HC Deb 13 February 2001 vol 363 cc166-81

5. Paragraphs (6) and (7) of Sessional Order A (varying and supplementing programme motions) made by the House on 7th November 2000 shall not apply to proceedings on any programme motion to supplement this order or to vary it in relation to—

  1. (a) proceedings on Consideration of Lords Amendments; or
  2. (b) proceedings on any further messages from the Lords,
and the question on any such motion shall be put forthwith.

The motion proposes that the remaining stages of the Bill be completed in the House today. It is supplemental to the programme motion approved for the Committee stage that finished, as planned, on 8 February.

For most of the time in Committee we had a constructive debate. I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Woking (Mr. Malins) and to my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley, North (Mrs. Adams), who chaired the Committee, and to the Committee's members. We had a very constructive debate about the detail of the Bill, and that debate improved the Bill. The debate in Standing Committee finished on time, with no guillotines imposed, and in fact the Government offered to run longer on one evening than was required. We had constructive discussions and I hope that we can have them again for the rest of today. We have plenty of time between now and 8.15 to conclude the debate.

I commend the motion to the House and hope that we can get on with the debate.

3.52 pm
Mrs. Caroline Spelman (Meriden)

Hon. Members will be familiar with the Government's proposal, which is a device for curtailing debate. However, this motion is an especially bad example, as connoisseurs of such matters among my hon. Friends will agree. This is the mother of Parliaments, and it might be useful if I explained to visitors how the device works and why they should appalled at the way in which the Government want to get their laws and run.

There has been no formal agreement between parties on the decision to complete the Bill's Report stage by 8.15 this evening. We were presented with a fait accompli, and the original deadline was earlier. I cannot believe that a major Bill, the subject of a Labour election manifesto pledge, is to be done and dusted by 9 o'clock tonight so that a second Bill can be considered before 10 pm. That beggars belief, and I hope that visitors to the House will be appalled.

Mr. Nick Hawkins (Surrey Heath)

My hon. Friend is setting out cogently the appalling behaviour of the Government on this Bill, as on so many others. However, there is no time limit on the second Bill to be considered today. Therefore, does she agree that, however much the Government may intend to force things through on a rushed timetable, they may find that things work out very differently?

Mrs. Spelman

I do not think that I need add anything to what my hon. Friend has said. Perhaps his intentions and those of some of my other right hon. and hon. Friends will now be clear.

It was quite unnecessary for the Government to curtail this debate, not least because I believe that the Bill that follows is, on the whole, uncontroversial. However, the haste with which it has been introduced may give my right hon. and hon. Friends a different belief as to its controversial nature.

Mr. Ian Bruce (South Dorset)

I am sure that my hon. Friend will agree that many of the amendments that have been tabled, particularly on Friday, show that the Government have been caught by their own great rush. In effect, some 24 hours after denying that they were going to make changes, the Government have tabled amendments. Surely a bit more lime would allow the Minister to get her Bill into some sort of order.

Mrs. Spelman

I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention. He served on the Standing Committee and was particularly affected by the haste with which the Bill was considered. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to my hon. Friend's work. His knowledge of the internet and the way in which the internet service providers are likely to be affected by the Bill was invaluable. We shall come back to that tonight. I think that all right hon. and hon. Members would benefit from hearing what my hon. Friend has to say on the way new technology will be affected, but of course there is a risk. Curtailing the debate on Report by 8.15 means that we may not even reach that important part of the Bill. That is just one of the problems imposed by the guillotine.

I thought that it might be helpful to right hon. and hon. Members who did not serve on the Standing Committee, those who read Hansard, and visitors listening to the debate if I explained the background to the programme motion. Second Reading took place just over three weeks ago, on 22 January. We had only one week before this important Bill, with substantial implications for many groups in the economy and society, went into Committee. The Committee had to finish its consideration of the Bill by 8 February.

The Minister was kind enough to say that the Opposition's role in Committee had on the whole been constructive and helpful. Of course, we set out to be constructive. However, we had to hurry through some parts of the Bill in Committee and there were casualties, notably new clause 5. It is unfortunate that the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) is not in the Chamber, as he tabled new clause 5 for debate in Committee. As we began to run tight on time on the last agreed Committee sitting, the hon. Gentleman received an undertaking that his new clause would be brought back on Report. I was privy to the discussions that would make that possible, and the intention on both sides of the Committee was that the hon. Gentleman should have the opportunity to bring back his important new clause.

The new clause proposed establishing a new regulatory authority, recommended by the Royal College of Physicians. That recommendation came originally from the Select Committee on Health, no less, and enjoys cross-party support. So it is unfortunate that the unseemly haste with which we had to deal with the Bill in Committee has led to the removal of the opportunity for the hon. Member for Rother Valley to debate his new clause. I should certainly have liked the opportunity to speak on that important new clause, but that, unfortunately, is not to be today.

Mr. John Bercow (Buckingham)

I echo my hon. Friend's tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for South Dorset (Mr. Bruce), who is a truly outstanding technology anorak.

Does my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) agree that it would be particularly unfortunate if, as a consequence of the Government's truncation of debate on Report, four Government amendments in the later groups were not even reached?

Mrs. Spelman

My hon. Friend exactly describes the position. We have no flexibility in this matter; it is clear that the Commons will not be able to complete its deliberations before the Bill has to go to another place. No doubt my hon. Friend's close reading of Hansard led to his deliberate joke about my hon. Friend the Member for South Dorset (Mr. Bruce). For the benefit of hon. Members who did not attend the Standing Committee, the reference to my hon. Friend as an anorak was in no way derogatory—quite the contrary. My hon. Friend brought an anorak bearing the Silk Cut logo to a meeting of the Standing Committee, in order to make the important point that the logos of well-known brands of tobacco are frequently displayed on items of clothing such as anoraks. As the subtlety of that joke might have been lost, I hope that my sharing it with the House has ensured that hon. Members do not miss its full nuances and that they realise that no derogatory intention attaches to the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow).

Mr. Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley)

I declare an interest.

Does my hon. Friend agree that, although the Government think that programming this measure is clever because, in their view, getting legislation through fast is what it is all about, they might end up with quick but not better legislation? Our role as Back Benchers is to scrutinise legislation, but the Government are preventing us from doing so.

Mrs. Spelman

I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention. I do not agree with him that the Government are being clever; it is arrogant to try to race a piece of legislation through the House just because they have a large majority. The Government are simply having their own way.

It is important to point out that the mechanics of opposition cannot be effective if the normal tools that the official Opposition need to do our job are not at our disposal. For example, the Committee stage of the Bill ended at 5 o'clock last Thursday; amendments for Report had to be tabled by 2.30 on Friday, but Hansard was not available in time for us to check exactly what the Government had agreed to reconsider during Report.

Mr. Hawkins

My hon. Friend may not have considered a further point that arises from the Government's appalling use of this new programming arrangement. In the past, as my hon. Friend and other hon. Members know, those of us serving on Bill Standing Committees were normally able to get into the meat of the Bill on Report and debate it as soon as Question Time finished, or after discussion of a 10-minute Bill, such as the excellent one introduced today by my hon. Friend the Member for North Norfolk (Mr. Prior). Under the current arrangements, we spend the whole of the first three-quarters of an hour discussing the evils of programming, and those of us who want to criticise a bad Bill that is unready for the statute book are unable to do so. We can raise only issues on programming. That is yet another negation of democracy by this appalling Government.

Mrs. Spelman

My hon. Friend makes a valid point. Connoisseurs of debates on programme motions will realise that it must be patently obvious to the Government that such debates are not a good use of parliamentary time. However, we should make it clear to occasional visitors to the House that, almost daily, the Opposition have to fight the same issue over and over again. We have to spend 45 minutes of a restricted period fighting for freedoms that are part of the democracy of this country—the ability properly to scrutinise legislation and to ensure that the best possible job is done—[Interruption.] We have been restricted in so doing. As I pointed out during the debate on the programme motion that followed Second Reading, I sincerely hope that the Leader of the House will review the effectiveness of the Government's decision to change parliamentary procedure in that way—it is seriously flawed.

Mr. Bercow

My hon. Friend may not heard the observation made by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Garston (Maria Eagle) from a sedentary position—that we were not obliged to spend 45 minutes debating the timetable motion, but that we chose to do so. Does my hon. Friend agree that, if we did not do so, right hon. and hon. Labour Members would be the first to cite that as proof that we had no legitimate objections to the truncation of debate—when in fact we do, and they are numerous?

Mrs. Spelman

My hon. Friend makes the point very well. Lest he should be disturbed by sedentary interventions from Labour Members, I must warn him that we must be prepared for quite a few of them during the debate. That was certainly my experience in the Standing Committee, and that feature of our debates in Committee is well recorded in Hansard.

