HC Deb 30 July 1998 vol 317 cc585-95
Mr. Paul Murphy

I beg to move amendment No. 27, in page 11, line 29, at end insert 'or'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to discuss the following: Government amendment No. 28.

Amendment No. 1, in page 11, line 35, leave out 'If the Assembly resolves' and insert 'If a motion is tabled, supported by at least 30 members, stating'. Government amendment No. 29.

Amendment No. 2, in page 11, line 40, leave out from 'Ministers' to end of line 41 and insert 'following the next Assembly sitting unless and until a resolution expressing confidence in that Party is approved by the Assembly voting on a cross-community basis in accordance with section 4(5).'.

Mr. Murphy

I expect that several hon. Members want to speak on the amendments, and I shall answer their points at the debate's conclusion.

Mr. Jeffrey Donaldson (Lagan Valley)

I want to speak to amendments Nos. 1 and 2 in particular, which stand in my name and the names of other hon. Members.

The clause deals with the mechanism for excluding individuals or parties from holding office in the New Northern Ireland Assembly. The mechanism as at present set out in the Bill requires in each instance a vote in the Assembly of cross-community support for a Minister to be excluded from office. The Bill sets out three options by which a resolution may be brought before the Assembly, but in each and every instance, for a motion to lead to the exclusion of a Minister or party, a cross-community vote is required. We believe that it should be the other way round.

On Wednesday I listened to the Prime Minister telling us in response to questions that it was he and he alone who decided who was in his Cabinet. Yet, in reality, in the Executive which will be the Government of Northern Ireland, the only way in which a Minister can be excluded from holding office is if there is a cross-community vote in the Assembly. That means that a Minister who enjoys the confidence of no other party in the Assembly but his own may remain in office, provided that his own party has sufficient numbers to block a cross-community vote. That is unhelpful.

Let me give as an example a Minister who belongs to the SDLP. For the cross-community vote to operate, the SDLP is required to support it because the SDLP represents over 40 per cent. of the nationalist community. Therefore, in effect, the SDLP can veto the exclusion of one of its Ministers under any circumstance. That is unhealthy in a democratic institution.

We believe that, for a Minister to stay in office when a motion is tabled—in respect of amendment No. 1—by at least 30 Members, the Minister or his party has a responsibility to gain the support and confidence of other parties in the Assembly. Otherwise, the mechanism as it is set out in the Bill effectively gives a veto to individual parties. Indeed, it effectively gives a veto to my party on the Unionist side, because at the moment it has more than 40 per cent. of the Unionist seats in the Assembly. Therefore, at least two parties now under the mechanism in the Bill can veto the exclusion of any Minister, including a Minister belonging to their party, even if that Minister has lost the confidence of every other party in the Assembly. The mechanism is unhealthy and unworkable.

The Minister will be aware of our serious concerns, particularly in relation to parties connected to terrorist organisations. We have a deep anxiety that a Minister will be appointed to the Executive who is linked to a paramilitary or terrorist organisation. If those terrorist organisations are in breach of the terms of the agreement—for example, by refusing to co-operate on the international commission on disarmament, by committing murders or carrying out punishment beatings—it will be virtually impossible to have that Minister removed from office or his party excluded from holding ministerial office unless the support of the SDLP is secured. That position does not imbue the Unionist community with confidence in the mechanisms of the Bill.

I ask the Government to think again and to consider accepting amendments Nos. 1 and 2 in the spirit that is intended—to make the institution more workable and to help it enjoy wider confidence than it presently enjoys.

Mr. Peter Robinson

Without changes such as would be effected by amendments Nos. 2 and 3, the Bill and the process becomes a farce.

Last night, when the same criteria as are in this Bill were applied in relation to the release of prisoners, the Government were prepared to close their eyes to the murder of one man, the beating up of many others, punishment beatings and shootings in Londonderry and all other acts of terrorism, and to allow those prisoners to be released. The same criteria applied in this case would allow IRA representatives to be in government. That may be acceptable to the Government, but it is unacceptable to the people of Northern Ireland. I suspect that it is not acceptable to a majority of the elected representatives.

That is not to say that there would not be a significant section who would be prepared to take any action against such Ministers. If the vote were taken today in the Assembly to exclude Sinn Fein members, I have no doubt that a majority would vote for exclusion, but it would not be a cross-community vote sufficient to ensure their exclusion. Therefore, the reality is that we do not have a working Assembly. The Executive cannot work on the basis that some of those who are within its membership are still associated with death and destruction in the Province.

I notice that the Government have tabled amendment No. 29. I am subject to correction from those on the Opposition Front Bench who were helpful to me last time, but I have not heard it discussed before. I am sorry that the Minister did not say something about it. It has been one of the finest moments in my parliamentary career to see that, on the foot of an amendment that I tabled in Committee, the Government have actually agreed to remove four words from the Bill, although the fact that the Minister said nothing about it deflated me somewhat. However, the fact that he added about 30 extra words which are worse takes away some of the pleasure that I had.

I do not know what the Minister is trying to get at by this amendment, unless he is trying to get at the DUP. Perhaps he can explain it to us. I have never seen this kind of amendment before. The Minister provides for a party and its representatives to be excluded from government if there is any likely failure of its members to observe their pledge of office. The Assembly will have to look into the future to see what a representative might do if he were in office. No doubt, with crystal ball in hand, it will attempt to predict what a representative might do in government. That goes far too far. In particular, it does not relate to any involvement in terrorism, which is dealt with in paragraph (a). The amendment deals with unrelated, unspecified matters and it is important that we know what they are.

Moreover, as the clause is drafted, what the Assembly might perceive to be the position of one member of a political party automatically disqualifies all members of that political party for a 12-month period. The Minister needs to explain how all the representatives of a political party can be excluded because one member may be deemed in future to be likely not to observe the pledge of office.

Rev. Ian Paisley

When the Minister replies, can he tell us how it will be discovered who might become a Minister? I could well understand the clause and amendment if they dealt with a representative who had become a Minister, but how is it to be discovered who might become a Minister? There is only one way to discover that and it is to say that everybody in the party might become a Minister.

That is a strange amendment, therefore, which at one fell swoop, according to the interpretation given, could put a whole party out of the Assembly. I know that the Government would like to put my party out. During the campaign they said that we would not get there anyway, but then 20 of us turned up, so it is no wonder that they want to get rid of us. It is the strangest of strange amendments to say, without consultation with anyone, that someone could be excluded because of any likely failure What constitutes a likely failure? It is strange that, when the IRA fails to live up to its pledge to give up violence, and shoots, kills and maims—

Rev. Martin Smyth

If the provision were applied in this House, would any Executive stand for long, bearing in mind all the reports and the fact that a special Committee has had to be set up to investigate the conduct of Members who have not behaved according to the traditions of this place?

7 pm

Rev. Ian Paisley

That is very true. What could offer some comfort to the hon. Gentleman and myself is that we are never likely to become Ministers, so we would not be included in the guillotine.

The Minister must tell us what he is after here. Whom does he intend to catch in the net, and what is the real purpose of the amendment?

Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)

I should have thought that clause 23 and the amendment are relevant to a matter that has been raised several times—the problem of those who engage in violence. The Unionists, who do not favour the agreement, and occasionally the Opposition Front-Bench team, have argued that there is no basic guarantee that Ministers will be thrown out for engaging in violence. Surely, as has been pointed out, clause 23(1)(a) is clear. The clause states: a Minister no longer enjoys the confidence of the Assembly— (a) because he is not committed to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and democratic means".

Mr. Peter Robinson

Government amendment No. 29 would replace paragraph (b) of clause 23, and refers to any other terms of the pledge of office". Surely that means any terms other than the pledge to non-violence?

Mr. Winnick

Strange as it may seem, I have read the amendment, so I understand the hon. Gentleman's point. I should have thought that the amendment strengthens the position in many respects and makes the clause less vague. At the moment it refers only to "any other reason".

Every one of the pledges in paragraphs (a) to (g) of the pledge of office that has to be given by a Minister, on page 10 of the Belfast agreement, is essential if a Minister is to carry out his terms of office with integrity. The hon. Member for Belfast, South (Rev. Martin Smyth) asked what would happen if that pledge had to be observed in this Parliament. I hope that any Minister in any Government would act according to the requirements in the agreement for Ministers in the Northern Ireland Assembly and I include in that the previous Government and any future Conservative Governments, let alone a Labour Government.

The pledges include: to discharge in good faith all the duties of office … commitment to non-violence … to serve all the people … equally, and to act in accordance with the general obligations on government to promote equality … to participate with colleagues in the preparation of a programme for government … to support, and to act in accordance with, all decisions of the Executive … and the Assembly … to comply with the Ministerial Code of Conduct. If the Assembly concludes that a Minister is not likely to comply with those pledges, obviously that must be a matter of concern. I accept that the word "likely" may give rise to difficulties, and I will listen carefully to my hon. Friend the Minister's reply. I accept that it is not as easy to decide what is likely as to decide what has occurred, but the amendment is a safeguard, and I see no reason why it should not be included.

Rev. Martin Smyth

We are not dealing with particular individuals as I understand it. The clause reads: If the Assembly resolves that a political party does not enjoy the confidence of the Assembly and the amendment would follow on: because of any likely failure of its members who are or might become Ministers to observe any other terms of the pledge of office". We are talking about the exclusion of a party for that reason, not of an individual or a Minister.

Mr. Winnick

I accept that. Perhaps I did not make it as clear as I should have done. The fact remains, however, that Ministers are part of a political party, and will presumably be appointed because of that fact and because they identified themselves as such when they were elected to the Assembly. That is the position.

If members of a political party who have been elected to the Assembly give the impression—be it Sinn Fein or any other group—that they are not likely to carry out the pledge of office, the amendment offers a necessary safeguard. However, I will be interested to hear the Minister's interpretation of the word "likely". Given what Opposition Members have said about Sinn Fein, I should have thought that they would reach the conclusion that I have reached, which is that the provision offers a safeguard if members of Sinn Fein, or of any other party, become Ministers and are likely not to observe the 10 points in the pledge of office.

Mr. Öpik

I have two points to make about amendment No. 29. First, as the hon. Members for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) and for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) pointed out, the phrase "likely failure" is difficult. It creates a vagueness that someone will have to interpret, which concerns me.

The major problem is that raised by the hon. Member for North Antrim (Rev. Ian Paisley) which is in the wording who are or might become Ministers". Although he said that it was exceedingly unlikely that he would be appointed a Minister in this House, theoretically it is possible. He might become a Minister in this Chamber, and I am sure that there are hon. Members who would welcome that. The word "might" is open to the simple interpretation that any member of the Assembly might become a Minister, and to that extent it genuinely excludes everyone. I understand the intent, but I strongly urge the Minister to think again about the amendment and perhaps table a tidied-up version in another place. As it stands, I would not touch it with a 40-ft bargepole.

Mr. Paul Murphy

The hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. Öpik) makes an interesting suggestion. I thought that it was a 4-ft bargepole before.

I think that everyone accepts that we had a long and good debate on exclusion in Committee, and I certainly do not intend to reiterate the Government's arguments about that part of the Bill, but simply to say that the basic principles on which clause 23 is based are: first, that it is drafted to reflect the terms of the agreement; secondly, as in the agreement, the decision to exclude from ministerial office is for the Assembly to take, on a cross-community basis; and, thirdly, that clause 23 subsections (6) and (7) reflect the promise made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in his Balmoral speech during the referendum campaign, by saying that the Secretary of State must take into account the four factors listed in subsection (7).

On the Government amendments, we were concerned because many parties and others made representations to us about the general nature of exclusion on the basis of the words "for any other reason".

I suspect that the hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) agrees about the first bit. The purpose of the second part, with which he disagrees, is to put into legislation a much tighter reason for exclusion beyond non-violence and democracy, which are already in. It relates entirely to the pledge of office. They are not words made up out of the blue; they are there as a direct consequence of reading the pledge of office across from the agreement.

We believe that the pledge of office covers all the relevant ministerial responsibilities. It includes the commitment to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and democratic means", but it also other includes pledges to discharge in good faith all the duties of office; to serve all the people of Northern Ireland equally … to participate with colleagues in the preparation of a programme for government; to operate within the framework of that programme when agreed within the Executive Committee and endorsed by the Assembly; to support, and to act in accordance with, all the decisions of the Executive Committee and Assembly; to comply with the Ministerial Code of Conduct. Those pledges were agreed by negotiation. They were put into the agreement in written form and went to every household in Northern Ireland, and were in turn supported by the majority of people in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Peter Robinson

They are also already in the Bill where it deals with the individual. The Minister is talking about requiring all the members of a party to fulfil the pledge of office. If any of them are deemed not to be fulfilling it, all can be excluded and disqualified for 12 months.

Mr. Murphy

The hon. Gentleman will recall that, when we debated party exclusion and individual exclusion in Committee, most hon. Members agreed that the Bill should include provisions for party exclusion. It makes no sense to exclude one person as a Minister—and I mean exclude as opposed to remove—unless similar restrictions apply to political parties. Without that, all that would happen is that one individual would be replaced by another from the same party, because, under the d'Hondt procedure, there is automatic entitlement to positions on the Executive.

Mr. Winnick

Does my hon. Friend agree that if, say, Sinn Fein was found to be involved with violence, apart from our views, the first to cry out for any Sinn Fein Ministers to be excluded would be the very people who are concerned about this amendment. It is a safeguard. The only doubt in my mind concerns the word "likely". Perhaps my hon. Friend will explain that.

Mr. Murphy

Let me deal with those two points. It is right to deal with issues other than non-violence, because they are equally part of the agreement. The authors of the agreement—the political parties—thought that people who entered the Assembly, if they became Ministers, had a duty placed on them to ensure that the agreement and the assembly worked. That is achieved by signing the pledge of office. The exclusion of parties as well as individual Ministers has been introduced because it would be nonsense if only an individual were affected because that person could keep on being replaced by party colleagues when the reason for exclusion concerned not an individual but that person's party in some way going against the spirit of the agreement and the pledge of office.

On the word "likely", how do we exclude people from office if they belong to a political party that says publicly, through a manifesto or some other method, that it rejects the whole purpose of the agreement and the pledge of office and what it stands for? It can be determined by examining the manifesto and what people say publicly about the agreement. We are not taking about membership of the Assembly, because Members cannot be excluded. If the electorate vote for those people for the Assembly, that is the right of the people in that constituency. We are talking about the holding of office. The agreement specifically says that people cannot hold office unless they sign the pledge. If a political party says that it does not agree with the pledge, it is likely that it will break the pledge because it has said so. That is the reason for the provision.

Amendment No. 1 would allow 30 Members of the Assembly to exclude. That goes completely against the agreement, because it does not encompass cross-community support. Whatever the rights and wrongs of whether 30 Members should be able to do it, the amendment cannot be accepted because it contravenes what the agreement says about exclusion or removal being based on cross-community agreement.

7.15 pm
Mr. Peter Robinson

The Minister is wrong to say that the 30-Member mechanism is contrary to the agreement. It is the essence of the agreement, which uses 30 Members to provide a trigger mechanism on several other issues. The amendment uses the agreement's terminology. Its terminology relating to cross-community support comes in our next amendment.

Mr. Murphy

There is a difference between the simple triggering of a mechanism and amendment No. 1, which gives a different interpretation of the matter. We must ensure that the legislation, as far as possible, mirrors the agreement. Everyone knows that it must be based on cross-community support. That is set out twice in paragraph 25 of strand 1. The amendment does not even replace it with straightforward majority support; it gives a minority the right to exclude another party from ministerial office, and is not compatible with the agreement.

Amendment No. 2 is different, in that the agreement is silent on the length of exclusion. We want to try to implement the agreement, but inevitably a political agreement leaves some practical gaps. We must consider what we think the spirit of the agreement is. The Bill should make some provision for the length of the period of exclusion. The provision should be as flexible as possible and allow the Assembly to vary the period of exclusion on the same basis as the original decision, by resolution with cross-community support. Where there is such support, the Assembly can determine as short or as long a period of exclusion as it sees fit. The decision is up to the Assembly.

We recognised that there might be different views on the period of exclusion to be served, so we sought to provide a basic period which was long enough to reflect the seriousness of the loss of confidence that triggered it but which offered the prospect of a return to ministerial office if the original cause of exclusion was removed. We think that that is in line with the spirit of the agreement. The period would last 12 months from the original vote, unless—this is important—the Assembly resolves to reduce it, or to extend it by successive periods of 12 months. That would be a matter for the Assembly, based on cross-community support.

Amendment No.2 would make the period of exclusion open-ended. It would require a positive vote before a party regained eligibility for ministerial office. I do not think that that is in line with the agreement, because the d'Hondt procedure automatically qualifies parties for entitlement, which is different from any system of which we have experience. That is why we cannot accept the amendment. We believe that nowhere in the agreement is there a requirement for a positive vote of confidence in favour of a particular party taking up ministerial office. That goes against proportionality, but especially against the d'Hondt procedure.

Mr. Donaldson

Has not the Minister just spent some time explaining to the House that there ought to be an amendment to the Bill to enable a whole party to be excluded from holding office if it is thought likely for any reason that it will not hold up to the pledge of office? He is arguing that the d'Hondt rule is sovereign and that there should be nothing to exclude individuals from holding office if their party is entitled to office under the d'Hondt system, yet a few moments ago he argued that, even if a party was likely to be in breach of the pledge of office, there might be a mechanism to exclude it from office. Is there not an inconsistency there?

Mr. Murphy

There is no inconsistency. We have made it clear—the Bill is consistent—that there is provision to exclude or remove from office both individuals and parties, for the reasons that I have explained, if the pledge of office is broken in some way or another. That is true especially of the pledge regarding non-violence, which is specifically mentioned in another part of the clause. Of course, that in itself means that the d'Hondt procedure is interfered with, because the pledge has been broken. Of course I understand that, but here we are talking about the return of such a party.

If the party has during the previous 12 months changed its policy and is committed to peaceful and non-violent means, there comes a time when that party ought to be able to return to the democratic fold. I see nothing wrong with that, but there is provision in the agreement for that 12 months to be extended or reduced if necessary, according to the feeling of the Assembly.

Rev. Ian Paisley (North Antrim)

Why then does the Minister change the rule completely in regard to this? There is no mention of its being likely that a person will go back to violence. The word "likely" is not used in those terms, but it is used in regard to the pledge of office. Amendment No. 29 goes further than that. It says "members who are". Well, Members who are doing this can be seen to be doing it, but might become Ministers. Surely, if they are going to become Ministers, you are only pushing yourself out into the future and saying, "If they become Ministers, they are going to do the same thing." How can you prove that?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael J. Martin)

Order. I do not need to prove anything.

Rev. Ian Paisley

I am asking the Minister a simple question. Why is it that the amendment has gone beyond persons in office to those who might be in office and is trying them and hanging them for something that they have not even done?

Mr. Murphy

If a party is saying, and all the world knows that it is saying, to the people of Northern Ireland—

Mr. Peter Robinson (Belfast, East)

Give us an example.

Mr. Murphy

It is not up to me to give any sort of example. If a political party goes to the people and says, "We will not accept the conditions of the pledge of office," it is the height of nonsense for that party to be in the Executive—not the Assembly. The Executive is entirely based on an agreement that says that Ministers must sign up to the pledge of office. It does not make any sense. The people will know that a party has said that it will not accept the pledge. If a political party has said so in its manifesto, it is likely that that party will not take office. That is much tighter than what the Bill originally said, which was "for any other reason." It is important that "any other reason" is taken away and in its place are inserted the words in the amendment.

We argued vigorously about "exclusion" as opposed to "removal" in Committee, but if we know beforehand what the policy of the party is likely to be because that is stated in the manifesto, on the radio, on the television or whatever, of course it does not make any sense that the party should take up office that depends on recognition and acceptance of the pledge of office. For those reasons, I commend the Government amendments to the House and ask it to reject amendments Nos. 1 and 2.

The House divided: Ayes 225, Noes 21.

Division No. 355] [7.24 pm
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Battle, John
Alexander, Douglas Beard, Nigel
Allen, Graham Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Bennett, Andrew F
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Benton, Joe
Armstrong, Ms Hilary Bermingham, Gerald
Atherton, Ms Candy Berry, Roger
Atkins, Charlotte Best, Harold
Austin, John Blears, Ms Hazel
Barron, Kevin Blizzard, Bob
Boateng, Paul Hodge, Ms Margaret
Borrow, David Hoey, Kate
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Hoon, Geoffrey
Brinton, Mrs Helen Hopkins, Kelvin
Buck, Ms Karen Howells, Dr Kim
Burden, Richard Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Butler, Mrs Christine Hurst, Alan
Byers, Stephen Hutton, John
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Iddon, Dr Brian
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Illsley, Eric
Canavan, Dennis Ingram, Adam
Cann, Jamie Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Casale, Roger Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Jamieson, David
Chaytor, David Jenkins, Brian
Chisholm, Malcolm Johnson, Alan (Hull W& Hessle)
Clapham, Michael Jones, Ms Jenny (Wolverh'ton SW)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S) Jowell, Ms Tessa
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S) Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Clelland, David Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Coffey, Ms Ann Kemp, Fraser
Cohen, Harry Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Coleman, Iain Khabra, Piara S
Colman, Tony Kingham, Ms Tess
Connarty, Michael Kumar, Dr Ashok
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Cooper, Yvette Lepper, David
Corbett, Robin Leslie, Christopher
Corbyn, Jeremy Linton, Martin
Corston, Ms Jean Livingstone, Ken
Cousins, Jim McAllion, John
Cox, Tom McAvoy, Thomas
Cranston, Ross McCabe, Steve
Crausby, David McCafferty, Ms Chris
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley) McDonagh, Siobhain
Cryer, John (Hornchurch) McDonnell, John
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) McGrady, Eddie
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) McGuire, Mrs Anne
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C) McIsaac, Shona
Denham, John McNamara, Kevin
Dismore, Andrew McNulty, Tony
Dobbin, Jim Mactaggart, Fiona
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank McWalter, Tony
Doran, Frank McWilliam, John
Dowd, Jim Mallaber, Judy
Drew, David Mandelson, Peter
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey) Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Efford, Clive Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Ennis, Jeff Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Etherington, Bill Meale, Alan
Ewing, Mrs Margaret Michael, Alun
Field, Rt Hon Frank Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Fisher, Mark Mitchell, Austin
Fitzpatrick, Jim Moffatt, Laura
Flynn, Paul Moonie, Dr Lewis
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Moran, Ms Margaret
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings) Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Foulkes, George Morley, Elliot
Fyfe, Maria Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Gapes, Mike Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie
Gardiner, Barry Mudie, George
Gerrard, Neil Mullin, Chris
Gibson, Dr Ian Murphy, Paul (Torfaen)
Godman, Dr Norman A O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Godsiff, Roger Olner, Bill
Golding, Mrs Llin Palmer, Dr Nick
Gordon, Mrs Eileen Pearson, Ian
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E) Pendry, Tom
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Perham, Ms Linda
Hain, Peter Pickthall, Colin
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE) Pike, Peter L
Heppell, John Plaskitt, James
Hewitt, Ms Patricia Pollard, Kerry
Hill, Keith Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg Stevenson, George
Pound, Stephen Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Powell, Sir Raymond Stuart, Ms Gisela
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E) Sutcliffe, Gerry
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Primarolo, Dawn
Quin, Ms Joyce Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Rammell, Bill Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Raynsford, Nick Temple-Morris, Peter
Robertson, Rt Hon George (Hamilton S) Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Rooker, Jeff Todd, Mark
Rowlands, Ted Touhig, Don
Ruddock, Ms Joan Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Salter, Martin Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Sarwar, Mohammad Vaz, Keith
Savidge, Malcolm Vis, Dr Rudi
White, Brian
Sawford, Phil Wicks, Malcolm
Sedgemore, Brian Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Shaw, Jonathan
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S) Wills, Michael
Skinner, Dennis Winnick, David
Smith, Angela (Basildon) Wise, Audrey
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S) Wood, Mike
Smith, John (Glamorgan) Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent) Wyatt, Derek
Soley, Clive
Spellar, John Tellers for the Ayes:
Squire, Ms Rachel Mr. Clive Betts and Mr. David Hanson.
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Baker, Norman Paisley, Rev Ian
Beggs, Roy Rendel, David
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Burnett, John Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Cotter, Brian Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Taylor, Rt Hon John D (Strangford)
Donaldson, Jeffrey Thompson, William
Fearn, Ronnie Tonge, Dr Jenny
Forsythe, Clifford Wilshire, David
Gorrie, Donald
Keetch, Paul Tellers for the Noes:
Kirkwood, Archy Mr. William Ross and Mr. Peter Robinson.
Öpik, Lembit

Question accordingly agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 28, in page 11, line 31, leave out from 'office;' to end of line 32.

No. 29, in page 11, leave out line 39 and insert— '(b) because of any likely failure of its members who are or might become Ministers to observe any other terms of the pledge of office,'.—[Mr. Dowd.]

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