HC Deb 13 July 1994 vol 246 cc1115-40 11.50 pm
The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Tony Newton)

I beg to move, That this House approves the proposals in paragraph 18 of the Second Report from the Select Committee on Members' Interests (House of Commons Paper No. 353).

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Morris)

Madam Speaker wishes me to announce that she has selected the amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Michie).

Mr. Newton

This is now the sixth speech I have made on House of Commons issues since Monday and I shall try to keep this one reasonably crisp and brief.

I can be brief because the purpose of the resolution is simply to implement recommendations from the Select Committee on Members' Interests, whose Chairman will no doubt seek to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to set out in more detail the Committee's proposals and the reasons for them.

The House will probably need little reminding of the background. In March 1992, the Committee produced a major report on the registration and declaration of Members' interests. That report was debated on the Adjournment in June 1992 and formally approved by resolution of the House in June last year.

Most of the changes, which were substantial, have proved acceptable and appear to have worked without difficulty. That cannot, however, be said to have been the case in relation to the new requirement that Members who are members of Lloyd's should not only register that fact, but also list their syndicate numbers for the current year and their membership of any syndicates which remain unclosed. This requirement has led to difficulty well known to the House and complaints from a number of Members who argued strongly that those requirements went beyond what was reasonable compared with what is required in other fields and exposed them to intrusive, inaccurate and damaging speculation about the details of their financial affairs.

The Committee, therefore, and in my view rightly, decided to carry out a further inquiry and to make another report to the House. It is the recommendations of that report for further changes, having examined those complaints, that are the subject of this motion.

Essentially, the Committee has accepted that the requirements introduced last year have indeed inadvertently upset the balance between the accepted need for disclosure and the accepted need for hon. Members and their families to a proper degree of personal privacy. Its recommendations seek to restore what it believes to be reasonable balance while still going beyond the requirements of earlier years, and at the same time to take account of new developments in the Lloyd's market, in particular the introduction of what are known as members' agent pooling arrangements—MAPA—which on their own would clearly have necessitated some reconsideration.

My hon. Friend the Member for Wealden (Sir G. Johnson Smith), the Chairman of the Committee, and his Committee performed a valuable service to the House in being willing to look again at what is appropriate in this difficult area and what they have proposed deserves the support of the House.

Mr. D. N. Campbell-Savours (Workington)


Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I call Mr. Bill Michie to move the amendment.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Has the Leader of the House actually read the report? What about the deprecation by the Select Committee?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. Those are not questions for the Chair. I call Mr. Michie to move the amendment.

11.53 pm
Mr. Bill Michie (Sheffield, Heeley)

I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof: 'takes note of the Second Report from the Select Committee on Members' Interests (House of Commons Paper No. 353); but considers that the existing rule on the registration of Lloyd's syndicate numbers is reasonable and necessary in the interests of transparency and that all honourable Members who are underwriting members of Lloyd's should comply with it.'. May I first express my gratitude to Madam Speaker for allowing the amendment to be debated? I do not consider that the motion on the Order Paper in any way reflects what was discussed and voted on in Committee. That is why I tabled the amendment.

The debate took place over many months, going through a tremendous amount of detail interviewing individual hon. Members and the people of Lloyd's on the new arrangements to apply after 1991. The motion before us tonight does not reflect the issues that were before the Committee.

There were two totally separate issues. First, some hon. Members did not comply with the will of the House. We had to write to them and the Chairman, who is here this evening, had to talk to them. We had written submissions from some, and none from others. We gave them yet another opportunity to explain why they had refused to comply with the will of the House.

The House also gave the Committee the job of considering the changes that had taken place in the Lloyd's market since 1991–92. Even now, I have no doubt whatever that those two issues were meant to be separate and should have remained so, although obviously the Committee can deal with more than one issue at a time.

Slowly but surely, however, the Committee began to merge the two issues. I protested more than once. Finally, on Tuesday 24 May—I stand to be corrected, but I doubt that I am wrong—the issue of how the report should be framed was discussed again, and the prevailing view in the Committee appeared to favour the Chairman's proposal of a single Report divided clearly into two parts, although Mr. Michie protested strongly that this ran counter to the understanding on which the Committee's original decision to take evidence from Lloyd's had been based. We knew that there had been changes in the Lloyd's rules and their interpretation. No one doubted that the implications for the future had to be considered; but that had nothing to do with the fact that certain right hon. and hon. Members had flatly refused to comply with the rules of the House. Any mere Back Bencher who did that in any other context would be crucified. But the Committee went on and on; excuse after excuse was given for why the details could not be given. It mentioned intrusion into personal finances, embarrassment to families and so forth.

Hon. Members may ask what difference the merging of the two reports makes. I believe that it makes a tremendous difference. After all our deliberations, however, we ended up with the bland statement on the Order Paper—not a reprimand for hon. Members who were guilty of contempt of the House, but a recommendation that actually suits those hon. Members.

It is not just a case of "Let's look at the whole thing and come up with a consensus." No one reading the Order Paper would believe the way in which the report was worded. It is in two parts: the first deals with hon. Members who did not comply with the rule, and the second with the debate about whether we should change the rules in accordance with the new rules in the Lloyd's market. It states that 12 Members who had registered an interest…had failed to comply with that additional requirement…The other nine Members have still not provided the required information; and two further Members have subsequently registered an interest in Lloyd's but have similarly failed to supply their syndicate numbers. Ultimately, 11 hon. Members had failed to comply with the wish of the House.

The report states: The Registrar and the Chairman of this Committee have written successively to all these Members, drawing their attention to the relevant provision in the House's rules and making a formal request to them to supply details of their syndicate numbers. Eight of the 11 Members subsequently accepted an invitation to give evidence to the Committee. There is therefore no question but that the Members' failure to provide the required information is the result of decision rather than inadvertence or any other cause. The Registrar has informed the Committee that two of the named Members have submitted information about their syndicates to him, while withholding permission for the inclusion of the information in the published Register. We consider that this action can in no way be regarded as satisfactory compliance with the rule of the House. The Chairman's recommendation in part 1 of the report states: Whatever the circumstances, the refusal by individual Members to comply with a rule which has been agreed by the House sets a bad precedent and is to be deprecated. We accordingly draw the attention of the House to the fact that the Members named in paragraph 3 above have refused to register their Lloyd's syndicate numbers as required by the House's resolutions of 28 June 1993. That is damning.

The motion tabled by the Leader of the House states: That this House approves the proposals in paragraph 18 of the Second Report from the Select Committee on Members' Interests (House of Commons Paper No. 353). How can that be called a reprimand for people who told the Committee on more than one occasion to mind its own business and that it was out of order? Conservative Members are shaking their heads. I can go over this chapter and verse. I have all the drafts of what was said. It is great stuff. I will do that in private because I do not want to go on too long.

The issue of contempt has been swept under the carpet. We are changing the rules in accordance with the wishes of those who are guilty of contempt. That is what the motion means.

I do not doubt that in the future we may have to consider the new rules of the Lloyd's market and that that may be complicated. However, if because of MAPA and the change of rules we make changes because people might be embarrassed or because people are misled or misinterpret what the syndicate numbers mean, we will be making changes before things are proved. I say that because the syndicate numbers have not been registered and we do not know whether it will be embarrassing.

