HC Deb 17 August 1991 vol 195 cc413-22

Order for Second Reading read.

7.22 pm
The Solicitor-General (Sir Nicholas Lyell)

I beg to move, That the Bill he now read a Second time.

This is a short but important Bill. Its object is to ensure that corporations incorporated under the laws of territories that the United Kingdom does not recognise as states can be treated here as having legal personality. A decision by the Court of Appeal last year on the legal personality of an international organisation, since reversed by the House of Lords, led to consideration being given to other questions of legal personality. It was agreed that the law relating to the status of corporations from non-states should be clarified by legislation.

If the Government do not recognise the territory of another part of the world as a state, it has been argued that our courts should not recognise its laws either, including those on the incorporation of companies. The result is that a company, although perhaps doing business here and well accepted as doing so, might not be able to sue or be sued in our courts. On the other hand, there are signs that the court will seek to avoid such a strict approach and will look at the commercial realities of such a case rather than at the political relations between the territory and this country from time to time. That is, of course, the view that the Government prefer.

In the Government's view, such basic legal questions as, "Is this body a corporation?" and, "What does its constitution permit?" should not depend on questions of foreign policy. All that the Bill seeks to do is to say that companies are not to be denied legal personality here simply because the territories in which they are incorporated are not recognised as states.

I should make it clear that the Bill does not change our policy or practice on the recognition of states in any way. The internationally accepted criteria according to which the Government do or do not recognise territories as states remain the same. The Bill will reassure not only foreign corporations that already operate in this country or which may wish to do so, but companies and individuals who do business with them. It will not be possible for either party to try to avoid its obligations, as happened in a recent case, by claiming that the corporation has no legal personality here because it comes from a non-state.

Clause 1(1) provides that, if the laws of the territory are applied by a settled court system at the time when the question arises, the question whether a corporation has been incorporated or dissolved is to be determined as if the territory were a recognised state. Courts and legal advisers here will be able to look at and take account of the territory's laws in the same way that they would do if the corporation came from a recognised state.

I should draw attention to clause 1(3), as it validates Acts, including Acts relating to registration which would have been valid when done if the Bill had then been in force. That retrospective element is justified and does not go further than is necessary. The provision relates in particular to obligations that have been entered into in good faith by a foreign corporation and another party on the basis that the corporation has legal personality under our law. Clause 1(3) means that it will not be possible for either party to dishonour its obligations on the ground that the corporation had no legal personality when it entered into them.

As those who have followed its legal history will understand, the Bill is needed. It is needed to remove doubts and uncertainties in the commercial and financial world. Without it, there would be a possibility that bona fide companies that operate here would be held not to have legal personality in the eyes of our law, leaving their clients, customers and creditors at risk. Those doubts may also dissuade foreign corporations from setting up business here. Such doubts, once raised, must be resolved rapidly.

Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Port Glasgow)

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman confirm that the concept of legal personality has equal validity for the Scottish legal system as well? It is an important question with regard to the number of foreign corporations setting up satellite subsidiaries in Scotland.

The Solicitor-General

Yes. The concept is important wherever commercial activity is carried out: I can so confirm.

Legislation in this area has been called for by City firms of solicitors, and the content of the Bill has been discussed with them. Similar legislation has recently been introduced in Australia. The Bill does not accord any recognition of any territory as a state, and should not be interpreted as doing so. It clarifies, in accordance with commercial reality, the law on the legal personality of corporations from non-states which come to this country. I commend it to the House.

7.28 pm
Mr. John Fraser (Norwood)

As the Solicitor-General has pointed out, the Bill has retrospective effect. It is relatively rare that Parliament passes retrospective legislation. I must not be critical, because I did the same when I was a Minister. When City solicitors and City of London bankers tell the Government that something is wrong, that they have found a legal technicality that might deprive them of the right to recover their money, legislation goes through the House in double quick time. Today the Bill will have its Second Reading, Committee stage, Report stage and Third Reading, all within a few minutes. That is all right for City bankers, but if there is a technicality affecting a tenant, or somebody's pension or social security claim, legislation does not go through quite so quickly—certainly not retrospective legislation such as the Bill before us.

It is right, however, that the Bill should be retrospective, because it does no more than put the parties in the position in which they thought they were when they concluded their bargains. Both parties would have thought that they had the legal capacity to enter into a contract or other legal relationship, so we are doing no more than the parties intended should happen. I draw attention to the retrospective nature of the Bill but in this case it is right.

