Motion made, and Question proposed,
That this House, at its rising on Friday 24th July, do adjourn until Wednesday 21st October.—[Mr. Ryder.]
§ Mr. Speaker
I must announce to the House that I have not selected either of the amendments on the Order Paper, but they may be raised during the debate.
§ 4.4 pm
§ Mr. Frank Dobson (Holborn and St. Pancras)
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker. It has been reported to me that an hon. Member has been to the Library of the House and been told that the Librarian has been told that it would be inadvisable for him to obtain and make available in the Library a copy of the Peter Wright book. I should be grateful if you would look into this matter as the protector of the interests of all hon. Members.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I have been asked a question, and I shall answer it. I do not know anything about this matter. I suppose that if such a book were to be ordered it would have to be ordered from overseas because it is not published in this country. I shall certainly look into the matter.
§ Mr. Winnick
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. There is another book, which is apparently banned in this country because the Government have tried to take action against the publishers, namely, "One Girl's War" by Joan Miller. Two weeks ago I brought to the attention of the House the fact that it was in the Library. I wonder whether the Government have acted on the latest book because they are displeased that this other publication is held in the Commons Library.
§ Mr. Andrew Faulds (Warley, East)
Further to the point of order, Mr. Speaker. I can usually speak for myself fairly effectively. I was the Member who went to the Library to put my name at the top of the list to read this fascinating book. I was told that the Library had been advised that it would be inadvisable to hold the book. I was given to understand that there was a letter from your Office, Sir, making that point.
§ Mr. Speaker
I assure the hon. Member that I know nothing about it. If he is first in the queue, I shall certainly be second.
§ Mr. D. N. Campbell-Savours (Workington)
I approached the Librarian on 7 July—last week—and asked him about the Joan Miller book in the Library so as to set the precedent for the arrival of Peter Wright's book. On 8 July, the Librarian wrote to me, saying:My present intention is to retain these copies in the Library unless and until I am instructed to the contrary.The Librarian has made it clear that he wishes to receive and retain in the Library books that he knows and recognises are the subject of legal action outside the House and that are not freely available due to legal restraints. I put it to you, Sir, that the only way Joan Miller's book can be removed from the Library is by resolution of the House. If the Government refuse to accept the Peter Wright book, they have an obligation to place a motion before the House calling for the removal of the Joan Miller book, thereby enabling Parliament to debate this whole matter in a way that it has been prevented from doing today.
§ Mr. Speaker
The Joan Miller book is in the Library and I do not know of any indication that it will be withdrawn. I have already dealt with the other matter. I shall certainly look into it.
§ Mr. Dobson
Further to the point of order, Mr. Speaker. Will you confirm that, in the absence of a Library Committee, you are the only person who has the authority in the House to instruct the Librarian whether or not to make that book available?
§ 4.8 pm
§ Mrs. Ray Michie (Argyll and Bute)
It is an honour to address the House. I am grateful to you, Mr. Speaker, for calling me to speak during this debate on the summer Adjournment.
It is my privilege to represent the constituency of Argyll and Bute, one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Many hon. Members will have holidayed there and returned refreshed and invigorated. It is, of course, a complete myth that it rains a lot and that the midges wear tackety boots. I assure those who are to visit Argyll and Bute that they will find much there to delight and that they will always receive the kindly, courteous and hospitable welcome that is the hallmark of the highlander.
I understand that it is customary in a maiden speech to refer to one's predecessor. I happily pay tribute to John MacKay for his work in the constituency, and I know that he was a loyal and conscientious member of his Government. Perhaps I owe him a special personal debt. He contested Argyll and Bute twice as a Liberal candidate in the 1960s and had he not joined the Conservative party I might not be here today.
Life has come full circle. I was born and brought up in the Liberal faith and philosophy and I owe my success in large part to the continuing example and inspiration of my father—the late Lord Bannerman of Kildonan. Better known in Scotland, in politics, in international rugby and in Gaeldom as Johnnie Bannerman, he cut his political teeth in Argyll at the 1945 general election. Many of the problems that he encountered remain. The islands still bear the burden of high transport costs, and the failure to introduce the promised road equivalent tariff for ferries means that the islanders are considerably disadvantaged as they strive to build economically viable communities.
The whole economy of Argyll and Bute depends on thriving tourism, farming, crofting, fishing and forestry. In particular, the small farm and croft form the basis of our rural way of life, which has an intrinsic quality of its own. It does not have to be justified and it stands strong against any value judgment.
The reference to farming in the Gracious Speech gives me hope that the Government will remember that in Argyll and Bute we do not contribute to EEC surpluses. It leads me to hope that the Government will defend the interests of the family farm, especially in the less-favoured areas, and that they will consider allowing crofters and tenant farmers to participate in the woodland and forestry schemes, and to reap the benefits currently enjoyed by the landlords.
In the months ahead we shall hear much about the so-called community charge which is, indeed, a poll tax. No modern Western country would even consider such an 717 unfair and regressive tax—last levied in England in 1381, it led to the Peasants Revolt. I hope that the Secretary of State for Scotland will reconsider the injustice done to two particular groups of people. Crofters and the Church have traditionally enjoyed a 50 per cent. derating concession but the Government have so far adamantly refused to continue that concession with the poll tax. Consequently, an extra £1.3 million will be taken out of the crofting counties and the Church of Scotland will have to find an extra £333,000. That will deal a hefty blow to both groups.
During the election campaign we heard much about the amount of money that is being spent on the Health Service. However, I regret to say that that money has not been spent in Argyll where, for nigh on 40 years, Campbeltown and Oban have waited for new hospitals. We have a superb staff who give a high standard of service to patients, but they are being asked to do so in impossible and unacceptable conditions, and in old and crumbling buildings.
Another matter that is causing grave concern in my constituency is the recent notification by the Nature Conservancy Council of the designation of an extensive area—over 32 square miles—on the island of Islay as a site of special scientific interest. The NCC sets out 20 operations that are thought likely to damage the SSSI. This is extraordinary in that it will affect 49 farmers and crofters who have worked the land over the generations without any environmental damage.
I am told of the NCC's objection to a temporary access to the proposed experimental wave power station and that a farmer who wants to level hillocks for easy cultivation will require permission because they give shelter to the corncrake. Those are just two examples, but the list of restrictions bodes ill for the social and economic welfare of the island.
We must seek a proper balance between nature conservation and the interests of the people who live and work in the area. To that end, I hope that the Secretary of State for Scotland will urgently consider the establishment of a Scottish nature conservancy council. It is vital that there should be close co-operation, consultation and agreement between the public bodies concerned with planning and land use and those who are affected by the designation. The people of Islay are deeply upset and angry. They fear that in the end 65 per cent. of the land area of Islay will become eligible for designation, and, if that happens, depopulation could occur on a scale not seen since the infamous clearances.
Many of my constituents have a particular interest in the Gaelic language, as do I. The need for Gaelic to be given a status equal to English, which is now enjoyed by Welsh, is all too obvious to those who know and care. Until reparation is made for the systematic and deliberate damage done to the Gaelic language over many years successive Governments must continue to bear the guilt. This ancient language lies at the heart of our traditions, culture and heritage, and its beauty in song, poetry and story is unsurpassed. We cannot afford to lose it.
We are told that the whole tenor of the Government's philosophy is the freedom to choose and to make our own decisions. We are told that we must stand on our own feet. In view of those tenets, I sincerely hope that the Government will respond to the wishes of the Scottish 718 people by setting up a legislative body in Edinburgh with fair elections by proportional representation and the abolition of one tier of local government.
We in the Liberal party are convinced that institutional change would bring that freedom and, at the same time, improve the quality of decision-making. Scotland has lived too long at less than its full potential. There is more to life for its people than material progress; there is the right to choose, and to ignore that right is to court disaster. Scotland must recover her sense of destiny, her pride and self confidence and take her rightful place as a partner in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Michael Jopling (Westmorland and Lonsdale)
It is with considerable pleasure that I follow the hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Mrs. Michie), who has just got her maiden speech off her chest. It is a great trial for all who join the House for the first time. The hon. Lady's speech was of great interest, especially to me, since I am interested in rural affairs. She made her speech with considerable charm and with none of the nerves which many people have on these occasions, and we look forward to hearing from her again. Her comments about her predecessor, John MacKay, will have given Conservative Members most pleasure. We miss him very much. I miss him especially because we battled together for many hours, day and night, in the Council of Ministers in Brussels. He was a doughty fighter for fishermen and especially for farmers in Scotland.
We discuss this motion, in different guises, many times during the year and I speak today for the first time in 16 years without having some Front Bench responsibility. To get myself back into the mood for doing this, I looked up the last two or three speeches I made 16 years ago. In June 1971, in almost my last speech as a Back-Bench Member, I was accused by Mr. Reggie Paget of being involved in a Whip's filibuster. I was somewhat perturbed to see that I replied:On principle, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I never speak to Whips."—[Official Report, 28 June 1971; Vol. 820, c. 172.]At that time, Mr. Speaker, you were a Whip. You got your own back on me, because I was a member of the Conservative Whip's Office within a few weeks of making that remark. It has been somewhat difficult to get back into the swing of things.
I approve of the motion. I am especially pleased that the Leader of the House has been able to arrange an early rising of the House in July. This is an important matter, not least for the families of Members, especially Scottish Members. Scottish Members regularly used to complain that their children had been home from school for some time before the House went into recess. I hope that the Leader of the House will remember that sometimes Members' families pay a great price for our attendance here. I hope that it will always be part of my right hon. Friend's strategy to get the House up in good time every July. I also support the motion because my right hon. Friend is proposing a long recess during which the Government can produce a good deal of legislation before we return on 21 October. I hope that the Government will make the best use of the recess.
I reject the idea that is put forward every year of having a shorter summer recess and extending the recesses at Christmas, Easter and Whitsun. I note an amendment on the Order Paper and an early-day motion to that effect. I 719 have a simple reason for rejecting the idea. Governments being who they are the moment we did that, they would increasingly appropriate the extra recesses at Christmas, Easter and Whitsun to discuss so-called essential legislation. Some of us know what Governments do. They begin by saying that it is only for one year, and before we know where we are, it becomes a regular part of the parliamentary scene. There have always been suggestions that the House should return some time in September. That would be messy, and the House should not sit during the season of party conferences. It is best to have a long recess just as the Leader of the House has proposed.
My right hon. Friend must ensure that the recess is properly used. He must bully Departments to have ready a large number of Bills to lay before the House as soon as it returns on 21 October. After those Bills have been before the House for the appropriate two weekends, I hope that the first two weeks of November will be full of Second Reading debates so that we may get on with the parliamentary process. I am sorry to see only one Bill awaiting Second Reading on the remaining orders at present. I had hoped that more Bills would be awaiting their Second Reading so that we could debate them when we returned in October. It is crucial to get the programme off to a good start.
The Leader of the House may have heard me say before that organising the parliamentary legislative year is a bit like growing a good crop of wheat. One starts at much the same time of the year. It is important to prepare the ground—to have the Bills ready—so that once the crop is sown it continues to grow and prosper without any check. I hope that he will ensure that that happens, but I assure him that Departments will give him every excuse as to why Bills are not ready for laying before the House the first week after the recess. I hope that my right hon. Friend will be ruthless with them in ensuring that the Bills are ready. If not, during the corresponding debate on the motion for the summer Adjournment in 1988, my right hon. Friend will be faced by complaining Members whose children are already busy on the beaches with their buckets and spades, asking their mothers why their fathers have had to go back to London. It is important that the House should rise early, in July, each year, and I hope that my right hon. friend will continue his good work.
We all know that this will be a busy Session. The Gracious Speech demonstrated that clearly. The first Session of a Parliament is always the busiest, and rightly so. But I hope that the Leader of the House will be ruthless with his colleagues in ensuring less legislation in future Sessions. I remind my right hon. Friend that before we were elected to Government in 1979 we all said a great deal about the need to stem the torrent of legislation which had poured out of the House over the years. I fear that we have not done as much as we should to stem that torrent. I hope that my right hon. Friend will insist on a good deal less legislation during the Government's 10th to 13th years.
Some Departments in Whitehall seem to think that their Ministers' success depends on how much primary legislation they can introduce. When new Ministers go to Departments, I have visions of the permanent secretaries standing at the top of the steps rubbing their hands together and saying, "Welcome, Minister. We have a lot of interesting legislation for you this year." I hope that my right hon. Friend will curb this dangerous trend, of which I disapprove. I have always regarded the Department of the Environment as a special culprit here. It has been 720 notoriously bad at taking on more legislation than it can manage and then having to chop and change it at the expense of huge amounts of parliamentary time.
