HC Deb 22 April 1998 vol 310 cc833-45

4. If at the sitting on 22nd April—

  1. (a) a Motion for the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 24 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) stands over to Seven o'clock, and
  2. (b) proceedings on the Bill have begun before that time,

the bringing to a conclusion of any proceedings in accordance with paragraph 1 shall be postponed for a period equal to the duration of the proceedings on that Motion.

5.—(1) No Motion shall be made to alter the order in which any proceedings on the Bill are taken.

(2) No dilatory Motion with respect to, or in the course of, proceedings on the Bill shall be made except by a Minister of the Crown; and the Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith.

(3) No debate shall be permitted on any Motion to recommit the Bill (whether as a whole or otherwise), and the Speaker shall put forthwith any Question necessary to dispose of the Motion, including the Question on any amendment.

6. Standing Order No. 82 (Business Committee) shall not apply to this Order.

7.—(1) The proceedings on any Motion made by a Minister of the Crown for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion one hour after they have been commenced; and Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply to those proceedings.

(2) If at the sitting on 22nd April the House is adjourned, or the sitting is suspended, before the time at which any proceedings are to be brought to a conclusion under paragraph 1, no notice shall be required of a Motion made by a Minister of the Crown for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order.

Hon. Members on both sides of the House have acknowledged that, although the agreement that was reached on Good Friday is not an end in itself, it is extremely important, because it represents the best opportunity for a generation to achieve a lasting peace in Northern Ireland. That is why this specific motion is before us.

When the agreement was reached, it was welcomed by hon. Members on both sides of the House. It is extremely important that we retain an all-party approach to this issue, which is one reason why I am so pleased that the right hon. Member for South-West Norfolk (Mrs. Shephard) and the hon. Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Tyler), who represents the Liberal Democrats, have agreed to sign the programme motion.

At the time of the agreement, the right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Hague), the Conservative party leader, said: This Agreement is perhaps the best opportunity that we shall ever have to secure a new beginning for Northern Ireland.

The former Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major), said: We have got an agreement which stretched far wider across Northern Ireland than we could possibly have imagined".

The right hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble), who cannot be here because of other commitments, said: We have laid the foundation for a healthy, vibrant democracy to replace the stagnation of the last three decades.

That was why, following the widely welcomed statement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on Monday, I announced a change of business to take this Bill through all its stages today.

On Monday, the Secretary of State outlined the basis of the agreement, and indicated the various parts of it that would require action by the House. Today, the House has its first opportunity to play its part in facilitating the agreement. Later tonight, the House will be asked to approve orders for the provision of the referendum and for the winding up of the forum, but first we ask the House to take all stages of the Bill today. I know that that is unusual, but, as hon. Members will know, it is not unprecedented.

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Torfaen (Mr. Murphy), will deal in detail with the merits of the Bill when he opens the Second Reading debate shortly. The longer we spend debating the programme motion, the less time we will have to consider the Bill in detail. I want to say simply why it is appropriate that the House should give the Bill priority and treat it in this unusual way, taking all stages in one day.

As I say, that is not unprecedented. The House can respond to emergencies. Only two weeks ago, we considered the Criminal Procedure (Intermediate Diets) (Scotland) Bill, but, of course, this is a much bigger Bill and I cannot rely just on precedent. The House has a responsibility to act swiftly.

On Monday, the right hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King) said: There may be an agreement on paper … but it is with the hearts and minds of the people … that the challenge will lie."—[Official Report, 20 April 1998; Vol. 310, c. 490.]

The House clearly cannot legislate for hearts and minds, but it does have a responsibility to do everything it can and to move as quickly as possible to facilitate the delivery of the agreement, and the opportunities in it for the people who are most affected to express their views not only in the referendum but in the elections.

The timetable for the referendum and elections is tight, but that timetable was decided by the agreement on Good Friday, and we in the House must do all we can to maintain the momentum. That is the will of the House, and I hope that we can proceed by general agreement.

I acknowledge that there is some concern on the part of some Members; I know that the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) has already expressed his. Of course he is right to say that we do not usually take Bills in this way, but these are not usual circumstances, and, as the Secretary of State said on Monday, this is a unique agreement, born of a unique set of negotiations and circumstances. The House has a responsibility to act quickly, and I am grateful to the right hon. Member for South-West Norfolk and others who have given their support for dealing with the matter in this way.

4.19 pm
Mrs. Gillian Shephard (South-West Norfolk)

On Monday, I was happy to express the Opposition's total support for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the statement she made. Later that day, I was also happy to give our support to this unusual way of dealing with unprecedented need. I reaffirm that support.

4.20 pm
Mr. Douglas Hogg (Sleaford and North Hykeham)

This is indeed an unusual procedure, and I am against it. I am against asking this House to enact an important piece of legislation in a constrained and hurried way. I am not against the agreement. I accept that there are many unpalatable things about it, but I also accept the view that it must be taken in the broad, looking at the alternatives. Viewed in that way, I support the agreement. I will also support such legislation as may be necessary to give expression to the agreement—but I am opposed to this timetable motion.

I want to do two things—first, to draw attention to the nature of the timetable motion; secondly, to emphasise that we are depriving ourselves of the ability properly to address a number of questions that need to be asked. The timetable motion gives us, in effect, four hours to debate Second Reading. That is simply not sufficient for such a Bill.

Much worse, the House will then go straight into Committee. Usually, there is a gap between Second Reading and Committee stage, which enables hon. Members to consider what has been said on Second Reading and to receive representations from outside the House on the Bill's clauses. We are about to deprive ourselves of that time for reflection.

Furthermore, we are depriving our constituents and the wider community of the ability to influence the thinking of hon. Members on the terms of the Bill. More than that, we are actually limiting the time spent in Committee. Usually, the House could spend as much time as it wished in Committee, subject to timetable motions, yet today we are being asked to constrain the House and to deal with all the procedures on the Bill within seven hours. That is thoroughly bad practice.

The Report stage, which usually exists when dealing with an important Bill, has been removed from the procedure on this Bill, so the House will not have the opportunity to amend the Bill if it be amended in Committee. We will have put that outside our ability. Again, that is thoroughly undesirable.

Perhaps right hon. and hon. Members will say that, if there are any glaring anomalies, they can be dealt with in the other place. That is an illusion. The House knows that those on the Government Front Bench will be extremely reluctant to bring the Bill back to the House with Lords amendments, so they will do their utmost to prevent any amendments from being made there, however respectable the arguments for them may be. That is why I am against the process.

In a sense, I am making a general argument, but it is also a particular argument relating to the Bill. I will not go into the pros and cons of the Bill's contents, because that is a matter for Second Reading. However, it is right to identify one or two questions. We should at least ask ourselves whether it is right effectively to deprive the House of the ability to amend.

I do not believe that the Bill is self-evidently perfect, and that it should proceed into law as it stands. I want to highlight—I shall do no more than that—some aspects. First, there is the term for which the assembly will be appointed. Nothing in the Bill time-limits the assembly. It is true that it may be limited by function, but it is not limited by time. In a sense, we could be creating a long assembly, in the way that our predecessors created the Long Parliament. That is a matter for debate. Then there is the question whether there should be an amendment.

Secondly, what about vacancies? The Secretary of State has reserved to herself the ability to determine how vacancies shall be filled, whether they shall be made up by the electoral process or by appointment. True, that is subject to the affirmative procedure, but surely it is the kind of thing on which the House may wish to express an opinion and then perhaps amend the Bill.

Thirdly, we know from the Bill that the procedures of the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975, which govern membership of this House, are being applied with some relatively minor modifications to the assembly. It is for question whether it is right to import that Act to the assembly. Again, it is a matter which needs to be debated in some detail, so that the House can, if necessary, amend the Bill.

