HC Deb 30 April 1996 vol 276 cc954-73

24B.—(1) The Secretary of State may make provision by order as to the form of, or the particulars to be contained in, an application made to a leasehold valuation tribunal under this Part.

(2) The Secretary of State may make provision by order—

  1. (a) requiring the payment of fees in respect of any such application, or in respect of any proceedings before, a leasehold valuation tribunal under this Part; and
  2. (b) empowering a leasehold valuation tribunal to require a party to proceedings before it to reimburse any other party the amount of any fees paid by him.

(3) The fees payable shall be such as may be specified in or determined in accordance with the order; and the order shall be framed with a view to securing that taking one year with another the amount of the fees charged is sufficient to meet the reasonable cost of providing the service to which they relate.

(4) An order under this section may make different provision for different cases or classes of case or for different areas.

(5) An order may, in particular, provide for the reduction or waiver of fees by reference to the financial resources of the party by whom they are to be paid or met.

Any such order may apply, subject to such modifications as may be specified in the order, any other statutory means-testing regime as it has effect from time to time.

(6) An order under this section shall be made by statutory instrument which, unless the order contains only such provision as is mentioned in subsection (1), shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.".

(6) In section 52 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 (jurisdiction of county courts), in subsection (2) (a) for "Parts I to IV" substitute "Parts I, III and IV".—[Mr. Gummer]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Gummer

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to discuss the following: Government new clause 16—Period after which acquisition order may be made.

Government new clause 17—Text of Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, as amended.

Government amendments Nos. 92, 93, 140 and 141.

Government new schedule 1—Text of Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, as amended.

Mr. Gummer

Earlier, we discussed matters of equity. I suggested that the Bill included these provisions because, as Minister responsible for London, I recognised the continuing problems involved in leasehold enfranchisement. The management of a block of leasehold flats is a particularly important issue. It was put to us that leaseholders should have a right to manage, irrespective of the actions of the freeholder—in other words, that we should ignore whether a freeholder was good, bad or indifferent, and say that in all circumstances leaseholders should be able to manage the property.

We propose to remove clause 81 from the Bill. It gives leaseholders in a block of flats the right to take over responsibility for its management, irrespective of whether the freeholder is doing a good job. We consider that removal to be the correct procedure, because the clause suggests that a right that the freeholder clearly has should be removed without compensation, even if he is an excellent manager. I find that difficult to accept in terms of equity. I say that as someone who has been extremely angry about the activities of so-called freeholders—people who have bought up freeholds for speculative purposes.

The hon. Member for Hampstead and Highgate (Ms Jackson) made some pretty unpleasant comments about freeholders generally. To refer to all freeholders in that way removes the force of what I would say about those who do behave badly: they behave in a way that is wholly intolerable and damages the lives of their leaseholders. I have my proposals for change precisely because I find the action of those people unacceptable and current legislation does not provide proper protection.

Ms Glenda Jackson

I am not aware of ever having condemned all freeholders. Perhaps the Secretary of State could point out where I have made such allegations. I was certainly somewhat vehement in Committee in urging hon. Members not to believe that a freeholder who has a seemingly sound name is automatically a good freeholder or property manager.

Mr. Gummer

I am sorry if the hon. Lady feels that I have misjudged her. Certainly the tenor of her remarks in the previous debate did not allow the House to hear any exceptions when she suggested that all leaseholders had contributed more to the development, protection and maintenance of their properties than freeholders. I am afraid that that is not true. Many freeholders play a perfectly proper part in those arrangements.

I want to ensure that both sides are properly protected and that their rights are properly upheld. I do so having introduced measures to protect leaseholders who were not properly protected because I believed that they needed additional protection.

The difficulty with removing the rights of freeholders without compensation is that we would be removing something of value. Whether we like it or not, it is a fact that the price the landlord pays for property reflects the income available from management—not from exploitation, but from management—and genuine commercial business that would stand scrutiny about its fairness. The House must therefore think seriously before it removes the rights of people even when they have behaved wholly genuinely and absolutely properly.

Mr. Raynsford

Will the Secretary of State give way?

6.30 pm
Mr. Gummer

In a second.

The House has to take that into account because the House is here—in part, at least, and perhaps some would say overall—to protect the rights of all. It is also true that the policy of an unqualified right to take over management would give a landlord the possibility of mounting a challenge to the legislation before the European Court of Human Rights, which allows deprivation of rights only if that can be justified in the public interest and when a fair compensation is paid.

The problem that arises is whether it is reasonable to remove the rights of a good freeholder—somebody who is doing the job properly—or whether we should look for a way to remove those rights when the job is not properly done.

Mr. Ashby

Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Gummer

I promised to give way to the hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Raynsford), so I will give way to him first and then I will be happy to give way to my hon. Friend.

Mr. Raynsford

The Secretary of State has spoken at great length about the potential damage that would be done by removing freeholders' rights altogether. Will he recognise that the arrangement by which the right to manage would be exercised—we successfully included this in Committee and the measure now appears in the Bill—would involve the creation of a management company on which the freeholder would be guaranteed representation? That is a specific safeguard for the freeholders' interests.

Mr. Gummer

The best opinion I have had is that what is proposed would certainly give the opportunity to mount a challenge. As it stands, the Bill does not cover the rights that people have, and I wish to achieve equity. Therefore, if the hon. Gentleman will allow me, I am suggesting an alternative route that will meet the need.

Mr. Ashby

I know that my right hon. Friend will say that he has had the best possible advice, but I wonder whether that advice was the best possible, for the following reason: the freeholders do not have the right to income from the management of the lease of the freehold. Up and down the country, the Lands Tribunal has upheld the fact that the landlord has no rights to income from the management of the company. The advice must be wrong. I can refer my right hon. Friend to many cases and I have copies of detailed judgments in which a marriage value has been ascertained from the freehold. In every single case, the Lands Tribunal has said that the manager—that is, the freeholder, owner and landlord—has no property or financial rights that can be included in the marriage value. Will my right hon. Friend please reconsider the advice that he has been given?

Mr. Gummer

I do not wish to use my lawyers' arguments against my hon. Friend, but the advice of the best lawyers is that there are other aspects that could have intrinsic value and that would open up the possibility of challenge. I am not basing my argument on that; I am merely saying that very good authority believes that.

Mr. Ashby

I do not agree.

Mr. Gummer

I spend a lot of my time disagreeing with legal advice and I fight my argument through. I have argued this point and I have been convinced by that legal advice. I would like my hon. Friend to listen to the fundamental principle. It is very difficult to say to people who have carried out their duties wholly properly and without any fault whatever that, although they entered a lease on the basis that they were going to manage, other people have a right to take the lease away, irrespective of how they have behaved. I do not think that many people would view that as equitable.

Mr. Ashby

My right hon. Friend is wrong.

Mr. Gummer

My hon. Friend can say that, but I do not think that I am wrong to say—even if his legal view is different from mine—that it would not be thought right in common fairness to take away people's rights when they have done nothing wrong and when, sometimes, they have done more than anyone might have expected. It is not possible for it to be fair in equity to do that. I looked for a way to overcome that problem.

Frankly, I was elected to the House to try to protect the interests of all, not of any one section. I also recognise that in this case there is a considerable difficulty with people getting the right to manage under the present legislation. The hon. Member for Greenwich and I had a joke between us about how many might have managed it or not. He is right: far too few do. I want to make it as easy as possible.

Mr. Raynsford

May I advise the Secretary of State not to be too harsh on the hon. Member for North-West Leicestershire (Mr. Ashby)? The Secretary of State will be aware that, without his hon. Friend's vote, the Government would not have had a majority in the Division.

If the Secretary of State feels that it is right to give the right to manage to tenants of local authorities, why is it wrong to give the same right to leaseholders?

Mr. Gummer

First, I was trying to be as helpful as possible to my hon. Friend the Member for North-West Leicestershire (Mr. Ashby). The Lands Tribunal has ruled that commission is part of landlords' income. Therefore, there is no doubt that the provision would be justiciable in the European Court of Human Rights.

Mr. Ashby

I have the judgments here.

Mr. Gummer

I am trying hard to be as even-handed as possible, and the advice I have is that that is what the Lands Tribunal has ruled. Therefore, we can say that there is at least a doubt. I do not want a situation in which there is a doubt, either for those who wish to manage or for anyone else. I also want to protect the rights of landlords and tenants and leaseholders. Therefore, I am proposing a solution that will get around the problems.

First, I want it to be absolutely clear that if leaseholders have any reasonable wish to manage because the freeholder has not behaved properly, they should be able to do so rapidly, simply and at very low cost. If I can meet that aim, I will be able to be equitable on both sides. I propose to face up to the thoroughly unscrupulous actions of a minority of landlords and that is why I put a substantial package of measures in the Bill in the first place. That package is not in the Bill because of Opposition pressure: it is there because the Government put it there. The pressure came not from the lion. Member for Greenwich but from my right hon. Friends the Members for City of London and Westminster, South (Mr. Brooke), for Chelsea (Sir N. Scott) and for Hove (Sir T. Sainsbury) and from my hon. Friends the Members for Southend, East (Sir T. Taylor), for Kensington (Mr. Fishburn) and for Fulham (Mr. Carrington). It came from Conservative Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for North-West Leicestershire, who has pressed those issues, as has my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley). As Minister responsible for London, I could not have failed to see the problems, and that is why I brought forward a substantial package of measures.

The public expect the House to act with equity, and the first basic problem is that, whenever anybody tried to enforce a management arrangement, the unscrupulous landlord said, "If you lose in court, I will be in a position to get you out of your flat." That rarely happened, and I say that because I am not used to using the word "never". Nevertheless, the threat was often used and many people failed to take their landlord to court. I sought to have the decision made by a body that does not have the powers to remove somebody's leasehold right, so that no one need be frightened. Even though the worry that I have mentioned is largely, if not wholly, unreal, the tribunal seems to be the proper way of proceeding.

In addition, people would not take their landlords to court because it was too expensive. The freeholder would have the best legal advisers—no doubt some of them would be between us if I were to discuss the matter with my hon. Friend the Member for North-West Leicestershire. Such actions could be expensive and dragged out, and people would give in.

Mr. Ashby

I have not received any legal advice, but I have studied Lands Tribunal judgment after judgment. I cannot possibly see why a landlord has any right to profit from the management of a premises. That view has been fully upheld by all Lands Tribunal decisions that I have seen, including recent decisions.

Mr. Gummer

My hon. Friend's advice is challenged by people who have done precisely the same as my hon. Friend, but to an even greater extent. I am trying to be as helpful as I can to my hon. Friend. There is, at least, disagreement, so let us leave it at that.

One must devise a way of dealing with the situation that is not expensive and is readily available, which is why I have suggested that the leasehold valuation tribunal would be the suitable organisation. It will be able to make decisions immediately and reasonably cheaply. It will not be necessary for people to have legal representation, because applicable arguments will be much more readily understood by tribunal members, who will be able to use their professional expertise. My hon. Friend the Member for North-West Leicestershire would acknowledge that the problem with the courts is that a judge is not able to use his expertise, even if he has any. Tribunal members will be able to use their expertise and to seek from the freeholder details of how he failed to carry through his duty.

It seems to me that one should go further and reverse—I say this as a non-lawyer—the burden of proof. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors will be publishing a guide to the way in which freeholders should manage property. It will be open to any leaseholder to say, "Here is the guide. My freeholder has failed to adhere to it"—then the tribunal will be able to introduce the manager to run the block of flats. That seems to be the proper way forward. It will ensure easy access to justice for people who need it, the cost will be reasonable and a landlord will have to prove that he has done the job properly—or that he has not for reasons readily acceptable as force majeure.

Labour's proposition would be difficult to defend because it would mean saying to a class of subject that something that they have will be taken away without compensation. I am trying to put in place a means of offering to anybody who wants to take over a property's management a clear, easy and accessible means of doing so.