The Members finally said that this was intrusive and that there was a misinterpretation. The right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Sir E. Heath) said that the press reports were wild, totally out of proportion and inaccurate. The strange thing is that he had not registered the syndicate numbers with the House. The few Members who did register the numbers did not suffer any embarrassment. If the press reports were wild, inaccurate and embarrassing, it was because Members did not provide the information to enable more accurate reports to be made. It is strange that the only people who have been embarrassed by the press are those who have flatly refused to give their syndicate numbers.

Let us look at registration. We had the Lloyd's people at the Committee. The MAPA business is very complicated. It is far beyond the wit of the average person. [Interruption.] I have to concede that I do not have the same great wisdom as members of Lloyd's

Mr. Campbell-Savours

They cannot be that wise.

Mr. Michie

My hon. Friend is right. They cannot be that wise because they put their money on a horse without knowing which horse it was and they did not know whether it came last or even ran at all. That is part of the problem. Then they go bleating to the bookie saying, "Can I have my money back because I was misinformed." Imagine somebody going back to the bookie after the Grand National. It is nonsense. They shout foul all the time.

Whatever happens tonight, at least it will be on record that some right hon. and hon. Members have got away scot free by basically saying to the House, "Get stuffed. We are greater and more powerful than you are." One of the arrogant statements that was made cannot be seen in the report because the wording has been changed. I have checked it with the Clerk. He said, "I think that I heard something like that." One of the right hon. Members said—

Mr. Michael Fabricant (Mid-Staffordshire)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. The hon. Gentleman is saying that the Clerk stated that the Committee record has been changed. Is not that outrageous?

Madam Speaker

Provided that they are in order, I am not responsible for the comments of the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Michie). Many outrageous statements are made in the House.

Mr. Michie

Coming from the hon. Member for Mid-Staffordshire (Mr. Fabricant), that point of order was a joke. I am not into slimming foods and things of that nature, so we shall not get into that subject, on which he did a good job the other week.

I did not say that the Clerk had misinterpreted, misunderstood or changed the wording. I know what happens in every Committee of that nature and a lot of it is confidential. I repeat that the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup said that, if the Select Committee probed too deeply into matters of this nature, men of substance may be disinclined to stand for Parliament. What arrogance, when one thinks about it.

The record now states that people of importance may not want to stand for Parliament, or something like that. Was that a threat to the Committee that it should not ask too many questions because, if it did, some people might not stand for Parliament? That is good news to some extent because some of those so-called men of substance have only one interest, although not necessarily those in this place. I shall not suggest what that interest may be.

I come from an ordinary background, as did many hon. Members on both sides of House. We do not have to tell the Committee not to probe into our financial affairs. I am prepared to give evidence on anything, which I have not had much occasion to do. But I would not dare threaten the House by saying, "Do not probe too deep, otherwise great people like me may not stand for election to the House." For goodness sake, that is absolute arrogance.

The excuse is that, because of developments at Lloyd's and the difficulty of interpreting information, the latter have not been tested. Time and again, Committee members discussed the matter with Lloyd's representatives, who said that because of the new MAPA rule, complicated as it may be, a member may not at any one time know where his money is.

Mr. Bill Etherington (Sunderland, North)

They do not know where it is themselves.

Mr. Michie

They do not even know where they are.

Members, therefore, cannot declare an interest because of their syndicate numbers. When I asked the representatives from Lloyd's whether it was possible for any member to know at any time where his money was invested, the answer was, "Yes, if they ask." That may be the case, but I still make the point that a Member should be responsible for declaring that to the Committee because that is the rule in the House.

I am not convinced by any stretch of the imagination that the good and great are right on this issue. Some might say that they are the good, the bad and the ugly, but I shall stick with the good and great. That those great people have special rights and special privileges which go beyond the will of the House is unacceptable.

Not enough time has been given for the present rules to be tried and tested. They should be given more time to work before the House considers anything else. If we pass the motion, we shall no longer reprimand those people who are in contempt and we shall concede their demands and their threats. No other group of people could get away with that. I beg hon. Members to accept my amendment for the sake of the House and democracy.

12.8 am

Sir Geoffrey Johnson Smith (Wealden)

I am sorry that a member of the Select Committee on Members' Interests should propose an amendment to the motion. The hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Michie) is an assiduous attender of our meetings and it is a shame that he should find himself at odds with the other members. As I hope to demonstrate, his serious charge should not be supported by hon. Members from whichever party.

If the hon. Member's charges against the Committee's findings are as serious as he claims them to be, why did not the Opposition table an amendment? I suggest that they did not do so because the findings of the Committee were based on the evidence put before us. As I shall mention later, when we consider proceedings, resolutions and rules involved in the Register of Members' Interests and the manner in which we declare those interests, it is very important that they should be seen to be fair and reasonable.

We have made it clear that the report is divided into two parts. Why publish them separately? What is wrong with publishing the two separate parts in one report so that hon. Members can ascertain our attitude towards those who did not abide by the obligations that we think were placed on them and, at the same time, see whether there is any justification, as a result of any non-compliance, for changing the rules? As I said, the changes that we have made stand four-square with the evidence put before us. If that were not the case, we should not have suggested them.

I shall be as brief as I possibly can. I do not want to go into too much detail because everything has been published, and I am sure that any hon. Member who wishes to raise an issue will do so. The hour is late; it is a short debate; and I know that other hon. Members wish to speak. We have now had the experience of seeing the printed entries in the register in which many hon. Members have disclosed their syndicate numbers. They are complicated and, in some cases, out of scale with the rest of the register. The introduction of the members' agent pooling arrangements—MAPAs—at Lloyd's at the start of this year was a development not foreseen by the Committee when it made its original recommendation in 1992 and it has greatly increased the potential complications, as I shall show.

The purpose and effect of MAPAs is to enable members of Lloyd's to spread their risk over a much wider range of insurance syndicates without increasing their overall financial commitment, just as an investor in the stock market can spread his risk by investing in a unit trust rather than in a small selection of shares. A member of Lloyd's who joined a MAPA this year will be participating in a minimum of 30 syndicates in that way alone. Next year, he may join another MAPA or the MAPA itself might change its syndicate content, but this year's MAPA will remain open for at least two more years so, under the present rule, the syndicate in it would have to remain in the hon. Member's register entry all that time, along with any new MAPAs or syndicates that he joined subsequently.

The net result was described to the Committee by a witness from Lloyd's, by which I mean an official from Lloyd's. He said that the entries are likely to get larger and larger as the years go on, as more and more detail may fall to be disclosed…becoming more and more full of numbers. The Committee therefore sought an alternative rule that would provide information about an hon. Member's participation in the Lloyd's market, beyond the mere fact that he is an underwriting member of Lloyd's, but in a way that is more concise and more comprehensible to the layman than a long list of syndicate numbers would be.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

In reality, is a MAPA any different from a syndicate? A MAPA could have a number in the same way that a syndicate can have a number, but, whereas a syndicate relates to an individual portfolio, a MAPA relates to a portfolio that might include as few as 30 or as many as 60 syndicates. Why reverse the decision? Why not simply change the registration requirement whereby the MAPA is registered along with any syndicates to which an hon. Member belongs?

Sir Geoffrey Johnson Smith

That would result in a bunch of numbers from which one would not be able to ascertain anything. I shall explain that as I go along, because it needs to be put clearly to the House.