The Bill is concerned with companies incorporated under the laws of states that we do not recognise. For example, we do not recognise Palestine or Taiwan as separate states. Another example is the Turkish Independent Republic of Northern Cyprus, with which my constituents in south London often deal. In the near future, Eritrea, or part of Kurdistan, for instance, may assume the qualities of states that are not recognised by Her Majesty's Government.

There is a list of territories which, although not recognised by the Government, may have settled systems of law and court systems that work on proper civilised lines. The Bill provides that a company incorporated in such a territory not recognised by the United Kingdom Government will nevertheless be accorded legal corporate personality when it comes to trade in the United Kingdom.

Provided that the foreign territory has a settled legal and judicial system, and laws by which a corporation can be created, it would be wrong to deny customers and contracting parties the right to sue simply because the state under which incorporation took place is not recognised by the United Kingdom Government. Commercial laws should recognise the realities of trade, and should be as free as possible from technical traps.

A company incorporated in northern Cyprus may supply fruit. There has been some discussion about Azil Nadir operating in Cyprus; this is not a theoretical matter. It is right that those who contract with a company incorporated in northern Cyprus should have rights against it, and the fruit traders of northern Cyprus should have rights against their customers here. The same is true of companies supplying clothes, materials or toys from Taiwan.

The Bill is right to deal with those issues, but it leaves many unanswered questions and creates huge anomalies, which I shall talk about in a moment. I suggest that, as a condition of the Bill being given a rapid passage today, the Solicitor-General, on behalf of the Lord Chancellor, should give an undertaking to the House that the Lord Chancellor will ask the Law Commission to examine and report on the recognition of foreign and domestic independent legal personalities, including the question of corporate personality.

I shall ask some of the questions that the Bill leaves unanswered. How is a customer to know how to determine the vires of an overseas corporation? Will it be treated as having the same general powers as a United Kingdom company, or the sort of limited freedom of contract possessed by Hammersmith and Fulham council? As the Solicitor-General knows, that council was found to have a corporate personality but not the ability to enter into certain contracts with banks. We are not sure whether the vires law will apply to the overseas corporations.

How can a creditor wind up an overseas corporation, or extract a contribution or payment from the contributors? Will the concept of wrongful trading introduced in the most recent Companies Act apply to officers and directors of overseas corporations as it applies to officers and directors of United Kingdom companies? That is a question of some importance when an overseas company continues to trade knowing that it is insolvent, and there ought to be a personal liability on those who know that the company is conducting its affairs in that way. Those are several questions which should be answered.

The Bill creates huge anomalies. That is not an argument against the Bill, but it is as well to recognise the anomalies. For instance, by virtue of the Bill, a partnership under the civil law system of a non-recognised foreign state will have a legal corporate personality in the United Kingdom. For instance, in France—I know that the Bill does not apply to France, as we already recognise French domestic corporations—an organisation such as a partnership has a separate corporate individual personality.

If a non-recognised state has a civil law system like that of France, whereby a partnership has a separate legal personality, by virtue of the Bill such an organisation will have a separate legal personality in this country, too. But a partnership set up inside this country—for instance, a large firm of solicitors employing, say, 2,500 people, with several hundred partners—is not recognised as having a separate, independent legal personality. It is ridiculous that, technically, one has to sue hundreds of people.

It is not possible to sue a club; one has to sue the trustees because the club has no separate legal personality. Sometimes, difficulties have arisen concerning trade unions, and I have come across problems concerning Members of Parliament who say that they have been libelled by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. SPUC does not have a separate legal personality under British law. If SPUC libels somebody at the next general election—it is alleged to have done so in past elections—no proceedings can be taken against the organisation because it does not possess a separate, independent legal personality in Britain.

By virtue of the Bill, however, if a similar organisation had been incorporated under the laws of Taiwan, and had a recognised, separate, independent legal personality there, it would have an advantage—or possibly a disadvantage—in this country compared with British clubs, trusts and other non-company organisations. That seems ridiculous.

I shall illustrate what I regard as one of the most dangerous anomalies. I believe that the Solicitor-General referred to the case of the Arab Monetary Fund, which was decided earlier this year by the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords. The AMF was formed in 1976 by 20 rich, powerful, recognised Arab states together with Palestine, which is not recognised as a separate state by the United Kingdom. The AMF established an international banking organisation for those Arab states. It was formed by international treaty and recognised by public international law. But the AMF had not been accorded the status of a corporation by Order in Council under the International Organisations Act, 1968.

It then alleged that a Dr. Hashim had stolen $50 million from it. It decided to sue in the British courts for the recovery of that money from Dr. Hashim. The Court of Appeal under Lord Donaldson—a man who does not always commend himself to some of my hon. Friends—decided that the AMF had no legal personality at all.

