HC Deb 20 January 1999 vol 323 cc943-72
Mrs. Gillian Shephard (South-West Norfolk)

I beg to move amendment No. 8, in page 3, line 38, leave out from 'system' to end of line 39.

The Second Deputy Chairman

With this, it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments: No. 9, in page 3, leave out lines 40 to 45.

No. 35, in page 3, line 41, leave out 'supplementary' and insert 'alternative'.

No. 36, in page 3, line 43, leave out 'a supplementary' and insert 'an alternative'.

No. 37, in page 3, line 45, leave out 'first and second'.

No. 51, in schedule 2, schedule 2, page 143, leave out lines 5 to 17 and insert— '(2) The candidate with the fewest number of first preference votes is eliminated, and the second preference votes given for that candidate shall be ascertained. (3) The second preference votes under subsection (2) above shall be transferred to the other candidates, being added to the first preference votes cast for the other candidates. (4) If, following the recalculation under subsection (3) above, none of the candidates receives more than half of the votes, the remaining candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated and the procedure in subsections (2) and (3) above is carried out. (5) The process continues until one candidate has received more than half of all the votes, and that person shall be returned as Mayor.'. No. 48, in schedule 2, page 143, line 20, leave out from 'the' to 'which' and insert 'Assembly shall decide'.

Mrs. Shephard

Amendments Nos. 8 and 9 have the effect of establishing a first-past-the-post system for the election of the London mayor. The Minister has sought to demonstrate his credentials as part of a listening Government, and he has with his acceptance of some of the points made in the previous group of amendments. We shall test him further when we make our case for this group of amendments.

The Minister will know, because we have made these points on a number of occasions both on Second Reading and in Committee on the Floor of the House, that we are concerned with the clarity and transparency of electoral arrangements for assembly members and now, this evening, for the election of the London mayor.

Our concern for clarity extends to the selection of candidate for mayor, which will not involve caucuses, closed doors or smoke-filled rooms, but one member, one vote and the utmost transparency at every stage. We have a clean slate with regard to our own party selection arrangements.

As I said yesterday, and it is not disputed, the Bill is a substantial piece of legislation which will, in effect, set up an entirely new form of government. As the Minister will know, we feel that some of the Bill's proposals do not contribute to the principles of transparency and accountability which we look for in local government, because of the proliferation of bodies, agencies, duties and overlaps that they introduce.

In addition, the provisions that we are debating this evening will oblige Londoners to use three different voting methods for two elections to be held on the same day—first past the post for the 14 constituency assembly members, a form of proportional representation with a closed list for the 11 London assembly members and, for the mayor, if there are more than two candidates, a supplementary voting system.

All of that would be difficult enough, but the Government are subjecting our capital city and much of the rest of the country to unprecedented constitutional change. Notwithstanding what was said in the House earlier this evening, the Opposition's view that the Government's approach to all this constitutional change is piecemeal, is shared by the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs, which, in its second report on the operation of multi-layer democracy which was published on 18 November 1998, said: Devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is only one part of re-writing of the Constitution which is currently taking place. As far as we can see, this reform is being conceived piecemeal; if there is an overall blue-print showing how all the pieces will fit together, none of our witnesses were aware of it. Thus we see different systems and different voting procedures being introduced in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London, with some recent rumblings from the direction of Hull, East about regional government in England as well, with no thought as to how, if at all, these new bodies and their functions will interact or affect one another. Such an approach is not only irresponsible, but it strikes at the very heart of democratic accountability by blurring and confusing the processes with accretions and overlaps.

It has to be remembered that Londoners will face no fewer than four intermediate layers of government between local authorities and central Government—the mayor, the assembly, the London development agency and the Government office for London. There will also be a transport body for London, the Metropolitan police authority, a London fire and emergency planning authority and the cultural strategy group.

I am aware that on Second Reading the Deputy Prime Minister pointed out that the mayor would be accountable for a number of those bodies and that there would, therefore, be accountability. But that proliferation of bodies and the consequent overlap of responsibilities could be confusing, and Londoners could be forgiven if they did not know exactly whom to hold accountable for policies affecting them.

5.45 pm

In addition, the Bill contains 277 clauses which set powers; introduce new rules, orders, functions, standards and regulations; plan audits; establish committees; set charges and levies, and provide for a set of new agencies. Against that background of wholesale change to be imposed on Londoners and against the confusion of accountabilities that the Bill, of necessity, introduces, the Government should pause to examine whether it would be better to retain a voting system to elect a mayor which is tried and tested, and familiar and comprehensible to the electorate.

We recognise that there is a case for a voice for London. That voice will be the mayor's. She will speak for London, to national Government and for London on the international stage. It was because we recognised the need for a voice for London that we recommended a yes vote in the referendum. The Government will no doubt argue that because the function of elected mayor is a new one—we would say an experimental one—it should be achieved with a new voting procedure. But we would argue that it is precisely because the Bill throws so much else into the air that a first-past-the-post, tried, tested and understood voting system should be used to elect London's mayor.

Leaving aside whether Londoners will welcome the range of different voting systems that they will have to face at borough, assembly, mayoral, parliamentary and European levels, which the Government are imposing on them, is not the reality that, in the end, there will be only two or three strong, high profile, credible candidates for the post of mayor? Would it not be better for the successful candidate to be able to say, "I was elected because I won a clear majority", not "I was elected because I was the least unacceptable candidate"—which could, to quote the hon. Member for Battersea (Mr. Linton), be the effect of the broad based, superior, majoritarian system being proposed.

I move the amendments in the interests of clarity, decisiveness and comprehensibility.

Mr. Burstow

I start by picking up one or two points made by the right hon. Member for South-West Norfolk (Mrs. Shephard). As she spoke, I thought of the proliferation of different bodies that will have a responsibility in the running of London when the Bill is enacted, and then I thought back to the proliferation of bodies that emerged from the abolition of the GLC, some of which I jotted down—the London planning advisory committee; the London fire and civil defence authority; the London grants committee; the London transport committee, which previously included two or three other agencies; the London ecology committee; the traffic director for London, and the London waste regulation authority. So many different agencies and bodies were established by the previous Government to continue the governance of London by other means as a consequence of the abolition of the GLC, that I find it strange that the right hon. Lady now prays in aid the creation of so many new bodies as an argument for the alleged simplicity of the first-past-the-post system.

That goes back to some of the points made in yesterday's debate about the proposal that each of the boroughs should nominate appointments to those bodies. Perhaps it is a case of hankering after the structures which were put in place by the previous Government when they abolished the GLC, and a continuation of indirect representation on these London bodies, which has not worked particularly well during the past few years.

Amendments Nos. 35, 36, 37 and 51 deal with the fundamental issue of the method of election of the mayor. They would put in place the well known alternative vote system, which allows voters to express more than the two preferences allowed by the supplementary vote system proposed by the Government. Under the supplementary vote system, voters will have to make guesses and consider how to vote tactically in the election of the mayor. Many of those who made representations during the consultation period said that AV would eliminate the guesswork and result in a simpler system that would produce a better outcome for Londoners and for the governance of London.

The supplementary vote system can produce strange results. The Electoral Reform Society's document on electing the mayor—which has been referred to by other hon. Members in various terms, some not quite so glowing—gives an interesting worked example of how the system can produce perverse results in particular circumstances. In the first stage, the votes of four candidates are split evenly: the Conservative candidate gets 27 per cent. of the vote; an independent candidate gets 26 per cent.; the Labour candidate gets 24 per cent.; and the Liberal Democrat gets 23 per cent. Some hon. Members may regard that as an unreal example, but the situation has occurred in real elections, so the Electoral Reform Society's worked example is valid.

With no candidate getting a majority of the votes cast, the two top candidates go through to the next round and the others are eliminated. The second preference votes of the two eliminated candidates are examined and added to the totals of the votes for the top two. Second preferences for candidates other than the top two do not count. If the Liberal Democrat voters chose to vote for the Labour candidate as their second preference, those second preference votes would be wasted. If those voting for the Labour candidate split their second preferences equally between the independent and the Liberal Democrat candidate, half of those second preferences would also be wasted. The winning candidate in this example is the independent, with 38 per cent. of the vote. That is not a way to produce a strong majoritarian system of the sort described yesterday by the hon. Member for Battersea (Mr. Linton). The system is not fair because it does not allow all those in London who choose to exercise their vote the opportunity to express their preferences.

Mr. Dale Campbell-Savours (Workington)

The hon. Gentleman is arguing the case for AV. Will he confirm that under that system a candidate placed third on the first count could win the election?

Mr. Burstow

I am happy to confirm that that is a potential outcome of the system, which would enable Londoners' preferences to be properly reflected. This is clearly another debate in which we shall have the unusual spectacle—perhaps not today, but on Report—of large numbers of hon. Members voting together in an unholy alliance to preserve their interests. In an earlier debate it was said that voting systems were all about vested interests. We all have vested interests in the way in which voting systems work.

Mr. Forth

In the current circumstances, how can the hon. Gentleman claim that the Conservative party's support for first past the post is in its immediate interests?

Mr. Burstow

Perhaps the Conservative party should reflect on that. As we said yesterday, we want a voting system that allows the electorate to choose the people whom they want to represent them and allows those wishes to be properly reflected in the assembly. The current first-past-the-post system often denies the electorate the opportunity for their wishes to be truly reflected in their assemblies. That defect needs to be corrected. The alternative vote would go a long way towards dealing with that.

Mr. Simon Hughes

Perhaps my hon. Friend would like to reflect on the other side of the question that the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) properly asked. What is the difference between the election of a candidate who comes second in the first round and the election of the candidate who comes third—perhaps only 1 per cent. behind the second placed candidate? We either have a system in which a candidate wins on the first ballot—the first-past-the-post system, which everyone understands—or we have a system in which the person who comes first the first time may not win because someone else could come through.

Mr. Burstow

My hon. Friend makes a fair point. Yesterday he rightly identified himself as not being an electoral reform anorak. I do not wish to wear such an anorak either, but these are important issues.

The Green Paper "New Leadership for London" did not mention the supplementary vote system as one of the possible methods for electing the mayor. It advanced three options: first past the post, which is the Conservative party's preferred option; the second ballot method, which is used for French presidential elections; and the alternative vote. In the White Paper—

Mr. Raynsford

I should like the hon. Gentleman to clarify a simple point. Does he recognise that the effect of the supplementary vote is the same as the effect of the French system, but the ballot is carried out on one day rather than on two?

Mr. Burstow

The procedures are not the same, because having a second ballot removes the tactical and guesswork voting that results from it all happening on one day. That is our criticism of the supplementary vote. We made our criticisms of the second ballot clear in our response to the Green Paper.

The White Paper described the supplementary vote as a simplified form of AV. Whom are we simplifying it for? It is patronising to say that the electorate cannot cope with marking "1", "2", "3" and "4" on a ballot paper to express their preferences.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

The electorate wants the system because it is simple. Focus groups have said that supplementary vote is the system that they want.

Mr. Burstow

Some hon. Members sometimes feel that the Government are led too much by focus groups. Reliance is being placed on one focus group to support the contention that SV is the preferred system. When the issues are explained in more detail, there will be greater support for the system that we and many others outside the House propose.

The House debated the issue in 1931. I am sure that some hon. Members will now scurry off to the Library to check Hansard on that. A Bill was introduced to bring in the supplementary vote. After deliberation, the House decided that the alternative vote should be introduced instead. The Bill fell because of the undemocratic institution at the other end of this building, whose Members decided that they did not agree with it. That is another reason why the statement earlier today is welcome.

The supplementary vote is used only in Sri Lanka, for the election of the president. It was briefly used in Alabama in the early part of this century. Alabama abandoned the system because of a result in 1926, when the winning candidate secured only 29 per cent. of the first and second preferences. That is why the supplementary vote is not an appropriate way to elect a strong and effective mayor in the terms that the Government are proposing.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

I must correct the hon. Gentleman again. The supplementary vote is not used in Alabama or Sri Lanka. That system is a variation, in which three preferences are recorded on the first ballot. Under the supplementary vote, the first and second preferences are recorded.

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Mr. Burstow

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman and happy to stand corrected on that point. We would have to call that supplementary vote plus—an innovation that takes us in the right direction, towards the alternative vote, the use of which we advocate. In Alabama, the supplementary vote system no longer operates, but my point is that it was used at the beginning of the century. The Institute for Public Policy and Research recommended the alternative vote for electing the mayor of London, saying: We therefore recommend that the mayor be elected using the AV system. It overcomes the main drawback to first past the post, ensuring that the winning candidate has the support of over 50 per cent. of those voting. Amendment No. 48 provides for the possible outcome of using the supplementary vote of a result tied between two candidates. It addresses the question of whether a tie should be resolved by drawing lots—that is, by chance—or by giving the assembly a role in making a decision. We contend that the assembly should have the right to make a decision in cases where the election has not produced a conclusive result and two candidates emerge from the supplementary vote system with equal votes.

The amendments would increase voter choice and ensure that the mayor will start with a strong and clear mandate. That is why we have tabled them and we look forward to getting as much support in the Lobby as we can possibly secure.

Mr. Tony McNulty (Harrow, East)

I have already enjoyed one debate on clause 4, so it will be useful to me to participate in another one tonight, even if the outcome will be the same.

In the light of the news breaking as we speak, I wish the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) well, as probably the only London candidate in the forthcoming election. I know of no Member of Parliament who deserves more than he to have what is quintessentially a dead-end job going nowhere—surely it must be preferable to come a miserable third in the mayoral election.

Tonight, in respect of the amendments to clause 4, we have heard again many of the words that were blithely thrown around yesterday in respect of clause 2. Yesterday, it was the PR anoraks who were doing the throwing, but tonight they have been joined by the first-past-the-post anoraks on the Conservative Front Bench. Tonight, we have heard two perorations on alternative systems to the one proposed in the Bill. Lots of little words have been thrown around, but no significant justification has been offered as to why either first past the post or the alternative vote system are preferable to the supplementary vote system for use in the mayoral election. Neither argument has been rooted in what the office of mayor is all about or how it fits in with the overall structure; nor have the speakers, having established what the mayor is supposed to do for London, justified their choice of electoral system.

That is why, last night, my hon. Friend the Minister for London and Construction was entirely right to dismiss the PR and first-past-the-post lobbies as anoraks. They start from some notion of purity in electoral systems, but fail to work out how their chosen system will fit in, even though they claim to have done so. Instead, they use a blithe little lexicon that assumes that they have discussed the merits of both the role of the mayor and the electoral system.

The right hon. Member for South-West Norfolk (Mrs. Shephard) says that the system she prefers is better because it is more transparent. If pressed to explain why it is more transparent, she simply restates that it is more transparent. It is sub-intellectual and febrile to believe that if something is said often enough, it becomes true: an election system is transparent because it is transparent because it is transparent. We get the same sort of argument from the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Burstow), whose personal dynamism leads us to hope that he will not be the election agent for the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey.

The right hon. Member for South-West Norfolk must recognise that, rather than three different electoral systems for different bodies being a flaw in the Bill, they are in fact the Bill's glory and strength. We need the 14 directly elected members to take the authority some, albeit not all, of the way towards parochialism, thus giving it some local basis, albeit in super-constituencies. However, to reflect both the diversity of London's communities and the relative strengths of the political parties in London, we also need a degree of proportionality. That there are to be directly elected members as well as supplementary or additional members is not a flaw, nor is the fact that there is to be an entirely different system for electing the mayor. Anoraks apart, people recognise that the institution should determine what electoral system—or systems—is appropriate to fill it, not the other way around.

Mr. Simon Hughes

The hon. Gentleman made exactly the same point yesterday about the voting system for the assembly. He said that the system was wonderful and ideally crafted for the purpose the assembly is to fulfil; however, he did not explain the link between the system and the purpose, nor has he done so today. I do not doubt that he is such a loyalist that, whenever the Government come up with a system, he will say that it is wonderful and perfect for the purpose. However, I have not said, either yesterday or today, that the proposed systems are entirely inappropriate. If he is to be true to his own arguments, the hon. Gentleman has to explain why the proposed system, which was in part devised by the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) and is to be uniquely applied in Britain, is the perfect system, when many others that are already used, in both this country and others, work perfectly well.

Mr. McNulty

I know that, more often than not, the hon. Gentleman is polite, but I also know that he must be seen to attack Labour in such a distasteful manner if he is to establish his leadership credentials, so I shall let him off for now. If we have a clause stand part debate on clause 4, I shall certainly elaborate on why the proposed system is the appropriate electoral system for the institution of mayor. However, with my limited grasp of parliamentary procedure—a failing which Madam Speaker and her deputies have had cause to bring to my attention on many occasions—I thought that the current debate related to the amendments tabled by the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives and I was endeavouring to stay in order. If we have a broader debate, I shall be happy to oblige the hon. Gentleman.

I am sorry to say that colleagues on the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs were wrong to say that the reform is piecemeal. We are making constitutional change in appropriate areas and our agenda is as clear as day. Although it might be slightly off message to say so, I am at one with the rumblings emanating from Hull, East about having a regional tier of government for England to fit in with the rest of the jigsaw. With the greatest respect to all those who serve on Select Committees, I have to point out that the fact of an opinion being expressed in a Select Committee report does not make it right.

It is not irresponsible or blurring by accretion to have a plethora of different electoral system and institutions that are appropriate to regional responsibilities. Unlike the way in which the body politic and all its parts developed during the 18 years of Tory Government, all the developments made under Labour are, at root, democratic. Opposition Members might think that a trite point, but I happen to believe that it is fundamental to our entire constitutional agenda that all the elements are democratic.

It is rather lame to say that first past the post is tried and tested, so if we have an election for a single post, we should use first past the post and ensure that we get a recognised voice for London. That is the old "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" argument, and no consideration is given to the context within which the London mayor is to operate, or to London's diversity. No single system is ideal. All we can do is try to use each system appropriately and I believe that, on balance, the system set out in the Bill is the most appropriate.

Neither is it the case—this argument is equally weak—that we have decided to introduce a new electoral system for this novel new post. That might be how the new "British way" Conservative party organises policy, but it is not how we do it. We organise policy in a far more responsible manner. If I thought that first past the post would be more appropriate given the nature and role of the mayoralty in London, I would say so.

In recent months, we have had many nauseatingly boring debates in this Chamber about electoral systems. The right hon. Member for South-West Norfolk said that a mayor elected under first past the post could claim to have a clear majority, but nothing could be further from the truth. Many hon. Members in this place are not elected by a clear majority. I suspect—I have not done the research—that very few hon. Members could put their hands on their hearts and say that they were elected by more than 50 per cent. of their electorates. I was not, and I am sure that many of those opposite were not either. I was elected by 52 per cent. of the 70 per cent. of people who voted. I asked whether hon. Members were elected by more than 50 per cent. of the electorate, not of those who bothered to vote. Very few hon. Members could make that claim, and a London mayor certainly could not do so in the absolute terms suggested in the context of a first-past-the-post electoral system.

The hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam will expect me to say that the examples in the Electoral Reform Society document aim to prove a point. I was touched by his naivety when he said, "They are in the pamphlet, so they must be true." That is like saying that something is true because a lawyer said so. If that is the hon. Gentleman's experience, I would like the name of his lawyer. It simply does not follow.

The system outlined in the Bill is the most appropriate and the arguments advanced by the PR anoraks do not stand up. We are told that the system is dreadful because a candidate with a low number of votes could win, as occurred in the worked example in the ERS document. However, nothing was said about that last night when the Liberal Democrats mentioned the single transferable vote—it is their pure flame. It consistently results in more and more Johnny-last-in candidates in terms of the Teachta Dala in Ireland. Such candidates hang on by dribbles of preferences and never get anywhere near a significant amount of the vote, especially in five-candidate constituencies. They get elected simply because they are the last ones standing—and there is nothing democratic about that. So the Liberal Democrats' "pure" system is completely impure as well.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) said earlier—I was going to intervene but it was not worth it—the Electoral Reform Society makes it clear that the supplementary vote plus system is the same in Alabama and Sri Lanka. That is what it says in the document, so my hon. Friend's valid points stand in relation to both examples. It does not prove anything to ask, "But what about Alabama?". If the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam does not believe me, he should take up the matter with the Electoral Reform Society. It says clearly in its introduction that Alabama and Sri Lanka have the same supplementary vote modified system. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman's response to my hon. Friend the Member for Workington does not make the hon. Gentleman's case.

Mr. Simon Hughes


Mr. Burstow


Mr. McNulty

I shall give way first to the new Liberal Democrat leader.

Mr. Hughes

The Electoral Reform Society is in my constituency, so I must defend it. It says in the document that the Alabama system is no longer used, and cites the example of the winner who had 29 per cent. of the vote. I accept the assertion by the hon. Member for Workington that the situation is not quite the same in Sri Lanka because there are three people in the final count between whom the votes are transferred. However, the issue is the same: should we allow the accumulation of the preferences of all those who vote? Under that system, we could get nearer to a plurality of votes for one candidate. Under the Government's proposed system—[Interruption.]

6.15 pm
The First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means (Mr. Michael J. Martin)

Order. Mr. McNulty.

Mr. McNulty

As hon. Members have said, the Electoral Reform Society document refers to the 1926 gubernatorial primary in Alabama when the winning candidate got 29 per cent. of the first and second choice votes. I fully accept that. It then defies the argument that the supplementary vote systems are different in Sri Lanka and Alabama by saying: A similar version of the system has been used since 1978 to elect the President of Sri Lanka. The system is similar in terms of the supplementary vote variation, not in some other way. I hope that we shall return to the debate about STV, although it is not appropriate to do so now. I suppose that I shall have to discuss it with the hon. Gentleman over a cup of tea, which is a shame.

It is true that the system is similar to the French system—although we shall complete the process in one day. The Bill's key point is that we must break free of the mindset of fighting elections under the first-past-the-post system. I hope that all parties will fight the first election on the basis of not just "Support our candidate because we're the best" but also "Support so and so for second". Under this system, if political parties do their jobs correctly, they will tell the electors clearly what to do with their second preferences. It is not a case of candidates simply winning more than 50 per cent. of the vote. We must appreciate each of the different systems in that context. I suspect that we will face the same hurdles when we ask people to vote in their constituencies, but for different reasons.

I do not understand the legitimacy of amendment No. 48, which fundamentally ignores—or at least misunderstands—the new architecture of London governance. In the event of a tie in an election for an executive position that is distinct from the assembly, the amendment seeks to give the assembly—which had nothing to do with that election—the power to choose the winner. The only justification for that position—we return to the naked self-interest of the Liberal Democrats wrapped in treacle, as I said last night—is that it is designed to reinstate Liberal amendments that have been rejected by the Committee. The Liberal Democrats want a proportionately elected assembly that will elect the mayor. That position profoundly misunderstands the relationship between the various elements of London's new government.

Mr. Hughes

The hon. Gentleman has failed to tell the Committee what will happen if the Bill is not amended as we propose. The alternative is that a mayor of 7 million people will be chosen by drawing lots. My view of the hon. Gentleman's concept of democracy will diminish very rapidly if he is honestly claiming that the mayor of London should be chosen by drawing lots rather than by the votes of 25 elected members of the assembly.

Mr. McNulty

The hon. Gentleman again shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the relationship between the two elements. The two elections will not happen on the same day by coincidence. They are elections for different things taking place in different contexts. In the unlikely event of a draw in the mayoral election, I would rather draw lots than allow an assembly that has no democratic mandate regarding the election of the executive to choose the winner. The hon. Gentleman can giggle in his little anorak way all that he likes, but that is the reality of the situation. If two mayoral candidates each secured 3.5 million votes, I would rather see the winner chosen by drawing lots. Twenty-five assembly members who were elected to perform entirely different roles should not choose the winner. That may or may not reflect the credentials of the two remaining candidates in the race.

Mr. Hughes

We have considered inaccurate parallels with American elections. After the votes in US presidential elections have been added up, a second group—an electoral college—decides who should be President. I repeat that I cannot believe—I cannot believe that the hon. Gentleman believes—that Londoners would rather have a lottery and have a chance choice made between two people who got the same number of votes than that 25 other people to whom they have given a vote of confidence should choose who they thought was the appropriate person.

Mr. McNulty

That demonstrates that any claim—one was made soon after the general election—that the proposals simply copy a failed American model is wrong. Such a claim was made last night by a colleague who was sitting behind me but who is not here tonight.

The hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey is wrong in one regard—the electoral college is the first, not the second stage in US presidential elections. That system does not work on the basis that if a popular, first-past-the-post vote is tied, the decision goes to an electoral college. In presidential elections, people vote for members of the electoral college. If that vote is tied, the decision goes—completely wrongly, in my opinion—to the legislature, rather than the executive. That fundamentally blurs, by accretion, democratic mandates.

We are discussing different parts of government in London. Flipping a coin is far preferable to another body, which has nothing to do with the executive in the democratic process, making that decision.

Mr. John Randall (Uxbridge)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. McNulty

I give way to the man with the retail store in Uxbridge.

Mr. Randall

The hon. Gentleman can repeat that any time he likes. Would he prefer the drawing of lots or the tossing of a coin? In other words, is he a drawer of lots or a tosser?

Mr. McNulty

That remark was well worth my allowing the hon. Gentleman to intervene and far preferable to all the interventions that I have just accepted from the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey, who I would say, if I had to put money on it, does not draw lots.

The Bill has got the balance right in its proposals for electing the mayor. I have heard nothing of substance from the right hon. Member for South-West Norfolk or the putative new leader of the Liberal Democrats that changes my mind. We should resist, as trivia borne by anoraks, all the amendments.

Mr. Wilkinson

I hope that I will be taken seriously in this debate if I confess that I am not a political anorak or an electoral system wonk and that, come election time, unlike Liberal Democrat Members, I do not wear sandals.

The further the Liberal Democrats get from power, the more keen they become on what the electorate would regard as jiggery-pokery with the figures and what in French or Euro-speak might be termed "repechage"—a blatant attempt to manipulate the electorate's clear decision.

