HC Deb 01 November 1988 vol 139 cc960-72

Lords amendment: No. 29, in page 17, line 45, at end insert—

(3) The following subsections shall he inserted after subsection (1) of section 21 of the Opticians Act 1958 (restriction on sale and supply of optical appliances)— ( I A) Subsection (1) above does not apply to an excluded sale. (1B) In subsection (IA) above "excluded sale" means a sale for a person not under the age of 16 of spectacles which have two single vision lenses of the same positive spherical power not exceeding 4 dioptnes, where the sale is wholly for the purpose of correcting, remedying or relieving the condition known as presbyopia; and for the purposes of this subsection lenses are to be taen to have the same positive spherical power if the difference between them is within the tolerances relating to the power of such lenses specified from time to time in the British Standard Specification.

(4) In subsection (2) of that section for the words "the foregoing subsection" there shall be substituted the words "Subsection (1) of this section."

Mrs. Currie

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Speaker

With this it will be convenient to discuss Lords amendment No. 41.

Mrs. Currie

Amendment No. 29, and Nos. 41 and 43 which apply to Northern Ireland, will allow the sale of reading glasses to adults without a prescription. In the other place that principle was agreed in Committee following a free vote on the Government side. However, as the amendment tabled by the noble Lord Winstanley had certain defects and did not provide a safeguard for children under 16, the Government brought forward a tidying-up amendment to give effect to the wishes of another place.

The arguments about the sale of reading glasses without a prescription have raged for many years, with each side putting its case forcefully. It is generally accepted, however, that wearing self-selected glasses will not harm adults' eyes, even if they are the wrong strength. I remind the House that the original motion was tabled in another place by Lord Winstanley, who is a qualified doctor, and that he has been supported publicly by such people as Professor Barrie Jay of the Moorfields eye hospital, who says that there is no evidence from other countries such as the United States, where off-the-shelf spectacles have long been available, that people a re harmed if they choose glasses that do not give them perfect sight correction.

Indeed, many other countries including New Zealand, Holland, Italy, Sweden, Canada and almost all states of the USA allow the sale of reading glasses, seemingly without adverse consequences for the populations' eyes. If- there were any evidence of significant problems in, for example, the United States, where there is derestriction, I would have thought that the movement would have been very much in the other direction.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Does the Minister accept that if the amendment stands, people can go into a shop, buy spectacles without a prescription and so bypass what many believe to be an essential eye check during which major medical problems may be diagnosed?

Mrs. Currie

Yes, that is exactly what is being suggested. The concern underlying the hon. Gentleman's quesion is probably taken care of by some of the research in the United States. For example, in a study of 15,000 eye-glass wearers in states where reading glasses are now sold over the counter, 79 per cent. of those questioned said that they still had professional eye examinations. We believe that more competition, lower prices and more convenience will far outweigh some of the difficulties that the hon. Gentleman mentioned. That is also why the Government brought forward an amendment to ensure that there is particular protection for, for example, children under 16.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

How will the 16-year-old cut-off point be policed? We must bear in mind the absurd difficulty of preventing people under 18 buying alcohol from off-licences, which is the best example of lack of policing.

Mrs. Currie

It would be illegal to sell such spectacles to children under 16, in the same way as it is illegal to sell them a number of other things. I have not the least doubt that opticians, especially as led by the General Optical Council, will keep an eye on these matters.

I repeat that we have no evidence that purchasing the wrong spectacles can cause harm to the eyes. The people whom we hope to help by accepting the amendment are those in my age group, the 40s, when eyesight begins to deteriorate very slightly but where evidence of eye disease is extremely rare.

Mr. Allen McKay (Barnsley, West and Penistone)

Does the hon. Lady accept that people drive wearing glasses? Does she further accept that there can be a difference between one eye and the other and that that cannot be catered for when buying glasses over the counter?

Mrs. Currie

I am not sure of the relevance of the hon. Gentleman's first point. I certainly hope that anyone with defective eyesight drives wearing glasses. The hon. Gentleman is right about eyes being different. I understand that the proposal would allow only spectacles with both lenses of the same strength. That is a safeguard as anyone who found such an eye difference when they tried to purchase the spectacles would be well advised to have an eye test.

