HC Deb 25 February 1991 vol 186 cc706-34
Mr. John Greenway

I beg to move amendment No. 116, in page 43, leave out lines 13 and 14.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to consider the following amendments: No. 117, in page 43, line 16, leave out 'to which this section applies' and insert 'which—

  1. (a) is established after the commencement of this section; and
  2. (b) is for the confinement of remand prisoners, that is to say, persons charged with offences who are remanded in or committed to custody pending their trial, or persons committed to custody on their conviction who have not been sentenced for their offences;'.
No. 118, in page 43, leave out lines 25 to 28 and insert—— '(4) The Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument provide that this section shall have effect as if there were omitted from subsection (2) above either—
  1. (a) paragraph (a) and the word "and" immediately following that paragraph; or
  2. (b) paragraph (b) and the said word "and" or
  3. (c) the words from "which", in the first place where it occurs, to the end of paragraph (b).
(5) No order shall be made under subsection (4) above unless a draft of the order has been laid before and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.'. No. 119, in clause 74, page 47, leave out line 8.

Mr. Greenway

Clause 66 provides the framework for a private sector experiment through the provision of a new remand centre at Everthorpe.

In Committee, I introduced a group of amendments which would have had the effect of considerably widening the opportunity for private sector involvement throughout the prison service. We argued for that proposal for many hours, and I am disappointed that my right hon. Friend the Minister of State has not been convinced by my arguments and has not agreed to the bolder step that I suggested.

I hope to have a little more success with this group of amendments. They are technical amendments, which would allow the experiment at Everthorpe to be extended in the light of the experience of that project. I acknowledge that my enthusiasm for private sector involvement in the remand system—and perhaps, eventually, in the prison service—is not shared at all by Opposition Members, or fully shared by some of my hon. Friends, who believe that we should proceed with much greater caution. I accept and acknowledge that majority view.

However, I hope that my right hon. Friend might see the wisdom of incorporating in the Bill a framework under which, subject to the agreement of Parliament. the experiment could be taken a stage further if the plans for Everthorpe prove successful. The changes I propose in these amendments would give the Home Secretary and the House the flexibility that the clause as drafted denies.

Surely, on the day on which Lord Justice Woolf s report has at long last been published, hon. Members can agree at least on the desirability of improving the prison regime still further. We shall need time to reflect on the detail of the Woolf recommendations. I have already spotted the suggestion concerning the provision of community prisons, with a view to maintaining links between a prisoner and his family and the community. I am sure that that would be very beneficial. Then there are the suggestions concerning alternative methods of managing prisons.

As I said in Committee, the need to improve the prison regime is urgent and great. It would be wrong to close our minds to some of the more innovative opportunities that the private sector may be able to offer. I acknowledge the need for a cautious approach, but I hope that my right hon. Friend will feel that in these amendments we have struck the right balance, and that she will find it possible to accept them.

7.30 pm
Mr. Teddy Taylor

I support what my hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale (Mr. Greenway) has said. In so doing, I am reminded of Corrie primary school on the island of Arran. Many years ago, I was a Minister in the Scottish Office for about a year and a half. There were lots of exciting things that I wanted to do, and lots of exciting reforms that I wanted to introduce, but looking back on that year and a half, the only specific thing that I recall achieving was keeping Corrie primary school open. The local council had proposed that it be closed, but as a Minister I had power to overturn that proposal. I did so, on the grounds that I thought that the school would prosper. Happily, it survives to this day. To justify my faith in my real achievement, I go to Arran every year for a holiday. That is one way of seeing the greatness of what I have done in politics over a period of 26 years.

In what way is Corrie primary school relevant to this clause, which, so far as I can see, is intended to be a great reforming provision? On the basis of what is laid down, it seems that only one remand prison will be available for consideration. Criminal justice measures come before us very rarely. If we have this as the basis of our experiment, and if we wait three or four years to see how it progresses, the prospect of reform will be very limited indeed. We are not saying that there is a case for changing the whole character of the legislation—indeed, that cannot be done at Report stage—but we should have the opportunity—perhaps next year, perhaps the year after—to bring forward some regulations by which the matter could be reopened.

Why has there been so little progress? At the time of the Corrie school incident to which I referred, we had a very large, enthusiastic and talented civil service, whose members knew far more about everything than I did. That is why they did nothing at all—which was probably very wise. In the prisons section of the Home Office there are some extremely talented people, who probably know more about everything than I do. There is always a temptation for individuals to hold back, to avoid going too far. I hope that this Minister will have a great reforming career. Indeed, I know she will. She has great ability and integrity. I am asking her not to overturn the clause or to reopen the whole business, but simply to accept that, if there is a possibility—perhaps next year or the year after that—of reopening the subject by bringing forward regulations, that possibility should be grasped.

My hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale has been very reasonable, which is unusual for someone who consistently supports farmers. What he is saying is that things like this should not simply slip through but should be subject to affirmative resolution. Nothing could be more reasonable. Most of the views that my hon. Friend expresses are ones that I, as a Conservative, find it difficult to support. However, I hope that the Minister will accept that this is a very reasonable proposal which does not go too far.

We do not want to see the Minister's hands tied so that nothing can be done. There should be some arrangement whereby she could come back to the House and advise hon. Members to consider arrangements that had worked out. Perhaps they would not have worked out. All I am saying is that we should have some arrangement whereby, without drafting a completely new law, the case could be reopened. I hope that the Minister, who always displays reasonableness, will allow this little chink of light for the benefit of those who think that there is something worth while here.

Mr. Sheerman

This is the part of the Bill to which we object most strongly. I am sure that no hon. Member fails to understand the reasons for our objection. We believe that pressure is being exerted by certain elements in the Conservative party to push the Bill in an even more radically rightward direction.

Earlier today, we were talking about the most important report of Lord Justice Woolf. When I pressed the Home Secretary on whether the change of direction was a philosophical one, he did not seem to understand my point. That point is absolutely germane to this debate. For 12 years, the Government, instead of addressing the fundamental problems of our penal system, have thrown money—£1 billion—at the problem by building new prisons, but that did not work. More recently, they have come up with the notion—stimulated by organisations such as the Adam Smith Institute—that private prisons may provide the answer. In fact, neither is the correct approach, because the Government have got the philosophy wrong.

If the Minister is right in terms of her commitment to Woolf, she will one day reflect—probably quietly, away from the television lights and the Chamber—on the fact that acceptance of the philosophy of Woolf involves accepting a total change of direction as a fundamental necessity. If she were to accept the pressure from some of her right-wing colleagues, on the Standing Committee and outside it, to broaden the scope of privatisation—which is what this amendment would do—she would be making the mistake of retaining the old bankrupt philosophy. What Woolf has provided—if only the Government could recognise it—is an opportunity to come up with the correct solutions to the problems of penal policy. The whole country would be grateful if the Government would show the courage and clarity of thought which are necessary to recognise that.

I expect that I shall not be successful, but I must try to persuade the right hon. Lady that, if she were able to recognise that dichotomy, she would reluctantly tell her colleagues that the Government had seen the light. I realise, of course, that she has to be polite to her colleagues. On this first day post-Woolf, the Government should show a willingness to change direction by refusing to go down the road of privatisation. The Labour party is totally opposed to the proposals for private remand prisons. We have always said that this would be the thin end of the privatisation wedge. Indeed, before the Bill had completed its Committee stage, the Minister had changed her mind and moved further in the direction of privatisation per se, rather than just privatisation of remand prisons.

We find those proposals repugnant. The case against privatisation was put most eloquently in July 1987. I am sorry that the Foreign Secretary, who was sitting on the Front Bench only a few minutes ago, is not here now to hear me quote the words that he uttered as Home Secretary. He said: I do not think that there is a case, and I do not believe that the House would accept a case, for auctioning or privatising the prisons or handing over the business of keeping prisoners safe to anyone other than Government servants."—[Official Report, 16 July 1987; Vol. 119, c. 1303.] Why did privatisation get on to the Home Office agenda? The answer is simple. It did so because of the failure of the Government's policies, which has shown itself in one simple way—the overcrowding of our prison system. The number of prisoners escalated from 43,326 in 1983 to an alarming 50,265 in 1987. The pressure was particularly bad in the remand sector, where unconvicted prisoners endured some of the most squalid conditions. It goes against any concept of justice that people who have not been proved guilty of an offence are kept in the worst cells and the worst prisons.

The pressure grew for something to be done. We know that the Government's first reaction was the frantic building of more prisons. They expanded the prison building programme so much that they faced a bill of £1 billion on top of the running costs of £1 billion a year. That was a massive investment. If anyone was throwing money at a problem, it was the Government.