The purpose of the Committee's proposal is to ensure that hon. Members who underwrite specific categories of insurance business at Lloyd's disclose those categories in their register entries in future. That is what we recommend.

Sir Ralph Howell (Norfolk, North)

Will my hon. Friend now answer two questions that I have asked him in several letters? The first question is: what was the purpose of the request for members of Lloyd's to give numbers? What use could his Committee possibly make of those numbers? The second question is: what possible use can the Committee make of the new headings under winch he asks us to record our underwriting?

Sir Geoffrey Johnson Smith

The purpose is as follows. To say that one is a member of Lloyd's does not reveal whether there is a particular emphasis in the business that one does with Lloyd's. If there were a concentration of a Member's investments in one particular aspect of insurance—aviation, say—it would stand out in the Register of Members' Interests that his principal interest was aviation.

As I explained earlier, after the report was published the unit trust concept, with MAPAs, emerged, and that made the question of registration gobbledegook.

Mr. Bill Michie


Sir Geoffrey Johnson Smith

I really must proceed, because I am sure that plenty of other Members on both sides of the House want to catch your eye, Madam Speaker. I want to follow the steps that we took, so that they are clearer not only to my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, North (Sir R. Howell) but to other hon. Members who have not followed the subject as closely as others have.

The second point openly acknowledged in the report is that the Committee has listened to the vigorous arguments and objections that have been levelled at the new rule by colleagues who are members of Lloyd's. The hon. Member for Heeley referred to that fact. Some will say that we were wrong to do that, because it sets a bad precedent. They say that in future Members who find a certain rule of registration troublesome will have only to complain loudly enough and the Committee will change it. That anxiety was expressed by members of the Committee when we discussed the issue, and I want hon. Members to know that I understand their fears. However, in this case I prefer the phrase used by my hon. Friend the Member for Torbay (Mr. Allason) in evidence to the Committee when he referred to its willingness to see "sweet reason".

The Committee certainly does not accept all the criticisms levelled both at us personally and at the new rule. In particular, we do not accept the idea that the new rule was to blame for the speculation in the media about the financial losses of individual Members. The financial and legal problems affecting Lloyd's have led to that speculation, and I fear that they will continue to do so, irrespective of any change that we may make tonight. If the rule is to blame for the speculation, why have those who have complied with it also suffered from speculation—even more than some who have not complied, it could be argued?

Nevertheless, the Committee acknowledges that information about syndicate numbers can be misused, because by combining information from the register about a Member's syndicate participation with information available at Lloyd's about the performance of each syndicate, it is possible to speculate about the financial position of individual Members.

Speculation on the basis of that information alone is bound to be wildly inaccurate, because no information is published about a name's financial commitment to any syndicate, or about any stop loss policies that he may have. It is important for us all to remember that we do not want the register to be used as cover for such misuse. It was never intended to provide detailed information about Members' personal wealth or poverty. The rules have always sought to strike a balance between the right of the public to know about the outside financial interests that may influence the conduct of an elected representative and the right of that individual Member of Parliament to a reasonable degree of personal privacy.

I accept what the Lord President of the Council said in opening the debate—that, although it was not the original intention, in the context of MAPAs the rule has inadvertently upset that balance. That is the other main reason for changing it.

I now refer to section 1 of the report and to the 11 hon. Members who have not complied with the existing rule. Paragraph 7 makes clear the Committee's view of their conduct. In recommending the change of rule, the Committee is not condoning that conduct. Speaking personally, I think that I was more influenced by the reasoned letters and representations I received from members of Lloyd's who had complied with the recommendations of the Committee.

The arguments in favour of changing the rule outweigh the danger that we may be represented as having given in to a campaign of non-compliance. There is another important reason. We who serve on the Committee recognise that our prime duty is to uphold the integrity of the Committee so that it may continue to enjoy the confidence of the House. That confidence depends on our being fair and reasonable. I hope that the House will accept that we have been both and will approve the motion.

12.20 am
Mr. Peter Hain (Neath)

In supporting the amendment, I must tell the House that I believe that the Committee was, unfortunately, sold a pup by Lloyd's in the representations that were made to it. I say that with no lack of respect for the Committee members and certainly I have considerable respect for the hon. Member for Wealden (Sir G. Johnson Smith). It is simply a fact that Lloyd's, with a great deal of sophistry and a great deal of self-interest within the House, persuaded the Committee to adopt a course that was fundamentally wrong.

It is appropriate to note that Lloyd's has been aptly described as the home of unfettered insider dealing. It is unfettered by the House; it is unfettered by the Department of Trade and Industry; it is unfettered by the Financial Services Act 1986; and it is unfettered by effective rules of its own. It is effectively a law unto itself.

It is important that, as hon. Members have discretion to choose which syndicates they belong to or leave, their membership of syndicates should be disclosed. If they are members of unit trust arrangements, called the members' agent pooling arrangements—MAPA—those should be named as well. Disclosure provides a natural deterrent to any allegations of insider trading. It is particularly important that that membership is publicly known because that deterrent can then be exercised.

That point is especially important against the background of the recent controversy within Lloyd's. It has been alleged that hon. Members and others who have been insider traders with Lloyd's have been given preferential treatment while other external names, who have often been driven to destitution, bankruptcy or even suicide, have had all the losses from the catastrophic syndicates dumped on them, often as a result of certain members being taken off duff syndicates and other more gullible members being pushed on to them, or as a result of the losses being paid or credited in return for improper secret political influence.

The knowledge that such transactions show up because syndicate members have to be revealed in the Register of Members' Interests is a deterrent to that—[Interruption.] Hon. Members may scoff. There is a central contradiction that they cannot duck. Of the 51 Conservative Members who are Lloyd's names and who, I believe, have cumulative losses totalling £22 million, none has suffered destitution, bankruptcy or the tremendous losses that other external names on exactly the same syndicates with exactly the same lines in them have suffered. The Committee should have brought its attention to bear on that contradiction by maintaining syndicate registration.

The argument has been made that it is somehow an intrusion of privacy to disclose such information. If one has a copy of the Lloyd's blue book—it is not too difficult to obtain and every insider in the market has access to it—it is easy to determine on which syndicates hon. Members or any other Lloyd's names are placed. It is quite easy to determine that from inside the market. The question that the House must answer is why it is being denied that knowledge. Why are the public, through the House, being denied that knowledge because of the way in which the Committee is taking those rights to knowledge away from them?

It has been suggested by Lloyd's—the Committee has bought the argument—that it would convey sufficient information to satisfy the principles of disclosing hon. Members' pecuniary interests if they declared to the register the various types of insurance business that their syndicates wrote in that name.

That might seem reasonable at first glance, were it not for the fact that the ability of Lloyd's to categorise insurance business—I refer to the businesses listed in the annexe to the report—is notoriously unreliable, as well as being uninformative; it is recognised as such in the market. Lloyd's in fact ceased allocating the main categories of insurance for each syndicate in 1991.

The traditional allocation of the four categories of marine, aviation, motor and non-marine has broken down. Lloyd's realised that so many supposedly marine syndicates were, in fact, writing non-marine and aviation business, often at crazy rates half the size of those quoted by the normal aviation syndicates. As it had less and less true marine premiums coming in, Lloyd's realised that its categories were becoming a total farce. Lloyd's has apparently sought to re-present that worn out farce in this context and it is regrettable that the Committee has accepted its argument.