I am sure that my right hon. Friend knows all this and that he will take steps to ensure that we have a properly managed programme. He made great efforts to do that while he was Chief Whip. I hope that he will be vigilant in keeping legislation to a minimum and in getting it produced accurately and early so that the House is not kept here for longer than necessary during the summer months.
§ Mr. Tony Benn (Chesterfield)
I rise to follow up the matters that were raised with Mr. Speaker after Question Time about the material now in the public domain written by Mr. Peter Wright in his book "Spycatcher". It is being published in America today and extracts of it have been made available to the press in this country. I accept entirely that it would be wrong to comment upon the actions of those who may be held accountable in the courts for what they have done, but that is not the issue. The question that the House should consider without party prejudices of any kind is that a senior official of M15, Mr. Peter Wright, who served in that capacity over many years, has written a book in which he has said that during the 1970s half of M15, who are public servants, were engaged in an action designed to undermine or overthrow the elected Government under the then Prime Minister, Harold Wilson.
I was a member of that Government and many of the events referred to in Mr. Peter Wright's book strike a responsive chord in my memory because I know what was being said then. I knew it was not true, I wondered the source from which it came, but I decided simply to proceed. and to note the events against the possibility that some explanation might be forthcoming later.
Mr. Wright says in his book that a Mr. Jim Angleton, head of counter-espionage in the Central Intelligence Agency, came to the United Kingdom at that time with a report that the Prime Minister was a Soviet agent and that the CIA virtually instructed MI5 to take action against an elected Prime Minister. Those basic facts only have to be stated for it to be clear that officials, some of whom may still be in the Civil Service, were guilty of attempting a coup against an elected Government in this country.
I do not claim that anybody in the present Government had direct responsibility for what happened. However, the Attorney-General is accountable to the House, as was his predecessor, the present Lord Chancellors and the Prime Minister is responsible for the intelligence services. They have made no attempt to investigate the truth of those allegations by testing them in the courts. Instead, they have thrown the entire resources of the State into getting the allegations suppressed. The Cabinet Secretary was sent to Australia and was exposed to absurdity in the Australian courts for many reasons, one of which was that he confessed that he had been "economical with the truth"—that statement from the most senior civil servant in the country who is normally regarded as being apart form and separate from matters of political controversy.
To stay within the rules of sub judice I will not name the newspapers which attempted to bring out what happened. They were proceeded against by the then Attorney-General, the now Lord Chancellor, who, for all I know, may well be called upon to adjudicate on the 721 matters he initially promoted as Attorney, should those matters go on appeal to the House of Lords where he sits on the Woolsack with some responsibility for such matters.
The hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence), who is a lawyer, shakes his head. Anyone who really believes that the Government and the courts are separate knows little about the proceedings of the House or indeed of the other place. A comparable case of covert action is now being investigated in the American Congress. Colonel Oliver North and Admiral Poindexter are arraigned before the American Congress for action that is comparable precisely with what Mr. Peter Wright and, allegedly, Jim Angleton of the CIA did in Britain. Far fom the American Congress suppressing the matter because it might be the subject of judicial action—for all I know, it might be—in accordance with the tradition of open government in America, for which I have the greatest possible admiration, it has brought the matter out and Colonel North is required to explain everything that he has done. He has been forced to admit that he lied, and under cover of Congressional protection he is now delivering to the American people an account of the stewardship of Admiral Poindexter, the President and himself. Not in this country
§ Mr. Benn
No, I would like to continue as I do not want to detain the House for very long.
It would be an outrage if the House were to adjourn and an allegation as serious as that made by Mr. Peter Wright about a coup against an elected Government were to pass unnoticed. I am a long-serving Member of the House and I have attended all its ritual functions. We always meet after an election in a mass of mutual congratulations.We elect the Speaker and Members on both sides of the House say how good a man he is. I join in that. We meet to say how we are the best Parliament in the world. The newly elected Speaker goes to the House of Lords and claims our ancient privileges, and everybody nods. When the Queen is to deliver her speech, not only do we lock the door to pretend that we keep the executive out, but we put the Outlawries Bill down to show that we are not obliged to consider the Crown's business first.
But if the Attorney-General decides that he wants to silence Parliament, he has a very simple way of doing it. He goes to the courts and tries to interfere with the freedom of the press, knowing that the Speaker is obliged by precedent to apply the sub judice rule to silence Parliament. There is as great a threat to Parliament today as there has ever been in its history. That threat is not by the occupant of the throne but by the Crown's Ministers who sit in the House. As I said in the Zircon case when I begged the House to refer that matter to the Committee of Privileges, unless we take the matter seriously this Parliament will be a laughing stock around the world, and rightly so. We bring schoolchildren here and tell them about the mother of Parliaments. We tell them how wonderful it is and how speeches are made fearlessly by hon. Members in the public interest. We tell them that matters of concern are aired in a way that other countries try to emulate. It is not true. The truth is that the House, on a matter as grave as any that has been before it during my time as a Member, which goes back nearly 37 years, 722 has absolutely failed to insist on holding the Government, the Law Officers and the Prime Minister accountable because it has denied itself the opportunity of discussing the matter.
This is not a party matter. If Government Members had any evidence that some foreign security service was trying now to overthrow the Prime Minister by subversion, wasbugging and burgling its way across London—I quote Peter Wright—the party opposite would quite properly be up in arms. I would hope that my colleagues would, too. However, when it happens to be a Labour Government that was subverted, where are the advocates of law and order? Where are the Members on the Government Benches who say that a crime may have been committed and that they want the guilty to be pursued in the courts? There is not a voice. The conduct of the Attorney-General and his predecessor in the case has fallen well below the standards required of their office.
I have heard many debates on the summer Adjournment where people get up to just make a point or, as we have just heard, to raise a rather funny speech about the length of the holidays. However, this is a substantial matter. I apologise for referring to the excellent maiden speech by the hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Mrs. Michie) at the end rather than at the beginning of my speech. It was a formidable maiden speech. As the son and grandson of Liberal Members, both of whom sat for Scottish seats, perhaps I may be allowed to put a special feeling into my reference to the hon. Member and to say that she will be heard with great respect whenever she chooses to address the House.
Before I sit down I must repeat what I have said. If Parliament does not have a full debate before the summer recess upon an attempted coup against the democracy of this country, masterminded by MI5 officials who are paid to protect our freedom and who are accountable to the Prime Minister, it will fail in its constitutional task to protect those who elected us.
§ Mr. John Bowis (Battersea)
Tempting as it might be to follow the line taken by the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn), I shall tread the traditional path of non-controversy and stick to non sub-judicial matters in my maiden speech. I congratulate the hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Mrs. Michie) on her maiden speech. I hope that I can equal it.
I begin by paying a warm and sincere tribute to my predecessor, Mr. Alfred Dubs. I believe that Alf Dubs was respected on both sides of the Chamber. He had a fine reputation as a Member of Parliament and he served his party well as a spokesman on home affairs and immigration matters. I believe that he did well by the people of Battersea. However, a Member of Parliament is judged not only by his work in the House but by his work in the constituency. From my experience of people in my constituency, I can say that a large number of individuals and organisations owe a great debt of gratitude to Alf Dubs for the work that he did for them. If when I come to leave the House I can say that I looked after my constituents as well as he looked after his, I shall have done well by them.
The best tribute that I can pay Alf Dubs is to say that political friends and foes alike refer to him as "a nice man". I certainly agree with that from the short knowledge I have had of him. Whenever our paths crossed during the 723 election campaign there was a courteous and civilised debate between us, which is just as it should be in party political circles. I believe that that is a fitting tribute to the man that I have replaced in the House.
It seems almost superfluous to refer to my constituency. As I look around, I find that almost every other hon. Member seems to live in the constituency. Unlike most hon. Members who escape their constituents when they go into the Division Lobbies, I have a nasty feeling that as I go into the Lobbies I shall be nobbled by hon. Members urging me to take some particular action on their behalf. Nevertheless, I shall take hon. Members on a brief Cook's tour of my constituency. There are rather a number of bridges in it. It starts at the Nine Elms approach to Vauxhall bridge, and includes Chelsea bridge, Albert bridge, Battersea bridge, Wandsworth bridge and ends up on the Putney bridge road. The constituency goes down through the two commons of Wandsworth and Clapham and ends up in Balham.
The Battersea that I represent is something of a merger. It used to he largely Douglas Jay's old seat of Battersea, North, with a hefty chunk of Battersea, South which used to be represented by Ernest Partridge. With all these Jays and Partridges around, I am tempted to give something of an ornithological history of the area. However, suffice it to say that in this case the Tory eagle has landed.
If one looks at history, as one must, to find my Conservative predecessors in the constituency, one finds that 1959 was the last occasion on which there was a Conservative Member for Battersea, South. One goes into the mists of pre-war history, to 1931, to find my Conservative predecessor in Battersea, North. That was Commander Arthur Marsden, who was hot foot from commanding HMS Ardent at the battle of Jutland. Therefore, one can see that I look back as well as around and ahead as I consider my constituency.
I can look back at another rare bird in this place, a Communist Member of Parliament. Saklatvala represented Battersea—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, Hear."] Hon. Members seem to remember him.
§ Mr. Bowis
I cannot speak for his daughter, but I can speak for him. He stood as a Communist, but I notice from the footnotes in all the history books that he was a Communist with Labour party support. Wild horses would not drag from me any references to modern parallels with Militant Tendency.
There are many parallels with the past in my constituency. One sees many references to Battersea as having a fair number of what are described as "Yuppies". I do not know whether that is a parliamentary term, but it is used frequently in relation to the area. The first Yuppie in the history books goes back to William the Conquerer. He, as an upwardly mobile gentleman, owned the manor of Battersea and took his chums there to enjoy the delights of what was described in the Domesday Book as the wealthiest manor in Surrey. Therefore, things have not changed that much in the area.
There is a tradition of agricultural interests in the area. That may surprise many hon. Members. However, there is the grain and malt that goes into the Ram brewery at the Wandsworth end of my constituency and fruit and vegetables go into Nine Elms market at the other end of 724 my constituency. We have a tradition that goes back to the days when the first asparagus was grown in Battersea park and lavender was indeed grown on Lavender Hill.
We have a tradition of colourful, if not turbulent, priests in the area. One was fined for catching salmon in the Thames and another was accused of consorting with witches. Today's incumbent has done nothing more scurrilous than serve a term as a Labour alderman.
In the south of my constituency we find the old route that is Stane Street, which the Romans built and down which the Roman tourists went on their way to Chichester. heading south along the line of Balham high road in a way that shows that Peter Sellers was not altogether inaccurate when he described Balham as the "Gateway to the South". Since then, Balham, Battersea and Wandsworth have grown and merged. From villages have grown towns and from towns have grown inner city areas. Areas have grown up and up, in many cases 20 storeys and more up. The borough of Wandsworth has inner city problems, as do all inner city areas. However, I believe that my area has found some of the answers to those problems.
The report "Faith in the City" referred to a number of relevant matters affecting my area. It referred to the unacceptably dull masses of municipalised housing estates, but it showed that the real need for areas such as mine was a thriving local economy. I think that that is what we have achieved. We have a partnership between central Government and local government, and a partnership between both forms of government and local firms and local people. It has put new heart into that area of inner London. The housing and environment have improved and the economic climate has taken off. It is a good place to live. It has the lowest unemployment levels in inner London and we have some 300 inquiries coming to the council every month from firms seeking to move into the borough.
I do not suggest for one moment that the successes and lessons of Wandsworth can be translated instantly to other parts of the country or to other inner city areas. However, I do suggest that the innovative and imaginative mix of public funding and private enterprise has done much to transform what was a depressing and depressed grey area of yesterday into a forward looking and confident community that looks to tomorrow's world with confidence and expectation.
I represent a wide variety of people. I represent those who have done well—many people in Battersea have done well. I congratulate those people, and it would be churlish not to wish them well in continuing their good fortune. We want more and more people to go on doing well. That is the climate of my constituency. However, I also represent those who have not done so well: those who are crying out to us for some form of help. My support came from a great range of people across the constituency, and I intend to represent the successful and those who need help.
There is a curious economic and fiscal truth, which is that low rates of income tax lead to a greater tax take. The same principle applies to company taxation. Tax cuts lead to greater wealth creation, greater wealth creation leads to more taxable wealth, and extra tax leads to more resources to be spent on areas of need; areas of need that are dear to the hearts of all hon. Members. The message in my constituency is that tax cuts and greater wealth creation lead to the spending that we want.
725 Having got the creation of additional wealth and an additional tax take, we must examine the balance that needs to be kept between spending and the maintenance of control over interest rates and inflation, without which spending would be much less effective than we would wish it to be. We must examine priority areas of spending, as well as increased spending.
