengthen it somewhat and are thus also welcome. Nevertheless, we should go much further. The hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson) pointed out that regional representation and national representation of the regions had been considerably weakened. The Northern Gas Consumers Council has made strong representations to me. It also made proposals to the Government about ways in which it could be much better integrated into the system proposed in the Bill, but those proposals fell on deaf ears, as have all other proposals to give the consumer a stronger voice than the Bill at present proposes.

7.45 pm

The cost of Ofgas and the Gas Consumers Council will be about £2 million, which is only two thirds of the cost of Oftel, the organisation that regulates British Telecom. We see no reason why the functions of Ofgas and the Gas Consumers Council should be less necessary than those of Oftel. We want a pledge from the Government substantially to increase the powers and resources of the regulatory body and of the council. We therefore support the Labour party's amendments and look forward to proper regulation of this privatised monopoly at some time in the future.

Mr. Peter Hardy (Wentworth)

We are grateful for the support of the hon. Member for Stockton, South (Mr. Wrigglesworth). If he had followed the detailed consideration of the Bill, he would know that the arguments that he has advanced today were put time and again in Committee. Had the hon. Member for Gordon (Mr. Bruce) been present today, he could have confirmed that he joined us in our efforts to secure the very improvements that the hon. Member for Stockton, South seeks.

Mr. Ashdown

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will inform his hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers) of that. My hon. Friend was assiduous in his attendance in Committee. I am told by the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson), and the record shows, that my hon. Friend also voted assiduously throughout proceedings on the Bill. The criticism advanced by the hon. Member for Rhondda was therefore mean spirited, unnatural and unreasonable.

Mr. Hardy

I confirm that on those occasions when the hon. Member for Gordon was present he generally supported us. That is the most generous gesture that I am prepared to make as I have great sympathy with the view advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers). Nevertheless, we are grateful for the support, modest though it may be and modest though our proposals are—modest because there is no chance of the Government accepting anything better.

We recognise the importance of small businesses, and our amendment neither denies nor decries them. There are many small businesses in Britain, perhaps many more than there were a few years ago. That is inevitable as people try to escape crippling dependency and to find an occupation after unemployment. Moreover, many businesses have contracted so much that they are small businesses now when a little while ago they were quite substantial. We appreciate that one of the hopes for Britain lies in the growth of small businesses and we do not depart from the change made in the other place, but, just as we believe that the voice of the small business should be heard, we believe that the voice of the consumer, too, must be heeded.

There is no organisation of greater significance than the trade union movement representing consumers in Great Britain. Many millions of consumers are members of trade unions and both lay and full-time officials are perhaps more familiar with the concerns and anxieties of ordinary people than any other organisation in Britain. We are not asking a great deal. The Minister said that he was eager and grateful — [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Penhaligon) should pay attention as there are many trade union members in his constituency.

Mr. David Penhaligon (Truro)

There are only seven other Labour Members in the Chamber.

Mr. Hardy

We seek to give those trade union members the opportunity to voice the anxieties of the hon. Gentleman's constituents as well as our own. [Interruption.] If the hon. Gentleman wishes to intervene, I shall be glad to give way. If not, perhaps he will recognise that we are putting forward a valid and reasonable argument. [Interruption.] I can only suppose that the hon. Gentleman enjoyed his weekend enormously.

The Government recognised the importance of trade unions when they said that the door was open and that they were always willing to see them to discuss the Bill. If that was so while the Bill was under consideration, it is reasonable to suggest that the trade unions should have some recognition as proposed in one of the two amendments.

The trade union movement is in need of a gesture. I learnt the other day—when this is generally known, I believe that it will cause considerable resentment in the industry — that the firm of Young and Rubicam, advertising agents in New York, is being paid £15 million to advertise the flotation of British Gas in the United States. That is perhaps a slightly larger amount than the value of the free shares that will accrue to the near 100,000 employees of British Gas. Therefore, the Government will be demonstrating how little regard they have for those who have made the British gas industry so successful. The employees are to receive the same value in shares as will be paid in fees to the advertising agents in New York. That serious comparison illustrates how appalling the Government's attitude is to those trade unionists in the gas industry who have helped to ensure that it is one of the most successful undertakings in Britain. The gesture for which we are asking is more than justified when we think of the fee that will be paid to the advertising agents.

My hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Pike), who played a pertinacious part in our debates in Committee, echoed the point that was rightly made by the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson). Amendment (b) is drafted as it is in the interests of brevity, but we took it that, if the Government were to accept it, they could not ignore Scotland as a whole.

Mr. Wilson

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Hardy

I would rather not, in the interests of brevity.

The Government have made a reluctant, creeping and modest change. If the Minister is to be consistent, he should accept both our amendments. Let me illustrate the value of amendment (b). The Minister has been in the House for a long time, and during our proceedings on the Bill he frequently referred to his constituency. As the Parliamentary Under-Secretary represents a marginal seat, he will understand that people often complain to Members of Parliament and to their local authorities. Both Ministers will recognise that the local authority charged with responsibility for personal social services is perhaps extremely familiar with the difficulties and problems that people encounter in their domestic environment. Such a local authority will know who is likely to be affected by fuel poverty or who is likely to have difficulty paying the gas bill. Given the expertise that exists within local authorities, it is perfectly reasonable that amendment (b) should be proposed.

As the Minister will be aware, local authorities and the gas undertakings at present have a very good, close contact and decent relationship. Whether that relationship can remain the same when faced with a privatised monopoly is open to question. Many experienced local government officers with day-to-day responsibility in this area have some anxiety about the maintenance of that relationship. It is important for local authorities to be in contact and have dialogue with the gas undertakings. For that reason, we should enhance the prospect of the maintenance of a decent dialogue by accepting amendment (b) to allow local authority representation on the Gas Consumers Council.

I do not know how many people will serve on the council, but I gather that the Minister has about two dozen people in mind. There is surely a need for one or more of those two dozen to be serving on local authorities. The same argument applies to the trade union movement. It would be appropriate and decent to accept amendment (a) as well. Given what has happened today, that would also be a responsible gesture.

We should like to have had several hours to debate these matters, but we do not have such time. Out of the wretched two hours that have been allocated we shall be unable to vote on both the amendments. The Minister could save us the bother of voting and allow us to concentrate on the subsequent amendments if he accepted both these proposals. If he does not, I propose that we vote on amendment (b).

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I am glad that the Opposition have welcomed the amendments that were made in the other place, although I appreciate that both Opposition amendments to not go as far as some hon. Members would wish.

There has never been any doubt about the value of what people with local interests can contribute to a body such as a consumers council. It was always the intention that the different areas of British Gas should be represented on the Gas Consumers Council. The amendments that were agreed in the other place, and which I commend to the House, spell that out more clearly and give effect to what hon. Members have said on earlier occasions.

No reference has been made to Lords amendment No. 18, which is also important. It provides for local representatives on an expenses-paid basis to be maintained, as is the position at present. That is something in which the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy) will be particularly interested. He said that his wife had performed that useful task, and I accept that a useful job has been done by British Gas in liaison with consumers when complaints have arisen. That is another improvement to the Bill which I am glad to commend to the House.

I must refute what was said by the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson). During our earlier discussions he uttered many generalities. He said that we had an integrated gas industry, that all the gas in Scotland could be taken to London and that there was centralisation. The hon. Gentleman overdoes it. I remind him that more gas is produced south of the border than is produced north of the border. I also remind him that we as a nation are enormous importers of gas. We export gas from Scotland to south of the border, but if the hon. Gentleman looks at my Department's Brown Book he will see that our main gas reserves are in the southern basin of the North sea. However, I do not intend to be drawn into an argument about where a dividing line might be drawn.

Mr. Wilson

Is the Minister not aware that it took years, for the gas network to reach Scotland, and that consequently many Scottish people were prevented from obtaining supplies of cheap gas? But no sooner had the gas reached those parts of Scotland than the Government began driving up the price.

