HC Deb 16 April 1991 vol 189 cc202-6
Dr. Bray

I beg to move amendment No. 2, in page 4, line 16, at end insert:— `(4A) The Secretary of State shall not set a target investment limit of less than 50.01 per cent. of the total voting rights until a period of at least five years has elapsed from the appointed day.'. The amendment seeks to provide, by means of a golden share, a mechanism by which the assurances and words of comfort that the Minister offered could be enforced. He gave a long list of considerations that might—or might not —be embodied in the conditions for sale of BTG. Those related to matters raised on Second Reading, in Committee or earlier this afternoon, and covered most aspects of the types of safeguard that have been suggested. Nevertheless, the Minister could not give a firm assurance that he would provide a legislative guarantee so that the Government could ensure that such conditions were observed in the successor company.

The golden share is one mechanism by which such conditions could be secured. It was advocated by some Conservative Members, and we shall press it in the amendment. The Minister's long list of conditions for sale was rather like the prayer of St. Augustine—"Lord, make me good, but not yet." We seek the Minister's salvation, so we shall press the amendment to a vote.

We welcome yesterday's discussions between representatives of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals and the Minister, but the use that the hon. Gentleman made of the meeting was a little unfair. The representatives of the CVCP were working within the framework of Government policy and the provisions of the Bill. They were trying to secure a settlement by making within that framework a constructive proposal for securing important objectives with regard to BTG's future role in relation to technology transfer and the universities' and research councils' own research. The discussion related not only to the small but significant shareholding that the universities sought, but to the whole nature of the consortium which they advocated and which the Minister adumbrated as something that might emerge from the forthcoming discussions and consideration. We hope that those discussions will be successful, but we believe that a long-stop is needed. An amendment providing for a golden share would be a firm way of securing that end, at least in the important early years.

I have no wish to delay our proceedings, so I shall be happy to proceed to a Division on the amendment at the convenience of the House.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 194, Noes 253.

Division No. 112] [6.25 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Cunliffe, Lawrence
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley, N.) Dalyell, Tam
Alton, David Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Anderson, Donald Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I)
Armstrong, Hilary Dixon, Don
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Dunnachie, Jimmy
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth
Ashton, Joe Eadie, Alexander
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Evans, John (St Helens N)
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Fatchett, Derek
Barron, Kevin Fearn, Ronald
Battle, John Fisher, Mark
Beckett, Margaret Flannery, Martin
Beggs, Roy Flynn, Paul
Beith, A. J. Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Foster, Derek
Benton, Joseph Fraser, John
Bidwell, Sydney Fyfe, Maria
Blair, Tony Galbraith, Sam
Boateng, Paul Galloway, George
Boyes, Roland Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Bradley, Keith Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)
Bray, Dr Jeremy George, Bruce
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Godman, Dr Norman A.
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Golding, Mrs Llin
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Gordon, Mildred
Buckley, George J. Graham, Thomas
Caborn, Richard Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Callaghan, Jim Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Grocott, Bruce
Canavan, Dennis Hain, Peter
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) Hardy, Peter
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Harman, Ms Harriet
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Haynes, Frank
Clelland, David Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Cohen, Harry Henderson, Doug
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Hinchliffe, David
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Hoey, Ms Kate (Vauxhall)
Corbett, Robin Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Corbyn, Jeremy Home Robertson, John
Cousins, Jim Hood, Jimmy
Crowther, Stan Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Cryer, Bob Howells, Geraint
Cummings, John Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Hughes, John (Coventry NE) Parry, Robert
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Patchett, Terry
Hughes, Roy (Newport E) Pendry, Tom
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Pike, Peter L.
Illsley, Eric Primarolo, Dawn
Ingram, Adam Quin, Ms Joyce
Janner, Greville Radice, Giles
Johnston, Sir Russell Randall, Stuart
Kirkwood, Archy Redmond, Martin
Lambie, David Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Lamond, James Reid, Dr John
Leadbitter, Ted Richardson, Jo
Lewis, Terry Robertson, George
Livingstone, Ken Rogers, Allan
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Rooney, Terence
Loyden, Eddie Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
McAllion, John Rowlands, Ted
McAvoy, Thomas Ruddock, Joan
McCartney, Ian Salmond, Alex
Macdonald, Calum A. Sedgemore, Brian
McFall, John Sheerman, Barry
McKay, Allen (Barnsley West) Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
McKelvey, William Shore, Rt Hon Peter
McLeish, Henry Short, Clare
Maclennan, Robert Skinner, Dennis
McMaster, Gordon Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
McNamara, Kevin Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
McWilliam, John Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Madden, Max Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)
Mahon, Mrs Alice Snape, Peter
Marek, Dr John Soley, Clive
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Spearing, Nigel
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
Martin, Michael J. (Springburn) Stott, Roger
Martlew, Eric Strang, Gavin
Maxton, John Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Meacher, Michael Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Meale, Alan Walley, Joan
Michael, Alun Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute) Wareing, Robert N.
Molyneaux, Rt Hon James Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
Moonie, Dr Lewis Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Morgan, Rhodri Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Morley, Elliot Wigley, Dafydd
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Mowlam, Marjorie Winnick, David
Murphy, Paul Worthington, Tony
Nellist, Dave Wray, Jimmy
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Young, David (Bolton SE)
O'Brien, William
O'Hara, Edward Tellers for the Ayes:
O'Neill, Martin Mr. Jack Thompson and
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Mr. Ken Eastham.
Aitken, Jonathan Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Alexander, Richard Bonsor, Sir Nicholas
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Boscawen, Hon Robert
Allason, Rupert Boswell, Tim
Amess, David Bottomley, Peter
Amos, Alan Bottomley, Mrs Virginia
Arbuthnot, James Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Bowis, John
Ashby, David Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes
Aspinwall, Jack Brazier, Julian
Atkins, Robert Bright, Graham
Atkinson, David Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)
Baldry, Tony Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Buck, Sir Antony
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) Budgen, Nicholas
Batiste, Spencer Burns, Simon
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Burt, Alistair
Bellingham, Henry Butler, Chris
Bendall, Vivian Butterfill, John
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Benyon, W. Carrington, Matthew
Bevan, David Gilroy Carttiss, Michael
Biffen, Rt Hon John Cash, William
Blackburn, Dr John G. Channon, Rt Hon Paul
Chapman, Sydney Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Churchill, Mr Knox, David
Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Plymouth) Latham, Michael
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Lawrence, Ivan
Clark, Rt Hon Sir William Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Colvin, Michael Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Lightbown, David
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Cope, Rt Hon John Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Cormack, Patrick Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Couchman, James Lord, Michael
Cran, James McCrindle, Sir Robert
Currie, Mrs Edwina Macfarlane, Sir Neil
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Davis, David (Boothferry) MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Day, Stephen Maclean, David
Dickens, Geoffrey McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Dicks, Terry Madel, David
Dorrell, Stephen Malins, Humfrey
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Mans, Keith
Dover, Den Maples, John
Dunn, Bob Marland, Paul
Durant, Sir Anthony Marlow, Tony
Eggar, Tim Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd) Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)
Evennett, David Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas Mates, Michael
Favell, Tony Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Fenner, Dame Peggy Meyer, Sir Anthony
Fishburn, John Dudley Mills, Iain
Fookes, Dame Janet Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Mitchell, Sir David
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman Moate, Roger
Franks, Cecil Monro, Sir Hector
Fry, Peter Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Gale, Roger Morrison, Sir Charles
Glyn, Dr Sir Alan Morrison, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Goodlad, Alastair Moss, Malcolm
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Neale, Sir Gerrard
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Nelson, Anthony
Gregory, Conal Neubert, Sir Michael
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Grist, Ian Nicholls, Patrick
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Hampson, Dr Keith Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Hannam, John Norris, Steve
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn) Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Harris, David Oppenheim, Phillip
Hayes, Jerry Page, Richard
Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney Patnick, Irvine
Hayward, Robert Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath)
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Patten, Rt Hon John
Hicks. Robert (Cornwall SE) Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Hill, James Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Hind, Kenneth Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Howard, Rt Hon Michael Porter, David (Waveney)
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Powell, William (Corby)
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Price, Sir David
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Raison, Rt Hon Sir Timothy
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Rathbone, Tim
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Hunt, Rt Hon David Rhodes James, Robert
Hunter, Andrew Riddick, Graham
Irvine, Michael Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Irving, Sir Charles Roberts, Sir Wyn (Conwy)
Jack, Michael Rost, Peter
Jackson, Robert Rowe, Andrew
Janman, Tim Ryder, Rt Hon Richard
Jessel, Toby Sackville, Hon Tom
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Sayeed, Jonathan
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Shaw, David (Dover)
Jones, Robert B (Herts W) Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Key, Robert Shelton, Sir William
Kilfedder, James Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Kirkhope, Timothy Shersby, Michael
Knapman, Roger Skeet, Sir Trevor
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Walden, George
Soames, Hon Nicholas Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Speed, Keith Walters, Sir Dennis
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Ward, John
Stanbrook, Ivor Watts, John
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Wells, Bowen
Steen, Anthony Wheeler, Sir John
Stern, Michael Whitney, Ray
Stevens, Lewis Widdecombe, Ann
Stewart, Allan (Eastwood) Wiggin, Jerry
Stewart, Andy (Sherwood) Wilkinson, John
Stewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N) Wilshire, David
Sumberg, David Winterton, Mrs Ann
Summerson, Hugo Winterton, Nicholas
Tapsell, Sir Peter Wolfson, Mark
Taylor, Ian (Esher) Woodcock, Dr. Mike
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E) Yeo, Tim
Thompson, D. (Calder Valley) Young, Sir George (Acton)
Thurnham, Peter Younger, Rt Hon George
Tracey, Richard
Tredinnick, David Tellers for the Noes:
Twinn, Dr Ian Mr. Timothy Wood and
Vaughan, Sir Gerard Mr. John M. Taylor.
Viggers, Peter

Question accordingly negatived.

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