Fourthly, the Secretary of State has in the schedule reserved to herself the right to determine what salary, if any, Members of the Assembly should be paid. That money comes out of public funds, and I believe that the House should have the opportunity to determine those sums, and to specify them in the Bill. However, we are effectively depriving ourselves of that ability.

Finally, and perhaps most important, I must mention the appointment of the Presiding Officer and his or her deputy. The Secretary of State has reserved to herself in the schedule the power in the first instance to appoint the Presiding Officer and the deputy. It is for argument whether the House might wish to include in the Bill a provision that Presiding Officers and deputies who are associated with organisations that have not delivered on their commitments are ineligible to serve as such officers.

I am not saying that the points I have made are right or wrong; I am merely saying that there are serious issues that ought to be debated in the House, that we should have the opportunity to debate them in the usual way and then amend the Bill.

I know that the big battalions are against me. When I see cross-party support for a measure, I know that my chances of making any progress, in any sense probably, are slight. It is not my intention to detain the House, because I know that this time is being taken from that allowed for the substantive debate. I remind the House that the same applies to the time taken for Divisions, so if anyone decides to dissent by voting, the time taken reduces that available for debate.

For general and particular reasons, we should not accept the motion. I hope that hon. Members who reflect on parliamentary procedure and who feel that I am right will protest this process, even if they feel that they can only do so privately.

4.27 pm
Mr. Peter Robinson (Belfast, East)

I may have reached a different conclusion from the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) as to the nature, if not the desirability, of the agreement, but I do not dispute the logic of his remarks about the procedure on which the House is about to embark. Indeed, it is grossly unfair that we will be punished for objecting. The time we take to put down a marker about the House's departure from standard procedure is to be taken out of the time that we have to debate the Bill as a whole. In other words, the longer we object, the worse things become. That cannot be right.

I make it clear that my colleagues and I believe that the procedure in question is wholly unacceptable, and it is unacceptable for the very reason that the Leader of the House told us we should accept it. She said that these are exceptional circumstances, and that this is a very important matter. Of course it is, and it is for that very reason that we should be taking the utmost care—we are dealing with a matter of the utmost importance and moment.

The Order Paper states that a number of amendments have been tabled. They are all intelligent, studied and considered. Indeed, amendments are still being tabled, as many of us did not know until late last night that the business was to be conducted today. Some of us did not see the Bill until this morning, so we did not have the opportunity to table amendments until then. We would have welcomed more time to do that, but the Government ram stam to get the business through the House with the same dilution of democracy that is depicted in the agreement. It does no service to the House or the people of Northern Ireland that such important business should be dealt with in such a disgraceful manner.

If the Government wanted to ensure that the measure went through, but also wanted to protect the rights of hon. Members to table considered amendments, they could have allowed the business to continue through the night if necessary. Although we do not enjoy staying up all night, many of us would have been prepared to do so rather than allow the Bill to go through with many of our amendments not being called. Let us be clear that some amendments will be passed over because of the guillotine, and that cannot be good for democracy or the House of Commons.

Like the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham, I have done my arithmetic. It is clear that there is little chance of the House reversing the Government's decision. However, the Government should think again, as their message is very clear to the people of Northern Ireland: "It does not matter what rules and procedures have been standard practice in the past, or whatever the people of Northern Ireland may think. We are pushing this through, come what may."

4.30 pm
Mr. Phil Willis (Harrogate and Knaresborough)

The Liberal Democrats support the motion, and want to get on to the substance of the Bill. The people of Northern Ireland, and indeed the United Kingdom, want progress to be made in Northern Ireland. I hope that, by the end of today, progress will have been made.

4.31 pm
Rev. Martin Smyth (Belfast, South)

Sometimes progress can mean two steps forward and three steps back. I am not altogether surprised by the guillotine motion. There was a time when Opposition parties automatically voted against guillotine motions, so that they would have more time to examine Government legislation. However, I suspect that those on the Conservative Front Bench have it in mind that they have a debt to pay.

