HC Deb 27 June 2000 vol 352 cc788-809
Mr. Boswell

I beg to move amendment No. 83, in page 67, leave out lines 2 to 29 and insert—

  1. (2) In section 403 (sex education: manner of provision) in subsection (1) for the words "and the value of family life" substitute " the value of family life and sexual health".
  2. (3) After section 403 insert—
403A (1) The Secretary of State must issue guidance designed to secure that the following general objectives are met when sex education is given to registered pupils at maintained schools.
  1. (2) The general objectives are that the pupils—
    1. (a) learn about the nature of marriage as the key building block of society and its importance for family life and for the bringing up of children;
    2. (b) learn about the significance of stability in family relationships;
    3. (c) learn to respect themselves and others;
    4. (d) are protected from teaching and materials which a reasonable person would regard as inappropriate having regard to—
      1. (i) whether information is accurate and objective;
      2. (ii) the language and images used;
      3. (iii) the age of the pupils and
      4. (iv) the provisions of section 403, this section and section 403B.
  2. (3) When sex education is given to pupils who are in the third or fourth key stage or over compulsory school age, the general objectives referred to in subsection (1) are to include the following additional objectives.
  3. (4) The additional objectives are that the pupils—
    1. (a) learn to understand human sexuality;
    2. (b) learn the reasons for delaying sexual activity and the benefits to be gained from such delay;
    3. (c) learn about obtaining appropriate advice on sexual health.
  4. (5) The Secretary of State's guidance must also be designed to secure that sex education given to registered pupils at maintained schools contribute to
    1. (a) promoting the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of the pupils and of society;
    2. (b) preparing the pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.
  5. (6) No guidance under subsection (1) shall be issued or substantially revised unless a draft of the guidance has been laid in draft before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.
  6. (7) Local education authorities, governing bodies and head teachers must, in discharging their functions under section 403, have regard to the Secretary of State's guidance.
  7. (8) In this section 'maintained school' includes a community or foundation special school established in a hospital.".'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Lord)

With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment No. 73, in page 67, line 11, after first "are", insert—

  1. '(a) taught that marriage provides a strong foundation for stable relationships and the most reliable framework for raising children; and
  2. (b)'.

Mr. Boswell

If I am brief in moving the amendment, that is not because this is not an important matter. It is important to those on both Front Benches and to the political parties and it attracts much interest among Back Benchers. I am conscious of the timetable for the whole architecture of the Bill and of the fact that, after four hours, we have not even begun to consider education for those aged between 16 and 19. There are also many others important issues to debate.

I bear in mind two factors. The first is that this issue has been fully—almost exhaustively—debated in another place. I suspect that it may well be debated again, because the clause has already been amended since it left the Lords. Secondly, there is a proper and honoured place for my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth) to speak to his own amendment. We have considerable sympathy for his amendment, as is shown by the rather unusual fact that the whole Opposition Front-Bench team have attached their names to it.

In fact, I am surprised that my hon. Friend's amendment did not attract other signatories. As he will no doubt tell the House shortly, it is couched entirely in terms that are drawn from the Government's publication "Supporting Families: A consultation document". I do not understand why Ministers have not signed the amendment. The phrase marriage provides a strong foundation for stable relationships and the most reliable framework for raising children is a direct quotation from the Government's document. What are Ministers up to in not associating themselves with the words that they themselves have used?

In the interests of winning consensus wherever that is possible, I am minded to advise my hon. Friends to desist from pressing amendment No. 83—obviously, we shall reserve our position until we have heard the debate—but to persist with their support for my hon. Friend's amendment. We shall do that conscious of the fact that matters might ultimately be resolved either in another place or in discussions between the two Houses on what they are prepared to accept.

I touch on these issues not to steal my hon. Friend's thunder but to explain the architecture of what I hope will be a not unduly prolonged debate. I shall now address my remarks to amendment No. 83, which more assiduous Members who read the Bill at an earlier stage may recognise, because it is framed in exactly the terms of the clause bequeathed to us by another place on its consideration of the Bill after amendment. It was returned to us and was then filleted by Government amendments in Committee.

It may be convenient for the House if I explain three things that the amendment is not. First, it is not to be construed as any signal, encouragement or advertisement to any person in a school, whether a pupil or his or her teacher, to have any part whatever in any discrimination or bullying in respect of the individual child. We believe strongly—we respect the views of those who take a different view—that it is possible to assert values, including those in connection with marriage, without stigmatising persons who are not married, persons whose parents are not married or persons who are in some other sort of relationship.

Mr. Gordon Marsden (Blackpool, South)

I am pleased that the hon. Gentleman is dealing with the amendment in the same thoughtful and considered way in which he dealt with such matters in Committee. In view of the argument that he is advancing and his comments about not stigmatising—and drawing attention to concerns about bullying—why have the Opposition not seen fit to include in the amendment any reference to those issues?

Mr. Boswell

I was anticipating that question. In terms of the amendment that we inherited from another place, and in stating the general objectives of instruction in sex education, paragraph (c) refers to the need for pupils to learn to respect themselves and others. That is a sufficient peg on which to hang the concerns that the hon. Gentleman and I share.

We believe that it is possible to assert values. Some of us have Christian values and others may have other values, other faiths or no faith. To say that is not to suggest that those who do not share our views and values are not worthy of our respect. A school needs to wrestle with these issues at all times, and its teachers must have regard to them. The purpose behind the amendment is to provide for guidelines that are set in statute, rather than merely evanescent guidance from the Secretary of State for the time about these sensitive issues.

Secondly, the amendments have nothing to do with issues that arise from the criminal law or from the specific issue of the homosexual age of consent, on which Conservative Members, along with Labour Members, were free to take different views, and did so.

The amendment bears no relation to any gender preference. However, it is a matter of fact, which I observed in Committee, that, when considering issues of marriage, some gay people take the view that they would wish to associate themselves with the institution of marriage by extending the provision of civil marriage to cover unions between gay people. I say that not in a light or debating sense but to record that the amendment has nothing to do specifically with gay issues—and nor has it to do with the criminal law.

My third point in what I might call path clearing is that the amendment has nothing directly to do with the operation of section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988. That will be discussed in a different context. If the Government are intending—[Interruption.] I am not quite sure why the Under-Secretary is chuckling. We have an understanding that the Government intend to legislate on section 28.

In a sense, as my noble Friend Baroness Young adverted in another place, it is difficult to disentangle the two issues. However, there is no direct link. Perhaps the link has become a little clearer in relation to the recent decision of the Scottish Parliament to delete the section 28 provisions, but that was accompanied by its parallel decision to include a statement on the importance of marriage. It is reasonable to argue that the case for statements of the sort that we have set out in the amendment will be intensified if and when the Government decide to come clean and persist in their apparent intention to delete section 28.

If they choose to make that deletion, they do so in the face of public opinion of the kind enshrined in the recent non-governmental Scottish referendum, the overwhelming view of the Christian Churches and the view of leaders of other faiths.

Mr. Allan

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that there is no connection between section 28 and what he is proposing, because the section has not been relevant in terms of school sex education policies, which are set by parents, teachers and governors, and have been for some time? What the hon. Gentleman is proposing is a departure in terms of guidance for schools. That is not affected by whether section 28 is or is not on the statute book.

Mr. Boswell

Although I have been at some pains not to debate section 28, its application goes wider. One of the difficulties in the clause as we received it from the Committee is that it excludes—Christian interests would welcome this—the confusing reference to duties on a local education authority. This is about—we think that this is proper, and evidently the Government do too—whether the sex education policy of schools should be determined by schools, subject to guidelines which may or may not be statutory. The amendment relates to the nature of statutory guidelines.

The amendment has an interesting and perhaps somewhat erratic genesis. First, there are resonances with the Government's general objectives, which were enshrined in an amendment for debate on Third Reading in another place. For example, it referred to the importance of learning about the nature of marriage and its importance for family life and the rearing of children. It referred also to learning about the significance of marriage and stable relationships. Those were regarded as key building blocks of community and society.

Many Members will be aware of the history of the debate at that stage in another place. The amendment of my noble Friend Baroness Young was preferred by their lordships, who delivered the Bill to us accordingly. Hon. Members will perhaps have studied those debates.

It is interesting that the Government, not having got their own way on their own draft, indicated in a reversing statement by Baroness Blackstone that they would consider the Government's future position. In both respects, although this is not always the case, the Government have honoured their undertaking. They have taken away all positive references in the statutory guidelines to the nature of marriage. They have produced an alternative, which appears in the Bill as clause 135, which we seek to amend.

There is an interesting feature to the Government's second thoughts. It is an open secret that they started with a heavy influence from the Christian Church, and the Church of England's board of education in particular, to produce some value-laden statements to put in statute and to inform the guidelines. However, the Government have moved away from that. They have only produced—although it is not unworthy and I am not suggesting that we should quarrel with it—a minimal filter for the activities that schools may sanction in terms of sex education.

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In one sense, it might be appropriate—in another, it might be inappropriate, given the history of the century—to describe the Government's attitude to legislation as smacking of the 18th century: they appear to be saying, rather wearily, that all they, as a Government, can do is to prevent pupils from being done harm through access to inappropriate materials. In no sense am I suggesting that it is not important to prevent access to such materials or to ensure that materials are appropriate to the age and culture of the individuals involved, but, in a slightly uneasy progress, the Government have removed any positive duties—any meat—from the guidelines, other than that which appears in non-statutory guidance.

Mr. John Gummer (Suffolk, Coastal)

Does my hon. Friend consider that the position is now worse than it was before? Had the Government not been through the debate in another place, where the issues were thoroughly fought out, what they have done might be thought the result of an oversight, or of a different approach. In fact, the Government, in a direct way, have decided that they are not prepared to support a provision that Christian Churches of all sorts and many informed people want to be introduced. Because of that, the Government need to explain their position far more clearly than they have hitherto.

Mr. Boswell

My right hon. Friend makes a most valuable point. It would have been one thing had the Government not started down the route of introducing an extraneous matter into the Bill, which makes provision for post-16 education, but it is quite another for the Government, having started on the basis that it was a good idea to tell people what they ought to teach, now to say that, because they did not get their way in another place, they have decided not to say anything at all about it. That casts doubt on the strength of their feeling on the matter.

Dr. Evan Harris (Oxford, West and Abingdon)

Will the hon. Gentleman explain the thinking behind his amendment? As I understand it, it differs significantly from the amendment tabled by Baroness Young. Have Conservative Front Benchers been convinced by the arguments against some aspects of the noble Lady's amendment?

Mr. Boswell

With respect to the hon. Gentleman, I perceive a close equivalence between the two amendments. I might have overlooked something, but I think that, in amendment No. 83, we have tabled the same amendment as Baroness Young tabled. Furthermore, my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot has masterfully summarised our case in his much shorter amendment No. 73.

We have proposed some positive general objectives and attempted to address some of the issues. We welcome the Government's desire to protect pupils from harm or access to inappropriate materials, but it is mealy-mouthed of them to say that they believe in values—or did at one stage—but to remove them once challenged. It reminds me of the politician who said, "Here are the principles: if you don't like them, we'll take them away and find another set."

Some of us have occasionally been critical of our Church. The Church of England Board of Education has been straightforward in its approach. A letter was sent to my noble Friend Baroness Blatch by a member of that body, Mr. Locke, who states: the importance of marriage and the non-equivalence of other relationships are at the heart of where the Board of Education stands. That is a traditional view, which many Conservative Members respect. I think that it is where we should stand.

It is easy for the issue to be over-emphasised and for it to give rise to ill-considered talk. We are considering an important subject: the guidance that should be given to schools in framing their sex education policy. Within that, there is a separate issue of whether the guidance should appear and be altered from time to time in non-statutory form, or whether it should be enshrined in legislation. Not for the first time—sometimes to the embarrassment of previous Conservative Governments—their lordships are right. They have talked of principles and the importance of marriage and stability in relationships, and have done so in a way that reflects more closely than the Government's proposals the views of the general public, of the Christian Churches and of responsible people who engage in these sensitive matters.

I think that the Lords got it right. The Government have backed away from the challenge at the first sign of difficulty, or out of petulance resulting from their experiences in another place. They have come up with a small and inadequate alternative; our version is better. Either in the formulation proposed in amendment No. 83, or in the shorter and more succinct formulation offered by my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot, the House deserves to pass back to their lordships a firm endorsement of marriage and traditional values.

Mr. Gummer

On listening to the debate, the question that most people will ask is why on earth the Government are resisting the amendments, given that they represent the views of most of those who have considered the issues over a long period. The Government said that they would listen carefully to those outside this place who want to raise the standards of the nation and, in particular, encourage future generations to have the stability that marriage alone brings. The Government claimed in the other place that they have no quarrel with the desire to put marriage at the centre of sex education—indeed, the Government's own amendment was designed to achieve precisely that end. Therefore, Ministers face today the difficult task of explaining their actions to the public, who must be mystified as to why the Government want us not to put marriage at the centre of sex education. Had we not broached the subject, it would not be so serious a situation; but we have, so for the Government not to accept either of the amendments we offer or not to make the amendment that they proposed in another place says to the people of this country that the Government do not believe that marriage is at the heart of sensible sex education.

I am one who has been fortunate to have had a long and happy marriage. Therefore, I am among the first to insist that we should in no way be willing to stigmatise those who, for all sorts of reasons, have not had that kind fortune, and certainly not their children. However, I am also aware of the enormous advantage given to a new generation of growing up knowing, as they go to sleep at night, that the next morning their parents will be there and that their parents have committed themselves, outside the having of children, to live with each other until death do them part. That is a crucial element of stability—the one thing that any couple ought to try to give to the next generation, for without it they bring into the world a life for which their commitment is not properly sufficient. We are the only animal that has the choice of producing children knowingly. The one thing that we can properly give to the next generation is the knowledge that we intend for their sake, if for no other, to live together and provide the stability that young people growing up so desperately need.

All we ask in the amendment is that that perfectly proper view, which has been the view in this country for hundreds of years, which on any test is the view of the majority of people in this country, and which we understand to be the view of the Government, should be enshrined in legislation.

If the Government refuse to accept such a reasonable amendment, they will stand accused not just by their political opponents, but by the Church of England, the Catholic Church and the Protestant denominations of not believing that marriage should be at the heart of sex education. I can think of few things more damaging than sex education without marriage at its heart, for it would then be merely the mechanistic explanation of that which many already know.

If we are to challenge the Government, which I do in the most polite way that I can, I must ask the Under-Secretary of State for Education and Employment, the hon. Member for Redditch (Jacqui Smith), to answer a simple question when she replies. If she is not willing to accept the amendment, will she tell the House that she does not believe that marriage should be at the heart of sex education in schools? Unless she is willing to say that, she must accept the amendment.

If the hon. Lady does not accept the amendment, she must have the courage of her convictions and say, "Whatever the Church of England says, whatever the Catholic Church says, whatever most people in this country say, I do not believe that marriage is at the heart of sensible sex education." Let her have that courage. I shall not agree with her. I shall find that view offensive, in the deepest sense, for it offends the next generation and it removes from them the thing that all of us have a duty to give.

I have no time for those who are not prepared to commit themselves to each other, but are prepared to produce children outside that commitment. I believe that to be a very wrong way of approaching their responsibility, but if the Minister takes that view, let her say so, and we will know. However, if she refuses to say so, the Government will be not only wrong, but extremely cowardly.

Mr. Gerald Howarth (Aldershot)

I am delighted to follow my right hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer) who, as ever on such issues, has given the House a lucid, eloquent, courteous and incisive view on an extremely important matter facing the nation.

I am somewhat surprised to find my amendment being endorsed by those on my Front Bench and to find myself, so to speak, in pole position on the grid, although I am delighted that that is the case and that my hon. Friends have seen fit to promote the amendment that I tabled. As my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Boswell) made clear, the wording that I used was taken straight from the Government's own document entitled "Supporting Families—a consultation document" which was published a couple of years ago.

Paragraph 4.3 of that document states: The Government believes that marriage provides a strong foundation for stable relationships. This does not mean trying to make people marry, or criticising or penalising people who choose not to. We do not believe that Government should interfere in people's lives in that way. But we do share the belief of the majority of people that marriage provides the most reliable framework for raising children. The elision of the two points made in that paragraph forms the basis of my amendment.

Mr. Boswell

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way and, again, for his amendment. Will he draw the attention of the House specifically to the remark in the paragraph that he quoted, which may not have received sufficient attention so far? The Government conceded there that that view is shared by the majority of people in this country, yet they now oppose our amendment and say that they are prepared to go against the majority view, for reasons that they have not yet adequately stated.

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Mr. Howarth

My hon. Friend is right. Indeed, my right hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Coastal made it plain that that was the view of the majority of the people of the country, and that it is bizarre that the Government are bent on resisting such a modest amendment, which is entirely in accordance with the Government's philosophy, as stated by no less a person than the Home Secretary.

The debate is part of a two-sided coin. The Government announced their plans to abolish section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988—the provision that prevented local authorities from promoting homosexuality as "a pretended family relationship." They know that that is deeply unpopular.

In Scotland, week after week, the Daily Record—not a Tory newspaper—has been hammering the Government and supporting Cardinal Winning and Brian Souter in the courageous stand that they have taken, so demonstrating that they were in touch with the people of Scotland and the Government were wholly out of touch. That was shown by the opinion poll commissioned by Brian Souter. I pay tribute to the courage of those people, one a cleric and the other a business man, for the stand that they have taken. They have set a great example to the rest of the nation.

In the face of that hostility in Scotland and elsewhere, the Government introduced an amendment on Third Reading of the Bill, late in the proceedings in another place. The amendment, in the name of Baroness Blackstone, required the Secretary of State to issue guidance. The guidance was published on 16 March, a week before the debate in another place. The guidance was extensive, running to 28 pages.

The Government tried to get the bishops on side, but failed to reckon with the outstanding and formidable eloquence and determination of my right hon. and noble Friend Baroness Young, together with the right reverend Bishop of Winchester, who supported my right hon. and noble Friend and who, I know, feels passionately about the issue. They persuaded the other place of the merits of their argument and won the day with an amendment to the Government's proposal, writing into the Bill that marriage is the key building block of society.—[Official Report, House of Lords, 23 March 2000; Vol. 611, c. 436.] In Committee in this place, the Government removed Baroness Blackstone's new clause as amended by my right hon. and noble Friend in the other place, and substituted the present wording of clause 135. All the general objectives set out in the Bill as it left the other place are gone, save for the ambiguous requirement for pupils to be protected from teaching and materials which are inappropriate— however that is to be defined. Instead, governing bodies and heads are to rely on the Secretary of State's guidance.

It is significant that those in another place were prepared to insert an amendment that was specific, even if it was not quite in the terms that many of us wanted, yet in this place all those provisions have been removed, save for the reference to inappropriate material.

Nothing better illustrates the confusion and prevarication at the heart of the present Government than their policy on sexual matters. On the one hand, the Home Secretary sets out graphically the Government's support for the institution of marriage. Then there is the prevarication in the guidelines issued by the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, and we have the Government promoting the Bill to reduce the age of consent for buggery from 18 to 16. Where is the joined-up government in all of that? It is a very confused message that the Government are sending.

I remind the House that at the Ayr by-election the Prime Minister, having been shown some posters produced by campaigning groups whipping up homosexual propaganda, said: I've just seen the posters here in Scotland. I don't think I've ever seen a more astonishing campaign in all my born days. People are being told their children will have to play—what was it?— homosexual role playing in schools. No wonder parents are concerned. It's nonsense. No child is going to be given gay sex lessons in school. Not under this Government now. Not ever. Those were the Prime Minister's words, yet we have today a publication by Health Promotion Service Avon—the House has already heard me refer to some—

Dr. Harris

A teachers' pack.

Mr. Howarth

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. It is what is being given out to teachers. In lesson five, part II, "Challenging homophobia", a method to be promoted is described as follows: This session can be performed as a role play, written up and fed back to large groups, or responded to like an 'Agony Aunt'. The Prime Minister said that this would not happen under this Government. Here we have it, down in Avon, at the taxpayer's expense.

Mr. Shaun Woodward (Witney)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Howarth

I will not give way to the hon. Gentleman.

At the taxpayer's expense, that kind of literature is being produced—literature that the Prime Minister himself said this Government would not be party to. Case study D says: Michael is 15 and his boyfriend wants him to have sex. He really wants to but he is nervous. Michael knows he should use a condom but doesn't know where to go for help. What should he do? For goodness' sake! This child is under 16, even before the law is changed from 18 to 16. What on earth are the Government doing allowing that kind of publication to go out with taxpayers' money?

Mr. Allan

Does the hon. Gentleman agree with my understanding of the position, which is that no material is ever used in schools unless it is agreed to by the teachers, the governors and the head teacher? The governors include parents. It is a very specific responsibility. So it does not matter what anyone produces as printed material for the hon. Gentleman to read out, for his enjoyment, if not for everyone else's. What matters is what schools decide on the ground. The Government do not decide sex education policy in schools; it is decided by governors, parents and teachers.

Mr. Howarth

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. I understand that it is material produced for schools and available to them. The Government may well believe that it is inappropriate material. My point is that the Prime Minister himself suggested that such material was not being produced under his Government. It is being produced, and that is the material that is available to schools should they wish to use it.

In a letter to my noble Friend, Lord Ashbourne, my predecessor as chairman of the Lords and Commons family and child protection group, the Home Secretary wrote on 26 July last year: The evidence is that marriage better provides a strong foundation for stable relationships and this framework is the most reliable for raising children. The House may agree that that is pretty well a reflection of the language in the document "Supporting Families". But the guidance issued by the Secretary of State on 16 March refers repeatedly to marriage and stable relationships in the same context. Not only does that repeated juxtaposition of marriage and stable relationships imply that they are equally valid, which they are not, but, as my noble Friend Baroness Young pointed out in another place, there is nothing that prevents homosexual unions from being defined as stable relationships.

Mr. Gordon Marsden

I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has returned to the substance of his amendment. In view of his remarks, does he believe that all relationships that are not of the marriage kind are unreliable frameworks for raising children?

Mr. Howarth

I would agree with the Home Secretary—

Mr. Marsden

That is not the question.

Mr. Howarth

The Home Secretary says that the best relationship is that of marriage. The hon. Gentleman will have heard my right hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Coastal say that that is not to stigmatise those who are in different relationships. We are being asked to give some leadership. It is my view that the Bill does not give the necessary leadership, because the fact is that the family in Britain is in crisis. We have all seen it at our surgeries and advice centres. I doubt that there is an hon. Member present who in the last month at his or her surgery or advice centre has not had evidence of that. I shall not quote from a constituency case that came up last Saturday, partly because it is simply too distressing.

I should like to quote what the noble Lord Stoddart of Swindon, a Labour peer, said in another place on 23 March: compulsory sex education has not done much to stabilise, let alone promote, marriages Ω There is more promiscuity, less sexual morality, less marriage, more divorce, more single mothers, more under-16 pregnancies and more child pregnancies Ω all those matters were supposed to have been dealt with by the various Acts that have been passed. Clearly, they are not delivering the goods.—[Official Report, House of Lords, 23 March 2000; Vol. 611, c.463.] I entirely concur with what the noble Lord said.

I and my hon. Friends are not proposing the amendments simply out of a belief in the moral case for marriage, although I subscribe to it. I entirely agree with what my right hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Coastal said, and I hasten to acknowledge the work that CARE, Christian Action Research and Education, and the Christian Institute have done to fight this battle.

I agree with the Home Secretary: the evidence to which he referred indeed shows that marriage confers benefits all round. Studies have consistently shown that marriage generally, not always, leads to a healthier and happier life and that children benefit from that. Like my right hon. Friend, having passed the 25-year mark, I can bear testimony to the long-suffering wife I have and to some splendid and dutiful children. I am under no illusion that all marriages work out. I believe, nevertheless, that marriage is, as the Home Secretary says, the better framework for bringing up children.

Furthermore, the evidence shows that stable relationships, which I suppose one could describe in other terms as cohabiting, are no substitute for marriage. I am sorry to say that there is plenty of evidence that that is so. For example, the British household panel survey a few years ago found that cohabitant couples are almost six times as likely to split up as those who are married. The Economic and Social Research Council found that even where there are children, half of cohabiting couples part within 10 years, compared with just one in eight of married parents. One cannot ignore those facts.

As recently as just a couple of months ago, the Office for National Statistics published a document, "Mental health of children and adolescents in Great Britain", which contained some startling information. I do not want to detain the House for too long, so I shall simply give the flavour of it. It shows the prevalence of mental disorders by family type, age and sex. Let us take conduct disorders in boys aged 11 to 15. For those in married households, the percentage with a disorder was 5.7. In cohabiting households, the figure was 17 per cent., three times as great. For those in households where there was just a single parent, the figure was 17.6 per cent. Against that factual background, we have a duty to the children of this country to ensure that the laws and regulations regarding sex education take into account the facts of what is happening.

The Government should stop trying to appeal to every interest group for fear of offending one or other of them. It was indefensible to give the advice that appeared in the guidelines that were published in March. They stated: there should be no direct promotion of sexual orientation. That means that the Government are neutral on the matter. They cannot and should not be neutral. Instead, they should recognise the serious crisis that faces family life in Britain today, and give proper, unambiguous, Christian, moral guidance to our young people to enable them to live more fulfilled lives than perhaps many of their parents have been able to live in recent years.

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If the Government accept the amendment, they will at least no longer be perceived to be speaking with forked tongue. As my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry has already said, the amendment has, for the Minister's comfort, been lifted straight from the Government's document. They could therefore happily seize ownership of it. I am not proud. They can own it, and show that they are being entirely consistent. However, if the Government fail to support the amendment, they will show that neither is there joined-up government, nor are the Government honest in their language in the "Supporting Families" document.

I end with the question that my right hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Coastal posed to the Minister. Does she believe that marriage should be at the heart of sex education? If not, she must tell the House. The parents and children of this country should know.

Mr. Julian Brazier (Canterbury)

It gives me great pleasure to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer) and their cogent and compelling arguments.

Like my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot, I shall focus on rearing children and the message that we should propagate in schools. I should like to add one more study to the compelling list that he cited. Twelve years ago, a study was undertaken in America, not by some right-wing think tank or a religious organisation, but by the United States Department of Health. I am grateful to the Institute of Economic Affairs for publishing it. It examined juvenile delinquency among young people in all major family types. Married couples who had remained together constituted one category; three other categories included single parents and cohabiting couples.

The study examined five different income categories. In debating the best way in which to bring up children, the crucial argument that tends to be used by those promoting the other side is the importance of poverty. They claim that we leave out that factor, and that because poverty is more frequently associated with alternative life styles, one would expect to find more juvenile delinquency and more of a whole range of other problems, such as those to which my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot referred, among those who lived such life styles.

The study was astonishing because it showed that the poorest category of children, from families who earned less than $10,000 a year in 1988—a level of subsistence that would be regarded as intolerable by many in this country—had a significantly lower level of juvenile delinquency than the average in the three other categories. I looked a little further down the table and discovered that in the poorest category, the married couples who had stayed together and reared their children had fewer children guilty of juvenile delinquency than the wealthiest group—those who earned more than $50,000 a year.

My hon. Friend mentioned the contrast between married couples and cohabiting couples, as revealed in a British study. The most recent study that I have seen was undertaken three years ago. The critical difference between it and those that my hon. Friend cited was that it pulled out cohabiting couples who subsequently got married. If, for 1997, we compare those who were married in 1987 with those who were cohabiting in 1987 and did not subsequently get married, the success rate of the relationship was 81 per cent. in the former category and 15 per cent. in the latter.

The case is overwhelming.

Mr. Gummer

Does my hon. Friend agree that if such overwhelming evidence were offered to the Government in any other circumstances, they would be bound to accept it? Yet when we offer the evidence that my hon. Friend described, it is not acceptable because the Government are not prepared to stand out against those for whom such evidence is embarrassing.

Mr. Brazier

I hope that my right hon. Friend is wrong, but I fear that he is right.

The case is overwhelming. I was once privileged to take part in a debate against the hon. Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon (Dr. Harris) at the Oxford Union. Participants in the debate included a rising generation of young people, some of whom have now found their way into the House. I was encouraged by the fact that the motion defending the traditional family was passed heavily. The point that needs making, tonight as then, is that our arguments are not about stigmatisation but about aspiration.

One of my closest and dearest friends was brought up by an extremely violent alcoholic father. Sadly, most classrooms today include a child whose father is a violent alcoholic. Does that mean that we should not teach children that it is wrong to beat children? Many children are brought up with a parent who is hooked on a drug; does that mean that we should not teach children that they should not take drugs? Of course not. Almost every family in the land is affected by, for example, divorce or illegitimacy. However, that means neither that we should have a conspiracy of silence nor that we should stigmatise anyone. We should aspire to the best. That is why the amendment is so important.

Dr. Harris

I want to ask the Minister three questions from the Back Benches. However, before I do that, I should like to ask the right hon. Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer) a rhetorical question. Does he believe that it is the job of a Minister, rather than parents and the Church, to tell the nation that sex outside marriage is sinful? He should learn from his party that when Ministers start moralising, they are in dangerous waters. Moralising is for people, such as the right hon. Gentleman, who have connections to the Church, and for parents. It is not the Government's job to tell adults what they should or should not do in their bedrooms.

Mr. Gummer

In answer to that rhetorical question, I simply said that I wanted the Minister to support the words of the Home Secretary. I merely said that, like him, I believed that marriage provided greater stability than any other form of rearing children. If the Minister is not prepared to say that, she must say that she does not believe that it is true. That is all I asked.

Dr. Harris

The tone of the right hon. Gentleman's remarks suggested that sex outside marriage was less than wholesome and that it was the Government's job to preach that idea to the nation. I question that.

I also question the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth). It is hard to know where to begin. I shall not make a strong attempt because there were so many logical flaws in some of his analyses. The idea that he could prove causal relationships through statistics is nonsense. The idea that the possession of a marriage certificate tucked away in a top drawer is some sort of insurance that will prevent a relationship from breaking up is nonsense. The idea that one can identify people who cohabit as equivalent in the sample to people who marry is ridiculous. Many people choose not to get married, and live together instead because they fear that their relationship may not last. It is therefore not a huge surprise if those relationships break up, regardless of whether children are involved.

The statistics that the hon. Gentleman cited did not relate wholly to children. He talked about mental illness affecting young people, as if we did not know that the biggest association is with deprivation and the stresses of family life. We know that the families of single parents, some of whom have tried marriage and are divorced, suffer far more stress and deprivation, and therefore have more associated poor health outcomes, than people who are not in that category. That is the obvious and correct interpretation of the data. The hon. Gentleman's misinterpretation does the debate no good at all.

The hon. Gentleman has the peculiar idea that one cannot ask young people to put themselves in the position of victims of intolerance because that is bizarre. I remember that when I was taught about the importance of not being racist, I was told to imagine being in the position of someone who was a victim of such persecution. That is a suitable mode of teaching, and certainly not inappropriate. The hon. Gentleman asked what advice people should give to a 15-year-old boy considering sexual behaviour. If the question concerned a 15-year-girl, would he say that that advice should not be available? He is right to lament the huge increase in, and the high incidence of, pregnancies among the under-16s. However, if he is not prepared for information to be given to young people in school to protect them, I despair of what sort of society his way would bring.

Mr. Gerald Howarth

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Dr. Harris

No, I want to finish.

I commend the Government's preference for the Bill's current wording over that originally proposed. We should compliment them for coming to that view; indeed, my hon. Friends the Members for Harrogate and Knaresborough (Mr. Willis) and for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. Allan) did so in Committee.

I have three brief questions for the Minister about the guidance referred to in the Bill. Will there be time for a parliamentary debate on the detail of the guidance, which is pretty fundamental? The Minister will be aware that many people are concerned not only about what we have already heard about, but about the fact that the Bill does not do enough to protect young people from the risks of early sex, and, indeed, other sexual activity. Given that primary schools have no statutory duty to offer sex education, is the Minister certain that the guidelines will implement her stated wish in the guidance that children should be taught about puberty before it happens, including the 10 per cent. of girls who do not know about menstruation before they have their first period—a dreadful situation, by all accounts.

The guidance talks about giving information along those lines in the transition year between primary and secondary school. I am sure that the Minister's colleagues in the Department of Health, Government health advisers, paediatricians and GPs will tell her that the phrase "shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted" would apply to a school that, despite her intentions, decided to delay giving that information until that late stage.

Finally, everyone in the House is concerned about the incidence of child sex abuse. Indeed, I sport a green full-stop badge every day to bear witness to that. I believe that the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children shares my view that children are not reporting abuse, and certainly not reporting it early enough, because they do not recognise what is going on, as they are not taught early enough in school which parts of their bodies are private and not to be interfered with by other people. That is a result of the failure of sex education to address the needs of very young children in age-appropriate language. I question whether the guidance, which contains a lot of good research by the social exclusion unit on teenage pregnancy, will achieve the aims that Health Ministers and many other Ministers desire.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Employment (Jacqui Smith)

It is fair to say that the debate about sex and relationship education, which has been going on for some time, has generally been conducted with great passion and belief on both sides. It is also fair to say that there was a great deal of considered, sensitive and thoughtful debate, especially in Committee, when the issues were covered in some depth and when, as hon. Members have said, the Government reversed the amendments introduced in another place. However, I fear that the amendments tabled this evening and certain aspects of the tone of our debate will not build on the positive, sensible approach adopted in Committee. For that reason, I shall ask my hon. Friends to join me in opposing the amendments.

8.45 pm

I shall begin with amendment No. 83, which would reinstate much of the amendment that Baroness Young introduced in another place, the provisions of which were removed in Committee. It ignores the importance of balance, which must be at the centre of guidance on sex education. No one says that marriage is not an ideal, about which children should be taught in schools, but it would be wrong to stigmatise children whose parents are not married.

Mr. Gerald Howarth

Will the Minister give way?

Jacqui Smith

No I will not, because we are short of time, and I want to deal with the points raised by the hon. Gentleman.

In particular, because of its silence on the importance of understanding difference, amendment No. 83 would fail to tackle homophobic bullying in our schools. Moreover, it includes a vague notion of a reasonable person making judgments about what constitutes inappropriate teaching and learning, which the Government believe risks creating confusion and uncertainty for our schools.

We have always made it clear that we are committed to supporting marriage as the basis for family life. We believe that pupils should learn about the nature of marriage and its importance to family life and bringing up children. That is set out very clearly in our draft sex and relationship education guidance, which we issued for consultation in March. In fact, this Government put marriage into the curriculum for the first time, under the personal, social and health education framework issued last autumn. That framework underpins the guidance and work on sex and relationship education.

At key stage 2, the framework states that pupils should be taught to be aware of different types of relationship, including marriage, as well as those between friends and families. At key stage 3, pupils should be taught about the role and importance of marriage in family relationships. At key stage 4, they should be taught about the nature and importance of marriage for family life and bringing up children.

Our guidance will be supported by our national healthy school standard, which every school is expected to sign up to during the next few years, and which contains as a criterion of success the requirement for schools to teach in line with the Secretary of State's guidance. That constitutes much more positive and practical action than has ever been taken before.