The great merit of the amendments in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for South-West Norfolk (Mrs. Shephard) is that the first-past-the-post system is readily comprehended. All the mayor needs to know is that he or she is chosen by the majority of Londoners. That is the key question. It is not a matter of second preferences. The mayor needs to be the person who receives the most wholehearted support from those who want him or her to be their mayor.

People often vote for second preferences without wishing them to be elected. I am sure that the Minister will advise the Committee whether, as I presume, it will be valid for voters only to make one choice. Many Londoners may do so. Will he advise the Committee also why the second preference votes for the candidates who are eliminated because they do not come first or second—or third, if there is a tie—should count more than the second preference votes cast for the candidates who come first or second? I do not comprehend the distinction that is being drawn.

The other point that we must clearly understand is that the electorate must have confidence in the system and must understand it. The best argument for the simple system that my colleagues propose was made by the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Burstow). At the end of his speech, no one was any the wiser as to the merits of the amendment that he was supposed to be putting forward. The second-best argument came from the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. McNulty), who, after 20 minutes, had not convinced the Committee of the inherent merits of the Bill's proposals. He has, rightly, fled. I doubt that anyone was convinced by his arguments.

I do not want to anticipate the debate that we might have on schedule 2, but if members of the electorate for London seeking guidance on the system for electing the mayor turned to that schedule, they would find it extremely complicated, whereas they comprehend fully that the candidate who wins the most votes most deserves to be elected.

Mr. Burstow

The hon. Gentleman is making the point that the system is simple because people can understand that the candidate who gets the most votes should be the winner. However, does he accept that in many cases, particularly a mayoral election in which there might be three, four or five candidates, it is highly likely that, under first past the post, no candidate will win the support, in his words, of the majority of Londoners?

Mr. Wilkinson

It would be clear that more Londoners supported one candidate than any other. That is what matters. The gradations of second or third best are of no consequence because regardless of how people cast their second vote—and third vote, if they have one—their hearts will still be with their No. 1: choice. In our highly party political system, that first choice will, unless he is an independent candidate of exceptional merit, carry the same ideological convictions as the voter and be someone whom the voter regards as best suited to implementing the party political programme of the mayoralty, which will have been put to the electorate.

It is not valid to suggest that we shall get better governance, which will have more support from Londoners in general, from a system that could rely on second preferences. That will call into question the validity of the election system as a whole and diminish the electorate's interest in voting because they will find the system complicated and unconvincing. We need the maximum turnout for a system that everybody understands, that is traditional and that achieves the objective—the return of the person who has more support from Londoners than any other candidate.

Mr. Martin Linton (Battersea)

I shall not detain the Committee for long. I apologise for not being present for the opening speech by the right hon. Member for South-West Norfolk (Mrs. Shephard), although I did, by electronic means, hear her describe the first-past-the-post system and refer to my description of the supplementary vote system as a superior majoritarian system. I shall briefly try to convince the Committee that the SV system is indeed superior to first past the post, which her party advocates, and, in those circumstances, to the alternative vote system that is supported by the smaller opposition party. Certainly first past the post would be greatly inferior in the current circumstances. My hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East (Mr. McNulty) summarised her speech as, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", to which the short answer is that the first-past-the-post system is broke. It would also be especially dangerous in the election for the mayor of London—the first executive election in these islands and quite different from any that preceded it.

6.30 pm

As I am sure that everyone who has spoken in the debate knows, the main failing of the first-past-the-post system is that it can result in the election of people on very low percentages of the vote. The hon. Member for the quaintly named constituency of Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale (Mr. Moore) was elected by 31 per cent. of the voters, and Sir Russell Johnston the former hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber—another quaintly named constituency—was elected by only 26 per cent. under the present system, while his rivals received 25, 24 and 22 per cent. In other words, Members have been elected on less than a third of the vote in this Parliament and on only just over a quarter of the vote in recent elections.

Let us consider the lack of legitimacy that the system would give to a London mayor. We must also take on board the fact that, in a mayoral election, independents have a stronger chance and more people will be voting other than on political grounds. I should not advocate it, but experience in the United States suggests that name recognition will count for a great deal, independents can make a stronger showing, and business experience and other factors may be considered relevant in a way that they might not be in a legislative or council election.

There may be 10, 20 or 30 candidates, and five or 10 plausible candidates might get a share of the vote. I want to draw the Committee's attention to what happens under the first-past-the-post system in countries that have a plethora of candidates. The only country that has adopted first past the post—this supposedly superior system—since just after the second world war is Papua New Guinea. It started with the alternative vote but switched to the first-past-the-post system in the 1960s. I assure you that this is highly relevant, Mr. Martin.

Under the alternative vote system, candidates in Papua New Guinea had to appeal to voters along the lines of their splintered, tribal, village politics. The candidates had to find support across the country in order to get the 20 or 30 per cent. of the first choices that they had to have if they were to stand any chance of winning. When the country switched to first past the post, it reverted to the narrow politics that revolves around small villages. A candidate in Papua New Guinea is returned to Parliament on 6.5 per cent. of the vote, while the 15 or 20 other candidates get less.

I accept that there is not much correlation between an election in Papua New Guinea and a mayoral election in London except for the possibility that we may have a plethora of candidates, all plausible and all with some support, and we may well be pushed into having a mayor elected on 6.5 per cent. of the vote. It is clear that, in a mayoral election in which there may be many independent candidates, there is an overwhelming need for an electoral system that guides people to make a realistic choice between a small number of candidates rather than opening the way for an election that descends into farce.

There is nothing wrong with picking an electoral system that forces people to choose. At the end of the day, any choice of an executive boils down to a choice between two alternatives, and one is trying to get voters to think realistically about the alternatives. The supplementary vote, devised partly by my hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours), is exactly such a system. It forces people to think before the election who would make a good mayor and who it is worth spending one's vote on. A voter has only two votes and cannot choose any number of options. The process of narrowing the choice and the realistic alternatives is vital to the success of the mayoral elections.

My hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East was quite wrong to say that the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) was going to run for one dead-end job. In fact, he is having to choose between two possible dead-end jobs. One would be the Liberal Democrat candidate for the mayor of London and the other the leader of his party. Clearly, we need a system that will narrow the choice and thus force people in London to choose between realistic alternatives, without denying them the second choice that can avoid the difficulties of tactical voting.

The right hon. Member for South-West Norfolk complained that voting under three different voting systems on the same ballot paper would cause confusion and difficulty, a point also made by some of her colleagues. Let us consider a possible ballot paper for the London vote on 4 May next year. While it may be true that experts would describe it as containing three different voting systems, to the voter there will be very little difference between the vote for the constituency representative, the London representative and the mayor.

The only instructions that need appear on the ballot paper are that one should put an X against the candidate that one supports for the constituency representative, an X for the party list or independent candidate that one supports in respect of the London representative, and an X for one's first and another for one's second choice of mayor. All three are X votes. Voting experts may say that they employ three different voting systems, but they will not appear so to the voters. Each system will involve simply putting one X or two. That is another reason why the supplementary voting system would be superior in this instance to the alternative vote. If the alternative vote were adopted for this election, we would have two elections by X votes and a third by preferential voting, which involves marking 1, 2 or 3 next to the candidates. The ballot paper will ask for three votes, all of which will be X votes. That is the enormous merit of the system over the two alternatives.

Mr. Edward Davey

I hope that the hon. Member for Battersea (Mr. Linton) will not take offence if I say that, although some hon. Members have spoken about election system anoraks, he has proved that people who know about election systems can be quite entertaining. I congratulate him on his contribution. I was especially taken by his points about Papua New Guinea choosing first past the post. As I recall, Papua New Guinea was the only country that also opted for the poll tax while it had the first-past-the-post system. That again shows the demerits of that system.

An issue that has not been examined in enough detail is the type of post that we are electing. It is a new post. We have not had a mayor or a mayoral system before, which means that the way that we have thought about politics and elections probably needs to be reconsidered. The Government have gone some way towards that, but they have not opened their mind sufficiently to the implications of a mayoral system; nor do I detect that the Conservatives have applied their minds to the matter.

We are voting for one person, and the whole executive will be in that person's hands. The mayor will form a cabinet, but does not have to form one based on his or her support in the legislature. It is totally separate. The election of the mayor is about just one person, not that person's relationships with another party. That is why I believe that independents will stand.

If the process is about electing just one person, we need the electoral system to give as much legitimacy to that person as possible. That is where first past the post fails completely. The hon. Member for Battersea referred to a former Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament, Lord Russell-Johnston, who was elected on just 26 per cent. of the vote in 1992. That shows how the winning candidate from four or five candidates under first past the post would have very little legitimacy. On anyone's analysis, 26 per cent. of the vote cannot be considered full legitimacy.

