HC Deb 28 November 2000 vol 357 cc912-35

Commons reasons for insisting on disagreeing to certain Lords amendments and Government amendments in lieu, considered.

10.1 pm

The Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Mr. John Prescott)

I beg to move, That this House insists on its disagreement to Lords amendments Nos. 27 to 29.

Mr. Speaker

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments (a) to (c) in lieu.

Mr. Prescott

I do not know where my opposite number, the hon. Member for Tunbridge Wells (Mr. Norman) is for this debate—perhaps one statement was enough for him today. One might have expected him to attend the debates on either the Countryside and Rights of Way Bill or the Transport Bill—presumably he has responsibility for both—but we shall have to make do with his second in command—[Interruption.] Yes, perhaps he is away—tired, exhausted and unable to deal with the details of this Bill.

When the Transport Bill first returned to the House, my hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Planning gave a full and clear explanation of the Government's reasons for opposing the Lords amendments. I shall not repeat those reasons at length, but I should briefly remind the House of them, particularly as the debate will last only approximately one hour.

First, we do not agree that the public-private partnership needs to be deferred until after the next general election. We made our policy clear before, during and after the previous general election campaign, in which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said that we had to bring together in partnership the public sector and the private sector to give us the infrastructure that we need in the transport system.

A month before the general election, in April, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer made it clear that we would consider National Air Traffic Services for a public-private partnership. We were faced with a situation in which the outgoing Government had already calculated the receipts from a full privatisation of NATS and taken them into account in the subsequent two years' spending plans. All Labour Members fought on that policy at the general election.

Since the general election, we have consulted at great length on the PPP proposal and listened carefully to the replies. All the issues have been debated at length, not least during passage of the Bill in this House and in another place, and in the Select Committees. We remain convinced that the public-private partnership is the right solution for NATS. Indeed, the Bill itself is a better Bill for the discussions, and the changes that they brought about.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)

If my right hon. Friend remains so convinced, why has he been unable to convince the British Air Line Pilots Association?

Mr. Prescott

I think that the only threat to safety comes from the constant visits that my hon. Friend makes to the pilots' cabin during the flight.

Secondly, delays would be damaging—

Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody (Crewe and Nantwich)

Will my right hon. Friend allow me?

Mr. Prescott

No; I have to get—[Horn. MEMBERS: "Give way."] No, I am not giving way.

Mrs. Dunwoody

Will my right hon. Friend allow me?

Mr. Prescott


Hon. Members

Give way.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The right hon. Gentleman does not intend to give way. [Interruption.]

Mr. Prescott

I do not have to, either.

Mr. Speaker

That is the Minister's right.

Mr. Prescott

Delay would be damaging to NATS, to the airlines, to passengers and to this country. There is an urgent need for substantial investment in NATS. We need the two centres, at Swanwick and at Prestwick, and we need them on time. There is also an urgent need for the injection of new project management skills. Everyone who knows about the industry agrees that we need to separate service provision from regulation, and especially safety regulation, as indeed the Transport Sub-Committee recommended—and we adopted its recommendation. I shall now give way to its Chairman.

Mrs. Dunwoody

I am astonishingly honoured. I am overwhelmed—and I am not even French.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I have not chosen to visit any flight decks but that I happen to know that BALPA gave serious evidence to our Committee to the effect that it is strongly convinced that the PPP is not in the interests of air safety? I hope that he will now answer the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell).

Mr. Prescott

I have visited flight decks and found pilots with different views, but also ones with the views expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell). The British Air Line Pilots Association has made it clear that it does not support the proposal. That is a matter of record, both in the Sub-Committee and in the House. BALPA took the same view when British Airways was privatised, but I do not think that it now believes that safety is threatened in a privatised airline. If I am to take account of the vested interests, I must consider how the pilots changed their mind once it became a privatised company.

Perhaps most important, there is an urgent need for certainty. Further delay at this stage would be unfair and damaging to the future of air traffic control.

There is also a constitutional issue. The other House is a revising Chamber and has been very helpful on the Bill, on such matters, for example, as charging utilities companies for street works, concessionary fares for disabled people, and the concept of home zones; but this is the elected House that reflects the will of the people. The Government are an elected Government. The other House should not continue to oppose the declared will of this House, as it is trying to do.

This debate is not only about NATS but about whether the other House can lay down a timetable and conditions concerning legislation passed by this House. I am accountable to this House, as are the whole Government, and if we argue the case and have a proposal endorsed in this House with a strong majority, and if it then keeps coming back from the Lords, who say that they do not oppose the Bill but want to put a timetable on it and lay down the political condition that it should be written into a manifesto, that is a ridiculous position. Are we really saying that the House of Lords should lay down conditions saying what should go into political parties' manifestos? That is a constitutional issue.

A combination of Tory and Liberal Democrat Lords have challenged this House. We listened to their views and disagreed with them, but they continue to oppose the will of this House. Our vote tonight will make it clear that we do not accept the proposition that they should lay down timetables or conditions about legislation that this House has passed.

Mr. Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale, West)

Is it the Deputy Prime Minister's view that, on a free vote, he could carry the business tonight? He talks about the elected will of the House. Will he put the matter to a free vote?

Mr. Prescott

Yes, I believe that we could win such a vote. I think that everyone understands that Governments arrive at their decisions based on the policies that they have agreed, then bring them to the House and have a vote on them. That is precisely what we have done on several occasions both here and in the House of Lords. On some occasions, we have won a substantial majority of the votes. On this issue, we were defeated in the Lords by a majority of only seven. That is not an overwhelming or substantial vote in any circumstances.

It is quite instructive to look at who is supporting the Lords amendments. There are some strange bedfellows. We have noble Lords who want to keep NATS in public ownership, a Conservative party that wants total privatisation of the whole thing, and Liberal Democrats who want something in between—surprise, surprise—but not the PPP.

Opponents of the public-private partnership are much given to playing the safety card. Of course safety is the first priority, and we say so in the Bill. It is simply not true that the private sector is unsafe, and in that regard I have given the example of British Airways. Airlines are strongly in favour of the public-private partnership. Would they support it if they thought that it was unsafe? I do not think that we can honestly say that they would, and a view was expressed about the matter in today's letter to The Times from the chairmen of three major aviation companies.

The hon. Member for North Essex (Mr. Jenkin) told the House on 15 November that he had 100 per cent. faith in the safety regime of NATS. The Conservative peer Baroness O'Cathain said last night that playing the safety card was irresponsible and scaremongering.

I fear that the spectre of the not-for-profit trust will reappear this evening. That issue was dealt with at some length on Report. In that debate, I explained why it was not the right solution for NATS. This House did not support the proposal for a not-for-profit trust, which was also defeated in another place.

The Government still do not support that proposal. Let me be clear: we are not proposing to reopen the nature of the public-private partnership. I am pleased that distinguished members of the Conservative party see the merit in what we propose. Baroness Hogg said in the other place last night that the involvement of a private enterprise in state activities is a plus, and that the public-private partnerships were a manifestation of that involvement. At least she had a clear view—quite different from hon. Members on the Opposition Front Bench in this House.

We recognise that a message underlies the Lords amendments. We have listened to that message, and we have listened to what has been said, in both Chambers, throughout the Bill's passage. We have made a number of adjustments—on safety, pensions and the two-centre strategy. We are proposing to make a further change tonight, but we have held to the public-private partnership because we believe it to be the right solution for NATS.

The amendments that stand in my name are an expression of good intent. We want to make it clear that, if the Bill passes through the House this week, we shall not rush out and select a strategic partner for NATS next week. The amendments are an undertaking that we will take time to conduct the process properly, and that we will work on the detail involved.

We have continued to talk to the staff representatives to address ourselves to their worries. We will offer staff the opportunity to meet potential strategic partners. We will further discuss the circumstances of the 5 per cent. employee share scheme, and we will ensure that both the Civil Aviation Authority and NATS are well organised for their new roles before they are separated.

Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham)

If the Deputy Prime Minister discovers that he cannot satisfy the staff representatives, or many of his own Back-Bench colleagues, will he delay or give up the scheme? Does he realise that it is deeply unpopular with many Labour Members and with most of the staff?

Mr. Prescott

This House has expressed its view on this matter quite clearly. The issue is now not about the purpose of the Bill or about the public-private partnership but about whether the Lords—which is a revising Chamber—is prepared to delay the Bill. As I said before, it is constitutionally unacceptable that it should try to set a timetable for Government legislation and make the condition that any legislation be proposed in a party manifesto.

In this House, we determine opinion through proper debate and a vote. The votes that the Government have won show that we have achieved agreement on this matter in this House.

Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan)

Last night, Lord Macdonald described the proposed three-month delay as a concession. However, the Deputy Prime Minister has said only that the Government will make sure that NATS is ready for a public-private partnership, which I presume would have been the case anyway. Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that the amendment is a concession? if so, what is the concession?

Mr. Prescott

That is understandable, but the House of Lords has returned the Bill with the PPP. In those circumstances, there are matters that representatives and individuals may wish to discuss; for example, the 5 per cent. employee share scheme, in which some trade unions took the view they did not want to be involved. That is an offer to individual employees; perhaps the unions did not feel that they could enter into discussions while there was such controversy as to whether or not we would have a PPP for NATS. I can understand that, and anyone who has been involved in industrial or political matters will know that it is possible that those concerned could want further discussions. The amendments allow us the opportunity to provide three more months to discuss these matters, as well as to ensure that both the Civil Aviation Authority and NATS are well organised for their new roles before they are separated.

These are real issues which we have discussed, and we are prepared, in the circumstances, to give further time to discuss the matter. That is right and proper in view of the history of and opposition to the Bill, and that is what we are offering with the amendments.

The amendments are our promise to the House. I believe that it is right to proceed with care, but I do not believe that it is right for a revising Chamber to delay the PPP until the election, or to reopen the whole question of the nature of the PPP at this stage. Reference has been made in the other place to political shenanigans. Political responsibility, on the other hand, is to decide the right future for NATS, its safe operation, its regulation and its investment, taking the time and trouble to prepare for the future and then making it happen. The Lords amendments are misguided, while the Government's amendments are a reasonable response to any genuine concern.

Mr. Bernard Jenkin (North Essex)

I welcome the Deputy Prime Minister to the debate; we missed him last time. Frankly, our previous discussion was marred by his absence. The Minister for Housing and Planning did his very best, but that is not the same as having the Secretary of State present, as he has been party to the discussions.

We have come rather a long way since our last debate. It is all very well for the Deputy Prime Minister to bluster and fluster about constitutional outrage, but he seems to have conceded the morality of the case by tabling an amendment that accepts the legitimacy of the other place's claim to second-guess the decisions of this House. It was, after all, the Leader of the House of Lords who said that a reformed House was a more legitimate House. I am delighted to see that the Secretary of State is now making gestures in the direction of recognising the reality of the weakness of his case. The upper House has already scored a moral victory.

Why are the Government in this mess over the Bill? It is because their entire legislative programme is in one hell of a mess. They have fallen behind on the timetable of every single Bill, so that not only are they trying to cram consideration of all the Lords amendments on all these Bills into this last week, but this last week itself is a week or two behind time. The Government have run out of time and they have had to take the issue right to the wire.

The Government are also in a mess because they have no mandate for this most controversial policy. A former Labour party chairman, Baroness Jeger, pointed out: Moreover, we had balloons stating, "Our air is not for sale."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 27 November 2000; Vol. 619, c. 1216.] That underlines how deeply misleading Labour has been over this policy. It is therefore entirely legitimate not only for the House of Lords to retire gracefully on things that were in the Government's manifesto, but for it to take a stand against things that before the general election the governing party expressly denied would happen. It is utterly ridiculous for the Government to go into overdrive and claim that they might lose the entire Transport Bill, or have to remove whole chunks of it, or invoke the Parliament Act—as though there were time for that. All that has been bluster, to blind the public to the fact that they are having to climb down.

10.15 pm
Mr. Denis MacShane (Rotherham)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Jenkin

I can never resist the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. MacShane

The hon. Gentleman is, as ever, too kind, too willing and always available. As an expert in bluster, will he answer a factual question? Were the Bill to be passed and were his party to win power again, would he renationalise the national air traffic control system?

Mr. Jenkin

I can tell the hon. Gentleman one thing: our policy on National Air Traffic Services will be in our manifesto, whereas the Labour party's policy was not in the Labour manifesto. Our policy at the previous election was to transfer NATS to a British company with British shareholders, regulating British-controlled air space.

Why are the Government unable to deliver the assurances that they keep making? Can the Minister guarantee that in future the Secretary of State will be able to exercise powers under the golden share? A press release issued by the European Commission shows that it is taking the Government to court over the golden share in British airports because it is now believed that golden shares are illegal under European Union law. How can the hon. Gentleman give any assurance that any of the emergency powers will be exercisable under the legislation?

Why, in this curious botched privatisation, is the economic regulation group of the Civil Aviation Authority asking for cuts in capital investment as a preparation for privatisation? After all, the Government keep saying that the purpose is to increase capital investment rather than to cut it.

Why do the Government insist that they will hold 49 per cent. of the shares, when the key clause in the Bill shows that they could reduce their shareholding to 25 per cent. or less? How many times have we put that point to the Minister, and how many times has he failed to give proper assurances? As we have said before, this is not a straightforward privatisation, but a deal made behind closed doors—a cronies' deal made in smoke-filled rooms.

Crucially, after three and a half years of fiddling around with transport policy and this Bill, what is the reason for this sudden desperate rush, when we can be only a few months away from a general election? The sudden urgency simply does not ring true. It has more to do with the Government's political credibility than with the strength of their case.

