HC Deb 22 October 1986 vol 102 cc1195-215

'The Secretary of State shall not make any order in relation to sections 7 and 8 under section 10(3) unless a secret ballot has been held to ascertain the opinion of the employees affected and a majority vote recorded in favour of the order proposed by the Secretary of State.'.—[Mr. Evans.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

4.57 pm
Mr. John Evans (St. Helens, North)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

I welcome the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment — the hon. Member for Pendle (Mr. Lee)—to his new post. Recently he moved from defence to employment. I commiserate with his hon. Friend the Member for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale (Mr. Lang) who has moved to a post in the Scottish Office. I do not know whether the activities of the hon. Gentleman in defence will be of any benefit to employment. However, at the outset—I may never do so again—I wish him all the best in his new position. We look forward to his participation in this afternoon's debate. We look forward to his acceptance of some of the amendments and new clauses that we have tabled for consideration today, especially the acceptance of new clause 1. I am sure that the fresh mind and the new ideas that the hon. Gentleman brings to his post mean that he will welcome new clauses such as new clause 1.

I think that the Minister will agree that the Government have often boasted about their views on employees participating in secret ballots. They have often claimed that they have extended democracy in many areas, so let us hope that the further extension of democracy that the Opposition are proposing will be acceptable to the Minister. The new clause would require a secret ballot to be held where any of the provisions set out in clauses 7 and 8 are to be withdrawn, and would cover both men and women. That is because the Government are proposing to repeal a number of protections that employees have enjoyed for a long time. Some of the protections that are being repealed were won by workers or employees after fighting for a long time for better conditions in some of the most difficult industries. That must be put on record immediately.

It must be put on record immediately also that under the Bill the Government are taking the opportunity to further their policy of deregulation in almost every sphere. It is useful to recall what the Government are repealing by means of the Bill. When the Bill is enacted, the Baking Industry (Hours of Work) Act 1954 will no longer apply. It is disgraceful that the Government are repealing such an important Act which was passed not so long ago. It is not one of the Acts that were passed at the back end of the previous century when certain reformers were trying to protect workers in sweated conditions. The measure was enacted in 1954 and it stemmed from the dreadful conditions and dreadful competition which then existed within the baking industry. Against that background, the Tory Government of the day saw fit to place on the statute book an Act designed to protect workers in the industry. It is obvious that we have an entirely different Tory Government today from the Administration which was in office in 1954. The present Government are now proposing to repeal the 1954 Act.

A series of provisions specified in the Mines and Quarries Act 1954 and the Factories Act 1961 will no longer apply. At present, women cannot work more than 48 hours a week, or nine hours a day. They can work only between 7 am and 8 pm or between 7 am and 1 pm—five hours—on a Saturday. No woman can work more than four and a half hours without a half-hour break. I think that most people would agree that those are minimum civilised conditions. Any Government claiming to be civilised would surely respect such conditions and keep them on the statute book. Women working in mines and quarries are subject to similar restrictions and I am sure that most intelligent, sensible and decent people would welcome such restrictions.

There are more repeals to come. For example, section 94 of the Factories Act is to go. The section provides that women must be given a full day's holiday on Christmas Day, Good Friday and bank holidays in England and Wales. I suspect that most people would be astonished and shocked to learn that the Government are proposing to repeal the section that provides that protection. That will mean that women will no longer be entitled by statute to days off at Christmas, Good Friday and bank holidays. Section 93 is to go as well. That is the section that prohibits women working on Sundays in factories.

Perhaps even more serious is the repeal of section 114. The section allows the Minister to regulate and make provisions relating to the health and welfare of women engaged in overtime working and other hours covered by exemption if the Minister sees fit, and is something which is currently entirely within the Minister's remit. The proposed repeal of section 114 is a mystery which has not been explained so far. The section places no obligations on the Minister and it would be implemented only if the Minister thought that it was necessary to deal with instances that came within it.

The Opposition's secret ballot proposal is an extension of section 97 of the Factories Act, which was derived from the Employment of Women and Young Persons Act 1936. It is interesting to note how much Parliament has returned over the years to the theme of increasing protection for various groups of workers, especially women and young children, but I am sure that the Minister is beginning to be aware that the Bill is the vehicle for overturning many of the successes that have been won by workers over the years. The 1936 Act allows the Minister, upon an employer's application, to authorise the employment of women and young people over 16 years of age on a system of shifts from 6 am to 10 pm on weekdays and 2 pm on Saturdays. It provides that the Minister must consult the work force to ascertain its opinions by secret ballot before any application is granted under the section. In other words, it is enshrined in legislation that workers shall be consulted in a secret ballot if their terms and conditions of employment are to be altered. That is something that will not apply after the Bill is enacted unless the Minister is prepared to accept the new clause.

The Government are intent on repealing the sections of the Acts to which I have referred, and the new clause would extend the ballot to cover all changes in hours beyond the present legal limits. A similar amendment was introduced in another place in Committee by Lord Wedderburn of Charlton. My noble Friend withdrew his amendment in the hope that the Government would consider the matter further. He advanced his arguments and hoped that they would consider them. He withdrew the amendment partly because it proved to be slightly defective in that it referred to exemption orders when it should have cited authorisations. Needless to say, the Government did not consider the amendment or Lord Wedderburn's arguments. They engaged in nitpicking during the debate and wanted to know to what the proposed ballot would refer. They wanted to know whether the ballot would turn on the right to retain section 97 or whether it would refer to the hours that were to be altered. They engaged in nitpicking instead of addressing themselves to the main question.

My noble Friend did not care particularly what interpretations were placed on the amendment because he wanted the principle that lay behind it to be accepted, and the Opposition's ballot proposals in new clause 1 relate to the proposed conditions. My noble Friend recalled the words of Sir John Simon who was the Home Secretary in 1935, who has often been described as the scourge of the general strike. In introducing the current provisions in 1935, he said: All of us want to do the right thing for the workpeople, and I hope that every hon. Member will think that was a right thing to do".—[Official Report, 7 December 1936; Vol. 307, c 1674.] Why is such a ballot any less the right thing now than it was 50 years ago? The Government often boast that they have increased democracy within the trade unions. If that is so, why are they rescinding a right that was established in 1936? In this context we are told repeatedly that ballots are outmoded and unnecessary when they affect management, but I put it to the Minister that the work force is affected much more than management. If ballots were considered essential 50 years ago for work people in relation to their terms and hours of work and conditions, they are equally applicable today.

