HC Deb 13 January 1997 vol 288 cc26-48

  1. '.— (1) Subsection (2) below applies where—
    1. (a) there is released under this Chapter an offender who has been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of four years or more in respect of a violent offence committed after the commencement of this Chapter; and
    2. (b) the court by which he was so sentenced gave a direction under subsection (3) below.
  2. (2) Section 13 above shall have effect in relation to the offender as if for subsection (2) there were substituted the following subsection—
  3. "(2) On his release, the offender shall be subject to a release supervision order—
    1. (a) where he is released otherwise than under section 8 above, for such period as is specified in the direction under section (extended periods of supervision for violent offenders sentenced to four years or more) (3) below;
    2. (b) where he is released under section 8 above, for a period equal to the aggregate of—
      1. (i) the period mentioned in paragraph (a) above; and
      2. (ii) a period equal to so much of the remainder of his term as he would have served but for his release under section 8 above;
      and in applying paragraph (b) above account shall be taken of any early release or additional days awarded to the offender before his release."
  4. (3) Where a court sentences an offender to imprisonment for a term of four years or more in respect of a violent offence committed after the commencement of this Chapter, it shall give a direction under this subsection unless it is of the opinion that there are exceptional circumstances which justify its not doing so.
  5. (4) Where the court does not give a direction under subsection (3) above, it shall state in open court that it is of that opinion and what the exceptional circumstances are.
  6. (5) A direction under subsection (3) above shall direct that the offender's release supervision period shall be such period as is specified in the direction.
  7. (6) The period so specified shall be—
    1. (a) a period equal to 50 per cent. of the offender's term of imprisonment (rounded up to the nearest whole day) or a period of 12 months, whichever is the longer; or
    2. (b) if the court considers a longer period necessary for the purpose of preventing the commission by the offender of further offences and of securing his rehabilitation, such longer period, not exceeding 10 years, as it may determine.'. —[Mr. Michael.]
Brought up, and read the First time.

3.46 pm
Mr. Alun Michael (Cardiff, South and Penarth)

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

The new clause addresses one of the great scandals of our time—the failure of the criminal justice system to deal with violent behaviour in British society. We all know that there is no magic solution. It is not just the criminal justice system that is failing. We shall deal later with issues relating to the treatment of offenders with psychiatric and mental health problems.

The basic failures of the criminal justice system, which we have highlighted in previous debates on the Bill, were laid bare during the Christmas recess by my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw), the shadow Home Secretary. In figures published during the holiday, he showed that fewer violent offenders are convicted or cautioned now than in 1980, despite the doubling of the number of recorded violent crimes.

The police force area figures complied by the House of Commons Library from Home Office statistics show convincingly that violent criminals are almost three times more likely to get away with their crimes than was the case when the Conservative party took office. Between 1980 and 1995, the number of recorded violent offences went up by 137 per cent., from 133,359 to 316,332—a dramatic rise—while the number of convictions and cautions dropped by almost 15 per cent., from 71,924 to 61,398. The number of people found guilty in magistrates and Crown courts has fallen by more than 39 per cent.

Since 1992 alone, recorded violent crime has risen by 11 per cent., while the number convicted or cautioned has dropped by a quarter. The 19 per cent. drop in cautions since 1992 has not been reflected in a corresponding increase in convictions. Indeed, in the magistrates courts, 39 per cent. fewer people were found guilty in 1995 than in 1992.

Those are shocking figures, which show a widening gap between the number of violent crimes and the number of violent criminals being brought to justice for those crimes.

Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North)

The number of criminals who are brought to justice obviously has an impact on deterrence and therefore violent crime. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the reintroduction of corporal punishment would also deter violent crime, and if not, why not?

Mr. Michael

The hon. Gentleman obviously did not listen to a word that I said and simply came out with his soundbite in order to contribute to debate, not thought. I highlighted the fact that the number of violent offences has increased massively under the Conservatives, while the number going before the courts to be punished has fallen. If offenders are not brought before the courts, there can hardly be any deterrence. The hon. Gentleman obviously wants there to be punishment without even the bother of a conviction. The issues are more serious than his question implies and I am not going to allow the debate about violent offenders and the problem that we face in our society to be so trivialised.

Mr. Marlow

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I have been totally misrepresented by the hon. Gentleman, who has not even sought to address himself to my question.

Madam Speaker

That is a point for argument and debate, not a point of order.

Mr. Michael

The hon. Gentleman's point was neither a point of order nor a sensible contribution to the debate.

On the basis of the very serious figures to which I have referred—I am not surprised that the hon. Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) wants to divert attention from Conservative failure on such issues—Labour has made several suggestions about how to tackle violent crime. The new clause is not a panacea, but the crude facts that I have cited—the massive rise in violent offences by 137 per cent. and the drop in the number found guilty in magistrates courts and Crown courts by more than 39 per cent. —illustrate how important it is to do everything we can to deal with the problems of violent crime. As I said, Labour would like to do many other things too, but they would take us very far wide of the scope of the Bill and the new clause.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Michael

I want to focus attention specifically on the new clause. I shall be glad to give way to the hon. Lady, if she can contain herself for a moment. I hope that her intervention will concern the subject matter of the new clause: the extension of supervision of offenders who have committed violent offences after their release from prison.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

I appreciate that the new clause concerns that, but the hon. Gentleman raised the question of the failure to secure convictions. Does he agree that the abolition of the so-called right to silence assists the courts in securing convictions?

Mr. Michael

I knew that the intervention would have nothing to do with the debate. The matters that the hon. Lady is trying to raise were addressed by Opposition Members in 1994 during constructive debate on the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act and when we moved the proposals that were put forward by the royal commission, which the Government established to give them advice that they then ignored.

Mr. George Howarth (Knowsley, North)

It is the pantomime season.

Mr. Michael

My hon. Friend suggests that the hon. Member for Lancaster (Dame E. Kellett-Bowman) wants to participate in the pantomime season. I want to get away from such lighthearted contributions and address the serious topic of this debate.

The public have been scandalised by the evidence provided by my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn, which is based on police and Home Office statistics and reveals a massive increase in violent crime and a reduction in the number of those taken before the courts, found guilty and punished. Reoffending after being punished and sentenced, with which the new clause deals, is a serious problem.

The new clause gives the court the power to specify a longer period of supervision for offenders who have been found guilty of violent offences, so that they can be supervised after their release from prison for a period equal to 50 per cent. of the offender's term of imprisonment". Indeed, the new clause allows for a longer period where the court believes that it is necessary for the purpose of preventing the commission by the offender of further offences and of securing his rehabilitation". That will pick up on the punishment given by the courts and will be as well as that punishment and not instead of it. It is important for Parliament to legislate for supervision and rehabilitation of offenders so that when they come out they are less likely to offend, rather than more likely to offend. We argue that the new clause is necessary for the protection of potential future victims.

