HC Deb 27 February 2001 vol 363 cc825-47

Order for Third Reading read.

10.39 pm
Mr. Mike O'Brien

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Mr. Hogg

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As you will know, 11 groups of amendments were before the House and it debated only two of them, which means that nine groups were either largely undiscussed or not discussed at all. Under the programme motion, I know that you, Mr. Speaker, must proceed to Third Reading, but it is within your discretion formally to inform the Lord Chancellor that this House has not properly or fully debated the Bill. I respectfully ask you to do that.

Mr. Speaker

I have no responsibility to do that, and I will not be doing so.

Mr. Michael

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. It should be pointed out for the record and for the benefit of their lordships that, in the debates in Committee and in the House today, those who are opposed to the Bill in principle have sought to talk at great length and with minimal content rather than debate the Bill properly. The Bill's opponents are entirely responsible for ensuring that the debates have not been as full as they might have been.

Mr. Speaker

We have Hansard as a record of our proceedings, and the other place can draw its own conclusions.

Mr. O'Brien

In commending the Bill to the House for its Third Reading, I am pleased to say that the Government have achieved their objective in promoting it. By that, I do not mean that we, as a Government, are necessarily pleased that the House has decided to adopt the option that would ban most hunting. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary might have his own views on that. However, as he explained when he opened the Second Reading debate just before Christmas, our aim was to enable the issue of hunting with dogs to be resolved. The House has now taken a clear view on how it wants to proceed, and I expect that view to be strongly endorsed once more if anyone decides to divide the House at the end of this debate. We have moved closer to a resolution of this long drawn out and contentious matter.

It has always been clear to us as a Government that it would be difficult to resolve the issue of hunting through the private Member's route. Private Members' Bills work best when there is general agreement that the policy to which they give effect is broadly supported and desirable. The only way the issue of hunting could be resolved was by making Government time available, and that is what we have done. We introduced a multi-option Bill and left it to hon. Members to decide which of the options they wished to adopt.

Overall, I think that our deliberations have been very productive and surprisingly good natured. It comes as no surprise to anyone that there have been strong and at times diametrically opposed views on this issue—there have even been middle-way views on them. Nevertheless, the debates have been broadly constructive.

The fact that earlier today we made a number of changes to the option that the House had earlier endorsed bears witness to the fact that those on both sides of the House felt that it was possible to engage in a genuine attempt to ensure that we passed the best possible law.

I would like to thank those who helped to draft the Bill. In particular, I thank the Countryside Alliance. It did not want the Bill, but it engaged in the process of policy making in a way that deserves great praise. I extend to it my personal appreciation of the courteous and commonsense approach that it adopted in the discussions that have been undertaken. I wish, in particular, to thank John Jackson for the way in which he has managed to guide the policy development of the Countryside Alliance.

I also want to compliment the Middle Way Group. Without resources or large numbers, it fought a sterling battle for its views to be heard, whether or not we agreed with them. The hon. Members for Montgomeryshire (Mr. Öpik) and for Mid-Worcestershire (Mr. Luff) and my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mrs. Golding) did the House a great service by promoting such views. They are a credit to us and I thank them for their contributions.

I extend my thanks to Deadline 2000, which prefers to be called the Campaign for the Protection of Hunted Animals. In particular, I thank John Rolls of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Douglas Bachelor of the League Against Cruel Sports, Mike Baker of the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Bill Swan, the veterinary consultant who, with supporters throughout the country, provided a great deal of information on the option that was supported.

Those people and organisations engaged in a sensible parliamentary approach and showed that they could get results. They faced up to the policy issues and demonstrated leadership. People on the extreme wing of the animal rights movement—some of whom have engaged in the most appalling thuggery and violence—have said that the parliamentary system cannot work. I must tell them that the recent attack on the managing director of Huntingdon Life Sciences was appalling and should be condemned by all hon. Members. I know that most people who support animal welfare condemn it.

The way the Bill has been handled and the constructive debate on it have shown that the parliamentary system can indeed work. Whether we agree or disagree with the outcome, hon. Members can be proud that they have demonstrated that the system allows them to listen to the debate that is taking place in the country. They have proved that Parliament is a forum for the discussion of strongly felt issues, where issues are properly debated, and that a resolution can be achieved.

Sir Teddy Taylor (Rochford and Southend, East)

Will the Minister help those people who believe in democracy by saying whether the Government would proceed with the Bill, in the likelihood that it does not become law, if they are re-elected? Although I accept that their re-election is a possibility, it is not something that I would want.

Mr. O'Brien

I have made it clear that it is for the House to determine the way in which the Bill is handled. I am not going to jump ahead, which the hon. Gentleman—no doubt for good reasons—invites me to do. We will listen to the debates as they proceed in another place. We have set out our neutral position, which is to facilitate debate. When the Bill goes to another place, we will take the earliest opportunity to table amendments to restore the ability to debate the three options that were placed before this House. Members of another place will be able to discuss those and form a view. The Government will facilitate that, as was done in relation to legislation on Sunday trading. We said from the start that we intended to proceed on that basis. We have tried to play as straight a bat as possible by ensuring that people know about our approach.

Mr. Soames

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. O'Brien

Perhaps in a moment; I want to make some progress.

Today's changes have improved the Bill. They bear witness to the fact that hon. Members have listened. I am grateful to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington), who led for the Opposition. Like most—although certainly not all—members of his party, he is opposed to restrictions on hunting with dogs. He has advanced the view of people who favour the retention of hunting. I accept that he is at odds with the central purpose of the option on which the House decided, but he approached consideration of the Bill in Committee with a positive attitude and sought to improve it during its passage. I commend him for that. Some Opposition Members' speeches could have been much shorter, and there were suspicions that there was an attempt to delay progress, but I do not want to go into that. It is important that we recognise that the issue was debated sensibly and constructively.

Mr. Soames

The Minister says that he is proud of the way in which the House has handled the issue. Does he mean that he is proud that the majority in this place has been used to crush the rights of an entirely legal minority which has enjoyed its sport and way of life for thousands of years? Does he believe that that is something to be proud of?

Mr. O'Brien

The right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Miss Widdecombe), who speaks from the Opposition Front Bench, has voted consistently for a ban on hunting. On Second Reading, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary expressed his views in relation to these matters. Members have been able to put forward their views as constituency representatives. The outcome may not suit the hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Soames), but that is democracy.

The debate throughout the country has been reflected in many ways in the outcome in the House. It is good that we have been able to have a sensible debate about these matters. I know that the hon. Member for Mid-Sussex is angry about the outcome, but he has contributed in a sensible and reasoned way on many occasions and added to our knowledge of the issues. The improvements that we have seen to the Bill, and the way in which the House has contributed to making it better law, are thanks also to him. I am sure that making good law is important to the hon. Gentleman.

I pay tribute to the Middle Way Group, to other organisations, to the Opposition and to the Liberal Democrats—we have heard four different views from them, and three in Committee. I thank all concerned.

I should pay a final and important tribute. The House will join me in thanking Lord Burns and the members of his team. The fact that the committee's report was cited so often by all sides who participated in the debate demonstrates what an invaluable and objective document it is. I am grateful to those who were responsible for it.

We have had private Members' Bills on this issue almost year upon year. I am delighted that on this occasion the House has been given the opportunity to consider it again collectively and reach a collective view. The vote in Committee of the whole House was decisive. Even those who do not agree with the outcome must accept that. The Bill is before the House for Third Reading, and I commend it to the House. The House should be able to endorse the Bill because it reflects its will on a free vote on a matter of conscience. It has been a good debate. It is a good Bill, and I commend it to the House.

10.54 pm
Mr. Lidington

I thank the Minister for his kind words, but I for one will not be tempted to set up house in the Government's big tent. The courtesy and humour that characterised the debate in Committee and most of the exchanges at all stages of our proceedings have been welcome. That proved possible, despite strong feelings being expressed by hon. Members on both sides of the argument. To some extent, that atmosphere has been helped by the fact that there are honourably held differences of opinion within the three main political parties. In addition, some of the heat went out of the debate when it became apparent that the Government were engaged in a charade. Trying to ram the Bill through the Commons when a spring or early summer election was more than likely meant that it stood no chance of becoming law in this Parliament.

I welcome the limited concessions made by the Government as a result of the Standing Committee's discussions. However, they do not make a fundamentally bad and misguided Bill acceptable. The Bill creates serious new criminal offences that will apply to the activities of a large number of our fellow citizens and to activities that are lawful now, and that have been for many generations past.

The Minister and other champions of the Bill have always argued that restrictions on individual liberty are justified in order to end cruelty to animals and improve animal welfare. I have gained growing confidence as our debates have proceeded and we have argued our case, examined the detail of the Bill and explored the principles behind it. It has become clear that the weight of the argument has been with those of us who opposed the Bill in principle from the start. There is welcome evidence that our arguments are being increasingly understood in the country as a whole.

Mr. Soames

Does my hon. Friend accept that what has been so shaming about the Government's behaviour is their complete ignorance, as revealed today, of the consequences of a ban on foxhunting? For example, on the removal of fallen stock, the Minister was all at sea. The Government clearly have not thought through the consequences of the Bill, which therefore stands at risk.

Mr. Lidington

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. My concern about the practical consequences of the Bill is one of three reasons why the House should deny it a Third Reading.

First, intellectual confusion lies at the heart of the Bill. Its supporters have consistently male their case on the grounds of animal welfare and seeking to end cruelty. Those are laudable aspirations, but the Bill says that hunting rodents, and, after this evening, rabbits, with dogs, is somehow okay. One need not be an expert zoologist to think that a rat must surely feel fear, exhaustion and pain every bit as much as a fox.

If one presses that point, the ground shifts. We are told that exceptions should be made for rodents or rabbits because they are vermin and becausr of the damage that they do. The moral argument h is been abandoned wholesale, and the very same utilitarian argument about vermin control can, and should, be applied to mink and foxes as much as to rats or rabbits. There is no consistent moral argument from the proponents of the Bill, and they can make no logical difference on the grounds of cruelty or animal welfare between the different species that the Bill treats entirely differently.

My second objection concerns the impact of the Bill and relates to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Soames). Earlier today we debated the economic impact, the impact on the disposal of fallen stock and the fact that the Bill would render jobless and homeless significant numbers of decent, law-abiding people in some of our most remote rural areas. We know, too, from the debates that we have had on the detail of the Bill that there is still a great deal of uncertainty and ambiguity about what the measure would mean in practice.

We know that the Bill is intended to lead to the demise of organised hunting with packs of hounds, but exploration of its detail makes it clear that it would have a serious impact on the work of people such as gamekeepers and farmers in their task of controlling vermin. To cite just one example, the National Gamekeepers Organisation has pleaded with hon. Members to allow its members to continue to use dogs to flush out and sometimes to catch stoats. The organisation's argument is that the control of mustelids through the use of dogs is an essential part of practical, everyday gamekeeping work, which has been ignored by the authors of the Bill.

Mr. John Greenway (Ryedale)

Will not another major practical effect of the Bill be to ban hunting with dogs in the national parks, whereas the Burns report made it clear that that could not be done without the use of dogs? How can the Minister ask us to accept a Bill on the basis that the Government have won the argument, when they have ignored the conclusion of their own Burns report?

Mr. Lidington

The evidence of the Burns report and the arguments about the Bill have started to highlight exactly the sort of practical problem described by my hon. Friend. Many people who might previously have said that they favoured ending animal cruelty and that that probably meant banning hunting will pause and reconsider whether that point of view is right, and whether a ban on hunting might have serious consequences for people trying to control pests, especially in areas of the country where the alternative methods of control investigated by Lord Burns and his team are clearly impractical.

My third objection relates to the way in which it is proposed to enforce the criminal offences provided for in the Bill. As we have not had time to consider the relevant part of the Bill in Committee or on Report, I hope that it will be debated in particular detail when the Bill passes to the other House.

Not only does the Bill create new criminal offences carrying a penalty of a fine of up to £5.000, but it provides for a specific power to arrest someone who has committed or is believed to have committed an offence. It therefore brings hunting with hounds into the category of arrestable offences that, under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, is generally restricted to extremely serious criminal offences. Even those who argue for a ban on hunting cannot reasonably classify hunting with dogs in that category.

The Bill gives a constable the power to arrest not only someone whom he reasonably suspects may have committed an offence, but someone whom he reasonably suspects may be about to commit an offence. On 25 January I received a letter from the Minister's colleague, the Minister of State, Home Office, the hon. Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Clarke), who stated in answer to a question of mine that he had investigated what other offences were arrestable. He had found that there were a number of powers of arrest without warrant, such as those contained in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which stand outside the definition in PACE. However, he continued: None of them allow for arrest on the grounds that a person is about to commit an offence. For the purpose of trying to stop hunting with hounds, we are giving the police draconian powers, including a power of arrest that appears to be unique and unprecedented in existing criminal legislation.

I could describe many similar examples if I had time to do so. The Bill grants power to seize a dog, but contains no provision on what is to happen during the weeks or months between the seizure and the outcome of any court proceedings. On that point, the Kennel Club told me in a letter that the Bill follows arrangements previously provided for in the Dangerous Dogs Act 1989. I would hardly regard that as an encouraging precedent. There are also powers to impose a life ban on owning a dog, which is a wholly disproportionate penalty for the offences that are being created.

I am conscious that many hon. Members on both sides of the House want to contribute. I believe that the Bill is hostile to individual freedom and that it will produce no gain in terms of animal welfare. It will damage the livelihoods of thousands of our fellow citizens and harm the liberty of many thousands more. I believe that it is a thoroughly bad Bill and that the House should reject it. If the majority of hon. Members insist on carrying it forward, those of us who have opposed it from its inception will carry on the struggle with growing confidence in our arguments, both in another place and in the country.

11.7 pm

Mr. Banks

For many years I have been involved in various campaigns in this place to ban hare coursing, deer hunting, foxhunting and mink hunting. In fact, a ban was one of the first things that I tried to achieve when I was elected in 1983. The House will therefore understand that I am delighted with the progress that has been made on the Bill.

I suppose that I can understand the strong feelings that have been generated on all sides of the argument. I am glad to say that friendships have remained intact despite all that, even though there have been some strong disagreements, which have occurred not only across the arguments, but within the different parties. This not a single-party issue. Splendid support has been given by a number of Conservative Members, although it has clearly not been easy for them to give so much support to the cause of banning the hunting of wild animals with dogs.

I said that I understood the deep feelings about the issue, but I must say that after all these years of listening to the views that have been expressed—I have studied as much as anyone the various arguments—I cannot understand how anyone can take pleasure in killing animals. That is non-negotiable for me. I cannot understand or comprehend how anyone can take pleasure from that activity.

I say to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) that there are some loose ends in the Bill, which is untidy in certain respects. Concessions have been made, and he was right to point them out. Some of them may have been made because of the strength of the argument. Of course, one does not want to make the law unenforceable. The fact is, however, that one cannot be absolute in any legislation. I have been unhappy even about some of the concessions, but I understand why we had to make them. We have to be political about the matter, as other dimensions must be taken into account—not least what happens to the Bill when it goes into another place. I do not think that we should be berated or criticised for not being absolute in our approach. If I had my way, I would say that no one should be able to kill anything other than the odd flea, wasp or insect that gives us problems. I know that I can be categorised as an extremist in that respect, but I know how we must make this place work and I am more than happy to ensure that it does so. Even if the legislation is not all that I would want, it has certainly gone much of the way to making me feel that we have achieved something significant.

The hon. Member for Aylesbury hinted, as no doubt others will, that the argument is by no means finished. I know that the opponents of this legislation will not give up in this place, although they might have to for the moment, and that they will certainly not give up in another place. We expect much opposition in the House of Lords.

I am fully aware of the fact that the Bill will fall before the election: it will not reach the statute book. That is a perfectly reasonable statement on which we could all agree. I say to my colleagues on the Front Bench, however, that I hope that re-introducing the Bill will be a manifesto commitment—[Interruption.] This issue will never go away in this House.

I am wise enough to know that although we might be winning tonight, there are many more battles to come. I am merely saying to my hon. Friends on the Front Bench that they cannot walk away from the issue. I do not want anyone in government to feel that they have discharged their responsibilities and that they can forget about the matter. It cannot be ignored, it must not be forgotten, and if it is defeated in an other place, it must be brought back. There will be people like me in this place who will make sure of that until we succeed.

Dr. Nick Palmer (Broxtowe)

Does my hon. Friend agree that the statesmanlike remarks of the Minister on this subject about the power of democracy to achieve change will only finally convince people out in the country if, at the end, a final decision is made rather than leaving the issue dangling for years to come?

Mr. Banks

I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend. Although I have given up my ambition to be a world statesperson—

Mr. Soames

You are.

Mr. Banks

That is very decent of you, old chap. I am afraid that that view is not necessarily shared by all of us.

This is the place where we decide. There has been a majority in this House and in the country on this issue for some years. There is not a division between rural and urban people. There has always been a majority—and there is a clear majority for this legislation in rural areas as there is in urban areas. That should never be forgotten. Those who say that the Labour party does not understand the countryside or the rural vote should wait and see—as they did at the previous election—what happens at the next election. We are quite happy to sit back and rest on our record in that respect.

As my hon. Fnend the Member for Broxtowe (Dr. Palmer) and the Minister said, this is where we decide issues of animal welfare. We have always decided issues of animal welfare in this place. Looking back over the decades, one thinks of bull baiting, cock fighting, dog fighting, otter hunting—the list goes on, and we have decided on it. Many of the arguments used when such legislation was going through the House are precisely the same as those used against the Hunting Bill. We will look back in years to come on the legislation that we have passed and wonder what all the fuss was about from those who opposed it.

I am delighted, therefore, that we have reached this far, although I accept that there is some way to go. Like others, I should like to offer a few thanks. I should like first to thank the Minister. With my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, he has had to put up with a great deal, but he has always been cool, reasonable and honest with the House, which we can all respect. Like him, I pay tribute to the Campaign for the Protection of Hunted Animals, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the League Against Cruel Sports, the International Fund tor Animal Welfare and all their professional workers and helpers for their compassion in conducting the campaign. They deserve a great deal of thanks from us and all animal lovers in this country and around the world. I am delighted with this Bill, and I am looking forward to voting in favour of its Third Reading.

11.14 pm
Mr. Öpik

It is funny to recognise that all three organisations claim that the Burns report proves that they are right. The Middle Way Group is of course the one that really is right about the Burns report, and we hope to make that case in another place.

I thank the Minister—and the Parliamentary Secretary—for his very kind words bout the Middle Way Group and my colleagues. Although the debate has sometimes been heated, everyone involved genuinely believes in doing the right thing and finding the best outcome. There is a shared belief that animal welfare is important, but the difference between us is on the degree to which animal welfare should be balanced with civil liberties, and on the best practical way of balancing those two considerations.

