HC Deb 10 July 1996 vol 281 cc418-47
Mrs. Liddell

I beg to move amendment No. 2, in page 11, leave out from beginning of line 21 to end of line 31 on page 13.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments: No. 3, in page 11, line 32, at end insert— '(2A) No arrangements shall be made under subsection (1) above in respect of grants payable under this Act unless and until the Secretary of State has laid before Parliament an evaluation of the operation over a period of 12 months of any grant for nursery education in the area of any local authority made during the financial years 1996–97 and 1997–98.'.

No. 8, in page 11, line 32, at end insert— '(2A) No arrangements shall be made under subsection (1) above in respect of grants payable under this Act unless and until the Secretary of State has laid before Parliament an evaluation of the operation over a period of 12 months of any grant for nursery education in the area of any local authority made during the financial years 1996–97 and 1997–98; and in making such evaluation he shall consult those organisations which appear to him to be representative of local authorities, teachers and parents.'.

No. 10, in clause 24, page 11, line 39, at end insert—

'and (c) shall have regard to quality assurance, including complaints procedures, and other such matters as appear to him to be relevant,'.

No. 7, in page 11, line 39, at end insert— '(2A) Requirements under subsection (1) above shall include—

  1. (a) appropriate criteria for the quality assurance of the service provided;
  2. (b) the levels of training and qualifications of staff employed by that person; and
  3. (c) minimum standards for the premises at which the service is to be provided.'.

No. 1, in title, line 5, leave out 'to make provision enabling payment of grant to providers of education for children under school age;'.

Mrs. Liddell

Nursery vouchers lead us to the substantive part of the Bill. We had lengthy discussions in Committee on the structure of the vouchers. The purpose behind the amendments is to demonstrate that the Government's proposals are seriously damaging to Scottish education, especially that which applies to pre-fives. We believe that the voucher provisions are seriously flawed. We became increasingly concerned during our discussions in Committee about the lack of any due consideration by the Government of the quality of education provision for pre-fives.

Issues of quality assurance lie at the heart of the Government's proposals. In another place, when the Nursery Education and Grant-Maintained Schools Bill was being discussed, their lordships saw fit to introduce an amendment that would require the Government to ask the House to evaluate pilot schemes for nursery vouchers.

The very proposal to introduce nursery vouchers is wrong. It is educationally divisive. At its root is a fundamental flaw: nursery vouchers do not guarantee a nursery place. The Government are intent on using their majority in this place to force through wrong-headed legislation. I urge the Government to take on board the serious quality assurance issues that must be taken into account and to allow the House to apply detailed consideration in evaluating the pilot schemes that the Government are intent on forcing through and implementing.

Mr. Gallie

The hon. Lady suggests that nursery vouchers are divisive. I cannot understand that, because every parent in Scotland will be offered £1,100 for their child's nursery education. That is certainly what my constituents want, and they resent the hon. Lady's attempt to remove the option from them when they are desperate to ensure that their children have a nursery education.

Mrs. Liddell

The hon. Gentleman was a source of great enjoyment to Labour Members in Committee. Yet again he fails to take on board the basic point: a nursery voucher does not guarantee a nursery place. In correspondence, Scottish Office officials have acknowledged that a nursery voucher does not guarantee a nursery place.

Mr. Foulkes

I agree with everything that my hon. Friend has said. She should not be misled by the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Gallie). His constituents are getting proper nursery places, not vouchers. South Ayrshire is expanding its nursery provision by providing proper nursery classes in spare classrooms. That is exactly the sort of provision that Labour proposes, and Labour-controlled South Ayrshire council is introducing it. The hon. Gentleman's constituents, who will not be represented by him for much longer, are getting a first-class education service.

Mrs. Liddell

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, the voice of common sense from Ayrshire. It is clear that parents want good-quality nursery provision, and sensible, well-organised nursery provision by local authorities has been widely welcomed.

One damaging effect of the Bill is that it will undermine important partnerships between the public, private and voluntary sectors in Scotland. All three sectors are as one in condemning the Government for the lack of quality assurance and for the quality of education provision.

In Committee, Conservative Members paid limited attention to quality and to how nursery providers are to be assessed. Eighty profiles of education provision have been received and 57 approved. Who is checking those self-assessed applications to provide nursery places? Everyone, from local authorities to the voluntary sector and to the Scottish Independent Nurseries Association, has one common fear about the provision of nursery education: the intervention of cowboy operators interested only in getting money out of the Government, under a convoluted system that will not benefit anyone who cannot secure a nursery school place for their child.

I am deeply concerned about the Government's proposals for evaluation. It is critical that the House be given an opportunity to decide whether the pilots have been fair, sensible, open and honest and whether the evaluation scheme has been properly conducted. The university of Stirling is to evaluate the scheme in the four pilot areas in Scotland. Membership of the research advisory committee has not been announced, but we know that applicants with considerable expertise in child care and education, such as Children in Scotland, have not been included.

The university of Stirling—this is a very important point—is already aware of the terms of the evaluation: cost-effectiveness, not quality. That is deplorable, because the education and care of children at the most vulnerable stage of their education will not be properly assessed for quality. It is all the more disturbing when we bear in mind the fact that 50 per cent. of a child's educational development takes place before the age of five.

The Government's lack of strategic cohesion for pre-five provision in Scotland has been apparent throughout consideration of the Bill. Their failure to give the Scottish Pre-School Play Association adequate funds to allow it to implement improved training is a clear sign that they do not intend the Bill to contribute to the education debate in Scotland, but are using it as a fudge in the run-up to a general election.

I do not think that the Government have been clear enough on the whole question of what new money will be made available for the provision of nursery vouchers throughout Scotland; nor have we been given enough information about the true administration costs. On Second Reading, we were told that only 2 per cent. of the budget would be spent on administration. We were told that £22 would be needed to deal with a voucher that would have to go through 10 stages before it could be fully implemented, but we estimate the cost at £290.

In Committee, many of our questions were not answered. The amendments seek to introduce some cohesion to the legislation, but, at the end of the day, we can improve the quality of education for pre-fives in Scotland only by getting away from the whole concept of nursery vouchers, and introducing a system of nursery education that provides adequately for children aged three and four.

4.30 pm
Mr. Salmond

Does the hon. Lady feel an apology coming on? She may remember that, in Committee, she denounced my hon. Friend the Member for Angus, East (Mr. Welsh) for forcing a vote on exactly the same two amendments, on the ground that they would make it impossible to return to the matter on Report. She also said that, because a Tory rebellion was under way, she anticipated an Opposition victory. She was clearly wrong: we are now discussing not one but two amendments that would allow us to do exactly the same thing. Will she now apologise to my hon. Friend?

Mrs. Liddell

Far from apologising, I will make the point that Labour Members are interested in substance rather than stunts. Because of activities of members of the Committee, we missed opportunities to explore issues that should have been explored much more fully with a Government who welcomed the opportunity not to answer questions. The amendments give us a chance to pin the Government down, to ensure that quality assurance is introduced and to return to key issues involving the evaluation of the pilots for the nursery voucher scheme.

Before the Bill was introduced, the Government undertook a consultative exercise. More than 80 per cent. of those consulted opposed their proposals, but the Government still insisted on introducing the legislation. Here is yet more proof that they do not listen. Earlier this afternoon, the Under-Secretary of State recognised that my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mrs. Fyfe) had been talking sense all along. I now give him an opportunity to acknowledge that he has also been wrong in regard to the proposals for nursery vouchers, and ask him to reconsider—on behalf of the Government—this wrong-headed proposal for the education of Scotland's pre-fives.

Mr. Welsh

I cannot allow the nonsense spoken by the hon. Member for Monklands, East (Mrs. Liddell) about the Scottish National party's commitment to education to go unremarked. I have taught in Scotland, at different levels, and my commitment—and that of my party—to Scottish education is clearly on record: we are 100 per cent. behind it, and we want it to progress. The hon. Lady explains her behaviour in Committee by the claim that she was exploring the details of what the Government meant, but in practice Labour was simply colluding with the Conservatives to get the measure through as quickly as possible.

Mr. Jimmy Hood (Clydesdale)

You have a cheek.

Mr. Welsh

I do not "have a cheek"—that is what happened, as the hon. Gentleman will see if he reads the Committee record.

Amendment No. 2 deletes the entire provision relating to grants for the Government's proposed nursery education changes.

Mr. Hood

I remind the hon. Gentleman of the vote on the Committee of the Regions during the Maastricht treaty debate, and the "Dear Margaret" letter, when he colluded with the Government. We need no lectures from him about colluding with the Government.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. We do not need lectures, but we want a debate on the amendment before the House.

Mr. Welsh

I agree, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I will not mention when the Labour party colluded with the Government over the referendum vote.

My amendment would force the Government to undertake consultation and it would delay implementation of vouchers until the proposed pilot schemes have been properly evaluated and reported to Parliament.

Before moving to the substantive arguments in favour of the various amendments and against the Government's proposals for nursery education, I believe that it is necessary to place this debate in context. This afternoon, Scottish democracy will yet again be sidelined because a majority of Scottish Members will vote for the amendments, but our votes will be ignored and our will overturned by the votes of hon. Members representing a majority of English constituencies—people with no knowledge and even less interest in Scotland's education system. This is the Westminster question and no amount of tartan tokenism, either through the powerless nonsense of a Grand Committee or through returning the Stone of Destiny, will hide the true gesture being made today by the Tory party towards Scotland—two fingers to Scottish opinion, to democracy and to the future of Scottish children's education.

The Government's proposals are opposed not only by a majority of Scottish Members, but by teachers, parents and local authorities, who have highlighted the legislation's many inadequacies, but their views will be ignored today by the Westminster machine. The Bill is proof of the disservice being done to Scotland and to Scottish education by the outdated Union.

The debate should have been used by the hon. Member for Monklands, East to apologise. In many ways the hon. Lady apologised for her hysterical misrepresentations in the Scottish press, following my attempt to oppose the Government on this issue in Committee. The hon. Lady assured us that the amendment introducing a further stage of parliamentary scrutiny, now under discussion as amendments Nos. 3 and 8, could not be debated again. I hope that, for once, she will have the decency to admit her mistake and to apologise for her blatant misrepresentations. She told the Scottish press: I am absolutely furious. They have stopped us taking this back to the Floor of the House where we could have defeated the Government. She was wrong on both counts: it is back on the Floor of the House and she has little chance of defeating the Government.

The hon. Lady also said: Mr. Welsh has cost us the ability to disable this Bill". We shall find out about that when the Division Lobby empties. The record will show that the amendment was again debated and again defeated—if, indeed, Labour Members press the amendment to a vote; their record in that respect is not good, and I had to move some of their amendments in Committee.

Mrs. Fyfe

Before the history of this topic is falsified, will the hon. Gentleman recall that we were bound to be defeated on that day? That was why my hon. Friend the Member for Monklands, East (Mrs. Liddell) wanted to withdraw the amendment. Tonight we have at least a fighting chance. It all depends on the turnout. There was no chance in Committee, and the hon. Gentleman knows it.

Mr. Welsh

I presume that that is why the Labour Whip had to demand two votes—the second time to insist that he did not vote.

Mrs. Liddell

I must put on record the fact that on that occasion my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Chisholm) demanded two votes because he had forgotten that he had given a commitment to allow the Minister of State, Scottish Office, the right hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Lord James Douglas-Hamilton), leave to attend to a bereavement in his immediate family.

Mr. Welsh

I fully understand that, and such pairing is fully acceptable, but any apology should be made by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Chisholm), who made the mistake of voting the first time and then demanding a second vote. Pairing is acceptable and it should have happened in the normal way, but two votes took place. If the Whip is not up to his job and makes mistakes, that is his problem. [Interruption.] I notice the continuing collusion between the Labour and Tory Front-Bench teams, but anyone who reads the Committee will find out exactly what happened.

From their mailbags, Members should be aware of the many well-expressed concerns of parents, parents' groups, teachers and local government professionals. Again, mainstream opinion in Scotland is lined up against the Government's proposal, but it will be ignored by the massed ranks of Tory Lobby fodder. That is the reality behind the intervention of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mrs. Fyfe).

The Government claim to favour parental choice, but their actions fly in the face of that. When parents are consulted about nursery education they do not choose these Tory vouchers. By a majority of nine to one they favour free state nursery education for all three and four-year-olds. That is what Scottish people want and the Government should deliver it.

Perhaps Conservative Members should focus their attention on the parental views that were expressed in the recent Educational Institute of Scotland System 3 survey entitled: Education in 1996: Scots speaking out". They should consult that rather than simply following the Whips into the Government Lobby. I recommend that they examine the Scottish National party's fully costed proposals for a free state nursery scheme. They show that a high-quality, universal and free education structure for pre-school children can be created in Scotland. In the first four years of independence, our proposals would create a nursery place for all three and four-year-olds whose parents wished that provision.

The voucher proposal is political dogma and it will be bad for education in Scotland. As our detailed proposals show, it is not the best way to meet education needs in our country. [Interruption.] Labour Front-Bench Members laugh. When they are asked for a policy they go out for lunch, and when they are asked to put a price on a policy they simply disappear. Unless they have similarly costed pounds and pence policies, they should not laugh. The standard being set in Scotland is what the electorate wish; unless Labour can match that, it is simply failing in its task.

Mr. George Robertson (Hamilton)

Labour made a pledge.

Mr. Welsh

I know about Labour pledges. I was in the House from 1974 to 1979 and I know how much such pledges are worth.

The voucher scheme should be abandoned, but the system supported by all unionists in the House will mean that, against the wishes of the Scottish people, the voucher scheme will simply be slammed through by English Members who are not now in their places but who will provide the majority.

Amendment No. 2 has my full support. It would get rid of the damaging and divisive voucher proposal, prevent the creeping privatisation of our education system and ensure the maintenance of standards which are threatened by the wild and loose drafting of this part of the legislation.

Amendment No. 8 in my name, and amendment No. 3, would ensure adequate scrutiny of the pilot schemes, which are to be the test bed for the voucher proposal. Surely when the test has been established, its results should be evaluated before proceeding further with the scheme. That straightforward, simple point has been totally denied by the Government. It is eminently sensible and would help to fill the gaps in consultation and consensus which have marked the Government's attempts to steamroller this ideological nonsense through the House.

The amendments will allow hon. Members to assess the quality of nursery provision under the voucher scheme and to judge the impact on the poorest families who may not be able to afford the top-up costs for the local nursery. The amendments would also allow us to assess the administrative efficiency of the scheme and to see whether too much money was being diverted from education by a clumsy administrative system.

I have outlined just some of the concerns expressed by parents and professionals and they should be examined again by the House when we are in a better position to judge the impact of the Government's proposals. Obviously, that means after the pilot schemes have run their course. The Government have made no attempt to accept those eminently sensible arguments, which are supported by majority opinion and have consensus outside the House.

I am sure that hon. Members will agree that too much haste at this stage could have a damaging effect on thousands of Scottish children. I suspect that the legislation has been motivated more by political than by educational considerations. That is why we seek to introduce a time-out period which would ensure that the Secretary of State's narrow and destructive ideology did not seriously damage Scottish nursery education.

The principle of nursery vouchers is deeply flawed and I welcome amendment No. 7 as an attempt to improve poor legislation. It raises a number of issues that were discussed at length in Committee. The Government have failed to address the issue of quality assurance both in education terms and with regard to the environment within which education takes place. I hope that the Minister will respond to that issue today, because he certainly did not respond to it adequately in Committee.

Legislation currently covers safety in private nurseries, but there is no provision detailing adequate standards for buildings or fixtures and fittings in those nurseries. While local authorities can ensure the safety of radiators, plugs and sockets under current legislation, they cannot ensure such matters as adequate toilet facilities. That is why amendment No. 7 is important.

The Government's proposals have been shown to be deeply flawed in themselves, but they have been shown to be flawed especially in comparison with the proposals made by the Scottish National party. The House should take the opportunity to remove what is bad, or at least to try to improve it.

The Minister has a chance to respond to those detailed points, and I hope that he will do so before the end of this debate.

4.45 pm
Mr. Martin O'Neill (Clackmannan)

This group of amendments goes to the heart of the voucher question because, as hon. Members have already made clear, vouchers do not necessarily represent places. In some local authorities it has been suggested that many places are available for four-year-olds—for up to 90 per cent. of them in some areas—and that the extra money would provide local authorities with elbow-room, with which they could build additional nursery schools. I do not think that that is a particularly well-founded assumption. The cost of building or adapting new premises to the standards that we want would certainly not be possible with the type of figures that are currently being mentioned.

Mr. Ian Davidson (Glasgow, Govan)

Is it in order for me to point out to my hon. Friend the Member for Clackmannan (Mr. O'Neill) that the hon. Member for Angus, East (Mr. Welsh) is currently colluding with the Tory Whip to enable this debate to proceed quickly? Indeed, he scurried back to his seat as I said that. Is not that disgraceful hypocrisy by the SNP?

Mr. O'Neill

It is no more than we have come to expect from it, with its double standards.

Mr. Welsh

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. O'Neill

No; I do not want to give way.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. Let us get on with it.

Mr. O'Neill

I was bored to tears by all the nonsense that I heard from the hon. Member for Angus, East (Mr. Welsh)—the girning, moaning and greeting that we hear from him in his customary addresses, whether they are about the system that governs the House, its membership or the fact that Scottish National party supporters have been out of sight for decades because they colluded with the Tories to bring down the previous Labour Government. The people of Scotland and hon. Members are left cold by all of it. What is important is that we deal with the matter in hand, which is the voucher system—[Interruption.]

Mr. Welsh

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. O'Neill

No, I will not give way to the hon. Gentleman. I have told him that I will not give way, and that is it. We want to get on with the today's business, and I do not want to take up too much of the House's time.

Certainly the amendment on quality control and the matters of staff training and premises—[Interruption.]

Mr. Welsh

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. An accusation was made against me that I was trying to speed up proceedings. That is not true. But the hon. Member for Clackmannan (Mr. O'Neill) has now admitted that he wishes to expedite proceedings.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. That is a bogus point of order, as the hon. Gentleman knows. The hon. Member for Clackmannan (Mr. O'Neill) has made it very clear that he will not give way, and that is a matter for him to decide.

Mr. O'Neill

If this legislation were to be passed—we do not want it to be—we envisage circumstances in which, as my hon. Friend the Member for Monklands, East (Mrs. Liddell) said, there is a possibility that hole-in-the-wall, cowboy-type operations will be established. Therefore, we must have standards set down very early on in the proceedings.

We should have hoped that the pilot scheme would have allowed for such a cool and reasoned response. In his reply, perhaps the Minister will clarify the position and tell us whether only financial cost-effectiveness will be examined or whether the possible impact of the voucher scheme on the quality of available provision will be examined, because the two are not the same. That issue has already been raised by hon. Members.

Many hon. Members fear that well-intentioned people with a great commitment to youngsters will open nursery facilities, on the assumption that they will be able to make money and to go the distance, but that they will not have the necessary teaching or nursing staffing levels. We must consider those matters, because they were given scant attention at the Committee stage.

It is important that we pass these amendments to ensure that the Minister has a chance to tell us what will be done to ensure quality control of the play facilities and the course content to which the youngsters will be exposed. We will need far greater assurances that there will be high enough standards of staff training so that the best possible teaching will be provided.

Last but not least, there is the whole question of premises. In Committee, most of us were disturbed by the cavalier disregard of even the most basic questions of the toilet and washing facilities required by children of this age. They need special facilities. They also need special safety provisions such as consideration of the location of plug points, electrical fittings and so on. We need a great deal more clarification of those matters. They should have been dealt with in Committee but they were not because the Minister did not give us the assurances that we required.

Even if the principle were to be lost—I hope that it is not—the amendment is essential to ensure that the youngsters are properly protected and are taught appropriately by suitable and qualified people. The children must be instructed and allowed to play in facilities that are safe and in which most parents would be happy to leave them. It is immaterial whether that assurance comes from amendment No. 10 or amendment No. 7, but the point has been identified and it must be addressed. Until it is included, the legislation will be unwanted. It will be dangerous for the children whom every hon. Member wishes to protect and nurture. As currently drafted, the Bill does not meet that requirement.

Mr. Wallace

In a debate that has so far caused a considerable amount of dispute, I shall begin by saying something that I hope will be agreed on both sides of the House, which is that there is a recognition of the value of pre-school education. Studies in the United States have shown that for every dollar spent on pre-school education, the payback over subsequent years is something like seven times that. Clearly, the investment is well worth it to get our children on to the right path before they go to school.

The problem is the method by which the Government are seeking to honour the pledge given by Baroness Thatcher when she was responsible for education in 1972. She opened up the prospect of nursery education for all.

My hon. Friends and I are concerned that the Government's chosen route of nursery vouchers will not necessarily deliver the expectations. It does not automatically follow that, because a parent has a voucher, there will be a place for the child. In some parts of the country we know that the availability of nursery places is scant. As the hon. Member for Angus, East (Mr. Welsh) said, many parents will not be able to afford the top-up costs. Also, we have not yet had an assessment of the effect that it will have on nursery education currently provided for three-year-olds, which may be stopped in some cases if there has to be expanded provision for four-year-olds. So there are serious drawbacks to the chosen route of nursery vouchers.

The funding that will be made available will do nothing to enable the expansion of the number of properly trained nursery teachers. Anyone who has anything to do with young children recognises the skill, dedication and particular training required by pre-school teachers. None of the debates has mentioned any resources that have been earmarked to allow that expansion of trained teachers. When I raised that matter with the Secretary of State in the Scottish Grand Committee in Stirling in January, he seemed to suggest that the provision of well-trained teachers was an ideal to which we might aspire, with the clear implication that it would not always be the case. That is why I particularly welcome amendment No. 7, in the name of the Leader of the Opposition, and amendment No. 10 in my name and those of my hon. Friends, as they seek to import into the voucher scheme some element of quality assurance and quality control.

Will the Minister specifically address the two amendments which seek to impose minimum requirements? It is not unreasonable that parents should have some quality assurance when they are asked to send their children to a particular establishment. I accept that there probably will not be agreement on all the different requirements, so amendment No. 10 allows considerable flexibility as to the range of quality assurance that would be required. Parents will be able to decide where to send their children, if they have that choice, so in some respects, there will be a subjective element of quality. Nevertheless, it is important to recognise that there must be a floor and minimum standards.

Amendment No. 10 would require that the regulations established by the Secretary of State should include a complaints procedure. If we are to have quality assurance, it is important that there should be a complaints procedure so that parents who believe that the quality of pre-school education to which their children are entitled and have every legitimate right to expect is not being delivered have a relatively simple means of expressing that concern and using the complaints procedure to ensure that any difficulty is addressed as quickly as possible.

It is important that there should be a complaints procedure, particularly in respect of inspection. Although we were told on Second Reading that there would be an increase in the number of inspectors of nursery and pre-school establishments, there remains a widespread belief that it will still be insufficient. If inspection is to be limited, it is even more important that the parents have an opportunity to raise complaints and concerns in a way that will result in action.

Although the point does not need much elaboration, we have not yet heard an explanation from the Minister as to why the Government have thus far set their face against basic minimum requirements for those providing nursery education. The Government claim to be the friend of the consumer, so the consumer should expect at least minimum quality control in respect of a vitally important issue such as the education of our young children.

Mrs. Fyfe

A few days ago when I was opening my mail, I saw an envelope marked, "Important voucher enclosed". I thought that there must have been some mistake, but I discovered that it was from one of those firms that offers a car as a major prize if one enters a prize draw. We are all accustomed to receiving such mail and we are all inclined to condemn it, but it has to be said on behalf of the firms that engage in such enterprises that at least there is a real car to be won by somebody. They do not pretend that if those who have been given the vouchers gather together in one place, someone will make sure that they all win a prize.

The difference between those offers and the Government's scheme is that with the latter, having a voucher does not guarantee anything. It does not guarantee a place at any particular nursery; it does not even guarantee that there will be a nursery on any given site anywhere in Scotland.

The Government's belief that somehow the market will provide and respond to people waving £1,100 vouchers has still to be demonstrated. Parents in Scotland will be severely disappointed as the Government are leading them to believe that there will be provision, at least for four-year-olds. In some areas, particularly in rural Scotland and the islands, it will be difficult to ensure that there is a nursery school. That is the basic reason why we are so opposed to a voucher scheme and seek a proper guarantee from the Government. I look forward to a Labour Government introducing such a scheme so that children have a real nursery place and not merely a piece of paper saying that there may be a place somewhere at some time.

There are two further specific aspects to which I hope the Minister will respond. We debated special needs of the under-fives at length in Committee. It is true that, in some of the publicity material that the Government put out, reference was made to children with special needs, but key questions remain unanswered. It is still not clear how we can be sure that any provider—especially some Johnny-come-lately who has just started up, happened to read some information on how to run a nursery school and filled in the form correctly—will be able to identify all children who happen to have special needs. Such children are not always readily recognisable. It is important that their needs are recognised and acted on at as early an age as possible, not only to save future costs that could climb rapidly, but for the sake of the children, so that they can be helped to develop to their full capability. We are still awaiting reassurance on that point. I cannot understand how the Minister can be so sensible, open-minded and forthcoming about the Scottish Qualifications Authority when we are talking about relatively adult people, but delay giving us clear guarantees on the under-fives.

5 pm

If I recall correctly, when Labour Members raised the question in Committee of the value of the voucher and how grossly inadequate it is likely to be in relation to the needs of special needs children, we were told that the pilot scheme, which is being supervised by people who are still at university, would be able to identify the sums concerned. But parents are still waiting for any reassurance that those needs will be met. Substantial sums could be involved.

We could have sold tickets for the Committee at times. At one stage, the hon. Member for North Tayside (Mr. Walker) and I had a run-in—I wish that he was present today—about why a nursery must have facilities such as toilets, cloakroom accommodation and all sorts of equipment permanently available and not stashed away every night in a church hall or some other adult provision. Is that the level to which we have fallen? It sounds as if hon. Members are so unaccustomed to discussing the needs of the pre-fives that such things need to be spelled out. It was an extraordinary debate. I thought that the message had finally got across and that it was understood why permanent provision for under-fives was essential and why they should not be forced to make do with anything that happens to be available in the way of a hall that is free for a few hours. That is not an adequate way in which to deal with the needs of our under-fives.

Mr. Brian Wilson (Cunninghame, North)

I will save the Labour Whip a heart attack by intervening on my hon. Friend rather than making a speech of my own.

To return to the point about special needs, does my hon. Friend agree that where children have been identified as having special needs and they enter mainstream education, there is no question but that they receive special assistance? It is contradiction of the idea that the programme is educational if Ministers persist in saying either that no special assistance for children with special needs will be recognised in the voucher system, or that some pilot project from Stirling university is needed to establish whether special needs provision is required. Everybody knows that special provision and a little extra expenditure is needed. Does my hon. Friend agree that there is absolutely no reason why that concession or right should not be granted?

Mrs. Fyfe

My hon. Friend makes an important point. We have always said that it is not satisfactory just to accept whatever the people at Stirling university come up with when they comment on the pilot scheme. The Government should have been willing to say something more definitive and give more of a guarantee to parents of children with special needs. As my hon. Friend quite rightly points out, children at school may get a record of special needs, but, as we all know how, it is sometimes difficult to enforce provision of what that record says that the child requires. It is therefore all the more important that the identification of needs is made at the earliest possible stage by competent people and that the sums involved are guaranteed.

Unless guarantees are given, a system could evolve in which a child with special needs did not receive a place or had less access and choice than children who did not have special needs. Special needs children could be treated less justly through no fault of their own, simply because they have needs that are expensive to provide for. That would be totally unacceptable and unjust, and it is high time the Minister said something more definitive. I hope that he will do so tonight.

Mr. Calum Macdonald (Western Isles)

I, too, support the amendments in the names of my hon. Friends calling for a proper assessment of the pilot schemes before the Government go ahead with full implementation of the voucher scheme. My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mrs. Fyfe) gave cogent reasons why that is necessary, and I should like to add a particular concern of mine about why such a proper assessment is required.

My concern relates to the way in which the voucher scheme will impact on the Gaelic-medium sector of pre-school provision and the need to ensure that such an impact is properly assessed when we review the results of the pilot schemes. There is a Gaelic-medium sector in three of the four pilot areas—in east Renfrewshire, in Highland and Argyll, and in Bute, and it is important that the impact on them is considered.

The Gaelic-medium sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in pre-school provision, and the Minister will be aware by now that there is a great deal of concern in the Gaelic community that the voucher system will not cater properly for that sector. Provision in the sector involves greater costs because, obviously, special materials need to be developed. They cannot just be taken off the shelf. Such additional costs cannot be incorporated into a simple voucher scheme that attaches the same amount to every child.

At the same time, there is a historical record of exclusion of Gaelic from education, which we all now recognise and acknowledge. Indeed, it was recognised by the Secretary of State in his speech at Stirling university earlier this year. Given the Government's recognition, we have every right to expect their rhetoric to be put into practice.

There are two specific ways in which the Minister could respond to the concern, and I would be grateful if he could give specific answers to them. First, the remit of the Stirling university team that will be conducting the assessment should include the task of looking specifically at how the pilot scheme has impacted on the Gaelic-medium sector. Has it catered properly for the additional costs involved, has it dampened the rise in the sector's popularity or has it been given a helping hand?

The second specific suggestion has been made to the Minister by representative organisations from the Gaelic community, especially the Gaelic Pre-School Association. It is suggested that someone with experience of the Gaelic-medium sector should be on the advisory research committee—the overall committee that will be considering and supervising the work of the Stirling university team. I know that the Minister has indicated that he wants that advisory team to be more focused on general issues than a particular issue, but I ask him to reflect on the fact that if the Government are concerned about overcoming the historical legacy of the exclusion of Gaelic from mainstream education, they should think very seriously about having someone with experience of Gaelic-medium education on the advisory team. If the Minister insists that there is no place for someone with specific Gaelic experience on the advisory committee, may I further suggest that the advisory committee at least consult Gaelic organisations? The Minister should make it clear to the advisory committee that he will make that requirement in the committee's review. Much attention will be paid to the Minister's response to those suggestions.

The Government have prided themselves on supporting the Gaelic-medium sector in recent years and I acknowledge the support that has been received, but that support has generated an ever-increasing demand. The Government cannot just rest on what has been achieved: they must keep pace with the demand. I hope that the Minister will take seriously the need to include the Gaelic-medium sector in the research to be undertaken by the Stirling university team and the work of the advisory research committee.

Mr. McAllion

I was very interested in the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mrs. Fyfe); she could have sold tickets for the Committee stage of the Bill. It is a bizarre notion that anyone would part with good money to listen to the hon. Member for North Tayside (Mr. Walker), although they might part with good money not to have to listen to him.

Even more bizarre was the contribution of the hon. Member for Angus, East (Mr. Welsh). The Scottish National party allegedly holds this Parliament in contempt, yet he spent the latter part of his speech picking over the arcane rules of the Westminster Parliament. Indeed, he boasted of the SNP's prowess in manipulating those rules better than any other Scottish party; so if people want to vote for the true Westminster party at the next election in Scotland, I suppose that they should vote SNP.

The substance of the debate is far more important than the contribution of the hon. Member for Angus, East. I wish to support everything that my hon. Friends have said. Conservative Members' claims about nursery vouchers are entirely bogus. A few moments ago, when the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Gallie) was in the Chamber, he made it sound as though, if people vote for the Tories at the next general election, they will receive in the post a cheque for £1,100 with which they can buy a nursery place for their child. That is entirely wrong, because no such thing can happen. A nursery voucher is just a piece of paper which guarantees no one a nursery place in any school anywhere in Scotland.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Maryhill said, the vouchers are socially divisive, because some people can top up that £1,100 and use the state money and their own private money to guarantee that their child has access to quality nursery education, while others cannot top up the £1,100 and will be prey to cowboy operators and other Johnny-come-lately operators who will appear on the scene with the support of the Tories to make a quick buck at the expense of three and four-year-olds.

The Minister cannot simply brush the amendments aside, because they are about quality and standards in nursery schools throughout Scotland. We shall achieve quality and high standards only if we are prepared to pay for them, but the Government are not prepared to do so. The amendments are about the standard and safety of buildings and the quality of the teachers and helpers who run nursery schools. In the wake of the recent tragic incidents involving young children in schools, we cannot afford not to invest the maximum amount of public money in school provision, including nursery education.

Ultimately, this country's future will turn on our education system and, as the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) said, the earlier we intervene in education, the more beneficial will be the reward to society as a whole. Society must make it clear that it is prepared to invest whatever is required to ensure that our children have access to the best possible education.

I support all the amendments in this group. Some have been tabled by my hon. Friends who represent the Scottish Labour party and others have been tabled by Scottish National party members and Scottish Liberal Democrats. Taken together, those three Scottish parties represent 62 of the 72 Scottish constituencies, and we can be sure that all three will vote for the amendments when Divisions are called. However, it is also guaranteed that they will be defeated.

5.15 pm

Conservative Members ask me, "What could a Scottish Parliament do that a Scottish Committee of this House cannot do?" I shall tell them what it could do: defeat this Government. It could defeat the proposal for nursery vouchers; and it could carry these amendments and guarantee that quality nursery education was available to three and four-year-olds throughout Scotland. The House is not prepared to do that because, essentially, it is not interested in what happens in Scotland.

Amendment No. 3 is similar to an amendment that was carried in the House of Lords and caused the Government some concern. The Secretary of State for Education and Employment in England and Wales described it as a wrecking amendment. I have a copy of her letter, in which she deals with the Government's defeat in the Lords. She says: Addressing the issue in the Lords is preferable to waiting until Commons consideration of Lords amendments. We may experience greater difficulty overturning the amendment in the Commons. The Government would experience greater difficulty overturning that wrecking amendment in the Commons, because hon. Members who represent constituencies in England and Wales, who are not present tonight, would be here and would fight for their constituents. They would thus help to defeat the Government. But that is not the case with this amendment, because even Scottish Conservative Back Benchers are not concerned to be here. They are so supine that they will lie down and do whatever the Government ask them to do. English Conservative Back Benchers will vote down anything that Scotland wants, because it does not matter to them.

The right hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) has rebelled against the Government in the past and has been admired for doing so, but is he prepared to vote for the amendments? Do they contain anything to which he objects? Does he not think that Parliament should look again at the pilot scheme and ensure that Scottish kids have access to good-quality education?

Sir Hector Monro (Dumfries)

If I thought that there was anything in what the hon. Gentleman was saying, of course I would support him, but I do not. What the Government are doing is right.

Mr. McAllion

The right hon. Gentleman contradicts himself. I am not the only person who supports the amendments. All the Scottish Members of Parliament do so; public opinion in Scotland and the right hon. Gentleman's constituents say the same as us. They do not want to proceed at breakneck speed with a voucher scheme which may ultimately destroy the basis of nursery education. They want Parliament to take its time to ensure that it gets it right and that enough money is invested in the scheme. If the right hon. Gentleman cannot see that, it is just as well for him that he will retire at the next general election. Whoever his Tory successor is, he will come neither here nor to any other Parliament once it is established in Scotland.

Mrs. Fyfe

Did my hon. Friend notice that the right hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) has just gone on record saying that he does not think that it is necessary to have appropriate criteria for the quality assurance of the service provided"? I should have thought that that amendment and the others before us were common sense.

Mr. McAllion

Every Opposition Member thinks that they are plain common sense, but the right hon. Gentleman probably has not even read the amendments that he is prepared to vote down. If he does so, I am sure that he will vote for them, because he is a man of honour.

Anyone with a genuine interest in nursery education should support the amendments. If people vote against them, they do so for political reasons: because they have been told to do so by their Whips; and because they are interested in cutting public spending but not in public services and ordinary people. They are interested only in the big City financiers who worry about the size of the public debt and public spending, and want a bigger share of gross domestic product for their own private profit rather than to spend it on public services. They are the masters whom Conservative Members serve, but they are not served by the Opposition.

We are in favour of quality education and we will vote in support of the amendments. When we get into power, we will ensure that Scottish children get the best—not the second best, which is offered by the Government.

Mr. Salmond

At the risk of upsetting the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. McAllion)—I do not want to pick a fight with him, because he is in enough trouble with his own party—I shall start on the subject of procedures. Knowing the procedures of the House of Commons is not a symptom of being Westminsterised; it is a symptom of competence.

Earlier, I intervened on the hon. Member for Monklands, East (Mrs. Liddell) and drew her attention to remarks that she had made in Committee when the amendments were discussed. She said clearly in several newspapers and on television that this precluded discussion of the same amendments on Report. [Interruption.] I see that the hon. Lady does not look enthusiastically in agreement with that, so I checked the record. Here is The Herald of 21 June 1996. Stephen McGregor, the parliamentary correspondent, quotes her as saying—

Mr. O'Neill

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Are we talking about the amendments that we dealt with in Committee, about the previous set of amendments or about the group of amendments before us?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I should not have thought that the House would need reminding that it is talking about the amendment before the House this afternoon, not previous ones. Of course, the hon. Gentleman is quite in order in comparing them.

Mr. Salmond

Yes, we are discussing amendments Nos. 3 and 8—the very amendments that the hon. Member for Monklands, East said could not possibly be discussed on Report. I quote from The Herald newspaper: I am absolutely furious. They have stopped us taking this back to the Floor of the House where we could have defeated the Government … Mr. Welsh has cost us the ability to disable this Bill". I do not so much mind the fact that the hon. Lady did not understand that aspect of procedure—she has been in the House for two years. I do mind the fact that, having made that major attack on my hon. Friend the Member for Angus, East (Mr. Welsh) in the Scottish press and elsewhere, she does not have the elementary courtesy to come to the Dispatch Box—

Mrs. Liddell


Mr. Salmond

I will let the hon. Lady in in a second or two. She need not concern herself about that.

It is interesting that the hon. Lady took the position that these amendments could not come back on Report, so why on earth does her name appear on an amendment that does exactly that on Report?

Mrs. Liddell

We are witnessing another example of how, because we are discussing nursery vouchers, the hon. Gentleman is determined to behave with nursery antics. He well knows that, if we have a vote in Committee on a subject, it places in jeopardy the possibility of a vote on the Floor of the House. It also put us in the position where our tactics were apparent and, frankly, it was a stunt by the hon. Member for Angus, East (Mr. Welsh) to cover up his own limitations in Committee.

Mr. Salmond

That is not what the hon. Lady said in the Scottish press. She said that it precluded a vote and a discussion on the Floor of the House. Obviously, that is untrue. We have two amendments before us that do exactly the same thing as the amendment that was voted on in Committee. The hon. Lady would do herself a lot of good if she would admit her mistakes, show a little humility—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. We should get away from the mistakes and personalities now and get back to the amendment before the House.

Mr. Salmond

I am extremely glad that we are debating amendments Nos. 3 and 8 on the Floor of the House tonight.

I am told that the second aspect of what the hon. Member for Monklands, East said was that there was some chance of the amendments being defeated on Report. If they are defeated, it certainly will not be because of my eloquence or that of my hon. Friend the Member for Perth and Kinross (Ms Cunningham) or any Labour Member, for, as the hon. Member for Dundee, East so astutely pointed out, hardly any Conservative Members are present, and most of the eight or nine who are present are on the payroll vote, with the sole exception of the hon. Member for Dumfries.

Sir Hector Monro

Right hon. Member.

Mr. Salmond

The sole exception is the right hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro)—I beg his pardon—to whom we should presumably direct all our attention, because we must convince him to be the Conservative rebellion on amendments Nos. 3 and 8.

That betrays the folly of an argument that I have heard many times on the Floor of the House; it was used by the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson) during the passage of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Bill in 1994. We read in the Scottish papers that there would be a Conservative rebellion and that, if the arguments were put in the right way, the 1994 Act would be disabled. After 120 consecutive defeats in Committee, the hon. Gentleman clung to the same argument we have heard today on nursery education.

How on earth, even if we could appeal to the better nature of Members from English constituencies on these aspects, can we appeal to their better nature when they are not even here to listen to the substance of the argument? They will not even do us the elementary courtesy of listening to our arguments before rejecting them.

Some hon. Members know that I have known the Secretary of State for Scotland for a long time. I remember clearly that, at St. Andrews university, he argued for vouchers, not for nursery education but for primary education, for secondary education, for tertiary education—throughout the education system.

That puts this measure into context. This is the foot in the door to the general changing of the education system in Scotland from universal provision at primary, secondary and tertiary level. The Government want to get a nursery voucher system in as a foot in the door for a voucher system where education can be bought and sold, like any other commodity in the marketplace.

On Monday, the Secretary of State said that he would launch a petition in Scotland to harness the will of the Scottish people on the issue of the constitution. However, in the consultation document on these provisions, 80 per cent. of Scottish opinion was against the voucher system. If the Conservative party will appeal to Scottish opinion on one measure, why is it not prepared to listen to the clearly enunciated Scottish opinion on the issue of vouchers?

The hon. Member for Dundee, East rightly mentioned social divisiveness. I do not know whether I will get him into more trouble by agreeing with him or disagreeing with him, but he made a profound point about the socially divisive nature of a scheme in which better-off families will be able to top up the voucher value—an option that is not available to many families in Scotland. If a comprehensive national system of education in Scotland has meant anything—it has meant a great deal to many of us in increasing our life opportunities—it has meant the availability of the best education to every child in Scotland, regardless of parental background, income or social stratum.

It comes ill, especially from Ministers such as the Secretary of State or the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, the hon. Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Robertson), who have benefited from that opportunity, to start introducing into our education system a voucher system that can only undermine and disable the national and comprehensive characteristic that makes education available to all, regardless of background.

That is why it is vital that we press amendments at every opportunity, whether it be in Committee or now, on the Floor of the House, because what is at stake is not only a measure on nursery education. This measure in the Bill and the ideology that lies behind it represent a frontal attack on the essence of Scottish education.

Mr. Davidson

I believe that this is a missed opportunity. It is one of the few occasions when pre-five provision in Scotland has been discussed and debated.

Mr. Eric Clarke (Midlothian)

Do any more hon. Members wish to speak?

Mr. Davidson

I reassure my hon. Friend that I will not be long.

Mr. Welsh


Mr. Davidson

There was certainly no collusion; if there had been collusion, I should not be speaking. I intend to speak on the amendment. Had the hon. Member for Angus, East (Mr. Welsh) spoken to me beforehand, we might have reached an agreement on this matter.

The curse of parts of Scotland is poverty and deprivation, and one of the ways in which many of our people can be helped to break out of that cycle of poverty and deprivation is by spending on pre-five services. Neither the Government nor, regrettably, my party takes this matter sufficiently seriously. We should say clearly and emphatically that much more money should be spent on children from birth to age five, especially those in areas of poverty and deprivation.

There is a connection with the earlier debate about surplus school places. Often, surplus school places have emerged in the areas of greatest deprivation. We have the buildings there and we have the need there. Relatively small cost would be involved in providing the staffing to provide services for the pre-five children in areas of greatest need. That should be the focus of our provision and of our spending.

It is also important that we consider the needs of single parents who want to return to employment. Pre-five provision is important, not only for the children who receive it but for the members of their family.

Regrettably, the existing pattern of pre-school education is not family friendly or designed to help parents, particularly single parents, find employment—the hours are short and the holidays are long. Pre-five provision should be family friendly, should be longer, should be flexible and should have a longer operating year. People seeking employment should be assisted, but again, it costs money. The Labour party would be prepared to spend the necessary amount of money to ensure that children in areas of deprivation are able to get a first-class education and that their families are able to find jobs.

Finally, I reiterate the fact that the Scots do not want the measure—they have rejected it up and down the country. It has come about only because of the present practice of unionism—the way in which it is operated by the Government. I can think of few measures more designed to drive support away from the Union than the way in which the Government intend to drive the measure through the House today.

5.30 pm
Mr. Raymond S. Robertson

Listening to the speech of the hon. Member for Monklands, East (Mrs. Liddell) was a bit like watching summer television: repeat after repeat after repeat. There was no need for the hon. Lady to give the House edited highlights of her pretty press releases. I was flattered that she used some of my best lines when responding to the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond).

As hon. Members know, the evaluation of the pilot year will be carried out by an independent team from Stirling university. As I have explained, its remit is extensive and it is available for all hon. Members to see. Since my first public comments about the evaluation—at the evidence-gathering sitting of a Select Committee of another place in Glasgow—I have stressed the importance that my colleagues and I put on the evaluation. We are determined that the voucher system should deliver the maximum benefits for its ultimate consumers—pre-school children—and the evaluation will be a crucial tool in ensuring that that happens.

The Opposition have consistently attempted to convince the watching world that the results of the evaluation will arrive all in one go and without much prior warning. The results of the evaluation of the pre-school voucher pilot will not emerge suddenly and from nowhere; they will emerge steadily over the pilot year. In addition, many of the key findings—especially vital results relating to operational aspects of the system—will be known early on. Moreover, we will share the results widely.

We have arranged with the Stirling university team that it will provide not just a final report but interim reports—and not just interim reports but dissemination events at which the emerging findings can be reported and discussed. Moreover, Stirling university will not be conducting the evaluation in isolation; it will do so with local evaluations conducted by each of the pilot authorities.

In addition, the team will conduct the evaluation with the advice of the evaluation advisory committee. The committee will include individuals nominated by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. Hon. Members are already aware that a survey of parental views is part of the remit of the research team. I am confident that the broad range of views available will prove useful to the research team. I hope that its make-up will satisfy the hon. Member for Angus, East (Mr. Welsh), who referred to consultation at the end of his amendment No. 8.

Mr. Macdonald

Will part of the team's specific remit be to look at the impact of the pilot scheme on the Gaelic-medium sector?

Mr. Robertson

I have listened carefully to what the hon. Member said and I shall write to him. The research commissioned by the Scottish Office is generally published, and this evaluation will be no exception. I shall be happy to lay before Parliament copies of the final report of the Stirling team.

Amendment No. 7, to which the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) referred, seeks to place a requirement on providing centres in relation to the level of qualifications and the training of staff. This matter is capable of being regulated, where necessary, by local authorities under legislation. All authorities require that persons dealing with children in establishments registered under legislation are fit and proper people for such a position. Her Majesty's inspectorate of schools makes judgments on the quality of education provision in a centre.

All the amendments that we have debated seek to destroy the Government's pre-school education initiative in Scotland. I am confident that the House will support my determination not to let that happen.

Mr. Wallace

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Robertson

No, I wish to make some progress. The results of the pre-school voucher initiative are becoming clear, and the verdict is good. More than 3,200 parents have applied for vouchers and received them. Moreover, there has been a massive expansion of provision in the pilot areas.

Mr. Salmond

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Minister refused to give way to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) because he looked at the clock. Am I right in saying that the Report stage is not time limited?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Morris)

Order. The hon. Member is correct: the Report stage is not time limited. The Minister may look wherever he likes in the Chamber.

Mr. Robertson

There were once only 20 local authority nursery schools and classes—next year, there will be more than 60. In addition, more than 70 centres in the voluntary and private sectors will be educationally accredited for the first time, having satisfied Her Majesty's inspectorate of the quality of the education that they have to offer. For the first time, from August, every child in the pre-school year will be guaranteed a place in a quality, accredited pre-school centre. The latest report is that there will be a surplus of places—that is a remarkable achievement, which the Labour party seeks to diminish.

The amendments cannot be accepted—the future of young children in Scotland would be blighted if they were. Hon. Members must oppose the amendments and approve the Government's far-sighted strategy as set out in the Bill.

Mrs. Liddell

I regret that the Minister has not seen fit to accept the amendments. They were placed on the amendment paper to seek an improvement in the quality of pre-five education in Scotland. Instead of addressing the significant issues that the amendments raise, certain hon. Members have chosen to go down the route of posing and posturing. The issues are important to the people of Scotland. It is regrettable that hon. Members who represent a party that has Scotland in its name should try to duck the issues of great importance. We have heard the smug and patronising tones of hon. Members who wish to cover up the fact that the hon. Member for Angus, East (Mr. Welsh) made limited contributions on these issues in Committee.

I refer to the amendments in my name and in the names of my hon. Friends. The Minister has not addressed some significant issues. Quality assurance is an important element of our pre-five provision—that is recognised by people in Scotland who support the Labour party and by those who do not. The Government have ducked the issue. The Government do not have sufficient confidence in their proposals to allow hon. Members to debate the evaluation of the pilot scheme.

I believe that amendment No. 3 is the most significant amendment on the amendment paper. I shall put it to the vote, because it is very important that hon. Members have the opportunity to evaluate a proposal that will have a fundamental impact on the provision of pre-five education in Scotland.

My hon. Friends made important points, not least of which was that made repeatedly by my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mrs. Fyfe), about special needs. The Government have not responded to her points. I am delighted to hear that the Minister will write to my hon. Friend the Member for Western Isles (Mr. Macdonald) about the Gaelic-medium sector.

I make no apology for repeating again and again that a nursery voucher is not a guarantee of a nursery place—it will flaw the provision of pre-five education in Scotland. The Government have not answered the points that were made in Committee and on Report. It is regrettable that the Government are seeking to introduce such a measure when it is against the will of hon. Members and the people of Scotland.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 259, Noes 291.

Division No. 184] [5.39 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Alton, David
Adams, Mrs Irene Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale)
Ainger, Nick Ashton, Joe
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Austin-Walker, John
Allen, Graham Banks, Tony (Newham NW)
Barron, Kevin Galbraith, Sam
Battle, John Galloway, George
Bayley, Hugh Gapes, Mike
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret Garrett, John
Bell, Stuart George, Bruce
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Gerrard, Neil
Bennett, Andrew F Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Benton, Joe Godman, Dr Norman A
Bermingham, Gerald Godsiff, Roger
Berry, Roger Golding, Mrs Llin
Betts, Clive Gordon, Mildred
Blair, Rt Hon Tony Graham, Thomas
Blunkett, David Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Boateng, Paul Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Bradley, Keith Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Grocott, Bruce
Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E) Gunnell, John
Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E) Hain, Peter
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Hall, Mike
Byers, Stephen Hanson, David
Callaghan, Jim Hardy, Peter
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Harman, Ms Harriet
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Harvey, Nick
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Heppell, John
Campbell-Savours, D N Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Canavan, Dennis Hinchliffe, David
Cann, Jamie Hodge, Margaret
Carlile, Alexander (Montgomery) Hoey, Kate
Chidgey, David Hogg, Norman (Cumbernauld)
Chisholm, Malcolm Home Robertson, John
Church, Judith Hood, Jimmy
Clapham, Michael Hoon, Geoffrey
Clark, Dr David (South Shields) Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Howarth, George (Knowsley North)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Howells, Dr Kim (Pontypridd)
Clelland, David Hoyle, Doug
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Connarty, Michael Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Hutton, John
Corbett, Robin Illsley, Eric
Corbyn, Jeremy Ingram, Adam
Corston, Jean Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)
Cousins, Jim Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)
Cox, Tom Jamieson, David
Cummings, John Janner, Greville
Cunliffe, Lawrence Jenkins, Brian (SE Staff)
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE) Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Môn)
Cunningham, Roseanna Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Dafis, Cynog Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)
Dalyell, Tam Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)
Darling, Alistair Jowell, Tessa
Davidson, Ian Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Davies, Chris (L'Boro & S'worth) Keen, Alan
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Kennedy, Jane (L'pool Br'dg'n)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Khabra, Piara S
Denham, John Kilfoyle, Peter
Dewar, Donald Kirkwood, Archy
Dixon, Don Lewis, Terry
Dobson, Frank Liddell, Mrs Helen
Donohoe, Brian H Litherland, Robert
Dowd, Jim Livingstone, Ken
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Eagle, Ms Angela Llwyd, Elfyn
Eastham, Ken Loyden, Eddie
Etherington, Bill Lynne, Ms Liz
Evans, John (St Helens N) McAllion, John
Ewing, Mrs Margaret McAvoy, Thomas
Fatehett, Derek McCartney, Ian
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Macdonald, Calum
Fisher, Mark McFall, John
Flynn, Paul McKelvey, William
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Mackinlay, Andrew
Foster, Don (Bath) McLeish, Henry
Foulkes, George Maclennan, Robert
Fyfe, Maria McNamara, Kevin
MacShane, Denis Rooney, Terry
McWilliam, John Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Madden, Max Rowlands, Ted
Maddock, Diana Salmond, Alex
Mahon, Alice Sedgemore, Brian
Mandelson, Peter Sheerman, Barry
Marek, Dr John Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Martin, Michael J (Springburn) Short, Clare
Martlew, Eric Simpson, Alan
Meacher, Michael Skinner, Dennis
Meale, Alan Smith, Chris (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
Michael, Alun Soley, Clive
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Spearing, Nigel
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute) Spellar, John
Milburn, Alan Squire, Rachel (Dunfermline W)
Miller, Andrew Steinberg, Gerry
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby) Stevenson, George
Moonie, Dr Lewis Stott, Roger
Morley, Elliot Strang, Dr. Gavin
Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wy'nshawe) Straw, Jack
Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley) Sutcliffe, Gerry
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon) Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Mudie, George Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Mullin, Chris Timms, Stephen
Murphy, Paul Tipping, Paddy
O'Brien, William (Normanton) Touhig, Don
O'Hara, Edward Trickett, Jon
Olner, Bill Turner, Dennis
O'Neill, Martin Tyler, Paul
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
Pearson, Ian Wallace, James
Pendry, Tom Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Pickthall, Colin Wareing, Robert N
Pike, Peter L Watson, Mike
Pope, Greg Welsh, Andrew
Powell, Sir Ray (Ogmore) Wicks, Malcolm
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Wigley, Dafydd
Purchase, Ken Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
Quin, Ms Joyce Wilson, Brian
Radice, Giles Winnick, David
Randall, Stuart Wise, Audrey
Raynsford, Nick Worthington, Tony
Reid, Dr John Wray, Jimmy
Rendel, David Wright, Dr Tony
Robertson, George (Hamilton) Young, David (Bolton SE)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara Tellers for the Ayes:
Rogers, Allan Mrs. Bridget Prentice and
Rooker, Jeff Ms Ann Coffey.
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Booth, Hartley
Alexander, Richard Boswell, Tim
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby) Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)
Allason, Rupert Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia
Arbuthnot, James Bowden, Sir Andrew
Arnold, Jacques Bowis, John
Ashby, David Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes
Atkins, Rt Hon Robert Brandreth, Gyles
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E) Brazier, Julian
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Bright, Sir Graham
Baker, Rt Hon Kenneth (Mole V) Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset) Brown, M (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)
Banks, Matthew (Southport) Browning, Mrs Angela
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Bruce, Ian (South Dorset)
Bates, Michael Budgen, Nicholas
Batiste, Spencer Burns, Simon
Beggs, Roy Burt, Alistair
Bellingham, Henry Butcher, John
Bendall, Vivian Butler, Peter
Beresford, Sir Paul Butterfill, John
Biffen, Rt Hon John Carlisle, John (Luton North)
Body, Sir Richard Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Carrington, Matthew
Carttiss, Michael Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Cash, William Hendry, Charles
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Chapman, Sir Sydney Hicks, Sir Robert
Churchill, Mr Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence
Clappison, James Hill, Sir James (Southampton Test)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ru'clif) Horam, John
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Hordem, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Coe, Sebastian Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Colvin, Michael Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)
Congdon, David Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st) Hughes, Robert G (Harrow W)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)
Cope, Rt Hon Sir John Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Cormack, Sir Patrick Hunter, Andrew
Couchman, James Jack, Michael
Cran, James Jenkin, Bernard
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 Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Deva, Nirj Joseph Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Devlin, Tim Key, Robert
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Kirkhope, Timothy
Dover, Den Knapman, Roger
Duncan, Alan Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Duncan Smith, Iain Knight, Rt Hon Greg (Derby N)
Dunn, Bob Knox, Sir David
Durant, Sir Anthony Kynoch, George (Kincardine)
Dykes, Hugh Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Eggar, Rt Hon Tim Lawrence, Sir Ivan
Elletson, Harold Legg, Barry
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Leigh, Edward
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield) Lennox-Boyd, Sir Mark
Evans, Roger (Monmouth) Lester, Sir James (Broxtowe)
Evennett, David Lidington, David
Faber, David Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Fabricant, Michael Lord, Michael
Fenner, Dame Peggy Luff, Peter
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Fishburn, Dudley MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Forman, Nigel MacKay, Andrew
Forsythe, Clifford (S Antrim) Maclean, Rt Hon David
Forth, Eric McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman Madel, Sir David
Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring) Maitland, Lady Olga
Fox, Rt Hon Sir Marcus (Shipley) Major, Rt Hon John
Freeman, Rt Hon Roger Malone, Gerald
French, Douglas Mans, Keith
Fry, Sir Peter Marland, Paul
Gale, Roger Marlow, Tony
Gallie, Phil Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Gardiner, Sir George Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)
Garnier, Edward Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Gill, Christopher Mates, Michael
Gillan, Cheryl Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian
Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair Mellor, Rt Hon David
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Merchant, Piers
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Mills, Iain
Gorst, Sir John Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Grant, Sir A (SW Cambs) Mitchell, Sir David (NW Hants)
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Moate, Sir Roger
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Monro, Rt Hon Sir Hector
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N) Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Grylls, Sir Michael Moss, Malcolm
Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn Needham, Rt Hon Richard
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archibald Neubert, Sir Michael
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Hannam, Sir John Nicholls, Patrick
Hargreaves, Andrew Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Haselhurst, Sir Alan Norris, Steve
Hawkins, Nick Oppenheim, Phillip
Hawksley, Warren Ottaway, Richard
Heald, Oliver Page, Richard
Paice, James Stephen, Michael
Patnick, Sir Irvine Stern, Michael
Patten, Rt Hon John Stewart, Allan
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Streeter, Gary
Pawsey, James Sumberg, David
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Sweeney, Walter
Pickles, Eric Sykes, John
Porter, Barry (Wirral S) Tapsell, Sir Peter
Porter, David (Waveney) Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Taylor, Rt Hon John D (Strgfd)
Powell, William (Corby) Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Redwood, Rt Hon John Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Renton, Rt Hon Tim Temple-Morris, Peter
Richards, Rod Thomason, Roy
Riddick, Graham Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Robathan, Andrew Thornton, Sir Malcolm
Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn Townend, John (Bridlington)
Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S) Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)
Tracey, Richard
Robinson, Mark (Somerton) Tredinnick, David
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne) Trend, Michael
Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent) Trotter, Neville
Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela Twinn Dr Ian
Ryder, Rt Hon Richard
Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Sackville, Tom Viggers, Peter
Sainsbury, Rt Hon Sir Timothy Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Scott, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Walden, George
Shaw, David (Dover) Walker, Bill (N Tayside)
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Waller, Gary
Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian Ward John
Shepherd, Sir Colin (Hereford) Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge) Waterson, Nigel
Shersby, Sir Michael Watts, John
Sims, Sir Roger Whitney, Ray
Skeet, Sir Trevor Whittingdale, John
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick) Widdecombe, Ann
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Smyth, The Reverend Martin Wilkinson, John
Soames, Nicholas Willetts, David
Speed, Sir Keith Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)
Spencer, Sir Derek Wolfson, Mark
Spicer, Sir Michael (S Worcs) Wood, Timothy
Spink, Dr Robert Yeo, Tim
Spring, Richard Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Sproat, Iain
Squire, Robin (Hornchurch) Tellers for the Noes:
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Mr. Derek Conway and Mr. Patrick McLoughlin.
Steen, Anthony

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment proposed: No. 3, in page 11, line 32, at end insert—

'(2A) No arrangements shall be made under subsection (1) above in respect of grants payable under this Act unless and until the Secretary of State has laid before Parliament an evaluation of the operation over a period of 12 months of any grant for nursery education in the area of any local authority made during the financial years 1996–97 and 1997–98.'.—[Mrs. Liddell.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 262, Noes 288.

Division No. 185] [5.52 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Banks, Tony (Newham NW)
Adams, Mrs Irene Barron, Kevin
Ainger, Nick Battle, John
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Bayley, Hugh
Allen, Graham Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret
Alton, David Beggs, Roy
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale) Bell, Stuart
Ashton, Joe Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Austin-Walker, John Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe Gerrard, Neil
Bermingham, Gerald Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Berry, Roger Godman, Dr Norman A
Betts, Clive Godsiff, Roger
Blair, Rt Hon Tony Golding, Mrs Llin
Blunkett, David Gordon, Mildred
Boateng, Paul Graham, Thomas
Bradley, Keith Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E) Grocott, Bruce
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Gunnell, John
Byers, Stephen Hain, Peter
Callaghan, Jim Hall, Mike
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Hanson, David
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Hardy, Peter
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Harman, Ms Harriet
Campbell-Savours, D N Harvey, Nick
Canavan, Dennis Heppell, John
Cann, Jamie Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Carlile, Alexander (Montgomery) Hinchliffe, David
Chidgey, David Hodge, Margaret
Chisholm, Malcolm Hoey, Kate
Church, Judith Hogg, Norman (Cumbernauld)
Clapham, Michael Home Robertson, John
Clark, Dr David (South Shields) Hood, Jimmy
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Hoon, Geoffrey
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)
Clelland, David Howarth, George (Knowsley North)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Howells, Dr Kim (Pontypridd)
Connarty, Michael Hoyle, Doug
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Corbett, Robin Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Corbyn, Jeremy Hutton, John
Corston, Jean Illsley, Eric
Cousins, Jim Ingram, Adam
Cox, Tom Jackson, Gtenda (H'stead)
Cummings, John Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Jamieson, David
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE) Janner, Greville
Cunningham, Roseanna Jenkins, Brian (SE Staff)
Dafis, Cynog Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Môn)
Dalyell, Tam Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Darling, Alistair Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)
Davidson, Ian Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)
Davies, Chris (L'Boro & S'worth) Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Keen, Alan
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Kennedy, Jane (L'pool Br'dg'n)
Denham, John Khabra, Piara S
Dewar, Donald Kilfoyle, Peter
Dixon, Don Kirkwood, Archy
Dobson, Frank Lewis, Terry
Donohoe, Brian H Uddell, Mrs Helen
Dowd, Jim Litherland, Robert
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Livingstone, Ken
Eagle, Ms Angela Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Eastham, Ken Llwyd, Elfyn
Etherington, Bill Loyden, Eddie
Evans, John (St Helens N) Lynne, Ms Liz
Ewing, Mrs Margaret McAllion, John
Fatchett, Derek McAvoy, Thomas
Faulds, Andrew McCartney, Ian
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Macdonald, Calum
Fisher, Mark McFall, John
Flynn, Paul McKelvey, William
Forsythe, Clifford (S Antrim) Mackinlay, Andrew
Foster, Rt Hon Derek McLeish, Henry
Foster, Don (Bath) Maclennan, Robert
Foulkes, George McNamara, Kevin
Fyfe, Maria MacShane, Denis
Galbraith, Sam McWilliam, John
Galloway, George Madden, Max
Gapes, Mike Maddock, Diana
Garrett, John Mahon, Alice
George, Bruce Mandelson, Peter
Marek, Dr John Salmond, Alex
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Sedgemore, Brian
Martin, Michael J (Springburn) Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Marttew, Eric Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Meacher, Michael Short, Clare
Meale, Alan Simpson, Alan
Michael, Alun Skinner, Dennis
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Smith, Chris (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute) Soley, Clive
Milburn, Alan Spearing, Nigel
Miller, Andrew Spellar, John
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby) Squire, Rachel (Dunfermline W)
Moonie, Dr Lewis Steinberg, Gerry
Morgan, Rhodri Stevenson, George
Morley, Elliot Stott, Roger
Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wy'nshawe) Strang, Dr. Gavin
Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley) Straw, Jack
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon) Sutcliffe, Gerry
Mudie, George Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Mullin, Chris Taylor, Rt Hon John D (Strgfd)
Murphy, Paul Tayior, Matthew (Truro)
O'Brien, William (Normanton) Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
O'Hara, Edward Timms, Stephen
Olner, Bill Tipping, Paddy
O'Neill, Martin Touhig, Don
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Trickett, Jon
Pearson, Ian Turner, Dennis
Pendry, Tom Tyler, Paul
Pickthall, Colin Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
Pike, Peter L Wallace, James
Pope, Greg Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Powell, Sir Ray (Ogmore) Wareing, Robert N
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Watson, Mike
Purchase, Ken Welsh, Andrew
Quin, Ms Joyce Wicks, Malcolm
Radice, Giles Wigley, Dafydd
Randall, Stuart Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
Raynsford, Nick Wilson, Brian
Reid, Dr John Winnick, David
Rendel, David Wise, Audrey
Robertson, George (Hamilton) Worthington, Tony
Robinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW) Wray, Jimmy
Roche, Mrs Barbara Wright, Dr Tony
Rogers, Allan Young, David (Bolton SE)
Rooker, Jeff
Rooney, Terry Tellers for the Ayes:
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Mrs. Bridget Prentice and Ms Ann Coffey.
Rowlands, Ted
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)
Aitken, Rt Hon Jonathan Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia
Alexander, Richard Bowden, Sir Andrew
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby) Bowis, John
Allason, Rupert (Torbay) Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes
Amess, David Brandreth, Gyles
Arbuthnot, James Brazier, Julian
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Bright, Sir Graham
Ashby, David Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Atkins, Rt Hon Robert Brown, M (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E) Browning, Mrs Angela
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Bruce, Ian (South Dorset)
Baker, Rt Hon Kenneth (Mole V) Budgen, Nicholas
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset) Burns, Simon
Banks, Matthew (Southport) Burt, Alistair
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Butler, Peter
Bates, Michael Butterfill, John
Batiste, Spencer Carlisle, John (Luton North)
Bellingham, Henry Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln)
Bendall, Vivian Carrington, Matthew
Beresford, Sir Paul Carttiss, Michael
Biffen, Rt Hon John Cash, William
Body, Sir Richard Channon, Rt Hon Paul
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Chapman, Sir Sydney
Booth, Hartley Churchill, Mr
Boswell, Tim Clappison, James
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochtord) Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ru'clif) Horam, John
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Coe, Sebastian Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Colvin, Michael Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dtord)
Congdon, David Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st) Hughes, Robert G (Harrow W)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)
Cope, Rt Hon Sir John Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Cormack, Sir Patrick Hunter, Andrew
Couchman, James Jack, Michael
Cran, James Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire) Jenkin, Bernard
Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon) Jessel, Toby
Davies, Quentin (Stamford) Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Davis, David (Boothferry) Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Day, Stephen Jones, Robert B (W Hertfdshr)
Deva, Nirj Joseph Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Devlin, Tim Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Key, Robert
Dover, Den King, Rt Hon Tom
Duncan, Alan Kirkhope, Timothy
Duncan Smith, Iain Knapman, Roger
Dunn, Bob Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Durant, Sir Anthony Knight Rt Hon Greg (Derby N)
Dykes, Hugh Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)
Eggar, Rt Hon Tim Knox, Sir David
Elletson, Harold Kynoch, George (Kincardine)
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield) Lawrence, Sir Ivan
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley) Legg, Barry
Evans, Roger (Monmouth) Leigh, Edward
Evennett, David Lennox-Boyd, Sir Mark
Faber, David Lester, Sir James (Broxtowe)
Fabricant, Michael Lidington, David
Fenner, Dame Peggy Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Lord, Michael
Fishburn, Dudley Luff, Peter
Forman, Nigel Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Forth, Eric MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman MacKay, Andrew
Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring) Maclean, Rt Hon David
Fox, Rt Hon Sir Marcus (Shipley) McNair-Wlson, Sir Patrick
Freeman, Rt Hon Roger Madel, Sir David
French, Douglas Maitland, Lady Olga
Fry, Sir Peter Major, Rt Hon John
Gale, Roger Malone, Gerald
Gallie, Phil Mans, Keith
Gardiner, Sir George Marland, Paul
Garnier, Edward Marlow, Tony
Gill, Christopher Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Gillan, Cheryl Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)
Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Mates, Michael
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian
Gorst, Sir John Mellor, Rt Hon David
Grant, Sir A (SW Cambs) Merchant, Piers
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Mills, Iain
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Mitchell, Sir David (NW Hants)
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N) Moate, Sir Roger
Grylls, Sir Michael Monro, Rt Hon Sir Hector
Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archibald Needham, Rt Hon Richard
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Neubert, Sir Michael
Hannam, Sir John Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Hargreaves, Andrew Nicholls, Patrick
Haselhurst, Sir Alan Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Hawkins, Nick Norris, Steve
Hawksley, Warren Ottaway, Richard
Heald, Oliver Page, Richard
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David Paice, James
Hendry, Charles Patnick, Sir Irvine
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Patten, Rt Hon John
Hicks, Sir Robert Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence Pawsey, James
Hill, Sir James (Southampton Test) Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Pickles, Eric Sweeney, Walter
Porter, Barry (Wirral S) Sykes, John
Porter, David (Waveney) Tapsell, Sir Peter
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Powell, William (Corby) Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Redwood, Rt Hon John Taylor, Sr Teddy (Southend, E)
Renton, Rt Hon Tim Temple-Morris, Peter
Richards, Rod Thomason, Roy
Riddick, Graham Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Robathan, Andrew Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn Thornton, Sir Malcolm
Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S) Townend, John (Bridlington)
Robinson, Mark (Somerton) Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne) Tracey, Richard
Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent) Tredinnick, David
Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela Trend, Michael
Ryder, Rt Hon Richard Trotter, Neville
Sainsbury, Rt Hon Sir Timothy Twinn, Dr Ian
Scott, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Shaw, David (Dover) Viggers, Peter
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian Walden, George
Shepherd, Sir Colin (Hereford) Walker, Bill (N Tayside)
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge) Waller, Gary
Shersby, Sir Michael Ward, John
Sims, Sir Roger Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Skeet, Sir Trevor Waterson, Nigel
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick) Watts, John
Smith, Tm (Beaconsfield) Wells, Bowen
Soames, Nicholas Whitney, Ray
Speed, Sir Keith Whittingdale, John
Spencer, Sir Derek Widdecombe, Ann
Spicer, Sir Michael (S Worcs) Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Spink, Dr Robert Wilkinson, John
Spring, Richard Willetts, David
Sproat, Iain Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)
Squire, Robin (Hornchurch) Wolfson, Mark
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Wood, Timothy
Steen, Anthony Yeo, Tim
Stephen, Michael Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Stern, Michael
Stewart, Allan Tellers for the Noes:
Streeter, Gary Mr. Derek Conway and Mr. Patrick McLoughlin.
Sumberg, David

Question accordingly negatived.

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