HC Deb 03 November 1999 vol 337 cc384-96

Lords amendment: No. 20, after clause 18, to insert the following new clause—War pensions for widows: entitlement.—(1) A widow in receipt of a widow's pension under any of the enactments mentioned in subsection (2) ("the DSS pension"), and in receipt of a pension paid under the Armed Forces Pension scheme shall on remarriage or when living together as husband and wife with a member of the opposite sex, only retain the Forces Family Pension (attributable). (2) The enactments referred to in subsection (1) are—

  1. (a) the Naval, Military and Air Forces etc. (Disablement and Death) Service Pensions Order 1983, and any order re-enacting the provisions of that order,
  2. (b) the Personal Injuries (Civilians) Scheme 1983, and any subsequent scheme made under the Personal Injuries (Emergency Provisions) Act 1939,
  3. (c) any scheme made under the Pensions (Navy, Army, Air Force and Mercantile Marine) Act 1939 or the Polish Resettlement Act 1947 applying the provisions of any such order as is referred to in paragraph (a),
  4. (d) the order made under section 1(5) of the Ulster Defence Regiment Act 1969 concerning pensions and other grants in respect of disablement or death due to service in the Ulster Defence Regiment."

Mr. Rooker

I beg to move, That this House disagrees with the Lords in the said amendment.

The amendment relates to the situation of war widows. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence, who leads on these issues, has asked me to put the case to the House, and I hope that hon. Members will find that acceptable. We recognise, as everyone does, the importance of ensuring that the dependants of those who are killed as a result of their service careers are properly looked after. The Government greatly value the contribution that those people have made for their country.

Amendment No. 20 seeks to retain for life a widow's attributable pension awarded under the Ministry of Defence's armed forces pension scheme. It would not affect payments under the DSS war pension scheme. Such pensions would continue to be withdrawn if the widow remarried or cohabited with a man, as would pensions paid to widows under the MOD's occupational pension scheme if their spouse's death was not attributable to service. It is quite a narrow amendment.

Introducing special arrangements for widows who receive the attributable pension would be anomalous, and might be seen as unfair by other service widows, because that would ring-fence that particular group of widows. That may be stating the obvious, but it is important to put it on the record. Other public service widows may also think it unfair. Under the schemes for the emergency services—the police and the fire service, in which men and women put their lives at risk during their public duty—occupational pensions are withdrawn on remarriage or cohabitation. We could create a festering sore among widows in many walks of life, and we do not think that that is the way to go.

The Government have had to consider the implications of the amendment for all public service schemes. It cannot be treated in isolation. Making widows pensions available for life would be very costly if applied across the public service as a whole. However, the Secretary of State for Defence is conducting a major review of the armed forces pension scheme. As a new Government, we are entitled to review these issues. Widows pensions are being examined as part of that review, including the issue of withdrawal on remarriage. We expect the report by next summer—we have put a target date on it: it will not get lost in the ether—and I cannot speculate about the outcome of that review.

The concerns expressed in the other place, which will be reiterated here, are fully understood and are not dismissed lightly. I cannot say more than that, because this is a sensitive issue. I will not go over the arguments about the reference in the amendment to the armed forces pension scheme. There are three different schemes, and the amendment affects only those widows in receipt of an attributable pension: it does not cover all service widows.

It would be premature to make a decision on this matter now without the benefit of the in-depth inquiry and review that is taking place to enable the House to come to a conclusion. The review will enable us to take into account the effect on other widows in other services.

Dr. George Turner (North-West Norfolk)

I understand that the review is already behind schedule, as is common with such matters. If cases arise between the time when the review was launched and the decisions it makes, will the Minister consider any difficult individual cases, or will that be within the ambit of the review body?

9.15 pm
Mr. Rooker

I am not sure of the details of why the process has been delayed, but, according to the best information I have, the review is being conducted and a report is due by next summer. I do not know what the original timetable was or the reason for the delay, but I think that the House would be wise to await the results of the review before legislating, so that we can take into account service widows whose pensions are not attributable and, perhaps, other public sector widows in the circumstances that I have described.

Mr. Trend

The Opposition agree with the Lords amendment. Those who follow these matters in detail will realise that it represents a change in our policy—indeed, a change since the proposal was debated, very recently, in another place. I am quietly proud to be able to tell the House of that change, but well aware that mere good fortune has enabled me to voice what many Conservatives, on both Front and Back Benches, have for so long felt to be right and thoughtful. This is an issue that commands support throughout the House; it has only ever been a problem for Front-Bench Members, and it is now only a problem for Ministers.

The Government will have been told by civil servants—as we were when we were in government—that to concede this point will be to open the floodgates. That is what the Minister told us today. The Government may even have been persuaded to accept the red herring that some 68,000 widows are involved in the proposal. Both claims are simply untrue. It would be entirely possible to accept this modest proposal, strictly ring-fenced to post-1973 war widows, without further repercussions, and we are assured that there is no technical or legal reason why that could not be done. The Government are quite able to put their powerful shoulders against all sorts of floodgates if they are determined to do so; what is unfair in this instance is that a small group of people are unjustly on the wrong side of the Government's stubbornness.

I suspect that, when the phrase "war widows" is used in this context, most people conjure up a picture of women getting on in years whose husbands fought courageously in the second world war. That is far from the truth of what we are talking about. We are talking specifically about post-1973 war widows, and the total number of people in that group—those in receipt of attributable armed forces family pensions—is thought to be 2,650. At present, along with the AFFP, they receive DSS war widows pensions; if they remarry, they lose both.

The widows in question, ably represented by the War Widows Association of Great Britain—believe that to be grossly unfair, and a serious and understandable disincentive for them to remarry. Under the Government's current proposals for pension splitting on divorce, those women would be able to retain a share in their former husbands' occupational pension schemes, which is what the AFFP is; but the Government say that those who are separated from their spouses by death must lose both their DSS and their MOD occupational pensions if they remarry. That is a monstrous injustice. The great majority of private pension schemes, and an increasing number of public pension schemes, now pay bereaved spouses pensions for life, and it is surely a good thing for pension schemes to be regarded increasingly as the assets and the property of individuals rather than as a handout from a grudging Government.

The armed forces are different from any and all other public services. Service men and women are the only group in our society who are asked as a condition of their work to be ready to lay down their lives for the rest of us. They are not paid overtime; they cannot join a trade union; their contracts are totally different from contracts in the other public services. Their wives and families are posted anywhere throughout the globe. It is impossible for service men's wives to take up careers of their own. I know that from personal experience, as I represent Windsor, a town with two barracks.

In fact, 806 of those widows are under 50 and 1,542 are under 60. It is not an enormous problem for the Government. Young women are involved, too. In particular, it is the children who suffer from the injustice of their late father's occupational pension being stopped if their mother remarries.

Recently, a large group of young children went to Downing street, where they were courteously received by the Prime Minister. Who could fail to be struck by the predicament in which those families find themselves? I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman was. I ask the Minister to consider accepting the amendment, even at this late stage.

We are talking specifically about post-1973 widows of service men who die, or are killed in the line of duty while still serving. Only about 2,500 individual cases are involved. A tough ring fence will be placed around that group of people.

Those who choose to remarry—it may be only a modest number—will, of course, stop receiving their Department of Social Security pensions, thereby allowing, I guess, the proposal roughly to pay for itself. We are talking about a tiny step for the Government, but a giant leap forward for war widows. It is an issue of simple human decency and justice.

Mr. Harry Barnes (North-East Derbyshire)

I wanted to speak on the issue to show that, on the Labour Benches, there are some concerns about the matter and that there is some sympathy for the view of the hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. Trend).

I accept that a review will take place. Much will depend on how seriously the matter is taken in that review. Obviously, what has been discussed in another place and here is relevant material, which the review should examine. The arguments have been put forward clearly.

The Minister said, "Why should the Army, Navy and Air Force be different from other public services?" The hon. Member for Windsor has responded to some of those points. I reiterate them a little and add some more.

Life in the forces is different from that in many other sectors. Many people place themselves in considerable danger in other public services—we are aware of that—but people serving in Kosovo and Northern Ireland face death continually. That may not be the case in other public services, although some terrible incidents occur in those services. However, as people in the forces face the problem day by day, some special consideration should be given.

The position of widows needs to be taken into account. They cannot develop careers readily and easily to provide for themselves later in life because of the nature of the service in which they are involved. They may move a dozen or more times during their life married to someone in the services, and will not have had an opportunity to build a stable career. They might even have great difficulty in finding employment in the areas to which they move. Often, life in the services is such that they will be expected to be involved in many unpaid activities around the camps, providing welfare services. They assist their husband's career, so theirs is a special case, which needs to be looked at. Many of the arguments that have been presented by the War Widows Association of Great Britain make those points. We should consider them seriously.

Whatever happens in the Divisions, I hope that the Government will take the matter on board seriously. I hope that they will not say just that the review can consider the matter. The review must take the matter seriously into account and issue a quick report that is based on the principles that have been discussed tonight.

Mr. David Heath (Somerton and Frome)

The hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. Trend) said that he was very proud that the Conservative party had changed its position on the matter since discussions were held in another place. I am very proud that the Liberal Democrats have not changed our position, and that we have been entirely consistent in our support for the Lords amendment. I very much hope that we shall have the opportunity to demonstrate that support at the end of the debate.

As has been said, we are talking about an anomaly—a fairly small anomaly affecting relatively few people. It is also a matter that we very rarely have the opportunity to debate, simply because it falls within the province of the Ministry of Defence and prerogative powers. This debate is one of the rare opportunities that we have had to explore the case on behalf of post-1973 war widows.

The current regulations are quintessentially archaic, as they treat the woman—the surviving spouse is usually a woman, but could be either gender—as a chattel and as someone who is dependent on their relationship with a partner, rather than as an independent person who has contributed equally to a partnership that has ended in the most tragic circumstances, in a death in service.

Yesterday, some of us were privileged to hear a lucid and extremely helpful briefing on the subject, and I was particularly struck by one statement made by the lady who gave the briefing. She said that the only real options available to a young war widow who wishes to retain the pension are to be single, celibate, promiscuous or homosexual. If she wants to preserve her pension entitlement on behalf of her family, the one thing that she cannot have is a stable relationship.

There are essentially three elements to the Government's position. The first is cost—which has already been dealt with by the hon. Member for Windsor. Implementing the change would not be a costly exercise. Indeed, a perfectly logical argument maintains that the Government would find themselves rather better off with the change.

The effects of precedent are the second element of the Government's position. However, I reject that argument, too. I do not believe that changing the provision for approximately 2,650 individuals will necessitate changes in other parts of the public service, or that there will be any clamour for such change.

The third element is the fact that a review is in process, and the Government maintain that we must await its completion. I reject that, too. This is an opportunity to correct a wrong that has continued for far too long. Children are being been deprived of the opportunity to grow up in what should be stable families simply because of pension rules.

We have the opportunity not only to be fair to those widows, but to improve the terms of service of those serving in our armed services. Hon. Members who participate in defence debates will know how difficult it is to recruit and retain people in the services, but, today, we have the opportunity to make a significant change for the better.

Most of all, we should support those young wives and families who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in the most tragic circumstances, deprived of a partner.

The issue is not concerned only with the past—it arises every year. Every year, young people in our armed services are losing their lives in service. Often, they leave behind young spouses and families. The House would do well to reflect on that fact, and to take a rare opportunity to put right a rather small anomaly.

Mr. Dalyell

Given that the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath) is almost certainly anecdotally right in suggesting that there is a built-in financial disincentive either to marriage or to a stable relationship, I simply ask Ministers what advice they have had from their departmental experts on the costs if the Lords amendment were passed.

Mr. Rooker

I am all for giving as much information as possible. On its own, the amendment would cost the Ministry of Defence less than £15 million annually.

Mr. Dalyell

That was the factual answer that I wanted. I thank the Minister.

9.30 pm
Mr. Brazier

The school that I attended was set up for the sons of dead Army officers. The foundation for the sons of deceased service personnel continues to this day and there were several such children at school with me.

I should like to add two points to the excellent speeches that have been made already. First, it is a sad fact that today 40 per cent. of marriages end in divorce. It is a further sad fact that if one of the parties to the marriage comes in with children from a previous marriage, whether as a widow or as a divorcee, the chances of a divorce are even greater. If a member of the armed forces with children dies in action and his widow chooses to remarry, giving their children another father, she puts those children at serious financial risk. We must be clear about that.

