HC Deb 04 July 1989 vol 156 cc159-78

Lords amendment: No. 155, in page 146, line 10, at end insert— () Every such report shall set out any directions under section 142 above which have been given to the Authority during the year to which the report relates.

3.50 pm
Mr. Allan Roberts (Bootle)

I beg to move, amendment (a) to the Lords amendment, in line 4, at end, add 'with particular reference to any directions concerning the condition of each classification of controlled waters, including the quality of water.'

Mr. Speaker

With this it will be convenient to discuss Lords amendment No. 156.

Mr. Roberts

This is the last parliamentary debate on the Government's water suicide Bill. Even before its implementation and the creation of 10 private monopolies, the Bill is unpopular.

The Government's proposals for water privatisation are unpopular before compulsory metering or a flat rate water poll tax have been introduced. They are unpopular even before the spectacle of a flotation fiasco doomed to partial or total failure despite the hidden write-off of £5.5 billion debt. They are unpopular even before the massive water price increases and the health-threatening increase in disconnections, which will be an inevitable consequence of a doctrinaire obsession with privatisation for its own sake.

The final arrogance of the Government and the Secretary of State for the Environment was revealed in the Lobby last night when they voted to destroy any pretence they had to being concerned about cleaning up our water environment. Never mind the polls that have revealed the general public's and the informed public's opinion of water privatisation and their opposition to it. Never mind the by-election and Euro-election results. The Government have dealt with the green vote—an expression of concern about the environment—by ridiculing the Green party and its policies. The Government are making a great mistake by pushing the Bill through and by disregarding public opinion and our water environment.

The creation of 10 private water monopolies will never be acceptable to the British people. Last night, the Government rejected implementing European Community standards of drinking water by 1993. Proper public consultation on land disposal was also rejected by the Government. In Committee and elsewhere they have rejected proposals for land to pass to the National Rivers Authority. They have also rejected our proposals for guarantees of access to the land owned by the water authorities.

The Government have agreed to the disposal of land, especially that of natural beauty and in sensitive areas. They have put a moratorium on sewage discharge prose—cutions and they have rejected proposals for the adequate sampling and controlling of river quality. They have rejected our opposition to sub-contracting and the contracting out of NRA functions. The gamekeeper-poacher relationship will therefore remain. They have also rejected our proposals for information on pollution and the integrated water cycle to be made available. They have also rejected amendments that we have tabled for access to other information.

It is outrageous for the Government to pretend that the Bill is an environmental step forward. They do so in total disregard of the facts. To justify that claim, they hold up the creation of the NRA. Today let us test how sincere the Government are in wanting the NRA to be able to do an effective and worthwhile job and in wanting to give it the staff, resources and powers necessary to do so. Once again, the Bill, the Government—and, I am afraid, the National Rivers Authority—will be found wanting. If the Government are serious about the NRA, they will accept amendment (a), which would strengthen its reporting duties.

Lords amendment No. 155 requires the NRA's annual report, which is an obligation under clause 146, to contain details of directions given to the NRA by the Secretary of State under clause 142. The position needs clarifying because of the somewhat clouded statement in the Bill that the Secretary of State will make directions. The amendments highlight the need for an open and accountable NRA with sufficient resources to carry out its work and a clear statutory framework in which to ensure the reduction of pollution and the improvement of the environment. The Government gave only limited ground on the accountability of the NRA during discussions on the Bill in another place. They gave more ground, we admit, on the NRA's advisory committees, but they do not have any power. What will the environmental programme consist of during the next five to 10 years? How will it prevent a go-slow in the improvement of sewage treatment works and other pollutants?

The Government have given no ground on securing a broad representation of interests to serve on the NRA, or on making its proceedings publicly accountable. It is clear that the NRA advisory committee, headed by Lord Crickhowell, is not entirely happy with the Government's proposals for the NRA, especially on staffing and on the amendment, slipped into the Bill during its last stage in another place, relating to a moratorium on prosecutions for pollution from sewage. Indeed, Lord Crickhowell has made it clear that the proposed staffing and resources will be inadequate for the NRA's functions.

It was interesting to note two advertisements in the same edition of the New Scientist on 24 June 1989. The first said: Influence the Environment; Enjoy the Rewards. Tales of the River Bank. National Rivers Authority. Pollution Officers £9,500 rising to £13,000. On the next page another advertisement stated: Scientists/Engineers. Senior Investigations Scientist/ Engineer. Thames Water. £16,000 to £18,000, plus car allowance. Someone can earn £9,500 rising to £13,000 as a controller of pollution, but £16,000 to £18,000 as an avoider of the controllers of pollution. The NRA is allowed only to offer that salary scale, so it will not recruit staff of the quality and scientific experience needed. The water companies are offering a great deal more money and many more perks.

Why was the NRA established? The Government wanted a successful flotation and they needed to take away as many of the non-profit-making functions of the water authorities as possible, despite destroying the concept of river management. They are giving those functions, through an act of nationalisation—which it is—to the National Rivers Authority. Water resource planning and licensing of abstraction, monitoring of licences, environmental quality and pollution control, land drainage and flood protection, the maintenance, improvement and development of fisheries in inland waters, conservation and recreation and the navigation responsibilities of three water authorities are all to be given to the NRA so that, on privatisation, people will not be deterred from buying into the water companies.

Having given all those environmental functions to the NRA, with its inadequate resources and staffing, there remains a list of environmental problems for which anyone buying into the privatised water companies will be responsible, and that will be the Government's downfall. Such people will be buying responsibility for the breakdown of the sewage storm overflows, recently reported in the press, which is polluting our rivers and water courses, and for the 20 per cent. of sewage works which have failed consent levels.

Those people will be buying responsibility for the 300 beaches that the Government have designated as bathing beaches. The royal commission on environmental pollution identified 600 beaches in Britain as bathing beaches, but 33 per cent. of the 300 beaches, let alone the 600, breached EEC standards. They are buying responsibility for declining river quality. In the 1980s, river quality has declined alarmingly, and after 10 years of a Tory Government, it has worsened. The 1985 river quality survey showed a net deterioration of 803 km, or 2.5 per cent. of total river length in England and Wales. That decline has continued with the net deterioriation of 514 km in 1985. The people buying the private water companies will be buying responsibility for cleaning up our rivers.

4 pm

The Government herald the Mersey clean-up as the great feather in their environmentalist cap. During questions on the environment, Conservative Back Benchers plant questions about how much the Rhine pollutes the North sea, because it pollutes it more than the Thames does. But such questions ignore the fact that the River Mersey pollutes the Irish sea, one of the most polluted seas in the world, with sewage sludge dumping and the rest, for which the Government are directly responsible.

Mr. Robert Adley (Christchurch)

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will accept that this is not a planted intervention, and that I am simply trying to follow what he says. If, over the past 10 years under the existing structure, the Government have failed in their responsibility to ensure the environmental purity and supply of water in the way that he has described, may there not be a case for changing the system?

Mr. Roberts

I suggest a change in the Government. We have had 10 years of Tory Government and 10 years of neglect and pollution, and now their answer to the problem is doctrinaire privatisation, to which the majority of the British public are opposed. It would be good to have a change in Government, in attitude and in the financial regime under which public sector water authorities function, leading to their democratisation.

Mr. Adley

The hon. Gentleman is not helping his own case. During the early stages of the Bill, I voted against the Government on the powers of the NRA. Cannot the hon. Gentleman comprehend that his doctrinaire comments do not add to an intelligent discussion of some of the important points at issue?

Mr. Roberts

The hon. Gentleman started this by his provocative intervention, which needed a provocative answer. We require a Government who are not committed to privatising our water industry for doctrinaire reasons, but who are committed to the public expenditure and borrowing necessary to put our water environment in order. That is a reasonable point to make in a political chamber of this nature.

I was describing the responsibilities that the people to whom the Government are trying to sell the water industry will be buying, and I was talking about the so-called Mersey clean-up.

A new definition of river quality is needed, for we must be able not only to measure dissolved oxygen as an indicator of sewage pollution, but to use other techniques agreed throughout Europe and in this country to measure chemical pollution. That would alter the whole picture in terms of what is considered to be a clean or dirty river.

The proposal to take raw sewage from the Mersey and pipe it to Sanden dock in my constituency, and there turn it into sewage sludge after only primary treatment, before dumping it back whence it came, in the Irish sea, in the form of polluted, poisonous sludge, leaves much to be desired—especially in the light of claims that the Mersey will be cleaned up, when in fact it is full of heavy metals, printed circuit boards and many other pollutants.

Sewage sludge dumping is a major environmental problem and one that the North sea convention, to which the Secretary of State for the Environment is a signatory, intends to end, yet the people buying into privatised water will be buying the dumping of sewage sludge in the North sea. If the Government force the implementation of the North sea convention, as they should, shareholders will also be buying the responsibility for finding alternative ways of disposing of sewage sludge, other than by dumping it in the Irish sea and the North sea.

Responsibility for doing something about the water industry's aging infrastructure will also be purchased by those buying into water authorities. There is massive underground dereliction. Of the 150,000 miles of sewers, 10 per cent. are more than 100 years old. In 1986, there were 3,500 collapses and 15,000 blockages requiring excavation. In addition, 20 to 30 per cent. of the water leaving reservoirs is, to use the industry's euphemism, unaccounted for. In other words, it leaks out of an aging system. All those problems will be the responsibility of the private sector.

The Government try to convince the House and the public that the private sector—and the free market, with its profit motive—will deal with all the problems that exist, and that the National Rivers Authority will ensure that they will be dealt with. If the Government are serious about caring for our water environment they will leave the NRA to determine its own pay and staffing levels, which it is not free to do under the current proposals. We should explore the N RA's scope to undertake capital works and the right to borrow both in providing flood defences and making environmental improvements—a power which the Government constantly rejected in Committee.

The Government argue fallaciously that the Bill is an environmental measure because it will release the water industry from the controls of the public sector borrowing requirement, and that the private sector will be able to borrow all the money that it needs to deal with the problems I have outlined. That is nonsense. How can there be any return on money borrowed in the private sector to undertake environmental improvements on which there will be no profit?

The truth is that, as the Government admitted, privatisation will cost the consumer. Nothing will come from the Exchequer, and there will be no cushion for the poor, who will face massive increases in water charges. The Government could at a stroke release water authorities from PSBR restrictions that have been imposed for many years, to allow them to borrow the same money from the same source as under privatisation, to be spent on the same environmental projects. It is economic nonsense to say that it is wrong for the public sector to do that, but right for the private sector.

It may be argued that no public sector operation would be allowed by any Treasury to breach the public sector borrowing requirement. Why, then, does BNFL suffer from no such restrictions? It is set up in such a way that it does not have to suffer from them, despite being in the public sector; so the Government must not tell us that the same cannot apply to the water industry.

On Second Reading in the other place Lord Crickhowell, whom the Government have just appointed so-called independent chairman of the National Rivers Authority and who used to be a Tory Cabinet Minister, said that he hoped that the Government would, in the financial arrangements made with the National Rivers Authority outside the terms of the Bill, allow the maximum freedom in management terms. There is no likelihood of that happening.

Various Government statements about the likely contents of the financial memorandum between the Government and the NRA fell somewhat short of the advisory committee's demands, although one concession was made: the control by the Secretary of State and the Treasury over staffing numbers was removed, although detailed control remains over the terms and conditions of staff, once appointed. That is ludicrous. Overall control of the budget has clearly been ceded to the NRA, leaving central Government with a right of veto over comparatively detailed matters only. Amendment (a) to Lords amendment 190 would have given the NRA some opportunity to take the initiative in setting out a likely management structure for its staff, once appointed, with the overall package rather than the individual elements then being effectively subject to the decision of the Secretary of State and the Treasury.

