HC Deb 21 February 1996 vol 272 cc389-409

':—(1) Orders made under section 8 or section 9 of this Act shall be made by statutory instrument which shall be laid before Parliament in draft and shall be subject to approval by resolution of each House.

(2) No motion to approve a draft order laid before Parliament under subsection (1) above shall be made before a period of 28 days has expired after the Secretary of State has laid before Parliament a statement of the consultations he has undertaken on the likely effects of making any such order, and summarising the responses he has received to his proposals.

(3) In discharging his duty under subsection (2) above, the Secretary of State shall have particular regard—

  1. (a) to the effect on race relations of any order made under sections 8 or 9 above;
  2. (b) to the anticipated effects on employment of members of the black and ethnic minority communities of any order under section 8 above;
  3. (c) to the provisions of the Race Relations Act 1976 insofar as they relate to the duties of housing authorities;
  4. (d) to the provisions of the Local Government Act 1985 insofar as they relate to the duties of housing authorities;
  5. (e) to the provisions of the Children Act 1989 or the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, insofar as they affect social services authorities as a result of any order proposed to be made under section 9 above; and
  6. (f) to the provisions of the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1988 and of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 insofar as they affect social services authorities as a result of any order proposed to be made under section 9 above.

(4) It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State, in discharging his duty under subsection (1) above to consult—

  1. (a) organisations appearing to him to be representative of the authorities concerned and other organisations having an interest;
  2. (b) organisations appearing to him to be representative of employers and employees; and
  3. (c) the Commission for Racial Equality.'.—[Mr. Henderson.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

5 pm

Mr. Doug Henderson (Newcastle upon Tyne, North)

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

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Janet Fookes)

With this, it will be convenient to discuss the following: New clause 3—Costs and benefits'. It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State to lay before Parliament, within two years of the coming into effect of this Act, a Statement of the effects of the provisions of the Act and of any order made under the Act on—

  1. (a) employment;
  2. (b) the social security budget;
  3. (c) the demands placed upon social services authorities; and
  4. (d) the demands placed upon housing authorities.'.
Amendment No. 17, clause 8, in page 5, leave out lines 42 to 44.

Amendment No. 54, in page 5, line 44, at end insert— '(8) No order shall be made under this section until the expiration a period of three months after the publication by the Secretary of State of the provisions of the order, during which period the Secretary of State shall—

  1. (a) give notice of the terms of the proposed order to organisations appearing to him to be representative of employers;
  2. (b) make all reasonable efforts to publicise the duties on employers proposed in the order; and
  3. (c) establish a telephone enquiry service from which employers may obtain advice on the duties which will be placed upon them.'.
Amendment No. 18, clause 9, in page 6, leave out lines 13 to 15.

Mr. Henderson

As became obvious to those of us who served on the Standing Committee, the Bill is something of a pig in a poke. It is an enabling Bill that does not specify how it will impact on the manner in which applications for political asylum are dealt with and how employers' checks are made, or the documents that will be relevant and what will happen with housing and child benefit. It does not even designate in detail who will be affected.

Three crucial parts of the Bill are left for the Secretary of State to introduce by order. The Bill empowers him to determine which categories of immigrant are covered by clause 8, to classify which documents may be used to check whether someone is legally able to work and to decide which category is excluded from housing entitlement.

If it were not bad enough that the Government cannot give the House details on those matters—and failed to do so in Committee—when the Government are able to produce the orders, the House will not have an opportunity to discuss them before they come into effect because the Bill—we may return to this matter—adopts the negative resolution procedure.

This is an enabling Bill and none of the people affected by it—whether they are persons seeking asylum, persons assisting those seeking asylum, persons checking the legitimacy of documents or persons providing housing benefit, assistance or child benefit—will know what obligations it will impose on them until the orders are produced. That is unacceptable.

The Opposition oppose clauses 8 and 9 on principle and will deal later with some of the reasoning behind them. It would be more appropriate to leave my comments on that matter until then. I can assure the House, however, that I am opposed to those clauses on principle, first, because they are wrong and secondly, because they will not work. That was one of the principal reasons why, on Second Reading, a Special Standing Committee was proposed—a proposition that was supported by the Opposition parties. That procedure would have made it possible to discuss the detail and enabled those with an axe to grind or with expertise or knowledge of the issue and those who felt that they would be particularly affected to make representations before the House considered them in Committee and before the Secretary of State drew up his proposals on the orders.

As I hope I have explained, the reasoning behind new clause 2 is that something should be done before the Bill, and the orders for which it provides, take effect. The new clause would require the Government to meet a number of obligations before introducing the orders. If the Government had accepted the proposal for a Special Standing Committee, some of those obligations might not have been necessary but, particularly as they rejected that procedure, they clearly are.

The new clause is also important for democracy. Too often in recent years, the authority of the House has been abused by the Government, who have said, "We know better than Parliament. We're going to take ministerial decisions regardless of what Parliament says. We're going to draft legislation to minimise the impact of Parliament and give us the maximum scope to do what we think is right." On occasions, they might be right, but it is an affront to parliamentary democracy when a Government continue relentlessly to abuse their position.

The Bill is a classic example of the Government's deciding to take away the authority of Parliament. They have not been prepared to come up with their views—perhaps because they do not yet have any on some of the matters or, as is more likely, because they think that their views will be unacceptable to the House. Rather than argue about what the obligations of employers or the responsibility of a housing authority should be, or about the procedure that should be adopted to deal with political asylum cases, the Government have produced an enabling Bill and said that they will draw up the guidelines in secret, get them through Parliament in an order and, essentially prevent Parliament from debating them before they come into effect. That is wrong and it is why we have tabled the new clause.

The Government will argue that the Bill has few race relations implications—perhaps they will argue that it has none. I must remind the House that that is not what the Conservative candidate for the South Cambridgeshire European parliamentary constituency said when he was head of the research department at Conservative central office. He wrote in The Observer that the Conservatives played the race card at the European election, that they played the race card at the last general election and that if they played it again it would hurt.

