HC Deb 15 May 1991 vol 191 cc379-400 10.14 pm
Mr. Derek Fatchett (Leeds, Central)

I beg to move,

That the Education (Grant-maintained Schools) (Finance) Regulations 1991 (S.I., 1991, No. 353), dated 27th February 1991, a copy of which was laid before this House on 28th February, be revoked. During the debates on the Education Reform Act 1988, the Labour members of the Standing Committee made it abundantly clear that they opposed the principle of grant-maintained schools. There were two reasons for our opposition. We felt that such schools would be wasteful of resources and discriminatory in their operation. These regulations and the experience of the past three years vindicate all the comments that we made four years ago in the Standing Committee. Grant-maintained schools have introduced into our education system a planning paralysis that bedevils attempts to rid the system of wasteful and expensive surplus places. It is a contradiction in the managerial position adopted by Ministers in the Department of Education and Science that, on the one hand—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. Private conversations should take place outside the Chamber.

Mr. Fatchett

The existence of grant-maintained schools is an indication of planning paralysis and of a lack of managerial consistency and competence on the part of Ministers in the Department of Education and Science. On the one hand, the Department is told by the Audit Commission that it should get rid of surplus school places, of which there are more than 1 million, and each of which involves substantial cost; on the other hand, the Department encourages schools that are subject to possible reorganisation or closure to go for opted-out status. On the one hand, the Government impose pressures on local authorities to get rid of surplus places; on the other hand, the Department, for ideological reasons, encourages schools to opt out. This planning paralysis is imposing a heavy cost on the taxpayer.

We were right three years ago when we argued that the scheme would be wasteful. We were also right in our argument that it would be discriminatory. It is worth remembering the assurance that we were given by the right hon. Member for Mole Valley (Mr. Baker), who was then Secretary of State for Education and Science. Every time the right hon. Gentleman was challenged during the debates on the Education Reform Act he said that there would be financial neutrality, with regard to both revenue and capital, in respect of the grant-maintained schools. When challenged by my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) on 10 November 1988, the right hon. Gentleman replied that there would be financial neutrality in capital matters. In a letter to my hon. Friend, he gave a very clear assurance on that score.

We now have the record. Clearly, there is no financial neutrality. There is discrimination—brazen favouritism for opted-out schools. Anybody who reads these regulations will see how the dice are loaded in terms of both revenue and capital. A look at the details will reveal many examples of revenue bias towards grant-maintained schools. There is no sign of the financial neutrality that was talked about in the Standing Committee. This is a further indication of the fact that the word of education Ministers and their predecessors has little real value. On revenue, for instance, we see that the special purpose grant for development has been increased by 50 per cent. between 1990–91 and the current financial year. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Lancaster (Dame E. Kellett-Bowman) says, "Quite right."

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)

I said, quite clearly, that they were victimised before. For example, the grammar schools in my constituency were consistently victimised by Lancashire education authority because it did not like them. Of course they opted out—and now, for the first time, they are getting a fair deal.

Mr. Fatchett

I am surprised to hear the hon. Lady say that. I will give her the figures. My previous ability to lip-read seems somewhat lacking, because I thought that the hon. Lady said something different. However, she made an interesting argument.

In terms of the special purpose grant for development, which basically covers teachers' in-service training, the 1991–92 figure for schools that have not opted out is £28 per child, per year. The figure for schools that have opted out is £41. How can the hon. Lady or any other Conservative Member justify that 50 per cent. difference in the figure for local authority and grant-maintained schools?

There is no question of any vendetta by Lancashire county council. The matter does not relate to the local authority, as the hon. Lady tried to suggest. It is simply a case of the dice being loaded to provide additional money for grant-maintained schools.

Mr. Patrick Nicholls (Teignbridge)

At face value, the hon. Gentleman is saying that he has nothing against the principle of opting out, but thinks that we have not got the details quite right. What response would the hon. Gentleman make to the headmaster of a high school in Manchester who said, "Many parents round here vote Labour, and they don't understand why Labour politicians trust them to return a Labour Government, but do not trust them to run their own schools"? That is the question that the hon. Gentleman should answer tonight, but I do not believe for one moment that he will.

Mr. Fatchett

If the hon. Gentleman had been listening, he would have heard me say at the beginning of my remarks that we oppose the principle—and I am now putting some of the arguments about the detail. I shall return to the hon. Gentleman's remarks later in my speech, with some enthusiasm.

Mr. Charles Wardle (Bexhill and Battle)

I listened carefully to the hon. Gentleman, and he spoke of wastefulness, paralysis and discrimination, but did not admit to his own prejudice or dogma. Why does he suppose that more than 2,000 schools expressed an interest in grant-maintained status?

Mr. Fatchett

The number of schools that have opted out represents less than 1 per cent. of the total. That figure is much more relevant.

As to discrimination and brazen favouritism, let us consider the figure on capital expenditure. The figure for local authority schools in the maintained sector is £83 per child for the current financial year. The figure for the grant-maintained sector is £326—four times higher. In some regions, the difference is even greater.

In answer to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn, the Secretary of State for Education said that the justification for that difference could be that individual grant-maintained schools had been neglected by their local authorities in the past What a nonsensical argument for a Secretary of State to advance. If they had been neglected, how is that local education authorities individually knew which school to neglect?

The scheme came into operation only three years ago, yet according to the Secretary of State, the disparity that I described is clue to accumulated neglect over a period of years. Is not the real answer that not just grant-maintained schools but all schools have been neglected by the Government, and that instead of meeting their responsibilities for all our children and schools, the Government are just meeting their responsibilities in respect of a small number of them?

We have a model for education that is the same that the Government advanced in respect of the health service. It is a two-tier model, clearly based on the opt-out principle. We know that hospital opting out has been rejected throughout the country because it is based on a two-tier system whereby a small number of hospitals benefit, but the vast majority miss out.

Mr. Robert B. Jones (Hertfordshire, West)


Mr. Fatchett

If the hon. Gentleman waits a minute, he will enjoy the next part of my speech.

The hon. Member for Bexhill and Battle (Mr. Wardle) tried to justify that discrimination and elitism by arguing that there is choice. However, there is no choice in a system that is deliberately designed to benefit a few to the cost of the overwhelming majority. There is no equity in that principle. The programme of opt-out schools is the education equivalent of queue jumping in the national health service, and Conservative Members know it.

Mr. Robert B. Jones

The hon. Gentleman has spent the past few minutes comparing education with the national health service. Yesterday, the hon. Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook) said that hospitals that want to opt out should hold ballots. Why does the Labour party wish to deny a ballot to people who want schools to opt out?

Mr. Fatchett

It is a great pity that the hon. Gentleman did not read the debates on the Education Reform Act 1988. If he had done so, he would know the answer. We said that a ballot should involve the whole community rather than a limited number of parents who are affected at the time.

The language of choice is false, and we all know it. Those of us who visit schools and have practical experience know that there is simply no choice for many parents and children. Where is the choice for children at Killinghall first school in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, North (Mr. Rooney), who have been educated in temporary accommodation for the past seven years? Where is the choice for the hundreds and thousands of children who are being educated in crumbling schools? Where is the choice for children who suffer a shortage of books in the classroom and of equipment for science and technology lessons? That is not choice. The real choice in education will be provided when we have a system based on equity and rights for all parents rather than choice for just a few.

Mr. Peter Thurnham (Bolton, North-East)

Why does not the hon. Gentleman visit St. James Church of England school in Bolton? What choice did parents of its pupils have? The local authority tried to kill it off, but as a grant-maintained school it is now enormously popular.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Michael Fallon)

The hon. Gentleman has never visited a grant-maintained school.

Mr. Fatchett

The hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Fallon) always opens his mouth with little evidence to support what he is saying.

Mr. Keith Mans (Wyre)

Where is Bolton?

Mr. Fatchett

I live on the other side of the Pennines, so I have a fair idea where Bolton is.

Mr. Robert B. Jones

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As the hon. Gentleman is finding it so difficult to answer a straightforward question about where Bolton is, would it be in order to point out to him that a Labour councillor in Bolton was expelled from the Labour party for three years for supporting opting out?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean)

Let us get on with the debate.

Mr. Fatchett

The hon. Member for Darlington accused me, as usual without any evidence, of not having visited a grant-maintained school, but I have done so.

Mr. Mans

Where is Darlington?

Mr. Fatchett

The last time I went to Darlington, I scored 50 runs playing cricket. I remember it very well. I assure the hon. Gentleman that it was a very good innings and was reported in local papers.

The hon. Member for Darlington said that I had not visited a grant-maintained school. I have visited more grant-maintained schools than the Secretary of State has visited local education authority schools. If the hon. Member for Darlington spent less time watching "Neighbours" and telling the country what to watch on television and knew more about education, he would be more useful in his capacity.

Not only the Labour party objects to grant-maintained schools and the principle of them. The Times objects. In an editorial it referred to the evils of opt-out. Conservative Members have referred to local councillors. Let me remind them of the case of Joan Bryant. She might be known to some Conservative Members. She was the former Conservative chairman of Bromley education committee. She resigned from that position for one simple reason. She objected to opt-out and, in language that could have come from the Labour party—she was right to use that language —she said that opt-out was wasteful and divisive.

Not only the Labour party but The Times, many other sectors and Conservative education spokespersons on local authorities object to opting out. We have made it clear that a future Labour Government will seek parliamentary powers to return opted-out schools to local authority provision. We shall denationalise the schools. We shall return them truly to the parents, under local management of schools. There will be no vendetta against the schools. No teachers will be sacked. But we shall return the schools to the LEAs, because we believe that all our children should have an equal right to educational opportunity.

From the debates of the past few weeks on not only education but health and every other issue, it has been clear that we have ambition for the public sector. We have ambition for the education of all our children, not just for a fortunate few. It is for that reason that we shall abolish the principle of grant-maintained schools. We shall raise standards for all our children in all our schools and we shall give to parents the right to equal opportunity in our education system. We shall end the principle of opt-out, and for that reason, we shall vote against the regulations.

10.31 pm
The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Mr. Tim Eggar)

The last time the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett) was at the Dispatch Box, he spent 25 minutes obfuscating the Labour party's position on the teachers' pay review body. At least tonight we had a clear explanation, about which we shall make sure that parents throughout the country learn. The Labour party is determined to destroy choice for parents, to destroy good schools and to undermine the democratic wishes of parents' as expressed in the ballot boxes, to have grant-maintained schools.

Tonight we heard the echo of old-fashioned socialist orthodoxies. Parents should be seen and not heard. The nanny state and nanny LEAs know the answer. I am not surprised that the Opposition decided to pray against the regulations. The one thing that we know about the Opposition's education policies is what they are against. They are against diversity. They are against choice. They are against opportunity. They are against grant-maintained schools. They are against the technology schools. They are against grammar schools. They are against the assisted places scheme. They are against looking to the future. They are in favour of looking back to the drab uniformity that they imposed on Britain in the late 1970s.

Mr. Richard Tracey (Surbiton)

Is my hon. Friend aware of a little problem that the Labour party has—that in Islwyn, the constituency of the Leader of the Opposition, Cwm Carn comprehensive school has successfully become grant-maintained? Apparently that has been welcomed by Labour members of the governing body.

Mr. Eggar

Indeed, I understand that the campaign for opting out was led by a Labour councillor, just as the campaign for Stratford school in Newham to opt out was led by a Bromley Labour councillor. That is what the grass roots of the Labour party supports. When people see the needs of their local schools they are among the leaders of the campaign for opt-out status. Opposition Members of Parliament are simply out of touch.

Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-West)

The Minister knows that that particular Labour councillor wanted to become a teacher at the school that he was trying to persuade to opt out and was even trying to turn it into a Muslim school, so he should not try to mislead the House.

Mr. Eggar

That is an interesting example of brotherly love within the democratic Labour party. I know that the hon. Gentleman does not like Councillor Singh or the fact that the parents of children at Stratford school voted to opt out. Those parents rejected the outright intimidation by Newham local education authority.

Mr. Scivetti, a parent at Stratford school, said in a letter: The children once isolated are then questioned before the class to give their reasons for wanting to stay in a school with no future. As a parent of one of the children treated in this way, I find this intolerable. I look to the hon. Gentleman for Newham, North-West, in whose constituency that happened, to condemn such activities, which were promoted by Newham LEA and supported by teachers within the school. Mr. Scivetti's letter continued: Those particularly vulnerable under this onslaught are the parents from the large ethnic communities who have great respect for authority and do not want trouble. The hon. Gentleman should support Stratford as a grant-maintained school, just as I presume he supports the other schools in his constituency.

Mr. Tony Banks

I do not support Stratford as a grant-maintained school, and the Minister knows why. The only reason why Stratford opted out was that it was due for closure. The Minister's cheap Tory dogma led that school to get grant-maintained status. It had nothing whatsoever to do with educational standards.

Mr. Eggar

The hon. Gentleman is much more at home as the House of Commons jester than showing synthetic indignation on behalf of Newham LEA.

Mr. Robert B. Jones

It was not synthetic indignation but indignation at the fact that people can vote to determine their children's future. That is what the hon. Gentleman does not like. Why did he not take the opportunity, while he was on his feet, to condemn the fact that the Labour-controlled council in Avon even denied a bus pass to an 11-year-old girl because whe went to a grant-maintained school?

Mr. Banks

I do not represent Avon.

Mr. Eggar

The Labour party is also making direct threats against teachers at grant-maintained schools. Stephen Byers, leader of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities and a Labour parliamentary candidate, directly threatened teachers at GM schools when he said that LEAs will be extremely reluctant to employ people, especially head teachers and deputies, who have already embraced … opting out. So much for Labour caring about teachers' careers and their conditions of service.

Mr. Harry Greenway (Ealing, North)

Is my hon. Friend aware that the children of the Leader of the Opposition went to a school in my constituency? I know that he thinks highly of that school, but it has voted by a large majority to opt out.

Mr. Eggar

There are examples all around the country of parents getting together with governors, teachers and headmasters, and deciding that the way forward for their schools and children is by taking grant-maintained status. The school in Ealing is just one example of many.

Mr. Fatchett

A few moments ago, the Minister said that the Labour party's policy was to operate a vendetta against teachers in grant-maintained schools. I made it abundantly clear in the final part of my speech that there would be no vendetta against those involved in grant-maintained schools. We have said that before.

The Minister referred to Stephen Byers, chairman of the AMA education committee. If the hon. Member did not rely just on the Daily Mail for his news coverage, he would find that I spoke on the same platform at that conference. Within five minutes of Stephen Byers finishing his speech, I made it abundantly clear, and it was reported in the newspapers, that the official Labour party policy, not the AMA policy, is that there will be no vendetta against the children and teachers in those schools. It ill behoves the Minister to go round peddling those lies time after time. It is about time that the Minister started to tell the truth and make the record clear.

Mr. Eggar

I am sorry that Peter Mandelson did not get the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett) and Mr. Byers together. Neither the hon. Member for Leeds, Central nor Mr. Byers has denied that Stephen Byers made that statement, and Mr. Byers has not withdrawn it. The Labour party is committed to withdrawing the right of parents to vote freely for their school to opt out. What is more, the Labour party is determined to destroy the GM schools that have decided to opt out and return them to their former status without any democratic vote.

I said that a large number of schools—2,000—had expressed serious interest in grant-maintained status. There are now 62 grant-maintained schools in operation. We have approved 77 applications, while 45 more proposals for GM status have been published and will reach Ministers for decision shortly. Some 24 more proposals are awaited following parental ballots in favour of seeking grant-maintained status and 75 schools are committed to holding ballots in the next few weeks. In the past six months, the total number of schools to vote in favour of GM status has doubled from 80 in November 1990 to 160 now.

Mr. Thurnham

The Labour party says there are to be no vendettas but is my hon. Friend aware that Councillor Hardman, who was expelled from the Labour party, was re-elected as an independent Labour councillor on 2 May? Does that not show that people want schools to have the freedom to choose and not to be subject to the dogma and ideology of the Labour party?

Mr. Eggar

Of course, people want to be able to choose the future for their schools and children. That is why we have such overwhelming support for GM status, and why those schools with GM status have been so successful—they have the support of parents and children.

Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

The Minister heard my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett) give massive amounts of data about the bribing that is going on to get schools to opt out as opposed to remaining in the state sector by offering vast amounts of money per child. Why does not the Minister answer the accusation, which all hon. Members know is true, that many of the schools which opted out—only 1 per cent. did so—were due for closure and decided to opt out so that they could remain open when otherwise they would not have had enough pupils to do so.

Mr. Eggar

As ever, the hon. Gentleman is out of date. A small minority of schools that now have GM status faced section 12 or section 13 closure notices at the same time, but many of them have been remarkably successful and have enjoyed a huge increase in the number of pupils applying to attend them.

The hon. Member for Leeds, Central discussed whether there are financial advantages in schools becoming grant-maintained. There are. The schools spend in the schools the money that was previously spent on their behalf by the LEAs—and they spend it as they choose to. The orders, to which the hon. Gentleman did not once refer, stipulate a 16 per cent. add-on for GM schools. That 16 per cent. comes from the contribution that the LEAs would otherwise make to the funding of such schools centrally. Many parents who vote for GM status do so because they believe that the schools will spend the money better than the LEAs—

Mr. Fatchett

Will the Minister now respond to the parliamentary questions that I have tabled and explain how the 16 per cent. figure was arrived at? The average figure for LEAs with opt-out schools was 14 per cent. Will the 16 per cent. last for another two years, since the Government appear to be proposing to cut the delegated budget further? The 16 per cent. figure bears no relation to economic reality; the Government plucked it out of the air, so as to put more money into GM schools.

Mr. Eggar

As usual, the hon. Gentleman has not done his homework. He is not comparing like with like. He knows perfectly well that the 16 per cent. standard figure for the central annual maintenance grant element is based on the average for the GM sector in the 1990–91 financial year. We shall look at that in the light of experience with a view to starting in January 1993—

Mr. Anthony Coombs (Wyre Forest)

The debate should go no further without our challenging the empty rhetoric of the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett), who says that the Labour party is in no way vindictive to the children who attend GM schools. The fact is that the Labour party gives support to councils such as Birmingham, which will not even allow the pupils of the opted-out school in Small Heath to use the city's libraries, or the pupils of Baverstock school to use the school swimming pools; and to the Labour council of Tameside, which prevented a young boy from representing the under-15 Tameside cricket team because he happened to go to an opt-out school.

Mr. Eggar

That is the true face of the Labour party. It ignores the democratically expressed wishes of the parents—[ Interruption.] What is worse, Opposition Members are laughing about it. They admit that they have no control over Stephen Byers, the Labour leader of the AMA, but we would expect them to have some control over Labour-led councils. Not a bit of it. They do not disown such councils: they condone their activities, as my hon. Friend says.

Mrs. Maureen Hicks (Wolverhampton, North-East)

Will my hon. Friend join me in praising the good sense of the parents of Wolverhampton who only last week persevered, through him, to achieve opt-out status for Moseley school? I am afraid to say that the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-East (Mr. Turner) is not in his place to praise those parents. Despite blatant political intimidation by the local Labour council, they persevered and exercised their choice in the interests of their pupils.

Mr. Eggar

A remarkable feature of the debate is that there are more Labour Front-Bench spokesmen than there are Labour Back-Benchers. The reason is that Labour Members, with the exception of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker), are frightened to turn up because they know about the popularity of grant-maintained status and do not want to be seen to oppose parents' rights to opt out.

Mr. Jack Straw (Blackburn)

I am grateful to the Minister for giving me the opportunity to explain the whereabouts of my colleagues. They are in Monmouth, and we understand why Conservative Members are so frightened to go there.

Mr. Eggar

Many parents with children at grant-maintained schools, and many schools thinking about grant-maintained status will notice the absence of their Members of Parliament and will wonder why they remained silent.

Mr. Straw

It is late.

Mr. Eggar

Are Labour Members now part-timers who do not bother to work beyond half-past seven? That will also have to be drawn to the attention of the constituents of Opposition Members. That remark by the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) was a real gaffe.

Mr. Rupert Allason (Torbay)

Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Eggar

Yes, for the last time.

Mr. Allason

Bearing in mind the fact that it is Labour's official policy to return all grant-maintained schools to the control of local authorities, what advice would my hon. Friend give to parents, headmasters, schools and school governors who are contemplating an application for grant-maintained status?

Mr. Eggar

I would say two things: first, vote Conservative and, secondly, at the next election campaign put Labour candidates on the spot. Ask the candidates, preferably at meetings in schools, to set out their policy and say whether they agree with official Labour policy. If they agree with that policy, the news can be circulated to all parents in the schools that Labour and its candidates intend to destroy the schools that parents have worked so hard to support and build up.

I am delighted at the result of the debate, because it has shown yet again that Labour is stuck in a time warp. The real world is moving on. The Opposition may not trust parents, but the parents and children of this country can be sure that we trust them to decide the best education for their children.

10.52 pm
Mr. Matthew Taylor (Truro)

One of the people who work for us here has told me that his street has been cabled and that people there receive 24-hour coverage of our proceedings. I am not convinced that people watching this debate—there may be one or two—will think that it reflects much credit on the House or has been of much advantage to parents who are concerned about the education of their children.

Much heat has been generated, but little reference has been made to the detail of the regulations that we are here to debate. There has been no real attempt to address the position of the 99 per cent. of schools that have not opted out, or to try to solve the problems in schools that have not been given the financial advantages of grant-maintained status.

If the Government could promise every school the financial backing that they are giving to grant-maintained schools, many of education's problems could be solved, but it is clear from Government budgets that they have no intention of doing so. They cannot expect every school to opt out, because they have not applied the financial muscle that would allow that to happen.

That is why hon. Members, at least those on the Opposition Benches, talk about the creation of a two-tier system. The policy is clearly designed around a small, financially enhanced sector of grant-maintained schools as opposed to the large majority of local education authority schools that do not have that financial backing.

The evidence of the differential in finances between the two is clear. The figure has already been given tonight. Any hon. Member who doubts it can easily look it up. There is nothing suspect about it. It is clear and factual and can be found in answers to questions asked in this place.

I draw hon. Members' attention to that because we must address ways of generating support and enhanced education in 100 per cent. of our schools, not in 1 per cent. That should be the main agenda which we debate rather than generating the kind of heat that we have seen tonight over a tiny minority.

The regulations take forward yet another step that differential in funding. But they do so in a rather peculiar and arbitrary manner, of which I am not sure that Conservative Members are aware. It should be a matter of concern to them because—

Mr. Kenneth Hind (Lancashire, West)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Taylor

Let me elaborate this point and then I shall be happy to give way.

When the legislation was introduced we were told that grant-maintained schools would not receive more money than neighbouring LEA schools. But quite apart from the argument about the current situation, we find that the regulations introduced tonight achieve precisely that. Schools in LEAs which hold less than 16 per cent. of the schools's budget centrally—there are at least 34 on the figures of the Department of Education and Science—will now be given an additional incentive to opt out because they will end up with more money than schools remaining with the LEA, simply because of the averaging process that the regulations introduce.

That is an incentive that may prove impossible to ignore when schools are so badly underfunded. Nobody can be surprised at or criticise a school governing body which looks at the financial incentives that are on offer and finds it hard, however much they may disagree with the principle, to argue to parents that the school should reject the financial opportunities that are being offered because of an ideological or teaching objection. They may believe that that is not the right way to go, but for the sake of the children in the school, a few may decide that they must take the bribe which the Government said that they would not offer, but which in practice they do offer.

It is in those LEAs that delegate most to their schools that there is the greatest financial bribe to opt out. In other words, the schools in what in the Government's terms in one respect are the best LEAs are being paid to opt out from that LEA.

That may affect some Conservative Members because, by contrast, a school in an LEA which does not decentralise its budget and delegate to the average level that is used in these figures, will be financially penalised for opting out. Those schools in the LEAs which in the Government's terms least accept the Government's policies and are behaving most badly in the Government's terms will face a financial penalty if they opt out of the LEA. What an extraordinary measure to be introducing tonight.

I came here tonight assuming that that would be the main feature of the debate. It seemed reasonable. It is a rather extraordinary thing for Ministers to be proposing even within their own terms. It has not yet been debated in any detail. It was mentioned in passing in a question, but that was it. Yet that is the reality of the regulations that Conservative Members will march through the Lobby and support.

Perhaps all the Conservative Members sitting opposite represent the 34 local authorities that go above average in delegation of finances to schools. So they may be arguing and voting for those schools in their areas to have that advantage—that would perhaps be understandable. However, it would seem extraordinary if, as I would imagine, at least some of those Conservative Members are going to vote tonight to penalise schools for opting out —a policy which I do not agree with. We have heard them arguing throughout the evening that they agree with it, yet they will be voting for a financial penalty on it.

The regulations should be rejected by Opposition Members because we disagree with the principle, and by Conservative Members because they would be voting for something which will work counter-productive to the very thing that they are arguing for.

Mr. Hind

Are we to understand from what the hon. Gentleman has said that he is doing what local authorities such as Lancashire are doing—everything they possibly can to discourage schools and parents from choosing grant-maintained status? Setting aside the arguments about cost, which he has put forcefully and which Conservative Members do not agree with, would the Liberal Democrats refuse parents the choice of grant-maintained schools?

Mr. Taylor

The answer to that is clear, and we make no pretence about it—we do not believe in the principle of grant-maintained schools and we would not have them. In a moment, I shall elaborate what we would do, which may be helpful to the debate.

Mr. Michael Colvin (Romsey and Waterside)

Would the hon. Gentleman advise me what I might tell parents with children at the Hardley school in the constituency —a school of about 680 pupils—who have voted for grant-maintained status and the majority of whom have just voted SLD in the local government elections? There is also an SLD county councillor and I congratulate the SLD candidates on winning. Would the hon. Gentleman tell me, in words that they would understand, precisely what is the SLD policy on grant-maintained status, and what I should tell parents of children at the Hardley school, which was the first to take grant-maintained status in Hampshire?

Mr. Taylor

Among other things, the hon. Gentleman should tell them that they will shortly have a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament to add to the county and district councillors, but I do not know the details of the area. I certainly hope that that is the way things are going —from what the hon. Gentleman has said, that appears to be the case.

I shall elaborate on how we should be approaching this matter. We should not be in the business—as the Government have been—of nationalising the control of schools. Bringing ministerial control over schools does not seem to be to introduce greater diversity. Neither should we be in the business of creating a two-tier system of education, with some schools financially rewarded, but most continuing to go without.

By bringing schools within the local education authorities, we should be saying that the LEA's role is not to dictate to schools how they should operate, or to control them, but to be enablers and to ensure that special needs education provision is available, that quality is of the best sort and that a school place is available to every child.

The control of education—the form in which it is delivered and its growth—should be achieved through the school.

Mr. Barry Field (Isle of Wight)


Mr. Taylor

I shall give way in a moment.

That is why we seek to set every school free, not a few or just I per cent.—and to give every school greater independence within the LEA. That policy maximises diversity and choice and maximises local rather than national control. It ensures a policy that is directed at 100 per cent. of our children rather than one that is directed at just 1 per cent. of our children.

Mr. Field

Can the hon. Gentleman explain why the only Liberal Democrat-controlled local education authority in the shire counties—the Isle of Wight county council —sacked a number of school governors after the Liberal Democrats won the last election? If that is not dictatorship, what is it?

Mr. Taylor

It is gratifying to respond to a number of hon. Members who will be replaced by Liberal Democrat Members of Parliament at the general election. The answer is contained in a letter that I recently received from one of the Education Ministers. He levelled criticism at both Labour and Conservative authorities that choose to appoint only governors from the ruling political party, whether Conservative or Labour. The only party that is prepared in every area of the country to argue that governing bodies should reflect the plurality of views in the community is the Liberal Democrats. That was made absolutely clear in the letter that I received from the Minister. It clearly picks out both Labour and Conservative councillors for doing exactly the opposite. It rightly criticised them for doing so.

I have put forward clear reasons for opposing the draft regulations, whether one is for or against grant-maintained schools. The policy that the Minister has set out, upon which he has made no comment, penalises those schools that opt out in local authorities that do least to delegate to schools, and helps those schools to opt out in local authorities that do the most to delegate to schools. What an extraordinary policy to pursue. It will not go unremarked among those who are struggling in areas where local education authorities do not delegate to schools that Conservative Members wish to penalise those who support grant-maintained schools and want to pursue that option.

11.7 pm

Mr. James Pawsey (Rugby and Kenilworth)

I listened with interest to the two Opposition speeches, particularly to that of the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett). Let me give both the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues a word of warning. They make exactly the same mistake with grant-maintained schools as they did with the sale of council houses. The Opposition will be forced to change their policy and to adopt the policy that is advocated by this side.

The only point to come out of the speech of the hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Taylor) was that we now know where the Liberal party apparently stands. It opposes the concept of grant-maintained schools. That is the signal that this House should send out to the country—that if grant-maintained schools are here to stay, it will only be because of the work of Conservative Members.

Grant-maintained schools receive funding direct from the Department of Education and Science without losing the 15 per cent. that is creamed off by local education authorities. That point was made by the Minister. That 15 per cent. will go to schools. I am convinced that schools know best how to spend their own allocation of money without the intervention of the bureaucrats or administrators at shire hall or elsewhere. That is the reason why local management of schools is proving to be so successful. Grant-maintained status takes that a stage further. In the main, parents know best what is right for their children and, equally, most schools know best what is right for their pupils. I therefore welcome the greater freedom that grant-maintained schools enjoy. I regret the attitude adopted by some local education authorities whose intention is to make the path of grant-maintained status more difficult than the House intended when it passed the Education Reform Act 1988.

Mr. Christopher Gill (Ludlow)

Is my hon. Friend aware of the leaflet issued by the director of education of the metropolitan borough of Dudley, in which he says: Essentially the local authority believes that grant-maintained schools should be isolated"? He goes on: In particular, the local authority would insist that all officers/advisers … do not co-operate in whole or in part with grant-maintained schools on, among other things, access to bulk purchase agreements". How small-minded can one be? Surely that is cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.

Mr. Pawsey

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point.

I should like to give an example from my local education authority of the unhelpful attitude being adopted. I want to quote briefly from a letter produced by Warwickshire county council addressed to all head teachers and chairmen of governing bodies.

I have to say, in all fairness, that the letter makes it clear that for many schools the short-term financial benefits associated with opting out are considerable. The only query I have about that statement is the insertion of "short-term". The benefit are indeed considerable.

The leaflet also says that the education committee decided in April this year to delay any planned capital works in a school where a parental ballot is being held so that if a 'yes' vote results, LEA schools may be more fully supported. I believe that decision to be unfair, unjust and totally unwarranted. The parents of children at schools considering grant-maintained status have paid through their community charge and through their taxes for the upkeep of those schools. Therefore, they should be supported by the LEA until the school becomes grant-maintained. To do otherwise is inequitable and disregards the contributions made by parents over the years.

Warwickshire is not alone. I am obliged to my hon. Friend the Member for Ludlow (Mr. Gill) for his comments about Dudley. Clearly, the chief education officer of Dudley believes that the LEA is privileged and that only the LEA is capable of delivering good education to the nation's children. I have news for both that chief education officer and for Opposition Members: grant-maintained schools are here to stay because parents want them. If the Labour party, which has made so much of ballots in other connections, intends to ignore the wishes of parents—[AN HON. MEMBER: "And Liberals."] I am obliged to my hon. Friend for that comment. If the Labour party and the Liberals, too, choose to ignore the expressed wishes of parents, they do so at their peril.

I should like briefly to touch on a telling point made earlier by my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, West (Mr. Jones) about a question during Prime Minister's Questions yesterday. The Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition said: Does the Prime Minister recall saying, just last Friday, that he trusts the people? Why does he not trust the people enough to allow them to vote democratically on whether they want their local hospitals to opt out? What is he afraid of? Why is he always running away from the ballot box?"—[Official Report, 14 May 1991; Vol. 191, c. 148.] Let me tell Opposition Members that on grant-maintained schools they are running away with the ballot box. If they have confidence in what they are doing, let the people decide.

Mr. Robert B. Jones

While my hon. Friend is on the subject of the two-tier Labour policy approach, has he noticed that Labour and Liberal Members often support the United Nations when they want, but they do not support the United Nations declaration on human rights which says that parents have a prior right to the choice of their children's education? Opposition Members believe that bureaucrats and politicians have the prior right. That is where they are inconsistent, and it is why parents will reject them.

Mr. Pawsey

I thank my hon. Friend for that helpful intervention.

I remind the House that grant-maintained schools are created as a direct result of parental commitment. They are what parents want, as distinct from what some educationists and chief education officers think they want. Grant-maintained status comes about only as a result of a free vote of parents expressed through a ballot.

Mrs. Maureen Hicks

Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Pawsey

No, my hon. Friend must forgive me if I continue.

With the benefit of funding set out and confirmed by this statutory instrument, grant-maintained schools will be one of the engines for educational changes. I say in parenthesis that the benefits that accrue to grant-maintained schools are not merely financial. The greatest benefit to grant-maintained schools is the independence that they enjoy. The apron strings that secure them to the local education authority are cut. That was the point made by the chief education officer in Dudley.

In their usual vindictive and spiteful fashion and in their unceasing drive for greyness and uniformity, the Opposition have become the party of the new abolitionists. They will abolish grant-maintained schools, they will abolish grammar schools, they will abolish city technology colleges and they will abolish the assisted places scheme. They seek to abolish even the tax concessions that enable independent schools to survive. The reason is the same in each case—they believe that such schools are a threat to the established order of the neighbourhood comprehensive. The Labour party has become as fossilised in its beliefs as the dinosaurs, and it will go the same way.

11.16 pm
Mr. Jeff Rooker (Birmingham, Perry Barr)

I came tonight to listen and had not intended to speak, but the Minister questioned why I was here. The reason why I —a Front Bencher who speaks on other policies—came to listen was simple.

Leaving aside the rhetoric and hot air that we have heard, I represent a constituency that contains the largest opt-out school. It has 2,000 pupils and, to the best of my knowledge, no other school as large as Great Barr has opted out. The ballot was hotly contested and the staff voted against opting out. I speak from memory without the benefit of the files, but I believe that the turnout was about 60 or 61 per cent., which I thought deplorable. I was ashamed that about 39 per cent. of my constituents did not vote on such an important issue. The decision to opt out succeeded by only about 60 votes. Thirty-one per cent. of the parents carried that decision. I emphasise that it was 31 per cent. of parents with children at the school, not the parents with children at the dozen or so feeder schools.

That deals, by the way, with a point made about the health service. If there were ballots in the health service, it would not be only the patients in the hospital at the time of the ballot who voted, but the community. The same argument applies to schools—those who vote should not be merely the parents who have children in a school in a snapshot in time. If the decision to opt out in a school that has 2,000 pupils and is probably the second or third largest secondary school in England can be carried by 31 per cent. of the vote, it sets a high-risk strategy for the future.

I fear for the future of Great Barr school. I attended it when it was a traditional secondary modern. It holds Jeff Rooker's Hansard library—all the bound copies of Hansard that I have received are there. Even when a fire raiser burned down the library last year, Her Majesty's Stationery Office and the insurance company replaced the copies which will continue to go there as that is where they have always gone. I do not draw any distinctions. I am dealing with my constituents, the children of my constituents and the school, and there should be no difference in the way that one represents and takes an interest in them. I am worried, however, because such a momentous decision was taken by only 31 per cent. of the parents. That is dangerous.

The Conservative parliamentary candidate for my constituency did not speak in favour of the opt-out when the struggle took place last year. There was complete silence on that front. I have no doubt that he holds views that he has decided not to express.

The opt-out did not follow the threat of closure—I am talking of one of the most successful schools in Birmingham. Indeed, I would argue that it is the most successful in the city. Its pupils went to every university and polytechnic in the country before it was confronted with the decision whether to opt out. Leaving aside difficulties with the fabric, the school was immensely successful. It was money alone that dictated the decision to opt out. There is a massive budget of millions of pounds, and there was a straight half a million on the line initially. What group of governors will pass up about £500,000? The governors knew that at the end of the day the money would come from other schools. That touched the consciences of some of them, but the general feeling was, "We put our school first. It is someone else's job to put his school first." I drew the issue to the attention of the governors and I received no reply.

Mr. Nigel Spearing (Newham, South)

Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Rooker

I ask my hon. Friend to forgive me for not giving way. I wish to speak for only a few more minutes.

I am sorry that the hon. Member for Wyre Forest (Mr. Coombs) has left the Chamber. I venture to suggest that he left when he saw me seeking to participate in the debate. I have a question for the hon. Gentleman. I think that I am the only Labour Member who has a Tory Member chairing the governing body of a secondary school in his constituency. I should explain that it is not the school to which I have been referring. It is, of course, a school that is some way from Wyre Forest. What has the hon. Gentleman done to get the governing body that he chairs to take advantage of the great opt-out scheme? As I said, the hon. Gentleman is not in his place. At some stage, I should like an answer to my question. The hon. Gentleman skirted the issue this evening.

During the next general election I shall fight to bring all schools within the same service, with the maximum devolution and delegation of management power to their heads. I do not want the dead hand of bureaucracy to bear down on our schools any more than is necessary. In other words, I want an education service. I do not want groups of schools competing and vying with one another in an effort to do down their competitors so that they can secure more money, thereby damaging pupils and education prospects in other schools. I am not prepared to put up with that. I make no bones about it, I want the opted-out schools brought back within the education service. They are presently outwith it, and that is not good for the future.

The vital ballot will be the general election. The people will make the decision. It will not be left to the parents or the staff of the school. Instead, the issue will be decided by the widest possible spread of the community.

I have referred to Great Barr school, and the hon. Member for Wyre Forest chairs the board of governors of Perry Common school. There are two other relevant schools in the constituency of my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell), and the hon. Member for Wyre Forest referred to them. They were the first two to opt out.

The payroll machinery for Great Barr school has been operated by the treasurer's department of Birmingham city council because it put in a bid to do the work; but let us get rid of the canard that the city council does not want anything to do with the schools that have opted out. The bid was accepted gladly by the head, who said that he was more than happy to accept it. As a result of a quirk in the law that applies to the provision of school meals, the school has been prevented from servicing the local junior school, which is on the same site. That is stupid. Now school meals are to be bussed in from another school miles away. That is absolutely barmy. In some ways I see it as a disservice to my constituents. [Interruption.] If the Minister can tell me that there will be an end to that nonsense, I shall certainly give way.

Mr. Eggar

Unfortunately, the Birmingham authority is one of only three or four Labour local authorities that have decided to provide services to grant-maintained schools. It is a very welcome decision. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman should have a word with his hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) and suggest that Newham adopt exactly the same policy as Birmingham.

Mr. Rooker

I am glad that I have got my point across. The local authority won the teachers' ballot. It is free to provide the services. I argue that every authority in this county could learn from Birmingham. I have made my point about the schools and about the actions of the city. The school to which I have referred is a large one, and opting out is a high-risk strategy when it is based on a vote of only 31 per cent. of parents. That worries me deeply.

11.25 pm
Mr. George Walden (Buckingham)

Some hon. Members have said that these regulations represent a bribe. I hope that they will prove to be an inducement. Consider the local authority forces—legitimate and less legitimate—that opting-out schools are up against. It seems that anything that can be done to smooth the path of the electorate towards choosing to opt out—having a fair choice, and having that choice implemented quickly —will be a good thing. The main feature of these regulations is that they will introduce clarity about a school's financial position, and will speed up the process of opting out. I hope that that in itself will act as an inducement to go along this very difficult path. We are talking about a David and Goliath syndrome.

The hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) ventured on to extremely dangerous ground when he talked about electoral turnout. The education authority for the constituency of the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) is Lancashire county council. At the last election, the turnout in the hon. Gentleman's constituency was 38.2 per cent.[Interruption.] Yes, the last council election. In this country, it is councils that run education policy. [AN HON. MEMBER: "Blackburn does not."] Lancashire does. I am making this point with reference to the constituency of the hon. Member for Perry Barr. The figure for that constituency was 38.2 per cent., and for Lancashire it was 40 per cent.

On the basis of such figures, county councils have enormous power. They dictate policy and they persecute individual opting-out schools.

Mr. Flannery

Come on.

Mr. Walden

The hon. Gentleman need not say, "Come on." We have been given many examples.

When the hon. Member for Perry Barr laments the 60 per cent. turnout in the vote in respect of his school, he should ask himself what kind of democracy we have in education at present. Very often, the turnout is below 50 per cent. In the case of Lancashire county council, it is 40 per cent. and in the case of Blackburn, 38.2 per cent. If we are to talk about democracy, let us get it right. At present, we have a totally undemocratic system of education administration, if only because the turnout in local elections is the lowest in Europe, whereas the power of local education bureaucracies is among the highest in Europe.

What the Opposition have given us tonight is totally disingenuous, whereas what the Government are giving us is common sense, good sense and principled sense. The hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett), in his opening remarks, made a very interesting slip of the tongue. He said, "We are going to abolish the principle of opting out." Those were his words. People do not abolish principles; principles exist, and they remain, and the principle of choice will remain. Choice is not dogma; it is uniformity that is dogma, as we have seen in eastern Europe. I give the Opposition full marks for their consistency. They not only want to introduce uniformity in the organisation of our schools, and to abolish grant-maintained schools—

It being half-past Eleven o'clock, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Order [10 May].

The House divided: Ayes 118, Noes 262.

Division No. 145] [11.30 pm
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley, N.) Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)
Allen, Graham Campbell-Savours, D. N.
Armstrong, Hilary Clark, Dr David (S Shields)
Ashton, Joe Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Cohen, Harry
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Corbyn, Jeremy
Battle, John Cox, Tom
Beckett, Margaret Cryer, Bob
Beith, A. J. Cummings, John
Bellotti, David Cunliffe, Lawrence
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Cunningham, Dr John
Boateng, Paul Darling, Alistair
Boyes, Roland Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Dewar, Donald
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Dixon, Don
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Doran, Frank
Buckley, George J. Dunnachie, Jimmy
Caborn, Richard Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth
Callaghan, Jim Eastham, Ken
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Fatchett, Derek
Fearn, Ronald Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Flannery, Martin Martlew, Eric
Foster, Derek Maxton, John
Fyfe, Maria Meale, Alan
Galloway, George Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
George, Bruce Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Godman, Dr Norman A. Mullin, Chris
Golding, Mrs Llin Nellist, Dave
Gordon, Mildred O'Brien, William
Graham, Thomas Patchett, Terry
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Pendry, Tom
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Pike, Peter L.
Haynes, Frank Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Heal, Mrs Sylvia Primarolo, Dawn
Hinchliffe, David Quin, Ms Joyce
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Richardson, Jo
Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath) Robertson, George
Howells, Geraint Rooker, Jeff
Hoyle, Doug Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Ruddock, Joan
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Skinner, Dennis
Illsley, Eric Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Kirkwood, Archy Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Lambie, David Soley, Clive
Lamond, James Spearing, Nigel
Lewis, Terry Steinberg, Gerry
Livsey, Richard Straw, Jack
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Loyden, Eddie Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
McAllion, John Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
McAvoy, Thomas Vaz, Keith
Macdonald, Calum A. Wallace, James
McKelvey, William Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
McLeish, Henry Winnick, David
McMaster, Gordon Wise, Mrs Audrey
McNamara, Kevin Worthington, Tony
McWilliam, John Wray, Jimmy
Madden, Max
Mahon, Mrs Alice Tellers for the Ayes:
Marek, Dr John Mr. Allen McKay and Mr. Robert Wareing.
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Adley, Robert Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)
Aitken, Jonathan Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick
Alexander, Richard Buck, Sir Antony
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Budgen, Nicholas
Allason, Rupert Burns, Simon
Amess, David Burt, Alistair
Amos, Alan Butler, Chris
Arbuthnot, James Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Carrington, Matthew
Ashby, David Carttiss, Michael
Aspinwall, Jack Cash, William
Atkins, Robert Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Channon, Rt Hon Paul
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Chapman, Sydney
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Chope, Christopher
Beggs, Roy Colvin, Michael
Bellingham, Henry Conway, Derek
Bendall, Vivian Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Benyon, W. Cope, Rt Hon John
Bevan, David Gilroy Cran, James
Biffen, Rt Hon John Currie, Mrs Edwina
Blackburn, Dr John G. Curry, David
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Davis, David (Boothferry)
Boscawen, Hon Robert Day, Stephen
Boswell, Tim Dickens, Geoffrey
Bottomley, Peter Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Dover, Den
Bowden, A. (Brighton K'pto'n) Dunn, Bob
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Durant, Sir Anthony
Bowis, John Eggar, Tim
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Evennett, David
Brazier, Julian Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Fallon, Michael
Browne, John (Winchester) Favell, Tony
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey Hunter, Andrew
Fishburn, John Dudley Irvine, Michael
Fookes, Dame Janet Jack, Michael
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Janman, Tim
Forth, Eric Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Fox, Sir Marcus Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Franks, Cecil Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
French, Douglas Key, Robert
Fry, Peter King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Gale, Roger Kirkhope, Timothy
Gardiner, Sir George Knapman, Roger
Gill, Christopher Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Glyn, Dr Sir Alan Knowles, Michael
Goodhart, Sir Philip Knox, David
Goodlad, Alastair Latham, Michael
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Lee, John (Pendle)
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Gorst, John Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Gregory, Conal Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E') Lord, Michael
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Luce, Rt Hon Sir Richard
Ground, Patrick Macfarlane, Sir Neil
Grylls, Michael MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Hague, William Maclean, David
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) McLoughlin, Patrick
Hampson, Dr Keith McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael
Hanley, Jeremy McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Hannam, John Malins, Humfrey
Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr') Mans, Keith
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn) Maples, John
Haselhurst, Alan Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)
Hawkins, Christopher Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Hayes, Jerry Mates, Michael
Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney Maude, Hon Francis
Hayward, Robert Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Heathcoat-Amory, David Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE) Meyer, Sir Anthony
Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE) Miller, Sir Hal
Hill, James Mills, Iain
Hind, Kenneth Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Mitchell, Sir David
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Moate, Roger
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Monro, Sir Hector
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Hunt, Rt Hon David Moore, Rt Hon John
Morris, M (N'hampton S) Steen, Anthony
Morrison, Sir Charles Stern, Michael
Moss, Malcolm Stevens, Lewis
Neubert, Sir Michael Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Nicholls, Patrick Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Sumberg, David
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Summerson, Hugo
Norris, Steve Tapsell, Sir Peter
Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Oppenheim, Phillip Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Page, Richard Temple-Morris, Peter
Paice, James Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Patnick, Irvine Thornton, Malcolm
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Thurnham, Peter
Pawsey, James Townend, John (Bridlington)
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Porter, David (Waveney) Tracey, Richard
Powell, William (Corby) Tredinnick, David
Price, Sir David Trippier, David
Raffan, Keith Twinn, Dr Ian
Raison, Rt Hon Sir Timothy Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Rathbone, Tim Viggers, Peter
Redwood, John Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Rhodes James, Robert Walden, George
Riddick, Graham Walker, Bill (Tside North)
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Waller, Gary
Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm Walters, Sir Dennis
Roberts, Sir Wyn (Conwy) Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Ross, William (Londonderry E) Warren, Kenneth
Rossi, Sir Hugh Watts, John
Rumbold, Rt Hon Mrs Angela Wells, Bowen
Ryder, Rt Hon Richard Wheeler, Sir John
Sackville, Hon Tom Whitney, Ray
Sainsbury, Hon Tim Widdecombe, Ann
Sayeed, Jonathan Wiggin, Jerry
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Wilkinson, John
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb') Wilshire, David
Shelton, Sir William Winterton, Mrs Ann
Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW) Winterton, Nicholas
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge) Wood, Timothy
Shersby, Michael Woodcock, Dr. Mike
Sims, Roger Yeo, Tim
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick) Younger, Rt Hon George
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Speller, Tony Tellers for the Noes:
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Mr. David Lightbown and Mr. Nicholas Baker.
Stanbrook, Ivor
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John

Question accordingly negatived.