The Government have now brought forward a compromise amendment, which is a vindication of the stand taken by the upper House. What does a three-month delay actually mean? Is this a compromise amendment or not? The Secretary of State should tell us. Will it make any difference to what the Government would have done anyway? I think not. The Secretary of State says that this will allow future discussion. Future discussion for whom?

Mr. Prescott

Not you.

Mr. Jenkin

Precisely. The right hon. Gentleman makes the case for me. There will be no future discussion in public—no future discussion with the voters of this country. There will be no chance for the voters to decide whether they support this policy.

We are simply not convinced by the Secretary of State's presentation this evening. He knows in his bones that he has been forced to bring this privatisation to Parliament by the Treasury, against his better judgment. It is a botched privatisation.

Mr. Patrick McLoughlin (West Derbyshire)

Will my hon. Friend remind us who, at the Labour party conference, gave the commitment that the air was not for sale? Was it not the present Chief Secretary to the Treasury? He is not in his place now, but did he not give a commitment to the Labour party that the Government would not do this?

Mr. Jenkin

The ironies are even greater. As the Deputy Prime Minister explained, it was the Chancellor who mumbled behind his hand in the middle of a pre-election crisis that privatisation had not been ruled out. The Treasury has driven this deal, against the better judgment of the Secretary of State, who has become a poodle of the Treasury in the matter.

Mr. Prescott


Mr. Jenkin

The right hon. Gentleman's French might provoke me to a flounce, so I suggest that he control himself.

We will continue to oppose this botched privatisation. We will put our policy on National Air Traffic Services into our manifesto. We will be honest with the British people—unlike this Government.

Dr. Gavin Strang (Edinburgh, East and Musselburgh)

We on the Government Benches have listened carefully to the Deputy Prime Minister's comments on behalf of the Government. We may choose to describe the proposal as a public-private partnership or a partial privatisation, but the Bill provides for a sell-off to the private sector of the bulk of the equity of National Air Traffic Services, and provides explicitly for the national stakeholding to fall to 25 per cent. Indeed, in Committee, it was pointed out that, in exceptional circumstances following that, there

could be complete private flotation if there were a disagreement between the private strategic partner and the Government.

We, as Members of the House of Commons, are making law. We have listened carefully to the Deputy Prime Minister, and I will comment on some of his remarks. We are deciding what will happen to our air traffic control system. The best way in which to oppose the privatisation of our air traffic control system is to vote against the Labour Government tonight.

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Mr. Raynsford

That did not sound very convincing.

Dr. Strang

The Minister should ponder.

The Deputy Prime Minister is, first, seeking to reverse the decision of the House of Lords and, secondly, moving amendments in lieu of the Lords amendments. There are questions about what the amendments mean. I have no doubt that the meetings to which my right hon. Friend referred will be entered into with good intent—that is not in dispute—but that does not affect the decision that we are being asked to take as law makers. That is the issue; that is why we must oppose, first, the proposition to reverse the decision of the House of Lords and, secondly, the proposal for a three-month period. Is it a review? I am not certain. It is therefore clear that if we wish to resist the partial privatisation of our air traffic control system, we must oppose the Government in both Divisions.

I understand the position taken by my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister, but the position established in the other place enables the Government to walk away from this privatisation with dignity. We know that there are excellent policies in the Transport Bill, which must be saved. So I appeal to the Government—this is not a constitutional outrage; I do not think that anybody would now argue that—to accept the will of the House of Lords and to think again.

Mr. Michael Moore (Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale)

This is the third time in a month that this issue has been debated in the House, and the positions are pretty well dug in. The Government's latest move has not changed much, fails to address the issues and so is unlikely to shift opinion, certainly on the Liberal Democrat Benches.

We remain fundamentally opposed to attempts to privatise National Air Traffic Services, as we have been throughout the passage of the Bill. We acknowledge that there is a demand for investment in NATS, and recognise the need to split safety regulation from safety operation, but we do not believe that either of those requires privatisation.

10.30 pm

The Government's central proposition tonight is a three-month delay in implementation of the PPP. That is surely a new and interesting negotiating ploy: "The Opposition ask for six months, we will offer three." The Government are splitting the difference. We have to hope that the current discussions with the private sector partners are a little more sophisticated. We also have to recognise that there is a false premise here. The Opposition seek a delay until after the election, to give the Labour party the opportunity to argue its case to the electorate—something that it has not had to do thus far. The Government's offer is just a cynical manoeuvre.

According to news reports of ministerial comments earlier this evening, the three months is designed to give the Government time to explain more fully their plans. Contrast that statement, Mr. Speaker, with the statement by Lord Macdonald in another place last night. He said that there was a public consultation on our White Paper after we had announced the proposal for the partial sale of NATS in June 1998. A Statement was made following that consultation and there has been a Select Committee inquiry. Therefore, there has been ample time for public scrutiny of the policy and of its detail.—[Official Report, House of Lords, 27 November 2000; Vol. 619, c. 1209.] Of course, he neglected to mention the fact that the Select Committee roundly condemned the proposals.

The three-month compromise is nothing of the kind. It is spin and nothing more. We previously supported a delay until after the election. It is not ideal, for all the reasons that we have set out before, as we would prefer an independent publicly owned corporation or a trust, but it would give us an opportunity to have a proper debate in the country as a whole.

Lord Macdonald also made mention last night of the fact that before the general election, the Prime Minister said in his message to the nation in the 1997 party manifesto: We will search out at every turn new ways and new ideas to tackle the new issues…how to put the public and private sector together in partnership to give us the infrastructure and transport system we need. I would be fascinated to know how many people on the Labour Benches thought that that would mean the privatisation of NATS.

Opinion poll after opinion poll supports the air traffic controllers' and pilots' position of outright opposition to this manoeuvre. If the Government are so confident of their case, why not put it to the test? Instead, we hear threats that investment will be delayed. In particular, the new Scottish centre at Prestwick is in danger.

Let us think of the broader context. How many times have we been told that the Government will spend £180 billion on transport in the next 10 years? Even though it is a wish-list figure, dependent on the private sector, it is an amount that we are supposed to take seriously. Against that figure, the investment in NATS of just over £1 billion in a similar 10-year time frame is a small drop in the ocean. Add the unprecedented health of the public finances that the Chancellor is keen to shout about, and it is no wonder that the public are cynical about the "no investment" threat. The public sector could certainly find the funds, and we believe that it could underwrite this project.

Throughout this process, the Government's approach has depressed everyone who has had to listen to it. Amid all the threats, the complaints of constitutional outrage and the compromises that are not compromises, the Government have made no attempt to tackle the increasing number of question marks over the details of the PPP. There is the new regulatory regime, which NATS itself has said that it could neither accept nor implement, and which the management attack as inappropriate. Separately, there is the lack of additional safety inspectors for the Civil Aviation Authority, and the absence of any request for additional resources to cope with the privatised air traffic control.

How about the conflicts of interest? Lockheed Martin seeks to become the paymaster so that on the Scottish project, and through the privatised NATS, it can claim the money that it has lost at Swanwick and elsewhere.

The public distrust the Government on this subject. Perhaps some of the issues will be addressed in the three months that have been offered to explore the arguments, but the Government have shown no willingness to tackle the major issues in the past, so why should we expect a change now? The three-month compromise is worthless, and the House should reject it.

Mrs. Dunwoody

On the whole, Governments are made up of ordinary human beings who make mistakes. If they are sufficiently adult and sufficiently experienced, they know that they should not stick with their mistakes, and realise that in seeking to persuade the electorate, they do better when they not only say, "We have made a mistake," but admit it to themselves.

The partial privatisation of National Air Traffic Services is a mistake. Air traffic control is a core service for aviation. It cannot easily make a profit. Putting more and more planes into the sky is not an option. Those who seek to buy the assets all have a particular vested interest.

All the agreed bidders have some conflict of interest. Their motive is not that they consider that the scheme will make NATS a much safer or a much better invested or a much higher quality service. They know that it is a high quality service. They know that it could easily raise money on the open market. What they want to do is to protect their own sectional interest.

The national air traffic controllers have spoken not just for themselves, but for the electorate. The electorate do not want partial privatisation. At present, when there is such chaos in transport, people do not want such a development. They know that it will not work and that it will cause enormous difficulty. All the details that have been rehearsed time and again have never been refuted by the Government or by anyone else acting as an apologist.

I believe that my Government should have the courage, the integrity and, above all, the commitment to say, "This is the moment when we are prepared to abandon this ill-fated and very badly thought out scheme. We need to protect the rest of our Transport Bill, but this one bit should be rethought." If, for any reason—I cannot think of any—the Government really believe that they should bring it back, let them put it in their manifesto and let the ordinary electorate decide.

At this moment, let us accept that this ill-fated scheme will not benefit those who work in the industry, those who use the industry, those who care about the industry, or any of us as elected Members. It is not too late. Please let us abandon the scheme now.

Miss Anne McIntosh (Vale of York)

It is a great honour to follow the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody). I shall speak briefly on two points.

Is the Deputy Prime Minister telling the House that whether a political party has a mandate from the people is irrelevant? If that is the case, what purpose is served by an election manifesto? How can the electorate conceive of the Government introducing such a measure, unless that policy was exposed in their election manifesto? [HON. MEMBERS: "Tell us about the poll tax."] The Deputy Prime Minister said that this was a constitutional issue. I believe that the House of Lords has taken a principled stand.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that safety was an issue, but of a lesser order than in the rail industry. Will he explain to the House how it is that his Government have reached a state of near hysteria after two rail disasters? Following privatisation of the rail sector, there was a lower incidence of rail accidents, whereas more people and freight were using the railways. Why do the Government adopt one view on safety on the railways and another view on air safety? I urge the House to support the Lords amendments.

Mr. MacShane

I genuinely did not understand the intervention of the hon. Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh), who seemed to say that she was in favour of privatisation because it led to greater use of a service.

We have a fairly simple set of questions to answer tonight. They are about principle of what form of ownership there should be for an important service, and the problem of air traffic control, which is growing daily. Unlike my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody), I am not here exclusively to plead the cause of the employees of the national air traffic control system. I have to plead the cause of my constituents, who are the consumers and users of it. Then we have the politics of whether it is the House that decides, or whether the genetically modified hereditary peers of another place should pop up and decide to frustrate the will of the House.

Let us start with the principle of ownership. We must find the right form of ownership that delivers a service that is appropriate to the public and the national interest, and also delivers the safety and efficiency that we all desire.

Mr. Jenkin

To ascertain whether there is any consistency in the hon. Gentleman's position, may I ask why it is not thought necessary to privatise the tube to bring in private contractors, but it is thought necessary to privatise NATS to bring in a private contractor?

Mr. MacShane

I leave the occupants of the Opposition Front Bench to speak on that issue at another time.

Central to the debate is the nature of the ownership that is proposed. It is an attractive idea that the employees of National Air Traffic Services should have a stake in the equity, and that they should be direct partners in the ownership of the issue.

Mr. Gordon Prentice (Pendle)

They do not want it.

Mr. MacShane

It is true that their trade union says that they do not want it. However, when there has been a change in the ownership and control of any public service, including the national health service and the schools system, the employees—managers and workers—have

often been opposed to it. If we want—[Interruption.] This is a fundamental point about the direction that Britain takes. If we want—

Mr. Don Foster (Bath)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. MacShane

No; I ask the hon. Gentleman to forgive me. Other hon. Members want to speak. The hon. Gentleman can make his points in due course.

If we want balanced ownership in our society, we must give employees in more and more organisations a chance to take a stake in that ownership.

The second problem is more fundamental, and that is the service that NATS is able to deliver in the context of a European air traffic control system that is becoming the most congested in the world. [Interruption.] The moment I mentioned Europe, Conservative Members groaned collectively. However, this is one issue on which they can align themselves with some Labour Members, because there is not a European element.

I would like British air traffic controllers—I believe from personal experience that they are among the most professional and efficient controllers in the world—to play a direct role in the future development of air traffic control over Europe.

Mr. Foster

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. MacShane

Again, I ask the hon. Gentleman to forgive me.

We cannot run efficient air traffic control in the EU with 15 separate systems. In the wider Europe, we have Switzerland and Norway, for example, as well, and efficiency becomes even less possible. Based on our own experience of air traffic control, Britain should become a leading player in future air traffic control in Europe. I should like to see that, but it will not happen unless we move to a new form of ownership and a new means of securing the necessary investment. I ask all my friends in the unions, the air traffic control system and the British Air Line Pilots Association to consider that—Interruption.

10.45 pm
Mr. Speaker

Order. I expect the hon. Gentleman to get a hearing. Hon. Members may disagree with him, but he is entitled to a hearing.

Mr. MacShane

I am grateful, Mr. Speaker. Like you, I expect, Government Members spent part of their youth talking to the ignorant, the uneducated and the unwashed and brought them to socialism. Slowly, bit by bit, we shall bring the Opposition to a sensible perspective on this matter.

I must part company with my right hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East and Musselburgh (Dr. Strang) on one issue.

Mr. Kevin McNamara (Hull, North)

Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr. MacShane

How can I fail to give way to my hon. Friend?

Mr. McNamara

Is my hon. Friend advocating that, by means of this measure, we fight capitalism with its own tools?

Mr. MacShane

I owe my hon. Friend affection and respect because he has made a better point than he could imagine. If one wants to know one's enemy and trip him up, one should use his techniques.

However, we are discussing a different matter. I do not expect Conservative Members, who are manipulating their ex-hereditaries down the corridor, to worry about the political question, but I ask sensible Liberal Democrat Members to consider it. The hon. Member for Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale (Mr. Moore) said that there had been no discussion of the issue, but it was discussed in my constituency two years ago and has been on the agenda since then. Either Liberal Democrats allow themselves to be the poodles of the House of Lords, or they accept that the democratically elected Chamber, including Opposition Members, has the last word—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. The House must come to order.

Mr. MacShane

I hope that the will of democratically elected Members of Parliament will be expressed tonight, not the will of those who are obsessed with under-age sex and blocking every other progressive measure. To vote with them is to vote with those who voted for every reactionary measure that has been returned to this House in the past two years.

Mr. Salmond

The hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. MacShane) will forgive me if I do not consider myself to have been "brought to socialism" by his contribution.

I shall make some brief points. The comments of the Liberal Democrat spokesman on the three-month period were correct, and I shall take them a little further. Three months takes us to the end of February. The Deputy Prime Minister said that he would prepare the way in that period and discuss things with lots of people. Then, presumably, he has to pilot a very controversial measure through to privatisation in March, April and perhaps even May. I do not believe he will be able to give his full attention to partially privatising air traffic control next March and April. Even with his gossamer touch, that is a particularly bad time to steer through such a controversial measure.

I believe that the Deputy Prime Minister knows that he has lost the argument on legitimacy. The proposal did not appear in the Labour party manifesto. If the public remember anything about the subject, surely they remember the speech of the Labour party's transport spokesman at the 1996 party conference, or the views of a previous Labour Transport Minister, the right hon. Member for Edinburgh, East and Musselburgh (Dr. Strang), who spoke earlier.

The hon. Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh) should remember a certain poll tax, which was imposed in Scotland, and the arguments that her colleagues marshalled to explain why the policy did not appear in the 1983 Conservative party manifesto. Their explanation was that although they had not specifically mentioned the poll tax, someone had said something about opposition to domestic rates. That bore an uncanny resemblance to the Deputy Prime Minister's explanation. He said, "Okay, it wasn't in the manifesto, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in a speech that it might be candidate for partial privatisation." The Deputy Prime Minister knows that Labour voters did not believe that they were voting for partial privatisation at the last general election. I can prove that conclusively.

I called the Labour party many things in the last general election campaign. I assure the Deputy Prime Minister that, if I had believed for a second that the Labour party would partially privatise air traffic control, I would have emphasised that strongly in the 1997 campaign. Whatever else I thought about the Labour party, I believed that even for new Labour, privatising National Air Traffic Services was a privatisation too far.

It is significant that pilots, air traffic controllers and people with expertise in the system oppose partial privatisation. It is also significant that during the by-election for the Scottish Parliament in the constituency of Ayr, which includes the town of Prestwick, no candidate wanted to punt that policy. That includes the Labour party candidate, who wanted to remain as quiet as possible. Surely that was an electoral test, which showed that the policy will not gain ground with voters.

After a lifetime in CND and arguing against nuclear weapons, Neil Kinnock changed his position at the precise moment when the Berlin wall was coming down, eastern Europe was collapsing and the argument for unilateralism had more credibility than ever. Public scepticism about privatisation of infrastructure and utilities is at its highest for 20 years. It is ironic that the Deputy Prime Minister will be remembered as the man who pursued privatisation even to the extent of praying in aid Tory peers at the precise moment when the public realised the weaknesses in the privatisation formula.

Mr. Prescott

Let me make an immediate reference to the comments of the previous speaker, the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond). It is well known in the House that I have advocated public-private partnerships for 10 to 15 years. I am sure that not everybody, including my hon. Friends, agreed with me. However, I held that view; it has not been forced upon me. I believe that that form of financing and organisation can contribute to a better public service. That is the argument that we are holding today. However, it is not the subject that is before the House for debate. The amendments deal with delaying the process for three months or until after the next general election. We can vote only on those amendments.

The hon. Member for North Essex (Mr. Jenkin) claimed that there was no mandate for the public-private partnership. He is right that it does not appear in the manifesto for the last general election. However, there is no doubt that references were made to it, for example in a statement that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was then shadow Chancellor, made at the time.

We made it clear that, to balance public finances correctly and reduce the debt, we would accept the two-year public expenditure programme of the then Government. Of course, there was great anxiety about that. It meant that we had to accept the previous Government's expenditure plans and it was argued that, if the receipts involved in balancing the accounts came from the sale of NATS, there would be a hole in Labour's finances. That was a matter for debate; that is shown in the press reports of the election campaign.

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor made it clear that he would be prepared to consider public-private partnership and the sale of some receipts to make up for the difference in the accounts. The alternative to that would have been to argue for higher taxation. That is the context in which the matter was approached and publicly debated. Frankly, everybody knew that, because they thought it was a difficulty for Labour. We had to argue the case, which is how the policy was born. As to whether it became party policy in the manifesto, may I develop this point?

Dr. Lynne Jones (Birmingham, Selly Oak)

Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Prescott

In a second. We should look to the manifesto argument. As has been pointed out, the poll tax was never in the Tory manifesto, yet the Tories implemented it. The Tory manifesto did not refer to doubling VAT, but the Tories did that. All Governments, including Labour Governments, have introduced a number of measures that were not necessarily in the manifesto. That point has to be taken into account.

Labour Members are accountable to our party and we have to convince the party of that policy. Let me quote from the policy document that was determined this year and confirmed by my party's conference, which therefore makes it party policy: The massive growth in flights places a growing burden on ageing Air Traffic Control equipment. To help improve safety, the Labour government intends to introduce a Public Private Partnership to bring in over £1 billion investment over the next 10 years. That proposal was passed by our policy forum and by the Labour party conference, so we are entitled to call it Labour party policy. That is one way in which we have given serious attention to these matters.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East and Musselburgh (Dr. Strang) made great play of saying that this is the last opportunity to deal with the public-private partnership that he has always, since being out of office, campaigned against. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!] That is the case. As he knows, statements were made to the House that he was improving the PPP, but I have made that point before.

The question whether the proposal is a PPP is not the issue before the House. We are discussing amendments, not legislating on whether to change the PPP. We are deciding whether to delay the decision for three months or wait until after the next election. It is quite wrong, and a constitutional outrage, for the Tories and Liberals in another place to say that we should have to face such conditions. Let us be clear about what the issue is.

As for the Liberal spokesman saying that the debate should be about an independent publicly owned company or a trust, there have been debates in this place and another place. Each time, that idea has been defeated in the vote. I am entitled to say that that is what happens in a representative democracy. People argue their case, take the vote and live with the result. I claim, therefore, that the House and another place have rejected an IPOC and a trust solution. Those are the facts, and people should consider them.

As for the argument about a £180 billion investment in our transport system, the Liberal spokesman rightly pointed out that that has a lot to do with PPPs—a

combination of public money that multiplies private capital to increase investment to a scale never seen before in transport, to deal with the massive disinvestment brought about by the previous Administration.

Mr. Jenkin

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Prescott

I do not have time.

My hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) made the point that Members of the House are ordinary people and, therefore, can make mistakes. I presume that the same logic applies to her Select Committee. I do not suppose that she is extraordinary; I presume that she is ordinary. She may have got it wrong. If the logic applies one way, it applies the other. I say to her that the current system has reduced investment and caused delay in its implementation. The administration is not adequate to meet the requirements of the public sector. The system needs to be changed, and the number of near misses has increased. It is necessary to get the technology to make those improvements.

Mr. Jenkin

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Prescott

No, I am not giving way. There is a shortage of air traffic controllers, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich has referred from time to time. That was brought about by this old system, which we intend to change to make it safer.

Mr. John McDonnell

(Hayes and Harlington)rose

Hon. Members

Give way!

Mr. Prescott

The hon. Member for Vale of York—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. The right hon. Gentleman is not giving way.

Mr. Prescott

I have always believed in and campaigned for—

Mr. McLoughlin

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Deputy Prime Minister says that he cannot give way because he has insufficient time to do so. Can he table a manuscript amendment to give us extra time to discuss this matter?

Mr. Speaker

That is not possible.

Mr. Prescott

Shortage of time has been a difficulty for me in the past 10 days.

11 pm

The hon. Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh) said that she had always wanted operations involved in the provision of services to be separate, but in the case of Railtrack she voted to keep the two elements together, and we are paying the price. In the context of aviation we are separating them, as recommended by the Select Committee. That is right, it is a consistent policy, and it will make the system safer.

The choice that the House must make tonight is not about the PPP, but about whether we should allow three months or act after the election. It is entirely wrong for an unelected House to force a condition on us involving action after the election, and to talk of a manifesto.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 305, Noes 217.

Division No. 359] [11.1 pm
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Ainger, Nick Clelland, David
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Clwyd, Ann
Allen, Graham Coaker, Vernon
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Coffey, Ms Ann
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Coleman, Iain
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Colman, Tony
Ashton, Joe Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Atherton, Ms Candy Cooper, Yvette
Atkins, Charlotte Corbett, Robin
Bailey, Adrian Corston, Jean
Banks, Tony Cousins, Jim
Barron, Kevin Cranston, Ross
Battle, John Crausby, David
Bayley, Hugh Cummings, John
Beard, Nigel Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret (Copeland)
Begg, Miss Anne Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Bennett, Andrew F Darvill, Keith
Benton, Joe Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Bermingham, Gerald Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Berry, Roger Dawson, Hilton
Betts, Clive Denham, John
Blackman, Liz Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Blears, Ms Hazel Donohoe, Brian H
Blizzard, Bob Doran, Frank
Blunkett, Rt Hon David Dowd, Jim
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Drew, David
Borrow, David Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Edwards, Huw
Bradshaw, Ben Ellman, Mrs Louise
Brinton, Mrs Helen Ennis, Jeff
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon Fitzpatrick, Jim
(Dunfermline E) Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) Flint, Caroline
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Flynn, Paul
Browne, Desmond Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Burden, Richard Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Butler, Mrs Christine Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen Foulkes, George
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard Gapes, Mike
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth) Gardiner, Barry
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Gibson, Dr Ian
Campbell-Savours, Dale Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Cann, Jamie Godsiff, Roger
Caplin, Ivor Goggins, Paul
Casale, Roger Golding, Mrs Llin
Cawsey, Ian Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Clark, Dr Lynda Grocott, Bruce
(Edinburgh Pentlands) Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham) Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S) Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Hanson, David
Healey, John Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N) Meale, Alan
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) Merron, Gillian
Hendrick, Mark Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Hepburn, Stephen Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Heppell, John Miller, Andrew
Hesford, Stephen Moffatt, Laura
Hewitt, Ms Patricia Moonie, Dr Lewis
Hill, Keith Moran, Ms Margaret
Hodge, Ms Margaret Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Hoey, Kate Morley, Elliot
Hood, Jimmy Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle
Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey (B'ham Yardley)
Hope, Phil Morris, Rt Hon Sir John
Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E) (Aberavon)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Mullin, Chris
Howells, Dr Kim Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Hoyle, Lindsay Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford) Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Naysmith, Dr Doug
Humble, Mrs Joan Norris, Dan
Hurst, Alan O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Hutton, John O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Iddon, Dr Brian O'Hara, Eddie
Illsley, Eric Olner, Bill
Ingram, Rt Hon Adam O'Neill, Martin
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead) Organ, Mrs Diana
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough) Osborne, Ms Sandra
Jenkins, Brian Palmer, Dr Nick
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle) Pearson, Ian
Johnson, Miss Melanie Pendry, Tom
(Welwyn Hatfield) Pickthall, Colin
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark) Plaskitt, James
Jones, Helen (Warrington N) Pollard, Kerry
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Pond, Chris
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S) Pope, Greg
Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Prescott, Rt Hon John
Keeble, Ms Sally Primarolo, Dawn
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston) Purchase, Ken
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth) Quin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce
Kemp, Fraser Quinn, Lawrie
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree) Radice, Rt Hon Giles
Khabra, Piara S Rammell, Bil
Kidney, David Rapson, Syd
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth) Raynsford, Nick
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green) Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Kumar, Dr Ashok Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Ladyman, Dr Stephen Robertson, John
Lammy, David (Glasgow Anniesland)
Laxton, Bob Roche, Mrs Barbara
Leslie, Christopher Rogers, Allan
Levitt, Tom Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S) Rooney, Terry
Linton, Martin Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C) Roy, Frank
Lock, David Ruane, Chris
Love, Andrew Ruddock, Joan
McAvoy, Thomas Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
McCabe, Steve Ryan, Ms Joan
McDonagh, Siobhain Sarwar, Mohammad
Macdonald, Calum Savidge, Malcolm
McFall, John Sawford, Phil
McIsaac, Shona Sedgemore, Brian
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary Sheerman, Barry
Mackinlay, Andrew Short, Rt Hon Clare
McNulty, Tony Singh, Marsha
MacShane, Denis Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Mactaggart, Fiona Smith, Angela (Basildon)
McWalter, Tony Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Mallaber, Judy Smith, Miss Geraldine
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S) Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury) Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Martlew, Eric Snape, Peter
Maxton, John Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Spellar, John Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Squire, Ms Rachel Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Starke, Dr Phyllis Tynan, Bill
Steinberg, Gerry Vaz, Keith
Stewart, David (Inverness E) Walley, Ms Joan
Stewart, Ian (Eccles) Ward, Ms Claire
Stinchcombe, Paul Watts, David
Stoate, Dr Howard White, Brian
Straw, Rt Hon Jack Whitehead, Dr Alan
Stringer, Graham Wicks, Malcolm
Stuart, Ms Gisela Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Sutcliffe, Gerry Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
(Dewsbury) Wilson, Brian
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S) Woolas, Phil
Temple-Morris, Peter Worthington, Tony
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W) Wray, James
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W) Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Timms, Stephen Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Tipping, Paddy Wyatt, Derek
Todd, Mark
Touhig, Don Tellers for the Ayes:
Trickett, Jon Mrs. Anne McGuire and
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE) Mr. David Jamieson.
Abbott, Ms Diane Curry, Rt Hon David
Allan, Richard Dalyell, Tam
Amess, David Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Davidson, Ian
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Baker, Norman Davis, Rt Hon Terry
Baldry, Tony (B'ham Hodge H)
Ballard, Jackie Day, Stephen
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Dismore, Andrew
Bercow, John Dobbin, Jim
Beresford, Sir Paul Donaldson, Jeffrey
Blunt, Crispin Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Boswell, Tim Duncan, Alan
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Brady, Graham Fabricant, Michael
Brake, Tom Fallon, Michael
Brand, Dr Peter Fearn, Ronnie
Brazier, Julian Field, Rt Hon Frank
Breed, Colin Flight, Howard
Browning, Mrs Angela Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Foster, Don (Bath)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Burnett, John Fox, Dr Liam
Burns, Simon Fraser, Christopher
Burstow, Paul Garnier, Edward
Butterfill, John George, Andrew (St Ives)
Cable, Dr Vincent Gerrard, Neil
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies Gibb, Nick
(NE Fife) Gidley, Sandra
Cash, William Gill, Christopher
Chapman, Sir Sydney Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
(Chipping Barnet) Godman, Dr Norman A
Chaytor, David Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Chidgey, David Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Chope, Christopher Gray, James
Clapham, Michael Green, Damian
Clappison, James Greenway, John
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh) Grieve, Dominic
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Hague, Rt Hon William
Connarty, Michael Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Hammond, Philip
Corbyn, Jeremy Hancock, Mike
Cotter, Brian Harris, Dr Evan
Cran, James Harvey, Nick
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley) Hawkins, Nick
Cryer, John (Homchurch) Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver Rendel, David
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome) Robathan, Andrew
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Hopkins, Kelvin Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Horam, John Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot) Rowlands, Ted
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N) Ruffley, David
Jack, Rt Hon Michael Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Jackson, Robert (Wantage) St Aubyn, Nick
Jenkin, Bernard Salmond, Alex
Jones, Ms Jenny Salter, Martin
(Wolverh'ton SW) Sanders, Adrian
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak) Sayeed, Jonathan
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham) Shaw, Jonathan
Keetch, Paul Shepherd, Richard
Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
(Ross Skye & Inverness W) Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Key, Robert Skinner, Dennis
Kilfoyle, Peter Smith Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Kirkwood, Archy Soames, Nicholas
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Leigh, Edward Spicer, Sir Michael
Lepper, David Spring, Richard
Letwin, Oliver Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E) Steen, Anthony
Lewis, Terry (Worsley) Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Lidington, David Streeter, Gary
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Stunell, Andrew
Livsey, Richard Swayne, Desmond
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham) Syms, Robert
Llwyd, Elfyn Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Loughton, Tim Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Luff, Peter Taylor, John M (Solihull)
McCafferty, Ms Chris Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
McDonnell, John Taylor, Sir Teddy
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
McIntosh, Miss Anne Tonge, Dr Jenny
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew Townend, John
Maclean, Rt Hon David Trend, Michael
McLoughlin, Patrick Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
McNamara, Kevin Tyler, Paul
Madel Sir David Tyrie, Andrew
Mahon, Mrs Alice Vis, Dr Rudi
Maples, John Wareing, Robert N
Marshall-Andrews, Robert Waterson, Nigel
Maude, Rt Hon Francis Webb, Steve
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian Wells, Bowen
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley) Whitney, Sir Raymond
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute) Whittingdale, John
Moore, Michael Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Moss, Malcolm Wilkinson, John
Nicholls, Patrick Willetts, David
Norman, Archie Willis, Phil
Oaten, Mark Wilshire, David
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury) Winnick, David
Öpik, Lembit Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Ottaway, Richard Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Page, Richard Yeo, Tim
Paice, James Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Pickles, Eric
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Tellers for the Noes:
Prior, David Mr. John Randall and
Redwood, Rt Hon John Mr. Peter Atkinson.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Lords amendment disagreed to.

Motion made, and Question put, That amendment (a) in lieu of Lords amendment No. 27 be made.—[Mr. Raynsford.]

The House divided: Ayes 302, Noes 205.

Division No. 360] [11.15 pm
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack
Ainger, Nick (Copeland)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Allen, Graham Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Darvill, Keith
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Ashton, Joe Dawson, Hilton
Atherton, Ms Candy Denham, John
Atkins, Charlotte Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Bailey, Adrian Donohoe, Brian H
Banks, Tony Doran, Frank
Barron, Kevin Dowd, Jim
Battle, John Drew, David
Bayley, Hugh Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Beard, Nigel Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret Edwards, Huw
Begg, Miss Anne Ellman, Mrs Louise
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Ennis, Jeff
Bennett, Andrew F Fitzpatrick, Jim
Benton, Joe Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Bermingham, Gerald Flint, Caroline
Berry, Roger Flynn, Paul
Betts, Clive Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Blackman, Liz Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Blears, Ms Hazel Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Blizzard, Bob Foulkes, George
Blunkett, Rt Hon David Gapes, Mike
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Gardiner, Barry
Borrow, David George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Gibson, Dr Ian
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Bradshaw, Ben Godsiff, Roger
Brinton, Mrs Helen Goggins, Paul
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon Golding, Mrs Llin
(Dunfermline E) Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Browne, Desmond Grocott, Bruce
Burden, Richard Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Butler, Mrs Christine Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard Hanson, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth) Healey, John
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Campbell-Savours, Dale Hendrick, Mark
Cann, Jamie Hepburn, Stephen
Caplin, Ivor Heppell, John
Casale, Roger Hesford, Stephen
Cawsey, Ian Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Hill, Keith
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Hodge, Ms Margaret
Clark, Dr Lynda Hoey, Kate
(Edinburgh Pentlands) Hood, Jimmy
Clark, Paul (Gillingham) Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S) Hope, Phil
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Clelland, David Howells, Dr Kim
Clwyd, Ann Hoyle, Lindsay
Coaker, Vernon Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Coffey, Ms Ann Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Coleman, Iain Humble, Mrs Joan
Colman, Tony Hurst, Alan
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston) Hutton, John
Cooper, Yvette Iddon, Dr Brian
Corbett, Robin Illsley, Eric
Corston, Jean Ingram, Rt Hon Adam
Cousins, Jim Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Cranston, Ross Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Crausby, David Jamieson, David
Cummings, John Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle) Pearson, Ian
Johnson, Miss Melanie Pendry, Tom
(Welwyn Hatfield) Pickthall, Colin
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark) Plaskitt, James
Jones, Helen (Warrington N) Pollard, Kerry
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Pond, Chris
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S) Pope, Greg
Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Prescott, Rt Hon John
Keeble, Ms Sally Primarolo, Dawn
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston) Purchase, Ken
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth) Quin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce
Kemp, Fraser Quinn, Lawrie
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree) Radice, Rt Hon Giles
Khabra, Piara S Rammell, Bill
Kidney, David Rapson, Syd
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth) Raynsford, Nick
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green) Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Kumar, Dr Ashok Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Ladyman, Dr Stephen Robertson, John
Lammy, David (Glasgow Anniesland)
Laxton, Bob Roche, Mrs Barbara
Leslie, Christopher Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Levitt, Tom Rooney, Terry
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S) Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Linton, Martin Roy, Frank
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C) Ruane, Chris
Lock, David Ruddock, Joan
Love, Andrew Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
McAvoy, Thomas Ryan, Ms Joan
McCabe, Steve Sarwar, Mohammad
McDonagh, Siobhain Savidge, Malcolm
Macdonald, Calum Sawford, Phil
McFall, John Sedgemore, Brian
McIsaac, Shona Sheerman, Barry
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary Short, Rt Hon Clare
Mackinlay, Andrew Singh, Marsha
McNulty, Tony Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
MacShane, Denis Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Mactaggart, Fiona Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
McWalter, Tony Smith, Miss Geraldine
Mallaber, Judy (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S) Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury) Snape, Peter
Martlew, Eric Soley, Clive
Maxton, John Southworth, Ms Helen
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael Spellar, John
Meale, Alan Squire, Ms Rachel
Merron, Gillian Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Michael, Rt Hon Alun Steinberg, Gerry
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Miller, Andrew Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Moffatt, Laura Stinchcombe, Paul
Moonie, Dr Lewis Stoate, Dr Howard
Moran, Ms Margaret Stringer, Graham
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N) Stuart, Ms Gisela
Morley, Elliot Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (Dewsbury)
(B'ham Yardley) Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Morris, Rt Hon Sir John Temple-Morris, Peter
(Aberavon) Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Mullin, Chris Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck) Timms, Stephen
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood) Tipping, Paddy
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen) Todd, Mark
Naysmith, Dr Doug Touhig, Don
Norris, Dan Trickett, Jon
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton) Turner, Dennis (Wolverhton SE)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks) Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
O'Hara, Eddie Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Olner, Bill Twigg, Derek (Halton)
O'Neill, Martin Tynan, Bill
Organ, Mrs Diana Vaz, Keith
Osborne, Ms Sandra Walley, Ms Joan
Palmer, Dr Nick Ward, Ms Claire
White, Brian Worthington, Tony
Whitehead, Dr Alan Wray, James
Wicks, Malcolm Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen) Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy) Wyatt, Derek
Wills, Michael Tellers for the Ayes:
Wilson, Brian Mrs. Anne McGuire and
Woolas, Phil Mr. Gerry Sutcliffe.
Abbott, Ms Diane Fearn, Ronnie
Allan, Richard Field, Rt Hon Frank
Amess, David Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Foster, Don (Bath)
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Fox, Dr Liam
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Fraser, Christopher
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Gamier, Edward
Baker, Norman George, Andrew (St Ives)
Baldry, Tony Gerrard, Neil
Ballard, Jackie Gibb, Nick
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Gidley, Sandra
Bercow, John Gill, Christopher
Beresford, Sir Paul Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Blunt, Crispin Godman, Dr Norman A
Boswell, Tim Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia Green, Damian
Brady, Graham Greenway, John
Brake, Tom Grieve, Dominic
Brand, Dr Peter Gummer, Rt Hon John
Brazier, Julian Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Breed, Colin Hammond, Philip
Browning, Mrs Angela Hancock, Mike
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Hams, Dr Evan
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Harvey, Nick
Burnett, John Hawkins, Nick
Burns, Simon Hayes, John
Burstow, Paul Heald, Oliver
Butterfill, John Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Cable, Dr Vincent Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies Hopkins, Kelvin
(NE Fife) Horam, John
Cash, William Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Chapman, Sir Sydney Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
(Chipping Barnet) Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Chaytor, David Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Chidgey, David Jenkin, Bernard
Chope, Christopher Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Clapham, Michael Keetch, Paul
Clappison, James Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh) (Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Key, Robert
Connarty, Michael Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Kirkwood, Archy
Corbyn, Jeremy Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Cotter, Brian Leigh, Edward
Cran, James Lepper, David
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley) Letwin, Oliver
Cryer, John (Hornchurch) Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Dalyell, Tam Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Lidington, David
Davidson, Ian Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Livsey, Richard
Davies, Quentin (Grantham) Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Loughton, Tim
Davis, Rt Hon Terry Luff, Peter
(B'ham Hodge H) McCafferty, Ms Chris
Day, Stephen McDonnell, John
Dobbin, Jim MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Duncan, Alan McIntosh, Miss Anne
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Maclean, Rt Hon David
Fabricant, Michael McLoughlin, Patrick
Fallon, Michael McNamara, Kevin
Madel, Sir David Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Mahon, Mrs Alice Spicer, Sir Michael
Maples, John Spring, Richard
Marshall-Andrews, Robert Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Maude, Rt Hon Francis Steen, Anthony
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
May, Mrs Theresa Stunell, Andrew
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley) Swayne, Desmond
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute) Syms, Robert
Moore, Michael Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Moss, Malcolm Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Nicholls, Patrick Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Norman, Archie Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury) Taylor, Sir Teddy
Öpik, Lembit Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Ottaway, Richard Tonge, Dr Jenny
Page, Richard Townend, John
Paice, James Trend, Michael
Pickles, Eric Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Tyler, Paul
Prior, David Tyrie, Andrew
Randall, John Vis, Dr Rudi
Redwood, Rt Hon John Wareing, Robert N
Rendel, David Waterson, Nigel
Robathan, Andrew Webb, Steve
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry) Wells, Bowen
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne) Whitney, Sir Raymond
Rowlands, Ted Whittingdale, John
Ruffley, David Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Russell, Bob (Colchester) Wilkinson, John
St Aubyn, Nick Willetts, David
Salmond, Alex Willis, Phil
Salter, Martin Wilshire, David
Sanders, Adrian Winnick, David
Sayeed, Jonathan Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Shepherd, Richard Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S) Yeo, Tim
Skinner, Dennis Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent) Tellers for the Noes:
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns) Mr. Keith Simpson and
Soames, Nicholas Mr. James Gray.

Questions accordingly agreed to.

Amendments (b) and (c) in lieu of Lords amendments Nos. 27 to 29 agreed to.

Lords amendments in lieu of Lords amendments No. 31 agreed to.