Whatever else one might think of the Conservative candidate for South Cambridgeshire, he understands the implications of Bills such as this. He is not the only one. The Federation of Small Businesses said in its presentation that race relations would be damaged. The Trades Union Congress has said that it is "extremely concerned" about the Bill's impact on race relations. In its representations, the Association of British Chambers of Commerce said that race relations are crucial. Amnesty International said that it sees many implications for race relations in the Bill. The Commission for Racial Equality—a Government-appointed body—also said that it sees many implications for race relations in the Bill.

The Confederation of British Industry said—the detail of this was dealt with in Committee—that there are very serious implications for race relations in the Bill. Although the Institute of Directors has withdrawn some of its original objections to the Bill, and to clause 8 in particular, it still acknowledges that there are implications for race relations.

What is more important—if we are to have a secure and stable society—is the fact that the black, Asian and other ethnic communities believe that the Bill will have serious implications for their lives and those of their friends and communities.

Many Conservative Members—especially those who represent constituencies with multi-racial and differing ethnic community groups—recognise the serious implications that the Bill will have on the communities that they represent. It is noticeable that a number of them, who I thought would have spoken in this debate, are keeping their heads down and leaving it to Ministers. I believe that, ultimately, they do not support the Government on many provisions in the Bill.

The Labour party has tabled new clause 2 because it believes that paragraphs (3)(a), (b) and (c) will provide a little mitigation against the damage that the Government might do. Before they pursue a particular course of action, the Government have an obligation to investigate and consult various bodies—including the Commission for Racial Equality—on the impact of the Bill.

The Government believe that they have reassured housing authorities on how they will be affected by clause 9. When the Secretary of State for Social Security made a statement on this matter a few weeks ago, he gave the impression that he had managed to reach an understanding, a rapport and an arrangement with housing authorities, but that is not what housing authorities think—in fact, it is not even what Westminster city council thinks. It is not satisfied with the Secretary of State's assurances relating to clause 9. As I understand it, the authority will take action in the courts in the coming weeks to seek guarantees on the impact of the Bill.

The council believes that Westminster council tax payers may have to pick up the tab for what amounts to Tory national propaganda and electioneering. That is a fear of Westminster city council—which is always cast as an ideal council. The Government have spectacularly failed to persuade Westminster city council of the implications of the Bill—never mind the rights or wrongs of it. That is why the Opposition have included paragraph (d), which requires the Government to look at the implications before decisions are made on this issue.

The same applies to social services where, no doubt, the Government will repeat what the Secretary of State for Social Security attempted to say some weeks ago—that local authorities' responsibilities in relation to the care of children have been taken into account and solutions have been found. Many social services departments that I have spoken to, especially those in the London area where many people initially seek political asylum, are not convinced. They fear for the effects on their communities and on their councils' budgets. The Government have not convinced many bodies that may be charged with implementing the proposals what the effect will be.

Ms Glenda Jackson (Hampstead and Highgate)

The Government have failed to consult and to make matters clear to local authorities' social services departments—and that failure is having a serious impact on people who do not come under the prescriptions of the Bill.

For example, a family is engaged in a struggle with Westminster city council on a housing issue because children are involved. The council has denied them a house. Westminster social services visited the family and demanded their passports—the children were born in this country and the woman is a British citizen, but is dark of skin and dark of hair. When I called Westminster social services to discover why, I was told that a young trainee social services worker had processed the case and that she may have been confused by the requirements of the Asylum and Immigration Bill. If such confusion is impacting on people who do not come under the Bill, what effect will it have on those who may come under it?

5.15 pm
Mr. Henderson

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that example, which illustrates some of the damaging effects that are taking place even before the Bill becomes law. In employment, many millions of people who should not be affected by the Bill will be caught. That is further evidence of its damaging nature.

New clause 3 requires the Secretary of State to lay before Parliament—within two years of the Act's coming into effect—the Bill's effects on employment and the social security budget and the demands it would place on social services and housing authorities. New clause 2 requires consultation and that the results of it should be made available to hon. Members before anything happens; new clause 3 requires further investigation of those matters. Amendment No. 54 requires an impact audit. I draw the importance of that amendment to the attention of hon. Members.

The main thrust of this group of new clauses and amendments is that the Government have yet again ignored Parliament—they think that they know better, that they can pursue their own course and that the Secretary of State should have the power to draw up orders that can only be negatived by Parliament, even before Parliament is given information about how the Secretary of State reached his decision. I commend them to the House.

Mr. Alton

In political life, we are all prone—especially in the lead-up to a general election—to making quite a lot of the motives of our opponents. Much has been said on Second Reading, in Committee and today about the possible motives behind the timing and nature of the Bill. These new clauses move us from the debate about motives to evaluation—what the impact of the Bill is likely to be. That allows us to assess it rationally to see what effects it is having and whether our worst fears are being borne out and, if so, what might be done to remove the worst effects.

The new clauses should be commended. Far too often, legislation is rushed through pell-mell, without proper consideration, and we do not consider its effect. It is almost as though, once a Bill completes its stages here, we forget about it and no longer care about it. I have thought for some time that we should, perhaps, have family impact statements, rather like environment impact statements, to assess the effect legislation has on families. They would be a useful indicator of what measures or policies did to vulnerable people.

The new clauses give us a chance to consider what the Bill would do in practice to asylum seekers and refugees. New clause 3 is interested in the effect on employment, on the social security budget and on the demand placed on local authorities, housing associations and so on. It gives us a chance to reflect on the fears that people such as the right hon. Member for City of London and Westminster, South (Mr. Brooke) have raised in relation to the effect on councils' local budgets. It gives us a chance to see whether the Government have made adequate resources available to compensate for the money that they are boasting they will save—up to £200 million—in the social security budget.

If savings are being made by central Government, we would expect some of them to be made available to local authorities. Unless there is some form of assessment, we shall never know whether that has been done.

This is an age in which we are constantly assessing everybody. The Government are always encouraging us to assess the performance of local authorities, schools and individual pupils, and we are constantly being given league tables. It is therefore not unreasonable for hon. Members to suggest that the same principle might also be applied to the Government's legislation: we should assess its effect.