I recall that there was a guillotine on the legislation in respect of the last Northern Ireland assembly, and that it was carried only when the Opposition of the day decided not to vote against it. We knew that the 1982 assembly would fall because it was based on false foundations, and I regret that today we are moving in the same direction.

On Saturday, a woman said to me, "Were you at the wake last night?" I looked at her in amazement for a moment, and she said, "It is the death of democracy." The hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough (Mr. Willis) spoke about wanting to move on to examine the legislation, but there is not enough time to do so. I hope that we are not slipping into carelessness knowing that, traditionally, when the House panics into a cross-party agreement, ultimately we reap the whirlwind and have to rectify it.

4.33 pm
Mr. Robert McCartney (North Down)

I shall be brief. The contents of the Bill are of profound importance to the people of Northern Ireland. Some feel that the agreement is deeply divisive, but even those who support it should avoid at all costs giving the people of Northern Ireland the impression that the legislation is being conducted in an oppressive, coercive and undemocratic manner.

The suggestion that a measure of such profound constitutional importance should be hustled through the House unconsidered or ill considered because of the lack of time will simply deepen the suspicions of the people whom this legislation will most deeply affect that they are no longer considered first-class citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but may be dealt with in the same way as those outside the law.

All hon. Members, regardless of their feelings about the benefits or the detriments of the Bill, should consider carefully that, if democracy and the reputation of the House are to be served, and if the agreement and the measures that are required to implement it are to be a success, democracy and justice must not only be done, but, in accordance with the best practice of the House, be manifestly seen to be done.

4.35 pm
Mr. Seamus Mallon (Newry and Armagh)

I support the motion. My inclination is always to oppose a guillotine, so I understand the arguments of hon. Members from the Conservative and other parties that there is not sufficient time—I have sympathy with that point of view.

We are facing arguments, however, from those who have had the opportunity over these past two long years to take part in every stage of framing the agreement and to debate in depth every word and phrase in that agreement. For reasons known to themselves—they are entitled to their views—they did not avail themselves of that opportunity. It is remarkable that not one of the Unionist Members arrayed before us today took part in the final decisions, or even the earlier decisions, on the Bill.

Whatever the merits of the guillotine, there can be no justification for opposing it on the ground that it will not give the people of the north of Ireland and their representatives the opportunity to make their case. That opportunity existed for two years. Some refused to take it, and shirked it, whereas others faced up to their responsibilities. For that reason, on behalf of my party, I support the guillotine motion.

4.37 pm
Rev. Ian Paisley (North Antrim)

It is a pity that the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) did not stick to the facts. I was at the talks on the condition that they would not proceed until the arsenal of murder weapons was surrendered—that commitment was given to me in Downing street again and again by the Prime Minister of the day. I was also told that, if only some arms were given up, those parties involved would have to pay over every month—if they did not, they would be put out of the talks. That was the basis on which the talks were to take place.

When my party went to the country, we made it clear that if decommissioning did not occur—I am talking about decommissioning of all arms used by terrorists, whether they be on one side of the fence or the other—and there was an attempt to bring IRA-Sinn Fein to the table my party would not be present. We fought the election on that manifesto. We are not like some parties in the House that tell the electorate something and then go back on it—we made our position perfectly clear.

It is ironic that the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh should say that we should have joined the talks, as I received a letter from the Secretary of State saying, without any explanation, that my party would not be allowed into the talks even when the final decision was to be taken.

The House can go ahead and ram these measures through. I have seen that happen before. I remember the Prime Minister of the day, the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Sir E. Heath), telling me that he had made peace when he did away with Stormont. I said to him, "You have had a Christmas party, but you will not have one any longer," and we know what happened.

The House is supposed to be democratic, and even those who are opposed to the legislation should be allowed to discuss it with the same amount of time that is given to any other part of the United Kingdom, especially when so many issues are at stake. Where are the friends of the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh, who sat in the talks until the end, and were hailed as statesmen? Where is the leader of the Official Unionist party, his deputy or his chief security man? Why are they not here to defend their position? We saw how they ran out of the forum on Friday, and were not prepared to take part in debate.