I draw the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the parliamentary answer that he gave me today, which shows that north of 55° 50'—the Scottish jurisdiction sector— 12.4 billion cu m of gas were produced from the Scottish fields. For a country of 5 million people we have no supply problems, but will the United Kingdom not have supply problems in the future because of the Government's failure to go ahead with the importation of Norwegian gas?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith:

I am not withdrawing the answer that I gave the hon. Gentleman, but I wish that he would listen to me. He should look to see where our main reserves lie in the long term. I know the hon. Gentleman's views on importation, but to go to the length of drawing a parallel with Guinness and DCL is to go too far.

The hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown) also made some general points about centralisation, and I shall deal with them in the same way. There is not over-centralisation, and we have ensured area representation, particularly through these amendments. The hon. Gentleman asked specifically about the drafting, and I can assure him that it is not defective. Those representing the particular interests of an area and the interests of a small business need not be one and the same person. I am assured that the drafting is clear on that.

The hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy) asked about the size of the Gas Consumers Council. We expect there to be 20 representatives on it, 12 representatives from British Gas areas and eight who are appointed for other reasons.

8 pm

Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse (Pontefract and Castleford)

Will the Minister confirm that the trade unions and county and district councils will have no part to play on that body?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I shall come to that in a moment.

Mr. Ashdown

May I return to centralisation, which the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy) also raised once he had got over his fit of pique at the result of the Newcastle-under-Lyme by-election? According to any rational judgment, the Bill amounts to a move towards centralisation. As the GCC is ultimately accountable to the House, there is a safeguard on that centralisation. However, we all know that the Government's ultimate intention is to have a more centralised body accountable, not to the House, but to the market place and the needs of commerce. Therefore, it is important to enshrine in the Bill a degree of accountability through local authorities. Surely the Minister must realise that.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

The hon. Gentleman neglects the role of the Director of Ofgas, and I deny what the hon. Member for Stockton, South (Mr. Wrigglesworth) said. We have introduced an extremely rigorous regulatory system. I accept that the system does not cover as wide an area of gas supply as the alliance party may have liked, but I do not intend to debate that again tonight. We have introduced tight regulation for the areas where we believe there is a risk of monopoly power. It is interesting that a party which has been liberal in the short traditions that it has set should want greater regulation. That demonstrates the background from which alliance Members come.

The hon. Member for Yeovil should study and consult the industry. There is not a monopoly in other areas. The hon. Gentleman did not serve in Committee on the Bill, which was not his fault, but, as we have explained, we consulted other interests such as the small business sector of the CBI and it did not want regulation in the areas into which alliance Members would like to extend it. I hope that the public will take note that the alliance wishes to extend regulation, which would mean an extension of central control. That runs counter to some of the hon. Gentleman's arguments, but perhaps we should not be too unaccustomed to such inconsistencies.

I shall not go over all the arguments, because time is short. In the Bill we have attempted to introduce a completely new Gas Consumers Council structure which is partly based on experiences from the workings of the old structure. The regional structure, with the autonomous regional councils and a central council, was top heavy in terms of administration and cost effectiveness. That is why, after a careful study of that previous machinery, we have introduced a new structure. The new organisation will be smaller and more streamlined, and so long as attention is paid to the importance of the different areas of British Gas it will be equally effective on a regional level.

The amendments seek to add trade union representatives and representatives of persons nominated by county and district authorities. They are based on the Gas Act 1972, but I remind the House that those representatives were appointed to regional councils, not to the central council. When we move to the single council, the Gas Consumers Council, the basis will be different, for the reasons I gave earlier.

It is true that I have recommended the acceptance of an amendment which takes account of the needs of small businesses, but small businesses are in the consumer section of the community. Therefore, they are different from trade unions and it is not necessary to write in specific representation from that relatively small sector.

There was a very much more positive role for the direct involvement of local authorities in a regional council, as the 1972 Act recognised, but now we are talking of representatives, not to regional bodies, but to a central body, so the role of local authorities has changed. That is not to say that there is no longer a role for them, but I do not recommend writing it formally into the Bill, as these amendments suggest. The organising committee, which is setting up the Gas Consumers Council, is now considering appointments to that council and is having consultations with the various local authority associations. I should prefer to leave the provision as it stands—that is, for a national body representing consumers. It is not in anyone's best interests to write in specific representation from one sector of the community or another. For that reason, I ask the House to reject the two amendments.

Amendment (a) to Lords amendment No. 2 negatived.

Amendment proposed to the Lords amendment (b), in line 12, after 'members', insert `who shall be nominated by County and District authorities'.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 173, Noes 241.

Division No. 269] [8.08 pm
Alton, David Bray, Dr Jeremy
Anderson, Donald Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)
Ashdown, Paddy Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E)
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)
Ashton, Joe Buchan, Norman
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham) Caborn, Richard
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Campbell, Ian
Barnett, Guy Campbell-Savours, Dale
Barron, Kevin Carter-Jones, Lewis
Beckett, Mrs Margaret Clark, Dr David (S Shields)
Bell, Stuart Clarke, Thomas
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Clay, Robert
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh) Clelland, David Gordon
Bidwell, Sydney Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Blair, Anthony Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S)
Boyes, Roland Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Donald McTaggart, Robert
Conlan, Bernard Marek, Dr John
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston) Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Corbett, Robin Martin, Michael
Craigen, J. M. Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Cunliffe, Lawrence Maynard, Miss Joan
Dalyell, Tam Meacher, Michael
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli) Michie, William
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly) Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'I) Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)
Deakins, Eric Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Dewar, Donald Nellist, David
Dobson, Frank Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Dormand, Jack O'Brien, William
Douglas, Dick O'Neill, Martin
Dubs, Alfred Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Duffy, A. E. P. Park, George
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Parry, Robert
Eadie, Alex Patchett, Terry
Eastham, Ken Pavitt, Laurie
Edwards, Bob (W'h'mpt'n SE) Pendry, Tom
Evans, John (St. Helens N) Penhaligon, David
Ewing, Harry Pike, Peter
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn) Radice, Giles
Fisher, Mark Randall, Stuart
Flannery, Martin Raynsford, Nick
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Redmond, Martin
Forrester, John Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)
Foster, Derek Richardson, Ms Jo
Foulkes, George Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Fraser, J. (Norwood) Robertson, George
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Rogers, Allan
Garrett, W. E. Rooker, J. W.
George, Bruce Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Gould, Bryan Rowlands, Ted
Gourlay, Harry Sedgemore, Brian
Hamilton, James (M'well N) Sheerman, Barry
Hamilton, W. W. (Fife Central) Sheldon, Rt Hon R.
Hardy, Peter Shields, Mrs Elizabeth
Harman, Ms Harriet Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith Short, Mrs R.(W'hampt'n NE)
Heffer, Eric S Silkin, Rt Hon J.
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Skinner, Dennis
Home Robertson, John Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)
Hoyle, Douglas Snape, Peter
Hughes, Dr Mark (Durham) Soley, Clive
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Steel, Rt Hon David
Hughes, Roy (Newport East) Stott, Roger
Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S) Strang, Gavin
Janner, Hon Greville Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)
John, Brynmor Thorne, Stan (Preston)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Tinn, James
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Torney, Tom
Kilroy-Silk, Robert Wallace, James
Kirkwood, Archy Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Lambie, David Wareing, Robert
Lamond, James White, James
Leadbitter, Ted Wigley, Dafydd
Leighton, Ronald Williams, Rt Hon A.
Lewis, Terence (Worsley) Winnick, David
Litherland, Robert Woodall, Alec
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Wrigglesworth, Ian
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Young, David (Bolton SE)
Loyden, Edward
McCartney, Hugh Tellers for the Ayes:
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Mr. Don Dixon and
McKay, Allen (Penistone) Mr. Derek Fatchett.
McKelvey, William
Aitken, Jonathan Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)
Alexander, Richard Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)
Amess, David Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)
Ancram, Michael Baldry, Tony
Ashby, David Batiste, Spencer
Aspinwall, Jack Beaumont-Dark, Anthony
Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H. Bellingham, Henry
Bendall, Vivian Heddle, John
Benyon, William Henderson, Barry
Bevan, David Gilroy Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Biffen, Rt Hon John Hill, James
Blackburn, John Hirst, Michael
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N)
Boscawen, Hon Robert Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n) Hunter, Andrew
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Key, Robert
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard King, Roger (B'ham N'field)
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Bright, Graham Lawler, Geoffrey
Brinton, Tim Lawrence, Ivan
Brittan, Rt Hon Leon Lee, John (Pendle)
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Bruinvels, Peter Lester, Jim
Bryan, Sir Paul Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd)
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Lightbown, David
Buck, Sir Antony Lilley, Peter
Budgen, Nick Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Bulmer, Esmond Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Burt, Alistair Lord, Michael
Butterfill, John Luce, Rt Hon Richard
Carlisle, John (Luton N) Lyell, Nicholas
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Macfarlane, Neil
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (W'ton S) MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)
Cash, William Maclean, David John
Channon, Rt Hon Paul McLoughlin, Patrick
Chapman, Sydney McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)
Chope, Christopher Major, John
Churchill, W. S. Malins, Humfrey
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Maples, John
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Marland, Paul
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Clegg, Sir Walter Mates, Michael
Cockeram, Eric Mather, Carol
Colvin, Michael Maude, Hon Francis
Coombs, Simon Mellor, David
Cope, John Merchant, Piers
Corrie, John Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Cranborne, Viscount Miscampbell, Norman
Critchley, Julian Moate, Roger
Currie, Mrs Edwina Monro, Sir Hector
Dickens, Geoffrey Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Dorrell, Stephen Morris, M. (N'hampton S)
Dover, Den Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)
du Cann, Rt Hon Sir Edward Mudd, David
Dunn, Robert Murphy, Christopher
Durant, Tony Neale, Gerrard
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Nelson, Anthony
Eggar, Tim Newton, Tony
Evennett, David Nicholls, Patrick
Eyre, Sir Reginald Norris, Steven
Fallon, Michael Onslow, Cranley
Fletcher, Alexander Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S.
Fookes, Miss Janet Osborn, Sir John
Forman, Nigel Ottaway, Richard
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Page, Sir John (Harrow W)
Fox, Sir Marcus Page, Richard (Herts SW)
Franks, Cecil Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Fry, Peter Pawsey, James
Gale, Roger Pollock, Alexander
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Porter, Barry
Garel-Jones, Tristan Portillo, Michael
Glyn, Dr Alan Powell, William (Corby)
Goodhart, Sir Philip Powley, John
Gower, Sir Raymond Price, Sir David
Gregory, Conal Proctor, K. Harvey
Griffiths, Sir Eldon Raffan, Keith
Grist, Ian Renton, Tim
Grylls, Michael Rhodes James, Robert
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom) Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Hampson, Dr Keith Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Hargreaves, Kenneth Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Robinson, Mark (N'port W)
Hawkins, C. (High Peak) Roe, Mrs Marion
Hayhoe, Rt Hon Barney Rossi, Sir Hugh
Rost, Peter Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
Rowe, Andrew Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)
Rumbold, Mrs Angela Thornton, Malcolm
Ryder, Richard Townend, John (Bridlington)
Sackville, Hon Thomas Trippier, David
Sainsbury, Hon Timothy Twinn, Dr Ian
Sayeed, Jonathan van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey) Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb') Viggers, Peter
Shelton, William (Streatham) Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Waldegrave, Hon William
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge) Walden, George
Silvester, Fred Walker, Bill (T'side N)
Sims, Roger Walker, Rt Hon P. (W'cester)
Skeet, Sir Trevor Wall, Sir Patrick
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Waller, Gary
Speed, Keith Ward, John
Speller, Tony Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Spencer, Derek Warren, Kenneth
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Watts, John
Squire, Robin Wells, Bowen (Hertford)
Stanbrook, Ivor Wheeler, John
Steen, Anthony Whitfield, John
Stern, Michael Wiggin, Jerry
Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton) Winterton, Mrs Ann
Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood) Winterton, Nicholas
Stokes, John Wolfson, Mark
Taylor, John (Solihull) Wood, Timothy
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E) Woodcock, Michael
Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman Yeo, Tim
Temple-Morris, Peter Young, Sir George (Acton)
Terlezki, Stefan
Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs M. Tellers for the Noes:
Thomas, Rt Hon Peter Mr. Michael Neubert and
Thompson, Donald (Calder V) Mr. Gerald Malone.

Question accordingly negatived.

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