If we had been left with the Court of Appeal decision, a two-person balloon manufacturing operation from Taiwan or a melon grower from northern Cyprus would be recognised in the United Kingdom as a corporate institution, notwithstanding the fact that the states concerned were not recognised by the British Government, but a joint organisation, set up under international treaty by 20 rich, powerful, prestigious Arab states enjoying friendly commercial relations with Britain, would not be recognised, even if it was alleged that $50 million has been stolen from it. If it had been left to Lord Donaldson and the Court of Appeal, that would have been the position.

Luckily, as a result of a good deal of ingenuity on the part of the House of Lords, it was decided that, because the AM F had been recognised by a decree of the United Arab Emirates, it should be recognised as having a separate independent personality in the United Kingdom. It was a pretty close shave, however, and the original decision represented a failure to recognise the reality of international commercial operations. Such decisions by the courts do Britain no good as a commercial and banking centre, just as the Hammersmith and Fulham decision will be bad, in the long run, for the reputation of this country.

I do not expect the Solicitor-General to reply at any length to these matters. I merely wanted to draw attention to what I now regard as enormous anomalies in the treatment of one organisation as against another, and to ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman to undertake that these matters will now be referred to the Law Commission. They are not theoretical matters; they often go to the heart of Britain's commercial reputation.. We have acted in this case to save some people's commercial bacon, but I hope that we can have a much better system of law for foreign corporations. The Bill will not deal with the question in full, and we could well do with recommendations from the Law Commission.

7.42 pm
Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South)

It looks as though the Government are rushing the Bill through because, as my hon. Friend the Member for Norwood (Mr. Fraser) said, what is at stake is a trading relationship. The Bill contains retrospective provisions. I can recall how the then Conservative Opposition treated a retrospective provision introduced to deal with the case of Clay Cross councillors who had been surcharged and faced disqualification. The Housing Finance (Special Provisions) Act 1975 simply restored those councillors' civic rights—civic rights that had already been restored to councillors in Scotland and in Wales—but because the Bill contained retrospective provisions, the Conservative Opposition said that it was an absolute and complete outrage.

Sir Michael Havers, as he then was, led the assault on a handful of brave working-class councillors who had had the temerity to provide decent housing at low rents. The previous jackboot Conservative Government had tried to force them to raise rents, but they had decided that the people they represented should be entitled to low rents. Because of the Clay Cross councillors' principled stand, they were surcharged and disqualified. When we attempted to introduce a Bill to deal with the matter, we had an enormous row about retrospective legislation.

I take the view that retrospective legislation is sometimes necessary. But the Government should recognise that, on their own previous criteria, a Bill containing retrospective provisions should be dealt with very charily by the House. I remember Dick Crawshaw, who was ostensibly a Labour Member, but who shortly afterwards joined the newly formed SDP, saying of the Bill that retrospective legislation was the top of the slippery slope to fascism—such was the tumult—

Mr. Alan Meale (Mansfield)

Where is he now?

Mr. Cryer

He is dead, as a matter of fact.

I caution the Government about rushing the Bill through. I assume that all its stages are to be dealt with in a matter of minutes. If we are to maintain the standards set in 1975 by the man who became Attorney-General in a Conservative Government and who said that retrospective legislation should not be applied, we should consider the Bill carefully and take some time over it.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Norwood so cogently argued, if there is pressure from the City or from a commercial trading organisation, the Government whip through Bills which contain loopholes, just to satisfy those people. But when it comes to the ordinary workers and a decent little urban district council trying to establish standards and provide good quality, low-rent housing, it is a different story.

The Clay Cross councillors did not actually disobey the legislation introduced by the previous Conservative Government. They asked for a commissioner to be sent in, and that Government refused. As a consequence of the Government's refusal, they faced penalties. I repeat that the Conservative party opposed that legislation because of its retrospective elements. There seems to be a strong sniff of double standards weaving its way around the House tonight.

7.46 pm
The Solicitor-General

With the leave of the House, Madam Deputy Speaker. We have had useful contributions to this short debate. First, the matter of retrospection has been raised. As the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. Fraser) rightly said, this is a case in which the retrospective elements are wholly acceptable. It is a matter for the Law Officers, in that independent capacity, to look at retrospection, and one of the criteria on the basis of which one accepts retrospection—Law Officers appointed by Governments of all complexions on behalf of the Crown have always accepted it—is where what is involved is the restoration of the law to the state in which everyone believed it to have been and on the basis of which everyone had acted in commercial dealings. That is a wholly acceptable form of retrospective legislation.

The hon. Member for Norwood raised other aspects of the Bill, and mentioned what he described as unanswered questions and anomalies. He then linked those to the Arab Monetary Fund case. Some fairly remarkable arguments were advanced on behalf of those who sought to avoid financial liability in that case. It is an arcane area of the law, and those arguments found favour in the Court of Appeal. They did not, however, find favour in the House of Lords, and the House of Lords, adopting principles that are wholly consistent with the Bill, which states the matter clearly for the world in general, put the matter right. In so far as it is right for me to express an opinion on these difficult matters, I believe that the arguments that found favour in the House of Lords had a great deal of common sense to recommend them, as well as being the law of the land as held by our highest court.

I do not think that the hon. Member for Norwood would expect me to give an undertaking in quite the form in which he asked for it. He asked for an undertaking that the Lord Chancellor will ask the Law Commission to look at the matters that he described as anomalies. Nevertheless, I shall refer his careful remarks to my noble and learned Friend, so that he may consider them. Obviously, I cannot give an undertaking on behalf of my noble and learned Friend, and perhaps, on reflection, it will anyway become clearer that what are thought to be anomalies are not so anomalous and that questions that are thought to have been unanswered in fact have sensible answers. We will reflect on the points that the hon. Gentleman made when we have the opportunity to study them in print. I hope that that will satisfy him. I shall either write to him or ask my noble and learned Friend to write to him, so that these matters are not merely left in the air.

I commend the Bill to the House.

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

The House divided: Ayes 178, Noes 26.

Division No. 218] [7.48 pm
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Gregory, Conal
Allason, Rupert Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')
Amess, David Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Amos, Alan Grylls, Michael
Arbuthnot, James Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Ashby, David Hague, William
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Hampson, Dr Keith
Atkins, Robert Hanley, Jeremy
Atkinson, David Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Harris, David
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Haselhurst, Alan
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Hawkins, Christopher
Beggs, Roy Hayes, Jerry
Bellingham, Henry Hayward, Robert
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Heathcoat-Amory, David
Benyon, W. Hill, James
Bevan, David Gilroy Hind, Kenneth
Blackburn, Dr John G. Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Boswell, Tim Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Bowis, John Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Brazier, Julian Irvine, Michael
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Jack, Michael
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Janman, Tim
Budgen, Nicholas Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Burt, Alistair Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Butler, Chris Kilfedder, James
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Kirkhope, Timothy
Carttiss, Michael Knapman, Roger
Cash, William Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Knowles, Michael
Chapman, Sydney Knox, David
Clark, Rt Hon Sir William Lang, Rt Hon Ian
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Latham, Michael
Conway, Derek Lee, John (Pendle)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)
Cormack, Patrick Livsey, Richard
Couchman, James Lord, Michael
Currie, Mrs Edwina Luce, Rt Hon Sir Richard
Davis, David (Boothferry) Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Dicks, Terry Maclean, David
Durant, Sir Anthony Maclennan, Robert
Dykes, Hugh McLoughlin, Patrick
Emery, Sir Peter McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael
Favell, Tony Malins, Humfrey
Fenner, Dame Peggy Mans, Keith
Fishburn, John Dudley Marland, Paul
Fookes, Dame Janet Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Forman, Nigel Meyer, Sir Anthony
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Miscampbell, Norman
Forth, Eric Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Fox, Sir Marcus Molyneaux, Rt Hon James
Franks, Cecil Monro, Sir Hector
Freeman, Roger Moss, Malcolm
French, Douglas Neale, Sir Gerrard
Fry, Peter Neubert, Sir Michael
Gale, Roger Nicholls, Patrick
Goodhart, Sir Philip Norris, Steve
Goodlad, Alastair Oppenheim, Phillip
Gorst, John Page, Richard
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Paice, James
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Summerson, Hugo
Porter, David (Waveney) Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Price, Sir David Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Raffan, Keith Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Raison, Rt Hon Sir Timothy Thomas, Dr Dafydd Elis
Rhodes James, Sir Robert Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Riddick, Graham Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Thorne, Neil
Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm Thornton, Malcolm
Rowe, Andrew Trippier, David
Sackville, Hon Tom Twinn, Dr Ian
Shaw, David (Dover) Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Viggers, Peter
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Walden, George
Sims, Roger Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Skeet, Sir Trevor Wallace, James
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick) Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Speed, Keith Wells, Bowen
Speller, Tony Wheeler, Sir John
Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W) Whitney, Ray
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Widdecombe, Ann
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Wigley, Dafydd
Steel, Rt Hon Sir David Winterton, Nicholas
Steen, Anthony Yeo, Tim
Stern, Michael
Stevens, Lewis Tellers for the Ayes:
Stewart, Allan (Eastwood) Mr. David Lightbown and
Stewart, Andy (Sherwood) Mr. Timothy Wood.
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley, N.) Madden, Max
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Boyes, Roland Martlew, Eric
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Meale, Alan
Canavan, Dennis Nellist, Dave
Duffy, Sir A. E. P. Patchett, Terry
Flynn, Paul Redmond, Martin
Godman, Dr Norman A. Salmond, Alex
Gordon, Mildred Sillars, Jim
Home Robertson, John Skinner, Dennis
Illsley, Eric
Loyden, Eddie Tellers for the Noes:
McAvoy, Thomas Mr. Bob Cryer and
McWilliam, John Mr. Andrew F. Bennett.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read a Second time.

Motion made—[Mr. Chapman]—and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 61 (Committal of Bills), That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the whole House:—

The House divided: Ayes 163, Noes 28.

Division No. 219] [8 pm
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Budgen, Nicholas
Allason, Rupert Burt, Alistair
Amess, David Butler, Chris
Amos, Alan Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)
Arbuthnot, James Carlisle, John, (Luton N)
Ashby, David Carttiss, Michael
Atkins, Robert Cash, William
Atkinson, David Chapman, Sydney
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Clark, Rt Hon Sir William
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Conway, Derek
Beggs, Roy Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Bellingham, Henry Couchman, James
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Currie, Mrs Edwina
Benyon, W. Davis, David (Boothferry)
Bevan, David Gilroy Dicks, Terry
Blackburn, Dr John G. Dykes, Hugh
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Emery, Sir Peter
Boswell, Tim Favell, Tony
Bowis, John Fenner, Dame Peggy
Brazier, Julian Fishburn, John Dudley
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Fookes, Dame Janet
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Forman, Nigel
Forth, Eric Monro, Sir Hector
Fox, Sir Marcus Morrison, Sir Charles
Franks, Cecil Moss, Malcolm
Freeman, Roger Neale, Sir Gerrard
French, Douglas Neubert, Sir Michael
Fry, Peter Nicholls, Patrick
Gale, Roger Norris, Steve
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian Oppenheim, Phillip
Goodhart, Sir Philip Page, Richard
Goodlad, Alastair Paice, James
Gorst, John Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Porter, David (Waveney)
Gregory, Conal Price, Sir David
Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E') Raffan, Keith
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Raison, Rt Hon Sir Timothy
Hague, William Rhodes James, Sir Robert
Hampson, Dr Keith Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Hanley, Jeremy Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn) Rowe, Andrew
Harris, David Sackville, Hon Tom
Haselhurst, Alan Shaw, David (Dover)
Hawkins, Christopher Sims, Roger
Hayes, Jerry Skeet, Sir Trevor
Hayward, Robert Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Hill, James Speed, Keith
Hind, Kenneth Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Steen, Anthony
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Stern, Michael
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Stevens, Lewis
Irvine, Michael Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Jack, Michael Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Janman, Tim Summerson, Hugo
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Jones, Robert B (Herts W) Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Kilfedder, James Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Temple-Morris, Peter
Knapman, Roger Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Knowles, Michael Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Knox, David Thorne, Neil
Lang, Rt Hon Ian Thornton, Malcolm
Latham, Michael Trippier, David
Lee, John (Pendle) Twinn, Dr Ian
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Lightbown, David Walden, George
Livsey, Richard Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Lord, Michael Wallace, James
Luce, Rt Hon Sir Richard Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Wells, Bowen
Maclean, David Wheeler, Sir John
McLoughlin, Patrick Whitney, Ray
McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael Widdecombe, Ann
Malins, Humfrey Wigley, Dafydd
Mans, Keith Winterton, Nicholas
Marland, Paul Wood, Timothy
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Yeo, Tim
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Meyer, Sir Anthony Tellers for the Ayes:
Miscampbell, Norman Mr. Greg Knight and
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Mr. Timothy Kirkhope.
Molyneaux, Rt Hon James
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley, N.) Martlew, Eric
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Meale, Alan
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Morley, Elliot
Boyes, Roland Nellist, Dave
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Primarolo, Dawn
Canavan, Dennis Salmond, Alex
Corbyn, Jeremy Sillars, Jim
Duffy, Sir A. E. P. Skinner, Dennis
Flynn, Paul Strang, Gavin
Godman, Dr Norman A. Turner, Dennis
Gordon, Mildred Wise, Mrs Audrey
Home Robertson, John Young, David (Bolton SE)
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice Tellers for the Noes:
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Mr. Bob Cryer and
Martin, Michael J. (Springburn) Mr. Andrew F. Bennett.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill immediately considered in Committee.

Forward to