I do not want to repeat the arguments that have been put so well already. My second point is that every hon. Member present tonight should ask themselves what sort of message we are sending to members of the armed forces, who risk their lives for us in so many uncomfortable and dangerous parts of the world, if we tell them that we are determined once again to save a relatively small sum of money by putting their widows and children in such a position if anything should happen to them.

Dr. George Turner

I shall be brief. I am willing to accept that this may not be the moment, but at some point we must take a positive attitude to try to find a way round the difficulties that seem to have prevented natural justice from being done for constituents who have written to me.

Many Labour Members cannot support the attitudes, particularly to young women, that we have inherited. People should not be discouraged from entering into new relationships by a financial penalty, particularly if there are young children. I accept the need to consider small cases in the round to ensure that we do not create one anomaly after another. I should like some reassurance that the Government will take a positive look at the issue and that the House will return to it before too long.

Mr. Crispin Blunt (Reigate)

This is an opportunity to make a small gesture for war widows. The Minister has told us that the cost to the Ministry of Defence would be £15 million. What would the saving be to the Department of Social Security, caused by the widows surrendering their DSS pension when they got married? Let us have some joined-up government. I want to know the net cost to the Government, not just the cost to the Ministry of Defence.

I should like to illustrate one of the manifest absurdities of the situation. Consider two identical families in the services. We are introducing pension splitting on divorce. The wife of one service man chooses to get divorced. She will get her share of the pension and can go on to remarry as many times as she likes—as my noble Friend Lord MacKay of Ardbrecknish said, consecutively, not concurrently. However, if the other service man flies his aircraft into the side of a mountain or gets killed on active service in Kosovo or while training for active service and his wife chooses to remarry, she will have to surrender her pension. That is a manifest absurdity that we can put right this evening.

We have heard the Government's arguments about the difficulty of drawing a line, and the fact that 68,000 other service widows would feel aggrieved. I do not believe that to be the case. We have an opportunity to move the line microscopically. Enough is enough. The issue has been reviewed to death. It is time for the House to make a move. I do not know how Members of Parliament can sit here wearing their poppies, remembering the sacrifice of those who gave their lives, and then pass up an opportunity to make a minute gesture to help the widows and children of those who made a sacrifice for their country to rebuild their lives as they would wish. We should agree with their lordships.

Mr. Rooker

I welcome all the contributions to this brief debate, and a powerful case for change has been made. I do not mean this in a demeaning way, but the case is so powerful that the Opposition have changed their policy, and announced that this evening. I respect that, and I presume that it was not done lightly. We are entitled to give the matter some thought, and one cannot demean the Ministry of Defence's review.

I can assure everyone that I will metaphorically hotfoot it from this debate to the MOD to say what has been said here and in the other place, and ensure that that is properly addressed in the review.

To expand on my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell), the amendment on its own would cost the MOD less than £15 million a year extra. That £15 million would cover the cost of paying all service widows pensions for life, irrespective of whether the service was attributable or not. [Interruption.] I do not have a breakdown of the figures—my point is that the figure that I gave is larger than the figure for attributable service. However, one must balance that.

The hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath) said that there would be no clamour from any other quarter. However, we live in the real world, and there will be clamour from other quarters. I am not saying that that is a reason not to make the change.

If similar pressure was put on the other public sector pension schemes to pay widows pensions for life, the total cost across the public sector for lifetime spouses' pensions would be roughly £150 million for each year of future service.

If the change was made retrospective to cover all past service for current serving employees, the capital cost for the public service pensions schemes would be approximately £1.5 billion. If it included those who had been awarded a preserved pension, that would double to £3 billion. I am putting those figures on record so the House has all the information that I have.

Mr. Robert Key (Salisbury)

We are grateful for the Minister's positive attitude. One point that has not been made about comparability is that the fire service and the police service have a provision for a gratuity on death in service which does not exist in this case. That is yet another reason for saying that this can be tightly ring fenced.

Mr. Rooker

Yes, and the review must look at this matter. The MOD is duty bound to come forward with the results of the review, in which the war widows association is playing a leading role. These points must be made to the satisfaction of all the Departments involved. There will be a clamour, and we must try to provide a secure ring fence.

