HC Deb 05 May 1999 vol 330 cc972-95
Mr. Ottaway

I beg to move amendment No. 79, in page 88, line 1, leave out from beginning to end of line 16 on page 98.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to discuss the following: Amendment No. 22, in page 88, line 24, leave out 'must not' and insert 'may'.

Amendment No. 23, in page 88, line 25, leave out 'must not' and insert 'may'.

Amendment No. 24, in page 88, leave out lines 27 to 29.

Government new clause 37—The PPP arbiter.

Government new clause 38—Terms of appointment etc of the PPP arbiter.

Government new clause 39—Staff of the PPP arbiter.

Government new clause 40—Directions of the PPP arbiter.

Government new clause 41—Guidance by the PPP arbiter.

Government new clause 42—Duty of PPP arbiter.

Government new clause 43—Further powers of the PPP arbiter.

Government new clause 44—Provision of information to the PPP arbiter.

Government new clause 45—Immunity of PPP arbiter.

Government new clause 46—Expenses of the PPP arbiter.

New clause 3—Funding and Management of London Underground`The Mayor shall not be bound by any Public Private Partnership entered into by London Regional Transport or Transport for London and shall be free to enter into any method of funding and management of London Underground including a long lease of management, maintenance, replacement of rolling stock and operation to a private contractor.'. New clause 5—Public interest company if PPP agreement not signed

`(1) If no PPP agreement has been signed by 1st July 2000, the Mayor and Assembly shall be permitted to establish a public interest company as defined by subsection (2) below. (2) In this Chapter "public interest company" means a company—

  1. (a) a majority of whose issued shares are held by or on behalf of any of the bodies or persons falling within paragraphs (i) to (iv) below;
    1. (i) any Minister of the Crown, Government department or other emanation of the Crown;
    2. (ii) any local authority;
    3. (iii) any metropolitan county passenger transport authority;
    4. (iv) any body corporate whose members are appointed by a Minister of the Crown, a Government department, a local authority or a metropolitan county passenger authority or by a body corporate whose members are so appointed;
  2. (b) in which the majority of the voting rights are held by or on behalf of any of the bodies or persons in subsection (2)(a) above;
  3. (c) a majority of whose board of directors can be appointed or removed by any of the bodies or persons in subsection (2)(a) above;
  4. (d) in which the majority of the voting rights are controlled by any of the bodies or persons in subsection (2)(a) above, pursuant to an agreement with other persons; or
  5. (e) a subsidiary of a company falling within subsections (a) to (d) above.
(3) The public interest company may borrow money for investing in transport in Greater London.'.

New clause 9—Public interest company if PPP agreement not signed(No.2)'.—(1) If no PPP agreement has been signed by the date of enactment of this Act, the Mayor and Assembly shall be authorised to establish a public interest company as defined by subsection (2) below to take over from London Underground Limited. (2) In this Chapter "public interest company" means a company—

  1. (a) a majority of whose issued shares are held by or on behalf of any of the bodies or persons falling within paragraphs (i) to (iv) below:
    1. (i) any Minister of the Crown, Government department or other emanation of the Crown;
    2. (ii) any local authority;
    3. (iii) any metropolitan county passenger transport authority;
    4. (iv) any body corporate whose members are appointed by a Minister of the Crown, a Government department, a local authority or a metropolitan county passenger authority or by a body corporate whose members are so appointed;
  2. (b) in which the majority of the voting rights are held by or on behalf of any of the bodies or persons in subsection (3)(a) above;
  3. (c) a majority of whose board of directors can be appointed or removed by any of the bodies or persons in subsection (3)(a) above;
  4. (d) in which the majority of the voting rights are controlled by any of the bodies or persons in subsection (3)(a) above, pursuant to an agreement with other persons; or
  5. (e) a subsidiary of a company falling within subsections (a) to (d) above.
(3) The public interest company may borrow money for investing in transport in Greater London.'.

Mr. Ottaway

If anything illustrates the ideological battle at the heart of the Government, it is the delay, dither and lack of policy on London underground. The Government have learned how to use the language of the marketplace; they have learned how to pay lip service to the value of the private sector; but, when it comes to the crunch and they have to face up to tough issues such as the future of London underground, they chicken out and return to their old Labour roots.

What party on earth other than the Labour party promises improvements to London underground in its manifesto, and then comes up with a scheme that offers less investment than was offered by their predecessors, and says that the solution is to leave London underground in the hands of its present management?

As my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow) said, the standards of London underground are slipping, and the problems have become increasingly acute during the past two years. The Department's own figures state that in 1994–95, more than 16,000 delays were caused by faults in rolling stock. That figure fell over the next few years, before rising to more than 20,000 this year. Signal failures are up, as are other track faults; breakdowns and signal failures are daily occurrences. Poor conditions, delays and people missing connections are a fact of life, and the Government are taking no positive action to improve the situation.

Since taking over the underground, the Government have cut investment. Table 13.d of their own annual report, to which I referred when we were discussing the previous group of amendments, shows a sharp fall in London Transport investment. As my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Sayeed) pointed out, no investment has been announced for next year, and the Treasury is ordering the Deputy Prime Minister to take the money out of the road maintenance programme.

5.15 pm

In their last decade in office—which is increasingly looking like a golden era—the Conservative Government invested, at today's prices, £8 billion. We were the first to admit that that was not enough, and that we needed to bring in the private sector to secure extra investment. What is this Government's answer? A public-private partnership which will introduce £7 billion over 15 years. That is half a billion pounds a year, and about the same level of funding that the Government are providing at present as a temporary measure.

Why do the Government not admit that their plans for PPP are in a mess? As all the contractors involved are deeply wary of the Government's intentions, it now looks increasingly likely that the plan will not be up and running when the mayor takes office next summer, and quite likely that the funds will not be flowing by the summer of 2001. My hon. Friend the Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Wilkinson) referred to a story in The Times yesterday, headed Tube sell-off faces delay until after next election".

A whole Parliament will have gone by, and the Government will have failed to deliver on their pledges. The reason for their inability to deliver on their pledges is their inability to embrace the private sector, and to use it whenever necessary or whenever it can help.

It is well worth making a comparison with the privatised railways. The railways carry only a few more passengers per annum than the underground, but the differences in proposed levels of investment are startling. The state-owned underground can expect £7 billion over the next 15 years if it is lucky, and fares are rising. A recent report by the chartered accountants Chantrey Vellacott, which was mentioned earlier, suggested that fares would have to rise by 30 per cent. to pay for the PPP. On the other hand, privatised rail fares are falling, and no less than £27 billion of investment has been pledged for the next 10 years.

I shall deal with the question of performance shortly; but what a contrast that is. The Government, however, say that PPP is the best way of attracting investment. Labour Members nod: they believe that. But what do others say? The London school of economics is not a stupid organisation. In a report prepared with the respected transport economists Glaister, Scanlon and Travers, published on 20 March, it says: The Government's plan for the Public Private Partnership…for the Underground is flawed in principle, and impracticable. The long-term capital needs of the Underground are of paramount importance to London and to the future of its economy. Before it is too late, the Government should alter its plans and modify the GLA Bill to allow the new Mayor and Assembly the freedom to choose the best solution from amongst a range of available alternatives.

Mr. Edward Davey

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Ottaway

I am still quoting. The report continues: It is now apparent that the PPP as proposed will meet few of the promises made when it was announced exactly one year ago. The PPP threatens to impose burdensome long term pressures on Underground operating revenues, including the prospect of continually rising fares, in order to pay back up front investment by private contractors.

Mr. Davey

The hon. Gentleman is quoting rather selectively from the academics' publication. If he read other parts, he would see that they back the idea of a public interest company, proposed by the Liberal Democrats and others in the capital. What they do not back is the privatisation option favoured by the Conservatives.

Mr. Ottaway

The hon. Gentleman says that I am quoting selectively. In fact, I have quoted the first two paragraphs. He is right in saying that the report suggests a number of options, but one is a long-term lease of the underground to a single contractor. I shall say more about that.

Mr. Davey

That is not privatisation.

Mr. Ottaway

I accept that, but a long-term lease to a single private contractor over, say, 99 years is not far off being a full-scale privatisation.

Mr. Davey

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that the option that he has just described is not the favoured option in the report? The favoured option is a public interest company.

Mr. Ottaway

I do not read that in the report. The academics do not express a favoured option; they put forward a number of options on an equal basis. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will get the report out and quote it in his speech.

The Government are failing in an ideological logjam. All the evidence of the past two decades is that privatisation works. All the companies that used to be at Labour's commanding heights of the economy are performing better in the private sector than they were in the public sector. It was not all straightforward, but no one suggests that companies such as British Airways, British Gas and the electricity boards would perform better back in the public sector. As the investment level in the railways comes through, the Government will soon be taking the credit for the performance of the railways as well; indeed, the language already seems to be moderating. Therefore, we urge the Government fully to embrace the private sector for London underground and to involve it in operations, as well as the infrastructure and management.

The annual report for 1999 from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions continues to make interesting reading. Against the background of falling investment that I have described, it says at paragraph 13.8: The Government is setting London Underground quality of service targets to 2000–01…At the time of writing, London Underground was on target to meet three out of nine quality targets". That is getting a bit off message. Such glossy documents are meant to be new Labour spin. If it thinks that failing on six out of nine quality targets is a success story, it has another think coming. The real point is that London Underground is currently making an operating profit of £250 million a year. If it can do that under the present management, while failing on two thirds of the quality targets, think what the private sector could do if the Government could get rid of their dogma and let it run the underground in the way in which it runs many former public services.

It is possible to make London underground viable; I know that the Government have trouble believing that. They said that privatising the railways would not attract investment. They were wrong, and they are wrong on their public-private partnership.

The Government will hang on to London underground until they have set up their PPP, but buses and roads will be transferred to the mayor next summer. It will be the first time since the 1920s that the buses and the underground have been under different management. It is not an integrated transport policy, but a disintegrated transport policy. The public are becoming increasingly aware of it.

The worst thing—it is a further point made by the London school of economics—is that the mayor will have no say in the best way in which to run the underground. In response to interventions from the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes), the Minister said that, if the PPP was not ready by the time of the election, it was inevitable that the mayor would be involved. That does not seem to be a pledge of any sort, or perhaps I have read it wrongly. [Interruption.] The Minister says that it is a pledge.

Ms Glenda Jackson

The hon. Gentleman clearly misheard what I said from a sedentary position. It has been abundantly clear to everyone who takes an interest in these issues that we have consistently said that, if the PPP is not concluded by the time the mayor takes office, as the mayor will eventually be responsible for the underground, clearly, the mayor will be involved in the discussions on the PPP.

Mr. Ottaway

What happens if the mayor has campaigned on a manifesto pledge not to accept the PPP?

Ms Jackson

I should think that any candidate who campaigned on a pledge not to ensure that the relevant levels were invested in the underground, to transform it into the modern underground that London needs, would stand little chance of winning the favour of the people of London.

Mr. Ottaway

The Minister is in for a big surprise. The people of London will not welcome a £7 billion debt being landed round their necks, with the Deputy Prime Minister walking off into his next job and saying to the people of London, "You pay for it over the next 30 years." In Committee, the Minister said that she would be proud to introduce a congestion charge. No doubt she would be proud to lumber London with a £7 billion debt, but she has not answered my question: what would happen if the mayor were committed to a pledge not to accept the PPP?

Ms Jackson

I say again: I cannot believe that any serious candidate for the mayoralty of London would turn away from the only certainty of securing the relevant level of investment, over a sustainable period, to ensure that the underground could be modernised.

Mr. Ottaway

I know that the Minister is a wise and intelligent person, but just suppose for a second, on that narrow issue, that she is wrong. Let me soften the line slightly. Let us suppose that a mayor is elected who is not opposed to the PPP and who is committed to a transfer, but on different terms from those that have been proposed by the Government. Is the Minister saying that she would override the mayor, or that he would have the last word? Who would have the last word in those circumstances?

Ms Jackson

I have tried to shield the hon. Gentleman from the painful truth, but it is highly unlikely that anyone other than a Labour candidate will be elected as mayor for London. It is impossible to conceive of any Labour candidate not endorsing that imaginative and productive policy.

Mr. Ottaway

If a Minister ducks a question three times, it is clear that she does not know the answer. Frankly, she should not come here unless she knows the answers. She should brief herself better before she comes here. It is almost as bad as yesterday, when she said that a passenger in a taxi could order a taxi driver to put out his cigarette. There seems to be no evidence for that; she has not produced any. She just makes statements off the top of her head without thinking about it and without any background, support or information whatever.

Mr. Eric Forth (Bromley and Chislehurst)

Does my hon. Friend conclude that what the Minister has now confessed publicly is that the form of the Bill that the Government are offering the House will not cater for some of the most likely outcomes of the election? Does he agree that that puts London in a most dangerous and unpredictable position, and means that we cannot now sensibly deal with the future of the underground?

Mr. Ottaway

My right hon. Friend is right. We have absolutely no idea where the Government are going. London underground is not a tin-pot organisation; it is a substantial part of London's economy. The Government have no vision, no idea, and no future for London underground which is coherent in any sense.