Those who cannot debate an issue and run away need not hurl insults at those who bring up issues that they do not like to be brought up. It is mean and contemptible that representatives of Northern Ireland are not permitted to discuss under the usual circumstances a matter that has divided and polarised Northern Ireland more than any other. Hon. Members can close their eyes and ears, but, at the end of the day, as the hon. Member for Belfast, South (Rev. Martin Smyth) said, the people of Northern Ireland will have to reap the whirlwind of their sowing.

4.41 pm
Mr. Roger Stott (Wigan)

I support the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon). This business has been going on for an awfully long time—I am thinking particularly of the negotiations and discussions of the past two years—and an agreement was reached on Good Friday this year. That agreement lightened the hearts of everyone, both in Great Britain and Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland.

Mr. Robert McCartney

indicated dissent.

Mr. Stott

I heard what the hon. and learned Member for North Down (Mr. McCartney) said earlier.

We have gone through this process for a long time, and we now have an agreement between the Irish and British Governments and the leadership of the Unionist party and the Social Democratic and Labour party about how to move forward. I never thought that that would happen in my lifetime, having spent so much time in Northern Ireland in the bad days.

We can debate the agreement on Second Reading, but we must allow my Government to facilitate it through the House so that we can get to the stage of a referendum. The hon. and learned Member for North Down says that it is unacceptable. It is all right for him to sit there—I see that he has crossed the Floor from where he sat before—and say that the agreement is not acceptable, but we shall see whether it is accepted in the referendum by people in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

If I were a gambling man, which I am not—my hon. Friend the Member for Newry and Armagh is, and always has been—I would bet that this agreement, which was discussed and painfully negotiated by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, will be accepted by the people of Northern Ireland.

4.44 pm
Mrs. Ann Taylor

I will be brief. Obviously, the shorter the time spent on this motion, the longer there will be to discuss Second Reading. I will leave those points that should be dealt with on Second Reading to the Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Torfaen (Mr. Murphy), who is to reply later.

I will pick up on one or two of the contributions made to the debate, in particular that of the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg), who picked up on my words that this was an unusual process. It is indeed, but taking all the stages of a Bill in one day is not unprecedented. He has voted for such procedures on some occasions, so he is not justified in suddenly objecting today simply because we are doing so.

The Bill is not complex, and the issues contained in it, which relate to the provision of elections, were the subject of much discussion in the talks process before Good Friday—one reason why we can make good progress today, I hope. I will not go in detail into the points that the right hon. and learned Gentleman raised, because my hon. Friend can deal with them on Second Reading. If the House took the right hon. and learned Gentleman's advice and delayed discussions of the Bill, he would have to think carefully about the consequences of the delay. I do not think that that would be an attractive proposition.

Mr. Hogg

I have no objection to proceeding with Second Reading today in the ordinary way. The right hon. Lady could bring the Bill back to the House for the Committee stage next week if she wanted. Why is she not prepared to do so, and to allow a seven-day gap between Second Reading and Committee?

Mrs. Taylor

There is sufficient agreement, and there has been sufficient discussion of the Bill during the talks process, for us to proceed as we intend, and I am glad that the shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is nodding his head in agreement.

As regards the comments made by some hon. Gentlemen—

Mr. William Ross (East Londonderry)

Did the right hon. Lady say a few moments ago that there had been sufficient discussion of the Bill during the talks over the agreement? Was the text of the Bill available there? If so, we Ulster Unionists were not aware of it.

Mrs. Taylor

I think that the hon. Gentleman misheard me. I said that the issues had been discussed. The House is being asked to facilitate elections that, when the referendum is held, I believe the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland will say they want to take place. Some of the comments made about the Bill, especially from the Bench opposite, were really made not in objection to the programme motion, but to the fact that we have the Bill and the agreement at all. There is no way in which we can hope to satisfy—or would want to satisfy—downright opponents of the agreement.