There is no saving to the DSS, as the DSS war widows pension is withdrawn on remarriage. We are talking about attributable service, covering the DSS war pension scheme. That is not part of the amendment, which relates to the MOD schemes. It is a separate issue.

Mr. Barnes

There might be a slight saving in the DSS pension provision if more women were able to marry because of the removal of the constraint.

Mr. Rooker

I do not want to disagree with my hon. Friend, but the Lords amendment is specific to the MOD scheme. In response to the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key): there is a gratuity in the armed forces pension scheme, which comprises three separate elements—I do not want to get into the details of the technical defects arising from that fact.

Mr. David Heath

The Minister is doing a good job of acknowledging the strength of feeling in the House and perhaps communicating it to other quarters, but I must press him again on the idea that there is no saving to the DSS. Logic suggests that if women remarry and therefore qualify for the change in the attributable forces family pension scheme, which is the substance of the Lords amendment, they must forgo the DSS pension that they would otherwise have been claiming. That is a countervailing saving.

Mr. Rooker

That happens already. The hon. Gentleman is effectively saying that to the extent that more widows would remarry because of the attributable MOD pension being kept for life, the DSS would make a saving. I cannot possibly give an answer to that hypothetical question. It would be preposterous for me to try to estimate how many widows would remarry because, and only because, there was a change in the MOD scheme. The only answer that I can give is that the saving to the DSS would depend on the numbers.

Mr. Blunt

Where does the £15 million come from if it is not based on an estimate that could equally be used for the DSS figure?

I commend to the Minister the words of Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, who was trying to deal with the issue in the DSS. When challenged on why he did not do anything about it, he said: That is a perfectly fair point. I did try—it is my only defence—but not very successfully. I sent letters to my noble Friend Lord Howe. I chased my civil servants across to the MoD. My noble Friend Lord Howe and I totally"—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman cannot get away with quoting at such length in an intervention.

Mr. Rooker

Perhaps I have answered the debate inadequately. The point is that the MOD can be precise about what the cost to its budget of paying widows for the whole of their lives would be, because it knows how many of them are being paid its attributable pension. One cannot know the change in behaviour that would come about if the policy were extended to other budgets.

The MOD can give a precise figure that covered all service widows, because it is paying them now, but it is not possible to put a figure on the knock-on effect on the DSS and our thousands of different benefits, which have all grown like Topsy over the years.

The Government have got the message both from this debate and from the one in the other place. I ask right hon. and hon. Members to trust to the review; to put the maximum pressure on the MOD so that there is no undue delay; and to ensure—I give my commitment to this as a DSS Minister—that I make urgent representations to my right hon. Friend as a result of what has been said tonight. In that spirit, I ask the House to accept the Government's motion to disagree with the Lords amendment.

Question put, That this House disagrees with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 363, Noes 193.

