§ 7.—(1) References in this Order to proceedings on consideration or proceedings on Third Reading include references to proceedings at those stages respectively, for on or in consequence of, recommittal.
§ (2) No debate shall be permitted on any Motion to recommit the Bill (whether as a whole or otherwise), and the Speaker shall put forthwith any Question necessary to dispose of the Motion, including the Question on any amendment moved to the Question.
§ I shall speak briefly, for one reason which the House will guess at if it studies closely the content of the timetable motion, and because the House will want to get on quickly with the discussion on the Bill, for which the motion provides.
§ It would be fair to say that the House has had a full opportunity to make itself familiar with the issues involved. The original Private Bill had its Second Reading in the other place as long ago as 23 February 1989. The Lord's Select Committee considered it for 13 sitting days as well as visiting Cardiff. Their Lordships gave the Bill a Third Reading on 12 July 1989. In the Commons, that Bill received a total of twenty-five and a half hours of debate. It was carried over at the end of the 1988–89 Session and given a Second Reading on 19 December 1989. It was carried over again at the end of the 1989–90 Session and, as opposed private business, was considered for sixteen and a half hours, including an all-night sitting. In addition, the Select Committee of this House considered the Bill for 27 sitting days, including three days of evidence-taking in Cardiff.
§ My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales made clear the Government's view that the Cardiff Bay barrage scheme will bring immense benefits to the local economy, and it is well known that it enjoys considerable support in Wales. Accordingly, when consideration of the Bill was adjourned, the Government brought forward the hybrid Bill that is presently before the House.
§ This Bill, which is the same for all practical purposes as the earlier Private Bill, has now had 14 days consideration by the Select Committee, including three days in Cardiff. In the House, it has had a total of twenty-one and a half hours debate. Committee stage took twelve and a half hours. Report stage was adjourned a week ago after five hours 20 minutes, when only the second group of amendments had been reached.
§ I set out all that in detail so that no one—in this House, in Cardiff or anywhere else—can be in any doubt that issues raised by the Bill have received the most thorough and detailed consideration. In the Government's view, the time has come to enable the House to reach a conclusion in an orderly way.
§ The timetable motion before the House therefore provides in paragraph 1 that the remaining stages of the Bill—Report and Third Reading—shall all be completed today, and that that will be achieved by bringing Report stage to an end at 9 pm, followed by Third Reading at 10 Pm.
§ In paragraph 4, the motion contains the usual provisions for questions to be put when those time limits are reached at 9 pm and 10 pm. I draw attention to 891 paragraph 4(c), which specifically ensures that amendments 14, 31, 55, 66 and 64—all of which the Government have made it clear they will accept—can he put as a single question at 9 pm if they have not already been decided by then.
§ I believe that, against the background of the lengthy consideration which the Bill and its predecessor have received, the arrangements in this timetable motion should be very much for the convenience of the House.
§ Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)
Will the Leader of the House come to a different viewpoint? As my hon. Friends who represent Welsh constituencies clearly believe that more time should be given to the Bill—I take their word that it is essential that that should be done—why do not the Government get themselves out of their difficulties by having a continued debate on the Bill next Wednesday? The Government would no doubt be united, however misplaced that unity would be. Bearing in mind how the Government are in total disarray and crisis over what will happen on 4 November, why not use that day to continue the debate on the Bill?
§ Mr. Newton
I think, Madam Deputy Speaker, that you might take it amiss if I were drawn into the discussion that the hon. Gentleman has initiated—
§ Mr. Newton
I have observed the hon. Gentleman for many years in my various capacities, and I have learnt to take with some caution any claims from him of being helpful to the Government. I see no reason to abandon my caution today.
In my judgment, no one can pretend that the issues in and arising from the Bill have not been fully aired. The Bill and its predecessor have now had 62 hum of consideration on the Floor of the House and have been the subject of more than 40 sitting days of examination and evidence taking by the Select Committee. It is now right to make it possible for the House to complete these discussions and to make decisions. I commend the motion to the House.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Janet Fookes)
Order. Before I call the next speaker, I must point out that we are debating the merits or otherwise of the timetable motion, and I hope that Members will not be drawn down the broad path to destruction by seeking to discuss the merits of the Bill itself.
§ 5 pm
§ Mrs. Margaret Beckett (Derby, South)
Despite the words of the Leader of the House, the House is rightly wary—indeed, downright suspicious—of Governments bearing guillotine motions. Today we are being asked to guillotine the rest of the Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill, to curtail further debate and to enforce a timetable on the remaining stages.
It always worries me when I hear that the Government have such intentions. A certain cynicism born of experience does creep in. The Government have, after all, employed the same device more than 50 times since coming to office in 1979. It would be fair to say that the device has most often been employed on matters of considerable national importance. A glance at the record suggests that 892 the Government have guillotined through at least one crucial and often complicated piece of legislation almost every year since 1979.
In 1980, the Government guillotined a housing Bill, in 1981 a transport measure, in 1982 an employment Bill, in 1983 a telecommunications measure, in 1984 a Bill on the rates, in 1985 a local government measure, in 1986 a social security measure, in 1988 the poll tax, in 1989 water privatisation, in 1990 a Bill on community care and in 1991 a local government finance measure—not to mention several Bills last year as the tidying up for the election took place.
Even the most cursory glance at this list of measures that the Government have chosen to guillotine shows that curtailing parliamentary debate is not necessarily conducive to good government. Many of the issues on which debate was so summarily drawn to a close are precisely those on which, because they were not properly thrashed out or properly discussed, the policies have fallen apart, often with devastating consequences for the economy and the people of this country.
The list also exhibits a further worrying tendency. The reasons for which the Government have sought a guillotine have gradually and more blatantly evolved. There is a famous quotation by a constituency predecessor of mine, Sir William Harcourt, who claimed that he feared great constitutional measures wouldbe pushed through in a fortnight",and who said:all our safeguards are swept away".Perhaps his fears are even more justified today than when he expressed them.
Many of the Bills which have been guillotined were of considerable importance, but the reason for their being guillotined has often given rise to much concern. The Leader of the House will recall as vividly as I do the guillotining of the Social Security Bill in 1986, when he and I were opposite numbers. The Bill was guillotined not because of undue delay or improper scrutiny—a properly timed and worked out programme for its scutiny was actually well under way. It was guillotined simply so that the Government could introduce extra chunks of the Bill —large sections of legislation of a highly controversial nature: the introduction of statutory maternity pay, for which little evidence or justification was offered, and of the industrial injuries scheme, with its devastating impact. Those measures were introduced after the guillotine had fallen; they had not been notified when the Bill had its Second Reading; they had not been open for debate; and by the operation of the guillotine, discussion of these issues in Committee was also circumscribed.
In this case, therefore, as in many of the other examples that I have adduced, the guillotine was introduced not to facilitate or to timetable parliamentary debate but to avoid the consequences of proper parliamentary scrutiny. Such avoidance has often had damaging results. One thinks of the poll tax Bill, with its net cost to the taxpayer of about £14 billion—it was guillotined through the House. If proper debate had been allowed, perhaps less damage would have been done to local government and the country's revenues, and perhaps fewer problems would have been created for the British people.
The Government failed to learn the lesson of the poll tax debacle. They even guillotined through the legislation that forms the basis of "son of poll tax", the council tax; and just as with its predecessor, problems with the council 893 tax are beginning to emerge. There are problems with the valuation that was drawn up, based as it was not only on a somewhat cursory examination but on a cursory examination based in turn on house prices in 1991—since when, as we all know, those prices have fallen in many parts of the country.
The number of guillotines and the pattern of their use make it clear that they are being used less and less to avoid filibustering and more and more for the convenience of the Government. Other issues highlight the fact that this may be the problem. A look at the parliamentary reference book shows that the expectation used to be that, once a guillotine had been brought in, a business committee would discuss the precise timing and manner of the business of the House. The assumption was that that would be the subject of discussion and agreement across the House. There seems to be an increasing tendency to avoid the necessity of consultation by the simple device of including in the guillotine motion the timing of the debates which would then ensue. It is clear that that timing is resulting in less and less chance to explore the issues in debate.
There is also an increasing tendency not only for the timing of the curtailment to be included in the motion—so there is no business committee or chance to discuss matters —but to take out of the overall time for debate the time spent discussing the guillotine motion itself. Overall, the freedom of manoeuvre that used to surround the guillotine system is being curtailed more and more sweepingly by the Government.
Today's guillotine is particularly unusual because of its timing, its relative abruptness and its circumstances, which are sufficiently odd for it to behove the House to be wary of the possible precedent being set. We are discussing a motion to guillotine a Bill that started life as a private Bill and, as the Lord President said, in that form was never brought to fruition in debate—primarily, as far as I can see, because the issues raised by the Bill were and remain issues of great local contention.
This is to some extent a matter for the people of Cardiff, but the implications go wider. Apparently unable to secure the passage of the Bill as a piece of private legislation, the Government chose to reintroduce it as a public Bill, part of their own programme. Now, as the Lord President said, because it affects private rights and interests, it has been defined as a hybrid Bill.
§ Mr. Ron Davies (Caerphilly)
Will my hon. Friend reflect on the fact that a commitment to the barrage was not included in the Conservative party's manifesto on which it fought the last election in Wales? On previous occasions, the Government have claimed that manifesto commitments now have a mandate and are therefore appropriate subjects of guillotines. I can assure the Secretary of State for Wales, who is advising the Leader of the House at this moment, that there was no mention of a barrage in the manifesto put to the people of Wales. Does not that invalidate the legitimacy of the guillotine motion?
§ Mrs. Beckett
That is an interesting point. It is yet another example of the arrogance of this Government. The election is still very recent. yet already, on a number of issues, including this one, steps have been taken that were not foreshadowed in the manifesto. The privatisation of 894 Scottish water is another good example, and the closure of the coalfields was not mentioned by Conservative Members in their campaign or manifesto. This is just another example of how the Government keep their programmes secret when an election campaign heaves into view.
It is extraordinary and more than a little incompetent on the Government's part that, having failed to see a Bill through the House when it was a private measure, when they had a majority of 100, they apparently feel now that, even with a majority of 20, they cannot see the measure through as a public Bill and part of their programme without introducing a guillotine motion.
It is not even as if we were late in the Session, with the Government's legislative programme under serious pressure or in disarray. That is one of the most worrying aspects of what is being done today. We are not even at the end of October. In a normal parliamentary year, we would not even have had the state opening of Parliament by now. We have far more than a full parliamentary year ahead of us, yet at this stage, for the Government's convenience, they seek to introduce a guillotine motion. Surely the case cannot be sustained that it would be impossible to resolve the issues that surround the Bill if debate were to continue without a guillotine motion.
It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Government are tired of the Bill, that they are tired of all the agonised debate about whether its economic effects would be as its proponents hope or as its opponents fear. There has been debate about how damaging the Bill's environmental effects could be. The Government have set a significant precedent with the first extinction, as I understand it, of an entire site identified as one of special scientific interest.
The Government have tabled a guillotine motion not because that is the only way out for them but because they cannot be bothered with full parliamentary procedures even when there is plenty of time for them to be followed. They are showing a dangerous arrogance of which Parliament should be aware. That arrogance is not of theoretical significance only. This guillotine might set a direct precedent. I understand that it is estimated that 48 of the 130 estuaries in the United Kingdom are subject to some form of development plan. Some of the plans include proposals for marinas and others include barrages. No doubt each in their time will be, or would be, the subject of considerable local debate, as has the Bill. Such debate could be curtailed in future.
Moreover, the Lord President, when referring to the debates that have taken place on the Bill, talked primarily about its consideration when it was a private measure. We should today be regarding it solely as a public Bill. That is what should concern the House, and it is in its present form that the Government claim that there is a need for a guillotine.
A further precedent seems to be being set in terms of the time allowed for debate in Committee. On average, a Bill is considered in Committee for 80 to 100 hours before it is thought necessary to impose a guillotine. I understand that, as a public Bill, this measure has been considered in Committee for only twelve and a half hours. That, for a start, will considerably reduce the average time that a Bill is considered in Committee.
I understand that some of the matters raised in debates are unresolved as yet. My hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clwyd) referred to some of these 895 issues in the House only last week. There is the call for independent assessment of the environmental impact of the proposal and the legal implications of insufficient scrutiny. Technical studies of how to deal with the groundwater problem—a source of anxiety from the start —are not yet complete or available. There was the late delivery of an updated economic assessment of the impact of the scheme. All these matters have given my hon. Friends cause for concern. The economic arguments and the economic case for the scheme caused great anguish, given the background against which the state of the local economy must be judged.
Britain is in its third year of' recession, the longest recession that we have had. Officially, unemployment is nearly 3 million. It is acknowledged even by the Department of Employment that the true level is over 4 million if those not receiving benefit though looking for work and those on Government schemes rather than in work are included. Our trade balance is deteriorating, and business failures and home repossessions are at record levels.
The picture is the same in Wales. In Wales alone, almost 4,500 actions for mortgage default were begun in the first half of the year. Over 1,800 businesses failed in the first nine months of the year, more than a third more than the failures last year, and almost 130,000 people are out of work, more than twice as many as in 1979 when the Government came to power. There is all that before the devastation that coalfield closures and others will bring. Small wonder that fear of unemployment is rife in many areas. Against that background, it is natural that anxiety that there should be proper scrutiny and secure development should run high.
What is certain is that the Bill has from the start been the subject of great local contention. It has aroused strong differences of view. It is equally clear that the danger of setting damaging precedents cannot be overlooked, especially when we are faced with a Government who are so blinkered and short-sighted in the policies that they devise and so arrogantly and casually incompetent in their execution. I fear that the Leader of the House has not convinced us, the Opposition, that we would be wise to risk the precedent that he invites us to set. That is why I shall be advising my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote against the motion.
§ Mr. Alex Carlile (Montgomery)
I shall make only a brief contribution to the debate. Its brevity will be entirely consistent with your strictures when it started, Madam Deputy Speaker.
I respect some of the opinions that have been expressed strongly by Labour Members, although it is right to say that they do not all agree about the barrage. Indeed, why should they necessarily agree on the issue, which in essence should not be a party political one? Within my party, there are disagreements in Wales on whether the barrage is overall a good thing or a bad thing. Many of us, such as myself, strongly support the activities and aspirations of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and other organisations.
§ Mr. Carlile
No. I wish to be brief.
896 We support the society and other organisations that are concerned with the environment. On the other hand, some of us believe that it is foolish to spit in the eye of important economic progress.
I have in mind an old adage—it is one of the first things that anyone who joins my part of the legal profession is told. They are the wise words of one of the great advocates of the past, who said to a pupil, "You are paid not for your doubts but for your opinions."
It is my view that guillotines are entirely inappropriate in many of the situations to which the shadow Leader of the House, the hon. Member for Derby, South (Mrs. Beckett), referred. We have been given several examples of politically contentious legislation that the Government drove through the House by introducing guillotine motions. In that way they sought to avoid important political debate, and that is illegitimate.
No one could sensibly say—it defies common sense to make the suggestion—that every issue relating to the Bill has not been fully debated. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that I believe every snail, slug and newt in Cardiff bay feels that it has been fairly represented by one, if not more than one, of my colleagues on the Labour Benches who represent seats in the Cardiff area. As a matter of principle, once an issue has been fully debated, as the barrage has over several years, we should come to a decision. It is common sense to decide upon it, and it is time to decide upon it. I shall be advising my colleagues to support the motion in the unusual circumstances of tonight's debate.
§ Mr. Alun Michael (Cardiff, South and Penarth)
I cannot regard the contribution of the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Carlile) as a helpful one, but it told us something about the Liberal party.
§ Mr. Michael
I hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman will contain himself.
As I have said, his speech told us more about the Liberal party than about the Bill or the motion. There was disagreement between Liberals when there was more than one Welsh Liberal Member in the House. What we heard from the hon. and learned Gentleman sounded to me rather like the one remaining Welsh Liberal Member disagreeing with himself about the value of the Bill.
We can be clear that the hon. and learned Gentleman is just about 50 per cent. against the guillotine motion— well, perhaps he is 51 per cent. for it and 49 per cent. against it. We know that the Liberals will drive on to either side of the political road, or both sides, if they perceive an advantage to be gained in so doing. The hon. and learned Gentleman's contribution to the debate is typical because, in the Cardiff area—in Grangetown—local Liberals tried to capitalise by opposing the barrage. As a result, they were hammered in the local elections, as they deserved to be.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. Morgan) and I have argued in the interests of our constituents and the people of Cardiff—not of the slugs that apparently prompted the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery to take his principled stand and to lead his tattered army through the Lobby tonight.
§ Dr. Kim Howells (Pontypridd)
I am concerned about the reference to newts because I do not believe that there are any in Cardiff bay. I hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman was not referring to ladies and gentlemen of an alcoholic persuasion who stop to rest at the pier head.
§ Mr. Michael
I am sure that the hon. and Learned Gentleman's concern for endangered species is merely fellow feeling on his part. The Liberals are pretty much an endangered species.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
Order. One endangered species are hon. Members who do not stick to the point.
§ Mr. Michael
I stand abashed, Madam Deputy Speaker. I regret being led down that path by my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd (Dr. Howells).
My opposition to the guillotine motion is partly prompted by my regret at missing the opportunities that would otherwise exist for Welsh Members of Parliament to gather to debate the Bill late into the night on many occasions. It has aroused great interest also among right hon. and hon. Members representing seats in other parts of the country.
The Government are not proposing a guillotine for the health of right hon. and hon. Members, or to protect my hon. Friends the Members for Caerphilly (Mr. Davies) and for Cardiff, West from the threat of laryngitis, or because they want to give the Bill proper but speedy consideration.
The development area falls within my constituency, but the Bill's effects go wider. The Minister was right to say that the barrage enjoys considerable support across a wide area of Cardiff and south Wales, and has enjoyed support in the House from hon. Friends representing constituencies in Newport, Swansea, and other areas. Support for the Bill has also been demonstrated in elections. However, that is no reason to introduce a guillotine and to rush consideration of reasoned amendments tabled by my hon. Friends on the Front Bench. Allowing the axe to fall at 9 o'clock will not allow proper consideration of important amendments and must be resisted.
The Government's earlier mishandling of the Bill created an element of rush at this late stage. It was originally introduced as a private Bill, and I pay tribute to South Glamorgan county councillors for that. In the second stage, the Bill was introduced jointly by South Glamorgan county council and the development corporation. The action of South Glamorgan councillors in the first stage of investment—in putting money where their mouths were by building the new county hall at Atlantic wharf—demonstrated great bravery and a willingness to work through the processes of the House to achieve the desired end of a barrage Bill.
South Glamorgan had to produce a private Bill because of Welsh Office decisions, and many of the problems leading to tonight's guillotine were a consequence of that original mistake by the Welsh Office. The weaknesses of the private Bill system have been totally exposed. I hope that that will prove terminal for the procedure—at least in respect of contentious measures rather than any enjoying widespread agreement. The private Bill procedure is as unfair to the Bill's supporters as it is to its opponents.
The free discussion and lack of direction on both sides of the House at the private Bill stage engendered many problems, which haunted the hybrid Bill when it came before the House as a public measure.
898 Conservative Members have also failed to progress the Bill before now. The Leader of the House mentioned the series of occasions on which it has been debated, as if that were a failing on the part of the Opposition. The failure is that of the Government's business managers, who let down Welsh Office Ministers when they sought to battle on with the Bill. They must take a large share of the blame, rather than argue blatantly for a guillotine motion tonight.
The public Bill has been cursed by problems engendered by the private Bill. I am as keen as anyone to see the Bill on the statute book. The barrage will improve the environment, increase employment, and enhance the economy in an area that extends beyond my constituency. It will provide housing—particularly social housing— which will be of benefit to people and to communities in my constituency and beyond. Instead of expressing fury at our initiative in taking the debate to such lengths, Conservative Members should compliment us on the comradely fashion in which we have discussed the measure.
Among the positive amendments that should be properly debated tonight is amendment No. 13:At least 8 weeks prior to the commencement of any works, the Development Corporation shall consult South Glamorgan County Council on the proposed pattern of traffic movements during the construction period, including the hours of operation. At least 6 weeks prior to the commencement of works the Development Corporation shall publish proposals, amended in the light of those consultations, for a 2 week period of public consultation.There will be an element of disruption during the construction. We have seen that with the building of the new road in south Cardiff, which considerably inconvenienced my constituents in Butetown and Grangetown. The guillotine motion does not discriminate as to the time that can be spent on debating each group of amendments. That amendment should be seriously considered by Ministers and receive a proper response.
Another amendment, which the Government accept, will allow for local authority representation on the advisory committee and another provides for the development corporation to report properly on its actions to the advisory committee. Those limited but important issues should not go undebated because of the Government's desperation to go home early tonight. Even if a guillotine is needed—and I do not accept that—the motion goes over the top in so severely truncating debate. Another failing of the motion is that it gives no fixed time for debate on each group of amendments.
As we all know, unless the terms of a guillotine motion are careful and measured, ensuring at least some time for debate on each group of amendments, things become extremely messy. Moreover, an excessively truncated debate may lead to the Government's intentions being overlooked. Let me place on record my opposition to this ill-thought-out motion: the Leader of the House has let down his Ministers as well as the House.
§ Dr. Kim Howells (Pontypridd)
It is always a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael). He knows a great deal about this subject, and I share his concerns.
I agree, for instance, that there should be affordable housing in an area that contains the greatest concentration of deprived wards in Wales and, possibly, in the United Kingdom as a whole. Cardiff badly needs the proposed 899 developments. I also feel that we need further time in which to debate whether the £150 million which is to be spent on the construction of the barrage will deliver value for money in terms of jobs.
Following the events of the past 10 days or so, that time is more valuable than ever. The urgency of the position is clear to those of us who live in the hinterland of Cardiff —the coalfield area. A shadow lies across the question of whether we shall receive value for the money that the Welsh Office is allocating to quangos. I have searched the text of the motion in vain for some indication of the value for money that has been provided by the sums spent so far on creating jobs in Wales. Given the nature of the motion, I fear that we are unlikely to extract a figure from the Secretary of State or the Under-Secretary.
We need to know, for example, whether a figure is attached to the creation and protection of jobs in Wales over the past three or four years. The minutes of evidence provided by the Public Accounts Committee for a report entitled "Creating and safeguarding jobs in Wales" suggests that the cost of creating or safeguarding a job is about £1,700. That is a very small amount. According to a Welsh Office report entitled "The Government's expenditure plans 1992–93 to 1994–95", the figure is about £3,500. We should bear that sum in mind when considering whether to allocate £150 million to a single large civil construction project.
I am not opposed to the allocation of such sums to projects like this, and I do not for a moment denounce the efforts of hon. Members on both sides of the House to push for a scheme that could create many jobs. I am simply arguing that this may not be the best way of spending a shrinking public-expenditure resource. I shall be interested to learn whether the Secretary of State has any news for us yet about whether the £150 million will be taken from the overall cake of public expenditure on Wales.
§ Mr. David Hanson (Delyn)
The proposals affect the economy of north Wales as well as that of south Wales. In the past 10 days, a moratorium and potential closure have been announced for the Point of Ayr colliery in my constituency: 500 mining jobs may be lost, as well as many more jobs connected with mining. Does not the guillotine motion deprive many of us of an opportunity to explore the possibility of unemployment in north Wales? The colliery closure will hit my constituents especially badly.
§ Dr. Howells
I thank my hon. Friend for that invaluable intervention. We have been given the excuse many times that the barrage will bring jobs to our constituents—for example, to my constituents in Taff-Ely and Pontypridd, from which many people travel to work in Cardiff. We have been told that we should be grateful for this development. The Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary, however, would be hard pressed to argue that it will benefit my hon. Friend's constituents by creating jobs. If we are serious—as I believe the Secretary of State has been on many occasions—in saying that we in Wales should be allowed more independence in deciding how sums allocated to us are spent, we must address ourselves to my hon. Friend's question.
Perhaps even more important is the involvement of a constitutional issue. In such a short debate, we may not be able to discuss how it can be decided whether a quango —in this instance, the Cardiff Bay development corporation, which the Welsh Office has appointed 900 without consulting those likely to be affected, in the valley constituencies as well as in and around Cardiff—is doing a good job, and will spend its money well. How can we come back at the corporation and question its decisions? That is an important question, and the construction of the barrage lies at the heart of it.
Some of us are keen for the development to take place in our constituencies, but we do not want decisions to be made as they are in Cardiff. Often, it seems to be a case of "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" in the old boy network and what in Welsh we call the crachach. Such people appear to be members of almost every quango in Wales, and almost all of them live in castles around Usk and have double-barrelled names—although Lieutenant Colonel Inkin, a dynamic individual in many ways, is an exception to that last rule.
Many of us feel strongly that an issue of constitutional importance cannot be dealt with properly in the short time allocated to a guillotine motion. I hope that the Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary can tell us whether we are to see the institutional changes that so many of us have demanded. Such changes would allow the people of Cardiff, and the people of Wales in general, to debate these matters much more coherently and comprehensively.
The quango that we are discussing has access to £33 million of public money this year alone. That is an enormous sum. I have talked to my constituents about what could be done with £33 million. We could, for example, revive the town centre of Pontypridd, which now contains 15 or 16 empty shops. Pontypridd is a market town, which has traditionally drawn people from the Rhondda, Cynon and Merthyr valleys to its famous market. Now it is dying on its feet for lack of vital investment.
I hope that the Secretary of State and his colleagues do not describe this demeaningly as the politics of envy. The people in my constituency will be very glad to see the developments. I hope that we shall benefit from them. However, when they cannot obtain £5 million to complete a road system that would get rid of the congestion that is such a black spot in Pontypridd, they then see that £150 million is granted for the building of a dam across a filthy river—filthy because no investment can be obtained to clean up the sewage works that lie upstream from Pontypridd. These are constitutional as well as financial issues which I hope will be discussed within the terms of the guillotine motion.
Many infrastructure jobs are desperately required in Cardiff, Newport and Swansea, as well as in the valleys of south Wales. We—
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but it seems to me that he is now dealing with other matters. We should be considering the merits or otherwise of the guillotine motion that is before us.
§ Dr. Howells
Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for that guidance. I am trying to point out that in terms of the guillotine motion there will not be sufficient time to discuss its important ramifications for all those interested in the scheme who live outside the barrage area. If the guillotine motion has any relevance, it is relevant to my constituency. It is a neighbouring constituency to Cardiff, through which the two rivers run that are to be, both literally and metaphorically, dammed.
901 Very many jobs need to be done in the capital city of Wales, as well as in our various constituencies. They include the repair and renewal of some of the worst housing stock throughout Europe. Many of my hon. Friends will want to draw attention to that fact. Many of us believe that if we are to benefit from the Cardiff bay barrage, if and when it is built, we must have a proper road and rail infrastructure to enable our constituents to travel to Cardiff to work. The A470 is an extremely dangerous road because of traffic congestion.
The rail network is in extreme danger because of the closure notices that have been served on the collieries. The rail network serves Cardiff bay directly. My constituents would think it remiss of me if I did not raise that issue and if I did not say that the guillotine means that there will not be sufficient time for my colleagues and me to express our great concern about whether we shall be able to enjoy whatever advantages may arise from the Cardiff bay barrage.
§ Mr. Michael
I support my hon. Friend's point. There is also the question of communications within the city of Cardiff and communications between the centre of Cardiff and the Cardiff bay barrage area. My hon. Friend made a telling point, not least because the present state of the railways, such as the Penarth to Cardiff railway link, is appalling. None of us can depend upon it when we wish to travel around the area.
§ Dr. Howells
I could not agree more with my hon. Friend. That is precisely what I am talking about in terms of the guillotine motion. Without discussion of that issue, we shall discuss this great civil engineering project in the abstract. We are not placing it in context. Furthermore, we are not explaining to people why hon. Members are so angry about the fact that a quango that is answerable to nobody is allowed to allocate such huge sums of money to this project while the rest of us have to settle for the crumbs that fall off the edge of the resource table.
The question of what we do about cleaning up the two rivers that flow into the lake which is to be created by the barrage is of great importance in terms of the guillotine motion. It is impossible to discuss it in the short period of time available. We need answers from the Secretary of State for Wales and the Under-Secretary of State to the question of what they intend to do about forcing Welsh Water to get on with the job of cleaning up the sewage sites further upstream. I live right on the edge of one river. I am sick of seeing the filth that flows down it. The Secretary of State for Wales and the Under-Secretary of State have not provided a good answer in any of our debates to the question of how they intend to clean up those rivers, which would enable us to turn our town centres round again to face the rivers.
If we were given a fraction of the £150 million that has been allocated to the barrage scheme, the valleys could begin to do that. I know that the Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary of State feel strongly about the issue, but I should like them to say what action they intend to take that would allow us to start doing that in the valleys.
Another question that is at the heart of the guillotine motion is, what is to happen when, and if, work on the project begins? That question must be discussed now; we shall be able to discuss it at no other time. My hon. Friend 902 the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth drew attention to amendment No. 13. He knows as well as I do that we have not had a straight answer to the question of where the materials for this great project are to come from. Will they come from the limestone rim at the southern end of the coalfield that occupies such a large part of my constituency? That would lead to the expansion of quarrying in the area, coupled with dangerous lorry movements. It is not simply a question, as the amendment says, of discussing and negotiating with South Glamorgan county council. There must be negotiations with Mid Glamorgan county council.
The Conservative Benches are empty. Conservative Members are throbbing with indifference. Since they are always proclaiming their love for Wales, I should have loved to see some of our nationalist colleagues present, but not one of them is here. Apart from the occupants of the Treasury Bench, no Conservative Members and no nationalist Members are here. We never see our nationalist colleagues in these debates. They usually stay away from controversial issues. I have not even heard them talk lately about the nuclear power stations issue.
I oppose the motion. I know that many of my colleagues agree with me. I only wish that some of those who sit on the Conservative Benches would do the same.
§ Mr. Rhodri Morgan (Cardiff, West)
I support what was said by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and shadow Leader of the House, my hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mrs. Beckett).
Many of those who have spoken have already made the point that those who arrange the business of the House seem to have developed the expectation that during any 12-month period at least one day will be devoted to the Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill. It has almost become a fixed part of the parliamentary calendar. There is Budget day; there is the autumn statement; there is the Loyal Address and the Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill at one of its stages—Second Reading, Report, or Third Reading—either as a private Bill or as a public Bill. Whatever else happens, there must be the Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill in any parliamentary Session.
People may think that it is all going to come to an end tonight and that this is the last that we shall see of the Bill, but, despite the timetable motion which guillotines proceedings on the Bill, I hope that the Minister replying the debate will not be prevented from making clear whether that is so or whether the Bill will be back again next year. I understand from some of the local authorities concerned that there is a strong possibility that the Bill will be in a different form when it is introduced in another place as the Government accept that the Bill is already defective due to the effluxion of time.
Another reason why timetable motions should be opposed is when the Government accept, as I understand is the case in this instance, that the Bill in question is defective. They will therefore have to alter it in another place and we shall have to consider Lords amendments some time next year. The Government owe us an explanation as to why they are timetabling a Bill which they know will have to be altered for various technical reasons. I may be wrong, but that is what I understand 903 from one of the two local authorities involved. Timetabling a Bill that the Government know to be defective is a dubious procedure.
Are there any precedents for timetabling or, to use the common parlance, guillotining a hybrid Bill? I understand that this is the first time that it has been done, although there is nothing to prevent it: if the Government want to ram through legislation willy-nilly, they can do so. It behoves us, however, to stop and think about whether a hybrid Bill should be guillotined. The rights to petition Parliament on a hybrid Bill are protected, but nobody to whom I have spoken is aware of any previous hybrid Bill having been guillotined.
I freely inform the Government, in case they do not know, that a hybridised Bill—the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries (Amendment) Bill —was indeed guillotined, but that Bill was declared hybrid by Examiners three quarters of the way through its parliamentary consideration, whereas the Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill has been hybrid from the outset. I understand that today's motion sets a precedent; we should consider whether it is a healthy precedent.
I hope that Ministers will say whether they are aware of other hybrid bills being guillotined. We believe that the motion is a thoroughly unhealthy development because individual citizens will lose their rights. Earlier, I asked the Minister to say whether the Bill will be changed when it is presented in another place, because if it is, it will create a new class of petitioners against it.
"Petitioners" sounds a rather cold term, but they are ordinary individuals who do not have the resources to pay accountants, lawyers and parliamentary agents to advise them. They can be small business people, householders or anyone whose way of life is directly affected by a Bill. Will their rights be curtailed if we accept the precedent of guillotining a hybrid Bill? We must think carefully about that before agreeing to it, and I hope that Ministers are taking careful notes to enable them to respond properly.
The Leader of the House—who, sadly, is no longer in his place—in making a raw arithmetical calculation said that the justification for the motion was simply that, in its different forms, the Bill had been debated for many hours. The 1988 Bill was first presented in another place, considered here and then dropped and converted into a Government Bill. That simple, raw arithmetical calculation implies that the Bill is exactly the same now as when it was introduced in another place in November 1988, but we know that, as people have come to learn more about it and its consequences, it has altered enormously. The design of the barrage and our knowledge of its side effects have altered, and legal judgments in the European Court of Justice directly affecting the status of the site of special scientific interest have been made since the original debates.
The mathematical justification for the guillotine advanced by the Leader of the House is irrelevant. It means nothing because new material is continually emerging, and hon. Members whose constituencies are directly affected by the barrage must have time to do their jobs as parliamentary representatives properly. I will give just three examples of recent completely new information —some of it emerged as late as last Friday—which is material to our consideration of the Bill but which is in danger of being precluded by the motion.
Last Friday, the Treasury minute in Cmnd. 2074 was published and made available in the Vote Office as a 904 preparatory step towards the Public Accounts Committee's debate tomorrow. It refers to the parliamentary accountability of bodies such as the Cardiff Bay development corporation. The corporation, as has been hinted at already by my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd (Dr. Howells), is almost unique as a non-departmental public body or quango. It is the only quango with a large budget but almost no parliamentary accountability.
In the Treasury minute to the Public Accounts Committee, the Government said that they intended to do something about that. I hope that, before we agree to a motion to confer enormous enhanced spending powers on the Cardiff Bay development corporation, we shall have a clear sign from the Government as to how they intend to strengthen parliamentary control over the way in which the corporation spends its money. It would be wrong for us to pass the motion without the Government coming clean about what they intend to do to fill the corporation's black hole of parliamentary non-accountability.
Conclusion (xii) of the Treasury minute said:the Comptroller and Auditor General is able to identify control weaknesses of this type and bring them directly to the attention of Parliament as he did inthe case of the Development Board for Rural Wales. In response, the Government said that the Comptroller and Auditor General
should have rights of access to the body's"—in other words, the quango's—papers and records so that he may bring to Parliament's attention, whenever he considers it appropriate, any material departures from the requirements of regularity and propriety.He cannot do that with the Cardiff Bay development corporation. It is the only big-spending quango where the Comptroller and Auditor General cannot bring to the attention of the House any departure from the rules of regularity and propriety. The Government further said:These rights are frequently provided by statute".Yet for some strange reason the Cardiff Bay development corporation was exempted from the rule. "Sponsor departments"—the Welsh Office—will seek to secure such rights in cases where they do not exist at present.We want to know how the Secretary of State for Wales intends to provide, by statute or in an undertaking from the Dispatch Box today, the normal degree of parliamentary accountability for the Cardiff Bay development corporation before the corporation is given the enormously increased powers to spend money and to commit itself to a massive increase in expenditure and powers over the development area with all the side effects which spread into adjoining constituencies such as Cardiff, West. We must know exactly how Parliament will maintain the normal standards of parliamentary accountability over the increased spend. I hope that we can do something about that tonight, as we found out about it only last Friday. That is why the timetable motion is so dangerous.
In the late stages of the summer recess, we heard that the development corporation had proposed a new method by which to help to keep the groundwater levels down. The water will be pumped out, so if it is 15 ft below the surface now, it can be maintained at that level. That is known as de-watering wells. We know only that, by the time the Bill is in Committee in the other place, the corporation will have carried out field tests in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. 905 Michael). The tests will be carried out using a couple of wells and the corporation will present the results to the Committee in another place next February.
Is this procedure good enough for the House? We are being asked to pass a timetable motion on a Bill for which a key item of evidence will not be available until next February. As the Member of Parliament for Cardiff, West I do not feel that that is satisfactory and I am extremely unhappy about the timetable motion on that account. There is no hon. Member for Cardiff, West in another place. If the job is not done in this House, it will not be done at all. There are estimable people in the other place and I do not criticise them, but there is no local constituency representation. It therefore falls to us to ensure that we have the right amount of information before we pass the Bill. That information must be explored across the House, which cannot be done if the timetable motion is passed.
Should the Government try to timetable a hybrid Bill which has specific effects on, for example, 6,000 houses and which has side effects on small business premises? Timetable motions are dangerous. They are unprecedented and doubly dangerous for hybrid Bills and should be opposed. I am glad that we are opposing the motion today. New material has just been presented and we have simply not had the opportunity to discuss it properly. The timetable motion will curtail, if not remove altogether, our ability to discuss that evidence, depending on how much time we have left for amendment and debate.
What will the impact of waterlogged soils be on health and domestic heating, with the cooling effect of an impounded lake? That question has come up only recently. It was first touched on in evidence to the Committee, but it was not in a validated form. The paper given by Dr. Max Wallis and Mr. Munro at last month's European environment conference in Nottingham raised all manner of questions which we have not yet had a chance to discuss. We may or may not be able to come back to those questions, depending on how draconian are the pressures on later debate. That, too, makes me unhappy.
As we may have a chance to discuss the matter later, I will touch only briefly on it today. The broad thesis of the two academics is that domestic heating costs will rise in the area adjoining the lake because the lake will cause a drop in temperature of 2 deg C for long periods of the year. They suggest that infant mortality rates will rise and that general morbidity, in terms of people with chest problems, will be exacerbated. Through creating additional fogs and mists, the lake may create additional traffic accident risks.
The question of whether that thesis is true is material to the Bill. The Minister may shake his head; that is fair enough. He may have a point of view and he may be well briefed. Then again he may not be—I do not know. We may find out, but with a timetable motion it is far more difficult to find out.
I can only briefly give the House the view of the National Rivers Authority, which was first told of the thesis following the publication of the original document this February. Lord Crickhowell, who will have some responsibility in the other place as chairman of the National Rivers Authority, wrote to Mr. Munro this July saying the NRA had taken the responsible attitude of asking for independent validation of the Wallis-Munro 906 report given in evidence to the Committee in February and then published as an occasional paper of the University of Wales in the same month.
The NRA needed to know whether the two academics were a pair of cranks talking through the top of their heads or whether they were good scientists who had simply come up with a different approach to the side effects of the barrage. I shall read briefly from the letter from Lord Crickhowell to Mr. Monro of 2 July—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Morris)
Order. Does the letter refer to the timetable motion? If it does not, it is not in order. The hon. Gentleman has raised a point which he wants answered on Report. I hope that he will not pursue it further now and that he will move on to some other points.
§ Mr. Morgan
You may, Mr. Deputy Speaker, be willing to accept that I have today discussed the timetable motion with Dr. Wallis, one of the scientists. That is how I got a copy of the letter: he supplied me with it through the wonder of the modern fax machine. The NRA said in its letter of 2 July:We employed a well-respected independent consultant, Middlesex University (formerly Polytechnic) Flood Hazard Research Centre earlier this year to consider your results. They concluded that the statistical analysis was sound and the relationship between the factors"—that is, the waterlogged soil, and the rises in infant mortality, in morbidity and in traffic accidents—appears to be confirmed.That is the basis on which we should not curtail debate by a timetable motion.
We should be saying that the thesis opens up an area which Parliament must consider without the restriction of a guillotine. It would be wrong for us to say, "Guillotine the discussion because we know everything there is to know about the Bill." Perhaps the Leader of the House, who has just returned to his place, will remind us of the arithmetic. It has been said that there have been plenty of hours of discussion and that nothing new has been discovered, so the guillotine is a fully justified method by which to bring what has become a repetitive debate to a close. That simply is not true in light of the letter which you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, were good enough to allow me to read out as it was so obviously in order.
The letter showed that, at least for the NRA, a first look at the results by its independent validation group at Middlesex university seemed to show that there was something in them. We as parliamentarians should say, "The evidence was not fully considered on Second Reading because nobody knew about it; should we now consider it?" The answer is obviously yes.
The Government now have something to prove. They could say that they accept the broad thrust of the evidence, as the NRA seems to be doing following the validation of the thesis—in which case Parliament needs to consider at length the possibility of extending the right of compensation. We have tabled amendments on that, although they are last-minute amendments because of the lateness with which the information has come to light.
Should there be a right to compensation for people living in the affected area whose houses will be colder? Should their additional domestic heating costs be paid by the development corporation? We do not want to tell people, "Do this through your solicitor: go to the courts and sue." The whole principle on which we have discussed the Bill for the past four years has been that people should 907 not need to go to court for compensation for the damaging side effects on their peaceful occupation of their houses or business properties.
Compensation must be built into the Bill. We must debate the matter thoroughly on the Floor of the House to ensure than any rights that people should have because they will be adversely affected are covered in the Bill and properly considered so that no one feels that he has had a bad shake from Parliament. People should be able to feel that they had a reasonable opportunity to petition against the Bill and that, if they could not petition, we have done our job as constituency Members in bringing matters to the attention of the House and screwing some reply from the Ministers responsible, however reluctant they may have been to give a reply. We should ensure that any right to compensation which may occur in later years is clearly defined by Parliament so that people know what the price of the barrage will be in terms of side effects and in terms of the compensation for which we must legislate.
That point is even more important in light of the problems about the Barnett formula. If the Secretary of State for Wales has less access to funds, it is all the more important that we should tie him down, before the Bill leaves the House, to a clear understanding in negotiations with the Treasury. He must understand the true price of the barrage. He must know how much it will cost in terms of civil engineering and construction, and he must understand how much the compensation bill is likely to be.
Will that need to be extended to cover domestic heating costs and claims from people who say that they have been made more ill by the increased cold and damp or have had a car crash in a November mist caused by evaporation from the impounded lake? These matters must be put on record. We need to know whether the Minister will say, "No, the right will not be extended," or whether he will be willing to find the extra money to extend compensation rights in respect of matters which have come to our attention so late in our consideration of the Bill.
Will the Minister be covering another difficulty which arises now that the Bill is a public Bill? Certain matters are not covered in debate unless we specifically raise them, and I do not know whether we shall have the opportunity today to cover fully the agreements which were explicit in the private Bill but are implicit in the public Bill. If we allow the timetable motion through, our debate on consideration will be curtailed. I therefore ask what has happened to the explicit agreements in the private Bill which have become side agreements in the public Bill.
If we accept the guillotine motion, discussion of what has happened to the side agreement between the development corporation and Wiggins Teape, the paper-making company in my constituency at which 220 jobs are to be lost on 27 November, may be squeezed out. That company is in an area which was directly covered by a specific set of clauses in the private Bill but is now covered by side agreements. It is now proposed to remove the last paper-making machine in that plant. I want to be sure that, if the guillotine motion is accepted, we shall have the opportunity to raise that matter later or that the Minister will write to me to cover the point.
I now have no way of getting access to the information that I require. Under the original agreement, the development corporation would have paid for the company's additional water treatment costs, but as the present agreement is private, I no longer have access to the information. Is it true that the company is being paid 908 compensation by the development corporation in respect of the extensive water treatment required if one is to manufacture paper at a paper mill? I find that extremely worrying, because I am to lose the mill, which is the guts of the plant.
The lake will convert certain industrial plants, including that paper mill—hitherto a coastal plant able to discharge treatment water into a tidal reach—into inland plants and unless the development corporation has a duty to pay additional water treatment costs, that will render its position less sensible than at present. Negotiations under the 90-day requirement laid down in the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1975, about which we have heard so much in the past seven days, are currently under way. The period expires on 27 November. I hope that we shall have adequate time to consider this matter, or that the Minister will agree to write to me about it.
The Government have made some almighty mistakes in trying to rush the Bill through, and we are worried that they are rushing it again today without our having adequate time to discuss all the new material. The Government foolishly sought to ignore the rights of Welsh Members to serve on the Standing Committee. I fear that they are going down the same alley today, saying that the swifter our consideration of the Bill, the better it will be. We know the Government's record of incompetence—and the swifter our consideration of the Bill, the greater will be the Government's mistakes.
§ Mr. Win Griffiths (Bridgend)
I oppose the guillotine motion—indeed, I was amazed that the Government bothered to think of using such a device during a period in which they are not under any pressure to push major Bills through the House.
The Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill will go down in history as a Bill whose passage through Parliament has been consistently mismanaged. The Government's only chance of getting the Bill enacted now is to introduce a guillotine motion. On two crucial occasions during the lifetime of the two Bills, the Government have not even been able to count on their own supporters to be in the Lobbies. The present motion represents a last-minute attempt to try to get the Bill out of the way at a time when such action is least easy to justify.
Let us go back to the fateful night in March when the private Bill had to be withdrawn. The present Bill was then introduced. Since then, the Government have been so worried about the amount of time available to deal with parliamentary business that they gave us a summer recess at least two weeks longer than any recess in the last decade. Let us be generous: we need at least a week to consider the Bill more fully. Could not the Government have seen that in July? Why could not the House have continued to sit for another week then, or returned a week earlier? We should have been quite prepared to come back to debate these fundamental issues.
In explaining his reasons for reluctantly taking the guillotine to the Bill, the Leader of the House said that it had been fully debated over a long period. In fact, the circumstances in which the Bill has been debated have been shifting like the sands of the Sahara when the Harmattan is blowing. We shall have barely two hours to consider more than 90 amendments. What sort of discussion will we 909 be able to have? We shall hardly have time to touch on some important issues that have changed the circumstances surrounding the Bill's introduction.
Let me give an example: we were presented with the updated report on the number of jobs that would be created by the barrage on the very day of our original debate. Yet now that we have had a chance to look into that new report in a little more detail, the Government have introduced the guillotine to preclude the possibility of a proper debate. To my mind, the authors of that report could do with at least an afternoon's grilling in Committee concerning the circumstances surrounding the updated assessment they have made of the jobs benefit of the barrage.
The report refers to a mid-October assessment. However, it is not entirely clear whether, on the day before the report was published, the authors made a final conclusion about the jobs benefits or whether that matter had been under consideration over the summer. It is not clear whether any account was taken of black Wednesday —23 September—when Britain ignominiously had to pull out of the ERM. Have all the changing circumstances since mid-September been considered in the updated jobs report? The jobs report refers to property values in the bay area and I believe that those references are highly contentious.
We will consider 90 amendments in seven groups in this debate. I cannot see how we can examine the detail and question the assumptions in the new report. The assumptions deserve to be examined very carefully as they comprise new material which has been made available to us only on the day of the debate. The Government have let themselves down badly and have not given the House a fair chance to debate the issues.
I wish that we could rely on the Government to accept that they have presented us with so much new material and that there have been so many changes that the Bill is worthy of at least another two or three days' debate at a time when we are not overwhelmed by parliamentary business. Bearing in mind the Government's difficulties with other legislation, they could quite easily provide time to consider the issues and not whip the Bill through tonight with Conservative Members who, on at least two other occasions, proved that they did not care what happened to the Bill because the Government had to pull up stumps as Conservative Members were not in the Chamber to support them.
I make a last plea to the Minister to give us a few more days to discuss the issues seriously, because we will not be able to do that in two hours this evening.
§ Mr. Ron Davies (Caerphilly)
We are living in truly remarkable times. The Government are sitting like a group of rabbits paralysed by a car's headlamps. The Government machine and the economy of the country are collapsing around them. The Government are divided as they have never been divided before, yet they have to come to the House in prime time tonight with a guillotine motion. What is even more astounding than the divisions in the Conservative party is the fact that the Government have managed to unite the Labour party today. All Opposition Members realise how deep the divisions have 910 been, but the Minister and his colleagues are so inept that they have contrived a situation today in which all the Welsh Labour Members will vote in the Lobby against the motion. That is a clear sign of the Government's ineptitude.
Erskine May describes guillotine motions asthe most drastic method of curtailing debate known to procedure … it cannot be denied that they are capable of being used in such a way as to upset the balance … between the claims of business and the rights of debate.We heard nothing about the flood of business that is pressing the House when the Leader of the House opened the debate. My hon. Friend the Member for Bridgend (Mr. Griffiths) referred very eloquently to the long recess. The only whipped business before the House this week is the Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill, and there was virtually no business before the House last week. I understand that the business managers are in such a state that they barely have any business to put before the House this side of Christmas. However, the Government are asserting today that the guillotine must apply and the rights of debate must be set to one side because of the demands of Government business.
§ Mr. Hanson
One need only consult yesterday's Official Report to discover that business finished at 8.36 pm. Surely that is not a packed programme.
§ Mr. Davies
My hon. Friend has made the case directly.
Over the past five or six years, we have had plenty of experience of an arrogant Government determined to press their legislation through who then had to repent at the leisure of the people of this country. Even the Government must accept that the poll tax was a very good example of that. We heard all the pleas that it was necessary to curtail debate because the poll tax was a vital piece of legislation. We were told that we could not have further discussion of it. It was driven on to the statute book. What happened? It was driven on to the statute book without proper debate and that resulted in a mess.
That legislation brought down a Prime Minister and should have brought down the Government. However, the Government have learnt nothing from that experience because they are still demonstrating the same attitude. They believe that the needs of business must take precedence over debate. The Government are incapable of learning from their own mistakes.
§ Mr. Davies
Indeed, the Secretary of State was responsible for that fiasco.
I am sorry that the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Carlile), the Liberal party spokesman, is no longer in the Chamber. His comments were breathtaking in their ignorance and arrogance. In a throwaway comment, he said that it did not matter about the slugs, snails and newts in Cardiff bay. From your careful observation of our debates, Mr. Deputy Speaker, you will know that the case for Cardiff bay is not about slugs, snails or newts. As my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) who is a great expert on the ecology of Cardiff bay knows, there are no slugs or newts in the bay.
It was typical of the Liberal party that its spokesman should make a few throwaway comments in a patronising and condescending way and completely offend the interests in Wales which have been arguing the 911 evironmental case. He set those to one side. We need more debate about the matter so that we can educate the Liberal party on environmental and ecological matters and put to them the fact that the case for Cardiff bay rests on the site of special scientific interest. That case depends on the bird life in the bay.
When the Leader of the House opened the debate, it was interesting that his Parliamentary Private Secretary was the only Tory Back Bencher in the Chamber. Where are all the Tory Members who regard the Bill as a matter of fundamental importance?
§ Mr. Davies
I can only suggest that my hon. Friend has just come from the Strangers Bar. He might be bringing some news hotfoot. The Government's troops are simply waiting for the green light from the Secretary of State; they will then rush to the Chamber sufficiently lubricated to make passionate and powerful speeches in favour of the guillotine motion.
The truth is that the Government and the Tory party could not care less about the measure. If Conservative Members supported the barrage, they would have been in the Chamber tonight. They would have been here when the Secretary of State sent out his pathetic little letter last year. The Secretary of State had to write to Cabinet members asking them for support to get the private Member's Bill on the statute book, but the Government could not muster the 100 Members necessary to force the closure at 11.30 pm—so much for the commitment of the Secretary of State and Conservative Members. Their recognition of the vital nature of the debate is demonstrated again by their absence tonight.
I intervened on my hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mrs. Beckett), the shadow Leader of the House, and pointed out that the Government have no mandate for this measure. That makes the guillotining of the debate even more important. The traditional defence of a guillotine is, "We have a mandate for it; it was in the manifesto; the people have voted for it; it is being deliberately obstructed on the Floor of the House; if we wish to put the people's view into practice, we have to guillotine it."
There is no public mandate for this measure. The only mention of it in the Conservative party manifesto was a very brief sentence which states:Land made derelict by old industries has been reclaimed on a massive scale. The Cardiff Bay development and the Ebbw Vale garden festival are outstanding examples".That is hardly a plea for public endorsement or an unequivocal plea to the people of Wales: "You must vote Conservative because, at the heart of our economic policy, we will press the regeneration of south Wales by building a barrage across the mouth of the Taff estuary." It is a bit like the claim that the centrepiece of the Government's economic strategy is the maintenance of the value of the pound within the exchange rate mechanism—and it has about as much weight.
§ Mr. Hanson
I need not remind my hon. Friend that, even if that were an endorsement, after the general election on 9 April the Conservative party found itself with six seats in Wales, only one of which is represented in the Chamber this evening. Twenty-seven of us were elected, and we have friends in other parties—four in Plaid Cymru 912 and one in the Liberal Democrats. So even if the subject had been in the Conservatives' manifesto, that would hardly be a ringing endorsement as they lost the election in Wales just as they will lose the vote on the motion.
§ Mr. Davies
My hon. Friend is correct but over-generous. I do not think that six Welsh Tories can claim to support the Bill. The Minister himself is the very Minister who blocked the Bill's predecessor. He has given no explanation of that, so I think that there are five and not six. The Minister has the cheek to say that we should have no further debate, when he is the very individual who blocked the previous legislation. We are at least entitled to an explanation of how the blinding light fell upon him and determined him in this new course of action. In the Conservative party these days one does not need much persuasion. The argument is that one gets carried away by events. The Minister will say, "I was carried away by events; I was swept up by the tide of popular enthusiasm and made a Minister in the Welsh Office."
§ Mr. Davies
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. That is why, on this guillotine motion, it is very inappropriate for the Minister to be here.
I have to accept that, as a diehard opponent of the Bill, along with my hon. Friends, I have played my part in trying to talk out the legislation. That is no secret—we all know what we have been doing. We filibustered the previous measure and we have filibustered this measure as best we can. The attitude of any responsible Government facing such diehard opposition would have been to say, "We are going to get a guillotine motion; now accept the fact that we are going to push the measure through." Despite all the objections and reservations raised by my hon. Friends, they should have said, "We are going to guillotine the motion, but let us have an appropriate debate on the outstanding matters."
We know from the selection of amendments that there are vital matters for debate, but the guillotine motion will allow only about two hours' consideration of the amendments. My hon. Friend the Member for Bridgend referred to that point. If we decided to vote on each lead amendment, there would not be sufficient time to vote on the amendments, let alone debate them. If the Minister wanted to ensure that the real concerns of the people of Cardiff were addressed—for example, the problems of groundwater, water quality in the bay, water quality in the lagoon, and the replacement of lost sensitive environments —he should have produced a guillotine motion which at least allowed reasonable time for discussion.
The guillotine motion is draconian, to say the least. It will not even allow us the opportunity to say yes or no to each group of amendments. It is a particular disappointment that a Minister and a Secretary of State who pride themselves on wanting to develop consensus—at least, that is what they say—should bring forward this guillotine motion instead of saying, "We are going to guillotine the measure, so let us have a motion which allows an appropriate response."
We know that the Government will win the vote on the motion. The pity is that they will deny reasonable debate. As on many other occasions, they will get their legislation, but other people will have to pay the price. In this case, the priceless natural heritage of Wales will be destroyed and 913 the people of Cardiff will pay a much higher personal price for the lethargy, indolence and myopia of the Secretary of State and his colleagues in the Welsh Office.
§ Mr. Paul Murphy (Torfaen)
As always, this is a matter of great interest to us all. I was interested in what my hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Davies) said when he pointed out that the Government's incompetence in handling the Bill has united Labour Members. Only a few Sundays ago, I happened to switch on the television and see a programme about teaching English to foreign students. On that programme my hon. Friends the Members for Cardiff, West (Mr. Morgan) and for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael) argued the merits and demerits of the Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill. It is amazing that, if the Government are united on anything, it can only be the guillotining of Welsh business.
The Leader of the House gave us facts and figures relating to the hours that have supposedly been spent debating the Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill, but he failed to tell the House that there were separate Bills. In a sense, they dealt with separate issues. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West has told the House how the Bill has considerably altered, as has the nature of the barrage, over the months and years. The Leader of the House also failed to tell the House that the barrage has involved immense controversy. Therefore, it is only right and proper that appropriate time should be given in the House of Commons so that representatives of the people of Wales may discuss these matters.
We are concerned also about the precedent being set by guillotining a hybrid Bill. Perhaps most significant for Welsh Members of Parliament is the fact that, in a sense, the motion is an English guillotine motion. I say that not in a nationalistic sense, but out of 38 Welsh Members of Parliament only six are Conservatives. With the possible exception of the sole Liberal Democrat for Wales, the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Carlile), the overwhelming majority of Welsh Members require greater scrutiny than has been afforded this Bill.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West and others referred to the fact that, some months ago, Standing Order No. 86—an 85-year-old parliamentary tradition—had been deliberately overturned by the Government because they did not want all Welsh Members discussing what is to take place in their capital city. The Government are doing that again today. Opportunities for all Welsh Members to discuss the details of the Cardiff bay barrage are limited. If Welsh Members had not served on the Standing Committee, the number of hours in which to discuss these important issues would have been far more restricted than was implied by the Leader of the House.
Several of my hon. Friends referred to the Cardiff Bay development corporation and said that it was not subject to sufficient scrutiny by the House. If we had not faced a guillotine motion this evening, we could have given much more time to the public scrutiny of that body.
My hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd (Dr. Howells) suggested that admirals ran public bodies in Wales. As far as I know, there may well be an admiral or two running a committee somewhere in Wales; there are certainly colonels, generals, squires, unsuccessful Tory 914 candidates and defeated Conservative Members. The irony is that, the more seats the Conservative party loses, the more jobs it gives itself.
My hon. Friend the Member for Bridgend (Mr. Griffiths) said that many amendments on local accountability had yet to be debated on Report. For example, there is a host of amendments on setting up a Cardiff bay advisory committee. The Leader of the House referred to the House of Lords Select Committee. That Committee said that an advisory committee was a matter for the House of Commons to discuss in some detail. The opportunity did not properly arise in the Standing Committee, and we shall certainly not be given the opportunity on Report because we shall have a limited amount of time.
My hon. Friends the Members for Derby, South (Mrs. Beckett) and for Caerphilly referred to all the other issues which stand before us and may not be debated. Those issues include the flora and fauna associated with Cardiff bay, the sites of special scientific interest which have been debated outside the House but not sufficiently inside the House, the quality of the water in Cardiff bay, the needs of those who fish, groundwater levels and flooding, which are still matters of grave concern to thousands of people in Cardiff, and the intertwined roles of the National Rivers Authority and the Secretary of State. Those issues will not be discussed today.
Perhaps the most important issue which will not be completely and properly discussed is the amount of money that will be spent to build the barrage. The most important role of the House is to scrutinise public expenditure. Hundreds of millions of pounds are to be spent on the barrage proposal, much of which is public money. We have been told that at present the Cabinet is examining what we know as the Barnett formula, and will reduce the amount of public expenditure in the Principality. The Standing Committee certainly had evidence of sloppy management of the finances of the Cardiff Bay development corporatiton.
All the matters that I have mentioned make it vitally important for the House to be allowed to fulfil its traditional role of scrutinising public spending, particularly when such spending is at risk. When the Government had a majority of 100, they used to browbeat and bully the House. As we saw last week, however, the world has changed for the Government—they now have a majority of only 21. The Government have neither the mandate, nor the right or the authority to impose their shaky will on the House or on the people of Wales. I urge the House to vote against the motion.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Gwilym Jones)
I am glad that we have had one of our traditional, good-natured Welsh debates on this important timetable motion.
The debate was opened by the hon. Member for Derby, South (Mrs. Beckett), who should be congratulated on the textbook nature of her contribution. Unlike a few other Opposition Members, the hon. Lady was in no danger of being called to order by the Chair. She produced a traditional litany against timetable motions, with only the slightest reference to this motion. It was ironic that she criticised the Government that for not having passed the subject of the Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill when it was a 915 private Bill. It was not a Government Bill. There was no Government Whip on that Bill. But it was noticeable how few Labour Members bothered to participate in the debate or the divisions on the private Bill.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael) reminded us of the benefits that will flow from the redevelopment, which will include the construction of the barrage. Like my right hon. Friend the Lord President, the hon. Gentleman referred to the widespread support in South Wales for the proposal. He was typically generous in describing the speeches from his own Front Bench, which he described as reasoned. That is a comment which only the hon. Gentleman can make about his own Front Bench. Perhaps he was even more honest when he said that Opposition Members had conducted the debate in a comradely fashion. If that is a comradely fashion, they must be wearing bullet-proof vests and every sort of protection from knives in the back.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth said that amendment No. 13 dealt with an important matter which he wants us to examine this evening. I accept that amendment No. 13 is a constructive proposal. The spirit of that amendment is fully accepted; it is compiled with in the publication of the environmental assessment.
I hope that I shall have the opportunity later this evening to point out to the hon. Gentleman that most of the materials for the construction of the Cardiff bay barrage will be transported by water or by rail and that the main site access will be through Queen Alexandra dock. I am sure that I can satisfy the hon. Gentleman that it will not be necessary for him to press amendment No. 13 to a vote later this evening.
The hon. Member for Pontypridd (Dr. Howells) reminded us of the importance of considering the worth of the moneys that will be spent on the proposal. His desire for action for the valleys is most appropriate. He is absolutely right to put that forward. As the hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth said, an integral part of the Bill is the substantial benefits that it will bring. They will not be confined to Cardiff, but will be of material advantage to the whole of south Wales.
I am reminded that the hon. Member for Pontypridd has told me that he is typically one of the yuppies on his side of the House. He lives alongside the water himself, so he is likely to benefit directly from the improvements that will be brought about for Cardiff bay and River Taff by the barrage. I hope that he will benefit, and that his constituents will benefit.
§ Dr. Kim Howells
I never knowingly described myself as a yuppie. I should like to know whether the dam will be high enough to make the reservoir stretch as fair as Abercynon. The reservoir needs to stretch that far if it is to affect my constituency. Will the barrage block up the river and swallow up Abercynon and presumably the whole of Cardiff?
§ Mr. Jones
The hon. Gentleman knows well the improvements that will flow for the River Taff and for south Wales generally, and we must make progress with that.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. Morgan) asked whether the Bill was defective and would be changed in another place. He knows full well the answer to that question. He will recall that the Select Committee required the Government to amend the Bill to widen the land 916 drainage powers of Cardiff city council. The matter has been discussed and agreed with the city council, and the Government will make an amendment to the Bill as it is presented in another place.
However, it is erroneous to suggest that the Bill is defective in any way. I can certainly give an assurance that anyone who is directly affected will have the right to petition in another place. The timetable in this House will have no effect whatever on that right.
§ Mr. Morgan
The Minister must accept the use of the word "defective" to describe a Bill that will be altered after it has left the House, particularly when the only reason why the alteration was not made in this House was that the Bill would have to go back to Second Reading. It will now be hybridised in the other place. The hon. Gentleman is asking the House to pass a Bill on the basis of a promise that it will be put right in another place. To say that it will be put right in another place is to accept that it is defective as it goes through this place. There can be no other meaning of the word.
§ Mr. Jones
The hon. Gentleman's pretence that the Bill is defective is yet another wild stretch of his fertile imagination. The Bill is not defective. Everybody knows what is happening, and no one will lose rights as a result of the Bill or the timetable motion.
The hon. Gentleman spoke about financial matters, but those will be much more appropriately discussed when we resume the debate that we adjourned on Tuesday last week. Sadly, we had reached only the second group of amendments by 10 o'clock last Tuesday, and that group dealt with financial elements of the Bill.
The hon. Gentleman spoke of dewatering. That is an irrelevant argument, because, as he full well knows, no dewatering powers are sought under the Bill. Full protection is already included in the Bill for any changes that might come about to groundwater as a result of the building of the barrage. Dewatering may improve the situation, but I can say no more than "may". It will be exhaustively studied, but it does not affect the groundwater protections provisions in the Bill.
The hon. Gentleman went on to rerun those old claims about the micro-climate of Cardiff Bay. Somehow, the barrage will affect heating costs, traffic accidents and even, in his most sensational claim, infant mortality. My technical advisers suggest that any changes in the micro-climate as a result of barrage construction will be negligible. It is inconceivable that a temperature difference of 2 to 4 deg C would occur in the local atmosphere. The relative size of the bay compared with the Severn estuary is indicative of the magnitude of any change that could occur.
As the hon. Member said, Dr. Wallis appeared before the Select Committee earlier this year to make those claims. He expanded on his views at length, but the Select Committee was deeply unimpressed. The hon. Gentleman's attempts to resuscitate them now is a typical example of his willingness to use any scare story, no matter how far-fetched, to oppose the barrage.
§ Mr. Morgan
I am grateful that the hon. Gentleman has given way but he will agree that he had to do so because he made a disgraceful slur against my reasoning in using 917 that argument. He will recall—he has not touched on this —that I was allowed by you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to read out a letter from Lord Crickhowell which referred to the Middlesex polytechnic flood hazard research centre having confirmed the soundness of the statistical procedures used by Dr. Wallis and Mr. Monro. That is not to say that I agree with them, but their views have been confirmed and validated quite independently, and externally, by a body chosen by the National Rivers Authority.
That is why I was at pains to say that this was not my thesis but that of Dr. Wallis and Mr. Monro. I have not externally validated it—not being a scientist, I could not do so. Instead, the body chosen by the NRA has validated it. The hon. Gentleman should withdraw his disgraceful slur.
§ Mr. Jones
As I have said, my technical advisers have reassured me that such claims are inconceivable. I am glad that the hon. Gentleman is backing off from any suggestion that he is supporting those claims—or is it another attempt by him, in the vernacular that he would use, to slag off health provision in Cardiff and South Glamorgan?
The hon. Gentleman also referred to another matter, but it would be best if I told him that, if he were brief, to the point and relevant—perhaps I am asking too much of him—we could consider all those points in the time available to us this evening.
§ Mr. Davies
I was just trying to save you time, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am happy to make my points one at a time. First, throughout the debate you have made it clear that we had to restrict our remarks to the terms of the motion before us. For the past five minutes, the Minister has been wandering everywhere, and he has not referred to the motion. Is it not time that he directed his remarks to the terms of the motion?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, but I allowed the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. Morgan) to quote from the letter to the NRA, and the Minister was responding to that. Therefore, that was not a point of order.
§ Mr. Davies
On a second point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Minister accused my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West of being neither brief nor relevant, and said that he was guilty of being repetitious. Is that not a direct slur on you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, because if my hon. Friend were guilty of irrelevance and repetition, you would have called him to order?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
The hon. Gentleman is right. Had the hon. Member for Cardiff, West been unduly repetitious, I would have called him to order. He was not, and I did not hear any criticism to that effect.
§ Mr. Jones
The hon. Member for Bridgend (Mr. Griffiths) asked for time to consider the latest economic appraisal. I give him the same answer that I gave the hon. Member for Cardiff, West.
918 The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Davies) was at last totally frank on this subject. All he has been engaged in is a filibuster. Equally, he admitted that his case is bankrupt. He cannot succeed by persuasion, and all he can do is resort to filibuster.
§ Mr. Davies
Let me make it clear, so that there is no misunderstanding. I told the Minister that I was opposed to the Bill, and that, if necessary, I would resort to filibustering to try to defeat it. It ill becomes a Minister whose Back Benchers have not made one contribution to the proceedings, either tonight or on previous occasions, to talk of the value of persuading other people by the force of debate. He has never had anyone to listen to him.
§ Mr. Jones
The hon. Gentleman need only reflect on the dearth of his colleagues who have turned out in debate and in the Division Lobbies to support him on previous occasions.
The hon. Member for Torfaen (Mr. Murphy) made sure that we concluded our proceedings in the good-natured manner that we had maintained throughout. There was a twinkle in his eye when he claimed that the Government had managed to unite his colleagues on this subject. I know that he does not even believe that himself. That is as true as the merriment that there has been among Labour Members since the vote last week on new clause 1. They were united on that vote last week, but that meant that they were united on voting down the only success that the hon. Member for Cardiff, West has achieved in all his contributions to our debates.
As my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House said, the House has already had extensive debates on the concept of a barrage across Cardiff bay in the context of the private Bill promoted by the Cardiff Bay development corporation and South Glamorgan county council. The barrage proposal, the operation of the barrage, the management of the inland bay and the outer harbour and the ground water protection scheme were extensively examined on the Floor of the House, in Committee and in another place. The examination of this Bill, which would achieve the same ends, has been rigorous.
§ Mr. Win Griffiths
The Minister once again says that the barrage scheme has been well debated, but will he not admit that last week there was a further update on the economic effect of the benefits of the barrage that could not be done justice to even if we spent the whole of the two hours that we have on that issue alone?
§ Mr. Jones
The hon. Gentleman has already made that point, and I have already replied to it.
The opponents' determination to slow up proceedings on the Bill was evident last Tuesday, when the House was discussing new clause 1. Although we were considering a large group of other amendments, most of the three hours spent on them was taken up with attacks on the Government's new clause 1 and related amendments. The Government had tabled those amendments to meet in full—indeed, to extend—amendments tabled by the hon. Member for Cardiff, West in Standing Committee.
Of the 125 or so amendments tabled in Committee by Opposition Members, well over half had been tabled again. Having heard the same points made on Second Reading and in Committee, it was not unreasonable to expect opponents to come forward with something that we had not heard before. The evidence of last Tuesday was 919 that further consideration of the Bill was to be yet another rerun of familiar arguments from some Opposition Members. That is not to dismiss the real issues arising from the Bill: the Government have addressed those by ensuring that adequate safeguards appear in the Bill.
On Second Reading on 25 November, the Opposition tabled an amendment about the adequacy of the groundwater protection scheme, about public consultation on the Hydrotechnica studies and about water quality in the inland bay. There were ample opportunities in Standing Committee to discuss the ground water protection scheme and the Bill's provisions relating to water quality. Public consultation on the Hydrotechnica studies, a separate issue, was dealt with fully when my right hon. Friend announced his decision on public funding in the light of those studies on 20 January this year. The National Rivers Authority has declared itself satisfied with the way in which its responsibilities, including water quality, are dealt with in the Bill. In the circumstances, therefore, the motion is entirely reasonable. As the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Carlile) said, once a motion has been fully debated—and this subject certainly has been—it is time to make a decision on it. He is right, and I urge the House to support it.
§ Question put:
§ The House divided: Ayes 296, Noes 201.922
|Division No. 77]||[7.01 pm|
|Adley, Robert||Butler, Peter|
|Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)||Butterfill, John|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)|
|Alexander, Richard||Carlile, Alexander (Montgomry)|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)||Carlisle, John (Luton North)|
|Allason, Rupert (Torbay)||Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)|
|Amess, David||Carrington, Matthew|
|Ancram, Michael||Carttiss, Michael|
|Arbuthnot, James||Cash, William|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Channon, Rt Hon Paul|
|Ashby, David||Chaplin, Mrs Judith|
|Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy||Clappison, James|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)|
|Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E)||Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey|
|Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)||Coe, Sebastian|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North)||Colvin, Michael|
|Baldry, Tony||Congdon, David|
|Banks, Matthew (Southport)||Conway, Derek|
|Banks, Robert (Harrogate)||Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)|
|Bates, Michael||Coombs, Simon (Swindon)|
|Batiste, Spencer||Cormack, Patrick|
|Bellingham, Henry||Couchman, James|
|Bendall, Vivian||Cran, James|
|Beresford, Sir Paul||Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Davies, Quentin (Stamford)|
|Blackburn, Dr John G.||Davis, David (Boothferry)|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Day, Stephen|
|Booth, Hartley||Deva, Nirj Joseph|
|Boswell, Tim||Dickens, Geoffrey|
|Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)||Dorrell, Stephen|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James|
|Bowden, Andrew||Dover, Den|
|Bowis, John||Duncan, Alan|
|Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes||Duncan-Smith, Iain|
|Brandreth, Gyles||Dunn, Bob|
|Brazier, Julian||Durant, Sir Anthony|
|Bright, Graham||Dykes, Hugh|
|Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)||Eggar, Tim|
|Browning, Mrs. Angela||Elletson, Harold|
|Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)||Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)|
|Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)||Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)|
|Budgen, Nicholas||Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)|
|Burns, Simon||Evans, Roger (Monmouth)|
|Burt, Alistair||Evennett, David|
|Faber, David||Lynne, Ms Liz|
|Fabricant, Michael||MacGregor, Rt Hon John|
|Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)||MacKay, Andrew|
|Forman, Nigel||Maclean, David|
|Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)||Maclennan, Robert|
|Forth, Eric||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)||McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick|
|Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)||Madel, David|
|Freeman, Roger||Malone, Gerald|
|French, Douglas||Mans, Keith|
|Fry, Peter||Marland, Paul|
|Gale, Roger||Marlow, Tony|
|Gallie, Phil||Marshall, John (Hendon S)|
|Gardiner, Sir George||Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)|
|Garel-Jones, Rt Hon Tristan||Martin, David (Portsmouth S)|
|Garnier, Edward||Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick|
|Gill, Christopher||Mellor, Rt Hon David|
|Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair||Merchant, Piers|
|Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles||Milligan, Stephen|
|Gorman, Mrs Teresa||Mills, Iain|
|Gorst, John||Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)|
|Grant, Sir Anthony (Cambs SW)||Moate, Roger|
|Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)||Montgomery, Sir Fergus|
|Greenway, John (Ryedale)||Moss, Malcolm|
|Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)||Nelson, Anthony|
|Grylls, Sir Michael||Neubert, Sir Michael|
|Hague, William||Newton, Rt Hon Tony|
|Hamilton, Rt Hon Archie||Nicholls, Patrick|
|(Epsom-Ewell)||Nicholson, David (Taunton)|
|Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)||Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)|
|Hampson, Dr Keith||Norris, Steve|
|Hanley, Jeremy||Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley|
|Hannam, Sir John||Ottaway, Richard|
|Hargreaves, Andrew||Page, Richard|
|Harvey, Nick||Paice, James|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Patnick, Irvine|
|Hawkins, Nick||Patten, Rt Hon John|
|Hawksley, Warren||Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey|
|Heald, Oliver||Pawsey, James|
|Heathcoat-Amory, David||Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth|
|Hendry, Charles||Pickles, Eric|
|Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael||Porter, Barry (Wirral S)|
|Hicks, Robert||Porter, David (Waveney)|
|Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.||Portillo, Rt Hon Michael|
|Hill, James (Southampton Test)||Powell, William (Corby)|
|Hordern, Sir Peter||Rathbone, Tim|
|Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)||Redwood, John|
|Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)||Renton, Rt Hon Tim|
|Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)||Richards, Rod|
|Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)||Riddick, Graham|
|Jack, Michael||Rifkind, Rt Hon. Malcolm|
|Jackson, Robert (Wantage)||Robathan, Andrew|
|Jenkin, Bernard||Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn|
|Jessel, Toby||Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)|
|Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey||Robinson, Mark (Somerton)|
|Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)||Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)|
|Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)||Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)|
|Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr)||Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela|
|Jopling, Rt Hon Michael||Ryder, Rt Hon Richard|
|Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine||Sackville, Tom|
|Kilfedder, Sir James||Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas|
|Kirkhope, Timothy||Shaw, David (Dover)|
|Kirkwood, Archy||Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)|
|Knapman, Roger||Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian|
|Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Knight, Greg (Derby N)||Shersby, Michael|
|Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)||Skeet, Sir Trevor|
|Knox, David||Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)|
|Kynoch, George (Kincardine)||Soames, Nicholas|
|Lait, Mrs Jacqui||Speed, Sir Keith|
|Lang, Rt Hon Ian||Spencer, Sir Derek|
|Legg, Barry||Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)|
|Leigh, Edward||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)||Spink, Dr Robert|
|Lidington, David||Spring, Richard|
|Lilley, Rt Hon Peter||Sproat, Iain|
|Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)|
|Lord, Michael||Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John|
|Luff, Peter||Steel, Rt Hon Sir David|
|Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas||Steen, Anthony|
|Stephen, Michael||Walden, George|
|Stern, Michael||Walker, Bill (N Tayside)|
|Stewart, Allan||Wallace, James|
|Streeter, Gary||Waller, Gary|
|Sumberg, David||Ward, John|
|Sweeney, Walter||Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)|
|Sykes, John||Waterson, Nigel|
|Tapsell, Sir Peter||Watts, John|
|Taylor, Ian (Esher)||Wells, Bowen|
|Taylor, John M. (Solihull)||Wheeler, Sir John|
|Taylor, Matthew (Truro)||Whitney, Ray|
|Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)||Whittingdale, John|
|Temple-Morris, Peter||Widdecombe, Ann|
|Thomason, Roy||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)||Wilkinson, John|
|Thornton, Sir Malcolm||Willetts, David|
|Thurnham, Peter||Wilshire, David|
|Townend, John (Bridlington)||Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)|
|Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)||Wolfson, Mark|
|Tracey, Richard||Wood, Timothy|
|Tredinnick, David||Yeo, Tim|
|Trend, Michael||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Twinn, Dr Ian||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Tyler, Paul||Mr. David Lightbown and|
|Viggers, Peter||Mr. Sydney Chapman.|
|Waldegrave, Rt Hon William|
|Abbott, Ms Diane||Dafis, Cynog|
|Adams, Mrs Irene||Darling, Alistair|
|Ainger, Nick||Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)|
|Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)||Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)|
|Allen, Graham||Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)|
|Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)||Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'I)|
|Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale)||Denham, John|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Dewar, Donald|
|Barnes, Harry||Dixon, Don|
|Barron, Kevin||Dobson. Frank|
|Battle, John||Dowd, Jim|
|Bayley, Hugh||Dunnachie, Jimmy|
|Beckett, Margaret||Eagle, Ms Angela|
|Bell. Stuart||Eastham, Ken|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Enright, Derek|
|Bennett, Andrew F.||Etherington, Bill|
|Benton, Joe||Ewing, Mrs Margaret|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Fatchett, Derek|
|Berry, Dr. Roger||Field, Frank (Birkenhead)|
|Blair, Tony||Fisher, Mark|
|Blunkett, David||Flynn, Paul|
|Boyce, Jimmy||Foster, Derek (B'p Auckland)|
|Boyes, Roland||Foulkes, George|
|Bradley, Keith||Fyfe, Maria|
|Brown, N. (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)||Galbraith, Sam|
|Burden, Richard||Gapes, Mike|
|Byers, Stephen||Gerrard, Neil|
|Caborn, Richard||Godman, Dr Norman A.|
|Callaghan, Jim||Golding, Mrs Llin|
|Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)||Gordon, Mildred|
|Campbell-Savours, D. N.||Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)|
|Canavan, Dennis||Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)|
|Chisholm, Malcolm||Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)|
|Clapham, Michael||Grocott, Bruce|
|Clark, Dr David (South Shields)||Gunnell, John|
|Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)||Hain, Peter|
|Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)||Hanson, David|
|Clelland, David||Hardy, Peter|
|Clwyd, Mrs Ann||Henderson, Doug|
|Coffey, Ann||Heppell, John|
|Connarty, Michael||Hill, Keith (Streatham)|
|Cook. Frank (Stockton N)||Hinchliffe, David|
|Cook, Robin (Livingston)||Hoey, Kate|
|Corbett, Robin||Hood, Jimmy|
|Cousins, Jim||Hoon, Geoffrey|
|Cox, Tom||Howarth, George (Knowsley N)|
|Cryer, Bob||Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)|
|Cummings, John||Hoyle, Doug|
|Cunliffe, Lawrence||Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)|
|Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)||Hughes, Roy (Newport E)|
|Cunningham, Dr John (C'p'I'nd)||Hutton, John|
|Ingram, Adam||O'Neill, Martin|
|Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)||Parry, Robert|
|Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)||Pickthall, Colin|
|Jamieson, David||Pike, Peter L.|
|Janner, Greville||Pope, Greg|
|Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side)||Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E)|
|Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Môn)||Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)|
|Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)||Primarolo, Dawn|
|Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)||Quin, Ms Joyce|
|Jowell, Tessa||Randall, Stuart|
|Keen, Alan||Raynsford, Nick|
|Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn)||Reid, Dr John|
|Khabra, Piara S.||Robertson, George (Hamilton)|
|Kilfoyle, Peter||Robinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW)|
|Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil (Islwyn)||Roche, Mrs. Barbara|
|Leighton, Ron||Rooker, Jeff|
|Lewis, Terry||Rooney, Terry|
|Litherland, Robert||Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)|
|Livingstone, Ken||Ross, William (E Londonderry)|
|Lloyd, Tony (Stratford)||Rowlands, Ted|
|Llwyd, Elfyn||Ruddock, Joan|
|Loyden, Eddie||Salmond, Alex|
|McAvoy, Thomas||Sedgemore, Brian|
|McCartney, Ian||Sheerman, Barry|
|Macdonald, Calum||Short, Clare|
|McFall, John||Skinner, Dennis|
|McKelvey, William||Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)|
|McLeish, Henry||Soley, Clive|
|McWilliam, John||Spearing, Nigel|
|Madden, Max||Strang, Dr. Gavin|
|Mahon, Alice||Straw, Jack|
|Mandelson, Peter||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)|
|Marshall, David (Shettleston)||Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)|
|Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)||Tipping, Paddy|
|Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)||Turner, Dennis|
|Martlew, Eric||Warden, Gareth (Gower)|
|Meacher, Michael||Watson, Mike|
|Michael, Alun||Welsh, Andrew|
|Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)||Wicks, Malcolm|
|Milburn, Alan||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Miller, Andrew||Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)|
|Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)||Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)|
|Moonie, Dr Lewis||Winnick, David|
|Morgan, Rhodri||Wise, Audrey|
|Morley, Elliot||Wray, Jimmy|
|Morris, Rt Hon A. (Wy'nshawe)||Wright, Dr Tony|
|Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)||Young, David (Bolton SE)|
|Murphy, Paul||Tellers for the Noes:|
|O'Brien, Michael (N W'kshire)||Mr. Eric Illsley and|
|O'Hara, Edward||Mr. Alan Meale.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.