Our aim is to improve the sex education that our children receive, which in the past has rightly been criticised for concentrating too much on the mechanics of sex and ignoring the importance of respect, stability in relationships and marriage. Why did the right hon. Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer), who was a member of the previous Government, not do more to improve the quality of sex and relationship education, as this Government are doing?

We recognise that many children are raised in loving and stable relationships outside marriage. We must not allow those children to be stigmatised in our schools; nor should we stigmatise children from single parent families. The hon. Members for Daventry (Mr. Boswell) and for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth) made much of the Government consultation document, "Supporting Families", which they quoted correctly, but selectively. That document recognises that there are strong, mutually supportive relationships outside marriage. That is the balance that the Government have always made clear, but it is not made clear in the amendments that the Opposition have tabled.

The document is referred to specifically in our sex and relationship education guidance. Selective quoting does no justice to the debate, or to improving sex and relationship education for our children. Our guidance presents a careful and considered balance; amendment No. 83 would fail to provide that balance.

My hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, South (Mr. Marsden) made the important point that that amendment would fail to ensure that children are taught about respecting difference and about preventing and removing prejudice. It is all very well for the hon. Member for Daventry to claim that that is Conservative Members' aim. If that is their aim, why did their colleagues not support the amendment that the Government tabled in the Lords in which it was made explicit? Without that safeguard, schools cannot tackle discrimination and teach tolerance. The amendment would specifically remove the chapter on recognising diversity and removing prejudice.

We believe that bullying on whatever grounds—be it based on race, appearance or sexual orientation—is wrong and should be checked. I am sure that many right hon. and hon. Members will know of young men and women whose lives have been made a misery by such bullying. We recognise that schools need to be able to deal with it, and the amendment will not provide the necessary safeguard.

The issue of protecting children from inappropriate teaching and materials has emerged as a key concern, although I do not believe that the sensationalism of some of the comments by the hon. Member for Aldershot did it due credit. The amendment made in Committee provides clarity and certainty. It gives the Secretary of State a duty to issue guidance, so that pupils are protected from teaching and materials that are inappropriate to their age and religious and cultural background. It gives statutory force to guidance that addresses this central issue and extends protection to materials issued by health authorities, which were not previously covered.

Mr. Gerald Howarth

Why is the Minister so afraid of putting the case for marriage in the Bill? She said that the Bill covered inappropriate materials, so why does it not put the case for marriage? After all, paragraph 4.8 of "Supporting Families" says: For all these reasons, it makes sense for the Government to do what it can to strengthen marriage. Is the Minister saying that this is one area in which the Government are not prepared to help strengthen marriage?

Jacqui Smith

As I have already pointed out to the hon. Gentleman, not only have the Government already done a great deal to ensure that the importance of marriage and relationships is included within the personal, social and health education framework and within sex and relationship education, but we are also addressing issues involving inappropriate materials. However, we are not prepared to accept amendment No.73, as it would undermine the careful, considered balance and consensus that we have achieved, which Committee members supported. It would require children to be taught that marriage alone is the most reliable framework for raising children.

I do not need to repeat what I said earlier, but I would like to reinforce three key points. First, our draft guidance sets out that children should be taught about the nature of marriage and its importance for family life and bringing up children. Secondly, we cannot accept an amendment that does not recognise the realities of the society and the communities that we represent.

As I said earlier, many children today grow up in loving supportive families outside marriage. Those children should not be stigmatised in our schools. Hon. Members will be aware that our guidance and our work on sex and relationship education stems from a recommendation in the teenage pregnancy report, and the need to address the high rate of teenage pregnancy in this country. We take that responsibility seriously.

Thirdly, our guidance will be grounded in the broad consensus across society about how children can be given effective sex and relationship education in schools. The hon. Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon (Dr. Harris) raised specific questions that I do not have time to answer this evening, but I can tell him that we consulted teachers, parents and other organisations. They all supported the guidance, particularly teachers. Indeed, 73 per cent. of teachers who responded to consultation believed that our guidance was right.

In conclusion, we need to focus on what is right to ensure that children receive an education relevant to their needs, that parents can have certainty that their children are receiving an appropriate and balanced education, and that schools, teachers and governors can be supported to have confidence in the education that they provide. The Government have built that balance and consensus, and it would be destroyed by the amendments, so I ask my hon. Friends to oppose them.

Amendment negatived.

Amendment proposed: No. 73, in page 67, line 11, after first "are", insert—

  1. '(a) taught that marriage provides a strong foundation for stable relationships and the most reliable framework for raising children; and
  2. (b)'.—[Mr. Gerald Howarth.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 129, Noes 303.

Division No. 240] [8.55 pm
Amess, David Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Loughton, Tim
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Luff, Peter
Baldry, Tony Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Beggs, Roy Mclntosh, Miss Anne
Bercow, John Maclean, Rt Hon David
Beresford, Sir Paul McLoughlin, Patrick
Blunt, Crispin Madel, Sir David
Body, Sir Richard Maginnis, Ken
Boswell, Tim Malins, Humfrey
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Maples, John
Brady, Graham Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Brazier, Julian Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter May Mrs Theresa
Browning, Mrs Angela Moss, Malcolm
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Nicnolls, Patrick
Burns, Simon Norman Archie
Chope, Christopher o,Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Clappison, James Ottaway, Richard
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh) Page Richard
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth paice James
(Rushcliffe) Paterson, Owen
Collins; Tim Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Cran, James Prior, David
Davies Quentin (Grantham) Randall, John
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Redwood, Rt Hon John
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Evans, Nigel Robathan, Andrew
Faber, David Robertson, Laurence
Fabricant, Michael Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Fallon, Michael Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Flight Howard Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Forth, Rt Hon Eric Ruffley, David
Fox,Dr Liam St Aubyn, Nick
Fraser, Christopher Sayeed, Jonathan
Gale Roger Shepherd, Richard
Garnier, Edward Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Gibb, Nick Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Gill, Christopher Spicer, Sir Michael
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Spring, Richard
Gray, James Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Green, Damian Steen, Anthony
Greenway, John Swayne, Desmond
Grieve, Dominic Syms, Robert
Gummer, Rt Hon John Tapsell, Sir Peter
Hague, Rt Hon William Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Hammond, Philip Taylor, Sir Teddy
Hawkins, Nick Thompson, William
Hayes, John Tyrie, Andrew
Heald, Oliver Viggers, Peter
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David Walter, Robert
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas Waterson, Nigel
Horam, John Wells, Bowen
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot) Whitney, Sir Raymond
Hunter, Andrew Whittingdale, John
Jack, Rt Hon Michael Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Jenkin, Bernard Willetts, David
Key, Robert Wilshire, David
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater) Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor Yeo, Tim
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward Tellers for the Ayes:
Letwin, Oliver Mr. Stephen Day and
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E) Mr. Geoffrey
Lidington, David Clifton-Brown.
Abbott, Ms Diane Dean, Mrs Janet
Ainger, Nick Denham, John
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Dismore, Andrew
Allan, Richard Donohoe, Brian H
Allen, Graham Dowd, Jim
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Ashton, Joe Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Atherton, Ms Candy Edwards, Huw
Atkins, Charlotte Efford, Clive
Ballard, Jackie Ellman, Mrs Louise
Banks, Tony Ennis, Jeff
Barron, Kevin Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Bayley, Hugh Fearn, Ronnie
Beard, Nigel Field, Rt Hon Frank
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Fisher, Mark
Bennett, Andrew F Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Bermingham, Gerald Follett, Barbara
Berry, Roger Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Best, Harold Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Betts, Clive Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Blackman, Liz Foulkes, George
Blizzard, Bob Gardiner, Barry
Blunkett, Rt Hon David George, Andrew (St Ives)
Borrow, David George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Gerrard, Neil
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Gibson, Dr Ian
Browne, Desmond Gidley, Sandra
Burden, Richard Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Burgon, Colin Godman, Dr Norman A
Burnett, John Godsiff, Roger
Butler, Mrs Christine Goggins, Paul
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard Golding, Mrs Llin
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife) Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Grocott, Bruce
Campbell-Savours, Dale Grogan, John
Cann, Jamie Gunnell, John
Casale, Roger Hain, Peter
Caton, Martin Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Cawsey, Ian Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Chaytor, David Hanson, David
Clapham, Michael Harris, Dr Evan
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Harvey, Nick
Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands) Healey, John
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S) Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S) Hepburn, Stephen
Clelland, David Heppell, John
Clwyd, Ann Hesford, Stephen
Coaker, Vernon Hill, Keith
Coffey, Ms Ann Hinchliffe, David
Cohen, Harry Hopkins, Kelvin
Coleman, Iain Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Connarty, Michael Howells, Dr Kim
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston) Hoyle, Lindsay
Corbett, Robin Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Corbyn, Jeremy Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Corston, Jean Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Cotter, Brian Humble, Mrs Joan
Cousins, Jim Hurst, Alan
Cranston, Ross Hutton, John
Crausby, David Iddon, Dr Brian
Cryer, John (Hornchurch) Illsley, Eric
Cummings, John Ingram, Rt Hon Adam
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S) Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Dalyell, Tam Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Darting, Rt Hon Alistair Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Darvill, Keith Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Davidson, Ian Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Dawson, Hilton Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa Purchase, Ken
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Quin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce
Keeble, Ms Sally Quinn, Lawrie
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston) Radice, Rt Hon Giles
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth) Rammell, Bill
Keetch, Paul Raynsford, Nick
Kemp, Fraser Rendel, David
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree) Roche, Mrs Barbara
Khabra, Piara S Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Kidney, David Rooney, Terry
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green) Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Kirkwood, Archy Ruane, Chris
Kumar, Dr Ashok Ruddock, Joan
Ladyman, Dr Stephen Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Lammy, David Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie Salter, Martin
Laxton, Bob Sanders, Adrian
Lepper, David Savidge, Malcolm
Leslie, Christopher Sawford, Phil
Levitt, Tom Sedgemore, Brian
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S) Shaw, Jonathan
Lewis, Terry (Worsley) Sheerman, Barry
Linton, Martin Shipley, Ms Debra
Livsey, Richard Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Llwyd, Elfyn Singh, Marsha
Lock, David Skinner, Dennis
Love, Andrew Smith, Angela (Basildon)
McAvoy, Thomas Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
McCabe, Steve
Macdonald, Calum Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
McFall, John Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
McIsaac, Shona Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Mackinlay, Andrew Soley, Clive
McNulty, Tony Southworth, Ms Helen
MacShane, Denis Squire, Ms Rachel
McWilliam, John Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Mahon, Mrs Alice Steinberg, Gerry
Mallaber, Judy Stevenson, George
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S) Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury) Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Stinchcombe, Paul
Martlew, Eric Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Merron, Gillian Stuart, Ms Gisela
Michael, Rt Hon Alun Stunell, Andrew
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley) Sutcliffe, Gerry
Miller, Andrew Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Mitchell, Austin
Moran, Ms Margaret Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway) Temple-Morris, Peter
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N) Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Moriey, Elliot Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley) Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Tipping, Paddy
Mudie, George Todd, Mark
Mullin, Chris Trickett, Jon
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck) Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen) Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Naysmith, Dr Doug Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Oaten, Mark Turner, Neil (Wigan)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton) Twigg, Derek (Halton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks) Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Öpik, Lembit Tyler, Paul
Palmer, Dr Nick Walley, Ms Joan
Pearson, Ian Ward, Ms Claire
Perham, Ms Linda Wareing, Robert N
Pickthall, Colin Watts, David
Pike, Peter L Webb, Steve
Plaskitt, James White, Brian
Pollard, Kerry Whitehead, Dr Alan
Pond, Chris Wicks, Malcolm
Pope, Greg Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Pound, Stephen Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prescott, Rt Hon John Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Primarolo, Dawn Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Willis, Phil Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wills, Michael Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Winnick, David
Woodward, Shaun Tellers for the Noes:
Woolas, Phil Mr. David Jamieson and
Worthington, Tony Mr. Don Touhig.

Question accordingly negatived.

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