§ Mr. Dennis Canavan (Falkirk, West)
I beg to move amendment No. 33, in page 1, line 14, at end insert `but the Secretary of State shall not, in performing the duty, or exercising the power, distinguish, as regards the benefits or services provided or as regards the terms on which they are provided, between pupils at any self-governing school and pupils at education authority schools in the same area.'.
§ Mr. Speaker
With this, it will be convenient to consider the following Government amendments: No. 72, No. 83, No. 84, No. 91, No. 92; and Government new clause 25—Recurrent grant in respect of provision for special educational needs.
§ Mr. Canavan
As the Bill stands, it is a serious threat to one of the basic principles of comprehensive education,—equality of educational opportunity for all children and young people, irrespective of their ability or aptitude. One of the finest achievements of the 1964–70 Labour Government was the introduction of comprehensive education, and it is worth recalling that it was introduced in Scotland without legislation. The then Secretary of Slate for Scotland, Willie Ross, simply sent a circular round to all local education authorities in Scotland, and even the few authorities which were Tory-controlled complied with the Secretary of State's request, because it was reasonable and because there was such widespread consensus in Scotland at that time about the fairness of comprehensive education, and particularly the basic principle of equality of educational opportunity. Many people saw through the unfairness and the evils of the two-tier system, under which children were selected or rejected at the ages of 11 or 12 on the result of just one test.
It is greatly to be regretted that the Government have now broken the consensus in favour of comprehensive education, a system for which there is still widespread support in Scotland. Scotland moved towards comprehensive education without the need for legislation, yet the Government are forcing this Bill through the House against the wishes of elected Scottish Members, the majority of those working in education and the majority of parents, all of whom want nothing to do with such an infringement of the basic principle of equality of educational opportunity.
There is an understandable fear of a return to a two-tier system, and without my amendment there will be an increased chance of that happening. The Secretary of State may show bias towards self-governing schools and give them special treatment or unfair advantage over local authority schools. The Government are intent upon eroding the local authority education sector. For political, not educational, reasons, the Secretary of State may try to 151 encourage that erosion by giving additional funds to schools that opt for self-governing status, in the hope that that will have a snowball effect, with more parents voting for self-governing status because they want that additional funding for their children.
The Bill will split the local authority education system into two different sorts of school. The self-governing schools will be funded by direct grant from the Secretary of State, with the remainder being funded, as at present, by local authorities. The local authority is dependent upon the Secretary of State, through revenue support grant, for most of the money that it spends on education. It is also dependent upon him for borrowing consent for capital for projects such as the building of new schools or extensions to existing schools. The Secretary of State will have his hands on the purse strings not only of what he hopes will be self-governing schools but, indirectly, of local authority schools. There will be an opportunity for a certain amount of financial manipulation to give unfair advantage to self-governing schools.
The amendment would place upon the Secretary of State a statutory responsibility to be as even-handed as possible between local authority schools and self-governing schools. The Minister may have already noticed that there is a similarity in the wording of my amendment to clause 24, which states:the authority shall not, in performing the duty, or exercising the power, distinguish, as regards the benefits or services provided or as regards the terms on which they are provided, between those two categories of pupil.The two categories of pupils referred to are those at self-governing schools and those at education authority schools.
To refresh the memories of those who were members of the Committee, and the memories of Members present now for Report, clause 24 refers to certain services and benefits for pupils which will continue to be the statutory responsibility of the education authority even for self-governing schools after opting out has taken place. Schedule 6 specifies the obligations which the education authority shall continue to have even after self-governing status has been acquired. Those responsibilities include the responsibility for health and cleanliness of pupils.
Health and cleanliness are important. It is often said that cleanliness is next to godliness. However, educational opportunity is also important. With regard to the important aspect of educational opportunity, which is the prime function of a school, the Secretary of State should have a continuing responsibility to be even-handed in his treatment of education authority schools and any schools which may opt for self-governing status.
If the drafters of the legislation, and presumably the Secretary of State, thought it necessary to write into the Bill a continuing statutory responsibility on education authorities in connection with self-governing schools, I maintain that there is an equally compelling case to place a statutory responsibility on the Secretary of State to be even-handed in his treatment of the two different categories of schools and the two different categories of pupils.
The Secretary of State has some responsibility, directly or indirectly, for the education of all children in Scotland. It is sometimes said that we are all Jock Tamson's bairns. However, in this matter of education, I suppose we are all 152 the Secretary of State's bairns. Just like any good parent who tries to be even-handed with his or her children, if the Secretary of State is to be a responsible and good Secretary of State for education in Scotland, he should have regard to the need for equality of educational opportunity between children attending self-governing schools and those attending education authority schools in the same area.
Unfortunately, the Secretary of State so far, by many of his actions, has failed to live up to his responsibility to be even-handed with pupils, whatever school they attend or whatever category they fall into. That is obvious from the massive cuts in educational provision and the resources provided to education authority schools. Those cuts have been imposed by the Government while at the same time, they can find millions of pounds of taxpayers' money to operate the assisted places scheme in non-education authority schools, which in effect means that millions of pounds of public money are being given out to bolster that privileged sector of education which caters for less than 4 per cent. of Scottish children.
In view of the Secretary of State's track record in being very unfair and using public money to bolster privilege while at the same time denying adequate resources to 96 per cent. of children who attend education authority schools in Scotland, there is a strong need for a statutory responsibility like that proposed in my amendment. It would place the onus on the Secretary of State to give equality of treatment to all children in Scotland, instead of giving an unfair advantage to a privileged minority.
§ Mr. Allan Stewart (Eastwood)
The hon. Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan) made three or four general points in support of the amendment before coming to the point of principle. I accept at the outset that he has a genuine point of principle, but the amendment is unnecessary.
The hon. Gentleman's first point was that the legislation is being passed against the wishes of the majority of parents. It is worth reiterating that nothing will happen at self-governing schools unless the parents wish it to happen. Under the revised provisions before the House, there will, if necessary, be two ballots of parents and, unless they express the wish for their school to have self-governing status, there will be no change. Therefore, this is purely permissive legislation. That is the crucial point against those who have sought to tell the Scottish people that anybody will be forced to do anything under the self-governing clauses.
The hon. Gentleman's second point was that the legislation seeks to undermine the comprehensive system. I have no doubt that we shall return to that point during the debate, but it is not central to the hon. Gentleman's case at this stage. However, it is interesting to note what has been revealed about Opposition Members' view of the objectives of Scotland's comprehensive education system. The hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. McLeish) made a remarkable admission in an article in the Glasgow Herald this morning. In a number of respects, it was a remarkably honest article, and I commend him on that. He said:Before 1979, Education was used by successive governments in an attempt to engineer an even more egalitarian society.All is revealed. That is what the Labour Government's education policies in Scotland were all about—not according to propaganda from the Adam Smith Institute 153 or the Tory party central office, but according to the Labour party's Front-Bench education spokesman. They were all about social engineering.
§ Mr. Stewart
I shall not make any personal comment on the hon. Gentleman's education. As he knows, I am a product of the Scottish comprehensive education system, and proud to be so. However, I went through that system rather earlier than the hon. Gentleman.
Dundee high school has been mentioned by the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. McAllion). He will be glad to know, as I am sure the House will be, that this year Dundee high school celebrates its 750th year. Those who sometimes make the most wild assertions about Scottish educational traditions should bear in mind the fact that the tradition of that school has continued in Dundee for three quarters of a millenium.
The third point made by the hon. Member for Falkirk, West related to the assisted places scheme. However, that scheme is about choice, just as the provisions to which the amendment refers are about choice. [Interruption.] Let me give the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery) a quotation, again from the revealing article written by the hon. Member for Fife, Central:the hi-jacking and exploitation by the right of parental choice is one of their most significant victories.I agree. It is a significant and continuing victory.
§ Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
The hon. Gentleman knows as well as I do that the assisted places scheme is a creaming-off process that attacks comprehensive education, by taking certain children out of it to receive special treatment. The same was done a long time ago. The scheme favours a particular grouping, and the price of it goes up year by year at the expense of comprehensive education.
§ Mr. Stewart
Not at all. The scheme is designed to give those having incomes below a certain level the opportunity to send their children to particular schools. The scheme extends choice and gives parents an opportunity to choose a particular sector of education. It makes no attack on the comprehensive system.
§ 4 pm
§ Mr. Harry Ewing (Falkirk, East)
I am sure that the hon. Gentleman does not wish to mislead the House over the way in which the assisted places scheme operates. He seems to suggest that all parents having an income below the level to which he referred have a right to an assisted place for their child, but he knows perfectly well that that is not true. The headmaster of the school operating the scheme has the final say. My hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery) is right to say that the headmaster—correctly, from his point of view—chooses the cream of the pupils. There are hundreds and hundreds of cases of children of parents who meet the income criteria being refused admission.
§ Mr. Stewart
I am grateful to the hon. Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Ewing) for confirming that there is a large demand for assisted places. That line was not generally taken by Labour Members in Committee, but the hon. Member for Falkirk, East has more experience and understanding of Scottish education trends than do 154 members of the Labour Front Bench. While the hon. Gentleman is correct to say that not every pupil who wants such an education has an opportunity to receive it, that is not an argument for not extending that opportunity whenever possible.
The hon. Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan) argues that there should be an equality of treatment as between the Secretary of State's financing of self-governing schools and that which the Secretary of State partly, if not wholly, determines for schools in the local authority sector. The Government's position on that aspect has been stated with great clarity. At the 18th sitting of the First Scottish Standing Committee, my hon. Friend the Minister stated:It may help the Committee if I restate the cardinal principle that an individual self-governing school should be neither better nor worse off than it could reasonably have expected if it had remained under local authority management. That phrase has been used many times in Committee and was contained in the descriptive paper that we issued in December, and discussed in response to points made by the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. McAllion).I recall that he did so with the brevity to which members of the Committee became accustomed during its proceedings: My hon. Friend continued:Therefore, it is right that they should be treated no better and no worse than would be expected for equivalent schools managed by the education authority for the same area."—[Official Report, First Scottish Standing Committee, 20 April 1989; c. 854.]That seems crystal clear to me. I would expect my hon. Friend the Minister to express some sympathy with the general point of principle made by the hon. Member for Falkirk, West—although not with many of his arguments—but I feel that the amendment is unnecessary.
§ Mr. John McAllion (Dundee, East)
The hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) referred to the three quarters of a millenium for which Dundee high school has served the people of Dundee. I must point out to him that it has not served them all; it has served only those who could afford the fees. The Opposition are entirely opposed to any link between access to education and ability to pay, which is why we do not rejoice in 750 years of Dundee people being refused education.
§ Mr. Alan Stewart
Logically, then, the hon. Gentleman must wish for the abolition of the independent sector.
§ Mr. McAllion
I look forward to the day when access to education is given freely and equally across the country, irrespective of ability to pay. I certainly support the abolition of public funding for the independent sector. If people want to do their own thing with their own money that is their affair, but they cannot look to public funds from the taxpayer for the indoctrination of elitism in a whole new generation of children.
§ Mr. Walker
I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way in his usual courteous manner. Does he agree that pupils from his constituency and mine attend Dundee high school under the assisted placed scheme because of the level of their parents' income and also because they were acceptable, being, in most cases, able and talented? Those 155 children have been given a unique opportunity. Is the hon. Gentleman saying that children should not be offered such opportunities?
§ Mr. McAllion
The hon. Gentleman entirely misrepresents the scheme. Private fee-paying schools suffer from the same problem experienced for many years by public-sector schools—falling rolls. Because falling rolls meant that the private sector could not maintain its own business, the Government dreamed up the assisted places scheme as a way of filling places with the help of public money. That is why the Labour party will phase out the scheme when they come to office at the next election—as we will; make no mistake about that.
The hon. Member for Eastwood said that he considered the amendment unnecessary. He would think that, because it ties down the Secretary of State for Scotland to treating both sectors fairly. The Conservative party does not want that; it wants to leave the Secretary of State enough room to exercise bias in the allocation of funds.
The hon. Gentleman also said that the Bill was purely permissive. That is not true. Under the clause as it stands, the Secretary of State will clearly favour schools that opt for self-governing status. Parents will quickly get the message: if they want their kids to be educated in a decent school—a decent building with decent equipment and well-paid teachers—they had better opt out of local authority control, because the Secretary of State for Scotland is going to squeeze public-sector funds and force them out. There is nothing permissive about that. My hon. Friend's amendment is right on the ball, and should be supported.
In Committee, the Minister said that self-governing schools would receive exactly the same funding as they might reasonably have expected had they remained under local authority control. Such a proposition is unproblematic only if schools that opt out remain unchanged under the direct rule of the Scottish Office. What will happen when the Government try to apply that principle? What if the roll changes in a school? The funding will then have to change as well. Who will decide how it is to change? The Secretary of State for Scotland.
What if the character of the school changes? That is also permissible under the Bill. A school may go for academic selection or for single-sex status—or, indeed, mixed status—which will obviously have funding implications. Who makes the decision about funding implications? Again, the Secretary of State for Scotland makes it, completely on his own.
What about the capital requirements of a school? It is hard to imagine that the Secretary of State for Scotland will know what the capital funding of any school might have received, had it remained under education authority control. He would need to know the state of the building and the level of priorities in a particular school compared with other schools in the education authority's area, and also where the school would be placed in the programme by the education authority. All that the Secretary of State can do is to put a school at the top of the list and provide it with more capital funding than it might have received from the education authority. I do not know how anyone can say that the Secretary of State will not be allowed to do that.
156 If the Secretary of State is serious about the principle that there will be no additional funding for self-governing schools that opt out, he must accept the amendment. It writes on to the face of the Bill a restriction that the Secretary of State for Scotland must be fair to both sectors.
§ Mr. John McFall (Dumbarton)
On the point about the funding of self-governing schools being the same as that of local authority schools, does not my hon. Friend agree that, for years, Scottish local authorities, particularly Labour-controlled local authorities, have spent more on education than the Government say that they ought to have spent? We have been told by the Government that, although local authorities have spent over the limit during the last 10 years, they will nevertheless be given as much as they have already spent on education because they believed that it was essential to spend that much on education. That holds the key to the debate. The Government will sugar the pill with extra finance and thereby allow self-governing schools to opt out. The Government have given no credible answer on that point.
§ Mr. McAllion
My hon. Friend has made a fair point. that is obvious to everyone in Scotland, particularly since last Thursday's European election results, when the Tories were finally rejected completely in Scotland. To those of us who live in Scotland, it has been obvious for many years that the Government have been squeezing the funds that they have made available to public sector schools. They have squeezed the money that they have made available to education authorities, mostly by controlling what is now called the revenue support grant. They have placed strict limits on education authority spending. The poll tax will now make it virtually impossible for education authorities to raise enough money to spend on schools.
The Government are trying to ensure that the kind of services that are provided by education authorities will be minimal. They have provided them with only minimal funding for those services. At the same time, they have tried to create a new self-governing sector to which the Secretary of State for Scotland, who will have no restrictions placed upon him as the Bill stands, will be able to allocate funds as he likes.
That is the carrot that will be used to tempt parents to take advantage of what was described by the hon. Member for Eastwood as purely permissive legislation, although it is nothing of the kind. It is a carrot to try to save the reputation of the radical, far Right-wing Minister with responsibility for education in Scotland, the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth). He wants to create a two-tier system and also to destroy the local education authority schools sector in Scotland. This is another step down that road.
God knows what will come after this measure. When the School Boards (Scotland) Bill was considered, it was said that it would give power back to the parents. Power was not given back to the parents. Instead, it paved the way for the Self-Governing Schools etc. (Scotland) Bill. This Bill will pave the way for yet another monstrous piece of legislation, behind which there will be only one principle—to attack the public provision of education and to destroy local authority schools. That is why the House, in line with the people of Scotland, should vote for the amendment.
§ Mr. Bill Walker
I welcome the opportunity to speak on the amendment. I am sure that the speech of the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. McAllion) will be read with great interest by his constituents and also by mine, particularly his views on that very fine school, Dundee high school. I did not attend that school, nor did any of my children, but as a Dundonian I believe that it has enhanced the status and position of Dundee, a status and position that sadly, it would not enjoy without the school. It has contributed handsomely in the past to the provision of many leaders in almost every walk of life. However, the hon. Member for Dundee, East, has put it on record that he wishes that school, after 750 years, to be destroyed.
That is not so very surprising. My hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) referred to the fact that in today's Glasgow Herald, there is a most interesting article by the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. McLeish). I am confident that it will be referred to regularly in future and that his attention will be drawn to it on many occasions. There is no question that he has set out clearly what the views of the Labour party are and have been. He wrote:Before 1979 Education was used by successive Governments in an attempt to engineer a more egalitarian society.The hon. Member for Fife, Central is nodding in agreement. He is obviously proud of that. That is good, because I shall find that article very useful in future. I shall also find it useful to quote back to him his comment earlier in the same article thatprivatisation represents a much greater threat than Anglicisation.There is nothing in the Bill about privatisation. Self-governing schools are not privatised schools.
The hon. Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan), to give him credit, is consistent. He found it just as difficult to live with a Labour Government as he does with a Conservative Government. He said that in Scotland today the Conservative Government are putting through legislation which is opposed by the majority of Scottish Members in the House. Of course, that is nothing new. I remind him that the Labour Government passed a Bill through the House to abolish the grammar schools—a fundamental change in English education—without a majority in England. I do not argue with that, because I believe that the unitary Parliament is the right place to take such decisions, but the hon Gentleman and his colleagues cannot have it both ways. They either support the unitary Parliament and what it does or they do not.
In the euphoria since last Thursday—I congratulate the new Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. Watson) who is obviously a credit to the Labour party and I am sure will be a credit to the House—Labour Members have been very happy with the result and the leaders of the Labour party have been making noises about what they will do in government. If the Labour party was in government, in the same situation as previously, when it had no majority in England, quite properly it would wish to put through legislation affecting England, using its majority in other parts of the United Kingdom—usually Scotland and Wales—to make sure that that legislation got through. The hon. Gentleman is not being even-handed, which is unlike him as he is usually pretty consistent in the way in which he deals with these matters.
158 The hon. Member for Falkirk, West spoke about cuts in education funds. He and I know that the amount of money contributed by the taxpayer, and previously by the ratepayer, per child in school in Scotland has increased substantially under the Conservative Government, and that the only real reductions occurred under the last Labour Government. The hon. Gentleman should realise that the increase in funding per child has been substantial and has continued under the present Government.
The hon. Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Ewing) in a fairly lengthy intervention, made it quite clear that, under the assisted places scheme, hundreds were refused acceptance. If that is the case, we can count on his support to increase the funds available so that the hundreds who have been refused places will be able to enjoy the benefits of the scheme. Although those being refused acceptance do not run into large numbers in my constituency, the hon. Gentleman may well be right that hundreds are being refused. We have only his word for it, but if that is the case we look forward to him joining us in the Lobby at some future date when we persuade the Government to increase the funding to make that very fine scheme work effectively.
All hon. Members will realise that the Government and their supporters have never made any secret of the fact that they believe that, when local education authorities are receptive to the needs of local schools and understand the needs of the local community, the likelihood of a school board and the parents wishing to become self-governing would be remote. It will occur only in circumstances in which the parents and the school boards consider that the local authority has not understood, does not wish to understand and does not respond. It is clear that this is permissive legislation.
§ Mr. Allan Stewart
To underline my hon. Friend's point, does he agree that the legislation has already been successful? It was only the threat of self-governing status that caused Strathclyde regional council to change its attitude to the extension to Neilson primary school.
§ Mr. Walker
I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood for that helpful intervention. I agree with him. What is more important is that, as this legislation is going through the House, we have on the statute book an Act to set up the school boards, and that has produced a dramatic change in attitudes in Strathclyde. Strathclyde is now clearly embracing the setting up of school boards, and it is doing so in a much more positive and aggressive way than the present statute. That can only be encouraging.
It is obvious that the amendment does not reflect Conservative Members' view that this is enabling legislation. That is all it is—it enables; it is permissive; it does nothing more than that. It enables the school boards and the parents, if they feel that the local education authority is not responding to their wishes, to vote for their school to be self-governing, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State.
The hon. Member for Falkirk, West must remember that his amendment has not taken account of the lengthy debates in Committee. He does not accept that Conservative Members believe that there will be no demand for self-governing schools. If Scottish education is everything that the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues claim, there will be no demand for them.
§ Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan)
I apologise for the absence of my hon. Friend the Member for Moray 159 (Mrs. Ewing), who had to return to Scotland this morning because of a serious illness in her family. It is particularly unfortunate because the amendments dealing with special needs and special schools are within my hon. Friend's specialist interest. I will do my best to put her points of view.
I support the arguments put forward by the hon. Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan). Amendment No. 33 goes to the heart of the fallacy that the Conservative Government are trying to promote in this legislation—the idea that parents will have a free choice between opting out or staying within the state system. However, we all know that there are two situations in which opting out will become a reality, and they are a school closure or a school having reason to believe that it will be more favourably treated in capital allocation by opting out of the state system.
The hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) always makes some remarkable contributions in Scottish debates. He should recognise that this legislation is now being pushed through Parliament by a party that is now the third party in Scotland. It is about 5 per cent. behind the Scottish Nationalist party. The hon. Gentleman should realise also that support for the Scottish Conservative party, as measured by last Thursday's European election, is now less than that for the Green Party in west Surrey. That seems a fragile mandate on which to push forward a piece of legislation that is overwhelmingly rejected by the majority of the Scottish people.
I now refer to what happens to parents when faced with the problems of school closure or the thought that their school might be better funded under the opting-out legislation.
Today's Glasgow Herald tells us that the ruling Labour group in Strathclydeseems set to proceed with the closure of two secondary schools and eight primaries, despite bitter opposition from parents' groups.It would be understandable even if parents who opposed the legislation were tempted by the opting-out provisions. I recall a speech by the hon. Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Ewing) in the Scottish Grand Committee last year when we were discussing the NHS and the opting out of hospitals. He said, as a fierce opponent of the opting-out provisions, that he, as a constituency Member, might be pushed, as an alternative to closure, into considering opting out on the part of a hospital in his area.
I think I see the hon. Member for Tayside, North indicating assent to that proposition. Opting out will not solve the underlying resource and capacity problems in the health or education services. The Tories will have to say exactly which schools they would like to see closed as an alternative to those which stay open as a result of being tempted to opt out. What is proposed will solve nothing. It will simply move the problem, in the education service or in the NHS, to another area. It will also create problems in terms of dividing and fragmenting the education system.
§ Mr. Bill Walker
The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that when this legislation becomes law, the Secretary of State, in the final analysis, will have to agree to a school becoming self-governing. Surely that is the Government taking some responsibility?
§ Mr. Salmond
There is no question but that this is a piece of centralising legislation. It gives enormous power to the Secretary of State over a range of matters. But it does not give parents much power. It would be remarkable if the Minister, desperate to secure some evidence, whatever it might be, of support for opting out, did not grasp at any straw and allowed any school to opt out so that he could claim it as a success for his policy.
It is also difficult to believe that there will not be nods and winks in the direction of certain schools to the effect that if they opt out, they will be exceptionally well treated by way of facilities, new buildings and the like. Parents will face being squeezed between the Strathclyde stick of school closure and the Tory carrot of extra resources. That is not a free choice, and this is not enabling legislation.
§ Mr. Allan Stewart
Will the hon. Gentleman agree that there is a difference between school rationalisation because rationalisation is necessary—which is bound to be unpopular with individual groups of parents—and school rationalisation which is used for other purposes? Consider, for example, the rationalisation carried out in Strathclyde because a majority of the Labour group, against the wishes of the chairman of the Labour group, decided that they did not want single-sex schools in the area. That was an ideological decision. It was different from a straightforward and sensible rationalisation, even though it might be opposed by individual groups of parents.
§ Mr. Salmond
I have no intention of defending every decision of Strathclyde regional council. Indeed, I do not think that Labour Members would wish to defend every decision of that council on school closures. There is a consensus that the closure programme in many cases was carried out clumsily, to put it no stronger. But at the heart of the argument is the fear that the provision for opting out will tempt people faced with the closure of their school into taking that step, when it will not solve the problem. It will not solve the problem of capacity or offer the additional resources that would be required if more schools in aggregate were to remain open.
The hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) should say which schools in Strathclyde he would close as an alternative to those he would keep open. Unless additional resources are provided for the education service, the take-up of the opting-out provision will be secured by the heavy stick of school closures or the carrot of additional resources.
The amendment tabled by the hon. Member for Falkirk, West goes to the heart of the fallacy that the Tory party is putting forward in this legislation. If Conservative Members wish to claim that there is no intention to treat differently those schools that may be tempted by opting out, they should find no difficulty in accepting the amendment.
§ Mr. McFall
On the issue of single-sex schools, does the hon. Gentleman agree that the Government are flying a kite in relation to Strathclyde? The hon. Gentleman has been consistent in pushing his point without any foundation. There are five single-sex schools in Strathclyde—two are in my constituency and are amalgamating—and I have never heard his argument advanced as a matter of policy. Indeed, I can inform him that it is not a matter of policy because I have contacted the director of education and have raised that point with him. He has said that the abolition of single-sex schools is not a part of Strathclyde's 161 policy. The Government are trying to drive wedges in those areas where there is already pressure because of falling resources and where they have therefore been able to spread discord. That is the real reason.
§ Mr. Salmond
I accept what the hon. Gentleman says and I hope that he will accept that the reasons that I am giving as to why people might opt out highlight the fallacy of believing that this legislation can be successfully opposed by a general debate about the rights and wrongs of opting out. If we were to have a general debate about those rights and wrongs, Scotland would give an overwhelming majority against opting out. The difficulty with this legislation is that particular pressures may be unfairly imposed on particular groups of parents which may lead them down the road of opting out.
§ Mr. Salmond
No, I shall not give way to the hon. Gentleman, because I have already done so once.
That is why the SNP made that point so strongly in Committee and said that opting out could not be opposed simply by means of a general debate.
I now turn to the issue of special needs, special schools, special resources and the Government amendments. There were many disreputable and unsatisfactory aspects to the Bill's Committee stage, but the political interchange that led to special schools being included in this legislation was one of the most disreputable of all. I am happy to see the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) in his place as I say that. As I understand it, special schools were not included in the original legislation. The Labour party made the mistake of tabling an amendment that would have had the effect of including them. However, the English Conservative Members on the Committee then hijacked the amendment and tabled it as their own. That was part of a political game that the Tory members of the Committee were playing.
§ Mr. Michael Brown (Brigg and Cleethorpes)
The hon. Gentleman has got it completely wrong. I saw an excellent amendment on the Amendment Paper and felt that it strengthened the Bill. When I serve on a Standing Committee, I read the Bill and the amendments and if I think that they are excellent amendments, I want to show my support for them. Therefore, I approached the Clerk to try to add my signature to that marvellous, extra and wonderful amendment but found that it had disappeared, so I tabled it myself.
§ Mr. Salmond
I am not impressed by the innocence with which the hon. Gentleman puts his case. Although I was not present in the Committee to hear him, I have now read the Hansard report of his speeches and it would be difficult not to interpret or detect from his speeches the relish with which he seized on a mistake made by the Labour party. We all play a political game—
§ Mr. Salmond
I have already given way to the hon. Gentleman.
We all play political games they—are the stuff of politics—but we should not play political games with children who need special attention in education.
§ Mr. Salmond
If the Government had carefully considered the question whether special schools sould be included in the opt-out legislation, we can assume that such provisions would have been in the original Bill. This is a serious issue that demands careful consideration. Such provisions should not emerge in the legislation simply as part of a political interchange between Conservative and Labour Members.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Michael Forsyth)
If the hon. Gentleman is telling the House that he has read the Hansard of the Committee proceedings, I am surprised that he did not read the strong representations that my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) read to the Committee from a lady from Bearsden who has a child with special needs. If the hon. Gentleman has also studied the Bill, he will be aware that, contrary to what he has just told the House, there was a provision in the Bill for the Secretary of State to include special schools by order. The original Opposition amendment, which was then tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes, simply made it automatic that special schools should have that right.
§ Mr. Salmond
Exactly; I thought that that was the point that I had just made.
As to the assurances that the Minister gave in Committee, he changed course as a result of a political interchange that took place in Committee. I do not believe that he can convince us that a great deal of thought had been given to that change of course.
§ Mr. Salmond
Perhaps the Minister would listen for a second, and then I shall ask him to answer a specific point about remarks that he made in Committee.
§ Mr. Forsyth
The hon. Gentleman cannot have it both ways. He spent the time in Committee attempting to argue the case for disruption of the House and telling the people of Scotland that the Committee was a waste of time. Is he now criticising the Government because they responded to the arguments that were put in Committee, and amended the Bill accordingly?
§ Mr. Salmond
The Minister's intervention is totally irrelevant. The disruption was to challenge the right of the Government to parachute English Tory Back Benchers into the Committee. I should have thought that the way that the clause emerged in Committee was ample proof that it was unsatisfactory to have a debate on Scottish education dominated by people who had no interest in the Scottish education system.
I trust that the Minister will not dispute assurances that he gave in Committee about consultation with interested groups on special needs children. The Minister may remember—if he cares to pay some attention to the debate —that he gave assurances to the organisations particularly concerned with special needs children that he would engage in a process of proper consultation about the changes that were to take place. I take it that the Minister remembers that assurance.
I now have a copy of a letter about the consultation that took place. A letter from Mr. Cunliffe of the Scottish Education Department was posted on Friday, 2 June. Presumably it reached the organisations on Monday, 5 163 June. The organisations were given until Tuesday, 13 June, to submit their opinions to the Government. Given the complexity of special needs education, acknowledged on all sides, does the Minister really believe that a consultation period of a week is enough to consider the full range of issues that were debated in Committee? Should not the Minister have allowed a decent period for the organisations to submit their opinions on the legislation?
If the Minister could not give a proper consultation period, would it not have been proper not to proceed with this aspect of the Bill? If the Government wished to proceed with the opting-out of special schools, could it not have been done later? I would be grateful if the Minister would intervene and confirm that I am correct in saying that only a week was allowed for organisations to submit their opinions on the Government's proposals. I take it that the Minister confirms that that is the case.
Mr. Cunliffe's letter refers to unique problems in trying to assess the resources for recorded children. Then it refers to a dialogue between the education authority on the one hand and an opted-out school on the other as to what degree of resources should be applied to each recorded child. The Minister may call it a dialogue. Having read the letter, I think that complex issues are involved and that these children will be no more than piggies in the middle of a battle between the education authority and the schools that have opted out.
In line with the commitments that the Minister gave in Committee about genuine consultation and considering seriously the range of issues involved, including the resourcing of special schools and the questions that my hon. Friend the Member for Moray raised in Committee, does not the Minister feel that a longer period is required for consultation and reflection? I would be grateful if he would give a constructive response.
§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
It may be helpful if I say something at this point about the Government's amendments Nos. 72, 83, 84, 91 and 92 and new clause 25 and respond to the points made by the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) in respect of amendment No. 33. We have made it clear all along that, in setting the amount of grant to be paid to a self-governing school, the aim will be to ensure that it is not better off or any worse off than it might reasonably have expected to be under continuing local authority management, as my hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) pointed out.
The most important consequence is that the recurrent grant paid to a school must reflect the level of spending by the education authority on its own schools. The hon. Member for Banff and Buchan was talking nonsense when he argued that it was a centralising measure. The Secretary of State will not determine the level of funding for a school; that will be determined by the level of funding reflected in the policies of the local authority. The detailed arrangements giving effect to that principle will be a matter for the grant regulations to be made under clause 25. Amendment No. 33 certainly does not achieve any such effect. The Secretary of State is not involved in providing services directly to pupils, whether in a self-governing school or an education authority school. When 164 considering overall levels of resources, what matters is equality of treatment for schools, and that is central to our entire thinking about self-governing schools.
I must say to the hon. Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan) that, if he reads the report of the Second Reading debate and the quote that my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State used from his right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), he will see that we understood the Labour party's position to be that it was against equality of opportunity in education, but was in favour of equality of outcome. That is the difference which separates the two sides of the House. It was extremely helpful for the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook to spell it out so clearly.
The remaining Government amendments are largely concerned with ensuring equity of treatment in resourcing provision for recorded special educational needs in self-governing schools.
I was sorry to hear of the absence from the House of the hon. Member for Moray (Mrs. Ewing) due to family illness. It was a great blessing to the Standing Committee that it was the hon. Lady who participated in our proceedings and not the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan. She approached the matter in an extremely constructive and helpful way, unlike the contribution that we have just heard from the hon. Gentleman. With the hon. Lady's particular experience and interest in special education, we found her advice invaluable in the lengthy discussions that we had on special needs, notably on the changes made in part III to the 1980 Act arrangements for placements of recorded children, and, more generally, on the effect of part I of the Bill on special educational needs. The form of the Bill reflects that influence. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan did not acknowledge that.
I should acknowledge, too, the many organisations that have given us helpful advice on the proposals in the Bill in relation to special education, for which we were extremely grateful. I express special appreciation to Sense in Scotland, which is concerned with the deaf-blind. It has followed the proceedings in Committee very closely and its main concern was that provision for special educational needs should be both secure and adequately financed. I believe that the amendments that we have tabled today will reassure it on both counts.
Amendment No. 72 reflects the concern on both sides of the Committee that self-governing schools should continue to provide for special educational needs and that there should be a positive duty to encourage and to increase that provision. We have, through clause 28, protected existing levels of provision for special needs. As schools now have a duty to have regard to the need to improve that provision, it is not sensible to require the balloting procedure to apply to improvements that flow from that duty. Amendment No. 92 means that increases in special educational needs provision should not be regarded as a change in the characteristics of a school.
§ Mr. Douglas
If the boards of management of schools that become self-governing are to have this responsibility—I speak with a little interest—who will make the assessment of whether they are adhering to that responsibility? Will the local education authority or the Secretary of State make that assessment?
§ Mr. Forsyth
The board of governors will be under a duty to do so. If it is failing in any of its duties, there is provision in the Bill for the Secretary of State to take action. If the hon. Gentleman will bear with me a little longer, I think that it will become more evident how we see that process working. Perhaps I could send him a copy of the letter that we sent out, following my undertaking in Committee, when I stressed the problems of the time available. I believe that a copy of the letter would be helpful to the hon. Gentleman.
Amendments Nos. 83 and 84 are made in respect of a further undertaking that I gave in Committee. They deal with the description of a school that is to be provided, along with published proposals relating to that school's application to become self-governing. The amendments would require the description to state what range, or, in other words, the kind, of provisions that the school has for pupils with special eduational needs. Clause 16(4)(b) recognises that all schools should make some provision for special educational needs and requires the extent of that to be stated as a basic characteristic of the school. The amendments, therefore, considerably strengthen the requirement to specify the provision for special educational needs at any school.
When the Committee amended the Bill to make special schools eligible for self-governing status, I agreed to bring before the House on Report amendments that would make any necessary changes to allow for that.
I say to the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan, as I said when I intervened, that it is quite extraordinary for him to take the view that we should not listen to the views expressed in Committee and seek to respond to them. A clearly expressed wish in Committee was that special schools should be eligible in the same way as other schools for that purpose. [Interruption.] I am surprised that the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. McLeish) is scoffing, because he tabled the amendment in Committee in the first place.
§ Mr. Forsyth
I shall give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) and then to the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan.
§ Mr. Michael Brown
I believe that hon. Members should not forget the 12th sitting of the Committee on Tuesday 11 April, when I read out the letter sent to me by Mrs. Lamont from Bearsden. The House should remember that Mrs. Lamond took the trouble to write a letter to one of the Scottish newspapers putting it clearly on the record that she felt that it was a disgrace that the Opposition were rejecting the possibility of children and parents of children at special schools being offered the same opportunities as those offered in the Bill to other people. If the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) says that he has read the proceedings of the Committee, he clearly needs to read again the Hansard of the 12th sitting of that Committee.
§ Mr. Forsyth
I agree with my hon. Friend. I recall that the substance of the complaint, and of the letter that appeared in one of the Scottish newspapers from Mrs. Lamond, made the point that parents felt aggrieved that 166 education authorities were able to take policy decisions to close special needs schools and to deprive them of a facility, and that those authorities believed that that would increase parental choice. Of course, the Labour party took its time-honoured position that the local authorities—the politicians—know better than the parents what is needed for their children. That is why the Labour party changed its mind on this matter and withdrew the amendment to which my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes had added his name. He then took over the amendment and moved it eloquently during our proceedings.
§ Mr. Salmond
I hesitate to interrupt a reunion of the board of Michael Forsyth Associates, but will the Minister reply to the question that I have asked several times? Does he feel that a week's consultation matches the commitment he gave in Committee to consult the organisations concerned? Given the complexities of the issue, is a week's consultation adequate for organisations to respond? Will he answer directly?
§ Mr. Forsyth
I am finding it increasingly difficult to accept that the hon. Gentleman has read the Committee proceedings. I said that there would be difficulties over consultation, given the time scale involved. The amendment was not moved by the Government, and I accepted it on the basis of the views and arguments expressed.
§ Mr. Forsyth
I was concerned with the side mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes a few moment ago—the side of the parents of children with special needs who believe that the choice should be available to them in the legislation.
§ Mr. Forsyth
I will not give way to the hon. Gentleman again.
The Committee was right in its judgment that, if parents of children at a special school wish it to become self-governing, they should be allowed to pursue that objective. I do not agree that special schools are so different from the generality of schools that the parents involved do not wish to participate in ensuring a good education for their children. The hon. Member for Banff and Buchan talked of the compressed timetable, but we have been impressed by the responses we have received and we have received a considerable amount of support for the amendments to which I am speaking.
§ Mr. Salmond
Does the Minister not accept that his argument falls down? If he is saying that the fact that the amendment arose from the Committee caused grave problems over consultation, would that not he an argument for rejecting the amendment in Committee until the Government could carry out proper consultation and think again on the legislation?
§ Mr. Forsyth
The hon. Gentleman seems to have parted company from his hon. Friend the Member for Moray. If the basis of his argument is that we should not have made amendments at this stage in respect of special needs because there should have been a longer time for consultation, none of the commitments I gave to his hon.
167 Friend the Member for Moray would have been possible. I do not think that his hon. Friend would be too pleased with him, but there is nothing new in that.
There are some distinguishing characteristics. Most pupils who go to special schools have records of needs, and they pursue an educational curriculum that is frequently individual and different in content. Therefore, we had to consider how the existence of records of needs might affect the position. Under part 5 of the record, the authorities have a statutory duty to nominate the school to be attended. That nomination must take into account the views of parents and can be subject to the effect of a placing request. It remains the authority's duty to provide for the special educational needs of recorded children and that duty inescapably determines the majority of school placement decisions for such children. That meets the point raised by the hon. Member for Dunfermline, West (Mr. Douglas).
It has been necessary—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) is saying that not all recorded children go to special schools. That is not what I said. I said that the authority's duty to provide for the special educational needs of recorded children determines the majority of school placement decisions for such children. That may be in mainstream education or in special schools.
It has been necessary to consider how the authority's role in supplying the special educational needs of recorded children may be fitted into the arrangements for self-governing schools. That aspect is not confined to special schools. Certainly, special schools contain more recorded children, but, where appropriate, recorded children are placed in mainstream schools and the effect of education authority nominations through the record must also be taken into account.
We have concluded that what is needed are not different arrangements for self-governing schools but an approach to the calculation of a separate element of recurrent grant for schools, whether special or mainstream, focused on the provision made for recorded children.
The arrangement I propose for the consideration of the House comprises two essential stages. First, there should be a dialogue and exchange of information between each self-governing school in an area and the education authority. The authority will say what provision it needs to make to fulfil its statutory duty in relation to the education of these children. The schools will tell the authority of the provisions they are able and willing to make to help the authority fulfil that duty. The object of the exchange is that each school and authority should agree on the amount of provision that the school will make and which the authority would take advantage of.
The second phase of the process will be for the school and the authority to estimate the cost of that agreed level of commitment towards recorded pupils and notify that amount to the Secretary of State. Normally, recurrent grant would be set at that level. In the event of agreement not being reached—this concerned the hon. Member for Dunfermline, West—on the level of provision or on its cost or both, the Secretary of State will be able to make a determination. If the Secretary of State cannot accept any aspect of an agreement, he may also make a determination. The recurrent grant calculated under these 168 proposals will be additional to the grant calculated under clause 25 for the generality of functions at a mainstream self-governing school.
For special schools, account must be taken of pupils with special educational needs who may not have a record, either because it is still being prepared or because they have been placed there by children's panels or social work departments. The agreement between the authority and the special school and the recurrent grant will therefore take account of all children and all other costs that arise.
§ Mr. Douglas
Am I interpreting the Minister correctly? Is he saying that it would be in the interest of a special needs school and the education authority in terms of opting out not to reach an agreement but to be in conflict because they would then receive additional resources for special educational needs in a particular area?
§ Mr. Forsyth
No, the hon. Gentleman is not interpreting my words correctly. The additional provision will be made to take account of the needs of the child and an assessment will be made of the best placement for the child. The additional funds provided if the placement is at a self-governing school will be deducted from the education authority's grant in the same way as the provision for self-governing schools in respect of mainstream education. Therefore, there is no incentive to offload the responsibility on to the Secretary of State. That would be undesirable.
I am fairly confident—
§ Mr. McFall
I have considered special needs since the subject was raised in Committee. Taking an empirical case, there are parents with severely mentally handicapped children and parents with profoundly mentally handicapped children. After discussing the issue of special educational needs with those parents. I detect a division in the way they think their children should be educated. Some parents of severely mentally handicapped children have said that they do not want their children to be educated in the same environment as the profoundly mentally handicapped.
The character of a school can change within two or three years and if a school has opted out and the parents of severely mentally handicapped children are dominant, they may make a decision to admit only severely mentally handicapped children. What will happen to children who are profoundly mentally handicapped? If they cannot obtain a place at the school near their locality, will the local authority have to look again at its provision for the mentally handicapped?
§ Mr. Forsyth
The hon. Gentleman is asking me to repeat what I have just told the House at great length. In the case of a particular placement, there will be dialogue between the education authority and the school. If there is disagreement over the needs in terms of provision or resources, the Secretary of State will have a locus. The removal of the requirement to hold a ballot and obtain the Secretary of State's permission to change the characteristics applies only to an improvement in provision for special needs, not to a diminution of it.
I am confident that our proposals for special schools mean that they can opt for self-governing status in the certainty that they can continue fully to participate in the provision for special educational needs required for the 169 local education authority's area. Mainstream schools preparing to become self-governing will have the assurance of a continuing role in the education of recorded children. The amendment to clause 25 is technical and consequential.
For all those reasons, I commend the Government amendments to the House. I hope that the hon. Member for Falkirk, West will recognise that his amendment is not necessary and that the commitments on funding that he seeks have already been given in Committee. I am not sure that I can go along with his attitude towards assisted places or his ideas on education, which appear to be concentrated around the concept of equality of outcome. That is best summarised in the remark made by the hon. Member for Fife, Central, that if it is good enough for Henry McLeish's children it is good enough for everyone else. That view was definitely rejected. The clause, although ensuring fairness in the funding of schools, also allows for diversity and an extension of parental choice.
§ Mr. Harry Ewing
I live with the memory of a debate in the Scottish Grand Committee in Edinburgh when the Minister pronounced his belief in cheque-book choice for education. Against that background, I find it not just difficult but absolutely impossible to accept that the Minister is sincerely concerned about Scottish education. Although I am liable to be criticised for apparently criticising my colleagues on the Front Bench, I must say that I can think of nothing more damaging than the opting out of special needs schools. The Minister is not just famous but notorious for running around Scotland telling the doctors and the teachers that they do not understand his proposals. No one except the Minister seems to understand his proposals, although I do not believe that even he understands the damage that will be done to special needs schools. He will live to regret his proposals.
The hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) chided my hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan) about a unitary Parliament. The days of centralised Administration have outlived their time. That will soon be the position in this country, as it is already in most other parliamentary democracies. No other developed parliamentary democracy allows a small group of unrepresentative people to impose their unwanted policies on an unwilling population, as is happening in Scotland. The House and the unitary system—of which the hon. Member for Tayside, North is so proud—are being brought into disrepute by the arrogance with which the Minister has proceeded not just with this legislation, but with the legislation on the National Health Service in Scotland. Conservative Members talk about the possibility of schools opting out rather than face closure, but my understanding is that this legislation is exactly the same as that for the NHS and that there will be no possibility of a school opting out simply because the local authority has proposed its closure.
It is worth pausing for a minute to think about what the Government propose for Scottish education. I do not doubt that the Minister will call it choice. Scotland has been forced to accept the assisted places scheme and the grant-aided sector of private education, which is funded largely by taxpayers' money. I cannot understand why Thatcherite Conservatives are in favour of giving taxpayers' money to private schools. I simply do not understand their logic. The Government are withdrawing 170 taxpayers' money from almost every organisation in the United Kingdom, but for some reason the grant-aided sector survives that philosophy.
Scotland will also have the Minister's opting-out system and the local education authority system. All that is designed for one purpose only—to sap the confidence of local authority education in Scotland. Although the Minister will not admit it, he is hoping that the local authority sector will fail and that his opting-out system will flourish. His assisted places scheme has little to do with education and everything to do with filling the empty desks in the grant-aided sector. That is why, in the final analysis, the decision about who should have places under the scheme lies not with the Secretary of State, not with Members of Parliament and not even with local education authorities; it lies with the headmasters of the receiving schools.
Scotland faces a range of education that the Minister will claim means choice, but its purpose is to sap the confidence of the state sector, which is so excellent in Scotland. Every Right-wing Government in any country have always been guilty of promising to the majority what they know only the minority can have. The Government know that this legislation relates only to the minority and that the vast majority will be left with a denuded education system. My hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk, West tabled his amendment in an attempt to prevent the Minister favouring schools that opt out, at the expense of local authority schools.
As most of my colleagues know, I shall not return to the House after the next general election—[Interruption.] Unlike the Minister, I am leaving voluntarily. He will be thrown out, and a few more Conservatives with him. In three years' time, when my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) is Secretary of State for Scotland and my own Member of Parliament, my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, Central, (Mr. McLeish) is Education Minister, I shall be very disappointed if they do not put an end to the assisted places scheme and all the rubbish that the Minister has proposed today. I do riot know what sort of brains in the Scottish Office thought up such rubbish.
I have a feeling that I will not need to express that disappointment, because I have sufficient confidence in my hon. Friends. They know the damage that the Conservative party in Scotland, small though it is, is doing to Scottish education. It will be up to my colleagues to rebuild that system into the proud system it once was before the advent of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth).
§ Mr. Edward Leigh (Gainsborough and Horncastle)
I will lay a wager with the hon. Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Ewing). I will wager a bottle of whisky that my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth), will be back in the next Parliament.
§ Mr. Leigh
I am delighted to find a sporting gentleman on the Opposition Benches. Those of us who served on Committee will remember that my hon. Friend the Minister offered us a bottle of whisky if we could answer the Highlands and Islands board's examination of 1890.
171 Only four of us took part and I came a very close second only because I had some small historical detail about a battle wrong.
I was interested that the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery) intervened in the speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart). The hon. Member for Hillsborough obviously thinks that English Members have an important contribution to make in these matters. We must have a contribution to make because we can inform Scottish Members about what has been happening in England.
Clearly the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) has not done his research. If he had read the Committee proceedings or carried out research into what has been happening in England, he would have discovered that far from schools choosing opted-out status because they are in danger of being closed, or because they want increased capital allocations, they have chosen that status because the parents want to run their own schools.
The hon. Member for Banff and Buchan should have considered what has happened in Lincolnshire, in Skegness grammar school, which was the very first school to opt out. If he had considered that, he would have found that Conservative-controlled Lincolnshire county council had not the slightest intention of closing the school or cutting its capital allocation.
§ Mrs. Maria Fyfe (Glasgow, Maryhill)
The hon. Gentleman could save himself a great deal of trouble. Due to the benefits of Scottish education, we can read the national newspapers and we can find out what is happening in England.
§ Mr. Leigh
I read national newspapers and Scottish newspapers with great interest. The hon. Lady may have noticed that The Scotsman published an article of mine recently about Europe, entitled "The Nightmare and the Dream". I am grateful to The Scotsman for giving me the opportunity to make my point.
§ Mr. Salmond
Is it not possible that Scottish and English parents take a different view of these things? Does the hon. Gentleman agree with his right hon. Friend the Member for Kincardine and Deeside (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) that the prosecution of this legislation is a reason why the Conservative vote sank so low in Scotland last Thursday?
§ Mr. Leigh
That is nonsense. The hon. Gentleman knows that that cannot be true. As my right hon. and hon. Friends have made clear, this is permissive legislation. If it is true that this legislation is deeply unpopular among Scottish parents—and I do not know whether it is or not—I am prepared to give them the chance to find out what it is about. In Committee I asked the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. McLeish) time and again whether he thought that any schools would opt out. He refused to answer me. We are facing entirely permissive legislation about which the House should not be too worried.
§ Mr. Bill Walker
In response to the comment made by the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond), is my hon. Friend aware that, in an election in Kirriemuir, the region responsible for education in my constituency, the nationalist candidate was hammered? My constituents have never failed to understand my views or those of my 172 colleagues in respect of education, and they support me and my hon, Friend the Minister. There is no better way of showing that support than in a regional election where education was an important issue.
§ Mr. Leigh
We should be careful here. Our nationalist friends are still suffering from the result in Glasgow, so they are feeling a little fragile. We should not be too hard on them.
I must reply to the point made by the hon. Member for Falkirk, East about the unitary Parliament. That point has been made again and again in our debates. No doubt he was a Member of the House when the debate was going on, and he must be aware that grammar schools in Lincolnshire were being threatened with closure simply because a Labour-dominated Parliament was trying to force Lincolnshire to close its grammar schools. That Parliament was dominated by Labour Members because of the preponderance of Labour Members from Scotland. The arguments about a unitary Parliament do not hold water.
These debates have revealed fear among Labour Members. They are afraid that there are Conservative Members who are prepared to take these arguments into the very heartlands of Labour party support in Scotland. We are not trying to ape what the Labour party has done. Our radical ideas will bear fruit. They have already borne fruit with the sale of council houses in giving ordinary people choices and opportunities which they would not have had before.
One point comes out strong and clear from our arguments: this is not an attack on the state sector. If we wanted to attack—and I use that phrase carefully—the state sector, would we not be talking about education vouchers or tax relief for sending children to private schools?
§ Mr. Leigh
The hon. Member for Dunfermline, West (Mr. Douglas) should consider what is happening. We are strengthening the state sector. We are talking about creating magnet schools, flagship schools and schools which will provide an opportunity for the whole state sector. This debate is not about destroying the state sector; it is about improving it. I have no doubt that when people look back on these debates, they will see this legislation as a watershed in Scottish politics. They will see that for the first time, we had the courage to go out there and give choice and freedom to the people.
I will not let the hon. Member for Fife, Central forget his article in the Glasgow Herald. He stated:The new right has temporarily defined the terms of the debate because they are willing to engage—the hijacking and exploitation by the right of parental choice is one of their most significant victories.Was it not also significant that the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan said that English Members—I presume he meant me, my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) or one of my other colleagues who are present—dominated the debate? Perhaps we began to dominate the debate because we are in touch with what people really want. This is not about giving rights to minorities. It is about giving rights, opportunities and choices to people who have not been able to afford them 173 or take those opportunities hitherto. That is why we will find that this legislation is a watershed and why, from this moment on, we go onwards and upwards in Scotland.
§ Mr. Michael Brown
Is it not even more significant that, from what I can detect, the Opposition might not vote against the Government amendments?
§ Mr. Leigh
I think that it is significant that the Opposition might not be prepared to vote on amendment No. 33. I challenge them to vote on their amendment. Are they not going to do that because they realise that the amendment is completely unnecessary and misguided? Perhaps they will not vote against it because my hon. Friend the Minister said in Committee:the amount of recurrent grant will be comparable to the provision made for schools still under education authority management … self-governing schools will remain in the public sector. Therefore, it is right that they should be treated no better and no worse than would be expected for equivalent schools managed by the education authority".—[Official Report, First Scottish Standing Committee, 20 April 1989; c.854.]Amendment No. 33 is unnecessary and misguided. The hon. Member for Falkirk, West is really worried not about what this narrow technical part of the Bill contains, but that his heartland is being eroded by my hon. Friend the Minister, who will sweep back to power in Scotland in two or three years' time.
§ Mr. Henry McLeish (Fife, Central)
We have just heard eloquent testimony to why Scots want some control over affairs such as education. We have endured such speeches for nearly eight weeks in Committee. I am deeply apologetic to my hon. Friends for their having to listen to another two or three minutes.
I assure my hon. Friend the hon. Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Ewing) that when we take over the Scottish Office in 1991 or 1992 one of our first steps will be to phase out the assisted places scheme because it encourages nothing but privilege and it is a waste of public expenditure. The £10 million that will have been spent on the scheme by that time could be used more productively in the state sector, where I am sure that children get a better education.
§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
I am interested to hear the hon. Gentleman make that promise to the House. Does he recall that in Committee he said:Some parts of the Bill might remain, some parts of it might be popular. It would be foolish for anyone to commit any Government of any political party to what they will do in two or three years' time."—[Official Report, First Scottish Standing Committee; 18 May 1989, c. 1501.]Why has the hon. Gentleman changed his mind?
§ Mr. McLeish
The events of the past two or three days may have confirmed in the minds of civil servants and the Government that we are now on course—[Interruption.] It would be foolish for any party to give an overall commitment to everything, but let me make it clear that we shall phase out the assisted places scheme, and later on this evening we shall chart what we shall be doing with other parts of the Bill:
The Minister is still playing politics with some of the most sensitive educational issues in Scotland. I bitterly deplore the fact that special needs are still being used as a political football by the Minister and his colleagues on the hard Right, including the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown).
§ Mr. McLeish
The hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes mentioned earlier the letter he had received from Mrs. Lamond. I investigated that letter a bit more effectively than did the hon. Gentleman. Mrs. Lamond wrote to the hon. Gentleman, but on the back of a number of considerations that he has not outlined to the House, the first being essentially political. The lady was advised to write to the hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart), but he was regarded as too moderate to do anything purposeful with it. It was then suggested that somone a bit more extreme could deal with it more effectively on the Floor of the Committee. Therefore, the letter was sent to the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes, allowing him to use it in a most disgraceful fashion by taking one example of a lady with a handicapped child.
Since I have been a Member of the House there have been few occasions when an hon. Member has used a letter in such a way to bring contempt on the Government Benches and to illustrate that they have no policy on special needs. Under the guise of crocodile tears, they are seeking to suggest that they care about the future of Scottish education and special needs.
§ Mr. Brown
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. McLeish) to cast aspersions on a lady who has a handicapped son and who wrote to me as a member of the Committee to ask me to commend to the Minister the reason for including special schools within the Bill? Surely you should rule against the hon. Gentleman misusing an ordinary lady with a handicapped child for his political purposes.
§ Mr. McLeish
At the end of that contribution, Mr. Deputy Speaker, you missed the hon. Gentleman laughing. That was interesting.
Special needs is a sensitive issue and we are worried that special needs schools in Scotland will be eligible to become self-governing schools. I want to put on the record once more that we deplore the decision that was taken in Committee, supported by the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth). The issues involved in special needs schools are far too emotive and sensitive to be divorced from the work of the education authorities which have served them well over many years.
§ Mr. McLeish
The Minister should put on ice the part of the Bill that deals with special needs until he has engaged in some realistic discussions. The hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) made a good point when he said that there had been no decent discussions with special needs groups in Scotland. It is outrageous that an area of such sensitivity has been treated in such a cavalier way by the Government, especially the Minister.
§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
The hon. Gentleman is making a great deal of the lady from Bearsden. Does he recall that the amendment that he tabled in Committee—[Interruption]—which he withdrew and which we acknowledge was a mistake on his part, was supported by the Scottish Parent Teacher Council? Is he arguing that not only the lady who wrote to my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) but the organisation which speaks for parents and parent-teacher councils in Scotland are out of step? Would it not be appropriate to take account of their wishes rather than responding in the prejudiced way that we have heard in the few moments that he has been addressing the House?
§ Mr. McLeish
The SPTC took that decision because the lady was a member of the SPTC and she asked it to write and prepare that amendment.
My third and final point relates to the possibility under clause 28 of the characteristics of a school being changed, which poses a direct and real threat to special needs provisions. Very few Opposition Members feel reassured by the Minister's words or actions on the amendments that have been tabled today. The Government should now take seriously special needs in Scotland, whether it be special needs schools or the integration of children with handicaps into local authority provision.
My hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan) has tabled an amendment that has produced a good debate. I sincerely hope that when we call for a Division the Government will support what is a common sense and obvious way of moving forward.
§ Mrs. Fyfe
I support what my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, Central (Mr. McLeish) has just said. There has been a disgraceful lack of consultation with bodies representing children with special needs. The imposition of the guillotine on the debate means that we have had no opportunity tonight to discuss the needs of Gaelic speakers and those adult users of school education who will have no opportunity to have their needs considered.
That is demonstrative of the Government's bullying attitude. They still believe, as we know from listening to the hon. Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh), that they have a right to impose their wishes on the basis of a tiny unrepresentative minority of 10 Scottish Tory Members of Parliament telling Scotland what it will have to suffer. Despite last week's election results, they are still imposing their views on us. They have no European Member of Parliament in Scotland. Glasgow, Central returned a Labour Member to the House, and the Tory candidate lost his deposit yet the Government claim that they have a basis for imposing their views on us.
The Government keep telling us about this being a unitary Parliament, which gives them the right to do what they are doing, but they seem to forget that under no circumstances could England have imposed upon it the views of a number of people who do not even represent one seventh of the Members of that Parliament. That is what happens to us and that is why their conduct risks breaking up the United Kingdom and they are complete fools if they do not realise that this is where this is leading. They should realise that once again last week the Scottish people told them that they do not want the Bill. In our doorstep discussions, a lot of anger was shown by people asking why we were having such a Bill when the vast majority of Scottish people clearly do not want it, any more than they 176 want the poll tax or the Government cuts, and so on. I hope that a Conservative Member will explain to us tonight on what grounds they can do this to the Scottish people.
§ Mr. Tony Worthington (Clydebank and Milngavie)
Does my hon. Friend agree that the Government are not only imposing the legislation on the people of Scotland but have not even consulted them about many of its provisions? In Committee, I challenged the Minister in respect of certain matters affecting special schools, asking whether he had consulted any group of parents representing such children. It was obvious that he had consulted none of them.
§ It being half-past Five o'clock, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to Order [3rd May] and the Resolution this day, to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.
§ The House divided: Ayes 193, Noes 266.179
|Division No. 248]||[5.30 pm|
|Abbott, Ms Diane||Dixon, Don|
|Adams, Allen (Paisley N)||Dobson, Frank|
|Allen, Graham||Doran, Frank|
|Alton, David||Douglas, Dick|
|Anderson, Donald||Duffy, A. E. P.|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Dunnachie, Jimmy|
|Armstrong, Hilary||Eadie, Alexander|
|Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy||Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||Fatchett, Derek|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Fearn, Ronald|
|Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)||Field, Frank (Birkenhead)|
|Barron, Kevin||Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)|
|Battle, John||Fisher, Mark|
|Beckett, Margaret||Flannery, Martin|
|Beith, A. J.||Flynn, Paul|
|Bell, Stuart||Foot, Rt Hon Michael|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Foster, Derek|
|Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)||Foulkes, George|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Fraser, John|
|Blair, Tony||Fyfe, Maria|
|Blunkett, David||Galbraith, Sam|
|Boyes, Roland||Galloway, George|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Garrett, John (Norwich South)|
|Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)||Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)|
|Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)||Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John|
|Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)||Godman, Dr Norman A.|
|Buckley, George J.||Golding, Mrs Llin|
|Caborn, Richard||Graham, Thomas|
|Callaghan, Jim||Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)|
|Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)||Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)|
|Campbell-Savours, D. N.||Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)|
|Canavan, Dennis||Grocott, Bruce|
|Clark, Dr David (S Shields)||Hardy, Peter|
|Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)||Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy|
|Clay, Bob||Haynes, Frank|
|Clelland, David||Heffer, Eric S.|
|Cohen, Harry||Henderson, Doug|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton N)||Hinchliffe, David|
|Cook, Robin (Livingston)||Home Robertson, John|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Hood, Jimmy|
|Cryer, Bob||Howarth, George (Knowsley N)|
|Cunliffe, Lawrence||Howells, Geraint|
|Dalyell, Tam||Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)|
|Darling, Alistair||Hughes, John (Coventry NE)|
|Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)||Hughes, Roy (Newport E)|
|Dewar, Donald||Illsley, Eric|
|Ingram, Adam||Prescott, John|
|Janner, Greville||Quin, Ms Joyce|
|Johnston, Sir Russell||Radice, Giles|
|Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)||Randall, Stuart|
|Jones, Ieuan (Ynys Môn)||Redmond, Martin|
|Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)||Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn|
|Kennedy, Charles||Reid, Dr John|
|Kirkwood, Archy||Richardson, Jo|
|Lambie, David||Robinson, Geoffrey|
|Leighton, Ron||Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)|
|Lestor, Joan (Eccles)||Rowlands, Ted|
|Litherland, Robert||Ruddock, Joan|
|Livsey, Richard||Salmond, Alex|
|Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)||Sedgemore, Brian|
|Lofthouse, Geoffrey||Sheerman, Barry|
|McAllion, John||Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert|
|McAvoy, Thomas||Shore, Rt Hon Peter|
|McCartney, Ian||Short, Clare|
|Macdonald, Calum A.||Sillars, Jim|
|McFall, John||Skinner, Dennis|
|McKelvey, William||Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)|
|McLeish, Henry||Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)|
|Maclennan, Robert||Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)|
|McNamara, Kevin||Snape, Peter|
|McWilliam, John||Spearing, Nigel|
|Madden, Max||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Mahon, Mrs Alice||Steinberg, Gerry|
|Mallon, Seamus||Stott, Roger|
|Marek, Dr John||Strang, Gavin|
|Marshall, David (Shettleston)||Straw, Jack|
|Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)|
|Martlew, Eric||Taylor, Matthew (Truro)|
|Maxton, John||Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)|
|Meale, Alan||Turner, Dennis|
|Michael, Alun||Wall, Pat|
|Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)||Wardell, Gareth (Gower)|
|Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)||Wareing, Robert N.|
|Moonie, Dr Lewis||Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)|
|Morgan, Rhodri||Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)|
|Morley, Elliott||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)||Williams, Rt Hon Alan|
|Mowlam, Marjorie||Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)|
|Mullin, Chris||Wilson, Brian|
|Murphy, Paul||Winnick, David|
|Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|O'Brien, William||Wray, Jimmy|
|Orme, Rt Hon Stanley||Young, David (Bolton SE)|
|Patchett, Terry||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Pendry, Tom||Mr. Allen McKay and|
|Pike, Peter L.||Mr. Ken Eastham.|
|Powell, Ray (Ogmore)|
|Adley, Robert||Boscawen, Hon Robert|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Boswell, Tim|
|Alexander, Richard||Bottomley, Mrs Virginia|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael||Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)|
|Allason, Rupert||Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)|
|Amess, David||Bowis, John|
|Amos, Alan||Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes|
|Arbuthnot, James||Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Brandon-Bravo, Martin|
|Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)||Brazier, Julian|
|Ashby, David||Bright, Graham|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Brooke, Rt Hon Peter|
|Atkinson, David||Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)||Browne, John (Winchester)|
|Batiste, Spencer||Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick|
|Bellingham, Henry||Buck, Sir Antony|
|Bendall, Vivian||Budgen, Nicholas|
|Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Burns, Simon|
|Benyon, W.||Burt, Alistair|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||Butler, Chris|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Carlisle, John, (Luton N)|
|Blackburn, Dr John G.||Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)|
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Carrington, Matthew|
|Body, Sir Richard||Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Channon, Rt Hon Paul|
|Chope, Christopher||King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)|
|Churchill, Mr||Kirkhope, Timothy|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Knapman, Roger|
|Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)||Knight, Greg (Derby North)|
|Colvin, Michael||Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)|
|Conway, Derek||Knox, David|
|Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)||Lamont, Rt Hon Norman|
|Coombs, Simon (Swindon)||Lang, Ian|
|Cope, Rt Hon John||Latham, Michael|
|Cormack, Patrick||Lawrence, Ivan|
|Couchman, James||Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)|
|Critchley, Julian||Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark|
|Curry, David||Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)|
|Davis, David (Boothferry)||Lightbown, David|
|Day, Stephen||Lilley, Peter|
|Devlin, Tim||Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)|
|Dickens, Geoffrey||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)|
|Dicks, Terry||Lord, Michael|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Lyell, Sir Nicholas|
|Dunn, Bob||McCrindle, Robert|
|Durant, Tony||Macfarlane, Sir Neil|
|Dykes, Hugh||MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)|
|Emery, Sir Peter||Maclean, David|
|Evennett, David||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas||McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael|
|Fallon, Michael||McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick|
|Fenner, Dame Peggy||Major, Rt Hon John|
|Forman, Nigel||Mans, Keith|
|Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)||Maples, John|
|Fox, Sir Marcus||Marland, Paul|
|Freeman, Roger||Marshall, John (Hendon S)|
|Fry, Peter||Marshall, Michael (Arundel)|
|Gill, Christopher||Mates, Michael|
|Goodhart, Sir Philip||Maude, Hon Francis|
|Gorman, Mrs Teresa||Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick|
|Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)||Mellor, David|
|Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)||Miller, Sir Hal|
|Gregory, Conal||Mills, Iain|
|Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)||Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)|
|Hague, William||Mitchell, Sir David|
|Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)||Moate, Roger|
|Hampson, Dr Keith||Monro, Sir Hector|
|Hanley, Jeremy||Montgomery, Sir Fergus|
|Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')||Moore, Rt Hon John|
|Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)||Morrison, Sir Charles|
|Harris, David||Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Moss, Malcolm|
|Hayes, Jerry||Moynihan, Hon Colin|
|Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney||Mudd, David|
|Hayward, Robert||Neale, Gerrard|
|Heathcoat-Amory, David||Nelson, Anthony|
|Heddle, John||Neubert, Michael|
|Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)||Nicholson, David (Taunton)|
|Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)||Norris, Steve|
|Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.||Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley|
|Hill, James||Oppenheim, Phillip|
|Hind, Kenneth||Page, Richard|
|Hoey, Ms Kate (Vauxhall)||Paice, James|
|Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)||Patnick, Irvine|
|Hordern, Sir Peter||Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey|
|Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)||Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth|
|Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)||Porter, Barry (Wirral S)|
|Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)||Porter, David (Waveney)|
|Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)||Price, Sir David|
|Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)||Raison, Rt Hon Timothy|
|Hunt, David (Wirral W)||Redwood, John|
|Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)||Renton, Tim|
|Hunter, Andrew||Rhodes James, Robert|
|Irvine, Michael||Riddick, Graham|
|Irving, Charles||Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas|
|Janman, Tim||Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm|
|Jessel, Toby||Roe, Mrs Marion|
|Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey||Rossi, Sir Hugh|
|Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)||Rost, Peter|
|Jones, Robert B (Herts W)||Rumbold, Mrs Angela|
|Jopling, Rt Hon Michael||Sackville, Hon Tom|
|Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine||Sainsbury, Hon Tim|
|Key, Robert||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|Kilfedder, James||Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas|
|Shaw, David (Dover)||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')||Tracey, Richard|
|Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)||Tredinnick, David|
|Sims, Roger||Trippier, David|
|Skeet, Sir Trevor||Trotter, Neville|
|Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Soames, Hon Nicholas||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Speed, Keith||Waddington, Rt Hon David|
|Speller, Tony||Wakeham, Rt Hon John|
|Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)||Walker, Bill (T'side North)|
|Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)||Waller, Gary|
|Squire, Robin||Walters, Sir Dennis|
|Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John||Ward, John|
|Steen, Anthony||Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)|
|Stern, Michael||Watts, John|
|Stevens, Lewis||Wells, Bowen|
|Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)||Whitney, Ray|
|Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)||Widdecombe, Ann|
|Stokes, Sir John||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Stradling Thomas, Sir John||Wilshire, David|
|Summerson, Hugo||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Tapsell, Sir Peter||Wolfson, Mark|
|Taylor, Ian (Esher)||Wood, Timothy|
|Taylor, John M (Solihull)||Yeo, Tim|
|Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Thome, Neil||Mr. Stephen Dorrell and|
|Thornton, Malcolm||Mr. Sydney Chapman.|
§ Question accordingly negatived.
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER
then proceeded to put forthwith the Question on amendments, moved by a Member of the Government, up to the end of schedule 3.