As I have said, in the United States where people have to pay for their eye tests, the overwhelming majority of those who purchase spectacles go to their advisers and have the appropriate tests. There is no reason why that should not be the case in this country. I merely offer the House a comment made in the leader in the New York Times on 16 May. Q: What's the difference between $60 reading glasses prescribed by an optometrist in New York and a $12 pair from Woolworth's in New Jersey? A: $48. In our view, the Lords have been wise in their approach to this subject, and we commend their amendment to the House.

1.30 am
Mr. Galbraith

The Minister is being somewhat disingenuous in trying to pretend that the argument against the amendment is based on whether the spectacles one gets may or may not affect one's sight simply because those spectacles may or may not make the right correction. The true argument against it is based in part on our earlier discussion about whether people will obtain glasses without prescription and therefore without having had their eyes tested.

We have already rehearsed the arguments about the value of eye tests and I will not repeat them. Without wishing to quote any scare stories over this issue, I must emphasise that it is essential that people having trouble with their eyesight should have their eyes examined by a properly qualified person before obtaining spectacles.

The amendment will undoubtedly result in many people not having their eyes properly tested, so leading to a deterioration in sight, due not to the refractive index within the spectacles but because some people will have ocular disease which will not be diagnosed.

Miss Ann Widdecombe (Maidstone)

Because of the courteous and helpful replies that I have received from Ministers, I no longer speak with the acute anxiety that I felt when I first became aware of the amendment. But I still retain more than lingering traces of deep unease, and they require further assurances if they are to be eradicated completely.

I remain wholly in favour of the charges which we have voted to introduce and I still do not believe that they will act as a serious deterrent. But in this case the Government appear to be saying that people should have a prescription and a proper eye test because that is good preventive medicine, while at the same time saying that it is not necessary to have an eye test.

The Government's endorsement of the lack of necessity for an eye test will be a greater deterrent to people to have eye tests than any charge, however high. I say that because if people need new spectacles, or need glasses for the first time and they have no choice but to get a prescription, they will have their eyes tested whatever the charge.

An exaggerated picture may have been painted of the incidence of eye disease as opposed to eye defects which can be discovered during an optician's test, but it is common ground that a significant percentage of eye disease is diagnosed in such tests.

Under the amendment, a person aged 40 to 50 who has had consistently good sight but finds difficulty with reading, or some other minor difficulty, will probably say, "I do not need a prescription. I will simply buy a pair of glasses that will magnify." Even if the difficulty that that person has been experiencing is indicative of something more serious, he or she will not find out.

It has been pointed out that no person's two eyes are alike. Buying ready-made spectacles across the counter will mean that people will buy glasses with two lenses exactly alike.

It would be foolish to disregard the medical opinion which suddenly says that it is not so important to have a prescription, and that the wrong spectacles will not do much damage. Nevertheless, I am uneasy. If it is true that no damage is done to adult sight by wearing the wrong type of spectacles—given that they are simple magnifying spectacles—why were we so insistent when the sale of frames was deregulated that the lenses for them had to continue to be prescribed? Has medical opinion changed so radically that the argument has suddenly been stood on its head? If we are so convinced that there is no problem with adult sight, why did not the Government propose the amendment, rather than leaving it to the other place to do so? I issue a simple challenge to the practitioners who say that adult sight will not be damaged. Would they be prepared to put the wrong spectacles on their nose and wear them consistently for any length of time, and if they did, would they be confident that they would do themselves no long-term damage?

I fear the danger that if we get into the habit of thinking that we can buy spectacles without prescription and that it will do no harm, a market for second-hand glasses will develop. At that point we shall lose control. It will no longer be a case of telling people that they can buy only magnifying glasses. We shall lose control over the type of glasses sold. Many people will be deceived into thinking that they need simple magnification—nothing more than could be achieved with an ordinary hand-held magnifying glass—when in fact they need something more sophisticated. They will go without the spectacles that they need and when they find after two years that their sight has deteriorated they may think that all that they need is a stronger pair of magnifying spectacles. Once again they will buy them without prescription.