The significant changes in the Bill are backed by a series of helpful mechanisms. We have added another ground for the tribunal to take into account in considering whether a manager should be appointed—that the freeholder has failed to comply with the relevant codes of practice to which I referred. The tribunal can refer to the code drawn up by the Association of Retirement Housing Managers, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East referred.

6.45 pm
Mr. Raynsford

The Secretary of State referred to the association's code of guidance and other codes. Which other codes are in existence?

Mr. Gummer

I said that the RICS was finalising a code, which I can approve under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 and make statutory. I hope to approve the code and to make sure that it has legal force shortly.

We are proposing to shorten from three to two years the period for which a manager appointed by the LVT must be in place before the tenants have sufficient grounds to apply to acquire the freehold interest. That offers an attractive route for tenants to purchase the freehold at open market value.

We have produced a means of easy, reasonable and accessible redress that protects people from the harassment that we have seen from bad freeholders yet preserves the equity that otherwise would lead us into grave difficulties—even if I do not go too far in meeting the concerns of my hon. Friend the Member for North-West Leicestershire, which I do not underestimate, who referred to LVT decisions about the price to be paid for the freeholder's interest on enfranchisement. The Lands Tribunal has ruled that no separate amount needs to be allowed in respect of insurance commissions, because the price fixed by reference to evidence of market transactions already includes that value. The Lands Tribunal, which is superior to the LVT, has confirmed that insurance commissions are part of the value of the freehold. The leading case is that of Calthorpe estate. On that ground, any estate could appeal to the European Court of Human Rights—not the European Court of Justice, as my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East knows. I do not want to be in that position. I want to give people certainty with equity, and the Government's proposals will achieve precisely that.

Mr. Ashby

The new clause and the schedule attempt to address the problem, and I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for introducing it. I shall not be so churlish as to say that I totally disagree with it, as that is not the point, but we are almost dealing with this as though we are in Committee.

I am fundamentally opposed to leaseholds and always have been. They are a form of confidence trick, established 200 years ago, when the only form of investment available was land. All the great landowners owned land. There was no equity market. No other form of investment was available. Later, landowners transferred ownership of the land, but for only 99 or 125 years, and in three generations would get it back. The high value of the land is repeated time and again. Those are the people whom we are talking about. I believe that, in a sense, we have got it fundamentally wrong.

The interests of the landlord are traded time and again. I am not talking about the people to whom reference has been made in the Chamber in glowing terms, because there are good and bad landlords. By and large, as soon as the landlord has sold off the leasehold, he trades the freehold. I am thinking of a case, which I mentioned in Committee, in which there was a long lease of 120 years, with 117 left to run. The leasehold was traded at auction and bought for £5, 000. The price paid was about six or seven times the annual ground rent.

Why does someone in that position buy the leasehold? Because he hopes that he can do something with it, that in time he will be able to trade it up and that it will be a good investment and make money for him. One of the ways in which he does that is by looking at the services. He is able to do two things: first, he is able to charge an administration fee. "I am the landlord." he says, "I am administering this property, so I shall charge an administration fee, which I assess to be £200 per year per property." That is nice and easy. That is lovely to have. That includes, of course, the cost of various other things. Secondly, he says, "Well, I must also look after the property." That is marvellous. "So I shall have to appoint a surveyor. I just happen to have one in my company." That means more profit for him. because it is his own surveyor. "Oh, " he says, "the property needs to be repaired, doesn't it? I shall use my own company, which charges costs plus 25 per cent. for the work." At the end of the day his return is about 35 or 40 per cent.

That is what I object to very strongly indeed. It is the tenant who suffers and will continue to suffer these high costs. The landlord's interest is in the freehold. The tenant's interest is in the management. He is concerned to see that his property is properly serviced and managed, and there is absolutely no reason why he should not. I cannot understand my right hon. Friend when he says that landlords are entitled to make these great profits, or make profits.

Mr. Gummer

I shall try to help my hon. Friend. I have not said that they are entitled to make either profits or great profits. I said that in law it is established that they have certain rights, and if one took them away without compensation, one would be subject to an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. That is all that I am saying. I am not saying whether I think that it is a good thing or a bad thing. I just think that we must take that into account when having these discussions. I am trying to find a way that avoids that issue while still protecting the leaseholder in the way that I know my hon. Friend wants, and that I also want. That is why I put it in the Bill. If I did not care about it, I would not have put it in the Bill in the first place.

Mr. Ashby

Why cannot we all be adventurous in this? I shall not criticise the Secretary of State. The hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Raynsford) will not either. Let us say that landlords are not allowed to earn these profits and then see what happens in the European Court. We have a decision of the Lands Tribunal. It has not been taken to the Court of Appeal or to the House of Lords. The Lands Tribunal is just a court of first instance that has made a decision. It is not the law. It is merely a precedent. Parliament is sovereign and has the right to legislate and to make laws. I give the undertaking to my right hon. Friend that I would not dream of criticising the Government, and I know that the hon. Member for Greenwich would give the specific undertaking on behalf of his party that he would not dream of criticising the Government but would uphold them as trying their best to do the right thing and to be fair and just to everybody. Why not legislate and be damned? That is what we should do.

I am absolutely convinced morally, despite the decision of the Lands Tribunal, that landlords, by virtue of the fact that they hold the freehold, have no rights in that agreement other than to collect the ground rent and to nominate the insurance company that is to insure the building. Most leases are the same. Mine does not say that my landlord is entitled to commission, merely that he can nominate the insurance company, and when I next pay him his insurance, I shall deduct 15 per cent., because I know that that is his commission. He can take me to court for his 15 per cent. I shall put before him my lease and say, "It doesn't say anything, mate, about you being entitled to take commission."

We voted this in. We gave the right to manage. I cannot think of anything more fitting than that tenants should be allowed to choose their own management, to get away from the exorbitant profits of landlords who have bought these properties at auction. I am not talking about the good landlords, because good landlords do not "manage". The Grosvenor estate does not manage; it creates a head lease. Other people carry out the servicing. The big estates that we all want to praise do not manage.

