§ 'Nothing in this Act effects the Jurisdiction of any Court to entertain proceedings of any description concerning the operation of any provisions of this Act or made under it.'.—[Mr. Darling.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
With this it will be convenient to consider the following amendments: No. 37, in clause 1, page 1, line 21, leave out 'Neither'.
§ No. 38, in page 1, line 21, leave out 'nor' and insert 'or'.
§ No 39, in page 1, line 22, leave out 'any reason' and insert 'reasons'.
§ No 40, in page 1, line 23, leave out from 'Act' to end of line 24.
No. 49, in page 1, line 24, at end insert—
'() Nothing in this Section affects the jurisdiction of any Court to entertain proceedings of any description concerning the rights of any person under any provision of this Act.'.
No 18, in clause 3, page 2, line 41, at end insert—
'(5) Any Hong Kong resident of a class, group, category or description qualified for registration under subsection (1) above, Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 to this Act who, having made application to the Governor to be recommended for registration under section 1(1) of this Act, is not so recommended shall have the right of appeal to the Secretary of State.'
§ Mr. Darling
We move from new clause 12, which was uncontroversial, to one that may be controversial. However, as it is quite narrowly focused, it may be possible narrowly to focus our discussions on it. The purpose of the new clause is to make it clear that it will be possible to raise proceedings judicially to review any decision that may be made under this legislation.
It would not normally be necessary to add such a new clause because it is normally well settled in law that it is possible to review any administrative decision. Unfortunately, because of the language in which the Bill is framed, it would appear that it is the Government's intention to exclude any such possibility.
Before considering the question of judicial review, as there was some confusion when we discussed the matter in Committee, perhaps I should make it clear exactly what we are discussing. We are not discussing the possibility of an individual appeal; we are discussing the more narrow legal concept of judicial review of a decision.
If I illustrate it, the position will perhaps become clear. If an individual were awarded a certain number of points under the scheme, it would not be possible for him to appeal simply because he did not like the number of points that he was allocated. It would be possible to raise proceedings only if his allegation was that those allocating the points had taken into account matters that they should not have taken into account or, alternatively, failed to take into account matters that they should have considered. It is a well settled point of law, but it is fairly narrow. It is the way open to individuals to question an administrator when an administrator has done something that he should not have done because he had no power to do it or, alternatively, when an administrator failed to do the things that he should have done.
I want to make that point clear because this is not a wrecking measure; it is not as amendment No. 18 appears to be. I do not see any purpose in clogging up a system to 330 allow perhaps 200,000 appeals for anyone who was aggrieved who did not qualify under the scheme. That would be quite wrong. I make the Opposition's position quite clear. We oppose the legislation for the reasons that we have outlined, but it has not been our purpose, either in Committee or today on Report, to put forward amendments other than in the spirit of trying to improve a Bill as best we can, notwithstanding the fact that we consider that its basis is wrong.
It is quite wrong that the Government should attempt or purport to exclude any possibility of appeal. Clause 1(5) provides:Neither the Secretary of State nor the Governor shall be required to give any reason for any decision made by him in the exercise of a discretion vested in him by or under this Act and no such decision shall be subject to appeal or liable to be questioned in any court.On one construction that would mean that it would not even be possible to question any decision, let alone any appeal, and it could be that anyone attempting to lodge papers to start appeal proceedings would be told by the clerk, "Sorry, any proceedings under this Act are simply not competent." I know that the Government have a slightly different interpretation, and I shall refer to it shortly, but perhaps it should be stated again and again that it does not matter what any hon. Member says during proceedings in this House. A court will have regard to what is in the Act, not to what Ministers or hon. Members have to say.
That issue was raised in Committee, and the Government's position was set out in a letter by the Minister to my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton). The Minister said:I have now … considered the matter again but have concluded that an amendment would indeed be unnecessary, and furthermore would be unhelpful.I am bound to say that I cannot see how spelling out a citizen's rights can ever be unhelpful, but, to the Government, perhaps such a step would be unhelpful. The Minister went on to say:Whatever grounds there may have been for including section 44(3) in the 1981 Act there are none for including a corresponding provision in the Bill.Section 44(3) of the 1981 Act, which is the British Nationality Act that governs citizenship in this country, has a similar privilege. It states quite explicitly:Nothing in this section affects the jurisdiction of any court to entertain proceedings of any description concerning the rights of any person under any provision of this Act.In other words, it is quite clear that, under the British Nationality Act 1981, it is possible, and is explicitly stated, judicially to review any decision made under it. There is no corresponding provision within the Bill, and our new clause would add one.
The Government seem to think that there is a distinction between the 1981 Act and this Bill. Again I refer to the letter from the Minister to my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-East. He said that the 1981 Actconfers entitlements to be registered as a British citizen … The Bill confers no such rights".I fail to see that distinction. The 1981 Act spells out when one is entitled to citizenship and when one is not, and the Bill sets up a system, but the result is exactly the same. Under the Bill, it is possible to acquire British citizenship with all the rights that citizenship acquired under the 1981 Act can achieve. I believe firmly that it should be possible judicially to review decisions made either under this Bill or 331 under any other Act. As I said, the Bill entitles an individual, if he or she has a grievance about how the system works, to air it before a court. That seems to be a basic concept of human rights and one that we should not exclude.
§ Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Port Glasgow)
Will my hon. Friend confirm that the new clause would protect a person who was deemed to be not of good character? Could such an individual appeal against such a judgment?
§ Mr. Darling
It depends. To appeal or to get a court to uphold that the decision was bad, he would have to show that the Secretary of State took into account factors that he should not have taken into account before coming to his conclusion. If the Home Secretary, in exercising his discretion, takes account of all relevant considerations, the matter is not subject to appeal.
In other words, if the Home Secretary looked at all the facts before him and said, "I think that this person is of bad character," that would be the end of the matter. However, if he looked at all the facts before him and they did not disclose evidence of bad character but he then said, "I do not like this individual because he voted Labour at the last election; therefore, I think that he is of bad character," that matter could be reviewed judicially, or at least it could be so reviewed under the new clause.
§ Mr. Madden
Will my hon. Friend confirm that, as he rightly says, under the 1981 Act it is impossible for an applicant who is refused to appeal? Indeed, there is no right for an explanation from the Secretary of State if an applicant is refused. However, it is possible for an hon. Member or a Member of the other place to ask the Secretary of State for an explanation. Clearly, if the decision is thought to have been taken on incorrect information, it is possible to ask the Secretary of State to review the decision to refuse citizenship. Am I right in assuming that, if that were the case under this scheme, it would be open to residents of Hong Kong who are refused to ask Members of this House or Members of the other place to make representations to the Secretary of State in the way that I have described?
§ Mr. Darling
The answer to my hon. Friend's question is no. The subsection to which I referred makes it clear that neither the Secretary of State nor the Governor shall be required to give any reason for any decisions. That matter was raised at some length in Committee. It would appear that, as the legislation is phrased, no reason shall be given. That means that any aggrieved individual may be at some disadvantage. In the case of a decision by a housing department in failing to allocate a set number of points to a housing application, it is normally quite easy for an individual to find out why the decision was made.
The Government have phrased the Bill in terms to exclude the giving of reasons. That is regrettable. It is regrettable also that, as I understand it, it appears to be the view of those at least who purport to speak for Hong Kong those who come to this country—that that is entirely acceptable in Hong Kong. I do not accept that. Our new clause would not put that right. We explored that matter in Committee, but we are not able to do so on Report. Those in another place, when considering the legislation, may want to return to that point.
332 I accept that my new clause is limited to that extent, but my primary concern at this stage is to ensure that it is possible for a judicial review to take place. As the Bill stands, the Secretary of State and the Governor do not need to give any reasons, and the matter cannot be questioned in court. That is wrong. I am trying to put right the appeal point. We tried at an earlier stage to put right both points.
§ Mr. Maclennan
Will the hon. Gentleman clarify whether, in moving new clause 2, it is his intention effectively to repeal the provision in clause 1(5) which would exclude decisions which have been taken in the exercise discretion from liability to be questioned in a court? On the face of it, it seems that the new clause would achieve that result. Is that the hon. Gentleman's intention?
§ Mr. Darling
Indeed it is. I am not too proud to say that I took a leaf out of the hon. Gentleman's book. In Committee he attempted a similar exercise with about as much success as I anticipate achieving this evening. The obvious criticism that the Government will make is that I am breaking new ground, but all I am doing is following the 1981 Act, which sets out as a general proposition that no reasons will be given and no challenges made. That excludes the sort of appeal about which I spoke earlier. It goes on to state that nothing in the Act could possibly exclude the question of judicial review. If any matter comes before the courts, those acting for the Home Office may well say that, if Parliament had intended there to be an appeal, it would have followed the same model as the 1981 Act, which this Bill does not. That is why it is so important that Parliament leaves the courts in no doubt that we do not want to exclude the possibility of reviewing an administrative decision.
In my experience, if administrative decisions are not subject to review, it creates an injustice and tends to make for bad decision making. We have many examples of that. With the best will in the world, people who make administrative decisions tend to make better ones if they think that they may be held to account and questioned at the end of the day. Obviously the Government know that the scheme has drawbacks and flaws. They have been touched on, particularly by Tory Members, or at least by those who are making constructive suggestions on the Bill. Obviously those who will make the decisions are aware that they may run into difficulty. It was understandable that those who put together the initial drafts—I expect that they were administrators themselves—were keen to exclude any possibility of appeal. I am sure that many who take administrative decisions, if left to to their own devices, would like to exclude appeal in a wide range of Bills.
It would be wrong if we were to agree with any idea that judicial review should be excluded. Judicial review would improve the Bill and it would not in any way undermine the intention behind the Bill. Indeed, that is not the purpose of the new clause. It would make for better administration, and it would certainly get round the obvious injustice where someone believes that something has gone wrong for example, in the allocation of the points system, yet can do absolutely nothing about it. We have talked about the resentment that the scheme will create, which is undeniable, but a greater injustice and resentment will be caused if individuals feel that they cannot air a grievance either here or in Hong Kong.
§ Mr. Marlow
I apologise to the hon. Gentleman if he has already covered this point, but I had to leave the Chamber, as one does from time to time. Will he make it clear—no doubt he is seduced by what he reads in the opinion polls—whether, if there were a Labour Government, they would introduce judicial review into this Bill?
§ Mr. Darling
I do not think that we would have any difficulty in introducing the possibility of judicial review into any administrative decisions. We may have something to say about that before too long.
§ Mr. Darling
One advantage of having passed new clause 12 is that we shall have an opportunity to review how the Bill works. I cannot give any commitment about what legislation we are proposing. It will depend on what the circumstances allow.
§ Mr. Darling
I am sure that the Minister is trying to be helpful. If the opportunity presents itself, I cannot see why we would not want to introduce judicial review as a safeguard. It is an important point of principle as well as one which would improve the Bill.
§ Mr. Lloyd
The question is not whether a Labour Government would make judicial review available under the Bill. It is available. It is just that clause 1(5) states categorically that judicial review will not be available where the Governor or the Secretary of State is exercising a discretion. For the rest of the Bill, judicial review is available, as it always is in every Bill.
§ Mr. Darling
I thought that the Minister was going to be helpful, but he was simply getting his oar in early. I am coming to that argument. The Minister wrote to me on the subject and I shall deal with it.
To complete the point raised by the hon. Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow), we have already made it clear that, as any incoming Government would do, we shall see how things are working generally, and this provision will be no different.
In a memorandum which the Minister circulated, he put the Government's view, which is that nothing in the Bill excludes the jurisdiction of the courts from carrying out a judicial review. Therefore, I cannot see why he should object to new clause 2, which makes that explicit rather than leaving interpretation to a memorandum or statements from the Dispatch Box which have absolutely no bearing on any judicial determination.
§ Mr. Lloyd
Perhaps I do not follow the hon. Gentleman's case. It seems from the wording of the new clause that it would override, or be in conflict with, clause 1(5). If it would not, and is merely asserting that on anything other than discretionary matters, the conduct of the Governor's responsibilities under the Bill and the Orders in Council will be a subject of judicial review, there is little between us.
§ Mr. Darling
Discretionary decisions are not subject to judicial review anywhere so long as the person exercising 334 the discretion carries out his normal duties in reaching the decision. There is no difference between us on that. The new clause would do exactly the same as section 44(3) of the 1981 Act. It would make it clear beyond doubt, so that no judge would have any difficulty with the point, that it is not intended to exclude the possibility of judicial review where the circumstances warranted it. That is the only difference between us. New clause 2 follows the pattern of the 1981 Act.
I accept that ministerial discretion cannot normally be subject to judicial review unless the Minister considers matters which he has no business to consider or fails to look at all the matters at which he should look. That is well settled. I see no difficulty about that. I read the Minister's letter and explanatory memorandum, and there is a difference between us. I am not convinced by them, which is why I am introducing the new clause.
§ Mr. Maclennan
The trouble is that the new clause does not follow the language of the 1981 Act but goes wider. The 1981 Act deals with rights, whereas the new clause deals with the operation of any provisions of the Bill. That would have the effect of repealing the effectiveness of clause 1(5), which is why I asked whether that was the hon. Gentleman's intention.
§ Mr. Darling
I must have misunderstood the hon. Gentleman's earlier intervention. For the avoidance of doubt, may I say that the effect of the new clause would be to qualify clause 1(5) to make it clear that clause 1(5) would not fetter the discretion of the court to review any decisions made under the Act, as it will become. I am willing to negotiate on the words and the exact language, but I fear that that is not the difficulty. The Government do not like the intention behind the new clause. This is not a grammatical argument so much as one of substance.
§ Mr. Adley
To resolve the misunderstanding between the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) and the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan), may I suggest that the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central might like to look at the four amendments which I have tabled which attempt to achieve the same objective as his new clause, but do so more simply by deleting the last sentence of the clause? If the hon. Gentleman would like to take over my amendments, I am happy to let him do so.
§ Mr. Darling
Exactly that approach was adopted by the Opposition in Committee. We tried another way of achieving the same result. The hon. Gentleman will know that there are certain restrictions on us on Report, and it was necessary to make certain adjustments to accommodate other matters. With respect, I do not think that that is the problem. The problem is that the Government do not like the idea. I dare say that, when the Minister replies, the hon. Gentleman's suggestions will receive no more encouragement than my new clause.
§ Mr. Marlow
I confess that I am not a lawyer and am not au fait with what judicial review is, what the courts can do and so on. Will the hon. Gentleman answer a clear question? If a Hong Kong citizen sought a passport through the quota system and was aggrieved at not 335 obtaining one as a result of administrative discretion, would the hon. Gentleman's amendment allow him to take the matter before the courts?
§ Mr. Darling
Only if the aggrieved person could show that the person who exercised discretion had considered matters that he should not have considered or took into account extraneous considerations. If the person who exercises discretion, the Governor, followed the points system and allocated the points in exactly the way in which he was supposed to do under the scheme, there could be no appeal. The appeal would come into play only if the aggrieved person could show that the Governor had, for example, taken into account something that had nothing to do with the case. Under the Bill or any other provision, he is not empowered to take into account extraneous factors.
The new clause would not have the effect of granting a common right of appeal. There is nothing new about judicial review. It is a well established branch of the law of this country and, indeed, many others. It is a narrow mechanism that enables courts to put right administrative decisions where things have gone wrong or the administrator has done something that he was not entitled to do. If anyone thinks that judicial review is a mechanism simply to have a case heard anew or considered by someone else, he or she will be disappointed. That is not the intention.
I have outlined the intention of the new clause as comprehensively as possible. I think and hope that I have demonstrated the need for it. Whatever other drawbacks the Bill may have, it is essential that the mechanisms that it sets up are subject to review. If the difference between us and the Government had been one of language or the exact words used, I should be more than happy to come and go. However, that is not the difficulty.
§ Mr. Peter Lloyd
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way, and I am sorry to keep interrupting. I want to understand what he is getting at because I feel that there is not a great distance between us. I have reflected on what he said to me and to my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow). He appears to believe that any discretionary act of a Minister or public official is not subject to judicial review in the normal way. My understanding is that any act is subject to judicial review, discretionary of otherwise, unless it is specifically excluded, as in clause 1(5). The new clause appears to contradict clause 1(5) on discretionary decisions. If the hon. Gentleman does not intend that the new clause should apply to discretionary decisions, I could not accept it, no matter how willing I were, because it would conflict with what he seems happy to keep in the Bill. We appear to differ on the status of a discretionary decision when there is no specific exclusion of its consideration by a court in the relevant legislation.
§ Mr. Darling
My new clause would not contradict clause 1(5). It is a qualification of it or addition to it. It makes it clear that nothing in the Bill precludes the possibility of courts judicially reviewing decisions. I made it clear in response to an earlier—[Interruption.] I shall deal with that point later. It is difficult to deal with points made from a sedentary position, but I shall do my best.
336 My new clause is an addition to clause 1(5). As I said, it has the same effect as that of section 44(3) of the 1981 Act. The new clause makes it clear that, no matter what is said at an earlier stage, nothing will prevent a court from considering the proceedings. The new clause is an addition to clause 1(5); it take nothing away from it. The mischief that it seeks to correct is that, as I read it, clause 1(5) would exclude judicial review. I know that the Minister takes a different view on that. The object of the exercise is to make it clear that courts can judicially review the proceedings.
In Committee, we tried several other approaches. It is not good enough for the Minister to say that he does not understand and that he is willing to come and go. I rather suspect that he does not want the possibility of review. If I am wrong on that, I invite him to demonstrate to the House how it would be possible under the terms of the clause to carry out judicial review of any decision made under it.
My new clause is a safeguard and an addition to the Bill. It would be beneficial to the Bill as a whole because it would make it possible beyond peradventure to raise the matter later in court if there were any doubt in a preliminary court. If that is not possible, it will cause great dissatisfaction as well as great injustice.
§ Mr. Darling
I really should conclude, but since the hon. Gentleman has now got to his feet, I shall give way to him.
§ Sir Alan Glyn
Is the hon. Gentleman referring to appeals on a point of law, on a point of fact, or both?
§ Mr. Darling
Judicial review is not a point of law as such. It is exercised simply to consider as a matter of fact whether the Governor took into account the matters that he should have considered or—as I have said many times now—matters which he should not have considered. It is fairly straightforward. It is a safeguard and an addition to the Bill.
In conclusion—this time I mean it, Mr. Deputy Speaker—I should have no objection if the Minister accepted the amendments tabled by the hon. Member for Christchurch (Mr. Adley), because I attempted exactly the same exercise in Committee. However, I fear that the hon. Member for Christchurch may be unsuccessful.
§ Mr. Adley
After the battle of Britain, Winston Churchill said,Never has so much been owed by so many to so few.I must say to my hon. Friend the Minister, with whom I have had a long, friendly and courteous relationship, that as a result of the brevity of his response to the debate on new clause 12, never in a parliamentary debate has so little been said so quickly to so many. It is unfortunate that, as he implied, he has been left to pick up the bits of what we might call the Foreign Office end of the debate. The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the hon. Member for Warwickshire, North (Mr. Maude), was not here at the beginning of the previous debate and he is not here now. I hope that some of the points that were made will be considered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, if my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department does not reply to them.
337 As the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) said in his discussion with the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan), we are in danger of creating a lawyers' paradise. As amendments Nos. 37 to 40 have been selected, if the Opposition would prefer to use them as a vehicle at the end of the debate, I shall be happy for them so to do.
It might be for the convenience of the House if I read out clause 1(5) both as currently drafted and as it would be amended. As it is drafted, it says:Neither the Secretary of State nor the Governor shall be required to give any reason for any decision made by him in the exercise of a discretion vested in him by or under this Act and no such decision shall be subject to appeal or liable to be questioned in any court.That is somewhat draconian.
My four amendments, Nos, 37 to 40, would amend that subsection to read as follows:The Secretary of State or the Governor shall be required to give reasons for any decision made by him in the exercise of a discretion vested in him by or under the Act.That seems nothing more than natural justice. Regardless of what might be thought of the Bill, anyone reading the clause would, I am sure, regard the inclusion in the Bill of the words currently printed to be a denial of natural justice.
New clause 8, which was not selected, states:The Governor of Hong Kong may, at his discretion, withdraw all or any rights to passport entitlements granted under this Act, and in so doing shall state his reasons.That was an attempt to put a negative as well as a positive power in the hands of, ultimately, the Government should we wish to reverse any decision if we find that passports have been granted to people who subsequently turn out to be drug dealers, murderers, child molesters, Triad organisers—or heavens knows what. As those people would already have their entitlement to a British passport, that is a situation in which prevention is certainly better than cure.
Finally, I hope that the proposition contained in subsection 5 will not become the custom of this or any Government. Perhaps it should have been included in the Local Government Finance Act 1988 where it would have been a powerful weapon in the hands of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. It was not, and we understand why. Surely if one is considering the relative importance of people's rights as against the poll tax, we should agree in Parliament that people's rights are more important. It is in the spirit of protecting individuals' rights that I move my amendments.
§ Mr. Maclennan
The debate has become somewhat arcane with its discussion of the alternative language that might be used to ensure that judicial review is open to those who feel aggrieved. However, the principle that underlies the range of amendments that have been grouped together, including my amendment No. 49, is extremely important.
The right hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit), whose amendment No. 18 is in this group, is proposing to establish a right of appeal and seems to be seeking to introduce a system of review that goes far beyond that of judicial review and would nullify the operation of the scheme that the Government have in mind because it would so protract it that the speedy resolution of cases 338 would become almost impossible. Any benefit that might flow from the implementation of the scheme would thereby be frittered away.
That is why my right hon. and hon. Friends and I doubt whether a full appeal system is possible. I am fortified in that view by representations that we have received from Hong Kong, all of which suggested that if the scheme is to have the effect that the Government would wish, which is to restore confidence to the commercial community and to stop the haemorrhage from Hong Kong of important and significant citizens, it must be up and running quickly. Therefore, I treat the right hon. Gentleman's amendment as essentially a wrecking one.
However, the arguments about the alternative approaches, which seek to allow and to secure some form of judicial review by amending the Bill, are of a different order. As the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) said, they are intended to be constructive and to ensure that grievances that may perfectly understandably arise about the operation of the scheme are removed by reference to the courts for judicial review.
From the beginning of this discussion in Committee, the Minister has said that the Government's view is that judicial review is available to an aggrieved person except where clause 1(5) rules it out—that is, where the Secretary of State or the Governor are acting in the pursuance of their discretion and where the matter relates to a decision that was taken in their exercise of that discretion. I understand why the Minister wishes to exclude those discretionary decisions from judicial review.
The consequence of the alternatives would be to substitute the judgment of the court in the place of that of the Governor or the Secretary of State. I cannot think that that would make sense. If there is an element of discretion in the scheme—that is certainly the case—however detailed the points system may be, it will always be necessary to choose between people who have the same number of points. That cannot be handled satisfactorily by a court; it must be handled by a member of the Government who is accountable to Parliament for the exercise of that discretion.
Where I have fallen out previously with the Minister—and where I apprehend that I may disagree with him today—is in his belief that there is no scope for specifying a right to judicial review. What the Minister has said about that in debates and in letters has not altered my judgment that the British Nationality Act 1981 was right to secure the right to judicial review in respect of rights conferred by the Act. That is explicit in section 44(3) of the 1981 Act.
The Minister has sought to distinguish between the 1981 Act and this Bill by saying that the Bill confers no rights, but I submit that it does. It confers a right upon those who are subject to schemes to have their cases properly procedurally handled. I do not believe that the Minister can deny that. Insofar as people have those rights, I believe that they should be entitled to judicial review to ensure that their rights are properly protected.
§ Mr. Peter Lloyd
On the whole, the Bill does not create rights in the way that the 1981 Act did. But it certainly lays duties on the Secretary of State and the Governor which, under the Bill when it becomes and Act and the Orders in Council that will follow, could be the occasion of judicial 339 review if any applicant felt that the Governor or the Secretary of State had not proceeded as they should under the requirements of this Bill.
§ Mr. Maclennan
The Minister is narrowing the difference between us. In what I think he will have to admit is a somewhat imprecise way, he is saying that the Bill does not confer many rights. But the very rights that it does confer will give rise to grievances which should be remediable by access to the courts.
I think that the Minister is saying that those who are aggrieved have that right and if he believes that they have that right. I cannot understand his steadfast opposition to securing that right in a clause which would run parallel to section 44(3) of the 1981 Act. That must raise questions about whether the Minister believes that clause 1(5), which puts an impediment in the way of judicial review of the discretionary power, could be invoked to stop judicial review in other cases. That matter is sufficiently in doubt to make it important to have the provisions contained in amendment No. 49.
I do not go along with the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central. His amendment, which is not couched in the language of the 1981 Act, goes too far in overturning the effect of excluding discretions from judicial review. I have sympathy with the amendment, but it goes further than I consider to be appropriate. I think that it would transfer responsibility for taking discretionary decisions from the Governor and the Secretary of State to the courts. That cannot he an acceptable objective.
§ Mr. Marlow
As the hon. Gentleman knows, the Bill seeks to confer passports on citizens of Hong Kong. Those who have had that benefit will have the right for their children to be accorded passports. There may be some controversy between those issuing passports and parents over which children are entitled to passports. Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that the decision to exclude or include a particular child should be made by the courts?
§ Mr. Maclennan
I am suggesting that in the exercise of the judgments made by the Governor and the Secretary of State and the procedural rule that will be followed in making assessments, issues such as the one raised by the hon. Gentleman should be open to review. It will be a question of whether the procedures have been properly followed. Did the Secretary of State address himself to the proper questions? Did the Governor do so or did he fail to carry out his duty?
It has been said by some hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow), that it is a constitutional monstrosity to suggest that there is an obligation upon the Secretary of State to register those whom the Governor recommends. It seems that a duty is being imposed upon him. It seems also that the procedure confers a right upon those whose names are put forward to be registered save in the circumstance that the Secretary of State takes the view that they are not of proper character. That is the effect of clause 5.
If there is that right to be registered, we are talking of a major right, not a minor procedural matter. It would seem that the Bill is conferring a major right. If that right is subject to judicial review, that meets all the legitimate demands that anyone could have for reconsideration of a mistake, if mistake there has been, without opening up the 340 full panoply of an appeal system with all the possibilities of delay that that could involve and the rendering nugatory of the effectiveness of the scheme.
§ Mr. Marlow
The hon. Gentleman and I have crossed swords on this issue in a previous debate. Clause 5(2) states:A person shall not … be recommended for registration as a British citizen by the Governor of Hong Kong or … by the Secretary of State if the Governor or, as the case may be, the Secretary of State has reason to believe that he is not of good character.Where does that dividing line come down? Who should decide, the Governor or the Secretary of State? How does that affect the hon. Gentleman's view of judicial review?
§ Mr. Maclennan
With respect, I do not think that the hon. Gentleman's question is germane to the argument about judicial review. Accordingly, I do not propose to take up the matter.
I may have conveyed to the Minister what it is that I am seeking to achieve. I hope that I have placed upon him the onus of explaining why the Government are reluctant—they have suggested so far that they are opposed to this—to repeat the language of the 1981 Act, which provides a safeguard for people who are aggrieved because there has been some intromission, oversight, error or misdirection by those responsible for the operation of the scheme.
§ Mr. Tebbit
I wish to speak to amendment No. 18, about which the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan), was so scathing. It is extraordinary that a member of the party which was once called the Liberal party should oppose in principle giving people the right of appeal on the basis that that would be a bureaucratic impediment to the swift progress of granting British nationality.
I find it extraordinary that the hon. Gentleman is so bigoted and partisan as to believe that merely because an amendment gives a right of appeal it must be a wrecking amendment. There could be no better illustration of the manner in which the hon. Gentleman's mind is closed like a clam to any idea that does not originate from Opposition Members. That means that he has a remarkably closed mind to any ideas because so few originate from those who sit around him. There is increasing lonelines on the Bench on which he sits.
The hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland ruminated on why the Government were so reluctant to accept the amendments which he has proposed, those which I proposed and not dissimilar amendments which were tabled and introduced in Committee. I can tell him why the Government are reluctant to do so. The answer is easy to understand. My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary does not like this business at all. He wishes that it had never got anywhere near his desk. He has a marked revulsion for the whole darned business. He knows that it is a can of worms and he does not want it to get anywhere near him or his office. He wants to keep it all offshore.
This is one of the first instances where the granting of nationality has been made an offshore operation. The Home Secretary wants to keep the business in Hong Kong. He is pretty darned sure that some nasty and unfortunate things will happen, and the last thing that he wants is to find that he is responsible for them.
It is against that background that we are being asked how the Home Secretary will possibly kno better than 341 the Governor. How, it is said, could the Home Secretary decide anything here except on evidence which had come to him from Hong Kong? It is argued that that would be the same evidence as that which had been presented to the Governor, and that the Home Secretary would merely be churning out the same old stuff. That would be fine if the Governor were responsible to the House, but there is a pretty thick layer between the House, the Governor and those who will be operating the scheme.
I think that Hong Kong is a marvellous place. It is a terrific, successful place, but I doubt whether anyone would be able to maintain that it is the one place in the world where the ethics of business stand out as being more reputable than those anywhere else in the world.
§ Mr. Tebbit
It seems that the hon. Gentleman wants to start a debate about other issues. Perhaps they include the way in which Lord Beswick piloted a nationalisation Bill through Parliament and then got a job. I shall not be tempted down that road.
§ Mr. Tebbit
I would greatly enjoy such a debate on another day, because there is much ammunition to be used, and I would have great delight in using some of it. But we are not discussing those issues and I do not want unnaturally to extend the debate. We should focus clearly and firmly on the matters that are under discussion.
The principal issue in this debate is whether someone who is granted the right to apply for registration as a British citizen under the Bill should have a right to appeal to someone who is directly responsible to this Parliament, which has accorded the right. That is the argument. We are not arguing that the Home Secretary should deal with all the applications himself. Clearly, most aggrieved people would accept that they had not scored on the points standard of the Bill, according to what we assume will be the way in which it is operated.
I tabled an amendment—unfortunately, it was not accepted—that would have clarified the criteria by taking the Government's own words from their explanatory memorandum and including them in the Bill. I cannot see why the Government do not want to incorporate their views in their legislation. Obviously they do not really approve of them.
§ Mr. Peter Lloyd
Perhaps my right hon. Friend should consult my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow), who explained—when my right hon. Friend was out of the Chamber—that we needed an annual report from the Governor on the facts and progress of the scheme—in case we wanted to change it. Only through delegated legislation in Orders in Council could we do that.
§ 7 pm
§ Mr. Tebbit
My hon. Friend is completely wrong. He is saying that it would be more convenient legislatively to change the scheme by means of Orders in Council than to do so through primary legislation. That is not an absolute problem; it just takes more time.
342 As I know very well, Governments do not like to arrange such debates in prime parliamentary time. They would prefer the whole issue to be swept under the carpet in future, so that we did not have to debate it again. Apart from anything else, it is an extremely divisive issue in the Conservative party. Conservative Back Benchers do not support the Bill; nor, in their heart of hearts do Front Benchers, although they may do so in the Lobbies. It certainly does not have the support of those who voted for us at the general election on the clear understanding that no such legislation would be presented.
I am not too bothered by my hon. Friend's objections. If the Government ase to break electoral commitments, they should do so in public, so that the electors know that undertakings have been breached. An even more puzzling question is whether my hon. Friend has any better reason than was given in Committee for not giving the right of appeal. I accept that the Bill should contain the extraordinary little clause that effectively seeks to exclude the courts from any review of their operations: some Conservative Members do not want the courts to be involved, as it would raise too many issues about how British citizenship and passports are handed out. Surely, however, my hon. Friends will not say that in no circumstances should a citizen in Hong Kong have any right to come to a Minister directly responsible to Parliament with an appeal against what has been done.
§ Mr. Marlow
As my right hon. Friend has pointed out, one of the great departures of the Bill is the offshore award of British citizenship. The person awarding that citizenship will effectively be the Governor of Hong Kong. I understand that my right hon. Friend's amendment hopes to give that final power on appeal back to the people who have been democratically elected to represent the people of this country—hon. Members.
§ Mr. Tebbit
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. It is not the Governor's legislation, but the Secretary of State's legislation: it is the legislation of the House of Commons. At the end of the day, it is to the House, through the Secretary of State, that the appeal should be made. How can it be held that the Secretary of State, having put into commission the granting of citizenship—surely one of the most important acts to be conducted by a Government—could then wash his hands of it, and say that he does not want to know and that he will intervene only if citizenship is granted to someone who he believes is not of a fit or proper character?
If someone applies to be registered for British citizenship and is refused, and someone else's application is preferred—perhaps in breach of the rules—will the Secretary of State still say that he does not want to know? Will he say that it is too difficult, and that he does not want to accept responsibility for it?
§ Mr. Lloyd
If a selection were made in breach of the rules, it would be a matter for judicial review, and there would be access to the courts, as I pointed out to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling). I do not think that my right hon. Friend was in the Chamber at the 343 time. If he has read the Committee proceedings—as he said he has—he will know that that was made clear several times.
§ Mr. Tebbit
Within the rules there is enormous discretion. If the Minister reads the rules of the memorandum that I sought to include in the Bill, he will see that not everything is cut and dried.
Who will decide whether one business man is more successful and entrepreneurial than another? Is there a set of rules, or will a subjective judgment be made? Will a business man who has made £50 million starting from £500,000 be good enough to get in, whereas someone who has made only £25 million starting from £1 million will not be? Obviously, the decision will be discretionary, judgmental and subjective.
If the decision is to be based on someone's judgment, should it be that of a Minister of the Crown or that of a civil servant in Hong Kong? Is my hon. Friend saying that that subjective judgment should be exercised by someone who is not directly responsible to the House?
§ Mr. Peter Lloyd
The judgment will be based on the value of the individual to Hong Kong. In those circumstances, who better to make that judgment than the Governor of Hong Kong, acting within the rules laid down by the House?
My right hon. Friend has slid off the point that I answered. He referred to a breach of the rules laid down by the House; I said that, in those circumstances, a judicial review would be available, and I hope that he will accept that.
§ Mr. Tebbit
I will accept that, if it can be established that a decision is in breach of the rules. A judicial review is not the cheapest or the easiest way to bring proceedings. Why not offer a cheaper and easier form of appeal?
My hon. Friend the Minister also conceded my point that in many cases passports will be granted on no more than the view of a group of people as to who are the most valuable citizens in Hong Kong.
Let us imagine what would be said in the House if we proposed to operate such a system here, judging people on the basis of their value to the economy. An official who was not even a Minister could decide to front an invaluable privilege. There would be no right of appeal: a person could not go to judicial review and say that the Governor had made a wrong assessment of his value to the economy of Hong Kong. He will have no right of appeal. The Secretary of State and his Under-Secretary of State say, "Hard luck. Much better that that sort of mess is kept out of our office and is kept over there in Hong Kong. We give up responsibility and we deny any responsibility to the House of Commons."
§ Mr. Wells
Has my right hon. Friend read the key entrepreneur section which says:The Governor would invite those whom he considered might be qualified under this scheme to submit an application".It is entirely in the Governor's right to decide that. If an aggrieved person believed that the Goverment had not exercised that judgment correctly, there would be no question of judicial review. A small cabal—the elite who rule Hong Kong—would decide who should have British citizenship; citizenship which belongs to Britain through the House.
§ Mr. Tebbit
As my hon. Friend says, that is how it would operate. We all know that, wherever there is a ruling commercial elite who like to have things their own way, there are outsiders. If one went to the CBI and asked who were the deserving entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom, it would probably omit from its list a great many people who would feel that they had been wrongfully omitted. The CBI would upset a lot of people. Any establishment will do that.
We are well aware of the way in which the ranks close in establishments if somebody should be so unwise as to criticise it—[Interruption.] I hasten to say that I speak from no experience of such things, but I have heard that it happens now and again. I have even heard that it happens to hon. Members who have committed such a terrible offence as working for Mr. Rupert Murdoch. They get slung off the Opposition Front Bench for doing so. That is the sort of way in which people can upset the establishment.
§ Mr. Tebbit
The hon. Gentleman should be careful. He may never reach the Front Bench the way he is carrying on.
§ Mr. Tebbit
The serious point that I am making is, as my hon. Friend the Member for Hertford and Stortford (Mr. Wells) said, that to get on to that key entrepreneurs list a person's face must fit with the establishment of Hong Kong, not with the Secretary of State. [Interruption.] One of my more vulgar Back-Bench colleagues whom I shall not name says, "or his cheque book". Perish the thought that such a thing could happen in a place like Hong Kong. The idea that people might be able to buy a passport in Hong Kong is outrageous. I am amazed that one of my colleagues could suggest it. I would not have been surprised if such a suggestion had come from the vulgar mob on the Opposition Benches, but for one of my hon. Friends to suggest it—that might be getting somewhere near the truth of the matter. It just might be that there are people in Hong Kong, perfectly successful and honest men, who would deserve the award of citizenship, whose faces do not fit. What will they do?
§ Mr. Tebbit
I have been in the business of drawing up legislation for long enough not to fall for that guff.
§ Sir Peter Blaker
I am sure that my right hon. Friend would not want to mislead the House. I do not know whether he has recently looked at the section on the key entrepreneur. He is giving the impression that only those key entrepreneurs who are invited by the Governor to make an application will be eligible, but that is plainly not true. The document says:It would be open to others who wished to be considered in this category to indicate their interest on an application 345 form … Other potential recipients who did not take that initiative might be identified from information set out on their forms when they applied".May we have the whole picture, not just part of it?
§ Mr. Tebbit
I am sure that that is right. If the National Front were to advertise for an administrative officer, it would probably put at the bottom of the page that it was an equal opportunities employer. We can believe that if we wish. It does not matter whether a person is invited to apply by the Governor or not. His face has to fit. If it does not fit well enough to receive an invitation, I doubt whether it would fit well enough to win on an application without an invitation.
Even if we were to believe that on 99 occasions out of 100 all would go well, we must concede that there is a possibility—not even a probability—that there would be a miscarriage of justice. We know that there would be no appeal against that and no way in which the consequences of how the legislation is drawn up could arrive on the desk of my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary. I do not blame my right hon. Friend for taking that view. If I were the Home Secretary with this dog's dinner of a Bill, I would be taking the same view. I would want to keep it offshore if I could.
§ Mr. Marlow
In a previous intervention, my hon. Friend the Minister said that the measure is about providing citizenship for people in Hong Kong so that they might be constrained to stay in Hong Kong. But I put it to my right hon. Friend that what we are doing is providing people with British citizenship. In that case, is it right that the Secretary of State should have no influence on whether there should be an appeal?
§ Mr. Tebbit
My hon. Friend makes the essential point. I cannot imagine why the official Opposition are so willing to let the Government get away with it. However, there is sometimes a conspiracy between the Front Benches. It is not unknown. Even when the Opposition Front Bench team opposes legislation, it may not oppose it enough to stop it getting through. It may oppose it only for show, so that it can say that it opposed it, but at the same time let it through.
I am amazed that the Opposition, including the so-called Liberals, bitterly oppose, in the way that they seem to, granting a right of appeal to the Home Secretary on the issue of British citizenship. It is amazing that they are content to leave that in the hands of the Governor of Hong Kong and his officials.
§ Mr. Maclennan
The right hon. Gentleman's concern for the injustices of the Bill would carry much greater weight if he had a scheme to offer hope to those who will be threatened in 1997 by an oppressive Government in Peking, the responsibility for whom, if his policies were carried out, he would wash his hands of. The British Government would simply turn their back. He has shown no willingness to support the Liberal Democrats' policy that those who have been granted British dependent territories citizen passports should be entitled as of right to come to Britain, in which case there would be none of these review procedures.
§ Mr. Tebbit
I have made no secret of the fact that I oppose the Bill on two grounds. First, it is a breach of the Government's commitment not to allow further large-scale immigration into Britain. The first obligation of a Member of Parliament is to his constituents here. That is the prime obligation.
§ Mr. Tebbit
For exactly the same reason as the deputy leader of the Labour party takes other jobs. If hon. Members want to come to my constituency and tell my constituents that I have not been looking after their interests, they will have to explain why my majority has risen from 4,000 to 18,000 in the past 10 years. That may be the view of ignorant people, but it is not the view of the people whom I look after.
Let us return to the point made by the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland. The second reason why I oppose the Bill is also the reason why my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch opposes it: it will not benefit the people of Hong Kong. It will not make matters better there but will make them worse. The hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland may take a different view from me, but he should not imply that having a different view from him is a matter of dishonour, because experience has shown that it is not.
Has my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary got any better explanation than the one he put forward in Committee, as to why the House should allow the Home Secretary—I am not speaking of my right hon. and learned Friend personally but of his office—to shuffle off the obligation and thus ensure that the responsibility will never come back to land on his desk, once the House has given its consent to the Bill?
§ Mr. Peter Lloyd
I am afraid that I shall have to spend a little more time replying to this debate than I did to the last one as it is important and there are genuine misunderstandings and worries on the issue.
In Committee we spent a good deal of time discussing how decisions taken under the Bill might be reviewed. Clearly that was a matter of genuine concern, and I appreciate how strongly the hon. Members for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) and for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) felt about it, and I also find, to my interest, that my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) is numbered among those who are concerned.
In Committee, and in letters which I sent afterwards, I sought to explain the background to clause 1(5) and the extent of its effect. Therefore, I wrote to the hon. Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton), as the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central remarked, setting out the sort of decision which the Government thought that the courts would be likely to regard as reviewable and those which seemed likely not be reviewable as a result of clause 1(5). I must point out again to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central that new clause 2 would contradict clause 1(5) and could not sit alongside it in the same Bill.
As I made clear in Committee, ultimately it will be not for the Governor or for the Home Secretary but for the courts to decide what is reviewable, having regard to the provisions of the legislation. I wrote to the hon. Member 347 for Caithness and Sutherland about the case of a person seeking registration as a spouse under schedule 2 who was rejected on grounds of ineligibility.
Let me emphasise once again what I said in Committee. The exemptions in clause 1(5) from having to give reasons and from appeal and judicial review relate only to discretionary decisions. It is in the nature of such decisions that they often involve the exercise of judgment about matters which might be finely balanced, and where there might be no clear right or wrong answer. If I understood correctly the hon. Members for Edinburgh, Central and for Caithness and Sutherland, they had no argument with me or with the Government on that score; their argument is about how we present the matter in the Bill.
§ Mr. Darling
I am not sure that that accurately represents our view. I said that I thought that there were circumstances in which ministerial discretion could be challenged by involving judicial review under the present law. I make no bones about it: my new clause would qualify clause 1(5) so that, if it were appropriate to do so, and if an aggrieved person had grounds to do so, he or she could challenge such discretion. on occasion the Minister might purport to use discretion but consider matters that he had no business to consider for any reason. I am glad that the Minister has said clearly that clause 1(5) would make such a discretionary decision unchallengeable, no matter now manifestly unjust it was.
§ Mr. Lloyd
The court would decide whether it was a matter of discretion. I think that in the examples that the hon. Gentleman was trying to think of, and was alluding to earlier, it would be a question of the circumstances in which discretion was applied rather than a question of discretion. The courts will have to determine whether that is a matter for them to review or not. There is nothing in clause 1(5) which provides for discretionary decisions because the intention and effect of the clause are similar to a provision which has formed part of our nationality law for the past 40 years. It is included in black and white, in section 26 of the British Nationality Act 1948, and more recently in section 44(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981. Therefore, the amendments would depart from a principle that has been a long-standing feature of nationality law under successive Governments.
The need for exemption is particularly pressing in this Bill because of the competitive nature of the scheme, which has a ceiling of 50,000 places, and because of the expected high proportion of unsuccessful applications.
If a person felt that a discretionary decision had deprived him of selection, often the decision could be meaningfully reviewed only if the courts also considered the relative claims of other people with whom the applicant had been competing. That would not be practicable. Even if it was, it would result merely in the substitution of one opinion for another. That must be the case when it is not simply a question of getting enough points to reach a pass mark which entitles people to British citizenship. It is a question of getting more points than other people. By securing a place, a person will deny that place to someone else. The hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland recognised that that was so.
§ Mr. Adley
I heard what my hon. Friend said about those sections of existing immigration law which contain phrases or clauses similar to clause 1(5). Does he accept that in those instances British Ministers are answerable to 348 Members of Parliament? What similar fallback position does he envisage for individuals in Hong Kong? Are he and his ministerial colleagues at the Home Office prepared to countenance hon. Members taking up cases brought to their attention with Ministers here in the same way that we mention cases involving our constituents?
§ Mr. Lloyd
The Home Secretary is not answerable for matters of discretion under nationality law. He makes his decision on the information available, and he is required to give no reasons. Obviously he would listen and receive letters dealing with the cases of people who might have applied for British citizenship, but there is no obligation on him to give reasons for his decision. That is absolutely clear under the present legislation. The Bill requires that the final granting of British citizenship belongs to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, and he would have to satisfy himself of the suitability of the applicant to be a British citizen. For that reason, there will be Home Office officials in Hong Kong to consider the recommendations made by the Governor to ensure that they are suitable people on whose behalf my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary should exercise the discretion which remains with him.
§ Mr. Marlow
As has been said from a sedentary position, my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary would have a negative power. If the Governor were to say to him, "Thou shalt have a certain person as a British citizen," and my right hon. and learned Friend had information that that person would be unsuitable for the United Kingdom, then, as we have discussed before. he would be able to say that the person could not come into the country. But let us suppose that someone who was eminently suitable for citizenship but who for the reasons given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford—cliques and cabals in Hong Kong—was not allocated one of the 50,000 British citizenships contacted an hon. Member, who then got in touch with the Home Secretary. In those circumstances, what would my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary be able to do about it, given the way that the Bill is drafted?
§ Mr. Lloyd
There are many people in Hong Kong who are suitable in that sense to be British citizens. However, the selection scheme that the House will eventually provide will be the means by which the Governor will choose those people who, because of their value to Hong Kong, as well as being eminently suitable to be British citizens, will be included among the 50,000.
§ Mr. Campbell-Savours
During my visit to Hong Kong, I heard two different views about the position if individuals wanted to appeal. I was told by a civil servant that every individual had the right to petition the Governor personally. When I asked the Governor about that, he was less inclined to accept that that was an appeal route. Do people have the right to petition the Governor under the existing rules? If they have that right, should the Governor not be required to provide reasons for his refusal?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I do not know the details. I believe that there is a tradition whereby people can approach the Governor, but it is no substitute for the kind of appeal system that the hon. Gentleman may have in mind. The 349 objective process, as provided for in the Bill, will be laid down in Orders in Council. The Governor will have much less discretion than is assumed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford.
§ Mr. Madden
I accept that the Secretary of State will not be obliged to give reasons for his refusal to grant British citizenship under the British Nationality Act 1981, but the custom and practice over some years has been that when hon. Members, or those in another place, made representations to the Secretary of State and asked for explanations as to why an application had been refused the Secretary of State offered an explanation that enabled hon. Members to make further inquiries. Will that practice not continue under the new legislation?
§ Mr. Lloyd
On some occasions my right hon. and learned Friend has done that; on other occasions he has not. He has the discretion to decide whether it would be right for him to give information. My right hon. and learned Friend always tries to be as helpful as he possibly can. When reaching his conclusion, he would seek to take into account any representations that were made to him. We are talking, however, about giving reasons and explanations. Home Secretaries in successive Governments have frequently not done so; their judgment in particular cases was that it would not be helpful.
Arguments similar to those that I have advanced relating to appeals apply to the proposal made by my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Mr. Adley): that the Governor or the Secretary of State should be required to give the reasons for a discretionary decision. Given the large number of decisions that will need to be taken about the detailed criteria for the scheme—for example, about the weight, in terms of points, to be given to different qualifications—a requirement to give reasons in all cases would be extraordinarily difficult to work and would not be very meaningful unless one knew what the reasons were in every other case.
This is a competitive exercise. I have stressed that the exemption in clause 1 will apply only to discretionary decisions. Anyone who reads the clause will see that it applies only to discretionary decisions. All other aspects of the selection and registration process will fall outside the scope of the exemption and, therefore, will be within the purview of the courts.
The inclusion of a provision in the Bill stating that explicitly is unnecessary. I know, however, that the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland feels passionately about the matter. As I promised in Committee, I have thought long and hard about including words to reassure him. I do not believe that it is good practice to overload legislation with redundant clauses, but in this case I should have been willing to do so if it would have had no other effect than to make the Bill slightly longer. I am afraid, however, that I had to conclude not merely that the addition would be unnecessary but that it would be undesirable as it could raise doubts about the powers of the courts in relation to other statutes.
There is no better illustration of that than the hon. Gentleman's deep concern and the anxieties that have been expressed both this evening and in Committee, which spring from the fact that the words of the hon. Gentleman's amendment, which he wishes to be inserted in 350 the Bill, already appear in the 1981 Act. The inclusion of section 44(3) in the 1981 Act—of doubtful necessity even then—has led some right hon. and hon. Members to assume that the courts cannot review actions taken under the statute unless the statute specifically allows them to do so. The House should not perpetuate that assumption, as it would if it were to accept the amendment. Should we continue to do that from time to time in new legislation—to reassure a particularly forceful hon. Member when he expresses a fiercely held worry—we would begin to raise doubts as to the extent of the courts' competence to review cases without specific legislative authority.
§ Mr. Maclennan
I am grateful to the Minister for the detailed way in which he is seeking to answer my point. Does he believe, however, that the presence of section 44(3) in the British Nationality Act 1981 leads to doubt about whether judicial review exists? It was included in the Act for the avoidance of doubt. It should be included in this Bill for the same reason.
§ Mr. Lloyd
To be fair, section 44(3) of the 1981 Act was drafted a decade ago, when this area of the law was less well developed than it is now. The courts are vigorous in asserting their right to review decisions taken by public bodies under powers conferred by Act of Parliament. To include similar words in this Bill would not help. They would add to the damage that the appearance of those words in the 1981 Act has retrospectively caused. I do not want that area of doubt to continue.
The fact that the hon. Gentleman is doubtful and believes that without those words there can be no judicial review leads me to point out to him that there are myriad other Acts on the statute book of which the same could be said; they are no different. There can be a judicial review under these Acts just as, under this Bill, there is the possibility of judicial review, without the words that the hon. Gentleman wants to include. If from time to time we were to include those words in various Acts, it would be possible to argue that if another Act did not contain them it was not intended by Parliament that there should be judicial review.
The fact that judicial review is available is demonstrated by the Immigration Act 1971–10 years before the British Nationality Act 1981—under which hundreds of challenges by way of judicial review are made every year, even though the Act contains no express provision that confers jurisdiction on the courts to consider such challenges. In the case of the Bill, that includes all aspects of its operation, except those discretionary decisions which clause 1(5) explicitly exempts.
§ Mr. Tebbit
Will my hon. Friend make it clear whether or not there will be the possibility of judicial review arising out of a decision by the Governor within the key entrepreneurs section, were someone to believe that, although he was a key entrepreneur in the top 500, he had not been selected?
§ Mr. Lloyd
That will be a matter for the courts to determine. I believe that that possibility would not arise, unless the individual could show that the criteria laid down by the House had not been followed. The Governor is required to abide by the rules that we lay down, both in this Bill and, more particularly in the case of the selection scheme, in Orders in Council.
§ Mr. Tebbit
Will my hon. Friend confirm that the intention of the legislation is that there should not be judicial review of the Governor's decision as to whether or not a man is one of the top 500 entrepreneurs in Hong Kong? Is that right?
§ Mr. Lloyd
Where there are elements of discretion that belong either to the Governor or to the Secretary of State, the intention is that that should not be a matter of judicial review. However, both the Governor and the Home Secretary are under a duty to abide by the law that is laid down in the Bill, if it becomes an Act, and by the rules and regulations that will appear in Orders in Council. It would be for the courts to decide whether the House had given an element of discretion to the Governor, or whether he had not followed the procedures laid down by the House.
§ Mr. Tebbit
I am grateful to my hon. Friend, because he is being very helpful. He is describing how it is not the intention of the Government to allow judicial review. The Bill is constructed in a way that is deliberately designed to limit or exclude the courts. My hon. Friend says that the only occasion on which judicial review could arise is where it could be shown that the Governor had not complied with the criteria set down in the legislation.
We cannot yet know what the legislation will look like, but if right hon. and hon. Members will refer to page 2079 of the amendment paper they will see what the Government's explanatory memorandum says about the criteria. I suggest to my hon. Friend the Minister that it would he unsurprising if they were the criteria published by a masonic lodge for membership. The idea that a court would take the view that the Governor had exercised his discretion in a way no reasonable man could have done—and that is the test in a judicial review—in deciding between applicant No. 500 and applicant No. 501 is totally absurd.
§ Mr. Lloyd
We shall come in due time to the Orders in Council, which will lay down the criteria. My right hon. Friend should not assume in too much detail what those criteria will be. We have done our best in the explanatory paper to show what our thinking is, but the usefulness of the Report and Committee stages is that they enable points to be made that we can bear in mind when preparing the Orders in Council that are to be brought before the House.
My right hon. Friend is saying that, where it is a matter of discretion under the law and under the Orders in Council, it cannot be reviewed by the courts, but where it is a matter of following requirements laid down by the Bill, or by the Orders in Council, it will be open to review.
§ Mr. Tebbit
My hon. Friend the Minister makes it plain that there will be no possibility, in his judgment, of appeal. As to the Orders in Council, why did not my hon. Friend follow the example that I set some years ago, of publishing in draft form the statutory instrument, so that the House could consider it while debating the Bill on Report? There is no reason why that could not have been done in this case. It would have made for a more informed debate, and we would not have the muddle over how the scheme would operate when it came to the point. My hon. Friend the Minister asks the House to pass the Bill before it can see what kind of statutory instrument he brings forward.
§ Mr. Marlow
My hon. Friend the Minister says that the guts of the thing will come forward in the statutory instrument, and to a certain extent we must take that on trust. My understanding of a statutory instrument is that one either accepts the whole of it or gets rid of the whole of it, and that it is not amendable. Is my hon. Friend proposing a new form of statutory instrument?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I am not. I am saying that the Report stage gives plenty of opportunity for my hon. Friend to say what he would and would not like to see in the Bill.
I return to amendment No. 18, in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and others of my hon. Friends. My right hon. Friend has made half my remarks for me. He is right that a major reason why there should not be an appeal to the Home Secretary is that the Governor will have the information and will be running the scheme according to the means laid down by the House. Therefore, the information available to my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary will be the same as that available to the Governor—it would have come from Hong Kong.
As the criteria are designed to determine those who are most valuable to Hong Kong, my right hon. Friend is right in thinking that the assessment will be more effectively and efficiently made by the Governor. However, he retains to himself the final determination of whether someone should be registered as a British citizen. He will make up his mind on the person's suitability to be a British citizen, though the recommended person will come forward on the Governor's evaluation of his or her value to Hong Kong, the Governor having observed the process that we have set down for him.
No doubt a great many people will apply, and it would be impracticable for my right hon. and learned Friend to scrutinise not just the appeals but the merits of all who had been successful in gaining a recommendation. As there is a top limit on the numbers, if my right hon. and learned Friend allows some appeals, others would have to drop out because of the upper limit set by the House. That would create enormous difficulties, as well as a huge backlog of cases. None of them could be decided until my right hon. and learned Friend had, in effect, reviewed them all. As the need in Hong Kong is for the reassurance that the Bill can give and for it to take effect quickly, it would be wholly counter-productive for the right of appeal to be enacted in the Bill. For that reason, my right hon. Friend's amendment must be rejected.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harold Walker)
Order. The right hon. Gentleman cannot speak a second time without the leave of the House. Does the right hon. Gentleman have the leave of the House to do so? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] The leave of the House is denied.
§ Mr. Tebbit
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I was not seeking to address the House again on the issues but endeavouring to establish whether the House may vote 353 on amendment No. 18. I know that it would come not at this moment, but at the appropriate point in the consideration of the Bill.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I shall have to give consideration to what happens to intermediate amendments, as that may have an influence on the Chair's judgment about the propriety of such a Division. I will consider the matter at the appropriate time, when I shall bear in mind the right hon. Gentleman's remarks.
§ Mr. Marlow
Two issues still concern me at this stage. The first is the involvement of the courts, as suggested by the Opposition amendment. The second, and more important, is the aspect raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) in his amendment, concerning the involvement by the House at a later stage.
I am grateful to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) for clarifying his amendment, which would if anything extend the circumstances in which there could be judicial review and court involvement. I am deeply concerned about that. In respect of various measures passed by the House, notably the community charge, we recently discovered that many aggrieved citizens flocked to the courts and sought to make that legislation more difficult to implement.
If the involvement of the courts is to increase, it is surely possible that many people in Hong Kong will be able to claim not that discretion has been applied unreasonably against them but that in some way, even through the distribution of a notice by post, the matter was incorrectly administered. They might choose to take their argument before the courts to be decided. If the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central were to persist with his new clause and gain a majority for it, there is a real risk that the intentions behind the legislation could be rendered, to a great extent, unworkable.
As for the amendment tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford, I offer the following scenario. Let us suppose that, in the exercise of his powers, the Governor of Hong Kong were to award British citizenship to a certain gentleman. If my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary, in the exercise of his powers, said that he had no objection and that this was a suitable person to be given a British passport and to come to the United Kingdom; and if the gentleman then came to reside here, perhaps in Chingford or in my constituency, at an early date—despite the intentions of the Bill, which are that he should stay in Hong Kong until 1997; if, as I say, this gentleman took immediate advantage of his citizenship, he might at some subsequent stage receive a communication from a friend or relative still living in Hong Kong who himself had sought to acquire the valuable privilege of British citizenship. The Governor of Hong Kong, exercising his discretion within the rules, or people acting on behalf of the Governor, might, in the view of this friend or relative, have unreasonably denied him the opportunity to which he felt he was entitled to be granted a British passport.
My consituent might then come to me and say, "Mr. Marlow, there has been a gross miscarriage of justice. The Governor has looked at my friend or relative's application and, because of various circumstances in Hong Kong, has improperly exercised his discretion and refused to grant 354 my friend or relative the passport which, knowing British law, knowing you and knowing the fabric of British society, I believe he should have been granted. What, Mr. Marlow, are you going to do on behalf of my friend or relative?"
I could say, "He is in Hong Kong; it is nothing to do with me." He might say, "Mr. Marlow, it is something to do with you because you are a Member of Parliament and Parliament is responsible for what is happening in Hong Kong." What should I do? Should I write a letter to the Governor of Hong Kong telling him that a constituent of mine has brought me a point to which I have no answer? What status do I have with the Governor of Hong Kong? None at all. If I write to him, what will he say? What will he do? What interest will he have in communicating with me?
No doubt I would receive a polite, decent reply, full of a great deal of explanation, from the Governor, but that is not my role as a Member of Parliament. I would much rather write to my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary to learn from him his views on the problem. That is the way parliamentary democracy works; that is the role of a Member of Parliament. So, before we vote on the new clause, I should like to ask my hon. Friend the Minister for his views on this conundrum.
§ Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—
§ The House divided:Ayes 176, Noes 297.357
|Division No. 230]||[7.53 pm|
|Adams, Allen (Paisley N)||Dewar, Donald|
|Adley, Robert||Dixon, Don|
|Allen, Graham||Dobson, Frank|
|Armstrong, Hilary||Doran, Frank|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||Duffy, A. E. P.|
|Ashton, Joe||Dunnachie, Jimmy|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth|
|Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)||Evans, John (St Helens N)|
|Beckett, Margaret||Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)|
|Bell, Stuart||Fatchett, Derek|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Field, Frank (Birkenhead)|
|Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)||Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Fisher, Mark|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Flannery, Martin|
|Boateng, Paul||Flynn, Paul|
|Boyes, Roland||Foot, Rt Hon Michael|
|Bradley, Keith||Foster, Derek|
|Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)||Foulkes, George|
|Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)||Fraser, John|
|Buckley, George J.||Fyfe, Maria|
|Caborn, Richard||Garrett, John (Norwich South)|
|Callaghan, Jim||Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)|
|Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)||Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John|
|Campbell-Savours, D. N.||Godman, Dr Norman A.|
|Canavan, Dennis||Gordon, Mildred|
|Carr, Michael||Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)|
|Clark, Dr David (S Shields)||Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)|
|Clay, Bob||Grocott, Bruce|
|Clelland, David||Harman, Ms Harriet|
|Clwyd, Mrs Ann||Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy|
|Cohen, Harry||Haynes, Frank|
|Cook, Robin (Livingston)||Heal, Mrs Sylvia|
|Corbett, Robin||Henderson, Doug|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Hinchliffe, David|
|Cox, Tom||Hoey, Ms Kate (Vauxhall)|
|Crowther, Stan||Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)|
|Cryer, Bob||Home Robertson, John|
|Cummings, John||Howarth, George (Knowsley N)|
|Cunliffe, Lawrence||Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Hoyle, Doug|
|Darling, Alistair||Hughes, John (Coventry NE)|
|Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)|
|Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)||Hughes, Roy (Newport E)|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I)||Ingram, Adam|
|Janner, Greville||Quin, Ms Joyce|
|Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)||Radice, Giles|
|Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)||Redmond, Martin|
|Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald||Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn|
|Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil||Reid, Dr John|
|Leighton, Ron||Richardson, Jo|
|Lestor, Joan (Eccles)||Robertson, George|
|Lewis, Terry||Rogers, Allan|
|Livingstone, Ken||Rooker, Jeff|
|Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)||Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)|
|Loyden, Eddie||Rowlands, Ted|
|McAllion, John||Ruddock, Joan|
|McAvoy, Thomas||Sedgemore, Brian|
|Macdonald, Calum A.||Sheerman, Barry|
|McFall, John||Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert|
|McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)||Shore, Rt Hon Peter|
|McKelvey, William||Skinner, Dennis|
|McLeish, Henry||Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)|
|McWilliam, John||Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)|
|Madden, Max||Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)|
|Mahon, Mrs Alice||Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)|
|Marek, Dr John||Snape, Peter|
|Marshall, David (Shettleston)||Soley, Clive|
|Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)||Spearing, Nigel|
|Martlew, Eric||Stott, Roger|
|Maxton, John||Strang, Gavin|
|Meacher, Michael||Straw, Jack|
|Michael, Alun||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)|
|Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)||Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)|
|Moonie, Dr Lewis||Turner, Dennis|
|Morgan, Rhodri||Wardell, Gareth (Gower)|
|Morley, Elliot||Wareing, Robert N.|
|Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)||Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)|
|Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)||Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)|
|Mowlam, Marjorie||Williams, Rt Hon Alan|
|Mullin, Chris||Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)|
|Murphy, Paul||Wilson, Brian|
|Nellist, Dave||Winnick, David|
|Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|O'Brien, William||Worthington, Tony|
|Orme, Rt Hon Stanley||Wray, Jimmy|
|Parry, Robert||Young, David (Bolton SE)|
|Pendry, Tom||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Powell, Ray (Ogmore)||Mr. Ken Eastham and Mrs. Llin Golding.|
|Alexander, Richard||Brandon-Bravo, Martin|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael||Brazier, Julian|
|Allason, Rupert||Bright, Graham|
|Alton, David||Brooke, Rt Hon Peter|
|Amery, Rt Hon Julian||Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)|
|Amess, David||Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)|
|Arbuthnot, James||Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)|
|Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)||Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick|
|Ashby, David||Buck, Sir Antony|
|Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy||Burns, Simon|
|Atkins, Robert||Burt, Alistair|
|Atkinson, David||Butler, Chris|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)||Butterfill, John|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)|
|Baldry, Tony||Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)|
|Batiste, Spencer||Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Carrington, Matthew|
|Bellingham, Henry||Cash, William|
|Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda|
|Benyon, W.||Channon, Rt Hon Paul|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Chapman, Sydney|
|Blackburn, Dr John G.||Chope, Christopher|
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Churchill, Mr|
|Body, Sir Richard||Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n)|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)|
|Boswell, Tim||Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)|
|Bottomley, Peter||Conway, Derek|
|Bottomley, Mrs Virginia||Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)|
|Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)||Cope, Rt Hon John|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Cormack, Patrick|
|Bowis, John||Couchman, James|
|Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard||Currie, Mrs Edwina|
|Curry, David||King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)|
|Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)||Kirkhope, Timothy|
|Davis, David (Boothferry)||Kirkwood, Archy|
|Day, Stephen||Knight, Greg (Derby North)|
|Devlin, Tim||Knowles, Michael|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Lamont, Rt Hon Norman|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Lang, Ian|
|Eggar, Tim||Latham, Michael|
|Emery, Sir Peter||Lawrence, Ivan|
|Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)||Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel|
|Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas||Lee, John (Pendle)|
|Fallon, Michael||Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)|
|Favell, Tony||Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark|
|Fearn, Ronald||Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)|
|Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)||Lightbown, David|
|Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey||Lilley, Peter|
|Fishburn, John Dudley||Livsey, Richard|
|Forman, Nigel||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)|
|Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)||Luce, Rt Hon Richard|
|Forth, Eric||Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas|
|Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman||McCrindle, Robert|
|Fox, Sir Marcus||MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)|
|Franks, Cecil||Maclean, David|
|Freeman, Roger||Maclennan, Robert|
|Fry, Peter||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Garel-Jones, Tristan||McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael|
|Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian||McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick|
|Glyn, Dr Sir Alan||Madel, David|
|Goodhart, Sir Philip||Major, Rt Hon John|
|Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles||Malins, Humfrey|
|Gorst, John||Mans, Keith|
|Gow, Ian||Maples, John|
|Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)||Marshall, John (Hendon S)|
|Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)||Marshall, Michael (Arundel)|
|Grist, Ian||Martin, David (Portsmouth S)|
|Ground, Patrick||Mates, Michael|
|Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn||Maude, Hon Francis|
|Hague, William||Mawhinney, Dr Brian|
|Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)||Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin|
|Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)||Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick|
|Hampson, Dr Keith||Mellor, David|
|Hanley, Jeremy||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Hannam, John||Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)|
|Harris, David||Mills, Iain|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Hawkins, Christopher||Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)|
|Hayes, Jerry||Mitchell, Sir David|
|Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney||Moate, Roger|
|Hayward, Robert||Monro, Sir Hector|
|Heathcoat-Amory, David||Moore, Rt Hon John|
|Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.||Morrison, Sir Charles|
|Hill, James||Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)|
|Hind, Kenneth||Moynihan, Hon Colin|
|Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)||Neale, Gerrard|
|Holt, Richard||Needham, Richard|
|Hordern, Sir Peter||Nelson, Anthony|
|Howard, Rt Hon Michael||Neubert, Michael|
|Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)||Newton, Rt Hon Tony|
|Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Nicholson, David (Taunton)|
|Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)||Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)|
|Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)||Norris, Steve|
|Howells, Geraint||Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley|
|Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)||Oppenheim, Phillip|
|Hughes, Simon (Southwark)||Page, Richard|
|Hunt, David (Wirral W)||Paice, James|
|Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)||Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil|
|Hunter, Andrew||Patnick, Irvine|
|Irvine, Michael||Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath)|
|Irving, Sir Charles||Patten, Rt Hon John|
|Jack, Michael||Porter, Barry (Wirral S)|
|Jackson, Robert||Portillo, Michael|
|Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)||Powell, William (Corby)|
|Jones, Ieuan (Ynys Môn)||Price, Sir David|
|Jones, Robert B (Herts W)||Raffan, Keith|
|Jopling, Rt Hon Michael||Raison, Rt Hon Timothy|
|Kennedy, Charles||Rathbone, Tim|
|Key, Robert||Renton, Rt Hon Tim|
|Kilfedder, James||Rhodes James, Robert|
|King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)||Riddick, Graham|
|Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas||Thomas, Dr Dafydd Elis|
|Ridsdale, Sir Julian||Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)|
|Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)||Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)|
|Rost, Peter||Thurnham, Peter|
|Rowe, Andrew||Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)|
|Rumbold, Mrs Angela||Tracey, Richard|
|Ryder, Richard||Tredinnick, David|
|Sackville, Hon Tom||Trippier, David|
|Sainsbury, Hon Tim||Trotter, Neville|
|Sayeed, Jonathan||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Shaw, David (Dover)||Viggers, Peter|
|Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)||Waddington, Rt Hon David|
|Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')||Wakeham, Rt Hon John|
|Shelton, Sir William||Waldegrave, Rt Hon William|
|Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)||Walden, George|
|Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)||Walker, Bill (T'side North)|
|Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)||Wallace, James|
|Shersby, Michael||Waller, Gary|
|Sims, Roger||Walters, Sir Dennis|
|Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)||Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)|
|Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)||Warren, Kenneth|
|Soames, Hon Nicholas||Watts, John|
|Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)||Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)|
|Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)||Whitney, Ray|
|Squire, Robin||Widdecombe, Ann|
|Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Stern, Michael||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Stevens, Lewis||Wilkinson, John|
|Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)||Wolfson, Mark|
|Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)||Wood, Timothy|
|Stewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N)||Yeo, Tim|
|Stradling Thomas, Sir John||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Sumberg, David||Younger, Rt Hon George|
|Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|Taylor, John M (Solihull)||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Taylor, Matthew (Truro)||Mr. Alastair Goodlad and Mr. Tony Durant.|
|Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)|
§ Question accordingly negatived.