The strength that is normally acknowledged of first past the post in general elections is that it gives a clear result, with no need for coalitions. I do not accept that argument for general elections, but, in elections for a mayor, it does not apply at all, because they involve the election of only one person. There is no question of forming a coalition—at least I do not think that one can form a coalition with oneself, unless one is schizophrenic. We would not suggest that Londoners would elect such a person. Therefore, first past the post is not appropriate for mayoral elections.

The Liberal Democrats have tabled amendments supporting the alternative vote primarily because it is the most suited to this type of election. The alternative vote will ensure that, whoever is elected, every Londoner's vote will count. Whoever wins, more than 50 per cent. of the people of London will have expressed some preference for them. That would surely enable them to govern London with much greater legitimacy than other options open to us.

Mr. Wilkinson

If the hon. Gentleman sets such store by the winner receiving the majority of the votes cast, would not a simpler and much more intelligible method be to stage a re-run, eliminating—perhaps—all but two candidates, rather like in French elections?

Mr. Davey

I think that I am beginning to win some support. The alternative vote achieves that automatically because it allows people to express their preferences. If the hon. Gentleman is concerned, as I am, about ensuring that the winning candidate has a majority, he must vote for our amendment. I invite him to join us in the Lobby.

During this sitting, we have heard some news that has affected my party particularly. I should like to draw to the Committee's attention the fact that not only do we table amendments in support of the alternative vote system for the election of one post, we employ the practice in our internal elections. The Liberal Democrat leader will be elected under the alternative vote system. That shows that we have faith in it—not because it happens to be in our interests in the London elections, but because we believe that it is the fairest and most democratic system. We practise what we preach.

I know that the Labour party—I am not so sure that this applies to the Conservative party—employs the alternative vote system in its internal elections because it believes that that gives more legitimacy to the people whom its party members are electing. The Labour party does not have much faith in the supplementary vote system for its internal elections—nobody has ever told me that it uses such a system—so it is amazing that it has dreamt one up for London. Labour certainly does not practise what it preaches, although I suppose that we are used to that.

One argument against the alternative vote system—that, somehow it would be complex—must be tackled. The hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Wilkinson) said that the first-past-the-post system had the merits of simplicity. He is insulting the people of London if he believes that they cannot decide first, second third fourth and fifth preferences. Is it really that difficult?

Labour Members suggested that such a system would confuse the electorate because people would be voting in a different way for assembly members. I find that insulting to the people of London, too. It is not difficult for people to put the numbers one to six into six boxes. That is one of the most simple things to do. The complexity is in the counting of votes. Although we would not deny that the system can be complex, computers and trained electoral adjudicators could ensure that there would be no problem. The key point is that the system would not pose any difficulty for the elector.

The hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. McNulty) defended the supplementary vote system. I am not sure whether he will be known in future as Mr. Lottery or Mr. something else, following the suggestion by the hon. Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Randall). In his so-called defence of SV, the hon. Member for Harrow, East gave no reasons. He did not answer the question why it would be the best choice for the election of mayor. Perhaps he will give his reasons during the clause stand part debate; we certainly hope so. We were unconvinced by his arguments, and remain convinced that our arguments for the alternative vote system are far superior.

6.45 pm
Mr. Brooke

I am delighted to follow the hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr. Davey) because I shall make one or two remarks about Liberal Democrat contributions to this debate.

I was taught by the late Alan Whitehorn, the father of Miss Katherine Whitehorn, the journalist. He would require us to translate Tennyson, psalms, hymns or Shakespeare into Latin or Greek verse. In prose, he would periodically ask us to translate something like our driving licences, in order to test whether we could embrace technical language as well. Speeches by the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Burstow) on the subject of proportional representation would have been quite a good candidate for the process that I have described. Although one must be uncertain about the outcome, the one thing of which one could be certain is that they would be neither Ciceronian nor Demosthenic.

I give the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam one piece of credit. He demonstrated that he could read out word for word a brief provided by the Electoral Reform Society. That same briefing was deployed last night by the Liberal Democrats in debates on the single transferable vote. I was struck on that occasion by the speech of the hon. Member for Battersea (Mr. Linton), who has also spoken in this debate, who drew attention to the totally practical disadvantages of STV in Irish elections, to which the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. McNulty) has alluded today. Those practical disadvantages did not, at least to my eye, appear in the Electoral Reform Society briefing. I do not remember it drawing our attention to the fact that the system did not work too well in Ireland.

Mr. Linton

The right hon. Gentleman might care to know that the Electoral Reform Society is precluded by its constitution from supporting any system other than the single transferable vote.

Mr. Brooke

The great thing about remaining in this House for a long time is that one learns something every day. Although I like to feel that there are one or two other advantages, that is certainly a prime one. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his remark. To some extent, he has elided my next point: the arguments deployed seemed to be primarily academic and technical rather than practical.

I think that our electorate is the most mature in the world, and as a Londoner, a fortiori, I think that our electorate in London is the most mature in this country. Their virtue, and what gives them their maturity, is that their attitude to what we are about is essentially practical.

I confess that, in my salad days in this House, I once voted for proportional representation on one measure—an arcane fact that at least one political journalist has uncovered and revealed to me that he has done so and would, if necessary, hold it in evidence against me. In those days, I was of the view that, if PR was to have a future in this country, it needed to be tried out on the electoral foothills before anybody made an assault on the south col. Almost 22 years of sharing this Chamber with first Liberals and then Liberal Democrats has cured me of any enthusiasm for PR. If I were an adviser to the Liberal Democrat party, I would, in the sere and yellow of advancing age, give it the same advice that I cited a moment ago. I would also urge it, for the practical reasons that I gave a moment ago, too, that it should make its system as simple as possible. The speech that we had from the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam, in all its Sri Lankan and Alabaman complexity, demonstrated that, in terms of simplicity, the Liberals have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing.

Mr. Edward Davey

The right hon. Gentleman began his speech by extolling the virtues—including maturity—of the people of London. Surely he is not suggesting that, despite that maturity, they could not make their preferences in the order one, two, three, four, five.

Mr. Brooke

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. My peroration is devoted to that subject, so if he will forgive me I will answer him then. You will be delighted to hear, Mr. Martin, that I shall come to my peroration very shortly.

In passing, I may be the most recent Member present to have visited Sri Lanka. We had a wholly admirable Sri Lankan driver, who told us that he had not voted in the last six presidential elections in Sri Lanka, but he then rather spoilt the effect, in the context of this speech, by saying that he was of so conservative a temperament that he would be happy if the British were to return. It just shows that London cab drivers are not the only ones in the world to play to their passengers guessed-at predilections.

However, the heart of this debate is the proposition in the opening speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for South-West Norfolk (Mrs. Shephard) that the Government are asking us to tackle too many new voting systems at once. I do not share the views of the Scottish judge that a change for the better is a contradiction in terms, and I am not averse to experiment, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing, and it is possible to discredit that thing in the process. That is why I believe that the people of London will be better off staying with the system with which they are wholly familiar, and should not be asked to try a whole series of new systems simultaneously.

Mr. Raynsford

We have had a wide-ranging debate. We have done a veritable world tour, covering areas as far apart as Alabama, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea, and now we return to London.

As the right hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Brooke) reminded us, the right hon. Member for South-West Norfolk (Mrs. Shephard) opened the debate by claiming that there were too many different voting systems. I have to accept that the Liberal Democrat party has given the impression that the debate is all about a plethora of voting systems, but the Government's proposals are not complex and detailed or prolific.

Last night we discussed, and decided on, voting arrangements for the assembly. Tonight we are considering the voting system for the mayor. We are not offering a range of voting systems; we are offering one simple voting system—the supplementary vote. The right hon. Member for South-West Norfolk said that she wanted a mayor elected with a clear majority—not the least worst candidate. We agree whole-heartedly. That is why we do not support the Liberal Democrat advocacy of the alternative vote system, under which it would be possible for a mayoral candidate to be elected with very limited first preference support, simply on the basis of second, third, fourth, fifth and umpteenth preference votes from people who saw that candidate as the least worst on offer. That is not a good recipe for a mayor with a strong mandate to deliver effective government for London, and we reject the Liberal Democrat amendments proposing that system.

Mrs. Lait

We are discussing only the election of the mayor at the moment but, unless I am mistaken, on election day—4 May in the year 2000—Londoners will be confronted with three electoral systems in the polling station. Can the Minister assure me that the Government will fund education to promote awareness, and fund training for polling agents, presiding officers, electoral registration officers and so on, so that they are capable of dealing with the voter rage that is bound to follow, and so that they may have counselling afterwards for its effects?