Mr. Robert McCartney

Is it not correct that any issues discussed within the talks were confidential and not available to the public? The great distinction between what took place in those talks and what takes place here is the public nature of debate in the House.

Mrs. Taylor

The agreement was published, and there was a full statement on it in the House on Monday, when those hon. Members who were present could question the Secretary of State and took that opportunity. On that aspect, it is important to remember, as the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) said, that, in two long years, Members opposite have had every chance to take part in the discussions and have not done so. On that basis and against that background, I do not think that we should be put off making progress today.

Again, I thank the right hon. Member for South-West Norfolk (Mrs. Shephard) and the spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, the hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough (Mr. Willis), for the views that they expressed. Clearly, while the House cannot itself solve the problems of Northern Ireland, it can and should do all it can to ensure that the hope that was generated by the agreement on Good Friday is turned into real achievement. The motion and the Bill will be a step in the right direction.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 350, Noes 11.

[Division No. 251] [4.49 pm
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Battle, John
Ainger, Nick Bayley, Hugh
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Beard, Nigel
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Alexander, Douglas Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Allan, Richard Bennett, Andrew F
Allen, Graham Benton, Joe
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Bercow, John
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Berry, Roger
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Best, Harold
Arbuthnot, James Betts, Clive
Armstrong, Ms Hilary Blackman, Liz
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Blair, Rt Hon Tony
Atherton, Ms Candy Blunt, Crispin
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Body, Sir Richard
Austin, John Boswell, Tim
Baker, Norman Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Ballard, Mrs Jackie Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Barnes, Harry Bradshaw, Ben
Barron, Kevin Brady, Graham
Brand, Dr Peter Fox, Dr Liam
Brazier, Julian Galloway, George
Brinton, Mrs Helen Gapes, Mike
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon Gibb, Nick
(Dunfermline E) Gibson, Dr Ian
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Godman, Dr Norman A
Browne, Desmond Goggings, Paul
Browning, Mrs Angela Golding, Mrs Llin
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Goodlad, Rt Hon Sir Alastair
Burnett, John Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Burstow, Paul Gorrie, Donald
Butler, Mrs Christine Grant, Bernie
Byers, Stephen Gray, James
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth) Green, Damian
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife) Greenway, John
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Campbell-Savours, Dale Grocott, Bruce
Canavan, Dennis Grogan, John
Cann, Jamie Gunnell, John
Casale, Roger Hague, Rt Hon William
Clapham, Michael Hall, Mike (Weaver vale)
Clappison, James Hammond, Philip
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Hanson, David
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S) Harris, Dr Evan
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth Heald, Oliver
(Rushcliffe) Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Clelland, David Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Clwyd, Ann Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Coaker, Vernon Hepburn, Stephen
Coffey, Ms Ann Heppell, John
Colman, Tony Hill, Keith
Connarty, Michael Hinchliffe, David
Corbett, Robin Hodge, Ms Margaret
Cormack, Sir Patrick Hoey, Kate
Corston, Ms Jean Home Robertson, John
Cousins, Jim Hoon, Geoffrey
Cran, James Hope, Phil
Cranston, Ross Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Crausby, David Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch) Howells,Dr Kim
Cummings, John Hoyle, Lindsay
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S) Humble, Mrs Joan
Dafis, Cynog Hutton, John
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair Iddon, Dr Brian
Darvill, Keith Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Davidson, Ian Jamieson David
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Jenkin, Bernard
Dawson, Hilton Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Day, Stephen Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Dean, Mrs Janet Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Môn)
Dismore, Andrew Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Donohoe, Brian H Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Dowd, Jim Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Drew, David Keeble, Ms Sally
Drown, Ms Julia Keen, Alan(Feltham & Heston)
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey) Kelly, Ms Ruth
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston) Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Edwards, Huw Khabra, Piara S
Efford, Clive Kilfoyle, Peter
Ennis, Jeff King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Evans, Nigel Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Ewing, Mrs Margaret Kumar, Dr Ashok
Fallon, Michael Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Fitzpatrick, Jim Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Fitzsimons, Lorna Laxton, Bob
Follett, Barbara Leslie, Christopher
Forth, Rt Hon Eric Letwin, Oliver
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Levitt, Tom
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman Liddell, Mrs Helen
Lidington, David Randall, John
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Rapson, Syd
Linton, Martin Redwood, Rt Hon John
Livingstone, Ken Reid, Dr John (Hamilton N)
Livsey, Richard Rendel, David
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham) Robertson, Rt Hon George
Llwyd, Elfyn (Hamilton S)
Loughton, Tim Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Luff, Peter Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Rooker, Jeff
McAllion, John Rooney, Terry
McAvoy, Thomas Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
McCartney, Ian (Makerfield) Rowlands, Ted
McDonagh, Siobhain Roy, Frank
McGrady, Eddie Russell, Bob (Colchester)
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
McGuire, Mrs Anne St Aubyn, Nick
McIntosh, Miss Anne Salter, Martin
McIsaac, Shona Sanders, Adrian
MacKay, Andrew Savidge, Malcolm
Mackinlay, Andrew Sedgemore, Brian
Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert Sheerman, Barry
McLoughlin, Patrick Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
McNulty, Tony Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
MacShane, Denis Shepherd, Richard
Mactaggart, Fiona Shipley, Ms Debra
McWalter, Tony Simpson, Alan(Nottingham S)
McWilliam, John Skinner, Dennis
Malin, Humfrey Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Mallon, Seamus Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Mandelson, Peter Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Maples, John Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S) Soley, Clive
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Southworth, Ms Helen
Marshall-Andrews, Robert Spellar, John
Martlew, Eric Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Maude, Rt Hon Francis Spring, Richard
Maxton, John Spring, Richard
May, Mrs Theresa Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Meale, Alan Steinberg, Gerry
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute) Stevenson, George
Milburn, Alan Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Miller, Andrew Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Mitchell, Austin Stinchcombe, Paul
Moore, Michael Stoate, Dr Howard
Moran, Ms Margaret Stott, Roger
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway) Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Morley, Elliot Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley) Streeter, Gary
Moss, Malcolm Stuart, Ms Gisela
Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie Sutcliffe, Gerry
Mudie, George Swinney, John
Mullin, Chris Syms, Robert
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck) Tapsell, Sir Peter
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood) Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Murphy, Paul (Torfaen) (Dewsbury)
Nicholls, Patrick Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Norris, Dan Taylor, Sir Teddy
Oaten, Mark Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton) Timms, Stephen
Olner, Bill Todd, Mark
O'Neill, Martin Touhig, Don
Organ, Mrs Diana Trickett, Jon
Ottaway, Richard Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Palmer, Dr Nick Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Pearson, Ian Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Pickthall, Colin Tyler, Paul
Pike, Peter L Vaz, Keith
Plaskitt, James Wallace, James
Powell, Sir Raymond Walter, Robert
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E) Ward, Ms Claire
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Wareing, Robert N
Prescott, Rt Hon John Watts, David
Purchase, Ken White, Brian
Quinn, Lawrie Whitehead, Dr Alan
Radice, Giles Whittingdale, John
Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd Woolas, Phil
Williams, Rt Hon Alan Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
(Swansea W) Wyatt, Derek
Yeo, Tim
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy) Tellers for the Ayes:
Wills, Michael Mr. Greg Pope and
Winnick, David Mr. John McFall.
Beggs, Roy Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Forsythe, Clifford Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Hunter, Andrew Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
McCartney, Robert (N Down) Tellers for the Noes:
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry) Rev. Ian Paisley and
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E) Mr. William Thompson.

Question accordingly agreed to.


That the following provisions shall apply to proceedings on the Northern Ireland (Elections) Bill: