HC Deb 20 June 1989 vol 155 cc253-85

'.—(1) Every individual and body of persons concerned in the government of any establishment to which this section applies shall take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students and employees of the establishment and for visiting speakers. (2) The duty imposed by subsection (1) above includes (in particular) the duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the use of any premises of the establishment is not denied to any individual or body of persons on any ground connected with—

  1. (a) the beliefs or views of that individual or of any member of that body; or
  2. (b) the policy or objectives of that body.

(3) The governing body of every such establishment shall, with a view to facilitating the discharge of the duty imposed by subsection (1) above in relation to that establishment, issue and keep up to date a code of practice setting out—

  1. (a) the procedures to be followed by members, students and employees of the establishment in connection with the organisation—
    1. (i) of meetings which are to be held on premises of the establishment and which fall within any class of meeting specified in the code; and
    2. (ii) of other activities which are to take place on those premises and which fall within any class of activity so specified; and
  2. (b) the conduct required of such persons in connection with any such meeting or activity;
and dealing with such other matters as the governing body consider appropriate.

(4) The governing body of every such establishment shall not impose a charge for security on the organisers of any meeting. Any charge for the use of premises shall be in accordance with the established practice of the establishment and shall not in any event be at such a level as to effectively preclude the proposed meeting taking place. (5) Every individual and body of persons concerned in the government of any such establishment shall take such steps as are reasonably practicable (including where appropriate the initiation of disciplinary measures) to secure that the requirements of the code of practice for that establishment, issued under subsection (3) above, are complied with. (6) The establishments to which this section applies are—

  1. (a) any university;
  2. (b) any grant-maintained college;
  3. (c) any college of further education; and
  4. (d) any institution for the provision of further education managed by a company formed by virtue of section 60(1) of this Act.

(7) In this section— governing body", in relation to any university, means the executive governing body which has responsibility for the management and administration of its revenue and property and the conduct of its affairs; university" includes a university college and any college, or institution in the nature of a college, in a university.

(8) Where any of the establishments to which this section applies is maintained by an education authority or authorities or is substantially dependent for its maintenance on assistance from an education authority or authorities, the education authority or authorities maintaining or (as the case may be) assisting the establishment shall, for the purposes of this section, be taken to be concerned in its government. (9) Where a students' union occupies premises which are not premises of the establishment in connection with which the union is constituted, any reference in this section to the premises of the establishment shall be taken to include a reference to the premises occupied by the students' union.' —[Mr. Nicholas Bennett.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett (Pembroke)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

The purpose of the clause is to insert into the Bill section 43 of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 but with one new and important subsection which says: The governing body of every such establishment shall not impose a charge for security on the organisers of any meeting. Any charge for the use of premises shall be in accordance with the established practice of the establishment and shall not in any event be at such a level as to effectively preclude the proposed meeting taking place. 10.15 pm

During questions to Scottish Office Ministers on 7 June, my hon. Friends the Members for Hexham (Mr. Amos) and for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) asked whether our hon. Friend the Under-Secretary would consider extending section 43 to Scotland. He replied: It was decided in 1986 not to extend to Scotland the provisions in the 1986 Act which became section 43 as there was little evidence in Scotland of the problems that prompted the legislation south of the border. Since then there has been very little evidence of disruption of free speech in universities or colleges in Scotland."—[Official Report, 7 June 1989; Vol. 154, c. 209.] An important matter of principle is involved. It is that freedom of speech that is enshrined in English and Welsh legislation should also be enshrined in Scottish legislation. I do not understand the Minister's attitude. Knowing his robust views, I cannot believe that he seriously expects the House to accept the principle of freedom of speech in England and Wales but not in Scotland.

Mr. Tim Devlin (Stockton, South)

Does my hon. Friend agree that should a problem arise in a Scottish university to which those rules would apply, we would not be equipped to deal with it? Are we not denying Scottish students a fairly essential right?

Mr. Bennett

My hon. Friend makes a valid point. The Scottish Office is basically saying that, if a fire occurs, it will then take out an insurance policy. I have always believed that the insurance policy should come first. It is not right to suggest that there have not been problems in Scottish universities. Only last year in Aberdeen the South African consul was shouted down—

Mr. Bill Walker

Is my hon. Friend aware that Scottish Members—and, indeed, most hon. Members—would abhor any intervention in the principle of freedom of speech in Scotland? We would be appalled if some Right-wing Fascists tried to prevent the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) speaking in a university. We want to prevent that happening, which is why we want the same legislation for Scotland as for England and Wales. During the passage of the Bill, Opposition Members continually asked for harmonisation between Scotland and England, and we cannot understand why my hon. Friend the Minister refused that.

Mr. Bennett

My hon. Friend makes an important point. Of course, race relations legislation is equally applicable to Scotland and England. We want to prevent the shouting down of people in an attempt to stop them expressing their views. The Government appear to be prepared to sit back complacently because Scotland has not suffered quite the same outrages as England.

Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham)

During debates on the community charge, many Scottish Members said that it was a great pity that Scotland had to be the first to experiment and that England would have it only after it had been proved successful. Do we not now have a marvellous opportunity to show even-handedness in that now, the 1986 Act has proved successful in England and Wales, it should be extended to Scotland?

Mr. Bennett

My hon. Friend is right, but with one proviso, because a part of section 43 has not been successful.

Mr. John Marshall

Speaking as a former lecturer at Aberdeen university, I wish to ask my Welsh colleague whether he agrees that two things threaten Scotland's reputation—first, the sedentary interventions of the hon. Member for Dunfermline, West (Mr. Douglas) and, secondly, the attempts by individuals to deny freedom of speech in universities? Do not such attempts bring universities into disrepute? My hon. Friend's new clause seeks to safeguard the reputation of Scottish education, which used to be the highest in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Bennett

My hon. Friend is right, but my new clause also seeks equality for Scotland with England and Wales. It would also help my hon. Friend the Minister because not so long ago he spoke at Stirling university and attempts were made to shout him down. Being of a robust nature, my hon. Friend managed to continue his speech despite the attempts of the Fascist left to prevent freedom of speech. That shows that there are problems in Scottish universities and it seems that the problems are likely to increase in future. It is important that there should be equality of opportunity and treatment between England, Wales and Scotland. However, Scottish Members have an opportunity to show the way forward to the Departments responsible for education in England and Wales to improve section 43 of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986, because that section is not working at the moment.

Mr. John Bowis (Battersea)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, my hon. Friend the Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth), should be listening to my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Bennett). Until now, Scotland has always held its head high as one of the leaders in education in the United Kingdom. However, we anticipate a faint-hearted response on this point from the Minister. Should not the Government be considering the problems encountered by England and Wales under the present law and try to go further for Scotland instead of restricting the provision in Scotland to below that applying in England?

Mr. Bennett

I find it very difficult to understand the attitude of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State on this. It cannot be in line with what he really believes. He must have been captured by the civil servants in the Scottish Office. If only he could be a free man and speak his mind, there would be a robust approach.

Mr. Michael Brown

Is it not a great pleasure to see the Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science, my hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (Mr. Jackson), present in the Chamber? He seems to have the backbone with regard to these matters. Can we not have some backbone in this issue?

Mr. Bennett

I hope that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland is suitably chastened by the views expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) and that he will take note of the strong views on this issue.

I want to give examples of what has happened in England and Wales since the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 received its Royal Assent. These examples will illustrate the problem which exists in the English and Welsh legislation which we hope to correct and amend in the Bill on student loans later this year. The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland has a golden opportunity to lead the way and accept this new clause, which surmounts the problem which exists in England and Wales.

Sir Russell Johnston

Would the hon. Gentleman take an umbrella to the Sahara on the grounds that it might rain?

Mr. Bennett

Of course, there is always the chance that it might rain. I would certainly take some water there.

Mr. Bill Walker

For the information of my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Bennett), I have been in the Sahara when it rained very heavily.

Mr. Bennett

Looking at the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber (Sir R. Johnston), it appears that he should take an umbrella because he is obviously suffering from sunstroke and an umbrella could protect him from the sun. The Liberals were soaked in the rain last Thursday and they need an umbrella to protect them, if only to try to show that they are green in some way.

The Conservative Collegiate Forum, the new name given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) to the Federation of Conservative Students, which confuses some of us who think it must have something to do with Army cadets in public schools, has examined 97 codes of practice in England and Wales. It considered 49 from universities, 29 from polytechnics and 19 from other places of higher education. Fifty-three of the codes throw on the student body the cost of stewarding the meeting and eight of them demand payments in advance or a deposit.

Mr. Tim Janman (Thurrock)

I agree with my hon. Friend that it is a priority that we should take action to uphold freedom of speech in Scotland. Does he agree that we should be incorporating section 43 of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 in this Bill, but that that should be taken as a starting point to make the legislation more embracing in Scotland to prevent the problems that we have seen in England and Wales? The English and Welsh legislation should also be toughened.

Mr. Bennett

My hon. Friend has made a very good point which is the purpose of the new clause. I only regret that the new clause tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart), about student unions, was not selected for debate. That new clause referred to students being cajoled into being members of student unions whether they wanted to or not which is something about which Conservative Members feel very strongly.

Eight of the codes of practice demand payments in advance or deposits. Those codes mean that, before a meeting can be held, sums of up to £500 must be paid in case the Left wing come along and disrupt the meeting. The onus is not on the Left, who will break up the meeting and cause the damage, but on the organisers. Large sums are demanded by some universities. Aston university, advised by the police that its security barriers would not be sufficient, asked for specially toughened steel barriers and demanded £372.83 from the Conservative students and a further £110 for extra security staff. The Conservative students did not have that sort of money, and there was a grave danger that the meeting would have to be cancelled. Luckily, part of the charge was waived.

Mr. Michael Brown

How can speech be free if it costs £110?

Mr. Bennett

My hon. Friend makes a good point. That is why we object to the way in which the English and Welsh legislation has been working.

Nine codes of practice insist that any loss or damage should be made good not by those who caused it but by the organisers of the meeting. Four require the holders of the meeting to bear all or part of the cost of any extra insurance required. Another device used by at least 10 establishments is to limit the number of meetings at which a designated speaker is allowed to appear. Essex university demands six weeks' notice for a meeting. Details must include the name of the speaker, and if the speaker cancels for any reason within those six weeks, the authority can ban the meeting.

Twenty-seven codes of practice state that the meeting may be cancelled if it incites those attending to criminal acts. That is an all-embracing umbrella clause if ever I heard one. I note that the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber, who raised umbrellas, has now left the Chamber. It seems that any univeristy can say to any association, "I am sorry, but your meeting cannot take place because it might incite the audience to acts of criminal activity." How can anyone guarantee that a meeting will not lead to someone trying to disrupt it or to commit a criminal act? It is an open invitation to a university authority to ban anything it wishes.

Mr. Bob Dunn (Dartford)

If deposits must be paid, which can be lost in the event of trouble, is that not an open invitation to the Left to cause trouble so that those who organised the meeting will be penalised?

Mr. Bennett

That is a valid point. It is all the more valid coming from a former Under-Secretary of State of Education and Science, who speaks with great experience of the matter.

I am especially worried by the behaviour of the director of the polytechnic of north London. I gained my first degree at that polytechnic and was the founder and first chairman of its Conservative association in the troubled times of the early 1970s. To blow my own trumpet, I can say that, standing as the moderate candidate, I led the poll in a ballot for student union president against the Trotskyites. I know how insidious the Left's activities can be in polytechnics and universities and how Left-wing students can intimidate speakers and Conservative students. The director's behaviour is extremely reprehensible. He has demanded the right to vet the subject of the addresses by visiting speakers and to demand that they be changed. If my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford wished to speak at the north London polytechnic, as he did fairly recently when he was subject to much abuse, the director reserves the right to ask my right hon. Friend to change the subject of his address.

Mr. Christopher Hawkins (High Peak)

I fully share my hon. Friend's view that the students should not be asked to pay, but the universities fear that, if the students are not asked to pay, the money will have to come from the university's budget for providing education. The taxpayer generally should pay. We do not tax people who have their houses burgled. The police should protect the freedom of speech at no cost to the universities.

Mr. Bennett

My hon. Friend makes a good point. There is a case that the cost of protecting free speech should be borne by the taxpayer generally. But if the student unions, which are usually the cause of the disruption and are usually controlled by the far Left, are seen to be organising the disruption, they should pay for it out of the student union budget, which is provided by the taxpayer.

Mr. John Marshall

One problem is that the principals of universities are far too pusillanimous. They should discipline those who behave in an unacademic way and send them down.

10.30 pm
Mr. Bennett

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Bernard Levin made the same point in an excellent article in The Times on 1 June. University chancellors and polytechnic directors have been very weak in dealing with student union activists and troublemakers who disrupt meetings. They prefer to ignore and turn their backs on the problem. They are quite happy that disruption should occur, provided that the speakers affected are Conservative or Right-wing.

When Mr. Ray Honeyford was invited to speak at the north London polytechnic, its director felt it necessary to publish a leaflet at the polytechnic's, and therefore, at the taxpayers', expense inviting his students to attend alternative meetings that he organised. He defended his action in a letter to The Times recently, to which Mr. Philip Malcolm, national student director of the Conservative Collegiate Forum, responded asking whether the director had ever organised an alternative meeting to one addressed by a Left-wing, Fascist or Communist speaker. Of course he had not. The director of the north London polytechnic only organises alternative meetings to those of Conservative speakers, with whom he happens to disagree. I do not see it as part of the job of the polytechnic authorities to tell students, "We don't want you to listen to this dreadful man because you might be influenced by what he says."

Mr. John Carlisle (Luton, North)

My hon. Friend may be interested to learn that, a week after my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) spoke, after a fashion, at north London polytechnic, I was invited by its Conservative student association to speak there. Accordingly, I wrote to the polytechnic's principal, Dr. Wagner, asking him to accompany me on the platform and to remain there for the duration of my speech. He refused to do so, presumably because he did not want to witness the abuse from his own students that I would doubtless receive and because he could not discipline them in his own college. He could not guarantee my safety or the freedom of speech that he was ostensibly allowing.

Mr. Bennett

My hon. Friend draws attention to the kind of disgraceful behaviour that is exhibited. Although not all right hon. and hon. Members agree with the robust views of my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, North (Mr. Carlisle) on every occasion, I defend his right to speak at any university or college in this country at which he is invited to speak and to express whatever views he likes, in however robust a manner he chooses. By doing so he upholds the principle of freedom of speech that all my right hon. and hon. Friends deem to be so important and which overrides all other considerations.

Mr. Norman Tebbit (Chingford)

One must be careful to distinguish—as my hon. Friend does, but he could easily be misinterpreted—between the great mass of university students who want quietly and decently to get on with their studies, and who are content to leave others to hold their own meetings and discussions in a proper and civilised manner, and the minority, whom we see everywhere, and who are mostly Red Fascists and people of that kind. As we know, Fascists are Left-wing, and there is little to distinguish between the National Front's economic policy and that of the Labour Left. We must be careful not to imply that students in Scotland or in any other part of the kingdom are in general of the same kind.

My hon. Friend is also right to emphasise that university authorities are often to blame for disruption. The authorities at the north London polytechnic knowingly employed a man who has a conviction for a serious terrorist offence and placed him in a position of trust among impressionable young people, which is a disgraceful way to behave. If my hon. Friend's new clause would do anything to militate against such conduct by those who are supposed to lead young people, he is well advised to pursue it.

Mr. Bennett

I thank my right hon. Friend for his helpful intervention, based on his great experience of public speaking at universities and colleges throughout the country.

I turn to the attitude of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals.

Mr. McFall

Is it not a fact that the Minister did not accept the hon. Gentleman's proposition at Scottish Question Time? The present arrangements are working perfectly well. Hon. Members may not take my word for it, but they should take the Minister's word. On 20 October last year, when he visited Glasgow college of technology, there was something of a fracas; after the meeting, however, he said that the students were to be commended and that he would introduce no legislation. I suggest that some Conservative Members know nothing about it. They come into the Chamber for a debate on Scottish education and filibuster just for the sake of it.

Mr. Bennett

I think that the hon. Gentleman has got my hon. Friend's statement slightly wrong. For one thing, he did not preclude future legislation. What he said after that demonstration was that the vast majority of students would not wish to have anything to do with the minority who had caused it. I think that his remarks were indicative of the general Christian attitude that we have come to expect from him: he took a forgiving line.

Mr. Rupert Allason (Torquay)

I recently conducted a speaking tour of Scottish universities, and spoke at St. Andrews and Edinburgh. It was a very successful tour, and was not marked by the extremism that hon. Members have described.

Let me say a word in support of my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit). Most students in Scotland are, in my experience, very keen to get on with their studies and pass their exams; they are not interested in extremism. Those students have nothing to fear from the new clause. Nor, I believe, have the Civil Service, the Scottish Office and our own Front Benches—especially the Opposition. There can be no reason for opposing the new clause, and I warmly support it.

Mr. Graham Riddick (Colne Valley)

Are not a number of student unions in Scottish universities affiliated to the National Union of Students? Is it not also true that that union still operates a no-platform policy, and that there is therefore an ever-present threat that a minority faction from some university might try to impose such a policy? Is that not why it is so important that the new clause is put on the statute book?

Mr. Bennett

My hon. Friend has made a valuable point. What concerns me is that, although there has not been the same level of disruption in Scottish universities—there have been problems at Aberdeen and Stirling—a number of issues have arisen in the past year that could lead to trouble. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where?"] I have just mentioned Stirling and Aberdeen. Hon. Members should open their ears.

We have an opportunity to introduce in Scottish legislation an insurance policy already contained in English and Welsh legislation, so that action can be taken, in the event of disruption, to prevent the problems that we have seen in England and Wales from spreading to Scotland. That seems admirable to me. The principle of free speech ought to be defended.

Mr. Bill Walker

I do not wish anyone to misunderstand. There is no doubt that in the past there have been problems at Scottish universities as serious as those that England has experienced. Those of us who have been speaking in Scotland for many decades know that there was a time when we were ashamed by activities that took place—even, in one instance, in the presence of the monarch. That should not be forgotten. I remind my hon. Friend that an umbrella may well be useful: even if it does not rain often, it does so occasionally, and when it does it can be pretty ghastly.

Mr. Bennett

I thank my hon. Friend for that helpful intervention. I see that my hon. Friend the Member for Boothferry (Mr. Davis) now wishes to intervene.

Mr. David Davis (Booth ferry)

The hon. Member for Dumbarton raised the question whether there is a problem over freedom of speech in universities. When he and the Minister were at university, the "Red Fascists", as they were called by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit), were very unsubtle: they shouted down psychologists, historians and—as we have heard—even the monarch. That was a very overt form of suppression of freedom of speech. The techniques described by my hon. Friend however, are much subtler and more difficult to detect. The Scottish Office seems to have enfeebled my hon. Friend the Minister—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Knowing him now and remembering him 10 years ago, I am quite sure that it has.

The fact that the Scottish Office says that there is no evidence implies that it has investigated the rules that apply in universities to each Conservative association and to each Socialist society and Liberal society and has checked whether they prevent controversial speakers from being able to speak. I hope that my hon. Friend will ask the Minister to justify the statement made by his Department that there has been no suppression of freedom of speech in Scotland and that the Minister will tell us that a positive investigation has taken place. I also hope that he will not reject the new clause.

Mr. Bennett

My hon. Friend makes a valuable point. If there has been a survey of Scottish institutions by the Scottish Office, I hope that it was a damned sight better than the one carried out by the Department of Education and Science into the National Union of Students, which wrote the answers for all the constituent unions to send back to the Department.

Mr. Robert B. Jones (Hertfordshire, West)

Will my hon. Friend follow up the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Boothferry (Mr. Davis) about the subtle way in which some of the pressures are applied? This does not apply just to political societies—for example, to the policy against Jewish societies by some pro-PLO students. It applies also to the misuse of public funds to finance political societies extravagantly and others in a very discriminatory way that prevents them from offering platforms to visiting speakers. As a former union official at a Scottish university, I have had experience of that.

Mr. Bennett

My hon. Friend also makes a valid point. When it referred to the amount of money that it spends on political activities, the National Union of Students interestingly described it as about 0.5 per cent., by which it meant the amount of money spent by Conservative associations and the Communist and Socialist societies. However, it did not mention that most student union officers spend most of their time on politicking, that most student union newspapers are full of Left-wing politics, that most student union meetings spend all their time on Left-wing politics and that between 60 and 70 per cent. of student union funds, paid for by the taxpayer, are spent on Left-wing politics up and down the country.

Mr. Dunn

My hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, West (Mr. Jones) made an interesting point about the change in style of the Fascist Left over the years. In the past it was a straightforward attack on those who wished to sing a different tune from that to which they were prepared to listen. Today, many of the vice-chancellors and principals give a lead because of their objection and their hostility to our philosophy. In institutions where vice-chancellors and principals have been prepared to back up freedom of speech, there has been less trouble than has occurred where vice-chancellors and principals have been prepared to give a lead to the trouble.

Mr. Bennett

My hon. Friend has made another valid point. He brings me back to the point that I was making a few minutes ago about the letter that all hon. Members have received from the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of the Universities of the United Kingdom, dated 2 June. Page 1 of the letter says: there is no evidence of any institutions placing a limit on the number of meetings that may be organised. That is simply untrue. There may be limitations imposed by virtue only of the unavailability"— that is an interesting word to use; it is not in my English dictionary— of suitable venues at any particular time. Then it says: With only one or two exceptions, there is no support for the proposal that student unions should be made responsible for meeting security or other costs. What do we find in the survey by the Conservative Collegiate Forum? We find that 53 codes put an onus on the student bodies. The statements in that letter are untrue. The letter is misleading and covers up the fact that the vast majority of universities, colleges and polytechnics in this country are doing what my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Sir J. Farr) said that they would do when he spoke during the Second Reading debate of the Education (No. 2) Bill in 1986. They are finding ways of getting round the code. The purpose of my new clause is to prevent that from happening.

Mr. Greg Knight (Derby, North)

Is there any reason why a student who, by reason of force or noise, denies freedom of speech to someone at or visiting a place of learning should remain a student?

Mr. Bennett

There is absolutely no reason whatsover for that and there is absolutely no reason why the Scottish Office should not accept the new clause, which seeks not only to extend the law that applies to England and Wales to Scotland but to improve it and to give Scotland a lead.

Mr. Leigh

Has my hon. Friend noticed that his characteristically able, but lengthy, speech has given rise to a considerable number of interventions from Conservative members who have shown an unprecedented degree of interest in these matters, which is matched only by an unprecedented lack of interest from Opposition Members? Should we not remember the wise words that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is that good men should do nothing? If Scottish Office Ministers claim that there have been few incidents, they should recall that a lack of freedom anywhere diminishes all our freedom everywhere.

10.45 pm
Mr. Bennett

My hon. Friend quotes the words of Edmund Burke which are extremely valuable. They remind us that freedom is indivisible and that we must always defend free speech and not allow the Left to decide who should speak and who should not.

Mr. Frank Haynes (Ashfield)

The hon. Gentleman probably does not know that the hon. Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh) went to Durham university and became the president of the student union there; but he was not elected: he was appointed by himself. Is that freedom?

Mr. Bennett

I find the hon. Gentleman's proposition so astounding that I must let my hon. Friend defend himself.

Mr. Leigh

Many things are thrown at one in this House, but that is complete and utter fabrication. I was elected president of the Durham Union Society in a free and popular vote in a secret ballot.

Mrs. Fyfe

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Given that the debate has to end at 11 o'clock and the Opposition are still not certain whether the Minister intends to accept the new clause, are we to be permitted to make a speech opposing the new clause or is this an example of the free speech to which Conservative Members pretend to adhere?

Madam Deputy Speaker

The occupant of the Chair has no control over the amount of time taken by an hon. Member who is moving a motion. This is a Chamber where free speech is allowed and it would be a good idea if other voices from other parts of the Chamber could be heard.

Mr. Bennett

I cannot be accused of not giving way to hon. Members who wanted to intervene. I have certainly not restricted the free speech of Opposition Members. I have given way. I shall give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Irvine), but I want to conclude my speech and hear the Minister's response.

Mr. Michael Irvine (Ipswich)

I had the honour to serve with the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Haynes) on the Standing Committee considering the Electricity Bill. At regular intervals during the sittings of that Committee, the hon. Member for Ashfield threatened various Conservative Members that he would take them outside. What is more, it is on the record. Is that not exactly the extravagant behaviour from which university vice-chancellors need to be protected when they are standing forth in the name of freedom? Is that not another example of how important it is that the new clause is accepted tonight?

Mr. Haynes

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I never threatened anybody on that Committee. All I did was ask somebody to come outside so that I could have a word with him, and he happened to be the Minister.

Madam Deputy Speaker

I wish that I was in the same position.

Mr. Bennett

The deliberations of the Committee considering the Electricity Bill certainly sound more exciting than the debates in some of the Committees on which I have served. However, I wish to finish my speech.

Mr. Allan Stewart

Does my hon. Friend agree that, the new clause is also about another principle—the principle of the citizens of the United Kingdom. It is quite clear from her intervention that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mrs. Fyfe) believes that the rights of freedom of expression of students in England and Wales should not be extended to Scotland. Does he agree that, as the Conservative and Unionist party, we must reject that proposition tonight?

Mr. Bennett


What possible excuse will my hon. Friend the Minister give from his Scottish Office brief for not accepting the new clause? I am minded to push the new clause to a vote unless we get from him an assurance that, even if he is not prepared to accept it tonight because he has a brief, he will take it away and allow his real principles and philosophy and what he really believes in to overcome the Civil Service belief.

I finish by reminding my hon. Friend of what Voltaire said about freedom of speech. We have to defend people's views that we do not believe in and, even until death, defend their right to say it. I hope that my hon. Friend will support the new clause.

Mr. Douglas

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. For about 45 minutes, including interruptions, we have listened to the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Bennett), who moved this new clause, yet he has no intention of pushing it to a vote. [Interruption.]

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. That is not a point of order for the Chair.

Mr. Michael Forsyth

Perhaps it might help the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mrs. Fyfe) if I were to respond to her at this point, but I inform my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Bennett) that I know what it must have been like to be the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. McLeish) during our deliberations in Committee. I do not think that I have experienced anything quite like this in the 150 hours or so in which we considered the Bill. There seems to be some strength of feeling on the matter among my hon. Friends. I appreciate my hon. Friend's motives in tabling the new clause. My right hon. and learned Friend has carefully considered whether legislation is necessary for Scotland. I could go on to read the remainder of my speaking note, but I get the distinct impression that my hon. Friends would not find its content palatable.

I advise my hon. Friend the Member for Boothferry (Mr. Davis) that I questioned—

Mr. Douglas

The Minister should address the House.

Mr. Forsyth

I am addressing a point that was made in an intervention. If the hon. Gentleman will listen, he may learn something about what is going on in Scotland.

My hon. Friend the Member for Boothferry asked what evidence there was for the view that had been expressed by the Scottish Office that there was no problem in Scotland. I asked the Conservative Collegiate Forum to provide me with some examples in Scotland, which it failed to do, apart from he examples that were mentioned by my hon. Friend. The basis of the view that was taken at the time of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986—that this was not a problem in Scotland and that, therefore, the law should not intervene—still stands.

Mr. Tebbit

It might help if my hon. Friend the Minister came immediately to the point of whether he is saying that this new clause would be effective if there were those problems but that he does not think that there are those problems, or whether he is saying that this is not an effective clause to guard against such incidents if they should arise. Would he be quite clear about what he is saying?

Mr. Forsyth

Yes, I am quite clear; I am saying both. Without getting into the merits of whether the backbone of my hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (Mr. Jackson) is stronger than mine—my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) raised this point during the discussion—my hon. Friend the Member for Wantage is looking at the effectiveness of the provisions in the 1986 Act. As my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke said, there is considerable concern about the operation of those provisions.

Although I had intended to say to the House that there was no prospect of introducing this measure in Scotland, because there has not been a problem, I could go some way towards helping my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke if I were to give an undertaking that we will look at this matter again on a rather more relaxed timetable in the light of my hon. Friend's review of the operation of the provisions in England. I am sure that the House would not think it sensible for us to proceed a t a breakneck pace without having an opportunity to consult and to take up the suggestion of my hon. Friend the Member for Boothferry. There will be a United Kingdom legislative opportunity shortly to deal with the commitments that have been made in respect of student finance.

Dame Jill Knight (Birmingham, Edgbaston)

The powerful argument advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Bennett) has occasioned an echo of support from the Tory Back Benches. We feel concerned that, while he made an excellent case, the Minister in response simply says that the answers cannot be given because they are unpalatable. I for one would have liked to hear those answers.

Mr. Forsyth

The answers are sound, but I do not think that they would meet the views that have been expressed. The argument is that, as there has been no problem in Scotland, it is not necessary to legislate. My hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) argued that higher education is organised on a United Kingdom basis and that guarantees of freedom of speech should apply on a United Kingdom basis. I am prepared to look at that argument, but only in the context of being certain that the provisions contained in the 1986 Act would be effective and would provide for the security about which my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) asked.

Mr. Tebbit

The easy and straightforward course would be for the Minister to accept the new clause; then he would have the leisurely progress of the legislation through the other place to consider the matter. During that time, if it was found not to be quite right, it could be amended. He has not advanced any argument so far to show how it would be harmful. He merely says that he hopes it will never be necessary. I do, too, but it would be jolly good to be in ahead of the problem. If we had had the foresight to have this type of legislation in England and Wales, we would not have had the problems we have there. He owes it to the decent students of this kingdom to legislate in this way, unless he has good reason to show that the proposed clause is defective or in some way would be offensive.

Mr. Forsyth

The bulk of the clause has applied in England and Wales and was embodied in the 1986 No. 2 Act. There is great unhappiness about it. I share the views that have been expressed about the imposition of charges on students who have attempted to run meetings, and that is one matter into which the Under-Secretary has looked. I assure my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke that I will look at the matter again in the light of the review which the Under-Secretary carried out into the operation of the Act and that we will consider whether the judgment that has been made by my right hon. Friend should apply in the future.

Mr. Dewar

As we have the unusual spectacle of the Minister at bay—a boy standing on a burning deck—I would inform him that my hon. Friends and I feel that he is right in his initial reaction that what is proposed is unnecessary—[Interruption.] We know a little more about student life at Scottish universities than does the right hon. Member for Chingford. I hope the Minister will not consider us to be handing him a poisoned chalice when I tell him that he should hold to his present stand of principle and that if he does, he will have our full support.

Mr. Forsyth

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, although I am surprised that he should regard that as a helpful intervention.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett

I am listening carefully to what my hon. Friend the Minister is saying and appreciate that he has thrown away his civil servants' brief, which is a considerable thing for a Minister to do. He is listening to what the House is saying on this issue. However, I am concerned about what my hon. Friend said about the timing and because my hon. Friend talked about "leisurely". Will my hon. Friend give us an undertaking that he will reconsider this matter, in conjunction with the English and Welsh Department of Education and Science, and that the review will take place within the next six to nine months and not within a "leisurely" timetable?

Mr. Forsyth

I am happy to give my hon. Friend that undertaking and on that basis I hope that he will not feel inclined to press his new clause to the vote.

Mr. John Carlisle

I believe that my hon. Friend should support the new clause because several of us have turned down invitations from Scottish universities because they do not offer the same so-called "protection" that is offered at English and Welsh universities. My hon. Friends and I who receive such invitations do not feel that we can accept them until we can go with the assurance that my hon. Friend and the Government are right behind us in terms of the provisions that apply in England and Wales.

Mr. Forsyth

I shall look at that as part of the review and at the time that is taken—

Madam Deputy Speaker


Mr. Nicholas Bennett

I beg to ask leave to withdrawn the motion.

Madam Deputy Speaker

Is it your pleasure that the new clause be withdrawn?

Hon. Members


Question put and negatived.

Order for Third Reading read.

11 pm

Mr. Michael Forsyth

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

The deliberations on the Bill have, from time to time, been lively, but none more so than the discussions that we have just had on the last of the new clauses.

One interesting thing about the way in which the Opposition have chosen to oppose the legislation is that they have failed utterly to recognise that the part I provisions are permissive in nature. They simply set up an opportunity for the majority of parents to have the chance to run their schools in a way that meets their needs. The difference between the Government and the Opposition is that we are prepared to trust the parents and that the Opposition are not.

It has been suggested that this legislation is unwanted in Scotland, but as my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh) repeatedly pointed out in Committee, the Opposition have refused to state the number of schools in Scotland that they expect to opt for self-governing status. Indeed, the hysteria with which they have greeted part I suggests that they believe that there will be a significant number.

The effectiveness of the legislation, even before it reaches the statute book and before we reached Third Reading, was clear for all to see in the statements made by the secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland and by people such as the convenor of the education committee of Strathclyde, Malcolm Green. They are saying that the effect of the legislation will be that education authorities will have to take far more account of the wishes of parents and that education authorities will no longer simply be able to follow the view of education headquarters. In the revision of the planning of the delivery of education by authorities such as Strathclyde and others, one can see that even at this stage the legislation is having a salutary effect.

Mrs. Fyfe

When confronted with one of his children not wanting to eat his or her dinner, does the Minister open the child's mouth and shove the dinner down that child's throat; and if he does not behave like that with his children, will he explain why he is behaving like that towards the adult electorate of Scotland?

Mr. Forsyth

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her somewhat indelicate analogy. The analogy of forcing things down people's throats is probably better applied to the kind of policies that are pursued by Strathclyde regional council in closing successful schools such as Paisley grammar school and in deciding that single-sex education is anachronistic and a choice that should not be available to parents.

Mrs. Fyfe

The Minister should answer my question.

Mr. Forsyth

I have answered the hon. Lady's question. No school will become self-governing unless the parents vote for it and unless the Secretary is convinced that they will be able to carry it through. Indeed, the Opposition seem to have been converted during our deliberations in Committee and elsewhere. I was rather struck by the statement that was made by the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. McLeish) to the press today claiming that the Labour party would repeal some of these provisions. He said that they would be swept away. When we were discussing the matter 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."—[0fficial Report, First Scottish Standing Committee, 18 May 1989; c. 1501.] Yet the hon. Gentleman did precisely that today. When I questioned him about it earlier, he said that it was because of the election results in Scotland.

The hon. Gentleman made his commitment in Committee on 18 May. On 19 May the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) said on Scottish television: We will sweep away for ever all the embittering experience of the last 10 years—the poll tax, the schools Bill which were introduced in the face and need and teeth of Scottish public opinion. I think we'll also have a very much stronger assembly". And so on. So on 18 May the hon. Member for Fife, Central was saying that anyone who made such promises was foolish and on 19 May the hon. Member for Garscadden was making exactly such foolish promises.

The point about self-governing schools is that they break the local authority monopoly. [Interruption.] I do not think that the hon. Member for Gordon (Mr. Bruce) is in a position to throw bricks in any direction. The hon. Gentleman will recall the Liberal leader of Strathclyde writing to me, pleading for the powers that are contained in the Bill in order to save Our Lady and Saint Francis school at the same time as the hon. Gentleman was denouncing the principle. When I asked him about the difference in policy between him and the Liberal leader of Strathclyde regional council, he explained that he was speaking on national policy and that the leader of the Liberal group on Strathclyde council was speaking on local matters.

Mr. Malcolm Bruce (Gordon)

Obviously the election results were better for us than I thought, as the Minister feels the need to attack us. As he well knows, the argument that we put forward is that the Secretary of State would not have needed to introduce any Bill if he had retained his power to review any proposed school closure. That was the power that we wanted. It is reasonable for a local councillor to try to ensure that a school is not closed when he is caught between a Government and a Labour party who will not listen to the local people.

Mr. Forsyth

The hon. Gentleman has got it wrong again. The school in question was a denominational school where the Secretary of State retains his power. The difficulty in this case was that the hierarchy did not wish to refer the matter to the Secretary of State. Therefore, self-governing status was the option that was available to the school.

Self-governing schools break the local authority monopoly, create an opportunity for change and have resulted in local authorities being more responsive to the demands and wishes of parents.

The Bill extends choice by the introduction of powers to set up technology academies. Is it not amazing that the Labour party in Strathclyde would rather have school buildings empty in the Gorbals than have brand new, high-tech schools available for the people who voted for them in the Glasgow, Central by-election? I hope that everyone in Glasgow is aware that a brand-new school could be available and that the only education cut that has been made in Glasgow was the cutting out of a brand-new school because of the ideology and fear that dominate the Labour party.

One interesting thing about the progress of our discussions on the Bill is that the use of the word "Anglicisation" has almost disappeared. We do not hear about it any more. That is probably because we have had a succession of amendments from the hon. Member for Fife, Central desperately trying to bring the Bill into line with the legislation in England.

We have had a good example of the transformation of the views of the Opposition as they have had to argue their case against my hon. Friends in Committee. I pay tribute to the effective way in which my hon. Friends conducted themselves in Committee. They astonished even the Glasgow Herald which has found it necessary to say that it got it wrong as regards the performance of my hon. Friends. Perhaps the most remarkable conversion of all was the suggestion that the Bill should be amended to create a parental majority for parents on the board of management. The hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. McAllion), who was a member of the Committee that considered the School Boards (Scotland) Bill, as it then was, condemned the Government for having a parental majority. He talked about the tyranny of the parental majority. By the time that the Bill that is before us began to be considered in Committee, the hon. Gentleman was arguing for a parental majority. We were happy to oblige the Opposition by introducing provisions for such a majority on Report.

Mr. McAllion

Then why is the Minister criticising us?

Mr. Forsyth

I am merely surprised that a party that puts so much effort into telling the people of Scotland that a parental majority would be tyranny and that it would be wrong that we should seek to amend the Bill to introduce such a majority.

The hon. Member for Fife, Central asked his colleagues not even to vote against the provisions in the Bill that allow for the introduction of national testing. It seemed that the Opposition accepted the principle of testing but were worried about how it would appear in practice. I was surprised to read the article in today's edition of the Glasgow Herald in which the hon. Gentleman stated: The Opposition need to form a triple alliance of parents, professionals and politicians. We must develop alternatives to the deeply damaging testing and teaching appraisal proposals contained in the new legislation. If the testing proposals are so "deeply damaging", why did not the hon. Gentleman vote against them in Committee? He knows, as we all know, that parents want information about the performance of their children. They want that information communicated to them at home. In recognition of that, the Government have struck a popular blow.

In the same article—this is especially touching for those of us who were members of the Committee—the hon. Gentleman states: There is a sense of being out-manoeuvred yet no real alternative has emerged. The hon. Gentleman is there referring to the Labour party.

He continues: The forces of progressive education in Scotland must not only recapture the agenda and the initiative from the Government. We must once again dominate educational thinking in addition to an effective delivery of the service on the ground. I have some advice for the hon. Gentleman: vote for the Bill's Third Reading and persuade the people of Scotland that the Opposition look to their interests and not to messages from the Educational Institute of Scotland. If he does that, he will make some progress in seeking to dominate the agenda.

Mr. Jimmy Dunnachie (Glasgow, Pollok)

There are only 11 Conservative Members left in Scotland.

Mr. Forsyth

I was reading the words of the hon. Member for Fife, Central, who has admitted that the Government have set the agenda and have dominated it, and that the Labour party has lost it.

The Bill provides for the introduction of appraisal. What profession should not be subject to scrutiny of performance? What profession is more important than teaching? Opposition Members have found it difficult to work out their position on appraisal, and perhaps that is because the teaching unions are split on the issue. The EIS is against it but the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association, the Professional Association of Teachers and the other unions are supporting it. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill told us in Committee that the PAT is a union that no responsible teacher should join because it was not prepared to advise its members to go on strike. That says much about the attitude of Labour Members.

The EIS is claiming to be the official opposition. Its leader boasted that that was a sign of how effective it had been. Even the Glasgow Herald endorsed that view in an editorial on 12 June. It stated: If indeed the institute is the 'official' opposition, that says much for the tenacity and credibility of the union, its officials and members. But it doesn't say much for the performance of the Labour Party in Scotland. Anyone who was a member of the Committee that considered the Bill would have made that observation. The hon. Member for Garscadden would have done himself more credit if instead of attacking my hon. Friends for their performance he had been in Committee arguing the Opposition's case.

Mr. Dewar

Like the Secretary of State!

Mr. Forsyth

My right hon. Friend was a member of the Committee. The hon. Gentleman could have been there to argue his party's case. He was not, however, and his party lost.

The Bill also provides for a major extension of the parents' charter which the hon. Member for Fife, Central told us his party now supports. His party opposed it when we proposed it, just as it opposed school boards, which it now supports. We look forward to Labour telling the people of Scotland in a year's time that it supports self-governing schools.

We have also abolished section 88, which even the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities argued was anachronistic, but the Opposition have found it difficult to go along with that. We are liberating the employment of teachers through insistence on the advertising of all posts above principal, and the ending of ring-fencing around official appointments.

The Bill is a major reforming piece of legislation. Much of its provisions have not been discussed in Scotland. Much of it has been presented in terms of the Opposition's myths. It will strengthen the parents' voice, it will strengthen accountability, it will extend choice, it will increase competition and it will raise standards, and I commend it to the House.

11.15 pm
Mr. McLeish

We have heard a characteristic and highly personal speech from the Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for education. It is always a grand sight to see him get animated and excited. One of the ingredients that he tends to miss out in his perorations, however, is the fact that the Bill is universally despised in Scotland.

There was no educational argument in the Minister's speech. Rather we had a rich mix of personal animosity and the ideology that we have come to expect from him and his erstwhile colleagues who were recruited on to the Committee to do the job that they enjoy most—being destructive and counter-productive rather than having a sensible debate about education in Scotland.

It is remarkable that, despite suffering electoral casualties at every election in Scotland—we have a Tory MEP-free Scotland and there are only 10 Scottish Tory Members at Westminster—the one thing that the Government will not face is the view of Scottish electors as measured in district and regional council, general and European Parliament elections. I must ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, who I believe is beginning to tune into the fact that he faces a wipe-out of Conservative-held Scottish seats in 1991 or 1992, when he will get a grip on the continuing excesses of his Minister, who is projecting a form of education which is not liked.

The Secretary of State laughs, but why can he go to Wales and suggest there that there should be a triple alliance? He seems to have been converted to regional policies again. He does not argue their case in the Cabinet, though. He goes to Wales and suggests that Wales, the north and Scotland should unite as a triple alliance against the forces of Thatcherism to try to reinstate some sensible regional policy.

The Secretary of State has spoken about trying to put the Scottish scene back on a moderate footing. He has offered glasnost to COSLA. The most important thing that he can do tonight is to distance himself from the Bill and scrap it. At a stroke, that would help the Tories, possibly, to regain some lost ground in Scotland.

The Under-Secretary of State and the Secretary of State would benefit from re-reading the letter that was sent to them by the Church of Scotland on 5 June. Its general assembly passed a motion which was highly critical of the opting-out provisions. On 5 June, Mr. Alasdair Morton, from the Church of Scotland's department of education, sent a letter to the Under-Secretary of State—I know that he does not like this, but I hope that he will listen—which ran: Accordingly in the name of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland I must request the Government to delete Part 1 of the above Bill and to depart from the matters it contains. That is not an extreme group; it speaks on behalf of Scottish interests—[Interruption.] Conservative Members may be disparaging about the Church of Scotland, but it captured in a single sentence the feelings of Scots towards the Bill.

The Under-Secretary spent two or three sessions in Committee attacking the Church of Scotland because it had the temerity to involve itself in political debate. The hon. Gentleman felt that it should concern itself with religious education and religious observance and keep out of politics—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Hon. Members may applaud that, but the Church of Scotland behaved responsibly and suggested that the Bill be scrapped.

It is interesting that the Prime Minister visited Scotland and addressed the Perth conference on 12 May. She said about Scottish education: Excellence has always been part of the Scottish tradition. And when it comes to the Glasgow Vets School, I'm with Malcolm—I support it all the way. I am sure that she was referring to the Glasgow vets school, not to Malcolm. She continued: In a competitive world, Scottish children deserve to be given the very best education and the very best training. In her distinctive and characteristic style, she then said: It's not enough to be just good enough. The Scots need to shine—to be way out in front. And under Conservative Government, they will have the freedom and opportunity to do just that. That is a rich, rich hypocrisy in view of the Bill and its potential impact on Scottish education during the next two or three years.

The tragedy of the past three months and of tonight's debate is that the Bill is irrelevant to the real needs of Scottish education and to the challenges that Scotland will face in the 1990s with the single European market, the advent of technology and major demographic changes. What does Scotland get?—a Bill that will turn back the education clock 20, 30 or even 40 years. Few, if any, Scots want the Bill to reach the statute book.

I listened to the Minister giving a brief résumé of the Committee stage. He can ignore us and treat us with contempt—that is one of his characteristics—but can he continue to treat the people of Scotland with the same contempt? I said earlier that the Secretary of State appeared to be distancing himself from the excesses arid extremism of certain members of the Government, both in the United Kingdom generally and in Scotland. We need some stability in Scottish education.

The Bill, with its technology academies, opting out and testing measures, has the potential to tear Scottish education apart. In whose interests will that be? Will it be in the interests of the children, of the much-vaunted parents about whom the Minister constantly speaks, or of the future of education? The Bill is a miserable, mean and pathetic measure which has been dressed up under the guise of parental choice.

The Scottish people have had no real say in drawing up the Bill. At the last election, from Lord Goold through to senior Ministers, and even the Prime Minister, they all said that there should be opting out for England and Wales but not yet for Scotland. The Bill is not only tragic: it is a total betrayal of what Scotland has been led to expect.

Mr. Bill Walker

I would not wish the House to be misled any more than I wished the Committee to be misled. My right hon. Friend the Member for Kincardine and Deeside (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) asked central office in Edinburgh about that matter. He was given an answer that was not in accordance with what I understood the position to be or with the platform on which I stood at the last election. Hon. Members must ask themselves why, then, my result improved. I made my views about this legislation clear—I wanted it, I worked for it and I look forward to its implementation. I said that during 44 speeches in my constituency.

Mr. McLeish

I am sure that the right hon. Member for Kincardine and Deeside (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) will want to put on the record what was actually said in the telephone calls between him, the Scottish Office and the hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro).

There is a betrayal here, and "betrayal" is one of the dirtiest words in politics. The Ministers here tonight have betrayed the people of Scotland. It was made quite clear in the general election campaign, even to the extent that the Government's principal spokesmen were paraded before The Scotsman, that the Government categorically denied that opting out would be on the agenda. However, that is history.

The right hon. Member for Kincardine and Deeside had an excellent piece in this morning's edition of The Scotsman. He gave advice to which the Secretary of State for Scotland should listen. It is clear that, after the debacle of the European elections and the impact of Thatcherism in Scotland, where the Tories were completely wiped out, the right hon. Member for Kincardine and Deeside has made some excellent observations. He has offered the Secretary of State and the Conservatives some ideas on the way forward. He stated that, in education, most people regarded the schools opt-out legislation as an irrelevance and continued to be offended by attitudes towards the universities. Those were courageous comments, and it is not for the Opposition to exploit them further.

There is compelling pressure on the Secretary of State for Scotland to listen to the Opposition, to the Scottish people and to the reasoned, rational sane voice of Scottish Conservative politics like that espoused by certain distinguished Tory Back Benchers. The Opposition are listening to those Tory Back Benchers. It is often asked: if that voice is good enough for the Opposition, why can it not be good enough for Conservative Members?

The Government parade choice and parental power. However, this Bill, like education legislation in England, centralises power in a way that we have not seen in Scottish education for many years. For "choice" we should read centralised control. The Minister referred to standards, while my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East (Mr. McAllion) spoke about selection. The Bill is not about standards in Scottish education. Most of the Conservative Members who have spoken tonight know nothing about the standards in Scottish schools. All the evidence suggests that Scottish schools are doing extremely well, although they could be doing much better.

We should also be concerned about parents. The involvement of parents was clearly the brainwave of the Minister and of the Prime Minister. They must have asked themselves how they could sell unpalatable policies throughout the length and breadth of the country. They decided to hi-jack parents. For parents we should of course read privatisation.

Scots are not fools and very few Scots will be taken in by this parental nonsense. If the Government were serious about parental choice, they would give every parent the chance to be involved in schools instead of the rather selective situation which will ensue through the school boards, and the more selective approach through self-governing schools.

Earlier in the debate, the Minister chided me for suggesting that we should not be making statements about future education policy. We were buoyed up by last week's results. It is clear that politics is about mood and morale. We look forward with increasing confidence to the day when we can rid the Scottish Office of its present incumbents and bring some sanity back to Scottish education.

The Minister may not like what was said about his precious assisted places scheme. That scheme may disappear on day one when the Opposition regain control of the Scottish Office, but much will have to be done in the rest of the week. The people of Scotland who are considering opting out, or technology academies, should be aware that the Opposition want to ensure that schools which opt out and any technology academies will be reintegrated into the education authority sector.

The reason is simple: both those so-called innovations have nothing to do with extending choice or creating diversity. They are all to do with destroying, step by step, the comprehensive system of education that has been built up by Conservatives, Labour, Scottish nationalists and Liberals during the past few years. When we take office, we shall have none of this nonsense. We shall give back to Scotland investment in education and policies to strengthen the comprehensive system. In the interim, we shall ensure that there is constructive resistance to such education policies.

It is a tragedy that a Bill which is so uniquely despised in Scotland has taken up so much time in the House. We had nearly two months in Committee. The Minister had the cheek to suggest that he had accepted 100 amendments in Committee. Without preaching Anglicisation, may I say that the sad fact is that this shabby Scottish Bill does not even have the safeguards that were included in the English Act. What the Secretary of State for Education and Science thought was good enough for English and Welsh people has not been accepted by the ideologue who is the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland.

This is a disappointing day for Scottish education; but morale in education is high. There will be a struggle against this legislation, and I assure those taking part that the Labour party will be in the forefront of the struggle. I urge my colleagues to vote against Third Reading. This Bill does not deserve it.

11.31 pm
Mr. Alick Buchanan-Smith

I need no advice from the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. McLeish) on what I should do or where I may stand. I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker), but I am perfectly happy to answer for myself. Nothing that has happened in the past few days has given me cause to change my views on this issue or on any others. Hon. Members on both sides of the House will acknowledge that I have consistently been saying the same things about education in Scotland for the past two years.

I am genuinely sad, as we come to the Third Reading of the Bill, that nothing has happened during our consideration of it to convince me that it has merits and should be supported. I still regard it as irrelevant. I do not believe that there is a serious demand for it in Scotland, although, as my hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) has repeatedly said, there is a demand in some areas. Those to whom I have talked have sensed some confusion over that demand. Is it being demanded for its own sake, or is it being demanded as a way out of problems such as a threatened closure? I acknowledge that there is demand in some areas, but no one can contradict my assertion that there is no general demand for the Bill in Scotland.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State have said to me several times, "If it is irrelevant, and if there is no general demand, why worry?" I worry because I believe that the Bill has deep implications for the structure and future development of education in Scotland. I ask them in return, "If it is irrelevant, as I believe it is, and if there is no evidence of great demand, why waste precious parliamentary time in this Session on a Bill which is unnecessary and which has created needless controversy?"

The Bill will change the structure of education in Scotland because it contains the seeds of division for the system generally and, worst of all, for those communities where schools may consider opting out. There is scope in the Bill for extreme groups from any background to exploit problems. The Bill is not in the line of succession of our Scottish educational tradition.

As I said at the outset, in recent years we have witnessed considerable changes in Scottish education—changes in the curriculum and in examinations, for example, and the introduction of school boards, which I supported once the original proposals had been moderated. The Government are imposing far too heavy a diet of change for no clear educational reason or advantage, and in doing that they are wrong. The Bill follows far too closely on the establishment of the school boards. Hon. Members will have addressed parent-teacher association meetings and other school meetings in their constituencies, and will know of the confusion in many people's minds about the establishment of the school boards, which I support, and the opting-out proposals, which follow so closely on it. The Government are doing a disservice to the successful establishment and operation of school boards by introducing the Bill so soon afterwards. The school boards should have been up and working before further change was contemplated.

I am one who believes in evolution, not revolution—as all good Conservatives should. Nowhere in our national life is evolution more important than in education. I am sad that the Government should have proceeded in this way, and equally sad to say that I still cannot support the Bill.

11.36 pm
Sir Russell Johnston

The right hon. Member for Kincardine and Deeside (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) has made a speech of clarity and courage. We all know that it is not easy to speak out against one's party, and that must be especially true given the difficult position of the Conservative party in Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman made a straightforward speech, and I agreed with almost everything that he said, although our impression is that the school boards are not proving as acceptable as some claim. But let us leave the school boards aside because they are not the main issue tonight.

The Minister has said that we are wrong to oppose the Bill because it is only permissive—people can choose to opt out or choose not to. We oppose the Bill because, as the right hon. Member for Kincardine and Deeside said, there is no demand for it in Scotland. It is worth repeating that it is passing strange that, while the Government at least accept that more than 50 per cent. of parents should have to vote for opting-out before it can take place, the Bill stems from a Government with only 25 per cent. of support in Scotland.

The Bill has been rejected throughout Scotland, and its rejection has been coupled with a lack of comprehension of the motivation behind it. People are asking why it is being introduced. As the right hon. Member for Kincardine and Deeside asked, why have we spent all this time putting the Bill through the House?

The Government say that the Bill is about increasing choice. The Scottish Consumer Council, on the other hand, argues: Proposals to allow schools to 'opt-out' of education authority control are ill-timed and do not offer parents a significant extension of choice. The Church of Scotland's education committee says: The exercise of powers being proposed by the Bill are likely to be to the disadvantage of children in the sections of the community already suffering most deprivation. The presbytery of Inverness education committee says The committee is not convinced that the proposals in this paper … are to the best interests of Scottish Education. The great majority of those involved in education seem to be saying that the Bill is not relevant and will not expand educational opportunity. The Minister has attacked the Educational Institute of Scotland; in Committee he did so often. Far be it from me to say that the EIS is a perfect organisation, but its reason for existence is to advance the quality of education and that is what it strives to do. It makes no sense for the Minister responsible for education in Scotland to spend so much time attacking the EIS rather than discussing matters with it and trying to move forward.

Many people feel that the Bill could represent a covert means or reintroducing selectivity, at least in certain areas. That was also in the mind of the right hon. Member for Kincardine and Deeside and it was certainly a view felt by the Scottish Parent Teacher Council which believes that comprehensive education might well be compromised by these proposals and that it would have been more honest to have an open and informed debate about its successes and failures, rather than allowing it to be eroded as a consequence of this proposed legislation. Our view is that unnecessary legislation is being imposed on the people of Scotland by a minority. The Minister referred earlier to something being a travesty of democracy. This is a travesty of democracy in a country that is increasingly becoming the least democratic in the European Community.

11.40 pm
Mr. Allan Stewart

With the greatest respect, the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber (Sir R. Johnston) is not in the strongest position to talk about electoral percentages, following the recent election results. I shall not extend that argument because I would not wish to add any further insult to the injuries that were inflicted upon the Social and Liberal Democrats by the electorate.

I warmly congratulate my hon. Friend the Minister on a masterly presentation of the Government's case throughout the long Committee stage. He was flexible where he felt that there was a case for changing the Government's position. For example, he was flexible on the issue of the chairmanship of the university courts and in providing for a second ballot before self-governing status could be achieved.

It gives me particular pleasure to speak on Third Reading. I had the pleasure last year of tabling a new clause to the School Boards (Scotland) Bill which would have provided for self-governing schools. I moved that new clause not because of ideology or any particular philosophical convictions but because of representations from constituents. That is my answer to all the nonsense about manifesto commitments and what was said and what was not said. During my election campaign I did not make a manifesto commitment to support opting out, but that was before the decisions by Strathclyde regional council which persuaded me as a constituency Member to raise this matter in the House. I am delighted that the Bill is to reach the statute book.

In Committee, we heard an enormous amount of nonsense about what are described as Scotland's educational traditions. In the Glasgow Herald this morning, we read about what the Labour party believes Scottish educational traditions to be all about. The hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. McLeish) has described Scottish education in this way: Before 1979 Education was used by successive Governments in an attempt to engineer a more egalitarian society. That is the kind of Scottish educational tradition in which the Labour party believes, and it should be rejected comprehensively by the Government.

We heard also that the concept of technology academies is alien to Scotland's educational traditions. However, one of the proposed sites for a technology academy agreed by the leader of Strathclyde council and by the chairman of its education committee is Allan Glens. Anyone who knows anything about the history of Allan Glens knows that it was always envisaged as the location of a technology academy.

There has been much discussion about the number of schools that may opt for self-governing status. I may tell my hon. Friend the Minister that he has already won, even before a single school chooses to be self governing, because he has changed the way in which education authorities react to parents' wishes. That is what the Bill is all about.

I have referred, at excessive length in the view of Opposition Members, to the Neilston case and to others I know about. There is no doubt that when Scotland's education leaders take decisions in future, they will be aware of the importance of being responsive to parents, because parents will have the additional choice of opting for self-governing status. That is the key message that goes out from the House to the parents of Scotland.

The Opposition's performance on the Bill has been subject to a certain amount of press comment, and I do not wish to deepen their wounds. However, by far the greatest tribute, if that is the right word, to their lack of performance was that of the general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, who refers to the EIS providing Scotland's official opposition to the Bill. What does that say about the role played by the Labour party in Scotland? The Glasgow Herald article, commenting on Mr. Jim Martin, the EIS's new general secretary, stated: He has been impressive, partly because he has usurped the political role of the Opposition. In his surprisingly honest article in the Glasgow Herald, the hon. Member for Fife, Central writes: There is a sense of being outmanoeuvred, yet no real alternative has emerged. There can be no better description of the Opposition's performance during the passage of the Bill. That is their epitaph, and they wrote it themselves.

11.47 pm
Mrs. Fyfe

When the Scottish public realise tomorrow morning that about 50 Conservative Members wasted a whole hour of the precious little time left for debate to urge freedom for Conservative students, the National Front, contra generals, and the like, and then revealed, by not pressing new clause 12, that they really wanted to store up their views for a future debate, that public will be bitterly angry.

In debates lasting seven hours, no opportunity has been given to debate the needs of adult learners attending schools or colleges of further education, student rectors, Gaelic speakers, trade union rights, negotiating machinery, and the low wages of school workers. The subject of further education received only a brief mention on Second Reading and in Committee, and none at all tonight. Numerous other topics relating to the Bill—it would take too long to mention them all—have not been aired tonight, because Conservative Members thought that it would be more fun to create a diversion for an hour. That is how seriously they treat Scottish legislation, and that is why they are treated with such contempt by the Scottish electorate.

During the recent by-election I spoke at several public meetings on behalf of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. Watson). With my colleagues I knocked on doors every day for three weeks, and not once did I find anyone who was in favour of the Bill. The local electorate also knew that Allan Glen's school was in Townhead and not in the Gorbals, thereby demonstrating the superiority of their knowledge of education in Glasgow to that of the Minister. Not only did no one ask anything about the Bill, but when I raised it at public meetings not a single member of the audience professed to be in favour of it.

Hon. Members have talked of testing. It is clear that the Tories have failed every electoral test in Scotland, again and again. I remind them that someone with more wisdom than Robert the Bruce said, "If you try, try, try again and still do not succeed, quit: no need to be a damn fool about it!"

11.50 pm
Mr. McFall

It gives me great pleasure to speak against the Bill, whose hallmark has been a complete lack of consultation with teachers, education managers or parents in Scotland. There has been more consultation with English Back Benchers than with anyone in Scotland.

For 35 minutes the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Bennett) wittered on, encouraging interventions: yet Scottish Members who were on the Committee, scrutinising the legislation line by line, can get in only two or three minutes at the end of the night. There is something wrong with the system: that is why the frustrations are building up in Scotland, and the Government are so blind that they cannot even see it. The conduct of this Bill shows how out of touch they are with Scottish education, and the narrowness of their view as put forward by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary. Is it the view of the Secretary of State? My interpretation is that Scottish education at present is dictated by a leak in the Glasgow Herald and by the hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart), who has more power now than he has ever had: he is the Dirty Harry of Scottish politics. Whenever he says anything, it is put forward as education legislation.

I said at the outset of the proceedings on the School Boards (Scotland) Bill 1988 that a two-stage process was involved. I was departing from the view of my Front Bench, which had stated that the Bill represented a climbdown by the Government: my view was that the Bill had been set up to level the playing field between Scotland and England so that the legislation available to England could be introduced. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary said in this very Chamber that the Secretary of State for Education and Science was frit, because he would not go further and completely privatise English education. It was the real Parliamentary Under-Secretary who stood up then, but tonight, in the freedom of speech debate, we did not see him. But we see him in Scotland, however, each and every day, as do the electorate: we see him for all that he is not worth.

Many aspects of the Bill are reprehensible—indeed, every aspect, not least that of academic selection. On Monday 6 March the Secretary of State said that the Bill was not about selectivity. If I were not in the Chamber, I would describe that as a gross mendacity; I am in the Chamber, however, so I shall not. Writ large in the Bill is that it is about academic selection: it is about taking Scottish education back 100 years, and putting it in a Victorian political time warp in which the minority will be satisfied and the majority rejected. The Bill will destroy public education. Some say that it will Anglicise education in Scotland. That is nonsense. It only gives succour to the Scottish National party and others. [Interruption.] I am quite happy to say that.

Mr. Salmond

I remind the hon. Gentleman that it was the Educational Institute of Scotland that said that the Bill would Anglicise Scottish education.

Mr. McFall

The hon. Gentleman is quite right. As a consequence I went to the Educational Institute of Scotland's offices in Edinburgh and told them where it had gone wrong. It cannot be said too often that the Bill is about the destruction of public education in Scotland. It will loosen the links between local education authorities and the electorate. The Under-Secretary of State is loosening the links because for many years Labour-controlled local education authorities have been too successful. This is a naked political attempt to make a breach between electorates and councillors. The Under-Secretary of State knows that. I have asked him about it two or three times and each time he has smiled or smirked at me.

The Minister and the Conservative party in Scotland are ideologues. They have both public and private aspirations. The public aspiration is that the Bill will provide greater choice and freedom. The private aspiration was revealed when the Under-Secretary of State lowered his guard. It is about greed—about cheque-book education. At a meeting of the Scottish Grand Committee in Edinburgh the Under-Secretary of State said that for him education was about people using their cheque books in the way that they want. Education, for him, is a rejection of all that has been good in Scottish education during the last 100 years—an education system which has provided choice and diversity.

The Conservative party has not briefed its candidates or its officers in Scotland. I was on a public platform with a certain Michael Hirst, who used to be a Member of Parliament, but he was rejected by the electors in Strathkelvin and Bearsden. He said that the electorate would be able to get rid of individuals who do not come up to the mark as school board members or officers after four years. But four years is far too long. Scottish education will be destroyed within one or two years. The Minister was clever enough to see that, because he wants to destroy it within a year or two.

The evolution of education in Scotland during the last 100 years has been a painful process. We stand for an egalitarian system and for equality of opportunity for boys and girls. That is why most of the Scottish electorate are behind us. That is why the right hon. Member for Kincardine and Deeside (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) and for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) are behind us. That is why 40 per cent. of Scottish Tory Back Benchers are against the Bill. They are listening to their constituents. They are not listening, as is the Under-Secretary of State, to the No Turning Back group.

Mr. McAllion

Will my hon. Friend comment on what was said by the right hon. Member for Kincardine and Deeside (Mr. Buchanan-Smith)—that, like all decent Scottish Tories, he believed in evolution rather than revolution? Yet in Committee on the School Boards (Scotland) Bill the Minister boasted that he was a revolutionary. Might that not explain the very bad results for the Conservative party last Thursday?

Mr. McFall

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. The right hon. Member for Kincardine and Deeside remarked that the legislation has appeared out of the blue. It is on record in Hansard that during the last general election in 1987 the right hon. Member for Kincardine and Deeside phoned Conservative Central Office in Edinburgh and asked, "Is opting-out on the Tory agenda for this election?" He was told loud and clear, "No, there is no such thing as opting-out coming on to the agenda so you can be reassured and you can tell your electorate that we have no such thing on the agenda." But the right hon. Member for Kincardine and Deeside did not consider the hon. Member for Eastwood or the Prime Minister's Private Office—

It being Twelve o'clock, MADAM 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 245, Noes 191.

Division No. 254] [12 midnight
Adley, Robert Bellingham, Henry
Aitken, Jonathan Bendall, Vivian
Alexander, Richard Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Benyon, W.
Allason, Rupert Bevan, David Gilroy
Amess, David Biffen, Rt Hon John
Amos, Alan Blackburn, Dr John G.
Arbuthnot, James Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Body, Sir Richard
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Bonsor, Sir Nicholas
Ashby, David Boscawen, Hon Robert
Aspinwall, Jack Boswell, Tim
Atkins, Robert Bottomley, Peter
Atkinson, David Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)
Batiste, Spencer Bowis, John
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes Jackson, Robert
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Janman, Tim
Brazier, Julian Jessel, Toby
Bright, Graham Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Burns, Simon Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Burt, Alistair Key, Robert
Butcher, John King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Butler, Chris Kirkhope, Timothy
Butterfill, John Knapman, Roger
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Carrington, Matthew Knox, David
Carttiss, Michael Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Cash, William Lang, Ian
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda Latham, Michael
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Lawrence, Ivan
Chapman, Sydney Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Chope, Christopher Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)
Churchill, Mr Lightbown, David
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Lilley, Peter
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Colvin, Michael Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Conway, Derek Lord, Michael
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Luce, Rt Hon Richard
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Lyell, Sir Nicholas
Cope, Rt Hon John Macfarlane, Sir Neil
Cormack, Patrick McLoughlin, Patrick
Couchman, James McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael
Cran, James McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Currie, Mrs Edwina Mans, Keith
Curry, David Maples, John
Davis, David (Boothferry) Marland, Paul
Day, Stephen Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Dicks, Terry Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Dorrell, Stephen Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Mates, Michael
Dover, Den Maude, Hon Francis
Dunn, Bob Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Durant, Tony Meyer, Sir Anthony
Dykes, Hugh Miller, Sir Hal
Favell, Tony Mills, Iain
Forman, Nigel Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Mitchell, Sir David
Freeman, Roger Moate, Roger
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Morrison, Sir Charles
Gregory, Conal Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Moss, Malcolm
Hampson, Dr Keith Moynihan, Hon Colin
Hanley, Jeremy Neale, Gerrard
Hannam, John Nelson, Anthony
Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr') Neubert, Michael
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn) Nicholls, Patrick
Harris, David Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Haselhurst, Alan Norris, Steve
Hawkins, Christopher Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Hayes, Jerry Oppenheim, Phillip
Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney Page, Richard
Hayward, Robert Paice, James
Heathcoat-Amory, David Patnick, Irvine
Heddle, John Patten, John (Oxford W)
Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE) Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE) Porter, David (Waveney)
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Price, Sir David
Hill, James Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Hind, Kenneth Rathbone, Tim
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Redwood, John
Hordern, Sir Peter Renton, Tim
Howard, Michael Rhodes James, Robert
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford) Roe, Mrs Marion
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Rossi, Sir Hugh
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Rost, Peter
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne) Sackville, Hon Tom
Hunter, Andrew Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Irvine, Michael Sayeed, Jonathan
Jack, Michael Shaw, David (Dover)
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb') Trippier, David
Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW) Trotter, Neville
Sims, Roger Twinn, Dr Ian
Skeet, Sir Trevor Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Waddington, Rt Hon David
Soames, Hon Nicholas Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Speed, Keith Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Speller, Tony Waller, Gary
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Ward, John
Squire, Robin Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Warren, Kenneth
Steen, Anthony Watts, John
Stern, Michael Wells, Bowen
Stevens, Lewis Whitney, Ray
Stewart, Allan (Eastwood) Widdecombe, Ann
Stewart, Andy (Sherwood) Wiggin, Jerry
Stokes, Sir John Wilkinson, John
Stradling Thomas, Sir John Wilshire, David
Summerson, Hugo Winterton, Mrs Ann
Taylor, Ian (Esher) Winterton, Nicholas
Taylor, John M (Solihull) Wolfson, Mark
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E) Wood, Timothy
Temple-Morris, Peter Yeo, Tim
Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N) Young, Sir George (Acton)
Thornton, Malcolm
Thurnham, Peter Tellers for the Ayes:
Townend, John (Bridlington) Mr. David Maclean and
Tracey, Richard Mr. Michael Fallon.
Tredinnick, David
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
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Eastham, Ken
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)
Barron, Kevin Fatchett, Derek
Battle, John Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Beckett, Margaret Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)
Beith, A. J. Fisher, Mark
Bell, Stuart Flannery, Martin
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Flynn, Paul
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Bidwell, Sydney Foster, Derek
Blair, Tony Foulkes, George
Blunkett, David Fraser, John
Boateng, Paul Fyfe, Maria
Boyes, Roland Galbraith, Sam
Bray, Dr Jeremy Galloway, George
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) George, Bruce
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Buckley, George J. Godman, Dr Norman A.
Caborn, Richard Golding, Mrs Llin
Callaghan, Jim Gordon, Mildred
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Graham, Thomas
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Canavan, Dennis Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Grocott, Bruce
Clay, Bob Hardy, Peter
Clelland, David Harman, Ms Harriet
Cohen, Harry Henderson, Doug
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Hinchliffe, David
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Home Robertson, John
Corbyn, Jeremy Hood, Jimmy
Cousins, Jim Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Cryer, Bob Howells, Geraint
Cummings, John Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Hoyle, Doug
Dalyell, Tam Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Darling, Alistair Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Illsley, Eric
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) Ingram, Adam
Dewar, Donald Janner, Greville
Johnston, Sir Russell Quin, Ms Joyce
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Radice, Giles
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W) Randall, Stuart
Kennedy, Charles Redmond, Martin
Kirkwood, Archy Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Lambie, David Reid, Dr John
Leadbitter, Ted Richardson, Jo
Leighton, Ron Robertson, George
Lestor, Joan (Eccles) Robinson, Geoffrey
Litherland, Robert Rooker, Jeff
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Rowlands, Ted
Loyden, Eddie Ruddock, Joan
McAllion, John Salmond, Alex
McAvoy, Thomas Sedgemore, Brian
Macdonald, Calum A. Sheerman, Barry
McFall, John Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
McKay, Allen (Barnsley West) Shore, Rt Hon Peter
McKelvey, William Short, Clare
McLeish, Henry Sillars, Jim
McNamara, Kevin Skinner, Dennis
McWilliam, John Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Madden, Max Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Mahon, Mrs Alice Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)
Marek, Dr John Spearing, Nigel
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Steel, Rt Hon David
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Steinberg, Gerry
Martlew, Eric Strang, Gavin
Maxton, John Straw, Jack
Meale, Alan Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Michael, Alun Turner, Dennis
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Vaz, Keith
Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute) Wall, Pat
Moonie, Dr Lewis Wallace, James
Morgan, Rhodri Walley, Joan
Morley, Elliott Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe) Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
Mowlam, Marjorie Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Mullin, Chris Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Murphy, Paul Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Nellist, Dave Wilson, Brian
O'Brien, William Wise, Mrs Audrey
O'Neill, Martin Wray, Jimmy
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Young, David (Bolton SE)
Patchett, Terry
Pendry, Tom Tellers for the Noes:
Pike, Peter L. Mr. Frank Haynes and
Powell, Ray (Ogmore) Mr. Robert N. Wareing.
Prescott, John

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.

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