Mr. Raynsford

Mr. Martin, I shall not risk incurring your wrath by straying into that territory, which is far from the subject of the amendment before us. The amendment is specifically about voting arrangements for the mayor—arrangements for people to vote on a single ballot paper, in the way that they do in elections for a Member of Parliament or councillors, and which will not involve additional costs or expenditure. We shall deal with those matters at the appropriate moment. I assure the hon. Lady that we shall make appropriate arrangements to ensure that the first election for the mayor and assembly of London can be handled efficiently, and that reasonable costs incurred by local authorities conducting those elections will be reimbursed through the normal and appropriate mechanisms. However, that is far from the subject of the debate.

The supplementary vote does not have the effect of the alternative vote, which could allow a candidate incapable of getting substantial support on a first preference vote to win. The supplementary vote ensures that only a candidate who can come in the top two on the first preference can go forward and, ultimately, win. It therefore ensures that the winning candidate must have a large measure of first-preference support.

The system has been discussed many times, and was recommended most recently by the Plant committee, established earlier in this decade—or perhaps toward the end of the last—with a very distinguished membership, including my hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours).

Mr. Campbell-Savours

indicated dissent.

Mr. Raynsford

I am wrong to say that my hon. Friend was a member of the committee; he submitted evidence to it, and the committee recognised the good sense of his evidence and recommended the supplementary vote system, which he had advocated. I pay tribute to his advocacy, for many years, of an electoral system that ensures the election of a candidate who commands substantial support, and which ensures that, in a situation such as a mayoral election for London, in which there may be many candidates, no candidate can win on the basis of very limited support, simply because of the wide spread of voting preferences. As my hon. Friend the Member for Battersea (Mr. Linton) put it, it is a superior majoritarian system of voting. That is why we have adopted it.

Mr. Edward Davey

Can the Minister confirm that, under SV, the winning candidate may gain less than a majority of the votes of the people of London?

Mr. Raynsford

It is certainly possible that, under SV, the winning candidate will not secure 50 per cent. of the votes cast, because only the second preference votes of the defeated candidates—those not in the first two places—will be reallocated, and some of those votes may not be for candidates in the top two places. However, that does not in any way negate the value of the supplementary vote system. That system ensures that—as in France—only two candidates who have secured substantial support in the first preference vote can proceed to the second stage, so that only strong candidates with real backing are in the final run-off, and those are the two whose total votes, with the second preferences added, ultimately determine the outcome.

The amendments before us would change the method of election for mayor from that recommended by the Government. The Conservative amendments would restore a first-past-the-post system, requiring a simple majority. The Liberal Democrat amendments would replace the supplementary vote system with the alternative vote system. Neither proposition is acceptable to us. The White Paper clearly said that we had considered those alternative arrangements, and made it clear why we had rejected them in favour of the supplementary vote system.

The election of the first mayor of London will be the first time that we, in the United Kingdom, have a directly elected executive fulfilling a major responsibility such as that which the mayor of London will fulfil. In itself, that appears to us to call for a method of election the result of which attunes itself as closely as possible to the expressed views of the electorate, and which delivers to the candidate the strongest mandate possible. That is why we have proposed election by the supplementary vote system.

We want a strong mayor, with whom the people of London can identify, and whom the majority of those who vote will feel that they have had a say in choosing—if only by the use of the second vote. I am therefore unable to accept the Conservative or the Liberal Democrat amendments, which would change the electoral system for mayor. I invite the right hon. Member for South-West Norfolk and the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) to withdraw their amendments.

Amendment No. 48, also tabled by the Liberal Democrats, is wrong and wrong-headed. The intended effect of the amendment is to allow the assembly to take a tie-breaking decision when two candidates for the office of mayor receive an exactly equal number of votes during the election. Such a situation is exceptionally unlikely. We are talking of an electorate of 5 million, and 5 million votes, or a proportion of them, cast between a range of candidates with first and second preferences is exceptionally unlikely to produce the situation that is suggested. However, irrespective of that, the amendment is wrong because it is technically defective. The hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Burstow), who introduced it, seems not to have read subsequent provisions in the Bill. If he had, he would know that clause 4(7) requires the returning officer to determine who has been elected as the mayor, and constituency assembly members, before the returning officer can decide who are the London members of the assembly. Therefore, after the first elections to the GLA an assembly will not exist until after the tie-breaking decision would need to be taken. As I have said, the situation that has been suggested could not happen. At the second and subsequent elections the decision would have to be taken not by the new assembly but by the outgoing assembly, and clearly that would be nonsensical.

7 pm

The amendment is wrong-headed because what is being proposed would allow a separately elected assembly, with a different mandate from that of the mayor, determining who should or should not be the mayor. It would make whichever candidate was chosen as the mayor beholden to the majority in the assembly for his or her office. That would fundamentally undermine the authority of the mayor and undermine the principle of the separation of powers that we intend to put in place for the new authority. Therefore, the assembly should not take such a tie-breaking decision. The decision should, as is the case in all other tied elections, including elections to membership of the House of Commons, be left to the random outcome of the drawing of lots. In these circumstances, I invite the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam to withdraw the amendment.

The Government's proposal for the supplementary vote is an important and innovative system of election that is entirely appropriate to the innovative system of government that we are proposing for London. It will ensure the election of a mayor with a strong mandate who is able to represent the people of London confidently and to fulfil the serious responsibilities which we are giving to the post. I urge right hon. and hon. Members who have moved amendments to withdraw them. If not, I urge my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote for the Government's position and to reject the amendments.

Mr. Burstow

It has been a useful and interesting debate. Having listened to the comments of the right hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Brooke), I shall take away his comments, reflect on my earlier contribution and endeavour at a later stage, perhaps, to adopt a more plain English approach to the presentation of electoral systems.

The debate has focused on first past the post, the supplementary vote and the alternative vote, and because of that the issues become very confusing. I think that right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the Chamber have perhaps demonstrated that quite ably this evening. As the Committee knows, our proposal is that there should be the alternative vote. We would wish to return to the matter on Report and therefore we shall not be pressing the amendments on the alternative vote now.

We feel that given the Minister's remarks about a tied vote for the mayor and the technicality of the relevant amendments, it would be appropriate for us further to consider them. However, we are not convinced by the Minister's arguments. We feel strongly that the issue should not be decided on the toss of a coin. We believe that we need a simple and fair voting system that maximises support for the mayor and allows genuine and full choice for the voter.

Mrs. Shephard

It has been a wide-ranging debate. We do not normally travel from New Guinea via Sri Lanka and Alabama back to London. Nor are we dragged to and fro between 1926 and the present day.

The debate has stimulated the Liberal Democrats to crown their achievements of yesterday, when they proposed no fewer than four electoral systems for the assembly, by proposing a completely incomprehensible system, which has been described by the Minister as such, for the election of mayor.

The debate has also stimulated the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. McNulty) to continue his barrage of surely undeserved insults against the Liberal Democrats, accusing them of an anorak tendency while demonstrating certainly his growing credentials to be a trainspotter. We have had a customary erudite contribution from the hon. Member for Battersea (Mr. Linton), who might prefer to be known as a superior majoritarian given that he is clearly an expert in that particular system.

We have had sound sense and elegant erudition from my hon. Friend the Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Wilkinson) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Brooke). We have had customary urbane reassurances from the Minister, who is very far from being either an anorak or a trainspotter.

The point of the debate is how to achieve a clear and comprehensible system for the assembly and the mayor of London against the background of the great changes to the governance of London that are set out in the Bill. The Minister has made it clear that he cannot accept our amendments. We believe that his stance is mistaken. We believe also that the clarity that we seek can be achieved only by a first-past-the-post system of election both for the assembly and for mayor. We therefore seek to divide the Committee on amendments Nos. 8, 9, 10 and 11.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 131, Noes 335.

Division No. 41] [7.6 pm
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Hague, Rt Hon William
Amess, David Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Hammond, Philip
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Hawkins, Nick
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Hayes, John
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Heald, Oliver
Baldry, Tony Heathcoat—Amory, Rt Hon David
Bercow, John Horam, John
Beresford, Sir Paul Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia Hunter, Andrew
Brazier, Julian Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Browning, Mrs Angela Jenkin, Bernard
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Johnson Smith, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Burns, Simon
Cash, William Key, Robert
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet) King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Chope, Christopher Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Clappison, James Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Kensington) Lansley, Andrew
Clifton—Brown, Geoffrey Leigh, Edward
Collins, Tim Letwin, Oliver
Colvin, Michael Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Cran, James Lidington, David
Curry, Rt Hon David Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Loughton, Tim
Day, Stephen Luff, Peter
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Duncan, Alan McIntosh, Miss Anne
Duncan Smith, Iain MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Maclean, Rt Hon David
Evans, Nigel McLoughlin, Patrick
Faber, David Major, Rt Hon John
Fallon, Michael Malins, Humfrey
Flight, Howard Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Forth, Rt Hon Eric Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman May, Mrs Theresa
Fox, Dr Liam Nicholls, Patrick
Gale, Roger Norman, Archie
Garnier, Edward Ottaway, Richard
Gibb, Nick Page, Richard
Goodlad, Rt Hon Sir Alastair Paice, James
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Paterson, Owen
Gray, James Pickles, Eric
Green, Damian Prior, David
Greenway, John Randall, John
Grieve, Dominic Redwood, Rt Hon John
Gummer, Rt Hon John Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry) Trend, Michael
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne) Tyrie, Andrew
Sayeed, Jonathan Viggers, Peter
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian Walter, Robert
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk) Wardle, Charles
Spicer, Sir Michael Wells, Bowen
Spring, Richard Whitney, Sir Raymond
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Whittingdale, John
Steen, Anthony Wilkinson, John
Streeter, Gary Willetts, David
Swayne, Desmond Wilshire, David
Syms, Robert Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Tapsell, Sir Peter Yeo, Tim
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton) Young. Rt Hon Sir George
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy Tellers for the Ayes:
Townend, John Sir David Madel and
Tredinnick, David Mrs. Caroline Spelman.
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Ainger, Nick Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Armstrong, Ms Hilary Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Ashton, Joe Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Atherton, Ms Candy Clelland, David
Atkins, Charlotte Clwyd, Ann
Austin, John Coaker, Vernon
Baker, Norman Coffey, Ms Ann
Barnes, Harry Coleman, Iain
Barron, Kevin Colman, Tony
Battle, John Connarty, Michael
Bayley, Hugh Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Begg, Miss Anne Cooper, Yvette
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Corbett, Robin
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough) Corbyn, Jeremy
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Corston, Ms Jean
Bennett, Andrew F Cotter, Brian
Benton, Joe Cousins, Jim
Berry, Roger Cox, Tom
Best, Harold Cranston, Ross
Blackman, Liz Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Blizzard, Bob Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Boateng, Paul Cummings, John
Borrow, David Cunliffe, Lawrence
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Dalyell, Tam
Bradshaw, Ben Darvill, Keith
Brake, Tom Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Brand, Dr Peter Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Breed, Colin Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Brinton, Mrs Helen Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Dawson, Hilton
Buck, Ms Karen Dean, Mrs Janet
Burgon, Colin Dismore, Andrew
Burnett, John Dobbin, Jim
Burstow, Paul Donohoe, Brian H
Butler, Mrs Christine Doran, Frank
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen Dowd, Jim
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Drew, David
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife) Drown, Ms Julia
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Campbell—Savours, Dale Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Caplin, Ivor Edwards, Huw
Casale, Roger Efford, Clive
Caton, Martin Ellman, Mrs Louise
Cawsey, Ian Etherington, Bill
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Chaytor, David Field, Rt Hon Frank
Chidgey, David Fisher, Mark
Chisholm, Malcolm Fitzpatrick, Jim
Clapham, Michael Fitzsimons, Lorna
Flint, Caroline Levitt, Tom
Flynn, Paul Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Follett, Barbara Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Linton, Martin
Foster, Don (Bath) Livingstone, Ken
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings) Livsey, Richard
Foster, Michael J (Worcester) Lock, David
Fyfe, Maria Love, Andrew
Galloway, George McAllion, John
Gapes, Mike McCabe, Steve
Gardiner, Barry McCafferty, Ms Chris
George, Andrew (St Ives) McDonagh, Siobhain
Gerrard, Neil Macdonald, Calum
Godman, Dr Norman A McDonnell, John
Godsiff, Roger McFall, John
Goggins, Paul McGuire, Mrs Anne
Gordon, Mrs Eileen McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E) Mackinlay, Andrew
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
Grocott, Bruce McNulty, Tony
Grogan, John Mactaggart, Fiona
Gunnell, John McWalter, Tony
Hain, Peter McWilliam, John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) Mahon, Mrs Alice
Hall, Patrick (Bedford) Mallaber, Judy
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE) Marek, Dr John
Hanson, David Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Harris, Dr Evan Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Harvey, Nick Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Heal, Mrs Sylvia Martlew, Eric
Healey, John Meale, Alan
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome) Merron, Gillian
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N) Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Heppell, John Miller, Andrew
Hesford, Stephen Mitchell, Austin
Hill, Keith Moonie, Dr Lewis
Hinchliffe, David Moran, Ms Margaret
Hoey, Kate Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Home Robertson, John Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Hope, Phil Morley, Elliot
Hopkins, Kelvin Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Howarth, Alan (Newport E) Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Howells, Dr Kim Mountford, Kali
Hoyle, Lindsay Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie
Muldie, George
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Mullin, Chris
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N) Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Hutton, John Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Iddon, Dr Brian Murphy, Paul (Torfaen)
Illsley, Eric Naysmith, Dr Doug
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead) Norris, Dan
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough) Oaten, Mark
Jamieson, David O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Jenkins, Brian O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield) Olner, Bill
Öpik, Lembit
Jones, Helen (Warrington N) Organ, Mrs Diana
Jones, Ms Jenny (Wolverh'ton SW) Osborne, Ms Sandra
Palmer, Dr Nick
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S) Pickthall, Colin
Jowell, Ms Tessa Pike, Peter L
Keeble, Ms Sally Plaskitt, James
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth) Pollard, Kerry
Kelly, Ms Ruth Pope, Greg
Kemp, Fraser Powell, Sir Raymond
Kennedy, Charles (Ross Skye) Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Khabra, Piara S Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Kidney, David Prosser, Gwyn
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth) Purchase, Ken
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green) Quinn, Lawrie
Kingham, Ms Tess Radice, Giles
Ladyman, Dr Stephen Rammell, Bill
Lawrence, Ms Jackie Raynsford, Nick
Laxton, Bob Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Leslie, Christopher Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Rendel, David Stringer, Graham
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW) Stuart, Ms Gisela
Rooker, Jeff Stunell, Andrew
Rooney, Terry Sutcliffe, Gerry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Ruane, Chris Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Russell, Bob (Colchester) Timms, Stephen
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester) Tipping, Paddy
Ryan, Ms Joan Todd, Mark
Salter, Martin Touhig, Don
Sanders, Adrian Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Savidge, Malcolm Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Sawford, Phil Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Sedgemore, Brian Tyler, Paul
Shaw, Jonathan Vis, Dr Rudi
Sheerman, Barry Wallace, James
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert Walley, Ms Joan
Shipley, Ms Debra Wareing, Robert N
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S) Watts, David
Singh, Marsha Webb, Steve
Skinner, Dennis White, Brian
Smith, Angela (Basildon) Whitehead, Dr Alan
Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale) Wicks, Malcolm
Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch) Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent) Wills, Michael
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns) Winnick, David
Soley, Clive Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Southworth, Ms Helen Wise, Audrey
Spellar, John Wood, Mike
Squire, Ms Rachel Woolas, Phil
Starkey, Dr Phyllis Worthington, Tony
Steinberg, Gerry Wray, James
Stevenson, George Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stinchcombe, Paul Tellers for the Noes:
Stoate, Dr Howard Mr. Clive Betts and
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin Mr. Robert Ainsworth.

Question accordingly negatived.

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

The First Deputy Chairman

I call Mr. Davey. The hon. Gentleman must be quick.

Mr. Edward Davey

I will be quick. I merely want to put it on record that the Liberal Democrats oppose the clause standing part of the Bill, for the simple reason that the Government have not argued their case strongly enough for the supplementary vote system. In reply to my intervention, the Minister made it clear that that would not ensure that a majority of Londoners had voted for the winning mayor—

Mr. Jim Cousins (Newcastle upon Tyne, Central)


Mr. Davey

Person. I thank the hon. Gentleman. Only our proposed system would ensure that the majority had voted for the winning woman or man. As I said, we are opposed to including the clause in the Bill.

The First Deputy Chairman

I should tell the hon. Gentleman that I did not mean that his speech should be quick, but that, when I am proposing the Question, he should be quick in getting to his feet.

Mr. Ottaway

Any clause containing an election method for the London assembly that enshrines a method of proportional representation is unacceptable to Conservative Members. We shall divide the Committee on it.

Ms Glenda Jackson

Mr. Martin, you performed a service to the Committee by urging the hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr. Davey) to get to his feet rapidly, as his speech was kept short. He and other Liberal Democrat Members have been making their arguments on the voting issue, but, ultimately, the issue will come down to numbers. Today, although he argued that the Government failed to argue our case sufficiently strongly, the Division numbers clearly show that we have won the argument.

I tell the hon. Member for Croydon, South (Mr. Ottaway) that I quite understand his discomfiture. The official Opposition's arguments on the issue—which was debated in no small detail—also failed to convince the Committee, which comprehensively rejected the official Opposition's amendment.

The Committee has had a protracted debate on the systems to be used to elect a mayor and an assembly. I do not propose to re-open the issues in this stand part debate.

