8. The proceedings on any Motion made by a Minister of the Crown for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order shall (if not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after they have been commenced; and Standing Order No. 15(1) shall apply to those proceedings.
9. If at today's sitting the House is adjourned, or the sitting is suspended, before the time at which any proceedings are to be brought to a conclusion under this Order, no notice shall be required of a Motion made at the next sitting by a Minister of the Crown for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order.
§ I shall set out why the Government regard the motion as necessary. The Government are committed to the implementation of the Belfast agreement in all its elements, and the reform of policing in Northern Ireland, 724 which the Police (Northern Ireland) Bill will achieve, is an integral and extremely important part of the agreement. We want to see a new beginning to policing in Northern Ireland, and the Bill lays the foundation for that fresh start and that new beginning.
As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said on Second Reading on 6 June:
The Bill paves the way for the most complex changes in policing practice and culture ever attempted—changes that, if successful, will provide as good a model for policing as can be found anywhere in the world. The philosophy, size, structure, composition, training, accountability, human rights ethos, planning and information systems and community base of Northern Ireland's police will all change if the Bill is enacted.—[Official Report, 6 June 2000; Vol. 351, c. 177.]
§ The whole House should know that we made good and constructive progress in our 11 sittings and more than 40 hours of debate on the Bill in Standing Committee B. This progress was assisted, even focused, by the structured way in which members of the Committee dealt with the issues. We were able to have useful debates that concentrated on the key issues of concern to the various parties represented on the Committee. I hope that those hon. Members who were on the Committee will acknowledge that the Government were willing to consider, and make, constructive changes to the Bill. We have also brought forward further changes to consider later today.
§ The Government want to maintain that good momentum. We have had a full debate on the Bill in Committee and we want to ensure that we make good progress tonight. My understanding is that it was not possible through the usual channels to reach broad agreement on an informal timetable for this evening's debate. This timetable motion will help the Government to stick to their timetable for the Bill. It will help focus debate. It is a precautionary approach.
§ All the provisions in the Bill were dealt with in detail in Committee. The Committee did its job properly. Discussion was full and reasonable. We covered the issues thoroughly. However, it is important to note that there are no issues raised by the amendments in front of us today that were not aired in Committee. The Government's judgment is that six hours ought to be sufficient for the House to deal with the Report Stage. It is up to hon. Members to use the time available responsibly and to best effect.
§ We are willing to work with those who want to play a constructive role in helping us to fashion and improve the Bill. That will require the House to focus on the issues in a structured way. For that reason, we believe that a timetable is helpful. We have not sought to stifle debate on the Bill. There can be no criticism of how the Government dealt with the Bill in Committee, nor of the other parties represented in Committee.
§ The House should not baulk at the amount of work that needs to be got through on Report. Right hon. and hon. Members should know that the vast majority of amendments for consideration are technical changes on the name. Many of the others are in response to issues on which there was general agreement in Committee. Only a few of the amendments could be classed as being of a contentious nature.
§ The Government have demonstrated that we are open to debate and that we are prepared to take on board constructive and helpful proposals to improve the Bill. 725 We are still prepared to listen to constructive suggestions for change. The good work that has been done needs to continue and I look forward to debating the issues further. That is the best way forward and the best way to serve the needs of all the people of Northern Ireland.
§ There is fundamental change ahead for the police service. The Government, in discussion with the police and others, have sought to identify an ordered and logical way to take that forward. Our approach, and the timetable that we have set, is outlined in the implementation plan, which the Secretary of State published on 6 June and which is available in the House.
§ The implementation plan recognises that such a wide range and depth of change cannot happen overnight and, as Patten recognised, will take time to implement. However, we need to get the building blocks in place to take the change forward. The Bill is one of those building blocks. Those who oppose the Bill and the Government's approach serve no one but their own factional interests. That has to be recognised, as have the reasons for it, but it does not move the process forward. This Bill is about putting in place building blocks for the future, and that must be the best way to make progress.
§ I have been brief in my explanation of the timetable motion. That was my deliberate intention, as it is important that the House should move on to consider the Bill and the important issues raised by the selected amendments. I trust that we will not be treated to an extended debate on the motion, which could be interpreted as calculated to eat up the whole of the three hours that have been timetabled for discussion and to lay the ground for accusations in another place that insufficient time was allowed here for discussion of the issues. For that reason, I have set out fully, and I believe succinctly, my reasons for commending the motion to the House.4.46 pm
§ Mr. Andrew MacKay (Bracknell)
This is a sad day for the House and for Northern Ireland. This is not a timetable motion, but a straightforward guillotine. It is not up to the Minister to decide how long the House should take to debate the motion; it is up to hon. Members to decide whether they want to speak. It was unhelpful, and typical of the arrogance of this Government, that we were lectured on how long we should debate the motion.
The motion is deeply insensitive on a day when the Royal Ulster Constabulary is yet again bravely and professionally acting as the thin green line between the rule of law and the Province descending into anarchy. What a way to treat those officers, who have a natural vested interest in this legislation being right, at a time when they are risking life and limb and when so-called loyalist thugs only last night shot at them and petrol-bombed them when they were only fulfilling their professional duty and protecting the right of the ordinary decent majority of people in both communities freely to travel around the Province and to go to and from work. The very least that the House owes the Royal Ulster Constabulary is a proper and full debate on the Bill.
As an Opposition, we regularly acknowledge that the Government have a right to get their business. This Bill was in the Queen's speech and, after proper debate, deliberation and amendment, it is right that the Government should get it on to the statute book. We did not oppose the Second Reading and we will not oppose Third Reading, but we believe that the Bill is fundamentally flawed in a number of ways.
726 A large number of amendments have to be considered—amendments tabled by individual Members on both sides of the House. I should like to think that my hon. Friends and I have tabled some significant amendments on the name and who sits on the bodies and partnerships. Significant amendments have also been tabled by the Ulster Unionists and the Democratic Unionists and important amendments by the Social Democratic and Labour party and by certain Labour Back Benchers, at least one of whom I can see in his place. We also have to consider a number of Government amendments—some on the name of the police that are very contentious, and others that are a response to concerns expressed by hon. Members in Committee.
All the amendments need to be considered properly on Report. To allow a mere six hours, which must include the debate on this motion, is hopelessly insufficient. It is an insult to the brave men and women of the RUC—[Interruption.] The Minister seems to think that is not the case, so I repeat: I sincerely believe that the motion is an insult to the brave men and women of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and that it shows the arrogance of the Government, because they do not allow proper debate.
Let us consider the progress of the Bill. A full debate was held on Second Reading, when the Bill was not opposed by the official Opposition. When the measure was considered in Committee, the Minister rightly acknowledged that there was proper debate and that no member of the Committee had engaged in filibustering. After a mere 11 sittings, this detailed Bill left Committee with co-operation from both sides. In those circumstances, why on earth is a guillotine motion needed?
I have been a party to guillotine motions. Throughout the previous Parliament, I was a Whip, becoming Deputy Chief Whip. Unlike my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd), I had a record of supporting guillotine motions at certain times. However, only after filibustering and a long delay in Committee should there be a guillotine on both Committee and Report. On no occasion was a guillotine imposed when a Minister admitted that no undue delay had taken place, and that a measure had received proper professional consideration in Committee. There is no good reason for the motion.
Why has the guillotine motion been introduced? I suggest that it is because the Government—legitimately—want to send the Bill to the Lords so that it can receive its Second Reading there before the summer recess. Why are we in such a difficulty? Let us examine the chronology. The House will recall that Patten reported on 9 September 1999. On 17 November, the Prime Minister made it clear in the Gracious Speech that there would be legislation to reform the police service in Northern Ireland. The consultation period on Patten ended on 1 December. On 19 January, the Secretary of State made a statement to the House giving the conclusions.
What happened to that legislation announced in the Queen's Speech? From the moment that the Belfast agreement was signed, everybody knew that the legislation would be introduced. There was no sign of it in January, February, March or April. Finally, on 16 May, the Government staggered forward and published the Bill. On 6 June, the measure received its Second Reading and on 6 July its Committee stage was concluded after 11 sittings.
727 If there is any problem in getting the Bill to the Lords in good time and then on to the statute book, it has been caused exclusively by the Government. They introduced the Bill so late that there was insufficient time to debate it. If it is so vital that a Bill introduced so late should go to the Lords for a Second Reading debate, which will probably be held in the last week before we rise for the recess, then we should consider it over more than one day. We should scrap some of the unnecessary legislation that the Government are introducing.
The Government are in a mess, although I feel slightly sorry for the Secretary of State and the Minister of State. It is not entirely their fault that Parliament has been overburdened with a huge number of Bills—more than have ever been introduced in one sitting. Bills are being presented desperately late in the sitting—for example, the measure on football hooliganism. That Bill should have been introduced several months ago, when the problem was identified by my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Miss Widdecombe). Instead, apparently it is to be rushed through in just a couple of days.