At all stages of the Bill's progress through Parliament the Government have stressed that they are doing no more than following the recommendation of the Equal Opportunities Commission in dispensing with protective legislation. They are keen to quote the 1977 finding of the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys that 40 per cent. of women were in favour of repealing the night work provisions and that 60 per cent. wanted shift and overtime provisions to be repealed. They disregarded the fact that only 11 per cent. of those contacted were willing to work at night.

Mr. Don Dixon (Jarrow)

That survey was taken before the deregulation of bus services, which will have a fundamental effect on whether transport is available during off-peak hours. That will affect women who work excess hours.

Mr. Evans

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for highlighting an increasingly important point. Sadly, in today's society we hear much about attacks on women at all times, but especially in the evening and at night. The declining role of public transport will create severe conditions for women who lack their own transport. The people most affected by the Bill will be those who lack their own transport and who rely on public transport.

Mrs. Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)

In the part of the world from which the hon. Gentleman and I both come, public transport is improving since bus deregulation. Does he not accept that, if an employer wants women workers, he must—

Mr. Evans


Mrs. Kellett-Bowman

If the hon. Gentleman will contain himself, I shall deal with the point.

Does he accept that if employers want women to man their shifts, they will have to supply the transport or quite simply they will not get them?

Mr. Evans

Apart from the fact that there is a fair distance between the hon. Lady's constituency and mine, and that different conditions exist in the two constituencies, the question of employers supplying transport is not, unfortunately, enshrined in this legislation. All we have is the hon. Lady's word on the matter.

Deregulation in public transport is imminent, so I suggest that the hon. Lady waits for a few months until we can see the outcome of it. I suspect, as I am sure do many people, that although there may well be some cut-throat competition in cities and towns with large populations, in many rural areas such as the hon. Lady's constituency, all the signs are that there may not be a great deal of public transport.

We are discussing transport late at night, and in the middle of the night, and the chance of any public transport being available at such times is remote.

Mr. Doug Hoyle (Warrington, North)

In the areas that my hon. Friend and I represent, perhaps unlike Lancaster and the plush areas around Morecambe, we had quite a fight to try to maintain the transport service, and it will still be difficult. As many of the shifts will be late at night or in the middle of the night, it is highly unlikely that operators will find it profitable to run transport systems then. That is what we are talking about when we discuss the baking industry. Because of unemployment, it is likely that women especially will have to take jobs of any sort, whatever their disadvantages, and that could lead to tragedies.

Mr. Evans

Evidence supports my hon. Friend's argument that, given the depths of unemployment and constantly growing poverty, especially in families where the husband cannot get a job and is unlikely to get one in the future, particularly in areas that now lack heavy industry, women are increasingly having to accept part-time, poorly paid jobs. When the Bill comes into effect and the current protection of women's hours of work is removed, they will be forced to take shift work, often working late at night and finishing after midnight.

5.15 pm

My hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon), who raised this point originally, is absolutely correct that the Bill will seriously endanger the health and welfare of many women. I am sure that that is not what the Government intended. However, my hon. Friends and I have pointed out the problem to the Government, so that in future they will be unable to claim that they were unaware of it. It has been driven home to Ministers throughout the passage of the Bill.

now refer to the views expressed by women working at night who were included in the poll. The previous Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, now the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, constantly sought to promote the views of the minority. He was always quick to highlight minority opposition to the removal of restrictions. He said: Needless to say, those collective agreements can in some cases override the wishes of the minority of individual workers."—[Official Report, Standing Committee A; 19 June 1986, c. 92.] In other words, if a minority of workers wanted the safeguards to be removed because it would be beneficial to them. their views had to be heard. Unfortunately for the Minister, but perhaps fortunately, the normal concept of democracy is that the views of the majority will prevail. On this occasion, and for their own purposes, the Government seek to promote the views of the minority. I remind the Minister that new clause 1 asks for nothing more than that a simple majority should decide whether to dispense with the restrictions once and for all. The workers will be consulted and will be able to vote on the proposed alterations to their working conditions. Surely even the Minister will accept that it is fair to give a voice and a vote to employees whose conditions are to be altered.

Mr. John Fraser (Norwood)

I dealt with those provisions in the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. It troubled me then that there were situations, although by no means universal, where men could receive remunerative overtime for working on a Saturday afternoon whereas women could not go to work on the same Saturday afternoon and receive the same remuneration. If women are the minority in that situation, should the majority of men, who are able to discriminate to earn remunerative overtime, have a veto or should there be consent by the minority of women who wish to align their position?

Mr. Evans

I am sure that my hon. Friend's important point will be pursued later. He did a splendid job during the passage of the 1975 Act with well-rehearsed arguments. It suits the Government to promote the minority point of view at the moment, but it may well suit them to drop that argument altogether on other occasions, as I shall demonstrate.

It is not just women workers who will benefit from a vote on their conditions. Applications for exemption orders for women provide a platform from which better conditions can be negotiated for all workers. Labour Research, an excellent publication which has produced some splendid data for the benefit of those who are prepared to purchase it, reported in December 1985 on the findings of a survey of 92 companies including such giants as Metal Box, Shell UK at Stanlow, Cadbury Bournville and British Nuclear Fuels Limited. It was found that companies that had had to apply for exemption orders provided a minimum meal break of half an hour or more, the average being 33 minutes. The figures for those that had not applied for exemptions were far more varied. Indeed, five reported that they had no guaranteed breaks, and that meals were taken, if at all, as and when work allowed. The average length of break was 25 minutes. The survey concluded that this suggests that the need to obtain HSE exemption may improve the type of system operated. Once the HSE exemption had been applied for and the workers were consulted about the proposed changes and the exemption, they took far greater interest. in the operation of better conditions.

The need to hold a ballot may also encourage employers to improve their workers' conditions in an attempt to secure a favourable vote. The aforementioned survey demonstrated just how lacking some large companies are in essential provisions — essential and elementary provisions such as a reasonable meal break in a reasonable place where workers can enjoy their midday meal.

According to the same survey, 76 companies provided some medical facilities for shift workers, although half were first aid only. Twelve had no medical facilities whatsoever, and just 14 had trained medical assistance on all shifts, usually a nurse. Thirty said that public transport was available on all shifts. A staggering 48 said that it was not available, so it was clear—[Interruption.] Whatever was in force, 48 companies said that public transport was not available on shift work. That is the reality of shift work. The clauses that were added to the Bill in the other place—on equal protection orders, unfair dismissal and a code of practice—might have improved the situation. The Government saw fit to remove those clauses in Committee, to their everlasting shame, but new clause 1, on secret balloting, would go some way towards upholding some of the standards that the Bill will lower.