I do not wholly disregard the medical opinion that the problem may not be as serious as all that, but I seek some assurances. First, will the money which is rightly being rechannelled into preventive medicine include money for an immense education campaign about the value of the eye test? Will people be told that prescribed glasses are preferable to those that one can buy over the counter? Secondly, can we have a guarantee that the arrangements will be properly policed to ensure that only simple magnifying glasses and nothing more sophisticated are sold over the counter? Will any provision be made to discourage those who are returning for their second pair of non-prescribed spectacles—perhaps a statutory Government health warning that non-prescribed spectacles may, in the end, damage their sight? Will something be done to encourage people to choose properly prescribed lenses as a first step?

Mr. Campbell-Savours

I propose to intervene briefly. I had intended to speak at length but I do not think that that would be helpful given that it is 1.40 am. [HoN. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]

In our earlier debate, the Secretary of State said that on the previous occasion on which these matters had come before the House he had been right. He maintained that when deregulation was being discussed by the House in 1983 he countered a number of predictions made from the Labour Front Bench and that he was right. Perhaps he was right, but there is a distinction between that debate and this. On that occasion, all the right hon. and learned Gentleman's hon. Friends supported him. He may be surprised to learn that a number of Opposition Members —including me—also supported his position on deregulation in 1983. We argued the matter on the Labour Benches, but our view did not prevail. On this occasion, however, Conservative Members are divided and the Opposition are united. I do not think that the Secretary of State has understood the importance of that difference.

The Minister referred to the market in non-prescribed spectacles in the United Slates of America. I was in America a couple of months ago and I bought two pairs of spectacles in a Washington store. I paid $7 for one pair and $15 for another—the equivalent of about £5 and £9. It struck me when I bought those glasses how cheap they were, so when I returned to the United Kingdom I invited a gentleman from, I think, the College of Ophthalmists to the Commons to tell me how one could justify spectacles being so much cheaper in the United States of America. He said that his organisation was not, in principle, opposed to the sale of cheap spectacles.

Although I shall be voting in the same way as the hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Dame J. Knight), I am not here to argue against the supply of free spectacles. If people want cheap spectacles, let them have them. The question is whether they should be allowed to have cheap spectacles without being given a prescription or some form of sight test. Should we allow a select group of people through this important net during which a medical condition might be diagnosed with not only long term implications for them, but for the Exchequer, in that the National Health Service may have to treat them. We are not arguing against the need for an over-the-counter market to develop in cheap spectacles. I accept that and if opticians believe in real competition, they, too. would support that principle. What they are saying is that people should have a prescription to buy them.

Perhaps a prescription can be modified so that it refers to magnification in terms of two, two and a half, three or whatever. It might be simplified to the extent that the person for whom spectacles are being prescribed can go to the opticians or to Underwoods, Boots or Woolworth's and buy a pair of spectacles over the counter. The point is that we must retain the net through which people must go before they are allowed to buy spectacles freely in the market, because the net is so precious in identifying disease.

I am sorry that so many hon. Members have left the House, and we will have difficulty, clearly, commanding a majority in the Lobby. Even at this late stage, I believe that the Minister should be aware of the concerns that have been expressed. When she replies to the debate, will she comment on the statistics that she gave us earlier? She said that an opinion poll had been carried out in the United States which showed that 79 per cent. of those who were buying spectacles on the over-the-counter market and in stores had had sight tests. That begs two questions. What about the 21 per cent. who had not? That means that millions of people have by-passed sight tests in America. Does the Minister accept that there may be millions of people who have slipped through the net?

Mr. Michael Shersby (Uxbridge)

I wish to disclose an interest, because I was recently consulted by the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians on this matter. I want to probe the reason given by the Minister for supporting the Lords amendment. It seems to me that she rested her case for this substantial change in the Government's policy on the research carried out in the United States. Can she tell the House when that research was carried out, what the research showed and why it was sufficiently powerful to change long-established Government procedure on this matter? As the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) said, as long ago as 1983 the then Secretary of State for Social Services, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr. Fowler), made it clear that the determination of the Government was not to bow to pressure from those who advocated the lifting of all restrictions on the dispensing of spectacles to adults.

The Office of Fair Trading also considered the matter and reported that if Ministers felt that the potential health risks outweighed competition benefits, it would consider the alternative of derestricting dispensing provided that spectacles could only be sold against a prescription issued in, say, the previous two or three years. That view was expressed in 1983.