The new clause is about protecting the public from violence. It would provide that a system of extended post-release supervision, similar to that which clause 17 will provide for sex offenders, should also apply to the most serious violent offenders—those serving sentences of four years or more. We are talking about not minor violent offences, but serious ones. Home Office research into the parole system has shown that parole supervision produces markedly lower reconviction rates than would otherwise have been expected from parolees' records and characteristics. There is also a substantial reduction in the gravity of offences as well as the rate of reoffending.

I refer to Home Office research study No. 94 from 1987, "The Validity of the Reconviction Prediction Score", which showed that the reoffending rate of those on parole was markedly lower than would otherwise have been predicted from the characteristics of parolees based on an assessment of 16 factors that research has shown are related to the likelihood of reconviction. In other words, even when the fact that parolees were better bets than non-parolees had been fully allowed for, parole supervision still substantially reduced their reoffending rates. I underline that fact because the Minister of State said in Committee: I do not take seriously Home Office research that works on prediction rates. Any research that works on what a person might be predicted to do compared with what they have previously done is very flawed … one cannot rely on prediction rates of what some sociologist thinks offenders should have done when they were released."—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 28 November 1996; c. 208–9.] It is astonishing that painstaking and rigorous Home Office research, using objective factors that previous research has found to be linked to the rate of offending, should be dismissed by a Home Office Minister as simply what some sociologist thinks. That is even more astonishing given that statistical risk prediction scores worked out by Home Office researchers—and I am quoting a Home Office Minister's remarks—are currently in use by the Parole Board and that the Home Secretary's directions to the board require it to take into account any available statistical indicators as to the likelihood of reoffending. There does not seem much point in the Minister saying that he does not believe in predictions when the Home Secretary requires the responsible Home Office body to use the available statistical indicators.

The Minister developed his view further on 10 December when he said: All the available research applies to offenders sentenced before the 1991 Act came into force. In those days, those refused parole received no post-release supervision. There was no proper control group, therefore, against which to measure the success of parole. That was precisely why the research did not use the control group method and instead compared the actual rate of reoffending with the rate that known predictors of reoffending showed would otherwise have been likely from those granted parole.

The Minister appeared to realise the need to shift his ground and acknowledge that post-release supervision can reduce offending when he said: There is no evidence whatsoever that parole, rather than well-targeted and effective supervision, leads of itself to a reduction in offending. If it is acknowledged that supervision can reduce reoffending, that is a powerful argument for the new clause, which would not retain the parole system but would extend periods of post-release supervision for serious violent offenders. In other words, on the basis of the Minister's remarks, he should support the new clause.

When resisting our arguments in Committee, the Minister argued that some violent offenders would be subject to automatic life sentences under clause 1. He said: Of the 1,900 violent offenders sentenced to custody of four years or more in 1995, we estimate that 120 would have been eligible for an automatic life sentence had the Bill been then in force. However, 120 out of 1,900 is just 6 per cent. of the offenders concerned. What about the other 94 per cent.? The Minister argued that they would receive long prison sentences and, in consequence, would be subject to lengthy supervision on release." —[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 10 December 1996; c. 341–42.] Let us examine the length of those supervision periods. The extent to which the Bill will affect post-release supervision periods for offenders depends on the results of the Minister's agreement in Committee to consider increasing post-release supervision from a period equivalent to 15 per cent. of the sentence to 25 per cent.— a matter to which we will return later on Report.

4 pm

If the Bill is passed, the change in post-release supervision for any prisoner will depend also on whether he would have been granted parole. The Bill proposes that those who are released on parole would receive substantially shorter periods of post-release supervision than has been the case in the past. For example, a prisoner who is sentenced to six years and is granted parole at the first review is currently released after three years and supervised for 18 months, followed by an 18-month at-risk period. Under the Bill's proposals, he would be sentenced to four years and, on release, would be supervised for seven months with no at-risk period. If the Government agree to increase the supervision period to 25 per cent. of the sentence, the same offender would be supervised for a year with no at-risk period, compared with the current 18 months of supervision plus an 18-month at-risk period. If one believes that supervision is effective—as the Minister has argued—it must be clear that the situation will be worse in this respect after the enactment of the Bill.

The Government have pointed out correctly that a long-term prisoner who does not currently get parole would receive a longer period of supervision under the proposals. However, the amount of extra supervision in these cases will be minimal. For example, an offender who is sentenced to six years' imprisonment and who does not get parole is currently released after four years and supervised for six months, followed by an at-risk period of one and a half years. Under the Bill's proposals, he would—in accordance with clause 22—be sentenced to four years' imprisonment. On release, he would be under supervision for a period equivalent to 15 per cent. of that sentence—namely, seven months. That compares with the current six months of supervision, and there would be no subsequent at-risk period.

If the Government increase post-release supervision periods to 25 per cent. of the sentence length—as we suggest—the same offender would be supervised on release for a year, and that would be a considerable improvement. Even then, any increases in supervision for those who do not currently get parole would have to be set against the reductions in supervision periods for the majority of released prisoners. I am sorry to have to go into some detail but it is a detailed point, the result of which is an unsatisfactory level of supervision for those who have committed serious violent offences. That is the nub of my argument.

Clause 17, to which I have referred, provides that in the case of sexual offenders, courts shall order—unless there are "exceptional circumstances"—periods of post-release supervision equivalent to 50 per cent. of the term of imprisonment or 12 months, whichever is the longer. That is a parallel provision. If the court considers a longer period of supervision necessary—under conditions similar to those contained in new clause 1—it may order post-release supervision for any period up to a maximum of 10 years. But the clause applies only to those who are convicted of sexual offences, and not to those convicted of purely violent offences—although, obviously, the sexual offences referred to are in themselves violent incidents.

The case for extending supervision of sex offenders was clearly set out by the Government in their consultation document "Sentencing and Supervision of Sex Offenders" in June last year. In our view, the same arguments apply to offenders convicted of serious violence. The document said clearly that as the length of post-release supervision for the majority of sex offenders is at present directly proportional to the length of the time spent in custody, the time on licence may also prove too short for effective work to be undertaken. The longer the period of supervision on release from custody, the greater the opportunity for the probation service to continue to work with the offender to address his offending behaviour, to assess the risk he poses to the community and to take steps to minimise that risk by arranging further treatment or helping the offender to avoid a relapse. Those are the Government's logical arguments relating to sex offenders; they apply with equal force in the case of serious violent offenders. For identical reasons, extended post-release supervision of those convicted of serious violent offences is crucial if the public are to be protected effectively from such offenders.

If the Government do not accept the case for 25 per cent. as opposed to 15 per cent. —I hope that the Minister will tell us about that—the need for such extended supervision will be even more essential, because of the extremely large reduction in post-release supervision periods for many offenders which would be the result of the Bill as it stands. Even if the Government accept that 25 per cent. should be the norm—an amendment has been tabled to that effect—the arguments for extended supervision for serious violent offenders are as valid as for sex offenders.