It is also important that, whereas by convention, a decent period is allowed to elapse between the end of a Bill's consideration in Committee and its Report and Third Reading, Opposition Members have, in effect, had one weekend. That is, frankly, next to useless in terms of contacting the business community, which will be seriously affected by the Bill. Weekends are, to all intents and purposes, dead time for business, and with so little time to talk to those who will be directly affected, it has not been easy for the Opposition to prepare themselves for the debates on Report.

Mr. Ian Bruce

Did my hon. Friend share my experience—that members of the Standing Committee regularly received representations from organisations outside the House a day or two after we had discussed the relevant matters, so that those organisations have not had the chance to get their points of view across and we have not had the opportunity to consider them?

Mrs. Spelman

My hon. Friend makes a practical point, not unrelated to the disruption to some of the distribution services caused by the disintegration of our transport system—so much for the Government's integrated transport strategy. An impact of the disintegration of their transport strategy is that we can no longer rely on the post arriving on time. I certainly found myself similarly badly affected by the late arrival of important documents that would have supported our views at different stages of the Bill's progress.

In practical terms, when we arrived back from our constituencies yesterday, no fewer than 11 starred amendments had been tabled under the signature of the Secretary of State for Health. If any further proof were required of the disadvantages of rushing the Bill, that is clear evidence that the Government are rushing their own business. Many of those starred amendments address genuine issues of importance raised in Committee, so they were of great significance to us in preparing our response on Report; but virtually no time was left for us properly to consider their importance.

Mr. Douglas Hogg (Sleaford and North Hykeham)

The fact that those amendments are starred will mean that interested external groups will not be able to comment on them, so any anxiety that they express will have to be addressed in the other place. That is profoundly unsatisfactory.

Mrs. Spelman

My right hon. and learned Friend should be aware of the danger of assuming that there might be time in another place to scrutinise the Bill properly. I understand that, of the two health Bills that were considered simultaneously in Committee, the Health and Social Care Bill, which will be considered in the Chamber tomorrow, will take precedence in another place, thus placing this Bill in a risky position if the Government go to the country early, which we understand is becoming increasingly possible.

Without in any way wishing to criticise the good offices of the House and the work of the Clerks, I wanted to draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the fact that the selection of amendments was not known until after the vote at 7 o'clock yesterday evening. That certainly makes the work of the Opposition extremely difficult. By that time, all the businesses that might have wished to communicate with us about the choice of matters to be discussed today had all gone home, as regular business hours were over.

I should like to stress that in the rush, not surprisingly, some typographical mistakes have been made. I draw hon. Members' attention to the fact that amendment No. 13 should refer to clause 2(4), but it has unfortunately slipped through with a typographical error. That is what happens when we have to rush through legislation in this way.

There has been little chance properly to consult the people and organisations who will be affected. I was in the Library at 7.30 this morning because that was the only way I could catch up on the work and with the business community, which keeps different hours from the House's. That is not a good way to operate. It makes a mockery of the empty words about modernising the workings of the House and of the Government's attempts to introduce a family-friendly policy and transparent government.

The brutal truth is that the Government, who have a huge majority, want their Bill now, for their convenience, because of the imminent general election. They want to be able to tick the box of an election pledge and say that it was done, irrespective of whether the Bill is correct, has the right tools to be effective or deals justly with the people affected. They have not considered whether Labour Members might have something to say on the matter, perhaps to improve or enhance the Bill's effectiveness. They are simply impatient and want their ill-prepared and ill-thought-out Bill now—but unfortunately, it will not be properly scrutinised by the Chamber.

A report that was mentioned for the first time on "Newsnight" last night highlights the fact that adult smoking is rising for the first time in 30 years, according to Department of Health figures. The BBC News Online service, which also carried the story, says that that increase is thought to be a result of the high number of teenagers who took up smoking in the early 1990s. In light of that fact, it is important that we undertake proper scrutiny. We were at pains to point out on Second Reading that we strongly suspect that one of the main factors fuelling the increase in smoking—and we share the Government's interest in trying to reduce it—is the flood of illegally imported tobacco to this country. The Bill will do nothing about that. We seriously doubt its effectiveness unless the illegally imported tobacco floodgates are closed.

Another disturbing report is on students who are paid £25 an hour to smoke a brand of cigarettes in a pub, cafe or cinema. That is not advertising in the strictest sense—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Lady's comments have nothing to do with the programme motion.

