HC Deb 27 March 1996 vol 274 cc1067-80

200AA.—(1) A person holding any of the offices mentioned in subsection (2) below shall not be charged to tax under Schedule E in respect of—

  1. (a) any transport or subsistence provided or made available by or on behalf of the Crown to the office-holder or any member of his family or household; or
  2. (b) the payment or re-imbursement by or on behalf of the Crown of any expenses incurred in connection with the provision of transport or subsistence to the office-holder or any member of his family or household.

(2) Those offices are—

  1. (a) any office in Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, and
  2. (b) any other office which is one of the offices and positions in respect of which salaries are payable under section 1 of the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975 (whether or not the person holding it is a person to whom a salary is paid or payable under the Act).

(3) Nothing in this section shall prevent a person from being chargeable to tax under Schedule E in respect of the benefit of a mobile telephone (within the meaning of section 159A).

(4) References in this section to a member of the family or household of an office-holder shall be construed in accordance with section 168(4).

(5) References in this section to the provision of transport to any person include references to the following—

  1. (a) the provision or making available to that person of any car (whether with or without a driver);
  2. (b) the provision of any fuel for a car provided or made available to that person;
  3. (c) the provision of any other benefit in connection with a car provided or made available to that person.

(6) In this section—

(2) This section has effect for the year 1996–97 and subsequent years of assessment.'.—[Mr. Jack.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Michael Jack)

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

I apologise to the House for the relatively late tabling of this new clause. I thank the hon. Member for Oxford, East (Mr. Smith) for the way in which he has responded to that. I hope that the information that I was able to supply to him has helped him to gain a clear understanding of the clause.

Put simply, our proposal is to maintain the way that travel and subsistence for the Speaker, Ministers and Opposition officeholders have been dealt with for the past 20 years. Some 20 years ago, the then Government included in their Finance Bill new legislation to tax company cars and other benefits in kind. That Finance Bill included an exemption for pool cars. Broadly, those are cars that are used for business, are shared, are not usually taken home overnight by employees and have no more than merely incidental private use.

At that time, it was expected that Ministers' cars would be pool cars. The then Financial Secretary to the Treasury, the right hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Sheldon) said: As I understand it, normally, from what goes on in industry, pool cars are used on a Monday to Friday basis and that is the position with regard to Government pool cars, that there are restrictions on private use, such as the provision that the employee does not normally have a pool car for use on holidays or weekends—and the same position applies to Ministers. From my examination, there is very little to choose between the way in which the Government run their car service and the ordinary pool car arrangements that we see in operation. Because of this, there is no reason to suggest that Ministers receive any benefit more than any other who have a pool car system as a traditional means of providing motor cars."— [Official Report, Standing Committee E, 22 June 1976; c. 1188.] That was also the view in subsequent years when official cars were treated under successive Governments as pool cars.

As we moved into the 1990s, Ministers and the Inland Revenue had questions probing the precise application of tax law to official cars from tax practitioners, individual employers and employees, and from some hon. Members. Against that background, the Inland Revenue was asked to review the whole matter. Although nothing has changed since 1976, the Inland Revenue took, as it would in any such review, a fresh look at the interaction of tax law with the way in which official cars are used.

After taking legal advice, the Inland Revenue concluded that it could no longer guarantee that all official cars are pool cars for tax purposes. That was because it no longer took the view that, in strict tax terms, private use was merely incidental to the business use. Having looked at that again, it concluded from the strict tax standpoint that working on classified papers in a car did not mean that travel between home and work was necessarily merely incidental to the other use of the car. Failing that one test means that the tax exemption is lost even when the car is pooled and is not normally kept at home overnight.

The Inland Revenue also found in its review that legislation in 1989 had made it clear that security cars were not necessarily exempt from tax. For security reasons, some cars are used in a way that means that they cannot be treated as pool cars. Faced with a similar position, other employees might ask their employer to pay the tax for them so that they are no worse off. That option is not open to us. It was clear at that time that legislation would be needed to maintain the intention of Parliament in 1976 that there should be no tax on official cars which can now, as then, be used only for official travel and for a limited range of what, in strict tax terms, is not business travel.

The additional travel allows Ministers to make more efficient use of their time for work in the office or at official engagements. It also gives them time to work in their cars and protects them and official papers. Successive Governments have recognised that that is a cost-effective measure and makes good sense. It became apparent that we also needed to look at other things that are provided in connection with official duties, including in some circumstances meals, travel or overnight accommodation for spouses. That raised complex questions that took a long time to resolve.

We were determined from the outset to resolve the tax treatment fully and openly and wished to make sure that all the issues had been identified. It took some time to check all the possible circumstances in which Departments may incur costs in connection with the official duties of the Speaker, Ministers and Opposition officeholders. The Inland Revenue wished to take legal advice on some of them. In the light of the Inland Revenue advice, we had to consider that meals, travel or overnight accommodation for spouses could be taxable, and all the options open to us were fully and carefully considered. They included the option of presenting to the House legislation to allow Departments to meet any tax on travel as other employers do for their employees. We had to revisit our options in the light of developments along the way, which included the report of the Top Salaries Review Body.

We are satisfied that the new clause reflects the 1976 intention and that it meets our objective of removing doubt about the tax treatment now and in future. It invites the House to confirm that meals, travel or overnight accommodation that are provided by Departments for the Speaker, Ministers and Opposition office holders should not be taxed in future just as they have not been taxed in the past. That is all that it does.

The Speaker, Ministers and Opposition officeholders will pay no more and no less tax than they pay now. They will have meals, travel or overnight accommodation only in connection with their official duties. Occasionally, and quite justifiably, that includes meals, travel and overnight accommodation for spouses who are invited to accompany them and assist in their duties.

I make it clear that checks are in place to ensure that public money is spent only for those purposes and as set out in "Questions of Procedure for Ministers", which states: The expense of a Minister's spouse when accompanying the Minister on the latter's official duties may occasionally be paid from public funds, provided that it is clear in the public interest that he or she should accompany the Minister. In the case of official visits overseas the Prime Minister's prior assent should be obtained on each occasion. For official visits within the United Kingdom, this is at the discretion of the Minister in charge of the Department concerned who, if in any doubt, should consult the Permanent Secretary. In summary, the new clause does no more than confirm what everyone expected the position to be when the Administration in 1976 introduced tax legislation on benefits in kind. That position has been subsequently maintained in the way that meals, travel and temporary accommodation for the Speaker, Ministers and Opposition officeholders have been treated in practice by successive Governments since 1976.

Mr. Mike O'Brien (North Warwickshire)

I thank the Minister for attempting to answer the 17 questions that we put to him today through my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford, East (Mr. Smith) who is the shadow Chief Secretary. Unfortunately, that cannot compensate for inadequate time for proper parliamentary consideration of the clause. We regret that, at the last minute, Ministers are trying to insert into the Bill a clause from which they might be perceived personally to benefit. I say, more in sorrow than in anger, that that does nothing for public confidence in the reputation of the House.

The shadow Leader of the House and the shadow Chief Secretary were told of the clause on the day that it was tabled, and it was tabled on the last possible day on which it would have been in order. The House should not be doing business in that manner if it can be avoided, particularly when some members of the public are already suspicious of hon. Members' motives and might construe a wrong conclusion from the procedure adopted by Ministers.

We must not only do the right thing to protect the honour and reputation of the House but we must be seen to do the right thing. We must be above the suspicion that hon. Members might seek unfairly to profit personally from their legislative powers. That is why any proposal that benefits hon. Members should have been openly and publicly debated and referred to the Nolan committee or to the office of Sir Gordon Downey before it ever reached the Floor of the House. That is just basic good sense and good practice in the light of the public criticism of the House in the past year. Quietly placing a clause such as this into the Finance Bill at the last possible moment is politically crass. It invites criticism and does nothing to enhance the House's reputation.

6 pm

I do not accuse Ministers—or, for that matter, the four Opposition postholders who will be affected—of obtaining new benefits from this clause, but there is an obligation to ensure that the public know that that is the case. Openness and transparency are so important because the issue is perception and reputation, as well as our doubts about the clause's detail.

Let us refer this clause to Sir Gordon Downey or to the Nolan committee. Let it be seen that the clause will merely replicate the circumstances in which employers pay for transport for employees, as the Government claim in their press release. We should continue the current treatment and refer the question of enshrining this clause in legislation to the independent authority. If the clause is accepted in an independent assessment, after public debate, the Chancellor can propose it in the Budget in the normal way. The Revenue would be aware of the Government's intention to legislate on this matter to cover 1996–97, and it could take that into consideration when making any tax claims.

Last-minute amendments raise unnecessary suspicions. Unfortunately, last-minute amendments have become a feature of the Government, with their rushed, ill-prepared legislation. We saw that demonstrated in loan relationships, self-assessment, and recently with the National Health Service (Residual Liabilities) Bill. I am perhaps less suspicious of last-minute amendments than other people. I am more used to ministerial incompetence and tend to suspect the cock-up rather than the conspiracy theory of late amendments, but I can see tomorrow's press.

At the weekend, there were stories of the Secretary of State for Social Security having trips to and from his holiday home in France paid for by the taxpayer. The Sunday Telegraph said that he claimed £2,980 for a round-trip flight by private plane. I do not propose to delve further into that matter today—but, on Monday, the new clause was placed before the House. I repeat: it is just crass timing.

What has changed since the 1976 provisions were introduced? They seemed adequate at that time. What are Ministers doing now that they were not doing then? If any part of the new clause related to security issues—perhaps for protection costs for Ministers—we would be anxious to assist with it. Certainly, no Minister or other parliamentary officeholder should be exposed to tax for carrying out essential duties.

On the security issue, some senior corporate employees may have legitimate security concerns. To what extent can we justify giving tax exemptions to Ministers and senior parliamentarians that do not extend to other people who may be at some risk when travelling to and from work? Those issues may require consideration before we move to legislation.

The Financial Secretary rightly quoted something that my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Sheldon) said in 1976. My right hon. Friend also said: As I have said before, the position of a Minister is on all fours with the position of a director or higher-paid employee. That I stand by. I should not wish to be present speaking from this position if I were introducing legislation other than that."—[Official Report, Standing Committee E, 22 June 1976; c. 1029.1 We now seem to be going beyond that statement.

The new clause is not just about cars. Clauses such as this should reflect the widest possible consensus between the parties in the House. It may be that we could agree on a clause that is similar to this, but we have not had the time yet to consider fully its implications. We wish to be cautious.

Mr. Tim Smith

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. O'Brien

I am pressed for time, but I shall give way.

Mr. Smith

Given the clear assurance that my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary gave on this matter, I am slightly surprised at the hon. Gentleman's response. Will the hon. Gentleman now say that, if the clause finds its way into the Finance Act, a future Labour Government would immediately refer it to Nolan or to Sir Gordon Downey?

Mr. O'Brien

If the hon. Gentleman had been listening, he would know that we want this matter to be referred now, before we legislate. Why is the wording of the clause so wide ranging? Can he answer that question? According to subsection 1(a) of the proposed new section 200AA of the Taxes Act 1988, tax relief is included not only for the officeholder but for any member of his family or household". "Family" I can understand, but does "household" include servants, valets, butlers or Great-uncle Charlie, who happens to live with the Minister?

A relative who assists at an official function should be covered, but we need to consider with more care how far we extend the exemption. The broad nature of the clause suggests hasty drafting. Some people—not I—might say that it was a hasty response to the stories on Sunday about the Secretary of State for Social Security. Perhaps the terms of rules on taxation of Ministers and others should be better circumscribed. Perhaps we should better protect ourselves in the House in terms of the legislation that we pass.

Today, we asked a number of questions of the Financial Secretary in writing. I shall ask a few of them now. Why have the Government not allowed a reasonable time for consultation on their proposals? Why did the press release of 25 March say that the new clause covers only expenses incurred in connection with official duties, when there is no such limitation in the text of the new clause? Why was the matter not referred to the Nolan committee? Is there a difference between the rules for Ministers and parliamentary officers and those for employees? If so, precisely what are those differences, and what are the reasons for them? The Government press release is vague on that point.

Perhaps we need to protect our reputation with more detailed rules. This is not the right way to go about enacting such provisions. I ask the Minister to withdraw the clause and to refer it for independent assessment by Nolan or by Sir Gordon. The debate over the Nolan report was about transparency and the need for Members of Parliament to be open about what they do. Let the House show in its procedures that it has learnt the lesson.

Let us reject the new clause and the way in which it has been put forward—at least for today. Let us say that we expect more transparency in such matters, and send a message to the public that the House has cleaned up its act and will be as open as possible in its future dealings. Our constituents have a right to such openness, and they will put up with nothing less. Labour will oppose this clause, with some regret.

Mr. Devlin

I had not planned to speak to this clause, but the speech of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. O'Brien) was most disgraceful. He is trying to make a most boring little clause about non-taxation of ministerial cars into an Opposition attack on sleaze in government; it is absolutely absurd. He should be ashamed of himself for coming along and—rather feebly—trying to make a rather stupid mountain out of a very small molehill.

Mr. Malcolm Bruce (Gordon)

I wholly understand the basic reasoning behind this amendment—the Minister has had the courtesy to explain its purpose—and, like the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. O'Brien), I do not find anything fundamentally objectionable with it. I am, however, a little puzzled about why it had to be tabled at this very late stage.

The Minister said that apparently there has been, up until now, some type of agreement with the Inland Revenue, but that the agreement has since come to a crunch, and that the Inland Revenue is basically saying that unless the matter is put into law, it will apply taxation—presumably retrospectively—to Ministers. Some Ministers could potentially be faced with very large tax bills, which I appreciate is a real difficulty. I should be grateful, however, if the Financial Secretary could explain the situation a little more.

The timing puzzles me because, having been alerted to the clause, I asked my office to research its origin. As a result of the research, I was given a cutting from The Guardian of 12 May 1993, which said that this issue was very much under discussion at that time. In fact, my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) asked specific questions of the then Financial Secretary, currently the Secretary of State for Health. The then Financial Secretary said that, if he were taxed on his travel-to-work requirements, he would walk to work. I do not know whether he still intends to do that. I am not unsympathetic to the fact that Ministers go home late at night and travel in with boxes. If the argument is that Ministers need to be treated differently, that needs to be made a little clearer.

What worries me slightly is that there seems to be a contradiction in the argument. It is argued that, in relation to travel to work, Ministers are treated on the same terms as anyone else. It is also argued that Ministers have a special requirement—perhaps involving security—and work requirements that can be carried out in the car taking them to and from their engagements. It should be either one thing or the other. If the Government's argument is that Ministers require cars to and from work for work-efficiency purposes, that they are in a special category and that they should not be taxed for that, I and, I am sure, my party do not have a particular problem. However, the Inland Revenue and the Financial Secretary will have a problem with all the knock-on implications: other people might make similar claims.

My worry is similar to that of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, the Labour Front-Bench spokesman. As the matter has been tackled so late, we are left with a few questions that we do not have to time to answer. If it is possible to refer the matter outside without putting Ministers in prejudice, it should be done. After the Inland Revenue has held off this long, I find it difficult to believe that, if such a statement were made today, Ministers would find themselves landed with big tax bills at short notice. I should be grateful if the Financial Secretary would deal with those points.

Mr. Stuart Randall (Kingston upon Hull, West)

The Financial Secretary's explanation of the new clause was clear and I thank him for that. His argument, however, hinged on the Inland Revenue's investigation of the matter and on the fact that it was unable to guarantee that Ministers' cars could be regarded as pool cars because of incidental use—personal use—as opposed to official use. I would be grateful if the Financial Secretary would clarify that just a little and tell us what evidence before the Inland Revenue showed that perhaps it was difficult to regard those cars as something other than pool cars.

I have been abroad and seen Ministers travelling around the world. It is good that spouses should attend engagements with Ministers. That is important, not only because it enables Ministers who look after policy abroad to be with their spouses as often as possible, but because their spouses can perform a useful function for this country, so I welcome that provision. However, I should like to add to the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. O'Brien), the Front-Bench spokesman, on the part of the new clause that refers to any member of his family". It would not be unreasonable to limit that provision to spouses. I should be grateful if the Financial Secretary would comment on that.

The definitional part of the new clause refers entirely to motor cars. Now that the European Union is becoming more and more integrated, why does the definition not include general aviation'? It is no more expensive and it would be consistent with the current arrangements on the use of general aviation that all Members of Parliament have with the Fees Office: they may do so, provided that it is not more expensive than normal air travel.

Mr. Jack

I am disappointed that the Opposition have taken the line that they have. They have explained their reasons and have suggested that there is a hidden agenda. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. O'Brien) said clearly that we should be transparent in all this, but, as my hon. Friend the Member for Stockton, South (Mr. Devlin) said, there was a nudging-in of matters connected with a sleaze element. That is far from what the new clause is about. It is a technical tax issue and in no way would provide a privilege for people who are the temporary officeholders of the day. Ministers, Leaders of the Opposition, Speakers of the House come and go.

In 1976, the provision of cars was deemed sensible, as it was in 1951 when Mr. Churchill, as he was then, first introduced such provision for Ministers, to provide that means of transport. In 1976, when its tax treatment was confirmed, people thought that the matter could be straightforwardly dealt with by making the cars pool cars and that there would therefore not be a liability to tax. As I have illustrated in my remarks, the Inland Revenue has been challenged effectively to the point of having to review the matter again.

6.15 pm

The party of the hon. Member for Gordon (Mr. Bruce) was among others in probing that matter. The provision had not been reviewed for about 17 years, so, rightly, the Revenue thought it timely to reconsider it. It came to the view that, of the three-part test that defined the cars that Ministers, office holders and others use as pool cars, the test that dealt with so-called merely incidental travel—home-to-work travel—was unsustainable. We failed therefore on that test and, after careful analysis, the Revenue deemed that a liability of tax could arise for users of a pool car.

On the point raised by the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, West (Mr. Randall), when the law was originally passed, it was felt that, for example, the act of working on papers in the car was sufficient to make it merely incidental. A further re-examination of the law by the Revenue's legal advisers—particularly bearing in mind the legislation on benefits in kind and the tightening of the law—ultimately made the Revenue say to Ministers, "Look. You have got to do something about this to put beyond doubt the tax treatment of the provision of these cars."

No one has seriously challenged the provision of the cars. That is open and above board. Ministers of the day, officeholders and the Speaker have access to those vehicles because it makes good common sense for that to be so. The problem is that that common-sense procedure falls foul of a ruling by the Revenue.

The hon. Member for North Warwickshire asked whether we could postpone the measure. We have considered the matter for some time and examined whether there are other ways of dealing with it, which picks up on his point about the way in which someone in the private sector might be dealt with. The problem is that, in relation to such cases in the private sector, one of two things could happen.

An individual benefiting in this way from a benefit in kind might make a deal with his company to pay the tax if it provides the benefit or, as is more often the case, the company may gross up the salary, effectively paying the tax for the individual. That facility does not afford itself to officeholders of the day. That is the reason why we seek to make clear, and put beyond peradventure, the tax treatment of the use of pool car arrangements.

Some questions have been asked on the wider issues of the provision of accommodation, travel and spouses. We have been challenged on whether the new clause is drawn too broadly in relation to those subjects. Before we have use of an official car or have our air fare or accommodation paid, there are gates through which we must pass—the proprietorial grounds. Those are laid down in "Questions of Procedures for Ministers". If any Minister of the day has any doubt about those, his private office will be quick to remind him or her of the correct procedures. There is no question, therefore, but that we must pass through stringent tests before we use such cars. That is the point.

A Minister whose spouse has died might require the assistance of, for example, another member of the family in undertaking his or her official duties. That is why the new clause is cast fairly widely. Before we benefit from the new clause, we must pass stringent tests. The new clause in no way, shape or form would confer on Ministers any particular additional benefit other than was outlined by Parliament in 1976. All we seek to do is to put beyond doubt the tax treatment.

In answer to the question of the hon. Member for Gordon, we are not trying to be treated differently. In 1976, Parliament took the view that pool cars should be made available to Ministers. For the reasons that I have given, we wish to sustain the availability of the cars, but put beyond doubt the tax treatment.

Mr. Mike O'Brien

How does the hon. Gentleman deal with the fact that my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Sheldon) said at that time that his objective was to put a Minister on all fours with a director or a high-paid employee?

Mr. Jack

Exactly as I have described. If a director or high-paid employee receives the benefit in kind paid for by his employer, there are two courses of action. One is that his tax would be paid for him by virtue of his salary being grossed up. That facility is not available to office holders. That is why the tax treatment makes certain that, for the duration of the holding of the office, an individual is not liable for a substantial amount of tax.

I assure the House that the Inland Revenue has made it very clear that it would have no option but to levy tax charges in the forthcoming tax year if new legislation were not introduced. I am sorry that the official Opposition feel that they must vote against the new clause, which confers no extra benefit at all on Ministers. We look forward to hearing how they will deal with the issue in future. As usual, they have no alternative proposal. All one can say is that we are protecting all officeholders, including their leader, from what could be a very substantial tax bill.

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

The House divided: Ayes 291, Noes 241.

Division No. 88] [18.21 pm
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Aitken, Rt Hon Jonathan Baker, Rt Hon Kenneth (Mole V)
Alexander, Richard Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby) Baldry, Tony
Allason, Rupert (Torbay) Banks, Matthew (Southport)
Amess, David Banks, Robert (Harrogate)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Bates, Michael
Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv) Batiste, Spencer
Ashby, David Beggs, Roy
Atkins, Rt Hon Robert Bellingham, Henry
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E) Bendall, Vivian
Beresford, Sir Paul Gill, Christopher
Biffen, Rt Hon John Gillan, Cheryl
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair
Boswell, Tim Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Bowis, John Gorst, Sir John
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes Grant, Sir A (SW Cambs)
Brandreth, Gyles Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Brazier, Julian Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)
Brown, M (Brigg & Cl'thorpes) Grylls, Sir Michael
Browning, Mrs Angela Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Bruce, Ian (South Dorset) Hague, Rt Hon William
Budgen, Nicholas Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archibald
Burt, Alistair Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Butler, Peter Hampson, Dr Keith
Butterfill, John Hanley, Rt Hon Jeremy
Carlisle, John (Luton North) Hannam, Sir John
Carrington, Matthew Hargreaves, Andrew
Carttiss, Michael Harris, David
Cash, William Haselhurst, Sir Alan
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Hawkins, Nick
Chapman, Sir Sydney Hawksley, Warren
Churchill, Mr Hayes, Jerry
Clappison, James Heald, Oliver
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ru'clif) Hendry, Charles
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Coe, Sebastian Hicks, Robert
Colvin, Michael Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence
Congdon, David Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st) Horam, John
Coombs, Simon Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Cope, Rt Hon Sir John Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)
Cormack, Sir Patrick Hughes, Robert G (Harrow W)
Couchman, James Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)
Cran, James Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire) Hunter, Andrew
Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon) Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Davies, Quentin (Stamford) Jack, Michael
Davis, David (Boothferry) Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Day, Stephen Jenkin, Bernard
Deva, Nirj Joseph Jessel, Toby
Devlin, Tim Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Dicks, Terry Jones, Robert B (W Hertfdshr)
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Key, Robert
Dover, Den Kirkhope, Timothy
Duncan-Smith, Iain Knapman, Roger
Dunn, Bob Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Dykes, Hugh Knight, Rt Hon Greg (Derby N)
Elletson, Harold Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield) Kynoch, George (Kincardine)
Evans, Jonathan (Brecon) Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley) Lang, Rt Hon Ian
Evans, Roger (Monmouth) Lawrence, Sir Ivan
Evennett, David Legg, Barry
Faber, David Leigh, Edward
Fabricant, Michael Lennox-Boyd, Sir Mark
Fenner, Dame Peggy Lester, Sir James (Broxtowe)
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Lidington, David
Fishburn, Dudley Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Forman, Nigel Lord, Michael
Forsyth, Rt Hon Michael (Stirling) Luff, Peter
Forsythe, Clifford (S Antrim) 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) McLoughlin, Patrick
Freeman, Rt Hon Roger McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
French, Douglas Maginnis, Ken
Fry, Sir Peter Maitland, Lady Olga
Gale, Roger Malone, Gerald
Gallie, Phil Mans, Keith
Gardiner, Sir George Marland, Paul
Garnier, Edward Marlow, Tony
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Spicer, Sir Michael (S Worcs)
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian Spink, Dr Robert
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick Spring, Richard
Mellor, Rt Hon David Sproat, Iain
Merchant, Piers Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Mills, Iain Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Steen, Anthony
Mitchell, Sir David (NW Hants) Stephen, Michael
Moate, Sir Roger Stewart, Allan
Molyneaux, Rt Hon Sir James Streeter, Gary
Monro, Rt Hon Sir Hector Sumberg, David
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Sweeney, Walter
Needham, Rt Hon Richard Sykes, John
Nelson, Anthony Tapsell, Sir Peter
Neubert, Sir Michael Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Taylor, Rt Hon John D (Strgfd)
Nicholls, Patrick Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Norris, Steve Temple-Morris, Peter
Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley Thomason, Roy
Oppenheim, Phillip Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Ottaway, Richard Thornton, Sir Malcolm
Page, Richard Thumham, Peter
Paice, James Townend, John (Bridlington)
Patnick, Sir Irvine Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)
Patten, Rt Hon John Tracey, Richard
Pawsey, James Tredinnick, David
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Trend, Michael
Pickles, Eric Trimble, David
Porter, Barry (Wirral S) Trotter, Neville
Porter, David (Waveney) Twinn, Dr Ian
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Powell, William (Corby) Viggers, Peter
Rathbone, Tim Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Redwood, Rt Hon John Walden, George
Renton, Rt Hon Tim Walker, A Cecil (Belfast N)
Richards, Rod Walker, Bill (N Tayside)
Riddick, Graham Waller, Gary
Robathan, Andrew Ward, John
Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S) Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Robinson, Mark (Somerton) Waterson, Nigel
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne) Watts, John
Ross, William (E Londonderry) Wells, Bowen
Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent) Whitney, Ray
Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela Whittingdale, John
Ryder, Rt Hon Richard Widdecombe, Ann
Sackville, Tom Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Scott, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Wilkinson, John
Shaw, David (Dover) Willetts, David
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)
Shepherd, Sir Colin (Hereford) Wolfson, Mark
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge) Wood, Timothy
Shersby, Sir Michael Yeo, Tim
Sims, Roger Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Skeet, Sir Trevor
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Tellers for the Ayes:
Smyth, The Reverend Martin Mr. Derek Conway and
Soames, Nicholas Mr. Simon Burns.
Abbott, Ms Diane Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Adams, Mrs Irene Bennett, Andrew F
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Bermingham, Gerald
Allen, Graham Berry, Roger
Alton, David Blair, Rt Hon Tony
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Blunkett, David
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale) Boateng, Paul
Armstrong, Hilary Bradley, Keith
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Bray, Dr Jeremy
Austin-Walker, John Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E)
Barnes, Harry Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)
Battle, John Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Bayley, Hugh Burden, Richard
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret Byers, Stephen
Caborn, Richard Hood, Jimmy
Callaghan, Jim Hoon, Geoffrey
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Howarth, George (Knowsley North)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Howells, Dr Kim (Pontypridd)
Campbell-Savours, D N Hoyle, Doug
Canavan, Dennis Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Cann, Jamie Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Carlile, Alexander (Montgomery) Hutton, John
Chidgey, David Illsley, Eric
Chisholm, Malcolm Ingram, Adam
Church, Judith Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)
Clapham, Michael Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)
Clark, Dr David (South Shields) Jamieson, David
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Môn)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)
Coffey, Ann Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)
Cohen, Harry Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Connarty, Michael Jowell, Tessa
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Keen, Alan
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Kennedy, Charles (Ross,C&S)
Corbett, Robin Kennedy, Jane (L 'pool Br'dg'n)
Corston, Jean Khabra, Piara S
Cousins, Jim Kilfoyle, Peter
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE) Kirkwood, Archy
Cunningham, Roseanna Lestor, Joan (Eccles)
Darling, Alistair Lewis, Terry
Davidson, Ian Liddell, Mrs Helen
Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral) Litherland, Robert
Davies, Chris (L'Boro & S'worth) Livingstone, Ken
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Llwyd, Elfyn
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'l) Loyden, Eddie
Denham, John Lynne, Ms Liz
Dixon, Don McAllion, John
Dobson, Frank McAvoy, Thomas
Donohoe, Brian H McCartney, Ian
Dowd, Jim McCartney, Robert
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Macdonald, Calum
Eagle, Ms Angela McFall, John
Etherington, Bill McGrady, Eddie
Evans, John (St Helens N) McKelvey, William
Ewing, Mrs Margaret McLeish, Henry
Fatchett, Derek Maclennan, Robert
Faulds, Andrew McMaster, Gordon
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) McNamara, Kevin
Flynn, Paul McWilliam, John
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Madden, Max
Foster, Don (Bath) Maddock, Diana
Foulkes, George Mahon, Alice
Fyfe, Maria Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Galbraith, Sam Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)
Galloway, George Martin, Michael J (Springburn)
Gapes, Mike Martlew, Eric
George, Bruce Maxton, John
Gerrard, Neil Michael, Alun
Godman, Dr Norman A Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Godsiff, Roger Milburn, Alan
Golding, Mrs Llin Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Gordon, Mildred Moonie, Dr Lewis
Graham, Thomas Morgan, Rhodri
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham) Morley, Elliot
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wy'nshawe)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Gunnell, John Mowlam, Marjorie
Hain, Peter Mudie, George
Hall, Mike Mullin, Chris
Hanson, David Murphy, Paul
Harvey, Nick Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Henderson, Doug O'Brien, Mike (N W'kshire)
Hill, Keith (Streatham) O'Brien, William (Normanton)
Hinchliffe, David Olner, Bill
Hodge, Margaret O'Neill, Martin
Hoey, Kate Pearson, Ian
Home Robertson, John Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
Pope, Greg Steinberg, Gerry
Powell, Ray (Ogmore) Stevenson, George
Prentice, Bridget (Lew'm E) Stott, Roger
Prescott, Rt Hon John Straw, Jack
Primarolo, Dawn Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Purchase, Ken Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Quin, Ms Joyce Timms, Stephen
Radice, Giles Tipping, Paddy
Randall, Stuart Touhig, Don
Raynsford, Nick Trickett, Jon
Rendel, David Tyler, Paul
Robertson, George (Hamilton) Vaz, Keith
Robinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW) Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E) Wallace, James
Roche, Mrs Barbara Walley, Joan
Rooney, Terry Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Wareing, Robert N
Rowlands, Ted Watson, Mike
Welsh, Andrew
Ruddock, Joan Wicks, Malcolm
Salmond, Alex Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
Sedgemore, Brian Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Sheerman, Barry Wilson, Brian
Short, Clare Wise, Audrey
Simpson, Alan Worthington, Tony
Skinner, Dennis Wray, Jimmy
Smith, Andrew (Oxford E) Wright, Dr Tony
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent) Young, David (Bolton SE)
Soley, Clive
Spearing, Nigel Tellers for the Noes:
Spellar, John Mr. David Clelland and
Squire, Rachel (Dunfermline W) Mr. John Cummings.

Question accordingly agreed to.

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

Mr. Devlin

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. The new clause that we have just passed exempts Ministers and the Leader of the Opposition from paying tax on the cars provided for them for the purpose of carrying out their duties. Given that the right hon. Member for Sedgefield (Mr. Blair) and his party voted against that new clause, will the right hon. Gentleman now do the honourable thing and pay the tax anyway?

Madam Speaker

That is not a point of order for me; it is a point that should have been debated when we were debating the new clause.

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