It is also important that we recognise that it does not necessarily matter which syndicate an hon. Member has been in in any one year. It is equally important to be able to identify whether an hon. Member has been removed from a particular syndicate, perhaps just before a year in which it incurred particular losses. I shall return to that point.

The ability to compare one year's membership of a syndicate with the next year's is absolutely essential if we are to see whether any insider trading is going on and whether hon. Members are being treated in a preferential way as compared with other Lloyd's names. That is essential because there have been thousands upon thousands of huge claims from all over the world in connection with asbestos and pollution against some Lloyd's syndicates, which have been concealed from Lloyd's insiders and from ordinary investors since 1981.

Those claims have not been settled; nor have they been withdrawn. In many instances, the original syndicate members, sometimes true insiders on so-called baby syndicates, to which I shall refer in a minute, have managed to pass the liability on to new names who are not, as it were, as in on the game as those insiders who have rigged it for themselves.

Some hon. Members—not necessarily with their knowledge—have been removed from a particular syndicate the year before part of a large liability has been unveiled. There are at least three hon. Members of this House—I have notified them in the proper way, as required by the protocol of the House, that I shall refer to them in the debate—who are on preferred or so-called baby syndicates.

Mr. Roger Knapman (Stroud)


Mr. Hain

A baby syndicate—[HON. MEMBERS: "Give way."] A baby syndicate—[HON. MEMBERS: "Give way."] No, I am not giving way at this point. A baby syndicate has been likened to a baby kangaroo. The insiders involved in running a larger syndicate often set up a small one out of the profits of the larger syndicate.

Mr. Knapman

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Half the hon. Gentleman's speech seems to have suggested that we have received preferential treatment and the other half that we have lost £22 million. Is it possible that the hon. Gentleman is not making any sense at all?

Madam Speaker

As I said earlier, I hear a lot of comments in the House. It takes quite a lot to shock me. But the hon. Member for Neath (Mr. Hain) is obviously not giving way.

Sir Gerard Vaughan (Reading, East)

Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker. Is it in order for the hon. Member for Neath (Mr. Hain) to imply that a number of us have been engaged in some kind of insider dealing? If that is so, it is a very great reflection on some of us.

Madam Speaker

The hon. Member for Neath said that he would mention names, but that he had already let the Members concerned know that he was going to raise the matter. Is that quite clear? I have already been deceived once today in this House on that matter. Do I understand that the hon. Gentleman has informed Members?

Mr. Hain

I certainly have, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker

Thank you.

Mr. Hain

I put notices on the board to tell hon. Members—[HON. MEMBERS: "When?"] Earlier this evening and well in time. If I can continue—[Interruption.]

Madam Speaker


Mr. Hain

I was seeking to explain, Madam Speaker. I have not made any particular allegations of insider trading against any one Member so far.

As I was saying, a baby syndicate has been likened to a baby kangaroo. The insiders involved in running the larger syndicate often set up a smaller one that is run out of the pocket of the larger one.

There are many who have been badly hit by the shenanigans within the Lloyd's market. It has been difficult to expose that, not least because of the vested interests in the House. Those interests have prevented disclosure of what has been going on. Typically, there have been over 1,000 ordinary investors on the large syndicate and only the main underwriters, fellow directors and their families and friends on the preference baby syndicate. They have relied on the large syndicate being run by the same underwriter to cream off profits properly due to the members of the larger syndicate and divert them to the baby syndicate. That is important in the context of the debate.

Three Members were on three separate preference baby syndicates over the past seven years. One such was on syndicate 728, which was preferenced out of the coffers of syndicate 658. The best business was channelled into the preference syndicate, the baby, which made £1.5 million for every £1 million channelled into it in 1982. Both the hon. Members for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Evennett) and for Lincoln (Mr. Carlisle) were favoured in the preference syndicate over a number of years. I do not say that that was with their knowledge. I do not say that they were consulted about it. I am making no allegation to that effect.

Mr. David Evennett (Erith and Crayford)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I was not advised by the hon. Gentleman that he would mention my situation. I think that he has breached the protocol of the House.

Madam Speaker

When did the hon. Member for Neath put the notices on the board?

Mr. Hain

I think that it was just after 10 o'clock, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker

The hon. Member has been long enough in the House to know that the board closes at 10 o'clock.

Mr. Hain

I put them on the board. I was not sure when the debate was coming up. I put them on the board at the earliest opportunity that I had.

Madam Speaker

The hon. Member knew precisely that the debate would take place today. He knows also that the board closes at 10 o'clock. He might have made better endeavours than he has to inform the Members that he is now naming. I would suggest that he proceeds with great caution and care because he has not taken care to inform the Members that he is about to name.

Mr. Hain

I shall certainly proceed with caution, Madam Speaker. I apologise if notice was not given in advance. It was not due to any intention on my part not to give notice.

As I was saying, I am not alleging that any individual Member knowingly found himself or deliberately placed himself on preferential baby syndicates. I believe that those responsible in the Lloyd's market—members' agents and others responsible for running the market—have deliberately ensured that no Member was bankrupted or suffered the enormous losses that other external names suffered. Therefore, they were put on preferential baby syndicates and given preferential treatment in other ways. There are a number of examples.

Mr. David Ashby (Leicestershire, North-West)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. The hon. Gentleman has said that no Member, as a member of Lloyd's, has not been put in a baby syndicate. I have no knowledge of baby syndicates and I have never been in a baby syndicate.

Madam Speaker

Order. That is a point of argument, not a point of order.

Mr. Hain

May I move on to explain—[HON. MEMBERS: "No".] The House deserves to hear the argument.

Let us take the case of Lord and Lady Archer. They were on syndicate 162 and the Sturge syndicates, 206 and 209, which had concealed asbestosis claims for several years until eventually the claims and the resulting losses were disclosed in 1990. However, both Lord and Lady Archer came off syndicates 206 and 209 before the worst happened. Had they remained on them, along with all the uniformed members, they would have been asked to pay £63,116 with an expected further deterioration of £206,750. That is calculated from the Chatset guide to syndicate run-offs—

Sir Anthony Durant (Reading, West)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. This is not a debate about Lloyd's; it is a debate about the Register of Members' Interests. We are wandering far from the register. It is not for me to offer guidance, but I believe that we are now a long way from the register.

Madam Speaker

I take the hon. Gentleman's point, which I believe is genuine. I cautioned the hon. Member for Neath about what he has to say. He might look at the motion on the Order Paper and refer to it rather more often than he is doing.

Mr. Hain

I will certainly do that Madam Speaker.

The right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Sir. E. Heath) has been on syndicate 573. Had he remained on that syndicate, he would have suffered a further loss of £20,652 with an additional deterioration, as estimated under the Chatset league tables, of £37,500. Most fortunately for him, he was advised to come off in time.

If we consider the case of the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Riddick)—

Mr. Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I thought that you had ruled that, because the hon. Member for Neath (Mr. Hain) had put the notices on the board after 10 pm, he should proceed with caution. He has just mentioned another Member of this House.

Madam Speaker

I asked the hon. Member for Neath to proceed with caution. I have now asked him a second time. He has mentioned another Member who has not presumably been informed because the Members concerned have received no information from the hon. Member for Neath that he was to raise these matters. If the hon. Member for Neath has not informed those Members, he is in breach of our procedures. I ask the hon. Gentleman to refer to the motion, which refers to the Register of Members' Interests, and not to individual cases.

Mr. Hain

You will advise me if my interpretation is incorrect, Madam Speaker, but I think that the amendment, which I support, moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Michie), refers to the fact that syndicate details should still be declared in the register. If it is no longer possible to list the syndicate numbers, all sorts of problems will arise, not least the failure to address exactly what has been happening in the Lloyd's market. That is why I am giving examples to support my case and to show why that is so important.

Madam Speaker

Order. The hon. Member for Neath is moving very far from the point that he is really making. I hope that he will come to order and make his points correctly for the remainder of his address.

Mr. Hain

In that case, may I turn to the chairman of Lloyd's, Mr. David Rowland? He was obviously very well informed. He avoided liability on syndicates 437, 533, 582, 312—

Mr. John Marshall (Hendon, South)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. This debate is meant to deal with the Register of Members' Interests. Are Mr. David Rowland and Lord Archer Members of this House?

Madam Speaker

I am sure that the hon. Member for Neath has now strayed very wide of the motion. He has taken a great deal of interest in the subject over many months and I am therefore sure that he is quite capable of speaking to the motion before the House. I ask him to do that now or I shall have to take action against him. I am giving the hon. Gentleman every opportunity. As I have said, the hon. Gentleman has been interested in the subject for many months. He should now be quite capable of speaking to the motion and the amendment on the Order Paper.

Mr. Hain

Madam Speaker, you will advise me if I am straying out of line.

Madam Speaker

That is precisely the case. The hon. Gentleman is straying far too wide.

Mr. Hain

If you will forgive me and advise me, Madam Speaker, I will continue, if you will allow me, to address the House.

Whether or not I have presented the case as adequately as I could have is a matter of judgment, but the House is refusing to face up to the fact that out there, in the Lloyd's market and among the public, is a well-founded suspicion that Members of the House and their friends in the Lloyd's markets have protected themselves against incurring the huge losses that would have resulted in bankruptcy and, in the case of hon. Members, their removal from the House. That is my central charge.

It is important that syndicate membership should still be required to be stated under the rules of the House—a requirement that my hon. Friend's amendment seeks to restore. If that information is not available for public inspection and the House's policing, all sorts of insider trading and deals whereby Members and others are placed on baby syndicates and given preferential treatment will become the norm. The House will be unable properly to scrutinise the matter because it will be shrouded in the mystique and mystery and the complications and complexity that surround the Lloyd's market. That is my central charge.

As you, Madam Speaker, have rightly said, I have sought diligently and honestly to address the issue over a number of years. In a number of ways my attempts have been thwarted. Tonight I have sought to draw the attention of the House to the fact that a number of Members have been preferentially treated. I have mentioned some of them. If I am to be prevented from mentioning others, I accept your guidance and ruling on that, Madam Speaker. I certainly do not wish to be ruled out of order.

There are still a large number of Members who are Lloyd's names and who have been given preferential treatment—[HON. MEMBERS: "Name them."] I would have preferred to carry on and give the details, but it has not been possible for me to do so. The House does itself no credit by introducing—through the Select Committee's procedures and under the rules of the register—new requirements for disclosure, then when it becomes clear that those requirements for disclosing syndicate membership are revealing to the public all the insider trading that has been going on—

Mr. Campbell-Savours

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. May we have a ruling on something which is quite significant? You ruled that my hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr. Hain) cannot proceed in the way that he wishes. Are we to presume that in future debates we can no longer refer to the personal circumstances of individuals when we are advocating a general case, in principle, on an issue? Are we now to be precluded from that—

Madam Speaker

Order. Before—

Mr. Campbell-Savours


Madam Speaker

Order. Sit down. The hon. Gentleman must resume his seat. I can answer him. No, that was not my ruling. My ruling was that an hon. Member should inform another hon. Member when he or she is to be mentioned. In this case, the information was placed on the letter board at about the time that it was to close. That is why I said that it was not just to refer to individual Members because they had not been informed. That was the ruling that I gave.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker. Are we to presume that this is now to be a rule? Are we to presume that unless an hon. Member has placed notice of reference on the board an hon. Member cannot make a reference? I understand that that is a new movement—previously, it was custom and courtesy to do so. Is it now a rule?

Madam Speaker

I believe that it is the custom and courtesy of the House, particularly when a motion on the Order Paper has been there for some time and an hon. Member knows that he or she wishes to speak, for that hon. Member to give ample warning to those hon. Members to whom reference is to be made. That is common courtesy. It is because that courtesy has obviously not been shown today that I believe that it is correct, right and in accord with natural justice—which is what I am concerned about—that those hon. Members should not be mentioned.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker. The ruling that we are given now is very important. A precedent is being set tonight—[Interruption.] It is—a precedent is being set because a rule is being defined. I do not object to the point that you make, Madam Speaker. I understand precisely what you are saying. My point is that you are now saying that in future, if we do not comply with the custom, practice and courtesy, we will not be able to raise matters. That is a rule.

Madam Speaker

I have not said that at all. If the hon. Gentleman will look at Hansard tomorrow, he will see clearly what I have said. I hate repeating myself, but I have said that it is the custom and courtesy of this House for an hon. Member, when referring to other Members, to let those Members know. In this case, the motion was on the Order Paper some time ahead. The hon. Member for Neath knew that he wished to speak on this matter. Therefore, it was incumbent upon him, in all natural justice, to inform those Members. The hon. Member for Neath—

Mr. Hain


Madam Speaker

Order. I am on my feet. The hon. Member for Neath waited until almost 10 o'clock, as he said himself—[HON. MEMBERS: "After."] Order—when the letter board was about to close before he did that. Therefore, in natural justice it is correct that those hon. Members who have not been informed that they would be referred to should not be referred to.

Mr. Hain

If that is your ruling, of course I am obliged to respect it, Madam Speaker. As it has been alleged in a taunt from the Conservative Benches that this was some devious manoeuvre, may I say exactly what happened this evening?. It is true that I knew that the debate was coming up. I did not know what time it would begin. I have spent most of the day and most of the evening checking and rechecking the information. It is not easy to get at the details. I did not know until well into the evening which hon. Members I would name to bring out my point about baby syndicates.

It is my fault that I did not put notice on the board until just after 10 o'clock. Although I have been a Member for three years, I was not aware that there was a rigid rule that the board closed at 10 o'clock. That is my fault. I came in and presented the notice to the board and found that it was closed. I did not hold it back as some devious manoeuvre. I was determined to ensure that before I named Members I was absolutely certain of my facts. That is the basis on which I proceed.

Are you saying that I am not allowed to refer to any other Members, Madam Speaker?

Madam Speaker


Mr. Hain

Right. I conclude by saying that it does not reflect any credit on the House—

Dr. Robert Spink (Castle Point)

I seek clarification on something that the hon. Gentleman said tonight. He said earlier that he did not make any accusation that hon. Members had sought preferential treatment or even that they knew that they had received preferential treatment—if indeed they did, which is very much in question. He went on to say a few moments ago, as Hansard will show, that hon. Members had sought to protect themselves. Will he clarify that? If he means it, he is contradicting what he said earlier and making a serious accusation. He might want to clarify that point.

Mr. Hain

Hon. Members, whether acting through their members' agent or in any other capacity, have naturally sought to get the best deal that they can out of Lloyd's. No one could dispute that. No investor in Lloyd's is going to say, "Do your worst for me." Of course they are not going to do that. Suddenly hon. Members were withdrawn from the catastrophic loss-making years of 1989, 1990 and 1991—what a surprise!—so that they did not incur the losses that others have had to bear in their place. That is the central charge that I make.

I have spent the past few days going through the information, discovering that several hon. Members, some of whom, for reasons which you have explained, Madam Speaker, I have not been able to name, were on syndicates year after year through the 1980s until 1988 and suddenly they came off them. Why was that? It was because 1989, 1990 and 1991 were the years when billions and billions of pounds of losses were suddenly incurred. They all fell on the external names and none of them appears to have fallen on Members of the House who are or were members of those syndicates until that time.

That is why it was very important for the Committee to retain that syndicate requirement. That would have required more open disclosure, and would also have allowed for a situation where Members could have defended themselves openly and positively against the attacks and allegations that I and others have made.

As it is now, the friends of those hon. Members who are Lloyd's names and who are in the market have the information. They are doing all the wheeler-dealing and carving others out of and themselves in to the preferential baby syndicates and others. [Interruption.] I wanted to name some of the people who had benefited from those, but I shall give way.

Mr. Peter Viggers (Gosport)

I declare an interest, as a member of Lloyd's since 1973—which predates my membership of the House—and also as a member of the council. Can the hon. Gentleman confirm that he has had a lot of conversations with Lloyd's and that Lloyd's has answered his questions? Does he agree that he has not made any allegations to Lloyd's regulatory board which is there to regulate the Lloyd's market, and that he prefers to spread his smears here rather than put them to the regulatory board? The chairman of the board is Sir Alan Hardcastle, a notable chartered accountant who used to be the head of the Government's accountancy service. The board has been sanctioned by the Bank of England and the Department of Trade and Industry, and it is there to deal with regulatory matters. Why does the hon. Gentleman try to give the impression that he has not been able to make his accusations fully and openly when the board is there to receive them?

Mr. Hain

The very simple reason is that nobody has any confidence at all in the people running Lloyd's. They police their own markets. The sooner Lloyd's is brought under statutory regulation and has ceased to be a law unto itself, with people in it who police themselves and do what they like without any regard for anybody else or the rule of law, the better.

I believe that if the House had kept to the syndicate rule, it would have encouraged a process whereby Lloyd's would have become properly regulated on a statutory basis, thereby enhancing its reputation and the reputation of the City of London. Instead, it is part of a sordid plot to cover up what has been going on in the Lloyd's market.

12.51 am
Mr. David Evennett (Erith and Crayford)

I did not intend to speak, but, having heard the nonsense which spouted forth from the hon. Member for Neath (Mr. Hain), I feel that I must make a couple of points.

I endorse totally what the Committee Chairman, my hon. Friend the Member for Wealden (Sir G. Johnson Smith), said in his excellent speech. As someone who did declare all of the syndicates in which I participated—I was happy to do so—I was amazed at the comments of the hon. Member for Neath. I have been on syndicates, one of which the hon. Gentleman mentioned, since 1977, and my involvement pre-dates my membership of the House by many years. It is important that information is available and I endorse whole-heartedly what my hon. Friend said.

I think that we have just heard the most sleazy and slur-making speech from the hon. Gentleman, and was appalled by it. If he spent all day researching his speech, it did not do him any good. The debate this evening has not been of the high calibre that we would have expected. It has been disappointing, and certainly the information given by the hon. Gentleman in respect of myself was inaccurate and wrong. That was not good from his point of view, and the people of Neath—whom he is supposed to represent—will deplore what he said.

12.53 am
Mr. Terry Lewis (Worsley)

I wish to return to what I believe to be the main issue in the debate. It is not really about understanding what the numbers in the register are about, and I fear that my constituents would think that they were looking at bingo numbers if I showed them a copy of the Register of Members' Interests.

There were important matters raised by those members of the Committee who did not share the view of the majority, and I must challenge the Committee Chairman to an extent. My disappointment arises from the motion on the Order Paper in the name of the Leader of the House which totally ignores the first part of the report. I believe that it is wrong for Members of the House—however venerable—to decide that they shall not enter into a disclosure that the House has demanded. They should be reprimanded, and that was a recommendation of the Committee. The Leader of the House should take note of that, and not just refer to recommendation 18.

It took the best part of four years to effect the original changes to the register. I have been a member of the Committee only for the past 12 months, but I believe that Members of the House have exerted pressure for the changes because, for their own reasons, they do not want to disclose what the House decided they should disclose. The Committee, in short, was bullied into making the changes. Given that it took so long to create the new register and work up the new insertions, this matter could have been considered in greater detail. It should not be forgotten that some very senior Members of the House were among the 11 who have been named.

I await the response of the Leader of the House with bated breath. The reprimand issued by the Committee in its report cannot be ignored for much longer. If the Committee is to continue to enjoy the confidence of the House, the report must be accepted in total by the right hon. Gentleman and he must give the House a chance to vote on it.

12.56 am
Sir Anthony Durant (Reading, West)

I recently became a member of the Committee. When I joined it, preparations for the new register were in hand and it was about to be printed. I am not a member of Lloyd's and I know nothing about it, and I could not understand the figures at all. I agree with the hon. Member for Worsley (Mr. Lewis): they looked like a lottery to me.

I therefore felt that that was the wrong way to proceed. But by then the register was already under way and had been printed. Subsequently, I have always argued for a different system. The Chairman has outlined the evidence that we took. I agree with him that Members should have filled in the forms—the first part of the report—because that was in line with a resolution of the House. There were reasons for reviewing the Lloyd's procedure, however. The hon. Member for Neath (Mr. Hain) tried to conduct a debate on Lloyd's that had nothing whatever to do with the register.

The purpose of the register is to assist hon. Members so that when a Member speaks in a debate on a particular subject, we can know why he is doing so. That was the original idea of the register and why it came about. It was never intended to be an exposé of Lloyd's—that was never the purpose behind including the numbers either.

I strongly support the Chairman's proposals. We shall have to look at this matter in the Committee, because just including the numbers means nothing to the outside world—except to investigative journalists and Members of Parliament. They certainly mean nothing to me. Certainly, we want to know whether a person is a member of Lloyd's and what his interests in Lloyd's are. When there are debates on insurance-related matters, we shall then know why the Member in question is saying what he is saying. That, surely, is the point of the register, and it is why I support the Chairman's proposal.

12.58 am
Mr. Nicholas Brown (Newcastle upon Tyne, East)

The motion invites the House to approve the proposals contained in paragraph 18 of the report by the Select Committee on Members' Interests, headed "Registration of Lloyd's Syndicates".

I do not want to state a final view; I have not reached a final view about what the rules for registration ought to be. We invited members of the Select Committee to look at that for us. They will have heard detailed evidence and carefully weighed the issue before making their recommendation.

What strikes me—and obviously struck my hon. Friend the Member for Worsley (Mr. Lewis)—is what our attitude to the existing rules should be and what I believe is the clear requirement on right hon. and hon. Members to comply with them.

The report does not just set out what the Committee believes the new rules should be—and we have a motion from the Lord President recommending them to the House and confirming that they will be the new rules. The report also contains paragraph 7, to which the Lord President's motion does not refer and to which his speech did not refer either. That paragraph states: Whatever the circumstances, the refusal by individual Members to comply with a rule which has been agreed by the House sets a bad precedent and is to be deprecated. We accordingly draw the attention of the House to the fact that the Members named in paragraph 3 above have refused to register their Lloyd's syndicate numbers as required by the House's resolution of 28 June 1993. The matter cannot simply be swept aside. We should require hon. Members to comply with our original decision, just as I assume that we will be requiring them to comply with the new decision which the Leader of the House is urging on us tonight.

It is not enough to deprecate the fact that hon. Members refused to comply. The Leader of the House should have something more to say about the matter; at least he should have something to say about the matter. Are the hon. Members who refused to comply with the House's clearly expressed wishes to be punished? Apparently not. Where does that leave those hon. Members—almost entirely Conservative Members—who did comply perfectly properly with the wishes of the House? They were right to do so and I applaud them, but they must feel rather aggrieved that they complied and others did not.

An hon. Member who spoke earlier in the debate referred to proceeding in a way that was fair and reasonable. We have to be fair and reasonable to every hon. Member. It is particularly right to be fair and reasonable to those hon. Members who have complied with the wishes of the House. Clearly we should have something to say to those hon. Members who have not complied with the wishes of the House.

Sir Gerard Vaughan

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept that there was no intention of carrying out any contempt of the House. It just seemed that the Committee, which has done an excellent job, was asking for information the purpose of which we simply could not understand. We approached the Chairman of the Committee, who willingly listened to us and, on reflection, the Committee has now decided that different rules should be adopted.

Mr. Brown

In life, we all get asked to do things that we do not understand. If it is a lawful request, we comply with it. That is the point I am making to the House. It is not up to us to choose which rules of this place we comply with—just the ones that are convenient to us—and to overlook the others.

Those are not my observations on the matter; I am being careful not to substitute my views for what the rules should be. I am referring to the decision of the Select Committee which has clearly decided to deprecate the refusal of Members of the House to register. They may well have had reasons for that and may well have argued with the Select Committee. I am sure that they did; nevertheless, I understand why the Select Committee has put the proposal before us.

On behalf of the whole House, the Lord President has a duty to reply to the debate and put the Government's view on paragraph 7 as well as their clearer view on paragraph 18.

1.3 am

Mr. Newton

I can say clearly what my position is and what led to the resolution being tabled.

In paragraph 7, the Committee made a number of comments which contain no recommendation. In the later paragraphs, it made a number of recommendations which require a resolution of the House to implement them. That is what the resolution provides for, and I spoke to that.

I shall say only one other thing, particularly to the hon. Member for Neath (Mr. Hain), whose speech made it clear, in conjunction with remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Gosport (Mr. Viggers), that the comments that he made, without having properly informed the people about whom he made them or intended to make them, did not follow any attempt to make complaints to the appropriate investigating body.

Mr. Campbell-Savours


Mr. Newton

No, I will not give way.

The hon. Member for Neath made it clear that he had not communicated any complaint to the proper investigating authorities at Lloyd's. I presume from the fact that he intended to make his remarks and partially made them here, rather than anywhere else, that he is not prepared to list the names and suggestions outside the House.

Mr. Hain

I am fully prepared to make the information available. It was derived from sources within Lloyd's, from an analysis of the Lloyd's blue book and from an analysis of Chatset league tables. Anyone who takes the trouble that I took can find that information, and I am not seeking to use the privilege of the House.

Lloyd's has never invited me to expand on any of the early-day motions that I have tabled—as the Leader of the House knows—for the past two years, with the Speaker's permission. The reason is that Lloyd's is not interested, because it wanted to cover up what is going on in the market.

Mr. Newton

The hon. Gentleman has assured the House that he did not intend to take any action under the cloak of parliamentary privilege that he would not take in another context. Of course I accept his word, but I think that—following what I have said, what the hon. Gentleman has said and what my hon. Friend the Member for Gosport said—the hon. Gentleman's proper course would be to make whatever suggestions he wishes to make, and to give whatever information he wishes to give, to the body to which my hon. Friend referred, or make it available for investigation in other ways.

It was clear from the hon. Gentleman's speech that his reason for wishing all the information—the syndicate numbers—to be placed in the Register of Members' Interests had little, if anything, to do with what he thought it proper to require of Members in relation to their duties in the House, and everything to do with a political campaign that he is waging in relation to Lloyd's. As Leader of the House, I take the view that what should concern us is what is proper for the Register of Members' Interests in the House. I think that the Committee's recommendations are sensible in that respect, and I commend them again to the House.

Mr. Nicholas Brown


Madam Speaker

Order. Has the hon. Gentleman the leave of the House?

Mr. Brown

I have to say, Madam Speaker, that the Leader of the House—[Interruption.]

Madam Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman requires leave of the House, and I am hearing objections.

Sir Gerard Vaughan

On a point of order, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker

Order. I must clear one thing at a time. I will take the point of order in a moment. Is the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, East (Mr. Brown) allowed to speak? I understand that he is. First, I will take the point of order from the hon. Member for Reading, East (Sir G. Vaughan).

Sir Gerard Vaughan

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Should the matter come to a Division, are those of us who have been involved entitled to vote?

Madam Speaker

Every hon. Member is entitled to vote, irrespective of whether he or she is a Lloyd's name.

Mr. Hain

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Should hon. Members who are Lloyd's names and have a particular pecuniary interest in being members of certain Lloyd's syndicates vote on the matter?

Madam Speaker

I sought sound advice on the question before I took the Chair. They can all vote if they wish to.

1.8 am

Mr. Nicholas Brown

The Leader of the House referred to campaigns. It seems to me that the most successful campaign has been that mounted by the members of Lloyd's syndicates who have refused to comply with our original decision that they should register. Instead of compelling them to comply with that decision, the rules have been altered.

The Committee may well have good reason for its action; I am not saying that it has not. I am saying, however, that the Lord President should have had something much sterner to say about the refusal of those hon. Members to comply with the original decision of the House. As he can say nothing about paragraph 7 of the report, I urge my hon. Friends to vote for the amendment.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

May I ask the Leader of the House a question? I assume that he has read paragraph 7 of the report which states : Whatever the circumstances, the refusal by individual Members to comply with a rule which has been agreed by the House sets a bad precedent and is to be deprecated. Will the Leader of the House come to the Dispatch Box and deprecate the activities of five knights of the realm, a former Prime Minister and five Conservative Members of Parliament? Will he do that please? There is time before the end of the debate.

Mr. Harry Barnes (Derbyshire, North-East)

The decision that was made by the original Select Committee on Members' Interests was that the syndicate numbers should be recorded and it was accepted by the House. Does the Leader of the House believe that that was done in some fit of absent-mindedness and therefore does not matter? What are the reasons for dismissing the original report, which was carried after an amendment was put to the Committee, by five votes to one, without the alternative position being argued?

Mr. Paul Flynn (Newport, West)


Madam Speaker

I have not been in the Chair throughout the debate. Has the hon. Gentleman spoken?

Mr. Flynn


Madam Speaker

In that case, I call Mr. Flynn.

Mr. Flynn

I am afraid that the braying like daleks that we have heard from Conservative Members is characteristic of the disgraceful debate that we have just had. We had a debate on this subject some months ago and there were fewer Members present then than there have been tonight. Similar allegations were made by my hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr. Hain) and, with great bitterness, by a member of Lloyd's the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Marland). The substance of what has been said by my hon. Friend the Member for Neath has been greeted by the closing of ranks by the spokesman for the Establishment. That is a disgrace and stains further the reputation of the House.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 30, Noes 130.

Division No. 294] [1.11 am
Beith, Rt Hon A. J. Kirkwood, Archy
Brown, N. (N'c'tle upon Tyne E) Mackinlay, Andrew
Campbell-Savours, D. N McMaster, Gordon
Cann, Jamie Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)
Clelland, David Meale, Alan
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Michael, Alun
Connarty, Michael Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Dixon, Don Parry, Robert
Etherington, Bill Purchase, Ken
Flynn, Paul Rendel, David
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Skinner, Dennis
Godman, Dr Norman A. Turner, Dennis
Gunnell, John
Hain, Peter Tellers for the Ayes:
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Mr. Terry Lewis and
Jamieson, David Mr. Harry Barnes.
Kilfoyle, Peter
Allason, Rupert (Torbay) Fenner, Dame Peggy
Amess, David Fishburn, Dudley
Ancram, Michael Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Arbuthnot, James Forth, Eric
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)
Ashby, David Freeman, Rt Hon Roger
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) French, Douglas
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North) Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Baldry, Tony Hague, William
Bates, Michael Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Beggs, Roy Hanley, Jeremy
Bowis, John Hayes, Jerry
Brandreth, Gyles Heald, Oliver
Bright, Graham Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Browning, Mrs. Angela Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)
Burns, Simon Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)
Butcher, John Jack, Michael
Carrington, Matthew Jenkin, Bernard
Chapman, Sydney Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Clappison, James Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ruclif) Key, Robert
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Kirkhope, Timothy
Coe, Sebastian Knapman, Roger
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Cope, Rt Hon Sir John Knight, Greg (Derby N)
Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon) Kynoch, George (Kincardine)
Davies, Quentin (Stamford) Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Davis, David (Boothferry) Lang, Rt Hon Ian
Dorrell, Stephen Lennox-Boyd, Mark
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Lightbown, David
Duncan, Alan Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Durant, Sir Anthony Lloyd, Rt Hon Peter (Fareham)
Eggar, Tim Luff, Peter
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley) Maclean, David
Evans, Roger (Monmouth) McLoughlin, Patrick
Evennett, David Malone, Gerald
Fabricant, Michael Mans, Keith
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Sainsbury, Rt Hon Tim
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian Spencer Sir Derek
Merchant, Piers Spink, Dr Robert
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Spring, Richard
Monro, Sir Hector Sproat, Iain
Moss, Malcolm Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Nelson, Anthony Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Steen, Anthony
Nicholls, Patrick Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Taylor, John M. (Solihull)
Norris, Steve Thurnham, peter
Oppenheim, Phillip Trend, Michael
Ottaway, Richard Twinn, Dr Ian
Paice, James Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Patnick, Irvine Viggers, Peter
Pickles, Eric Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Redwood, Rt Hon John Wells, Bowen
Richards, Rod Widdecombe, Ann
Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S) Willetts, David
Robinson, Mark (Somerton) Wood, Timothy
Ross, William (E Londonderry)
Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela Tellers for the Noes:
Ryder, Rt Hon Richard Mr. Andrew MacKay and
Sackville, Tom Mr. Derek Conway.

Question accordingly negatived.

Main Question put:

The House proceeded to a Division

Sir Peter Emery

(seated and covered): On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. You may have noticed that Standing Order No. 37 was altered yesterday with the result that, if two Tellers have been appointed, the Chair does not have to wait two minutes before putting the Question a second time. In view of the hour, and as Clerks are already at the Table, it would be convenient if you acted according to new Standing Order No. 37.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Janet Fookes)

I also recall that the Standing Order gives the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker discretion.

The House having divided: Ayes 130, Noes 21.

Division No. 295] [1.22 am
Allason, Rupert (Torbay) Davies, Quentin (Stamford)
Amess, David Davis, David (Boothferry)
Ancram, Michael Dorrell, Stephen
Arbuthnot, James Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Duncan, Alan
Ashby, David Durant, Sir Anthony
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Eggar, Tim
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North) Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Baldry, Tony Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)
Bates, Michael Evans, Roger (Monmouth)
Beggs, Roy Evennett, David
Beith, Rt Hon A. J. Fabricant, Michael
Bowis, John Fenner, Dame Peggy
Brandreth, Gyles Fishburn, Dudley
Bright, Graham Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Forth, Eric
Browning, Mrs. Angela Foster, Don (Bath)
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)
Burns, Simon Freeman, Rt Hon Roger
Butcher, John French, Douglas
Carrington, Matthew Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Chapman, Sydney Hague, William
Clappison, James Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ruclif) Hanley, Jeremy
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Hayes, Jerry
Coe, Sebastian Heald, Oliver
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)
Cope, Rt Hon Sir John Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)
Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon) Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Oppenheim, Phillip
Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W) Ottaway, Richard
Jack, Michael Paice, James
Jenkin, Bernard Pickles, Eric
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Redwood, Rt Hon John
Key, Robert Rendel, David
Kirkhope, Timothy Richards, Rod
Kirkwood, Archy Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn
Knapman, Roger Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)
Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash) Robinson, Mark (Somerton)
Knight, Greg (Derby N) Ross, William (E Londonderry)
Kynoch, George (Kincardine) Ryder, Rt Hon Richard
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Sainsbury, Rt Hon Tim
Lang, Rt Hon Ian Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Lennox-Boyd, Mark Spencer, Sir Derek
Lightbown, David Spring, Richard
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Sproat, Iain
Lloyd, Rt Hon Peter (Fareham) Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Luff, Peter Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Steen, Anthony
MacKay, Andrew Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Maclean, David Taylor, John M. (Solihull)
McLoughlin, Patrick Trend, Michael
Malone, Gerald Twinn, Dr Ian
Mans, Keith Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Viggers, Peter
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Merchant, Piers Wells, Bowen
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Widdecombe, Ann
Monro, Sir Hector Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Moss, Malcolm Willetts, David
Nelson, Anthony Wood, Timothy
Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Nicholls, Patrick Tellers for the Ayes:
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Mr. Irvine Patnick and
Norris, Steve Mr. Derek Conway.
Campbell-Savours, D. N. McMaster, Gordon
Cann, Jamie Meale, Alan
Clelland, David Michael, Alun
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Dixon, Don Parry, Robert
Etherington, Bill Purchase, Ken
Flynn, Paul Skinner, Dennis
Godman, Dr Norman A. Turner, Dennis
Gunnell, John
Hain, Peter Tellers for the Noes:
Jamieson, David Mr. Harry Barnes and
Kilfoyle, Peter Mr. Terry Lewis.
Mackinlay, Andrew

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That this House approves the proposals in paragraph 18 of the Second Report from the Select Committee on Members' Interests (House of Commons Paper No. 353).