People could see that that was not working. It was suggested that we should go down the American route, but who wants to do that? Hon. Members who served on the Committee with me will be sick to death of my citing the American experience. In America, there were 3.33 million people in prison in 1974 and 1.3 million in 1990. I do not often correct the shadow Home Secretary, my right hon.

Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), but by a slip of the tongue he got it wrong earlier. He said that we had the worst prison record in the industrialised world. While we may have the worst record of imprisonment per head of population in the Council of Europe countries, including Turkey, our record is not worse than that of the United States, and I hope that it never will be. The increase in the supply of prisoners there seems never-ending, and that looms large in the minds of the Government and the people of the United States.

The other suggestion which came out of the woodwork, or out of the Adam Smith Institute, was privatisation of the prisons—if not all of them, at least the worst affected, which are those on the remand side. Instead of building more prisons, the Government should have done something about reducing the prison population. They should not now, belatedly, be returning to the idea of privatisation. It is a delicious irony that these proposals for expanding the role of the private sector in the prison system should come at a time when the prison population is beginning to fall.

The Labour party's recommendations on reducing the prison population have at last been heeded. The Government have finally listened to the experts. I am not saying that the Labour party has great expertise, but it was prepared to listen to the experts before writing its policies on penal reform.

If this is the wrong policy at the wrong time, why are the Government pursuing it? Part of the answer must be that they are giving in to commercial interests. It is no secret that certain construction companies close to the Conservative party stand to gain from the privatisation of prisons. That such interests are influential in determining penal policy is wrong in principle and dangerous in practice. I am old enough to remember former United States President Eisenhower warning against the military-industrial complex. I should be warning against the penal-industrial complex, whose participants have more to gain from an increase in the prison population than from a reduction.

7.45 pm

There will be pressure for more prisoners. As I said in Committee, that is not a conspiracy theory—it is an inevitable law of economics. People do not go into such business to make a loss. The hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor) spoke of privatisation. He will know that the guarding of a defence institution by a private security company is all very well with a top-rate company, but without regulation of the industry, chief constables worry about the quality of the firms at the lower end of the market. Competitive tendering forces Government bodies to accept the lowest or almost the lowest of tenders. The senior executive of a leading private security company said to me only in October, "Do you know, Mr. Sheerman, that in Scotland a defence establishment is being guarded by a private security company which pays its employees £1 an hour?" The hon. Gentleman will know about Scotland.

This is not a conspiracy theory. The economics of the situation, in an unregulated industry, will lead to the cowboys taking over not only in the rest of the private security world, but in private prisons. The Government have no plans to regulate security industry, and without such regulation, nothing that the Government say can reassure the Opposition that there will not be a sector of the prison system run by the cowboy element of the private security industry.

Behind these measures is a black hole into which the Government's policy will fall—their unwillingness to regulate the private security industry. I know that I am anticipating a later debate, but the two are closely linked. In Committee, Conservative Members bizarrely told us that prisons built by private developers were unutterably better in design, construction and siting than those built by the public sector, which the Government argued were badly designed and planned buildings, with poorly executed work. Yet if a private contract is given to a firm to run as well as build the prison, they argue, standards suddenly and miraculously improve. That is a devastating comment on our building and development industry. I happen to know many people who work in the building industry, and that is a slur on their work. It is a misunderstanding of the public and private sectors.

Good, well-designed prisons can be built and run by the public sector. The Woolf report says just that. When my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook said that we had a good prison service and a rotten system, he hit the nail squarely on the head. That is the problem that the Government cannot address. Can the private sector build prisons and operate them well and cheaply?

It is interesting that all the rhetoric about effectiveness that we heard in the early days of this debate seems to have disappeared. The financial memorandum states: Competitive tendering for the operation of remand centres is not expected to have a significant financial implication. The American experience leads to the same conclusion. Even Charles Logan, a member of President Reagan's commission on privatisation, in the best researched pro-privatisation book on the American scene, agrees that it is still unproven that private prisons will cost any less than prisons in the public sector.

It was noticeable and alarming that, in discussions with Deloitte Haskins and Sells, private-sector operators claimed that savings could be made by reducing staffing levels through design innovation and technology. Groups such as Inquest are greatly worried about the prospect of turning remand prisons into electronic boxes. The appalling number of suicides in recent years shows that remand prisoners need close attention and contact with more and better qualified staff, not more electronic wizardry and gadgetry. All the research shows that human contact is most important in preventing suicide. That was not mentioned in today's statement and the questions and answers following it. Even since the ghastly events at Strangeways, more people there have committed suicide.

I do not want to bore the House with the American experience, but despite the vast prison population there, there are no private federal prisons and there are only 9,000 adult offenders in privately run gaols. Therefore, the experience of the United States is extremely limited.

Mr. Chris Butler (Warrington, South)

As I understand the figures, 25 per cent. of prisoners are federally delivered up to the private sector, and there is now a total of 20,000 beds in the private sector in the United States.

Mr. Sheerman

I think we split down the middle. My latest figures, which I got from the House of Commons Library only this week, show that there are no federal prisoners in the private sector, but that the numbers in the private sector may have risen. The hon. Gentleman may have more up-to-date figures than I do, but between 9,000 and 20,000 is a tiny percentage of the 1.3 million prisoners.

In Committee, the Minister rested her case on the Australian experience. I have checked that, and found, that the position is certainly not as impressive as she would have us believe. The experiment has been going on for only a short time. The number of prisoners in the one prison that is in the private sector is small. Most published material relates to Borallon prison in Queensland, but the claims made about its success are premature. Most experts in our penal lobby argue that it is far too early to make claims about improved recidivist rates, that the prison was operational only in January 1990 and that to make such a claim borders on the irresponsible. It is much too early to speak about cost-effectiveness. Borallon is still running in, and for much of the time has been running at under capacity. The Australian and American experiences do not lead to the conclusions that Ministers seem to suggest.

There is a problem in accepting the Government's arguments when one considers the moral aspect. It is easy to get entrapped by the Government's logic and to argue on their terms. In that way, we are reduced to talking about pounds and pence—the cost of imprisonment. On the day the Woolf report is brought to the attention of the House, we should think about philosophy and underlying values. At the forefront of our argument are our strong moral objections to the use of private prisons.

The deprivation of liberty is the strongest punishment that can be imposed on an individual. Once a court has decided on a prison sentence, the state should be directly responsible for that prisoner throughout his or her sentence. The prospect of private companies deriving commercial gain from imprisonment is grossly distasteful. Private companies, motivated by the requirements to maintain profit margins and share dividends, will compromise inmate care and welfare provision. The Government are taking a cavalier attitude to that and to public safety.

We are gravely concerned that control and security may be seriously compromised by undertrained and inexperienced employees of the private-sector industry. We doubt that our security guards will have the ability to handle the difficult and potentially violent situations that can arise.

I do not have to expand on my case on a day like today. The report about Strangeways and the evil disturbances in our prisons last April leads any fair-minded Member and citizen to the conclusion contained in paragraph 1.4 of the Woolf report. It pays tribute to the men and women involved for their professionalism and care. Indeed, Woolf specifically says that two further questions should have been asked when he was given his terms of reference. The question should$not have been why the riots took place, so much as why they had not taken place years ago, given the state of our prisons. What is the conclusion? In paragraph 4, he concludes that, if it were not for the dedicated, highly trained professionalism of those who run our prisons—the governors and prison officers—the riots would have occurred earlier and would have been more widespread.

When the Minister replies, will she tell us what guarantee she has about the level of care, training and expertise that will be found in the most difficult area of the penal system, the remand system, or any other sector when the penal system comes under private unregulated industry? Remand prisoners are highly volatile. Many have never been in prison before and are terrified and even psychologically disturbed by the experience. Many will be found innocent. What guarantees does she have about the provision in private remand or any other private sector of the penal system?

I have made the main points of my case.

Mr. Teddy Taylor

At length.

Mr. Sheerman

This is an important debate. I assure the hon. Gentleman that I do not normally take so long on Report, but, as he knows, one or two of these matters go to the heart of the Bill.

There is an inherent misconception in the proposal, which may intrigue the hon. Member for Southend, East. I know that that hon. Gentleman likes the free market, which is lauded by the Tories, but it is a strange marketplace that has one customer only and where those at the sharp end in receipt of service are not at liberty to change their supplier. Such a lack of choice does not represent a free market, more a captive one.

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We want to flush out the Government's true intentions, because the Minister was less than clear in Committee. On 31 January she said: The Government cannot accept the amendments tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale … because we would need to come to terms with the full implication of what he has to say". Later on, however, there was a more positive reaction from the Minister: I am willing to consider the amendments".—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 31 January 1991; c. 577, 601.] It must have been those differing comments that totally confused the press, because when I spoke to some of them in the following two days, half of them thought that the right hon. Lady had warmed to the amendment, while the other half said that she had thrown it out without much thought. I should like the right hon. Lady to come clean about her views.