In regard to borrowing, it quickly became clear in the other place that the Government's real view of the NRA was very different from that which it is trying to portray in public debates. The NRA will have, in the Government's view, only a very limited need for capital resources: that is what they said. Such capital spending as it undertakes will generally be financed from its income through fees and charges. The water undertakers, private landowners and industrial concerns, rather than the NRA, will carry the main responsibility for reducing pollution and cleaning up the country's waterways. Some hope. The myth of the release from the public sector borrowing requirement is clearly illustrated here: all the essential environmental functions of the NRA remain in the public sector, and have not been released from PSBR control.

The NRA will be placed essentially in a monitoring and sampling role, providing evidence of breaches of discharge consents for the purposes of prosecutions. It will not have much joy under the present Government, because they will not allow the prosecutions. It will also issue licences relating to levels of consents. Breaches of those will be allowed in any event. Apart from flood defence, in which respect the NRA will inherit a substantial responsibility to be exercised with the input of the regional flood defence committees—with the majority of local authority members—the direct impact of the N RA's capital works for environmental improvement will be very small.

Several questions remain to be answered by the Government. To what degree can the NRA be considered an environmental agency, when it can do so little itself? The Government say that the existing position, whereby the water authorities police themselves for pollution, is wrong, and then go on to say that the Bill will separate the poacher from the gamekeeper. They neglect to emphasise that the NRA can—the Government admit that it will, and that they will encourage it to do so—contract back many of its functions, including regulatory functions, to the private water companies. Thus gamekeeper and poacher will again be one and the same—this time in the private sector, where profit is the motive rather than the environment and the provision of service to the consumer.

How will the Government guarantee, contrary to all the evidence of recent years, that the private sector will clean up its act? The private sector, the profit motive, has created pollution. It has never willingly cleaned it up, not without Government intervention and strong regulation. The National Rivers Authority will not have the staff, resources or powers to perform that task.

4.15 pm

Writing in The Guardian last week, Michael Carney of the Water Authorities Association said, in effect, that money spent on improving the quality of drinking water diverted money away from the improvement of the environment. What does the Secretary of State consider the environmental programme to consist of over the next five to 10 years? How can it help the environment to go slow on improving sewage treatment works and other pollutants which affect the quality of drinking water as well as river water?

It is interesting to note the way in which the Water Authorities Association comes to the aid of the Government. That organisation is quoted in support of privatisation and in support of the Government's decision not to accept the Lords amendments. We have statements signed by the chair of the association. Such statements are issued as though they were independent and non-political.

We are talking of 10 water authorities, the 10 chairs of which are appointed by a Tory Secretary of State for the Environment. Indeed, some of them are card-carrying members of the Conservative party and all of them are likely to receive a fourfold increase in salaries when their authorities are privatised. It is hardly surprising that this so-called independent source is in favour of the Government's proposals. It represents about the only set of people—apart from the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State—who are in favour of them.

What claim can the National Rivers Authority have to be a vigorous environmental agency, when its meetings are closed to the public and its members consist of appointees of the Secretary of State, of the same ilk as the 10 chairs of the existing water authorities?

We have just witnessed the appointment of Julian Taylor and Wyndham Rogers Coltman to the National Rivers Authority. I accept that Mr. Taylor is famous—famous as the former chairman of the Manchester Ship Canal Company which, it may be recalled, began to initiate the import of waste from America, to be dumped on Manchester Ship Canal Company land and disposed of as a profit-making venture. The ship canal company is not famous for its record in cleaning up pollution. It is famous for contributing significantly to the pollution of the Mersey and the Irish sea. Those are the sort of political appointments that the Government have been making to the National Rivers Authority.

There was considerable disquiet in the National Rivers Authority about the implications of the transitional measure introduced by the Government on Report in the other place, whereby samples of river water taken by the transfer date were inapplicable to prosecutions mounted after that date. The Government thereby announced, in effect, a one-year moratorium for water undertakers and their sewage treatment works, since non-compliance over a year in 95 per cent. of cases must be demonstrated in relation to each parameter before a case can be founded. It has been obvious to public observers that the Government have cut the ground from under the feet of the National Rivers Authority at the beginning of its activities.

It will be recalled that Opposition Members argued at the outset of the Committee stage, and again in the other place, that the authority should be established for a year to enable it to commence its work, before the handover to the private sector took place. The Government attacked that proposal, describing it as a delaying measure. The wisdom of our proposal is now clear to see.

If the Government will not concede that dirty water remains dirty irrespective of the transfer date, they should at least concede that giving the National Rivers Authority a year in which to establish itself—before facing it with privatised organisations which have the prime motivation of circumventing its findings and making a profit—would be the better course.

The truth is that the Government do not want to allow the National Rivers Authority to establish itself as a real policing and monitoring power in the land, for that would be another deterrent to those whom the Government hope might wish to buy into the privatised water industry.

We need a body similar to the National Rivers Authority that is provided with the resources, staff and powers to deal not just with the water environment but with the environment generally—air, land and water. They are all related. A strong environmental protection agency must be established in this country. That is Labour party policy. That agency will be established by the next Labour Government and the National Rivers Authority will be part of it.

Strong regional environmental protection agencies are also needed to look after the water environment as well as the environment generally, and strong staffing at regional level must be provided. Social ownership of the water industry is needed, controlled and run by elected tiers of regional government. Employees and consumers must play a part in its management. That smacks of democracy and causes the Secretary of State for the Environment to groan.

The British public do not want privatised water companies. They are not expected to be successful. The British public fear the worst. All the evidence is that their fears are well founded. The National Rivers Authority will be inadequate, because it is to be provided with inadequate powers, inadequate resources and insufficient staff. The success of the privatisation of the water industry depends upon there being an inadequate National Rivers Authority. Nobody in his right mind would buy shares in a privatised water industry if he knew that he would have to take on responsibility for cleaning up our water. All he wants to do is make a profit out of his investment.

Mr. Robert Adley (Christchurch)

One might have supposed that the hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Roberts), speaking from the Opposition Front Bench, would be seeking support from other quarters of the House, apart from his own party, but he has made a pretty poor fist of it.

Mr. Allan Roberts

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Adley

The hon. Gentleman should take a leson from the hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham), who recognises from time to time that if he wants to draw support from beyond the ranks of his own party there are ways of going about it.

Mr. Roberts


Mr. Adley

The hon. Gentleman wants to intervene before I have even started.

Mr. Roberts

I rise just to make the point that so far support for our policies by Conservative Members has not changed the Bill one little bit.

Mr. Adley

With respect, this is a parliamentary democracy. If it were the policy of the hon. Gentleman's party to change the electoral system, that might be an opportunity for a different debate on a different day—[Interruption.] It is no use the hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael) waving his arms around. I propose to make a short speech, but the hon. Member for Bootle and his hon. Friends are doing their utmost to prevent some of us from trying to support these amendments.

I want to ask my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, during this brief debate, he can reassure me that I should go into the Lobby with him later this evening. Having been a Member of Parliament for a few years and having seen the state into which the Labour party managed to drag our economy, I have very little confidence that all the grandiose plans that the hon. Member for Bootle described a few moments ago will ever come to fruition. The three initials that live in the memory from the years of Labour Government are not NRA but IMF. Before contemplating the future of the water industry or any other industry, we should contemplate the way in which any Government can influence the economic progress of the country.

I am sure that my right hon. Friend recognises that there is a conflict between the environmental disciplines placed in the hands of the National Rivers Authority and the effect that those disciplines may have on the sale price of the water companies. I hope that he can convince me that the Government have got the balance right. I certainly look forward to hearing what my right hon. Friend has to say.

I was happy to vote for the Bill on Second Reading because I believe that the National Rivers Authority represents an important step forward, as I said in my first intervention in the speech of the hon. Member for Bootle. The separation of functions is important. It is only a pity that the hon. Gentleman was so churlish as not to be prepared to recognise the advantages that that proposal could mean for water supply and environmental pollution improvements in Britain.

I do not go along with the proposition that privatisation is a panacea for all the industry's ills or that it is a diabolical plot to poison our constituents. However, the number of public telephone boxes now in operation that were formerly out of action and vandalised when British Telecom was in the public sector does not lead me to the same conclusion as the hon. Member for Bootle —that there is a dichotomy between private sector operation and good public service. There are plenty of examples in the privatisations of the past few years to show that good private sector management can provide as good, if not better, service to the consumer at just as acceptable a cost as it was provided in the public sector.

Finally, I hope that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State can convince me that the Government have got the right balance between sales price and environmental discipline.

Mr. Richard Livsey (Brecon and Radnor)

The debate about the ability of the NRA to publish more facts than is provided for in the Bill is essential. The problem is that when the NRA was mooted and debated thoroughly in Committee, it was widely welcomed by hon. Members on both sides as an essential body for environmental protection in the water industry. It was felt that the NRA would be effective. When we examined the record of our rivers and water policy of the past 15 years, we all welcomed the introduction of the NRA. During the passage of the Bill through the House, the NRA appears to have become less effective. We know that it will not be adequately funded to carry out its duties in the way that we would wish. That is regrettable as apparently the NRA will not be able to publish sufficient information by which we can judge its effectiveness.

We should support the amendment which would enable the NRA to report on water quality and the status of our rivers and to run from one year to the next in saying what progress it is making in cleaning up the water environment. But it looks as though that will not happen. If the amendment is not accepted, the Secretary of State will have a free hand, and the NRA will be able to publish the minimum amount of information by which to judge its effectiveness. I hope that the Secretary of State will correct me if that is not the case, but it appears that that will happen under the Bill.

The amendment highlights the need for an open and accountable National Rivers Authority and will ensure that sufficient resources are available to enable it to function properly. The problem is that the Treasury will have to fund the NRA in part. As has already been mentioned, given the salaries of staff in the NRA, it will be unable adequately to compete with the powerful water plcs. It is wrong that the water plcs should have everything loaded in their favour while the environmental protection agency—the NRA—will be unable to protect the environment adequately. Any pretensions that the Government have to protecting the environment are being thrown away by diluting the effectiveness of the NRA. The fact that Lord Crickhowell is unhappy about the NRA does not augur well for the future.

The Government would be wise to listen to the arguments that the NRA should be more effective and better financed and have the high-quality staff that are necessary to monitor water effectively. The danger is that, in the first years of operation, the water plcs will have all the resources necessary to test water quality yet the NRA will be scraping around looking for laboratory facilities to do that testing.


There was considerable debate on these matters in the other place. There is a case for freeing the NRA in terms of pay and staff structure. There is a case, too, for giving it more freedom to undertake capital works and extending its right to borrow for flood protection schemes and so on. That information should be published annually, as the Lords amendment requires. The NRA should have maximum freedom to manage.

The Government's view is very different. They wish to limit the NRA's capital resources. They cannot say that they are producing an effective gamekeeper and then proceed to neuter its effectiveness. I fear for the future unless the NRA can publish the requisite information by which the public can judge its effectiveness and unless the Government are prepared to provide it with the staff and facilities to ensure that it is a proper environmental agency. I hope that the Secretary of State can reassure me, but I fear that he faces an uphill task.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield)

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State knows, I am one of those Conservative Members who, since Second Reading, have consistently opposed the Bill as being unwanted and unnecessary. I associate myself, however, with the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Mr. Adley). If the Opposition were seeking to maintain cross-party support in these debates, I regret to say that the hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Roberts) did their cause no good.

Mr. Allan Roberts

There has been cross-party support. There have been a few "rebels", as the Conservative party likes to portray them in the press. Conservative Members have made no significant attempt to alter or defeat any part of the Bill.

Mr. Winterton

That is hardly an appropriate intervention. I should have thought that voting in this place showed an intention to defeat a particular measure, and perhaps that is the only truly democratic way of going about it. If the hon. Member for Bootle looks at the political position of those who oppose the measure, he will see that there was support across the spectrum of the broad church of the Tory party. My hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch is traditionally put on the Left of the Tory party whereas I am traditionally put on its Right. There are others in between. There was a broad church of people—[Interruption] Indeed, it did not, but that has not prevented us from showing our feelings vocally and participating, when appropriate, in debates.

Because the NRA is perhaps the only true safeguard in the Bill for the consumer, the amendments are relevant. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State can make some concessions. If the National Rivers Authority has inadequate funds and powers to do its job, the Bill will be a fraud. There will be no protection for the consumer or the environment.

One reason why I have consistently opposed the Bill in recent times is that I do not believe that a private monopoly is more efficient or beneficial to the country than a public monopoly. A monopoly exists. Therefore, the National Rivers Authority is the one and only safeguard. If it cannot match the remuneration that will be offered to the staff of the new private water undertakers and if it has inadequate resources for capital expenditure, it cannot fulfil the role that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State intends for it in the provision of water and sewerage facilities.

If matters are to improve after the Bill, will the National Rivers Authority be able to assist my constituents in the Wildboarclough valley, who were recently devastated by a flash flood? I am ready to be persuaded to the contrary by my right hon. Friend, but the North West water authority is not prepared to take any responsibility for what happened. It will undertake no remedial works—not even restore the Clough brook, which flows into the Dane, to its original course. It will be the responsibility of the county council, as the highway authority, and local farmers and riparian owners.

Will the Bill improve matters? Will the National Rivers Authority be prepared to spend some money on flood protection in the Wildboarclough valley and the surrounding areas and try to ensure that another flood such as the one that affected my constituency on 24 May will not occur again and that the devastation will be reduced?

It is extraordinary how the river authorities and, I suppose, the new private undertakings will ensure that people who extract water in any place throughout the United Kingdom will have to pay a fee. They currently pay a fee to the North West water authority and other water authorities. The North West water authority currently takes no responsibility for, and is not even prepared to assist in repairing, the dreadful damage that occurred.

Mr. Edward Leigh (Gainsborough and Horncastle)

My hon. Friend is clearly approaching his peroration. He said that the only protection for the consumer will be through the National Rivers Authority, though that ignores the role of the Director General of Water Services. First, will he explain how, but for privatisation, the NRA would ever have been set up by any Government? Secondly, what protection is given to the consumer under present arrangements by which water authorities set standards and also police themselves?

Mr. Winterton

Those matters have been covered extremely adequately. The tragedy is that they could have been dealt with without privatising the water undertakings.

Mr. David Alton (Liverpool, Mossley Hill)

I agree with the hon. Gentleman's case, which he is making most persuasively. To aid his argument, may I point out that the North West water authority has given deemed consent under the existing arrangements to 200 companies to pollute the River Mersey. Is that not an example of irresponsibility—the very point that the hon. Gentleman is making? There have been paltry fines of £600 or so on average in the past few years when massive pollution has been taking place. Will the position be made worse by the new regulations?

Mr. Winterton

I am tempted to go back over the many hours of debate that have taken place in the House and elsewhere, but that would be inappropriate because we are considering specific amendments that have been passed in another place. We should be directing our remarks to the role and responsibility of the National Rivers Authority and the resources that it will have available to fulfil its vital duties on behalf of the consumer.

Unless my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State can meet some of the opinions and concerns expressed in this short debate and articulated clearly here and in another place, I shall have no alternative but to support the Opposition's amendments. Having said that, I point out to the hon. Member for Bootle that any Government would use all the powers of the establishment that they could muster in such circumstances. A Labour Government would do precisely the same: they would muster their votes to ensure that any opposition—even from their own supporters—was crushed and brushed out of the way. That does not stop hon. Members who sincerely believe what they are saying standing up and telling their Government, "I think that you should think again."

I am addressing my remarks to the amendments, but I should love to crush the Bill altogether. Even at this late stage I emphasise to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State that it would be beneficial to the party and the country if the Bill were dropped. I have not met a single Tory who wants it. It is an electoral disaster and it will not achieve any of the objectives that the Government have set for it.

The Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Nicholas Ridley)

I shall pass over the speech of the hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Roberts)—

Mr. Allan Roberts

Why? It had some questions in it.

Mr. Ridley

—until the end of my brief remarks.

Mr. Roberts

Does that mean that the Secretary of State will answer the questions?

Mr. Ridley

I shall answer my two hon. Friends, the Members for Christchurch (Mr. Adley) and for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton), who even expressed a tiny bit of reservation about some aspects of the Bill, surprising though that is. My hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield said that he has never met a Tory who was in favour of the Bill; I should love to have a cup of tea with him. He asked about flood protection. I can tell him that that will become a responsibility of the National Rivers Authority, which will have the full powers and finance to deal with it. I hope that that reassures him.

My hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch sees a conflict in theory between the environmental duties of the water companies, as they will become, and the need of investors to invest viably and not at a loss. The Conservative party has always resolved that conflict through regulation—whether for health and safety matters, for fire precautions or to prevent child labour. That was so in the 19th century; it has been so for pollution control in recent years and it is so in this Bill, which vests the power to regulate in the NRA. The Bill also provides for account to be taken of the economic consequences of the standards that have to be met—first, in the setting of the K factor, which is the amount that the companies can charge their customers in the pricing formula, and secondly by allowing unforeseen investment arising from an unforeseen development, such as, for example, a higher European Community standard, to be met by the companies through the cost pass-through mechanism.

The Bill thus squares the dilemma in a way that it has not been squared under public ownership. As we have learnt from the Labour party—and as has been the experience of this Government—the only way of squaring it under public ownership was to bargain behind the closed doors of the Treasury for as much cash as one could get and then to adjust the standards to suit the cash. That is the wrong way round, and that point is crucial to the Bill.

I do not believe that the Lords amendment is a touchstone of the virility of the NRA, as the hon. Members for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Livsey) and for Bootle seem to think. Amendment (a) to Lords amendment No. 155 would require directions under clause 102 on the classification of controlled waters to be set out in the NRA's annual report. There is no need for that, as the clause makes quite clear the respective responsibilities of the Secretary of State and the NRA. I shall have responsibility to publish a great deal of information and it is to be hoped that the NRA will add to the matters that it is already required to publish. It will be free to supplement that information as it wishes in its annual report. Only where the role of Ministers is less specifically defined is there a case for requiring the NRA's annual report to spell out the fact that the authority has received a ministerial direction. In respect of water quality objectives, the Bill makes Ministers' role absolutely explicit. The House will not therefore wish to accept the Opposition's amendment.

4.45 pm
Mr. Elliot Morley (Glanford and Scunthorpe)

Does the Secretary of State agree that there is a problem of over-abstraction in chalk streams, rivers and waterways throughout the country? Many feel that the Lords amendment is missing a requirement on the NRA to report on abstraction licences and the control of water abstraction. Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that that should be dealt with? Can he give us assurances that that question will be considered in relation to the NRA's report?

Mr. Ridley

I am sure that that is an important matter, and I agree that it should be made public. I see no reason why the NRA would not want to make it public. If hon. Members wrote to the NRA, no doubt the body would give them a full explanation of the situation in their area. There is no secrecy involved; we are talking not about the freedom and flexibility that we give the NRA but about the duties we place upon it.

Hon. Members may know that we have included in the Bill a power for the NRA to borrow in cases of emergency—for example, when serious flooding or erosion of the sea wall requires extra special work in a short period and extra special cost beyond what it is reasonable to precept on the local authorities in one year. The NRA's finance will be from Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food grant and precepts on the local authority for flood protection and sea defence. To the extent that the NRA might be involved in capital works, the necessary powers already exist in the Bill. In the normal course of replacing flood defences and sea walls, however, the NRA will have a programme for which it can precept annually and will not, therefore, need to borrow. I do not believe that there is a problem.

The gross error of thinking revealed by the hon. Member for Bootle was that the NRA would become an environmental investor. After listening for 200 hours to our debates on the Bill, the hon. Gentleman made a classic mistake. He said that we were removing from the water companies the non-commercial operations so that the companies would become more profitable. We are not doing that at all. We are removing the regulatory function from the water companies, so that the NRA can discharge its responsibilities to the House and the public, and control standards. The investment in environmental improvements—in drinking water, treatment plants, sewage treatment plants, new pipes and so on—which are the major investments, will be undertaken by the companies. The NRA will set the standards that the companies must reach by a certain period, monitor their activities and enforce standards if the companies do not reach them of their own accord. Nowhere in that model system of regulation is there a need for the NRA to invest in works of environmental improvement—except in flood defences and sea protection. So the hon. Member for Bootle has it wrong.

The more that the Opposition and the hon. Member for Bootle continue to damn, inaccurately and misleadingly, the present water environment—I admit that there are blemishes, although nothing like to the extent that the hon. Gentleman says—the more they make the case for the Bill and the case for separating the functions of regulation and investment to achieve the required standards. The hon. Gentleman has never been able to get it right whether he is opposing the Bill because the water industry is in a fine state under public ownership, or whether he is speaking in favour of the Bill because the water environment is in a mess.

The hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor asked whether the National Rivers Authority would have the necessary funding to carry out its operations. I have given the answer many times before, as is true of all the arguments on the Bill. The sources of the NRA's funding for flood defence are local authority precepts and grants from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. That is separate from any other of its activities and in no sense will the Government influence what it decides it wants to do on precepts. It will have borrowing powers in relation to that.

The authority's water resources functions, which are the important river basin management functions, will be funded entirely from charges on abstractions including the new water plcs, and there will be a new charge in accordance with the principle, to which I think that the hon. Member for Bootle subscribes, that the polluter pays. The dischargers—the water plcs in relation to sewage and the industrialists in relation to industrial waste—will contribute towards the cost of pollution control through a charge for discharge consents.

Mr. Alton

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Ridley

No, because I have nearly finished.

The remaining quarter of NRA expenditure, which on present figures will be about £70 million, will be met by Exchequer grant. There is no question of starving the authority. The Government accept the argument of the House that it is necessary to fund the NRA properly so that it can discharge its important functions fully and properly.

If we are to fund it in that way, as we must, the House, especially through the Select Committee on Public Accounts, will rightly insist that we ensure that the £70 million is spent properly on the functions for which the NRA is designed. As is the case with all public servants, we must ensure that the funds are not used for profligate over-spending on the salaries and expenses of members of staff. There must be proper accountability to the House, just as there is for the staff of the House of Commons, for the staff of my own Department and for the staff of all nationalised industries. There must be proper accountability for public money.

I repeat that the worry the Opposition have tried to instill in the public—although they concede that the NRA is highly necessary and long overdue—that we are trying to muck the NRA for a ha'porth of tar is typical of the hon. Member for Bootle and his hon. Friends. So deep is their ignorance and antipathy that they can never bring themselves to admit for once that the Government have got it right. On this occasion, they have.

Mr. Peter L. Pike (Burnley)

If the Secretary of State believes for one moment that the Government have got it right on the functions of the NRA he shows, once again, how mistaken he is. The Opposition have repeatedly made it clear that we support the establishment of the NRA. However, we are most concerned that it should have the necessary funding and powers to carry out its duties satifactorily. I am sure that at least the hon. Members for Christchurch (Mr. Adley) and for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) agree with that point, as do those whose concerns they were expressing.

We believe that the regulatory function should be separate from investment. The Secretary of State said earlier that we did not agree with that principle, but he was wrong. We agree that the gamekeeper and poacher aspects should be separate and, therefore, that the regulatory and investment functions should be separate. But there is no reason why that cannot be done with the industry left in the public sector and with investment made by the public sector to deal with the problems facing the water industry. The problems, whether river pollution, sewage treatment works, water quality or river quality, could and should be solved in the public sector.

My hon. Friend the Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley) referred in an intervention to a problem that we are unable to discuss today—overabstraction. He will recognise that, because of the very nature of our debates yesterday and today, and the imposition of a guillotine, there are many important issues that we shall be unable to debate at all, including the most important aspect of the Bill—the regulatory authority—to which this House and the public look to ensure a proper quality of supplies and sewage treatment in future. We are unable to debate that sufficiently because the Government have seen fit to impose a guillotine and have provided insufficient time for that aspect of the Bill to be debated properly. The Secretary of State—

Mr. Kenneth Hind (Lancashire, West)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Pike

No, because I have only four minutes in which to speak.

The Secretary of State is well aware that, in its third report, the Select Committee on the Environment, when proposing that the gamekeeper and poacher functions should be separate, said: It would give us cause for very real alarm if the present water pollution inspectorate (or a new unified and independent regulatory body)— that is, the National Rivers Authority— were not given adequate staffing, resources and the necessary powers to oversee the activities of a privatised water industry. That is the position that we have now reached. We are establishing an independent body, the National Rivers Authority, but we are not giving it the powers, the functions or the ability to be seen openly to carry out its functions to the satisfaction of the public. I stress the word "public". It is not only the Government and the House but the public who have a right to be satisfied that these matters are being dealt with properly.

I received today a letter from the Prime Minister's office, which said: An independent regulator is being given legislative teeth to impose high standards in the public interest. Clearly, the Prime Minister herself does not know that the Government are removing the teeth from the National Rivers Authority and ensuring that it cannot carry out its functions.

The hon. Member for Macclesfield said that if the National Rivers Authority is unable to offer the salaries to attract the right staff, that will weaken its basis from the start. In addition, the concession that the authority cannot take action against the water companies as a result of what has happened in the interim period is an outrage and shows the direction in which the Government intend to go.

There is a danger that, once the industry is in the private sector, profit will become more important than dealing with pollution and ensuring that we have a satisfactory quality of supply. The Government are dedicated above all to profit and pay only lip-service to green issues. They have put a veneer on the Bill and pretend that it is a green Bill. They will allow relaxation after relaxation to ensure that the privatised industry can make the profits they want it to make to attract people to invest in it.

I have a letter from North West Water which says: The input of these pollutional loads to the River Brun and hence to Rowley Lake is now considered unacceptable". The discharge of treated sewage effluent from Worsthorne sewage treatment works does not comply with the conditions of consent. However, action cannot be taken against those polluters because of the power to exclude the present one-year moratorium. The letter continues: There is also a storm sewage overflow upstream of the sewage works which does and is designed to release the flow of sewage arriving at the works in extreme weather conditions. Those are the problems facing the industry. Hon. Member after hon. Member could itemise the different sewage works which do not meet the consent levels but which will be allowed to get away with it.

The Government are not really in favour of ensuring that the National Rivers Authority can carry out its functions. Although the principle may be right, the Government are not giving the N RA the teeth, the staffing or the resources to carry out its functions properly. However, they are not prepared to be seen to be doing that in the open. Once again, the Government will fail to ensure that our water quality is brought up to standard, even though the public are entitled to that. I hope that the amendment will be carried.

Question put, That the amendment to the Lords amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 197, Noes 302.

Division No. 276] [5.00 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Cryer, Bob
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Cunningham, Dr John
Adley, Robert Dalyell, Tam
Allen, Graham Darling, Alistair
Alton, David Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Anderson, Donald Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I)
Armstrong, Hilary Dewar, Donald
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Dixon, Don
Ashton, Joe Dobson, Frank
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Douglas, Dick
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Dunnachie, Jimmy
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth
Battle, John Eastham, Ken
Beckett, Margaret Evans, John (St Helens N)
Beith, A. J. Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Bell, Stuart Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Flannery, Martin
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Flynn, Paul
Blair, Tony Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Blunkett, David Foster, Derek
Boateng, Paul Foulkes, George
Bradley, Keith Fraser, John
Bray, Dr Jeremy Galbraith, Sam
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Galloway, George
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Godman, Dr Norman A.
Buckley, George J. Golding, Mrs Llin
Caborn, Richard Gordon, Mildred
Callaghan, Jim Gould, Bryan
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Graham, Thomas
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Cartwright, John Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Grocott, Bruce
Clay, Bob Harman, Ms Harriet
Clelland, David Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Heffer, Eric S.
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Henderson, Doug
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Hinchliffe, David
Corbyn, Jeremy Hoey, Ms Kate (Vauxhall)
Cousins, Jim Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Crowther, Stan Hood, Jimmy
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Owen, Rt Hon Dr David
Howells, Geraint Pendry, Tom
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd) Pike, Peter L.
Hoyle, Doug Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Hughes, John (Coventry NE) Prescott, John
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Primarolo, Dawn
Hughes, Roy (Newport E) Quin, Ms Joyce
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Radice, Giles
Ingram, Adam Randall, Stuart
Janner, Greville Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Richardson, Jo
Jones, leuan (Ynys Môn) Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Robertson, George
Kennedy, Charles Rooker, Jeff
Kilfedder, James Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil Rowlands, Ted
Kirkwood, Archy Ruddock, Joan
Leadbitter, Ted Sedgemore, Brian
Lestor, Joan (Eccles) Sheerman, Barry
Lewis, Terry Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Livsey, Richard Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Skinner, Dennis
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Loyden, Eddie Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
McAllion, John Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)
McAvoy, Thomas Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
McCartney, Ian Snape, Peter
McFall, John Soley, Clive
McKay, Allen (Barnsley West) Spearing, Nigel
McKelvey, William Steel, Rt Hon David
McLeish, Henry Steinberg, Gerry
McWilliam, John Stott, Roger
Madden, Max Strang, Gavin
Mahon, Mrs Alice Straw, Jack
Marek, Dr John Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Martin, Michael J. (Springburn) Turner, Dennis
Martlew, Eric Vaz, Keith
Maxton, John Wall, Pat
Meacher, Michael Wallace, James
Meale, Alan Walley, Joan
Michael, Alun Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Wareing, Robert N.
Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute) Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby) Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Molyneaux, Rt Hon James Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Moonie, Dr Lewis Wilson, Brian
Morgan, Rhodri Winnick, David
Morley, Elliott Winterton, Nicholas
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Worthington, Tony
Mowlam, Marjorie Young, David (Bolton SE)
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Paul Tellers for the Ayes:
Nellist, Dave Mr. Frank Haynes and
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Mr. Martyn Jones.
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Alexander, Richard Body, Sir Richard
Amess, David Bonsor, Sir Nicholas
Amos, Alan Boscawen, Hon Robert
Arbuthnot, James Boswell, Tim
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Bottomley, Peter
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)
Ashby, David Bowis, John
Aspinwall, Jack Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Brandon-Bravo, Martin
Baldry, Tony Brazier, Julian
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Bright, Graham
Batiste, Spencer Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Bellingham, Henry Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)
Bendall, Vivian Browne, John (Winchester)
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)
Benyon, W. Buck, Sir Antony
Bevan, David Gilroy Burns, Simon
Biffen, Rt Hon John Burt, Alistair
Blackburn, Dr John G. Butler, Chris
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Carrington, Matthew Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Carttiss, Michael Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Cash, William Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Hind, Kenneth
Chapman, Sydney Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Churchill, Mr Holt, Richard
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Hordern, Sir Peter
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Howard, Michael
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)
Colvin, Michael Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Conway, Derek Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Cope, Rt Hon John Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Cormack, Patrick Hunter, Andrew
Couchman, James Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Cran, James Irvine, Michael
Critchley, Julian Irving, Charles
Currie, Mrs Edwina Jack, Michael
Curry, David Jackson, Robert
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) Janman, Tim
Davis, David (Boothferry) Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Day, Stephen Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Devlin, Tim Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Dickens, Geoffrey Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Dorrell, Stephen Key, Robert
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Dover, Den Kirkhope, Timothy
Dunn, Bob Knapman, Roger
Dykes, Hugh Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Eggar, Tim Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd) Knowles, Michael
Evennett, David Knox, David
Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Fallon, Michael Lang, Ian
Favell, Tony Latham, Michael
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Lawrence, Ivan
Fishburn, John Dudley Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Forman, Nigel Lee, John (Pendle)
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Forth, Eric Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Lilley, Peter
Fox, Sir Marcus Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Franks, Cecil Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Freeman, Roger Luce, Rt Hon Richard
French, Douglas Lyell, Sir Nicholas
Fry, Peter McCrindle, Robert
Gardiner, George Macfarlane, Sir Neil
Gill, Christopher MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Glyn, Dr Alan MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Goodhart, Sir Philip Maclean, David
Goodlad, Alastair McLoughlin, Patrick
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Madel, David
Gorst, John Malins, Humfrey
Gow, Ian Mans, Keith
Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW) Maples, John
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Marland, Paul
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Marlow, Tony
Gregory, Conal Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Grist, Ian Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Ground, Patrick Mates, Michael
Grylls, Michael Maude, Hon Francis
Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Hague, William Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom) Miller, Sir Hal
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Mills, Iain
Hampson, Dr Keith Miscampbell, Norman
Hanley, Jeremy Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Hannam, John Mitchell, Sir David
Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr') Moate, Roger
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn) Monro, Sir Hector
Haselhurst, Alan Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Hayes, Jerry Moore, Rt Hon John
Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney Morrison, Sir Charles
Hayward, Robert Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)
Heathcoat-Amory, David Moss, Malcolm
Heddle, John Moynihan, Hon Colin
Mudd, David Stevens, Lewis
Neale, Gerrard Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Neubert, Michael Stokes, Sir John
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Nicholls, Patrick Sumberg, David
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Summerson, Hugo
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Tapsell, Sir Peter
Norris, Steve Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Oppenheim, Phillip Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Page, Richard Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Paice, James Temple-Morris, Peter
Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Patnick, Irvine Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Patten, John (Oxford W) Thome, Neil
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Thornton, Malcolm
Pawsey, James Thurnham, Peter
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Townend, John (Bridlington)
Porter, Barry (Wirral S) Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Porter, David (Waveney) Tracey, Richard
Powell, William (Corby) Tredinnick, David
Price, Sir David Trippier, David
Raffan, Keith Trotter, Neville
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Twinn, Dr Ian
Redwood, John Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Riddick, Graham Waddington, Rt Hon David
Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Waldegrave, Hon William
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy) Walden, George
Rossi, Sir Hugh Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Rost, Peter Waller, Gary
Rowe, Andrew Walters, Sir Dennis
Ryder, Richard Ward, John
Sackville, Hon Tom Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Sainsbury, Hon Tim Warren, Kenneth
Sayeed, Jonathan Watts, John
Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas Wells, Bowen
Shaw, David (Dover) Wheeler, John
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Whitney, Ray
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb') Widdecombe, Ann
Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW) Wiggin, Jerry
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Wilkinson, John
Shersby, Michael Wilshire, David
Skeet, Sir Trevor Wolfson, Mark
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Wood, Timothy
Soames, Hon Nicholas Woodcock, Dr. Mike
Speller, Tony Yeo, Tim
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Young, Sir George (Acton)
Squire, Robin
Stanbrook, Ivor Tellers for the Noes:
Steen, Anthony Mr. Tony Durant and
Stern, Michael Mr. David Lightbown.

Question accordingly negatived.

Lords amendment No. 155 agreed to.

It being after Five o'clock, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to order [3 July], to put .forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that hour.

Lords amendments Nos. 117 to 154, 156 to 237, 267 and 277 agreed to.—[Some with Special Entry.]

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