From the beginning, the Middle Way Group has tried to put a rational and well-argued case for balancing animal welfare with civil liberties. My hon. Friends the Members for Mid-Worcestershire (Mr. Luff) and for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mrs. Golding) and I have formed a gang of three—the three musketeers of justice—to bring reason and sense to the debate. Given our enormous secretariat, consisting of Jim Barrington, who is both our chief executive and our typist, I am surprised by and delighted with the amount of support that we have been given. I should like to thank right hon. and hon. Members who have listened to our arguments. Some of them have been persuaded, including the Home Secretary and three other Cabinet Ministers. Others may not have been persuaded to vote for the Middle Way Group' s proposals, but I am satisfied that these are now treated with respect. People understand that we are genuinely trying to provide a third option between an outright ban and self-regulation.

Dr. Palmer

What has always puzzled me about the position of members of the Middle Way Group is that they seem to oppose their own legislation. On Second Reading, they voted against a Bill that would, in principle, have given them the chance to implement their proposals. Tonight they have consistently voted against the Bill, and I would be surprised if they voted in favour of it on Third Reading.

Mr. Öpik

Hansard will answer the hon. Gentleman's questions. We have tried to make consistent judgments as best we can. He may differ with us, but that is a matter for him. I like to think that most hon. Members do not question our motives.

Mr. Jon Owen Jones (Cardiff, Central)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Öpik

I shall not give way, because time is short.

It is interesting to note that a Deadline 2000 advertisement in a national newspaper cost twice the entire budget of the Middle Way Group for three years. People should judge us on the resonance of our idea, rather than question our motives. We have battled against incredible odds, given the huge resources that other organisations have had. I am glad to say that the Middle Way Group has been on to something important, and has had a new way of looking at the issue. If it had been in existence five or 10 years ago, perhaps regulation would have been introduced, and we would not have ended up where we are now.

There are problems with the Bill. The way in which it has been constructed has produced enormous logical contradictions. Members of the public could be criminalised if their dogs persistently chased mammals in the prohibited list even if the owners meant no harm in their actions, but were merely not 100 per cent. in control of their animals. The Minister reassured us that, through an act of faith, we should trust that a solution will come to replace the important role played by kennels in dealing with fallen stock. The public do not share his optimism. Such an act of faith does not sit comfortably on the shoulders of a nervous rural population, who have felt hard done by for a long time as a result of Government policy.

No regard has been paid to compensation. For me at least, the Minister did not effectively explain any logical difference between a ban on fur farming, which attracted compensation from the Government, and a ban on hunting with dogs, which in his judgment does not warrant compensation from the Government. That will be an important consideration for the public.

There are other examples of moral randomness. Why is falconry all right? Why is angling okay? Why is hunting fox with dogs not acceptable? The hon. Member for West Ham (Mr. Banks) again said that he was opposed to hunting any animal for fun, yet not once has he said that he wants a ban on angling, but perhaps he will intervene to correct that. It is very clear that those contradictions undermine the Bill's philosophical consistency.

Mr. Jon Owen Jones


Mr. Öpik

For the sake of clarity, I ask the House to accept that I shall not give way. I think that I have a fairly good record of giving way under normal circumstances, but time is short.

What is the difference between a rodent and a mink? Mink are one of the most persistent and pernicious pests in our countryside. They are environment destroyers and they are not a natural part of our countryside and yet, for some reason that I just do not understand, the House chose not to allow the hunting of mink with dogs.

Mrs. Golding


Mr. Öpik

I give way to my hon. Friend, for obvious reasons.

Mrs. Golding

So my hon. Friend should, and I thank him for it. Can he see the logic in producing publicity about protecting the water vole, whose main predator is the mink, while passing a Bill prohibiting the extermination of the mink?

Mr. Öpik

I cannot add to what my hon. Friend says. She has been assiduous and consistent in her position. Hon. Members who voted to ban mink hunting may choose to think hard about the consequences of what they have done.

Mr. Jon Owen Jones


Mr. Öpik

I shall not give way, and I cannot make that any clearer. [Interruption.] It is perfectly obvious why I gave way to my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme and I do not need to explain why I did so.

My conclusion on the dynamic is that there is some emotional attachment to the fox, which may have been caused by television images. Perhaps we grew up loving foxes just as future generations will love other animals. Sometimes, cynically perhaps, I ask myself whether Roland Rat will have the same impact on a future generation of parliamentarians as Basil Brush appears to have had on the present one. If we allow emotion to determine legislation, the result will be bad legislation.

There is another contradiction about which we should be clear: the debate is about not banning the killing of foxes, but banning one method of killing foxes. The Bill will not save the life of a single fox and might serve to increase suffering through the process of fox control.

Deadline 2000, even at this late hour, can think again. It can win, but win in a fairer way. The Middle Way Group's proposals are still available. We think that they are good, and they are free. We offer them to Deadline 2000.

Again and again, the Middle Way Group's tenets have come to the fore and our claims have been reaffirmed. We still believe that stopping cruelty would be best achieved by inspection, regulation, fines and licensing and that all that could be paid for by a licensing fee. Do hon. Members who support the Deadline 2000 proposals realise that 13 of the 23 paragraphs of their Bill are in ours and that 70 of the 102 sub-paragraphs of the Middle Way Group's proposals are the same as theirs?

I did not enter the debate to beat Deadline 2000 and I did not participate to win. The Middle Way Group is not seeking victory. We are looking for solutions, so here is the deal. The Middle Way Group is still promoting its ideas and will do so until the game is completely up. We shall carry on trying to balance animal welfare considerations with civil liberties. We shall debate the issue and take feedback, as I have done tonight on the group's behalf on compensation.

If Deadline 2000 came round and began to think that perhaps regulation would achieve its goals, that would be a victory not for the Middle Way Group, but for Deadline 2000 and for the hon. Members for Pendle (Mr. Prentice) and for Worcester (Mr. Foster), who put the issue on the agenda. If we achieved such a result, that would be a triumph not for any individual, but for the House because it would show that, once in a while, and even on extremely emotive issues of conscience, hon. Members have the courage, maturity and humility to think again when they consider a proposal that would improve on the position from which we started.

11.24 pm
Mr. Michael

May I respond to the remarks of the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. Öpik), who made some good points and, with respect, some weak ones? The fact that there is a good deal of respect in the House for the way in which the Middle Way Group has put its argument, been constructive and tried to produce a workable proposal was reflected in the comments of my hon. Friend the Minister, but we must make it clear that the respect for those individuals and the effort that they have put in—in particular, I offer my respect to the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire for the way in which he has conducted hin self—should not be taken for acceptance of the strength of their argument, which I do not think has stood up to scrutiny.

It is entirely wrong to think that a licensing system, giving rise to all sorts of bureaucracy and complications, would resolve the problems relating to animal welfare and caused by animal cruelty. That does not reduce my respect for the attempt by the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues to explore the possibilities, but I do not think we should go too far in demonstrating respect for individuals. We should not let it be thought that arguments have stood the test of debate when they have not.

Mr. Jon Owen Jones

I thank my right hon. Friend for having the grace to give way. Will he comment on the Middle Way Group's position on the regulation of hare coursing? In what sense will the public perceive that as a genuine compromise on animal cruelty—a compromise of the kind that the words "middle way" seem to suggest?

Mr. Michael

My hon. Friend makes a good point. The objections to hare coursing are strong. Doing away with it, rather than regulation, is the answer: that is where the Middle Way Group's proposals have fallen down.

I want to say a little about the authority with which the Bill will move from here to another place. Doubt has been cast by Opposition Members who have sought to confuse the situation rather than clarifying it. The hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) suggested that there had not been enough time for proper debate of the issues, but there was a massive amount of time in Committee. We heard the same argur cents repeatedly, some of them not about issues related to the Bill but intended to delay the proceedings. That is t perfectly legitimate way in which to seek to oppose a Bill, but let us not pretend that this was quality debate: sometimes it was like watching paint dry, and on some occasions it was like watching paint dry three times, and the same coat at that.

The hon. Member for Aylesbury said that he was worried about the fact that the Bill created new crimes, but we do that frequently in the House. Gone are the simple days of the short Bill which—as many of us point out to our constituents when we take them around this place—in a couple of lines dealt with the control of crossbows. Some of us might like the use of similar items to be controlled on our estates, but many pages would now be needed to produce such legislation. The legislation that we handle nowadays is often complex, and it is clear that legislation on hunting will involve complex issues.

Sir Patrick Cormack

The right hon. Gentleman speaks of complexity. Does he know the difference between a rabbit and a hare, and can he tell me which feels pain the most?

Mr. Michael

It would have been an extremely good thing had the hon. Gentleman spent some time in the Committee, where he would have heard such points raised ad nauseam—philosophical points, which are part of the diversion that the Bill's opponents seek to introduce.

The weight of the argument has not favoured those who have tried to introduce philosophical complexities into a simple Bill. Its opponents have not been willing to engage in the detail that must be followed through until the point of principle has been dealt with once and for all. That is why we need the Bill to be passed, and to put beyond doubt the principles it establishes I hope that, on reflection, the hon. Member for Aylesbury will withdraw some of his remarks about battling on for ever. I hope he will recognise that we have had adequate debate, and that clear decisions have been made by a parliamentary majority.

That majority has great authority The decision was taken by a large majority of hon. Members on a free vote. It is that weight of individual decisions, that choice made by hon. Members in accordance with their own consciences, that gives the decision such authority. There were those who suggested that the Bill would have greater authority had it been treated entirely as a Government Bill. It has greater authority for having been decided on on the basis of the individual choices of hon. Members. The free vote gives it that authority.

The House has a responsibility to take decisions in such matters. I know that there are hon. Members who do not like this decision: we heard from them at great length in Committee. There have been occasions on which I have been one of the minority in the House and have seen something go through that I have not liked—when we were in opposition, we saw that frequently—but this is not a matter on which the parties should have been polarised. Indeed, hon. Members such as the shadow Home Secretary have demonstrated that it is possible to do other than simply go with the flow.

The authority of a decision taken on a free vote by such a large majority in this House should be respected in another place. There is a constitutional issue here, since the decision has been taken by those elected to this place to take such decisions.

I regret that the hon. Member for Aylesbury has again sought to confuse some of the issues. Any Bill has to draw lines. Sometimes those lines involve things that are untidy on one side or the other. That is what we explored in Committee. We heard about the problems of taking decisions if someone is taking a walk in the countryside. I think that many of us were satisfied that the legislation was clear and dealt with those issues satisfactorily, but the House has had the opportunity tonight, and has taken that opportunity, to clarify the lines and to ensure that there is no confusion: rabbits are out of the Bill, while it is clear that the stalking of deer is not forbidden by the Bill.

On the difficulties of demarcation with regard to rodents and vermin, the hon. Member for Aylesbury cannot argue that we need clarification and then complain about the situation when an amendment is tabled and hon. Members unanimously choose to make that clarification. The issues that were shown to be unclear in Committee have been made clear by the House's choices tonight. The Bill before us is a clear Bill. It bans the hunting of foxes with hounds. It bans the hunting of deer with hounds, but does not ban stalking. It bans hare coursing. It bans the hunting of mink on the grounds that the parallel with foxhunting with hounds for pleasure is clear. On the question of nuisance from mink, the maximum damage is caused by hunting mink with hounds.

We therefore have a clear Bill which carries the authority of a large majority in the House, not least since individual decisions were made on the basis of hon. Members' individual consciences That should be respected by the other place, which should pass the Bill with speed into law.

11.33 pm
Sir Peter Emery (East Devon)

I have always argued that one should have a debate in the House, but when I heard the speech by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael)—[HoN. MEMBERS: "Right hon."] I apologise. Having heard the speech of the very right hon. Gentleman, I am not surprised that he lost his position of leadership of the Assembly in Wales.

I was not able to catch the eye of the occupant of the Chair on Second Reading. I was not on the Committee and this is the first time I have spoken on this particular Bill. I have three packs in my constituency. If Labour Members really think that they represent the view of the countryside in bringing the Bill forward, they are so out of touch as to be living in wonderland.

Ever since I began representing Honiton, and then East Devon, I made it absolutely clear that I would take no action whatever to limit activities that have been countryside pursuits for centuries, or join in any attempt by this place to alter the wishes of those who form a minority in the United Kingdom but a majority in my constituency. It is quite wrong that a vast city and town element should be able to force on people in the countryside something that is unacceptable to them.

I believed that this place should be willing to support and look after the minority interests of this country. There is no way in which this Bill does that. There is no way in which this Bill takes into account what is necessary to support activities that have been countryside pursuits for centuries, and that is entirely unacceptable. I am a parliamentarian who believes that all aspects of the nation's pursuits should be considered and dealt with fairly. The Bill does not do that at all.

An analysis of the Bill reveals that aspects of those pursuits have simply not been considered. In my constituency, a farmer had to have a cow put down because of a broken hip. However, because of the problems with foot and mouth disease, he was unable to move the dead animal without a special licence. A special licence was issued. Believe it or not, that licence allowed the animal to be moved either to a certain knacker's yard or to hunt kennels.

It is tragic that such kennels will no longer exist if the Bill's provisions are implemented. You know and I know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that the Bill's opponents are trying to defend those kennels, with which the Government wish to do away. It is a terrifying prospect that the Bill will seek to turn quite ordinary, everyday people living in my constituency into criminals—[Interruption.]

I suggest that those who laugh at that come down and tell my farmers and constituents that they think it is funny. If they came down and did that, they would be laughing on the other side of their faces. But they do not come down to consider the issue with local hunters and farmers and with other local people. It is laughable to say that the three packs in my constituency are other than supported by farmers and the ordinary, everyday people who follow the hunt. Many of those people are Labour supporters, and they find it very strange that their particular activity is being set upon by a Labour Government.

If people believe that it is wise or intelligent to turn those people into criminals, they are so out of touch that they cannot understand. The right hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth shakes his head. Why does he not come down and talk to the people whose jobs will be thrown away by the Bill?

Mr. Michael

; The right hon. Gentleman assumes that people who support the Bill have not discussed the matter with those whose lives will be affected by it, or listened to what they have had to say. We have done that: over time, many of us have listened, and understood.

Sir Peter Emery

If that is correct, you paid little attention to what those people had to say. You paid no attention to the way in which they will be affected or to their belief that they will be made criminals. [Interruption.] I am sorry to say that I do not believe that many ordinary, normal, law-abiding people will wish to implement the Bill. Many will take positive action against what they consider to be wrong, and they will end up in the courts. I hope that you have enough prisons to put them in, but I do not think that you will, because—[Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Lord)

Order. The right hon. Gentleman is an experienced Member of the House, and he must not keep using the word "you".

Sir Peter Emery

I am very sorry, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I know that you are on my side—[Interruption.] I withdraw that remark immediately. I understand your stricture only too well.

What I am really trying to say—

Mr. Stephen Pound (Ealing, North)

Keep going. You are winning over the waverers. [Laughter.]

Sir Peter Emery

The strange thing is that Labour Members think that this is funny, and that people in my constituency do not consider it very important. If I began laughing at the views that Labour Members might express about the miners, for example, they would say that that was terrifying. This issue is as important to my constituents as are the problems faced by miners in constituencies that have mines.

What I want to hammer home is that the Government will come to regret this Bill. They have not heard the last of the matter. They do not really understand what the Bill's effect on the country generally will be. Labour Members smile about that, but they are out of touch. They believe that the Bill will be passed tonight and then get through the Lords and become law automatically. I only hope that they are proved wrong, because the proposals in the Bill would be a tragedy for the majority of people in the countryside.

11.43 pm
Mr. Gordon Prentice

Who speaks for the countryside—the right hon. Member for East Devon (Sir P. Emery), with his three packs, or me, the hon. Member for Pendle, with my one pack? I represent a rural constituency. Every week of my life, I meet people who work on the land. I do not represent an urban constituency; it has towns, of course, but it has a large rural element. Many Labour Members represent rural constituencies. What has always stuck in my throat is that Conservative Members, with all their prejudices, proclaim in Parliament that it is they who speak for countryside. They do not.

The hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Soames) has left the Chamber, but he talked about the majority crushing the minority. The majority view has the right to prevail. That is the reality. John Stuart Mill made that point in his classic essay on liberty—the majority view has the right to prevail but it must exercise that right defensively and not offensively. So we said, in the Chamber and in Committee, "Let's hear the arguments." However, Conservative Members have not persuaded us of their views and, more important, they have not persuaded people outside.

The hon. Member for Mid-Sussex and the right hon. Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer) referred dismissively to Deadbeat 2000 rather than Deadline 2000. That upset me. Deadline 2000 has the support not only of the League Against Cruel Sports and the International Fund for Animal Welfare—organisations which Conservative Members may consider rather tangential—but of the RSPCA, whose patron is Her Majesty the Queen. The Queen is on our side. The RSPCA has millions of members. Conservative Members paint a picture of millions of people disagreeing with what we are doing, whereas the reality is that those people support us and want the Bill on the statute book.

We hear about country sports and field sports. Why do we not hear about blood sports? Hunting is a blood sport—it is killing for fun. I think that hunting with dogs brutalises people. Conservative Members will say that I have got this wrong, but I believe that hunting brutalises people because it is cruel. For that reason, it should no longer be tolerated.

Finally, I congratulate my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Jane Kehnedy), on piloting the Bill through the Committee stage with great skill. We owe them a great debt of gratitude.

11.47 pm
Mr. Tom King (Bridgwater)

I could not believe that the Government would proceed with the Bill today, given the state of agriculture and the countryside. I make no secret of the fact that I am opposed to the Bill.

There has been despair about farming for some months now—perhaps for a couple of years; now there is real fear. Vets on farms are examining animals to see whether foot and mouth will be identified on those farms. Farming is not what it was the last time there was a foot and mouth outbreak, when farm had a setback and then recovered. For most farmers today, if their animals get foot and mouth, it will be the end of their livelihood and of a family occupation which may have gone on for generations. However, the implications are much wider than that.

On the hunting 0f stags, there are 10,000 magnificent red deer in the west country and the south-west of England. There are 4,000 to 6,000 in the area covered by the three packs of stag hounds. I think that many Labour Members still do not understand the point, although I have spoken about it before, that the hunts are, in a very real sense, the guardians of the deer. Hunts inhibit poaching, protect the deer and deal with the casualties. Without the hunts, nobody knows what will happen to injured deer hit by cars. Traffic has been a threat to the deer, but now a more deadly threat exists.

Deer can catch foot and mouth disease. If that happens, the Government will be faced with a ghastly decision: not on the niceties of whether or not there should be hunting or culling by shooting, but on whether to authorise the complete extermination of deer—[Interruption.] Hon. Members know that what I am saying is true. Despite the magnitude of such issues, the House has spent the day debating this measure.

I have been a Member of the House for a long time—too long, some hon. Members might say. The House has not done itself great credit by engaging in an exercise about which there is deep cynicism. No one in the Chamber actually thinks that the Bill will go through, although we know that we have no chance of preventing Third Reading. The Government will have their victory tonight. Many decent people who are in the depths of despair will be desperately distressed by these events. Although the Government will win, their insensitivity today will not be forgotten in the countryside. The time will come when they will pay the penalty for it.

11.51 pm
Mr. Garnier

I pay tribute to the words of my right hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King). He and my right hon. Friend the Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine), who spoke on Second Reading, have given signal service to the House and have spoken up for the issue that we seek so valiantly to defend. I also congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Sir P. Emery), not only on his 75th birthday but on all that he has done during his many years as a Member of the House.

I join the Minister in that I am happy to congratulate the Countryside Alliance and thank it for all that it has done to bring some sanity to the debate. I found the Minister's thanks to Lord Burns rather extraordinary; they were more like a gin trap than true thanks. The Government and the Bill's supporters have wholly ignored the Burns report.

As my right hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater pointed out, the Bill is a complete waste of parliamentary time and public money. Nobody who has given the matter any thought believes that the Bill will become law. The rural economy is in crisis and the country suffers from a host of problems, yet the Government decided that we should discuss the Bill today.

The Bill is more like a colander than an iron-clad. Although we plugged one or two holes in Committee and on Report, it is still more holes than metal. It will sink—and good riddance. The Bill is disastrous—drafted by Deadline 2000. It is inimical to the interests of the countryside and to the country as a whole.

A law that we frequently pass in this place is the law of the unforeseen consequence. Nothing demonstrates that more easily than the Bill. The measure was published last autumn. One did not need to be a rocket scientist to anticipate its likely consequences. Its deficiencies have been apparent to all, yet its proponents have done nothing to cure them. In the Standing Committee, it was interesting to see how the jaws of the Bill's supporters dropped as they discovered that it was incompetently drafted and infelicitous.

The Bill is intellectually confused and illogical. The hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. Öpik) has ably demonstrated that, as has my hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington). The Bill is also politically inept. It is economically illiterate and it tries to legislate against nature. It is a recipe for social division and is draconian in its criminal penalties. It brings with it none of the countervailing benefits for animal welfare claimed for it by its proponents. The Bill is morally flawed. It will seriously compromise the welfare of the fox, the deer, the mink, the water vole and the hare. It is illiberal. It is unfair.

According to recent polls, a majority opposes a ban, yet the thoughtless majority in the House continues to press the measure right to the wire. Not only is the Bill unfair but it will not even serve the purpose that its proponents claim for it. The only thing to do with it is to throw it out—let us do so now.

11.54 pm
Mr. Mike O'Brien

With the leave of the House, Mr. Deputy Speaker, may I thank those whom I need to thank? First, I thank the Home Office officials and parliamentary counsel for the work that they have done. Secondly, I thank the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Jane Kennedy), for her solid support and for weathering the slings, arrows and outrageous compliments of the hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Soames), who is not now in his place but was certainly very evident in Committee.

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Worcester (Mr. Foster), who has been present for most of the debates and whose contribution to a ban, if it is enacted, will have been historic. As someone who originates from Worcester, I can say that Worcester ought to be very proud of him because he is one of the few new Members who have made a great impact on the House. I thank my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael) for his wise advice; my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Mr. Banks) for his help in dealing with some complex policy issues; my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton (Mr. McFall) for his solid support; and my hon. Friend the Member for Weaver Vale (Mr. Hall) for his sterling job of not whipping the Bill. 1 also thank my hon. Friends the Members for High Peak (Mr. Levitt), for Basildon (Angela Smith) and for Lewisham, East (Ms Prentice) who have served as Parliamentary Private Secretaries.

This short Bill was debated at length on the Floor of the House on Second Reading. There was a second full day's debate on the Floor of the House on the options and there were 15 Committee sittings, so there was ample time for debate, if only some of the speeches made by Opposition Members had been just a bit shorter.

I thought that the comments made by the right hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King) were ill judged. He suggested that the only people who care about foot and mouth disease in the farming community somehow support hunting. His comments were cheap and opportunist in attempting to use the issue of foot and mouth disease to support hunters' views. Views in rural communities are strong on foot and mouth disease, and he should not seek to use the issue in that way. The House is united in supporting the farming community in its battle against foot and mouth disease, so he is wrong to suggest that the House is somehow divided on the issue. I think that that was cheap.

The Bill will give effect to the wishes of the House: it will ban the hunting of wild mammals with dogs, except in specific circumstances. As a result of the changes made earlier today, it will remain legal to hunt rabbits and rats with dogs and to use dogs for deer stalking. The Bill is now more clearly focused on foxhunting, deer hunting, mink hunting and hare hunting and coursing. It is probably fair to say that those activities cause the greatest concern in this country, and the Bill reflects that.

The Bill finally puts paid to the suggestion that there is somehow a slippery slope to a ban on fishing and shooting. That is complete nonsense. After debate, rodents and rabbits were removed from the Bill, and Members showed that they would have no truck with slippery slopes. The Government support fishing and shooting. Let me unequivocally repeat the guarantee that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave: there will be no ban on fishing and shooting while he is in No. 10 Downing street.

As I have said, the Government have been neutral throughout the Bill's proceedings. Our sole aim has been to facilitate debate and to ensure that this most contentious subject can be dealt with once and for all. Let me say on a personal note that I support the Bill, even though it deals with civil liberty issues, because I do not believe that there should be a civil liberty to be cruel for entertainment. Killing for fun is wrong. I personally commend the Bill to the House.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—

The House divided: Ayes 319, Noes 140.

Division No. 136] [11.59pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Betts, Clive
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Blackman, Liz
Ainger, Nick Blears, Ms Hazel
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Borrow, David
Allan, Richard Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Allen, Graham Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Amess, David Brand, Dr Peter
Anderson, Rt Hon Donald (Swansea E) Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Browne, Desmond
Ashton, Joe Buck, Ms Karen
Atherton, Ms Candy Burden, Richard
Austin, John Burgon, Colin
Bailey, Adrian Butler, Mrs Christine
Baker, Norman Caborn, Rt Hon Richard
Ballard, Jackie Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Barnes, Harry Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Barron, Kevin Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Battle, John Campbell-Savours, Dale
Bayley, Hugh Cann, Jamie
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret Caplin, Ivor
Begg, Miss Anne Casale, Roger
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Caton, Martin
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield) Cawsey, Ian
Benton, Joe Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Berry, Roger Chaytor, David
Best, Harold Chidgey, David
Clapham, Michael Grogan, John
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands) Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham) Hancock, Mike
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S) Herman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Healey, John
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S) Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Clelland, David Hendrick, Mark
Clwyd, Ann Hepburn, Stephen
Coaker, Vernon Heppell, John
Coffey, Ms Ann Hesford, Stephen
Cohen, Harry Hill, Keith
Coleman, Iain Hinchliffe, David
Colman, Tony Hood, Jimmy
Connarty, Michael Hope, Phil
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Hopkins, Kelvin
Corbett, Robin Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)
Corbyn, Jeremy Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Corston, Jean Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Cotter, Brian Humble, Mrs Joan
Cousins, Jim Hurst, Alan
Cox, Tom Hutton, John
Cranston, Ross Iddon, Dr Brian
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley) Illsley, Eric
Cryer, John (Hornchurch) Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Cummings, John Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland) Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S) Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)
Davidson, Ian Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Jones, Ms Jenny (Wolverh'ton SW)
Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Day, Stephen Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Dean, Mrs Janet Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Denham, Rt Hon John Joyce, Eric
Dismore, Andrew Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Dobbin, Jim Keeble, Ms Sally
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Doran, Frank Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Dowd, Jim Kelly, Ms Ruth
Drew, David Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Drown, Ms Julia Kidney, David
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey) Kilfoyle, Peter
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston) King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Edwards, Huw King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Efford, Clive Kingham, Ms Tess
Etherington, Bill Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Feam, Ronnie Lammy, David
Fitzpatrick, Jim Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Fitzsimons, Mrs Loma Lepper, David
Flint, Caroline Leslie, Christopher
Flynn, Paul Levitt, Tom
Follett, Barbara Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Foster, Don (Bath) Linton, Martin
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings) Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester) Lock, David
Gale, Roger Love, Andrew
Gapes, Mike McAvoy, Thomas
George, Andrew (St Ives) McCabe, Steve
Gerrard, Neil McCafferty, Ms Chris
Gibson, Dr Ian McCartney, Rt Hon Ian (Makerfield)
Gidley, Sandra
Gilroy, Mrs Linda McDonagh, Siobhain
Godsiff, Roger Macdonald, Calum
Goggins, Paul McDonnell, John
Gordon, Mrs Eileen McFall, John
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E) McGuire, Mrs Anne
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) McIsaac, Shona
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Mackinlay, Andrew
Grocott, Bruce McNamara, Kevin
McNulty, Tony Sedgemore, Brian
MacShane, Denis Shaw, Jonathan
Mactaggart, Fiona Short, Rt Hon Clare
McWalter, Tony Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Mahon, Mrs Alice Skinner, Dennis
Mallaber, Judy Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S) Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Smith, Jaequi (Redditch)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Martlew, Eric Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Meale, Alan Soley, Clive
Merron, Gillian Spellar, John
Michael, Rt Hon Alun Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley) Steinberg, Gerry
Miller, Andrew Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Mitchell, Austin Stinchcombe, Paul
Moftatt, Laura Stoate, Dr Howard
Moran, Ms Margaret Stringer, Graham
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N) Stunell, Andrew
Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W) Suteliffe, Gerry
Moriey, Elliot Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Mountford, Kali Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Mudie, George Taylor, Sir Teddy
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck) Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood) Timms, Stephen
Naysmith, Dr Doug Tipping, Paddy
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks) Todd' Mark
Osborne, Ms Sandra Tonge, Dr Jenny
Palmer, Dr Nick Touhig, Don
Pearson, Ian Ticket, Jon
Perham, Ms Linda Truswell, Paul
Pickthall Colin Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Plaskitt, James Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Pollard, Kerry Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Pond Chris Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Pope Greg Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Pound, Stephen Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo Dawn Walley, Ms Joan
Prosser, Gwyn Ward, Ms Claire
Purchase, Ken Wareing, Robert N
Quin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce Webb, Steve
Quinn,Lawrie Whitehead, Dr Alan
Rapson, Syd Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Raynsford, Nick Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Rendel, David Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW) Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Roche, Mrs Barbara Willis, Phil
Rogers, Allan Wills, Michael
Ross, Emie (Dundee W) Winnick, David
Rowlands, Ted Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Roy, Frank Wood, Mike
Ruane, Chris Woolas, Phil
Ruddock, Joan Worthington, Tony
Russell, Bob (Colchester) Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Ryan, Ms Joan Wyatt, Derek
Sanders, Adrian
Sarwar, Mohammad Tellers for the Ayes:
Savidge, Malcolm Mr. Tony Banks and
Sawford, Phil Ms Bridget Prentice.
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Bercow, John
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Beresford, Sir Paul
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Blunt, Crspin
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Boswell, Tim
Baldry, Tony Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Beggs, Roy Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia
Beith, Rt Hon A J Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter McCrea, Dr William
Browning, Mrs Angela MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Mclntosh, Miss Anne
Bumett, John Maclean, Rt Hon David
Burns, Simon McLoughlin, Patrick
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife) Madel, Sir David
Malins, Humfrey
Cash, William Maples, John
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Banet) Mates, Michael
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Chope, Christopher Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe) May, Mrs Theresa
Moore, Michael
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Moss, Malcolm
Collins, Tim Nicholls, Patrick
Cormack, Sir Patrick Norman, Archie
Cran, James O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Curry, Rt Hon David Öpik, Lembit
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Ottaway, Richard
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen Page, Richard
Duncan, Alan Paice, James
Duncan Smith, Iain Paisley, Rev Ian
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Paterson, Owen
Evans, Nigel Pickles, Eric
Fallen, Michael Prior, David
Flight, Howard Redwood, Rt Hon John
Forth, Rt Hon Eric Robathan, Andrew
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Fox, Dr Liam Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Fraser, Christopher Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Garnier, Edward Ruffley, David
Gibb, Nick St Aubyn, Nick
Gill, Christopher Sayeed, Jonathan
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Golding, Mrs Llin Shepherd, Richard
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Gray, James Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Green, Damian Soames, Nicholas
Greenway, John Spteer, Sir Michael
Grieve, Dominic Spring, Richard
Gummer, Rt Hon John Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie Steen, Anthony
Hammond, Philip Streeter, Gary
Harvey, Nick Syms, Robert
Hayes, John Tapsell, Sir Peter
Heald, Oliver Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Hoey, Kate Townend, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael Tredinnick, David
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot) Tyler, Paul
Hunter, Andrew Tyrie, Andrew
Johnson Smith, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater) Waterson, Nigel
Kirkwood, Archy Whitney, Sir Raymond
Lansley, Andrew Whittingdale, John
Leigh, Edward Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Letwin, Oliver Wilkinson, John
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E) Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Lidington, David Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Yeo, Tim
Llvsey, Richard Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Llwyd, Elfyn Tellers for the Noes:
Loughton, Tim Mr. Desmond Swayne and
Luff, Peter Mr. Douglas Hogg.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.