Earlier this year, in fact in Committee, my right hon. Friend the Member for Braintree (Mr. Newton) stated: we are clear that the law does not, nor is it our intention that it should, allow people to walk off the street into any shop that cares to display spectacles and to buy spectacles that have no relation to some measurement of what their eyes need."—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 11 February 1988; c. 660.] 1.45 am

Those are two clear statements of Government policy, by the former Secretary of State and by the former Minister for Health, made only a few months ago.

I should like to make it clear to the House that, as I understand it, the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians does not claim that ready-made spectacles are harmful to the eyes. It is concerned about missed eye examinations. Its serious objection to ready-made spectacles for adults over 40 is that almost inevitably such a person would be likely to miss an opportunity for a proper eye examination, yet the very people likely to buy ready-made spectacles are presbyopes over the age of 40 for whom a health screening check is most important.

Even at such a late hour, these are important points and I shall be extremely grateful if my hon. Friend will explain to the House a little more clearly why there has been such a substantial reversal of long-standing Government policy and why, on the basis of unspecified American research, it is proposed to agree with the Lords amendment.

Mr. Nigel Griffiths (Edinburgh, South)

It is significant that all the Back-Bench speeches in the debate have been hostile to the Government's view. It is interesting that the two speeches from the Conservative Back Benches have been from hitherto noted Government loyalists. That tells me, the House and the country that there is considerable all-party disquiet about the Government's refusal to accept the amendment. That disquiet arises from the fact that an amendment previously supported by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Dame J. Knight) might well have enabled us to avoid this debate as it would have accepted that free eye tests mean that people are not reluctant to go to their optician to get a professional view and a professional prescription, which they can then take to a supermarket-type facility. I am particularly critical of the price of spectacles in this country. It is interesting that all the Government's moves to reduce the price of spectacles have in my view and in that of my constituents had little impact on high street shops.

The experience of America appears to be unreliable. I believe that the Under-Secretary, the hon. Member for Derbyshire, South (Mrs. Currie), gave the game away when she talked about the quality of the people passing judgment in the United States. She did not talk about optometrists or about qualified opticians. Her words were "eye advisers". What qualifications do those "eye advisers" have to dispense spectacles? I suggest that such people do not have any qualifications—

Mrs. Currie

I am not sure whether the hon. Gentleman heard me. I called in evidence Professor Jay, ex-president of the Faculty of Ophthalmologists and a consultant at Moorfields eye hospital, who has said that there is no evidence that choosing such spectacles causes any medical problems.

Mr. Griffiths

The Minister's comments are irrelevant. She has not sought to refute the fact that, as the record will show, she referred to eye advisers, not qualified opticians or optometrists. That betokens a phrase to denote people who are not qualified and are selling cameras or films over the counter one day and are calling themselves eye advisers and selling glasses the next, as if they were operating a fast food franchise. We might have some faith in eye advisers if they were qualified and could ensure that prescriptions were made up to suit people's eyes, but the Government deliberately voted tonight to ensure that that does not happen free of charge. That explains the opposition to the measure and why no Conservative Back Benchers have spoken in favour of it.

The Minister has not taken into account the difference in traditions between this country and the United States. In the United States, people are accustomed to paying for glasses and eye tests. The United States has never boasted a free health service when people need it, paid for by taxes. People in the United States must look out for themselves and look to their own resources. That tradition may serve people in the immediate future, but the incidence of glaucoma and other eye diseases may be higher in the United States than it is here because people are not screened so early. I choose my words advisedly and say "may". If the Minister is prepared to present evidence to the House— I give her the opportunity to do so—I will withdraw the word "may". However, as she is not rising to intervene, I am minded to change the word "may" and say, "The likely fact is that the incidence is greater."

Since the war, we have had a tradition of free eye tests which has been supported by all political parties, until now, the profession and the country. The Government will save peanuts as a result of the measure that they forced through earlier by so narrow a majority. People in this country are accustomed to free eye tests. Conservative Members are right to say that nothing is free because those tests are paid for through taxes.

People are entitled to one professional consultation a year to have their eyes tested. Without that, the sales of glasses over the counter will not be a boon to the country, but will deceive many people into thinking that they are receiving medical treatment when they are being conned by unqualified over-the-counter salesmen. That will result in increased eye disease and increased cost to the National Health Service, as diseases will be detected much later than at present, and the people who will have to pick up the bills will be the taxpayers.

Dame Jill Knight

My name appears against amendment (a) to Lords amendment No. 29, and I have waited patiently to speak to it. I do not want to detain the House for long, but I wish to make one or two points that have not yet been drawn to the attention of the House. I remember vividly—this happened when I first became a Member of this place—a Bill that was moved and piloted through the House by the late Sir Ronald Russell, who represented Wembley. The arguments advanced against the then common practice of having ready-made spectacles available in Woolworth stores, for example, were extremely powerful. Sir Ronald had no difficulty in securing a place for his Bill on the statute book.

It is extremely unfortunate that we are going back on Sir Ronald's arguments and his Bill. In those days we thought that it was wrong for ready-made spectacles to be available for purchase in ordinary retail outlets, and it is sad that that principle is now being overthrown. Ministers made firm promises during the early stages of the Bill's passage through Parliament that this very thing would not happen. Clause 14(1) has been amended by the Government to require the Secretary of State to regulate all the duties that are to be performed in a sight test. What is the point of that if there is not to be a sight test in many instances?

Practically everyone on earth has two eyes that are different. Another fact, and a continuing one, is that every two lenses in every pair of ready-made glasses are the same. It is not possible for someone to pick up a pair of ready-made glasses that meet his or her needs exactly. I have far too much respect for my eyes to risk damaging them by wearing ready-made glasses. Is it certain that the provision of ready mades will deter the public from bothering to arrange eye tests and obtaining proper glasses.

When the Bill is enacted and implemented, the cost of an eye test will increase, and the public will be able to pick up a pair of glasses in a Woolworth store, for example, or from a barrow in the local market. What sort of arrangement is that?

Clause 13, as amended, excludes the sale of ready-made glasses to under 16-year-olds. That is ridiculous. How will that provision be policed? Will inspectors wander around ready to pounce on 15-year-olds who are seen hovering near the ready-made glasses counter in a Woolworth store? The licensees of pubs cannot identify young people who are under 16, and perhaps the difficulties of licensees are not so great as those that will be faced by inspectors. After all, some young people sit in pubs for comparatively long periods with drinks in their hands, and for much longer than it would take a 15-year-old to buy a pair of ready-mades. It is lunacy to pretend—

Mrs. Audrey Wise (Preston)

Will the hon. Lady give way?

Dame Jill Knight

No, I shall not give way. I am trying to be brief.

If it is lunacy to pretend that there can be effective policing, why are 16-year-olds excluded from the sale of ready-made glasses? I apologise to the House for introducing two highly technical issues. Theoretically, it is impossible for there to be presbyopia of more than three dioptrics, but ready-mades are said to be for persons suffering from presbyopia. The provision permits reading glasses to be sold up to plus four dioptres in power, but they could not possibly be sold wholly for the purpose that the Bill stipulates. That is ridiculous nonsense.

I concede that ready-made glasses may not harm people's eyes, but it can be said with certainty that those who wear such glasses will not be able to see properly. The glasses will not be optically correct. Double vision could easily be caused if the optical centres of the lenses did not coincide with the exact distance between the person's eyes. If someone had double vision, he will be extremely dangerous when behind the wheel of a car. Unfortunately, drivers will buy ready-made glasses, put them on their noses, drive their cars and hit something. They will not be able to see properly. There is no doubt about that. There are many examples of that happening in America. If drivers have a tendency to experience double vision because they wear optically incorrect glasses, they will be especially dangerous when driving at night. Alternatively, someone wearing optically incorrect glasses could enter a factory and operate a lathe without being able to see properly.

We have already taken one step towards eliminating eye tests, and this is a second and extremely serious step. If my hon. Friend the Minister and her ministerial colleagues are sincere in wanting the public to have eye tests, this is the wrong way to proceed. I ask them to accept the amendment.

2 am

Mr. Geoffrey Dickens (Littleborough and Saddle-worth)

I support the Government. Every hon. Member who has spoken so far has treated the general public like imbeciles. If a member of the public selects a pair of ready-made glasses, he wants them for reading. If the glasses are comfortable for both eyes and he can read well, those glasses will do very nicely thank you and will do no harm to the eyes.