In Committee, the Minister said: It has long been recognised that sex offenders are considered to be different from other offenders, including violent offenders. It was on that premise that the Criminal Justice Act 1991 provided for a longer period of supervision for sex offenders. I do not want radically to depart from the signal that we are sending that sex offenders are a case apart. They need special treatment and the public need special defences from them … Sex offenders tend to continue offending for much of their lives. That is a crucial point. Sex offenders get worse the older they get. Generally, violent offenders stop offending at an earlier age. He also said: We all know that sex offences are particularly damaging to victims. That is why we treat them as a special case … Quite apart from the other reasons that I have given, I should be worried that the new clause might appear to devalue the currency."—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 10 December 1996; c. 342–43.] I accept that sex offenders are different and need different treatment, but I do not accept that it would devalue the currency if we also tried to protect the public by increasing supervision for serious violent offenders. Sexual offences and offences of violence can both not merely damage but destroy the victim's life; a whole life can be destroyed, even if the individual survives the attack. The case for extending supervision for sex offenders is widely accepted, and the impact of violent offences can also be especially damaging to victims. I hope that the Minister will accept that general point.

A Home Office research study in 1994 showed that 47 per cent. of violent offenders were reconvicted within two years, compared with 25 per cent. of sex offenders. That suggests that there is a greater likelihood of violent offenders reoffending. Comparisons are difficult because of the different nature of the offences, but that serious point should be taken on board.

No one familiar with patterns of sexual offending would be deceived by the relatively low reconviction rate, because the sex offences that remain undetected for various reasons cannot result in a conviction, but the rate of reoffending by violent offenders underlines the case for taking steps to reduce further offending on release.

The argument of the Home Office consultation document on sex offenders, that longer periods of supervision give the probation service a greater opportunity to continue to work with the offender to address his offending behaviour, to assess the risk he poses to the community and to take steps to minimise that risk", applies equally to violent offenders. To talk of devaluing the currency and departing from the signal that sex offenders are a case apart does not constitute a convincing counter-argument.

I underline strongly the fact that the court will use the power only when it feels that it is appropriate and that an extended period of supervision for a violent offender would have an impact and be desirable for the protection of the public. It is surely unlikely that the public will view sexual offending as less serious simply because Parliament has decided that they also need protection from serious violent offenders.

Violence is a scourge of modern British society. There is a lack of public confidence in the criminal justice system and in Parliament. The figures published by my hon. Friend the shadow Home Secretary show that that lack of confidence is based on fact and on problems with the present system. The new clause would not solve all the problems but it would improve supervision for serious offenders and increase the likelihood that the criminal justice system will succeed in reducing the number of prisoners who reoffend after release.

Mr. Clive Soley (Hammersmith)

My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael) made a good case for new clause 1. He was right to focus on prevention. As the Home Office research shows, good supervision can prevent further violent offences. I sometimes get frustrated when the Government talk about getting tough with crime when they mean that they are shouting, but doing nothing. The Government have done little to prevent crime effectively. Sadly, they have allowed us to accept more easily than we should ever have done violent crime, and the threat of it, in the community. Violent crime is different from property crime. That does not mean that property crime should be tolerated, but it means that violent crime and the threat of violence pose a different problem to people, both in the street and in their homes. We should do everything possible to prevent it.

My hon. Friend pointed out that good supervision after an initial offence can be preventive. First, it reminds offenders that the court and prison system through which they have been is still there should they reoffend. If the Government want to talk about prevention and deterrence, that point is important, because it is an effective reminder to offenders and a better form of deterrence than saying, "We will lock you up if you commit a violent crime." Many violent offenders do not commit their crimes with premeditation. They do not work out in advance what their sentences will be.

Many people who use or threaten violence do not want to be like that for the rest of their lives. Often, they would like to be able to control the violence that drives them from within, but cannot. That is the second reason why supervision after a sentence, whatever it may be, can be beneficial: offenders can gain better insight into their behaviour and it gives them someone to turn to when things start to get out of control. Much of their violence is directed against people they know, including family and friends. When the pressure is increasing, either in their families or in their lives, it is beneficial to have someone to turn to for supervision.

I want to take my point further. As I said earlier, we have come to be a little too tolerant of violence in our society. The Government can be absolved of some of the causes of the rise of violence. Drug and alcohol abuse will always be major causes of crime, not least violent crime. While we could do more than we are doing, I accept that there is a limit to what a Government can do about those problems. We cannot blame the Government for the behaviour of every drug addict, but we can recognise that there is a problem.

I have a specific point for the Minister that also touches on the next group of new clauses. It is rather odd that we should spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on a full inquiry when someone who is mentally ill commits a murder, but do no such thing when a conventional murder is committed by someone who is not mentally ill. It is odd, because we assume that we can learn something from an inquiry that will help prevent murders by mentally ill people, but that we cannot do so in cases involving people who are not mentally ill. That does not make sense. There is a strong case for a more effective audit of the causes that underlie extreme cases of violence.

The Home Office is lucky in having one of the best research departments in the western world. One would not think so, from what the Government say at times to try to conceal the research. They hush it up in an attempt to keep it away from public view, not least because much of the department's research goes against the general drift of the Government's philosophy on crime and law and order, but it is a good research department. If we are to talk effectively about prevention, it would be useful for all of us to know the background of violent offenders.

4.15 pm

We know that alcohol and drug abuse are major causes of violence, but the other cause that receives far too little attention in society is family problems, particularly treatment of children in the early stages of their life. We know that children who are violently treated by their parents are more likely to use violence as adults. That is one reason why I always find it bizarre that Conservative Members call for more corporal punishment, more thrashings at home or whatever. So far, the only evidence that we have shows that such treatment of a young person is more likely to increase that person's use of violence as an adult. It is one reason why we should always consider cautiously the introduction of corporal punishment or encouraging parents to hit their children. Perhaps the most disturbed individuals are those who are beaten inconsistently and harshly by one parent, while the other parent turns a blind eye or pretends to love that child, often producing what we like to call the psychopathic personality.

If we could do a little more research on that, we might achieve some prevention. It is one reason why, in considering the wider causes of crime, we should examine things such as nursery provision and truancy in schools, which would enable us to spot the child who is getting into difficulties early on.

Good supervision prevents some further criminal offences, particularly violent offences. It enables a probation officer or some other suitably qualified person to spot problems as they emerge, to offer help and to recall the person to prison if he is on parole, which must be done from time to time, to prevent an offence taking place, so the new clause is wholly appropriate. I urge the Government, however, to go a step further, and to consider the bizarre system whereby we have a full inquiry every time someone who is mentally ill commits murder. Instead of continuing with that process, the Government should consider allowing the Home Office research department to do an audit of serious violent offences, including murder, so that we can be a bit more sophisticated in spotting those problems in advance and in measuring the effectiveness of the supervision that the new clause entails.

I recommend the new clause to the House. It is a small step in the right direction and it might show people that we are trying to prevent violence, rather than just expressing outrage after the event, when the victim's life has been devastated.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. David Maclean)

The new clause seeks to increase the period of post-release supervision for all violent offenders sentenced to four years or more. It would mean that, following their release from prison, all such offenders would be supervised for a period equivalent to 50 per cent. of their sentence. The court could increase that period by up to 10 years where it considered a longer period to be necessary. In broad terms, the new clause's effect would be to extend the provisions for the post-release supervision of sexual offenders, as set out in clause 17, to certain violent offenders.

I do not need any persuading that the law should provide greater protection for the public from the most serious violent offenders—indeed, that is the Bill's key objective—but I am not convinced that there is a case for extended periods of post-release supervision for a particular group of violent offenders, as the new clause proposes. The public are better protected by a long prison sentence, not by supervision by a probation officer in the community. That is why we have included in clause 1 provision for an automatic life sentence for people who are convicted for a second time of a serious sexual or violent offence. That is why we want to ensure that prisoners serve their full term and are not released after serving as little as 50 per cent. of their sentence.

Mr. Soley

What about the first time?

Mr. Maclean

I hear the hon. Gentleman's comment from a sedentary position. I remind him that for rape, serious violent offences and murder, the court can impose a life sentence on the first occasion if it wishes to do so. In the Bill, we insist merely on an important protection for the public: there will be an automatic life sentence for a second conviction.

Mr. Soley

The sort of offence to which the Minister should direct his attention is that of a man who stabs his wife during a matrimonial dispute and although the stabbing is, by its very nature, serious, it is not immediately life threatening. He receives a fairly long sentence—probably quite a few years—and comes out on parole. There are many such cases, and I could quote chapter and verse, if the Minister wants.

Currently, the period of parole can be very short. During that period, the man can be recalled to prison if it is thought that the marriage is again becoming troubled and he is likely to be violent, but nothing can be done from the day that the parole order ends, which is usually fairly soon after the offender's release from prison.

Mr. Maclean

The hon. Gentleman has failed to read the Bill and has not realised that, although parole in the conventional sense will be ended, we are creating a new supervision period during which conditions can be applied. If any of those conditions are breached, an offence will have been committed and the individual can be sentenced for that breach. After careful consideration of the matter, I have decided to go for a minimum period of supervision of 25 per cent. of the sentence. In the more minor cases, that will exactly equate to the present level.

Under the present system, those who have been sentenced, who have behaved well in prison and obeyed the rules and who are eligible for parole can be released early. The period that they will spend under supervision or on licence is 25 per cent. of their sentence. The really bad guys, who have misbehaved in prison and are not eligible for parole, have to be released automatically at the two-thirds point, so they currently receive supervision for a period of only 9 per cent. of their sentence.

In our original proposals, we considered a blanket 15 per cent.I shall say this again at the proper point in my speech, but it might help the debate if I say now that I am happy to opt for a supervision period of 25 per cent. of the sentence for all, which will ensure that those in the lesser category—those who have behaved themselves in prison—will get no less supervision than they currently receive and that badly behaved prisoners will be subject to a greatly increased period of supervision.

The main method whereby the Bill protects the public is not by insisting that a newly released prisoner should have a few more contacts with the probation officer, but through automatic life sentences for second-time serious violent and sexual offenders, including those who kill, seven years for those who deal in drugs and three years for persistent burglars. That is how to protect the public. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael) and his colleagues appear to be less convinced by that approach: they want longer periods of supervision for some violent offenders on release from prison, but their proposals for amending clauses 1 and 22 would lead to shorter periods in prison for certain offenders, including some of those convicted for a second time of a serious violent or sexual offence.

I shall not stray into a forthcoming debate, but it is relevant now to point out that, although Labour Members call for extended supervision of violent offenders, examination of amendment No. 1 reveals that they want to water down our proposals for automatic life sentences for those convicted of a second serious wounding. It appears that they would rather violent criminals, such as those who knife others, spent less time in prison and more time out in the community, albeit under supervision. That would not give the public the protection that they deserve.

Of course, a period of supervision after release from prison is valuable for any offender who has spent a significant length of time in prison.

Mr. Paddy Tipping (Sherwood)

Does the Minister accept that it important to do both: to impose a longer term of imprisonment and a longer term of supervision on the outside, as we advocate?

Mr. Maclean

The hon. Gentleman should read Opposition amendment No. 1, which is to be debated later. To quote the words of the Lord Chief Justice, if that amendment was successful, its effect would be that a judge would avoid passing a mandatory sentence in any case where he considered it simply anomalous to do so! It would drive a coach and horses through the main provisions of the Bill, in clauses 1, 2 and 3. The hon. Gentleman is not right, therefore, to insist that the Opposition proposals would result in longer terms of imprisonment and longer supervision. They would result in longer supervision if the proposal that we are discussing became law, but if the remaining Labour amendments were passed, there would be many fewer seriously violent offenders in prison, because the Opposition proposals would drastically widen the exceptional circumstances part of the Bill.

I accept that I said that a period of supervision after release from prison can be valuable, especially if the person has spent a long time inside. We have provided for that in the Bill. As I told the House, I am minded to accept amendment No. 2, which suggests that the supervision period should be 25 per cent. of the term of imprisonment, not 15 per cent.

However, the hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth proposes longer supervision periods for violent offenders who receive the longest sentences, who already have the longest supervision periods. Some of those people will be eligible for the automatic life sentence under clause 1 and will be supervised for life. We estimate that, of the 1,900 violent offenders sentenced to custody of four years or more in 1995, 120 would have been eligible for the automatic life sentence.

Those who are not eligible will nevertheless receive a long prison sentence, during which time they should have access to treatment programmes to tackle their offending behaviour. I agree with the hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth that if people are in prison for offences of violence, and if they have behavioural problems—I believe that the euphemism is "anger management problems"—those should be tackled. The best place to do so is in prison, where the person is under supervision 24 hours a day, not outside, where, as the Opposition proposals envisage, the person would be eligible for supervision of merely one visit to the probation officer every two months.

Programmes to tackle offending behaviour are important, and the Prison Service is keen to develop proposals and increase the work that is up and running. It is developing a treatment programme specifically aimed at violent offenders. It will be piloted in about six establishments during the current financial year, with the aim of accreditation before the end of 1997. A lengthy period of supervision following prisoners' release will allow for further action to build on the work begun in prison.

Unlike the present provisions on release, length of supervision will be commensurate with the length of the sentence. I understand that the present provisions mean that those who do not receive parole because they are judged to be at most risk receive less supervision than those who are paroled early.

Under the Bill's proposals, an offender who receives a four-year sentence will serve between three years and four months and four years and, on release, will be supervised for slightly more than seven months if the period equals 15 per cent. of the term of imprisonment, or 12 months if we increase the figure to 25 per cent. That is a significant supervision period. According to the minimum standards for supervision following release from custody, that would mean a minimum of 19 contacts between offender and probation officer. Of those 19 contacts, the first 10 would occur in the first three months, and that will not change under our proposals and under new clause 1.

That intensity of supervision in the first three months is in recognition of the fact that, if we are to have any success in heading off people from reoffending when they are released from prison, the key period is the first few months after release, when they have the problems of resettlement and reintegration into the community. That is when they are at the biggest risk of going astray—of returning to a life of crime. That is why all our efforts in supervising criminals when they are released concentrate on maximising our resources to get at them in the period immediately following release. It is important to do it then—not two, three, four or five years later.

Under our proposals, the person sentenced to three years and four months would have a minimum of 19 contacts with the probation officer, 10 of which would be in the first three months. If we increased that level of supervision to 50 per cent., it would not double the contacts, because the bulk of them happen early in the sentence. It would increase the contacts to 31 over the period, as opposed to 19.

I stress that supervision is most important when an offender is first released from prison. That is why the arrangements in the Bill for most offenders are the most cost-effective way of protecting the public from possible reoffending by a prisoner on release. New clause 1 would increase the period of supervision further by applying our special conditions for sex offenders. However, sex offenders are a special case, and the whole House had always recognised that fact—until our debate in Committee and today.

4.30 pm

Clause 17 proposes extended supervision powers, having regard to the special problems caused by sex offenders. In the consultation document that we published in the summer, we drew attention to the research evidence in that area. We know that men convicted for the first time of sexual offences often have a history of sexual offending that began many years earlier and which involves an escalation to more and more serious offences as they get more and more devious and clever at hiding their behaviour. The research also tells us that, once a pattern of sex offending has been established, the risk of reoffending can persist for many years and that, in most cases, the offender manipulates people and circumstances in order to set up the opportunity to offend.

Because sex offenders are in a special category of cleverness and deviousness, the provisions for extended supervision apply to all those who receive a prison sentence, not just to those who receive a relatively long prison sentence and who will, in any case, receive a substantial period of supervision on release.

It is sensible to target resources effectively, and that is what the Bill provides for: lifelong supervision for the most serious violent and sex offenders, and extended supervision for other offenders. There is a clear and specific need to provide that in the case of such offenders. For other offenders, however, supervision periods should be commensurate with the seriousness of the offence and proportionate to the prison sentence imposed.

We also know that the general trend is that the majority of young men committing violent offences tend to grow out of it in later life. As teenagers reach their 20s and 30s, the number committing violent offences decreases substantially.

Mr. John Morris (Aberavon)

indicated assent.

Mr. Maclean

I am glad that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is nodding and agrees with me.

Thus the trend in the behaviour of violent offenders is exactly the reverse of that of sexual offenders. As young men who may be violent get older, their offending decreases; as sexual offenders get older, their sexual offending increases and becomes cleverer, more devious and more manipulative. That is why we need special arrangements for the supervision of sex offenders and why we need to keep it distinct from the supervision that we propose for other offenders.

If supervision in the community is to mean anything, what matters is its quality rather than its quantity. There is no point in continuing it indefinitely, whether it is doing any good or not. I want the best possible supervision in the community when people are released from prison. That is why we must concentrate on clearly defined categories of offenders, and why we must concentrate our resources and target prisoners in the initial period following their release when they are most at risk of reoffending. The new clause fails to do that. For the reasons that I have given, I cannot accept it.

Mr. Tipping

I have listened to the Minister's interesting comments, many of which he made in Committee. They are characteristic of the argument that we have had throughout debates on the Bill. The Minister argues strongly that prison works because of its deterrent effect but, in so doing, he demeans the benefit of supervision in the community. He asked what was the value of a few more contacts with the prisoner's probation officer, then went on to ask what was the value of one visit to the probation service every two months.

One of the interesting aspects of the Bill is the Government's commitment to put significant extra resources into the Prison Service—perhaps as much as £140 million—yet they argue that the probation service needs no extra resources. The explanatory and financial memorandum to the Bill states that the Bill is cost neutral to the probation service.

The Minister argued that the Bill was about putting resources where they are needed. He has argued strongly that prison works. That argument implies that there is little need for community service and extended supervision after prison. I shall argue that both are needed.

It is vital that prison should be a positive experience. I was delighted to hear the Minister's comments about the new treatment centres to tackle violent offending. I am worried that the Prison Service will not be able to accomplish that. I am anxious about the number of people going into prison, and the pressure on prison governors and officers.

It is important, as the Minister rightly said, that when a prisoner is incarcerated for 24 hours a day, that time is put to constructive use, but the pressures on the Prison Service may militate against that. I have listened with great care to what prison governors have been saying recently. I am concerned that the value of prison for treatment, as opposed to deterrence, is not maximised.

Violent crime creates severe anxiety. People may be more troubled by the fear of crime than by the reality of crime. I know that, in Nottinghamshire, many people, especially women and elderly people, are extremely concerned. They lock themselves in their houses because they are worried to death about violent crime. Their fear is disproportionate to the risk. We must acknowledge that fear and respond, first, with severe prison sentences. I support the Minister in that respect. Secondly, we should not devalue the probation service.

The Minister and some of his colleagues have a history of running down the morale of professional groups and putting the blame for the problem on them. We must recognise the strength and value of the probation service, which would improve if it were properly resourced. It could be argued that some of the money that, under the Bill, is to be voted to the Prison Service should be diverted to the probation service.

There is a strong argument for examining the work of the Home Office research department. During discussion of the Bill, several Home Office research unit publications have been highlighted. I shall mention two: study paper No. 94, entitled "The Validity of the Reconviction Prediction Score", and a later paper, No. 136, entitled "Explaining reconviction rates: a critical analysis". The Minister has misrepresented both. I read them during my vacation and they acknowledge the value of supervision following release from prison. The Minister said that prison works. I draw his attention to Home Office study paper No. 136 and to a key point on page 7, which states: there was no firm indication that community penalties outperformed custody or vice versa in preventing offending. The Minister acknowledged the need to focus resources and to involve the probation service soon after a prisoner's release. I agree: the first three months after release are vital. However, people may face life crises following release from prison and continue to experience problems far beyond three months. I believe that we should proceed carefully in this area. We must acknowledge the importance of prison and the need for positive treatment and the reinforcement of good behaviour in prison. We must also use the probation service, both in prison—it is important to acknowledge that probation officers are losing their role in prison—and outside it.

I argue for long prison sentences and for extended periods of supervision outside prison. I know the real fears of women and of the elderly throughout the country about violent crime. We have a responsibility to acknowledge those fears and to allocate resources where they are needed. I argue that those resources are needed not only in prison, but to support the probation service. People such as the Minister must build morale in the probation service, but I am afraid that some of his comments today demeaned the service—which is in no one's best interests. We must fight crime together: we must all support the campaign if we are to win.

Mr. John Hutton (Barrow and Furness)

This is a useful new clause that would improve the Bill. It should, therefore, be supported by the House. I was sorry to hear the Minister caricature Opposition Members' arguments in support of it. Once again, he distorted—I am sure it was unintentional—the effect it would have.

The new clause does not state that serious violent criminals who have been sentenced to prison terms of four years or more must see a probation officer once every two months—which is what the Minister implied. That is not our intention. Furthermore, it is not fair to say that, by supporting an extension of the period of post-release supervision orders to violent criminals, Opposition Members are questioning the role of extended supervision orders for serious sexual offenders. We can have both extended periods of post-release supervision for serious violent criminals and longer periods of supervision after release for serious sexual offenders. We do not need to choose between the two forms of post-release supervision.

The Minister claimed that he would choose his words carefully, but those of us who study his comments will know that that would be out of character. Those who read and heard his comments at the weekend about beggars from Scotland will hope that he has had time to reflect upon them. He has not done the House a service by characterising our amendments as he did earlier. This is a serious debate and the Opposition will take no lectures from the right hon. Gentleman about the need to be serious about violent crime and criminals. We want to ensure that violent criminals are out of harm's way and spend the correct period in prison where they do not present a threat to the community and innocent law-abiding citizens. That is not the issue here.

I support strongly those parts of the Bill that concern post-release supervision orders. I presented legislation, before the Government published the Bill, that advocated longer periods of post-release supervision for serious sexual offenders.I am glad that that concept is now part of the Bill. We must consider carefully our strategy for the effective containment and management of serious violent criminals, and it is difficult to determine the Minister's objection to the new clause.

4.45 pm

It is hard to argue that the public will not be better protected by more extensive periods of post-release supervision. The extended periods about which we are talking in this context would fall within the mainstream of the terms and conditions in clause 13 which specifies the details of post-release supervision orders. We are trying not to weaken the concept of post-release supervision or to minimise the impact of supervision orders, but to extend and enhance the scope and range of the orders as far as they affect serious violent criminals.

Mr. Soley

The Minister mistakenly assumes that, because most ex-offenders get into trouble within a few months of their release from prison, greatest efforts must be made in that period. We do not argue with that, but the Minister forgets that emotional patterns at home may cause some ex-offenders to become violent again. That is why we need the flexibility of long-term supervision rather than hoping that we can get it over and done with in the first three months and then go home.

Mr. Hutton

My hon. Friend makes a good point. No two criminals or crimes are the same, so we must be as flexible as we can in developing the right solutions to the problems. My hon. Friend is right to draw attention to that part of the Minister's response to my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael). I suspect that, when he described our new clause, the Minister attempted to comply with the Tory central office brief and the campaign documents that argue that Labour is somehow soft on crime, but no rational person could interpret it—as the Minister tried to—as representing a soft position on crime. It is not.

My hon. Friend the Member for Sherwood (Mr. Tipping) said that, in discussing violent crime and how to deal with violent criminals, we agree that prison must play a central role. Violent criminals must spend an appropriate period in prison with 24-hour supervision. My hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley) also made a good point: as the vast majority of ex-offenders will be released into the community, we must ensure that there is a more effective way of supervising serious violent criminals.

No one can guarantee that there will be no reoffending; we understand that point and we approach the debate from that perspective, but we are considering extending the Government's post-release supervision orders and the procedures, mechanisms, conditions and whatever else the orders contain to include serious violent criminals. I think that the Minister's response was partly an attempt to cram the new clause into his pre-packaged Tory central office brief by characterising it as another example of Labour's being soft on crime. That is not the case. The new clause represents a useful strengthening of the Bill rather than a diminution or watering down of its essential requirements, and I am surprised and saddened that the Minister will not support it.

Mr. Michael

I welcome the Minister's indication that he will accept amendment No. 2, which would bring about a general increase in the period of supervision after release from prison from 15 per cent. of the sentence to 25 per cent. He has, as he hoped, helped the debate. Indeed, the House of Commons is shown at its best when it is possible to have as sensible a debate in Committee as this one has been, and when a Minister, who has genuinely listened to the debate, has kept his promise to go away and think about the matter and come back with a positive response. I congratulate him on showing such mature judgment. Labour Members welcome that step forward.

The Minister's differentiation between those who commit sexual offences, particularly paedophiles, and those who commit offences of violence has some meaning and importance. We do not seek to suggest that the two categories should be rolled up together. There should be very different supervision and treatment in the two cases. I agree that there are differences, particularly so far as those who commit sexual offences on children are concerned. There is a great deal of evidence that they are some of the most devious of all offenders. There is evidence that some come out of prison expecting to commit further offences. The evidence shown on "The Cook Report" last year is of considerable anecdotal importance and the statistics are difficult to interpret, but I agree with the Minister that that puts the issue in a separate category of seriousness, a separate category which the criminal justice system has to be finely tuned to tackle.

Nevertheless, violent offences are also very serious. In the new clause, we are talking about people who commit a second serious violent offence. They may have committed several. One of the important points that comes from the statistics, and the facts revealed by my hon. Friend the shadow Home Secretary over the Christmas holiday, is that so few such offences result in punishment by a court. A very small proportion result in the prison sentence to which the Minister referred. There is no difference between hon. Members on both sides of the House on the need for greater protection of the public, so I cannot understand why the Minister does not accept the new clause. I congratulate my hon. Friends the Members for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley) and for Sherwood (Mr. Tipping) on their thoughtful contributions to the debate.

The Minister said that there is a crucial point immediately after release when things can go wrong, and that that is the period of maximum risk. I do not disagree with that, but that is not the only period of risk. Let us consider an offender who comes out of prison, perhaps goes into temporary accommodation, and has to find permanent accommodation and a job, which may not be easy after release, to settle into a new life. A few weeks is not sufficient time in which to do everything that we can through the probation service to guarantee success in that rehabilitation. We cannot guarantee it, of course; it depends on choices by the individual as well as the quality of supervision, but it is important that the public services in which we invest, in the hope that they will reduce reoffending, are given the best possible chance of success. That is in the interest not just of the statistics of the probation service, but of those who, if the individuals reoffend, will be the victims. That is why this issue is so important.

The Minister talked about supervision after release as though it was an alternative to the effectiveness of prison sentences. The new clause does not deal with prison sentences. Nothing in it would diminish the sentence passed by the court on the offenders whom the new clause would affect. We are arguing that supervision should be given in addition. We do not seek to shorten the prison sentence. We seek to lengthen the period of supervision after release to increase the likelihood that public investment in prison will be fruitful by avoiding reoffending.

Is not an offender who has committed violent offences just the sort of case on which we should target action? If that is successful, it is likely that we can prevent not just one victim, but a number of victims, from being created by that individual's future offences—perhaps several violent offences before he is caught and brought before the courts again. I must underline the fact that violent criminals are now three times more likely to get away with it than they were in 1980, that violent offences recorded by the police went up by 137 per cent. between 1980 and 1995, and that convictions are down by 39 per cent.

Given those statistics, and knowing that some of those offences will have been committed by people who have previously been found guilty and punished by the court, including the punishment of prison, it is surely in the public interest in terms of the cost of punishing reoffenders, as well as protecting people who may become the victims of violent offences, that we target everything that we can on reducing the likelihood of reoffending. In the circumstances of today, we should take this new clause very seriously indeed.

It is a matter of regret that the Minister considers it enough that an offender who is released and commits another offence should receive a further and heavier sentence. My hon. Friend the shadow Home Secretary revealed last year the difficulties and inconsistencies between different courts and the fact that it is not possible to guarantee that those who commit subsequent offences of violence will get a heavier sentence. Indeed, there are many cases in which reoffending led to a lighter rather than a heavier sentence. There is no difference between us in wanting consistency and progression in the sentence passed by the court, but it would be far better, once we have identified that somebody is a violent offender, to try to prevent their committing further offences once they have served their punishment.

There are anecdotes of people who took a long time to stop offending, about people who suddenly realised, through a new relationship but also through things such as supervision, that what they were doing was childish and was damaging the lives of their victims. We heard recently, in the all-party group on penal affairs, a couple of offenders speaking about their experience. They said how they had been changed dramatically by the counselling and help that they had received. We need to increase the likelihood that somebody will decide not to continue to commit violent offences, and that they will begin to realise that they must take responsibility for their behaviour. That is the purpose of supervision.

Supervision is not a panacea—I do not pretend that it is a magic wand—but it can be effective. We want to increase its effectiveness. The Minister suggested that it becomes less likely that supervision will be required and less likely that young men will reoffend violently as they get older. Statistically, that is true. Statistically, there is a dropping off in the number who offend, but that does not happen in every case. There are some violent, nasty and vicious old men, as well as violent, nasty and vicious young men. There are people who will continue in a negative pattern of behaviour unless something happens to change them. Perhaps that change will come about in prison, particularly if the regime is positive and constructive, as well as involving the loss of liberty, but it is also likely to come through constructive intervention under supervision, either in the community, in the general sense, or after release. We believe that the Bill will be left too weak unless the new clause is accepted.

The Minister's finding is statistical rather than one that addresses reality: a violent offence is committed by one individual on another individual or individuals. We must look carefully at the motivation and thinking of those individuals and how we can positively and effectively intervene with them.

The Minister also referred to 19 individual contacts. It is not adequate to require a probationer, after he is released from prison, merely to turn up at the probation office on a number of occasions: clocking in and getting a tick on a sheet is not sufficient. In Committee, the Minister referred to the national standards for supervision—we had a discussion about them. The point of such standards is to ensure that intervention is positive and effective, and that it is targeted at individual circumstances and behaviour. We should have high standards of intervention and supervision, and such standards should constantly be improved.

I am the first to accept that in any profession there is good and bad practice; it is not good practice for people merely to turn up and get a tick. Good practice involves people's behaviour being challenged, or perhaps their being referred to voluntary organisations that encourage people to live positive and useful lives. We should build on good practice and criticise the failings when the system is less than perfect. The Minister seems to believe in nominal supervision. In view of his expertise, we must assume that his view is based on research.

5 pm

It is important to increase the oversight of violent offenders when they are released. We must ensure that there is proper and adequate supervision to minimise the chances of their committing further acts of violence. For that reason, we will vote for the new clause.

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

The House divided: Ayes 220, Noes 279.

Division No. 34] [5.1 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Foster, Derek
Ainger, Nick Foster, Don (Bath)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Foulkes, George
Allen, Graham Fyfe, Mrs Maria
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Garrett, John
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale) George, Bruce
Ashdown, Paddy Gerrard, Neil
Austin-Walker, John Golding, Mrs Llin
Barnes, Harry Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Barron, Kevin Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Battle, John Gunnell, John
Bayley, Hugh Hain, Peter
Beith, A J Hanson, David
Benn, Tony Hardy, Peter
Bennett, Andrew F Harman, Ms Harriet
Bermingham, Gerald Harvey, Nick
Berry, Roger Hattersley, Roy
Betts, Clive Henderson, Doug
Blair, Tony Heppell, John
Bradley, Keith Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Hinchliffe, David
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Hodge, Ms Margaret
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Hoey, Kate
Burden, Richard Hogg, Norman (Cumbemauld)
Byers, Stephen Hood, Jimmy
Caborn, Richard Hoon, Geoffrey
Callaghan, Jim Howarth, Alan (Stratfd-on-A)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Howells, Dr Kim
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Hoyle, Doug
Campbell-Savours, D N Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Canavan, Dennis Hughes, Robert (Ab'd'n N)
Cann, Jamie Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Carlile, Alex (Montgomery) Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Chidgey, David Hutton, John
Clapham, Michael Illsley, Eric
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Ingram, Adam
Clarke, Eric (Midbthian) Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampst'd)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Jackson, Mrs Helen (Hillsborough)
Clelland, David Jamieson, David
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Jenkins, Brian D (SE Staffs)
Coffey, Ms Ann Jones, Barry (Alyn & D'side)
Cohen, Harry Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Jones, Dr L (B'ham Selly Oak)
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Jones, Martyn (Clwyd SW)
Corbett, Robin Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Cox, Tom Kaufman, Gerald
Cummings, John Keen, Alan
Cunliffe, Lawrence Khabra, Piara S
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try SE) Kilfoyle, Peter
Darling, Alistair Kirkwood, Archy
Davidson, Ian Lestor, Miss Joan (Eccles)
Davies, Bryan (Oldham C) Lewis, Terry
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H) Liddell, Mrs Helen
Denham, John Litherland, Robert
Dewar, Donald Livingstone, Ken
Dixon, Don Lloyd, Tony (Stretf'd)
Dowd, Jim Llwyd, Elfyn
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Loyden, Eddie
Eagle, Ms Angela Lynne, Ms Liz
Eastham, Ken McFall, John
Ennis, Jeff Mackinlay, Andrew
Etherington, Bill McLeish, Henry
Evans, John (St Helens N) Maclennan, Robert
Fatchett, Derek McNamara, Kevin
Faulds, Andrew MacShane, Denis
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) McWilliam, John
Fisher, Mark Madden, Max
Flynn, Paul Maddock, Mrs Diana
Mahon, Mrs Alice Ruddock, Ms Joan
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Sedgemore, Brian
Martlew, Eric Sheldon, Robert
Meacher, Michael Short, Clare
Michael, Alun Skinner, Dennis
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley) Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Milburn, Alan Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Miller, Andrew Soley, Clive
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby) Spearing, Nigel
Moonie, Dr Lewis Spellar, John
Morgan, Rhodri Squire, Ms R (Dunfermline W)
Morley, Elliot Steel, Sir David
Morris, John (Aberavon) Steinberg, Gerry
Mudie, George Stevenson, George
Mullin, Chris Strang, Dr Gavin
Murphy, Paul Straw, Jack
Nicholson, Miss Emma (W Devon) Sutcliffe, Gerry
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks) Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
O'Brien, William (Normanton) Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Olner, Bill Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
O'Neill, Martin Thumham, Peter
Orme, Stanley Timms, Stephen
Pearson, Ian Tipping, Paddy
Pendry, Tom Trickett, Jon
Pickthall, Colin Turner, Dennis
Pike, Peter L Vaz, Keith
Pope, Greg Walker, Sir Harold
Powell, Sir Raymond (Ogmore) Walley, Ms Joan
Prentice, Mrs B (Lewisham E) Warden, Gareth (Gower)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Wareing, Robert N
Primarolo, Ms Dawn Watson, Mike
Purchase, Ken Wicks, Malcolm
Radice, Giles Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Raynsford, Nick Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Reid, Dr John Wilson, Brian
Robertson, George (Hamilton) Winnick, David
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Roche, Mrs Barbara Worthington, Tony
Rogers, Allan Wright, Dr Tony
Rooker, Jeff
Rooney, Terry Tellers for the Ayes:
Ross, Emie (Dundee W) Mr. Joe Benton and
Rowlands, Ted Mrs. Jane Kennedy.
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Bright, Sir Graham
Aitken, Jonathan Brooke, Peter
Alexander, Richard Brown, Michael (Brigg Cl'thorpes)
Alison, Michael (Selby) Browning, Mrs Angela
Amess, David Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Arbuthnot, James Budgen, Nicholas
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Burns, Simon
Ashby, David Burt, Alistair
Atkins, Robert Butler, Peter
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Butterfill, John
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Carlisle, John (Luton N)
Baker, Sir Nicholas (N Dorset) Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Linc'n)
Baldry, Tony Carrington, Matthew
Banks, Matthew (Southport) Cash, William
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Chapman, Sir Sydney
Bates, Michael Churchill, Mr
Batiste, Spencer Clappison, James
Bendall, Vivian Clark, Dr Michael (Rochfd)
Beresford, Sir Paul Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Biffen, John Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Body, Sir Richard Coe, Sebastian
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Colvin, Michael
Booth, Hartley Congdon, David
Boswell, Tim Conway, Derek
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham) Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F)
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Bowden, Sir Andrew Cope, Sir John
Bowis, John Cormack, Sir Patrick
Boyson, Sir Rhodes Couchman, James
Brandreth, Gyles Curry, David
Brazier, Julian Davies, Quentin (Stamf'd)
Davis, David (Boothferry) Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Day, Stephen Key, Robert
Devlin, Tim King, Tom
Dorrell, Stephen Kirkhope, Timothy
Duncan Smith, Iain Knapman, Roger
Dunn, Bob Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Dykes, Hugh Knight, Greg (Derby N)
Elletson, Harold Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Emery, Sir Peter Knox, Sir David
Evans, David (Welwyn Half'ld) Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Evans, Jonathan (Brecon) Lamont, Norman
Evans, Nigel (Ribble V) Lawrence, Sir Ivan
Evans, Roger (Monmouth) Legg, Barry
Evennett, David Leigh, Edward
Faber, David Lennox-Boyd, Sir Mark
Fabricant, Michael Lester, Sir Jim (Broxtowe)
Fenner, Dame Peggy Lidington, David
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Lilley, Peter
Fishburn, Dudley Lloyd, Sir Peter (Fareham)
Forman, Nigel Lord, Michael
Forth, Eric Luff, Peter
Fowler, Sir Norman Lyell, Sir Nicholas
Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring) MacGregor, John
Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley) MacKay, Andrew
Freeman, Roger Maclean, David
French, Douglas McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Fry, Sir Peter Madel, Sir David
Gale, Roger Maitland, Lady Olga
Garel-Jones, Tristan Malone, Gerald
Garnier, Edward Mans, Keith
Gill, Christopher Mariand, Paul
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl Marlow, Tony
Goodlad, Alastair Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)
Grant, Sir Anthony (SW Cambs) Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Greenway, Harry (Ealling N) Merchant, Piers
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Mills, Iain
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Gummer, John Mitchell, Sir David (NW Hants)
Hague, William Moate, Sir Roger
Hamilton, Sir Archibald Molyneaux, Sir James
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Monro, Sir Hector
Hampson, Dr Keith Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Hanley, Jeremy Moss, Malcolm
Hannam, Sir John Nelson, Anthony
Hargreaves, Andrew Neubert, Sir Michael
Harris, David Newton, Tony
Haselhurst, Sir Alan Nicholls, Patrick
Hawkins, Nick Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Hawksley, Warren Norris, Steve
Hayes, Jerry Onslow, Sir Cranley
Heald, Oliver Ottaway, Richard
Heath, Sir Edward Page, Richard
Heathcoat-Amory, David Paice, James
Hendry, Charles Patnick, Sir Irvine
Heseltine, Michael Patten, John
Hicks, Sir Robert Pawsey, James
Higgins, Sir Terence Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Hill, Sir James (Southampton Test) Pickles, Eric
Hogg, Douglas (Grantham) Porter, David
Horam, John Portillo, Michael
Howard, Michael Powell, William (Corby)
Howell, David (Guildf'd) Rathbone, Tim
Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk) Redwood, John
Hughes, Robert G (Harrow W) Richards, Rod
Hunt, Sir John (Ravensb'ne) Rifkind, Malcolm
Hunter, Andrew Robathan, Andrew
Hurd, Douglas Roberts, Sir Wyn
Jack, Michael Robertson, Raymond S (Ab'd'n S)
Jackson, Robert (Wantage) Robinson, Mark (Somerton)
Jenkin, Bemard (Colchester N) Roe, Mrs Marion
Jessel, Toby Rowe, Andrew
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Rumbold, Dame Angela
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Ryder, Richard
Jones, Robert B (W Herts) Sackville, Tom
Jopling, Michael Sainsbury, Sir Timothy
Scott, Sir Nicholas Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Shaw, David (Dover) Thornton, Sir Malcolm
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Townend, John (Bridlington)
Shephard, Mrs Gillian Townsend, Sir Cyril (Bexl'yh'th)
Shepherd, Sir Colin (Heref'd) Tracey, Richard
Shersby, Sir Michael Tredinnick, David
Sims, Sir Roger Trend, Michael
Skeet, Sir Trevor Trotter, Neville
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick) Twinn, Dr Ian
Smith, Tim (Beaconsf'ld) Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S) Viggers, Peter
Soames, Nicholas Waldegrave, William
Speed, Sir Keith Walden, George
Spencer, Sir Derek Waller, Gary
Spicer, Sir Jim (W Dorset) Ward, John
Spicer, Sir Michael (S Worcs) Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Spink, Dr Robert Waterson, Nigel
Spring, Richard Watts, John
Sproat, Iain Wheeler, Sir John
Squire, Robin (Hornchurch) Whitney, Sir Raymond
Stanley, Sir John Whittingdale, John
Steen, Anthony Widdecombe, Miss Ann
Stephen, Michael Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Stem, Michael Wilkinson, John
Streeter, Gary Willetts, David
Sumberg, David Wilshire, David
Sweeney, Walter Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Tapsell, Sir Peter Wolfson, Mark
Taylor, Ian (Esher) Wood, Timothy
Taylor, John M (Solihull) Yeo, Tim
Taylor, Sir Teddy Young, Sir George
Temple-Morris, Peter Tellers for the Noes:
Thomason, Roy Mr. Bowen Wells and
Thompson, Sir Donald (Calder V) Mr. Patrick McLoughlin.

Question accordingly negatived.

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