Our debates have had the benefit of the points made by my hon. Friends the Members for Harrow, East (Mr. McNulty), for Battersea (Mr. Linton) and for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours)—each of whom, in his own way, is an expert on the matter. As the right hon. Member for South-West Norfolk (Mrs. Shephard) said, my hon. Friends took us to New Guinea, Alabama, Sri Lanka and back to London.

As my hon. Friend the Minister for London and Construction said in replying to the previous debate, our proposals for the voting system for both mayor and the assembly are important and innovative. That is what Londoners voted for in the referendum, and it is what the Government shall deliver.

Question put, That the clause stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 289, Noes 154.

Division No. 42] [7.22 pm
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Burgon, Colin
Ainger, Nick Butler, Mrs Christine
Allen, Graham Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Armstrong, Ms Hilary Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Ashton, Joe Campbell—Savours, Dale
Atherton, Ms Candy Caplin, Ivor
Atkins, Charlotte Casale, Roger
Austin, John Caton, Martin
Barnes, Harry Cawsey, Ian
Barron, Kevin Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Battle, John Chaytor, David
Bayley, Hugh Chisholm, Malcolm
Begg, Miss Anne Clapham, Michael
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough) Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Bennett, Andrew F Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Benton, Joe Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Berry, Roger Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Blackman, Liz Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Blizzard, Bob Clelland, David
Boateng, Paul Clwyd, Ann
Borrow, David Coaker, Vernon
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Coffey, Ms Ann
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Coleman, Iain
Bradshaw, Ben Colman, Tony
Brinton, Mrs Helen Connarty, Michael
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Buck, Ms Karen Cooper, Yvette
Corbett, Robin Iddon, Dr Brian
Corston, Ms Jean Illsley, Eric
Cousins, Jim Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Cranston, Ross Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley) Jamieson, David
Cryer, John (Hornchurch) Jenkins, Brian
Cummings, John Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S) Jones, Ms Jenny (Wolverh'ton SW)
Dalyell, Tam
Darvill, Keith Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) Jowell, Ms Tessa
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C) Keeble, Ms Sally
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H) Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Dawson, Hilton Khabra, Piara S
Dean, Mrs Janet Kidney, David
Dismore, Andrew King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Dobbin, Jim King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Donohoe, Brian H Kingham, Ms Tess
Doran, Frank Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Dowd, Jim Lawrence, Ms Jackie
Drew, David Laxton, Bob
Drown, Ms Julia Leslie, Christopher
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Levitt, Tom
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston) Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Edwards, Huw Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Efford, Clive Linton, Martin
Ellman, Mrs Louise Livingstone, Ken
Etherington, Bill Lock, David
Field, Rt Hon Frank Love, Andrew
Fisher, Mark McAllion, John
Fitzpatrick, Jim McCabe. Steve
Fitzsimons, Lorna McCafferty, Ms Chris
Flint, Caroline McDonagh, Siobhain
Flynn, Paul Macdonald, Calum
Follett, Barbara McDonnell, John
Foster, Rt Hon Derek McFall, John
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings) McGuire, Mrs Anne
Foster, Michael J (Worcester) McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Fyfe, Maria Mackinlay, Andrew
Galloway, George McNulty, Tony
Gapes, Mike Mactaggart, Fiona
Gardiner, Barry McWatter, Tony
Gerrard, Neil McWilliam, John
Godman, Dr Norman A Mahon, Mrs Alice
Godsiff, Roger Mallaber, Judy
Goggins, Paul Marek, Dr John
Gordon, Mrs Eileen Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E) Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Grocott, Bruce Martlew, Eric
Grogan, John Meale, Alan
Gunnell, John Merron, Gillian
Hain, Peter Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) Miller, Andrew
Hall, Patrick (Bedford) Mitchell, Austin
Hanson, David Moonie, Dr Lewis
Heal, Mrs Sylvia Moran, Ms Margaret
Healey, John Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N) Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) Morley, Elliot
Heppell, John Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Hesford, Stephen Mounttord, Kali
Hill, Keith Mudie, George
Hinchliffe, David Mullin, Chris
Hoey, Kate Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Home Robertson, John Murphy, Paul (Torfaen)
Hope, Phil Naysmith, Dr Doug
Hopkins, Kelvin Norris, Dan
Howarth, Alan (Newport E) O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Howells, Dr Kim O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Hoyle, Lindsay Olner, Bill
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford) Organ, Mrs Diana
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Osborne, Ms Sandra
Palmer, Dr Nick Spellar, John
Pickthall, Colin Squire, Ms Rachel
Pike, Peter L Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Plaskitt, James Steinberg, Gerry
Pollard, Kerry Stevenson, George
Pope, Greg Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Powell, Sir Raymond Stinchcombe, Paul
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E) Stoate, Dr Howard
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Primarolo, Dawn Stringer, Graham
Prosser, Gwyn Stuart, Ms Gisela
Purchase, Ken Sutcliffe, Gerry
Quinn, Lawrie Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Radice, Giles
Rammell, Bill Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Raynsford, Nick Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough) Timms, Stephen
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N) Tipping, Paddy
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW) Todd, Mark
Rooker, Jeff Touhig, Don
Rooney, Terry Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Rowlands, Ted Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Ruane, Chris Vis, Dr Rudi
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester) Walley, Ms Joan
Ryan. Ms Joan Wareing, Robert N
Salter, Martin Watts, David
Savidge, Malcolm White, Brian
Sawford, Phil Whitehead, Dr Alan
Sedgemore, Brian Wicks, Malcolm
Shaw, Jonathan Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Shipley, Ms Debra Winnick, David
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S) Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Singh, Marsha Wise, Audrey
Skinner, Dennis Wood, Mike
Smith, Angela (Basildon) Woolas, Phil
Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale) Worthington, Tony
Wray, James
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch) Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent) Tellers for the Ayes:
Soley, Clive Mr. Clive Betts and
Southworth, Ms Helen Mr. Robert Ainsworth.
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Colvin, Michael
Allan, Richard Cotter, Brian
Amess, David Cran, James
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Curry, Rt Hon David
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Day, Stephen
Baker, Norman Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Bercow, John Duncan, Alan
Beresford, Sir Paul Duncan Smith, Iain
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Brake, Tom Evans, Nigel
Brand, Dr Peter Faber, David
Brazier, Julian Fallon, Michael
Breed, Colin Flight, Howard
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Browning, Mrs Angela Foster, Don (Bath)
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Fox, Dr Liam
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Gale, Roger
Burnett, John Garnier, Edward
Burns, Simon George, Andrew (St Ives)
Burstow, Paul Gibb, Nick
Cash, William Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet) Gray, James
Green, Damian
Chidgey, David Greenway, John
Chope, Christopher Grieve, Dominic
Clappison, James Gummer, Rt Hon John
Clifton—Brown, Geoffrey Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Collins, Tim Hammond, Phillip
Hancock, Mike Page, Richard
Harris, Dr Evan Paice, James
Harvey, Nick Paterson, Owen
Hawkins, Nick Pickles, Eric
Hayes, John Prior, David
Heald, Oliver Randall, John
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome) Redwood, Rt Hon John
Heathcoat—Amory, Rt Hon David Rendel, David
Horam, John Robathan, Andrew
Howard, Rt Hon Michael Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot) Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N) Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Hunter, Andrew Sanders, Adrian
Jack, Rt Hon Michael Sayeed, Jonathan
Jackson, Robert (Wantage) Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Jenkin, Bernard Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Johnson Smith, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Spicer, Sir Michael
Key, Robert Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater) Steen, Anthony
Kirkbride, Miss Julie Streeter, Gary
Kirkwood, Archy Stunell, Andrew
Laing, Mrs Eleanor Swayne, Desmond
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Syms, Robert
Lansley, Andrew Tapsell, Sir Peter
Leigh, Edward Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Letwin, Oliver Taylor. John M (Solihull)
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E) Taylor, Sir Teddy
Lidington, David Townend, John
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Tredinnick, David
Livsey, Richard Trend, Michael
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham) Tyler, Paul
Loughton, Tim Tyrie, Andrew
Luff, Peter Viggers, Peter
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Wallace, James
McIntosh, Miss Anne Walter, Robert
Maclean, Rt Hon David Wardle, Charles
McLoughlin, Patrick Webb, Steve
Major, Rt Hon John Wells, Bowen
Malins, Humfrey Whittingdale, John
Maples, John Wilkinson, John
Maude, Rt Hon Francis Willetts, David
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian Willis, Phil
May, Mrs Theresa Wilshire, David
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute) Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Moore, Michael Yeo, Tim
Nicholls, Patrick
Norman, Archie Tellers for the Noes:
Oaten, Mark Sir David Madel and
Ottaway, Richard Mrs. Caroline Spelman.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Clause 4 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 1 agreed to.

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