The two new clauses deal with clauses 8 and 9 and are extremely helpful in pinpointing two of the Bill's most damaging features. The first is the effect on good race relations; the second involves the onerous burden that the Bill will place on employers and local authorities. The new clauses aim to monitor those who will suffer disadvantageous effects and to build in a mechanism to assess the impact and damage of the worst effects.

The Opposition have been accused of exaggerating the worst effects of the Bill. Throughout the Committee stage, the Minister said that hon. Members were exaggerating. Perhaps she will listen to someone such as Adair Turner of the Confederation of British Industry, who said: The proposed legislation will do nothing to improve equal opportunities and may undermine employers' commitment to implement equal opportunities policies. I was staggered to see in the briefing provided by the Trades Union Congress and the CBI that 42 different documents at one time or another may have to be validated by an employer.

Miss Widdecombe


Mr. Alton

Yes—42 different documents may have to be validated by an employer at one time or another. The documents range across a spectrum of subjects. I see that the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, North (Mr. Henderson) has the list in his hand.

Miss Widdecombe

Surely the hon. Gentleman understands that the employer does not have to validate 42 documents each time. We are trying to make it easy for the employer by giving him a range of documents to which he can refer—the greater the choice, the easier it is.

Mr. Alton

I know that the hon. Lady argues for choice, but we are talking about 42 separate and different documents, any one of which could come before a perplexed employer at any time. Over the years, if people arrive from different parts of the world, an employer may have to deal with any one of those 42 documents—that is clearly what the effect will be.

The provision is in line with the Government's approach. They do not merely try to turn airline stewards into quasi-immigration officials, but try to turn employers into part-time immigration officials. The effect of the Bill would be to corral employers and personnel officers into the same service as that which airline companies were pushed into four years ago.

The Bill will not just involve additional burdens; it will dramatically and radically alter for the worst the relationship between employers and employees. Those damaging effects were underlined in a joint letter to The Times signed by John Monks of the TUC, Ron Taylor, CBE, of the Association of British Chambers of Commerce, Jacqueline Jeynes of the Federation of Small Businesses, Tim Melville-Ross of the Institute of Directors, Roger Young of the Institute of Management and Geoff Armstrong of the Institute of Personnel and Development. Presumably not even the Minister would suggest that those people are all card-carrying members of the Labour party or Liberal Democrats. They said: As well as placing an unjustifiable burden on employers, the proposal threatens to damage race relations. There would be every incentive not to hire black staff or people with foreign sounding names; and to concentrate checks on ethnic minority employees. The new clauses are designed to address those concerns and to assess the impact that the new law would have.

The Bill also contrasts with the Government's much-vaunted concern about red tape and bureaucracy and the removal of unnecessary burdens on employers. It contrasts the manifesto promises and claims that are constantly made with the reality of what is likely to happen when Parliament passes the Bill, the latest piece of burdensome legislation.

Miss Widdecombe

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his generosity in giving way again. He is pouring scorn on our proposals. What proposal does he have for stopping illegal employment?

Mr. Alton

The hon. Lady knows that I am opposed to the breaking of the law. There are already laws that provide safeguards: where abuses occur, it is possible to take the matter to court. It is also possible—the hon. Lady knows this as she does it all the time—to remove people from this country if they break our existing laws. Had the CBI, the chambers of commerce, and employers exerted pressure and said that the law was being broken all the time or if the TUC had exerted pressure and said that British workers were being denied many employment opportunities owing to the large number of abuses, I might well have been convinced of the need for reform, but the hon. Lady knows as well as I do that no such representations were forthcoming.

Miss Widdecombe

The hon. Gentleman is right: we can remove people who are working illegally. What remedies exist in current law—without the proposal—to prosecute employers who employ illegally? Does the hon. Gentleman want employers to be able to go on doing that?

Mr. Alton

I do not particularly want employers to be taken to court by the Minister's Department, or punitive sentences to be placed on them, or to see their businesses crippled and them broken as a result. I do not think that such a system would help the cause of the unemployed or businesses. I do not think that there is a problem of the magnitude that the hon. Lady tries to imply. Action can be, and sometimes is, taken against the illegal employee, and the hon. Lady knows that as well as I do. The Government are making a legislative mountain out of a molehill. The Bill will have disastrous consequences, not just for employers, but for good race relations.

The Association of British Chambers of Commerce was in no doubt about the Bill's deleterious effect, and the damage that it would cause, when it said: We are concerned that this could manifest itself into racial discrimination. In a situation where there are two similarly qualified potential employees, employers may be biased towards selecting the person with a P45 and an NI number. Even firms with a racial equality policy may select someone with a P45 and an NI number to ensure they cannot possibly face a fine. Those are the consequences which, we are being told—with our eyes wide open—we shall face if we pass the Bill.

I fear that we shall create a situation analogous to the one that exists in many parts of the United States, where there are shanty towns of illegals—people who have been driven out of the benefit system, who have no assistance or aid from the state and who have been refused any legitimate help. Such people are driven into an illegal status and then into illegal forms of work. Aspects of the Bill will compound the problem, which is not currently serious.

Mr. Madden

I agree with all that the hon. Gentleman is saying. Does he remember that, in Committee, the Minister, when pressed, found it impossible to quantify the extent either of illegal working or of illegal employment? Does he also recall that, in the consultation exercise, of the 43 respondents, only three gave broad support to the Government's proposals? Does he remember the Minister of State telling the Committee that the Government had every intention of implementing the proposals with what she described as a light touch?

Mr. Alton

The hon. Gentleman was right to mention the "light touch", which contrasts with the Minister's earlier heavy-handed intervention. She is now promising us punitive prosecutions that will be deployed against employers throughout the land. That will have a disastrous effect on industrial relations. I hope that members of the CBI will read carefully the report of our debate in Hansard so that they understand what, according to the Minister's words this afternoon, lies in store for them.

Before flying in the face of such strong and well-founded objections, most rational people would at least pause—but not the Home Office. If the Government were to accept the new clauses they would at least be creating a system of evaluation. It would be an extremely good principle if many of the other hasty and ill-considered measures that are railroaded through the House at breakneck speed were similarly subjected to an appraisal to discover whether, when enacted, they achieved the objectives set out for them by Ministers at earlier stages of deliberation.

In that spirit, I commend to hon. Members new clauses 2 and 3, which my right hon. and hon. Friends and I shall certainly support.

Mr. Gerrard

I shall be brief.

My hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, North (Mr. Henderson) spoke about the enabling nature of much of the Bill. Clause after clause of recent Bills has given Ministers powers to introduce regulations instead of detailing on the face of the Bill what will happen.

The Asylum and Immigration Bill is no different. Under clauses 8 and 9 especially, Ministers are given powers to specify who will be affected by restrictions on employment and, rights to housing and withdrawal of child benefit.

Although the difference between the negative resolution procedure and the positive resolution procedure may seem technical to many people outside the House, it is important. If the procedure proposed in the Bill is used—the negative resolution procedure—an order may be laid by the Minister but not debated for several weeks.

5.30 pm

Let us suppose that a Minister chooses to lay an order just before the summer recess. There are 40 days in which prayers can be laid against a negative order, but the clock stops ticking during the long summer recess. We then have only a few days in the spill-over to finish the Session before taking another recess. It may be the end of November before those 40 days run out and a debate takes place—if there is a debate as a result of a prayer against the negative resolution. In other words, that resolution may be in effect for five months before a debate can take place on it.

The decisions that are to be made in resolutions under the clauses are not trivial. Clauses 8, 9 and 10 depend on the definition of the word "immigrant". The Minister stated on Second Reading and again in Committee how the Government intend that the definitions will be written, but there is nothing to prevent a future Minister—or the same Minister—from deciding to change the definition of the word "immigrant". Once that happens, a new range of people may find that they lose employment, housing and child benefit.

Decisions to remove those rights from people are not trivial, and they certainly should not be taken without any opportunity for debate or scrutiny in the House. The regulations may be in force for five months before they are debated. What would happen if, at the end of that period, by some chance, Parliament were to decide to reject the Minister's regulations, which rarely happens but is possible? What is the position of a person who, in the meantime, has lost his job or house as a result of regulations introduced five months before? Decisions with such major implications for people's lives should not be made in that way.

New clause 2 proposes an alternative mechanism, requiring consultation and a positive resolution of the House before regulations come into effect. The report on the results of the consultation would allow an informed decision to be taken on the likely effects of the regulations.

The hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) spoke of the need to examine how the Bill will operate and said that, far too often, we pass legislation without considering thereafter what happens as a result.

The Minister says that the effects of the Bill are being exaggerated. If so, I do not understand why there should be any unease about reporting its effects to Parliament. We were told that we were exaggerating the effects of the social security changes. Refugee organisations say that people turn up in their offices, penniless, because benefits are being withdrawn. I was recently told of a man who wanted to buy a bag of rice but had no money, so he tried to bargain with the shopkeeper to hold his passport as security against the bag of rice. That man was an asylum seeker whose benefits had been withdrawn. If Ministers are not worried about the effects of the Bill, let them report back.

The Bill places demands on social services and housing authorities. Ministers have said that the Government will provide local authorities with money to meet those demands; let us ensure that they do. I suspect that, in a year's time, local authorities will tell us that the sums that they have had to spend are far greater than Ministers estimated, and Ministers will tell us, "The local authorities are wrong; we have met the bills." It will probably be impossible to decide because there will be no hard factual evidence to make comparisons easy. Let us have a report showing exactly what has happened.

Amendment No. 54 deals with employment issues. The Minister scoffed when the hon. Member for Mossley Hill said that 42 different documents might have to be recognised by an employer. In Committee, the Home Office provided us with a draft schedule, suggesting several documents.

The schedule included documents issued by previous employers, the Inland Revenue, the Benefits Agency, the Contributions Agency and the Employment Service that contain a national insurance number. That is half a dozen to start with. Also included were a birth certificate, a passport describing the holder as a British citizen or having the right of abode in the United Kingdom, a certificate of registration or naturalisation and a letter issued by the Home Office or the Department for Education and Employment, stating that the person named in the letter has permission to take employment. We are up to 12 or 14 now.

The schedule also includes a passport issued by a state that is a party to the European Economic Area agreement—not one document, but one document for every state-and an identity card issued by a state that is a party to the European Economic Area agreement, which is also not one document but may be from any of the states.

If I were presented with a document and told that it was an identity card from Luxembourg, I should have the greatest difficulty knowing whether it was an identity card from Luxembourg. What is being produced is to some extent a forgers' charter. Employers will be given documents and told, "This is an identity card from Liechtenstein"—or Luxembourg or Belgium—which they will not be qualified to recognise.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) said in Committee, the Government have still not closed the loophole on birth certificates, although an amendment has been tabled for consideration on Report. Anyone can obtain a birth certificate without proving that they are the person identified on it.

Those provisions will be unworkable and wide open to fraud. According to evidence gathered in the United States, where similar legislation was introduced, the measures will deter employers from employing people on whom they may have to make checks. It is not my son who will walk through an employer's door and be asked to produce a passport or birth certificate: it is the sons and daughters of my black and Asian constituents. It is likely that they will not be asked for interviews or offered jobs because employers will simply want to avoid making checks. Research in the United States showed that that is what occurred: employers were scared by the legislation and they tried to avoid implementing its provisions. They achieved that end through discrimination.

If the Government intend to press ahead and retain the powers in the Bill, it is vital that they consider seriously the proposals in amendment No. 54, under which employers would receive clear information and a telephone helpline would be established, to allow the Government at least to make an effort to ensure that employers understand what is and is not required of them. Employers should not start imagining that they must comply with conditions that do not exist. We can return later to the issue of turning employers into pseudo-immigration officers. The point in amendment No. 54 about supplying information is absolutely vital. If employers are allowed to operate in relative ignorance, the guaranteed effect will be discrimination.

Ms Glenda Jackson

I concur with everything that my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Gerrard) said. I shall speak particularly to new clause 2 and to paragraphs (d) and (e).

Even before the legislation is on the statute book, its provisions are being put into effect. Today I met a constituent who is a member of a religious order whose chapter house is located in my constituency. She is particularly concerned about the measures in the Bill because they will impact on local authorities and because they are already impacting on asylum seekers.

My constituent told me about a woman whom her order has taken in. She is eight months pregnant, entirely alone and homeless and penniless. When I intervened on my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, North (Mr. Henderson), I referred to the Government's failure truly to consult local authorities about their responsibilities under the Housing Act 1985 and the Children Act 1989. I said that that failure is percolating through the system and I provided an example.

The woman I spoke of has every right to be housed by a local authority: she is a British citizen and her children were born in this country. However, because the Government have failed genuinely to consult local authorities and because that woman's skin is dark and her hair is black, a junior social services worker automatically presupposed that she was attempting to find housing under the asylum and immigration legislation and that her application would be denied.

My local authority has estimated that the cost of its additional responsibilities will be £4.6 million. Although the Government claim that they are consulting local authorities, they have not confirmed whether local authorities will be fully compensated for those additional costs or for how long the costs will be funded by Government. Council services to taxpayers are already diminishing in London boroughs and council tax will increase as an inevitable result of the Government's actions. I believe that the indigenous population will perceive—however wrong it may be—that it is paying more because asylum seekers are being allowed into this country. It beggars belief that the Government cannot see that that may have serious consequences for race relations. That would seem to be an inevitable outcome of the Government's absolute failure genuinely to consult on the Bill's real effects on people's lives.

5.45 pm

My constituent to whom I referred earlier works very closely with the Refugee Advisory Council and she told me that she has documentary evidence to prove that more than 100 asylum seekers are living on the streets of London without any means of financial support. The Bill has not yet become law. If that is the situation now, what will happen when it is enacted? The Government must accept our seemingly simple amendments and exercise some common sense. They must consult genuinely with those who will be responsible for administering what appears to be an inordinately ill-thought-out legislation.

My hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow referred to the identity card requirement as a forgers' charter. I agree with him absolutely. In the light of the Government's failure to consult on the Bill's real implications, we must also ask whether we shall see an increase in opportunistic crime. Will there be more beggars on our streets? I do not claim that begging is a crime—people may have no alternative if they have no money and no means of finding support. Shall we receive complaints from our constituents about being harangued by beggars in the streets? Will letters appear in The Times and The Daily Telegraph complaining that so many beggars on our streets is bad for tourism? Such problems will increase because the Government have failed to speak to the people who, first, know what the Bill's implications will be; and, secondly, will be at the sharp end and will have to deal with its disastrous effects.

The Government have argued that it is vital to save British taxpayers £200 million. They have acknowledged, too, that the majority—some 90 per cent.—of asylum seekers and immigration applicants can be found in London. My local authority has estimated that the Bill will cost it an additional £4.6 million. If we multiply that figure by the number of London boroughs, we are looking at a cost that is infinitely greater than the supposed saving of £200 million. Of course, it is absolutely impossible to define in financial terms the human misery, degradation and despair that the Government's failure genuinely to consult will inevitably cause.

I urge Conservative Members to open their minds and imaginations—perhaps for the first time during the passage of the Bill—to what is buried under the simple words of the clauses and to think again.

Miss Widdecombe

I thought that the previous debate was productive and sensible, but this one is a marked deterioration. I shall deal first with what I can describe only as the rantings of the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, North (Mr. Henderson) who led for the Opposition. He began with the usual allegation that Ministers are playing the race card. One of the most damaging aspects of the debate is that Opposition Members regularly stir up alarmism and fear while accusing us of deliberately promoting discrimination. I believe that that is far more destabilising to race relations than firm and fair immigration controls, which is what the Bill is about. During his rant about racist comments, he omitted to refer to the hon. Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Vaz). I am sad that the hon. Gentleman is no longer in his place, and I acknowledge that he has been here for most of the proceedings. I should have liked to have heard him defend himself against the allegation that some of his remarks were not wholly unracist in tone.

Mr. Bernie Grant (Tottenham)

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. The Minister is making allegations about my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Vaz), who is not here, and she should know better. Will the Minister tell the House what she is alleging that my hon. Friend for Leicester, East said before she criticises him? It is not reasonable for her to do so without Members knowing what she is talking about.

Madam Deputy Speaker

I must confess that I am not very clear either.

Miss Widdecombe

I shall not provide further clarification for the very good reason that I did not give the hon. Member for Leicester, East notice that I wished to raise the issue. If he returns to the Chamber, and I have an opportunity to give him notice, I shall give the details, although they are quite well known.

I shall deal now with what I hesitate to call the substance of the speech by the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, North—there was precious little substance to it. He said that the Government were afraid to discuss details of our proposals in Parliament. He ignored the fact that we have made available information about how the order-making powers under clauses 8 and 9 are intended to be used and, as has been acknowledged, we have produced a draft statutory instrument on the documents that employers will have to examine. I consider that to be most helpful of us, but it obviously passed by the hon. Gentleman's notice. He then referred to local councils, as did the hon. Member for Hampstead and Highgate (Ms Jackson). He was exercised about Westminster council for some wholly charitable reason on which I compliment him.

Mr. Henderson

I am a resident.

Miss Widdecombe

The hon. Gentleman is a resident, so of course he is worried.

The hon. Gentleman said that Westminster council was worried about our housing proposals. We need to determine the fears of local authorities, as we need to understand them. Westminster's concern, and I assume Camden's, involves the timing of the impact of the housing provisions. It is concerned about the time gap between the ending of benefit entitlement, which has come into force, and the ending of housing entitlement under the Bill. We regard those fears as unfounded because we have made it supremely clear that money will be available to cover unavoidable additional costs, but I emphasise that if we followed the route proposed in the new clauses and amendments and provided a consultation period, the clause would then increase the delay in aligning housing and benefit entitlement. That would worsen the position of Westminster and, presumably, Camden. If the hon. Gentleman is really concerned about Westminster—I take it that he is—he should immediately rethink his support for the new clauses.

Ms Glenda Jackson

I am sure that the Minister understands that for Westminster—which was so busy selling off its council stock—and for Camden, it is not just a matter of housing people who are on the streets because they cannot claim housing benefit. There is also a problem in the private sector because of the Government's failure to consult. Private landlords are turning people out because they believe that those people will no longer be able to claim housing benefit, so will be unable to pay their rent. I refer the Minister to what I said earlier. Incredibly reliable sources are saying that more than 100 asylum seekers have nowhere to live other than the streets of London.

Miss Widdecombe

As I explained in some detail in Committee—as the hon. Lady did not serve on the Committee, she would not have heard me—when I was challenged several times about the effects of the Bill, there are already points at which we withdraw benefit not only from asylum seekers and people who sought leave to stay here under some other head, but from people who have long been settled here and who might be called the indigenous population. There are already points at which we withdraw benefit, yet it does not have the effects that are being described.

Mr. Gerrard

Does the Minister acknowledge that it is not simply a matter of people losing benefit and being unable to pay their rent? Many local authorities are worried about their position under the Children Act 1989. When they have to decide how to keep a roof over children's heads, should they take them into care or—as the Children Act suggests—should they try to keep the family together, knowing that there will be no income to pay the rent?

Miss Widdecombe

We have acknowledged that there could be increased responsibilities under the Children Act. We are also discussing with local authorities how to address that. How local authorities respond to particular cases and decide whether a child is taken into care or whether another arrangement is made is a matter for them.

The hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) is a nice chap, but he is a Liberal and he suffers the same difficulty as all of that ilk—he is a victim of his own propaganda. He has heard so much ranting about the ill effects of the Bill that he started to believe it and rant it all out in turn.

I became curious, as I listened to several speeches, as to whether we were debating the substantive issues of clause 8 rather than the new clauses and amendments. As we shall debate clause 8 in some detail in respect of other amendments on which I understand that the Opposition have asked for a sizeable debate—we all look forward to that—I do not intend to go into detail now, as it would be repetitious.

The hon. Gentleman was unable to tell me how we should tackle the problem of employers deliberately taking on illegal employees, although what he said was quite interesting. He suggested that we should throw the whole burden on the employees and take action against them, never mind the employer. That is a most interesting position for one of his persuasion. I can see that the hon. Gentleman is dying for me to give way, and I feel obliged to do so.

Mr. Alton

I would not want the Minister to misrepresent me. I said that existing law already covers employees. In her estimation, how many employers are guilty of breaking the laws by employing people illegally? When she gives us the figures, as I hope that she now will, we shall know whether there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Miss Widdecombe

There were at least 10,000 cases of illegal working last year, and those were the ones that we found. Even if the hon. Gentleman believes that the ones that we found represent the whole case, it is obvious that there is a sizeable problem.

Perhaps I could deal with the hon. Gentleman's question about the burden on local authorities. The homelessness code of guidance for local authorities, to which they are obliged by law to have regard, already requires them to check the immigration status of homelessness applicants. It is an important point that I made in Committee, but the hon. Gentleman may have been away with his broken ankle in Liverpool and his very ill mother in Essex, as he was away for some time owing to that combination of circumstances. Since December 1994, the code has contained recommended screening procedures to achieve that without damaging race relations. There is nothing new in the measure to place on local authorities a burden of checking that does not already exist.

Mr. Alton


Miss Widdecombe

If I give way to the hon. Gentleman now, it will be for the last time, and he will not get in on another point.

Mr. Alton

I am grateful to the hon. Lady. If she says that she is giving me up for Lent, I shall be quite happy to accept that privation. I must press her further on the number of employers who were prosecuted last year. Will she confirm that the number was fewer than 15?

Miss Widdecombe

It would have been difficult to prosecute when we had not yet created the offence of employing an illegal immigrant. The hon. Gentleman asks a nonsensical question.

I shall quickly address the essence of the two new clauses and the amendments, which have not been much debated. The first proposition is that procedures that we have designed to be negative should be affirmative. The regulations introduced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security to restrict benefit entitlement for persons from abroad were not subject to the affirmative resolution procedure, and neither are the immigration rules. I see no justification for picking orders under clauses 8 and 9, which are substantially lesser measures, to be specially subject to the affirmative procedure.

We are already consulting the Commission for Racial Equality, which has kindly offered to help us with drawing up guidance for employers on the avoidance of discriminatory recruitment practices. I share the aim of reducing, wherever possible, any adverse effect on race relations that the legislation might have by promoting discrimination. It is important that that does not happen.

6 pm

Mr. Keith Hill

Does the Minister share the concerns about the Bill's adverse effects on race relations that were expressed by the majority of organisations that responded to the illegal working proposals—in particular, those of the CRE? Is she aware of the evidence produced by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development conference in Paris a couple of years ago, showing—as my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Gerrard) demonstrated—that wherever such measures have been implemented, they have had an adverse effect on race relations? Does the Minister acknowledge the need to go further than merely consult on the terms of the documents and to measure the consequences of her proposals on race relations?

Miss Widdecombe

We are consulting the CRE because we acknowledge the genuineness of the concerns that have been expressed, and we shall draw up guidance precisely because we are anxious to avoid the effects that have been suggested. I have no reason to believe that, if that guidance is implemented, there will be the adverse effects suggested. If they were to show themselves, we would look to see what we could do to strengthen the guidance and practice.

Mr. Henderson

The hon. Lady accused me of having a rant at Andrew Lansley. If there is one thing that the hon. Lady would recognise, it is a good rant. I make no apology for having a rant about Andrew Lansley, CBE and the things that he has written. I will have a rant before breakfast, before lunch, before tea and before dinner every day until the general election and beyond, if that is required to fight the Bill and its racist implications.

The Minister said that there was a lack of substance in my arguments and those of my hon. Friends, although I believe that comment was particularly directed at me. It ill behoves the hon. Lady to accuse the Opposition of a lack of substance when the Bill is no more than a skeleton enabling Bill to permit the Conservative party to campaign on a racist card from now until the general election. If the Minister wants more evidence, I shall be happy to give it.

The Bill does not specify the time limits for dealing with so-called fast-track applications from designated countries. It does not say which countries will be designated. Even at this stage, we do not know whether the list of designated countries produced in Committee is the final list. I understand from a newspaper report that other countries have been added. We do not know which documents employers will be required to check or the nature of the checks that they will be required to make on national insurance contributions. Neither do we know the resources that councils will be given to meet their housing obligations. We do not even know which persons will be covered by the Bill's provisions.

Miss Widdecombe

The hon. Gentleman proclaims the Opposition's ignorance to the world by listing a number of things that he does not know. The hon. Gentleman was in Committee—he was listening, and he knows nearly all the answers to those questions.

Mr. Henderson

I do not know the answers, and neither do my hon. Friends, because we have not been told. We shall have to wait for the Secretary of State for Social Security eventually to get around to producing an order before we have even a hint of the contents of the Bill's provisions.

The Minister said that the Bill is firm and fair in dealing with immigration rules. If that is so, why does not the hon. Lady prove that it is firm and fair, by accepting the amendments and consulting the various people who will be affected, before proceeding with a Bill that she knows contains little substance? I challenge the hon. Lady to do that. We are told that she is a conviction politician. If that is true, she will know that there is no substance to the Bill and that she will get the answers wrong if she does not consult. I challenge her to consult on the views of the CRE, employers, housing authorities and child benefit authorities.

The Government intend to charge on with the Bill regardless. We shall press the new clause to a vote because that is not good enough in any parliamentary democracy, particularly given this issue—which everyone in the House recognises is one of great sensitivity for many sections of the community.

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

The House divided: Ayes 250, Noes 273.

Division No. 57] [6.07 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Adams, Mrs Irene Fatchett, Derek
Ainger, Nick Faulds, Andrew
Allen, Graham Fisher, Mark
Alton, David Flynn, Paul
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale) Foster, Don (Bath)
Armstrong, Hilary Fyfe, Maria
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Galbraith, Sam
Ashton, Joe Garrett, John
Austin-Walker, John George, Bruce
Barnes, Harry Gerrard, Neil
Barron, Kevin Godman, Dr Norman A
Battle, John Godsiff, Roger
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret Golding, Mrs Llin
Beith, Rt Hon A J Gordon, Mildred
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Bennett, Andrew F Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Benton, Joe Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Bermingham, Gerald Grocott, Bruce
Betts, Clive Gunnell, John
Blair, Rt Hon Tony Hain, Peter
Blunkett, David Hall, Mike
Boateng, Paul Hanson, David
Bradley, Keith Hardy, Peter
Bray, Dr Jeremy Harman, Ms Harriet
Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E) Harvey, Nick
Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E) Henderson, Doug
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Heppell, John
Burden, Richard Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Caborn, Richard Hinchliffe, David
Callaghan, Jim Hodge, Margaret
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Hogg, Norman (Cumbernauld)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Home Robertson, John
Campbell-Savours, D N Hoon, Geoffrey
Cann, Jamie Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)
Carlile, Alexander (Montgomery) Howells, Dr Kim (Pontypridd)
Chidgey, David Hoyle, Doug
Church, Judith Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Clapham, Michael Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Clelland, David Hutton, John
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Illsley, Eric
Coffey, Ann Ingram, Adam
Cohen, Harry Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)
Connarty, Michael Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Janner, Greville
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Johnston, Sir Russell
Corbett, Robin Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side)
Corbyn, Jeremy Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Môn)
Corston, Jean Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Cousins, Jim Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)
Cox, Tom Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)
Cummings, John Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Jowell, Tessa
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE) Keen, Alan
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John Kennedy, Charles (Ross,C&S)
Cunningham, Roseanna Kennedy, Jane (L'pool Br'dg'n)
Dafis, Cynog Khabra, Piara S
Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral) Kilfoyle, Peter
Davies, Chris (L'Boro & S'worth) Kirkwood, Archy
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Lestor, Joan (Eccles)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Liddell, Mrs Helen
Denham, John Litherland, Robert
Dewar, Donald Livingstone, Ken
Dixon, Don Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Dobson, Frank Llwyd, Elfyn
Donohoe, Brian H Lynne, Ms Liz
Dowd, Jim McAllion, John
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth McAvoy, Thomas
Eagle, Ms Angela McCartney, Ian
Eastham, Ken Macdonald, Calum
McFall, John Robertson, George (Hamilton)
McKelvey, William Roche, Mrs Barbara
Mackinlay, Andrew Rogers, Allan
Maclennan, Robert Rooker, Jeff
McMaster, Gordon Rooney, Terry
McNamara, Kevin Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
McWilliam, John Ruddock, Joan
Madden, Max Salmond, Alex
Maddock, Diana Sedgemore, Brian
Mahon, Alice Sheerman, Barry
Mandelson, Peter Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Marek, Dr John Short, Clare
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Simpson, Alan
Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S) Skinner, Dennis
Martin, Michael J (Springburn) Smith, Chris (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
Martlew, Eric Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Maxton, John Soley, Clive
Meacher, Michael Spearing, Nigel
Michael, Alun Spellar, John
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Squire, Rachel (Dunfermline W)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute) Steinberg, Gerry
Miller, Andrew Stevenson, George
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby) Stott, Roger
Moonie, Dr Lewis Strang, Dr. Gavin
Morgan, Rhodri Straw, Jack
Morley, Elliot Sutcliffe, Gerry
Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wy'nshawe) Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley) Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Mowlam, Marjorie Timms, Stephen
Mudie, George Tipping, Paddy
Mullin, Chris Touhig, Don
Murphy, Paul Trickett, Jon
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Tyler, Paul
O'Brien, Mike (N W'kshire) Vaz, Keith
O'Brien, William (Normanton) Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
Olner, Bill Wallace, James
O'Neill, Martin Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Watson, Mike
Parry, Robert Welsh, Andrew
Pearson, Ian Wicks, Malcolm
Pendry, Tom Wigley, Dafydd
Pickthall, Colin Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
Pike, Peter L Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Pope, Greg Wilson, Brian
Powell, Ray (Ogmore) Winnick, David
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Wise, Audrey
Prescott, Rt Hon John Worthington, Tony
Primarolo, Dawn Wray, Jimmy
Purchase, Ken Wright, Dr Tony
Quin, Ms Joyce Young, David (Bolton SE)
Radice, Giles
Raynsford, Nick Tellers for the Ayes:
Reid, Dr John Mrs. Bridget Prentice and Mr. Malcolm Chisholm.
Rendel, David
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Bendall, Vivian
Aitken, Rt Hon Jonathan Beresford, Sir Paul
Alexander, Richard Biffen, Rt Hon John
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby) Body, Sir Richard
Allason, Rupert (Torbay) Booth, Hartley
Amess, David Boswell, Tim
Arbuthnot, James Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia
Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv) Bowden, Sir Andrew
Ashby, David Bowis, John
Atkins, Rt Hon Robert Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E) Brandreth, Gyles
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Brazier, Julian
Baker, Rt Hon Kenneth (Mole V) Bright, Sir Graham
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset) Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Baldry, Tony Browning, Mrs Angela
Banks, Matthew (Southport) Budgen, Nicholas
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Butcher, John
Bates, Michael Butterfill, John
Batiste, Spencer Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln)
Carrington, Matthew Heald, Oliver
Carttiss, Michael Heath, Rt Hon Sir Edward
Cash, William Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Hendry, Charles
Chapman, Sir Sydney Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Churchill, Mr Hicks, Robert
Clappison, James Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Hill, James (Southampton Test)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ru'clif) Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Horam, John
Coe, Sebastian Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Colvin, Michael Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Congdon, David Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st) Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Cope, Rt Hon Sir John Hunter, Andrew
Cormack, Sir Patrick Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Couchman, James Jack, Michael
Cran, James Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire) Jessel, Toby
Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon) Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Davies, Quentin (Stamford) Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Davis, David (Boothferry) Jones, Robert B (W Hertfdshr)
Day, Stephen Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Deva, Nirj Joseph King, Rt Hon Tom
Devlin, Tim Kirkhope, Timothy
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen Knapman, Roger
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Dover, Den Knight, Rt Hon Greg (Derby N)
Duncan-Smith, Iain Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)
Dunn, Bob Knox, Sir David
Durant, Sir Anthony Kynoch, George (Kincardine)
Dykes, Hugh Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Eggar, Rt Hon Tim Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Elletson, Harold Lawrence, Sir Ivan
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Legg, Barry
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield) Leigh, Edward
Evans, Jonathan (Brecon) Lennox-Boyd, Sir Mark
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley) Lidington, David
Evans, Roger (Monmouth) Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Evennett, David Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Faber, David Lord, Michael
Fabricant, Michael Luff, Peter
Fenner, Dame Peggy MacKay, Andrew
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Maclean, Rt Hon David
Fishburn, Dudley McLoughlin, Patrick
Forman, Nigel McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Forth, Eric Madel, Sir David
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman Maitland, Lady Olga
Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring) Malone, Gerald
Fox, Rt Hon Sir Marcus (Shipley) Marland, Paul
Freeman, Rt Hon Roger Marlow, Tony
French, Douglas Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Fry, Sir Peter Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)
Gale, Roger Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Gardiner, Sir George Mates, Michael
Garnier, Edward Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian
Gill, Christopher Mellor, Rt Hon David
Gillan, Cheryl Merchant, Piers
Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair Mills, Iain
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Gorst, Sir John Mitchell, Sir David (NW Hants)
Grant, Sir A (SW Cambs) Moate, Sir Roger
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Monro, Rt Hon Sir Hector
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Needham, Rt Hon Richard
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N) Nelson, Anthony
Grylls, Sir Michael Neubert, Sir Michael
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archibald Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Nicholls, Patrick
Hampson, Dr Keith Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Hannam, Sir John Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley
Hargreaves, Andrew Oppenheim, Phillip
Haselhurst, Sir Alan Ottaway, Richard
Hawkins, Nick Paice, James
Hawksley, Warren Patnick, Sir Irvine
Hayes, Jerry Patten, Rt Hon John
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Streeter, Gary
Pawsey, James Sweeney, Walter
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Sykes, John
Pickles, Eric Tapsell, Sir Peter
Porter, Barry (Wirral S) Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Porter, David (Waveney) Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Powell, William (Corby) Temple-Morris, Peter
Rathbone, Tim Thomason, Roy
Redwood, Rt Hon John Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Renton, Rt Hon Tim Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Richards, Rod Thornton, Sir Malcolm
Riddick, Graham Thurnham, Peter
Robathan, Andrew Townend, John (Bridlington)
Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)
Robinson, Mark (Somerton) Tredinnick, David
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne) Trend, Michael
Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent) Twinn, Dr Ian
Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Ryder, Rt Hon Richard Viggers, Peter
Sackville, Tom Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Sainsbury, Rt Hon Sir Timothy Walden, George
Scott, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Walker, Bill (N Tayside)
Shaw, David (Dover) Waller, Gary
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian Waterson, Nigel
Shepherd, Sir Colin (Hereford) Wells, Bowen
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge) Whitney, Ray
Sims, Roger Whittingdale, John
Skeet, Sir Trevor Widdecombe, Ann
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Soames, Nicholas Wilkinson, John
Spencer, Sir Derek Willetts, David
Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset) Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Spicer, Sir Michael (S Worcs) Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'fld)
Spink, Dr Robert Wolfson, Mark
Spring, Richard Wood, Timothy
Sproat, Iain Yeo, Tim
Squire, Robin (Hornchurch) Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Steen, Anthony Tellers for the Noes:
Stern, Michael Mr. Derek Conway and Mr. Simon Burns.
Stewart, Allan

Question accordingly negatived.

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