In our judgment, the mayor should have the last word. What the Government are proposing, with their interim transitional plans, is to negotiate a PPP, and then to dump it on to the people of London and walk away from it. As I have said, it is a £7 billion millstone hanging from the neck of the people of London.

There is a fourth way. The Government should consider pursuing a long-term leasing arrangement for London underground as an integrated operation with one private sector firm. There is a precedent for that: Eurotunnel has a lease on the channel tunnel until 2086. That was not negotiated by a Conservative Government; it was agreed by the present Government in December 1997. It is a model that would work admirably on the underground, with the authority as the landlord imposing terms in the lease, and with a regulator to keep an eye on performance. That is one of the many ways in which the potential of the private sector could be fully realised for the benefit of London underground. Best of all, that solution would impose no financial burdens on the new authority, it would satisfy the Treasury and would benefit London as a whole.

Last year, the Transport Sub-Committee looked at the Government's plans for a public-private partnership and described them as a "convoluted compromise". We have no reason to believe that the Committee was wrong. A PPP is not the best way forward. It must be dawning on the Government by now that they have got it wrong.

5.30 pm
Mr. Harry Cohen (Leyton and Wanstead)

The hon. Member for Croydon, South (Mr. Ottaway) started by talking about ideology and then exhibited a great deal of it. He wants to scrap the Government's proposals, which are really about countering the chronic under-investment in London underground during the Tory years. His solution in the amendment is wholesale privatisation, which simply negates the public service nature of the London underground. Only profit would matter. A few choice lines would run and the rest would be scrapped, regardless of public interest. The system would be unreliable and decline. Privatisation has already been thoroughly rejected by the London public, especially the travelling public.

Only last week, the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr. Lilley) said that the Conservative party wanted to change the public perspective of it as being about privatisation, particularly in terms of essential public services. Like that famous lager, he has not reached all parts, certainly among the shadow Transport spokesmen. At their first test, the London underground, their solution is wholesale privatisation. The hon. Member for Croydon, South should speak to his right hon. Friend on that point. I want to take this opportunity to read into the record some serious points made by the Capital Transport Campaign, to which I hope the Minister will respond. Louise Hudson, a campaigner and researcher for that good organisation, referring to the Greater London Authority Bill and the London underground, said: Capital Transport Campaign has become increasingly concerned during the past few months that the current proposals for the funding of London Underground will not meet the funding requirements of London's most heavily used public transport service. In addition, the proposals have not taken into account the findings of the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee's investigation into London Underground published in July 1998. The Government grant to London Underground ceases in April 2000. The proposal is that the public-private partnership will provide over £7 billion over 15 years. That is less than the Underground is getting now. In addition there is the question of what will happen when the Government grant ceases. This will occur prior to the securing of extra revenue through the PPP. The deal for the Underground will be struck between the Government and the private sector. This will happen prior to the establishment of the Greater London Authority. Fifty one per cent of respondents to a recent London First business survey said that the Underground was the most important transport issue for the GLA. With this in mind the Mayor is likely to be judged on whether he succeeds in delivering an improved Underground service. Capital Transport Campaign is concerned that under present plans the Mayor will be scapegoated. The Mayoral candidates will have no idea of the nature of the contracts being negotiated. However, the Greater London Authority will have to pay back the private contractors their £7 billion, plus interest. The only way to raise this money is:

  1. 1. Through raising fares
  2. 2. Through road pricing
Since most people who travel to work in central London travel by public transport, often those using the car do so out of necessity. They will ultimately pay for the public-private partnership along with the fare paying passenger who has already endured above inflation fare increases for a number of years. With all this in mind we believe that if the PPP does go ahead then the Mayor and Transport for London should have access to Government funds. This will enable them to secure revenue for the Underground when the Government grant ceases or if the PPP is likely to make unnecessary demands on the Mayor's revenue stream. If extra revenue is not forthcoming then it is unlikely that enough money will be available for projects such as the step free access programme for the Underground. High road charges, above inflation fare increases and an inaccessible public transport system will ultimately lead to social exclusion.

I am sorry to have had to read that submission into the record, but those are important points that need to be addressed. I would be interested in the Minister's response. As the letter says, the Select Committee on the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs said that the mayor could come under pressure to combine a cut in services with a hike in fares should there be a gap between income and fares, and payments to contractors. It called for fare increases to be capped and for the Government to clarify whether, in the event of a funding gap, they would make money available.

I welcome the Minister's statement that the Government would not let London underground fall into a black hole. I should like the Minister, if not today at some other point, to expand on that and give greater assurances.

Reference has been made to the article in The Guardian today which spoke of Railtrack possibly putting in a bid for London underground. The same article states: Mr. Prescott had originally planned to let the private sector take over the Underground's track and signalling systems by next April, and no subsidy was set for 2000–2001. The article also alleges that the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions has been told by the Chancellor…that next year's £350 million maintenance costs for the Underground will have to come out of the department of transport's budget. The financial situation is of concern to Londoners.

I asked the Minister of Transport about the cost of the Jubilee line extension. He replied that the new estimate for the final cost of the project was about £3.2 billion. Set against that is £2 billion ring-fenced by the Government and directly funded by Government grant. In addition, there are some private contributions, but they are quite small—£135 million already paid by the Canary wharf developers and £7.5 million from British Gas, and another £400 million is to be spread over 25 years. That is a small sum. The final cost of the Jubilee line will be about £3.2 billion and there will be a Government grant of £2 billion. If one adds another £0.2 billion from private amounts, there is still £1 billion to come from the DETR's budget.

The Minister of Transport told me that the Government were providing an extra £365 million for investment in the underground system, which means that a total of about £1 billion will be in the core network in 1998–99 and 1999–2000. That is for two years. As the Jubilee line extension is not being funded properly, the gap is £1 billion, and we are seeing the possibility of no Government grant subsidy from 2000 onwards. That is a serious problem for London Transport.

Therefore, I again point to the Minister's answer that the Government will not let London underground fall into a black hole. At the moment, the figures look like a black hole. I hope that, if not today, later, we shall have a better explanation from the Minister, and that Ministers, who are also London Members of Parliament, will bring greater pressure to bear on the Secretary of State and, in particular, the Treasury to ensure that London Transport and the London underground have a proper deal.

I am concerned about the points made by the Capital Transport Campaign that the new London mayor could be seriously scapegoated, or have his hands so tightly tied on London Transport that he could not develop the necessary policies in conjunction with and following the aims of the Government. I should appreciate it if those points could be addressed.

Mr. Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington)

This group of amendments goes to the heart of the matter: the future for transport in London. Liberal Democrat Members did not press amendment No. 35 to a vote so that we might able to debate this group at much greater length.

What is the current state of the tube? The hon. Member for Croydon, South (Mr. Ottaway) has already mentioned the figures—obtained by Liberal Democrats—on rolling stock failures, which both show that, in the two years since Labour came to power, there has been a 36 per cent. increase in such failures and demonstrate the signification deterioration in the situation. Other hon. Members have already mentioned the fact that £350 million will be needed for routine maintenance on the underground, and that that money will have to be found in the budget of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

What about the current state of the public-private partnership? The Government's PPP proposals for the tube have been criticised by many well-respected individuals and organisations—to whom other hon. Members London have referred—such as London First; the London school of economics; John Kramer, the former chief executive of the Chicago rapid transport authority; the Capital Transport Campaign; and Chantrey Vellacott. All those people and organisations are either very worried about the Government's PPP proposals or are suggesting their preferred alternatives. Even a few Labour Members have expressed their concern about the proposals by supporting an early-day motion calling for an alternative to the PPP.

A report in the Financial Times stated that the Deputy Prime Minister is talking with the Treasury about alternatives to the PPP. We do not know what those alternatives are, but it would be interesting to find out. Moreover, the Minister for Transport in London has said that the Government will not do a deal for a PPP at any cost". However, the Chantrey Vellacott report that has been mentioned by hon. Members estimates that the Government's PPP proposals would impose an extra cost of no less than £7.8 billion to deliver the £7 billion of maintenance required on the London underground over and above the cost of the Government themselves financing the maintenance. The PPP process is therefore certainly not progressing with the support of many sections of the population or sectors of business.

Even more alarming are reports in today's press that Railtrack is perhaps the only contender for the PPP. We all know the Deputy Prime Minister's views on Railtrack. Recently, he said that Railtrack has been engaging in the blame culture which has characterised the industry in recent years. Until recently, that was his view on Railtrack. He has had his doubts about Railtrack, and I am sure that they remain.

Ms Glenda Jackson

Forgive me if I misheard what the hon. Gentleman said, but did he really say that my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister blamed Railtrack for "the blame culture"?

Mr. Brake

I am quite happy to quote again the Deputy Prime Minister's comment. He said that Railtrack has been engaging in the blame culture which has characterised the industry in recent years. I am simply repeating his words.

Ms Jackson

I clearly did not mishear the hon. Gentleman. However, if he had read everything that my right hon. Friend has said in that context, he will appreciate that my right hon. Friend was not singling out Railtrack for engaging in the blame culture, but urging the entire railway industry to move away from that culture.

5.45 pm
Mr. Brake

It may well be true that the Deputy Prime Minister was not singling out Railtrack specifically, but he was singling out the rail industry, of which Railtrack is a major player, generally.

What is the state of public-private partnership? We know that the tube system is deteriorating, and that concerns about the PPP are being expressed by various parties, companies and organisations. An alternative to PPP therefore must be found, which is why the Liberal Democrats have promoted the concept—which is supported by the Capital Transport Campaign—of a public interest company.

We believe that the concept of a public interest company is necessary as a fall-back position. It is not good enough for the official Opposition to propose ending the PPP entirely without proposing an alternative. Everyone knows that privatisation is not an alternative, as it would not receive the support of Londoners. It is therefore incumbent on parties to propose viable alternatives, such as a public interest company.

I hope that some Labour Members will agree that a public interest company is a viable alternative. Perhaps they will not actively and openly express their support for it today, but I hope that they are willing to work behind the scenes to promote it as an alternative to the Government's PPP proposals, which are rapidly running out of steam.

As the official Opposition have proposed no alternative to PPP, Liberal Democrat Members shall not be able to back them up on amendment No. 79. However, we call on the Minister to respond to the points that I have made on PPP, perhaps to give some ground on their PPP proposals, and to accept that, in the months and years to come, the mayor and assembly should be allowed to consider alternatives such as public interest companies.

Mr. John Randall (Uxbridge)

Although we have heard many different views on the issue, I think that both sides of the House will be able to agree that—although it has improved in parts—the London underground system is in a parlous state. I speak as someone who has used the underground for a great many years, and even used it to go to school.

Mr. Tony McNulty (Harrow, East)

That was a long time ago.

Mr. Randall

It was indeed a long time ago, demonstrating the extent of my experience in using the underground.

Today, as I came in from Uxbridge on the Metropolitan line, a delay was caused by a breakdown at Neasden, and the passengers in my carriage were not very happy about it. I also do not think that they would have been very impressed to hear the Minister say that time is not a factor in solving the underground's problems. People in my constituency who use the stations at Uxbridge, Ickenham and Hillingdon demand—and deserve—a better service.

Another major issue is how to reduce the number of cars driving into central London. That will not be easily achieved while the underground is in its current state.

We have heard various options for rectifying the problem. One option from what I hesitate to call old Labour is the injection of public money. The Government would regard that as unacceptable. The Conservatives advocate privatisation and we have heard of the Liberal Democrats' idea of a public interest company. The public-private partnership that we have heard about seems to be the least acceptable option to the experts. I shall not repeat the full list of those who have been highly critical.

We should stop bandying investment figures about. It is time that the situation was resolved. The Government must realise that the public-private partnership is doomed from the start. We realised that in Committee when, in a sudden volte-face, the Government pulled out the clauses and said that they would come back to the issue, which is why we are debating it now.

Most Londoners thought that the Labour Government had a cunning plan. In the end, they have a PPP—a pretty pathetic plan.

Mr. Forth

I think that it was that great American President Ronald Reagan who said something like, "Here we go again." Here indeed we do go again. Yet again, we have before us another variant of the pathetic shambles that is the third way, in this case in the form of the mysterious PPP, which we are expected to believe will be the solution to what everybody knows are the problems of the London underground.

It has become ever clearer as we have debated the issue that the Government cannot decide whether they still believe in the virtues of public ownership—the Government or their agencies owning and running a facility—whether they have come the whole way in our direction and believe in the virtues of private ownership and management, or whether they would rather take refuge in something half way between, which is neither one nor the other and therefore has no credibility. I do not need to repeat the list that my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, South (Mr. Ottaway) has given of the reputable sources—well most of them are reputable, although one or two of them are not quite so reputable—who have analysed the issue and come up with cold, thoughtful criticism of the kind that we have all come to recognise.

We are in a dangerous situation, with the Government groping their way forward—as they do on so many other issues, such as reform of the House of Lords and constitutional change—with no clear end position. They want us to trust them to come up with something and to believe that everything will be all right. We have heard that approach on many issues, and here we are in the same position today.

