HC Deb 13 June 1990 vol 174 cc357-78

'The Secretary of State shall by direction given to the Governor make provision for him to consider applications for asylum in the United Kingdom in respect of any person who, by virtue of his race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, may be in danger of persecution in Hong Kong after 30th June 1997.'.

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Darling

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

As I said in Committee, I doubt whether we would be discussing the Bill were it not for the appalling events in Tiananmen square last year, not because there would not have been problems and uncertainties about what will happen in Hong Kong after 1997 but because there is no doubt that the events that we saw on television last year shocked people around the world and understandably led people inside China and Hong Kong to fear for their lives, or at least their safety, if the regime in China is the same after the handing over of the colony in 1997.

It is all the more surprising that the Bill makes no special provision for those who seek what I might loosely call asylum. We are told that it deals with the special circumstances of Hong Kong, which I understand, but I should have thought that the Government would make some provision to deal with the special circumstances of those who fear persecution or fear for their lives—the usual criteria that are considered for asylum.

Instead, we are told that the individuals concerned will have to use the normal system for considering applications for asylum, even though it is common ground that there are special circumstances in Hong Kong.

That is where the problems start. Anyone who has had the slightest contact with the asylum system that we operate will know that our reputation of being a haven for those who fear for their lives can at times be tarnished by the way in which we operate the asylum regime. One has only to consider the case of the 33 people from China who are currently in this country to see one of the difficulties that they face.

If individuals on the way to this country make the mistake of landing in a third country, the Government's attitude—they would pray in aid the United Nations convention—is that they must make their applications for asylum in that third country. That can be difficult, because the third country may not have the recognised systems and recognised rule of law and due process of law that we have in this country. It could be a country where, to put it bluntly, the system for dealing with asylum may be rudimentary.

In terms of the United Nations convention, the Government are entitled to say, "We are not prepared to entertain your applications for asylum. You must go to a third country." That is a problem for people who fear persecution in 1997 or thereafter. Because of the special circumstances of Hong Kong, there should be a special system to consider applications for asylum from Hong Kong. A number of people may fear for their safety.

I am prepared to concede that if an individual arrives in this country claiming asylum, the application is dealt with expeditiously and normally quite fairly, and the outcome is usually satisfactory from the point of view of the applicant. However, it is obvious that, when more than one or two such people arrive—it may be five or six, or 20 or 30—the attitude of the Government, especially the Home Office, changes dramatically.

We need only look at the position of the Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka in the mid-1980s or the Kurdish refugees who came from Turkey last year. The Government pulled down the shutters. In the case of the Kurdish refugees, the Government even sent immigration officers on to the aeroplane, and they clambered over passengers sorting out who was likely to be visiting this country in the normal course of events and who might be seeking asylum. Some asylum seekers did not even get off the aeroplane, so anxious were the Government to avoid what they regarded as a troublesome crisis.

I make that point because, if things are going badly in 1997, there could well be more than one or two people who fear for their lives or the safety of their families. The Government should set up a special system to deal with Hong Kong. I know that it will be said that there are other areas in the world that are trouble spots and are likely to generate people seeking asylum. That may be, but if we are dealing with the special circumstances of Hong Kong, we should have provisions to deal with people there.

Had it not been for the events of last year, which must have led people to fear for their lives, I doubt that we would even be discussing anything to do with Hong Kong. Most people in this country would like to think that the people of Hong Kong will be treated fairly and reasonably. I am afraid that, without a special scheme, those people will have to take their chances in the general regime and try to find refuge somewhere in the world—perhaps in this country, perhaps elsewhere.

I understand that the Government will sign an intergovernmental agreement in the next week or two that will radically alter the asylum system in Europe. There will be a common visa system throughout Europe, so that, if an applicant for asylum is refused entry in one EEC country, he will be refused entry for the entire EEC—in effect, the whole of western Europe. If that system is introduced, it will cut the opportunities available to those people who genuinely fear for their lives and their safety. The House should think long and hard before endorsing that system.

It is obvious that that development will have to be discussed at another time because it would be inappropriate to do so in this fairly narrow debate. It emphasises the point that we need a special system to deal with what are undoubtedly special circumstances. It may be that the problem will not arise and that by 1997 conditions will be radically different. But as we are debating the Bill in the belief that the problems may exist, it seems only right that we should introduce this special system to deal with people who may face a substantial risk to their lives.

8.15 pm
Mr. Madden

In supporting new clause 3, I refer to a specific case concerning applicants for political asylum from mainland China which I have raised in the House a number of times in recent weeks. I very much regret the fact that the responsible Home Office Minister is absent and that there does not seem to be any other Home Office representative here. Nevertheless, I hope that the Foreign Office Minister can announce the Government's intentions.

This case arose on Saturday 5 May when 33 mainland Chinese nationals arrived at Heathrow on their way from Panama to Canada, where they hoped to seek political asylum. It was discovered at Heathrow that, although they had valid passports, their visas for Canada were false. The carrier refused to take them on to Canada and they then requested political asylum in the United Kingdom. The immigration service initially treated them as asylum seekers, began interviewing with regard to their claims to asylum and granted them temporary admission to the United Kingdom pending the determination of their claims.

This is the normal method of handling asylum applications. There is an initial brief interview. The individuals are then admitted temporarily to the United Kingdom while a decision is taken at Home Office headquarters. This decision usually takes several months, during which the individuals can consult lawyers and further information and evidence can be submitted to clarify the basis of their claims for asylum. The individuals are sometimes invited to the Home Office for interview, at which time they can bring their own interpreters and lawyers to help them to explain their claim. This normal method has been applied up to now to all Chinese nationals who have applied for asylum in the United Kingdom following the Tiananmen square massacre.

On Monday 7 May, members of various voluntary groups were contacted to help collect the 33 from the airport. These voluntary groups have been co-operating since last June to provide pastoral care to Chinese refugees in this country. Various helpers from the groups took the 33 to accommodation in north and east London.

On Wednesday 9 May, the Home Office began to indicate that it had changed its mind about the group of 33 and was proposing to deport them from England to Panama. The Home Office would, therefore, cease considering their claims to asylum. The reason is that the United Kingdom operates a "safe third country" policy: if an asylum seeker has come from a third country which is regarded as safe by the Home Office, the asylum seeker can be sent back there to apply for asylum in that country. The only role of the United Kingdom authorities in such countries is to check that the third country is truly safe.

Members of the voluntary groups immediately began to check whether Panama was safe, and the information suggested that it was far from safe. The country is still chaotic after the change of Government. There are no legal safeguards for asylum seekers—the eligibility commission, which is supposed to consider asylum claims, has ceased to function. There is strong anti-Chinese feeling in the country, stirred up partly by the new Government. On Friday 11 May, representatives went to see Home Office officials to seek clarification—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I am having difficulty understanding whether the people to whom the hon. Member refers came from Hong Kong. What do they have to do with Hong Kong?

Mr. Madden

They are from mainland China. They have passed through—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The new clause relates not to mainland China but to Hong Kong.

Mr. Madden

Indeed, Mr. Deputy Speaker. These people passed through Hong Kong on their way to Panama and were seeking to travel to Canada—[Interruption.] I do not know what is amusing the hon. Member for Billericay (Mrs. Gorman) so much. We are debating matters that are of vital concern to many people.

The new clause says: The Secretary of State shall by direction given to the Governor make provision for him to consider applications for asylum in the United Kingdom in respect of any person who, by virtue of his race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, may be in danger of persecution in Hong Kong after 30th June 1997. The people to whom I refer, Mr. Deputy Speaker, would fit precisely that definition.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is talking about 33 people who are not from Hong Kong but from another country and not about 1997 but about 1990. I find it difficult to connect the two.

Mr. Madden

The group of people to whom I refer were in Hong Kong and are seeking political asylum in this country. As this debate concerns the procedures operated by the United Kingdom Government in relation to political asylum, I should like to persuade you, Sir, that it is in order to raise their case.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

It is difficult to understand what the case has to do with the danger of persecution in Hong Kong. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will address his remarks to the new clause or resume his seat.

Mr. Madden

Let me conclude briefly—

Mr. Marlow

Would it be fair to say that, if the group went back to Hong Kong, they would be in danger of persecution there?

Mr. Madden

It is clear that, had they been deported by the United Kingdom Government to Panama, they would have been returned to mainland China. I hope that the Minister may be able to deal with the question whther they would have been returned to Hong Kong in his reply. There are important questions for the Home Office and the Government to answer in relation to this case, which has a direct bearing on those in Hong Kong who may seek political asylum under the new clause.

On Friday 11 May, representatives went to see Home Office officials to seek clarification and explain to the Home Office their view that Panama was not a safe third country. The officials rejected the representations but said that they would be willing to consider further representations. At 5.15 pm on Friday, the voluntary groups were informed that the 33 were to be collected by coach on Saturday, to be taken for interview at the airport with a view to their deportation by Sunday.

The 33 Chinese asylum-seekers instructed a lawyer to act for them. He sought the following assurances from the senior immigration officer at Heathrow: first, that the 33 would not be taken into detention at Heathrow on Saturday; secondly, that lawyers could be present at interviews between officials and the 33; and, thirdly, that adequate time would be allowed for the courts to be approached and asked to test the legality of the deporation order—precisely the matter that we were dealing with in the debate immediately before this. The officer refused to give any of those assurances. On Saturday, the interviewees were moved to Harmondsworth detention centre, near Heathrow—a further indication that the immigration service intended to interview the 33 rapidly, place them in detention and deport them before the weekend ended.

A team of six immigration officers and three Chinese interpreters from the immigration service were present. However, the coach that had been sent to collect the 33 came back empty, the 33 apparently having gone into hiding from immigration service officials.

I hope that, in his reply, the Minister will say that the Government are now willing to make a public statement indicating that there is no intention to deport the group of 33, a substantial number of whom fled from China by way of Hong Kong.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. What is the connection between the 33 people to whom the hon. Gentleman is referring and the Bill and the new clause?

Mr. Madden

Their case is central to the treatment by the British Government of those seeking political asylum. If the episode has done anything, it has sent an enormously worrying and alarming signal to Hong Kong. The message that they will receive is as follows: "If you have it in mind to seek political asylum in Britain after 1997, we shall treat you in this way." In my view, the way in which the 33 people have been treated is a shameful indictment of the Government, whose record and reputation on political asylum are, in turn, shameful.

I hope that the Minister will make it clear that the 33, who include a girl who has just had a baby, will be allowed to come out of hiding and will be given a firm, clear assurance that they will be allowed what they and their representatives requested at the time—the right to seek a judicial review of the way in which the case was handled. Again, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that is a matter that we were debating earlier today.

I hope that the Minister will be able to give those assurances. Unless he does, any fine words that he may utter in reply to the debate will have an extremely hollow ring, not only in this country but in Hong Kong. I hope that the Minister will say, on behalf of the Home Office, that when we are presented, as we undoubtedly will be, with further applications from Hong Kong, between now and 1997 and thereafter, the procedures applied will not be the shameful procedures applied in this case. I hope that the Minister can give those assurances, so that representatives of the group can give the advice that they were eager to give in the first place and so that those people's applications can be properly considered and a judicial review properly undertaken by the courts. They have been waiting for some weeks for such a public statement from the Home Office.

Lastly, I ask the Minister to confirm or deny the rumour that the decision to deport the 33—who included a girl in the advanced stages of pregnancy—was personally approved by the Home Secretary. I have alleged that in the House on a number of occasions in recent weeks but the Home Secretary has sought to dodge the issue and to avoid giving any statement or explanation to the House. I hope that, before the end of our debate, we shall be given the assurance that I have sought and that we will be told whether the decision was personally endorsed and approved by the Home Secretary. If it was, it makes the whole thing even more shameful.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

You, Mr. Deputy Speaker, will know that I have registered with the Registrar of Members' Interests my recent visit to the colony.

The new clause deals with the worst possible scenario. I wish to address my comments to a group of people who could be the subject of political discrimination arising from the changeover in 1997. We all know that Hong Kong has not practised democracy as we understand it in the western world—first, because, over the years, the people have felt grateful to the colonial authorities which, in their view, rescued them from the political forces in China; and, secondly, because the colony has been about the practice of enterprise and money-making, which is why there are so many successful businesses there.

In the run-up to 1997, Hong Kong will be faced with the prospect of having to come to terms with democratic arrangements, and the people of Hong Kong will participate in elections. At present, the country is under the control of an Executive Council monitored, in effect, by a Legislative Council. As it moves from one form of control to another, major convulsions in the administration of its society will result. During the period of changeover to democracy in Hong Kong there will be some dramatic times as people, recognising that they have the right to vote, exercise that right and participate in political debates. As they do that, they will look over their shoulders and be ever conscious of what is happening in China. They will consider the implications of what they are doing in the context of that political debate.

8.30 pm

When I was in Hong Kong two weeks ago, I was aware of two bodies of opinion. One body of opinion told me repeatedly that the Hong Kong people did not want to draw too much attention to the tensions that might exist between the colony and China. They did not want to draw attention to the difficulties. Some weeks before I arrived in the colony it was suggested that the Chinese authorities had sponsored the theft of three Mercedes cars and shipped them back to China. That led to a major row in the Hong Kong press. Others believed that such matters should not be raised because they were sensitive and might unsettle the Chinese authorities.

Conversely other people, including politicians such as Mr. Martin Lee, a well-known figure in Hong Kong, believed that the public had a responsibility to debate those matters in the most open fashion. Mr. Lee believed that the Executive Council should act. He called for representations from the British Government to the Chinese Government with regard to the theft of the cars. There is a clear divergence of views on the extent to which the debate should be open, public and voluble as against quiet and discreet.

Over the next few years the people of Hong Kong will be required to take part in that debate. Unless those who are most voluble, and who believe that they have a contribution to make in ensuring safeguards at the time of changeover, are at least aware of the possibility that they may have the right of asylum in another country, that debate might be dampened down. I am most concerned about that group of people.

I do not believe that that group is particularly large. However, to some extent the future of the changeover and the compromises that must take place in the period up to the changeover, will be issues which that small group, as politicians and leaders of the community, will have to address following the elections in 1992 and subsequently. That is very important.

There is another part of the population which we must consider in that context. The problem with addressing that part of the population is that, by implication, in examining their problem, we might open the floodgates in a way that some politicians in this country might try to exploit. When I was in Hong Kong and in Macau, I was aware of major demonstrations. I was in the area just before the anniversary of the events of 4 June although I had no intention of visiting Tiananmen square as was suggested, I believe, by the right hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) on television. That was not my intention. We planned to spend a weekend in southern China on a cultural visit.

As I said, when I was in Macau and in Hong Kong I was aware of demonstrations on the streets. What will happen to the political leaders who are currently involved in those demonstrations? Must they now curtail their activities because they cannot be sure that they will have the right to be heard in an asylum application in 1997? I am worried about that group of people. I understand the problems that arise from considering that matter. Some people may demonstrate or become involved in finding a way round the Government's nationality proposals. They may believe that by becoming involved they can find another way of getting a right of abode elsewhere.

If some way could be found to assure those people that if they are politically active and their livelihoods, lives or security is endangered, they have at least an opportunity to have their cases for asylum heard, it would do much to mitigate the problem.

Mr. Marlow

The hon. Gentleman begs his own question. How does he suggest that that problem can be solved? He has a fair point that if someone is indulging in democratic protest in Hong Kong at the moment that might be anathema to the Chinese authorities when they take over. We should perhaps consider that. However, as the hon. Gentleman said, that might provoke other people into going over the top because they are not allowed in under the existing rules. They might protest and seek asylum that way. How would the hon. Gentleman solve that difficult and proper problem?

Mr. Campbell-Savours

That is why I deployed the counter-argument during my comments. I entered the caveat that I understood other hon. Members might want to enter. I recognise the difficulty and I do not know the answer. Ministers should be aware of the problem. If there is to be full democratic debate in Hong Kong over the next six years, we must accept that certain people in that society will inevitably have to expose themselves to potential penalty from the Chinese authorities in 1997. I hope that the Minister will consider my points.

Mr. Marlow

This is a very sensitive issue and we have had a valuable debate. The Opposition are to be congratulated on their new clause. I do not say that I agree with it, but we must carefully discuss the issue. I am sorry that there are so few right hon. and hon. Members in the Chamber to carry the debate forward.

I do not want to repeat the points that have already been made. I was interested in what the hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) had to say about the problems facing refugees, and I shall be interested to hear what the Minister has to say about that. I do not often agree with the hon. Member for Bradford, West. However, obviously people in Hong Kong will be deeply concerned and influenced by the way in which we deal today with people seeking asylum in the United Kingdom.

The Bill's objective is to keep people in Hong Kong. As I have said, I do not believe that it will achieve that objective. It will have the opposite effect. However, I accept that it is the Government's objective to keep people there. If that is what they are trying to do, how sensitively and fairly the problems set out by the hon. Member for Bradford, West are dealt with by the agencies of Government will be noted in Hong Kong.

Mr. Doug Hoyle (Warrington, North)

The hon. Gentleman is making a speech.

Mr. Marlow

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman that was a percipient and perceptive comment. That is what I thought that I was doing.

Things in Hong Kong are bound to be sensitive and people in Hong Kong will be looking to this country to see how we deal with immigration and asylum issues because that will have an impact on how they react to the confidence-building measures that the Government intend for them.

There are other aspects of asylum of which even now we should take account. I suspect that I will part company with the hon. Member for Bradford, West in my next point. Most people are aware that there is a growing phenomenon throughout the world: the world is becoming a smaller place as radio and television transmitters receive and transmit news from one part of the world to another. People in the poorer parts are becoming increasingly aware of the relative wealth and good fortune of those in the wealthier areas.

There is a growing phenomenon, which has already been noted, of people wanting to move from the poorer parts of the world to the wealthier parts. We have seen it happen, and we are seeing it happen at the moment. Of course, at the same time travel is becoming more readily available. There are many benefits from that—for example, it is cheaper and more people can avail themselves of it. Also, people have already made the transition and migrated from the third world to Europe and to America. Having arrived in Europe and America, they acquire adequate wealth to remit some of their money to friends and relatives in the third world. There is a growing and accelerating tendency in this ever-smaller, growing world for people to wish to come and join us in our good fortune in the United Kingdom, Europe and the western world.

Stories have been written and scenarios have been presented. About 10 years ago, a book was written about people from Indonesia. There had been some devastation in Indonesia. People were chartering hulks—old leaky boats—and arriving in their tens of thousands, if not in hundreds of thousands, off Marseilles, leaving their boats and effectively marching into France and daring the authorities to do anything about it. I understand that there was a television programme quite recently about the poor and the oppressed of north Africa—I am not saying that they were oppressed by Governments, but they were oppressed by famine and their circumstances—wishing to migrate northwards into Europe. The problem of migration and the granting of asylum related to the desire for migration will become a much greater political issue in the western world, in the European Community, and certainly, I believe, in the United Kingdom.

When we are addressing this interesting new clause, we should bear the wider issues in mind. I do not know how Opposition Members view the matter at the moment but, at the back of their minds, they must be aware of the potential problem—I do not say that in a pejorative way—that will almost overwhelm western democracies unless we have an adequate but, at the same time, sensitive way of dealing with it. Millions of people are suffering from starvation, millions of people are suffering from deprivation, and millions of people are suffering from a lack of civil liberty and from political harassment in the countries in which they live. Many of those millions are seeking and will continue to seek to migrate.

When my hon. Friend the Minister responds to the debate, I hope that he will address not only the short-term aspects of this issue and the very real importance of the Government's assessment of the issue with regard to the future of Hong Kong, given what the Government are trying to do—and with good motive are trying to do—but the potential problems of the long-term and escalating issue of large-scale migration.

New clause 3 states: The Secretary of State shall by direction given to the Governor make provision for him to consider applications. I assume that "by direction" means writing a chap a letter and telling him how he should do it and what powers he has, or did the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) have it in mind that it should be written into an Order in Council that the House should address at a later stage? Is it a matter for the Secretary of State, or is it a matter that the hon. Gentleman considers is proper for the House to have—

Mr. Campbell-Savours

I suspect that the hon. Gentleman might be trying to delay proceedings on the Bill. I hope that he is not doing that.

Mr. Marlow

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman is of that opinion. It would be totally inappropriate and wrong for any right hon. or hon. Member to seek to delay the proceedings on the Bill. I am sure that you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, would take appropriate action were that to arise.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I am listening with great care and apprehension to the hon. Gentleman's speech.

Mr. Marlow

I am grateful, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for your great courtesy in listening to my speech with such care.

The new clause includes the words, to consider applications for asylum". Will the Governor decide or recommend? Who is to make the final decision? The new clause goes on with the words, "in respect of any person who, by virtue of his"—

Mr. Campbell-Savours

The hon. Gentleman will carry on as long as he wants. He could cut his comments quite short if he were just to read what is on the amendment paper. All the answers that he wants are set out in the new clause.

Mr. Marlow

That is the hon. Gentleman's view. I have read the new clause several times to myself, but I shall read it out aloud if the hon. Gentleman would be more convinced by it.

The new clause states that the Governor should consider applications. Who is to make a decision on those applications? Is it the Opposition's intention that, yet again, the Governor should have the power effectively of deciding who should get citizenship in this country, or do they believe that the matter should be referred to my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary?

8.45 pm

After 30 June 1997, people who belong to a certain race—however that is defined—or religion, splinter group from a religion, nationality or political opinion might be in danger of persecution in Hong Kong. That could be a great number of people. Hong Kong is a haven—thank goodness for that—for capitalism. It is a very successful capitalist economy. Although there has been some change in the economic policy of the People's Republic of China over the past few years, there has not been a great change in political policy—there is great repression there. We have noticed in the not-too-distant past, Mao Tse-Tung and the great revolution—I forget its name at the moment.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

Not the long march?

Mr. Marlow

No, not the long march. It was 15 or 20 years ago—the cultural revolution. Who is to say that, in 1996, there will not be another cultural revolution—perhaps a more vigorous and violent cultural revolution than before? Is it not possible in those circumstances that any shopkeeper, share owner or anybody in a position of management or authority within Hong Kong could maintain the risk after 1997 as the Chinese authorities take over? Is not that in a way opening the door even wider than the Opposition might intend to open it? As a result of the Government's proposal, there is a possibility of 250,000 or more Hong Kong Chinese coming to this country.

Mr. Campbell-Savours


Mr. Marlow

The hon. Gentleman says, "Rubbish". Does he want to sustain that point?

Mr. Robert N. Wareing (Liverpool, West Derby)

What about the statistics?

Mr. Marlow

The immigration statistics over the past six years are significant. Over the past three years, for example, the number of immigrants to this country from the third world would be sufficient to populate a whole parliamentary constituency. Between the two previous elections, the number of immigrants from the third world—people with different cultural backgrounds and people with largely poor backgrounds—who have come to this country has been sufficient to populate a town the size of Northampton. That is a great number of people.

Mr. Tim Janman (Thurrock)

Does my hon. Friend agree that, although the number of people whom he describes coming to this country is considerably lower, thankfully, than it has been under socialist Administrations—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. We are talking about people seeking political asylum from Hong Kong. I hope that we shall stick to that topic.

Mr. Marlow

I am sorry about that, Mr. Deputy Speaker. My hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Mr. Janman) was seeking to lead me down a road that I was originally dragged down by the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Mr. Wareing). The fault is not my hon. Friend's. It rests with the Opposition.

Should a regrettable event take place—I do not know whether an event can be regrettable before it happens—such as a culutural revolution squared or a cultural revolution with knobs on in China and if the new clause is passed—I understand why the Opposition have tabled it and to a certain extent it does them credit because it shows their civility and decency—there must be a risk—there are emotive considerations to any word one chooses and I do not use "risk" in a pejorative way—or a real possibility that, whatever the number of immigrants resulting from the Government's details in the Bill, the number of applications for asylum as a result of the new clause—I am still in the dark about whether the applications would be granted by the Governor or the Home Secretary—could be 10,000, 100,000 or 500,000. There are 6 million people in Hong Kong now and many—

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Is the hon. Gentleman competing with Norman?

Mr. Marlow

If the hon. Gentleman is saying that numbers are not important and are not an issue, let him stand on his own two feet and tell the House that the number of immigrants is not of interest or concern to the British people. If that is what he is saying, let him say it loud and clear. I am happy to give way to him.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Under the next amendment.

Mr. Marlow

It may be out of order to say so, but the hon. Gentleman says from a sedentary position that he will deal with the matter under the next amendment.

If events go wrong in China and the black and gloomy scenario, the Gotterdammerung or—

Mr. Foulkes

The Armageddon.

Mr. Marlow

—the Armageddon—I thank the hon. Gentleman—develops, and if the new clause is accepted, well intentioned though it is, there is a real possibility that 500,000 to 1 million Hong Kong Chinese would reasonably feel that they were in danger of persecution in Hong Kong after 30 June 1997.

I am sure that my hon. Friend the Minister is aware of the general feeling on Conservative Benches about the measure. He will not be unaware of the anxiety on these Benches should such a new clause be passed.

Mr. Maclennan

I hoped that a new clause such as this would not be necessary, because the practice of British Governments in dealing with asylum cases would have given security to and assured those who might be apprehensive of their political position following 1997.

The hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden), rightly, raised the case of the 33 Chinese people who came from Hong Kong and sought political asylum. It casts a lurid light over the practice of the Home Office in dealing with asylum cases. I too have made representations to the Home Office about it, but the questions raised by the case have not been answered. Many of those people undoubtedly have a strong case for political asylum. That they should all have been made the subject of summary proceedings and that passages should have been booked to send them back to a country where they were fearful for their future does not conform with the best British methods of dealing with asylum. Therefore, the case is pertinent background to the new clause which, as I have said, I had hoped would not have been necessary.

The new clause would be difficult to operate, if it were enacted. It would be operated against the background of tight controls over immigration and of many people, dissatisfied at having been excluded on other grounds from the United Kingdom, looking increasingly desperately as the 1997 deadline approaches for some other way out. To impose on the Governor the responsibility for evaluating the claims of those people ahead of that time would be an onerous burden.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

We have some experience of screening in Hong Kong.

Mr. Maclennan

We do not have experience of screening on the scale that might develop if there were no amelioration in Peking. I would prefer to hear the Minister say that the Government will look seriously at all cases of asylum as and when asylum is sought. That must be the right way to proceed. That assurance could be backed up by a clear sign of the Government's rethinking of the case of the 33 Chinese. Without some sign on that score, any assurances given will sound rather empty.

Although there may be insuperable problems with the new clause, I am extremely symapathetic to the Opposition's purpose in tabling it because I hope that it will elicit from the Government how they intend to deal with these problems as they arise. People such as Martin Lee are undoubtedly exposed, as many others who are courageously seeking to lead the country out of the period of colonisation towards the objective of one Government of two systems in one country through democratic processes. One does not wish to name names or to single out people. Martin Lee has singled himself out. There are many such people, and the number will increase.

If the Government's purpose of maintaining the population of Hong Kong and the stability of the political situation there is to be supported, the question of asylum cannot be ducked. It is not dealt with directly in the Bill, and the Opposition are right to raise it in the new clause.

Mr. Tebbit

We need not detain ourselves much longer on this new clause. I do not want to delay matters because I sense that the Opposition, who are whipped to vote against the Bill, are melting away every moment. I hope that many of them will join me in the Lobby tonight, if we reach Third Reading, to reiterate the Labour party's opposition to the Bill, as stated by its Front-Bench Members, if not its Back-Bench Members, on Second Reading.

Some important issues are raised by the new clause. They can be dealt with quickly. My hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) took a lengthy walk around some of the problems that are raised by the new clause, but no one can be in any doubt that he pointed to some serious problems which will arise in the future.

Those of us who watched television the other evening and saw pictures of even internal refugees in the Soviet Union pleading that they were starving in Moscow following their flight from ethnic and political problems cannot doubt that far larger numbers of people around the world will seek to leave countries which are deep in ethnic, political and economic problems to go to countries which are more peaceable.

9 pm

One cannot assume that everyone who arrives at the shores of Great Britain saying, "I am in difficulties with the Government of the country in which I live," or, "The country in which I live is suffering from civil war," or all people whose countries are afflicted by some other form of violence can properly be admitted. We simply cannot do that. We would have to consider that danger if we legislated in the manner suggested in the Bill.

I may find myself in complete agreement with the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Warwickshire, North (Mr. Maude). At present we have a system that has been operated by successive Governments, under which those who are regarded as political refugees can be given asylum in the United Kingdom. If we opened that up in terms such as those suggested in the amendment, even if only for Hong Kong, which might set a precedent for other areas of the world, we should have opened a door which would be so wide open as to be unacceptable.

Not everyone who is in political difference with his Government is necessarily a desirable citizen to admit to one's country. Not everyone whose country is suffering from civil war can be admitted. We could not easily admit to Britain the entire people of the unfortunate country of the Lebanon simply because a civil war was raging there.

I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will not accept the new clause and will say that he and the Government will abide by the rules and arrangements which have been in use for many years, to which we should stick, even in particularly hard cases.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Francis Maude)

This is a serious subject and it is right that the House takes it seriously and gives itself the opportunity to debate it in the context of the new clause.

I had a good deal of sympathy with the point made by the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours), who, sadly, has left the Chamber. He spoke of the need for debate in Hong Kong to be open and full and not constrained by the unique circumstances in which Hong Kong finds itself. It is important that the Hong Kong Government and the British Government operate in such a way that people do not feel that they are under such a constraint. That would be bad for Hong Kong.

Traditionally, Hong Kong has had a spirit of open and free debate. Those of us who have been there and faced the massed ranks of the Hong Kong media know that Hong Kong does not feel like a closed, repressed society where comment is constrained. While occasionally, I, like many of us, have been victim of that open and free comment, none of us would want it to be quelled in any way. It is important that we should do what we can to ensure that that spirit remains. It is essentially a part of the way of life of Hong Kong, which the joint declaration commits both China and Britain to preserve after 1997.

I understand the spirit that lies behind new clause 3, but it is fundamentally misconceived. Although there are unusual circumstances in Hong Kong, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) correctly stated, arrangements are in place whereby after 1997 signatories to the 1951 convention on refugees will operate in respect of people in Hong Kong in precisely the same way as they operate now.

Several hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden), took the opportunity to talk about specific cases and, in the context of those specific cases, to dwell a little on the way in which asylum policy operates in general in this country. It is not for me to comment on the general operation of those provisions or on the specific cases. The hon. Gentleman is an ingenious parliamentary operator and will be able to find plenty of opportunities to question my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary, who has specific responsibility for these matters.

However, the hon. Member for Bradford, West will know that it is customary international practice to regard the most appropriate country to consider a claim for asylum to be the signatory country of the 1951 convention at which the applicant first arrives. Panama is such a signatory and it has been decided that Panama is a safe third country in the normal sense. I stress that that has been decided not by us but by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Panama is safe, in the sense that it can be expected not to reject genuine applicants for asylum.

I hope that that deals with the hon. Gentleman's point. It is a fundamental misconception for him to believe that we unilaterally decided that Panama is a safe country. That is not a decision that would be taken by one country on its own.

Mr. Madden

I am grateful to the Minister for his kind remarks, and I accept his point. However, I hope that the impression that he is seeking to leave—that in some way Britain would be required to deport those young people to Panama—is wholly untrue. At the core of our concern is the fact that the Home Office is refusing to allow a judicial review of decisions in this case, while halting deportation to enable proper judicial reviews to take place.

As the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department is now sitting on the Treasury Bench, I should be grateful if the Minister would take the opportunity of this debate to make it clear that, if those young people come out of hiding and if a judicial review is applied for, no action will be taken to deport them to Panama or anywhere else.

Mr. Maude

I shall not be drawn into commenting on that specific case any further, because it does not fall within my responsibilities; nor does it arise—except tangentially—from this debate. However, the hon. Gentleman's points will have been heard and will no doubt be properly dealt with. As I have said, he will have opportunities to raise this matter in the ordinary course of events.

The new clause is fundamentally misconceived because, even if it were included in the Bill, it could not operate after 1997 because it gives the Home Secretary the power to direct the Governor of Hong Kong to do certain things —and the Governor of Hong Kong will not be the Governor of Hong Kong, and will certainly not be subject to directions from the Home Secretary, after 1997. Therefore, the provisions could apply only until 30 June 1997.

Those who have reason to believe before 1997 that they will be subject to persecution after 1997 for any of the reasons set out in the new clause are entitled, under the sensitive services scheme provided by the Bill, to apply for consideration. As was said in Committee, that is not limited to Crown or to Hong Kong Government servants. It is open to those in the private sector and to those who may have been commentators on or participants in the political process. Therefore, there are specific provisions for those who believe before 1997 that they may be subject to persecution after 1997.

For those who cannot anticipate that, or who become subject to persecution after 1997, the ordinary procedures of the 1951 convention would apply in any event. I do not foresee that, after 1997, people in Hong Kong will be subject to persecution.

Mr. Darling

I accept that those in the sensitive services may be entitled to apply under the scheme; whether they succeed is another matter. My hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) and others were saying that there will be ordinary citizens, not people in sensitive services, who for various reasons have done something that may lead them to believe that they have reason to fear after 1997. We are concerned about those people, and they do not qualify under the special scheme.

Mr. Maude

The sensitive services scheme, despite being described in that way, is not limited to Crown servants or to Hong Kong Government servants. It is open to private citizens who are not Government employees and are not connected with the Administration in any way. There is scope for journalists, perhaps, and private participants in the political process who have expressed themselves in a way that may lead them to have fear of persecution after 1997, to apply under the scheme.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

It might arise that some people's political activities are recognised by the Chinese authorities only after the final tranche has been allocated.

Mr. Maude

That is, inevitably, a possibility. The hon. Gentleman is correct to raise it. The Bill has been introduced with the constraint throughout, and rightly so, that there is an absolute limit of numbers. It does not provide any open-ended commitment. There is a strict limit. The House would not permit us, even if we wanted to, to bring forward a scheme that would inevitably involve that which the hon. Gentleman seeks.

Mr. Tebbit

Perhaps my hon. Friend is sliding slightly away from the heart of the argument. He is saying that there would not be admission under the Bill, which does place a limit on numbers. There would be admission, if it were thought appropriate, under the normal practice of admitting refugees. That would mean that there would be no limitations.

There is a danger, against which none of us can guard, of people who think that they will be disadvantaged economically behaving in a politically outrageous way that is clearly grossly offensive to the Chinese authorities to try to get themselves admitted. They would be economic migrants, a category which is well known in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong authorities have a particularly tough and ruthless way of dealing with those who come within that category.

Mr. Maude

The House will have heard what my right hon. Friend has said, and will be able to judge whether what he suggests is a likely eventuality. I think that there is adequate scope within the Bill for those who can envisage that they may be subject to persecution and for those who, after 1997, find themselves subject to persecution. It is then that the convention will apply. I do not foresee that people will be subject to persecution. Many hon. Members from both sides of the House have urged upon the Government that we should have faith in the commitment of the Chinese Government to the joint declaration, and I do have such faith.

Mr. Wareing

Can we have faith after Tiananmen square?

Mr. Maude

The hon. Gentleman makes neither a new nor an illuminating observation from a sedentary position. He asks whether the same faith is possible after the events that took place in Tiananmen square. It is precisely because confidence has been affected in Hong Kong as a result of those events that we have introduced the Bill, and I believe that it will be effective in restoring some confidence. It does not radically alter the commitment which the Chinese Government have made to the joint declaration. Since the Tiananmen square events, they have put an enormous amount of work into framing the Basic Law and making arrangements for elections within that law. They are not in every respect arrangements with which we are content, and we shall have the opportunity to talk about that later.

The Chinese Government's approach, however, is an odd one for a Government who do not intend to be bound by the provisions of the joint declarations. If they were a Government who were proposing to tear up the provisions after 1997, it would be odd for them to devote so much energy and effort to getting the provisions in a form with which they are content. I believe that there are grounds for being confident that the joint declaration will be respected after 1997. That involves a clear commitment to civil rights, which will be incorporated in both the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights that the Hong Kong Government are bringing forward.

9.15 pm
Mr. Darling

I hope that the Minister is right, and that there will be no need for anyone to seek asylum under this or any other scheme. Surely, however, he accepts the possibility that one or more people may be at risk. Our suggestion is that there should be a special scheme to deal with the special circumstances in Hong Kong. What is his opposition to that? He must accept that the possibility exists; we would not be discussing the Bill tonight if we were not afraid that things might go wrong. What is his difficulty?

Mr. Maude

One difficulty is the fact that asylum cannot operate except in respect of someone from a foreign country, and Hong Kong before 1997—which is when the provision will apply—is not a foreign country. The concept of people from Hong Kong seeking asylum in the United Kingdom is an absurdity.

Mr. Darling

I can see that argument. The Minister is effectively saying that, if there are people in Hong Kong who have reason to fear for their safety now, or at any time before 1997, the Government will say, "Tough luck: you can apply for asylum only after 1997, when you may not even be able to get outside, let alone do anything about it."

If the Minister accepts that there are special circumstances in Hong Kong, surely we must cater for those who may be at risk, and the Opposition are merely suggesting that there should be some system to do that. I do not accept the special services scheme, because I do not think that it is wide enough to deal with anyone who might be in difficulty as a special category.

I am beginning to think that the Government are concerned only about people with an economic need to get out of Hong Kong, and have no great regard for those who may genuinely fear for their lives. Those, however, are the people whom the majority of people in this country would like us to look after.

Mr. Maude

The hon. Gentleman demonstrated earlier that he had not grasped the essential point that I made both in Committee and earlier in the debate. The sensitive service scheme provides for private citizens in precisely that category. His new clause proposes that the Governor should be required to give special consideration to applications for asylum. There cannot be applications for asylum from Hong Kong to the United Kingdom before 1997. That is why the provision is both unnecessary and inherently absurd.

Mr. Marlow

I think that the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) was talking about the difficulties of getting out of Hong Kong after 1997. If an adverse regime in China had taken possession of Hong Kong, how would the citizens of Hong Kong be able to apply for asylum?

Mr. Maude

They would be in the same position as asylum seekers anywhere. People can seek asylum only when they have left the place that they wish to leave, and have arrived in the country in which they seek asylum.

Mr. Darling

The Minister is getting into some difficulty. If he examines the provisions relating to the sensitive service section, he will see that the people concerned are those who have been exposed to special considerations and special factors during the course of their duties. Those claiming admission under that section would have to prove that whatever they were doing was in the course of their duties, or their employment. It does not take account of someone—for example, a stallholder—who for one reason or another took part in a demonstration or some other political activity, as that activity would not be carried in the course of his duties. In addition, such people would have to be in the course of serving Hong Kong or United Kingdom interests in either a civilian or military role". The provision does not take account of the ordinary man in the street.

That is our objection to the Minister's assertion that we do not have to worry because the sensitive sevice section will take care of things. He knows that it concerns people who—because of the nature of their employment—may be at risk, and not people whose contact with political activity is entirely ancillary to their normal work.

Mr. Maude

I do not know what the hon. Gentleman is reading from, but I can assure him that it is not intended that the scheme should be limited in that way. It is intended that the scheme should operate in precisely the way that I and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department have set out. Commentators, journalists or participants in the political process who fear that they may be subject to persecution will be entitled to apply under the scheme. Therefore, provision is properly made.

Mr. Tebbit

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) read from the explanatory memorandum which I had sought to incorporate in the Bill in order that we could be certain about the Government's intentions. But my hon. Friend has just told the House not to worry about that; that that is not what it will be like when it comes to the point. What credence can we put on any of the explanatory memorandum if that bit does not apply?

Mr. Maude

I make precisely the point that my hon. Friend made earlier—that it is precisely to enable the House to express its views about what is in the explanatory memorandum that we published it in the way that we did at this stage.

In those circumstances, new clause 3 is not appropriate. It would not be workable in the context of the Bill, and I invite the House to reject it.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 180, Noes 289.

Division No. 231] [9.21 pm
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Alton, David
Allen, Graham Armstrong, Hilary
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Ashton, Joe Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Beckett, Margaret Ingram, Adam
Bell, Stuart Janner, Greville
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Jones, Ieuan (Ynys Môn)
Bermingham, Gerald Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Bidwell, Sydney Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Boyes, Roland Kennedy, Charles
Bradley, Keith Kirkwood, Archy
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Leighton, Ron
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Lestor, Joan (Eccles)
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Lewis, Terry
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Livingstone, Ken
Buckley, George J. Livsey, Richard
Caborn, Richard Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Callaghan, Jim Loyden, Eddie
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) McAllion, John
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) McAvoy, Thomas
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Macdonald, Calum A.
Canavan, Dennis McFall, John
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Carr, Michael McKelvey, William
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) McLeish, Henry
Clay, Bob Maclennan, Robert
Clelland, David McWilliam, John
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Madden, Max
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Mahon, Mrs Alice
Corbett, Robin Marek, Dr John
Cox, Tom Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Crowther, Stan Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Cryer, Bob Martlew, Eric
Cummings, John Maxton, John
Cunliffe, Lawrence Meacher, Michael
Dalyell, Tam Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Darling, Alistair Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Molyneaux, Rt Hon James
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Moonie, Dr Lewis
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) Morley, Elliot
Dewar, Donald Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Dixon, Don Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Doran, Frank Mowlam, Marjorie
Duffy, A. E. P. Murphy, Paul
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth Nellist, Dave
Eastham, Ken Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Evans, John (St Helens N) O'Brien, William
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E) Parry, Robert
Fatchett, Derek Patchett, Terry
Fearn, Ronald Pendry, Tom
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n) Quin, Ms Joyce
Fisher, Mark Radice, Giles
Flannery, Martin Redmond, Martin
Flynn, Paul Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Reid, Dr John
Foster, Derek Richardson, Jo
Foulkes, George Robertson, George
Fraser, John Rogers, Allan
Fyfe, Maria Rooker, Jeff
Garrett, Ted (Wallsend) Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Ruddock, Joan
Godman, Dr Norman A. Sedgemore, Brian
Golding, Mrs Llin Sheerman, Barry
Gordon, Mildred Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Skinner, Dennis
Grocott, Bruce Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Harman, Ms Harriet Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)
Heal, Mrs Sylvia Snape, Peter
Henderson, Doug Soley, Clive
Hinchliffe, David Spearing, Nigel
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Stott, Roger
Home Robertson, John Strang, Gavin
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Straw, Jack
Howells, Geraint Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd) Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Hoyle, Doug Thomas, Dr Dafydd Elis
Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck) Wilson, Brian
Turner, Dennis Winnick, David
Wallace, James Wise, Mrs Audrey
Wareing, Robert N. Worthington, Tony
Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C) Wray, Jimmy
Wells, Bowen Young, David (Bolton SE)
Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N) Tellers for the Ayes:
Wigley, Dafydd Mr. Frank Haynes and Mr. James Dunnachie.
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Alexander, Richard Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Durant, Tony
Allason, Rupert Eggar, Tim
Amess, David Emery, Sir Peter
Arbuthnot, James Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas
Ashby, David Favell, Tony
Atkins, Robert Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Atkinson, David Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Fishburn, John Dudley
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Forman, Nigel
Baldry, Tony Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Batiste, Spencer Forth, Eric
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Fox, Sir Marcus
Bellingham, Henry Franks, Cecil
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Freeman, Roger
Benyon, W. Fry, Peter
Bevan, David Gilroy Garel-Jones, Tristan
Blackburn, Dr John G. Gill, Christopher
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Body, Sir Richard Glyn, Dr Sir Alan
Boscawen, Hon Robert Goodhart, Sir Philip
Boswell, Tim Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Bottomley, Peter Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Gorst, John
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Gow, Ian
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Bowis, John Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Grist, Ian
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Ground, Patrick
Brazier, Julian Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Bright, Graham Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Hampson, Dr Keith
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Hanley, Jeremy
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick Hannam, John
Buck, Sir Antony Harris, David
Budgen, Nicholas Haselhurst, Alan
Burns, Simon Hawkins, Christopher
Burt, Alistair Hayes, Jerry
Butcher, John Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney
Butler, Chris Hayward, Robert
Butterfill, John Heathcoat-Amory, David
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Carrington, Matthew Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Cash, William Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda Hill, James
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Hind, Kenneth
Chapman, Sydney Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Chope, Christopher Holt, Richard
Churchill, Mr Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n) Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)
Conway, Derek Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Cope, Rt Hon John Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Cormack, Patrick Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Couchman, James Hunter, Andrew
Critchley, Julian Irvine, Michael
Currie, Mrs Edwina Irving, Sir Charles
Curry, David Jack, Michael
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) Jackson, Robert
Davis, David (Boothferry) Janman, Tim
Day, Stephen Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Devlin, Tim Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Dorrell, Stephen Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Key, Robert Rhodes James, Robert
Kilfedder, James Riddick, Graham
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater) Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Kirkhope, Timothy Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Knowles, Michael Rost, Peter
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman Rowe, Andrew
Lang, Ian Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Latham, Michael Ryder, Richard
Lawrence, Ivan Sackville, Hon Tom
Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Lee, John (Pendle) Sayeed, Jonathan
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Shaw, David (Dover)
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe) Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Lightbown, David Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Lilley, Peter Shelton, Sir William
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Luce, Rt Hon Richard Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
McCrindle, Robert Shersby, Michael
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Sims, Roger
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire) Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Maclean, David Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
McLoughlin, Patrick Soames, Hon Nicholas
McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Madel, David Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Major, Rt Hon John Stern, Michael
Malins, Humfrey Stevens, Lewis
Mans, Keith Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Maples, John Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Marlow, Tony Stewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N)
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Stokes, Sir John
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Sumberg, David
Mates, Michael Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Maude, Hon Francis Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Temple-Morris, Peter
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Mellor, David Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Meyer, Sir Anthony Thornton, Malcolm
Mills, Iain Thurnham, Peter
Miscampbell, Norman Townend, John (Bridlington)
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Mitchell, Sir David Tracey, Richard
Moate, Roger Tredinnick, David
Monro, Sir Hector Trippier, David
Moore, Rt Hon John Trotter, Neville
Morrison, Sir Charles Twinn, Dr Ian
Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester) Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Moynihan, Hon Colin Viggers, Peter
Neale, Gerrard Waddington, Rt Hon David
Needham, Richard Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Nelson, Anthony Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Neubert, Michael Walden, George
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Nicholls, Patrick Waller, Gary
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Warren, Kenneth
Norris, Steve Watts, John
Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley Whitney, Ray
Oppenheim, Phillip Widdecombe, Ann
Page, Richard Wiggin, Jerry
Paice, James Wilkinson, John
Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil Winterton, Mrs Ann
Patnick, Irvine Winterton, Nicholas
Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath) Wolfson, Mark
Patten, Rt Hon John Wood, Timothy
Porter, Barry (Wirral S) Yeo, Tim
Portillo, Michael Young, Sir George (Acton)
Powell, William (Corby) Younger, Rt Hon George
Price, Sir David
Raffan, Keith Tellers for the Noes:
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Mr. Alastair Goodlad and Mr. Michael Fallon.
Rathbone, Tim
Redwood, John

Question accordingly negatived.

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