This is a Government whose legislative programme is totally out of control. It is a shambles. They are not just an incompetent Government; they are also an arrogant Government, and we, as an Opposition, will not encourage them either in their incompetence or in their arrogance by supporting the guillotine motion this afternoon.
§ Mr. Lembit Öpik (Montgomeryshire)
The right hon. Member for Bracknell (Mr. MacKay) said that the motion was not a timetable motion but a guillotine, because it had not been agreed beforehand by other parties.
I do not feel that this guillotine is disrespectful to the RUC or to its record of courageous achievement in Northern Ireland. I say that because anyone who spent in the Committee the 40 hours that the Minister described will have seen that Members from all parties were obviously committed to making a better police service while being respectful to the RUC and the contribution that it has made. Therefore, I feel that some of the criticisms made by the right hon. Member for Bracknell were slightly out of kilter with the debate that took place in Committee. I am not criticising him; I just have a different view.
§ Mr. MacKay
At no point did I suggest that there had not been proper scrutiny in Committee. In fact, the only thing on which I agreed with the Minister of State was that there had been proper scrutiny and no filibustering in Committee. Surely the hon. Gentleman would agree that the RUC and the whole country deserve proper scrutiny of the Bill not only in Committee but on the Floor of the House. A large number of Members are present on both sides of the House who did not serve on the Committee, and they have a right to debate, consider and discuss the amendments. That is the reason for our objection. We are simply saying that there should not be a guillotine on Report, and that there should be the opportunity to discuss properly all those important matters of reform.
§ Mr. Öpik
I understand the point that the right hon. Gentleman makes, which he makes quite clearly, but I am 728 sure that he would agree that this is not a matter of principle but a matter of judgment about what the Government were trying to do with what I would imagine that they intended basically as a timetable motion, regardless of whether they agreed it with the other parties beforehand.
On that subject, I must simply agree to differ with the right hon. Member for Bracknell, for two reasons. First, the 40 hours of debate in Committee were comprehensive, and the Committee was one of the most effective Standing Committees that I have ever worked on—not least because the Government showed some willingness to modify their position as debate progressed, although obviously not in all regards. We shall come to those issues as today's debate progresses. In fact, we could have taken more time in Committee, but there were occasions when, the debate's having concluded early, people were satisfied that it had been as extensive as was required at the time.
The second reason why I am of the judgment that the time that has been allocated is probably sufficient is that many of the Government's amendments were tabled specifically in response to points made by non-Government Members during the Bill's earlier stages. Various proposals that the Liberal Democrats made, and proposals that the official Opposition made, are now being carried out.
However, there are issues to which I know that we shall have to return. It is no surprise to the House that I continue to be extremely unhappy with the use of quotas, and I hope that, in the time available, we shall be able to raise that and other issues of substantial importance to myself to other hon. Members and to other parties.
On balance, therefore, I draw the conclusion that, as long as we do not spend the next three hours debating the programming motion, we shall have enough time to get on with it, and to have the debate in the fullness that it needs.
It is worth remembering that, by the end of the Committee's deliberations, those Members who served on it were apprised of the importance of getting the Bill passed; and if, by twenty minutes to 12 tonight, we have not debated all the important outstanding issues sufficiently deeply before the Bill passes on to the other place—whether or not the Government accept the wise words that will be presented to them from other parts of the House—I shall be extremely surprised. For that reason, as a matter of judgment rather than a matter of principle, we consider that the Government's attempt to timetable the debate is basically common sense.
§ Mr. Ken Maginnis (Fermanagh and South Tyrone)
The Bill derives from the Patten commission report, which was presented several months ago and which, in itself, was flawed in that it stepped far outside Patten's terms of reference, which were based on the Belfast agreement. Patten chose to ignore that and published a report that was described in this House and elsewhere—I believe by Home Office officials—as an interesting report, but certainly one that had nothing to do with policing. That, of course, has had a knock-on effect in that we have before us a Bill that no doubt has to do with political accommodation, but has nothing to do with policing or law and order.
The reality is that, after 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland, a different ethos pervades our society than that which some of us grew up with. It is an ethos 729 that adjusts easily to criminality, to the extent that we have in Northern Ireland a powerful mafia sub-culture. That is an issue that should be debated at length as we go through the Bill. While it is all very well to say that we dealt with each of the issues in Committee, it is important that any of us who are elected to the House recognise our responsibility to our electorate and realise that we cannot dismiss the input of the House just because a Bill has gone through a Committee to be fine-tuned.
If my calculations are right, the Government have tabled 222 amendments to the Bill, and they expect us to deal with them and the other amendments in six hours. One realises why the Minister was so apologetic about the Government's intention to guillotine the Bill.
I hope that the House will be able, on Report and Third Reading, to move the Bill into a form in which it primarily deals with the interests of the police and society in Northern Ireland as they grapple with a growing drugs problem and a huge tax evasion problem—something that should interest the Government. We hear that petrol prices have to be kept high in order that we can pay for our health and education programmes, yet the Government are ruling over a Province in which up to £1 billion in petrol duty is probably being evaded by means of smuggling from the Irish Republic. [Interruption.] The Minister of State corrects me from a sedentary position and suggests that the figure is £100 million. He knows as well as I do that he is wrong. Even Customs and Excise, who used to throw out that figure with abandon, now admit to a figure that is approaching—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst)
Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but I think that I need to remind him that we are debating an allocation of time motion. He is now straying a little too far from it.
§ Mr. Maginnis
If I appeared to stray, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I apologise. I was trying to illustrate how the Government are presenting the House with a Bill, the Police (Northern Ireland) Bill, that has nothing to do with policing and that the House must therefore put right if it is to have any significance whatsoever for society in Northern Ireland in general and for the police in particular.
The Minister knows that the level at which our mafia sub-culture is becoming organised in Northern Ireland will not be hindered one iota by anything in the Bill. Instead of dealing with that matter, instead of giving the House time to consider the implications of what is before us, the Government are guillotining the debate.
The Minister should give us the facts as to whether the Bill contains anything to enhance policing in terms of the job that the police have to do in order to protect society—protect it from violence, corruption and abuse of the tax system. He may be able to give us an indication of when there has been a major measure to deal with the problem that I have described, whether the extent of that problem is £100 million or nearer to £1 billion. The Minister must tell us what there is in the Bill to reverse the trend in that respect and in respect of drug peddling and drug misuse. Nothing in the Bill will make the ordinary, law-abiding, virtually non-political Mr. Average Citizen in Northern Ireland feel safer and more secure.
That is why it is wrong that the Government should bring forward 222 amendments, on top of those that other parties have tabled, and expect us to rush them through 730 without due consideration, when, as the right hon. Member for Bracknell (Mr. MacKay) said, we could have had the Bill four or five months ago. I do not believe that it was by accident that we had the Bill at the last minute and that the Government asked those of us who are in opposition to co-operate in getting it through the Committee stage. They received that co-operation, so that nothing was left untouched, but we made it clear at the outset that we would not consider a guillotine on Report appropriate. We made it clear that if we were to co-operate with the Government in Committee, the Government would have to co-operate with Members of the Opposition parties—and not just my own party—on Report so that the serious deficiencies of the Bill were not swept under the carpet.
From the outset, the Minister has been aware of our concerns. Therefore, he must answer the points that I have made.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley (North Antrim)
I have been amazed at some of the statements that have been made in the debate already. They do not have much relevance to the amount of time that we have to consider the Bill.
In last week's Northern Ireland Grand Committee, the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. Öpik) referred to the persecution of the Baha'i faith in Ulster as though that were a matter of importance. I am glad that the hon. Member for Belfast, South (Rev. Martin Smyth) put him right on that issue.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
I am not giving way, because we need time to deal with the Bill, which has nothing to do with the Baha'i faith. I have a good relationship with members of that faith and not once have they said that they have been persecuted in Northern Ireland. I would nail any suggestion that they have been as an atrocious lie.
I was also amazed by the right hon. Member for Bracknell (Mr. MacKay), who rightly condemned the attacks on the Royal Ulster Constabulary. I condemn them, too, and I have already done that on the record in the Assembly. The right hon. Gentleman is laughing with his friends on the Opposition Front Bench, but he forgets the two atrocious attacks that were carried out by republicans. In his opening remarks, he did not even mention the 250-lb republican bomb in Stewartstown or what happened in Aghalee last night when republicans attacked an Orange hall and gutted it. They attacked another hall, too. The attacks that are taking place in Northern Ireland are coming from both sides of the divide and we need to keep that point in mind.