That is bad enough, but now, thanks to the close questioning of my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, South, the Minister has admitted that she has no answer to the basic problem of the nature of the relationship between a mayor and a Government who take differing views on the way forward for the London underground. That is a serious matter. We are asked to take the role of the mayor and the assembly seriously. That is what the Bill is all about and what the referendum was supposed to be about. Here we have the clearest possible example of the Government failing utterly to work their way through the possible relationship between the Government, the London boroughs, the assembly and the mayor on the future of the London underground, its investment and management and the ultimate responsibility for it.

As I have always suspected, we are in danger of having institutionalised conflict between the different centres of power and authority for which there is no resolution. What was the Minister's answer? She said—in all seriousness, I assume—that we should not worry because only a Labour candidate would be elected as mayor and he would accept the Government's policy completely. That is odd, because we do not know what the Government's policy is and nor, apparently, do they. However, the Minister says that she does not need to give an answer about the relationship between the mayor and the Government on the London underground because the mayor will be a Government puppet.

Labour Members may have their own views on that. Regrettably, the hon. Member for Brent, East (Mr. Livingstone) is not here at the moment. Perhaps he has a view on that. I do not know. As we still do not know how the Labour party is going to select its candidate for mayor, I do not know how the Minister can be as confident as she appears to be that the Labour mayor will simply be a puppet of the Government who will accept completely the shambolic approach that they are offering for the future of the London underground. All is yet to be revealed.

It is not good enough for the Minister to say that we should trust the Government because it will be all right on the night and the mayor will probably not contest what the Government are doing. The Government do not really know what they are doing anyway, but, somehow, everything is supposed to work out. We are being asked to accept the Bill and the amendments in that context.

As if that were not bad enough, the Government new clauses contain all sorts of nonsense about a PPP arbiter. We do not know what the PPP is, how it will work and whether it will be biased towards the traditional public ownership approach that has failed this country so badly over many decades or the excitement and success of the new privatisation that we pioneered, and that the Government are playing with but have not quite come across to yet. The result is that a new bureaucrat will be set up to monitor, control or regulate the PPP, presumably because the Government do not know how it will work.

There are various provisions about how the arbiter will be appointed, the staff that he will have, the directions that he will take, guidance that will be given, the duties of the arbiter, the further powers of the arbiter, immunity and—that favourite of all bureaucrats—the expenses of the arbiter. We cannot leave expenses out, because the arbiter will obviously have to have loads of expenses. I do not want to detain the House by going into all those issues. Presumably, the Minister will tell us in detail why we need a PPP arbiter. I do not expect her to go into too much detail about the expenses, but that will all come out in due course.

All the provisions will add to the overhead burden of implementing whatever the Government want to do. All the measures that the Government have brought before us in these ill-thought-out, last minute changes to such an important Bill smack of a lack of thought and analysis and remind us that, every time that they do something, they add to the cost. Those who will bear the cost are the people who always bear the cost—the taxpayer and the users of the service. The combination may vary, but one thing is certain: the Government are telling the people of London, "Whatever we do to mangle your underground, you, the London taxpayer and you, the users of the underground, will pay the bill, which will be substantial." That is not good enough.

6 pm

Mr. Sayeed

My hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Randall) said that he used the tube to get to school. So did I—some years earlier than he did, I think. In the days when I first used the tube it cost half an old penny to go from Hampstead to Belsize Park.

Mrs. Eleanor Laing (Epping Forest)

Gosh, you are old.

Mr. Sayeed

I am old. That shows how many years I have been using the tube. Without the tube, London would grind to a halt. We forget that more people travel on the tube than on the whole of the UK railways.

In the past, we condemned the Soviet Union for a number of things, one of which was its suppression of demand by increasing queues, permitting shortages and making sure that life did not work productively. We are doing exactly the same with the tube service.

Breakdowns on the tube have increased by more than one third, much to the irritation of our constituents and ourselves. We know that the Government have cut the subsidy to the tube. In the last 10 years of the Conservative Government—between 1987 and 1997—the average subsidy was £700 million. Under the Labour Government, the subsidy has been £500 million, and the subsidy will end in May 2000. There is nothing in the Treasury figures to show what will happen after that.

Mr. Mike Gapes (Ilford, South)

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that, in the last two Budgets of the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Clarke), there were significant cuts in the funding of London underground and that the figures that he has given do not give the whole picture?

Mr. Sayeed

The hon. Gentleman is correct, but we must look at the entire 10-year period. We expected to denationalise London underground, and we were preparing it for that. As the Conservative Government had properly funded and expanded London underground enormously during their 18 years, there had been front-ended funding. To reassure the hon. Gentleman, I have no ideological hang-up about funding London underground. We should use the best system; whatever works.

When Price Waterhouse was asked about four options for future funding, the options were determined not by Price Waterhouse, but by the Government. In essence, the Government had determined the form of the funding for London underground. I find it extraordinary that the Government did not recognise that, if they decided to bring in a company of the repute of Price Waterhouse, they should have allowed it to decide on what it believed would work best. It would then have been for the Government to reject or accept it. However, the fact that the Government had determined the four options that Price Waterhouse was to look at meant that the company was constrained from looking at other options, including privatisation.

We are told often that the Government want an integrated transport policy. I regret to say that that is no more than a slogan. The Government, with the Bill— in terms of the incoherent proposals for the underground, London's main artery—are making sure that we will not have fewer cars on London's roads, but more. They are suppressing demand on the underground, they are pricing it out of existence, they are making sure that the public subsidy is cut and they are making sure that travelling on the underground is an increasing misery.

As I said, without the tube, London would grind to a halt. Without the tube, people would not get to their jobs to earn money and to produce a prosperous Britain. It is incumbent on any Government to produce a public transport system for the capital city that will work. This Government are clearly failing to do that, and the Bill—which demonstrates that they are confused as to what they should do in the future—deserves to fail.

Mr. Edward Davey

It is astonishing that we are having to consider 10 new clauses tonight. They are substantial new clauses, which change the dynamics of the commercial agreement to which the House is being asked to give its consent.

New clauses 37 to 46 are needed logically by the PPP in terms of the structure that the Government are proposing. With a 30-year lease to private sector companies, there is a need for review. In Committee—when the Minister surprised us with the announcement—it was stated that a review was needed because the technology might change, and that the agreement would have to be reviewed to take account of that.

There may be a need to review the performance of the contract, and how well the private sector company is doing with respect to the initial understanding. There is a need for a review to serve the interests of democracy. If we are to have elections for a mayor to oversee Transport for London, clearly the parameters of the agreement could be changed.

Mr. Brake

Am I right in thinking that when the Liberal Democrats proposed a review in earlier debates, the Minister pooh-poohed it?

Mr. Davey

My hon. Friend is right, but the Government have thought again. Within their own framework, there is a need for review, which shows the costs of their proposals. The right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) referred to the higher costs, and the Liberal Democrats contend that the Government's PPP proposal will be an incredibly expensive way of maintaining, developing and investing in the London underground.

