`In Schedule 9 to the 1978 Act (procedure etc. of industrial tribunals), for paragraphs 6A there shall be substituted the following paragraph—
6A—(1) Industrial tribunals shall have the power to award simple interest on sums payable in pursuance of their decisions (principal awards) in accordance with this paragraph.
(2) The decision as to whether to award for interest on a principal award shall be in the discretion of the tribunal, but it shall be for the party against whom the principal award is made to show cause why some interest should not be awarded.
(3) Interest shall be awarded at a rate not exceeding the rate for the time prescribed pursuant to section 17 of the Judgments Act 1838.
(4) Interest shall accrue on all sums awarded by a tribunal, without any need for a decision to that effect by the tribunal, at the rate referred to in subparagraph (3) above from the date when the tribunal's decision is sent to the parties with the date of payment.
(5) The tribunal shall have no power to exclude the application of subparagraph (4) above.
(6) Interest shall not be awarded for a period commencing before:
§ Brought up, and read the First time.10.27 pm
§ Mr. Wallace
I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.
The purpose of the new clause is to introduce, at the discretion of the tribunal, interest on awards made by the tribunal from dates preceding the announcement of the decision to make an award and for compulsory interest from the making of the award.
I understand that last year there was a consultative paper published by the Department of Employment indicating an intention to bring in interest on tribunal awards, although draft regulations are still awaited. This would appear an appropriate opportunity to press ahead with that.
The powers under schedule 9 of the Employment Protection Act 1978 invest the Secretary of State with power to confer interest on tribunal awards, but experience has shown that that power has seldom, if ever, been used. Indeed, the power is only to award interest on sums from the date at which the judgment is made and not the date from which the wrong has been perpetrated and in respect of which an award has been made. That differs 120 from most other cases in which there has been a delict or a tort, where the interest is usually payable on a settlement from the date at which the wrong was committed.
I believe that the reason often proffered for that difference is that it is argued that the tribunal system operates more quickly and therefore people who are in receipt of awards have not been out of pocket for as long. I believe that it would be accepted by hon. Members on both sides of the House that litigation in the courts involving a tortious action can sometimes go on for many years. Therefore, there is often a significant difference. That ignores, however, those cases where for some reason or another, and sometimes not through any fault on the part of the claimant, a case going to a tribunal can be drawn out. It may even then go on to appeal, and, therefore, it can be some considerable time before an award is made.
The purpose of the new clause is to insert a new paragraph into schedule 9 of the 1978 Act to the effect that industrial tribunals would have the power to award simple interest on sums payable in pursuance of their decisions. That would be made at the discretion of the tribunal, although there would be a presumption in favour of interest being made payable, and it would be for the party on the losing side to put forward an argument showing why that should not be the case. One can foresee circumstances in which it might be argued that there had been time wasting caused by the claimants.
The interest awarded would be at the judicial rate prescribed by law under the Judgements Act 1838. Interest rates are not prescribed in such a statutory form north of the border, and it would not be unreasonable for Acts of Parliament that straddled the border to provide for the same rates.
Subsection (4) relates to those sums of interest accruing from the date of announcement of the award. The rate would be compulsory, and not at the tribunal's discretion. Subsection (5) describes the dates from which the tribunal would have discretion to award interest. Subsection (6) should refer to section 53(4) "or" and not "of" section 72 and the effective date of termination. In cases of written or unfair dismissal, that would be the date of dismissal as defined by the legislation. In the case of redundancy payments, it would be the date of leaving. The purpose of the subsection is to make clear the date from which interest may be awarded.
On at least two occasions the judiciary has expressed a view on the tribunal's lack of power in awarding interest. In 1981 in UCATT v. Brain in the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Donaldson, who is now Master of the Rolls, said:There is no power to award interest on money awarded by a Tribunal as compensation for unfair dismissal … Whatever the reason, I think the time has come when Parliament, if it has a convenient opportunity, ought to consider whether it is really right that employees who are unfairly dismissed should not only have to wait for their money, which may be inevitable, but when they do wait for it they should get compensation in depreciated currency as a result of the passage of time and without interest.That is a powerful judicial dictum. Lord Justice Donaldson calls for Parliament to consider this matter at "a convenient opportunity" and I can think of no more convenient opportunity for the House to address itself to a judicial plea than 10.31 pm on Report on the Employment Bill.
121 In the 1987 Caledonian Mining case Mr. Justice Popplewell echoed Lord Justice Donaldson's plea and said:We cannot pass from this case without expressing our dismay at the present position about interest. It will be observed that these men were dismissed over three years ago and have therefore been left out of their money for some time. The time that it has taken for this matter to be resolved is due to no fault of theirs. It is difficult to understand why interest which is available to parties in the high court should not be available to litigants before an Industrial Tribunal which is intended to be less formal. It is a blot on the administration of justice.Those are strong words from the judicial bench.
I hope that the House will take this opportunity to remove this blot on the administration of justice. The new clause does not insist on interest rates above the level that would normally be expected to be paid in judicial cases. It reflects the concern which has been expressed more than once by the judiciary. It tries to tackle an anomaly.
There has been little give in Committee and on Report by the Government on Opposition amendments. I hope that the new clause commends itself to the Government. Even if the Minister tells us that the wording is not suitable, an undertaking to introduce the measure in another place in a proper form would suit our purposes. I commend the new clause to the House. It will ensure that there is greater justice for those who take their case to an industrial tribunal and are successful.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Patrick Nicholls)
The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) is entirely right to imply that throughout Committee we always responded to good points. I assure the hon. Gentleman that our attitude this evening will adhere to that tradition to the full.
The effect of the new clause is twofold. First, it would provide directly for interest to accrue from the promulgation of industrial tribunal decisions and so bypass the Secretary of State's existing order-making power under the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978, as amended, which provides for interest on tribunal awards. Secondly, it would give industrial tribunals a discretion to provide for interest on awards to accrue, even before the promulgation of their decisions.
The first of those aims is unnecessary. In the consultation paper on industrial tribunals issued last year, to which the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland referred, we stated our intention of implementing the order-making power in the 1978 Act to enable interest to be payable on tribunal awards. The proposals in the consultation paper were generally welcomed and, on present plans, the necessary order will be laid later this year. While it may be argued that there may have been some delay on this, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept that his new clause is, in the event, unnecessary.
The second aim of the new clause—to provide for interest to apply even before a tribunal award—is unacceptable. In our view, the existing powers in the 1978 Act as amended are perfectly adequate and strike a fair balance between the interests of the applicant and the interests of the respondent. Therefore, the Government would say—
§ Mr. Wallace
The Under-Secretary talks about seeking power to award interest before a decision is made. I may have been ambiguous and I apologise to the House if I did not express myself clearly. We seek interest from a date 122 preceding the award, from the date of the wrong. That applies in most cases of tort. Why should it be different in cases of redundancy or dismissal?
§ Mr. Nicholls
I am sorry if I misrepresented the hon. Gentleman. I was perhaps paying too much attention to the wording of the new clause rather than the intent as the hon. Gentleman expressed it. There is no doubt that the wording of the new clause, particularly subsection (6), if accepted, would enable interest to run, not merely from the date of judgment, but from some previous date. According to the wording of the new clause, it need not even be the date on which the action commenced. It could be the date from which the wrong accrued. That is a novel proposition, and certainly it is not the way in which the High Court or the county court work.
The hon. Gentleman referred to the words used by Mr. Justice Popplewell in the 1987 case, when he talked ofa blot on the administration of justice.My recollection of that case, backed up by the fact that I have the law report in front of me, was that the point made in the judgment was that the defendants had been kept out of their money for three years. The judgment was given in 1987, although the tribunal hearings had been in 1984. Therefore, the blot on the administration of justice was the fact that three years had elapsed before judgment was given. It is precisely that sort of blot on justice with which the order, which will be laid in due course under the 1978 Act, would deal.
§ Mr. Christopher Hawkins (High Peak)
Is my hon. Friend saying that to pay interest from the date of the wrongdoing would be novel? Surely the Inland Revenue charges interest on money owed to it, not from the date of the hearing but from the date from which the money was originally owed. That is similar to what is proposed by the new clause.
§ Mr. Nicholls
Mercifully, my duties do not include justifying the Inland Revenue and all its works. However, I hear what my hon. Friend says and feel more than a twinge of sympathy with him. What we propose about the implementation of the power in the 1978 Act is very much in accordance with general practice at the moment in relation to both High Court and county court matters, and deals precisely with the point about the blot on the administration of justice made by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland.
§ Mr. Haynes
It is all right for the Minister to brush to one side the question of Inland Revenue and interest. It works only one way, and it works only one way here. That is why the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) tabled the new clause. Let us have the facts of life, and the Minister at the Box telling us home truths about interest in relation to tribunals. He knows as well as me that many workers suffer because they cannot get to the tribunal; there are that many wanting to go.
I can remember when the Government were telling the National Coal Board to close pits willy-nilly. Some people wanted to claim their rights at the tribunal for unfair dismissal—oh yes, there were a lot of unfair dismissals during the miners' dispute. The Minister will probably remember that, although he may not have been a Minister at the time; if I remember rightly, he used to sit at the back of the Chamber. I used to enjoy some of his contributions, 123 and I followed some of them because they had upset me. He has upset me this evening as well, because he has not spoken correctly and truly to the new clause.
If a person owes money to the Inland Revenue he will be charged interest on it, but if it is the other way around —if the Inland Revenue owes the person money—there is no question of interest. [HON. MEMBERS: "There is."] It is high time that it was changed. Someone says, "There is", and I hope that it is a Whip: I hope that he will stand up and say what he means. I happen to know that it does not work that way round.
It could take a person three years to get his unfair dismissal case to the tribunal, given the Government's actions in industry and what they have done to workers' rights. Never mind the employer; this lot look after him. I am talking about the worker—the person who provides the necessary. The employer could not enjoy himself without the employee's contribution.
The new clause asks for fairness to the employee. If it is to take a long time for the case to reach the tribunal, interest should be paid: there is no doubt about that. I hope that the Minister will get up and say, "I agree with the new clause." He has not said that yet. Why does he not speak one way or the other, so that we know exactly where he stands? [Interruption.] That is a Whip interfering with what I am saying. He should not be saying anything. He is sat there yawping at me. If he wants to say anything, Mr. Deputy Speaker, he should indicate that to you and then get up and make his contribution.
If we vote on the new clause, I want to know which Lobby the Minister will go into. Will he support it or not? Sitting here listening, I thought, "I wonder who wrote that speech for him."
§ Mr. Haynes
I had the impression that the Minister did not really believe what he was saying. I hope that he will get up again and tell us—I gather that he is not going to get up again, but if there is a vote we shall find out which Lobby he goes into. If you will allow me, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I shall come back later and tell him what I think about him. He has the opportunity to speak again: I will give him the right—and I am sure that you will, Mr. Deputy Speaker—to stand up again at that Dispatch Box and tell us what he is going to do, what he really means and whether he supports the new clause.
The Minister may talk about Mr. Justice Popplewell, but we are talking about the facts of life. There is no need to point to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland; he has made his case. I am talking about the Minister. He sits on the Government Front Bench, and he speaks tonight on behalf of the Secretary of State, who sits there laughing his head off as though it were all a big joke. [Interruption.] Does someone want me to give way? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Hon. Members have taken me off my train of thought now; I do not know where I am. Oh yes, I was talking about the grin on the face of the Secretary of State.
This is a serious matter, and the right hon. Gentleman ought to know better. I have served with him on the Committee stages of various employment Bills. We got on ever so well, but tonight the Minister is not saying at the Dispatch Box the things that I want to hear. I hope that we shall hear whether or not he agrees with the new clause. If 124 he does not inform us verbally, we shall certainly know the answer if there is a vote. Make no mistake—I am coming back to that point.
§ Mr. McCartney
I support the clause as someone with a number of years' experience representing employees at industrial tribunals. I refer to employers who either do not want a tribunal to consider a dismissal or who, in the period leading up to the hearing, employ methods, fair or foul, to ensure that the hearing does not take place for a considerable length of time after the dismissal in question.
The proposed clause is more than a form of redress for employees whose tribunal appeals are successful after legitimate delays, because it will also spell out the situation to employers who exploit the system to delay hearings or to dissuade employees from taking their cases to the tribunal. At every stage, employers and their solicitors are able to exploit the law to delay proceedings, to the point where the employee will in many cases give up, or where important witnesses to the dismissal, having themselves found employment elsewhere, are no longer easily available.
When a submission is made to a tribunal, it immediately writes to both parties requesting additional information to be passed to ACAS. That offers the bad employer acting against the employee's interests the first opportunity to procrastinate. That is the point at which consultations should take place with ACAS in the hope that an amicable settlement can be reached. If the employee's complaint is found to be legitimate, negotiations can be held and steps taken to resolve the matter, rather than resort to a formal hearing before the tribunal. Alternatively, it may be found that the employer acted reasonably in all the circumstances.
At present, not just weeks but months can go by before an employer agrees to meet with ACAS or to provide it with information on which to decide whether the employee's original submission to the tribunal was legitimate. After the existing initial stage that provides for ACAS to meet the employer and the employee, often the employer fails to provide sufficient information as the basis on which to hold discussions with all the parties concerned.
ACAS will give the employee, or his legal or trade union representative, an opportunity to address themselves to the evidence. By then, the claim may be into its sixth or ninth month, but the tribunal has not yet been consulted. The employee may then be forced to ask the tribunal for further particulars. The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) may wish to press the Minister and ask him for further and better particulars and for the reasons why he will probably oppose the new clause.
Another few weeks, even two months, may go by as the employer is forced to provide further and better particulars. Then there is a meeting with ACAS after which ACAS submits a report to the tribunal chairman who may decide to have an initial hearing to decide whether the matter should proceed to a full hearing of the tribunal. Another eight to 12 weeks may go by until the date for a further hearing is fixed. It can take more than a year to establish whether there should be an initial hearing. It is completely unreasonable that under the law as it 125 stands a former employee with a legitimate claim may be unable to put his case to a tribunal until more than 12 months after the original complaint.
After the initial hearing, a tribunal may decide that there are legitimate reasons for the complaint to have a full hearing. At that stage, the employer, or the employer's legal representative, may step in again seeking additional information from the former employee. For example, if female employees claim that they are receiving less remuneration than their male colleagues, the employer will present a detailed submission asking them for further details about how they calculate their claim in respect of the way in which they regard the job. That may take another three or four months. An employer may give ACAS the impression that it may consider negotiating. For example, the former employee may be in a new post and it may be necessary to calculate the time from the original dismissal to the taking up of the new post so that there can be appropriate discussions about compensation. While all that takes place, time is continuing. At the end of the negotiations the employer may then tell ACAS that it is prepared to go to a full hearing. Another few months have passed without the employee receiving a settlement.
When the case proceeds to a full hearing all the relevant documents have to be prepared. In many instances the cases are very complex in terms of trying to establish a case of unfair dismissal or constructive dismissal whereby there has been a transfer of undertakings and determining whether such a transfer took place under the Employment Protection Act 1975. It takes considerable time to establish evidence, particularly when an employer is not prepared to play his or her full part in establishing the facts of the case.
Ultimately it could take between 18 months and two years and sometimes longer, and cases become unnecessarily complicated by the misuse of legislation or the administrative practices of ACAS or the tribunal system. An employer can deliberately eke out the case to put off the potential hearing of a tribunal.
In many cases there are legitimate reasons for delay. For example, it is legitimate for ACAS to establish as soon as it can practically do so whether a former employee should proceed with a legitimate claim. It is also important that ACAS has the opportunity to try to negotiate a settlement. In most cases a negotiated settlement is in the best interests of the employee or group of employees who have been dismissed. There are legitimate reasons why substantial delays can occur before a tribunal hearing. That is covered in the first part of the new clause.
The Government will not accept, mainly because of their ambivalence to employees' rights, that a substantial number of employers are not prepared to abide by the rules and play fair or adopt a reasonable attitude. Under the new clause, if an employee succeeds in action taken against such unreasonable behaviour, the employer will have to meet the financial consequences of delaying the proceedings of the tribunal.
Under the current law, rightly there is an obligation on the former employee to establish the reasonableness of his case. At an early stage of the proceedings, if it is clear to the tribunal or ACAS that the employee's submission is unreasonable, it is made clear to the employee that if he proceeds the tribunal may award costs against him. I do not object to that provision because I accept that it is a safeguard against frivolous and vexatious applications against an employer. However, if such protection is 126 available to an employer there must be a quid pro quo for employees, and the new clause offers ample opportunity for that.
Conservative Members have mentioned decisions of the High Court and Court of Appeal. However, they are insufficient to protect many people who try to use the tribunal system but are frustrated by the ability of employers, individually or through their solicitors, to use the system to the full. On many occasions, applicants withdraw rather than go through the lengthy procedures and worries of pursuing a complicated case of unfair dismissal.
§ Mr. Haynes
I am listening carefully to what my hon. Friend is saying. I am convinced that the Minister is following every word and fully understands what my hon. Friend is saying. My hon. Friend probably does not realise that the Minister is a solicitor; he is legally qualified. He has probably represented employers from time to time. My hon. Friend has specifically referred to delay. I believe that the Minister was appointed to his post as he knows employment law from A to Z because he has been involved in it himself.
§ Mr. McCartney
I thank my hon. Friend for his perceptive comments. I apologise to the Minister; I did not realise that he was a member of the legal profession—the best paid closed shop in Britain, although that is currently under threat if one believes the squeals of some Conservative Members during Prime Minister's Question Time.
I represented some women appearing before a tribunal in Liverpool. Prior to entering the room I was reviewing the evidence that we were to put to the tribunal. In the room next to us, which had wafer-thin walls, was the barrister representing the employer. He was telling the employer that his best course of action was to apologise to the chairman of the tribunal and accept the former employee's submissions as it had already cost him £160 for an hour's consultation and would cost him a further £160 an hour if he wanted to proceed. He felt that at the end of the day the employees' submission would be successful. When I and the two women concerned and some people waiting for another case heard that, we felt rather confident on going into the tribunal some minutes later.
There is a substantial financial kickback for those who, on occasions, wish to eke out proceedings leading up to or during the tribunal. The payments for the legal profession are substantial. The barrister to whom I referred was acting honourably in advising his client not to proceed at the cost of £160 an hour but to quit before the cost increased. But that is not always the case and some tribunals have sat for more than a day when it has been clear from the outset that, on the evidence provided, there should have been a settlement long before in favour of the former employees. Only the intransigence of the employer in trying to ensure that the tribunal did not take place or to frustrate it so that the case would not be put by the former employees has prevented such a settlement.
The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland is right that in those circumstances a former employee should not lose out financially. There should be a penalty not only for being unable to come to an amicable arrangement but for having wasted the time of ACAS and the tribunal. There 127 are occasions when people put up a vexatious defence to applications by former employees and in those instances they should be penalised financially.
In other legislation the Government have introduced financial penalties to prevent organisations or individuals from utilising tribunals. The most recent example is the Secretary of State for the Environment's instructions to impose severe financial penalties on developers and local authorities who continue with appeals against certain decisions.
The principle has already been acceded to by the Government on the misuse of tribunal and appeal procedures in other areas, so why, in the area of industrial relations, do the Government only grudgingly accept that such a problem exists but do nothing to protect employees against the misuse of the system by employers? Is it not probably because pressure from some employers' organisations is somewhat clouding the Minister's view about such matters? On the one hand, the Government give the impression of providing additional employees' rights, but the application of the legislation reduces employees' abilities and allows the employers free range to frustrate the ability of former employees to seek redress at industrial tribunals.
§ Mr. Leadbitter
Will my hon. Friend put the position in a nutshell? As I understand it, the new clause does not ask the Government to deviate from the general principle of simple interest at the point of award but says that the simple interest on the award shall be paid from the point of dismissal. That is not a major step for the Government. Will my hon. Friend suggest at an appropriate point that we are not moving away from the general principle that the Government have already accepted—that simple interest at the point of award is apparently acceptable? We are asking, in the name of natural justice, that simple interest shall be payable from the point of dismissal.
§ Mr. McCartney
My hon. Friend is right. The Government should accept that an employer who frustrates the attempts of a former employee to have a case considered by a tribunal or who extends unnecessarily the proceedings leading up to a tribunal hearing—when in the view of ACAS at the secondary stage it was a case which was worthy of consideration by a tribunal—should suffer a financial penalty. An employer in that position should face a financial penalty if, at the end of the day, the former employee succeeds with his or her case. Why do the Government consider that to be unreasonable?
§ Mr. Allan Rogers (Rhondda)
Does my hon. Friend accept that the Government's position on this matter is not clouded or distorted by recommendations that may have been made by employers' organisations? Their position arises simply from the political prejudice of the Minister and his colleagues, who hold an "employee bad, employer good" view. No pressure is being placed on the Minister to refuse to make the change to the Bill that we recommend. His political dogma and prejudice will not allow him to accept a simple amendment such as this.
§ Mr. McCartney
My hon. Friend is probably right. Hon. Members who serve on a regular basis on Committees examining Bills know only too well how the Government refuse to accept amendments which would 128 clearly improve the legislation under consideration. I see my hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon) looking at me invitingly. I assure him that I am not making an oblique reference to another measure. Clearly, we are batting on a sticky wicket in trying to argue for common sense, for a sense of justice and for fair play. We are trying to ensure that when legislation leaves this place it will work. The Government have already secured the principle of the Bill in Committee and on the Floor of the House. Let us now try to improve it.
§ Mr. Leadbitter
My hon. Friend will be aware that, having accepted as a reasonable principle that simple interest shall be paid from the point of dismissal, the new clause provides that if an employer can show just cause why it should not be paid, that claim will be taken into account and, if proven, accepted. The onus is on the employer to show why it should not be paid. In other words, there is no reason why the Government should not accept the new clause.
§ Mr. McCartney
My hon. Friend is correct, and I can give an example of the way in which legislation works in that way now at the conclusion of a tribunal hearing. I am thinking of what happens when there is an application for costs in addition to normal costs, either because the employer's application was vexatious or because the timescale involved in bringing witnesses was extended beyond what had been anticipated, making the cost of reimbursing witnesses more expensive. At that stage a request can be, and usually is, made to the chairman of the tribunal. At that point the employer can object, on two grounds: on the ground of the principle that the payment should be made and, if that falls, on the ground of the level of the reimbursement. In either case he can request that the former employee or his representative go on the witness stand under oath and establish the facts on the basis of which the application is made. Only after that procedure does the chairman of the tribunal either give a ruling or consult with his two colleagues and come back with a decision.
In every instance the rights of the employer are protected and that is precisely what the position would be in respect of any tribunal after the acceptance of this clause. The employer's rights would be protected absolutely both by the way that the clause is worded and by the way that it would be applied in due course by the tribunal.
So the position is absolutely clear. The Minister cannot argue that the clause has a major defect in the sense that it undermines the rights of the employer at the tribunal in the calculation of interest. The employer is protected throughout. The only change that this clause makes is to make it clear to those employers who wish to undermine the tribunal system that there will be a financial penalty to be met if at the end of the day their case is not accepted by the tribunal. It is as simple and as clear as that and I cannot think of any reason why the Government cannot accept this new clause willingly. Let us make the best of this bad Bill and at least improve it in some ways.
Throughout the procedure of getting to a tribunal the onus is on the employee to show that there is good cause to submit the complaint to a tribunal. The employee submits it to a tribunal in the absolute knowledge that if the application is judged vexatious or there is anything wrong with the way in which the evidence is produced to 129 the tribunal and if the hearing goes against him he can be liable for substantial costs. If that is the position for employees now, why should it not be the position for employers after the passing of this Bill?
§ Ms. Jo Richardson (Barking)
We shall be voting with the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) on this interesting, ingenious and useful new clause. We have heard a very powerful case put by my hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney), who is clearly an expert on this matter. We should all be grateful to him for the way in which he described the various cases.
We have all come across cases in our own experience, either as Members of Parliament, or perhaps in a former life, or perhaps in a double life if we are continuing that former life while being a Member of Parliament, as some hon. Members seem to be doing. In my own limited experience as a constituency Member—and I mean limited by being a Member of Parliament—I have found a very large number of cases over the years of people who have had to wait months and months, not knowing what is happening, when their case will come to court or when the appeal will be heard. Why should it always be the employer who has the whip hand, as it were, and who can always in some way, often ingeniously, put things off? Cases of unfair dismissal always disadvantage the aggrieved person throughout the procedure.
I find it amazing that the Minister can toss the new clause aside in so brief and dismissive a way. At the beginning of his remarks, I thought that he was going to accept it because he seemed to be sympathetic to the first point. We are, of course, glad to hear that the Government will eventually—whenever "eventually" is—lay an order. However, why should we have to wait for that? Why should we always be pushing when there is, apparently, an open door? The Government themselves have introduced the Employment Bill. If the Government are as near as the Minister says to introducing such a provision and he has an order ready to be laid, why did he not include this provision in the Bill? Why did he leave it out and why is he still leaving it out?
The Minister referred to the point about interest being payable at the point of dismissal or, as he said, when the wrong occurred. Why not? My hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield (Mr. Haynes), I believe—
§ Ms. Richardson
Do not "my dear" me. My hon. Friend, in his usual style of hitting straight between the eyes, after which they all fell down laughing, put his finger on the point. He has shown that the point about the Inland Revenue—which Conservative Members, not Opposition Members, have raised—is the most telling. In my experience as a Member of Parliament dealing with constituency cases, whenever the Revenue is owed money, it wants its interest immediately from the point at which the money was owed. Sometimes people have the temerity when they are owed money as taxpayers—which frequently happens—to say, "1 want money on the interest you have been holding from me". It may have been held for some time if there has been a mistake for several years. However, I have never found a way of persuading the Inland Revenue to pay interest. That is most unfair.
§ Ms. Richardson
I should be delighted if the hon. Gentleman would tell me how to persuade the Revenue.
§ Mr. Hanley
It is not fair to say that the Inland Revenue does not pay interest on overdue tax because it does. As a professional chartered accountant, my experience is that it has always been most fair. I have no brief to defend the Inland Revenue on this matter. I am merely trying to explain my experience.
§ Ms. Richardson
The hon. Gentleman is a chartered accountant. The majority of my constituents do not have chartered accountants to do their accounts. [Interruption.] Hold on a moment. They simply know that they are owed money. At some stage, they are told by the Revenue that a mistake has been discovered and that they are owed some money. Perhaps I should have come to the hon. Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley) professionally. I have had several cases over the years in which I have written to the Revenue and have said that a woman or man has been owed money for two or three years. I have asked why the interest cannot be paid, but I have never won a case yet.
§ Mr. Rogers
Will my hon. Friend press the hon. Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley) on this issue? I have never heard of an instance in which the Inland Revenue has paid interest on moneys that have been paid by a taxpayer and which it is to refund. I hope that my hon. Friend will press the hon. Gentleman to give one instance in which the Inland Revenue has done so.
§ Mr. Hanley
Not only is interest payable in the circumstances that have been described; it is even tax free.
§ Ms. Richardson
The hon. Gentleman should conduct a seminar, in his capacity as a chartered accountant, to tell Members of Parliament how to tackle the Revenue on behalf of their constituents. I have certainly never come across such a case.
§ Mr. Hawkins
It is simple. One merely appeals against an assessment and if one wins the appeal, interest will be awarded against the Inland Revenue.
It is a side issue whether the Revenue pays, as well as receives, interest. The important point is that it is not normal in legislation for interest to be paid from the date of the event—from the date on which it is owing. I should love someone to comment on what Mr. Justice Popplewell said. The injustice to which I believe he was referring was not the payment of interest from the date of the court case; it was the payment of interest in the case where employers purposely delayed the case, sometimes for three years, and so deprived the person who should have received money of the interest that he could easily have earned in a building society. That is the injustice which we have been asked to put right but which, I am sad to say, we do not put right in the Bill.
§ Ms. Richardson
To return to the Inland Revenue point, perhaps we are talking about two different angles. The hon. Members for High Peak (Mr. Hawkins) and for Richmond and Barnes appear to be thinking of different circumstances. Suppose that a person claims that he or she 131 has been overpaying tax, engages an accountant—or anyway knows how to proceed—and goes to appeal. The outcome of that appeal may be a decision that interest is payable. I can envisage that happening. But I am thinking about a different kind of case, in which the Revenue has written to someone saying, "Dear Sir"—it is never "Dear Sir or Madam"—"We have found that we have made a mistake. We owe you £200, which we took from you wrongly in 1978." In that case, it is not a question of going to appeal; the Revenue has admitted its mistake. But even if one writes to the Revenue and says, "You owe that person interest," the person never gets the interest out of the Revenue. I beg the hon. Members for High Peak and for Richmond and Barnes to think about that point. We are not talking about the professional cases in which the taxpayer goes to appeal. That is different, I agree.
§ Ms. Richardson
Yes, it is an award.
Let me return to the main point, as I want to leave time for the Member for Orkney and Shetland to reply—
§ Mr. McCartney
Conservative Members may not concede the point about the Inland Revenue but we should draw the Minister's attention to the booklet issued by the Department of Employment about industrial tribunal procedures, page 11 of which deals with the award of costs or expenses. It advises employees about the awards of costs and expenses against them and says:an award of costs may follow a warning given at a pre-hearing assessment.I referred to that in my remarks. It continues:This may apply even if the application is withdrawn and the case does not go on to a hearing.That clearly states that an employee can have costs awarded against him backdated to the date on which the application was made. The calculation could only be made from that date. The award of costs could only be for the period from the date on which the application was made to the date on which it was withdrawn. The point is already conceded in respect of employees in the Department's own booklet, yet the Government are still not prepared to meet the request in respect of employers.
§ Ms. Richardson
My hon. Friend has made an excellent point, and I hope that the Minister will look again at the booklet, in which the position is simply stated. I hope that the Minister will think again. The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland has made a good and honest attempt, and introduced a very good debate, in trying to persuade the Department of the justice of what he and we believe.
I hope that the House will support new clause 19. If it is in some way defective, the Minister can have it redrafted and then reintroduce it on another occasion. It is not good enough for him simply to say that the first part of the new clause is not necessary because, at some future date, he will lay an order and with little explanation to say that the second part is not acceptable.
§ Mr. Wallace
This has been a somewhat longer debate than I had anticipated, but, as the hon. Member for Barking (Ms. Richardson) said, it has been a good debate. I welcome the Opposition's support for the new clause. It is regrettable that the Minister's response was so brief and 132 so dismissive. I welcome his announcement that the long-awaited regulations will be tabled in the not-too-distant future. However, I am sure that he would accept that that goes only a small way towards what the new clause seeks to achieve.
A fair point was made about why the position should be any different between the Inland Revenue charging interest and an employee charging interest when the payment has been delayed for some considerable time and he has, therefore, lost the opportunity of gaining interest on that capital. Part of the purpose of the new clause is to rectify that position. If someone has pursued a claim for redundancy through an industrial tribunal and been given a lump sum award at that time, he could have invested it and gained interest. Why should he be denied interest on that money which, over some years—or even one year with the current rate of inflation under this Government—has been devalued? I disagree with the suggestion of the hon. Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) that there should be some penalty. Interest is not a penalty; it is a fair sum.
§ Mr. Leadbitter
The hon. Gentleman is on the right track. The date of that award is neither significant nor pertinent because the award itself relates to dismissal. Interest on the award should therefore be payable from the date of dismissal.
§ Mr. Wallace
The hon. Gentleman is right. I am not trained in English law, but Professor David Walker, an eminent professor of Scots law, said in the second edition of his work on delict:Accordingly the earliest date from which interest may be ordered to run is the date when the right of action arose.The word "may" makes it discretionary and what the new clause proposes is discretionary.
This is the United Kingdom Parliament, and if the Minister feels uneasy because the new clause does not coincide with what he knows to be English law, I ask him to think again because it may well coincide with what Professor Walker says is possible under Scots law. It is not intended in any way to be a penalty; it is intended to ensure justice and fairness. In the absence of any assurance that that point is taken on board by the Government, we will press the new clause to a Division.
§ Mr. Nicholls
Even in this relatively short debate a number of important points have been raised to which I wish to respond. It is obvious to me, if not to every hon. Member in the Chamber, that the Opposition have been pushing at an open door. The principle of interest being payable on awards made by industrial tribunals was conceded in the 1982 Act, which amended the 1978 Act. It has now been conceded in practice because the Government are consulting about a scheme for the payment of interest.
The hon. Member for Barking (Ms. Richardson) posed the perfectly fair question, why bother to do it that way when an appropriate Bill is going through Parliament? We believe that we have something rather better than a Bill —a statute with an order-making power. We have gone out to consultation and said that we will introduce a scheme later this year. So the principle was conceded as long ago as 1978 and the practice has now been conceded as well.
133 11.30 pm
The only point of difference between the hon. Gentleman and me is whether such a scheme should provide for the payment of interest as from the date of judgment or whether it should be from the date of wrongdoing. I heard what my hon. Friends said about the Inland Revenue. That is not an appropriate analogy. Insofar as it was appropriate, it was an expert opinion from chartered accountants. It was advice which on this occasion was free. Free advice from chartered accountants is a treasure much to be prized. My hon. Friend was wrong about interest being payable.
By far the better example was the reference to court cases by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland. The point about court cases is that the general rule is that interest runs from the time of judgment. In exceptional circumstances it can run from the time of wrongdoing, but in practice that happens only in exceptional circumstances because inevitably it can take a considerable time to get the hearing to court.
A great deal of play has been made of the Caledonian Mining case and the remarks of Mr. Justice Popplewell. One dislikes to blur an interesting debate by referring to facts, but the point about that case is that reference was made in the judgment to the plaintiffs having been kept out of their money for three years. That was the time it took from the case being heard at first instance until it was disposed of on appeal. It took only a few months to get the case to the tribunal. So the blot on justice that has been referred to time and time again relates not to the time in tribunals where cases are heard relatively quickly but to the date of judgment. That is the usual position. That is what applies in courts of law. That is why I say in this case that the Opposition are pushing at an open door.
§ Mr. Wallace
The Minister has conceded that it is more appropriate to look to courts but he said that there were exceptional circumstances where interest would be allowed from a date preceding the date of judgment. The new clause allows discretion. It is not mandatory. I accept that the presumption is in favour of it. I would see it as being very much second best, but would the Minister be more disposed towards the new clause if the presumption was reversed and the person had to argue for it? That would be better than what the Minister proposes, although it would not go as far as I would wish. Is the Minister prepared to consider that?
§ Mr. Nicholls
Obviously the hon. Gentleman is finally accepting that there is more force in what I said—
§ Mr. Haynes
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it right and proper for the Minister, during a debate of this kind, to say to an hon. Member that he will give him the last chance? I am asking for a ruling from the Chair. The way the Minister is carrying on is shocking, and 1 think you ought to tell him so, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
§ Mr. Nicholls
As the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland well knows, we are dealing with a structure of tribunals where a case can be heard quickly, as opposed to 134 a court where it can take a considerable time. That is the significant difference, and that is why I cannot go all the way with the hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Rogers
I am participating in the debate at this stage because of the remark by the Minister about giving the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) the last chance to speak. It is not the Minister who determines the length of debate.
The only reason the Government are not prepared to accept the new clause seems to be because of their political prejudice and deep-seated dogma on industrial relations. The whole basis of their presentation of the Bill is that they want to argue employer, good—employee, bad. If any hon. Member makes a constructive suggestion that would improve the Bill, as the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland did, we see immediately the hackles of prejudice and dogma rise on the backs of Ministers.
It does not matter that my hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) or the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland have put forward their case in a proper fashion. The Opposition's attitude to the debate is, in a sense, cynical, because we know that the Minister will not accept any proposition that is reasonably based.
When the Minister puts forward instances to justify the case, he does it without a sense of common justice and fair play. The litigants whom we are thinking about in this situation are ordinary people, who often receive wages, and who are involved in disputes, or, perhaps, are made redundant because of circumstances that are beyond their control. They are suddenly confronted with their employers being difficult and do not want—to use an expression that we use in the valleys—to give them their fair due for their legitimate rights.
Let us suppose that a person is entitled to £2,000 for a period of service of employment and, perhaps, an even longer period of future unemployment. If the employer is difficult, he can drag the matter out, as mentioned by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland, and by the time —at the Government's present rate of inflation—that £2,000 is paid, under the proposals in the Bill it could be worth considerably less. On the basis of common justice and fair play, it should be paid at the time that the person is due the money. It is not beyond an employer who is devious, or even just cheap—the sort of person who supports the Conservative party—to delay, knowing that at the end of the day the amount of money that he will pay out will be worth much less than at the time when it should have been paid.
The Government are wrong in not accepting this reasonable new clause. I know that if we argued right through the night we would not convince this Minister —the Minister who during the past year stood at the Dispatch Box and suggested that women should work in the coal mines, which was something that most people thought had gone out in the last century. A Minister who can justify that proposition could justify anything. One thing that I would not look for from this Minister is—
§ Mr. McCartney
On the question of compensation and its fairness, even when compensation must be paid, for example, when an employer refuses to make a reinstatement at the end of a tribunal—when an employee has sought reinstatement and not a financial contribution—in the calculation of the compensation for the failure to reinstate, there is a statutory requirement on the employee 135 to prove that within the period leading up to the tribunal he has sought gainful employment. If that is not proven, the compensation can be reduced accordingly. Therefore, at all stages in the procedure there is an obligation on the employee that will determine the final amount of compensation. If that is the case for the employee, this minimal requirement on the employer should be accepted by the Minister.
§ Mr. Rogers
Yes, but my hon. Friend should not be surprised by the ethic put forward by the Government. It underlies the Government's attitude. They try to project that they are in support of individuals, that they protect individuals and that they want to look after individuals, but, of course, that is only applicable if the individual can buy into the legal system—if he can afford the legal system. For so many individuals the only way that they can get into the legal system is by forming associations or affiliations, such as trade unions. However, the Government have attacked trade unions and their ability to defend individuals. It is a concerted political attack based on their prejudices and political dogmas.
§ Mr. McCartney
My hon. Friend makes an interesting point about the Government's political dogma. Perhaps they do not want interest to be paid from the date of dismissal because of the Chancellor's high interest rate policy and the damage that will be done to employers who lose a case.
§ Mr. Rogers
I agree with my hon. Friend. The Government are concerned with, for example, the right of individuals in Poland to form themselves into a trade union. They mouth hypocritical statements about the rights of trade unions and blows for democracy. At the same time, they use the power of the state over individuals who want to exercise their trade union rights in this country.
The Government's pathological hatred of trade unions goes back to the Heath Government. We know its basis. I do not expect any common justice from the Government or the Minister. The time for reasonable arguments and debate in the Chamber has gone. On many issues, the Government say no, no, no. They decide where they want to go. The way in which the Government are trying to destroy the Health Service is just another symptom of their dogma. We are seeing in the Government's intransigence and negativeness their political prejudice and dogma. There has never been a more dogma-ridden Government in this century. I hope that we will press the motion to a vote.
§ Mr. Rogers
The hon. Member has agreed. Unless one of my colleagues speaks in the debate, the Division will come fairly soon.
§ Mr. Leadbitter
I notice that, in responding to the debate, the Minister appeared to have a brief before him. He appeared to present to the House something on which his mind was already made up. That is out of character for him.
§ Mr. Leadbitter
It is out of character because we are not asking a great deal in new clause 19. We are saying that the general principle has been accepted. We are talking only about the time scale.
The Minister referred to a state of wrongdoing. Once the tribunal makes a declaration in favour of an applicant —in this case, the employee—that state of wrongdoing is removed. The question is whether in a state of equity the person who has been given the award should have simple interest from the date of judgment or from the date of dismissal. The state of wrongdoing has been removed. Therefore, the new clause gives the Minister another point in his favour. If an employer can show just cause why interest shall not be paid from the date of dismissal, the tribunal will uphold his decision.
Why are the Government intervening in a democratic process? In effect, the tribunal says to the employer, "Your state of wrongdoing vis-a-vis the employee has been removed". It may take months for an employee to get his case before the tribunal, through no fault of his, so why cannot the award be bolstered by a state of equity, natural justice—whatever one calls it—and an innocent employee given simple interest from the date of dismissal?
§ Mr. McCartney
Will my hon. Friend refer to paragraph 6(b) of the new clause which says that interest shall not be awarded beforein the case of a redundancy payment, the relevant date defined by section 90 of this Act;"?It raises a curious anomaly in the Minister's case. If a redundancy took place, redundancy payments would be paid from the date of the redundancy, but if an appeal were made to a tribunal which decided that the redundancy was not a redundancy but an unfair dismissal, unless the new clause was accepted, the award would not start from the date of the redundancy, as a redundancy notice would require under the Employment Bill, but from the date of the tribunal. It would be completely wrong if, having proved at a tribunal that a redundancy did not exist, compensation was awarded only from the date of the tribunal, not the redundancy.
§ Mr. Leadbitter
My hon. Friend is correct. About a year ago an employee found himself in a difficulty, not of his own making, but due to a personality conflict between him and his chief officer. The young man went to a tribunal and was exonerated. However, when he returned to the local authority, which I shall not name because it would be imprudent to do so, it remained adamant and did not provide a response to the tribunal's decision.
Ordinary working people are not lawyers, but depend entirely upon their occupation. Therefore, they go to a tribunal in a state of complete innocence. They do not know what is going to happen. But those on the tribunal who professionally consider a person's predicament and decide to award in his or her favour are saying that he or she has been relieved of a state of wrongdoing. If the process has taken several months, it seems, in equity, that the award is intended to refer to the date of dismissal, not of the award.
I do not wish to take up too much time tonight, and the Minister may be unable to respond, but I wish to make the point that the Minister had a brief. I understand that because I have been here long enough. I am not recriminating the Minister; that is the last thing that I want 137 to do. However, I would like to feel that the Minister will return to his Department and discuss the mood of the House with the Secretary of State for Employment.
On both sides of the House there is substance in the idea that an ordinary working person, having been exonerated by an award, could reasonably expect the award and the simple interest to come from the date of dismissal.
§ Mr. Rogers
I notice that when my hon. Friend appeals to the better nature of the Minister and Conservative Members, as he has in his speech, all he had by way of response was a rather cynical grin. I do not wish to make a personal statement against my hon. Friend, but I wish that he would not accord to Conservative Members virtues that do not belong to them. To suggest that they are reasonable people who will accept a reasonable case is not valid. They are motivated by political dogma and prejudice, and all the reasonable arguments that may be advanced fall on deaf ears.
§ Mr. Leadbitter
I understand my hon. Friend's view, but we are dealing with a limited number of cases, although it may vary according to the time of year. We are dealing with ordinary working people. I feel that I know the House of Commons. If the Minister is not in a position to give an undertaking now, I hope that he will understand the temper of the House. We are asking for something very small, although the principle is very important. If an hon. Member on either side of the House was placed in the position of an employee going before a tribunal and gained an award, would he find it difficult to understand that that award should apply from the date of dismissal and not from the date of the tribunal's judgment?
I hope that the Minister will discuss the matter with the Secretary of State. It is not important to him as a Minister, or to me, or to any hon. Member on either side of the House; we occupy favoured positions as elected Members of the House of Commons, and we are very well off. But we are talking about people who may be very poor indeed, and who need the benefit of our prudence.
§ Mr. Clelland
My hon. Friend the Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Leadbitter) has appealed to the Minister to look to the justice of the case being put forward. I feel, however, that here we are dealing not with justice but with attitudes. My hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers) is quite right in that repect.
We may speak of the simple justice of giving someone interest on money that he may have been owed for a considerable time—for such cases are often delayed in the way described by my hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney). We are discussing not only the payment of interest but the payment of the compensation itself, and often such compensation is inadequate, not only in terms of meeting the wrongdoing often involved in unfair dismissal or the denial of redundancy payments, but in terms of meeting the lost earnings that may have resulted.
In Committee, I drew the Minister's attention to a case on record in which an industrial tribunal found that an applicant had been unfairly dismissed. Winding up the case, the chairman said that had it not been for the legal maximum he would have been entitled to far more compensation, and that the tribunal would have wished to give him far more. Although such remarks were made by people who had been through the facts of the case, the 138 Minister was not willing to give way to that argument, and it is even less likely that he will give way to the argument being put tonight.
§ Mr. Rogers
I have been arguing on the basis that the Minister will not give way to any argument, because of his prejudices and dogma. One reason why he is not giving way on this issue may be what could loosely be termed political childishness. When he gave the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) what he thought was his "last chance" to speak—some last chance that was—the Minister said that he had already conceded the point in principle, and that the Government were prepared to bring in the measure in an order at a later stage. Before my hon. Friend sits down, perhaps he will reflect on the motives behind the Government's attitude.
§ Mr. Clelland
Part of the problem is that when perfectly reasonable arguments are made by the Opposition in Committee or in the House, the Minister sees it as his job not to listen to them, and then to say, "That sounds all right to me. We may not agree with the wording, but we shall devise something that will better fit the Bill," but rather he takes a macho view and considers that his task is to defeat the Opposition rather than to produce reasonable legislation.
The attitude to which my hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda drew attention was amply displayed when we debated that part of the Bill dealing with employment rights.
§ Mr. McCartney
Perhaps my hon. Friend will probe the Minister as to his attitude towards the Employment Act 1982—the Tebbit Act—under which retrospective payments amounting to £2 million were made to 400 people who alleged unfair dismissal because of their refusal to join a trade union, when their cases had already been dismissed at tribunal hearings. Nevertheless, sections 1 and 2 of that Act enabled them retrospectively to enjoy huge awards.
§ Mr. Clelland
The Government's prejudices are well known, and my hon. Friend draws attention to a particular case that illustrates them. The Government have shown on many occasions that they can twist the law to favour their particular prejudices, while denying justice to those entitled to it.
In Committee, we suggested that from day one of their employment, people should be entitled to the full range of employment rights. The Minister's argument against that proposal was that employees would use those rights against their employers. That revealed that the view of the Minister and of the Government is that such rights serve not to protect employees against their employers but as weapons for employees to use against their employers. That reveals a great deal about the Minister's psychology when it comes to industrial relations, and says much about why he will not accept the justice for which the proposed new clause provides.
§ Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 60, Noes 154.140
|Division No. 224]
|Beith, A. J.
|Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)
|Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
|McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
|Buckley, George J.
|Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
|Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I)
|Pike, Peter L.
|Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
|Evans, John (St Helens N)
|Godman, Dr Norman A.
|Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
|Golding, Mrs Llin
|Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)
|Home Robertson, John
|Steel, Rt Hon David
|Wareing, Robert N.
|Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
|Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
|Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
|Wise, Mrs Audrey
|Tellers for the Ayes:
|Mr. Archy Kirkwood and
|Mr. James Wallace.
|Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael
|Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
|Hampson, Dr Keith
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)
|Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
|Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
|Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)
|Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
|Bevan, David Gilroy
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter
|Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)
|Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
|Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
|Bottomley, Mrs Virginia
|Hunt, David (Wirral W)
|Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard
|Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
|King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
|Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)
|Knight, Greg (Derby North)
|Cope, Rt Hon John
|Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
|Davis, David (Boothferry)
|Lee, John (Pendle)
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
|Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
|Lyell, Sir Nicholas
|Macfarlane, Sir Neil
|Fishburn, John Dudley
|Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
|McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)
|Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
|Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
|Maude, Hon Francis
|Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
|Meyer, Sir Anthony
|Miller, Sir Hal
|Glyn, Dr Alan
|Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
|Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
|Mitchell, Sir David
|Greenway, John (Ryedale)
|Moore, Rt Hon John
|Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')
|Morrison, Sir Charles
|Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
|Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
|Moynihan, Hon Colin
|Nicholson, David (Taunton)
|Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
|Taylor, Ian (Esher)
|Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
|Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
|Patten, Chris (Bath)
|Townend, John (Bridlington)
|Porter, David (Waveney)
|Powell, William (Corby)
|Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
|Twinn, Dr Ian
|Vaughan, Sir Gerard
|Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
|Waddington, Rt Hon David
|Rumbold, Mrs Angela
|Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
|Sainsbury, Hon Tim
|Shaw, David (Dover)
|Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
|Winterton, Mrs Ann
|Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
|Soames, Hon Nicholas
|Woodcock, Dr. Mike
|Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
|Tellers for the Noes:
|Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
|Mr. David Heathcoat-Amory
|Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
|Mr. Tom Sackville.
|Stradling Thomas, Sir John
§ Question accordingly negatived.