Mrs. Spelman

I am happy to return to the programme motion; I was merely explaining that the debate's curtailment and the terms of reference that the Government have chosen to constrain this important subject mean that the Bill will miss the mark and we will not have time to get down to the real issues. The Government will get their way and imperfect legislation will be passed. We have been deprived of the tools and time to do a far better job.

4.13 pm
Sir Peter Emery (East Devon)

The motion is not a programming motion; it is a guillotine. The programme motions for Committees can properly be described as such, but this motion has nothing to do with Committees. It provides a guillotine to deal with Report and Third Reading, and a guillotine motion is usually moved by the Leader of the House. It is not left—I do not mean to be unkind—to a junior Minister. It is wrong that she should face such a problem.

I am in favour of the Bill. I am also in favour of the modernisation of procedure, but the Government are making a mockery of the Modernisation Committee's intentions. They have also tabled a motion that means that debate can continue until any hour—perhaps 2, 3 or 4 in the morning—on a matter that is not of such importance. There is thus no reason why they should have limited the time that might be needed to deal with the host of amendments that have been tabled.

How will the Under-Secretary ensure that the Government amendments are carried? Most guillotine motions state that Government amendments will be taken at the end of the timed proceedings, but I see nothing in this motion that will allow that to happen. Presumably if the proceedings carry on until the time limit, the Government amendments will fall. Is that the case? If so, surely it is wrong. Not only are we right to say that the Bill will not be properly debated, but there will not be enough time for Government amendments to be debated and decided on. That makes a mockery of the procedure for Report stage and Third Reading.

Why are the Government doing this? I have the answer: it is intended to allow Labour Back Benchers to leave at 10 o'clock. That does not permit the proper scrutiny of legislation, and those of us who have been in this place for some time condemn absolutely the way in which the Government are trying to cut short proper debate on amendments on Report. I hope that we can ensure that it does not happen again. When those who are in favour of a Bill have to get up and complain that the Government's arrangements for debating that Bill are nonsense, there is something very wrong with the procedure in the House.

I am very sorry that the Under-Secretary has to sit there and take this criticism, which ought to be directed at the Chief Whip or the Leader of the House. It was they who decided on this procedure, not the poor Under-Secretary, so I hope that she will forgive me. None the less, she is the face of the Government on the Front Bench today and she must take this criticism.

Mr. Ian Bruce

I do not know whether my right hon. Friend realises that another precedent is being set today, but this is a Department of Trade and Industry Bill, not a Department of Health Bill, and it does not deal with issues on which the Under-Secretary is an expert. She has been hung out to dry by the Government, which is a shame for her future career.

Sir Peter Emery

I am very sorry for that. The hon. Lady is a very pretty thing to hang out to dry, and I do not mind being sexist in saying so. I agree entirely with my hon. Friend. She and the duty Whip should acknowledge that the Government's attempts at modernisation—I am a member of the Modernisation Committee who has tried to assist in that process— are backfiring because of their inefficiency and maladministration, and we should condemn that absolutely.

4.18 pm
Mr. Douglas Hogg (Sleaford and North Hykeham)

I am afraid that this is not the first time that I have had to speak on a programme motion, nor will it be the last. I have spoken on six or seven such motions since the beginning of the Session, and my purpose is to oppose them whenever I have the opportunity. I do not conceal from you, Mr. Speaker, the fact that some of what I shall say I have said before. The problem is that if we do not repeat our objections, right hon. and hon. Members may lose sight of the evil associated with these motions.

Let us be clear: this is a wholly arbitrary motion. The Report stage is to conclude at 8.15 and Third Reading is to conclude at 9 o'clock. There has been no discussion about that between Members who represent different parties; it is an arbitrary decision by the Government. They are determining the amount of time that is to be spent on this motion. That in itself is sufficient condemnation.

Let me make a point, which I have probably made four or five times before, about respect for legislation. A political society is based on a somewhat fragile compromise, one element of which is the belief on the part of the electorate that their elected representatives have properly scrutinised a Bill—or, to put it differently, have had the opportunity properly to scrutinise a Bill. Once a process is established that prevents that from happening, the implicit bargain that supports the legitimacy of what we do is destroyed. With these programme motions, we are undermining respect for democracy, because we are disenabling ourselves from scrutinising Bills properly.

My hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) made the point, rightly, that several of the amendments have been brought late to the House's attention. That has certain consequences, the first of which is that those outside the House who have an interest in the Bill do not have an opportunity to express their views to right hon. and hon. Members or to the Government. That is had enough in itself, but it means that if those views are heard favourably by the Government or anyone else, the resulting amendments will have to be made in the other place. However, if amendments are made in the other place and we want to change them—as we, the elected Chamber, are entitled to do—we may well not have the opportunity to do so because the amendments from the other place will come to this Chamber on another timetable motion and, lo and behold, we shall find ourselves deprived of an opportunity to consider them. That is to make a mockery of the processes of a democracy.

Sir Peter Emery

The Government made it clear when introducing these procedures that they would ensure that all amendments and all parts of a Bill could be debated. I do not know whether that was done in Committee, but when a host of new amendments is introduced on Report and proper time is not given, the Government are falling down on the undertaking that they gave when they introduced the system.

Mr. Hogg

I am bound to say that the fact that the Government are falling down on their undertakings causes me no surprise. When they start to adhere to undertakings, I shall be surprised. My right hon. Friend makes an important point. He is right to say that new amendments will not be properly debated. If he followed my argument, as I know he did, about amendments being made in the other place and coming back to the House on a timetable, he will realise that they may never be debated at all by the House. By any standard, that is a disgrace.

From time to time, Ministers tell the House that their new clauses and amendments are but a reflection of discussions in Committee. They often say that and I have heard it many times. However, that is to miss the point, which is that Report stage is the first and only occasion on which the Chamber as a whole has an opportunity to scrutinise the detail of any part of a Bill. If the Report stage is truncated, it prevents those right hon. and hon. Members who did not serve on the Standing Committee from making a constructive contribution to the Bill.

Mr. Christopher Chope (Christchurch)

Will my right hon. and learned Friend address his remarks to the Government amendment that would increase the penalties under the Bill from a maximum of three months' imprisonment to a maximum of two years' imprisonment? That amendment was tabled—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is trying to debate the Bill, but we are debating a programme motion.

Mr. Hogg

I shall not, of course, address the merits of the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Mr. Chope), but it is relevant to the programme motion to state that a great extension in the penal powers contained in the Bill is likely to be passed by the House without discussion, and that cannot be right.

Mr. Dale Campbell-Savours (Workington)

So that everyone outside the House understands what is happening, I put the same question to the right hon. and learned Gentleman as I did the other week. Has he ever voted in favour of a guillotine? The answer is yes or no. As a Minister, has he ever had to preside over a guillotine from within his Department—again, yes or no?

Mr. Hogg

The answer is that I have voted for guillotines. I was a Minister for 13 years, so I know all about the conduct of Bills. Of course I have voted for guillotines.

I remind the hon. Gentleman that when the Conservative Government were dealing with the consideration of Bills in Committee, our practice was not to impose a timetable motion until at least 100 hours had passed. We never programmed in advance. I do not remember as a Minister, although I may have done so, seeking to programme consideration on Report when there was no evidence that Members were seeking artificially to extend debate.

Mr. Bercow

My right hon. and learned Friend has an admirable memory. Does he recall the occasion upon which my right hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Maclean) made precisely the same point? He told the House that, if as a Minister he had approached the Patronage Secretary to seek agreement on a speedy conclusion of business before 100 hours of consideration had taken place in Committee, he would have been sent away with a flea in his ear.

Mr. Hogg

If I had been the Minister responsible for the Bill in question, I would not have done that. I had too high a respect for the proprieties of Parliament. I remember consideration of the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, which went right through the night. The hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) may remember the occasion. There were so many Divisions that Members were asked, when Divisions were called, to rise in their places. I believe that there were 57 Divisions. We never tried to guillotine that debate or to subject it to artificial constraint. We put up with the consequences.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

There is another question that demands a similar answer—yes or no. Did the right hon. and learned Gentleman ever vote for a motion on a guillotine following fewer than 100 hours of debate on a Bill?

Mr. Hogg

I cannot give a categorical answer. I was a Minister for 13 years, and I do not want to deceive the House. However, I can say with certainty that it was the Conservative Government's practice to allow consideration of 100 hours or more in Committee. I am not excluding the possibility that there might occasionally have been slightly fewer hours than that. However, in broad terms, 100 hours was a fair benchmark.

Programme motions are now being tabled in advance when there is no evidence that the debate will be artificially extended.

Mr. Evans

Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that many people will wonder when the Government say, "We do not have the time"? We are about to go into yet another five-day break, a so-called half term, when we would be prepared to scrutinise legislation. The half term follows one of the lengthiest summer recesses that we have ever had. We have ample time to scrutinise legislation. There is nothing sacrosanct about the 10 pm cut-off. Many of us are prepared to go beyond 10 pm, if necessary, to improve legislation.

Mr. Hogg

I agree with that. My hon. Friend makes some important points. I am not in favour of legislating late into the night, but in the context of this place, I think that it is tolerable and proper to legislate between 10 pm and midnight. Thereafter, it is undesirable.

A problem that has arisen is that the volume of legislation that the Government are seeking to put through Parliament cramps the scrutiny of Bills. It is not a sign of parliamentary virility to pass Bills; usually, the fewer Bills the better. Parliamentarians would do well not to remove the checks and balances within the constitution that reduce the ability of government to legislate. We should stand by the checks and balances, and not dismantle them.

I wish to make one more substantive point.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Keep it going.

Mr. Hogg

If the hon. Gentleman wishes to intervene, I shall give way. Does he?

Mr. Campbell-Savours

indicated dissent.

Mr. Hogg

Very well, I shall continue.

A Bill's Report stage is an important occasion on which Members can come to the House and, in the context of a group of amendments, say that a certain concern is troubling them. They can articulate their constituents' anxieties, and say that they have discovered problems of which the House should be aware. The effect of a guillotine—which is what the motion is—prevents Members from coming to the House for that purpose. Indeed, one explanation for the empty Government Benches is that the Government Whips have made it plain to Government Members that contributions will not be welcome. That is a denial of democracy.

Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)

We can debate the pros and cons of programme motions for a long time to come. I suspect that when the Tories have a majority in the House of Commons, whenever that may be, there will not be much change from what is happening now. However, we shall see in due course.

Did the right hon. and learned Gentleman not put his finger on the issue when he said that he did not like too much legislation? I suspect that the reason why he is protesting now has less to do with the programme motion—I can understand opposition to that—than with the fact that the content of what we are to debate does not meet with his approval. By contrast, Government Members want to get such measures through as quickly as possible.

Mr. Hogg

I shall make two points in reply. First, when we get back into power—which we shall—my hon. Friends will find that if such programme motions are introduced, I shall speak against them as often and vigorously as I do now. Secondly, I am not against the Bill. I am flattered that the hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) is seeking to listen to me. Broadly speaking, I am in favour of the Bill. I know that my hon. Friends wish to speak in this debate, so I shall sit down. However, I am strongly against the motion.

4.32 pm
Mr. John Bercow (Buckingham)

This is a pitiful and damnable motion and I am mightily relieved that Her Majesty's official Opposition intend to oppose it. I do not mind vouchsafing that, as a shadow Home Office Minister, I am not obliged to vote for this ghastly measure. Indeed, it is unfortunate that I do not have the opportunity or entitlement, apparently, as a member of the Conservative Front Bench, to vote against it.

However, I was heartened by what my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) said on the subject. I am bound to reiterate the eloquent point made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) a few moments ago: the Government have a regrettable tendency to behave as though detailed consideration in Committee suffices, and to believe that, as a consequence of that consideration by fewer than 25 Members, there is no need to detain the House long on Report and Third Reading.

That is a novel and, if I may so, obnoxious constitutional doctrine, which is certainly not acceptable to me. Right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House who either have strong views about the principle of the Bill that they wish to develop on Third Reading, or want to table or speak to amendments and new clauses on particular details, should have every opportunity to do so.

Mr. David Taylor (North-West Leicestershire)


Mr. Bercow

The hon. Gentleman is becoming itchy, so I shall give way.

Mr. Taylor

In his earlier comments, the hon. Gentleman seemed to suggest that he feels unable to vote against the programme motion. Surely such a well known pillar of integrity as himself is not selling his independence for the mess of pottage that is office in the next Conservative Government, which will be elected in about 2035?

Mr. Bercow

That is a nice try but, unfortunately, the hon. Gentleman misheard and got it wrong, which is not uncommon in the House. Let me make it clear beyond peradventure that I certainly intend to vote against this ghastly, risible, damnable programme motion. I was referring to the Bill itself a few moments ago.

Mr. Winnick


Mr. Bercow

No, I shall not give way to the hon. Gentleman, as that is invariably a fruitless expenditure of time. He is right only very occasionally, and almost always by accident.