A much clearer view of the Government's intentions is provided in the magazine New Builder. It is interesting to look occasionally at the less customary sources of information. We all read The Economist, the New Statements and Society, and such publications, but it is not often that one reads New Builder. In the 7 February edition, we learned that the hon. Member for Rydedale (Mr. Greenway) and the hon. Member for Westminster, North (Sir J. Wheeler) had told the journal that: they had convinced the new Home Secretary and the Prisons Minister, Angela Rumbold, that the proposals for privately built and managed prisons in the Criminal Justice Bill did not go far enough". We also learned that, on the proposals to end the remand of juveniles to prison department establishments and secure more accommodation, the Government were considering the proposal that councils should contract private consortiums to undertaken those projects on a design, build and manage basis. I hope that the Minister will comment on that.

We also discovered from that magazine that the hon. Member for Westminster, North is even more enterprising when it comes to city-centre prisons. He considers that Brixton, Pentonville and Wormwood Scrubs represent an endless source of land for the property market. He said that those prisons occupy sites of considerable value and that the Home Office is warming to the idea of giving the sites to private developers in return from them building smaller, privately managed remand centres nearer the crown Courts". Obviously New Builder has some insight into what is going on in the Tory party and its relationship with the building industry. It makes absolutely fascinating reading.

Conservatives may argue that, although the Woolf report concludes that the prison system is in an appalling state and in need of change, the Labour party is being a dog in the manger because it will not go along with the Tory party's insights into how to change such dreadful conditions in our prisons. Such an argument is a red herring. The Woolf report should lead to a radical improvement of the present prison system, not the development of a few brand new prestigious private prisons.

We believe that the state of the penal system is too important to deal with on party political grounds. The future penal system should be agreed upon by the two parties and the Woolf report should be agreed upon by the two parties, and the Woolf report should be the basis of that agreement. If the Conservative Government could bury their ideological hang-up on privatisation of prisons, they would discover that there was enormous support for policies that would radicalise our present penal system.

It is important to note the poisonous effect that the obsession with privatisation will have on the men and women working in the prison service. Such privatisation is opposed by everyone who works in the prison service—certainly the prison governors do not want it. In that connection, how on earth could Ministers introduce an amendment in January concerning what the press described as "flying governors"? No matter how the wonderful private remand centres or prisons are extolled by the Government, it seems that, when a riot takes place, they cannot cope.

The Government suddenly introduced an amendment to provide that a governor from a proper prison in the public sector would be flown in at a moment's notice to deal with any crisis. That is bad enough in itself, but the Government did not consult the governors about that proposal. I understand that the Minister had met representatives from the Prison Governors Association only a couple of days before, but no mention was made then of that proposal. That is a strange way in which to deal with the professionals who run our prison service.

The right hon. Lady should think again before she opens the door a bit more to the amendment tabled by the right of her party. On reflection, she will appreciate that it represents a dangerous path. Such a privatisation measure could sink the one opportunity we have to catch up with the civilised part of the world on penal policy.

Mr. Bruce George (Walsall, South)

I should not think that many hon. Members or people outside believe that our prison service is anything other than a national disgrace. It is not right simply to point the finger of guilt at the present Government, as the deficiencies within the prison system did not start in 1979—the blame must go back many generations.

In the past 11 years, the Government have had opportunities to make the necessary reforms, and some things have been done that I applaud wholeheartedly. It is regrettable, however, that in typically British fashion it took a crisis in the prison service—the riots—to precipitate the encyclopaedic report that was presented to us today.

Just because matters are in crisis does not mean that we should move to an aberrant system that is shifting, however incrementally, to a system of private prisons. I believe that Woolf and Tumim have pointed the way and that, if the Government, and future Governments, are prepared to devote resources and provide the political support, we shall have a prison system about which we need not feel a deep sense of shame. If Ministers were asked to take foreign visitors round many of our city-centre prisons, built in the previous century, I am sure that they would refuse to do so. No person of any compassion could feel anything but acute embarrassment at visiting many of our city-centre prisons.

The state of such prisons is no criticism of prison officers, who cannot like to work in such an environment. At least prisoners are in and out in a set time in most cases, but prison officers must spend much of their careers in that dreadful environment and in many senses the effect is degenerative. In passing, I pay a tremendous tribute to the men and women of the prison service who have been engaged to work for many years in adverse surroundings.

We all know that there is much scope for improving the system, but we tend to forget that there is much in the prison service that is experimental and innovative and about which we need not feel the same sense of humiliation. We need to build on those positive elements of the prison service. Lord Justice Woolf has pointed the way in which Governments must go. I cannot accept, however, that even a limited experiment with privatisation is worthy of anything other than condemnation. If by some misfortune the Government accept the amendment, more than a simple experiment would be involved, because that experiment will lead to a mushrooming of private prisons. That cannot be endorsed.

I support many reforms in the prison service and many of the alternatives to prison, but there will always be a place for prisons. I do not belong to the utopian wing of my party, which believes that if only we provided good opportunities for people they would not commit crimes, and that we must create alternatives to prison for almost all who would otherwise go there. That is nonsense. There are people who need punishment, which should be paralleled by a reforming element. So let us reform, but let us not indulge in this nonsense.

I should have thought that the privatisation mania to which we have been subjected had run its course. Perhaps the Government have been tempted to support plans for more privatisation than we had expected to prove to some of their supporters outside, who may be feeling depressed about how the Government have evolved in the past couple of months, that there is still a strong ideological commitment to privatisation and to some of the dottier ideas of the past 10 years. Without wanting to insult friends in the academic world, I must point out that such ideas should have been confined to professors' offices, but now, because of the peculiarities of the political system, they have been enshrined in legislation of which we are suffering the consequences.

I am not opposed to all forms of privatisation. As I said in Committee, I would not fight to the death to return some privatised companies to the private sector. Some concerns will inevitably remain outside public control, but I cannot concede that privatising the prisons is anything more than an idea supported by the more dotty Members of the House. I had hoped that privatisation of the prisons was just the death rattle of the ideological passions of the 1980s, but perhaps my assessment was too optimistic.

Privatisation of the prisons can come in many guises: in the form of contracting out services such as catering or cleaning; and in the form of allowing contractors to build, manage and operate. There is no single model for privatisation.

Why are private prisons to be inflicted on us? They may be a consequence of the ideologically impoverished seeking inspiration from other societies that have gone through the process and picking up their ideas, running them across the Atlantic and trying to translate them, in their feeble way, into British clones of the American experiment. Many of the perceptions of the success of the privatised prisons in the United States have been based on simplistic analyses. The Select Committee on Home Affairs investigated private prisons, and the aspects of its report that relate to private prisons contain more of the ethos of the political pamphlet than the ring of a serious report by a Select Committee.

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The report by Mr. Young for the Adam Smith Institute was also based on limited research experience. Extrapolating on the basis of limited experience, the report judged, wrongly, that the experiment had been successsful in the United States.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman) said earlier, the experiment in the United States has been too limited. An excellent book recently published by Ryan and Ward on private prisons in America and on whether the American experience has any relevance to us states: The American experience of privatising the delivery of punishment overall in the United States is both uneven and limited. It is uneven in that it is more prevalent in the south … more common in the juvenile sector than in adult corrections; more likely to apply to service delivery than to ownership and/or management. So that research has shown that the experiment in the United States has been limited, and we should not draw the wrong conclusions from it. The Adam Smith Institute, which is closely connected with the Heritage Foundation in the United States, has praised a system that is undeserving of eulogy. Mr. Young could see no evil in the private sector and was unwilling to see Governments do anything in the prison sector free from his criticism.

The Select Committee that visited the United States produced a political report. By that I do not mean to criticise its Chairman, who has not attempted to hide his close connection with the private security industry. He has been an able proponent of the private prison system, and his predecessor as Chairman—this is also a matter of public record—now serves as chairman of an organisation that is considering building private prisons.

The Home Affairs Select Committee did not perform a good service for the House. I am appalled by the idea of a prison industry, by the idea of the state delegating responsibility for punishment to the private sector and by the idea of prisons being run for profit. I fear that a private prison system will be largely unaccountable. It will not deliver the nirvana that some of its proponents argue it will—places where the food is great, where warders run around not dressed in uniform and where wonderful recreational facilities abound: in short, places not unlike Hi-de-hi holiday camps. That is all an illusion.

On the basis of my experience of the private security industry, I must conclude that the private sector is ill equipped to manage, run and staff prisons. I shall discuss later why I believe that. Bidding for contracts can mean only that good companies will be driven down to the lower level of their competitors. Staff salaries will suffer, as will staff training. We shall not begin to reach the stage recommended by Lord Justice Woolf. He has argued that, although the standard of training in the United Kingdom could be described as reasonable, we must aim for higher standards. The Netherlands may provide us with a model.

Our standards of training are already light years ahead of those in almost every private security company. If the private sector cannot remotely match even the present system of training, which Woolf has argued is inadequate, I cannot believe that it will have either the resources or the enthusiasm to emulate the standards that he requires of prison officers in both sectors.

I hoped that the Bill would merely introduce a narrow experiment and that, when that experiment had been properly evaluated, it would be allowed to die the death. I fear, however, that the Government have other things in mind; and I deplore that.

Mr. Maclennan

The case in principle against the clause has already been adequately deployed, and I do not propose to continue with that line of argument. I wish the Minister to explain how she expects the clause and the amendment—with which she is rumoured to be sympathetic—to fit in with the Woolf recommendations for remand prisons.

In my view, both the clause and the amendment are inconsistent with the purposes of the Woolf report; moreover, they make the achievement of the ends recommended in that report—after careful consideration—much more difficult. According to Woolf, the inquiry has concentrated particularly on the position of remand prisoners. This is because they represent a significant proportion of the prison population, and because they unjustly suffer some of the worst conditions in the prison system … To emphasise the importance of these matters, the inquiry recommends that there should be a separate statement of purpose setting out the prison service's responsibilities relating to remand prisoners. This statement of purpose should reflect the principle that remand prisoners should normally be accommodated, treated and managed separately from convicted prisoners. That, surely, is a profoundly important recommendation. How does the clause fit in with it? It seems to want to establish a bifurcation in the custodial treatment of remand prisoners. At least the original clause did not intend all of them to be subject to privately contracted arrangements; but, if the Woolf recommendations apply to the prison service, they will presumably have to apply, and be monitored, in the private sector, which strikes me as a bizarre administrative approach.

Woolf went on to consider the problems of remand prisoners in much more detail. On page 250, in paragraph 10.79, he wrote: The many initiatives which have been taken in recent years to try to tackle the problem created by the size of the remand population have on the whole been successful. Indeed the scale of their success suggests that there were, and almost certainly still are, a substantial number of people remanded in custody who should not be in prison … The problems created by the unnecessary remands need to be tackled from a number of different directions. Each involves co-operation between the Courts, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Probation Service and the Prison Service. If the clause and the amendment are passed, a fifth wheel will be added. Similar co-operation will be needed with the private sector, involving a separate series of relationships. I believe that that will confound the present administrative confusion, in the part of the prison system in which the greatest problems are widely recognised to exist.

We must judge the appropriateness of the clause and the amendment by whether the tests recommended by Woolf are more or less likely to be met. On page 327, in paragraph 12.309, Woolf suggests Accredited Standards for remand centres". That will mean a set of separate tests and monitoring arrangements to find out whether the privatised service is operating effectively, which cannot make sense.

The whole report reflects considerable disquiet about the management of the remand population. Woolf diagnoses that as stemming in part from the assumptions that are made about the degree of security that all remand prisoners require. The privatisation proposal strikes me as, at best, irrelevant to the solution of the problems described so cogently by Woolf, and, at worst, likely to make the task of eliminating them much more difficult.

As well as recommending the implementation of certain broad principles, Woolf suggested that helpful guidance would be provided by the proposals in the Prison Reform Trust's publication about regimes for remand prisoners, by Dr. Sylvia Casale and Miss Joyce Plotnikov. Will that helpful guidance be required of those who run the private sector? It is difficult to explain or justify a bifurcation of the system in a sector that has had so many problems, leading to—admittedly—so much unfortunate practice.

It is not as though the Government were proposing a "pure" privatisation. Those who run the prisons will have to operate according to rules and regulations established by Government; the controller, for instance, will be a Crown servant. This is an example of gesture politics on the part of Home Office Ministers who are trying to placate the holders of an uninformed view within their own party, which carries no support outside that party and which the Government would be wise to reject. They now have the perfect reason not to act; indeed, if they accept the amendment, it will be seen as a pre-emption of the Woolf recommendations—as, indeed, thumbing their nose at recommendations, and a pretty contemptuous approach to some serious suggestions. That would be highly unfortunate.

8.30 pm
Mrs. Rumbold

In Committee, my hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale (Mr. Greenway) moved several amendments to clause 66 that would have been rather more dramatic in their effect than amendment No. 116. Perhaps he listened carefully to the debate and to the comments of our hon. Friend the Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Stevens), who said that, if we want to extend clause 66, which applies only to remand prisoners, we should proceed cautiously and step by step to ensure that contracting out is not only acceptable to the Home Secretary and the Government but an effective means of managing prisons. My hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale said that, if the Government accepted the amendment, that was the way in which he would expect us to proceed.

The Wolds is the only remand prison that can be contracted out under clause 66, which the Government are minded to enact. The hon. Member for Walsall, South (Mr. George) expressed concern about private prisons being a dreadful failure or an aberration. My hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale is saying only that, if it is proved that they can be effectively managed by the private sector, the Government, having carefully considered the implications and ramifications, might extend that proposal to, for example, a young offenders' institution. That is a reasonable proposition for the House to consider.

We have had a long and considered debate. The hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman) made the Labour party's position clear. It opposes the private sector being involved in the running of prisons. I understand that, but I do not necessarily agree with the ideological point that the prison service can be run only by the public sector. I do not accept that only the public sector should be responsible for the management of prisons.

The debate is being held on the day when the Wolff recommendations became public. I reaffirm—I hope that the hon. Member for Huddersfield accepts this in the spirit in which he made his comments to me—that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and I, and indeed the whole Government, are committed to improving the prison service. I do not agree with the suggestion by the hon. Member for Huddersfield that the Government have tried to improve the prison service simply "by throwing money at it", although since 1979 much public sector money has been spent on improving prison service establishments, which were in a distressful state.

As the hon. Gentleman rightly said, only three years ago, our prisons were full and it was not possible to refurbish them. We therefore opened eight new prisons, and will open a further 12 in the next few years. Coupled with the decision that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced today to end slopping out by 1994, that will contribute to achieving the important target of reforming the prison regime. If a prisoner must slop out four times a day, it does not help to establish a good regime under which he can undergo a sensible education, work and training programme.

Mr. Sheerman

The right hon. Lady has delicately avoided giving a firm commitment to implement the Woolf recommendations, which is what Labour Members have been waiting to hear.

Mrs. Rumbold

The hon. Gentleman has already received an answer. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced a package of measures to implement immediately a major part of the Woolf recommendations. As the report was published only today, he reasonably said that many of its recommendations will be considered for inclusion in a White Paper. No Government, of whatever political persuasion, could have done more than my right hon. Friend.

I must confess to the hon. Member for Huddersfield that New Builder is not my early morning or bed-time reading. Perhaps I should ensure that I read it as well as Punch, the Spectator and The Economist. I must also confess that I do not yet read the New Statesman and Society.

Mr. Sheerman

What about Christopher Robin?

Mrs. Rumbold

As all my hon. Friends know, Christopher Robin is a favourite of mine.

The hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) suggested that clause 66 and the amendments would be incompatible with the Woolf recommendations. I do not share that view. I do not see why private remand centres, which perhaps would use different methods but would have the same aims, could not operate successfully. They would operate under contract to the Home Office. I do not see why co-operation with other parts of the criminal justice system would be more difficult under these proposals.

Mr. John Greenway

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Woolf recommendation to segregate remand prisoners within the prison regime was the basis of the recommendation of the Home Affairs Select Committee on private sector involvement in the remand system?

Mrs. Rumbold

My hon. Friend is correct. The Government are taking the first step in considering contracting out a remand prison. We believe that this opportunity will not easily arise again. As my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor) said, this is a chink of light. If, and only if, the contracted-out remand centre proves to be a success might we move towards privatisation of other parts of the prison service. The House should accept the amendment.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 258, Noes 174.

Division No. 79] [8.41 pm
Aitken, Jonathan Carrington, Matthew
Alexander, Richard Carttiss, Michael
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Cash, William
Allason, Rupert Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Channon, Rt Hon Paul
Amess, David Chapman, Sydney
Amos, Alan Chope, Christopher
Arbuthnot, James Churchill, Mr
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Plymouth)
Ashby, David Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)
Atkinson, David Clark, Rt Hon Sir William
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Colvin, Michael
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Cope, Rt Hon John
Batiste, Spencer Cormack, Patrick
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Couchman, James
Beggs, Roy Curry, David
Bellingham, Henry Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)
Bendall, Vivian Davis, David (Boothferry)
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Day, Stephen
Bevan, David Gilroy Devlin, Tim
Biffen, Rt Hon John Dickens, Geoffrey
Blackburn, Dr John G. Dicks, Terry
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Dorrell, Stephen
Body, Sir Richard Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Dover, Den
Boscawen, Hon Robert Dunn, Bob
Bottomley, Peter Durant, Sir Anthony
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Eggar, Tim
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwlch) Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas
Bowis, John Fallon, Michael
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes Favell, Tony
Brazier, Julian Fenner, Dame Peggy
Bright, Graham Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Brown, Michael (Brlgg & Cl't's) Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Browne, John (Winchester) Fookes, Dame Janet
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Forman, Nigel
Buck, Sir Antony Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Budgen, Nicholas Franks, Cecil
Burns, Simon Freeman, Roger
Butler, Chris French, Douglas
Butterfill, John Gale, Roger
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Gardiner, Sir George
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Gill, Christopher
Glyn, Dr Sir Alan Morrison, Sir Charles
Goodhart, Sir Philip Moss, Malcolm
Goodlad, Alastair Moynihan, Hon Colin
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Mudd, David
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Neale, Sir Gerrard
Gregory, Conal Nelson, Anthony
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Neubert, Sir Michael
Grist, Ian Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Ground, Patrick Nicholls, Patrick
Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Hague, William Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom) Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Oppenheim, Phillip
Hannam, John Page, Richard
Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr') Patnick, Irvine
Harris, David Patten, Rt Hon John
Haselhurst, Alan Pawsey, James
Hawkins, Christopher Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Hayes, Jerry Portillo, Michael
Hayward, Robert Powell, William (Corby)
Heathcoat-Amory, David Price, Sir David
Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE) Raison, Rt Hon Sir Timothy
Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE) Rathbone, Tim
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Redwood, John
Hill, James Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Hind, Kenneth Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Roberts, Sir Wyn (Conwy)
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Roe, Mrs Marion
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Rossi, Sir Hugh
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Rost, Peter
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Rowe, Andrew
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Rumbold, Rt Hon Mrs Angela
Irvine, Michael Ryder, Rt Hon Richard
Irving, Sir Charles Sayeed, Jonathan
Jack, Michael Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Jackson, Robert Shaw, David (Dover)
Jessel, Toby Shelton, Sir William
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Jones, Robert B (Herts W) Sims, Roger
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Skeet, Sir Trevor
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Key, Robert Soames, Hon Nicholas
Kilfedder, James Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Squire, Robin
Kirkhope, Timothy Stanbrook, Ivor
Knapman, Roger Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Steen, Anthony
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston) Stern, Michael
Knowles, Michael Stevens, Lewis
Knox, David Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Latham, Michael Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Lawrence, Ivan Stewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N)
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Sumberg, David
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe) Summerson, Hugo
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Tapsell, Sir Peter
Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant) Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Taylor, John M (Solihull)
McCrindle, Sir Robert Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Macfarlane, Sir Neil Temple-Morris, Peter
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire) Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Maclean, David Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
McLoughlin, Patrick Thornton, Malcolm
McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick Thurnham, Peter
Madel, David Townend, John (Bridlington)
Malins, Humfrey Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Mans, Keith Tredinnick, David
Maples, John Trippier, David
Marlow, Tony Twinn, Dr Ian
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel) Viggers, Peter
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Mates, Michael Walden, George
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Meyer, Sir Anthony Walters, Sir Dennis
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Ward, John
Mitchell, Sir David Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Moate, Roger Watts, John
Molyneaux, Rt Hon James Wells, Bowen
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Wheeler, Sir John
Whitney, Ray Woodcock, Dr. Mike
Widdecombe, Ann Yeo, Tim
Wiggin, Jerry Young, Sir George (Acton)
Wilkinson, John
Winterton, Nicholas Tellers for the Ayes:
Wolfson, Mark Mr. Tom Sackville and Mr. Tim Boswell.
Wood, Timothy
Adams, Mrs. Irene (Paisley, N.) Hardy, Peter
Allen, Graham Harman, Ms Harriet
Alton, David Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Henderson, Doug
Armstrong, Hilary Hinchliffe, David
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Ashton, Joe Home Robertson, John
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Hood, Jimmy
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Barron, Kevin Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Battle, John Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Bell, Stuart Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Bellotti, David Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Illsley, Eric
Benton, Joseph Ingram, Adam
Bidwell, Sydney Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Blunkett, David Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Boyes, Roland Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Bradley, Keith Kennedy, Charles
Bray, Dr Jeremy Lambie, David
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Leadbitter, Ted
Caborn, Richard Leighton, Ron
Callaghan, Jim Litherland, Robert
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Loyden, Eddie
Canavan, Dennis McAllion, John
Cartwright, John McCartney, Ian
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Macdonald, Calum A.
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) McFall, John
Clay, Bob McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Clelland, David McKelvey, William
Clwyd, Mrs Ann McLeish, Henry
Cohen, Harry Maclennan, Robert
Corbett, Robin McMaster, Gordon
Crowther, Stan McWilliam, John
Cryer, Bob Madden, Max
Cummings, John Mahon, Mrs Alice
Cunliffe, Lawrence Marek, Dr John
Darling, Alistair Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Martlew, Eric
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) Maxton, John
Dixon, Don Meacher, Michael
Dobson, Frank Meale, Alan
Doran, Frank Michael, Alun
Duffy, A. E. P. Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Dunnachie, Jimmy Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth Moonie, Dr Lewis
Eadie, Alexander Morgan, Rhodri
Eastham, Ken Morley, Elliot
Faulds, Andrew Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n) Mowlam, Marjorie
Fisher, Mark Mullin, Chris
Flynn, Paul Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Foot, Rt Hon Michael O'Brien, William
Fyfe, Maria O'Hara, Edward
Galbraith, Sam Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Garrett, John (Norwich South) Parry, Robert
Garrett, Ted (Wallsend) Patchett, Terry
George, Bruce Pendry, Tom
Godman, Dr Norman A. Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Golding, Mrs Llin Primarolo, Dawn
Gordon, Mildred Quin, Ms Joyce
Gould, Bryan Radice, Giles
Graham, Thomas Randall, Stuart
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham) Redmond, Martin
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Reid, Dr John
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Richardson, Jo
Grocott, Bruce Robertson, George
Rogers, Allan Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Rooker, Jeff Thompson, Jack (Wansback)
Rooney, Terence Turner, Dennis
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Vaz, Keith
Rowlands, Ted Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Ruddock, Joan Wareing, Robert N.
Sedgemore, Brian Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
Sheerman, Barry Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Short, Clare Wilson, Brian
Skinner, Dennis Winnick, David
Smith, Andrew (Oxford E) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury) Worthington, Tony
Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam) Young, David (Bolton SE)
Soley, Clive
Steel, Rt Hon Sir David Tellers for the Noes:
Steinberg, Gerry Mr. Frank Haynes and Mr. Thomas McAvoy.
Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 117, in page 43, line 16, leave out 'to which this section applies' and insert 'which—

  1. (a) is established after the commencement of this section; and
  2. (b) is for the confinement of remand prisoners, that is to say, persons charged with offences who are remanded in or committed to custody pending their trial, or persons committed to custody on their conviction who have not been sentenced for their offences;'.—[Mr. John Greenway.]

Mr. Sheerman

I beg to move amendment No. 91, in page 43, line 19 at end insert— '(2A) The Secretary of State shall prescribe in any contract entered into under subsection (2) above standards which shall include standards with respect to—

  1. (a) space per person, air volume, ventilation, heating, floor space, window space and time per day spent in cells;
  2. (b) bathing facilities and frequency of opportunities for bathing;
  3. (c) sanitary facilities and inmates' access to sanitation;
  4. (d) supply of clothing;
  5. (e) provision of meals;
  6. (f) medical care;
  7. (g) inmates' access to work, training, education, association, exercise and physical education;
  8. (h) facilities for visits and inmates' contact with families;
  9. (i) inmates' access to lawyers;
  10. (j) provision of information concering bail and legal aid;
  11. (k) inmates' access to advice and assistance from probation officers and social workers; and
  12. (l) facilities for religious observance, to which the contracted out prison shall conform.'.
Amendment No. 91 is in line with our general views in opposition to prison privatisation that we outlined in the debate on the previous amendment. It deals with the serious problem of providing minimum standards. It would require privately managed remand centres to meet specific minimum standards laid down in the contract. That sounds as though I want to have my cake and eat it, but the amendment is intended to improve something that we hate, loathe and detest.

Throughout the passage of the Bill, we have made it clear that we fundamentally oppose the privatisation of the management of prisons, which is wrong in principle and fraught with serious dangers in practice. If the Government proceed with the private management of one or more penal establishments, everything possible must be done to ensure that private contractors are held accountable for providing decent standards for prisoners.

The amendment is clear and no one can misunderstand our intentions. The case for setting standards of the kind set out in the amendment was made in the Green Paper, "Private Sector Involvement in the Remand System", published in 1988. Paragraph 69 of that document states: Operating a remand centre will make heavy demands on the management responsible, and it is important that the company is left in no doubt as to the essential requirements. Contracts will have to set clear and enforceable standards. In the present prison system there is no existing composite document which lays out comprehensively and in detail the requirements for a remand centre regime. One will therefore have to be developed for this purpose. In order to give scope for innovative solutions to problems, it will be important for standards to be defined so far as possible in terms of the results to be achieved, rather than the methods to be employed. I do not want to delay our proceedings, and I realise that the arguments are understood by the Minister and by all sections of the House. Minimum standards will be debated time and again as we return to the Woolf report and refine its message. Once we have had an opportunity to consider the 800 pages of the report at more leisure than we have had today, I am sure that we shall return to the subject of minimum standards in both public and private sectors.

Mrs. Rumbold

I understand the position of the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman), who has once more emphasised his opposition to the proposal for privatisation within the prison service. Although he reiterated his concerns about the proposal, he none the less stated that, if the Government proceed with the proposal, it is important that there should be high standards which would be rigorously enforceable.

For the sake of the hon. Member for Huddersfield, I repeat the assurance given in March 1989 by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, who was then Home Secretary: Standards would be high and would be rigorously enforced."—[Official Report, 1 March 1989; Vol. 148, c. 278.] A contract would cover the issues set out so clearly in amendment No. 91. While I cannot list all the other things that will be set out in the contract, I can assure the hon. Gentleman that all those matters and more will be covered. We shall not tell contractors how to do their job but shall set out clearly in the contract what we wish them to achieve in respect of good and safe care of the prisoners to protect the public as well as the prisoners.

Mr. Maclennan

Does the Minister's response to the amendment show that she accepts for privatised remand prisons the recommendation made by Lord Justice Woolf that there should be accredited standards for prisons? If so, does she also accept it for the public, or will there be two different sets of standards?

Mrs. Rumbold

The hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) would recall, if he had been present this afternoon, that when my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary presented the Woolf report to the House, he said that he would reflect on that matter and deal with it in the White Paper to be issued later this year. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will ensure that he is fully aware of that consultation process.

I wish to reassure the hon. Member for Huddersfield that the parts of the contract which deal with the matters under discussion will be made public. Confidentiality will apply only to those parts of any contract which, for sensible, commercial reasons are too sensitive from a security point of view. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will feel that we have given satisfactory reassurances about the way in which contracts will be drawn up.

Mr. Sheerman

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

9 pm

Mr. George

I beg to move amendment No. 124, in page 43, line 19, at end insert— '(2A) The Secretary of State shall only enter into contracts with persons under subsection (2) above if he is satisfied that persons employed by them are adequately trained and vetted. (2AA) The Secretary of State shall issue guidelines setting out the standards and qualifications of applicants for contracts under this section.'. My remarks will be brief because, first, I moved the amendment in Committee and, secondly, I have been leaned on.

Those hon. Members who attended the Committee will know that I speak with some interest in the operation of the private security industry. I said earlier, that the concept of private prisons appals me. There is no point in being utopian and saying that there will be no private prisons, because the Bill will be enacted. At least there has been one experiment in the form of a privatised remand centre, on which we may expand.

If we are to have privately run remand centres, it is incumbent on us to discuss the details of their staffing and management. I should prefer to have members of the current prison service operating in prisons, because they have had a lengthy training. They attend a training college near Wakefield, for which they are carefully selected—only one in 10 of those who apply are selected. On completion of the training course, they are closely supervised. These dedicated men and women have an esprit de corps based on a long tradition of public service in prisons. They require enormous experience and are trained and retrained.

The Woolf report, however, did not consider that that was good enough. Referring to training, it argued, in paragraph 13.108: For this reason, and because it could also improve the present state of morale in the Prison Service, we recommend that more attention be paid by the Prison Service to training. A greater commitment to training would also help to show that the Prison Service cares about its staff". The report then says that the Prison Officers Association extols the virtues of the Netherlands prison service and says: There, staff had systematic training over the first five years of a prison officer's career, and advanced training between the third and fifth year of his service. This provides an indication of just what is possible. The report then mentions standards elsewhere and the skills that the prison officer is expected to acquire in the course of his or her service.

The private sector will never be able to come within a million miles of the present system. The prospect of its even aspiring to achieve the higher standards laid down by the Woolf report is simply pie in the sky. With support and funding, the public sector could achieve those objectives, but the private sector is inherently incapable of delivering the quality of service that is required.

Mr. Maclennan

The hon. Gentleman's argument can be further fortified by Lord Justice Woolf's recommendations on recruitment. The report states in paragraph 13.167: The Inquiry accepts that it is to the advantage of the management of the Service as a whole for recruitment decisions to be made at Headquarters.

Mr. George

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. I always prided myself on being a speed reader, but I have not yet absorbed all the report, nor am I likely to do so. Obviously, the hon. Gentleman is a speed reader, or perhaps he started from the back of the report and worked his way to the front—we expect that sort of thing from the hon. Gentleman.

Training in the private security industry is farcical. I shall not bore the House with details, but for most companies in the private security industry, training does not exist. Those companies that make an effort may provide a day's training, and companies belonging to the British Security Industry Association are obliged to provide three days' training. However, that obligation is not met by many of the BSIA's members. There are some good, specialised security firms that lay on higher standards of training, but they are the exception. Training is expensive and if companies are in competition, they cannot win against another private security firm that does not attach great importance to training.

The private sector will not try to attain the standards required, because the remand prisons' guards, operatives and security officers will require the same standard of expertise as exists in the prison service today. Will the Home Secretary lay down standards and insist on the private sector attaining those standards? The Home Secretary must be aware that it will be enormously expensive to achieve those standards, and if contracts are let, that must be built into the calculation. I fear that training is so inadequate that companies will fail to achieve any standard that might be set.

The amendment also seeks to establish standards that would enable the private sector to recruit intelligently. That does not simply mean keeping out people with serious criminal records—the negative approach to recruitment. We want the private security industry to be a sufficiently attractive career with a suitable salary to attract the right calibre of men and women to serve in it. Remand prisons need high-calibre recruits. We do not want—as happens in other parts of the private sector security industry—to recruit from the bottom end of the market and impose on those recruits standards that they cannot achieve.

I have not the slightest shadow of doubt that the overwhelming majority of private security firms do not have vetting procedures. As I said in Committee, all that firms want to know is whether the body is warm and can start work the following day. New recruits are then measured up for uniforms and placed in a job the following day or, in many cases, the same day. Many firms do not even go through the pretence of checking references. Better companies have telephone communications systems that can trace back five years in an attempt to contact employers. They then try to trace back a further 15 years by writing to previous employers, but that takes weeks. It is an imperfect system that does not work.

The Government say that they will adopt a system of certification that is better than the hit-and-miss system operated by many firms in the industry at present. It is still to some extent, although less than in the past, a nudge, nudge, wink, wink approach whereby crime prevention officers are approached or former police officers are on the payroll to give some sign whether the person being hired has a criminal record. That is an appalling way to proceed. What I dislike about the system of certification is that it will be bestowed upon a handful of companies and the rest will have to worry for themselves. We need a system in which all private security firms have access to necessary information, with appropriate safeguards. The Government do not support that view.

Mr. Rupert Allason (Torbay)

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the situation in Northern Ireland is comparable to the one that he suggests in which security firms must be authorised by local authorities?

Mr. George

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely correct. The one precedent in the United Kingdom is in Northern Ireland, and it approaches the licensing system that I have been trying to achieve without success. There are precedents in most other countries. It is a matter of some amusement, although it is probably more likely a matter of considerable anger—a combination of motives—why the Government refuse to do what should be done, and establish a statutory licensing authority to vet applicants and companies and lay down minimum standards. As I have said many times, there is anxiety that there are too many people with serious criminal records in the private security industry. In a leaked report two years ago, chief police officers clearly pointed out that problem.

The private security industry has low status and low pay and it is held in low esteem by the police and the public. Its staff turnover is enormous. Lucky companies have a 100 per cent. turnover a year and the bad ones have a 450 per cent. or 500 per cent. turnover a year. Men and women work for £2 an hour, taking home £70 to £80 a week, and they may work 70, 80 or even more hours for the privilege of taking home barely a living wage.

The companies that apply for contracts within that sector will not be the poor companies; they will be the better ones. However, the deficiencies inherent in the weaker, smaller and imperfect companies also tar the better companies. There are not two systems of private security in this country, there is one system, and it is bad and needs to be improved. There is the complacent view that the rubbish firms will not apply for contracts in private prisons and that it will be blue riband companies, building consortia and security firms. Who knows, an American company closely linked to Kentucky Fried Chicken may apply. Who knows what companies are likely to apply? I cannot accept that such companies are different from the rest. The whole system stinks, and it needs to be altered.

The Government are pursuing an important experiment. At least they can partially rescue the system. Ministers have given me some assurances, and I am grateful for them. I hope that, if the system is introduced, certain safeguards will be built in. I do not think that the Government have great confidence in what they propose, because of the many safeguards that they are building into the system. My hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield referred to the "flying governor". The Home Office does not have much confidence in the private sector. That is why a Home Office governor can be parachuted in to pick up the pieces should the system fail. There will be the commissariat system in which the Home Office employee will parallel the private sector manager.

There are many other safeguards. Therefore, I am not quite as alarmed as I was when I initially read the legislation. The system could be partially retrieved if only the Home Office were prepared to lay down rigorous standards. I hope that the lessons that the Government learn from this legislation will eventually lead them to introduce a full-blown system of private security regulation. My criticism is not necessarily of the private security industry but of the system within which it is permitted to operate.

Mr. Sheerman

It is always a pleasure to follow my old friend the hon. Member for Walsall, South (Mr. George). He is such an acknowledged expert in this matter that it is with a sense of humility that I support his amendment. We know of his vast knowledge of the matter, but I should like to make one small correction. My hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, West (Mr. Randall) was worried that his only legacy to posterity in Committee would be the coming of the phrase "the flying governnor". He wanted it put on record that it was not "the flying warden".

9.15 pm

The amendment attempts to introduce regulation of the private security industry, and that is why we support it. It is an immensely important amendment. I should describe the Governments' lack of recommendations as a black hole. I give credit where credit is due—the two Ministers of State did a pretty good job on the brief, but on this matter, they failed to convince. One could see them hovering around, worried about falling into the black hole when we pressed them to say how they would control the private security contractors if there were no standards or regulations.

They had no answers to the questions put by the great authority on the Committee, my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, South; they had no answers when we pressed them from the Front Bench. The Government have no way of controlling what would happen if the private sector were allowed a free rein even in the small element of the private remand sector, let alone in an expanded sector.

Last week, I received a telephone call from a reporter who had got hold of a story—I do not know whether it is true—that the Ministry of Defence was talking about arming the private security people who guard our defence installations. We must make absolutely sure that our defence establishments are secure from terrorist and other attacks. If the Ministry of Defence, with all its security, cannot get it right and ensure that standards are high and that a level of competence is delivered by the contractor at the agreed price, what hope is there that the Home Office will get it right in relation to imprisonment? There are very real problems.

This is an immensely important issue. The Opposition fundamentally oppose the introduction of privatised prisons, but if they are to be introduced, far more effective mechanisms are needed to regulate the private security industry. Clause 71 and schedule 8 are not sufficient protection.

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, South that much of the private security industry has an appalling record. That does not apply to all companies; they are not all tarred with the same brush. There are some acceptable and reputable companies, but the industry is huge, employing 150,000 or perhaps 200,000 people—twice as many as the regular police force. There is a notorious lack of vetting of staff, derisory training of employees and appalling levels of pay. There are no minimum standards.

However, in a competitive free-for-all, the bad companies affect the good. Bad companies with non-existent training and the lowest levels of pay put in the lowest bids, which undercut those of their more reputable counterparts. To obtain contracts, good companies are forced to reduce standards. How will Ministers stop shoddy companies replacing better companies?

I remember an occasion in Committee when we were discussing our experience in local government. I gave the example of being forced by a particular piece of legislation—I cannot remember which Government introduced it—to start taking competitive tenders for all our housing contracts. What happened? Who saved money? Time and time again, we walked into a trap of accepting the lowest tender from a fringe builder who went bankrupt halfway through the job. We had to get someone else in to finish the work. That is what happens with competitive tendering.

One has only to look at the experience of the Ministry of Defence to see the dangers involved. For years, the Opposition have argued that the private security industry must be properly regulated, and that self-regulation will not do. We need a system allowing for minimum standards of training and, in the case of prisoner custody officers, we would expect that training to be very rigorous. We need a proper vetting system and adequate wages. One does not get quality unless one pays a decent wage.

On 31 January, when we discussed the matter in Committee, the Minister said: I am interested in all the hon. Gentleman's comments. I shall seriously consider what he said and try to ensure that we have the right standards and protection to deal with private sector contractors. We shall examine the circumstances carefully so as to protect the interests of the public and of the Government and Home Secretary of the day."—[Official Report, Standing Committee A; 31 January 1991, c. 611.] What conclusions has the Minister reached? What titbits has she hidden away? If she does not accept the amendment, the Bill will go to the other place with no provision for control over who runs the private sector side of the operation. This is a dangerous part of the Bill. Without control, private security has no future in which any of us can have confidence.

Mrs. Rumbold

I was sad to hear the hon. Member for Walsall, South (Mr. George) say that he could not give us one of his long and discursive speeches about private security. I enjoyed them very much in Committee, and I was looking forward to another episode.

Mr. Michael

An epic.

Mrs. Rumbold

Yes, an epic. I have great respect for the hon. Gentleman's knowledge of these matters, to which the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman) referred, and I understand the concerns that he expressed in arguing for the amendment.

We discussed the matter at considerable length in Committee. As the hon. Member for Huddersfield and I have said before, clause 71 and schedule 8 provide for the certification of a prisoner custody officer. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will have to be satisfied that a prospective prisoner custody officer is a fit and proper person to perform the relevant functions and—most important—that he has been trained to an approved standard before he gains such a certificate. That is an exceedingly important measure, which I wholeheartedly support.

In addition, there is another provision to ensure proper protection for those who undertake such important tasks: the contractors themselves will use selection procedures. If, at any point, it turns out that a prison custody officer is not a fit and proper person, the Secretary of State will have the opportunity to revoke a certificate. If an unsuitable person should, by any remote chance, slip through the net, that will reflect upon the contractor who employed him or her.

It has always been clearly understood that, if any aspect of the prison custody service is contracted out, accountability in respect of public safety and for the way in which prisoners are treated will in no way be diminished. As I said several times in Committee, that is very important. The responsibility will continue to be discharged, albeit in a different way. Accountability remains, simply because the Home Secretary could not afford to place the prisoners in the custody of people who are not totally respectable and reliable.

There is no question of the Home Secretary allowing less than satisfactory firms to be responsible for employing those who will carry out prisoner custody tasks. The companies that we have come across up to now have all been major long-established companies with high reputations. I do not believe that my right hon. Friend would wish to deal with any companies other than those with the highest qualifications.

Mr. Sheerman

That is exactly the point that I was addressing. The first issue is how we can decide on the standards and the criteria. What is the mechanism and the structure? Who will authenticate the process and ensure that certification works and delivers? Secondly, does not the right hon. Lady realise that, once we are involved in competitive tenderiing, it will no longer be the reputable, the nice or the quality people whose names will come across her desk, because once she starts to exclude people on competitive tendering grounds, she will find that she has involved both herself and the Government in a civil court action that will open the door to all the other people—rightly, in civil legal terms—and she will be forced to take all comers?

Mrs. Rumbold

The hon. Member for Huddersfield is recalling his local government days, when we contracted out repairs on council houses. That was one of the first areas of local government work in which the private sector became involved. Of course, everyone who wished to had a perfect right to tender for those contracts and nobody is saying that that would not necessarily be the case here. However, what happened in local government—I am confident that this is what will happen in this case, building on the experience of local government—is that all firms will be looked at carefully to ensure that they comply with all the requirements.

As was the case with local government, the cheapest firm is not necessarily always chosen now. Some local authorities, however, did not take responsibility for ensuring that their ratepayers got the best value for money. When considering firms for private sector contracts, it was, and is, important to ensure that the best services—the most cost-effective and the most efficient services—were chosen and they were not necessarily always from the cheapest contractors.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon (Mr. Patten) well knows what happened in local government, because he too has experience in that world, and he knows perfectly well that it is important to choose quality as well as the lowest price.

Mr. Allason

Does my right hon. Friend agree that there is a difference between mending windows for a local authority and looking after prisoners? Does she accept that there is a contradiction between the Government's determination to regulate and to authorise security firms in Northern Ireland and their determination not to do so for the rest of the United Kingdom?

Mrs. Rumbold

Of course contracting out local government services is different. Nevertheless, local government serves a useful purpose when drawing an analogy with the kind of contracts that we are looking at for the prison service, and I prefer to keep to that analogy for the time being.

On the issue of public safety and the way in which prisoners are treated, the Home Secretary will also need to be satisfied that the contractors have the necessary financial backing and management resources to take on such contracts. Large sums of money will be involved. We are talking about multi-million-pound contracts, which will certainly be beyond the reach of any of the so-called "fly-by-night" firms about which the hon. Members for Huddersfield and for Walsall, South have great concern.

Having reconsidered these arguments and aired them yet again—we discussed them thoroughly in Committee, when I undertook to ascertain whether we could go further than we had at that stage to meet hon. Members' concerns—I hope that what I have said reaffirms that we have done that. I can give an undertaking that we shall be very open about the standards required of contractors, especially in respect of training, about which I know full well the hon. Member for Walsall, South is particularly concerned. too regard training as an important issue. When we come to consider what should be required for certification and the work that the contractors must carry out, we shall certainly give very careful consideration to what Woolf has to say.

9.30 pm
Mr. George

Despite the assurances that have been given, I feel that this amendment should be put to the vote.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 185, Noes 263.

Division No. 80] [9.30 pm
Adams, Mrs. Irene (Paisley, N.) Bellotti, David
Allen, Graham Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Alton, David Benton, Joseph
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Bidwell, Sydney
Armstrong, Hilary Blunkett, David
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Boyes, Roland
Ashton, Joe Bradley, Keith
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Bray, Dr Jeremy
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Caborn, Richard
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) Callaghan, Jim
Barron, Kevin Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)
Battle, John Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)
Beggs, Roy Campbell-Savours, D. N.
Bell, Stuart Canavan, Dennis
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) McAllion, John
Cartwright, John McAvoy, Thomas
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) McCartney, Ian
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Macdonald, Calum A.
Clay, Bob McFall, John
Clelland, David McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann McKelvey, William
Cohen, Harry McLeish, Henry
Corbett, Robin Maclennan, Robert
Corbyn, Jeremy McMaster, Gordon
Crowther, Stan McWilliam, John
Cryer, Bob Madden, Max
Cummings, John Mahon, Mrs Alice
Cunliffe, Lawrence Marek, Dr John
Dalyell, Tam Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Darling, Alistair Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Martlew, Eric
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Maxton, John
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) Meacher, Michael
Dixon, Don Meale, Alan
Dobson, Frank Michael, Alun
Doran, Frank Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Duffy, A. E. P. Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Dunnachie, Jimmy Molyneaux, Rt Hon James
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth Moonie, Dr Lewis
Eadie, Alexander Morgan, Rhodri
Eastham, Ken Morley, Elliot
Faulds, Andrew Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Mowlam, Marjorie
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n) Mullin, Chris
Fisher, Mark Nellist, Dave
Flynn, Paul Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Foot, Rt Hon Michael O'Hara, Edward
Foster, Derek Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Fyfe, Maria Parry, Robert
Galbraith, Sam Patchett, Terry
Garrett, John (Norwich South) Pendry, Tom
Garrett, Ted (Wallsend) Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
George, Bruce Primarolo, Dawn
Godman, Dr Norman A. Quin, Ms Joyce
Golding, Mrs Llin Radice, Giles
Gordon, Mildred Randall, Stuart
Gould, Bryan Redmond, Martin
Graham, Thomas Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham) Reid, Dr John
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Richardson, Jo
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Robertson, George
Grocott, Bruce Rogers, Allan
Hardy, Peter Rooker, Jeff
Harman, Ms Harriet Rooney, Terence
Heal, Mrs Sylvia Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Henderson, Doug Rowlands, Ted
Hinchliffe, David Ruddock, Joan
Hoey, Ms Kate (Vauxhall) Sedgemore, Brian
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Sheerman, Barry
Home Robertson, John Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Hood, Jimmy Short, Clare
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Skinner, Dennis
Howells, Geraint Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd) Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Hughes, John (Coventry NE) Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Soley, Clive
Hughes, Roy (Newport E) Spearing, Nigel
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
Illsley, Eric Steinberg, Gerry
Ingram, Adam Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W) Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Turner, Dennis
Kennedy, Charles Vaz, Keith
Lambie, David Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Leadbitter, Ted Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
Leighton, Ron Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Litherland, Robert Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Wilson, Brian
Loyden, Eddie Winnick, David
Wise, Mrs Audrey Tellers for the Ayes:
Worthington, Tony Mr. Frank Haynes and Mr. Robert N. Wareing.
Young, David (Bolton SE)
Aitken, Jonathan Favell, Tony
Alexander, Richard Fenner, Dame Peggy
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Allason, Rupert Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Fookes, Dame Janet
Amess, David Forman, Nigel
Amos, Alan Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Arbuthnot, James Franks, Cecil
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Freeman, Roger
Ashby, David French, Douglas
Atkinson, David Gale, Roger
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Gardiner, Sir George
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Gill, Christopher
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Batiste, Spencer Glyn, Dr Sir Alan
Bellingham, Henry Goodhart, Sir Philip
Bendall, Vivian Goodlad, Alastair
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Greenway, Harry (Eating N)
Bevan, David Gilroy Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Biffen, Rt Hon John Gregory, Conal
Blackburn, Dr John G. Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Grist, Ian
Body, Sir Richard Ground, Patrick
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Boscawen, Hon Robert Hague, William
Bottomley, Peter Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Hannam, John
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Bowis, John Harris, David
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes Haselhurst, Alan
Brazier, Julian Hawkins, Christopher
Bright, Graham Hayes, Jerry
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Hayward, Robert
Browne, John (Winchester) Heathcoat-Amory, David
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Buck, Sir Antony Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)
Budgen, Nicholas Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Burns, Simon Hill, James
Butler, Chris Hind, Kenneth
Butterfill, John Hordern, Sir Peter
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Howarth, Alan (Strafd-on-A)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Carrington, Matthew Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)
Carttiss, Michael Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Cash, William Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Irvine, Michael
Chapman, Sydney Irving, Sir Charles
Chope, Christopher Jack, Michael
Churchill, Mr Jackson, Robert
Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Plymouth) Jessel, Toby
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochtord) Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Clark, Rt Hon Sir William Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Colvin, Michael Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Cope, Rt Hon John Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Cormack, Patrick Key, Robert
Couchman, James Kilfedder, James
Curry, David King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) Kirkhope, Timothy
Davis, David (Boothferry) Knapman, Roger
Day, Stephen Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Devlin, Tim Knowles, Michael
Dickens, Geoffrey Knox, David
Dicks, Terry Latham, Michael
Dorrell, Stephen Lawrence, Ivan
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Dover, Den Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)
Dunn, Bob Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Durant, Sir Anthony Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Eggar, Tim Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas McCrindle, Sir Robert
Fallon, Michael Macfarlane, Sir Neil
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire) Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Maclean, David Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
McLoughlin, Patrick Shersby, Michael
McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick Sims, Roger
Madel, David Skeet, Sir Trevor
Matins, Humfrey Smith, Tim (Beaconsfleld)
Mans, Keith Soames, Hon Nicholas
Maples, John Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Marlow, Tony Squire, Robin
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Stanbrook, Ivor
Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel) Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Steen, Anthony
Mates, Michael Stern, Michael
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick Stevens, Lewis
Meyer, Sir Anthony Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Miscampbell, Norman Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedllng) Stewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N)
Mitchell, Sir David Sumberg, David
Moate, Roger Summerson, Hugo
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Tapsell, Sir Peter
Morrison, Sir Charles Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Moss, Malcolm Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Moynihan, Hon Colin Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Mudd, David Temple-Morris, Peter
Neale, Sir Gerrard Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Needham, Richard Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Nelson, Anthony Thornton, Malcolm
Neubert, Sir Michael Thurnham, Peter
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Townend, John (Bridlington)
Nicholls, Patrick Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Tredinnick, David
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Trippier, David
Norris, Steve Twinn, Dr Ian
Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Oppenheim, Phillip Viggers, Peter
Page, Richard Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Patnick, Irvine Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Patten, Rt Hon John Walden, George
Pawsey, James Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Walters, Sir Dennis
Portillo, Michael Ward, John
Powell, William (Corby) Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Price, Sir David Watts, John
Raison, Rt Hon Sir Timothy Wells, Bowen
Rathbone, Tim Wheeler, Sir John
Redwood, John Whitney, Ray
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Widdecombe, Ann
Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm Wiggin, Jerry
Roberts, Sir Wyn (Conwy) Wilkinson, John
Roe, Mrs Marion Winterton, Nicholas
Rossi, Sir Hugh Wolfson, Mark
Rost, Peter Wood, Timothy
Rowe, Andrew Woodcock, Dr. Mike
Rumbold, Rt Hon Mrs Angela Yeo, Tim
Ryder, Rt Hon Richard Young, Sir George (Acton)
Sayeed, Jonathan
Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas Tellers for the Noes:
Shaw, David (Dover) Mr. Tom Sackville and Mr. Tim Boswell.
Shelton, Sir William

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment made: No. 118, in page 43, leave out lines 25 to 28 and insert—

'(4) The Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument provide that this section shall have effect as if there were omitted from subsection (2) above either—

  1. (a) paragraph (a) and the word "and" immediately following that paragraph; or
  2. (b) paragraph (b) and the said word "and" or
  3. (c) the words from "which", in the first place where it occurs, to the end of paragraph (b).

(5) No order shall be made under subsection (4) above unless a draft of the order has been laid before and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.'.—[Mr. John Patten.]

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