My priorities for action relate to three areas of spending. They were referred to in one way or another in the Queen's Speech. One and a half of them relate to the ways in which Bills will come forward, and the other one and a half, I hope, will be considered by Ministers during the summer recess. They are summed up by the three messages by people in my constituency. They are, "I want my own home", "I want my child to get a decent education", "I want the worry taken out of my old age.". I bring those messages to the House. They say, "I am in a trap, and I want help to get out of it.".
Those are three traps, and they are not the fault of those who are entrapped. The child who is trapped in our education system in parts of inner London is locked into a system of neighbourhood mediocrity. The new education poverty trap holds faster children back and does not encourage slower children to catch up. I wish to encourage our education system to go forward to encourage children to stretch out as far as they can reach and to work and be rewarded to the height of their ambitions. The Government's actions go some way towards the achievement of that aim.
The moves to reform ILEA, to give schools greater budgetary autonomy and to give parents a greater say and influence in their children's schools are welcome. The move to make entry requirements and limitations on popular schools more flexible is also welcome. I hope that we can gradually unlock the education trap.
There are two housing traps. We in Wandsworth have one of the most successful boroughs, not only in enterprise, the environment and the economy, but in housing and home ownership. One third of our borough council tenants now own their own homes or, in most cases, their flats. The money that has been gained from that successful policy has been poured into improvements in houses, estates, sheltered accommodation and the great partnership between the local borough and local housing associations. But people still need housing help. Their housing ambitions are not met because of the absence of private rented accommodation. That is their trap.
Private accommodation once provided for young people in particular. Alas, in recent years, as hon. Members know well, for many reasons which we shall not examine today private accommodation has gone. I hope that it will return. The Government are seeking to encourage it in the institutional provision of private housing. I also hope that the Government will consider tax incentives for small private landlords, whom we also need back. That is half the housing trap.
The other half of the housing trap in my area relates to the particularly large number of people who live in housing association properties. Housing associations have done a great service for our country and for inner London. Nowadays, they are largely funded by central and local government. They take referrals largely from the local council of people who wish to move into housing association properties. Once people move into such 726 properties, they suddenly find that, through no fault of their own, they lose their right to buy. They want the right—council tenants also want it—to buy the homes which they have done much to improve and for which they have great affection. I should like to see them being given back that right. It is not enough to give them transferable discounts; they should have the right to buy the homes in which they live.
Finally, I come to the subject of pensions. Most pensioners are now much better off than they were, and pensioners are the first to say so. All pensioners have benefited from the Government's success in containing and reducing inflation. In the past, the ravaging disease of inflation affected pensioners' incomes and savings. No friend of pensioners today would advocate policies that would risk putting the inflation rate back to 10, 20, or 30 per cent. and thereby putting pensioners at risk again, but a certain group of pensioners need our support. They have given great service to the country, but the country has not rewarded that service by ensuring them comfort in their old age. That group is just above the supplementary benefit line. They have some small savings and a small pension and do not qualify for the benefits that would be available if they had less. They have retired too soon to benefit from new second pensions. They hesitate to turn up the gas in winter. They say, "I cannot afford to put an extra lock on my back door. They are in a real hardship trap, and we should support them.
Housing, education and welfare are my three priorities for action. There are three problems, three traps, and three locks. I hope that during my time in this Parliament I shall play my part in helping the Government to find three keys to unlock these three traps.
§ Mr. Jimmy Wray (Glasgow, Provan)
I pay tribute to my predecessor, Mr. Hugh Brown. He was a well-respected hon. Member. He worked very hard for the constituents of Provan. I respect him as a person and as a Member of Parliament. For a time, he served with the Scottish Office. He was a dedicated, able man. I have no doubt that many Opposition Members respect him as much as I do. Dod's Parliamentary Companion gives us a potted history of his career, and we know that he was noted for being a tough-talking Scot. His wife, Mary, also came from a great political family in Glasgow. She paid much attention to his constituents. I wish both Hugh and Mary happiness in his retirement.
This morning I consulted a dictionary for the meaning of the word "controversy". It means to debate or to be open to question. I have no doubt that you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, will agree that the Government are open to question. I do not have a great deal in common with Conservative Members. I abhor the rotten capitalist system that has brought misery to many families in my constituency. I am not like the hon. Member for Battersea (Mr. Bowis). My constituency has the worst unemployment rate in Britain. In some areas, it is as high as 39 per cent.
The level of poverty in my constituency is deplorable. It is not so long ago that my constituents queued for the giros that did not arrive. They also queued at soup kitchens. Surely the Government must recognise the poverty that they have created by allowing banks to repossess houses and to raise their interest charges when 727 coffers were empty. That is the type of Government and the type of capitalism that Conservative Members have supported for the past nine years.
One of the most horrifying pieces of legislation discussed in the Chamber was discussed in panic because, when revaluations caused rates to treble in Strathclyde and Glasgow, the Prime Minister panicked herself into setting up a study to establish a rating system based on the ability to pay. The Prime Minister introduced what she called the "community charge". It is a poll tax. I have an electorate of 43,000, but if that legislation is implemented in Scotland my electorate will be down to 10,000 because nobody will register. The legislation is a breach of civil liberties, because, if people do not register, they will not be allowed to vote. The legislation must not he implemented.
The first person to introduce a rate relief for the poor was Pope Gregory. It was based on a system of help for the poor, but we are now considering a system based on the ability to pay. The community charge transfers the burden from the rich to the poor. A couple living in a 30-bedroom mansion, paying £2,000 in rates, would be asked to pay £500 under the new system. The burden would be transferred to a family living in a slum. That family of five earners may have a joint income of £25,000 a year, but they will be asked to pay something like £1,500 under the community charge. We abhor such a policy, and that is why the great lady has been scored off 90 per cent. of Christmas card lists this year.
Democracy has been eroded. The Labour party was the first to set up an inquiry into the local government system under the Layfield committee. That committee reported in 1976 and stated clearly that it would be extremely costly and take 10 years to introduce a new rating system. I believe that we should look for a system with a buoyancy yield, and the only system that provides that is a local income tax system. Based on that system Lawrie McMenemy, earning £4,000 a week, would pay a flat rate of just 5 per cent. on that £4,000. Wee Mrs. Dobbs on £30 a week would pay 5 per cent. on that £30. The local income tax system would leave room for exemptions and fluctuations in income and inflation would also be taken into account.
There are 18 million people living on or below the poverty line in this country. Press reports of previous weeks revealed that some of those people are only a giro cheque away from starvation. Oxfam has been turned into the national tailor for many poor families because they cannot afford to buy clothes on the menial supplementary benefit provided by the Government. The Government had an opportunity to do something about that problem when they introduced the Social Security Act 1986. However, that Act was designed not to help the poor, but to take from them so that the Government could save £1 billion.
Over the past eight years, it has been clear that the Government can give and find money, but they find it for the wrong people. They found £8 billion for the highest taxpayers in the country. That payment is the equivalent of £219 per week or an income of over £11,000 a year. The Government gave relief to those who did not need it. What did they do for the lower paid—those earning less than £5,000 a year? They gave them £1.63 per week, the equivalent of £89 a year. For that reason we will fight to dismantle the rotten, corrupt capitalist system that has been created in the past eight years.
728 Are we safe in the Government's hands? I do not believe that we are. The Government have decided to spend billions on a new weapon, Trident, that can destroy 26 cities and kill millions of people in one blast. However, we should consider the protection that is afforded to the Members and staff of this House. Last week, one member of staff was bleeding profusely and ran down to the medical office. The lady saw a 6 in. by 6 in. box wrapped in brown vinegar paper and bound with tape. Although she was standing there bleeding, the messenger said, "We cannot open the box." However, she said that she must and, after four minutes of unwrapping the tape, she opened it to discover there were six pieces of linen, six elastoplasts and one piece of cotton wool in that box. She was then told by the Serjeant at Arms that the box should never have been opened because the contents of the box were there to protect people if there was a nuclear attack. Such is the safety provided by the Government for the staff and Members of the House.
Three dear old ladies, who have spent 100 hours in the Court of Sessions, have asked me to raise their pet subject, the Water (Fluoridation) Act 1985. I do not know how anyone could have voted for that Act, especially when one considers the paragraph that specified that fluoride would be applied to 1 mg per litre where practicable. I would like a definition of "practicable". No one has ever mentioned whether fluoride can be considered as a medicinal product. The Medicines Act 1968 states that a medicinal product is a substance that is used to clear up diseases. The disease with which fluoridation is concerned is dental caries, a disease of the mouth.
The 1968 Act also specifies what is meant by the adminstering of a medicine. If one takes one substance, mixes it with another, and administers that to an animal or a human being, that substance is a medicinal product. The Government should also consider that it cost £1.5 million to discover that they were ultra vires with regard to the Water (Scotland) Act 1946. Throughout Britain, we employ local authority engineers to treat the water to make it wholesome. We do not employ those engineers to treat the people who drink the water. That is an important fact. We do not want the civil liberties of individuals to be breached. I hope that my dear old ladies will be happy that I raised that matter on their behalf.
I have been asked by disabled people to draw attention to all the Acts that have been passed by Parliament over many years, especially the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970. Local authorities, including Strathcylde region, have not fully implemented the required survey. About one third of all chronically sick and disabled people are still suffering because central Government will not give local authorities the money to implement those provisions.
Another piece of important legislation recently passed was the Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representation) Act 1986, which, in relation to funding from central Government, is another farce. The Government have told local authorities not to implement it to keep costs down. They have offered little financial help and the finance that has been made available does not meet the needs in Britain, in Scotland or in Strathclyde.
Finally, high unemployment is a waste of talent, energy and creative productivity. Thousands of Glaswegians are unemployed while our oil, shores and land fall into the hands of the greedy merchants of the temple. The £58 billion of North sea oil revenue has been thrown down the drain in payments to keep people unemployed. We look 729 for better for our unemployed. We look for jobs and apprenticeships, not for the slave and cheap labour of the YTS and MSC schemes. We look for investment. We want the Government to bring back the £109 billion that has been invested abroad, using cheap labour to get high interest rates. The Government can bring back that money.
We do not have to go far to know what an unjust world this is. Down at the Embankment, only a few yards from here, one can see people lying in cardboard boxes in the tunnels. The Government are uncaring and have no compassion. It is time that they got themselves together and started to implement policies to help the poor and unemployed. The quicker the Government do that, the better for the poor.
§ Sir Dudley Smith (Warwick and Leamington)
This afternoon I feel a little like a man who has been doing the football pools without success for many years, but whose number suddenly comes up. In the 25 years that I have been a Member of the House I have never followed a maiden speaker. Today, however, I find myself following two, and that is quite something.
I begin by congratulating the hon. Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Wray). In the modern idiom, he was controversial, although there is nothing bad about that, because nowadays most maiden speeches are controversial. However, from the hon. Gentleman's delivery it is obvious that he is a robust speaker. I disagree with practically everything that he said, but I was interested to hear his comments about the "rotten, corrupt capitalist system". I am sure that he will be extraordinarily entertaining on the rotten and corrupt Socialist system although now is not the time to go into that, I should like to hear him speak on that topic.
I agree with the hon. Gentleman about fluoridation, as I am sure does my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence), who is present. With my hon. and learned Friend, I have long been a campaigner in the House to try to stop fluoridation. We have not been very successful, but we have voted against it consistently. I hope that we can welcome the hon. Member for Provan to the ranks of those who, irrespective of party, oppose this indoctrination of water, which we believe to be harmful.
The hon. Gentleman paid a gracious tribute to his predecessor, Hugh Brown, whom many of us knew as a man of charm and a hard worker. He was well liked by hon. Members of all parties. If the hon. Gentleman does as well for his constituents as Hugh Brown did, he will do very well indeed.
As I am the first speaker after two maiden speakers, I should like to congratulate also my hon. Friend the Member for Battersea (Mr. Bowis), whom all Conservative Members are delighted to see with us. His election was something of a surprise, as Battersea was one of the seats that we were not quite sure of winning. I enjoyed his confident tour de force of that area, which many of us know because of its close proximity to Westminster. My hon. Friend's speech reflected the success of that area, of many areas in the country and of our party. He is here because people are doing well and showing energy and enterprise. He is a modern and young product of that enterprise, and long may he be so. I 730 appreciate that there are problems in Scotland, and elsewhere. They will be cured, and the thrust of this nation is forward, as we saw in the election.
I am glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Battersea had the good sense to pay a tribute to his predecessor, Alf Dubs. He was a hard worker and an industrious member of the Opposition Front Bench and he will certainly be missed by Opposition Members. Perhaps one of these days he will be back, but not, I hope, representing my hon. Friend's seat.
All hon. Members congratulate those maiden speakers, and indeed all other maiden speakers because we know what a trial it is. My hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, the hon. Member for Provan and the hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Mrs. Michie) made their maiden speeches with commendable confidence and we look forward to hearing from them in the future.
In this general debate on the Adjournment I should like to say a few things about one aspect of democracy. There are many who take democracy in our country for granted. We are rightly jealous of our democracy and fight strongly against those who try to undermine and subvert it. Sensibly, we have strict rules about our democratic electoral process which need to be observed faithfully and properly. Personation, for example, is a serious and punishable offence. That ballot is secret and polling stations are run with scrupulous fairness and independence. Casting one's vote at a polling station is relatively straightforward. However, there is one area in which our electoral and democratic rules are beginning to fray a little at the edges at the moment. It is time to stop the rot, and to do so now.
The main thrust of my argument relates to postal voting and its management. At the recent election, postal voting was something of a shambles despite the previous Government's praiseworthy efforts to extend it to include holidaymakers for the first time. The flaws and the bumbling incompetence of the Home Office officials who designed the new obstacle course of postal voting have already been exposed efficiently by my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, Acton (Sir G. Young) in his recent devastating Adjournment debate.
To obtain a postal or proxy vote, one practically needed a law degree and experience in picking one's way through tricky legal documents. It is laughable to think what must have happened when the postal vote forms arrived at many council residential homes, or indeed at any residential home. I had a letter from a constituent this morning who, on the eve of polling day, called on his mother, only to discover that she had done nothing about the postal vote form. Those forms had been handed out, but no one had given any help or instructions as to what the old people should do to exercise their franchise.
Indeed, even people outside such homes and with plenty of intelligence who managed to survive one or two hurdles would always encounter a further one that would bring them down in their attempt to obtain a postal vote. In some respects, that endeavour almost took on the aspect of a competition for prizes, in which the organisers were trying to trip up the contestants. At the end of the postal vote form, one almost expected to see, "In case there is a tie, please describe in less than 10 words why you believe in democracy," or something like that.
I have discovered that people in quite important walks of life foundered along the way and were unable to get their postal votes accepted. As a result, thousands of votes 731 were lost to all parties. Many postal votes were never returned, many others were returned but were ineffectual, and others were spoilt.
I suggest to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House that the whole postal voting system must be put right and a simple system initiated in time for the next general election. That is in the interests of all political parties and of our democratic process. We must safeguard the rights of as high a percentage as possible of those entitled to vote who come into these special categories; for example, the disabled, those who are going on holiday, those who are away from home because they have moved house and those who are away on business or for work purposes. I refuse to believe that in this advanced, electronic, computerised age we should retain a creaky, almost Victorian system of hit or miss, depending on whether one happens to fill in the form correctly.
In addition to the shambles of officialdom, I am worried about the attitude of the Post Office and the way it carries out its tasks. Every four to five years, when a general election comes round, the Government must instruct the Post Office at the highest level that it must provide extra supervision and pay extra attention to the handling of all communications in relation to that election. These are not merely ordinary items of mail which are processed daily. They are items which must be handled with care and expedition. I estimate that I lost well over 1,000 votes because of those who were unable to register on time, those who applied too late and those who were cheated of their franchise by officialdom. I am sure that that experience was shared by many other hon. Members. It goes without saying that in a marginal seat this could be utterly crucial to the outcome of the election.
In future, we cannot allow the Home Office to erect hurdles against us which are insurmountable by many people. We cannot leave to chance or a supposition of good will or efficiency that the Post Office will deliver poll cards, election literature and, most important, the growing number of postal votes that we shall have in years to come. Postal votes must reach their destination as quickly as possible and be transmitted back again.
In my constituency, postal votes were issued on the appropriate day. Some people were at home, literally sitting on their cases, waiting to go on holiday, knowing that their postal vote was to arrive the next morning, only to discover that there was a 24-hour delay because a sackful of postal votes had been put on one side and had not been dealt with by the Post Office. I would have thought that that was an electoral offence.
The electoral returning officer in my area made strong protests and I received an apology from the district head postmaster of the area that I represent. Two or three consitituents have alleged that their postal votes were issued by the returning officer, but never reached them. As a consequence, those people were disfranchised. One constituent wrote to me and said that he was now old and disabled and that he had voted in every general election since 1935. He regarded it as his democratic right and duty. This was the first time that he lost the opportunity to vote, because the Post Office did not deliver his postal vote.
These are serious matters, and in some cases they can influence the outcome of the contest. Whether or not they do, it is the right of every person of sound mind above the qualifying age to cast his or her vote at an election. It is extremely important that the Home Office takes these matters on board and acts positively to reform the system 732 and for the Government of the day to say at election times to the Post Office, "It is your duty to provide the utmost supervision to ensure that all election communications are handled efficiently, dispatched on time and returned to the returning officer ready for counting when the election takes place." If we do that, we shall make a small but significant advance.
§ Mr. John Fraser (Norwood)
I have some sympathy with the hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington (Sir D. Smith) about filling in postal vote application forms. I found it almost as difficult as booking tickets for the National Theatre. The sooner we revise those forms, the better.
I, too, congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Wray) and the hon. Member for Battersea (Mr. Bowis) on their maiden speeches. My hon. Friend succeeds an hon. Member whose reputation for hard work, sincerity and robust speech was well recognised in the House. Clearly, my hon. Friend comes to the House with intense feelings about poverty, inequality and unemployment, and I hope that we shall often hear from him in future. He endorsed the people of Scotland's strong condemnation of Government policies.
I must be careful about congratulating non-Labour Members, because when it fell to me to congratulate the hon. Member for Greenwich (Mrs. Barnes) shortly before the general election my remarks found their way into a pre-election leaflet that was circulated in the Greenwich constituency and I had to account to Ms. Deidre Wood for what I had said in the House.
When I grew up in Battersea, it was pronounced "Ba'ersea" and Arding and Hobbs was pronounced "Harding and 'obbs". The hon. Gentleman finds himself in the House because the people of Battersea do not suffer unemployment to the same degree as the people of Provan. He spoke with fluency and sincerity and recognised the problems, two of which, housing and education, are dear to my heart. He may live to regret the Government's proposals for them, because he will find that the policy of the London borough of Wandsworth, which the Government intend to emulate, is a policy of rehabilitating buildings rather than the lives, hopes and ambitions of people.
It is no solution to the problems of inner-city London and of high council flats simply to remove the people facing the problems and to replace them with others on a high income who want an address close to the City of London. The same is true of schools. The hon. Gentleman may well find that if the better organised, articulate parents have a chance to take their schools out of the state system, the sink schools, which have a larger proportion of deprived children and face the inequities of the inner city, will not be improved, but their problems will be intensified.
I cannot conclude my opening remarks without mentioning the loss of my friend Alf Dubs, a man with a king-sized conscience for those who suffer any sort of oppression. He will be sorely missed and I hope that he will soon be returned to the House. It is no exaggeration to say that there were people in Battersea with tears in their eyes the day after the election, because they owed so much to his sincerity and campaigning.
Alf took a great interest in immigration and I believe that the House should not adjourn for the summer recess 733 until there has been a ministerial statement about the conditions of a constituent of mine, Donald Michael Brown, who is liable to arrest and removal from the United Kingdom without any right of appeal, without any trial and without any statutory or judicial way of dealing with the problem. His wife, Katherine Brown, was born in the United Kingdom and her rights are also affected.
The history of the matter is very simple. Mrs. Brown was born here, but went on holiday to Jamaica and married Donald Michael Brown there. He applied to the United Kingdom high commission in Kingston for entry to the United Kingdom as a husband. However, there is an immigration rule that is an intellectual assault. It states that a person cannot come to this country if the primary purpose of the marriage is to gain entry to Britain. According to the immigration rules, the primary purpose of a marriage can be absolutely genuine, namely, that the couple have fallen in love and want a permanent relationship but the couple may be caught because at the same time the primary purpose of the marriage might be to come to the United Kingdom. How can there be two primary purposes for a marriage? That is an intellectual assault.
The rule effectively states that if an overseas male marries and wants to come to Britain, he cannot do so. However, if he marries and proves to the Home Office that he does not want to come here, he can come here. That is the rule in a nutshell. That is the rule that caught my constituent.
My constituent married in Jamaica in March 1986. It might help matters if I give the Home Office reference number. There is a system that ensures that we can get replies to these matters in Adjournment debates. The matter is now being dealt with by the Minister of State, and the Home Office reference number is B439046. The temporary admission number is TN/RLE/2375/86. I hope that that will make it easier for the Leader of the House.
Mr. Brown was refused permission to come here in May 1986. Mrs. Brown has a problem. Her mother has heart disease. My constituent has a council flat of her own and she is self-supporting. However, her mother suffers from a severe heart condition. Therefore, Mrs. Brown had to return to the United Kingdom some time in May or June 1986. Her husband came here on a visit in December 1986. It is true that he did not tell the Home Office that he was coming here to see his wife. I expect that in dictatorships all over the world when, someone wants to be near a relative or to get into a country to be united with his family, that person would tell lies about the reasons for wanting to join a husband or wife. I am sure that that happened in Germany before the war, and I am sure that it continues to happen. I do not hold it against my constituent that he did not tell the entire truth when he tried to get into Britain to be with his wife. He got into Britain by gaining temporary admission, and that is why he is liable to arrest and removal without a trial or appeal.
Mr. Brown's wife is now expecting a baby to be born in October. All pleas for Mr. Brown to be allowed to stay with his wife have been turned down. The wife, who has rights in these matters, faces a great dilemma. In parentheses, if my female constituent had been a man, because she was established in the United Kingdom on 1 January 1973—if the sexes were reversed—she would have an absolute right to be joined with her spouse. 734 However, because of the way in which the rules are drafted, she does not have an absolute right for her husband to join her because she is a woman. She faces a cruel dilemma. What is she to do?
If the husband is removed to Jamaica, she must make a choice. Should she go to Jamaica and give up her home here? She has adequate accommodation. Should she give up her home in Britain and abandon her mother, who is suffering from heart disease, who is in and out of hospital and who lives only a few doors away because the local authority has shown good sense by housing them closely together? Should she abandon her home and her mother on the one hand, or her husband on the other? Should she go to Jamaica with her child, where the child may have fewer prospects than in the United Kingdom? What is she to do?
When we consider the question of primary purpose, we realise that the immigration rule is nonsense. The rule is sexist, because it distinguishes between males and females. It creates a cruel dilemma of choice for a pregnant wife in a genuine marriage with genuine conflicting family responsibilities. That rule should be changed.
There is a form of unofficial prerogative of mercy, although that is not a royal prerogative of mercy. At all times, the Home Secretary or the Minister of State can say that the rules are working in a cruel, harsh and unconscionable way and that he will put to one side the harsh operation of that rule. I ask the Home Secretary, through the Leader of the House, to consider that this is one of those cases where the prerogative of mercy should be used and my constituent Mr. Brown should be allowed to remain with his pregnant wife, who is expecting the birth of her baby in a few months' time.
I have another reason why I believe that the House should not adjourn just yet, and this has nothing to do with immigration. It was reported in the papers today that the Home Secretary is about to release 5,000 criminals from prison back into society. Crime is one of the worst problems in my constituency. It is not all that easy to get into prison in London, because the courts are, on the whole, very reluctant to send people to prison. Now, however, 5,000 non-violent offenders are to be released. I accept that they are non-violent and that they are burglars, pickpockets, car thieves and people who have been convicted of graffiti, criminal damage and other offences. The cases of those people have been considered in detail in the courts and they are about to be released by the Home Secretary back into society before they have served out their sentences.
As a recompense for the Government's inability to deal with matters of law and order properly, I hope that anyone who is burgled or loses his car as a result of the reconviction of any one of these released people during the time when they would otherwise have been in prison will take advantage of an extension to the criminal injuries compensation scheme. There must be some recompense for the incompetence that the Government are visiting upon the victims, who may include my constituents. It is an extraordinary comment on the so-called party of law and order that the Government are emptying the gaols of some 5,000 people to make room—as this is not an amnesty—for another 5,000.
My main plea is for mercy for my two constituents who face a grievous family dilemma. I hope that at the end of the debate the Leader of the House will not redeem but will start to make his reputation by bringing mercy to this case.
§ Mr. Graham Riddick (Colne Valley)
I am grateful for the opportunity to make my maiden speech. I am happy to follow the tradition of the House by paying tribute to my predecessor, Richard Wainwright. He was nothing if not persistent. He fought and lost three elections in Colne Valley before gaining the seat for the Liberal party in 1966. When he lost the seat in the 1970 general election, that, I believe, was the only seat to be gained by the Labour party that year. However, he regained the seat for the Liberals in 1974 and held it until his retirement at the general election. Richard Wainwright was, I believe, a respected Member of the House and a good constituency Member who was always on hand to help constituents with their problems, however small. He was ever present in the constituency and he was very approachable. It is my intention to follow his example in that respect.
Colne Valley has a rich and interesting political history. In 1923, it provided the country's first ever Socialist Chancellor of the Exchequer in Philip Snowden. Another Labour man, Victor Grayson, who was Member of Parliament for Colne Valley in the first decade of this century, disappeared in somewhat mysterious circumstances. That is an example that I do not intend to follow. I hope that I shall not be too controversial if I state that a former Prime Minister, Lord Wilson, was born in Milnsbridge in my constituency.
In this interesting political jigsaw puzzle that is the Colne Valley there has been one vital piece missing—in its 102-year history Colne Valley had never had a Conservative Member of Parliament. That was the case until four and a half weeks ago, and I am delighted to be the piece that completes the jigsaw. Indeed, it is worth pondering why, if there is such an appalling north-south divide—as Opposition Members contend—the good people of Colne Valley should see fit to elect their first ever Conservative Member of Parliament after so long.
I hope that I shall be allowed to indulge just a little in eulogising my beautiful constituency. Although they might not realise it, part of my constituency will be well known to many people both inside and outside the House, for as they enjoy the antics of Compo, Clegg and Foggy in the TV series "Last of the Summer Wine", they also enjoy the attractive scenery of Holmfirth and the surrounding Holme valley in my constituency where that series is filmed.
I do not imagine that many constituencies can boast that no fewer than five packs of hounds reside in their boundaries, yet that is the case in Colne Valley, with the Holme Valley beagles, the Colne Valley beagles, the Pennine hunt, the Rockwood hunt and the Colne Valley mink hounds. Indeed, I am delighted to pay tribute to the field sports followers in my constituency who gave me enormous support during the election because they saw that the Conservative party was the only party that posed no threat whatever to their traditional pastime.
Colne Valley takes in some of the suburbs of Huddersfield, such as Lindley and Crosland moor, which will tell those people who sometimes mistakenly associate Colne Valley with Nelson and Colne in Lancashire that Colne Valley is in the very heart—some would say it is the very heart—of west Yorkshire.
With its textiles tradition, Colne Valley was one of the major engine rooms of the industrial revolution. Sadly, the last 25 years have seen the textiles industry decline, and the 736 industrial Colne Valley has declined with it. Happily, however, I can report that this area, along with many other parts of Yorkshire, is being revitalised by the entrepreneurial efforts of many local people. Recent reports from the regional CBI and the local Kirklees chamber of commerce have demonstrated growing confidence among the business community.
Unemployment in my constituency has fallen by nearly 900 over the last year. These improvements have been brought about by the Government's economic policies that have led to low inflation, improved productivity, more responsible trade unionism and greater support for small businesses.
There is one major obstacle that stands in the way of increased economic progress in my area and, indeed, in many other parts of the country. I refer to the problems caused to industry by local councils and the planners. As firms increase their business, in many cases they need to expand their existing premises or to find additional premises. As a result, they come into contact with the local council, and only too often find that their problems have only just begun. There are so many hurdles to overcome—from the highways department to the water authority, from the planners to the tree planters. If one's building is listed, one's problems are compounded. After all that, one's proposal must then win the approval of the elected councillors.
A number of local business men have come to me with problems put in their way by the local Kirklees council. Let me give an example. John Crowther plc of Milnsbridge has turned itself round from being a loss-maker to what is now a thriving business, employing 400 people and exporting nearly 50 per cent. of its output. Crowthers wants to pull down an empty, derelict mill called Union Mills and in its place build some single-storey units that will create jobs for local people. That mill is an eyesore and is now dangerous because of its dilapidated condition. It is a mess. If one wants confirmation of that one only has to ask my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary who visited the mill with me last Friday. Yet the council has just refused to recommend demolition. There is no justification for the loss of jobs that would otherwise have been created.
On Friday I also visited a small printing firm, L W Graphics in Longwood. That firm wanted to expand, found the ideal premises 12 months ago, put forward a planning application and was turned down—not on environmental or traffic grounds but because the application went against the local plan which says that change of use of existing buildings for office purposes can only be permitted if inside the town centre. That was despite the fact that the premises had been used for commerical purposes for more than 20 years. What a crying shame that those few extra jobs were never created because of an unnecessary and petty bureaucratic restriction. I could quote many similar stories of how the rules and regulations of Kirklees council have hindered and, indeed, blocked the development and progress of industry in my constituency.
As this is my maiden speech, I would not dream of suggesting anything controversial, such as that these obstacles are an indication of the innate hostility of certain Labour councillors to private enterprise. My experience is that business men are very good at saying what they can do, what can be done, why a new product can be made and sold and why new jobs can be created but that council 737 officials are very good at saying why something cannot be done. It is my belief that had today's planning controls existed 150 years ago, the industrial revolution would never have taken place.
The Government will have to look at planning controls again. In my view, some local councils are abusing them, and in so doing are hampering the Government's efforts to revitalise the private sector of industry. Of course, we must have controls. We must protect the green belt and the best examples of our architectural heritage. But the pendulum has swung too far, and thousands of jobs that could have been created have been lost for ever. I am sure that the examples I have quoted are merely the tip of the iceberg.
In Yorkshire and my constituency scores of budding entrepreneurs are ready and able to create the jobs of the future. They have the courage, enterprise and ideas to create that employment, but many of them do not have the patience, know-how or mind of a bureaucrat to overcome the frustrations of local government red tape. This Government must free them so that they can go out and create the extra wealth, prosperity and jobs that we all so desperately want to see.
§ Mr. Brian Wilson (Cunninghame, North)
I succeed in the House the former hon. Member for Cunninghame, North, who was before that the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire, Mr. John Corrie. I am pleased to pay tribute to the diligence of Mr. Corrie's efforts over the years and to wish him well, whether in his retirement from politics or in his temporary absence from them.
My constituency is, in many ways, Scotland in microcosm. It is a mixture of the industrial and the rural. It is a constituency of great beauty; sadly, it is also a constituency of greatly wasted resources and talents. We live in a society which can apparently afford to dispense with the labour of 30 per cent. of my male constituents. with the unique deep-water facility at Hunterston and with the skills that have been built up over generations among the steelworkers of the Garnock valley.
I do not intend to take the House on a Cook's tour of my constituency. I shall quote only one statistic—from a document published last month during the election campaign. It is a careers report from the Ardrossan office of Strathclyde regional council's careers service, which states that of 174 school leavers, at Christmas fully 50 per cent. had failed to find any form of employment, and that 66 of those who had were on youth training schemes. Only 13 were in permanent employment. Of the other 50 per cent., the report states:Their prospects are bleak. There are no jobs and no YTS vacancies for them.It is into this real world that the Government intend to introduce the venal concept of conscription into jobs and schemes that do not exist in order to fulfil the myth that this is a land flowing with opportunity for all.
I intend to concentrate my remarks on the subject of the poll tax, otherwise known as the community charge. I feel that, after two years of debate on the matter, we in Scotland have something to teach the rest of the United Kingdom. Let me say to Conservative Members that, with respect, it is a lesson to which they might do well to listen. The Conservative party has learnt certain lessons in 738 Scotland about what happens once the realities of the poll tax, as opposed to the glittering package of alleged reform, become known to the public at large. In a more musical and romantic age, the events of 11 June might have been commemorated with a couple of pipe tunes: I suggest that "Lament for the Earl of Ancram" and John McKay's "Farewell to the Isles" might not have been inappropriate memorials to the debate on the community charge.
The community charge, or poll tax, was born out of blue-rinsed funk and panic among Scottish Conservatives who saw electoral disaster staring them in the face some two years ago. At the end of the day, they have the community charge on the statute book. However, they have also had the electoral disaster. The idea was conceived that if the 20-odd per cent. of Scottish people who vote Conservative were bribed with a shameless transfer of wealth from those who have least to those who have most, those people would dutifully salivate their way to the polling booths to thank the Conservative Government for their generosity, and would return Conservative Members to those constituencies. That idea was based on a misconception about the quality of the human spirit. It was based on the assumption that everyone—or at least everyone who had previously voted Conservative—voted on the basis of shameless, naked greed, without the slightest regard for the conditions of the society that surrounded them.
Fortunately, that calculation did not prove justified. In my constituency, and in many constituencies with a larger middle-class electorate which was supposedly to benefit from the scheme, electors in their droves rejected the poll tax precisely because they realised the unfairness of it—although it was to benefit marginally, or even by a substantial amount, their own wallets. I hope that I have enough faith in human nature in the south, in Wales and in other parts of the United Kingdom that the same calculations will be made by the electorate there in a few years' time. Those people may decide that they are going to benefit, but they will, I trust, also decide that they do not wish to benefit at the expense of old-age pensioners, the disabled and the poorest families in the land. For it is those people who will have to pay the tax, so that the wealthiest in the land may be subsidised and live in even greater comfort.
I can give this transfer of wealth a simple title: the Dulwich factor. I can think—hypothetically—of a wealthy retired couple in Dulwich who will benefit from the tax by, let us say, £2,000. As long as that is an abstraction which will not greatly affect others in Dulwich, it may not affect their behaviour, electoral or otherwise. But when the people of Dulwich realise that for that wealthy couple to benefit someone else must pay £2,000, they will become curious about the workings of the new tax. And when they realise that the people who will pay the £2,000 to subsidise the wealthy couple are not an abstraction but indeed themselves, they will become not only curious, but extremely angry. That "Dulwich factor" has already applied in Scotland, and I confidently predict that it will begin to apply in the rest of the United Kingdom.
The poll tax as it is proposed is a shameless transfer of wealth. It presupposes, or rather makes the hypothetical assumption, that everyone in our society can afford to pay equally, irrespective of means. To add insult to injury, even the weakest in the land—even the frailest pair of pensioners in my constituency who exist on supplementary 739 benefit pension and are at present exempted from paying rates—must initially find £2.60 a week from their pitiful pensions. Why? So that the wealthiest people in my constituency, and in society as a whole, may make massive savings.
I trust that, when people are confronted with the unfairness of the system, and then see it applied to the disabled and all the other categories of poor people in our society, they will reject the tax. When the Scottish poll tax measure was debated in the other place, the Government made a concession in respect of the mentally handicapped. They discovered a new category of person: the severely mentally handicapped. The Government decided, in all their generosity and majesty, to exempt the severely mentally handicapped, but not the merely mentally handicapped. In what kind of society do we live when the merely mentally handicapped—and all the physically handicapped—are to be taxed, so that the Dulwich factor may apply, and the wealthiest in the land are given a shameless handout?
My main objection is not on the financial argument or the venality argument, but on democratic grounds. I was interested to hear the hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington (Sir D. Smith) wringing his hands over the state of the electoral register and the iniquities of the postal vote system—and quite right, too, although I would remind him, as a Member for an Ayrshire constituency, that if the electoral register had not been so disastrously bad in our part of the world, the Secretary of State for Defence would have been packing his Red Box and never returning to the House.
On the democratic argument, my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Wray) was absolutely right. The poll tax will take hundreds of thousands—indeed, millions—of people off the electoral register. If the head of a household of limited means is asked how many adults are living in the household, and the price of honesty is another £350, £500 or £750 per head, it will be in his interests to minimise the number of adults living in the household. We shall be back to the means test days, when inspectors came to the door and asked how many adults were living in the house. Suddenly, young people were away, staying with aunties, and people were hiding under beds and in cupboards. The price of being caught in one's own home will be the payment of hundreds of pounds more by people who cannot afford it. I do not know whether the advice of the right hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) to get on one's bike has been accepted in reality, but it will be accepted in theory because parents will say, "No, the kids are not here; they are in London"—or Manchester or Liverpool—"looking for work."
Another aspect of this tax is that it will destroy and disrupt family life. To admit that members of the family are living at home will lead to families paying more tax. That will be the result of this family-loving Conservative Government's policies. Many people will be taken off the electoral register. In this year of grace, 1987, is it respectable for a Conservative Government to seek to diminish the electoral register by removing vast numbers of people from it? Almost by definition, they are the least able to afford the tax and therefore, almost by definition, they are the least likely to vote for the Conservative party. Even according to the Conservative party's diluted concept of democracy, is it in the interests of that democracy to proceed with this tax?
740 I ask you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to take note of my forecast that by the end of the debates on this tax it will be abandoned because the suburban peasants who vote for the Conservative party will revolt. In Scotland, this tax was acceptable only to the 20-odd per cent. who previously voted for the Tory party. In England and Wales, the Conservative party has to avoid seriously offending 50 per cent. of the electorate if it is to make the tax a vote winner. On the basis of the Scottish experience, I confidently predict that the Government cannot do it, that they will not do it, that sooner or later they will have to retreat in bad order, and that the poll tax will disappear.
That brings me to a very important point: what is to happen to the poll tax in Scotland? In the first few days after the general election and in whatever may be the opposite of the first flush of success, the right hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Rifkind) clung to the idea that the poll tax must be implemented because it is to be legislated for in England and Wales. According to his curious logic, it would be nonsensical to implement the poll tax in one part of the United Kingdom but not to implement it in the remainder. I hope those words are firmly on record so that when the poll tax is abandoned in England and Wales it will also be abandoned in Scotland.
Under no circumstances must the poll tax be implemented in Scotland before it is implemented in the rest of the United Kingdom. If there is an undemocratic or anti-democratic attempt to impose the poll tax in Scotland before it is imposed in the rest of the United Kingdom, there will be abstention on a massive scale. There will be non-registration and non-payment on a massive scale. There will be a unity of purpose in Scotland that will flummox and bewilder those who sit on the Conservative Benches.
I have been very disappointed, though not surprised, by the reaction of Conservative Members to the outcome of the election in Scotland on 11 June. If they had had any grace, sense, or long-term vision, they would have reacted sensitively to their disastrous election result on 11 June. There has been no such generosity of spirit. Now, the ludicrous idea is that Scottish local government will he legislated for by a Committee that does not include a Scottish Office Minister. Those on the Government Benches sneer and say that because of the Union we, too, are lumbered with the status quo.
I have always supported the Union, but I do so only if it can be used as an instrument of progress. I do not want the world or this little island to be further divided up. But if the Conservative party believes that the union can survive when it is seen as the guarantor of mass unemployment and mass poverty in Scotland, if it thinks that the Union can be used as an instrument of interminable repression, it has another think coming to it. The Act of Union is written on parchment, not on tablets of stone. If the right hon. Member for Finchley (Mrs. Thatcher) wants a place in the history books, let her reflect that the Falklands war will come to be regarded as a minor skirmish compared with the stigma that she will incur if, by her intransigence towards the people of Scotland, she succeeds in becoming the instrument of the destruction, after 280 years, of the Union.
§ 6.5 pm
§ Sir Geoffrey Finsberg (Hampstead and Highgate)
In 17 years, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I have never before had the 741 opportunity to compliment an hon. Member on a maiden speech. I compliment the hon. Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson) on his maiden speech. When perusing "The Oxford English Dictionary" it might be difficult to reconcile the term "non-controversial" with what he said. None the less, it was a powerful speech and it came from the heart. I look forward to hearing him speak on many other occasions, when his comments can be subjected to critical examination.
I was glad that the hon. Gentleman paid tribute to my old friend, John Corrie, who was a first-class Member of the House. We all look forward to his speedy return. Similarly, I compliment my hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Riddick) on a very good maiden speech. I welcome the tribute that he paid to Richard Wainwright, who, with me, was a trustee of the parliamentary pension fund. He was a very distinguished and very hard working Member who looked after the interests of all hon. Members and tried to improve their pension arrangements.
I shall refer briefly to three issues. First, I support my hon. Friend the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Sir D. Smith), who referred to the muck-up by the Home Office of the postal voting arrangements. I welcome very much the attitude of my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department who said that he would examine with a very flexible mind many of the points that had been made. I hope that changes will swiftly be made.
Secondly, the community charge legislation is to be welcomed and the sooner it is in force the better.
Thirdly, I wish to refer to the postal services in northwest London. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House should note that one of the purposes of this Adjournment motion debate is not to indulge in the rhetoric of major political issues, but to refer to matters that are of particular concern to our constituents. I have no knowledge of hordes of people who are anxious to read a work of fiction by a man named Peter Wright.
It is appalling that when he wrote to me the district postmaster in north-west London said that he understood and recognised that a change in the population had resulted in a substantially increased volume of mail, and that in order that particular addresses should not always have their first and only delivery, in many cases, at 12 noon, he was arranging to stagger deliveries, so that on one day their mail would be delivered at 8.30 am and on the next day it would arrive at noon. He is making everybody share the misery.
I do not criticise the postmen, who are doing a first-class job, but the management—and perhaps the union leadership—ought to realise that if there is an increase in the volume of mail their duty is to provide a service so that those who pay 18p and 13p for the delivery of their letters are provided with a proper service. The sooner that that is realised in north-west London, the better. I hope that my right hon. Friend wil convey those remarks to the chairman of the Post Office.
Last Friday my secretary posted two letters to me, not merely with the correct London postal district, but with the correct postal code. The small envelope, which was posted at 8.15 pm on Friday, arrived at my home in London NW2 on Saturday morning. That was the second letter that she had sent to me and it apologised for omitting 742 to tell me something in the first letter. The first letter did not arrive on Saturday, even though it was posted some three hours earlier, at 5.15 pm, again with the correct London postal district and postal code. Might it be that it was too large for the Post Office?
I ask my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House to take up this matter, because the larger envelope, which is supplied to us, is being delivered late, yet the smaller envelope is getting through. The Post Office must be told that this is not satisfactory to the House of Commons. As a result of the larger letter arriving late, the letters that I could have signed and posted on Saturday to arrive at my constituents' homes on Monday will not arrive until tomorrow, because I could not post them until today.
The last matter that I want to ask my right hon. Friend is whether, before the House rises for the recess, he will tell my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment that I am becoming tired of waiting for him to take over, under the provisions of the Housing Act 1980, the functions of the London borough of Camden in respect of its right-to-buy applications. There are hundreds of cases, not scores, where Camden is in breach of its statutory duty under that Act. It is denying hundreds of my constituents their right to cease paying rent and buy their own homes. I am aware that the power exists in the Act, because I was one of the Ministers who was responsible for that legislation.
The time has long passed when Camden should be allowed to thumb its nose at the Government and the law of the land. Behind the scenes its officers are saying, "Don't worry, we know how not to provide the information". The council is refusing to fill vacancies months after they have been created, and over and over again the ordinary people are suffering. The ordinary people showed what they felt on 11 June, because the overwhelming support that I received in my constituency came from council estates where people are sick and tired of the inactivity of Camden in dealing with this matter.
Those are the points that I wish to raise with my right hon. Friend. I hope that they will be dealt with before we rise for a well-deserved summer recess.
§ Mr. Tom Cox (Tooting)
I have listened to the five maiden speeches that have been made. One of the joys of being an hon. Member is that when one hears new Members making their maiden speeches one learns something about the charms and problems of the area that they represent. I am sure sure that all hon. Members will listen with great interest to their future speeches.
I should like to congratulate warmly my two hon. Friends on their maiden speeches. My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Wray) clearly outlined why we have this enormous north-south divide. He outlined the problems that his constituents face and why in the election on 11 June there was an overwhelming vote of support for the Labour party in Scotland.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson) made an outstanding speech. He spoke with great confidence and sincerity on an issue that will, without doubt, dominate the House in the coming months, The comments that he made and illustrations that he gave about the effects of the poll tax in Scotland will be of interest to every hon. Member who has not suffered from the effects of it but who has deep concerns as to its effect.
743 The issue that I should like to raise is the conditions under which men and women are kept in custody in police cells. I must tell the Leader of the House that at the present time 355 men and women are being kept in police custody because our prisons are overcrowded. If those men and women were receiving the same rights as unconvicted prisoners who are on remand in prison, there would be no need for me to speak in the debate. The conditions under which men and women are being kept are an utter disgrace in this day and age.
The rights of the Home Office to hold men and women in such conditions come from the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act 1980. I stress the word "temporary" because when that measure was introduced in 1980 a firm assurance was given by the Home Secretary, now the noble Lord Whitelaw, that those provisions would be temporary. In 1982 only 42 people were kept in police cells, but in June 1987 there were 355.
The former Home Secretary, the right hon. and learned Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Brittan), made a statement that was issued by the Home Office on 2 July 1983. It said:The Home Secretary, Mr. Leon Brittan, said today … he was determined to ensure that the use of police cells to hold prisoners is eliminated before the end of this year.In a written answer the former Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Home Department, the hon. and learned Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor), said:I am conscious that it is not always possible to ensure that prisoners held in police custody receive all the entitlements that would apply if they were in prison custody and I am aware that there have been particular difficulties in relation to visits and exercise."—[Official Report, 8 May 1985; Vol. 78, c. 407.]How true that is today, yet that statement was made over two years ago.
Sadly, the position for men and women who are being held in police cells has worsened since then. I have some comments that were made by Sue Richley, in April of this year. She is the deputy chairman of the bench at South Western magistrates' court, which is a major court in the south of London. Although it is not in my constituency, it is in the borough of which I am one of the Members. I shall not quote all that she said, but these are some of the matters to which she referred. She described the conditions that she had seen and referred to the conditions at the court in Lavender Hill and in similar cells that she had visited elsewhere in London. She said:These court cells were made for people to be kept in for no more than four hours while they were waiting to appear in court. Some are being held for weeks and many for several days.There is no proper bed, just a kind of bench that pulls out from the wall on which thepolice officersput an old mattress …There is no room for a chair or table or any furniture…There are washing facilities but they are very poor…There is nowhere forpeopleto put their belongings. They just keep everything stored up in lots of plastic bags.Those comments were made by a magistrate in April 1987. Wandsworth prison is in my constituency. Over the years I have visited that prison on many occasions, so I have a fair idea of what conditions should be like for people who are being held in prison. Prison standing order 8A clearly says: 744An unconvicted prisoner will he afforded immediate and ample facilities for communicating with his relatives, friends and legal advisers.As well, he has the right to daily changes of clothes arid the right to have food brought in from outside by relatives or friends. That is all denied to the men and women kept in police custody.
Two of my constituents have been held in custody for four months. The wife was shunted around—the only description that I can give—for weeks from police cell to police cell. She is now held in Holloway prison. Likewise, her husband was shunted around and he is now held in police cells in Northamptonshire. His home is in my constituency in Wandsworth. When his relatives sought to visit him, they were denied access and told that visits were not allowed.
Last week I took up this matter with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, the hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg). As a result of pressure, my constituent is now allowed visits once a week. For more than three months that husband and wife have been denied access to each other. They are convicted of no offence. They are in custody on remand, but that proves nothing. We all know that vast numbers of people are remanded in custody and are often acquitted and discharged. I have two letters which the Leader of the House might like to see. The husband is now on a hunger strike, protesting at the refusal by the authorities to allow him to see his wife. It is an utter disgrace that such conditions are imposed on people who have not been convicted of any offence.
Time does not permit me to outline what I think should be done. I happen to know a bit about prisons, and I disagree with the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Norwood (Mr. Fraser). The tragedy is that far too many people are in prison. A great many should never have been put in prison. They may need some form of care, but not prison. So long as they are in police custody, constituents such as mine will suffer the basic denial of what are their rights even though they are held in custody. If my constituents were held in prison they could enjoy all those rights that are clearly stated in prison rule books.
I beg the Leader of the House to take up this matter with the Home Office. I have quoted the comments in 1983 of the former Home Secretary the right hon. and learned Member for Richmond, Yorks. The position has worsened since then. There are people living in the most degarding conditions that one can imagine. They are denied access to relatives and friends. My constituents, who have been married for many years and have children, are denied their rights. This is an utter outrage and I beg the Leader of the House to do something about it, and as soon as possible, not only for my constituents, but for the many men and women also suffering under these conditions.
§ Mr. Ian Taylor (Esher)
I rise with some trepidation, as this is my maiden speech, and with some confusion about what maiden speeches should be. I have sat through this debate and many others in the short time since I became a Member thinking that maiden speeches should be uncontroversial and related to a subject pertaining to one's constituency. But it seems that that message has not got through to several Labour Members. I sat through one maiden speech this afternoon by a Labour Member feeling considerable resentment about his arrogant assumption 745 that he had a monopoly on care. Some of us have become Members because we care about people. We care deeply about the people in our constituencies. We shall not take from Labour Members in what are supposed to be uncontroversial speeches assumptions that we lack care and that they have a monopoly on it. As the hon. Gentleman who made that assumption is not here, I hope that he will read Hansard to find the depth of my feeling and, I am sure, that of many of my hon. Friends on the matter. I am sure that you will be relieved to know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that that is the last controversial matter to which I shall refer.
I have the great honour of standing in the House as the Member for Esher. That seat has been the subject of two previous maiden speeches since the war. The last was by my predecessor, Sir Carol Mather, in 1970. He spent 17 happy years here working hard for his constituents, the last 11 as a Whip. Before entering the House Carol Mather spent 22 years serving in the Welsh Guards and, sadly, was one of the declining number of hon. Members who had a Military Cross for the services he rendered for this country in the last war. He was a heroic man. Sometimes that was not always noticed because of his quiet disposition. His service as a liaison officer to Montgomery, his capture and subsequent escape and many other incidents during the war are a tribute to him. The constituents of Esher were proud to have him as their Member for 17 years, during which he assiduously looked after their interests, never failing to take up a case and always being particularly interested in the concerns which they brought to him. As I said, this is a proud moment for me to make my first speech as his successor.
It is also a proud moment for me to mention Esher. Not everyone necessarily knows of the joys of Esher. If one drives down the A3, even perhaps slightly faster than the official speed limit, one may not necessarily notice the beauty of the countryside which lies on either side. On the section of the M25 that abuts onto the A3 to the east, one may be going too fast, finding too much other traffic or hearing too much road noise—a matter to which I draw the attention of the House—to notice the green fields and the quiet tranquility of the area. I urge those hon. Members who adopt that fast practice to see some of the lovely villages that comprise the constituency, including Thames Ditton, Claygate, Ripley, East Horsley—villages of great distinction—and perhaps to shop in Cobham, which has an ancient mill site of interest. I commend some of the fine houses in the constituency, many now looked after by the National Trust. I urge a visit to Claremont, a house with tragic associations, with the death of Lord Clive and the premature death in childbirth of Princess Charlotte. It has a more appealing interest as well in the sense that it is connected with Vanhrugh, Kent and Capability Brown—a worthy tribute to their work, especially in the gardens which are well worth the time spent away from the A3.
There are many other facets of the constituency which I should draw to the attention of the House, perhaps most notably the Royal Horticultural Society gardens at Wisley—a fine example of the way in which we in Britain can not only talk about gardens but grow them. As perhaps the world's worst gardener, I look with complete admiration at everything on display at Wisley.
746 Another aspect of my constituency that is worthy of note is the great voluntary spirit, which is part of the way of life of this country of ours. People join together to do things that the Government do not do and should not be looked to to do because they are so much better done by the community. One example of which the people of Esher are justifiably proud is the Princess Alice hospice, put together through voluntary donations and of great service to those who, sadly, need its help.
The constituency that I represent houses 62,500 electors or thereabouts who reside in parts of the boroughs of Elmbridge and Guildford. It is bounded by the river Thames, and the river Mole and the river Wey also play their part. As I said, I urge hon. Members to come and look for themselves. If they do, they will be greatly impressed by the wonderful commons, fields and farmland which make up a rural setting in close proximity to London. That is the matter to which I wish to refer today.
In an age of economic growth it is vital that we should remember how important it is to preserve the environment and thus the quality of life. If we fail in that duty now, it will be too late to try to recover the environment for the generations who come after us. The green belt around London—of course, it applies to other cities, too, but I am speaking particularly of the area that I represent—enables people to travel and find countryside rapidly. That is not possible in many other countries that I have visited. The green belt was brought in by statutory instrument in 1955 and the provisions strengthened in circular 14/84. People living in and near the areas that it affects have reason to be eternally grateful for it. There is every justification for continuing the green belt, partly because it enhances the quality of life to which I referred. We need to stop villages coalescing into one great concrete jungle and to prevent complete over-building in the south-east, which would prevent us from enjoying environmental pleasures and which would result in overcrowding and overuse of facilities and roads. Far from representing bad planning the green belt restrictions represent extremely good planning. They encourage industries to locate in other parts of the country—which many hon. Members would welcome—rather than trying to develop the green fields of the south-east. The green belt is critical for other reasons. It is one of those great environmental developments which have awakened the better spirit of people in the south-east and made them go out and work for themselves in their residents' associations and so on, to protect themselves from possible encroachment.
The green belt is a vital matter of Government concern. The green belt and threats to it lie at the very heart of the relationship between central and local government—whether the interests of the locality should take precedent. I was delighted by the statement of the Government in the previous Parliament to the effect that they would resist further encroachments into the green belt. I am especially mindful of the statement by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Waldegrave) in his previous incarnation. He made it quite clear to property developers who wished to build large and unwanted shopping complexes on green belt land that they would have to suffer the full costs of any application for appeal against local objections because there would be a presumption against such schemes. I have in mind the Elmbridge mall scheme in Esher, which many of us fervently hope will not go ahead. It is unwanted and unnecessary and will be of no advantage to the local environment. I hope that 747 Ministers' statements will be further developed into a coherent policy. That would be a good theme for the Government to pursue in this, the European Year of the Environment.
In its 1984 report the Select Committee on the Environment said: that the green belt should he sacrosanct. I endorse that view and I have already stated the reasons why. Many of my constituents are very concerned about the confusing signals which are coming from the Government and which arise out of the current process of planning appeals. There are many occasions when coherent local objections to a scheme seem to be overridden when the developer has gone to appeal, the inspector has reported and the Secretary of State has made a decision. It is important in a democratic society that we realise that this gives rise to immense frustration at local level. Where there is clearly stated local opposition to a scheme, we must ensure that there does not appear to be an imposition of a different decision from above. If the Secretary of State for the Environment has no alternative—because the statute leaves him no alternative—the Government should seriously consider whether the statutes are correct or whether they need further review. During the lifetime of this Parliament I shall push hard to make sure that the statutes say what my constituents feel they should say—that is, to give prime responsibility for such matters to local interests.
Borough councils have a major responsibility to ensure that the green belt that we are protecting is kept in good condition and does not become scrubland or run down. They have a duty to plant and maintain trees and to maintain and improve common land. They must look for sensible and sympathetic alternative uses of farm buildings so that the farmers do not have to break up their farmland into small units, which is a subject of great concern. National Government have a responsibility in this respect also. We need to consider rural planning policies in view of the development pressure and movement of people and industries in the south-east. If developers could not hope to override local interests by going to appeal to the Secretary of State, that could reduce the speculative purchase of land by developers who think that, if they keep trying, ultimately they will win.
Many property developers are ingenious men with a great deal of willpower. If they were told that there would never be an opportunity for them to have land banks in the green belt—because they would never be given the right to develop them—they might turn their ingenuity, enthusiasm and financial acumen to some of our inner-city areas and derelict land. That happens to be a crucial and highly welcome plank of this Government's policies. It is a major part of the Queen's Speech. For the Government to establish this central platform for their current legislation, it is vital for them never to reduce the controls on the green belt and to ensure that, by removing hope from the developers, they also remove some of the pressure which is causing people so much concern.
This matter goes to the heart of some of our debates, and especially the debate between central and local government. I commend the green belt issue to the House. It has a wide interest for those of us who fervently believe in the environmental matters which are so important to our way of life and our quality of life. It will be a major part of our forthcoming debates on issues which may, at first sight, not appear to be directly relevant to it.
§ Mrs. Margaret Ewing (Moray)
It falls to me to congratulate the hon. Member for Esher (Mr. Taylor) on his maiden speech. He showed us that he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of his constituency and did a fine job as an advocate of tourism in the area. He also paid a fine tribute to his predecessor in the House.
I shall speak only briefly because of the limited time available to me. My remarks are addressed essentially to the Government, but they also have implications for members of the official Opposition. How will the Government and the official Opposition respond to the fact that the Government have no mandate to rule in Scotland? I remind the House that, of the 72 Members of Parliament from Scotland, 62 sit on the Opposition Benches and only 10 on the Government Benches. Despite consistent pressure since the State Opening of Parliament and throughout the debate on the Loyal Address, there has been no positive response from the Government on how they will handle Scottish affairs or respond to the election results north of the border.
The issue has been exercising the minds of people not only in the House but in the media in Scotland. The issues have not only been mentioned by Opposition Members. There has been pressure from the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Mr. Heath), who said:It is commonly said that we must remain a united kingdom … The parrot cry that we must just have a united kingdom bears no relationship to the reality of modern times."—[Official Report, 2 July 1987; Vol. 118, c. 666.]The right hon. Member for Shropshire, North (Mr. Biffen) said:I have to say that I do not easily entertain the prospect of going through this Parliament assuming that we shall continue the present basis for Scottish affairs without consideration."—[Official Report, 30 June 1987; Vol. 118, c. 398.]Both right hon. Members urged that attention be paid to the Scottish dimension.
Added to this, last week the Government found themselves in a dilemma when looking for Members to serve on the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs. Three of the five Conservative Members who were available to serve on that Committee refused to do so. That may have left the Government in a dilemma, but it has left Scotland with a major problem. The work of Ministers should come under effective scrutiny from Back-Bench Members. If we do not have a Select Committee on Scottish Affairs because Government Members refuse to serve on it, there are plenty of Opposition Members prepared to serve on such a Committee to ensure that legislation is subjected to the scrutiny that it needs. It is not as though there were not enough issues for the Select Committee to discuss. We must consider the Government of Scotland itself; the prospect of nuclear dumping; the future of Ravenscraig; the prospect of many of our industries being taken over; the dilemma of the whisky industry in the wake of the Guinness takeover; the problems of agriculture and fishing; and, not least, the poll tax.
It would be wrong for the House to adjourn until the Government gave us clear guidance on how they will respond to the election results in Scotland. It is not good enough to ask Scottish Members to return to their constituencies during the recess unable to say, "We will ensure that these issues are raised in the House through the appropriate channels." The Government seem to be unwilling to establish a Select Committee.
749 The official Opposition in Scotland also have a major responsibility. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) leads a band of 50. The people of Scotland have given a mandate to the Labour party, and we ask the Labour party to take a clear initiative on this. Or, as is predicted in some newspapers in Scotland, will it be no action yet again from the Labour party, but only oratory? The hon. Member for Garscadden may laugh, but the Labour party is looking constantly over its shoulder at the concept of independence as propounded by the Scottish National party. The Labour party in Scotland has already had eight years to deliver the Scottish people from the Government's economic policies, but they have failed signally to do so. Another four years of similarly inept opposition will be rejected by the people of Scotland at the next general election. The Labour party is equally on trial.
§ Mr. Alan Williams (Swansea, West)
This is my first opportunity to tell the new Leader of the House how glad I am to see him in that role and how much I hope that he will enjoy it. He more than anyone will appreciate the difficulty of following the right hon. Member for Shropshire, North (Mr. Biffen), who was held in genuine affection by hon. Members on both sides of the House and whose humour and eloquence of phrase dominated much of the previous Parliament.
Today we have heard a series of excellent maiden speeches. The debate lends itself to such speeches, and all the hon. Members who spoke today did great credit to themselves and to their constituents.
The hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Mrs. Michie) was fortunate to be the first to be put out of her misery. Although I was not in the Chamber to hear her speech—I was attending a meeting—I understand that she can preserve for her memoirs a unique commendation from my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn), who described her speech as formidable. Although my right hon. Friend is a controversial figure in the House, he is also recognised as a master of the parliamentary arts, and such a comment from him must mean that the hon. Lady's speech was well worth listening to.
The hon. Member for Battersea (Mr. Bowis) made an extremely articulate and good maiden speech. He was extremely gracious in his remarks about a friend whom we were sorry to see leaving the House. As he said, Alf Dubs is an extremely nice man of great diligence who looked after his constituents assiduously. The hon. Gentleman claimed that Battersea was the original yuppie land. It is the normal tradition in the House to try to find something nice to say about one's constituency! But I enjoyed the hon. Gentleman's contribution and look forward to hearing from him again.
My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Wray) made a wide-ranging maiden speech which was a mixture of humour and conviction. He paid tribute to a dear friend of mine and of yours, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Hugh Brown entered the House at the same time as we did, and the House will miss him sorely. My hon. Friend's speech was hardly non-controversial, but, as we heard about the problems of his constituency, we understood why he thought he needed to speak in that way. He mentioned the problems of the poll tax. I share his 750 incredulity that, having drawn the correct conclusion that the present tax system is wrong, the Government decided to put in its place something that is unfairer and more difficult to defend.
My hon. Friend the Member for Provan mentioned fluoridation. That issue gave rise to some strange coalitions across the Floor of the House during the previous Parliament. I remember the many bitter opponents of fluoridation fighting well into the night on the issue. I wish that we had had an extra ally and an extra vote then. It is interesting that fluoridation was considered outside the context of the possible privatisation of the water system. One is bound to wonder how the decision making that is left to the water authorities at the moment will be handled and whether the indemnification that has been given to the public bodies will still exist for private organisations.
The hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Riddick) made a maiden speech in which he referred to Richard Wainwright, his predecessor as a respected Member. That certainly is the case. Richard and I were both made Privy Councillors on the same day and I have always felt great friendship and affection for him. I was glad to hear the hon. Member speak of him as he did. I understand that the constituency has never had a Conservative Member of Parliament. That is one record that I am rather sorry to see broken, as the hon. Gentleman will appreciate. As far as I can gather from his speech, it seems that his constituents spend half their lives in support of hounds pursuing all the poor wretched animals in his constituency. He made an impassioned plea for blood sports, although, after listening to the later part of his speech, I could not help thinking that he wanted to replace the fox with the planners.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson) made a singularly articulate speech. It was controversial but very effective and very powerful. He spoke with as little affection of the poll tax as did my hon. Friend the Member for Provan. The hon. Member for Esher (Mr. Taylor) spoke with pride of his membership of the House. I say quite genuinely that I hope it is a pride that he carries however long he stays in the House. I think the Leader of the House would say the same as myself. I have been here 23 years and whenever I walk into the Chamber I think that it is a unique privilege and a unique honour. Having a marginal seat, I am always delighted when I am re-elected, to my incredulity, at successive elections. What he said was appreciated on all sides of the House. He made an impassioned plea for the preservation of the green belt, which I am sure will strike many a reflective chord in his constituency. I am glad to see that we have someone who intends to set out to become the terror of the developers in the new Parliament.
The hon. Member for Moray (Mrs. Ewing) is, if she will excuse the phrase, a recycled Member. It is good to see her back and to hear her speak again. I think she will not be offended if I say that I almost recognised some of her phrases. I am quite sure that she will be as combative and active as she was when she was previously here. I look forward to her further speeches.
The hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington (Sir D. Smith) referred to the voting shambles. It certainly sounded that, and it merits a proper investigation. It is interesting to note that there is another form of disfranchisement that has also inadvertently taken place. A consequence of the bed and breakfast legislation, 751 unintended as it was, is that a lot of youngsters are moving around so frequently that there is now a virtual disfranchised army of should-be young voters. It is a quite serious problem that I expect every hon. Member has encountered. My hon. Friend the Member for Norwood (Mr. Fraser) made a very effective constituency speech. His indictment of the attitude of the Home Office on immigration, when he said that if one can prove that one does not want to come here it is willing to let one in, was effectively made.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) referred to the issue that we discussed earlier today—the Wright book and the way in which it has been handled by the Government. The Leader of the House knows that a feeling I have had for a long time and which I have repeated frequently is that it is a matter of great disbelief to me that here in this mother of Parliaments we can have a Prime Minister, Law Officers and even Government Back Benchers who are utterly disinterested that there was an attempt to organise a coup to overthrow an elected Government. I find that bewildering and more than slightly worrying.
I was deeply disturbed to hear earlier today that the Librarian of the House has been told that he must not hold a copy of the Wright book. We hope to pursue that further because the Librarian takes his instructions from the Speaker via the appropriate committee, and purely through that route. The Committee and the Chairman do not exist. As the Speaker was unaware of any such instruction having been given, we want to know who told the Librarian that he is not to hold a copy of a book which any of our constituents travelling to America will be able to buy and probably bring back, but which Members of Parliament arc to be denied the opportunity to read.
Despite all the arguments that my hon. Friends put forward for our not going on recess in a fortnight's time, I am very much looking forward to that opportunity.
§ The Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. John Wakeham)
We have had a wide-ranging debate, in which many points have been raised, and I will do my best briefly to answer as many as I can. If there are any specific points that I do not answer, I will certainly write to the hon. Member who raised the point.
As this is the first Adjournment debate for a number of years that has not been led either in person or in proxy by the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore), it would be wrong of me not to say how much Government Members appreciated his courtesy. He is a formidable parliamentary orator. He had a distinguished Front Bench career over 20 years and we will miss him from the Front Bench. However, I have no doubt that he will make his presence felt in many ways in the years to come.
As the right hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Williams) said, we have had six maiden speeches—three from the Government side and three from the Opposition side. I am sure that all who made their maiden speeches today can be well pleased. They made vigorous and forceful speeches. There was nothing stereotyped about any of them. Each hon. Member spoke from his or her constituency point of view about things they felt very concerned about. Their constituencies can be proud of the way that they have started their parliamentary careers.
752 We heard first the hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Mrs. Michie). She made her constituency sound very attractive to me. I have to sail my boat to where I want to go on holiday, and from where my boat is situated at present the 88 days of the summer recess will not get me around to Argyll. However, I am tempted to do it in two stints—this year and next year.
My hon. Friend the Member for Battersea (Mr. Bowis) made a very effective speech. I have known my hon. Friend for many years and I am delighted to see him in the House. I know that he will make many more speeches. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Wray) spoke well and with sincerity about things that he feels passionately about. Having been the Chief Whip when the Fluoridation Bill went through, I hope that he does not take it amiss that I am glad that he was not around in those days to cause us additional problems.
My hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Riddick) certainly made a very effective speech about the opportunities and problems in his constituency. He spoke about the difficulties that many of his constituents and businesses have with planning controls. I am delighted that he found time in his speech to make a reference to field sports.
The hon. Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson) made an impassioned and effective speech. We shall certainly listen to his future contributions with added respect.
The predecessor of my hon. Friend the Member for Esher (Mr. Taylor), Sir Carol Mather, and I spent many years together and, I might add, many nights together in the Whips Office. He is one of my dearest friends. My hon. Friend made an effective speech, in which he talked about the problems of the process and the interaction of central and local government and of the problems of the green belt. I look forward to more contributions from him in the future.
The right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) raised the subject of the Peter Wright book, as did the right hon. Member for Swansea, West. It is wrong to say that the Government do not take this matter extremely seriously. I advise anybody who has any doubts about that to look at the comprehensive statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 6 May 1987. That set out in great detail the position the Government have taken and what has been done in the way of investigating the claims. I do not want to add any more than that except to say that it is not true to say it was not dealt with carefully and with a great deal of trouble. However, I should remind the House that in the New South Wales proceedings the Government are seeking to uphold the lifelong duty of confidentiality that is owed by all members of the security services, present or former, to preserve the confidentiality in respect of matters arising from their work. unless authorised to publish. That is an important principle and I believe that the Government are right to do everything in their power to seek to uphold it.
§ Mr. Alan Williams
If it is so important to uphold that principle in Australia, why is it not important to uphold the same principle in the United States?
§ Mr. Wakeham
The Government's legal advisers will advise on what to do. It is not for me to comment any further on the matter except to say that the Government will take all steps possible to preserve that principle.
753 The question as to whether the book should be put in the Library is a matter for Mr. Speaker and not the Government. It must ultimately be for the House to decide these matters if there is any difficulty.
§ Mr. Winnick
Is it possible for the Leader of the House to use his good offices to try to ensure that there is a statement on the position arising from the fact that the book is being published in America and will be freely available for anyone who comes in from the United States? Could we have a statement this week on that aspect?
§ Mr. Wakeham
I will look at that matter, but I cannot give the hon. Gentleman any encouragement to think that there will be a further statement from the Government this week on that aspect.
My hon. Friends the Members for Warwick and Leamington (Sir D. Smith) and for Hampstead and Highgate (Sir G. Finsberg) raised the matter of postal voting. I know that the Home Secretary is concerned about that. I know that he is looking into it and I will see that the points raised are referred to him.
I know that the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. Fraser) is in contact with the Home Secretary. I heard his speech and I recognise the careful and sincere way in which he put the points of his constituents. I can do no more than say that I will refer his remarks and the way in which he made them to the Home Secretary to see whether anything can he done to assist his constituents.
My hon. Friend the Member for Hampstead and Highgate raised other matters concerning the size of envelopes and the postal service. I shall refer the matter of the postal service generally to my right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and I will see that the chairman of the Post Office knows about it. I feel that I should look into the matter of envelopes for the House of Commons myself and I shall certainly see what can be done. I shall refer the disturbing information about Camden and the difficulties my hon. Friend's constituents have over the right to buy to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.
The hon. Member for Tooting (Mr. Cox) showed a great knowledge of the problems of his constituents. He clearly knows a great deal about the way in which the police service and custody should be organised in this country. What he said caused me some concern. He has courteously sent me correspondence so that I can see that the Home Secretary has the matters immediately in hand and will write to him to give him any information he can.
§ Question put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 215, Noes 22.755
|Division No. 15]||[7.04 pm|
|Alexander, Richard||Beith, A. J.|
|Alton, David||Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)|
|Amess, David||Benyon, W.|
|Amos, Alan||Bevan, David Gilroy|
|Arbuthnot, James||Biggs-Davison, Sir John|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Blackburn, Dr John G.|
|Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)||Boscawen, Hon Robert|
|Ashby, David||Boswell, Tim|
|Atkinson, David||Bottomley, Peter|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Bottomley, Mrs Virginia|
|Baldry, Tony||Bowis, John|
|Batiste, Spencer||Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Brandon-Bravo, Martin|
|Brazier, Julian||Knapman, Roger|
|Bright, Graham||Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)||Knowles, Michael|
|Browne, John (Winchester)||Lang, Ian|
|Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)||Lawrence, Ivan|
|Buck, Sir Antony||Lee, John (Pendle)|
|Burns, Simon||Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark|
|Burt, Alistair||Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)|
|Butcher, John||Lilley, Peter|
|Butler, Chris||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)|
|Butterfill, John||Lord, Michael|
|Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)||MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)|
|Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)||Maclean, David|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Madel, David|
|Carrington, Matthew||Malins, Humfrey|
|Carttiss, Michael||Mans, Keith|
|Channon, Rt Hon Paul||Marlow, Tony|
|Chapman, Sydney||Marshall, John (Hendon S)|
|Chope, Christopher||Marshall, Michael (Arundel)|
|Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n)||Martin, David (Portsmouth S)|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Mates, Michael|
|Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)||Maude, Hon Francis|
|Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)||Mawhinney, Dr Brian|
|Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)||Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin|
|Coombs, Simon (Swindon)||Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick|
|Cope, John||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Couchman, James||Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)|
|Cran, James||Miller, Hal|
|Currie, Mrs Edwina||Mills, Iain|
|Curry, David||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)||Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)|
|Davis, David (Boothferry)||Mitchell, David (Hants NW)|
|Day, Stephen||Montgomery, Sir Fergus|
|Devlin, Tim||Moore, Rt Hon John|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)|
|Dover, Den||Moss, Malcolm|
|Durant, Tony||Neubert, Michael|
|Fairbairn, Nicholas||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Fallon, Michael||Nicholson, David (Taunton)|
|Favell, Tony||Nicholson, Miss E. (Devon W)|
|Fenner, Dame Peggy||Paice, James|
|Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey||Pawsey, James|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth|
|Forman, Nigel||Porter, David (Waveney)|
|Forth, Eric||Portillo, Michael|
|Fowler, Rt Hon Norman||Price, Sir David|
|Fox, Sir Marcus||Raffan, Keith|
|Franks, Cecil||Raison, Rt Hon Timothy|
|Freeman, Roger||Rathbone, Tim|
|French, Douglas||Redwood, John|
|Gardiner, George||Rhodes James, Robert|
|Garel-Jones, Tristan||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Gill, Christopher||Riddick, Graham|
|Goodhart, Sir Philip||Ridsdale, Sir Julian|
|Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles||Roe, Mrs Marion|
|Gorst, John||Rossi, Sir Hugh|
|Gow, Ian||Rowe, Andrew|
|Gower, Sir Raymond||Sackville, Hon Tom|
|Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|Ground, Patrick||Shaw, David (Dover)|
|Grylls, Michael||Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)||Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)|
|Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)||Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)|
|Harris, David||Shersby, Michael|
|Hayward, Robert||Sims, Roger|
|Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)||Skeet, Sir Trevor|
|Hind, Kenneth||Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)|
|Holt, Richard||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)||Soames, Hon Nicholas|
|Howells, Geraint||Spicer, Jim (Dorset W)|
|Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Hunt, David (Wirral W)||Steen, Anthony|
|Hunter, Andrew||Stern, Michael|
|Jack, Michael||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Janman, Timothy||Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)|
|Jessel, Toby||Stradling Thomas, Sir John|
|King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)||Summerson, Hugo|
|Kirkhope, Timothy||Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|Kirkwood, Archy||Taylor, John M (Solihull)|
|Temple-Morris, Peter||Wells, Bowen|
|Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret||Wheeler, John|
|Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)||Widdecombe, Miss Ann|
|Thorne, Neil||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Thurnham, Peter||Wilkinson, John|
|Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)||Wilshire, David|
|Tracey, Richard||Winterton, Mrs Ann|
|Tredinnick, David||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Twinn, Dr Ian||Wolfson, Mark|
|Vaughan, Sir Gerard||Wood, Timothy|
|Waddington, Rt Hon David||Yeo, Tim|
|Wakeham, Rt Hon John||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Walker, Bill (T'side North)||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Wallace, James||Mr. David Lightbown and Mr. Richard Ryder.|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Madden, Max|
|Campbell-Savours, D. N.||Mahon, Mrs Alice|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton N)||Mullin, Chris|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Nellist, Dave|
|Cox, Tom||Pike, Peter|
|Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)||Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Skinner, Dennis|
|Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)||Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)|
|Fyfe, Mrs Maria||Wall, Pat|
|Livingstone, Ken||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Macdonald, Calum||Mr. Bob Cryer and|
|McTaggart, Bob||Mr. Harry Barnes|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
That this House, at its rising on Friday 24th July, do adjourn until Wednesday 21st October.