The hon. Member for Montgomeryshire thinks that we have had plenty of time to debate the Bill, but no time has been given to my party. In the House, there are three Members from the Social Democratic and Labour party and two of them were on the Bill's Committee. There are two Members of the Democratic Unionist party in the House, and the hon. and learned Member for North Down (Mr. McCartney) is also a Unionist. Not one of those three voices was allowed on the Committee. We can refer to the hours that were spent on the debates in Committee, but one point of view—the majority Unionist view, as was seen from the vote in the Assembly last Tuesday—was 731 locked out of the Committee. Members who represent that view were locked out simply because they would not have helped the Bill to go forward; they would have sought to curb its provisions. The hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis) said that the Bill does not deal with issues such as drugs and the mafia. Its main thrust is to demoralise and destroy the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
Although he does not attend this place, Mr. McGuinness is a Member of the House and he is a Minister in Northern Ireland. On a radio programme about the Stewartstown bombing, he was asked whether he would tell anyone who knew anything about the bombing to go to the police. He said, "Certainly not." When a Minister in Northern Ireland tells the people who know about the laying of a 250-lb bomb at a police station that could have killed many people—it could have been another Omagh—not to go to the police, how can anyone have any faith in what is happening in Northern Ireland at this time? Those are the issues that we should keep in mind.
We have not had time to debate the Bill. We were told that we would have time on Second Reading, but the time for speeches of the representatives of Northern Ireland was limited to 10 minutes.
We should have had more time on Second Reading, but it was not given. The Government kept one section of the community of Northern Ireland out of the Committee, but today they say that we have plenty of time. We do not have plenty of time. The Government say that debate will be guillotined after seven hours, which includes the time spent on this motion. Guillotines did not used to affect the time for discussing the guillotine. Now, however, discussion of the guillotine takes away from the time given to the debate. Why has that departure taken place? Why do we not have the old rules if we are going to have guillotines? We are not having a guillotined discussion now, so there is an encroachment on the time that we should have for debate. That is a fact.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg (Sleaford and North Hykeham)
The hon. Gentleman will agree that the position is even worse than he has described. Any votes will come out of time for discussion.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
When the time for votes is taken away, how much time do we have? I urge hon. Members to look at the fact that more than 200 amendments have been tabled. We do not have adequate time to deal with a matter that has seriously divided the people of Northern Ireland and will continue to divide them.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg (Sleaford and North Hykeham)
It is always a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for North Antrim (Rev. Ian Paisley). I oppose the motion on more general grounds which, if I may be forgiven, are not especially related to this particular Bill. I want to protest at the frequency with which the Government are introducing these motions. I believe that this motion is the 36th to be introduced. Indeed, this time last week, we addressed a timetable motion for the Local Government Bill. On that occasion, the hon. Member for Crewe and 732 Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) launched an extremely formidable attack on her own Front Benchers' use of this type of motion.
I find motions of this kind objectionable, both in general and in particular. The present motion is objectionable because the Report stage of a Bill is the only occasion on which the House as a whole has the opportunity to debate the detail of the measure. The hon. Member for North Antrim made a fair point when he said that his party was not represented in Committee. It does not matter whether or not I agree with him, as he should be able to express his distinctive view on the Bill. The Bill's Report stage is the only time when he is able to do that, which also holds true for other hon. Members on the Ulster Benches. Of course, it also true of Conservative Members because, inevitably, we are only lightly represented in Committee.
§ Mr. Kevin McNamara (Hull, North)
I have listened with interest to the right hon. and learned Gentleman. Is he aware that many Government Members who wanted to strengthen the Bill were kept off the Committee? The grievance is not the right hon. and learned Gentleman's alone, but we must accept what has happened.
§ Mr. Hogg
I am not being critical of the hon. Gentleman. Indeed, his point reinforces what I want to say. I am sure that there are Government Members who feel that the Bill is defective in one way or another, and they should have a full and proper opportunity to voice their opinions, as that is what democracy is about.
We are confronted with 10 groups of amendments. In all, there are some 335 amendments, of which 224 are Government amendments, as I think the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis) told me. That means that many of the amendments will not be debated at all, and the effect of that is surely to undermine the democratic legitimacy of decisions made in the House. If amendments and new clauses become law without having been discussed at all, how can we say that they have been passed with the democratic authority of this place?
§ Mr. Robert McCartney (North Down)
Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that this is simply another manifestation of the increasing power of the Executive over the liberties of the House and an attempt to circumscribe what is properly the function of elected Members of the House of Commons?
§ Mr. Hogg
I do indeed. That point was made forcefully by the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich when she was speaking on a timetable motion last Tuesday.
I speak now on behalf of Back Benchers. From time to time, Front-Bench Members agree timetables between them. This is not a case in point, because I am well aware 733 that my right hon. Friend the Member for Bracknell (Mr. MacKay) has not agreed to this timetable, and he was right not to do so. Back Benchers need to be cautious about supporting any agreed timetable, because Front-Bench Members will agree on matters that are of great importance to them, but they do not necessarily address what is of great importance to Back Benchers, which may well be different. The reason for that is as follows—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I must invite the right hon. and learned Gentleman to spare the House that particular reason; we are debating a specific allocation of time motion. If he wants to pursue procedural matters as a whole, he must find another opportunity to do so.
§ Mr. Hogg
I am now coming from that general point to a particular one. If we consider the amendments that have been tabled by Members other than Front Benchers, we find that a number of them express the particular concerns of Back Benchers, often those from the Ulster parties. The effect of any timetable motion—and this is, in fact, a guillotine rather than a timetable motion, in so far as there is a difference—is that those Members will be shut out and they will unable to articulate the grievances that are felt very powerfully by their constituents. That cannot be right.
We have been told by Ministers that this is a precautionary measure, which is basically in the interests of good order and military discipline, but why is that necessary? I understand that there was no filibustering or unparliamentary conduct in Committee. I saw the Minister of State nodding when the hon. Members for North Antrim and for Fermanagh and South Tyrone said that there was a co-operative approach to the Bill.
§ Mr. Hogg
As the Minister says, he also made that point. What, then, are the Government guarding against? Why are we truncating debate? I am sure that you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, would stop any filibustering, but if the proceedings were filibustered, the proper course of action would be to move for closure and then to consider having a timetabled debate.
Those of us who prize the rights of Back Benchers should protest at a process of pre-empting discussion, and it is no good the Government saying that they do not want to discuss this in the small hours of the morning, which may be implicit in the position that they have adopted. I agree that we do not want to discuss the matter then, but the proper solution is not a timetable on one Bill: it is less legislation. There are many Bills with which I have been concerned in the past three or four weeks and many Bills in this Session which we could very well do without. The Government are not conducting business better through the volume of legislation that they carry through; they carry through legislation simply because they think that Departments have a momentum of their own. That is a scandal, because it undermines proper democratic scrutiny.
As I said, the Bill will go to the other place with scores, or perhaps hundreds, of amendments that will not even have been mentioned in this place. That detracts from the democratic authority of the House and it is a scandal. I deplore what is happening.
§ Mr. Jeffrey Donaldson (Lagan Valley)
As a Member representing a Northern Ireland constituency, I echo the comments that have been made by right hon. and hon. Members and reiterate what was said by the right hon. Member for Bracknell (Mr. MacKay). This is a sad day, given all that the Royal Ulster Constabulary has done, standing in defence of democracy and of the liberties of people living in Northern Ireland and throughout the United Kingdom. It is shameful that its future should be dealt with in such a shoddy way.
Many police officers and their families live in my constituency, and I represent them in this place. What am I to say to them when I come to tell them that the best opportunity that the House could offer me to represent their views and those of their families, neighbours and friends was a guillotined debate? I was not a member of the Committee that considered the Bill in detail, so I wanted the opportunity fully to debate all the issues that are important and relevant to the Bill. Why is that opportunity to be denied to me and my colleagues?
I am far from convinced by what the Minister said about the need for haste in having the Bill enacted. There is a feeling in Northern Ireland that the agenda has more to do with the need to satisfy the more extreme elements in society, especially on the republican side, and to deliver certain undertakings that were given to them than it has to do with the need for proper legislation and proper debate on it, leading to a proper policing service that can address the real issues that are of importance to people in Northern Ireland, as my hon. Friend the Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis) said.
I echo what was said by the right hon. Member for Bracknell and the hon. Member for North Antrim (Rev. Ian Paisley). The police have a difficult job in Northern Ireland and they are under attack. We deplore the attacks that have taken place recently—shootings, for example—against the RUC. There was the bomb at Stewartstown and there have been other such incidents. As I represent Aghalee, I mention especially the attack that took place last night on the Orange hall, when people were meeting in it. There was a petrol bomb attack and, but for the grace of God, people might have lost their lives as a result of the actions of republican extremists, who sought to inflame an already unstable situation. We condemn that attack and all the others.
§ Mr. William Ross (East Londonderry)
The Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary is usually able to tell us who is responsible for these attacks—such as the one earlier this week, when he said at about 7 am, the attack having taken place the previous evening, that the bomb was the responsibility of dissidents. Has he been able to say whether it was dissidents or the Provisional IRA who were responsible for that attack?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. That is not helpful to the debate. I suggest to the hon. Member for Lagan Valley (Mr. Donaldson) that he stick closely to the terms of the motion.
§ Mr. Donaldson
We are dealing with an issue that is vital to people in Northern Ireland. No one in the House would challenge that assertion. It is an extremely emotive issue for those on both sides of the debate. When Chris 735 Patten was conducting his inquiries prior to compiling his report, he went round Northern Ireland and spoke to many people and listened to their concerns. I attended some of those meetings. I listened to what people said. When they expressed concern that their views would not be taken into account, I and others argued that there would be proper parliamentary scrutiny, that we would raise their concerns in Parliament and that we would seek to have changes made to the proposals that came from Chris Patten.
What am I to say to those people today? Will we have a proper opportunity? Of course not—there are more than 300 amendments and there is no way we can properly and adequately consider them, let alone put forward the arguments that we want to present in support of the amendments that we want to make.
§ Mrs. Maria Fyfe (Glasgow, Maryhill)
I hope that when the hon. Gentleman is talking to his constituents he will not inadvertently mislead them, as a great many of the amendments are tiny, technical and of no great significance. I hope that he will put that across to them.
§ Mr. Donaldson
The amendments may not be of much significance to the hon. Lady's constituents, but many of them are crucial to my constituents—to those who live in Aghalee and who were on the receiving end of last night's attack; to those who live in Dunmurry and who are on the receiving end of attacks by republican extremists; and, indeed, to those in the Royal Ulster Constabulary, who stand in the line against attacks from extremists on both sides of the community. The amendments are important and they ought to be afforded proper parliamentary scrutiny. That is absolutely crucial.
Whether some of the amendments are technical misses the point. Those of significance—there are quite a few of them—deserve proper parliamentary scrutiny. It is very difficult for my right hon. and hon. Friends and me to reassure people in Northern Ireland that the matter has been properly scrutinised by the House of Commons. Clearly, given the guillotine motion, that will not be so.
§ Mr. Ingram
In explaining things to his constituents, the hon. Gentleman could say that his hon. Friends the Members for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis) and for West Tyrone (Mr. Thompson) represented their interests and made very robust arguments in all the areas considered in Committee. I therefore suggest that reading what was said by his hon. Friends will help him to explain to his constituents the case that was put.
§ Mr. Donaldson
Of course my hon. Friends worked very hard to put forward points of view in Committee, but how many of their amendments were accepted by the Government—no matter how good their arguments? We therefore want an opportunity to voice our concerns on the many amendments that the Government refused to accept in Committee.
One very significant amendment, on the import and effect of the clause dealing with the name of the new police service, has been tabled at the 11th hour. That has caused much concern. I do not know whether the Minister heard the interview given yesterday by my right hon. 736 Friend the Member for Strangford (Mr. Taylor), in which he expressed very deep concern about the amendments that the Government have tabled latterly. Those issues are important to people in Northern Ireland.
It is a sad day for democracy and the Royal Ulster Constabulary, its reputation, and all that it has done to defend democracy and to battle terrorism in Northern Ireland and throughout the United Kingdom, when this House of Commons is not afforded a full and proper opportunity to scrutinise the Bill. The Government can make all the arguments that they want, but they cannot deny that that is how the motion will be perceived in Northern Ireland. That is most unfortunate.
Of course, this is not the first time that the Government have treated Northern Ireland legislation in such a way—and, no doubt, it will not be the last. As I said, there are unfortunately pressures on the Government which do not come from within the House of Commons or, indeed, from Parliament, that determine the time scale within which we must deal with the Bill. We ought to have been given proper and adequate time. There ought to be an opportunity for the concerns of people whom I represent and who are represented by right hon. and hon. Members of all political viewpoints in Northern Ireland to be aired properly and fully. The Government's guillotine motion will not allow them the opportunity that we might have expected.
When we go back home to Northern Ireland tomorrow and try to explain to people what happened in the House of Commons, I fear that many will say once again that they have been let down—let down by a parliamentary process that is supposed to defend their rights and enable them, through their elected representatives, to address issues of vital importance. Sadly, in relation to the future of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the issue of policing in Northern Ireland, the guillotine motion will deny them that right.
§ Mr. Tony McWalter (Hemel Hempstead)
There are, of course, matters in the Bill that will prove divisive, but the play that has been made of numbers should be put in context.
There are 237 amendments in the name of the Secretary of State, 190 of which refer solely to the change in nomenclature from "police force" to "police service". I expect that the House will want to debate that change in the philosophy of policing, but it is one issue, not 190. We need one debate; we do not need 190. There are more than 20 other amendments that are simply changes consequential on changes of nomenclature.
I should like to get on with the debate on the substantive issues, and I hope that the House will do so in the very near future.
§ Mr. Robert McCartney (North Down)
The right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) properly raised the fundamental constitutional issue relating to the guillotine motion—that is, the relationship between the Executive and the House.
The suggestion that an independent body should deal with the selection of members of Select Committees and Standing Committees has already been mentioned, and is 737 a matter of public debate. The hon. Member for North Antrim (Rev. Ian Paisley) mentioned the composition of the Standing Committee that considered the Bill. It included two out of the three Members representing the SDLP, who had a clear and committed perspective on what they considered appropriate amendments. The hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis) was pro-agreement, and had endorsed an agreement that provided Patten with his remit, upon which he has delivered. The hon. Gentleman's views would be very different from those shared by the hon. Member for North Antrim, the hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) and me, yet all three of us were entirely excluded from the Committee.
The hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. ÖOpik) claimed that plenty of time was spent considering the Bill in Committee, but no time at all was spent by the Committee listening to the views or discussing the amendments proposed by the hon. Members who now represent the majority of pro-Union people in Northern Ireland.
The Bill is important because it goes right to the heart of the concerns of the pro-Union community not only about the future protection of their lives, liberty and property, but about a police force that will be able to deal with the mafia atmosphere that is spreading throughout Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. David Trimble (Upper Bann)
I thank the hon. and learned Gentleman for giving way. I have some sympathy with the viewpoint that he and the hon. Member for North Antrim (Rev. Ian Paisley) have expressed with regard to the membership of the Committee and their consequent inability to pursue amendments in Committee. However, the hon. and learned Gentleman has the opportunity to table amendments and have them considered on Report. Can he tell me how many amendments he and his colleagues have tabled?
§ Mr. McCartney
I have consulted the hon. Member for North Antrim and the hon. Member for Belfast, East. I am sure that the House knows that I do not have the same amount of back-up and number of advisers as the right hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble). However, I have made detailed, comprehensive and lengthy submissions to Patten, both in writing and orally. After all, the Patten report is the basis for the Bill. The Secretary of State and the Minister said more than once that they intended to implement Patten in full.
We now face dealing with a multiplicity of amendments in a short time. As I have already said, those amendments are central to policing Northern Ireland. It is therefore wrong that Back Benchers are denied an opportunity to explore and debate fully, perhaps not all the technical amendments, but the smaller number of important amendments that go to the heart of the Bill.
I conclude by making some remarks about chronology, which the right hon. Member for Bracknell (Mr. MacKay) mentioned at the outset. He said that the Government's delay in presenting the Bill at its various stages had occasioned the urgency that requires a guillotine motion. The reason for that was evident from a political point of view: the Government wished to lure the Ulster Unionists into a position whereby they voted in the Ulster Unionist Council to re-enter the Assembly. They did that by 738 disguising their intentions for the Bill. The Bill is encrusted with a host of amendments, many of which represent a withdrawal from the apparent assurances that the Government had given the Ulster Unionists on the Bill's final form, to encourage them to move in a specific direction. To some extent, that explains the delays in presenting the Bill.
The House must look to its prerogatives and rights, because we are increasingly confronted with the extension of an over-mighty Executive.
§ Mr. Richard Shepherd (Aldridge-Brownhills)
No hon. Member does not believe that legislation that affects Northern Ireland is supremely important. It is important to everyone who represents a British constituency on the mainland; it is supremely important to the citizens of Northern Ireland; it is also important to those in the Republic of Ireland. The peaceful settlement of Ulster is unquestionably a prize that we all seek. However, the hon. Member for Lagan Valley (Mr. Donaldson) expressed a truth. What is the point of electing Members of Parliament if they cannot speak on the issues that come before the House? What is the point of electing Members of Parliament if they cannot touch on matters of the greatest importance to their fellow citizens? That is the matter of principle that fights against the guillotine.
It is true that not all hon. Members can serve on a Committee, and the only opportunity for those who do not do so to express the voice of their community is on Report and Third Reading on the Floor of the House. I was interested to note that the Minister said, fairly, that the Government had granted up to six hours for considering those matters. Perhaps the vast majority of the more than 220 Government amendments are technical, but none of us doubts that substantial matters of principle are involved.
The simple purpose of a timetable motion—whether agreed between Front Benchers or imposed by the Government—is to curtail debate. The Government have done what they now do in all guillotine motions; they have made the debate on the free-standing guillotine motion part of the consideration of the Bill. That must be wrong. I have full sympathy for hon. Members who feel that their opportunity to discuss matters of importance to their constituencies is being reduced.
Such matters are also important to my constituency. The bombing campaigns that have cursed the nation for 30 years must animate the House to consider the very importance of the Ulster business that is before us, because it is not just their business; it ours, and a settlement is required not just for this island, but for another island as well.
The Minister of State at least put all the arguments for a guillotine, but he did not address the fundamental principle. I shall not take up the time of the House, but the motion involves a matter of principle. The Government have introduced 36 guillotines; some have had the agreement of Opposition Front Benchers, but the purpose has not been to seek consent, which is what the House wants. We want a settlement, but the traditions of the House allow those who oppose or seek to improve Government legislation the opportunity to express themselves to that end. The Government have set aside those traditions 36 times.
739 The Government are now reducing the opportunities to debate the matters that are most important to us. The guillotine motion, for which all the Government's supporters will vote, will reduce the debate to less than three hours. That is wrong, and every hon. Member knows that perfectly well. The Bill deserves more than a three-hour debate, yet there could be less time than that if there is a Division.
I have set the main objections in the context of the motion, but a wider principle is involved: 36 guillotine motions have denied the House its very purpose and reason to exist. This is Parliament; we do not constitute the Executive, other than by giving our consent to legislation. Such motions deny us the opportunity properly and appropriately to express that consent or to deny it.
§ Mr. David Trimble (Upper Bann)
This is not the first time that I have had the honour to follow the hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd). I entirely agree with him. We have always taken the view that guillotine motions are wrong in principle. The position of the House is an important matter, which should be vindicated. I do not intend to take much time, but I want to make a couple of points.
First, I want to amplify the point that I made in intervening on the hon. and learned Member for North Down (Mr. McCartney). I agree with the complaint that he and the hon. Member for North Antrim (Rev. Ian Paisley) made about the Standing Committee. This is an important Northern Ireland Bill, so it is appropriate that the Committee that considered it should have been representative of all the main sections of opinion in Northern Ireland that are represented in the House. I expressed that view to the Minister earlier in the proceedings on the Bill. I told him that there should be broader representation, because it is important that hon. Members have an opportunity to debate the Bill in detail.
The hon. Member for North Antrim referred to the attacks taking place in Northern Ireland, all of which we deplore. He said that the attacks came from both sides. That is true, but many of them have come from people who would identify themselves as supporters of the hon. Member for North Antrim.
That fact casts a particular responsibility on the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues to condemn the violence by people who describe themselves as his supporters. That is not to minimise the seriousness of the Stewartstown bomb and the Aghalee petrol bomb, which represent an extremely serious and worrying portent. As I said yesterday, the Prime Minister of the Irish Republic also has a particular responsibility. Terrorist elements are trying to attack the agreement for which 95 per cent. of his electorate voted, and he needs to redeem the promises that he has made over the past year.
On the issue before us, I want to draw out one point. This is an important Bill, as the Minister has said, and Members of the House have different views on it. As the shadow Secretary of State said, Her Majesty's Opposition abstained on Second Reading. We voted against, and the Social Democratic and Labour party voted for. That voting pattern may be reproduced on Third Reading—but 740 looking beyond the positions that, for a variety of reasons, people adopt to the detail of the Bill on Second and Third Reading, there is a similarity between the three parties. They support some parts of the Bill, but are uncomfortable with others and want them to be changed.
The desire of all three parties to engage in a serious debate to improve the Bill characterised the 40 constructive hours spent in Committee—and, as the Minister acknowledged, the Opposition parties made no attempt to delay proceedings or to obfuscate the matter. All desired a serious debate, and that same desire will be apparent on Report, when we want all the serious issues to be reconsidered and all those who were unable to be members of the Committee to contribute. As the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. Öpik) said, were there no guillotine the debate would still be unlikely to run for more than six hours, although it would probably run to a second day.
What on earth is wrong with giving this important Bill a second day? Why does it have to be rushed through the House now? It is not being rushed through today to allow those of my colleagues who wish to attend the 12 July celebrations to do so, although one could put that construction on the motion. I have reason to believe that the Government's initial wish was for the Bill to go on Report on the twelfth in the hope that none of us would be present—but that is by the way.
There is no reason why the debate could not have run to a second day, as would have been appropriate for a Bill of this size and importance. We could have had a serious debate without being rushed. As it is, we shall be rushed tonight and we may not consider the whole Bill, which is a sad way to complete a process that in Committee consisted of serious consideration of the issue by a wide range of parties. In these circumstances, it is sad that the Government have tabled a guillotine motion.
§ Mr. William Ross (East Londonderry)
All visitors to the House pass through St. Stephen's Hall, in which there is a depiction of the barons confronting King John. That was the first formidable effort to restrict the power of the Executive in those days, and the House is directly descended from that incident.
§ Mr. Ross
Magna Carta, as the hon. and learned Gentleman says.
Therefore, Members of the House have a duty not only to represent the views of their constituents, but to curb the excesses of the Executive and to call them to account. Guillotined Bills and timetable motions are an attempt to limit the capacity of all Members of the House to fulfil that duty, and no Member should lose sight of that important fact. As we all know, this is a Bill of great importance, for it will create a new police force for Northern Ireland at the behest not of the law abiding or those who want to remain in the United Kingdom, but of those who want to live under a rule different from the constitutional monarchy that we enjoy.
In the early stages of the Patten inquiry, I said that there was no complaint from members of the public that I could find when the Royal Ulster Constabulary investigated ordinary crime of whatever type and from whatever 741 source. In fact, everyone was glad to see the coppers arrive. Therefore, all the complaints that arose did not stem from the behaviour of the police in investigating ordinary crime, but related to their investigations of and opposition to terrorist crime. That is the real basis of the Bill. Those who were engaged in terrorism deeply resented the actions of the police service and the military in Northern Ireland and the force that had to be used to control that evil activity.
When the Bill is passed, as we all know it will be, the question will be whether it satisfies Irish nationalists of whatever stripe or description, never mind the IRA. That remains to be seen, but I suspect that they will find good excuses for not being satisfied. The Government set out their considered view of the Patten report when they published the Bill, and they have also set out their considered view on the need for the motion, but if they carefully considered what parts of Patten to implement and published a Bill on that basis, why did they accept amendments and give commitments to accept amendments? I believe that that agreement results from the torrent of complaint from the IRA, Sinn Fein, the Social Democratic and Labour party and fellow travellers in the Irish nationalist community. Indeed, IRA representatives are presently touring the United States to complain about the Bill.
In passing, I must say that I am not clear in my own mind about what any British police force has to learn about the use of minimal force from a nation—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I have allowed the hon. Gentleman some leeway for his preamble, but I remind him that we are discussing the allocation of time motion. His remarks seem to be more suited to a debate on Second or Third Reading.
§ Mr. Ross
As you will appreciate, Mr. Deputy Speaker, the opportunity to make such remarks on Second Reading has passed and, as a consequence of the motion, time will be so severely restricted that it will be impossible to make them on Third Reading. If I am not to have an opportunity to make such remarks, does not that show that the Government's timetable motion is creating serious defects and that Members of the House have difficulties in calling Ministers to account over how they deal with policing matters in Northern Ireland, which are matters of life and death to many of our constituents? Those matters should receive detailed consideration, which clearly will not be possible as a result of the severe restriction of the time available.
The Government also need time. We are prepared to make the most constructive suggestions and we want to be helpful. We want to explain where they have got it wrong and to give them an opportunity to correct their mistakes. We want them to respond in the fullest and most detailed terms, but, unfortunately, their own motion will prohibit that. It is only right that we should bring those matters to the attention of the House and, in particular, of the Government in the hope that they might go away and think again.
The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office and the Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, who are on the Front Bench, have been in Northern Ireland for some time. They know that the Bill represents a serious issue in the Province and a problem that will not go away. 742 We are to have a new police service in Northern Ireland—for reasons that I hope to cover later, I disagree with the new term—and we are told in the press that the Government have made some 60 moves in the direction of the SDLP. The Secretary of State says that it should be well satisfied, but it is not satisfied. It has tabled a raft of amendments that we are supposed to consider in the restricted period of a few hours this afternoon and evening.
At this stage in the proceeding, the Government have put before the House 46 pages of amendments. Surely we require more time to consider them than is being given to us, especially as the Bill is only 65 pages long. The Government say that not all the amendments are in their name, but the size of the Bill in relation to the number of amendments tabled shows the Government's willingness to say to Sinn Fein-IRA and the SDLP, "Tell us which way you want us to jump and we'll see what we can do for you." I cannot come to any other conclusion about why there are so many amendments.
I read somewhere that there were 258 Government amendments, and today I heard that there were 220. The figure of 254 has also been mentioned. There is such a multitude of amendments that I have not had time to count them. I may get an hour this afternoon to do so, and discover how many there are. I was not a member of the Committee, and may have a different point of view from that of my hon. Friends who were on it. It is well known that I believe that most of the RUC's problems with policing parades and other matters should have been resolved during the discussions on the agreement rather than at this late stage. The Minister tells us that these are mainly technical amendments. If they are technical amendments, the drafting must have been very sloppy in the first place. We should not have to consider technical amendments.
The Minister told us that the amendments were related to the change from "force" to "service". I have never thought that the police's job was to service the law. I thought that their job was to enforce the law, and to use the minimum force necessary to ensure that the law was kept. Now they will have to service the law, but I am not clear what that term is supposed to mean. No doubt the Minister, in his long-winded approach to the subject, will tell us what it means—at least I hope so, but I am living in hope rather than in expectation.
Given their majority, the Government will steamroller the Bill through the House this evening no matter what is said. It will go to the other place and may return to this House amended—or perhaps not much amended—presumably in the autumn. One thing is certain, when today's debate is over, the people of Northern Ireland will not be satisfied. They will not be happy about what the Government say about the Bill or with the Bill at all, because they understand that the Bill was created as a consequence of terrorist violence and nothing else. That was the only reason. If there were reasons to make minor changes to the police, that could have been done in the natural course of events. The Bill was unnecessary, and the Government know that. They are trying to conceal the failure at an earlier stage fully to appreciate the reasons for the Bill by steamrollering it through and driving it on regardless of the opposition of those of us who live in Northern Ireland. We have to live with the consequences of the Bill, and we are well aware of the problems that it will create downstream.
743 As is apparent to every hon. Member, the Government treat the House and the legislative process more and more as if they were running a commercial business, in which the directors and the management decide on a course of action and then go ahead with it. If business men are wrong, only the business suffers. Legislation is not like that: it deals with very different circumstances. Sometimes a measure that at first seems simple and straightforward turns out not to be so. Everyone in the House remembers the poll tax and what a wonderful idea that was. The basic contention was to connect the payment of taxes—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman is going far too far away from the terms of the motion. I must direct him to come back to the point.
§ Mr. Ross
I respect your ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and I am content to comply with it. I was trying to draw an analogy with what happened with the poll tax legislation, which seemed simple and straightforward at first, but which led to riots and all sorts of problems. That was also driven through the House with a large Government majority and had unforeseen consequences, although some foresaw them. Those who were in a minority in the House were eventually proved correct, as I believe they will be on this occasion. I simply wanted to draw the House's attention to a past error of judgment, and to ask hon. Members to reflect on whether an error of judgment has been made on this legislation, as I believe it has.
On matters relating to Northern Ireland, I am usually in a minority in this place. I have been in the House longer than most: only the hon. Member for North Antrim (Rev. Ian Paisley) has been here longer than I. Like me, he can recall many occasions on which legislation was passed by acclamation. Those of us who objected were subsequently proved to be correct, and I am certain that the same will happen with this legislation. Any hon. Member who has been in the House for a few years realises that a debate in this Chamber is not a light matter: it serves a useful and fundamental purpose. When a Government introduce a Bill, they always have a natural and understandable desire to see that it is passed as soon as possible, no matter how long it is. Time and again, I have seen that the longer the debate goes on, the more likely it is that flaws in the legislation are exposed, and slowly but surely changes take place. When a Bill disappears from this place and then comes back, frequently changes have been made that improve it. Everyone applauds that, but that is not happening with this Bill.
Timetable motions, especially on Northern Ireland matters, should be opposed. Many hon. Members have never set foot in the Province, and know nothing about it. Their perception has been gained from media reports, newspapers, snapshots on the television, which is a poor way to build a policy or an opinion of a place, and above all from journalistic opinion. Journalists rarely sit in the middle of the road trying to give a clear and accurate picture of what is happening. They are always 744 biased. The Times used to say that opinion is free but the truth is sacrosanct, but that no longer seems to apply to the media at large.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I once again say to the hon. Gentleman that he must come back to the particular and get away from the general. I do not want to have to remind him again.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I have already opined to the hon. Gentleman what I think is necessary in the circumstances of this debate. I hope that he will accord with that.
§ Mr. Ross
Indeed, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am grateful for the help that you give me in reaching conclusions.
I believe that the Chamber is a counterweight to outside influences. It is the place where these matters must be discussed in detail, and that takes time. I remember when a Member of the House changed his mind after long discussions in Committee. If the debate is long and detailed enough, perceptions and opinions can change. Given the nature of the Bill, it is completely wrong to impose a timetable motion. We should have considered the Bill earlier in the week, and we should continue for much longer than will be possible. If we had more time, we could discuss the Bill in greater detail, change people's minds and end up with a more effective law enforcement agency in Northern Ireland.
It is no secret that I believe that the Bill is wrong. It will diminish the effectiveness of the RUC, and a debate would have exposed that. The time we are being allowed for debate is far too short. It is only when a Bill is considered calmly, logically and at length that people come to understand it and change their opinions, and support the necessary changes. The Bill will not fulfil its stated objectives. Whether the Government have unstated objectives, I do not know, but I am certain that time will reveal them.
§ Mr. Peter Robinson (Belfast, East)
I oppose the motion.
The Bill derives from the Belfast agreement; it is not simply the product of Patten. On Second Reading, I made it clear that I considered the Patten commission's report to be a faithful representation of the remit given to Patten by certain politicians in the Belfast agreement, although many of them want to wash their hands of it now. However, given that the agreement had its passage, as it were, during 1998, I think few hon. Members would not readily admit that this is the most controversial element of it, and has been paid considerable attention by the Northern Ireland community. The issue with which we shall deal this evening is therefore of great significance to the people of Northern Ireland. It cannot be dealt with lightly, and it cannot and should not be dealt with quickly.
It demeans the Government if they are seen not to be confident enough of their arguments to allow them to be fully debated here. For it is clear that the issues in the Bill will not be properly debated this evening: they are too many, and too great, to be considered adequately in the time allowed.
745 The right hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble), who has left the Chamber, has said outside it that he is delighted with the Bill. I am therefore surprised—[Interruption.] Would the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis) like to repeat that, so that the Chair can hear it? I think not—but, like everything else that the hon. Gentleman says, it was substantially lacking in factual relevance.
The right hon. Member for Upper Bann said publicly that he was delighted with the outcome of the Standing Committee's work. So he should be: it was he and the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone who recommended to the people of Northern Ireland that they should support the Belfast agreement, within which the Patten commission's remit was given and of which the Bill is the outcome.
Intervening on my friend, the hon. and learned Member for North Down (Mr. McCartney), the right hon. Gentleman asked what amendments he had tabled. Any sensible Northern Ireland Member would recognise that there is enough to oppose in the Bill, by way of clause stand part, for the proper result to emerge. It is not necessary to amend a Bill that is so inherently disastrous for the police service in Northern Ireland: it is to be opposed, rather than amended.
The right hon. Gentleman then turned on my hon. Friend the Member for North Antrim (Rev. Ian Paisley), saying that those who were disrupting and perpetrating violence against the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland were supporters of his. If the right hon. Gentleman were a wee bit closer to the ground, he would recognise that the violence in Northern Ireland is being orchestrated by pro-agreement paramilitary organisations—the very same organisations with which the right hon. Gentleman walked into the talks shoulder to shoulder, and which supported him throughout the process.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman is straying far from the motion. I ask him to return to its confines.
§ Mr. Robinson
I am happy to do that, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but if I have indeed strayed I have been referring to remarks made in the House, without challenge, by others during the debate.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
It is well known in Northern Ireland that two members of the Stormont Assembly, on the so-called loyalist side, represent terrorist organisations. It is they, with others, who are seen on the streets, and who are carrying out attacks on the police.
§ Mr. Robinson
I think that the issue has been dealt with properly, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and I feel that, as it was raised by the right hon. Member for Upper Bann without challenge, it was right for us to have an answer on the record.
The hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. Öpik) had the audacity to tell the House that there was sufficient time. Having been a member of the Standing Committee, he had every opportunity to say whatever he wanted to say during, I believe, 11 sittings. He now tells those of us 746 who were not allowed to be members of the Committee, and who have therefore not had the same opportunities, that there is enough time—time of which he will no doubt take part in order to have a further say.
§ Mr. Ingram
It might be helpful if the hon. Gentleman reminded us that the last time he was a member of a Standing Committee—the Committee considering the last Police (Northern Ireland) Bill, which became the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998—he attended only two sittings. I think I am correct in saying that.
§ Mr. Robinson
I have not the slightest idea what the Minister is talking about. [Interruption.] The debate will continue for some time, and we shall be able to return to the issue with the Minister.
§ Mr. Öpik
The hon. Gentleman described my views on the guillotine as audacious. I thank him for the compliment, but surely he accepts that there was simply a difference of opinion. Members are perfectly entitled to have differing views. He himself has made important points, and I hope he recognises that I was not criticising him or his party for having a view different from mine.
§ Mr. Robinson
I did not suggest that the hon. Gentleman had attacked our view. What he said was that there was sufficient time for the issues to be debated. My party, however, sought representation on the Committee, and was deliberately refused that representation. Our only opportunity to deal with the issues with which the hon. Gentleman had so much time to deal in Committee is tonight's debate, and we are being deliberately denied that opportunity by a Government who are afraid to allow them to be debated properly here.
The Government may well suggest that there is very little time for the issues to be discussed further before the end of the Session. Of course, they left the debate until near the end of the Session because they did not want the details of the Bill to be revealed earlier, in case members of the Ulster Unionist Council saw what they were up to, and therefore formed a different opinion about the return to devolution in Northern Ireland.
One very good reason why we should have more time is the absence of the right hon. Member for Strangford (Mr. Taylor). He has not been able to come along because he is in Cyprus or somewhere. He clearly has such strong opinions on the issue that he did not want to interrupt whatever his business may be elsewhere. It was that right hon. Gentleman, however—this is relevant, Mr. Deputy Speaker—who went to an Ulster Unionist Council meeting, and told that meeting that there was a piece of paper in his inside pocket that he would be able to produce if the Government did not stand by promises given to him. If we cut off tonight's debate, what opportunity will he have to come to the House and reveal for the first time the commitments that he was given—commitments that he said would be sufficient for the Ulster Unionist Council to allow—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I have been very tolerant in allowing the hon. Gentleman to make the remarks that he has made in the context of the debate, but I must ask him again to return to the terms of the motion.
§ Mr. Robinson
I am dealing entirely with the issue of time. If a Member who is so central to the issue is not present, I would expect him to want time, in a resumed debate, allowing him to produce the evidence that he produced for the Ulster Unionist Council—evidence that he said would ensure the survival of—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I do not think that the hon. Gentleman heard my ruling. It is not a matter of what other Members should be doing in the debate; we want to hear what the hon. Gentleman wishes to contribute.
§ Mr. Robinson
I am grateful. I am sure that the House would agree.
The Government have nothing but the contempt of the law-abiding people of Northern Ireland for the way in which they have dealt with the whole issue of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. They have attempted to use it as a political issue in relation to the Belfast agreement. They have one minute been attempting to suggest to the Unionist community that the Royal Ulster Constabulary was safe in their hands and that, on that basis, they should support the right hon. Member for Upper Bann in resuming the devolution of powers to Northern Ireland; and, the next minute, they have pandered to the republican tradition in Northern Ireland and, as has been seen throughout the stages of the Bill, produced amendments to satisfy that republican element.
This debate—the charade that we are offered of just a few hours to debate a critical issue—reflects badly on the Government. I think that it will ensure that the Royal Ulster Constabulary will be hung around their neck as an example of how they reward those who have stood by and made sacrifices for the community. At the same time, it will be seen in stark contrast to the rewards that they have given to terrorists in putting them into government and releasing their prisoners.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. George Howarth)
We have had an interesting debate, and I shall be relatively brief compared with some of the contributions.
The hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) has in these matters the merits of sincerity, which is palpable when he speaks on the subject, and of consistency. Although on this occasion he will understand that I cannot agree with him, I always respect his sincerity.
I come to the hon. Member for North Antrim (Rev. Ian Paisley) and, in so doing, rise to the defence of the right hon. Member for Bracknell (Mr. MacKay), even though he does not agree with us on this occasion. I am sure that, when the hon. Gentleman reflects on what he said, he might regret it. He attacked the right hon. Gentleman for not having mentioned the republican bomb in Stewartstown.
I have to say—I think that the hon. Member for North Antrim knows it—that, just as the Government, he and other hon. Members condemn every terrorist activity, from wherever it comes, so does the right hon. Member for Bracknell. The right hon. Gentleman may have 748 omitted to mention that particular incident, but if the hon. Member for North Antrim consistently followed what the right hon. Gentleman has said on those matters, he would find that, like us, the right hon. Gentleman condemns all terrorist incidents, whether they happen in Aghalee or Stewartstown. I am sure that, when the hon. Gentleman has a cooler head, he will appreciate that that is the case.
The hon. Gentleman argued—it was repeated with greater force by the hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson)—that the Government deprived them of a place on the Standing Committee. The Government do not allocate the places of the smaller parties on Standing Committees. It is not a question of the Government letting him down. Whatever representations he may have made—he referred to representations that had been made—would have been made within the arrangements for smaller parties. I understand that no representations were made through my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Dowd), who speaks on these matters for the Patronage Secretary.
Therefore, the idea that, cynically, out of fear, trepidation or whatever, we excluded the hon. Gentleman's party or, for that matter, the hon. and learned Member for North Down (Mr. McCartney) from membership of the Committee does not stand up to scrutiny. If the hon. Gentleman goes back over the record of what representations may have been made, he will find that they certainly were not made to the Government, so that simply does not stand up to scrutiny.
§ Mr. Howarth
Before I do, let me make it clear that, because hon. Members are anxious to talk about the substance of the Bill, I do not intend to give way a great deal.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
Will the Minister explain what was mentioned by the leader of the official Unionists, the right hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble)—that he had made representation? He said that he had brought to a Minister's attention the representation from the Democratic Unionist party and the representation from the hon. and learned Member for North Down (Mr. McCartney), and the reply was, "No, we are not having them on the Committee." To whom did he make his representations?
§ Mr. Howarth
It is my experience of the right hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble) that, generally speaking, when asked to, he defends himself and his position very well. No doubt, when the occasion arises, the hon. Gentleman will tackle him on that very issue. I do not know of any representations that the right hon. Gentleman made, but I am sure that, if he said that he made them, he did. Where he made them, I have no idea.
The hon. and learned Member for North Down and the hon. Member for East Londonderry (Mr. Ross) both referred to the number of amendments that has been tabled. If they scrutinise the amendments, as I am sure that they will have the opportunity to do, and take time to listen to the debate that they have spoken in, they will realise that something approaching 200 of those 749 amendments are consequential on the change of the words "police force" to "police service". Once we make such a change, it is necessary to go through the whole Bill and to make the necessary consequential changes.
I do not know whether the hon. and learned Member for North Down would want to debate every occasion that those words are used in the Bill. I think that, even though he can be loquacious on occasions, it is highly unlikely. I am willing to accept that the hon. Member for East Londonderry probably would want to debate the same point over and again as many times as it is mentioned, but that is a matter between him and the occupant of the Chair, and you made your position clear on that matter, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
If there were ever a demonstration of why the motion is necessary, it was the speeches of the hon. Members for East Londonderry and for Belfast, East. When anyone who is concerned about the matter consults the record of the debate and the number of times that they had to be brought to order by the occupant of the Chair, it will be clear that the Government were right to put the motion on the Order Paper as a precautionary measure. If it were ever necessary to demonstrate that the motion was justified, the two hon. Members to whom I have just referred demonstrated that amply. I commend the motion to the House.
§ Question put:-
§ The House divided: Ayes 354, Noes 143.752
|Division No. 254]||[6.28 pm|
|Abbott, Ms Diane||Breed, Colin|
|Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)||Brown, Russell (Dumfries)|
|Ainger, Nick||Browne, Desmond|
|Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)||Buck, Ms Karen|
|Alexander, Douglas||Burden, Richard|
|Allan, Richard||Burstow, Paul|
|Allen, Graham||Butler, Mrs Christine|
|Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)||Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)|
|Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)||Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife)|
|Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary|
|Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy||Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)|
|Ashton, Joe||Campbell-Savours, Dale|
|Atherton, Ms Candy||Cann, Jamie|
|Atkins, Charlotte||Casale, Roger|
|Austin, John||Caton, Martin|
|Ballard, Jackie||Cawsey, Ian|
|Barnes, Harry||Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)|
|Barron, Kevin||Chaytor, David|
|Battle, John||Chidgey, David|
|Bayley, Hugh||Chisholm, Malcolm|
|Beard, Nigel||Clapham, Michael|
|Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret||Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)|
|Begg, Miss Anne||Clark, Paul (Gillingham)|
|Beith, Rt Hon A J||Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)|
|Bell, Martin (Tatton)||Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)|
|Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)||Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)|
|Bennett, Andrew F||Clelland, David|
|Berry, Roger||Clwyd, Ann|
|Best, Harold||Coaker, Vernon|
|Betts, Clive||Coffey, Ms Ann|
|Blackman, Liz||Cohen, Harry|
|Blizzard, Bob||Coleman, Iain|
|Blunkett, Rt Hon David||Colman, Tony|
|Borrow, David||Connarty, Michael|
|Bradley, Keith (Withington)||Cook, Frank (Stockton N)|
|Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)||Cooper, Yvette|
|Bradshaw, Ben||Corbyn, Jeremy|
|Brake, Tom||Corston, Jean|
|Brand, Dr Peter||Cotter, Brian|
|Cousins, Jim||Howarth, George (Knowsley N)|
|Cox, Tom||Hoyle, Lindsay|
|Crausby, David||Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)|
|Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)||Humble, Mrs Joan|
|Cryer, John (Hornchurch)||Hurst, Alan|
|Cummings, John||Hutton, John|
|Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland)||Iddon, Dr Brian|
|Ingram, Rt Hon Adam|
|Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)||Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)|
|Darling, Rt Hon Alistair||Jamieson, David|
|Darvill, Keith||Jenkins, Brian|
|Davey, Edward (Kingston)||Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)|
|Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)||Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)|
|Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)||Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)|
|Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H)||Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)|
|Jones, Helen (Warrington N)|
|Dawson, Hilton||Jones, Ms Jenny (Wolverh'ton SW)|
|Dean, Mrs Janet|
|Dobbin, Jim||Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)|
|Donohoe, Brian H||Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)|
|Doran, Frank||Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)|
|Dowd, Jim||Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa|
|Drew, David||Keeble, Ms Sally|
|Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)||Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)|
|Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)||Kelly, Ms Ruth|
|Edwards, Huw||Kemp, Fraser|
|Efford, Clive||Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness W)|
|Ellman, Mrs Louise|
|Etherington, Bill||Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)|
|Ewing, Mrs Margaret||Khabra, Piara S|
|Fearn, Ronnie||Kidney, David|
|Fisher, Mark||Kilfoyle, Peter|
|Fitzpatrick, Jim||King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)|
|Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna||Kirkwood, Archy|
|Follett, Barbara||Kumar, Dr Ashok|
|Foster, Don (Bath)||Ladyman, Dr Stephen|
|Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)||Lammy, David|
|Foster, Michael J (Worcester)||Lawrence, Mrs Jackie|
|Fyfe, Maria||Laxton, Bob|
|Galloway, George||Lepper, David|
|Gardiner, Barry||Leslie, Christopher|
|George, Andrew (St Ives)||Levitt, Tom|
|Gerrard, Neil||Lewis, Terry (Worsley)|
|Gibson, Dr Ian||Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen|
|Gilroy, Mrs Linda||Linton, Martin|
|Godman, Dr Norman A||Livsey, Richard|
|Godsiff, Roger||Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)|
|Goggins, Paul||Llwyd, Elfyn|
|Golding, Mrs Llin||Lock, David|
|Gorrie, Donald||Love, Andrew|
|Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)||McAvoy, Thomas|
|Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)||McCabe, Steve|
|Grocott, Bruce||McCafferty, Ms Chris|
|Grogan, John||McDonagh, Siobhain|
|Gunnell, John||Macdonald, Calum|
|Hain, Peter||McDonnell, John|
|Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)||McFall, John|
|Hancock, Mike||McIsaac, Shona|
|Hanson, David||McKenna, Mrs Rosemary|
|Harris, Dr Evan||Mackinlay, Andrew|
|Harvey, Nick||Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert|
|Heal, Mrs Sylvia||McNamara, Kevin|
|Healey, John||McNulty, Tony|
|Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)||MacShane, Denis|
|Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)||Mactaggart, Fiona|
|Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)||McWalter, Tony|
|Heppell, John||McWilliam, John|
|Hesford, Stephen||Mahon, Mrs Alice|
|Hill, Keith||Mallaber, Judy|
|Hodge, Ms Margaret||Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter|
|Hood, Jimmy||Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)|
|Hope, Phil||Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)|
|Hopkins, Kelvin||Marshall, David (Shettleston)|
|Howarth, Alan (Newport E)||Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)|
|Marshall-Andrews, Robert||Skinner, Dennis|
|Martlew, Eric||Smith, Angela (Basildon)|
|Meacher, Rt Hon Michael||Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)|
|Merron, Gillian||Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)|
|Michael, Rt Hon Alun||Smith, John (Glamorgan)|
|Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)||Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)|
|Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)||Snape, Peter|
|Miller, Andrew||Soley, Clive|
|Moffatt, Laura||Southworth, Ms Helen|
|Moonie, Dr Lewis||Squire, Ms Rachel|
|Moore, Michael||Starkey, Dr Phyllis|
|Moran, Ms Margaret||Steinberg, Gerry|
|Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)||Stevenson, George|
|Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)||Stewart, Ian (Eccles)|
|Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)||Stinchcombe, Paul|
|Stoate, Dr Howard|
|Mountford, Kali||Straw, Rt Hon Jack|
|Mudie, George||Stringer, Graham|
|Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)||Stuart, Ms Gisela|
|Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)||Sutcliffe, Gerry|
|Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)||Swinney, John|
|Naysmith, Dr Doug||Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)|
|O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)||Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)|
|Olner, Bill||Taylor, David (NW Leics)|
|O'Neill, Martin||Taylor, Matthew (Truro)|
|Öpik, Lembit||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Organ, Mrs Diana||Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)|
|Osborne, Ms Sandra||Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)|
|Pearson, Ian||Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)|
|Pendry, Tom||Timms, Stephen|
|Perham, Ms Linda||Tipping, Paddy|
|Pickthall, Colin||Todd, Mark|
|Pike, Peter L||Tonge, Dr Jenny|
|Plaskitt, James||Touhig, Don|
|Pond, Chris||Trickett, Jon|
|Pope, Greg||Truswell, Paul|
|Pound, Stephen||Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)|
|Powell, Sir Raymond||Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)|
|Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)||Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)|
|Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)||Turner, Neil (Wigan)|
|Purchase, Ken||Twigg, Derek (Halton)|
|Quinn, Lawrie||Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)|
|Radice, Rt Hon Giles||Tyler, Paul|
|Rammell, Bill||Tynan, Bill|
|Rapson, Syd||Vis, Dr Rudi|
|Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)||Walley, Ms Joan|
|Rendel, David||Ward, Ms Claire|
|Roche, Mrs Barbara||Wareing, Robert N|
|Rogers, Allan||Watts, David|
|Rooney, Terry||Webb, Steve|
|Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)||Welsh, Andrew|
|Rowlands, Ted||White, Brian|
|Roy, Frank||Whitehead, Dr Alan|
|Ruane, Chris||Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)|
|Russell, Bob (Colchester)||Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)|
|Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)||Winnick, David|
|Ryan, Ms Joan||Wood, Mike|
|Salter, Martin||Woolas, Phil|
|Sanders, Adrian||Worthington, Tony|
|Sarwar, Mohammad||Wray, James|
|Sawford, Phil||Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)|
|Shaw, Jonathan||Wyatt, Derek|
|Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Shipley, Ms Debra||Mrs. Anne McGuire and|
|Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)||Mr. Mike Hall|
|Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)||Baldry, Tony|
|Amess, David||Beggs, Roy|
|Ancram, Rt Hon Michael||Bercow, John|
|Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James||Beresford, Sir Paul|
|Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)||Blunt, Crispin|
|Body, Sir Richard||Loughton, Tim|
|Boswell, Tim||Luff, Peter|
|Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)||McCartney, Robert (N Down)|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia||MacGregor, Rt Hon John|
|Brady, Graham||McIntosh, Miss Anne|
|Brazier, Julian||MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew|
|Brooke, Rt Hon Peter||Maclean, Rt Hon David|
|Browning, Mrs Angela||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)||Maginnis, Ken|
|Burns, Simon||Major, Rt Hon John|
|Butterfill, John||Maude, Rt Hon Francis|
|Cash, William||Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian|
|Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)||May, Mrs Theresa|
|Chope, Christopher||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Clappison, James||Norman, Archie|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)||O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)|
|Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Ottaway, Richard|
|Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey||Paisley, Rev Ian|
|Collins, Tim||Pickles, Eric|
|Cormack, Sir Patrick||Portillo, Rt Hon Michael|
|Cran, James||Prior, David|
|Curry, Rt Hon David||Randall, John|
|Davies, Quentin (Grantham)||Redwood, Rt Hon John|
|Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)||Robathan, Andrew|
|Donaldson, Jeffrey||Robertson, Laurence|
|Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen||Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)|
|Duncan Smith, Iain||Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)|
|Evans, Nigel||Ross, William (E Lond'y)|
|Faber, David||Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)|
|Fabricant, Michael||Ruffley, David|
|Fallon, Michael||St Aubyn, Nick|
|Flight, Howard||Shepherd, Richard|
|Forth, Rt Hon Eric||Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)|
|Fox, Dr Liam||Soames, Nicholas|
|Fraser, Christopher||Spelman, Mrs Caroline|
|Gale, Roger||Spicer, Sir Michael|
|Garnier, Edward||Spring, Richard|
|Gibb, Nick||Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John|
|Gorman, Mrs Teresa||Steen, Anthony|
|Gray, James||Streeter, Gary|
|Green, Damian||Swayne, Desmond|
|Greenway, John||Syms, Robert|
|Grieve, Dominic||Tapsell, Sir Peter|
|Gummer, Rt Hon John||Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)|
|Hague, Rt Hon William||Taylor, John M (Solihull)|
|Hammond, Philip||Taylor, Sir Teddy|
|Hawkins, Nick||Thompson, William|
|Hayes, John||Townend, John|
|Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David||Tredinnick, David|
|Horam, John||Trend, Michael|
|Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)||Trimble, Rt Hon David|
|Hunter, Andrew||Tyrie, Andrew|
|Jack, Rt Hon Michael||Walter, Robert|
|Jackson, Robert (Wantage)||Waterson, Nigel|
|Jenkin, Bernard||Wells, Bowen|
|Johnson Smith, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Whitney, Sir Raymond|
|Key, Robert||Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann|
|King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)||Wilkinson, John|
|Kirkbride, Miss Julie||Wilshire, David|
|Laing, Mrs Eleanor||Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)|
|Lait, Mrs Jacqui||Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)|
|Lansley, Andrew||Yeo, Tim|
|Leigh, Edward||Young, Rt Hon Sir George|
|Lidington, David||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Lilley, Rt Hon Peter||Mr. Stephen Day and|
|Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)||Mr. Peter Atkinson.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.753