In such contractual relationships, one must think of the risk involved. The private sector contractor must be compensated for those risks. There are risks inherent in such contracts, including construction risks; we have seen those on the Jubilee line extension, with the overruns and the difficulties in tunnelling. Such matters are difficult to know a priori, so compensation is needed.

There are funding risks, and we have heard about the higher costs for the private sector in terms of getting the capital—something to which my hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Mr. Brake) referred. We have heard references to the Chantrey Vellacott estimates of the costs. The new clauses, with the introduction of the arbiter, add another, expensive risk. Anyone signing such an agreement will know that the contracts may change in future, not just by agreement, but by fiat. New clause 40(6) states: A direction under subsection (3) above shall be final and binding…and shall, if and to the extent that the notice given under subsection (5) above so provides, take effect as a term of the PPP agreement. There is no doubt that anyone signing up to such contracts could be forced by the PPP arbiter to have their commercial agreement rewritten—without their agreement, necessarily. Which company would enter such a commercial agreement unless it knew that it would be massively compensated up front? That is where the higher costs will come in as a result of the Government's proposals. The travelling public of London and the taxpayer will be asked to pay those higher costs.

In the Financial Times, the Minister said that one of the reasons for the arbiter was to make sure that companies did not make "windfall profits". When the potential bidders heard that, they were amazed. They find the idea that they will make huge profits ludicrous, considering all the risks involved. One of them was quoted as saying: We don't see enormous profits, but the risks are considerable. The risks are indeed massive, and people will be persuaded to take them on only by up-front payment.

The complexity of the PPP agreements lies not only in the need to analyse the risks before drawing up the legal documents. Imagine the extra transaction costs involved in setting up the whole system. There will be huge bills from the lawyers, bankers and other consultants. In opposition, Labour Members criticised the Conservative Government for paying so much in consultancy fees when they privatised the railways. The new proposals do not avoid that, despite what the Government hoped. Arguably, the transaction costs will be much higher. They will not be one-off, either, because of all the reviews. The costs inherent in the system, by basic common-sense analysis, are incredibly high.

My hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton and Wallington made it clear that there are alternatives. We set them out in detail in Committee. The hon. Member for Croydon, South (Mr. Ottaway) spoke about the academic studies. If the Government had bothered to cross the pond to the United States of America, of which the right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) is so enamoured, they would have seen, in the hotbed of capitalism, examples of public sector owners operating public transport systems in urban areas incredibly successfully.

John Kramer took over Chicago's urban railway company—it is overground as well as underground—when it was in a total mess and had been deteriorating because the previous public sector operation had not invested in it, but he was able to make it a success by issuing bonds, backed up by ticket revenue and state taxes, so that the people who provided the private finances knew that the returns would be stable. Over 20 years, he issued more than $20 billion-worth of bonds. That money enabled his management team to plan investment with certainty and transform Chicago's transportation system into the envy of the country.

That was a public sector option, using private sector capital, which is what the Liberal Democrats are arguing for. It has worked in America, and the Government could easily take it up. The hon. Member for Leyton and Wanstead (Mr. Cohen) made that point in a brave and excellent speech, and some Labour Members, including the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. McDonnell), signed the Liberal Democrats' early-day motion calling for a public interest company.

Many hon. Members support our approach. One would have thought that it was right up the Government's street and that the Deputy Prime Minister would have loved to adopt it. There is a huge battle raging in the Labour party between the privatisers in the Treasury and the people who take a different approach in the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions; unfortunately, the Deputy Prime Minister and his friends are not winning.

The Minister pooh-poohs all press reports, but I am pleased to say that we have heard that the Deputy Prime Minister has had an emergency meeting with the Chief Secretary and other Treasury Ministers to find out whether there is an escape route and they can get out of this mess. We have offered them an escape route in new clauses 5 and 9. I think that the way out that we have offered in case the Government cannot make a go of their scheme would attract a lot of support.

6.15 pm
Mr. Simon Hughes

We are offering the Government a way, which I hope they will accept, even at this late stage, of getting off the hook. The great benefit of the public interest company, as in the Chicago scheme, is that it combines democratic accountability—it is run by those who are elected—with having more stakeholders. More people in the community publicly and openly participate, in that their finances feed the system and make it run, but it is controlled by those who are elected to that function.

Mr. Davey

That is absolutely right. Ours is a democratic and transparent option, as well as being the most efficient. It is the best value for money for both passengers and taxpayers. That is why my hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton and Wallington has today written to the Public Accounts Committee asking it to investigate the accounting of the PPP.

The Government will get their way and railroad through their 10 new clauses and the PPP scheme, even though the provisions are ill thought through and we will probably need to make many changes by regulation or by other means. The Public Accounts Committee needs to investigate, because in years to come the scheme will be seen to be an atrocious use of taxpayers' money.

The PPP proposal is the Government's worst mistake since they came to power. It is a total shambles and will be proved to be so in years to come.

Ms Glenda Jackson

I wondered whether the Conservative and Liberal spokesmen had rehearsed their contributions. They have been joined at the hip. I will ensure that the people of London know precisely what approach both the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats take to the overwhelmingly important issue for London of how we attract sustainable funding to improve our underground. We have heard not one word from the official Opposition or the Liberal Democrats on how they would do that. We have heard endless fantasy, misrepresentation and scaremongering. Both parties have clearly failed to familiarise themselves with our proposals on the public-private partnership. The absurdities that have emanated from the lips of Opposition Members have been scandalous.

When in power, the Conservatives proposed privatisation for the underground. The hon. Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Randall) was much concerned about what he considered a wilful waste of time by the Government over the public-private partnership. Is he aware that the Conservative Government's privatisation proposals would, by the estimate of the then Secretary of State for Transport, have taken at least four years to be fully implemented, even though they planned to reduce the underground by a third? The then Secretary of State informed the then Chancellor that, even post privatisation, they were looking for at least £190 million a year to be invested in the underground.

Mr. Ottaway

How do you know that?

Ms Jackson

We know that because the notes between the two of them were deliberately leaked. That was one of the reasons why the people of London expressed their total opposition to the Conservative party's proposal to privatise and why they have endorsed the Government's proposal for a public-private partnership.

The hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr. Davey) repeated the Liberal Democrats' favourite call about bonds issues, which he says work extremely well in America. He forgets that those major American cities that were brought to bankruptcy and beyond not only by issuing bonds for financing capital investments, but by breaking out of any overarching control over public borrowing for major investment.

We have made it abundantly clear that we believe in true fiscal prudence—and certainly in this area.

Mr. Brake

Will the Minister give way?

Ms Jackson

No. I shall finish my point, if the hon. Gentleman will allow me to do so.

It is absurd to presuppose that a public-private partnership evinced by this Government will do anything other than produce the best possible value for the taxpayer and the people of London by ensuring adequate investment. There will be no massive hike in fares, as the scaremongers on the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Benches have said in an attempt to delude the House and the people of London. There will be the certainty of long-term, sustained investment, which will improve the underground and its services.

Mr. Brake

Will the Minister give way?

Ms Jackson


The representation of the London underground given by the hon. Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Randall) was less than fair. He neglected to mention the programme of investment in which this Government have already engaged. We managed to find an additional £365 million for London underground when we came to office, which is improving escalators, tracks and signalling. The sum has enabled the underground to prioritise issues of access at core stations. Over time, such stations will become truly accessible to everybody in London.

If anyone genuinely believes that the deterioration that the hon. Member for Uxbridge described has come about over the past two years, they are clearly as misguided as Opposition Members. Such deterioration does not occur in the space of two years. It is the accumulation of more than a decade of neglect by the previous Administration. I sincerely hope that if Conservative and Liberal Democrat Members are not persuaded to withdraw the amendments, the House will reject them out of hand.

I think that it would now be appropriate to speak to Government new clauses 37 to 46. I was surprised by the astonishment expressed by the hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton on these new clauses because I announced in Committee that the Government would be tabling amendments on Report to facilitate the establishment of an arbiter. I explained to the Committee that the mayor and PPP contractors would need to review future underground investment from time to time. The PPP contracts will therefore set out the procedures for periodic reviews, which will be held every seven and a half years or so.

The scaremongering of the hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton, who says that such reviews would lead to excessive and overweening costs, is unfounded. It is abundantly clear that the need for an arbiter will arise only if there is any basic disagreement between the mayor and the contractor. We expect the reviews to be conducted in a spirit of partnership, but it is inevitable that two parties may not always be able to agree. Therefore, it is necessary to provide for an arbiter. The parties to the contract will be able to refer unresolved matters to the arbiter, who will give a direction that is binding on both of them—unless both agree not to give effect to it.

I sent Members who served on the Committee an explanatory note which gives a brief summary of the new clauses. Copies have also been placed in the Library. It may, however, help the House if I describe the general purpose and effect of the new clauses.

New clause 37 provides for the appointment of the arbiter by the Secretary of State. The Government's intention is that there should be one arbiter for all three PPP contracts. Subsection (6) is therefore particularly important, in that it requires the Secretary of State to consult such persons as he considers appropriate before making an appointment.

New clause 38 makes provision concerning the terms of appointment and dismissal of the arbiter. New clause 39 deals with the appointment of staff and their ability to discharge functions on behalf of the arbiter. New clause 40 sets out the arbiter's powers to give directions on matters referred to him by the parties to a PPP agreement. As I have mentioned, such directions are to be binding on the parties unless they both agree not to give effect to them.

New clause 41 gives the arbiter a power to give non-binding guidance to the parties where they jointly refer a matter to him. The purpose of the new clause is to encourage the parties to reach agreement between themselves, in the light of the arbiter's guidance, without relying on a binding direction. New clause 42 sets out the arbiter's duties when making directions or giving guidance. New clause 43 sets out further powers of the arbiter, including one to inspect relevant assets. New clause 44 empowers the arbiter to collect information that he considers relevant to the discharge of his functions. New clause 45 removes the liability of the arbiter and his staff for any acts or omissions, unless they can be shown to have been committed in bad faith. New clause 46 provides for the funding of the arbiter by the Secretary of State and for the recovery of costs from the parties concerned.

These are important new clauses. They are intended to ensure that future investment needs of the London underground can be reviewed in the knowledge that the parties may call on an independent third party to issue binding directions when there are unresolved differences. The new clauses give the arbiter the necessary powers and duties to carry out such a task in a way that should be reassuring both to the mayor and Transport for London, and to PPP contractors.

The new clauses are yet another example of the care and attention to detail that the Government have brought to bear not only on the PPP, but on the Bill. So far from the shallow and fantastic criticism that hon. Members have levelled at the Government to the effect that the PPP project is some shambles, the Government will ensure, via the PPP, adequate, sustainable, long-term funding so that when the underground is transferred to the mayor, it will be able to deliver the modern underground services that the people of London so desperately need.

We have been meticulous in assuring ourselves that the model on which we base the definition of PPP contracts will deliver the best possible value to the taxpayer and, of course, to the underground itself. We have made it abundantly clear that, unlike the previous Administration, we will not be driven by empty ideology, or labour under the burden of an artificially imposed time scale. We will not be tinkering with Liberal Democrat proposals on financing the underground. I have serious difficulty in believing that the Liberal Democrat proposals could adequately fund a toy train over a long time, let alone cope with the complexities of the London underground.

It is this Government, with their imaginative and innovative approach not only to local government but to genuine partnership, who will deliver for London the democratic voice that it has so long desired and the means of ensuring that the underground will be properly and adequately funded in the long term. I commend the new clauses to the House.

Mrs. Laing

It is unfortunate that the Minister still blindly refuses to recognise the great success of privatisation of the railways, which has put Railtrack in a position today to declare that it wants to take over the underground. Would not that be a great way of using the resources that Railtrack has built up for the benefit of users of London underground and all the people of London? Dogma prevents the Minister and her colleagues from envisaging how well such a system would work.

Will the Minister confirm that, whatever conditions are imposed on whichever company or organisation runs the underground, all services that are currently provided, especially those beyond the Greater London boundary—in other words, in my constituency at the end of the Central line—will continue to run?

6.30 pm
Ms Jackson

I am most grateful to the hon. Lady for giving way. If I remember correctly, she asked the same question on Second Reading. My answer now is the same as the one that I gave then.

It being half-past Six o'clock, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question already proposed from the Chair, pursuant to Order [30 April]:

The House divided: Ayes 112, Noes 283.

Division No. 165] [6.30 pm
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Hammond, Philip
Amess, David Hawkins, Nick
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Heald, Oliver
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Baldry, Tony Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Beggs, Roy Horam, John
Bercow, John Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Boswell, Tim Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Hunter, Andrew
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Brady, Graham Jenkin, Bernard
Brazier, Julian Johnson Smith,
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Browning, Mrs Angela Key, Robert
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Burns, Simon Lansley, Andrew
Butterfill, John Leigh, Edward
Cash, William Lidington, David
Chope, Christopher Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Kensington) Loughton, Tim
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh) Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
(Rushcliffe) McLoughlin, Patrick
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Malins, Humfrey
Collins, Tim Maples, John
Cran, James Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Curry, Rt Hon David Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Davies, Quentin (Grantham) May, Mrs Theresa
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice Nicholls, Patrick
& Howden) Ottaway, Richard
Day, Stephen Page, Richard
Donaldson, Jeffrey Paterson, Owen
Duncan, Alan Randall, John
Duncan Smith, Iain Redwood, Rt Hon John
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Evans, Nigel Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Fabricant, Michael Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Fallon, Michael St Aubyn, Nick
Flight, Howard Sayeed, Jonathan
Forth, Rt Hon Eric Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Fraser, Christopher Soames, Nicholas
Garnier, Edward Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Gibb, Nick Streeter, Gary
Gill, Christopher Swayne, Desmond
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Syms, Robert
Gray, James Tapsell, Sir Peter
Green, Damian Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Greenway, John Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Grieve, Dominic Taylor, Sir Teddy
Gummer, Rt Hon John Trend, Michael
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert Wilshire, David
Waterson, Nigel Woodward, Shaun
Whitney, Sir Raymond Yeo, Tim
Whittingdale, John Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann Tellers for the Ayes:
Wilkinson, John Mrs. Eleanor Laing and
Willetts, David Sir David Madel.
Abbott, Ms Diane Coffey, Ms Ann
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Cohen, Harry
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Colman, Tony
Allen, Graham Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Cooper, Yvette
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary corbyn, Jeremy
Ashton, Joe Corston, Ms Jean
Atherton, Ms Candy Cousins, Jim
Atkins, Charlotte Crausby, David
Austin, John Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Banks, Tony Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Barnes, Harry Cummings, John
Barron, Kevin Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Battle, John Dalyell, Tam
Bayley, Hugh Darvill, Keith
Beard, Nigel Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Beith, Rt Hon A J Davidson, Ian
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough) Dawson, Hilton
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Dean, Mrs Janet
Bennett, Andrew F Denham, John
Bermingham, Gerald Dismore, Andrew
Berry, Roger Dobbin, Jim
Best, Harold Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Betts, Clive Donohoe, Brian H
Blackman, Liz Dowd, Jim
Blears, Ms Hazel Drew, David
Blizzard, Bob Drown, Ms Julia
Blunkett, Rt Hon David Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Boateng, Paul Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Borrow, David Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Bradley, keith (Withington) Efford, Clive
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Etherington, Bill
Brake, Tom Field, Rt Hon Frank
Brand, Dr Peter Fisher, Mark
Breed, Colin Fitzpatrick, Jim
Brinton, Mrs Helen Fitzsimons, Lorna
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) Flint, Caroline
Buck, Ms Karen Flynn, Paul
Burden, Richard Follett, Barbara
Burgon, Colin Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Burnett, John Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Burstow, Paul Foulkes, George
Butler, Mrs Christine Gapes, Mike
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen Gardiner, Barry
Cable, Dr Vincent George, Andrew (St Ives)
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth) George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Cambell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Gerrard, Neil
Campbell-Savours, Dale Gibson, Dr Ian
Cann, Jamie Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Caplin, Ivor Godsiff, Roger
Casale, Roger Goggins, Paul
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Golding, Mrs Llin
Chaytor, David Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Church, Ms Judith Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Clark, Dr Lynda Grocott, Bruce
(Edinburgh Pentlands) Grogan, John
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S) Gunnell, John
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S) Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Clelland, David Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Clwyd, Ann Healey, John
Coaker, Vernon Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) Mullin, Chris
Hepburn, Stephen Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Hewitt, Ms Patricia O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Hill, Keith Olner, Bill
Hinchliffe, David Organ, Mrs Diana
Hodge, Ms Margaret Palmer, Dr Nick
Hoey, Kate Pearson, Ian
Hoon, Geoffrey Perham, Ms Linda
Hope, Phil Pickthall, Colin
Howarth, George(Knowsley N) Pike, Peter L
Hoyle, Lindsay Plaskitt, James
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N) Pollard, Kerry
Humble, Mrs Joan Pope, Greg
Hurst, Alan Pound, Stephen
Hutton, John Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Iddon, Dr Brain Prentice, Gordon(Pendle)
Illsley, Eric Prosser, Gwyn
Jackson, Ms Glenda(Hampstead) Purchase, Ken
Jenkins, Brain Radice, Giles
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle) Rammell, Bill
Johnson, Miss Melanie Rapson, Syd
(Welwyn Hatfield) Raynsford, Nick
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Robertson, Rt Hon George
Jones, Helen(Warrington N) (Hamilton S)
Jones, Ms Jenny Roche, Mrs Barbara
(Wolverh'ton Sw) Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Rowlands, Ted
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak) Roy, Frank
Keeble ,Ms Sally Ruddock, Joan
Keen, Ann(Brentford & Isleworth) Russell, Bob(Colchester)
Kelly, Ms Ruth Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Kemp, Fraser Ryan, Ms Joan
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree) Sanders, Adrian
Khabra, Piara S Savidge, Malcolm
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth) Sawford, Phil
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green) Sedgemore, Brain
Kingham, Ms Tess Sheerman, Barry
Kumar, Dr Ashok Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Laxton, Bob Singh, Marsha
Levitt, Tom Skinner, Dennis
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S) Smith, Miss Geraldine
Lewis, Terry(Worsley) (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Linton, Martin Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Livingstone, Ken Snape, Peter
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C) Soley, Clive
Llwyd, Elfyn Southworth, Ms Helen
Lock, David Spellar, John
Love, Andrew Squire, Ms Rachel
McAvoy, Thomas Starkey, Dr Phyllis
McCafferty, Ms Chris Steinberg, Gerry
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
(Makerfield) Stoate, Dr Howard
McDonagh, Siobhain Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
McDonnell, John Stringer, Graham
Mckenna, Mrs Rosemary Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Mackinaly, Andrew (Dewsbury)
McNulty, Tony Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
MacShane, Denis Temple-Morris, Peter
Mactaggart, Fiona Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
McWalter, Tony Timms, Stephen
McWilliam, John Tipping, paddy
Mahon, Mrs Alice Todd, Mark
Mallaber, Judy Trickett, Jon
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter Truswell, Paul
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S) Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury) Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Vis, Dr Rudi
Meale, Alan Walley, Ms Joan
Merron, Gillian Ward, Ms Claire
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan Wareing, Robert N
Mitchell, Austin Watts, David
Moffatt, Laura White, Brain
Moran Ms Margaret Whitehead, Dr Alan
Morley, Elliot Wicks, Malcolm
Mountford, Kali Wills, Michael
Winnick, David Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Wise, Audrey
Wood, Mike Tellers for the Noes:
Wray, James Mr. Kevin Hughes and
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth) Mr. David Jamieson.

Question accordingly negatived.

MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER then proceeded to put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that hour.

Forward to