Division No. 285] [9.44 pm
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Ainger, Nick Atherton, Ms Candy
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Atkins, Charlotte
Alexander, Douglas Austin, John
Allen, Graham Banks, Tony
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Barron, Kevin
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh Dawson, Hilton
Beard, Nigel Denham, John
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret Dewar, Rt Hon Donald
Begg, Miss Anne Dismore, Andrew
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough) Dobbin, Jim
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Donohoe, Brian H
Bennett, Andrew F Doran, Frank
Benton, Joe Dowd, Jim
Bermingham, Gerald Drew, David
Berry, Roger Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Best, Harold Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Blackman, Liz Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Blears, Ms Hazel Edwards, Huw
Blizzard, Bob Efford, Clive
Blunkett, Rt Hon David Ellman, Mrs Louise
Boateng, Paul Ennis, Jeff
Borrow, David Etherington, Bill
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Field, Rt Hon Frank
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Fisher, Mark
Bradshaw, Ben Fitzpatrick, Jim
Brinton, Mrs Helen Fitzsimons, Lorna
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon (Dunfermline E) Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Browne, Desmond Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Buck, Ms Karen Foulkes, George
Burden, Richard Galbraith, Sam
Burgon, Colin Gapes, Mike
Butler, Mrs Christine Gardiner, Barry
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth) Gerrard, Neil
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Gibson, Dr Ian
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Caplin, Ivor Godman, Dr Norman A
Casale, Roger Godsiff, Roger
Caton, Martin Goggins, Paul
Cawsey, Ian Golding, Mrs Llin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Chaytor, David Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Church, Ms Judith Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands) Grocott, Bruce
Grogan, John
Clark, Paul (Gillingham) Gunnell, John
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S) Hain, Peter
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S) Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Clwyd, Ann Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Coaker, Vernon Hanson, David
Coffey, Ms Ann Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Coleman, Iain Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Colman, Tony Healey, John
Connarty, Michael Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Cooper, Yvette Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Corbett, Robin Hepburn, Stephen
Corbyn, Jeremy Heppell, John
Corston, Ms Jean Hesford, Stephen
Cousins, Jim Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Cox, Tom Hill, Keith
Cranston, Ross Hinchliffe, David
Crausby, David Hodge, Ms Margaret
Cryer, John (Hornchurch) Hoey, Kate
Cummings, John Hood, Jimmy
Cunliffe, Lawrence Hoon, Geoffrey
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland) Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S) Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Dalyell, Tam Howells, Dr Kim
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair Hoyle, Lindsay
Darvill, Keith Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Davidson, Ian Humble, Mrs Joan
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Hurst, Alan
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C) Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Illsley, Eric Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Ingram, Rt Hon Adam Mountford, Kali
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough) Mudie, George
Jamieson, David Mullin, Chris
Jenkins, Brian Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle) Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield) Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn) Norris, Dan
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark) O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N) O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) O'Hara, Eddie
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak) Olner, Bill
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S) O'Neill, Martin
Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa Organ, Mrs Diana
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Osborne, Ms Sandra
Keeble, Ms Sally Palmer, Dr Nick
Kelly, Ms Ruth Pearson, Ian
Kemp, Fraser Pendry, Tom
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree) Perham, Ms Linda
Khabra, Piara S Pickthall, Colin
Kidney, David Pike, Peter L
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth) Plaskitt, James
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green) Pollard, Kerry
Kumar, Dr Ashok Pond, Chris
Ladyman, Dr Stephen Pope, Greg
Lawrence, Ms Jackie Pound, Stephen
Laxton, Bob Powell, Sir Raymond
Lepper, David Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Leslie, Christopher Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Levitt, Tom Primarolo, Dawn
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S) Prosser, Gwyn
Lewis, Terry (Worsley) Purchase, Ken
Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen Quin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce
Linton, Martin Quinn, Lawrie
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C) Radice, Rt Hon Giles
Lock, David Rammell, Bill
Love, Andrew Rapson, Syd
McAllion, John Raynsford, Nick
McAvoy, Thomas Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
McCabe, Steve Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
McCafferty, Ms Chris Roche, Mrs Barbara
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian (Makerfield) Rooker, Jeff
Rooney, Terry
McDonagh, Siobhain Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Macdonald, Calum Rowlands, Ted
McDonnell, John Roy, Frank
McFall, John Ruane, Chris
McGuire, Mrs Anne Ruddock, Joan
McIsaac, Shona Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary Ryan, Ms Joan
McNulty, Tony Salter, Martin
MacShane, Denis Sarwar, Mohammad
Mactaggart, Fiona Savidge, Malcolm
McWalter, Tony Sawford, Phil
Mallaber, Judy Sedgemore, Brian
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S) Shaw, Jonathan
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury) Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Shipley, Ms Debra
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Short, Rt Hon Clare
Marshall-Andrews, Robert Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Martlew, Eric Singh, Marsha
Maxton, John Skinner, Dennis
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Meale, Alan Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Merron, Gillian Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley) Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miller, Andrew Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Moffatt, Laura Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Moonie, Dr Lewis Snape, Peter
Moran, Ms Margaret Soley, Clive
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N) Southworth, Ms Helen
Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W) Spellar, John
Morley, Elliot Squire, Ms Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Steinberg, Gerry Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Stevenson, George Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Stewart, David (Inverness E) Tynan, Bill
Stewart, Ian (Eccles) Vis, Dr Rudi
Stinchcombe, Paul Walley, Ms Joan
Stoate, Dr Howard Ward, Ms Claire
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin Wareing, Robert N
Straw, Rt Hon Jack Watts, David
Stringer, Graham White, Brian
Stuart, Ms Gisela Whitehead, Dr Alan
Sutcliffe, Gerry Wicks, Malcolm
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury) Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S) Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Taylor, David (NW Leics) Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Temple-Morris, Peter Wills Michael
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W) Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W) Wise, Audrey
Timms, Stephen Wood, Mike
Tipping, Paddy Woolas, Phil
Todd, Mark Worthington, Tony
Touhig, Don Wray, James
Trickett, Jon Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Truswell, Paul Wyatt, Derek
Turner, Neil (Wigan) Tellers for the Ayes:
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE) Mr. David Clelland and
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown) Mr. Clive Betts.
Allan, Richard Collins, Tim
Amess, David Colvin, Michael
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Cormack, Sir Patrick
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Cotter, Brian
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Cran, James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Cunningham, Ms Roseanna (Perth)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Baker, Norman Curry, Rt Hon David
Baldry, Tony Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Ballard, Jackie Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Barnes, Harry Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Day, Stephen
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield) Duncan, Alan
Bercow, John Duncan Smith, Iain
Beresford, Sir Paul Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Blunt, Crispin Evans, Nigel
Body, Sir Richard Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Boswell, Tim Faber, David
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Fabricant, Michael
Brady, Graham Fearn, Ronnie
Brake, Tom Flight, Howard
Brand, Dr Peter Forsythe, Clifford
Brazier, Julian Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Breed, Colin Foster, Don (Bath)
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Browning, Mrs Angela Fox, Dr Liam
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Fraser, Christopher
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Gale, Roger
Burnett, John Garnier, Edward
Burns, Simon George, Andrew (St Ives)
Burstow, Paul Gibb, Nick
Butterfill, John Gill, Christopher
Cable, Dr Vincent Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife) Gorrie, Donald
Gray, James
Canavan, Dennis Green, Damian
Cash, William Greenway, John
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet) Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Chidgey, David Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Chope, Christopher Hammond, Philip
Clappison, James Hancock, Mike
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh) Harris, Dr Evan
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Harvey, Nick
Hawkins, Nick Robathan, Andrew
Heald, Oliver Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome) Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Heath, Rt Hon Sir Edward Ruffley, David
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Horam, John St Aubyn, Nick
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot) Sanders, Adrian
Hunter, Andrew Sayeed, Jonathan
Jack, Rt Hon Michael Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Jackson, Robert (Wantage) Shepherd, Richard
Jenkin, Bernard Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Jones, leuan Wyn (Ynys Môn) Smith, Sir Robert (WAb'd'ns)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham) Soames, Nicholas
Keetch, Paul Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Key, Robert Spicer, Sir Michael
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater) Spring, Richard
Kirkbride, Miss Julie Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Kirkwood, Archy Steen, Anthony
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Streeter, Gary
Leigh, Edward Stunell, Andrew
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E) Swayne, Desmond
Lidington, David Swinney, John
Livsey, Richard Syms, Robert
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham) Tapsell, Sir Peter
Llwyd, Elfyn Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Loughton, Tim Taylor, Sir Teddy
Luff, Peter Thompson, William
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Tonge, Dr Jenny
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Townend, John
McIntosh, Miss Anne Tredinnick, David
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew Trend, Michael
Tyler, Paul
Maclean, Rt Hon David Tyrie, Andrew
McLoughlin, Patrick Viggers, Peter
Madel, Sir David Wallace, James
Maples, John Walter, Robert
Mates, Michael Wardle, Charles
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian Waterson, Nigel
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute) Webb, Steve
Moore, Michael Wells, Bowen
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway) Welsh, Andrew
Moss, Malcolm Whitney, Sir Raymond
Nicholls, Patrick Whittingdale, John
Norman, Archie Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Oaten, Mark Willetts, David
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury) Willis, Phil
Öpik, Lembit Wilshire, David
Ottaway, Richard Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Page, Richard Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Paice, James Woodward, Shaun
Paterson, Owen Yeo, Tim
Pickles, Eric Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Prior, David
Randall, John Tellers for the Noes:
Redwood, Rt Hon John Mrs. Eleanor Laing and
Rendel, David Mr. John M. Taylor.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Lords amendment disagreed to.

It being after Ten o'clock, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER then put the remaining Questions required to be put at that hour.

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