§ Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Order Paper states that the instrument has not been considered by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. The Opposition want to debate the order before it comes into effect, but it is quite clear that the time between laying the instrument and its coming into force prevents the Joint Committee from examining it as we are required to do under the Standing Orders. I hope that the Government will take account of that if they wish their instruments to be subjected to scrutiny by a Committee of the House which has been appointed for that task.
§ Mr. Speaker
The whole House appreciates what the hon. Gentleman does as Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee, but he knows that that is a matter for the Government and not for me.
§ Mr. Barry Jones (Alyn and Deeside)
I beg to move,That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Severn Bridge Tolls Order 1989 (S.I. 1989, No. 1922), dated 18th October 1989, a copy of which was laid before this House on 26th October in the last Session of Parliament, be annulled.It is perhaps best to put the order—we shall vote against it—into context. Under the Conservatives, road congestion has reached crisis proportions and the national economic situation is grim. We have massive interest rates, high inflation and a record balance of payments deficit. In 10 years of Conservative rule Britain, and especially the Principality, has lost tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs. We are now attempting to reinvigorate our economy, to make new jobs and to create a balanced economy so as never again to experience what hit us in the early 1980s as a result of the Government's economic policies.
No Opposition Member believes that the Government are helping the south Wales economy by proposing an increase in tolls. The Severn bridge is arguably the most important item of infrastructure in south Wales. I can say without a shadow of contradiction that opinion in south Wales is implacably opposed to the rise in the toll charge. County councils, district councils and small businesses in south Wales, and major and heavy industries and small businesses throughout Wales, are against the toll increase. Commuters who drive to England by car each day will have to pay up to £5 per week extra if the order is passed. [Interruption.] We in the Labour party—
§ Mr. Frank Haynes (Ashfield)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Why does the hon. Member for Langbaurgh (Mr. Holt) keep bawling at my hon. Friend? It is time he shut up and time you told him.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. We should listen to each other without making interruptions from a sedentary position.
§ Mr. Richard Holt (Langbaurgh)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The only reason why I sought to draw the attention of the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside (Mr. Jones) was because he was supposed to be addressing the House of Commons, not a television camera. He was staring at the camera all the time and not addressing his remarks to you, Mr. Speaker.
§ Mr. Jones
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
The toll increase would be most untimely with inflation rising and mortgages reaching penal levels. Moreover, there is no support in south Wales for the increase.
I have with me a copy of the policy document of the Council of Welsh Districts entitled, "Land of opportunity". Welsh district councils have a plan for the reinvigoration of the Welsh economy. A series of headings relate directly to the tolls on the Severn bridge. For example:Maximising Common Market Support for the Economy, More Assistance for Rural Areas, Expanding Tourism, Forward Planning and Programming, Extending Coordination and Co-operation in Public Sector Incentives and Initiatives.Welsh district councils are considering the renewal and development of regional policy and developing sub-regional policy. It is an effective document, but an increase in the tolls on the Severn bridge would go against the heart of those policies.
§ Mr. Jones
I would rather not give way—not from discourtesy but because many hon. Members wish to contribute to this brief debate.
It is no exaggeration to say that my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, East (Mr. Hughes) has fought for many years to safeguard the interests of his constituents. Since the bridge has been in existence, he has defended the interests of industry and commuters against toll increases.
§ Mr. Jones
No, the debate is far too short.
There are many inconsistencies in the Government's proposals to increase the toll charge. In south Wales there is an attempt to reorder the economy. We are trying to encourage small businesses and to attract investment from countries such as West Germany, American and even Japan. Virtually all of south-east Wales has assisted area status.
The Secretary of State for Wales trumpets the advantages of the valleys programme, but it is clear to me and to the people of Wales—and specifically the people of south-east Wales—that if the tolls are increased the valleys programme will be dealt a severe blow. At the heart of the valleys programme is the attempt to encourage small businesses to locate in the valleys of south-east Wales. With high interest and mortgage rates, high inflation and a balance of payments problem, the Government's proposals for increased tolls will not be acceptable to those who wish the valleys programme every success. The inconsistencies in the proposal are an important reason for voting against the order.
County district and borough councils are heavily engaged in seeking to attract industry. The Welsh Development Agency and Mid Wales Development are similarly engaged. Those bodies and the local authorities know that in order to attract industry the need to be able to show south-east Wales as an area with maximum advantages. The Government proposal goes against that objective. People in Wales of every political persuasion are against an increase in tolls.
There is still a large amount of unemployment in the Principality. The research unit in the county of mid-Glamorgan says that bigger tolls on the bridge will be 536 a considerable disincentive. I understand that a pharmaceutical firm is considering whether to locate a large warehouse for its finished products in Gwent. The company has said that increased tolls would be a factor in influencing its decision. Hon. Members will know that Hoover has talked about many redundancies in one of the valleys of south-east Wales.
§ Mr. Jones
No, this is a short debate and my speech will be short.
I emphasise to the House the impact that increased charges will have on the car driver in south-east Wales who daily crosses the bridge to attend his place of work. It will mean a large increase in the amount that such a driver has to pay. Wales is seen to be on the periphery of Europe and will face a major challenge in the single market of 1992. We shall also face a major challenge when the Channel tunnel opens.
The Severn bridge and the M4 are part of a Euro-route and higher tolls would be a barrier. The Severn bridge provides an entry to Europe for the Welsh economy.
§ The Minister of State, Welsh Office (Mr. Wyn Roberts)
If the hon. Gentleman is against the increase in tolls, is he saying that a Labour Government would reduce them, and if so, why did the last Labour Government not do so?
§ Mr. Anderson
Does my hon. Friend agree that part of the difference between the time of the Labour Government and now is that in the 1970s there was an advanced form of regional policy and regional structures, but those structures have been progressively dismantled in the past 10 years under a Conservative Government? My hon. Friend cited the example of Gwent. The further west one goes, the greater the disincentives resulting from the dismantling.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss. Betty Boothroyd)
Order. The hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside (Mr. Jones) is determined that he is not giving way now.
§ Mr. Jones
There are inconsistencies. For example, regional economic policies are operating across south Wales in a bid to regenerate the economy. Most of south Wales has assisted area status and qualifies for regional aid and other incentives. The Secretary of State for Wales has launched his so-called valleys programme as a recognition of the problems of south Wales.
The Government's proposal to double the tolls on the Severn bridge runs against their professed objective of a regional policy in south Wales. Increased tolls, on the quickest and most efficient route into south Wales are being proposed when local authorities, the Welsh Development Agency and other Government agencies are trying to attract business to the region.
An increase in tolls will be a further burden on Welsh business. High interest rates are hitting businesses in south Wales. The region has suffered redundancies at the Hoover plant and the Freight Transport Association has expressed its astonishment and dismay at the proposed doubling of tolls. The FTA states:Contrary to the Government's claim that the present tolls are lower in real terms than they were 20 years ago, the present toll for lorries is 800 per cent. higher than it was in 1968, which is an increase of 25 per cent. in real terms.If the toll were to be doubled, it would have risen by 1,600 per cent. over 20 years—an increase of 135 per cent. in real terms.
§ Mr. Jones
No, I shall not give way.
There is also the interesting question of how valid Department of Transport traffic forecasts are. To be lawful, the Secretary of State must ensure that the income produced by the toll does not exceed the required purposes set out in the Severn Bridge Tolls Act 1965. At the time when the Government's proposal to increase tolls was announced, the Secretary of State for Transport stated that he had used traffic forecasts not available at the time of the inquiry. One assumes that they were consistent with those presented at the inquiry, but how can the Government be certain that the inspector would have arrived at the same conclusion, had the new traffic forecast been before him? That seems a highly irregular and dubious way of arriving at such an important decision.
§ Mr. Marland
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I seek your guidance on that utter irrelevance. It is not only those right hon. and hon. Members who reside in Wales who have an interest in the subject. I represent the royal forest of Dean—
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
Order. The Chair has a number of responsibilities, but fortunately that is not one of them.
§ Mr. Jones
It is interesting to note that there is only one Welsh Back Bencher present on the Conservative side. One wonders where the others are. We thought it important to pray against the order because we know of the significance of the increased tolls and how injurious they will be to the economy of south Wales. Where are Conservative Back Benchers from Wales when this important measure is being debated? They are not here.
§ Mr. Allason
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Has not a bridge two ends? The hon. Gentleman seems unaware of that. Perhaps you will enlighten him.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
Order. I do not think that the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside (Mr. Jones) needs enlightening, but he needs to make progress.
§ Mr. Jones
Conservative Members do not properly comprehend that the order will cause a great deal of damage to the economy of south Wales. While Labour and other Opposition Members are present in the Chamber in force, Welsh Conservative Members are not. I am sure that the people of Wales will draw the correct conclusion from that.
It is highly insensitive of the Government to propose a major increase in Severn bridge tolls at this time. When the Prime Minister addressed the Conservative party conference in Wales in the early 1980s, she had the insensitivity to suggest that unemployed Welsh people should go to England to find jobs. A British Prime Minister said that in Swansea, at a Conservative party conference. Now we find that, as recently as two weeks ago, the same Prime Minister visited a Welsh valley and had the insensitivity to say in an area of high unemployment, "Cheer up—all will be well." Opposition Members will be cheered up when the Prime Minister loses the general election and my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition enters No. 10 Downing street, as he will surely do.
Gwent county council is against the increase in tolls, as are the county councils in South Glamorgan, Mid Glamorgan and West Glamorgan. The entire Opposition are against this unjustifiable increase, and I invite the House to vote against it.
§ The Minister for Roads and Traffic (Mr. Robert Atkins)
One could reasonably be misled by the theatrical, synthetic and even—dare I say—televisual views of the Opposition Members into thinking that the recently announced Severn bridge tolls increase represents a device to tax the Welsh economy. The truth is that the increase to £1 for cars and £2 for lorries and coaches is very modest: it merely raises the car toll to a level that is, in real terms, virtually the same as that charged when the bridge opened in 1966. We have done no more and no less than the Labour party did when it was in government.
§ Mr. Atkins
I will give way as often as the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside (Mr. Jones) did.
It was a Labour Government who decided that, to speed the provision of a Severn crossing and the benefits 539 that it would bring the Welsh economy, the crossing should be tolled. The bridge was first tolled under the Severn Bridge Tolls Act 1965, which was promoted by a Labour Government, and tolls have been charged ever since.
§ Mr. John P. Smith (Vale of Glamorgan)
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I see that, although only two Conservative Members from Wales are present for a debate that is crucial to the Welsh economy, one is present on the Front Bench. Why is a Welsh Minister not answering the debate?
§ Mr. Atkins
There is a simple answer to that question: the bridge is in England.
In a brief intervention, my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Welsh Office invited the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside to tell us what a future Labour Government might do if presented with their own original legislation requiring an increase in tolls. I am more than happy to give way to the hon. Gentleman if he wishes to say what he would do if he became Welsh Secretary.
§ Mr. Barry Jones
There will be a Labour Government, and my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition will head it. The aim of that Government will always be to ensure that tolls in Wales do not increase; nevertheless, over a period we shall wish to see a reassessment of tolls as they affect communities in particular estuarial roads. The Minister is asking a hypothetical question two and a half years before a Labour Government come to power. The certainty of that Government I concede to him; what they do must wait until they take office.
§ Mr. Atkins
I am tempted to say that the hon. Gentleman doth protest too much. His answer speaks volumes. It is Labour Government legislation that provides for tolls to be raised if there is a need to meet a debt. The hon. Gentleman cannot answer a direct question without flannelling.
§ Mr. Atkins
No. I have given way as often as I intend to do, which is just as often as the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside (Mr. Jones) gave way to my hon. Friends.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Member for Meirronnydd Nant Conwy (Dr. Thomas) has just heard what the Minister said. He has no intention of giving way further.
§ Mr. Atkins
I have no intention of giving way more often than the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside gave way. You may recall, Madam Deputy Speaker, that he spoke without once looking at this side of the House. He concentrated his attention on other things, not a million miles away from the television camera. I intend to answer the debate in the way that it should be answered by dealing with the facts.
540 Nobody disputes the importance of the bridge to south Wales. It is so important that in 1956—[Interruption.] The attitude of Opposition Members, who have raised the matter by means of a Prayer, is puzzling. Surely they want to hear the answer. My right hon. and hon. Friends and I listened to the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside. The least that the Opposition can do is to listen to the facts as presented. That would have demonstrated the sweet reasonableness of Opposition Members, which we are led to believe Mr. Mandelson is trying to inculcate in them. However, they are not prepared to listen.
I shall try to continue and to deal with the matters that relate to tolls.
§ Mr. Atkins
In 1956, a local authority-led consortium submitted to the Minister of the day a scheme for a Severn crossing that included the proposal that it should be paid for over 30 years—not, as at present, over 40 years—by tolls. The proposed toll was 7s 6d., which is equivalent to about £3 today. Why all this synthetic nonsense over an increase to £1 for cars and £2 for lorries? The public ought to be made aware of the Opposition's synthetic, faked nonsense.
§ Mr. Atkins
I said that I would not give way to the Opposition, but the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside gave way once to his hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson), so I shall give way to one of my hon. Friends.
§ Mr. Sayeed
The hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside (Mr. Jones) gave way to his hon. Friend only because he hoped for a friendly intervention. He said that the Freight Transport Association had stated that, lorry for lorry, tolls had increased during the last 20 years. Does my hon. Friend agree that, if it had quoted tonne for tonne, which is a much more important figure, a very different figure would have emerged?
§ Mr. Atkins
Need I say more? In a studied intervention, my hon. Friend has hit the nail absolutely on the head.
Any increase in tolls is likely to lead to objections. Under the Severn Bridge Tolls Act 1965—a Labour Government Act—there is provision for a public inquiry by an independent inspector to listen to objections.
Before the tolls order was made, the proposed increase was the subject of an exhaustive public inquiry in February and March this year in Avon and Gwent, at which representatives of the Welsh local authorities, some Opposition Members and several other objectors were given every opportunity to make their cases. All the evidence was carefully considered by the inspector when he made his report. He concluded that the proposed increases in tolls would not have a detrimental effect on Wales. I emphasise that that was the conclusion of an independent inspector. Above all, he concluded that the increases proposed by my Department were necessary and should be implemented. However, after weighing the costs and the benefits of the bridge to regular car commuters, the inspector recommended that the discount on books of toll tickets sold for that purpose should be increased from 10 per cent. to 20 per cent.
541 In making the order, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport relied on the inspector's very thorough examination of the arguments for and against the toll increases. However, in his decision letter of 7 September, my right hon. Friend did not accept one of the inspector's recommendations. The inspector believed that the ratio of tolls currently charged between cars and heavy goods vehicles did not reflect the wear and tear caused by the heavier vehicles. He therefore recommended that the 10 per cent. discount on books of pre-paid vouchers for lorries and coaches should be ended. My right hon. Friend considered that recommendation carefully and concluded, having regard to his wish not to deter commerce between England and Wales, that he could not accept it. That was a very reasonable approach, and a sign that we listen to and sometimes overrule inspectors.
§ Mr. Atkins
I should say something about the background of the Government's policy on tolls, against which this increase should be seen. It is worth noting how little Government policy towards the tolling of estuarial crossings has changed over the years, including the years when the Labour party was in office. We must remember that the Act introducing tolls on the Severn bridge was passed in 1965 under a Labour Government.
This Government's policy towards the tolling of estuarial crossings was set out clearly in a memorandum submitted by my Department to the Select Committee on Transport in April 1985. That memorandum explained that, over the past 30 years, successive Governments have maintained the policy of charging tolls on major estuarial crossings. That reflected the high cost of provision and the exceptional benefits to users conferred by large reductions in journey lengths. In that memorandum in April 1985, my Department made the very valid point that tolls had enabled substantial and useful additions to be made to the transport infrastructure which otherwise might have been much delayed or not provided at all.
§ Mr. Ray Powell (Ogmore)
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for the Minister who is speaking for the Government on an issue as vital to the economy of Wales as the tolls on the Severn bridge not to give way to Opposition Members who want to question him about points that he has raised—
§ Mr. Wigley
On a different point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Is it not unreasonable for a Minister, who should be answerable to the House, to address his remarks to Conservative Members from England while totally ignoring representations made by Opposition Front-Bench spokesmen and by other hon. Members of the House?
§ Mr. Donald Coleman (Neath)
Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Is it not a matter of courtesy that Front-Bench Members should address their remarks to the Chair and not to hon. Members?
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
I was aware that the Minister was addressing his remarks directly through me.
§ Mr. Atkins
You are very kind to support me, Madam Deputy Speaker. I have made a point of addressing my remarks through you, as opposed to the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside (Mr. Jones), who addressed his remarks not to the House but to the height above me. I have been careful to address my remarks through the Chair.
I said that I would give way as often as the hon. Gentleman did. I know the hon. Gentleman to be a reasonable man. On many occasions we have agreed on other matters. He knows that as well as I do. It is most untypical of him that he should not feel able to give way. The hon. Gentleman said that this is a short debate and that he could not give way, so, in all reasonableness, I should not give way, so that all hon. Members can participate in the debate.
The memorandum to which I referred also noted that that the view of the inspector—
§ Mr. Atkins
The memorandum also noted the view of the inspector in the 1979 tolls inquiry that the Welsh local authorities then opposed to tolls had not originally opposed them when—lo and behold—they had seen them as a way of getting the Severn bridge built. Does that not fly in the face of the theatrical activities of Opposition Members in representing those authorities to be as opposed as they are, when at that time they were not?
The inspector at the recent inquiry accepted that the present Government's policy on tolls was quite clear. He also said that, although he would report to the Secretary of State any views on that policy expressed at the inquiry, it would not be for him to make recommendations that related to the merits of the policy. That has set the policy background.
I now refer to the substance of the order. The order must, of course, have regard to the relevant legislation. My right hon. Friend's power to levy tolls is contained in the Severn Bridge Tolls Act 1965, which was enacted under a Labour Government. Section 1 of the Act provides that my right hon. Friend may levy tolls. Sections 2 and 19 enable him to make orders setting out toll levels for classes of vehicles. Section 3 prescribes the procedure for making orders. Section 4 provides for a toll period of 40 years, with the possibility of extensions for five years. It also limits the tolls which may be levied.
I should explain that the bridge is financed from the Consolidated Fund. However, to set a limit to the power to levy tolls, the Act introduced the concept of users paying for it by means of a loan. The limitation in section 4(2) of the Act is framed to that effect. Schedule 2 to the Act specifies seven purposes to which—
§ Mr. John P. Smith
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Has the Minister given you any idea of how long he will spin out his speech to prevent Welsh Members from speaking?
§ Mr. Atkins
Schedule 2 to the Act specifies seven purposes to which revenue may be applied. Taken together, for present purposes, they amount to the whole cost of providing, maintaining, operating and improving the bridge.
My Department's statement to the public inquiry explained that a tolls increase was necessary to achieve the aim of paying the costs of the bridge by the end of the 40-year period specified in the Severn Bridges Tolls Act 1965. My right hon. Friend was satisfied that that, without an increase, that aim could not be achieved. In the years 1981–82 to 1984–85, the income from tolls did not even cover operating costs. The published accounts showed an overall annual deficit growing from £1.6 million in 1979–80 to £10.4 million in 1987–88. By 31 March 1989, the debt on the bridge had risen from £14.4 million on opening to £113.4 million. It is clear to any reasonable person that, without a tolls increase, the deficit would have grown indefinitely.
The Department's statement also explained that the increase proposed was intended to provide for an estimated £50 million spread over the years 1988–89 to 1990–91 for the balance of the costs of strengthening and repair work to the bridge which still remain to be done. [Interruption.] I should—if hon. Members want to hear the reason for the tolls increase as opposed to speaking—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Atkins
Well, the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside, who I see has vanished—[Interruption.] No, I beg his pardon. The hon. Gentleman who began the debate wanted me to answer this point, and I am endeavouring to explain for the benefit of all those in the House and outside—
§ Mr. Atkins
No, I am not.
We explained that there was a great need to carry out a degree of strengthening work and my right hon. Friend was satisfied that without the increase, the aim would not be achieved. The current programme of strengthening work is soon to be completed and a programme of resurfacing will be under way shortly. The total cost is likely to be £74 million.
The work is designed to upgrade the bridge for the future; it is not in any sense a reflection upon the quality of the original design of the bridge, which was built fully in accordance with the standards that then applied. The design was not in any way experimental. However, in 1966 when the bridge was opened—
§ Mr. Ray Powell
Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Could you tell us what time the debate must conclude?
§ Mr. Atkins
I strongly resent the imputation from Opposition Members that, having sought to pray against an order that comes under the legislation that they passed when in Government, they should accuse me of delaying the debate when I seek to respond to the debate and to give the facts that they have demanded from me. I resent that suggestion, and I throw it back in their faces.
§ Mr. Marland
Does my hon. Friend agree that it is absolutely disgraceful that the debate should be hogged by Welsh Members of Parliament, now known as the "Taffia", who totally disregard the interests of any English hon. Members such as myself, on whose constituencies th bridge has a great effect? I too am anxious to make a contribution to the debate.
§ Dr. Thomas
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Would you care to rule on whether "Taffia" is a parliamentary expression? [Interruption.]
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
Order. I have been asked to rule, but I hesitate to do so. We should make progress over the bridge—rapidly.
§ Mr. Atkins
My hon. Friend has reminded me that I have not yet spoken for as long as the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside.
I have endeavoured to provide the House with a full account, albeit foreshortened, of our careful stewardship of the Severn bridge. That stewardship is consistent with the obligations of the legislation that was enacted when the Labour party was in power and is consistent with current Government policy on the tolling of roads and bridges. Opposition Members may regret the lack of consistency between their past actions and their present policies, but this Government have been consistent and will continue to be so. In the interests of the debate, I urge my hon. Friends to reject the motion.
§ 11.4 pm
§ Mr. Roy Hughes (Newport, East)
The order is crucial to the future economic well-being of Wales. It is intended to authorise the doubling of toll charges on the Severn bridge, which is the principal access point to Wales on what is merely a short stretch of the M4.
This morning when I passed over the bridge it was noticeable that the new prices were already in place before they had been discussed here—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] If the charges are introduced, many of my constituents and many people in neighbouring constituencies will be badly affected financially.
In recent years there have been massive redundancies in the steel industry and one pit after another has closed. In Gwent, one of the most populated Welsh counties, not one coal mine is left. Many people, having been put out of work, took the advice of the right hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) who told them to get on their bikes. They did not do that, but they got into their cars and sought employment on the other side of the estuary. As a reward for their initiative, they are to be asked to pay £10 a week in toll charges. They must earn £14 a week, before tax, to meet that toll commitment. Surely travel to work and travel connected with business should not be taxed.
The effect of the toll charges is not only localised; the entire economic life of Wales is being retarded by them. The proposal to double the tolls could be the straw that breaks the camel's back as the Severn bridge is the main point for getting in and out of Wales.
I appreciate that a good case can be made for the abolition of tolls on estuarial crossings. The Select Committee on Transport recognised that in its second report published on 19 February 1986 when it unanimously recommended their abolition. Unfortunately, the Government turned down that proposal. However, that is not the issue being debated tonight.
Most of the dozen or so tolled estuarial crossings are outside the south-east of England. Tolls on estuaries such as the Severn, the Humber, the Mersey, the Forth and the Tay restrict movement in many of the great old industrial centres of the north and west. Regional imbalance is as great as ever, with prosperity and wealth gravitating towards the south-east of England. At a stroke the abolition of toll charges would help to create more balanced economic development throughout the country. The House's rejection of the order would be a major step in the right direction.
Tolls are iniquitous. Responsible motoring organisations such as the Royal Automobile Club have said that they are prefectly perpared to accept other forms of motoring taxation were toll charges abolished.
I ask right hon. and hon. Gentlemen to reflect on the fact that toll charges are an inefficient means of raising revenue. For instance, the total cost of collection on the Severn bridge is £2.6 million per annum. That figure comprises an estimated £1.73 million in delays to motorists, £850,000 in the direct cost of collection, and £100,000 in the disbenefit to traffic dissuaded from using the bridge by tolls. The Severn bridge toll produces a revenue of about £10 million annually, 26 per cent. of which is consumed in its collection. Even the poll tax cannot match that inefficiency.
546 In a statement in January this year in support of the proposal to double toll charges, the Department of Transport said:The Government is willing to consider reasoned argument for special treatment in particular cases.Surely with unemployment in Wales above the national average we are a special case. I have already referred to regional imbalance when comparing Wales with the south-east of England. With industrial rates at 15 per cent. and Britain teetering on the brink of an economic recession, this is the time for the special consideration to which the Department of Transport referred.
Why not make a start tonight by setting aside this order? We should also consider the fact that the bridge is in a bad state, and resurfacing work will not be completed until the end of next year. Lanes on the bridge are perilously thin. There are frequent hold-ups and journey times cannot be guaranteed. This is hardly the time for the Government to come forward with a proposal to double toll charges.
Finally, I turn to the Secretary of State for Wales. Where is this gladiator whom Welsh newspaper editors have been telling us for so long will cure unemployment in Wales, re-beautify our former mining valleys and so on? Honeyed words and gift-wrapped packaging are one thing, but on the issue of toll charges on the Severn bridge, which is of such prime importance to the economic well-being of Wales, the Secretary of State has not raised his head above the parapet. For all the effect that he has had on this issue, the right hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Walker) might have spent his time hop-picking.
The real champion of Wales has been the standing conference on regional policy, consisting of our four county councils: Gwent, mid, west and south Glamorgan. The councillors know and understand Wales and have recognised from the outset the significance of the toll issue. I am glad that tonight the Labour party opposes the order and I sincerely hope that it will be rejected.
§ Mr. Gwilym Jones (Cardiff, North)
It is a great pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Newport, East (Mr. Hughes) in this debate, for he has significantly raised the standard of debate among the Labour Members. The hon. Gentleman has long had a commendable interest in this subject, although there have been times when he should have been more cautious and not gone over to the top.
It is easy to say no to the toll order. It is easy to come out and say no when one is in opposition. It is equally fair to ask what the Opposition did when they were in Government. But it is irresponsible to say no to the toll order. Any realist knows full well that the cost of the bridge must still be met.
§ Mr. Jones
No, this is a short debate, and in the interests of other Members wanting to speak I shall not give way.
We listened for 22 minutes to what I could most charitably describe as waffle from the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside (Mr. Jones). When the Minister sought to draw him out, the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside refused point blank to say what he would do in the future. It was only when my hon. Friend the Minister invited the 547 hon. Gentleman back to the Dispatch Box that the admission was at last dragged grudgingly from him that the Labour party would keep and reassess tolls. Are not those weasel words for saying that the Labour party would do exactly the same, if it were ever to form a Government again, as it did when it was previously in power?
All we are hearing is hypocrisy. I oppose that, just as I oppose the alternative Labour policy. When a certain Labour Member came to Cardiff to debate the issue, he advocated that the cost of the bridge be transferred from tolls to the four county councils in south Wales—Gwent and mid, west and south Glamorgan. I utterly oppose that idea. It would affect everyone in those counties, but not people at the other end of the bridge. The bridge still has to be paid for, and it is much better that those who use it should contribute. It is of considerable benefit, whatever the hon. Member for Newport, East says.
I can give an example of the bridge's benefits from personal experience. Returning to the House from my constituency to vote in a Division on which there was a three-line Whip, I discovered that the bridge was closed. The alternative route through Chepstow could not cope with the traffic, and it was impossible to get back to the House in time. I reflected, as I sat stuck in a traffic jam on the M4, that I would cheerfully have paid £1 and more to get over the bridge.
§ Mr. Marland
When my hon. Friend was unable to get over the Severn bridge, did he take a detour through the Forest of Dean? One of the issues that I hope to raise later in the debate is the fact that, if the bridge is closed, there are the most murderous traffic jams on the A48 through the Forest of Dean.
§ Mr. Jones
My hon. Friend is quite right. The bridge is of considerable benefit to the people of south Wales and everyone else who uses it.
I suggest that we make progress. We must have no more of Labour's campaign of denigration of the bridge. The Confederation of British Industry tells us that that campaign has already put off investors who might have come to south Wales to set up businesses and factories. It is a tremendous bridge and a gateway to south Wales.
§ Mr. Richard Livsey (Brecon and Radnor)
I congratulate the hon. Member for Newport, East (Mr. Hughes), who has been a doughty campaigner for the reduction of tolls on the Severn bridge, which is the umbilical cord to south Wales. We are discussing a principle. My party's view is that there should be no tolls on the bridge. We should have to discuss such a tax on the Welsh people. Increases of 100 per cent. are proposed for cars and lorries, but I have looked in vain for any proposed increase for stalking horses.
As a result of disruption on the bridge, due to poor planning and poor management, businesses in Wales and west Gloucestershire have suffered severe economic losses. It is not good enough to put tolls up with the bridge in its present state. It should be compared with the Victorian engineering of the Severn tunnel, which cannot be seen or heard and on which there are no tolls. If the principle of tolls was evoked there, every train would have to stop and someone would have to go around collecting tolls from passengers. There is only one problem with the Severn 548 tunnel—it will not get a direct link to the continent after 1993—but I suppose that we shall have to put up with that. That is also a slight to Wales, as are the toll increases.
There has been an appalling lack of infrastructure investment in Wales. I cannot understand why there has not been more planning for a second Severn crossing. There has been a lack of estimates of the volume of traffic crossing the bridge and on the M25, which is an essential link from Wales to the continent. Transport contractors in south Wales have told us that because of delays on the Severn bridge and the M25 on weekdays it takes lorries seven hours to travel from south Wales to the continent, whereas on Sundays it takes only four. That results in economic losses.
We do not know whether the order will set a precedent for increased tolls on the second Severn bridge when it comes. We have been assured that it will be built by the mid-1990s and I hope that the Minister will assure us of that. If it is delayed further, costs will escalate. In this debate we seek precise details about what will occur in relation to that second crossing—what levels of tolls will be imposed, how many lanes will there be on the bridge and what are the traffic forecasts for both crossings by the year 2000.
The proposal is undoubtedly being introduced as a tax on British Steel, Ford, British Coal, Hoover, Sony, Hitachi, the new Bosch developments in south Wales, arid Panasonic. It will also be a tax on the Irish transport system, which uses the M4, and on tourism in Wales.
This is a most inappropriate order and there is no justification for it. There should not be tolls on the Severn bridge. The Government should ensure a free flow of traffic and no losses caused by delays of the kind that occur at present.
§ Mr. Paul Marland (Gloucestershire, West)
Despite Labour protests, I should like to emphasise how important the Severn bridge is to constituents outside Wales and on the borders. It has a big impact on west Gloucestershire.
When the bridge is open and trouble-free, hundreds of people flood across from the Forest of Dean to their work on the other side of the river. Where there are difficulties the hold-ups are enormous. I am glad that my hon. Friends on the Front Bench recognise the significance of this project for—
§ Mr. Morgan
Can the hon. Gentleman tell us who his tailor is? We could advise him to ask for his money back.
§ Mr. Marland
That about sums up the irrelevance of many of the remarks from Opposition Members. I am sorry if my clothing does not measure up to their standards.
My hon. Friends on the Front Bench recognise the significance of the Severn crossing for the infrastucture in the district. That is why plans are being laid for the construction of a second crossing. When from time to time the Severn bridge is closed, the impact on the A48 which runs through my constituency is murderous. It is impossible to cross the road because of the number of lorries driving nose to tail up the A48 to Gloucester.
I welcome the discounts, but doubling the toll is a significant increase. At the old rate, 50 crossings cost the 549 private motorist £25, but that will be increased to £40, taking the discounts into account. Is that enough? As some hon. Members have said, haulage operators face an even bigger increase and there is no doubt that many drivers will seek alternative routes. Closure of the Severn bridge has a massive impact on my constituency and on the people who live there.
In many respects the discounts that are offered seem stingy. I ask the Minister to consider the possibility of increasing the discounts for regular users on whom the increase in toll charges will have the biggest impact. Hon. Members have spoken about developing businesses in south Wales, the Forest of Dean and elsewhere. Whether such businesses will regularly use the bridge remains to be seen, but those who use it regularly for business purposes should be offered more than a 20 per cent. discount.
I have emphasised several times and emphasise again the impact of the closure of the Severn bridge on the Forest of Dean. The hon. Member for Newport, East (Mr. Hughes) was right to say that if the cost becomes too high drivers will look for alternatives. As I said to my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Jones), when the bridge is closed for repairs people look for alternative routes and too many of them use the A48 through the Forest of Dean. Perhaps I may take this opportunity to put in a plug for improvements to the A48. I listened with interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Livsey). The A48 is a trunk road but the improvements have to be made by the county council. Gloucestershire county council is currently controlled by the Liberals.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
Order. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will refer to the motion on the Order Paper.
§ Mr. Marland
I am doing that. When the Severn bridge is closed or when the price goes up, drivers look for alternative routes and they choose the A48. Sadly, Gloucestershire county council, which is controlled by the Liberals, is steadfastly refusing to improve the A48. Despite what the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor said, I hope that he will encourage Gloucestershire county council to do something about that road and instigate some improvements.
§ Mr. Alex Carlile (Montgomery)
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for the hon. Gentleman to put to the House propositions that are quite wrong? If the A48 is a trunk road the Department of Transport should pay the bill, not the county council.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
Order. Hon. Members are responsible for their comments in the Chamber and I hope that the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Marland) will refer to the order.
§ Mr. Marland
I assure the House that I am 100 per cent. accurate. The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Carlile) has again demonstrated the lack of commitment of the Liberal party in Gloucestershire county council to the Forest of Dean. It is a tragedy for people who live there that Gloucestershire county council does so little to help those who have to take a detour when they cannot cross the Severn bridge. I urge my hon. Friend the Minister to give greater discounts to regular users of the bridge.
550 Sadly, while we are waiting for the second Severn crossing to be constructed, I cannot endorse the increase in the cost of crossing the Severn bridge.
§ Mr. Wigley
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Under Standing Orders, is it not possible for the debate to go on for an hour and a hall? Why is it not possible to call representatives of all the parties in Wales instead of continuously calling Conservative Members, as is happening?
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
The hon. Gentleman does me a great injustice. The debate finishes at 11.30, and I have called the Minister for the last minute.
§ Mr. Rowlands
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Does the Minister require the leave of the House to speak a second time? If so, should he be given leave to speak again in view of the disgraceful and supercilious speech he made earlier, especially as other hon. Members should have an opportunity to speak?
§ Mr. Ray Powell
On a genuine point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I draw your attention to the fact that—
§ It being half-past Eleven o'clock, MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 15 (Prayers against statutory instruments, &c. (negative procedure)).
§ The House divided: Ayes 194, Noes 239.553
|Division No. 2]||[11.30 pm|
|Abbott, Ms Diane||Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)|
|Adams, Allen (Paisley N)||Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)|
|Allen, Graham||Buchan, Norman|
|Anderson, Donald||Buckley, George J.|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Caborn, Richard|
|Armstrong, Hilary||Callaghan, Jim|
|Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy||Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)|
|Ashton, Joe||Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Campbell-Savours, D. N.|
|Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)||Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)|
|Barron, Kevin||Clark, Dr David (S Shields)|
|Battle, John||Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)|
|Beckett, Margaret||Clay, Bob|
|Beith, A. J.||Clelland, David|
|Bell, Stuart||Clwyd, Mrs Ann|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Cohen, Harry|
|Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)||Coleman, Donald|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Cook, Robin (Livingston)|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Corbett, Robin|
|Blair, Tony||Cousins, Jim|
|Blunkett, David||Cox, Tom|
|Boateng, Paul||Cryer, Bob|
|Boyes, Roland||Cummings, John|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Cunliffe, Lawrence|
|Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)||Cunningham, Dr John|
|Darling, Alistair||Marshall, David (Shettleston)|
|Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)||Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I)||Martlew, Eric|
|Dewar, Donald||Maxton, John|
|Dixon, Don||Meacher, Michael|
|Dobson, Frank||Meale, Alan|
|Doran, Frank||Michael, Alun|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)|
|Dunnachie, Jimmy||Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)|
|Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth||Moonie, Dr Lewis|
|Eadie, Alexander||Morgan, Rhodri|
|Eastham, Ken||Morley, Elliot|
|Evans, John (St Helens N)||Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)|
|Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)||Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)|
|Fatchett, Derek||Mowlam, Marjorie|
|Faulds, Andrew||Mullin, Chris|
|Field, Frank (Birkenhead)||Murphy, Paul|
|Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)||Nellist, Dave|
|Fisher, Mark||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon|
|Flannery, Martin||O'Brien, William|
|Flynn, Paul||O'Neill, Martin|
|Foster, Derek||Parry, Robert|
|Foulkes, George||Patchett, Terry|
|Fraser, John||Pendry, Tom|
|Fyfe, Maria||Pike, Peter L.|
|Galloway, George||Powell, Ray (Ogmore)|
|Garrett, John (Norwich South)||Prescott, John|
|George, Bruce||Primarolo, Dawn|
|Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John||Quin, Ms Joyce|
|Godman, Dr Norman A.||Randall, Stuart|
|Gordon, Mildred||Redmond, Martin|
|Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)||Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn|
|Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)||Reid, Dr John|
|Grocott, Bruce||Richardson, Jo|
|Hardy, Peter||Robinson, Geoffrey|
|Harman, Ms Harriet||Rogers, Allan|
|Healey, Rt Hon Denis||Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)|
|Henderson, Doug||Rowlands, Ted|
|Hinchliffe, David||Ruddock, Joan|
|Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)||Sedgemore, Brian|
|Home Robertson, John||Sheerman, Barry|
|Hood, Jimmy||Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert|
|Howarth, George (Knowsley N)||Short, Clare|
|Howells, Geraint||Skinner, Dennis|
|Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)||Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)|
|Hoyle, Doug||Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)|
|Hughes, John (Coventry NE)||Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Soley, Clive|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport E)||Spearing, Nigel|
|Hughes, Simon (Southwark)||Steinberg, Gerry|
|Janner, Grevilie||Stott, Roger|
|Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)||Strang, Gavin|
|Jones, Ieuan (Ynys Môn)||Straw, Jack|
|Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)|
|Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil||Thomas, Dr Dafydd Elis|
|Lamond, James||Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)|
|Leighton, Ron||Vaz, Keith|
|Lestor, Joan (Eccles)||Wall, Pat|
|Lewis, Terry||Wallace, James|
|Litherland, Robert||Walley, Joan|
|Livsey, Richard||Wardell, Gareth (Gower)|
|Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)||Wareing, Robert N.|
|Lofthouse, Geoffrey||Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)|
|McAvoy, Thomas||Wigley, Dafydd|
|McCartney, Ian||Williams, Rt Hon Alan|
|McFall, John||Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)|
|McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)||Winnick, David|
|McKelvey, William||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|McLeish, Henry||Wray, Jimmy|
|McNamara, Kevin||Young, David (Bolton SE)|
|Madden, Max||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Mahon, Mrs Alice||Mrs. Llin Golding and|
|Marek, Dr John||Mr. Frank Haynes.|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Amess, David|
|Alexander, Richard||Amos, Alan|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael||Arbuthnot, James|
|Allason, Rupert||Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)|
|Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)||Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)|
|Ashby, David||Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)|
|Atkins, Robert||Greenway, John (Ryedale)|
|Atkinson, David||Gregory, Conal|
|Baldry, Tony||Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)|
|Batiste, Spencer||Grist, Ian|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Hague, William|
|Bendall, Vivian||Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)|
|Body, Sir Richard||Hannam, John|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)|
|Boswell, Tim||Harris, David|
|Bottomley, Peter||Hawkins, Christopher|
|Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)||Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.|
|Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes||Hill, James|
|Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard||Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)|
|Brandon-Bravo, Martin||Hunt, David (Wirral W)|
|Brazier, Julian||Irvine, Michael|
|Bright, Graham||Jackson, Robert|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)||Janman, Tim|
|Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)||Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey|
|Buck, Sir Antony||Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)|
|Budgen, Nicholas||Key, Robert|
|Burns, Simon||Kirkhope, Timothy|
|Burt, Alistair||Knapman, Roger|
|Butterfill, John||Knight, Greg (Derby North)|
|Carlisle, John, (Luton N)||Knowles, Michael|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Knox, David|
|Carrington, Matthew||Lang, Ian|
|Carttiss, Michael||Latham, Michael|
|Chapman, Sydney||Lee, John (Pendle)|
|Chope, Christopher||Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark|
|Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)||Lightbown, David|
|Colvin, Michael||Lilley, Peter|
|Conway, Derek||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)|
|Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)||Luce, Rt Hon Richard|
|Coombs, Simon (Swindon)||Lyell, Sir Nicholas|
|Cope, Rt Hon John||Macfarlane, Sir Neil|
|Couchman, James||MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)|
|Cran, James||Maclean, David|
|Currie, Mrs Edwina||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)||McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael|
|Day, Stephen||McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick|
|Dicks, Terry||Malins, Humfrey|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Mans, Keith|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Maples, John|
|Dover, Den||Marshall, Michael (Arundel)|
|Dunn, Bob||Martin, David (Portsmouth S)|
|Durant, Tony||Mawhinney, Dr Brian|
|Eggar, Tim||Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin|
|Emery, Sir Peter||Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick|
|Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)||Mellor, David|
|Evennett, David||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas||Miller, Sir Hal|
|Fallon, Michael||Mills, Iain|
|Favell, Tony||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Fenner, Dame Peggy||Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)|
|Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)||Mitchell, Sir David|
|Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey||Moate, Roger|
|Fishburn, John Dudley||Monro, Sir Hector|
|Fookes, Dame Janet||Montgomery, Sir Fergus|
|Forman, Nigel||Morris, M (N'hampton S)|
|Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)||Morrison, Sir Charles|
|Forth, Eric||Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)|
|Fowler, Rt Hon Norman||Neale, Gerrard|
|Fox, Sir Marcus||Nelson, Anthony|
|Franks, Cecil||Neubert, Michael|
|Freeman, Roger||Nicholson, David (Taunton)|
|French, Douglas||Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)|
|Gale, Roger||Norris, Steve|
|Gardiner, George||Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley|
|Garel-Jones, Tristan||Oppenheim, Phillip|
|Gill, Christopher||Page, Richard|
|Glyn, Dr Alan||Paice, James|
|Goodlad, Alastair||Patten, John (Oxford W)|
|Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles||Pawsey, James|
|Gorman, Mrs Teresa||Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth|
|Gorst, John||Porter, Barry (Wirral S)|
|Gow, Ian||Porter, David (Waveney)|
|Portillo, Michael||Stokes, Sir John|
|Price, Sir David||Stradling Thomas, Sir John|
|Raison, Rt Hon Timothy||Sumberg, David|
|Redwood, John||Summerson, Hugo|
|Renton, Rt Hon Tim||Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|Rhodes James, Robert||Taylor, John M (Solihull)|
|Riddick, Graham||Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman|
|Ridsdale, Sir Julian||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)||Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)|
|Roe, Mrs Marion||Thurnham, Peter|
|Rossi, Sir Hugh||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Rowe, Andrew||Tracey, Richard|
|Rumbold, Mrs Angela||Tredinnick, David|
|Ryder, Richard||Trotter, Neville|
|Sayeed, Jonathan||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Shaw, David (Dover)||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)||Walden, George|
|Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')||Walker, Bill (T'side North)|
|Shelton, Sir William||Waller, Gary|
|Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)||Ward, John|
|Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)||Warren, Kenneth|
|Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)||Watts, John|
|Shersby, Michael||Whitney, Ray|
|Skeet, Sir Trevor||Widdecombe, Ann|
|Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)||Wilkinson, John|
|Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)||Winterton, Mrs Ann|
|Soames, Hon Nicholas||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Speed, Keith||Woltson, Mark|
|Speller, Tony||Wood, Timothy|
|Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)||Woodcock, Dr. Mike|
|Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)||Yeo, Tim|
|Squire, Robin||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Stanbrook, Ivor||Younger, Rt Hon George|
|Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John|
|Steen, Anthony||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Stevens, Lewis||Mr. Tom Sackville and|
|Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)||Mr. Irvine Patnick.|
|Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)|
§ Question accordingly negatived.