HC Deb 18 May 1988 vol 133 cc1043-8


That at this day's sitting, the British Steel Bill may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour.—[Mr. Ryder.]

Question again proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Mr. Atkins

We also heard from the hon. Member for Dagenham (Mr. Gould) about the designer Socialism which he is seeking to create for the Labour party. In the context of the debate on the enabling Bill for the British Steel Corporation, he did not tell us exactly what the Labour party will do for the future. We have had to admire him, because he has talked about everything except the issue. We have not heard whether the Labour party will renationalise the BSC, and the House is aware of that fact. [HON. MEMBERS: "Long speech."] If Opposition Members seek to provoke me, I could refer to a great deal more. Since they well know that their prayer follows this debate and that Scottish Labour Members have delayed my winding up, they had better be very careful.

There were interventions from my hon. Friends the Members for Darlington (Mr. Fallon) and for Corby (Mr. Powell), both of whom know what they are talking about—one was a member of the Committee, and the other represents a constituency which contains a steel-processing plant. Conservative Members will agree that their contributions were a succinct summary of why we believe that the Bill is the right way to go.

Above all, the speech that sums up the Opposition was from the right hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Foot), an extremely distinguished Member. At least we know where we stand with him. The traditional View of old-fashioned Socialism rules supreme. Nothing changes; steel must always be nationalised and must be in public ownership. However, as hon. Members will remember, steel had its problems in his day. Does the right hon. Gentleman not remember the closures at Ebbw Vale when he was Secretary of State for Employment which made him somewhat unpopular because of the difficulties faced by the steel industry at that time?

Steel has had its difficulties in public ownership and doubtless will in future. However, we have brought the Bill to the House, we have been through Committee and have reached Third Reading, because we believe that the future is very bright indeed.

Mr. Tim Devlin (Stockton, South)

Just before my hon. Friend finishes, does he agree that the Bill will be extremely good for regions such as mine in the north-east, because it will give the competitive management on Teesside a great deal more scope for its imagination in the years to come, and provide wider share ownership in a region which needs further encouragement for enterprise and weaning from the bosom of the state?

Mr. Atkins

Like my other hon. Friends, my hon. Friend the Member for Stockton, South (Mr. Devlin) makes his point extremely well.

We look to the future and seek to give British Steel the means to secure lasting success for itself, for employees and for shareholders, and in so doing to contribute to the national interest. The company must have the freedom to make rapid decisions and to adapt to a changing market. I am confident that, as a private sector company, British Steel will do the nation proud. The Bill marks the first step in the privatisation process, and I commend it to the House.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—

The House divided: Ayes 263, Noes 199.

Division No. 312] [10.04 pm
Adley, Robert Amess, David
Aitken, Jonathan Amos, Alan
Alexander, Richard Arbuthnot, James
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)
Allason, Rupert Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)
Ashby, David Franks, Cecil
Atkins, Robert Freeman, Roger
Atkinson, David French, Douglas
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Gale, Roger
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Gardiner, George
Baldry, Tony Garel-Jones, Tristan
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) Gill, Christopher
Batiste, Spencer Goodhart, Sir Philip
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Goodlad, Alastair
Bellingham, Henry Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Benyon, W. Gorst, John
Biffen, Rt Hon John Gow, Ian
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Gower, Sir Raymond
Blackburn, Dr John G. Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Gregory, Conal
Boscawen, Hon Robert Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')
Boswell, Tim Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Bottomley, Peter Grist, Ian
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Ground, Patrick
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)
Bowis, John Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes Hampson, Dr Keith
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Hannam, John
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Brazier, Julian Harg reaves. Ken (Hyndburn)
Brittan, Rt Hon Leon Harris, David
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Haselhurst, Alan
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Hawkins, Christopher
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Hayes, Jerry
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney
Budgen, Nicholas Hayward, Robert
Burns, Simon Heathcoat-Amory, David
Burt, Alistair Heddle, John
Butcher, John Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Butler, Chris Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)
Butterfill, John Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Hill, James
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hordern, Sir Peter
Carrington, Matthew Howard, Michael
Carttiss, Michael Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Cartwright, John Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Cash, William Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Chapman, Sydney Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Chope, Christopher Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Hunter, Andrew
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Colvin, Michael Irvine, Michael
Conway, Derek Irving, Charles
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Jack, Michael
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Jackson, Robert
Cope, John Janman, Tim
Couchman, James Jessel, Toby
Cran, James Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Currie, Mrs Edwina Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Davis, David (Boothferry) Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Day, Stephen Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Devlin, Tim Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Dickens, Geoffrey Key, Robert
Dorrell, Stephen King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Kirkhope, Timothy
Dover, Den Knapman, Roger
Dunn, Bob Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Durant, Tony Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Dykes, Hugh Knowles, Michael
Emery, Sir Peter Knox, David
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd) Lang, Ian
Evennett, David Lawrence, Ivan
Fallon, Michael Lee, John (Pendle)
Farr, Sir John Lilley, Peter
Fenner, Dame Peggy Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey Lord, Michael
Fookes, Miss Janet Luce, Rt Hon Richard
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Lyell, Sir Nicholas
Forth, Eric Macfarlane, Sir Neil
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Fox, Sir Marcus MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Maclean, David Raffan, Keith
McLoughlin, Patrick Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Rathbone, Tim
McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Redwood, John
Madel, David Renton, Tim
Major, Rt Hon John Rhodes James, Robert
Malins, Humfrey Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Mans, Keith Roe, Mrs Marion
Maples, John Rost, Peter
Marlow, Tony Rowe, Andrew
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Ryder, Richard
Mates, Michael Sackville, Hon Tom
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Shaw, David (Dover)
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Meyer, Sir Anthony Shelton, William (Streatham)
Miller, Hal Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Mills, lain Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Miscampbell, Norman Sims, Roger
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Moate, Roger Soames, Hon Nicholas
Monro, Sir Hector Speller, Tony
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Moore, Rt Hon John Squire, Robin
Moss, Malcolm Stanley, Rt Hon John
Moynihan, Hon Colin Stern, Michael
Mudd, David Stevens, Lewis
Neale, Gerrard Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Nelson, Anthony Summerson, Hugo
Neubert, Michael Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Nicholls, Patrick Thornton, Malcolm
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Thurnham, Peter
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley Twinn, Dr Ian
Oppenheim, Phillip Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Owen, Rt Hon Dr David Waddington, Rt Hon David
Page, Richard Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Paice, James Walters, Dennis
Patnick, Irvine Widdecombe, Ann
Patten, Chris (Bath) Wiggin, Jerry
Patten, John (Oxford W) Wilshire, David
Pawsey, James Wood, Timothy
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Porter, Barry (Wirral S) Tellers for the Ayes:
Porter, David (Waveney) Mr. David Lightbown and
Portillo, Michael Mr. Alan Howarth.
Powell, William (Corby)
Abbott, Ms Diane Caborn, Richard
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)
Allen, Graham Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)
Alton, David Campbell-Savours, D. N.
Anderson, Donald Canavan, Dennis
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)
Armstrong, Hilary Clark, Dr David (S Shields)
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)
Ashton, Joe Clay, Bob
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Clelland, David
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Barron, Kevin Cohen, Harry
Battle, John Coleman, Donald
Beckett, Margaret Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Beith, A. J. Cook, Robin (Livingston)
Bell, Stuart Corbett, Robin
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Corbyn, Jeremy
Bermingham, Gerald Cousins, Jim
Blair, Tony Cox, Tom
Blunkett, David Crowther, Stan
Boateng, Paul Cryer, Bob
Boyes, Roland Cummings, John
Bradley, Keith Cunliffe, Lawrence
Bray, Dr Jeremy Dalyell, Tam
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Darling, Alistair
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Buchan, Norman Dewar, Donald
Buckley, George J. Dixon, Don
Dobson, Frank Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)
Doran, Frank Howells, Geraint
Douglas, Dick Hoyle, Doug
Dunnachie, Jimmy Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Eadie, Alexander Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Eastham, Ken Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E) Illsley, Eric
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray) Ingram, Adam
Fatchett, Derek Janner, Greville
Fearn, Ronald John, Brynmor
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n) Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Fisher, Mark Kennedy, Charles
Flannery, Martin Kirkwood, Archy
Flynn, Paul Lambie, David
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Lamond, James
Foster, Derek Leadbitter, Ted
Foulkes, George Lestor, Joan (Eccles)
Fraser, John Lewis, Terry
Galbraith, Sam Livsey, Richard
Galloway, George Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Garrett, John (Norwich South) Loyden, Eddie
Garrett, Ted (Wallsend) McAllion, John
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John McAvoy, Thomas
Godman, Dr Norman A. McCartney, Ian
Gordon, Mildred McFall, John
Gould, Bryan McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Graham, Thomas McKelvey, William
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham) McLeish, Henry
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) McTaggart, Bob
Grocott, Bruce Madden, Max
Hardy, Peter Marek, Dr John
Healey, Rt Hon Denis Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Heffer, Eric S. Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Henderson, Doug Martlew, Eric
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Maxton, John
Holland, Stuart Meale, Alan
Home Robertson, John Michael, Alun
Hood, Jimmy Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Skinner, Dennis
Moonie, Dr Lewis Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Morgan, Rhodri Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Morley, Elliott Soley, Clive
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe) Spearing, Nigel
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Steel, Rt Hon David
Mowlam, Marjorie Steinberg, Gerry
Mullin, Chris Stott, Roger
Murphy, Paul Strang, Gavin
Nellist, Dave Straw, Jack
O'Neill, Martin Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Parry, Robert Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Patchett, Terry Vaz, Keith
Pendry, Tom Wall, Pat
Pike, Peter L. Wallace, James
Powell, Ray (Ogmore) Walley, Joan
Randall, Stuart Wareing, Robert N.
Redmond, Martin Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Reid, Dr John Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Richardson, Jo Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Roberts, Allan (Bootle) Wilson, Brian
Robinson, Geoffrey Winnick, David
Rogers, Allan Worthington, Tony
Rooker, Jeff Wray, Jimmy
Ruddock, Joan Young, David (Bolton SE)
Salmond, Alex
Sedgemore, Brian Tellers for the Noes:
Sheerman, Barry Mr. Frank Haynes and
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert Mrs. Llin Golding.
Short, Clare

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed