HC Deb 11 May 1993 vol 224 cc753-74
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Morris)

We now come to the motion on sea fish licensing.

Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. According to the Order Paper, The Instrument has not yet been considered by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. The Standing Orders place a duty on that Committee to report to the House. I must register a strong protest that the instrument is being rushed through and that the Committee's report is not available. The Committee is asking the Ministry a number of questions; according to the terms of our operation, we must allow it to reply to those questions, and we cannot do that until next week. I wrote to the Leader of the House asking him to defer the debate in view of the circumstances, but that has not been done.

I should add that the Ministry presented the order in time for it to be submitted to the Joint Committee, but for some reason deliberately delayed its submission.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for the way in which he has put his point. He will know, however, that the Chair is not responsible for what the House debates.

Mr. James Wallace (Orkney and Shetland)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I hope that it is a new point of order.

Mr. Wallace

Yes, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As you will know only too well, as the statutory instrument is subject to the negative procedure, you will be obliged to put the Question at 11.30 pm. I am sure, however, that you are also aware that under Standing Order No. 15(2) you can interrupt the business and the debate shall stand adjourned till the next sitting owing either to the "lateness of the hour" or the importance of the subject matter". The Division on an amendment to the Finance Bill has already eaten into the time allowed for this debate. Moreover, this is a complex provision that will affect the livelihood of fishermen around our coast—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman seems to be taking precedence over others who wish to speak. We have well over an hour for the debate.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett (Denton and Reddish)

Further to the point of order raised by my hon Friend the Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer), Mr. Deputy Speaker. May I ask you—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I ruled very fairly on the point raised by the hon. Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer).

Mr. Bennett

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. You do not have the power to decide what is debated, but you have the power to deprecate the procedure of a Department that does not give the House adequate time to debate the issues involved in Committee. It would be helpful if the Chair were to indicate that it disapproves strongly of a Department trying to short-circuit the work of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I ruled that the Chair had no responsibility for what the House debates.

10.19 pm
Dr. Gavin Strang (Edinburgh, East)

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Sea Fish Licensing (Time at Sea) (Principles) Order 1993 (S.I., 1993, No. 1196), dated 30th April 1993, a copy of which was laid before this House on 4th May, be annulled. My hon. Friends have a legitimate point. The way the order has been rushed before the House is unsatisfactory.

I should make it clear at the outset that the House has before it probably the most controversial fishing measure ever to be debated here. Certainly no policy has ever provoked such united opposition from our fishing communities. Everyone who reads the fishing press and, indeed, newspapers generally must be aware that relations between the Government and the fishing industry are at an all-time low. The Government's tie-up policy is the most important factor provoking such strenuous opposition from our fishermen. As an Opposition, we support the complete resistance of the fishermen to the compulsory tie-up policy.

If a conservation measure is to be effective, it has to be implemented with the co-operation of the industry. There is no way this policy will achieve the co-operation of the industry or will prove to be an effective fish conservation measure. That is the first reason why the Government should abandon their policy.

Hon. Members who have taken the trouble to read the order will be forced to conclude that we are being asked to implement a bureaucratic nightmare. In order to fish legally, a fishing vessel has to have a licence. If the order is passed, each licence will stipulate the number of half days which a fishing boat will be allowed to spend at sea. That number will be based on the number of days the vessel spent at sea in 1991. Of course, no fisherman knew in 1991 that the number of days spent at sea would determine how many days he could spend at sea in the future and would become a condition of his licence to fish in our waters.

Many fishermen filled in log books and can document to some extent the number of days spent at sea in 1991, but many cannot. Many did not have to fill in EC log books. For example, fishermen fishing species for which there are no national quotas did not have to provide evidence or complete log books. For many of them, there is no documentary evidence on which to base the number of days which they will be allowed to spend at sea in future. That is acknowledged in paragraph 7 of the order, which is entitled Time spent fishing under the authority of a licence but not covered by written returns". When we study that, we find that there is no evidence to be taken into account in some instances. It will be a purely arbitrary decision.

If we read the order further, we see a reference to "Exceptional circumstances". Of course there are exceptional circumstances. If we read through the list, it brings out how unworkable the order will be. I quote one example of exceptional circumstances: other factors leading to prolonged or repeated absence from work on the part of the master or any member of the crew of the vessel. Let us be clear about it. Fishermen are like the rest of us. Some are more honest than others or, should I say, some are more economical with the truth. Harsh decisions will be taken. Clearly, it is intended that if the order is to bite, it has to be restrictive. That means that many fishermen will be treated unfairly in relation to the number of days on which they will be allowed to fish. It is unworkable and unfair.

In the limited time available to me—many hon. Members wish to take part in this very short debate—I shall confine myself to a few questions. Why has the minimum allocation been fixed at 160 days? There must be some basis for that figure—[Interruption.] It is not an EC figure. Indeed, there is a quite different EC figure applying to decommissioning, which is 200 half days, representing 100 full days on which one must fish to be eligible for the EC decommissioning scheme.

I ask for a rough guide, so my question is reasonable. What will be the average number of days at sea for each licence? The minimum, as I said, will be 160, although the maximum, especially in circumstances in which there are two crews, could be higher than 330 days. The fishing industry is entitled to an indication of the average number of days-at-sea allowed under the proposals.

I urge the Minister to give an important undertaking about the application of the regime. Will he undertake that the days-at-sea restrictions will never prevent British fishermen from fulfilling their quotas? In other words, may we be assured that no fisherman will be denied the opportunity to exhaust his national quota as a consequence of the days at sea restrictions?

The fishing industry has for years campaigned for a decommissioning scheme. In those campaigns it has had the support of the Labour party and hon. Members on both sides of the House, including some Conservative Members who represent fishing communities. Over the years, however, the Conservative Government have consistently refused to introduce a decommissioning scheme.

I am glad to see the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in his place. In 1990, he said: I emphasise that decommissioning is not the way to reduce the pressure on fish stocks". —[Official Report, 13 December 1990; Vol. 182, c. 1171].

Various versions of that statement have been repeated by Ministers in one debate after another. The Government have belatedly introduced what we would describe as a totally inadequate decommissioning scheme. The Select Committee on the European Communities in another place produced a valuable report nearly a year ago describing that scheme as too little, too late.

As a result of an amendment introduced during its passage, the parent legislation to the instrument that we are debating, the Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1992, states that, before considering what action to take, Ministers shall first give due consideration to a scheme of decommissioning in order to achieve a significant reduction in the capacity of the fishing fleet. The Government's miserable decommissioning scheme was announced in February 1992. The Sea Fish (Conservation) Act received Royal Assent in December 1992. What consideration did the Government give to introducing an effective decommissioning scheme before the order now before the House was introduced? Where is the evidence that they gave the matter such consideration? Will their half-hearted decommissioning scheme, as we term it, achieve a reduction in fishing capacity? That, too, was challenged in the Select Committee report in another place.

Opposition Members are not against just this compulsory tie-up regime. We are against compulsory tie-up as a general proposition. We are against it because it is unfair. Many young skippers have borrowed large sums of money to buy vessels. How can it be right to force them, by such restrictions, into a situation in which they will not be able to earn enough money to make the loan repayments and cover their costs? Compulsory tie-up is economic nonsense. It inherently forces up fishing costs, so it cannot make sense as a long-term policy.

Compulsory tie-up threatens the safety of our fishermen. If a fisherman is fishing on the high seas and the weather suddenly deteriorates, he will go home, knowing that he can go out and fish again the next day. Once this scheme is in operation, however, and fishermen are out in adverse conditions, they will remember that they are only allowed to fish for so many days a year: they may not be able to return the next day. They will therefore try to catch as many fish as possible while they can. It is surely reasonable to argue that this will happen sometimes, so it is also reasonable to say that the regime will put our fishermen's lives at risk.

As anyone who knows the industry will confirm, the very possibility of the scheme coming into operation has led to boats cutting their crew members. Anyone who knows anything about fishing vessels knows that vessels with fewer crew members are not so safe as boats with full crews aboard. On safety grounds alone, therefore, the scheme is wrong.

We have a common fisheries policy, but compulsory tie-up will not apply to French or Spanish fishermen. What chance, then, of the scheme being acceptable to our fishermen when, for historical reasons, they find themselves competing against French, Irish and Spanish fishermen in the seas around this country? It is difficult for them to understand how that can be right under a common fisheries policy.

Conservation can work only if it has the support of the industry. Compulsory tie-up is unworkable. That is why the policy should be stopped in its tracks. The House can do that tonight, so I urge all hon. Members to join the Opposition in the Lobbies to vote down the order.

10.32 pm
The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. David Curry)

It is, I think, a matter of agreement that there is a crisis in the fish stocks. We know why. It is because fishermen are hunting a common resource, because there is no entry fee to that resource, because they hunt it competitively, and because, all the time, increased killing power is being brought in by new technology. One has only to look at Fishing News to see advertisements such as "Now fish can't hide"—because of the sheer weight of the technology deployed in the hunt for them.

The technology is improving all the time, and that has led to a crisis in the stocks. It is a worldwide, not just a European, crisis. The House will know that the Newfoundland cod fishery has been halted for two years because of the crisis in the cod stocks there. The Icelanders have cut their quotas radically because of the crisis in the cod stocks. Ten years ago we pulled about 540,000 tonnes of cod from the Baltic; that quota is now down to 40,000 tonnes.

The crisis in the North sea is equally grave. The purpose of these measures is to protect our fish, by our means, for our fishermen. Even if there were no such thing as a common fisheries policy, even if we had a national 200-mile limit, I would still be here today defending measures to protect British fish. That is the reason for the order. It is not here because it was imposed by Brussels. It is certainly not a case of waiting until the stocks are utterly depleted just because others might not take the same action. We are introducing the measure because our stocks are threatened, and we have a duty to save them.

Mr. Brian Wilson (Cunninghame, North)

The Minister has a difficult job, but how can he make global statements about the intensity of the fishing effort in the light of the fact that, until recently, the Government were giving grants in order to intensify the fishing effort? Why, throughout a debate that has now lasted for several years around the Bellwin scheme and related measures, has there been no movement at all towards recognising and supporting low-intensity fishing regimes which apply in certain parts of the country through a regional fishing policy?

The Minister talks about a national fishing policy and declaims against high-intensity fishing, but people with conservation-conscious fishing regimes get no local protection and support against such high intensity fishery regimes. If the hon. Gentleman moved towards a regional fishing policy, what he has just said would have more credibility.

Mr. Curry

The hon. Gentleman raises a point of genuine debate. One could look at fisheries in regional terms, but some in the United Kingdom fish all round the coast and others are regional. There will always be some conflict between them. There is no such thing as a fishing industry in Britain: there are half a dozen fishing industries. One of the problems facing any Fisheries Minister is to try to reconcile the competing claims of the elements of the industry. I recognise that there are difficult choices to be made. It is my job to stand here and defend the one that we have made.

Everywhere, Governments are struggling to find an answer to conservation. That is why they have been. forced to intervene in an industry which is traditionally unregulated, fragmented and individual. We have to consider how to achieve conservation. It could partly be done by telling the industry to depend on self-discipline and self-regulation. That would be an easy solution—it would certainly be more convenient for Ministers—but it does not always work.

The industry is competitive. The producer organisations are not always willing to exercise a discipline over their members that would be helpful. There is a history of evasion. I do not wish to labour the point, but all of us know that that exists. Because fish are a common resource, not a property right, fishermen who act with restraint tend to lose out to those who do not act with restraint.

Mr. Michael Stephen (Shoreham)

Does my hon. Friend accept that there is a history of evasion on the French side of the English channel as well, and that it is particularly important for fishermen such as those who operate out of the port of Shoreham and in the English channel, that the British Government keep a close eye on what is going on in the French ports and ensure that French and other fishermen are not evading the rules while our fishermen are obeying them?

Mr. Curry

I totally agree with my hon. Friend. That is why the first meeting between the new French Minister and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and myself was about fisheries. I do not wish to draw up a league table of comparative sin and virtue in the fishing industry, but I recognise clearly that fishermen across the world tend to be a breed; that is why Governments fact similar problems whether in Guinea-Bissau or the west coast of Scotland.

There are various ways of going about conservation. There is self-discipline and technical conservation. But we know that there is no single measure that will do the trick, because of the different ways in which stocks behave. We know that what would be necessary if we were to achieve all our objectives by technical conservation might well be further than the industry would be prepared to go.

We know also that the industry tends to be divided in its reponse to challenges. For example, we are consulting at the moment on whether we should ban the landing of small ungutted rounders—the basic white fish stocks. I need not be a prophet to forecast that we are unlikely to have a favourable response to that from all the different parts of the United Kingdom, although I can see the argument in favour of taking that particular measure.

We have set up a forum with the industry. It has had its first meeting. It has gone into working groups, and we hope to find concrete measures of technical conservation acceptable to everybody. We are willing to commit research money to doing work that might reveal how we can go forward with the industry.

Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan)


Mr. Curry

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang) said that many hon. Members wish to speak, and if I give way constantly, it will mop up the entire debate. As the House knows, I usually give way, but in these circumstances of a narrow debate I shall be rather more disciplined.

There is a buy-out. If one goes for a buy-out, one only buys time, because the technology is galloping along behind all the time. Countries with a long history of decommissioning have found that they still need to make further reductions. Decommissioning by itself simply has not delivered the trick. One has to do a lot of decommissioning before one starts cutting into the efficient catches. One tends to catch those who are committing the least attack on the stock. However, we believe that decommissioning has a role. We have accepted that it must form part of the package; that is why £25 million is available for decommissioning.

The order is only part of a package of measures. Days at sea will go back to back with decommissioning to make decommissioning into an effective conservation measure.

Mr. Michael Jopling (Westmorland and Lonsdale)

Has there been a change in recent years from the position that I remember so well? Every year, when the scientists made their recommendations about stocks, total allowable catches and quotas, the fishermen's lobbies, of which the British was not the least, came to all Ministers in the Council and pleaded for the TACs and quotas to be far higher than the scientists had recommended. Because of the power of that lobby, Ministers often agreed TACs and quotas at a level higher than they felt was prudent.

Is it not fair to say that, as a result of that pressure and those decisions, the crisis that now confronts the industry is partly due to Ministers over the years and partly due to the irresponsible pressure of fishermen who would not face the crisis in years gone by and who now face a far bigger crisis?

Mr. Curry

My right hon. Friend makes a valid point. It has been the case that Ministers have succumbed to pressures in the past. They have been willing to edge up the TACs and the quotas to meet certain political pressures on them. That is one of the reasons why we have the crisis now. That option is no longer available to us.

The important point about the scheme is that it is a minimal scheme. It will come into operation in September or October. We want to issue the provisional allocations which will then give rise to the definitive allocations. The scheme will not come into force until September or October. It will then stand still until we are satisfied that other member states are fulfilling their obligations to reduce capacity. I emphasise this point. I do not have the slightest intention—the House would not permit me in any case—of inviting the House to take further measures unless it is clear that our Community partners are also taking measures to meet their targets. I have emphasised that from the beginning.

The position is well summed up in a newspaper from which I do not normally quote, and which does not normally mention me with great favour. The editorial in this week's Fishing News says: More money for decommissioning, much as the industry calls for it, is simply a political non-starter in the current climate. It then states why there is no chance of getting more money for it. The editorial continues: On technical measures, again the Government is lukewarm. A major difficulty is the enforcement. The Government knows that fishermen are up to all the tricks in avoiding the impact of technical measures and hence have no faith in them as conservation measures. One reason why technical measures fail is that they are invariably imposed against the advice of the industry which then immediately sets about side-stepping them. The reason they are so often imposed is that fishermen cannot agree on what measures are required. The editorial points out that a new federation has been formed in the north-east of England which may reflect certain disagreements with the national federation.

The editorial then points out, as the hon. Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson) mentioned, the possibility of considering a regional fisheries policy. It concludes: If the industry is to fight tie-ups effectively and convincingly, it must have a realistic alternative. So far the alternatives put forward do not recognise the political realities and the complexities of fisheries management or the fragmentation and diversity of the industry. That is the view of the industry's own house magazine.

Mr. Anthony Steen (South Hams)

As a Conservative Member whose understanding of such matter is limited, I wonder whether the Minister could explain something to me. Am I right in thinking that the arrangements that he is announcing tonight will peg the 1993 quota at the 1991 days-at-sea level? Secondly—and more important—is he saying that he will not introduce any new resolution, as he said on 14 July 1992, unless we are satisfied that member states which share our fishery stocks are taking effective steps to meet their multi-annual guidance programme targets. —[Official Report, 14 July 1992; Vol. 211, c. 1027.]?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse)

Order. We have already had three interventions, all of them lengthy. We have a very limited time for the debate, and a number of hon. Members are seeking to catch my eye. Long interventions do not help.

Mr. Curry

I can confirm to my hon. Friend that the promises that we gave during the passage of the Sea Fish (Conservation) Act are all being fulfilled. This measure represents a standstill on effort expressed in days at sea based on the 1991 figure. I shall explain what "based" means in a minute. We will not move from that position, and I will not invite the House to tighten that restriction until we are satisfied that other member states are meeting their own targets, set in the EC consultative group. I am delivering on that promise in precise terms.

The Government have a package of measures, including licensing under 10 m, the decommissioning scheme—using which we have to remove 55 per cent. of the target—and days at sea. As I said, it is minimal. We will also reintroduce grants for vessel safety equipment—for fitting radio beacons, for life rafts, for hand-held radios, flares and rockets.

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Dr. Strang) mentioned safety. Let me say to him very seriously that, this year, where there have been no restrictions in fishing, we have already seen a significant loss of life in the fisheries industry. A couple of weeks ago I was in Northern Ireland, where two lives were lost in the constituency of the right hon. Member for Strangford (Mr. Taylor). That happens even when there are no restrictions. Fishing is a hazardous business; there is loss of life in the fishery.

I shall not draw comparisons in respect of lives lost from one year to another, but I do not seriously believe that the present measure will tempt fishermen to risk their lives. I simply do not think that that is the case, and I hope that nobody will blame on this measure every single loss of life that occurs in the fishing industry. That would not be an intellectually honest thing to do.

What will happen now is as follows. The principles order clears the way to send forward the traditional allocations, based on 1991 figures, so that we can make up allocations for people who have been caught by exceptional circumstances in 1991. There will then be a period for informal representations, so that we may be informed of the adjustments that are necessary—for example, for the non-fishing effort.

I have received many representations in respect of boats that do oil rig work or white weeding in the Thames estuary, as well as those engaged in tourist activity and fishing for salmon and migratory trout. We have listened to those representations and will make allowance for such activities. We have also received representations concerning those areas where the data is not complete.

Sir Roger Moate (Faversham)

In reiterating those assurances, which are most helpful, will my hon. Friend confirm that there will be no change whatever with regard to boats under 10 m? While he is collecting information, can he assure the House that he has no plans, as far ahead as one can see, to apply the days-at-sea restrictions to the very large fleet of boats under 10 m?

Mr. Curry

We have of course completed the licensing of the fleet of boats under 10 m, and we will not introduce days-at-sea restrictions during the lifespan of the current multi-annual guidance programme target. Within that lifespan, we shall be able to review all our conservation measures, so I can give my hon. Friend the assurance that he seeks.

After the fishermen have had a month in which to make their representations, we will analyse those representations over two or three months, and then the full statutory instrument tribunal will be available.

The House will want to know that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, together with the Secretaries of State for Scotland, for Wales and for Northern Ireland will be appointing Sir Michael Ogden QC as president of the Sea Fish Licence Tribunal. Sir Michael will commence work immediately on a part-time basis to assist us in finalising the arrangements for the tribunal's work and will then preside over its operation later in the year.

He has a great wealth of experience on which to draw, including 13 years as chairman of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, acting as the assessor of compensation for miscarriages of justice for the Home Secretary and the Minister of Defence, and sitting as deputy High Court judge in the Queen's bench division in addition to his practice as Queen's counsel. I am confident that he will ensure that fishermen who wish to appeal will receive open, fair and impartial treatment. At the same time, I pay tribute to Judge Michael Coulson for his preliminary work in setting up the tribunal and pending the appointment of the tribunal.

We expect the allocations to operate from early September or October, and the days at sea will not be conterminous with the quota year. That will introduce an additional element of flexibility into the scheme. We have sought to have a flexible, effective and enforceable scheme. All the time spent at sea in 1991 will be counted. We will make an allowance for exceptional circumstances such as a breakdown or family bereavement, and will calculate in half days to permit flexibility to the fisherman. There will be the de minimis allocation. There will be allowances for vessels that are caught by the eight-day tie-up. I have observed the representations that I received on that matter.

We will go no further than this order unless we are satisfied that we are getting effective action from our partners. We will differentiate between sector and stock in deciding how to take the system forward in the circumstances that I have outlined—when our partners are moving forward and we have received from the House and another place the affirmative resolution that we have written into the rules.

The measure will be of practical benefit, because it gives well-defined quantity entitlements to fishermen. It can be targeted by a fishing area and method of fishing, and it is enforceable. It will give an economic benefit by curbing the race to fish and the simultaneous landings than can glut the market and help profitability when the stocks recover and the catch rates increase. It can provide the basis for rationalisation without increasing the exploitation rate.

The measure will be of conservation benefit, because it is essential for decommissioning to be effective. It will be a method of combating black fish landings and discarding when quotas have been exhausted. It will limit the exploitation of vulnerable non-quota fish. I must emphasis that all stocks around the United Kingdom are vulnerable —some are in grave crises. The case for the freeze on effort is absolutely open and shut for all the stocks around the United Kingdom.

The measure is for conversation and the future of the industry. Neither the Labour party nor the industry has offered us an effective alternative. The measure is a British method, devised with the British industry in view to preserve British stocks for British fishermen and carried through by the British Government. It is for the long-term future of the industry, and I urge the House to reject the Labour party's plea to reject it.

10.53 pm
Mr. Austin Mitchell (Great Grimsby)

The measure is an abomination, which should not have been proposed to the House in the first place. We should have had a decommissioning scheme four or five years ago, when Labour Members were asking for it, to tackle the problem of conservation directly. The Government will spend a massive amount on this order—the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations has estimated about £8 million. That could be the kernel for a much bigger decommissioning which could be used more effectively and directly.

The Minister has approached the problems of fishing in an authoritarian way to conceal the consequences of his failure to introduce a decommissioning scheme years ago. Most consequences will be imposed on a fishing industry that will be driven into bankruptcy by having the days at sea limited in this way. I do not want the Minister to get away with the sort of salami tactics that he has adopted tonight, saying that it will be done bit by bit, with more proposals to come later. That is salami-ism.

When the Minister has such powers, they will be implemented. The days at sea will be gradually reduced in the same way as the total allowable catch was reduced, although the Minister told us that total allowable catches were an effective means of conservation. Once he has the powers, it follows automatically that the days at sea will be limited.

We are being asked to sign a blank cheque for a Minister who has demonstrated that he will not listen to the fishing industry. He is using an economically inefficient method of approaching the problems of the industry. It will result in huge sums of capital being tied up for days every year. The order will not be paralleled by European measures.

The Minister said that if the EC did not achieve multi-annual guidance programmes the Government would reconsider. Of course it will achieve them. It is because we are so far behind in ours that he is having to introduce this panic measure now. That is the problem. Will the Minister say that he will not implement the measure until similar measures and the same sort of limitations on days at sea are imposed on our continental competitors? If such limitations are not imposed on our competitors, what kind of spectacle will it be when our fishing boats are tied up in port and our fishermen watch the fish being caught by French, Dutch and Danish fishermen?

Our fish are caught none the less. The conservation damage is caused none the less. The fish are caught in French, Dutch and Danish nets. They will simply not be caught by British fishermen, to be landed on the British market for the British industry. That is all that the Minister will achieve. He will give a bonanza to the Europeans, who are effectively uncontrolled because policing at their ports is not so strong, effective or clear-cut as in Britain. Can the Minister tell us that the fish that are not caught by our industry and are caught by our competitors will be effectively controlled at the port of landing? Of course he cannot. The Spanish will have a bonanza thanks to the order. The fish will die none the less.

Limiting days at sea is a wrong approach to the problems of the industry and it will bankrupt large swathes of it. The far more effective approach that the Minister should take is to consult the industry and work with it to impose conservation measures by selective gear—by increasing mesh sizes, using square mesh panels and implementing all the measures that the fishermen have proposed over the years.

Mr. Curry

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Mitchell

The Minister did not give way to me, so I shall not give way to him: I am sorry.

Only selective measures can achieve proper and effective conservation. The crude measure that the Government have introduced cannot do so. It will simply drive fishermen, when they are allowed to put to sea, to catch as much as they possibly can of everything they possibly can. That is the inevitable consequence of the measure.

Having obtained the powers, the Minister should consult the industry so that proper and effective conservation can be achieved. He should work out a joint approach with the industry. That is the only way to do it. The Minister is going in for a Ceausescu approach to the problems in the fishing industry.

There is a problem with the vessels that have caught non-pressure stocks and, therefore, have not been required to keep records. Some allowance has to be made for such vessels. The only way to do so is to give them a notional allowance. They cannot be asked to develop records that do not exist.

The Grimsby fishing industry fishes by passive fishing with large mesh sizes of more than 110 mm. It is conservation conscious. It is a conservation-effective industry. When the Minister comes to exercise discretion —as he will, because at some stage he will have to discriminate—he should advance the claims of those sections of the fishing industry that are the most conservation conscious and conservation efficient.

I make a plea to the Minister. The measure came before the spirit of the Newbury noes. It is the sort of authoritarian measure that the Prime Minister has told us, having heard the voice of the people, the Government will avoid. They will consult and work with people. They will not be authoritarian. They will not impose their wishes on the people any more. Why does not the Minister join in that process in dealing with the fishing industry? I give the assurance that, if he does not, the fishing industry will be sour, intractable and unco-operative and there will be enormous difficulty in implementing the measure.

The order will require massive bureaucracy. It will require much extra spending that would not be necessary if conservation were achieved with the co-operation of the industry. That is my plea to the Minister. He has the powers. He should hold off and co-operate with the industry to get a better deal.

I also make a plea to Conservative Members from fishing ports. There is an enormous weight of responsibility on their shoulders. There are not many Members of Parliament from fishing constituencies. Fishing is a beleaguered industry. Conservative Members would not do this to any other section of the communities that they represent. Those Members would not require pubs, banks or shops to close three or four days a week. They would not dare to do that. Why do that to the fishing industry? Why do they treat the industry in that fashion? The industry does not have many people to speak for it and those Members should have the guts to speak for it tonight.

10.59 pm
Mr. David Harris (St. Ives)

I do not know why the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) pointed at me in particular as he concluded his speech, because my opposition to the Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1992 and to the order is well known and recognised.

I do not record my opposition to the Act in a boastful spirit, but with great sadness. I agreed wholeheartedly with the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Dr. Strang) and I also agreed with some of the remarks of the hon. Member for Great Grimsby, although he was far too emotional about the subject.

When the Act was passed, I had hoped that the relevant orders, of which this is the first, would not be introduced to implement the powers under it. I had hoped for a response from my hon. Friend the Minister and from the industry so that we could avoid implementation of the restrictions on days at sea through the imposition of a compulsory tie-up. I honestly do not believe that the orders and the Act represent the right way in which to achieve conservation. If I thought that they would work, I would join my hon. Friend the Minister in the Lobby. I do not believe that they represent the right approach. [Interruption.] I ask Opposition Members to be quiet, please. This is a serious matter and they are not helping the fishing industry.

The need for conservation is beyond doubt. My hon. Friend the Minister is right about that and the industry also acknowledges it. If I am critical of my hon. Friend the Minister—I believe that he has been treated unfairly in this business and that a lot of unnecessary blame has been put on him—I am also disappointed that that industry has not responded with counter-proposals to the tie-up.

When the fishermen held a large rally in Westminster Hall in July, I was greeted with fairly cheap applause, because I had done that popular thing by opposing the then Sea Fish (Conservation) Bill. I said to those fishermen that they should not applaud me because their industry not only had to oppose the Bill but produce counterproposals. It is a source of great sadness to me that it has not done that with a united voice.

Mr. Robert Hughes (Aberdeen, North)

Yes, it has.

Mr. Harris

My good friend from Scotland says that it has. I accept that that is true of certain areas and I pay tribute to the leaders of the fishing industry in the south-west, who have produce alternatives, at least tentatively, to solve this difficult subject. They have suggested closed areas in which no fishing should take place in spawning seasons. That is eminently sensible. I also agreed with their suggested technical measures.

The industry, unfortunately, has not spoken with one voice and that is why, over the years, it has done itself a great disservice. The lack of unity has been apparent on many issues apart from conservation. I realise that there are as many different views about fishing as there are fishermen in any port, but the industry must get together, particularly in the light of what the Government are imposing tonight.

If the industry produced viable proposals and if my hon. Friend the Minister and the Government were prepared to listen, we could develop a better means of conserving fish than that proposed.

I welcome the setting up of the conservation forum. I agree that it will not be easy to get agreement in i t, but I again echo what was said by the hon. Member for Great Grimsby—we really must try, even at this late hour, to secure agreement on other ways of approaching conservation.

In commending the order, my hon. Friend the Minister said that its objective was to protect our fish by our means for our fishermen. The difficulty, particularly in a n area like area 7, the south-west, is with the last bit of that objective, "for our fishermen". In area 7, for the most important species, we have in some cases only 12 per cent. of the total allowable catch and the rest belongs, in quota terms, to the boats of other member states. If our fishermen are prevented from fishing to the full, others will go on fishing and fish will not be conserved.

My hon. Friend the Minister is going to get up and I will certainly give way to him. I pay tribute to him because he has said that he will recognise these regional differences, and that is a very important point. I come back to a point made by the hon. Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson). We cannot impose a national system of control here. We need to approach the problem in a regional fashion. The situation in my part of the world is completely different from the situation in Scotland. We must therefore have regional flexibility. I know that my hon. Friend is working on that, and I think that he wants to intervene.

Mr. Curry

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I have no wish to take up his time. On the share of stocks in the south-west, I recognise that it is a different fishery from the fishery around the north-east coast, areas 4 and 6, where the stocks are the most vulnerable, but the 12 per cent. figure must be treated with some care. The United Kingdom's share is as follows: sole in the western channel, 59 per cent.; sole in the Bristol channel, 28 per cent.; plaice in the English channel, 29 per cent.; nephrops in area 7, 33 per cent.; and mackerel in the western area, 56 per cent. Boats in the south-west catch much higher-value species than do those fishing off most of the coasts.

Mr. Harris

I accept that, and my hon. Friend will note that I picked my words with some care and used the phrase "for the most important species". But the point has been made.

After dealing with the general point, I turn to some detailed criticisms of the order. The first point has already been made fairly by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East: how on earth we are to give days at sea to those people who have no track record through log books? That difficulty will cause enormous friction because to some extent the decision will be arbitrary.

There is also the cost of implementation. The Ministry has used a figure of £1.5 million a year, but I believe that the cost will be much higher than that given in the explanatory memorandum.

Then there is the biggest issue of all for me when it comes to unfairness—the wretched flag of convenience quota-hoppers. How on earth are we to impose days at sea restrictions on boats that come out of Corunna or Vigo? We cannot put those restrictions on them, and my hon. Friend and his officials know that. Therefore, I am not prepared, on that ground alone, to support a measure in which we agree that, although the quota-hoppers are covered, there is not yet a means of controlling them but in which we are going to impose restrictions on my fishermen from Newlyn and fishermen from other ports around Cornwall. For that reason alone, I could not, in all conscience, vote with my hon. Friend the Minister, although I have the greatest admiration for him.

I beg my hon. Friend just to think again on this matter. There is still time. I beg the industry to give up the protests, put them on one side and start serious talks with the Ministry so that at last we can find a sensible solution to what is undoubtedly a difficult and complex problem.

11.9 pm

Mr. James Wallace (Orkney and Shetland)

The hon. Member for St. Ives (Mr. Harris) is right to say that there should be serious talks. However, for the talks ever to take place, the Government must show a willingness to retreat from the hard-line attitude that they have taken, with their claims that effort limitation is the only way that they will achieve the necessary targets. They know that effort limitation will do precious little for conservation. The Minister talked about discards. I challenge him to show me one paragraph in the order that will make the least difference to the number of discards that are going back into the sea.

The Liberal Democrats believe that the route that the Government have taken is an inefficient way to pursue conservation ends. It ties up the capital of business men for days in a way that would be unacceptable in any other industry. The people employed on vessels will be unemployed for those days, and we know of the difficulties that many have experienced when they have tried to draw unemployment benefit for those days.

The Government's route is also an inflexible way to pursue conservation objectives. The hon. Member for St. Ives spoke of the western approaches. My understanding is that although, a year to 18 months ago, there was a view that boats should be tied up 30 per cent. of the days to meet conservation ends, that has now been reduced to 8 per cent. There is no way that the order can take any account of those changes.

The Minister said that, when the Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1992 was being drawn up, the quota for haddock in the North sea was small. That quota has now gone up from 55,000 tonnes to 133,000 tonnes, but we still have an inflexible system. The Minister said that he would not wish to see quota uncaught because boats were obliged to stay in port. I hope that, when he answers, he will tell us where that promise is implemented in the orders. Having a calendar year for days-at-sea restrictions that differs from the one for quotas will lead to confusion rather than to the flexibility that the Minister claimed that he wants.

Furthermore, the situation facing the pelagic sector shows how ludicrous the order is. We are told that the sector will be affected by days-at-sea restrictions as well, but why? The Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association has sent to some hon. Members a letter that it recently received, dated 11 May, from the Sea Fish Industry Authority, which says: on the basis of the information to hand, it seems as though the Pelagic segment has already reduced capacity since 1.1.92 sufficiently to meet the MAGP requirements. Why, in heaven's name, is that sector having restrictions imposed on it when it has met multi-annual guidance programme requirements and when, on the evidence of last year's figures, it was not able to catch all the herring and mackerel in the quota when it had no restrictions? How will it be able to do that when it does have restrictions? The Minister must answer that fundamental question.

I entirely endorse the opening remarks of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East. He asked what was the logic of 160 half days. The Minister did not tell us. I suspect that it is a period that would not allow any boat to be viable if that were all the time that it was allowed to go out. However, there will be a number of add-ons.

The Minister reaffirmed his commitment that there will be no order to reduce the number of days agreed for 1993 unless there is clear evidence that other countries are effectively implementing their MAGP targets as well. While our fishermen are restricted, it does not matter that other European countries are not effectively pursuing their MAGP targets, so while our fishermen are tied up, the fishermen of other EC states—Spain, France and Denmark—will be able to carry on fishing. Just because the Minister says that he will not bring in anything more restrictive, that does not hide the fact that there is no way in which our boats can increase the number of days when they can go to sea.

We shall have fixed and rigid restrictions which will mean the opposite of conservation for those who have relatively few days at sea. Those who in 1991 were running double crews and were at sea all the time will benefit, whereas the Clyde fishermen who tie up over the weekends will lose out. The boats with fewer days at sea will find that the monetary value of their licences will be devalued.

When the Bill was passed in the other place, their Lordships insisted that the order could not be introduced until the Government had given due consideration to the contribution of decommissioning in promoting conservation. The Government believe that a few words in the preamble to the order represent a magic incantation which will get around the statutory hurdle. The Minister has a duty to tell the House what consideration the Government gave to decommissioning.

Given the feelings in the industry, it is inevitable that someone will take the decision to judicial review. Following the decision in the House of Lords in the case of Pepper v. Hart that proceedings in the House can be used in evidence, the Minister should tell us what consideration was given to decommissioning.

The hon. Member for St. Ives highlighted the fact that it will be difficult to control foreign vessels or those flying flags of convenience coming out of other ports. They are getting a bonus from the orders as they are getting 1988 as their base year; they are having their cake and eating it and the Government have not explained why.

There has been no explanation of whether oral evidence will be acceptable in the absence of written documentation. We believe that it should be and we hope that when regulations on the sea fish tribunals are introduced, it will be made perfectly clear that oral evidence will be acceptable.

What will we be saying that our fishermen should have been doing? The scheme envisages that British fishermen are a race apart, and in a sense they are, but they will need a practising lawyer on board to decipher some aspects of the order. In 1991, they needed to be fortune tellers to know that what they had to keep then would apply to them in 1993, and they will have to be the most brilliant businessmen to squeeze enough out of 160 half days a year to remain commercially viable.

The order is no way to approach fisheries conservation. The industry has called year after year for decommissioning. It has been supported by right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House. The fact that for years the Government were deaf to their calls means that the industry is now being lumbered with a most inflexible and inefficient method of conservation which I believe will sour relationships between the Government and industry when what is needed is constructive dialogue.

11.17 pm
Rev. Ian Paisley (Antrim, North)

Hon. Members have mentioned the recent tragedy in Northern Ireland. I salute the memory of those two young men, one of whom was my constituent from Bushmills in County Antrim. He was a young man who wanted to fish from his earliest days. He went straight from school into a Government training scheme and for the seven years of his working life was engaged in fishing. He met with a tragic freak wave which swept him and his companion to their deaths.

The fishermen of Northern Ireland and their federation have stated that if the order is passed it will increase tragedies among fishermen by requiring them to fish in adverse weather conditions as there will be times when the only days when fishermen are permitted to fish will be those when the weather is bad. We have enough problems in the fishing industry without sending men out in adverse conditions.

The order will cause widespread unemployment among fishermen and the fish processing industry. It will also disadvantage British fishermen. I cannot accept the Minister's argument that he is preserving British fish; he is preserving British fish for other European countries to fish them. The Minister's argument strikes me as very preverse.

The order will introduce an unjust system, forcing our fishermen to fish in bad weather at a time when United Kingdom fishermen must comply rigidly with the quotas —far more rigidly than any other EC fishing nation. It is no use the Minister talking to the French ambassador; French fishermen will continue to fish in our waters while our boats are tied up. The Minister should withdraw the order and ensure that it is not introduced until all EC countries submit to the same rules. He should tell those countries that they would not have a common fisheries industry without our waters; the British waters made that industry. The money to be spent on civil servants to operate the scheme should be transferred to the decommissioning scheme.

If we introduce conservation in the way suggested by the order, our fishing industry will have a sad future. The fishermen of Northern Ireland are totally opposed to the order.

11.21 pm
Mr. Elliot Morley (Glanford and Scunthorpe)

It is a great shame that there has been so little time for this important debate, in which many hon. Members wanted to speak. Even after tonight, the issue will not go away; it has already been debated for a long time.

The Opposition cannot support the order, for reasons given by hon. Members on both sides of both Houses. It is both bureaucratic and expensive. Will the Government provide financial help for the many fishermen who will have to appeal against it? Will they note rulings made in the European Court about similar measures relating to allocation of days at sea for those who have no track records? The measure will not necessarily meet conservation objectives; it will discriminate against fishermen who have put less pressure on fish stocks, while rewarding those who have done the opposite. As has already been said, it has implications for crewing and safety, and it is not supported by any section of the industry.

The decommissioning element is grossly inadequate, amounting to £25 million over three years. The French fleet was given that much in a single year. There is also the issue of complying with assurances given during the passage of the Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1992. Under new section (6D)—the Act amends an earlier 1967 Act —before considering the measure relating to days at sea, Ministers shall first give due consideration to a scheme of decommissioning in order to acheive a significant reduction in the capacity of the fishing fleet. Where is that consideration? Where is the "significant reduction" in the fleet? A paltry £25 million goes nowhere near such an objective.

What about the Minister's assurance that there would be a level playing field between our fishing fleet and those of other European member states—an assurance that he gave the House on 14 July last year? While our fishermen face being tied up in port, their competitors are free to fish as widely as they wish.

Mr. Eddie McGrady (South Down)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Morley

I am sorry; there is not enough time.

Because foreign fleets receive more generous funding, they are in a position to move into our fleets—to buy up British licences and expand their quota-hopping operations.

We believe that there is an alternative to this measure: working with the industry to introduce technical conservation measures, gear types, selectivity, and bans on industrial fishing. The hon. Member for St. Ives (Mr. Harris) pointed out that fishermen themselves have suggested sensible measures, advocating retention lengths, minimum landing sizes and a ban on twin rigs. I believe that it is possible, by co-operating with the fishermen, to introduce measures that will work.

The measure is a marine set-aside without compensation. It is institutionalised bankruptcy for our fishing fleet. Many people have debts, having taken out loans to increase their capacity, supported by the very Government who are taking away the possibility for them to earn a decent living.

I urge all hon. Members to vote against the order. Let us reject it, not in a negative way but in a positive way to bring back to the House a decent measure which meets conservation objectives, which has the co-operation of all fishermen, which has the support of all sides of the House and which will meet the objects of a substainable fishing industry, which the order fails to do.

Mr. Salmond

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Feelings are running very high on this issue. Many hon. Members from fishing constituences have been unable to speak. Clearly the debate has not been extensive enough, given the importance of the issue. May I ask you to exercise your powers under Standing Order 15(2) and adjourn the debate to the next sitting day?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I am not prepared to exercise those powers.

11.25 pm
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Sir Hector Monro)

I should say to the hon. Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley) that the only way to bankrupt the fishing industry is to ensure that there are no fish. That is what is so sad about the debate. As one who has been involved in conservation legislation, both private Members' Bills and Government legislation, in the House over 20 years or more, I find it sad to hear Opposition Members bandying the word "conservation" about while not being prepared to put forward any scheme that will work.

If we are to maintain a sound fishing industry, it is essential that we conserve fish. On legislation dealing with livestock, we have always taken scientific advice. The scientific advice in the fishing world shows that our stocks are vulnerable and that we have to conserve them very carefully. We must accept that neither total allowable catches nor the quota can do the job alone, and that the methods in the order are the best way forward.

Mr. Phil Gallie (Ayr)

My hon. Friend talks of conservation. In the Clyde, the fishermen took heed of that. They imposed their own weekend ban over a number of years. Now that means that they have not got days at sea recorded in 1991. Will my hon. Friend confirm that consideration will be given to that point and that he will take positive account of the days when they could have been at sea which were not recorded because of that self-imposed ban for conservation purposes?

Sir Hector Monro

The fishermen in the Clyde will be able to have the same fishing pattern as they did in 1991 but, as they have a statutory ban, which is an exceptional circumstance, we can consider it under paragraph 9(2)(d). We shall certainly consider it carefully under the special exception clause.

Mr. McGrady


Sir Hector Monro

The main message that Opposition Members do not seem to appreciate is that there will not be a reduction in fishing effort; there will merely be a standstill on where we were in 1991. We would not reduce the amount of fishing effort without bringing forward an affirmative resolution. There is no possibility of a reduction in fishing effort taking place without further debate in the House.

Mr. McGrady


Sir Hector Monro

I hope, too, that Opposition Members will appreciate the exceptional care and trouble that will be taken in reaching the days at sea arrangement. The Department will be writing too all licence holders, who will have time to respond to the details on the computer printout and subsequently have discussions with the Department before the number of days at sea on the licence is fixed. Subsequent to that, they will have a right of appeal to the tribunal.

We had demonstrations last winter about running out of quota. The worst way to react now would be to have a free-for-all, with no check on fishing around our coast. We are putting forward a practical conservation package. It would be foolhardy to throw that out tonight. I hope that the House will support the order, in the interests of conservation.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 258, Noes 283.

Division No. 265] [11.30 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Carlile, Alexander (Montgomry)
Adams, Mrs Irene Chisholm, Malcolm
Ainger, Nick Clark, Dr David (South Shields)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Allen, Graham Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)
Alton, David Clelland, David
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale) Coe, Sebastian
Armstrong, Hilary Cohen, Harry
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Connarty, Michael
Ashton, Joe Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Austin-Walker, John Cook, Robin (Livingston)
Barnes, Harry Corston, Ms Jean
Barron, Kevin Cousins, Jim
Battle, John Cryer, Bob
Bayley, Hugh Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)
Beggs, Roy Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John
Beith, Rt Hon A. J. Dafis, Cynog
Bell, Stuart Darling, Alistair
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Davidson, Ian
Bennett, Andrew F. Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)
Benton, Joe Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Berry, Dr. Roger Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Betts, Clive Denham, John
Blunkett, David Dewar, Donald
Boateng, Paul Dixon, Don
Boyce, Jimmy Dobson, Frank
Boyes, Roland Donohoe, Brian H.
Bradley, Keith Dowd, Jim
Bray, Dr Jeremy Dunnachie, Jimmy
Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E) Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Brown, N. (N'c'tle upon Tyne E) Eagle, Ms Angela
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Eastham, Ken
Burden, Richard Enright, Derek
Byers, Stephen Etherington, Bill
Callaghan, Jim Evans, John (St Helens N)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Fatchett, Derek
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Fisher, Mark
Canavan, Dennis Flynn, Paul
Cann, Jamie Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Don (Bath) Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)
Foulkes, George Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Fraser, John Martlew, Eric
Fyfe, Maria Maxton, John
Galbraith, Sam Meacher, Michael
Gapes, Mike Michael, Alun
Garrett, John Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
George, Bruce Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll Bute)
Gerrard, Neil Milburn, Alan
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Miller, Andrew
Godsiff, Roger Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Golding, Mrs Llin Moonie, Dr Lewis
Gould, Bryan Morgan, Rhodri
Graham, Thomas Morley, Elliot
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham) Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Mowlam, Marjorie
Grocott, Bruce Mudie, George
Gunnell, John Mullin, Chris
Hain, Peter Murphy, Paul
Hall, Mike O'Brien, Michael (N W'kshire)
Hanson, David O'Hara, Edward
Harman, Ms Harriet Olner, William
Harris, David O'Neill, Martin
Harvey, Nick Paisley, Rev Ian
Heppell, John Parry, Robert
Hicks, Robert Pendry, Tom
Hill, Keith (Streatham) Pickthall, Colin
Hinchliffe, David Pike, Peter L.
Hoey, Kate Pope, Greg
Hogg, Norman (Cumbernauld) Porter, David (Waveney)
Hood, Jimmy Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Hoon, Geoffrey Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd) Prescott, John
Hoyle, Doug Primarolo, Dawn
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Purchase, Ken
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Quin, Ms Joyce
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Randall, Stuart
Hutton, John Raynsford, Nick
Jackson, Glenda (H'stead) Reid, Dr John
Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H) Rendel, David
Jamieson, David Robertson, George (Hamilton)
Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side) Robinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW)
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Môn) Roche, Mrs. Barbara
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Rogers, Allan
Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O) Rooker, Jeff
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW) Rooney, Terry
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham) Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Jowell, Tessa Rowlands, Ted
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Ruddock, Joan
Keen, Alan Salmond, Alex
Kennedy, Charles (Ross,C&S) Sheerman, Barry
Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn) Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Khabra, Piara S. Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Kilfoyle, Peter Short, Clare
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil (Islwyn) Simpson, Alan
Kirkwood, Archy Skinner, Dennis
Leighton, Ron Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Lewis, Terry Smith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
Livingstone, Ken Smith, Rt Hon John (M'kl'ds E)
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Llwyd, Elfyn Soley, Clive
Loyden, Eddie Spearing, Nigel
Lynne, Ms Liz Spellar, John
McAllion, John Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
McAvoy, Thomas Steinberg, Gerry
McCartney, Ian Stevenson, George
Macdonald, Calum Strang, Dr. Gavin
McFall, John Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
McGrady, Eddie Taylor, Rt Hon John D. (Strgfd)
McKelvey, William Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Mackinlay, Andrew Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Maclennan, Robert Tipping, Paddy
McMaster, Gordon Turner, Dennis
Madden, Max Tyler, Paul
Mahon, Alice Vaz, Keith
Mandelson, Peter Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
Marek, Dr John Wallace, James
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Walley, Joan
Wardell, Gareth (Gower) Wise, Audrey
Wareing, Robert N Worthington, Tony
Watson, Mike Wray, Jimmy
Welsh, Andrew Wright, Dr Tony
Wicks, Malcolm Young, David (Bolton SE)
Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen) Tellers for the Ayes:
Wilson, Brian Mr. Eric Illsley and Mr. Alan Meale.
Winnick, David
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Aitken, Jonathan Dover, Den
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby) Duncan, Alan
Allason, Rupert (Torbay) Duncan-Smith, Iain
Amess, David Dunn, Bob
Ancram, Michael Dykes, Hugh
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Eggar, Tim
Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv) Elletson, Harold
Ashby, David Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Aspinwall, Jack Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North) Evans, Roger (Monmouth)
Baldry, Tony Evennett, David
Banks, Matthew (Southport) Faber, David
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Fabricant, Michael
Bates, Michael Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas
Batiste, Spencer Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Bellingham, Henry Fishburn, Dudley
Bendall, Vivian Forman, Nigel
Beresford, Sir Paul Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Blackburn, Dr John G. Forth, Eric
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Booth, Hartley Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)
Boswell, Tim Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham) Freeman, Roger
Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia French, Douglas
Bowis, John Fry, Peter
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes Gale, Roger
Brandreth, Gyles Gallie, Phil
Brazier, Julian Garel-Jones, Rt Hon Tristan
Bright, Graham Garnier, Edward
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Gillan, Cheryl
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes) Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair
Browning, Mrs. Angela Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Budgen, Nicholas Gorst, John
Burns, Simon Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Burt, Alistair Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Butcher, John Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)
Butler, Peter Grylls, Sir Michael
Carlisle, John (Luton North) Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hague, William
Carrington, Matthew Hamilton, Rt Hon Archie (Epsom)
Carttiss, Michael Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Hanley, Jeremy
Chapman, Sydney Hannam, Sir John
Churchill, Mr Hargreaves, Andrew
Clappison, James Haselhurst, Alan
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Hawkins, Nick
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ruclif) Hayes, Jerry
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Heald, Oliver
Colvin, Michael Heath, Rt Hon Sir Edward
Congdon, David Heathcoat-Amory, David
Conway, Derek Hendry, Charles
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st) Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence L.
Cope, Rt Hon Sir John Hill, James (Southampton Test)
Couchman, James Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)
Cran, James Horam, John
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire) Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon) Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Davies, Quentin (Stamford) Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)
Davis, David (Boothferry) Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)
Day, Stephen Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)
Deva, Nirj Joseph Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)
Devlin, Tim Hunter, Andrew
Dickens, Geoffrey Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Dicks, Terry Jack, Michael
Dorrell, Stephen Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard Rifkind, Rt Hon. Malcolm
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Robathan, Andrew
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn
Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr) Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Robinson, Mark (Somerton)
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Key, Robert Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)
Kilfedder, Sir James Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela
King, Rt Hon Tom Ryder, Rt Hon Richard
Kirkhope, Timothy Sackville, Tom
Knapman, Roger Sainsbury, Rt Hon Tim
Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash) Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Knight, Greg (Derby N) Shaw, David (Dover)
Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n) Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Knox, David Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian
Kynoch, George (Kincardine) Shersby, Michael
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Sims, Roger
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman Skeet, Sir Trevor
Lawrence, Sir Ivan Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Legg, Barry Soames, Nicholas
Lennox-Boyd, Mark Spencer, Sir Derek
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe) Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)
Lidington, David Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Lightbown, David Spink, Dr Robert
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Spring, Richard
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Sproat, Iain
Lord, Michael Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Luff, Peter Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Steen, Anthony
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Stephen, Michael
Maclean, David Stern, Michael
McLoughlin, Patrick Stewart, Allan
McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick Streeter, Gary
Madel, David Sumberg, David
Maitland, Lady Olga Sweeney, Walter
Major, Rt Hon John Sykes, John
Malone, Gerald Tapsell, Sir Peter
Mans, Keith Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Marland, Paul Taylor, John M. (Solihull)
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Temple-Morris, Peter
Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel) Thomason, Roy
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Thornton, Sir Malcolm
Mellor, Rt Hon David Thurnham, Peter
Merchant, Piers Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)
Milligan, Stephen Tracey, Richard
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Tredinnick, David
Monro, Sir Hector Trend, Michael
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Twinn, Dr Ian
Moss, Malcolm Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Needham, Richard Viggers, Peter
Nelson, Anthony Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Neubert, Sir Michael Walden, George
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Walker, Bill (N Tayside)
Nicholls, Patrick Waller, Gary
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Waterson, Nigel
Norris, Steve Watts, John
Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley Wells, Bowen
Oppenheim, Phillip Wheeler, Rt Hon Sir John
Ottaway, Richard Whitney, Ray
Page, Richard Whittingdale, John
Paice, James Widdecombe, Ann
Patnick, Irvine Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Patten, Rt Hon John Willetts, David
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Wilshire, David
Pawsey, James Wolfson, Mark
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Wood, Timothy
Pickles, Eric Yeo, Tim
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Young, Sir George (Acton)
Powell, William (Corby)
Redwood, John Tellers for the Noes:
Renton, Rt Hon Tim Mr. James Arbuthnot and Mr. Andrew Mackay.
Richards, Rod
Riddick, Graham

Question accordingly negatived.