If a member of the general public needs distance glasses with different lenses, he will have to get a prescription. If he is not well or has eye trouble, he will go to his general practitioner. One of the first things that the general practitioner will do is get a torch and look into his eyes. That is a diagnostic approach used by doctors.

I believe that members of the public are very sensible. If they are not well and have eye trouble, they will go to a doctor or a proper optician. Most people believe that their eyesight is their most precious possession. Whatever priorities they may have or whatever else they may have to cut back on, it is certain that they will still go for an eye test.

The Minister referred to the American figures. I suspect that the people who did not enter that category were excluded because they did not have great defects. Therefore, the glasses that they acquired off the shelf in a shop were adequate for their correction and suited them nicely. Some hon. Members have implied that people will crash into others in cars, knock into people and all that stupid nonsense. If that happens when someone puts On glasses, he will get the right glasses or a prescription. We must begin to treat people as intelligent human beings and not as imbeciles.

I was a member of the Standing Committee on the Health and Social Security Bill which became the Health and Social Security Act 1985. That deregulation Bill was shepherded through the House by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State when he was Minister for Health. That legislation has worked well. If we want inexpensive glasses we can acquire them, but if we want to pay a little extra for fashion we can do that. The vast majority of people will go to proper opticians. All the scaremongering is absolutely stupid. The Government are on the right lines. Opposition Members said that no Conservative Members would speak in favour of the proposal. I speak in favour and I think that I have spoken more commonsense than the rest of the speakers put together.

Mrs. Currie

I am sure that all hon. Members would join me in saying that we would never treat my hon. Friend the Member for Littleborough and Saddleworth (Mr. Dickens) like an imbecile because he clearly is not one and never has been.

My hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Miss Widdecombe) asked about having an immense education programme. We have already set aside £250,000 this year and we are considering whether we should set aside a similar sum next year. We look for sensible proposals from the profession which would answer many of the concerns expressed tonight.

My hon. Friend asked whether they would be simple glasses. I suggest that she looks at the detailed wording of the amendment. We adopted four dioptres because the professional advice was that that was a sensible cut-off point. As for a Government health warning, I shall consider what she has said, but, in all honesty, since the spectacles cause no harm we do not feel that that is necessary. I see that my hon. Friend is about to rise again. I hope that she will allow me to answer the other points and it may be that I will cover those that she has made.

I listened to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Dame J. Knight) with great care. I have the greatest possible respect for her. When I was a new councillor in Birmingham she was the local Member of Parliament and she treated me at all times with consideration and courtesy. However, I do not agree with a word that she has said.

In all honesty, this was not Government policy originally. It was not in the Bill. It was drafted by one of the nation's distinguished doctors, the noble Lord Winstanley. After some discussion, and after taking medical and optical advice, we decided that the best thing to do was to offer Conservatives a free vote. They had a full discussion and the other place decided to proceed, having taken into account many of the arguments that were put. It is now argued that the House should concur with the Lords in the amendment and take into account the advice that was given by a large number of medically qualified people.

My hon. Friend said that people would not be able to see properly. My hon. Friend the Member for Littleborough and Saddleworth put it very well. He said that if they cannot see properly they had better get themselves some proper spectacles and that is what they would do. In all honesty, having given the matter considerable thought, the Government consider it highly unlikely that we shall end up with drivers with double vision at night toddling around wearing spectacles that are no use for them simply because the amendment comes into operation. We consider that it is a splendid small change that will widen the market. It will make it simple, easy and convenient for people with mild vision defects to purchase spectacles should they so want. It will do no harm and it may do some good.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Before the hon. Lady sits down—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harold Walker)

Order. The hon. Lady has sat down.

Question put, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 224, Noes 30.

Division No. 464] [2.06 am
Alexander, Richard Curry, David
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)
Amess, David Davis, David (Boothferry)
Amos, Alan Day, Stephen
Arbuthnot, James Devlin, Tim
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Dickens, Geoffrey
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Dorrell, Stephen
Ashby, David Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Atkins, Robert Durant, Tony
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Emery, Sir Peter
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)
Batiste, Spencer Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas
Bendall, Vivian Fallen, Michael
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Favell, Tony
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Fearn, Ronald
Boscawen, Hon Robert Fenner, Dame Peggy
Boswell, Tim Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Bottomley, Peter Fishburn, John Dudley
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Forman, Nigel
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Bowis, John Franks, Cecil
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes Freeman, Roger
Brazier, Julian French, Douglas
Bright, Graham Gale, Roger
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Gardiner, George
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Goodlad, Alastair
Browne, John (Winchester) Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Gorst, John
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Gow, Ian
Burns, Simon Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Burt, Alistair Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Butcher, John Grist, Ian
Butler, Chris Ground, Patrick
Butterfill, John Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) Hanley, Jeremy
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Carrington, Matthew Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Cash, William Harris, David
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda Haselhurst, Alan
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Hayward, Robert
Chapman, Sydney Heathcoat-Amory, David
Chope, Christopher Heddle, John
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Hind, Kenneth
Colvin, Michael Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Conway, Derek Howard, Michael
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Cope, Rt Hon John Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Couchman, James Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Cran, James Hunter, Andrew
Currie, Mrs Edwina Irvine, Michael
Jack, Michael Oppenheim, Phillip
Janman, Tim Page, Richard
Jessel, Toby Paice, James
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Patrick, Irvine
Jones, Robert B (Herts W) Patten, Chris (Bath)
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Patten, John (Oxford W)
Kirkhope, Timothy Pawsey, James
Knapman, Roger Porter, David (Waveney)
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Portillo, Michael
Knowles, Michael Raffan, Keith
Knox, David Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Lang, Ian Rathbone, Tim
Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel Redwood, John
Lee, John (Pendle) Renton, Tim
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Rhodes James, Robert
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Riddick, Graham
Lightbown, David Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Lilley, Peter Roe, Mrs Marion
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Lord, Michael Ryder, Richard
Lyell, Sir Nicholas Sackville, Hon Tom
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Maclean, David Sayeed, Jonathan
McLoughlin, Patrick Scott, Nicholas
Major, Rt Hon John Shaw, David (Dover)
Malins, Humfrey Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Mans, Keith Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Marland, Paul Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Maude, Hon Francis Soames, Hon Nicholas
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
Mellor, David Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Meyer, Sir Anthony Squire, Robin
Miller, Sir Hal Stanbrook, Ivor
Mills, Iain Stanley, Rt Hon John
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Stern, Michael
Mitchell, David (Hants NW) Stevens, Lewis
Monro, Sir Hector Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Moore, Rt Hon John Sumberg, David
Morris, M (N'hampton S) Summerson, Hugo
Morrison, Sir Charles Tapsell, Sir Peter
Moss, Malcolm Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Moynihan, Hon Colin Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Neale, Gerrard Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Nicholls, Patrick Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Thurnham, Peter
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Trippier, David
Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley Trotter, Neville
Twinn, Dr Ian Widdecombe, Ann
Viggers, Peter Wilshire, David
Waddington, Rt Hon David Wolfson, Mark
Wakeham, Rt Hon John Wood, Timothy
Walker, Bill (T'side North) Yeo, Tim
Ward, John Young, Sir George (Acton)
Wardle, Charles (Bexhill) Younger, Rt Hon George
Warren, Kenneth
Watts, John Tellers for the Ayes:
Wheeler, John Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones and
Whitney, Ray Mr. Michael Neubert.
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Mallon, Seamus
Battle, John Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Beggs, Roy Nellist, Dave
Canavan, Dennis Pike, Peter L.
Cohen, Harry Ross, William (Londonderry E)
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Salmond, Alex
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray) Skinner, Dennis
Foster, Derek Spearing, Nigel
Fyfe, Maria Wareing, Robert N.
Galbraith, Sam Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Godman, Dr Norman A. Winnick, David
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Hume, John
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Tellers for the Noes:
McAvoy, Thomas Mr. Bob Cryer and
McGrady, Eddie Mr. D. N. Campbell-Savours

Question accordingly agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 30 to 51 agreed to, some with special entry.

Ordered, That a Committee be appointed to draw up a reason to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to their amendment No. 20.

Ordered, That Mr. Secretary Clarke, Mr. Davud Mellor, Ms. Harriet Harman and Mr. Tom Sackville be members of the Committee.

Ordered, That three be the quorum of the Committee.

Ordered, That the Committee do withdraw immediately.— [Mr. Kenneth Clarke.]

Reason for disagreeing to Lords amendment reported, and agreed to; to be communicated to the Lords.