I received a letter today from Mr. and Mrs. Mathew of Bristol. I grabbed it just before I came into the House. It says: Dear Mr. Ashby, As members of a Residents' Association we are very much concerned with trying to manage our own flats, and were therefore pleased to read in 'The Times' April 3rd that you are supporting a 'right to manage' clause in the Housing Bill. We are victims of extortionate management fees"— this is important— which means that no-one in our block is able to sell their flat. Knowing very little about procedures in the house, we would be most grateful if you could let us know how this bill has progressed and if and when it is likely to become law. What am I to say in reply? I am to say, "Yes, we are giving you some sort of right. Let me tell you what you must do. It is very complicated. You must serve a notice, which must specify a number of things. Where those things are capable of being remedied by the landlord, he must 'take such steps for the purpose of remedying them as are so specified' before an application can be made." A landlord can be bad, and then put things right; he can be bad for another year, and then put that right; and he can do the same for another year. Tenants can be given lousy service year after year, but they cannot get very far in doing anything about it, because section 22(2) (d) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 makes it so complicated.

7 pm

I would then have to tell Mr. and Mrs. Mathew, "There are other problems. You must prove not only that the landlord is a bad landlord, but that 'the circumstances by virtue of which he is (or would be) in breach of any such obligation are likely to continue'. My gosh! I suppose that a medium could be summoned to give evidence, and to explain what "likely to continue" means. I can envisage landlords coming along and saying, "I am terribly sorry, but the circumstances are not likely to continue."

An order can also be made where the court is satisfied … that unreasonable service charges have been made". What constitutes "unreasonable"? I suppose that an administration charge, plus use of the landlord's own surveyor, plus a mark-up on the cost of his contractor, is not unreasonable. A mark-up of 10 per cent. or 15 per cent. is not unreasonable; the administration charge in itself is not unreasonable. The fact that the surveyor is subject to a charge of £120 an hour is not unreasonable. We are talking about the sum total. That is where the poor tenant is having a lousy time of it.

What worries me most is the provision that A leasehold valuation tribunal may, on the application of any person interested, vary or discharge (whether conditionally or unconditionally) an order made under this section". It is a temporary order. Someone has gone to all that trouble, getting the tenants together; they have all put money into the kitty; he has gone to court, and had a terrible time trying to sort everything out; then he finds that the order is only temporary. The landlord then comes along and says, "I have appointed another director, and there is a new management company. It is my brother-in-law—not my other brother-in-law, this brother-in-law. He is much better than the other one. We shall have no more problems: things will be put right." The leasehold valuation tribunal may well—probably will—discharge the application and management order. Then, six months later, the poor tenants will be back in the same boat.

This is merely an attempt to deal with what I have complained about continually in regard to our whole approach to leasehold reform and the need to tackle rogue landlords. We make it so difficult for the tenant. We look at every way in which we can act, and always choose the most difficult path. Perhaps we consult too many lawyers. Why do we not consult the tenants, and ask them to tell us how to work things out? They will have a simpler approach: they will go straight to the heart of the matter. We have too many lawyers—and I say that as a lawyer myself. We view everything in the most complicated possible way. When I view leasehold reform as a whole, I see the complications involved.

In Committee, I tabled an amendment and two new clauses that would have simplified the whole matter, and gone to the crux of leasehold reform. We should get rid of marriage values and all that junk. When a person buys a freehold at auction, he looks at the ground rent and multiplies it by eight. Let us say that the value of the freehold multiplies it by 10—but no, that is not good enough; it is too simple. We have to turn to marriage values, which were created by surveyors so that they could give themselves more work and which are now enshrined in legislation. If I went to an auction, I should look at the return on the investment, as I would with a company, and save 10 times. That is good enough, surely. But people are buying the freehold at eight times, and asking whether there are ways of getting around it, such as the service charge. They will have a nice little business going, and it will be the tenant who suffers.

When someone buys a long lease, he has taken away most from that property. Let us think of it as a whole. When someone has bought a lease of 99, 125 or, in my case, 999 years, what is left? Nothing but ground rent: nothing of any value. All the talk of enhancing landlords' rights is nonsense. It is an anachronism from 200 years ago. We should view the matter in a cold, specific way, realising that we shall lose some friends on the way—although we shall lose very few, and make many more, while making our existing friends extremely happy.

I beg the Minister to examine the matter again. He has gone so far, but it is very complicated. We shall see hardly any applications. If the measure is passed, I shall write to poor Mr. and Mrs. Mathew telling them that there is not much hope. They can make the application, but it will cost them a lot of money and take a lot of time because the Government are not prepared to do anything substantial, simple and easy about that landlord. I hope that the Minister will tell me how I could write to them differently, but I am not sure that I can.

Sir Timothy Sainsbury (Hove)

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State knows, Hove—like parts of London—contains many long leaseholders. Like my right hon. Friend, I am angry about the fact that too many have suffered for far too long from bad and, in some cases, unscrupulous management. Freeholders have sought to make money to which they are not entitled. Regrettably, the problem remains, despite our four bites at the cherry in 1980, 1985, 1987 and 1993, and the considerable progress made by Conservative Governments in helping long leaseholders.

I am delighted that my right hon. Friend has introduced this package of measures in response, as he said, to representations from a number of his right hon. and hon. Friends. I agree with him that both sides must be properly protected, and that we must be fair to both sides. I say that particularly to my hon. Friend the Member for North-West Leicestershire (Mr. Ashby). If we are not fair to both sides, it is unlikely that the proposed arrangements will stick. Let me also tell my hon. Friend that the landlord has an interest of value. It is not just a question of the ground rent; there is the reversion. The time involved may not be so long as his 999 years: in many cases, it may be 40 or even 30 years.

I welcome my right hon. Friend's new clause. In particular, on behalf of many constituents whose requests I have forwarded to him and whom I have seen personally—constituents who have asked for simple and cheap procedures—I welcome the use of tribunals. I think that there is a reasonable prospect of such simplicity and cheapness if they are used.

I wish to ask one more thing. Can we expect the tribunals to act with reasonable speed? If they do not and the leaseholders are left hanging around for some time while they try to get the right to manage, it will be very unsatisfactory.

The codes to which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State referred are extremely important. Perhaps I should declare that I am an honorary fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. I do not want to alarm my hon. Friend the Member for North-West Leicestershire too much. It is a non-pecuniary interest. The codes will be a great help. Will my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State ensure that maximum publicity is given not only to the still further enhancement of the rights of leaseholders, but to the codes? It is very important that the codes are publicised so that leaseholders know the basis on which they may bring cases before the tribunal and when it would be appropriate to do so.

I thank my right hon. Friend for responding to the representations. We have struck the right balance and it is very important that maximum publicity is given to the Bill.

Mr. Carrington

I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for proposing the measures. They enable leaseholders who suffer the depredations of bad freeholders to obtain some measure of justice. Whereas I accept the criticisms of my hon. Friend the Member for North-West Leicestershire (Mr. Ashby), I think that it is possible to overcome them. Although, like him, I have an instinctive preference for leaseholders' right to manage, we should not pretend that it has no problems. The right to manage suggests that leaseholders must have a common interest and operate—at least in the majority—in the same interests as one another. Sadly, and indeed perversely, I have come across instances in my constituency where that has not happened.

The valuation tribunal is a vast improvement on having to go to court, but I should like to ask one or two questions on the way in which it would operate. I should be most grateful if my right hon. Friend could address them in his winding-up speech. The valuation tribunal will be successful only if it is possible to get a decision out of it very quickly—if the delays in hearings are brief and, once hearings start, the decision is taken speedily. That requires that, if there is overload in the number of cases going to such a tribunal, new valuation tribunals can be appointed. It also means that delays caused intentionally by the landlord claiming, for instance, that he is not yet ready with his evidence or other reasons, can be disregarded by the valuation tribunal. In other words, it means that a date can be set and justice can be delivered quickly. It also requires that the appeal process cannot be dragged out by the landlord. I am slightly concerned, not being a lawyer—as some of my hon. Friends who have spoken are—or a surveyor, that if the valuation tribunal decision is contested by the landlord, the landlord may take that decision to the courts and we might be back to square one and leaseholders having to undergo a very long and costly procedure to be able to get justice. We have to address the appeal process, and I should be grateful if my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State would consider it.

The principal mode of getting justice is through the guidelines of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, which of course we have not seen. To a considerable extent, therefore, we are taking the whole business on trust. I recognise that the guidelines will be improved and, one hopes, put into statute by the Department of the Environment. That is encouraging, but I should be grateful if my right hon. Friend would also confirm that the guidelines will be detailed, specific and prescriptive, so that it will not be possible for a landlord to claim that he is acting in accordance with the guidelines by taking, say, three quotations from related builders for maintenance work— the first being his brother, the second his cousin, and the third of course being himself in some guise. It is only right that the guidelines on the management of a building and whether the agent who is managing the building is related to the freeholder are very specific. Clearly, the latter should not be allowed under the guidelines.

On a happier note, I should also be grateful if my right hon. Friend would confirm whether individual leaseholders will be able to go to the tribunal. That is very important. If one leaseholder can go to the tribunal in his own right without having to refer to other leaseholders, the considerable problem in a very large number of inner-London blocks of flats that are owned by non-residential or foreign landlords who do not take a great deal of interest in the management of the block will be solved. If one leaseholder can go to the valuation tribunal and obtain justice and, in extreme circumstances, the appointment of an appropriate manager for the block, many of the wrongs that we see as Members representing inner-London constituencies will be put right. It is important that the right should be exercisable by the individual and not just by the group of leaseholders.

Having said that and in looking forward to the reassurances that I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will give me, I welcome the proposed move forward. It is capable of being made to work in a way that will benefit the vast majority of leaseholders. I hope that if the problems that my hon. Friend the Member for North-West Leicestershire described start to appear, my right hon. Friend will revisit the matter either by order or in another Bill. No matter how long it takes, we must get the management of blocks of flats in London right and ensure that leaseholders have justice.

7.15 pm
Mr. Raynsford

In response to the concluding comments of the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. Carrington), I can assure him that if the present Secretary of State fails to provide justice for leaseholders, as I fear he will, the next Labour Government will have no such hesitation in doing what we know is right, to ensure that leaseholders have proper remedies and redress for the many problems that have rightly been highlighted in Committee and in the House.

In the earlier part of the debate, there was what I can describe only as an element of fantasy politics, which started with the Secretary of State and continued with the right hon. Member for Hove (Sir T. Sainsbury). If either of them believes that the debate is simply because of pressure from a few Conservative Members, they are living in cloud cuckoo land, as their right hon. Friend the Prime Minister would say.

We are having this debate because leaseholders have rightly been campaigning energetically for many months against the scandalous abuses that have been all too evident. Such abuses have been particularly highlighted by the Evening Standard, which has done a great service, especially for leaseholders in London and in the south-east, in exposing the antics of Mr. Bebbington and others of his ilk, who have nakedly abused their opportunities and extorted money on false pretences from their leaseholders, threatening them with forfeiture if they failed to pay up.

The campaign has been spearheaded by the splendid Campaign Against Residential Leasehold Abuse. Leaseholders and hon. Members owe it a great debt of gratitude for all its work in exposing the problem. The debate has arisen because of that campaign and because of the vote in Committee for a right to manage. If the Committee had not taken that decision, I can assure Conservative Members that we would not be having this debate.

The Secretary of State has admitted that the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, which was supposedly designed to give remedies and redress to leaseholders, has not been as effective as it might have been. We agree with him. We warned him at the time that it would be ineffective, in just the same way as we warned the Government that the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 would be ineffective. The first main reason why the 1987 Act is ineffective is the cost of court procedures. That is well known, and I think that it is agreed by everyone.

The second reason why the Act is ineffective is the need for the leaseholder to prove that the landlord is in breach of his obligations, and that that breach is likely to continue. That is the wording of the Act, and, of course, it provides the easiest let-out in the book for the reluctant or dishonest landlord. All the landlord has to do is to come along to the court and say, "I am very sorry. I may have done wrong in the past, but I recognise it and I shall be a good boy in future. I shall not commit such offences again." Under the terms of the Act, the court has no option but to say, "Sorry, we cannot appoint a manager."

The third reason, or obstacle, is the immensely complex and bureaucratic procedures, to which the hon. Member for North-West Leicestershire (Mr. Ashby) alluded. The procedures require an endless serving of notices, and that all sorts of procedural antics are gone through, which makes it all too easy for unscrupulous freeholders—often able to deploy large batteries of qualified experts, lawyers and professionals—to bamboozle and tie up leaseholders in complications and threats of mounting costs should they try to pursue the issue any further. Those are the three elements of the problem.

The Government lifted those provisions from part II of the 1987 Act, and put them into this Bill—with one significant and crucial amendment, that procedures would in future be effected through leasehold valuation tribunals rather than through the courts. I grant that that provision addresses the issue of costs, but it does not eliminate it. There will be costs, because the well-heeled freeholder will be able to deploy much expert advice and mount a very successful case in a leasehold valuation tribunal, which will inevitably lead the leaseholder to incur substantial costs to counter the case. So it is not true to say that the provision will eliminate costs for leaseholders, although it will reduce them. On that one aspect, I grant that the Government's proposal is better than the 1987 Act.

The Government's proposal does not address the other two issues. The wording that the Government are now proposing for the procedure, under which the leasehold valuation tribunal will have the discretion to appoint a manager, still requires the leaseholder to prove that the landlord has been at fault and that those faults will continue. As I said, it will be all too easy for freeholders with expert lawyers to mount a case to try to demonstrate that, even if they have made mistakes in the past, they have now turned over a new leaf and will be well behaved in future. There will be endless scope for freeholders to evade the provisions.

On the third point, as I said, the procedures are still immensely complex and tortuous, which again will give all too many opportunities for unscrupulous and reluctant freeholders to frustrate the wishes of leaseholders.

Our view, and the view of leaseholders, is that this provision simply will not work. Like the 1987 Act, it will be a sop and not a remedy. In case any hon. Member has any doubts about that, I can only quote the comments of Chas Johnson, of the Campaign Against Residential Leasehold Abuse, who has been tireless in campaigning on the issue, writing to many hon. Members about it and making the case most forcefully. He said: Do not be misled. The proposed amendment is wholly inferior to 'the right to manage' and dilutes the impact of the Bill dramatically. It is effectively a rehash of existing, unsatisfactory legislation that has remained unused since its introduction in 1987. Its only novelty is a shift in jurisdiction from the courts to the LVT to make its nebulous provisions available on a more affordable basis. That is the expert commentator's judgment on the new clause— a judgment that we endorse entirely.

The right to manage, by contrast, offers effective redress for leaseholders, and it also offers safeguards for freeholders. As I stressed in an intervention on the speech of the Secretary of State, the model of the right to manage provides for the freeholder to be represented in the management company that would be set up. Freeholders would not have their rights taken away without any compensation. They would have a continuing role to play and a continuing voice, to ensure that the properties were properly managed. They would have the ability to seek the termination of the management agreement if the management company failed.

There is no threat in these provisions to good landlords. The case was put very forcefully in 1992 by the Grosvenor estate, which stated that it saw no threat in a right to manage. It is not good freeholders who would have anything to lose by the right to manage; it is simply the crooks—the Bebbingtons of the world—who are only too happy to exploit their opportunity to extort unreasonable sums from leaseholders and to threaten them in a scandalous manner if they fail to cough up.

Our right to manage gives leaseholders an effective remedy against such threats, and is widely recognised by leaseholders as the right response. It is utterly inconsistent of the Government to reject it. As I have already pointed out to the Secretary of State, the Government were prepared to introduce a right to manage for council tenants, to enable them to take over the management of their homes, not if their landlord was at fault, but if the tenants wished to exercise the right to manage. I ask the Secretary of State how he can possibly justify those double standards, arguing for a right to manage for council tenants, while denying that same right to leaseholders.

We once again see the malign influence of the big landowners who bankroll the Tory party. They have gone to the Government and said, "We cannot stomach a right to manage." The landowners have once again forced the Government to show their true colours. The Government may talk about aiding and supporting leaseholders, but they will never do so. They will never do so because they are financially dependent on the big landowners, and they will not sacrifice their financial interests to achieve justice for leaseholders.

Earlier today, the Government survived by a whisker a vote in defence of their financial interests and in defence of landowners. But their time is running out, and they will shortly have to face the electorate. When they do, many leaseholders across the country will rightly and harshly judge them for betraying leaseholders' interests in the past few years, and particularly for what they are doing today.

The hon. Member for North-West Leicestershire spoke of the need to be brave and bold. I invite him, and other Conservative Members who want to be brave and bold, to vote with Opposition Members today in defence of leaseholders—to ensure that leaseholders get justice in 1996 rather than having to wait until next year, when Labour will ensure that they get justice.

Mr. Gummer

I suggest to the hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Raynsford) that those final flourishes have no connection at all with the truth. Indeed, it is a pity to be attacked for something which it would be rather nice to have. Unfortunately, we do not have the substance, so we do not deserve the criticism. I wish that the hon. Gentleman had examined rather more carefully what we proposed. As my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham (Mr. Carrington) said very clearly, we are seeking very much more than the hon. Gentleman would give us credit for.

I can assure my hon. Friend that if there is overloading, I shall ensure that there are sufficient tribunals to cover the pressure. He need not be worried about appeals, because they will be not to the courts but to the Lands Tribunal—so the simplicity continues at that point. The guidelines must be specific, as he said. I have the powers to put them into statute, and I shall ensure that they are as I want them to be. I am sure that he will be happy with them, and I give him my assurance that individual leaseholders can use that mechanism, which is one of the major advantages.

I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Hove (Sir T. Sainsbury) about publicity for what we are doing and for how the codes will operate. I also need the publicity, because there is no doubt that measures to help leaseholders have been taken by this Government, as a result of pressure from Conservative Members of Parliament. A Conservative Secretary of State and Minister responsible for London introduced the measure at the earliest opportunity. The fact that one or two Opposition Members have suddenly discovered that this might be a subject to be interested in has not escaped those who know. A very high proportion of them will benefit from the legislation that we have introduced. It would be a pity if they had to wait for the next Labour Government, because they would have to wait for decades.

The hon. Member for Greenwich should have looked at the facts before he made the comments that he made. The question of "likely to continue" does not apply to any but the first ground, which is a breach. A breach might, for example, be forced on people by force majeure. Something might arise that is not the landlord's fault and is outwith his power, which means that he cannot provide the service that is necessary. It would be reasonable to allow him to plead that the position was not likely to continue. However, when it comes to unreasonable charges or, for example, a departure from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' codes, no such claim can be made. So the protection is much greater than the hon. Gentleman suggests.

7.30 pm

I believe that we have found a means of protecting the leaseholder without opening ourselves up to the damaging process of law. It is equitable. It provides certainty and it protects. It is another example of the Government's defence of the leaseholder. I hope that the House will support the Government's proposals.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 288, Noes 279.

Division No. 115] [7.30 pm
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Banks, Robert (Harrogate)
Aitken, Rt Hon Jonathan Bates, Michael
Alexander, Richard Batiste, Spencer
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby) Bendall, Vivian
Allason, Rupert (Torbay) Beresford, Sir Paul
Amess, David Bitten, Rt Hon John
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Bonsor, Sir Nicholas
Arbuthnot, James Booth, Hartley
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Boswell, Tim
Ashby, David Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E) Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Bowden, Sir Andrew
Baker, Rt Hon Kenneth (Mole V) Bowis, John
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset) Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes
Baldry, Tony Brandreth, Gyles
Banks, Matthew (Southport) Brazier, Julian
Bright, Sir Graham Grylls, Sir Michael
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Brown, M (Brigg & Cl'thorpes) Hague, Rt Hon William
Browning, Mrs Angela Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archibald
Budgen, Nicholas Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Burt, Alistair Hampson, Dr Keith
Butcher, John Hanley, Rt Hon Jeremy
Butler, Peter Hannam, Sir John
Carlisle, John (Luton North) Hargreaves, Andrew
Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln) Haselhurst, Sir Alan
Carrington, Matthew Hawkins, Nick
Carttiss, Michael Hawksley, Warren
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Heald, Oliver
Chapman, Sir Sydney Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Churchill, Mr Hendry, Charles
Clappison, James Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ru'clif) Hill, James (Southampton Test)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Horam, John
Coe, Sebastian Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Congdon, David Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st) Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Hughes, Robert G (Harrow W)
Cope, Rt Hon Sir John Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)
Cormack, Sir Patrick Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Couchman, James Hunter, Andrew
Cran, James Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire) Jack, Michael
Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon) Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Davies, Quentin (Stamford) Jessel, Toby
Davis, David (Boothferry) Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Day, Stephen Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Deva, Nirj Joseph Jones, Robert B (W Hertfdshr)
Devlin, Tim Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Dicks, Terry Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Key, Robert
Dover, Den Kirkhope, Timothy
Duncan, Alan Knapman, Roger
Duncan Smith, Iain Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Dunn, Bob Knight, Rt Hon Greg (Derby N)
Durant, Sir Anthony Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)
Elletson, Harold Knox, Sir David
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Kynoch, George (Kincardine)
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield) Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Evans, Jonathan (Brecon) Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley) Lang, Rt Hon Ian
Evans, Roger (Monmouth) Lawrence, Sir Ivan
Evennett, David Legg, Barry
Faber, David Leigh, Edward
Fabricant, Michael Lennox-Boyd, Sir Mark
Fenner, Dame Peggy Lester, Sir James (Broxtowe)
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Lidington, David
Fishburn, Dudley Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Forman, Nigel Lord, Michael
Forsyth, Rt Hon Michael (Stirling) Luff, Peter
Forth, Eric Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring) MacKay, Andrew
Fox, Rt Hon Sir Marcus (Shipley) Maclean, Rt Hon David
Freeman, Rt Hon Roger McLoughlin, Patrick
French, Douglas McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Fry, Sir Peter Madel, Sir David
Gale, Roger Maitland, Lady Olga
Gallie, Phil Major, Rt Hon John
Gardiner, Sir George Malone, Gerald
Garel-Jones, Rt Hon Tristan Mans, Keith
Garnier, Edward Marland, Paul
Gillan, Cheryl Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian
Gorst, Sir John Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Grant, Sir A (SW Cambs) Mellor, Rt Hon David
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Merchant, Piers
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Mills, Iain
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N) Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Moate, Sir Roger Spicer, Sir Michael (S Worcs)
Monro, Rt Hon Sir Hector Spink, Dr Robert
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Spring, Richard
Moss, Malcolm Sproat, Iain
Needham, Rt Hon Richard Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Neubert, Sir Michael Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Steen, Anthony
Nicholls, Patrick Stephen, Michael
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Stern, Michael
Norris, Steve Stewart, Allan
Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley Streeter, Gary
Oppenheim, Phillip Sweeney, Walter
Ottaway, Richard Tapsell, Sir Peter
Page, Richard Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Paice, James Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Patnick, Sir Irvine Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Patten, Rt Hon John Thomason, Roy
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Pawsey, James Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Thornton, Sir Malcolm
Pickles, Eric Townend, John (Bridlington)
Porter, David (Waveney) Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Tracey, Richard
Powell, William (Corby) Tredinnick, David
Rathbone, Tim Trend, Michael
Redwood, Rt Hon John Trotter, Neville
Renton, Rt Hon Tim Twinn, Dr Ian
Richards, Rod Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Riddick, Graham Viggers, Peter
Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Robathan, Andrew Walden, George
Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn Walker, Bill (N Tayside)
Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S) Waller, Gary
Robinson, Mark (Somerton) Ward, John
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne) Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent) Waterson, Nigel
Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela Watts, John
Ryder, Rt Hon Richard Wells, Bowen
Sackville, Tom Wheeler, Rt Hon Sir John
Sainsbury, Rt Hon Sir Timothy Whitney, Ray
Scott, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Whittingdale, John
Shaw, David (Dover) Widdecombe, Ann
Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge) Wilkinson, John
Shersby, Sir Michael Willetts, David
Sims, Roger Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'fld)
Skeet, Sir Trevor Wolfson, Mark
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick) Wood, Timothy
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Yeo, Tim
Soames, Nicholas Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Speed, Sir Keith Tellers for the Ayes:
Spencer, Sir Derek Mr. Derek Conway and
Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset) Mr. Simon Burns.
Abbott, Ms Diane Bermingham, Gerald
Adams, Mrs Irene Berry, Roger
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Betts, Clive
Allen, Graham Blair, Rt Hon Tony
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Blunkett, David
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale) Boateng, Paul
Armstrong, Hilary Boyes, Roland
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Bradley, Keith
Ashton, Joe Bray, Dr Jeremy
Austin-Walker, John Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)
Barron, Kevin Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Battle, John Burden, Richard
Bayley, Hugh Byers, Stephen
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret Caborn, Richard
Beith, Rt Hon A J Callaghan, Jim
Bell, Stuart Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)
Bennett, Andrew F Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Benton, Joe Cann, Jamie
Chidgey, David Heppell, John
Chisholm, Malcolm Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Church, Judith Hinchliffe, David
Clapham, Michael Hodge, Margaret
Clark, Dr David (South Shields) Hoey, Kate
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Hogg, Norman (Cumbernauld)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Hoon, Geoffrey
Clelland, David Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Howarth, George (Knowsley North)
Coffey, Ann Howells, Dr Kim (Pontypridd)
Cohen, Harry Hoyle, Doug
Connarty, Michael Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Corbett, Robin Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Corbyn, Jeremy Hume, John
Corston, Jean Hutton, John
Cousins, Jim Illsley, Eric
Cox, Tom Ingram, Adam
Cunliffe, Lawrence Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE) Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John Jamieson, David
Cunningham, Roseanna Janner, Greville
Dafis, Cynog Jenkins, Brian (SE Staff)
Darling, Alistair Johnston, Sir Russell
Davidson, Ian Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side)
Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral) Jones, leuan Wyn (Ynys Môn)
Davies, Chris (L'Boro & S'worth) Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'l) Jowell, Tessa
Denham, John Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Dewar, Donald Keen, Alan
Dixon, Don Kennedy, Charles (Ross, C&S)
Dobson, Frank Kennedy, Jane (L'pool Br'dg'n)
Donohoe, Brian H Khabra, Piara S
Dowd, Jim Kilfoyle, Peter
Dunnachie, Jimmy Kirkwood, Archy
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Lestor, Joan (Eccles)
Eagle, Ms Angela Lewis, Terry
Eastham, Ken Liddell, Mrs Helen
Etherington, Bill Litherland, Robert
Evans, John (St Helens N) Livingstone, Ken
Ewing, Mrs Margaret Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Fatchett, Derek Llwyd, Elfyn
Faulds, Andrew Loyden, Eddie
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Lynne, Ms Liz
Fisher, Mark McAllion, John
Foster, Rt Hon Derek McAvoy, Thomas
Foster, Don (Bath) McCartney, Ian
Foulkes, George McCartney, Robert
Fraser, John McCrea, The Reverend William
Fyfe, Maria McFall, John
Galbraith, Sam McGrady, Eddie
Galloway, George McKelvey, William
Gapes, Mike Mackinlay, Andrew
Garrett, John McLeish, Henry
George, Bruce Maclennan, Robert
Gerrard, Neil McMaster, Gordon
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John MacShane, Denis
Godsiff, Roger Maddock, Diana
Golding, Mrs Llin Mahon, Alice
Gordon, Mildred Mandelson, Peter
Graham, Thomas Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham) Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Martin, Michael J (Springbum)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Martlew, Eric
Grocott, Bruce Maxton, John
Gunnell, John Meacher, Michael
Hall, Mike Meale, Alan
Hanson, David Michael, Alun
Hardy, Peter Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Harman, Ms Harriet Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Harvey, Nick Milburn, Alan
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Miller, Andrew
Henderson, Doug Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Hendron, Dr Joe Moonie, Dr Lewis
Morgan, Rhodri Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Morley, Elliot Short, Clare
Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley) Simpson, Alan
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon) Skinner, Dennis
Mowlam, Marjorie Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Mudie, George Smith, Chris (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
Mullin, Chris Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Murphy, Paul Snape, Peter
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Soley, Clive
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Spellar, John
O'Brien, Mike (N W'kshire) Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
O'Brien, William (Normanton) Steinberg, Gerry
O'Hara, Edward Strang, Dr. Gavin
Olner, Bill Straw, Jack
Paisley, The Reverend Ian Sutcliffe, Gerry
Pearson, Ian Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Pendry, Tom Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Pickthall, Colin Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Pike, Peter L Thumham, Peter
Pope, Greg Timms, Stephen
Powell, Ray (Ogmore) Tipping, Paddy
Prentice, Bridget (Lew'm E) Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Turner, Dennis
Prescott, Rt Hon John Tyler, Paul
Primarolo, Dawn Vaz, Keith
Purchase, Ken Wallace, James
Quin, Ms Joyce Walley, Joan
Radice, Giles Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Randall, Stuart Wareing, Robert N
Raynsford, Nick Watson, Mike
Reid, Dr John Welsh, Andrew
Rendel, David Wicks, Malcolm
Robertson, George (Hamilton) Wigley, Dafydd
Robinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW) Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
Roche, Mrs Barbara Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Rogers, Allan Wilson, Brian
Rooker, Jeff Wise, Audrey
Rooney, Terry Worthington, Tony
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Wray, Jimmy
Rowlands, Ted Wright, Dr Tony
Ruddock, Joan Young, David (Bolton SE)
Salmond, Alex
Sedgemore, Brian Tellers for the Noes:
Sheerman, Barry Mr. Jon Owen Jones and
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert Mr. Peter Hain.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

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