Mr. Tony Lloyd (Stretford)

My hon. Friend referred to the low number of companies that had transport facilities in the area in which they operated, which was available for shift workers. That is important. The hon. Member for Lancaster (Mrs. Kellett-Bowman) sought to turn the argument into one about regulation and deregulation. As my hon. Friend knows, in my area the bus transport system has deteriorated significantly since deregulation because of underfinancing and because of the need for the passenger transport authority to cut back on subsidies. But does not the argument simply come down to this? If the hon. Member for Lancaster is convinced that in her area the transport services are sufficiently good to allow for safe working practices, that would be an inducement for the work forces to vote yes in any secret ballot. All that we are asking is that they should have the opportunity of being consulted on whether transport facilities are adequate. The people in Lancaster might vote yes and the people in Manchester might vote no.

Mr. Evans

I am sure that the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mrs. Kellett-Bowman) will accept my hon. Friend's point, that that would be one of the factors that would sway the judgment of the workers involved in a ballot on the alteration of their conditions.

For example, some of my constituents have written to me complaining about not only the shortage of buses but sometimes their complete non-appearance. Every time I write to the transport undertaking I am told. almost by return of post, that the reason for the deteriorating service and sometimes the non-appearance of a service, especially in an area such as Billinge, is the requirement placed upon the undertaking to reduce staff in the light of the forthcoming deregulation, which means that it cannot provide the service that it accepts the people are entitled to.

Mrs. Kellett-Bowman

I did not raise this matter—it was raised by the hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon). I was seeking to dispel some unfortunate misconceptions, which it is important to dispel. In many areas in the city in my constituency, not just in the rural areas, old-fashioned double decker buses could not get round the corners. Those areas were not served. Now, with deregulation and 19-seater minibuses, areas can be served that were never served before. That will be of tremendous assistance to women. Nobody—no woman in particular —would ever wish to put a woman at risk. I believe that women will be better served under the new conditions than in the past.

Mr. Evans

The problems in constituencies such as mine and, no doubt, plenty of other constituencies are not connected with double decker buses not being able to get round corners. Double and single decker buses are not appearing on first-class highways where there is plenty of room for two double decker buses side by side. They are simply not appearing. I suggest that once the new system has been in operation for a few months, we shall all be better able to judge.

Mr. Robert Atkins (South Ribble)

Stick to sex.

Mr. Evans

The hon. Gentleman is more expert than I.

People, particularly women who will be required to do shift work at night, will suffer as a result of the Bill. That is my point, and it has been well made by my hon. Friends. Deregulation of the bus services will add to the problems created by the Bill.

Mr. Dixon

Will the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mrs. Kellett-Bowman) tell the House whether many bus services in her constituency are running at 3 and 4 o'clock in the morning?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Ernest Armstrong)

The hon. Gentleman must not appeal to someone to rise and make another speech.

Mr. Dixon

The hon. Member for Lancaster said that I had raised the issue of deregulation, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It is a misconception to suggest that employers would provide transport if women were to work these peculiar shifts until 3, 4 and 5 am. My hon. Friend the Member for St. Helens, North (Mr. Evans) will recall that when we had to work peculiar shifts finishing at 3 or 4 am some of our colleagues had to sleep on the premises until the bus service arrived at 7.30 am. That will happen to some of the women working those peculiar hours.

Mr. Evans

It is a pity that my hon. Friend did not have the opportunity to elaborate on the bus services that existed in the shipbuilding areas on Tyneside for shipyard workers such as himself and myself.

Mr. Eric Forth (Mid-Worcestershire)

Hire a bus.

Mr. Evans

For the hon. Gentleman to say that from a sedentary position shows his lack of knowledge. If that is the best he can do, he should make no further comments from a sedentary position.

It should be borne in mind by Conservative Members that the Bill will worsen the situation for women when they are asked or required to do shift work. The point has been well made that deregulation of public transport will add to their problems.

I return to the point that I was making previously. The Secretary of State for Employment said in the other place on Second Reading that we should remove any restriction with care". — [Official Report, House of Lords, 27 February 1986; Vol. 471, c. 1209.] The noble Lord seems to have forgotten that because now almost everything is being removed. The secret ballots that we advocate would test just how careful the Government were because the employees would be given the opportunity to participate in any change that was suggested. The Government will say that such a provision is unworkable, yet it has existed in a reduced form for 50 years. The original ballot did not apply to newly established factories. Nor will ours. It will continue to be run jointly by the employer and the workers' representatives.

Harmonious industrial relations are essential. Hon. Members in all parts of the House agree on that. I welcome the new Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Front Bench, but his predecessor, when describing his utopian view of the world, said: It is not a battle between one side and the other, but a partnership between the two. If employers' interests are safeguarded, employees' interests will also be protected". —[Official Report, Standing Committee A; 26 June 1986, c. 160.] 5.30 pm

That of course applies the other way round. It should be a matter of common sense that employers provide conditions that are as good as possible. We must remember that the millions of unemployed mean that the ballot will be unrealistic. All the workers involved will be well aware of the threat to them and they will always take a realistic view of whatever suggestions or arguments are put to them. The Government should have no fear of a secret ballot.

If the Minister refuses to accept our new clause, we intend to press it to a Division because we want to see how many of the Tory Back Benchers who so eagerly proclaim the right of trade unionists to hold ballots really want to deny workers—it is often the poorest paid whose terms and conditions are gravely affected—the right to vote on changing their conditions of work. For that reason I urge my right hon. and hon. Friends to support the new clause.

Mr. Ian Mikardo (Bow and Poplar)

I shall speak for only a couple of minutes and then I shall ask the indulgence of the House because I must leave for a short while to attend a meeting of the Select Committee upstairs.

I can help my hon. Friend the Member for St. Helens, North (Mr. Evans) on a matter which puzzles him. He made a massive and overwhelming case for the new clause and said, understandably, that the part of the Bill which puzilcd him most was that which repeals section 114 of the Factories Act. It is understandable that he should be puzzled by that because, as he told us, that section gives powers to the Secretary of State which he may or may not exercise, entirely at his own discretion. It places no obligation on him.

The repeal of section 114 represents a reduction of the Secretary of State's powers. Almost all of our legislation increases the powers which are given to Ministers. I strain my memory back over the years to try to recall, and I cannot, the last occasion on which there was a provision in a Bill to reduce a Minister's powers. Why do the Government wish to shed this power which, as my hon. Friend the Member for St. Helens, North said, places no obligation whatever on the Minister but gives him absolute discretion over what to implement and where to implement it?

I have the answer. It is simply that the Minister does not expect to be sitting in his present place after the next general election, and his powers are being reduced because the Government know very well that a Labour Minister after the next election would use those powers to regulate and to make provisions relating to the health and welfare of women engaged in overtime and other hours covered by exemptions to improve and enhance their health and welfare.

The reason for the Government's apparently strange action in diminishing a Minister's powers is that they want to diminish the powers of a Minister of another party. Clearly therefore that action shows that the Government expect, 'ere long, that there will be a Minister, and therefore a Government, of another party. That is the solution to the mystery. If the Minister has any other explanation, I shall he intrigued to hear it when he replies.

Mr. Ken Weetch (Ipswich)

I shall make a short speech in support of the new clause. I have been disappointed so far because the Minister has not intervened to say that he has accepted the principle of the new clause. The new clause is quite straightforward, clear and just in its intentions. I should have thought that, after having had the long recess in which to reflect on these matters, the Government would have approached the Bill in a more sober and generous frame of mind. However, that is not to be, so the case will have to be argued.

The new clause's intention is quite clear. It seeks to ensure that ballots are organised before workers' rights are scrapped. That is a simple and just principle to argue because, after all, clauses 7 and 8 destroy a great deal of legislative protection. I should have thought that the Government would consider this clause in a favourable light in view of the seriousness of their proposals.

During the past two years the Government have alleged that they are a great friend of ballots and balloting. They have put out so much propaganda in trade union Acts in favour of balloting that one might imagine that they had invented the concept of balloting. But now that my hon. Friend the Member for St. Helens, North (Mr. Evans) has put forward a proposal for a ballot in a vital area of industrial protective legislation, the Government have immediately shown that their support of ballots was pretty partial and selective.

I shall be interested to hear how the Government support that partial line of argument and that partial philosophy of industrial democracy. After all, we have had ballots for elections to national executives of trade unions, balloting before strikes and in respect of political funds, but now that there is a proposal for balloting to discover whether people are in agreement the Government do not want to know.

Mr. Hoyle

My hon. Friend referred to balloting for political funds. Is it because the Government did not achieve their objective there and got a bloody nose that they are not now so keen on ballots?

Mr. Weetch

That is a sound intervention. The plain fact is that all the Government's plans were based on a total miscalculation of political ballots. My hon. Friend the Member for Warrington, North (Mr. Hoyle) has made the point well, and will probably make it much better than I can subsequently. If there is a ballot, it will show more accurately whether the legislation is wanted in certain industries.

So far we have had only a doctrinaire and ideological statement from the Government saying that free enterprise in this sort of area is good for all. But that is not a self-evident proposition. If the Government put it to the test in ballots, they would find out that they were wrong. However, we could then obtain some accurate information and would not have to listen to the sort of vague assertions that the Government make.

If there was a necessity for ballots before the Bill's provisions came into operation, many employers offering bad working hours or conditions of work would have to sharpen up considerably in order to win those ballots. Ballots would be a great incentive for employers to improve conditions. I could imagine workers in some industries that I know of being pretty sceptical about throwing away legislative protection because they know full well their existing conditions of work. Of course, that is why the Government intend to dodge the issue. This could be a Bill for bad employers and, in some cases, it will probably be so.

An argument of principle underlies the legislation and, in particular, clauses 7 and 8. Section 1 and part 1 of the first schedule to the Hours of Employment (Conventions) Act 1936 will cease to have effect, along with certain provisions of the Factories Act 1961 and the Baking Industry (Hours of Work) Act 1954. Under clause 10(3) the legislation is to come into operation by Government order on the due date.

The bedrock of principle underlying the Government's argument is that it is a desirable sort of equality for women to lose legislative protection so that they can be subject to the less favourable conditions "enjoyed" by male workers. But that type of equality finds no response in me. Throughout the industrial revolution factory masters argued that if women and children had legislative protection they would somehow be inferior citizens. That proposition was always disputed by my parliamentary predecessors.

I make no apology for holding the old-fashioned view that women often need special legislative protection. It is wrong in principle to withdraw such protection. The Government are in a headlong rush towards deregulation and do not care how many casualties there are along the way. But we oppose that viewpoint. The new clause sets out the principles that we believe in, and is willing to test them in a democratic vote. Ultimately, that will be the litmus test. There are overwhelming arguments for the new clause. I hope that the Government will give way and accept it, but, if they do not do so, I hope that we shall defeat them in the Lobby.

5.45 pm
Mr. Tony Lloyd

My hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Weetch) made an important point when he said that the assertions made on Second Reading and in Committee could be put to the test. After all, it has been asserted that the legislative framework that the Government want to dismantle is outmoded. I must welcome the Minister to his place, but he comes late to this issue. Unfortunately for him, the Bill has slipped through several hands before coming to his. If he is unfamiliar with the arguments, and if he does not feel confident about arguing against secret ballots, we can at least accept that he is acting from ignorance, unlike his colleagues, who simply lacked any arguments.

Indeed, one of the Minister's predecessors wrote to the general secretary of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union about the Baking Industry (Hours of Work) Act 1954. He said: Investigation has led us to conclude that the Act is outdated and unnecessary. The particular problems of the industry which the Act sought to solve in the 1950s are no longer significant. In Committee we challenged that statement and we were never given any evidence to support it by the then Minister. We also wanted to see some evidence to support the Government's assertions about their proposals involving the Factories Acts. We wanted some evidence that that protective framework was no longer necessary, but we were just given the statement that the Government had come to a considered judgment about the matter. The Government did not want to pursue the custom even of previous Conservative Governments of setting up an inquiry or examining in detail the industry's conditions. Ministers have merely asserted that the present legislative framework is a burden on industry.

However, people in the baking industry can work 72 hours a week on night shifts. In this day and age it is a disgrace that someone should spend well over half his waking time working in the baking industry six days a week and 12 hours a day. It is nonsense and an insult to those working in such industries to say that the present legislation is burdensome.

However, if the Minister still insists that the legislative framework is outdated and no longer necessary, he should remember that there are women who rightly fear being cast on to the streets of our industrial cities in the middle of the night or early in the morning when no adequate transport service exists. The Minister may insist that people do not need protection against excessive hours of work, but he should at least let those involved decide whether they agree with him.

The Government assert that they have knowledge or information, which they will not give the House. They insist that that information-exists in principle. The people who know about working conditions are those who work in the industry. Surely, if there are adequate transport services, through deregulation or any other mechanisms, and acceptable working conditions in those parts of industry where women do not work, women themselves would know that and be able to put that to the test by voting in the secret ballots which the new clause would introduce.

Surely, on the same basis, it would be possible for those who work in the baking industry to decide whether the existing framework, which in any case allows for exemption from the Baking Industry (Hours of Work) Act, is no longer necessary. They would have the opportunity to vote it out of the way in a secret ballot. But, for that 30 per cent. of the baking industry who are not members of trade unions and for those who work in that largely unorganised sector of the baking industry where only 2 per cent. of the work force are members of trade unions and where there is no negotiated framework, the present structure is all that exists to protect them.

If workers feel that 72 hours are not enough hours in the week to work, they will have the opportunity to vote for longer hours. There are only 168 hours in the week. Perhaps they will vote for a working week of 168 hours under the benign management in those companies that already operate long shifts. Although I would disapprove strongly of those people downgrading their working conditions in such a dramatic way, the Government, who have committed themselves to the mast of the ballot on each and every occasion, must stick with the principle of allowing those in work to make that decision.

On the Second Reading of the Trade Union Bill, the then Secretary of State for Employment said that he gave a message to the unions. That message would be applicable across the board to those who operated in industry and those who wanted to maintain good communications and good industrial relations. He said: The message … must be that thinking that admiration and respect can be gained through conscription and compulsion is a very dangerous philosophy." — [Official Report, 8 November 1983; Vol. 48, c. 159.] The Minister used that telling phrase to justify ballots and the need for trade unions to consult their members. Certainly the trade union movement, as my hon. Friend the Member for Warrington, North (Mr. Hoyle) has pointed out, took to those ballots with alacrity and proved that they would be able to serve the needs of their members. In every case the Government's proposals were overwhelmingly defeated in the ballots on which they insisted and the trade unions were vindicated in their stance. If the Government are so confident about the irrelevance of the existing legislation, let them use the test of the ballot and put it to the vote. They should not downgrade the working conditions of people in industry simply on the basis of allegation. Let us put it to a proper test—the test of those ballots which, it appears, will do for everyone but the Government.

Mr. Hoyle

I never give up hope of a change of mind. I should have thought—my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Weetch) made this point—that, by now, with such a reasonable clause as this there would have been a general acceptance by the Government. I always have great hope, particularly when a new Minister takes over, that a fresh mind will look at these problems.

Mr. Dixon

Unfortunately, he had already been sullied in an another Department.

Mr. Hoyle

He may well have been sullied in another Department, but I know the new Minister. I have always had hopes of him. Often he has been regarded as a humane person. I am sure that he would not want to worsen the working conditions of some of the most impoverished people in the community, particularly women who do not work in ideal conditions. We cannot argue that they have high wages, short hours and the best conditions possible. Indeed, the opposite is true. In many cases they work very long hours for very low pay in conditions that should not be tolerated in the 1980s. Yet the Government intend to worsen those already bad conditions. They say, "We will remove the protection afforded by clauses 7 and 8 of the Bill." They hope to get away with that.

The consequences of the Government's actions were well spelled out by my hon. Friend the Member for St. Helens, North (Mr. Evans). He drew attention to the fact that people will work long hours in intolerable conditions. What will happen to them at the end of the shift, particularly night shifts? I am sorry that the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mrs. Kellett-Bowman) has left the Chamber. I do not share her view that bus services in Lancaster and Morecambe are so marvellous that they should be extended to the rest of the country. Our experience has shown that, with the current deregulation, transport services during normal hours are often likely to be cut. Is it possible that, if bus companies are asked to make a profit on these services in open competition, they will run buses in the middle of the night? It is claimed that these employers who are far from the best employers—indeed they are among the worst—will put on buses at their own expense.

The Government cannot have it both ways. Sometimes they say, "We need this type of legislation because of the burdens on employers and the need to cut costs." They imagine that they will pass costs on to employers who will provide transport. I do not think that the Minister or any Conservative Member would pretend that such services would be provided.

What will happen? We have heard the fearful stories of people, particularly women, being attacked. We have heard that it is unsafe for them to go out at night and that many are afraid to do so. Because this protection is to be taken from employees, they will put themselves in danger by working these hours.

Given the unemployment level under this Government, workers are under pressure — whatever danger they might be in and whatever poor working conditions they have to endure for long periods—because in many cases they are the only breadwinners in the family. They are likely to say, "If we have to work shifts and work at night, so be it. We do not like doing it, we do not want to do it, but that might be the only way forward." Many of the poorest workers, as my hon. Friend the Member for Stretford (Mr. Lloyd) suggested—I am sorry that he has left the Chamber—do not even have the protection of a trade union.

We are asking the Minister to allow workers to hold a ballot. What is wrong with that? After all, the Government believe in ballots, and have introduced ballots for all sorts of matters applying to trade unions—which were the most democratic institutions in Britain even before the Government introduced the new regulations. The Government are not prepared to do anything about employers and shed only crocodile tears for workers. They insisted that trade unions hold a secret ballot before calling a strike, and portrayed a picture of mass meetings with workers having to hold up their hands. That picture bears no similarity to any of the meetings that I have attended. The Government said that trade union members needed to be protected against their own unions at such meetings. Does not the reverse apply? Is not protection needed against bad employers? Should not the Government be including that sort of protection in clauses 7 and 8? Are they not being a little shallow in saying that there is no need for that protection?

All that we are saying — and it is no more than reasonable—is that workers should be asked for their opinion. They have no other protection, and I cannot imagine why anyone would want to refuse them that simple protection. If the Minister has any humanity he will accept our new clause and will say, "I will not allow conditions to worsen unless people have the right to vote on whether they want to work shifts, nights or whatever."

6 pm

All that we are asking for is a simple majority in a ballot. If, by a simple majority, the workers decide what they want to do, so be it. Surely a Government who are so concerned about democracy and ballots—especially secret ballots for trade unions—should prove that they are not only friends of the employers, but friends of the work force. The workers may decide in the ballot to accept a worsening of their conditions, but on the other hand they may not. If they did, at least the choice would have been theirs. It would not be thrust upon them because of economic conditions, mass unemployment or because of the necessity for a wage, however poor and whatever the dangers in which they put themselves. I simply cannot imagine that anyone would wish to refuse them that right. Ours is a most reasonable request — that the Government should extend to workers the democracy that they apply to the trade unions and give them the right of choice. I hope that the Government will agree to do that.

Mr. Dixon

We all wait with interest to hear what the Minister will say when he argues against our proposal for ballots. After all, this Government believe that they invented ballots. They want ballots before strikes, ballots for closed shops and so on. Our proposal for a ballot requires only a simple majority—not the 85 per cent. majority that the Government insist upon before a strike can be called. The Government have asked for ballots for the election of trade union leaders and say that union members should have the right to choose their leaders—yet they still accept that the Prime Minister should appoint the chairman of the Conservative party. That is somewhat inconsistent.

The Paymaster General said that he had worked in the baking industry. At least he was protected by legislation, yet he now wants to take that away from women. The Bill will mean that women will be expected to work all sorts of hours, on Saturday afternoons and on Sundays. They will have difficulty in finding transport late at night or early in the morning because the Government have deregulated our transport systems.

My hon. Friend the Member for St. Helens, North (Mr. Evans) said that it was inconsistent for the Government to withdraw a protection that was introduced 50 years ago. I remind my hon. Friend that the Wages Bill abolishes the Truck Acts, which were introduced in 1836 to protect workers. They have also reneged on the International Labour Organisation convention giving protection to low-paid workers, to which 94 nations were signatories. This measure is a continuation of the Government's attack on low-paid workers, especially women and juniors.

I think that, tactically, we made a mistake in tabling the new clause. We should have used the words. "unless a ballot has been held", because the Government would then have immediately tabled an amendment to put the word "secret" in front of the word "ballot".

We all look forward to the new Minister's speech and hope that he will accept the new clause. Indeed, we shall be interested to hear the grounds on which he could argue against it, bearing in mind the Government's record on ballots. How can he justify workers not being allowed to ballot on a protection that they have enjoyed for 50 years?

Mrs. Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley)

Despite the aroma of roast potatoes, meat and cabbage that is pervading the Chamber, I do not wish this clause to pass without making certain points. You may not have noticed the aroma, Mr. Speaker, but it has most hon. Members' taste buds working.

It is incredible that a Government who have such a bad record on anti-discrimination should pretend that they are heart and soul behind the Bill and that they want to equalise the protection for men and women. We know that they want to equalise down rather than up. This Government have been brought before the European Court of Justice more often than any other Government in the European Community because they have failed to move with the times and plug the loopholes in our antidiscrimination laws. It is only because of the European Court of Justice ruling that the Government have been forced to consider presenting a Sex Discrimination Bill. Therefore, I do not have great faith in the Government's intentions.

I have found the new Minister agreeable, tolerant and concerned about people. He did not have much opportunity to show those qualities with his previous brief, but he now has the opportunity that he so richly deserves to show his true compassion. Given the Government's commitment to ballots, especially secret ballots, I cannot believe that he will not accept our new clause. Not to accept it must be contrary to his natural inclinations, and certainly to the inclinations of his party.

Women are already at a considerable disadvantage and are among the lowest paid workers. Many of them are not members of trade unions, and the Bill will mean that they will lose the very little protection that they have. I appeal to the Minister, who, if he were given a free hand, would certainly fully support most of the points made by my hon. Friends. I hope that, after hearing their pleas and the poignant and persuasive arguments that they have advanced, he will say that he accepts the new clause. That would be only natural justice for workers in this country.

The Government have an appalling record on anti-discrimination legislation. The case of women has been put back about 50 years since 1979, and this is the Minister's opportunity to show that the Government have had a change of heart. I am sure that many women and other workers are waiting to hear the Minister's support for the new clause.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. John Lee)

I should like to thank the hon. Member for St. Helens, North (Mr. Evans) for his kind personal remarks and to thank other hon. Members for what they have said. I do not profess to be the world's leading expert on employment legislation, but my previous role in the Ministry of Defence meant that I was conscious of the fact that our defence expenditure sustains about 1.2 million jobs in Britain. I chaired our joint Whitley council and we employed about 500,000 people as service men and civil servants, so I am not wholly unaware of the employment scene.

It makes a pleasant change to be berated on employment matters rather than, as before, being berated by the hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon) about the lack of orders for Swan Hunter, or by the hon. Member for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clwyd) about the air-land battle doctrine. I do not want, however, to throw any more smoke grenades into this debate.

New clause 1 seeks to ensure that, before the Secretary of State makes an order for repeal, under clause 10(3), of the restrictions on hours and other conditions of work set out in clauses 7 and 8 there would have to be a secret ballot of the employees who will be affected and that that ballot would have to produce a majority vote in favour of repeal. In other words, the new clause could require us to hold what would effectively be a referendum of the 1.5 million or so employees affected, the results of which would determine whether we should proceed with the proposed repeals.

I must oppose the new clause on the following grounds. I am sorry to disappoint Opposition Members. First, there is the principle involved. It is surely unnecessary to demand, as the new clause effectively does, secret ballots of those who may be affected by the proposed changes in legislation. Presumably falling to the Government to organise, ballots would be tantamount to nationwide referendums on the repeals involved. We do not believe that the changes involved will be in any way fundamental or radical. The concept of dealing in such a way with such matters, which involve no hint of constitutional change, offends against the principle of parliamentary democracy. To confine it only to employees affected as the new clause proposes leaves out of account the interests of the others involved, in particular, the employers and the consumers of the products of the industries concerned.

The proponents of the new clause have made debating points about the selectivity of our vision when it comes to applying the principle of balloting, but the situation we have with these repeals of discriminatory restrictions on hours of work is not in any way analogous with the provisions on balloting required by the Trade Union Act 1984. That Act sprang from a widespread concern about trade union democracy and the way in which trade unions are run. It requires the proper secret balloting of a union's membership before the election of members of the union's executive committee, and prevents unions from ordering their members to stop work and take industrial action without obtaining a proper mandate by holding a secret ballot. The issues are simply not the same here. This Bill will remove restrictions on people working. It will not force them to stop work against their will. It aims to remove outdated and discriminatory restrictions on women's hours of work so that they can lose, once and for all, the somewhat second-class status that the restrictions impose on them and, at the same time, relieve their employers of an unnecessary bureaucratic burden. These repeals will not be to women's overall detriment. On the contrary, they will open up opportunities and increase flexibility which I would have expected the Opposition to welcome.

6.15 pm

The hon. Members for St. Helens, North and for Bow and Poplar (Mr. Mikardo) mentioned section 114 of the Factories Act 1961. The section is being amended so that the reference to women is removed. It will still apply to young people. It applies only to people employed in pursuance of an exemption to the hours of work provisions in that Act. Once they are repealed in regard to women, there is no need for the section to apply to women. Section 114 will therefore no longer apply to them either. An employer will continue to be under a duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees.

Mr. Hoyle

When talking about flexibility, the Minister seems to be neglecting the fact that there will be a worsening of conditions. Why, therefore, is he refusing a ballot?

Mr. Lee

We do not believe that the Bill will necessarily worsen working conditions. The vast majority of women and men are not covered by the restrictions that we are repealing. I am convinced that secret balloting as provided for by the new clause is completely unnecessary. There is no reason to believe that the repeal of these restrictions will result in a dramatic change in working hours. Any manufacturer who wants to employ women at normally prohibited times is almost certainly already doing so under a special exemption order, of which some 4,000 are in force covering 200,000 of the 1.5 million women in manufacturing.

The provisions of the Baking Industry (Hours of Work) Act 1954 have largely been replaced by the terms of collective agreements gaining exemption from the Act. We should not forget the vast majority of working women in unregulated sectors and men in employment other than baking who have never been subject to the restrictions this Bill seeks to repeal—more than 10 times as many as are immediately affected by these repeals. They settle issues to do with hours and related working conditions through negotiation, either individually or collectively, and this system seems to meet their needs entirely adequately. We believe that the proponents of this new clause underestimate the abilities of employees to sort out these things satisfactorily for themselves.

The new clause's advocates have not fully addressed the numerous practical problems involved if it were accepted that there were arguments of principle for a secret ballot. There would be practical difficulties in identifying all the employees who stand to be affected by the repeals. It is not clear whether employees covered by special exemption orders should be balloted. We have already stated our intention to implement some of the repeals quickly, but delaying others, and I shall put our specific proposals later when we discuss amendment No. 13. This clause would clearly make implementation more difficult and costly for whoever is charged with paying for the ballot. Its practical consequences would be lengthy delay—if not, indeed, to block repeals completely because of difficulties in meeting the exact requirements of the clause, even though a majority might wish to vote for a repeal.

That is not our principal argument against new clause 1. To sum up, it would be inappropriate to require what amounts to a referendum before implementing what we believe will be a useful measure both for women whose opportunities will be enhanced, and for their employers, whose flexibility of operation will be increased: and which gives further encouragement to enterprise from which we all stand to benefit.

I accordingly ask the Opposition to withdraw the clause, otherwise I shall have to ask my colleagues to oppose it.

Mr. Evans

One of the penalties of being an Opposition spokesman on employment is that one has continually to come to the House to have one-sided debates on issues such as this. Whenever we discuss social measures regarding employment, there is no interest from the Tory Back Benches and plenty of interest from my right hon. and hon. Friends. Many have made excellent speeches today, but we have had not one speech from the Conservative Back Benches to justify their voting down the rights of workers.

I appreciate the Minister's difficulties, that he is new in post and that he has to take the brief that has been given to him and read it. I make no complaint about that—it is one of the difficulties which always occurs with reshuffles. I am sure that when he rereads what he read to the House he will wish that he had taken a different view on some matters.

I particularly take the Minister to task for saying that the ballots would offend against the principles of parliamentary democracy. It is all very well to have parliamentary democracy in places such as this where we can pay tribute and compliment each other, but we are debating the terms and conditions of millions of men and women who are often the lowest paid and who often work in deplorable conditions without trade unionism.

The reason why much of the protective legislation has been put on the statute book over the years is that there has not been effective trade unionism in many of those sectors. Parliament in its wisdom through successive Governments has taken the view that workers in certain industries and sectors who lack the ability to protect themselves through normal trade union activities should be protected by Act of Parliament. The Minister referred to other industries where workers do not have these protections, but they do not need Parliament to protect them because they have the protection of their trade unions and, if necessary, can enforce that protection by industrial action. The workers in the sectors that, are covered in this Bill do not have the strength of trade unions and cannot protect themselves.

The Minister explained section 114 of the Factories Act 1961 and pointed out that it would still apply to young people, but for how long? We have seen what the Government have done for young people in the Wages Bill. They have removed the protections afforded to young people by the wages councils. How long will young people have the protection of section 114? Will the protections afforded by section 114 be removed from young people in the further acts against workers and of deregulation that Ministers are continually promising us?

I agree with my hon. Friends, especially my hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clwyd), who rightly pointed out that the Government's record on the protection of women and on promoting women's equality is deplorable. It is a scandal that a woman Prime Minister has presided over a seven-year period in which we have seen the constant erosion of the rights of women, few though they are. That is why I hope and expect that every woman will consider what is happening in the House of Commons with this Bill and will recognise in the not-toodistant future that she will have the opportunity of a parliamentary secret ballot to get rid of the Government.

Tonight we are simply dealing with new clause I and I ask my hon. Friends to join me in the Lobby in support of it. We want to see on the record how many Tory Members will take this opportunity to deny millions of workers the right to a secret ballot about the terms and conditions of their employment.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:— [Mr. Evans]

The House divided: Ayes 181, Noes 227.

Division No.289] [6.23 pm
Abse, Leo Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Heffer, Eric S.
Alton, David Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Anderson, Donald Home Robertson, John
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Howells, Geraint
Ashdown, Paddy Hoyle, Douglas
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham) Hughes, Dr Mark (Durham)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Hughes, Roy (Newport East)
Barnett, Guy Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Beckett, Mrs Margaret Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Beith, A. J. Janner, Hon Greville
Bell, Stuart Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Hillh'd)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony John, Brynmor
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh) Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Bidwell, Sydney Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Blair, Anthony Kennedy, Charles
Boyes, Roland Kirkwood, Archy
Bray, Dr Jeremy Lambie, David
Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E) Lamond, James
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Leadbitter, Ted
Brown, R. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne N) Leighton, Ronald
Bruce, Malcolm Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Buchan, Norman Lewis, Terence (Worsley)
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) Livsey, Richard
Campbell, Ian Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Campbell-Savours, Dale Loyden, Edward
Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y) McCartney, Hugh
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Clay, Robert McGuire, Michael
Clwyd, Mrs Ann McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Cohen, Harry McKelvey, William
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston) MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Corbett, Robin Maclennan, Robert
Corbyn, Jeremy McNamara, Kevin
Craigen, J. M. McTaggart, Robert
Crowther, Stan McWilliam, John
Cunliffe, Lawrence Madden, Max
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli) Marek, Dr John
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'I) Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Deakins, Eric Martin, Michael
Dewar, Donald Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Dobson, Frank Maxton, John
Dormand, Jack Maynard, Miss Joan
Douglas, Dick Meacher, Michael
Dubs, Alfred Meadowcroft, Michael
Duffy, A. E. P. Michie, William
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Mikardo, Ian
Eadie, Alex Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Eastham, Ken Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)
Evans, John (St. Helens N) Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Ewing, Harry Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Fatchett, Derek Nellist, David
Faulds, Andrew Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) O'Brien, William
Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn) O'Neill, Martin
Fisher, Mark Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Flannery, Martin Owen, Rt Hon Dr David
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Park, George
Fraser, J. (Norwood) Parry, Robert
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Patchett, Terry
Freud, Clement Pavitt, Laurie
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Pendry, Tom
Godman, Dr Norman Pike, Peter
Golding, Mrs Llin Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Gould, Bryan Prescott, John
Gourlay, Harry Radice, Giles
Hamilton, James (M'well N) Randall, Stuart
Hamilton, W. W. (Fife Central) Raynsford, Nick
Hancock, Michael Redmond, Martin
Harman, Ms Harriet Richardson, Ms Jo
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith Rooker, J. W.
Ross, Ernest (Dundee W) Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)
Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) Thorne, Stan (Preston)
Rowlands, Ted Tinn, James
Sedgemore, Brian Torney, Tom
Sheldon, Rt Hon R. Wainwright, R.
Shields, Mrs Elizabeth Wallace, James
Shore, Rt Hon Peter Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood) Wareing, Robert
Short, Mrs H.(W'hampt'n NE) Weetch, Ken
Silkin, Rt Hon J. Welsh, Michael
Skinner, Dennis White, James
Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury) Wigley, Dafydd
Soley, Clive Williams, Rt Hon A.
Spearing, Nigel Wilson, Gordon
Steel, Rt Hon David Winnick, David
Stott, Roger Young, David (Bolton SE)
Strang, Gavin
Straw, Jack Tellers for the Ayes:
Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth) Mr. Ron Davies and
Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen) Mr. Don Dixon.
Adley, Robert Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)
Aitken, Jonathan Grist, Ian
Ancram, Michael Ground, Patrick
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble) Grylls, Michael
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)
Batiste, Spencer Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Hannam, John
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Hargreaves, Kenneth
Boscawen, Hon Robert Harris, David
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Harvey, Robert
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Haselhurst, Alan
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael
Bright, Graham Hayes, J.
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) Hayhoe, Rt Hon Barney
Browne, John Hayward, Robert
Bruinvels, Peter Heddle, John
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Henderson, Barry
Budgen, Nick Hickmet, Richard
Burt, Alistair Hicks, Robert
Butterfill, John Hill, James
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hind, Kenneth
Cash, William Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Churchill, W. S. Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Hordern, Sir Peter
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford)
Clegg, Sir Walter Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N)
Cockeram, Eric Hubbard-Miles, Peter
Coombs, Simon Irving, Charles
Cope, John Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Cranborne, Viscount Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Dickens, Geoffrey Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Dicks, Terry Jones, Robert (Herts W)
Dorrell, Stephen Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Kershaw, Sir Anthony
Dunn, Robert Key, Robert
Durant, Tony King, Rt Hon Tom
Dykes, Hugh Knight, Greg (Derby N)
Favell, Anthony Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Knowles, Michael
Forman, Nigel Knox, David
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Forth, Eric Lang, Ian
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Latham, Michael
Franks, Cecil Lawler, Geoffrey
Fraser, Peter (Angus East) Lawrence, Ivan
Fry, Peter Lee, John (Pendle)
Gale, Roger Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Galley, Roy Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd)
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Lightbown, David
Garel-Jones, Tristan Lilley, Peter
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Gow, Ian Lord, Michael
Gower, Sir Raymond Lyell, Nicholas
Grant, Sir Anthony McCrindle, Robert
Greenway, Harry McCurley, Mrs Anna
Gregory, Conal Macfarlane, Neil
Griffiths, Sir Eldon MacGregor, Rt Hon John
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute) Rowe, Andrew
Maclean, David John Sackville, Hon Thomas
McLoughlin, Patrick Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury) Sayeed, Jonathan
McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st) Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
McQuarrie, Albert Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Madel, David Shelton, William (Streatham)
Major, John Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Malins, Humfrey Shersby, Michael
Malone, Gerald Silvester, Fred
Maples, John Sims, Roger
Marland, Paul Skeet, Sir Trevor
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Mates, Michael Speed, Keith
Mather, Carol Speller, Tony
Maude, Hon Francis Spencer, Derek
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Mayhew, Sir Patrick Squire, Robin
Meyer, Sir Anthony Stanbrook, Ivor
Miller, Hal (B'grove) Stanley, Rt Hon John
Mills, Iain (Meriden) Stern, Michael
Miscampbell, Norman Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Mitchell, David (Hants NW) Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Moate, Roger Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Moore, Rt Hon John Stewart, Ian (Hertf'dshire N)
Moynihan, Hon C. Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Mudd, David Tapsell, Sir Peter
Neale, Gerrard Taylor, John (Solihull)
Needham, Richard Taylor, Teddy (S'end B)
Nelson, Anthony Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Neubert, Michael Temple-Morris, Peter
Nicholls, Patrick Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Norris, Steven Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)
Onslow, Cranley Thurnham, Peter
Osborn, Sir John Townend, John (Bridlington)
Ottaway, Richard Trotter, Neville
Page, Sir John (Harrow W) Twinn, Dr Ian
Patten, Christopher (Bath) van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Pattie, Geoffrey Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Pawsey, James Waddington, David
Pollock, Alexander Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Porter, Barry Walker, Rt Hon P. (W'cester)
Portillo, Michael Waller, Gary
Powell, William (Corby) Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Powley, John Warren, Kenneth
Prentice. Rt Hon Reg Watts, John
Proctor, K. Harvey Wells, Bowen (Hertford)
Rattan, Keith Whitney, Raymond
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Wiggin, Jerry
Rathbone, Tim Wolfson, Mark
Renton, Tim Woodcock, Michael
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Yeo, Tim
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Young, Sir George (Acton)
Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Robinson, Mark (N'port W) Tellers for the Noes:
Roe, Mrs Marion Mr. Peter Lloyd and
Rossi, Sir Hugh Mr. Richard Ryder.
Rost, Peter

Question accordingly negatived.

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