I have two final points to make as I approach my conclusion. First, some of us, at least on the Opposition Benches, strongly subscribe to the doctrine of the American commentator, Walter Lipman, that in a free society, the state does not administer the affairs of men—and women, he ought to have said—it administers justice among men, and women, who conduct their own affairs. The Bill flies in the face of that doctrine. It is precisely because it is a nannying, molly-coddling, interfering, bureaucratic, bossy measure that we should have adequate time fully to debate it.

Secondly, to be obliged to debate 50 new clauses and amendments with an average allocation of four minutes for each is unacceptable. It is characteristic of the arrogance, disdain and contempt with which the Government treat the House. We should rightly vote against the motion.

(It being forty-five minutes after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Order [7 November 2000].)

The House divided: Ayes 290, Noes 172.

Division No. 117] [4.35 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Denham, Rt Hon John
Ainger, Nick Dobbin, Jim
Allen, Graham Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Anderson, Rt Hon Donald (Swansea E) Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Dowd, Jim
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Drew, David
Ashton, Joe Drown, Ms Julia
Atkins, Charlotte Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Austin, John Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Bailey, Adrian Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Banks, Tony Edwards, Huw
Barnes, Harry Efford, Clive
Barron, Kevin Ellman, Mrs Louise
Battle, John Ennis, Jeff
Bayley, Hugh Etherington, Bill
Begg, Miss Anne Field, Rt Hon Frank
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough) Fitzpatrick, Jim
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield) Flint, Caroline
Bennett, Andrew F Flynn, Paul
Benton, Joe Follett, Barbara
Berry, Roger Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Best, Harold Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Betts, Clive Gapes, Mike
Blackman, Liz Gerrard, Neil
Blears, Ms Hazel Gibson, Dr Ian
Blizzard, Bob Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Blunkett, Rt Hon David Godman, Dr Norman A
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Goggins, Paul
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Golding, Mrs Llin
Bradshaw, Ben Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Brinton, Mrs Helen Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Browne, Desmond Grocott, Bruce
Burgon, Colin Grogan, John
Butler, Mrs Christine Gunnell, John
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen Hain, Peter
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Hanson, David
Campbell-Savours, Dale Healey, John
Caplin, Ivor Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Caton, Martin Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Cawsey, Ian Hendrick, Mark
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Hepburn, Stephen
Chaytor, David Heppell, John
Clapham, Michael Hesford, Stephen
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Hill, Keith
Clark, Paul (Gillingham) Hinchliffe, David
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S) Hodge, Ms Margaret
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Hoey, Kate
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Hood, Jimmy
Coaker, Vernon Hopkins, Kelvin
Coffey, Ms Ann Howells, Dr Kim
Cohen, Harry Hoyle, Lindsay
Colman, Tony Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Connarty, Michael Humble, Mrs Joan
Cooper, Yvette Hurst, Alan
Corbett, Robin Hutton, John
Cousins, Jim Illsley, Eric
Cox, Tom Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Cranston, Ross Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Crausby, David Jamieson, David
Cryer, John (Hornchurch) Jenkins, Brian
Cummings, John Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland) Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Dalyell, Tam Jones, Ms Jenny (Wolverh'ton SW)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H) Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa
Joyce, Eric
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Primarolo, Dawn
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston) Prosser, Gwyn
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth) Purchase, Ken
Kelly, Ms Ruth Quin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce
Kemp, Fraser Quinn, Lawrie
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree) Radice, Rt Hon Giles
Kilfoyle, Peter Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Ladyman, Dr Stephen Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie Roche, Mrs Barbara
Laxton, Bob Rogers, Allan
Lepper, David Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Leslie, Christopher Rooney, Terry
Levitt, Tom Ross, Emie (Dundee W)
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S) Rowlands, Ted
Linton, Martin Ruane, Chris
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C) Ruddock, Joan
Lock, David Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Love, Andrew Ryan, Ms Joan
McAvoy, Thomas Salter, Martin
McDonagh, Siobhain Sarwar, Monammad
Macdonald, Calum Savidge, Malcolm
McDonnell, John Sedgemore, Brian
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
McFall, John Shipley, Ms Debra
McGuire, Mrs Anne Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
McIsaac, Shona Singh, Marsha
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary Skinner, Dennis
Mackinlay, Andrew Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
McNamara, Kevin Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Mactaggart, Fiona Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S) Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Soley, Clive
Martlew, Eric Southworth, Ms Helen
Maxton, John Spellar, John
