Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 15 (Exempted business),
That, at this day's sitting, the European Communities (Amendment) Bill (Allocation of Time) Motion may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour.—[Mr. Robert Ainsworth.]
§ Question agreed to.
§ Mr. Hayes
I was grateful for that interruption to gather my notes and thoughts.
The social chapter is also in that category. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe drew attention to Jacques Delors's admiration for our opt-out, and his acceptance that, in areas such as inward investment, it gave us a significant advantage over our European counterparts.
It is worth returning briefly to the issue of copyright. The resulting agreement from the treaty on copyright seems to have been decided by qualified majority voting. If so, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not noticed that yet. It remains to be seen what long-term effect that will have on the importance of the German-based European copyright centre at the expense of the national office in the United Kingdom. I suspect that the London office will go out of business, and that will be another item of bad news for Great Britain.
The single currency has also been mentioned in the debate. I do not want to indulge in repetition. The hon. and learned Member for North-East Fife (Mr. Campbell) said that repetition added nothing to the debate. I was reminded of how spiteful and vicious people in the centre of politics often are. People with strong, committed opinions on the left and the right are often accused of those vices, but some of the most vicious people are in the political centre. I do not want to be unkind to the hon. and learned Gentleman, but I had to remind him of that truth.
Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I remind the hon. Gentleman that we are discussing the allocation of time motion, and not these wider issues.
§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
The Foreign Secretary referred time and again to the guillotine motion 433 introduced by the Conservative Government on the community charge legislation: more affectionately known as the poll tax. The introduction of a guillotine on that measure probably contributed to the defeat of the Conservative party in 1997. Should not thought be given to the fact that a guillotine is now being introduced on a matter of considerable importance, even though it has not been properly considered by the House? In the foreseeable future could not this guillotine lead to the defeat of new Labour and the transfer to government of the Conservative party?
§ Mr. Hayes
I can tell my hon. Friend that hon. Members and the wider public take a dim view of such a technique. When Parliament is scrutinised independently and empirically by the electorate, it is that sort of technique which tends to attract most criticism and contempt. As my hon. Friend suggests, Governments with large majorities and Prime Ministers with dodgy advisers—I see that the Minister without Portfolio is in his place—sometimes run to excess. I would not say that about the previous Government, but it may be a general principle.
I shall deal with the single currency and its symbolism in terms of time. We should not undersell, underplay or undervalue the principle of national identity. It is inclusive in that it brings a nation together and ensures that what unites us is greater than what divides us. We toy with national identity at our peril because, to use Blairite rhetoric, to do so would disempower the British people, not all of whom are winners or at the pinnacle of society or can reach the apex of their chosen profession or pursuit. However, they can share in the success, glory and progress of the country as a whole because they share a common national identity. We give that away in the treaty at great loss to those people especially.
I do not know whether it was through a lack of wit or a lack of will that the Government decided to sign the Amsterdam treaty. I cannot believe that it was through a lack of wit so it must have been an express lack of will. The Government have undoubtedly taken a profound step towards European political integration. I was concerned about that and I could barely believe that the Government would do it because I am a decent chap and wanted to believe the best of them so I tabled a couple of written questions to see whether the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister had left the negotiations early. I thought that perhaps the Foreign Secretary had popped out to place a bet. Not at all: he was there throughout, even when he was being stitched up by the Spanish Prime Minister on opt-ins and opt-outs:—so there is no excuse. Their action will dilute our national identity, endanger our national destiny and remove the exercise of political power further and further from ordinary, decent, law-abiding patriotic people such as those whom I and other hon. Members represent.
§ 10.7 pm
§ Mr. William Cash (Stone)
Some debates on this subject are becoming a little too friendly. There is a sort of convention in the House to the effect that, "Well, these things happen. Sometimes we put on guillotines and sometimes it happens the other way round. We do not need to worry too much about it. We can go through the formalities of debate but allow the whole matter to drift along." I do not feel at all friendly towards this guillotine 434 motion. What is more, I do not feel at all friendly towards the Government. This is a creepy-crawly guillotine motion and it is being introduced in circumstances that, by any reasonable standards, do not warrant it.
I have heard my hon. Friends describing the history of the guillotine. It is crystal clear that the Foreign Secretary refused twice to reply to the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) as to why, in relation to the Single European Act, he—the Foreign Secretary—was opposed to the idea to a guillotine, along with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the House, yet, in relation to this Bill, the Government assume a degree of hypocrisy. They know perfectly well that the Single European Act was primarily about trade and a single market, whereas this Bill is about government.
The Bill is about the extension of those parts of the Maastricht treaty that raise the question I frequently asked during the Maastricht debate: who governs Britain? As I said to the Minister of State in the opening debate on the Bill, anybody with even a semblance of knowledge of the European Union knows perfectly well that the Amsterdam treaty is a gross extension of the integration of Europe and our absorption into a process that the Government intend will lead to the extinction of the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. They know that, just as they know their devolution Bills fall into the same category: they are all part of a continuing process of the creation of a federal Europe and this Bill is part and parcel of that process. Therefore, the Bill is, on an accumulative basis, a Bill of the highest constitutional importance and under no circumstances can the precedents for a guillotine lead us to any conclusion other than that it should not have been imposed.
The comparison between the Single European Act and the Maastricht treaty is irrelevant, because the Maastricht treaty was about government. The only positive thing I can say about the previous Government's attitude and their record on the Maastricht treaty is that the one thing they did right was not to impose a guillotine on the debate on that treaty. Now, because we had those debates and went into the issues thoroughly, people can form a judgment about who was right and who was wrong. There is a deliberate conspiracy to prevent the people of this country from knowing the full extent of what is contained in the Amsterdam treaty. That is why the guillotine is being imposed.
§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
I have immense regard for my hon. Friend and his knowledge of all the legislation relating to the European Unio, but is he not being a little generous in his comments about my party—our party—when in government and its action in imposing a guillotine on the Single European Act, which limited discussion? At that time, we accepted assurances from the leadership of our party that the light of experience shows were not worth the breath with which they were uttered. We have been saddled with a reduction in sovereignty, which the then Prime Minister assured us would not happen. Surely guillotines prevent the sort of discussion that is necessary if we are to explore in detail precisely what is involved in legislation.
§ Mr. Cash
I am bound to say that I have believed for a long time that the single market arrangements have not worked as intended. There were some profoundly 435 misleading aspects to that legislation, but, to return to my main point, as far as I am concerned, the Single European Act was primarily about trading relations with Europe, not about the governmental functions that are demonstrable in the Maastricht treaty and in the Amsterdam treaty. There is a distinction and it is important to make that point, but I do not wish to return to the subject of the Single European Act too often. I have reservations about it. It should have been reformed, and the Amsterdam conference would have provided a reasonable opportunity to do so. Of course, the Government had not the slightest intention of doing anything of the sort.
I have noticed that, of the amendments selected for debate, some 60 per cent. are in my name. It was essential to have a significant number of groupings in order to have a proper debate. I am absolutely clear that that debate is being frustrated despite the fact that there has been no filibuster. The Minister knows that he has not accused us of a filibuster; I have not picked up in the Lobbies any suggestion that there has been one. No serious commentator has suggested that we have made any attempt to frustrate proper discussion of the Bill.
In the Amsterdam treaty, the Government signed a protocol, which is binding on the Government, to provide for proper scrutiny by national Parliaments. As a member of the Select Committee on European Legislation—which has been extremely critical of the manner in which national parliamentary scrutiny has been conducted-I find it unbelievable that we should be discussing a treaty that itself contains provisions for the improvement of national scrutiny, yet applying a principle that will deprive us of the opportunity of doing so. That is disgraceful. I shall be interested to hear what the Minister has to say about it when he replies at the end of the debate. There is no filibuster; we are seeking to have proper national scrutiny—yet the Government are denying us even what is contained in the Amsterdam treaty as a matter of principle.
It is astonishing that the Committee proceedings have been almost literally unreported in the media by any newspaper or television or radio programme. It is astonishing that a matter of such importance should be ignored by the media. There is no proper means of communication. As I said in the first debate, the best way to keep a secret is to make a speech in the House of Commons. There is evidence of that with the proceedings on this Bill.
We forced the previous Government—I make no apology for it—into serious debate of the Maastricht treaty. In fairness to the Government of the day, they gave us the debates we wanted. I tabled about 210 amendments to ensure proper discussion. However, because there was a relatively small majority and because, I think, there was a feeling in the country that huge issues of constitutional principle were involved, those debates were reported on a continuous and daily basis.
If we were to compare the governmental functions transferred under Maastricht—vital and massive as they were—with, for example, the extension of the legal area and the vast new powers being conferred on the European Court of Justice, we could conclude only that it is an absolute disgrace to hear hon. Members and Government spokesmen suggesting that this is not an important Bill. If they were to claim that they had not suggested that, 436 I would have to ask why they would want to impose a guillotine on something they have now admitted is important. There is an inherent contradiction in their position.
As other hon. Members have said, the treaty is intended to be irrevocable. It is intended to become part and parcel of our legal framework. It is beyond belief that we should not be renegotiating the treaty. I know that my right hon. Friends had it in mind that at some time we would have a referendum on the treaty. I believe—I think that the huge majority of people in this country share this view—that we should have had, and should yet have, a proper referendum on the Maastricht treaty and, indeed, on the consolidated treaty on European Union. To confine a referendum to the single currency is to duck many of the arguments to which the British people are entitled to give their consent.
I am particularly concerned that my new clause on renegotiation should be discussed. It says that the Bill shall not come into force until there is a new European conference, at which the state of the EU would be discussed and appropriate amendments would be tabled to determine the nature and extent to which renegotiation is necessary. From listening to what Labour Members said when they were in opposition, I know that many of them believe that aspects of the consolidated treaty on European Union, the Maastricht treaty and now the Amsterdam treaty require renegotiation.
Earlier today, we had a debate on fisheries policy. I heard people talking about reform of the common agricultural policy. How the hell is it possible to argue that we must reform those policies, which are subject to treaty arrangements, and then say that we are not going to renegotiate them? Are we to engage simply in a cherry-picking operation and renegotiate only things that are unimportant? Should we not consider the state of the EU as a whole?
In the light of today's discussions, I am driven to consider which are the subjects covered by the groups of amendments that remain for the Committee to debate. After qualified majority and the co-decision procedure, which is what we are currently on, is institutional change and flexibility.
As I said to the Prime Minister when he returned from Luxembourg the other day, is there not an inherent contradiction between his claiming that he should be included in all the discussions on this strange committee entitled Euro X and the fact that the Amsterdam treaty contains provisions on flexibility, which is why he is being excluded? As the Commission said some years ago, economic and monetary union is the best form of flexibility yet devised—and it is applying the principles of flexibility to exclude us from the discussions.
I do not have any truck with monetary union, but there is a fundamental contradiction between the Government's position on Euro X and the flexibility provisions. When the new grouping comes up shortly, we should have the opportunity to discuss flexibility with respect not merely to monetary union, but to all the other matters in the treaty on European Union. Flexibility is a generalised concept. It is intended to apply across the board, but I calculate that hon. Members on both sides of the Chamber will be given only one and a half hours to discuss that flexibility, the institutional changes and the free movement of persons and citizenship.
437 That is an outrage. The people of this country are entitled to know the views of hon. Members, who have been elected to represent them in Parliament, on fundamental questions that affect their freedoms. I am not asking for much. I ask for something small: that we be given a chance to have a proper discussion of matters that are of fundamental interest to our constituents. It is outrageous that the Government should have introduced a guillotine motion on a Bill of this constitutional magnitude, deliberately to deceive the British people into thinking that it is not as important as it really is.
There is a substantial irony in the origins of the guillotine procedure. Hon. Members may remember—or may at least have read—that it was introduced to deal with the Irish question. It was brought in to crush Parnell, who was seeking to obtain home rule for the Irish. The then Government were seeking to impose amended criminal law in Ireland, which Parnell and others opposed. Now, by an extraordinary irony, the procedure is being used to prevent us from retaining our sovereignty, which is effectively our home rule. It is being used to frustrate our sovereignty rather than enhance it. That is outrageous.
I have not heard one word from the Foreign Secretary about the fundamental principles that underpin the guillotine motion. He made a short speech full of specious and irrelevant nonsense about precedents and the Single European Act, but he is a man of great intelligence and perception and he knows perfectly well just how important the Bill is. The Government have adopted a minimalist approach and have managed, through the media, to spin doctor the message that the Bill does not really matter at all. That is one of the greatest deceits perpetrated on the British people for generations because the treaty and the Bill are hugely important, not merely politically but constitutionally. It is therefore essential that the guillotine motion is opposed.
Instead of chattering on the Front Bench, the Minister of State owes it to the House to give a proper explanation, which the Foreign Secretary denied us, of why this constitutional outrage is being perpetrated and why the guillotine is being imposed against all the relevant precedents.
§ Mr. Desmond Swayne (New Forest, West)
I have attended the Committee's sittings assiduously. I would say that I have been here for every minute of every sitting and have spoken on every occasion. If one were to check Hansard, I reckon that one would find that I spoke for between five and seven minutes each time. I did not filibuster but made the points required of me carefully and cogently. I believe that to be the case, because, had it not been, I am sure that the Chairman at any given time would have called me to order. Indeed, had it not been the case, Labour Members would not have sought to intervene to make their own cogent remarks. There has been no filibustering on this Bill.
The fact is that it was the hon. Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Gapes) who spoke for half an hour, and the Minister of State for nearly a full hour.
§ Mr. Swayne
That is indeed the case. I do not begrudge the Minister of State his hour. He was well worth listening to. In that hour, he strenuously attempted to deal with every point made by my colleagues.
I disagree with much of the Minister's analysis, but it was entirely appropriate that he should have taken an hour to express it, just as it was entirely appropriate that I should have spoken to three groups of amendments, because, during the general election campaign, anxieties on the subject matter dealt with by the Bill were expressed, entirely unsolicited, on virtually every doorstep in my constituency.
The people who expressed their concerns speak in this Chamber through me. That is the very basis of a representative democracy. This timetable motion, however, will deny them that opportunity. After Front Benchers have had their say, there will be very little time for Back Benchers to speak to the Bill.
We have a constitutional convention in the United Kingdom, although, I grant, we do not have a written constitution. We generally do not offer our people referendums, or include mandatory thresholds in those referendums. We also do not, unlike France or Germany, have a constitutional court. We do, however, have a constitutional convention, which states that, on constitutional matters, any hon. Member can have his say, without having written to the Speaker and hoping like hell that he will get a chance to speak. The convention is that any hon. Member can have his say by attending the Bill's Committee stage, which will be taken on the Floor of the House. Today's motion will ride roughshod over that convention.
It is all very well for Ministers to say, "This guillotine is your fault. If you had treated the Bill's Committee stage with some respect and not abused it, we would not have been driven to protect our parliamentary timetable for other Bills with this motion", but it was entirely disingenuous of the Secretary of State to say that the Bill has been debated on five days, because the debate on the Bill's Second Reading was entirely irrelevant to today's motion. Moreover, as he himself said, today he made another Second Reading speech. He said that the treaty will protect our borders, guarantee subsidiarity and implement Labour's election manifesto pledge to implement the social chapter. However, only by going through the Bill's detail in Committee will we discover that the treaty will do nothing of the sort. That is precisely why the Government want to kill the Bill's Committee stage; they want debate on the Bill to be silenced.
It is a matter not only of silencing hon. Members, who have every right to speak, but of using smoke and mirrors and of covering up the Second Reading speeches that have been made. A Committee of the whole House has debated the Bill for a total of 12 hours, which represents about three hours per group of amendments. That strikes me as entirely reasonable. If the Government are concerned about their legislative programme, why are they not prepared for the Committee to sit after 10 o'clock? Is the matter not of sufficient constitutional importance to do so? Do Ministers really need their beauty sleep so badly? I wonder. Why has every sitting of the Committee, with one exception, been preceded by a ministerial statement?
439 Many hon. Members have mentioned the Single European Act 1985 in this debate. That Act was debated for three full days. As I said, the Secretary of State was disingenuous when he said that the Bill had been debated on five days. That does not mean that it was debated for five days. In fact, it was debated for 12 hours.
§ Dr. Rudi Vis (Finchley and Golders Green)
The hon. Gentleman has now been speaking for seven minutes.
§ Mr. Swayne
I thank the hon. Gentleman for drawing my attention to that. I have made the points that I wished to make, so I shall take his cue to resume my seat.
§ Mr. Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale, West)
However helpful or unhelpful Labour Members may be, I cannot promise that I shall be as compliant as my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne) in taking cues on how long I should speak.
My hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Mr. Cash) said that the best way to keep a secret is to make a speech in the House of Commons. The reason for that is behaviour such as that of the Government this evening. It is a privilege to follow so many thoughtful and passionate speeches from my hon. Friends, but my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) made an outstanding contribution to the debate. I echo his point that the standing of the House of Commons is at stake when the Government treat Parliament in such a way as to demonstrate their disregard for democracy.
The speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills was particularly important. I only wish that all new Members elected on 1 May could have heard it. I fear that many new Members do not have sufficient regard for the history, tradition and importance of this place as the guarantor of the freedom of the British people. My hon. Friend's speech brings that home.
It is desperately important that we should all remember why we are here. I am tempted to say that it is particularly important for new Labour Members, some of whom were not expecting to be elected on 1 May, but found themselves here—some with small majorities—and who may not be here for very long. Of course, we are all here for as long as our electors choose, but I fear that some who were elected on 1 May do not have sufficient regard for the institution of which we have the privilege to be Members, and that is most regrettable.
The low standing of the House of Commons has been compounded in recent months and years. I make no bones about it. Many questions and problems have been raised. Many people take the view that, at times during the past few years, the Conservative Government did not maintain the highest standards. However, what I find particularly worrying in the arguments for the guillotine motion that have been advanced rather sparingly in just one speech from the Government is the suggestion that, if the previous Government did it, it must be all right.
That is reflected in the behaviour of the new Government over the past few months. The formula one crisis involving Mr. Ecclestone gave the impression— 440 however unjustified—that the Government may have changed their policy because they received a donation of a considerable sum of money.
§ Mr. Gerald Bermingham (St. Helens, South)
I know that the hon. Gentleman has newly arrived, but I recall that, in the last Parliament, the then Conservative Government, who had a majority of 29, introduced 82 guillotine motions. I cannot remember how many there were in the 1987 Parliament, but they were awfully frequent, given the Government's majority of 100. In the 1983 Parliament, the Government had a majority of 144, and they tried to shut us up on every possible occasion.
This is the first one in the current Parliament. I admit that I have been away for part of the time, so will the hon. Gentleman explain why a Government are not allowed to get their business through? What was sauce for the goose from 1983 to 1997 is surely sauce for the gander from 1997 onwards—probably to 2010.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael J. Martin)
Order. The hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale, West (Mr. Brady) is not going to confirm anything of that nature. He is going to confine his remarks to the motion.
§ Mr. Brady
I am struggling to do so—although Labour Members appear to be engaging in a determined filibuster by raising matters that have no relevance whatever to the guillotine motion.
I was referring, in my valid point, to how the standing of Parliament is threatened by the behaviour in which the Government are engaging. This guillotine motion is an important instance of that. It adds to the distressing and unfortunate public view that Parliament is worthless, that it no longer represents the people of this country or has a genuine democratic function.
I am pleased to see the Foreign Secretary in his place again—almost by magic—because I am about to refer to a point that he made in his opening speech. [HON. MEMBERS."Go on, then."] I thank Labour Members for their helpfulness in trying to move me on to my point.
My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard) said that the Foreign Secretary gave two novel justifications for the guillotine motion in his introductory speech—first, that unanimity is required on the Opposition Benches for such business, and secondly that a very large majority on Second Reading obviates the need for a proper Committee.
I think that a third very worrying and novel justification was advanced. It was suggested that, because the Government won a large majority on 1 May, there was no need for a proper Committee stage. Democracy does not end in this country when we have a general election. It is important that we recognise that democracy continues through the Parliament. We are sent here as 441 representatives of our constituents, not merely to implement what may be in a rather sparse election manifesto, of whichever party.
I am tempted to say that, on 1 May, just as all Labour voters may have thought and known that they were voting for incorporation of the social chapter, they all thought and believed that they were voting against a cut in benefits for single mothers. The Foreign Secretary's argument does not stand up when he is prepared to be so selective about which parts of Labour's manifesto and which pledges are considered sacrosanct, and which ones can be thrown away without regard. That is of great concern to hon. Members.
Suggestions, especially by the hon. and learned Member for North-East Fife (Mr. Campbell), that the Bill has been filibustered need to be refuted. There has been no filibuster. Indeed, most hon. Members would agree that good progress has been made. In 12 hours, we have spent, on average, three hours on each group of amendments.
I make no criticism of the Minister of State, but he made the longest speech of the proceedings when he spoke for almost an hour in winding up. The second longest speech was from another Labour Member. The hon. Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Gapes) spoke for 30 minutes—far longer than any Conservative Member's speech. If the Government are contending that their own Members are filibustering business, it is rather a bizarre accusation to lay at our door.
My hon. Friend the Member for Stone spoke about the origins of the guillotine motion in 1887 in proceedings on the Criminal Law Amendment (Ireland) Bill. It is particularly telling that Gladstone called the proposala further abridgement of Parliamentary liberty".That was in the days when we had a Liberal party which was worthy of the name, which we no longer do.
The speech by the hon. and learned Member for North-East Fife suggested that his party is also unworthy of the name of democrat. It has not only given away any claim to represent the liberal traditions of the House and British democracy, but it has given up its claim to represent any true democracy by trying to frustrate proper debate on the Bill.
§ Mr. Menzies Campbell
How many of the guillotine motions imposed by the previous Conservative Government in the last Parliament would the hon. Gentleman have opposed?
§ Mr. Brady
As the hon. and learned Gentleman knows, I was not here, and it is difficult to answer a hypothetical question. I can say that one should give serious thought to a request to support a guillotine motion on a constitutional measure of the importance of the Bill. When we debate legislation that will give away power that belongs to the House, to this country and to the British people, who are sovereign, we do not have the right to throw it casually away. That is the nub of the matter.
§ Mr. Hayes
Does my hon. Friend agree that the critical issue is the ability of this Parliament to restore or repeal legislation such as the Bill? Perhaps the hon. and learned Member for North-East Fife (Mr. Campbell) should be more selective about guillotine measures, because the legislation is of especial constitutional importance. It is 442 not even a domestic matter, but involves legislation that could not be subsequently repealed: that is the fundamental point.
§ Mr. Bowen Wells (Hertford and Stortford)
Perhaps my hon. Friend would care to reflect on the matter raised by the hon. and learned Member for North-East Fife (Mr. Campbell). When we debated the Maastricht treaty in the last Parliament—unfortunately, my hon. Friend was not here—we sat night after night and day after day, democratically and without a guillotine motion, to discuss matters of grave constitutional importance. We are now being denied that right, and I fully support the comments that my hon. Friend has made.
§ Mr. Brady
I thank my hon. Friend for making that point.
As I was saying, it is bizarre that the only points of any substance have been made by the hon. and learned Member for North-East Fife and not by the Foreign Secretary. The hon. and learned Member appeared to ridicule our demand for a referendum on the Bill, which made me wonder whether he thinks that the treaty is more or less important than the legislation that will establish the Welsh Assembly or the Scottish Parliament. Is the treaty more or less important than what the Prime Minister referred to as the creation of a sort of parish council?
I believe that the treaty is more important. We had referendums on the Scottish and Welsh issues, which are less significant constitutionally than the Bill, because it will transfer power out of the United Kingdom. However, the hon. and learned Member does not believe that it would be appropriate to engage in the same consultation of the British people as was granted to the people of Scotland and Wales.
§ Mr. Menzies Campbell
The hon. Gentleman must be aware that the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Clarke) described the Amsterdam treaty as a mouse of a treaty. In those circumstances, why do the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends attach such importance to it? Perhaps they believe that what the right hon. and learned Gentleman said was wholly unfounded.
§ Mr. Brady
I make no bones about the fact that I do not share the views of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe on that matter. The hon. and learned Gentleman does not answer my point about whether it is more important to establish a parish council in Edinburgh or Swansea than to transfer massive new powers to Brussels, which is outside the United Kingdom. That is the central point.
The hon. and learned Member for North-East Fife also alleged that there had been repetition in the speeches by Conservative Members, but that does not have any foundation. He has only recently faced any danger of repetition by Liberal Democrat Members, because he has been alone in his place for most of the debate. He claimed that his loneliness on the Liberal Democrat Benches showed the confidence that his Back-Bench colleagues have in his abilities. For much of the evening, that confidence clearly has been total.
§ Mr. Hayes
I wish to refer to the Government. Labour Members have been remarkably silent; not one, other than 443 the Foreign Secretary, has spoken so far. Are we witnessing not only a deliberate attempt to suppress the views of the House as a whole on a major constitutional issue, but the use of the iron discipline of the Government Whips to prevent Labour Members from saying anything on the motion?
§ Dr. Vis
We have heard a lot about filibustering. I have been sitting here for an hour, and the last three Conservative Members have repeated one another. Why does the hon. Gentleman not speak to the motion? We have heard nothing about it. He should speak his mind, rather than saying he is not filibustering. I have heard 17 times that he is not filibustering.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale, West (Mr. Brady) certainly is not filibustering, because I would stop him if he were doing so.
§ Mr. Brady
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I have seen no evidence, either this evening or on other occasions, that the Chair has been anything other than punctilious in controlling the House. The hon. Member for Finchley and Golders Green (Dr. Vis) has made two lengthy interventions during my speech, which leads me to wonder whether he, rather than my hon. Friends, is trying to filibuster.
It is important to stand up for the rights of Back Benchers in these important matters, so that we do not limit our consideration merely to what our Front-Bench colleagues say. The Government's attitude to Parliament, which we see again in this measure—as we have seen so often since 1 May—demonstrates a lack of confidence in their own ability to make a case. They are concerned that, if they come here and allow a proper, full debate, their case will not stand up to scrutiny.
The transfer of power that we see in the treaty and in the legislation to enact it is entirely consistent, I would argue, with the behaviour of the Government. They have no regard for the standing of Parliament or for our democracy here, and they are transferring the powers of the British people to undemocratic bodies across the sea. In so doing, they are acting exactly the same as when, in the House, they refuse to allow proper debate. That is why we should oppose the motion.
§ Mr. Tim Collins (Westmorland and Lonsdale)
When the Committee's consideration of the Bill was suspended, I was on my feet. When I heard that the Government were rushing through a guillotine motion, I was tempted to ask, "Was it something I said?"
We heard the Foreign Secretary set out rather more substantive reasons for the motion, and I shall confine my remarks to some of the arguments he advanced. The first, and perhaps the most important, argument for any guillotine motion is that the Government have to protect their parliamentary time to ensure the passage of their 444 business. That is a little curious, given the way in which the Government have handled parliamentary time since their election.
If the Government were concerned about parliamentary time, why did they rush forward with an emergency Budget at a time of widespread and well-acknowledged national prosperity, instead of waiting until November? A great deal of parliamentary time was consumed on a Finance Bill much earlier than was necessary. If there was a shortage of parliamentary time, why was the House dismissed at the end of July and not called back until very nearly November? If there is such a shortage of parliamentary time, why is the House to be dismissed before Christmas and brought back not the week after new year, but the following week?
Indeed, if there is such a shortage of parliamentary time—so much so that a Bill of fundamental constitutional significance cannot be properly debated—surely we should look again, at least temporarily, at the Jopling reforms. I speak as someone who supports those reforms. Lord Jopling, as he now is, is my predecessor. Let us consider the sitting hours of the House and invite it to sit on mornings other than Wednesdays and on more Fridays.
If there is really a profound lack of parliamentary time, the Government can easily provide that time through any of the means that I have identified, but the truth is that there is a lack not of time but of Government will to have debate, and that is a very different matter.
The Foreign Secretary advanced the bizarre argument that some of our points were frivolous, citing as an instance of that frivolity and absurdity the proposition from my right hon. and learned Friend the shadow Foreign Secretary that it is possible for our European partners to misinterpret an agreement, to isolate us 14 to one and to gang up on us.
I know that there is a state of cordial mutual loathing among members of the Cabinet, but I wonder whether the Foreign Secretary ever speaks to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food who, at the beginning of the week, said precisely that our partners had misinterpreted and broken an agreement and had ganged up on us 14 to one against our national interest. Perhaps those arguments are not quite so frivolous.
The Foreign Secretary then advanced the mandate argument. That is dangerous territory for him. He said that, because the people had spoken, Conservative Members should not speak; but we have a mandate, too. We were elected to the House on precisely the same basis as Government Members.
§ Mr. Collins
The hon. Gentleman only ever speaks from a sedentary position. It is very sad that he is not able—or perhaps he is not permitted—to stand up and make a speech. He is a free Member of Parliament, despite what the Whips may tell him. Perhaps he could occasionally contribute from a standing position.
As the hon. Gentleman says that not many of us were elected, let us consider the mandate that the Government secured. They got 42 per cent. of the vote, which is exactly the percentage that I secured in my constituency, so if the Government have a mandate, so do 1. On the share of the vote, we did better, even in this dreadful 445 election year for us, than the Labour party did in 1983. I do not remember the Labour party saying that it had no mandate to speak in Parliament between 1983 and 1987 and would remain silent. The mandate argument does not work.
§ Mr. Bermingham
I do not know whether the rule of rewriting history now applies, but I seem to remember participating in the 1983 general election, in which we got 200-plus seats—it was a pretty poor year for us—and the Conservative majority was about 144, whereas we now have a majority of goodness knows what, in the region of 170, with about 418 seats. The hon. Gentleman may have been a bit young in those days, but those of us who were around then know that his figures are wrong. Let us face it: one cannot prove anything by twisting statistics to back up a very poor case.
§ Mr. Collins
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for pointing out that he has indeed been knocking around for rather longer than I have, but I should point out that our share of the vote in the general election was 31 per cent., while his party's share in 1983 was 28 per cent.
The Foreign Secretary had an even more interesting argument on the mandate. He said that every single person who voted Labour on 1 May knew perfectly well that the Labour party intended to take us into the social chapter on precisely the basis encased in the Bill, with all the consequent implications for the extension of qualified majority voting.
That would have come as a surprise to those who read articles in the Daily Mail and other newspapers earlier this year saying that the Prime Minister—then the Leader of the Opposition—would take us in only on the basis that we could pick and choose individual measures entirely on their merits. That is not the basis on which the Bill has been introduced, and that is not the treaty that the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary brought back from Amsterdam.
The Foreign Secretary argued that there was simply no alternative to the Bill, and that it was a matter of consistency. He said that because Conservative Members had supported guillotines in the past, it was necessary for us to support them now.
If ever a man was on dangerous territory in making an argument about the virtue of consistency, it is the Foreign Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman used to have a moral objection to nuclear weapons. He now serves as Foreign Secretary in a Government who are deploying Trident. The Foreign Secretary used to have an objection on the ground of sovereignty to the United Kingdom being a member of the European Economic Community. The right hon. Gentleman objected to being in the Common Market. He is now a starry-eyed enthusiast for an ever more federal Europe.
The Foreign Secretary used to believe in mass nationalisation. He now serves in a Government who are carrying out privatisation measures. The right hon. Gentleman cannot argue that the allocation of time motion should be supported on the ground of consistency. He is perhaps one of the most inconsistent politicians that the House has seen for many a long year. His arguments have been dismissed, and so should the motion be.
§ 11 pm
§ Mr. Gary Streeter (South-West Devon)
On 13 January 1994, an experienced Member stood at the Opposition Dispatch Box and complained that in introducing a timetable motion the then Government showeda callous disregard for our democratic procedures".The hon. Gentleman protestedThe way in which the Government have tried to force through the business is a contempt of the House.He addedThe procedure that we are now discussing is completely unnecessary. We are using time to discuss the guillotine motion that we could have used to discuss aspects of the Bill which are important to hon. Members.The hon. Gentleman described the then Government's approach as an "affront to democracy". He attacked the Government's conduct, saying that it hadbeen wholly reprehensible and unacceptable".—[Official Report, 13 January 1994; Vol. 235, c. 384–87.]That hon. Gentleman was the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, North (Mr. Henderson), the very person who will respond to the debate on behalf of the Government and force the guillotine on us. On 13 January 1994, the hon. Gentleman was talking about a domestic Bill that could be set aside by later Parliaments; we are talking about an international treaty that cannot be set aside by a subsequent Parliament. What was an "affront to democracy" and a contempt of the House only three years ago is now the very policy that the Minister adopts.
The sad feature is that that background will not trouble the Minister in the slightest—to say one thing one day and do precisely the opposite a little while later. Some might say that such a capacity is a necessary precondition for joining the Government, who are without values and principles.
§ Mr. Mike Hall (Weaver Vale)
Will the hon. Gentleman tell us how he voted on the guillotine motion on 13 January 1994?
§ Mr. Streeter
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will allow me to develop my argument. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard) said, it is not our case that it is always wrong for a Government to introduce a guillotine motion. However, when a Government are dealing with a constitutional issue they should proceed with the utmost caution. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will allow me to develop my argument.
Some would say that it is a necessary precondition for a Member joining the Government, an Administration without values and principles, to learn quickly to say one thing one day and do the opposite just a while later. Ministers say one thing and do another. Policies that they opposed in opposition are adopted in government. Parliament is treated with that contempt.
We should not even be debating the motion. The Amsterdam treaty is an important constitutional treaty; that is why it has been debated on the Floor of the House. It makes important changes to our relationship with the European Union. It makes changes that cannot easily be undone. As so many of my right hon. and hon. Friends have said, it will give more power to the European Parliament. 447 It provides for an extension of qualified majority voting. It includes the social chapter and a new employment chapter, which will impose new regulations on British people. It makes new arrangements for border controls and moves us closer to an integrated foreign and security policy. It changes the law on subsidiarity and it gives more power to Presidents of the Commission. All those things, and many more besides, are surely worth more than a cursory glance from the House. We are, after all, elected as a check on the Executive.
§ Mr. Menzies Campbell
I wish to apologise to the shadow Foreign Secretary, to whom I inaccurately attributed a reference to the position of the high representative, as covered by one of the articles of the Amsterdam treaty. I was wrong to do so and I have apologised to him informally; it is only right that I should put the record straight formally.
The hon. Member for South-West Devon (Mr. Streeter) has given an eloquent, in his terms, justification for his opposition to the guillotine on the Bill on the ground that it raises constitutional issues. Did not the Single European Act raise the same constitutional issues?
§ Mr. Streeter
The hon. and learned Gentleman apologises in his usual gracious way. He makes an important point, but there are at least two features that distinguish this measure from the Single European Act.
After all that I have said about the importance of the Bill, after only three days the Government have tabled a guillotine motion. It was not even three full days. The first day's debate started not at 3.30 pm but at 5.55 pm; the second at 5.30 pm; the third at 5.50 pm. On each day, at least two hours of debate was lost to Government statements. What should have been 18 hours of debates became 12. We have not had three days but a mere 12 hours.
On each day, the Government did not move a 10 o'clock motion. They did not even table one on any of those days, so cynical and predetermined was their desire to stifle debate. They did not bother because they knew that they would not use it. We had late starts and early endings, a truncated debate from day one. We are driven to the clear conclusion that the Government never wanted a proper examination of the treaty that they brought back from Amsterdam. There are two obvious reasons for that. First, they know that they failed at Amsterdam. They gave away far too many concessions with absolutely nothing in return.
§ The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Doug Henderson)
Will the hon. Gentleman not be as generous as some Conservative Members and at least acknowledge that after I had listened to the debate on the first set of amendments for a day and a half, I spent nearly an hour thoroughly covering the points that had been raised? I resent any suggestion that I have not taken the Bill or the scrutiny of the House seriously.
§ Mr. Streeter
The Minister makes my point for me. Substantial points were raised to which he needed an hour to respond. It was not filibustering. They were not frivolous points. If they had been, he would not have bothered to reply. He took an hour to reply to a substantive debate.
448 The Prime Minister told the House on Monday that every country fights for its own interests at European summits. What a pity he did not realise that in June when he went to Amsterdam. No wonder he was more popular at Amsterdam than at Luxembourg. The Government want to stifle democratic debate and proper scrutiny of Bill to cover up their failings at the negotiating table. It is a cynical cover-up from a Government without values or principles.
The second reason why the Government want to curtail debate is because they treat Parliament with contempt. From the moment that they were elected, they have used every trick in the book to avoid debate and bypass scrutiny. The mother of Parliaments has been shuffled off to a retirement home. After a paltry 12 hours of debate, a major constitutional issue has been given the chop.
Throughout their remarks, Labour Members have suggested that Conservative Members have tried to filibuster the debate. Even a brief glance at Hansard confirms that nothing could be further from the truth. In the first three days, only 10 hon. Members spoke for more than 20 minutes: five Conservative Members and five Labour Members, including the hon. Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Gapes) who spoke for 30 minutes, though I still do not know what he said.
The Minister took nearly an hour to reply to the first debate, although we do not criticise him for that. It is clear from what I have said that no filibustering has taken place. We have been restrained in the number of amendments that we have tabled. The average length of a Back-Bench contribution in the three days of debate has been 14 minutes. No wrecking tactics have been deployed or points of order raised. We have had a constructive and important debate throughout.
Real progress has been made. We have finished consideration of the first three groups of amendments, and consideration of the fourth group is well under way. The time taken to discuss those amendments averages three hours of debate per group of amendments, which is a reasonable rate of progress on a major constitutional Bill.
Because of the guillotine motion, debate on all the remaining amendments and new clauses will be squeezed into two days—on the Government's record that will become two half-days. We will not be able to scrutinise the Bill and debate the amendments properly. That means that we will be unable to examine fully the extra powers given to the President of the Commission to veto our nominee as Commissioner, which is an important point. We will not be able scrutinise in detail the implications of the new provisions in the treaty that state that all Commissioners must act under the political guidance of the President of the Commission. In effect, that makes those Commissioners members of a European Cabinet.
We will not have time to study properly the extra powers given to Europol. We will be unable to do justice to the new provisions on subsidiarity and proportionality. We will have precious little time to probe the Government again about their disgraceful blunder on the border controls opt-in. There will no real opportunity to consider the extensions of power of the European Court of Justice and its complete lack of reform. We will not have time to discuss the cost to our taxpayers of the inclusion, for the first time in a treaty, of the fact that the European Parliament will be permanently located in both Brussels and Strasbourg.
449 Those are all important matters, but the truth is that, thanks to the motion, we will not have time to discuss them properly. The Government have cited the Single European Act as a precedent for guillotining a constitutional measure after three days of debate. Well, they are wrong on two counts. In 1986, the debates were much longer each day, so that in three days nearly 20 hours of debate took place, not 12 hours as in this case. Secondly, in 1986, virtually no progress was made in those first three days. Many points of order were raised at the start of each sitting and there was ample evidence of delaying tactics.
We have made real progress on this Bill, and we are now discussing the fourth group of amendments. There is no justification for citing the Single European Act as a precedent. To spare the Foreign Secretary's blushes, although I suspect that he does not blush easily, I point out only in passing that he voted against the guillotine motion in 1986. It was wrong then, but apparently it is right now. That is hardly a basis for using that legislation as a precedent for the motion.
If we take all those matters together, it is clear that the timetable motion is the act of an arrogant Government, who ride roughshod over Parliament. It is the action of a Government prepared to unstitch our constitution without considering the long-term implications.
We all know that there is a nasty authoritarian streak in the Government. When their Members of the European Parliament speak out, they gag them. When their own Back Benchers get into difficulty, they ditch them. When Labour Members, on the Government's own Benches, vote with their conscience, they are reprimanded. The Government see their Back Benchers as mere cannon fodder, part of a factory farm production line. Under new Labour, only the spin doctors are free range.
It is a Government who think that nanny knows best, but it is the only nanny I know who hates her own children. I have no doubt that they will get their way tonight. They have such a large majority they can do what they like. It would be nice if the Liberal Democrats and Members of the other minor parties joined us in the Lobby. I should have thought that the Liberal Democrats were becoming ever more fearful of the Government's desire to control and bully, but I see that they have sold out to their coalition partners. Now we know what constructive opposition means: they do what they are told by the Minister without Portfolio.
The Minister of State is an honourable man. I do not want to ruin his career, but I want to say this to him: I like him. I shall not scream hysterically at him, but simply tell him that what he is doing tonight is wrong, and he knows it.
We have been conducting a constructive and positive scrutiny of a major treaty. It has had just 12 hours' debate, and in bringing down the guillotine so prematurely and unnecessarily, the Minister is sending a clear signal to the nation: the Government will stop at nothing to get their own way. Lone parents, the disabled, their own Back Benchers; the Government will trample over them all if it suits their wider political purposes, whatever they are.
What the Government are doing is wrong, and we shall oppose it.
§ The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Doug Henderson)
The Government have been accused of having an authoritarian streak. I know that the hon. Member for South-West Devon (Mr. Streeter) was not referring to my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary—although he could perhaps have been referring to my past. My answer to him is that the Government will have a majority tonight not because of an authoritarian streak but because we have a majority of the Members of the House, and because the majority of the British people want a Labour Government, and what that means for their life style.
My right hon. Friend said earlier that he looked forward to hearing "virtuous indignation" from the Conservatives. He has not been disappointed. We have heard the same empty arguments, the same double standards and the same Second Reading speeches as we have already heard in Committee, as well as on the original Second Reading.
The hon. and learned Member for North-East Fife (Mr. Campbell) made a telling point when he said that everything had been said, but everyone had not yet said it. That was so true of the Committee stage, and he has been right again about the contributions that we have heard tonight.
Like me, the hon. and learned Member knows that if there were no guillotine motion, the Bill would be sent into a siding because of the behaviour of Conservative Members. Those on the Opposition Front Bench may or may not believe that it would be in their interests to send the Bill into a siding. They may judge that the British people might misinterpret their motives were they to do that, when the present Government have achieved in the treaty aims that the previous Government wanted, but failed, to achieve.
§ Mr. Henderson
Not just now.
However, even if that were the judgment of the main Opposition spokesmen, they would not be able to deliver it to the House because they have no control over the hon. Members who sit behind them. I see the shadow Foreign Secretary smiling, and he has obviously acknowledged the point.
§ Mr. Blunt
How can the hon. Gentleman reconcile the fact that he is speaking to a guillotine motion with the following:DESIRING … to encourage greater involvement of national parliaments in the activities of the European Union and to enhance their ability to express their views on matters which may be of particular interest to them"?
§ Mr. Henderson
The hon. Gentleman raises the point, but—[HoN. MEMBERS: "Answer."] The Government and the Labour party believe in parliamentary democracy, 451 but we will not have it obstructed by a few obstructive individuals on the Opposition Benches who are not prepared to accept the importance and relevance of the treaty of Amsterdam to the people of Britain.
As for double standards, I thought that the hon. Member for South-West Devon was a bit stupid to talk about my opposition to a guillotine in 1994, because at that time he opposed my position, and voted for the guillotine.
The right hon. and learned Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard) and I sat opposite each other many times during the last Parliament when we were dealing with home affairs. It is a bit rich for him to argue against a guillotine on the Amsterdam treaty, when he supported the 82 guillotine motions that the Conservative Government introduced during that Parliament.
§ Mr. Henderson
The right hon. and learned Gentleman says that there were 85. In the Parliament before that, he imposed a guillotine on the poll tax legislation. I served on the Committee considering water privatisation, which was also guillotined. It is again a bit rich for him to say that we should not vote for a guillotine on the treaty of Amsterdam, when he voted for a guillotine on the Single European Act in 1986. The hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) said that that was a far more damning guillotine motion than the one before us.
If the Opposition Front-Bench spokesmen had come to me to discuss a timetable for the Bill, we would have had ample time to debate the various aspects. I consider that the three days in Committee that we have already had, plus the prospect of a further two days, is a reasonable amount of time.
§ Mr. Henderson
No, I shall not give way.
Five days in Committee plus one day on Second Reading is a reasonable time to dispose of the issues involved in the Bill.
§ Mr. Howard
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Opposition made such an offer on the Government of Wales Bill, but the Government rejected it out of hand?
When will the Minister answer the question that I posed to the Foreign Secretary? Will he identify one of the three criteria that, according to the Home Secretary, must be satisfied before a guillotine can be justified? I did not oppose the motion on the basis that we can never have a guillotine: I said that it must be justified on one of the three criteria. Which of those criteria is relevant to this guillotine motion?
§ Mr. Henderson
The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows of my close association with the Home Secretary, and I can tell him that all the Home Secretary's criteria apply to the Bill. The House must deal with this legislation. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, his 452 colleagues on the Opposition Front Bench and the more experienced Conservative Members behind him know that if there were no guillotine, there would be no prospect of the Bill seeing the light of day in any reasonable time.
This is an important issue, and we must try to allow the right amount of time to debate it. I am sympathetic to timetabling motions. The right hon. and learned Gentleman will know from my days in opposition that I was prepared to reach agreement on a timetable to allow practical discussion of the issues involved. The Conservative Government knew that if they had a deal with us on the timetabling of legislation, that deal stuck, because we were a united Opposition. The problem for the present Opposition is that even if they wanted to deliver a deal, they could not do so, because they cannot deliver the votes of Conservative Members.
As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said, this is an important Bill, because it provides real benefits for the people of this country. The treaty gives, for the first time, explicit legal authority for Britain to retain its border controls; it confirms NATO as the cornerstone of our defence; it provides a fuller, legally binding basis for the principle of subsidiarity; it provides for tougher action on fraud against the Community budget; and it obliges the European Union to give greater priority to protecting the environment, promoting openness in its proceedings, and to tackling unemployment. I say again to the right hon. and learned Gentleman that it also extends to an issue that was well debated before the general election and on which the Government have an explicit mandate from the electorate—the social chapter, which extends to workers in this country the same rights as workers in other parts of Europe.
As was made clear on Second Reading, the Bill has the support of the House. The Government have a mandate for their programme. We have a duty to put into effect our legislative proposals and to make sure that the legislation and other measures are not frustrated by a small number of Opposition Members. We shall make sure that we exercise that responsibility, and we ask the House to support the motion.
§ Question put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 352, Noes 144.456
|Division No. 123]||[11.25 pm|
|Abbott, Ms Diane||Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)|
|Ainger, Nick||Benn, Rt Hon Tony|
|Alexander, Douglas||Bennett, Andrew F|
|Allan, Richard||Benton, Joe|
|Allen, Graham||Bermingham, Gerald|
|Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)||Best, Harold|
|Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)||Betts, Clive|
|Armstrong, Ms Hilary||Blackman, Liz|
|Ashton, Joe||Blears, Ms Hazel|
|Atherton, Ms Candy||Blizzard, Bob|
|Atkins, Charlotte||Boateng, Paul|
|Austin, John||Borrow, David|
|Baker, Norman||Bradley, Keith (Withington)|
|Ballard, Mrs Jackie||Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)|
|Banks, Tony||Bradshaw, Ben|
|Barnes, Harry||Brake, Tom|
|Battle, John||Brand, Dr Peter|
|Bayley, Hugh||Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)|
|Beard, Nigel||Brown, Russell (Dumfries)|
|Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret||Browne, Desmond|
|Begg, Miss Anne||Buck, Ms Karen|
|Burgon, Colin||Fyfe, Maria|
|Byers, Stephen||Galbraith, Sam|
|Caborn, Richard||Galloway, George|
|Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)||Gapes, Mike|
|Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)||George, Andrew (St Ives)|
|Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife)||George, Bruce (Walsall S)|
|Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)||Gerrard, Neil|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Gibson, Dr Ian|
|Canavan, Dennis||Gilroy, Mrs Linda|
|Cann, Jamie||Godman, Norman A|
|Casale, Roger||Goggins, Paul|
|Caton, Martin||Golding, Mrs Llin|
|Cawsey, Ian||Gordon, Mrs Eileen|
|Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)||Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)|
|Chaytor, David||Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)|
|Chidgey, David||Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)|
|Chisholm, Malcolm||Grocott, Bruce|
|Clapham, Michael||Grogan, John|
|Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)||Gunnell, John|
|Clark, Dr Lynda||Hain, Peter|
|(Edinburgh Pentlands)||Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)|
|Clark, Paul (Gillingham)||Hall, Patrick (Bedford)|
|Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)||Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)|
|Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)||Hancock, Mike|
|Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)||Harris, Dr Evan|
|Clelland, David||Healey, John|
|Clwyd, Ann||Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)|
|Coaker, Vernon||Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)|
|Coffey, Ms Ann||Hepburn, Stephen|
|Cohen, Harry||Heppell, John|
|Colman, Tony||Hesford, Stephen|
|Connarty, Michael||Hewitt, Ms Patricia|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton N)||Hill, Keith|
|Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)||Hoey, Kate|
|Cooper, Yvette||Home Robertson, John|
|Corbett, Robin||Hoon, Geoffrey|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Hope, Phil|
|Corston, Ms Jean||Howarth, Alan (Newport E)|
|Cotter, Brian||Howarth, George (Knowsley N)|
|Cousins, Jim||Howells, Dr Kim|
|Cranston, Ross||Hoyle, Lindsay|
|Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)||Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)|
|Cryer, John (Hornchurch)||Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)|
|Cummings, John||Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)|
|Cunliffe, Lawrence||Humble, Mrs Joan|
|Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)||Hurst, Alan|
|Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)||Hutton, John|
|Davidson, Ian||Iddon, Dr Brian|
|Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)||Illsley, Eric|
|Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)||Ingram, Adam|
|Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)||Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H)||Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)|
|Dean, Mrs Janet||Jenkins, Brian|
|Denham, John||Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)|
|Dismore, Andrew||Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)|
|Dobson, Rt Hon Frank||Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)|
|Donohoe, Brian H||Jones, Helen (Warrington N)|
|Doran, Frank||Jones, Ms Jenny (Wolverh'ton SW)|
|Drew, David||Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)|
|Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth||Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)|
|Edwards, Huw||Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)|
|Efford, Clive||Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)|
|Ellman, Mrs Louise||Jowell, Ms Tessa|
|Ennis, Jeff||Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald|
|Etherington, Bill||Keeble, Ms Sally|
|Ewing, Mrs Margaret||Kelly, Ms Ruth|
|Fatchett, Derek||Kemp, Fraser|
|Fisher, Mark||Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)|
|Fitzpatrick, Jim||Khabra, Piara S|
|Flint, Caroline||Kidney, David|
|Flynn, Paul||Kilfoyle, Peter|
|Foster, Rt Hon Derek||King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)|
|Foster, Don (Bath)||Kirkwood, Archy|
|Foster, Michael J (Worcester)||Kumar, Dr Ashok|
|Foulkes, George||Ladyman, Dr Stephen|
|Lawrence, Ms Jackie||Prosser, Gwyn|
|Laxton, Bob||Quin, Ms Joyce|
|Lepper, David||Quinn, Lawrie|
|Leslie, Christopher||Rammell, Bill|
|Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)||Rapson, Syd|
|Lewis, Terry (Worsley)||Raynsford, Nick|
|Liddell, Mrs Helen||Reid, Dr John (Hamilton N)|
|Linton, Martin||Rendel, David|
|Livingstone, Ken||Robertson, Rt Hon George|
|Livsey, Richard||(Hamilton S)|
|Lock, David||Roche, Mrs Barbara|
|Love, Andrew||Rooker, Jeff|
|McAllion, John||Rooney, Terry|
|McAvoy, Thomas||Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)|
|McCabe, Steve||Rowlands, Ted|
|McCafferty, Ms Chris||Roy, Frank|
|McDonagh, Siobhain||Ruane, Chris|
|Macdonald, Calum||Ruddock, Ms Joan|
|McDonnell, John||Russell, Bob (Colchester)|
|McFall, John||Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)|
|McGuire, Mrs Anne||Ryan, Ms Joan|
|McIsaac, Shona||Sanders, Adrian|
|McNamara, Kevin||Savidge, Malcolm|
|McNulty, Tony||Sawford, Phil|
|MacShane, Denis||Sedgemore, Brian|
|Mactaggart, Fiona||Shaw, Jonathan|
|McWalter, Tony||Sheerman, Barry|
|McWilliam, John||Shipley, Ms Debra|
|Mahon, Mrs Alice||Short, Rt Hon Clare|
|Mallaber, Judy||Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)|
|Mandelson, Peter||Skinner, Dennis|
|Marek, Dr John||Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)|
|Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)||Smith, Angela (Basildon)|
|Marshall, David (Shettleston)||Smith, Miss Geraldine|
|Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)||(Morecambe & Lunesdale)|
|Marshall-Andrews, Robert||Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)|
|Martlew, Eric||Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)|
|Maxton, John||Snape, Peter|
|Meale, Alan||Soley, Clive|
|Merron, Gillian||Spellar, John|
|Michael, Alun||Squire, Ms Rachel|
|Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)||Starkey, Dr Phyllis|
|Milburn, Alan||Steinberg, Gerry|
|Miller, Andrew||Stevenson, George|
|Moffatt, Laura||Stewart, David (Inverness E)|
|Moore, Michael||Stewart, Ian (Eccles)|
|Moran, Ms Margaret||Stoate, Dr Howard|
|Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)||Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin|
|Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)||Stringer, Graham|
|Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W)||Sutcliffe, Gerry|
|Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)||Swinney, John|
|Mountford, Kali||Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann|
|Mullin, Chris||Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)|
|Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)||Taylor, David (NW Leics)|
|Naysmith, Dr Doug||Taylor, Matthew (Truro)|
|Norris, Dan||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)||Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)|
|O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)||Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)|
|O'Hara, Eddie||Timms, Stephen|
|O'Neill, Martin||Tipping, Paddy|
|Öpik, Lembit||Todd, Mark|
|Osborne, Ms Sandra||Tonge, Dr Jenny|
|Palmer, Dr Nick||Touhig, Don|
|Pearson, Ian||Trickett, Jon|
|Pendry, Tom||Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)|
|Perham, Ms Linda||Turner, Desmond (Kemptown)|
|Pickthall, Colin||Twigg, Derek (Halton)|
|Pike, Peter L||Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)|
|Plaskitt, James||Tyler, Paul|
|Pope, Greg||Vaz, Keith|
|Pound, Stephen||Vis, Dr Rudi|
|Powell, Sir Raymond||Walley, Ms Joan|
|Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)||Wareing, Robert N|
|Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)||Watts, David|
|Primarolo, Dawn||Webb, Steve|
|White, Brian||Wood, Mike|
|Wicks, Malcolm||Wray, James|
|Williams, Rt Hon Alan||Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)|
|(Swansea W)||Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)|
|Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)|
|Winnick, David||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)||Mr. Robert Ainsworth and Mr. David Jamieson.|
|Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)||Hunter, Andrew|
|Amess, David||Jack, Rt Hon Michael|
|Arbuthnot, James||Jackson, Robert (Wantage)|
|Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)||Jenkin, Bernard|
|Baldry, Tony||Johnson Smith,|
|Beggs, Roy||Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey|
|Bercow, John||Key, Robert|
|Beresford, Sir Paul||King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)|
|Blunt, Crispin||Kirkbride, Miss Julie|
|Body, Sir Richard||Laing, Mrs Eleanor|
|Boswell, Tim||Lait, Mrs Jacqui|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia||Lansley, Andrew|
|Brady, Graham||Leigh, Edward|
|Brazier, Julian||Letwin, Oliver|
|Brooke, Rt Hon Peter||Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)|
|Browning, Mrs Angela||Lidington, David|
|Bums, Simon||Lilley, Rt Hon Peter|
|Butterfill, John||Loughton, Tim|
|Cash, William||Luff, Peter|
|Chapman, Sir Sydney||Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas|
|(Chipping Barnet)||MacGregor, Rt Hon John|
|Chope, Christopher||MacKay, Andrew|
|Clappison, James||Maclean, Rt Hon David|
|Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Kensington)||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth||Madel, Sir David|
|Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey||Maples, John|
|Collins, Tim||Mates, Michael|
|Colvin, Michael||Maude, Rt Hon Francis|
|Cormack, Sir Patrick||Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian|
|Cran, James||May, Mrs Theresa|
|Curry, Rt Hon David||Moss, Malcolm|
|Davies, Quentin (Grantham)||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)||Norman, Archie|
|Day, Stephen||Ottaway, Richard|
|Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen||Page, Richard|
|Duncan, Alan||Paice, James|
|Duncan Smith, Iain||Paterson, Owen|
|Evans, Nigel||Prior, David|
|Faber, David||Randall, John|
|Fallon, Michael||Redwood, Rt Hon John|
|Flight, Howard||Robathan, Andrew|
|Forth, Rt Hon Eric||Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)|
|Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman||Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)|
|Fox, Dr Liam||Ross, William (E Lond'y)|
|Fraser, Christopher||Ruffley, David|
|Gale, Roger||St Aubyn, Nick|
|Garnier, Edward||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|Gibb, Nick||Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian|
|Gill, Christopher||Shepherd, Richard|
|Gillan, Mrs Cheryl||Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)|
|Goodlad, Rt Hon Sir Alastair||Soames, Nicholas|
|Gorman, Mrs Teresa||Spelman, Mrs Caroline|
|Gray, James||Spring, Richard|
|Green, Damian||Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John|
|Greenway, John||Steen, Anthony|
|Grieve, Dominic||Streeter, Gary|
|Gummer, Rt Hon John||Swayne, Desmond|
|Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie||Syms, Robert|
|Hammond, Philip||Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)|
|Hawkins, Nick||Taylor, Sir Teddy|
|Hayes, John||Thompson, William|
|Heald, Oliver||Townend, John|
|Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David||Tredinnick, David|
|Horam, John||Trend, Michael|
|Howard, Rt Hon Michael||Tyrie, Andrew|
|Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)||Viggers, Peter|
|Walter, Robert||Wilshire, David|
|Wardle, Charles||Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)|
|Waterson, Nigel||Woodward, Shaun|
|Wells, Bowen||Yeo, Tim|
|Whitney, Sir Raymond||Young, Rt Hon Sir George|
|Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Wilkinson, John||Mr. John M. Taylor and Mr. John Whittingdale.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.