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael Squire, Ms Rachel
Merron, Gillian Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Michael, Rt Hon Alun Steinberg, Gerry
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley) Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Moffatt, Laura Stoate, Dr Howard
Moonie, Dr Lewis Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Moran, Ms Margaret stuart, Ms Gisela
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N) Sutcliffe, Gerry
Morley, Elliot Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Morris, Rt Hon Sir John (Aberavon) Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie Tipping, Paddy
Mudie, George Touhig, Don
Mullin, Chris Trickett, Jon
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck) Truswell, Paul
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen) Turner, Dennnis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Naysmith, Dr Doug Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton) Turner, Neil (Wigan)
O'Brien Mike (N Warks) Twigg, Derek (Halton)
O'Hara, Eddie Twigg, Stephen(Enfield)
Olner, Bill Tynan, Bill
O'Neil1, Martin Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Osborne, Ms Sandra Wareing, Robert N
Palmer, Dr Nick Watts, David
Pearson, Ian White, Brian
Pendry, Rt Hon Tom Whitehead, Dr Alan
Pickthall, Colin Wicks, Malcolm
Pike, Peter L Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Pound, Stephen Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Powell, Sir Raymond Winnick, David
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E) Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Wood, Mike
Woodward, Shaun Tellers for the Ayes:
Woolas, Phil
Wray, James Mr. David Clelland and
Wright, Tony (Cannock) Mr. Kevin Hughes.
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Allan, Richard Hammond, Philip
Amess, David Hancock, Mike
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Harris, Dr Evan
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy Harvey, Nick
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Hawkins, Nick
Baker, Norman Hayes, John
Baldry, Tony Heald, Oliver
Beggs, Roy Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Beith, Rt Hon A J Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Bercow, John Horam, John
Beresford, Sir Paul Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Blunt, Crispin Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Body, Sir Richard Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Boswell, Tim Hunter, Andrew
Bottornley, Peter (Worthing W) Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Brady, Graham Jenkin, Bernard
Brake, Tom Johnson Smith, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Brand, Dr Peter
Breed, Colin Keetch, Paul
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Key, Robert
Browning, Mrs Angela King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Kirkwood, Archy
Burnett, John Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Burns, Simon Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Burstow, Paul Lansley, Andrew
Butterfill, John Leigh, Edward
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife) Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lidington, David
Cash, William Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet) Livsey, Richard
Llwyd, Elfyn
Chidgey, David Loughton, Tim
Chope, Christopher Luff, Peter
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Collins, Tim Maclean, Rt Hon David
Cormack, Sir Patrick McLoughlin, Patrick
Cotter, Brian Madel, Sir David
Cran, James Maples, John
Cunningham, Ms Roseanna (Perth) Mates, Michael
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Davies, Quentin (Grantham) Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Moore, Michael
Day, Stephen Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Donaldson, Jeffrey Moss, Malcolm
Duncan, Alan Nicholls, Patrick
Ernery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Norman, Archie
Evans, Nigel O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Faber, David Öpik, Lembit
Fabricant, Michael Ottaway, Richard
Feam, Ronnie Page, Richard
Flight, Howard Paice, James
Forth, Rt Hon Eric Paisley, Rev Ian
Foster, Don (Bath) Pickles, Eric
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Fox, Dr Liam Prior, David
Garnier, Edward Redwood, Rt Hon John
George, Andrew (St Ives) Rendel, David
Gibb, Nick Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Gidley, Sandra Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Gill, Christopher Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Greenway, John Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Grieve, Dominic Ruffley, David
Gummer, Rt Hon John Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Hague, Rt Hon William St Aubyn, Nick
Sanders, Adrian Trend, Michael
Sayeed, Jonathan Tyler, Paul
Shepherd, Richard Viggers, Peter
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk) Walter, Robert
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns) Waterson, Nigel
Soames, Nicholas Webb, Steve
Spelman, Mrs Caroline Whitney, Sir Raymond
Spring, Richard Whittingdale, John
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Steen, Anthony Wilkinson, John
Stunell, Andrew Willetts, David
Swayne, Desmond Willis, Phil
Wilshire, David
Syms, Robert Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Tapsell, Sir Peter Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton) Yeo, Tim
Taylor, Rt Hon John D (Strangford) Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro) Tellers for the Noes:
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion) Mr. James Gray and
Tredinnick, David Mr. John Randall.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Ordered, That the following provisions shall apply to the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill for the purpose of supplementing the Order of 22nd January: