§ 6. 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) proceedings on Consideration of Lords Amendments, or
- (2) proceedings on any further messages from the Lords;
§ I can be brief, as the motion before us is simple enough and I am keen to get on with the substantive debates on this Bill. Essentially, the motion provides that Report stage should run until 10 pm tonight and be followed immediately by Third Reading. That is by no means an odd or unusual way to proceed. I reject the suggestion, implicit in the amendments tabled by the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg), that insufficient time is being allowed to consider the Bill.
The Bill is not long. It does not fill even seven pages. The hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maples) said in Committee that it was
after all, a very short Bill".—[Official Report, Standing Committee B, 8 February 2001; c. 442.]
Not only that but, unusually, the whole House has had two opportunities to debate the issues—on Second Reading and in Committee of the whole House.
The Bill was extensively debated in Standing Committee. Indeed, the Committee sat on 15 occasions and the Government even extended its proceedings at the request of the official Opposition. The hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) led for the Opposition in Committee, and he took a very constructive view of the length of time allowed for debate. In the initial debate in the Programming Sub-Committee, the hon. Gentleman accepted the Government motion without seeking to amend it. In return, the Government did not think unreasonable his request for an extra day in Committee, and we agreed to it. I understand that no other request was made for a substantial amount of extra time in Committee.
We had some good debates in Committee. Although some speeches were a little on the long side I thought that, on balance, the debate was very constructive and enormously well informed as a result of the Burns report. I regret, however, that despite the extension of time that we provided, we were not able to deal with all the amendments that had been tabled.
§ Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
I am grateful to the Minister for giving way and also for making provision in the voting procedure tonight for us to deal with amendments in response to points that I made about deer stalking and about rabbits and rats. However, the programme motion does not allow for the new Government amendments to be the subject of debate in any protected way. We might reach 10 o'clock and have to vote on the amendments without having the opportunity of assessing whether they meet the case that was put in Committee, as the Minister has tried to do.
I certainly hope that the House will be able to manage its affairs. I have no wish to impose unreasonable deadlines or time scales on the House. In my view, our propcsals are entirely reasonable. The programme motion allows the House some leeway in terms of the time that it allows to discuss the various issues.
I should like to finish answering the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) first.
I think that the programme motion is reasonable. I do not want to have specific times allocated for debate on amendments. It is the Government's view that we have identified some of the key issues that were raised in Committee and in respect of which I felt that it was important for the House as a whole to take a view. May I make it very clear that that does not mean that the Government are asking the House to vote on all the amendments? It is the Government's view that our amendments cover the key issues arising out of the 717 debates in Committee that need to be debated by the House as a whole. Therefore, although they are Government amendments, they have been tabled to facilitate debate. The Government's position is not to support or oppose any of these amendments. I have a view on them, and will no doubt be able to express my views on some. The right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed may find that my position is not too far from his on some points.
§ Mr. Mike O'Brien
I will give way first to the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg), as I promised.
§ Mr. Hogg
The hon. Gentleman suggests that we are to have a fairly free debate and that the Government do not have a distinct view. That being so, is it not yet more important that the House should have an opportunity to vote? Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that if we were to vote on but three or four groups of amendments, which is not unreasonable, the time taken for that would come out of the substantive time available? That will make it even less likely that we get to the important groups of amendments towards the end of the selection list.
§ Mr. O'Brien
I want to ensure that we have sufficient time to have reasonable debates on these issues, and I think that the programme motion allows precisely that. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his colleagues, who take a particular view on these matters, had managed the time in Committee a little better, we might have been able to ensure that we got through issues in a more expeditious but sensible way.
Let me offer some observations: during the Committee's deliberations, the Chairman had to call representatives of the official Opposition to order on no fewer than 52 occasions because they were straying beyond the terms of an amendment under discussion. I do not accuse them of filibustering, because the Chairman would have brought them to order very quickly if they had been. I accuse them simply of being not quite on the point on many occasions. Indeed, on one occasion, the Chairman was moved to state:I have made it abundantly clear on several occasions that dilation in debates is becoming excessive and repetitious."—[Official Report, Standing Committee B, 1 February 2001; c. 286.]Right hon. and hon. Members can draw their own conclusions from that. I hope that we will not have excessive and repetitious dilation this afternoon—then we can reach the issues that the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his colleagues wish to ensure we debate.
Finally, let me deal with the ridiculous suggestion from the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham that only those of us who represent English or Welsh constituencies should be allowed to participate in Divisions on the Bill—[Interruption.] That seems to be his view. I understand the attractiveness of that suggestion for a member of a political party that was so decisively rejected by the voters of Scotland at the general election, but I remind the House of the points that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary made when dealing with this issue on Second Reading.
718 The powers of the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly derive from this Parliament. Those Parliaments are palpably subordinate to this one and their powers can be rescinded at any stage by this Parliament—although I am not advocating any such course. This is a sovereign Parliament and it is the right of every Member of it to participate in its proceedings, subject to earlier legislation. The arguments of the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham would have carried slightly more conviction if the Conservative party had ever objected in the past to the fact that hon. Members representing Northern Ireland constituencies regularly went into the Lobby with them despite the existence of the Stormont Parliament.
§ Mr. O'Brien
I will give way to the Opposition Front-Bench spokesman, but then I shall conclude my remarks.
§ Mr. Garnier
I am most grateful to the hon. Gentleman. In the Standing Committee, he conducted the Government's business with considerable calmness and in a reasonable spirit. I hope that he will not depart from that conduct on Report. I think that he made a false point when he was dealing with the 52 admonishments from the Chair. If he analyses the speeches that were being made on those occasions, he will find that there was no flagrant abuse of the time of the Committee. If he then translates my point about the Committee to the 11 groups of amendments tabled today, he will find that it is not unreasonable to complain that the amount of time allotted is insufficient. A huge number of amendments and groups of amendments—
§ Mr. O'Brien
I am grateful to you, Mr. Speaker. Excessive dilation on a particular issue has just been demonstrated, so I do not need to deal with that matter further.
§ Mr. John Bercow (Buckingham)
A moment ago, the hon. Gentleman prayed in aid the argument that every Member should have a right to contribute. Does he not realise that, by saying that, he hoists himself with his own petard? Earlier in his speech, he argued that substantial consideration of the issues in Committee necessitated—or at least justified—circumscription of debate on Report. Does he not realise that many right hon. and hon. Members did not have the opportunity to serve on the Committee? Nor were they able to contribute on their constituents' behalf on important and detailed issues on Second Reading. They want to make their voices heard this afternoon.
§ Mr. O'Brien
Again, that was a rather lengthy intervention. As I understand it, that Standing Committee 719 was one of the largest ever appointed to consider a Bill. That extension was made at the request of the Opposition. We did so in order to ensure that there was a fair amount of debate—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The Minister is replying to the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow), but the hon. Gentleman is not giving the Minister a hearing.
§ Mr. O'Brien
The Committee had a fair amount of time to debate the issues. The programme motion provides us with ample time to consider the Bill, given the large amount of debate held already—
§ Mr. O'Brien
If hon. Members on both sides of the House adopt a constructive attitude, I see no reason why we should not be able to deal with all the tabled amendments in the time provided.
§ Mr. O'Brien
When I gave way to the hon. and learned Member for Harborough (Mr. Garnier), I indicated that I should not be giving way again.
§ Mr. O'Brien
I said that I would give way to the hon. and learned Member for Harborough, who speaks from the Conservative Front Bench. I then gave way a second time, and I will not give way again. We need to debate the Bill. Some hon. Members may well want to make lengthy interventions and have lengthy debates that do not deal with the issues. People in the countryside expect the Opposition to deal with the issues, and I am ready to do so, so let us now get on and debate them.
§ Mr. David Lidington (Aylesbury)
I object to the programme motion on two counts. First, any dispassionate or independent-minded observer who looked in on the proceedings of the House this afternoon would regard the Government's decision to set aside the entire day to debate a ban on hunting with hounds as demonstrating a sense of priorities that verges on the surreal. British farmers are now facing what anyone with a reasonable turn of mind—whatever his or her view on the Bill—would recognise as by far the gravest crisis that has faced British agriculture and this country's rural economy for at least half a century. To spend hours debating a ban on hunting today displays what I can only regard as a warped sense of priorities.
§ Mr. John Gummer (Suffolk, Coastal)
Did not my hon. Friend notice that despite the reminder of the point of order, the Minister did not take the opportunity to 720 associate himself with the views that most of us have about the seriousness of this occasion? Is not it surprising that a Bill that assaults the sentiments of most people in the countryside has been introduced on a day when the countryside is reeling from yet another blow? Is not it time for the Government to learn a little respect for the countryside?
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. We are debating the programme motion, and those matters cannot be discussed during this debate. The right hon. Gentleman has made his point. I understand the difficulties that people in the countryside have at the moment, but the debate on the programme motion is not the time to discuss them.
§ Mr. Lidington
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In answer to my right hon. Friend's questions, I simply say that I agree with every word that he has said, but we are faced, sadly, with the fact that the Government have decided to insist on debating this Bill today.
My second reason for opposing the motion will unite every member of the official Opposition, whatever view he or she takes on the Bill's merits or demerits. As on every occasion when hunting has been debated, my right hon. and hon. Friends will have a free vote not only on the various amendments that we shall consider on Report, but on Third Reading later tonight. Although the overwhelming majority of my right hon. and hon. Friends share my opposition to the Bill, there is a distinguished minority in my party who have, for honourable reasons over a long time, supported such a ban, and they will, as always, enjoy a completely free vote in any Division. However, the Opposition will, as a matter of principle, oppose the motion, as we have opposed other programme motions since the habit of the routine guillotine was introduced at the beginning of this Session. We have made our opposition to the principle of such programme motions clear on numerous occasions, including in the meetings of the Programming Sub-Committee, to which the Minister referred However, as we know, no record is kept of the proceedings of those meetings so Members are not accountable in the way that they are if they speak in the Chamber.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (Cotswold)
Has my hon. Friend noted that the Government consistently say that they are upholders of liberty and protectors of minorities? If they truly believe what they say, should they not, on this and any other issue of conscience, allow a full debate until any hour and not use a guillotine? A guillotine is an affront to democracy and to liberty.
§ Mr. Lidington
I Agree with my hon. Friend. The very idea of a programme motion is particularly unwelcome and inapposite in the case of a Bill that divides Members in all political parties and on which there will be a free vote. I cannot say on behalf of the Conservative party that we collectively support or disagree with particular amendments or particular details in the Bill. Every individual Member of the House must, in conscience, reach a decision about each of the groups of amendments before us and about Third Reading. They must then speak and vote accordingly. It is therefore a particularly inappropriate Bill for a programme motion.
As the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) said, the motion has been drafted in such a way as to protect the right of the House to take separate 721 decisions on each of the main categories of Government amendments. However, as he also said, the motion does not protect the right of the House to debate those Government amendments. Certainty, no protection whatever is given to Back Benchers to ensure that their amendments are discussed in any length at all.
§ Mr. Leigh
Does my hon. Friend agree that the programme motion is doubly surreal, and not just for the reasons that he gave earlier? I thought that such motions were usually tabled when a Government wanted to get their Bills enacted in the face of fierce, official opposition. However, it is apparent from the Bill' s timing—it was the first to be introduced and it will be he last to go to the other place—that the Government do not want it to become law. Why are we having this doubly surreal programme motion? Can my hon. Friend explain what is going on?
§ Mr. Lidington
I wish that I could explain to my hon. Friend the Government's machinations in handling the Bill. As he implied, it is clear that even if the Bill is considered in an exceptionally speedy fashion in the House of Lords, it cannot complete all its stages in both Houses before the expected general election in April or May. One is therefore tempted to assume that the Government are engaged in a charade in an attempt to impress some of their own Back Benchers and some of the animal rights groups to which the Labour party has looked both for support and for money in the recent past.
§ Mr. Dale Campbell-Savours (Workington)
Would not the best interests of the countryside and all those who support countryside issues be served if we were to truncate the debate and have a Division within the next few minutes? We could then Proceed to discuss amendments. The Gallery is full, the country is watching and people want to hear the debate on the amendments so that Parliament can decide. Why do we not get on with that right away?
§ Mr. Lidington
The best service the hon. Gentleman could perform for the countryside would be to support the Opposition in the Lobby in trying to reject this programme motion. That would enable the House to proceed at the pace it considers appropriate to discuss all the groups of amendments that are before us.
§ Mr. Campbell-Savours
I would willingly do that, but there is a problem: if we do not proceed on the basis of the programme motion, Conservative Mumbers will filibuster throughout the night and wreck the Bill, when what the public want is for us and the other place to reach a decision. Why does not the hon. Gentleman just concede my case?
§ Mr. Lidington
The hon. Gentle man is frustrated by the fact that the Bill illustrates the problem that far too little time is being allotted to scrutinise and debate legislation. Programme motions are an impressive procedural device that Governments use to try to constrain Parliament's ability to scrutinise legislation. They allow them to ram through as many Bills as they choose.
§ Sir Patrick Cormack (South Staffordshire)
The Government have a massive majority, a mandate and 722 another year to go, but, instead of staying in government for that extra year, they are going to cut and run and go to the country early. Is it not the simple truth that that is why they are subjecting Parliament to a draconian and dictatorial series of programme motions?
§ Mr. Lidington
I not only agree with my hon. Friend, but think that even Labour Members would do themselves some good by taking his comments seriously. He has been consistent in his criticism of the way in which successive Governments of both parties have treated the House of Commons and has championed the rights of Back Benchers during his years in this place.
§ Mr. Gummer
Will my hon. Friend return to the fact that the measure is not party political and has been trumpeted by the Government as something on which we have a free vote? A programme motion imposes on Back-Bench Members of Parliament a restriction that I cannot recall being imposed while I have been a Member of Parliament. We should be entirely free to debate the Bill for as long as necessary. The Minister seems to have missed the curious fact that he is stopping Back Benchers from speaking on a Bill on which he admits that there is a free vote on both sides of the House.
§ Mr. Lidington
My right hon. Friend is correct. The Minister let it slip that he was unwilling to face up to the limitations that the motion imposes on the rights of Back Benchers. In praising the part of the motion that allows for separate votes on the main Government amendments, he said that Standing Committee debates had allowed the Government to identify the key issues. I agree that the Government amendments cover some of the key issues that arose from those discussions, but, as there is a free vote on the Bill, it is plainly wrong for debate to be constrained by their views on what constitutes the chief issues that are worthy of discussion and Division. On such a Bill, Back Benchers have as much right to have a say as Front Benchers and, if necessary, to insist on Divisions on issues about which they feel strongly.
My right hon. Friend will no doubt recall from our Standing Committee debates that the Bill is in great need of thorough, detailed and meticulous scrutiny. Many ambiguities and uncertainties still need to be explored.
§ Sir Peter Emery
Will my hon. Friend take up the argument of the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department who said that, having analysed consideration in Committee, he had gone to great trouble to identify the issues that he felt should be brought to the House on Report? There are 68 amendments in 11 groups, and the hon. Gentleman is not ensuring that the issues that he considers should be debated will be debated. We shall have only five and a half hours of debate. If he thinks that we shall get through the 11 groups of amendments that have been selected in that time, given that many Members who were not in Committee are vitally affected in their constituencies by the Bill, he is in "Alice in Wonderland". There is no need for such a programme motion.
§ Mr. Lidington
I agree completely with my right hon. Friend. He brings to bear his experience as a senior Member of this place and as a former Chairman of the Procedure Committee. We are right to listen with attention to his criticisms on issues of procedure.
723 I was referring to the way in which the Committee flushed out, if I may so put it, some of the inherent ambiguities and uncertainties in the Bill. Some of them arose because individual Members had a constituency or other interest in certain details in the Bill. The hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mrs. Golding) has been a consistent supporter of the need to control mink. She put the Government under great pressure on that issue. No doubt one Government amendment is in large measure a response to what the hon. Lady said in Committee.
The right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, like myself, raised issues connected with deer stalking. It was astonishing that on the final day in Committee— the additional day that the Government offered the Opposition, as it became clear that the time provided in their original programme motion was inadequate—the Government admitted that the Bill would prohibit the stalking and flushing out of deer, even though that was not the Government's intention. I found it extraordinary that after the Bill had been drafted in the Home Office, scrutinised in the Home Office, presented on Second Reading and taken through Committee, it was discovered in Committee that the Bill meant something different from what Ministers asserted they wished it to mean.
§ Mr. Lidington
We need later this afternoon to discuss matters relating to rabbits and rodent control. However, there are other ambiguities, which were demonstrated as a result of scrutiny in Committee. I contend that they demonstrate beyond doubt that there is a need for further rigorous scrutiny on Report and during further stages of the Bill's passage.
In February, the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, the hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Jane Kennedy), said:The hon. Member for Aylesbury"—that is myself—asked if we intend to outlaw them"—that is, Welsh gun packs. The hon. Lady said thatthe straight answer is no: gun packs can fall within the exceptions."—[Official Report, Standing Committee B, 6 February 2001; c. 386.]Those of us who heard the Minister re-read the Bill and remained unconvinced that the Government's intent and policy were delivered by the words in the Bill in Committee.
§ Mr. Mike O'Brien
The hon. Gentleman may have forgotten it, but I sent him a letter yesterday saying that Deadline 2000 initially wanted deer stalking to be included in the Bill. I should make it clear that the parliamentary draftsmen complied with the policy set out by Deadline 2000, which is now content that deer stalking should be taken out of the Bill. I do not want the hon. Gentleman in any way to traduce the parliamentary draftsmen, as I am sure he would not wish to.
§ Mr. Nicholas Soames (Mid-Sussex)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In your long and distinguished service 724 to the House of Commons, can you remember a Government ever having subcontracted another organisation—called, in this case, Deadbeat 2000—to write Government legislation? Can you recall such a thing, and is that a proper way to carry on?
§ Mr. Lidington
I wish to make no imputation against the conduct of the parliamentary draftsmen or civil servants, who, in my experience, obey the instructions of Ministers. One of the most unsatisfactory points about our proceedings has been that we have made repeated criticisms of the detail of the schedule only for Ministers to resort to saying that the Bill had been drafted not by them, but by Deadline 2000. They could not, therefore, explain or justify its ambiguities or the apparent gap between the Government's political intent and the wording produced by their subcontractors, Deadline 2000.
§ Mr. Hogg
Does my hon. Friend agree that it is impossible to reconcile the statements made by the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department to the effect that he subcontracted the policy with what is written on the back of the Bill, which tells us that it was presented by the Home Secretary, the Prime Minister and other rogues?
§ Mr. Lidington
My previous point was perhaps the most serious concern felt on both sides of the Standing Committee about the inadequacy of the Government's response to the many detailed questions asked during our proceedings. It demonstrates the need for further debate without the imposition of the artificial time limit that we are being forced to consider.
The motion is a Government attempt to constrain debate and limit discussion to the priorities that the Government consider appropriate. The motion amounts to a disgraceful attempt to gag Back-Bench Members and prevent the House from exercising its duty to scrutinise the Bill, question the Ministers responsible for it and hold the Government to account for the new criminal penalties and duties that they seek to impose on our fellow citizens. It is a thoroughly bad motion, and I advise my hon. Friends to resist it.
§ Mr. Paul Tyler (North Cornwall)
It is a tragic irony that we are debating this matter this afternoon. This morning, I had a telephone conversation with a farmer at St. Issey in the centre of my constituency, which is likely to be subject to restrictions as a result of a nearby foot and mouth outbreak. The farmer asked me what the House of Commons would be doing today to help him. I had to say that, for the first part of the afternoon, we would be discussing the timing of the debate that would take place later. He asked what the subject of the later debate was, and I had to admit to him that it was the Hunting Bill.
725 Whatever one's personal views, no one can pretend that the House of Commons is doing its duty by the countryside, the rural community and all the people—
§ Mr. Tyler
I will not give way; I want to be as brief as possible. The farmer was incredulous that we would be spending time either on the programme motion or on the Bill this afternoon. He said, "Surely my representatives in Parliament are more concerned about the things that concern the real people of the countryside." I know of no one in any rural area, except on the extremes, who thinks that the Bill is the most important issue to bring before the House.
I shall not repeat the comments of the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) about the programme motion, except to emphasise a point that he made in the latter part of his speech. The Bill is unusual because hon. Members of all parties take differing attitudes to it. At least three options have been before Parliament. Even if those on the three Front Benches could agree a programme motion, that would have been entirely inappropriate, because it is not a matter for those on the Front Benches or for the usual channels. It is a matter for the House as a whole, and it is therefore extremely important that we examine the programme motion carefully.
I am sure that the Minister meant well when he said that he did not want to restrict or compartmentalise the parts of the Bill, but major issues will come before the House, some of them introduced by the Government only at this stage, and they will not be properly debated before being voted on. It is not good enough to say that the issues have been agreed between the two sides of the House. Nothing about the Bill is agreed between the two sides of the House, because there are not two sides. There are many sides, and if there had to be a programme motion at all, it should have been generous in time and should have allowed adequate space for each issue to be addressed properly.
That was the proper reason for introducing programme motions in the first place. The right hon. Member for East Devon (Sir P. Emery) has always been in favour of a sensible division of debates, to ensure that all hon. Members can express their views to the House and divide on them. The programme motion does not allow for that. The issues raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) in Committee and again this afternoon will come before the House for the first time—
§ Mr. Tyler
I shall not give way. I want to be as quick as possible. I find it extraordinary that on an issue that has presumably been considered at extreme length in Whitehall, the Home Office has failed until now to acknowledge that there were major inadequacies in the Bill. One would have thought that even the Home Office realised that there was a possible anomaly concerning rodents, rabbits and deer stalking in the Bill as first drafted.
It is helpful, I suppose, that there will be time for Divisions, but every minute spent on a Division is time out of the subsequent debate. That will be especially true 726 at 10 o'clock. We should have provided time for Divisions without reducing the time for debate. I pressed the Leader of the House at business questions a fortnight ago to provide us with adequate time for Third Reading. Again, it will be the first opportunity for many hon. Members to discuss the issues that have arisen during the Bill's passage through Committee. If, however, there are several votes on Government amendments at 10 o'clock, that will necessarily curtail the time available for Third Reading. The programme motion should have provided for a two-hour debate on Third Reading, over and above the time allowed for Divisions.
It is crazy of the Government to prepare a programme motion before they even know the number of amendments, how significant they are, and which ones will be selected by the Speaker. The programme motion is wholly inadequate. It belies the Government's claim to take seriously the concerns of the countryside. Whatever one's views of the Bill—there are differing views in all parts of the House—the motion is a disgrace.
§ Sir Patrick Cormack (South Staffordshire)
I should like to endorse everything that the hon. Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Tyler) said in his brief but powerful speech. Historians have a habit of referring to Parliaments by various names—the long Parliament, the short Parliament and the addled Parliament. This will go down in history as the abused Parliament, because it has been systematically abused by the Executive in a manner for which there is no adequate precedent.
I have frequently had cause to take issue with Governments formed by my party, but never have we seen such overbearing arrogance as that witnessed during the past four years, and never has such arrogance been better exemplified than this afternoon. At a time when the countryside is bleeding, the Government bring before us a Bill for which there is no need. They are doing so for the reasons that I described in my intervention on my hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington), and it is utterly disgraceful that they are behaving in this manner.
§ Sir Patrick Cormack
We could say also that Labour Members are allowing it to be the supine Parliament, but the fact of the matter is—[Interruption.] My hon. Friend the Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne) may be laughing, but this is an extremely serious matter for anyone who cares about Parliament, as it is being systematically denigrated by this Government. Its powers are being eroded and set at nought, and the Government are using their steamroller majority to ignore the views of hon. Members of all parties.
The hon. Member for North Cornwall was completely accurate: this is not a Bill on which there are party positions. Even on my own Front Bench, it is not surprising that there are certain differences of opinion within the Home Office team—views that are honestly and conscientiously held. I happen to agree foursquare with the line taken by my hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury, who spoke so admirably, but there are others on this side of the House—one has come in recently—who take a different view.
§ It being forty-five minutes after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, MR. SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Order [7 November 2000].
§ The House divided: Ayes 288, Noes 175.730
|Division No. 130]||[4.27 pm|
|Abbott, Ms Diane||Cranston, Ross|
|Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)||Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)|
|Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)||Cryer, John (Hornchurch)|
|Allen, Graham||Cummings, John|
|Anderson, Rt Hon Donald||Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack|
|Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary||Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)|
|Ashton, Joe||Dalyell, Tam|
|Atherton, Ms Candy||Darvill, Keith|
|Austin, John||Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)|
|Bailey, Adrian||Davidson, Ian|
|Battle, John||Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)|
|Bayley, Hugh||Davis, Rt Hon Terry|
|Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret||(B'ham Hodge H)|
|Begg, Miss Anne||Dean, Mrs Janet|
|Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)||Denham, Rt Hon John|
|Benn, Hilary (Leeds C)||Dismore, Andrew|
|Benton, Joe||Dobbin, Jim|
|Berry, Roger||Dobson, Rt Hon Frank|
|Best, Harold||Doran, Frank|
|Betts, Clive||Drew, David|
|Blackman, Liz||Drown, Ms Julia|
|Blears, Ms Hazel||Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)|
|Blizzard, Bob||Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)|
|Boateng, Rt Hon Paul||Edwards, Huw|
|Borrow, David||Efford, Clive|
|Bradley, Keith (Withington)||Field, Rt Hon Frank|
|Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)||Fitzpatrick, Jim|
|Brinton, Mrs Helen||Fitzsimons, Mrs Loma|
|Brown, Russell (Dumfries)||Flint, Caroline|
|Browne, Desmond||Flynn, Paul|
|Burden, Richard||Follett, Barbara|
|Burgon, Colin||Foster, Rt Hon Derek|
|Butler, Mrs Christine||Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)|
|Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)||Foster, Michael J (Worcester)|
|Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)||Gapes, Mike|
|Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)||Gerrard, Neil|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Gibson, Dr Ian|
|Cann, Jamie||Godsiff, Roger|
|Caplin, Ivor||Goggins, Paul|
|Casale, Roger||Golding, Mrs Llin|
|Caton, Martin||Gordon, Mrs Eileen|
|Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)||Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)|
|Chaytor, David||Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)|
|Clapham, Michael||Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)|
|Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)||Grocott, Bruce|
|Clark, Dr Lynda||Grogan, John|
|(Edinburgh Pentlands)||Gunnell, John|
|Clark, Paul (Gillingham)||Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)|
|Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)||Hall, Patrick (Bedford)|
|Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)||Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)|
|Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)||Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet|
|Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)||Healey, John|
|Clelland, David||Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)|
|Clwyd, Ann||Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)|
|Coaker, Vernon||Hendrick, Mark|
|Coffey, Ms Ann||Hepburn, Stephen|
|Cohen, Harry||Heppell, John|
|Coleman, Iain||Hesford, Stephen|
|Colman, Tony||Hill, Keith|
|Connarty, Michael||Hinchliffe, David|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton N)||Hodge, Ms Margaret|
|Cooper, Yvette||Hood, Jimmy|
|Corbett, Robin||Hope, Phil|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Hopkins, Kelvin|
|Cousins, Jim||Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)|
|Cox, Tom||Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)|
|Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)||O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)|
|Humble, Mrs Joan||Osborne, Ms Sandra|
|Hurst, Alan||Palmer, Dr Nick|
|Iddon, Dr Brian||Pearson, Ian|
|Illsley, Eric||Perham, Ms Linda|
|Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)||Pickthall, Colin|
|Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)||Plaskitt, James|
|Jamieson, David||Pollard, Kerry|
|Jenkins, Brian||Pond, Chris|
|Johnson, Miss Melanie (welwyn Hatfield)||Pope, Greg|
|Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)|
|Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)||Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)|
|Jones, Helen (Warrington N)||Prescott, Rt Hon John|
|Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)||Primarolo, Dawn|
|Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)||Prosser, Gwyn|
|Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa||Purchase, Ken|
|Joyce, Eric||Quin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce|
|Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald||Quinn, Lawrie|
|Keeble, Ms Sally||Radice, Rt Hon Giles|
|Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)||Raynsford, Nick|
|Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)||Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)|
|Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)||Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)|
|Khabra, Piara S||Roche, Mrs Barbara|
|Kidney, David||Rogers, Allan|
|King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)||Rooney, Terry|
|King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)||Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)|
|Kingham, Ms Tess||Rowlands, Ted|
|Ladyman, Dr Stephen||Roy, Frank|
|Lammy, David||Ruane, Chris|
|Lepper, David||Ruddock, Joan|
|Leslie, Christopher||Ryan, Ms Joan|
|Levitt, Tom||Salter, Martin|
|Lewis, Terry (Worsley)||Sarwar, Mohammad|
|Linton, Martin||Savidge, Malcolm|
|Lock, David||Sedgemore, Brian|
|Love, Andrew||Shaw, Jonathan|
|McAllion, John||Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert|
|McAvoy, Thomas||Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)|
|McCabe, Steve||Singh, Marsha|
|McCartney, Rt Hon Ian (Makerfield)||Skinner, Dennis|
|Smith, Angela (Basildon)|
|McDonagh, Siobhain||Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)|
|Macdonald, Calum||Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)|
|McDonnell, John||Smith, John (Glamorgan)|
|McFall, John||Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)|
|McGuire, Mrs Anne||Snape, Peter|
|McIsaac, Shona||Southworth, Ms Helen|
|McKenna, Mrs Rosemary||Starkey, Dr Phyllis|
|Mackinlay, Andrew||Steinberg, Gerry|
|McNulty, Tony||Stewart, Ian (Eccles)|
|MacShane, Denis||Stinchcombe, Paul|
|Mactaggart, Fiona||Stoate, Dr Howard|
|Mahon, Mrs Alice||Stringer, Graham|
|Mallaber, Judy||Sutcliffe, Gerry|
|Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter||Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)|
|Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)|
|Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)||Taylor, David (NW Leics)|
|Marshall, David (Shettleston)||Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)|
|Marshall-Andrews, Robert||Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)|
|Martlew, Eric||Timms, Stephen|
|Merron, Gillian||Tipping, Paddy|
|Michael, Rt Hon Alun||Todd, Mark|
|Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)||Trickett, Jon|
|Milburn, Rt Hon Alan||Truswell, Paul|
|Miller, Andrew||Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)|
|Mitchell, Austin||Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)|
|Moffatt, Laura||Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)|
|Moonie, Dr Lewis||Turner, Neil (Wigan)|
|Moran, Ms Margaret||Twigg, Derek (Halton)|
|Morley, Elliot||Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)|
|Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)||Tynan, Bill|
|Walley, Ms Joan|
|Mudie, George||Ward, Ms Claire|
|Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)||Wareing, Robert N|
|Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)||Whitehead, Dr Alan|
|Naysmith, Dr Doug||Wicks, Malcolm|
|Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)||Worthington, Tony|
|Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)|
|Wright, Tony (Cannock)|
|Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)||Wyatt, Derek|
|Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Wood, Mike||Mr. Jim Dowd and|
|Woolas, Phil||Mr. Don Touhig.|
|Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)||Gorman, Mrs Teresa|
|Allan, Richard||Green, Damian|
|Amess, David||Greenway, John|
|Ancram, Rt Hon Michael||Gummer, Rt Hon John|
|Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James||Hague, Rt Hon William|
|Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)||Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie|
|Baker, Norman||Hammond, Philip|
|Baldry, Tony||Hancock, Mike|
|Ballard, Jackie||Harris, Dr Evan|
|Beggs, Roy||Harvey, Nick|
|Beith, Rt Hon A J||Hawkins, Nick|
|Bell, Martin (Tatton)||Hayes, John|
|Bercow, John||Heald, Oliver|
|Beresford, Sir Paul||Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)|
|Blunt, Crispin||Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David|
|Boswell, Tim||Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas|
|Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)||Horam, John|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia||Howard, Rt Hon Michael|
|Brady, Graham||Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)|
|Brake, Tom||Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)|
|Brand, Dr Peter||Jenkin, Bemard|
|Brazier, Julian||Johnson Smith, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey|
|Browning, Mrs Angela||Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness W)|
|Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)|
|Burnett, John||King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)|
|Burns, Simon||Kirkbride, Miss Julie|
|Burstow, Paul||Laing, Mrs Eleanor|
|Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife)||Lait, Mrs Jacqui|
|Cash, William||Leigh, Edward|
|Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)||Letwin, Oliver|
|Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)|
|Chidgey, David||Lidington, David|
|Chope, Christopher||Lilley, Rt Hon Peter|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)||Livsey, Richard|
|Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)|
|Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey||Loughton, Tim|
|Collins, Tim||Luff, Peter|
|Cormack, Sir Patrick||Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas|
|Cotter, Brian||MacGregor, Rt Hon John|
|Cran, James||Mclntosh, Miss Anne|
|Curry, Rt Hon David||Maclean, Rt Hon David|
|Davey, Edward (Kingston)||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)||Madel, Sir David|
|Day, Stephen||Major Rt Hon John|
|Duncan, Alan||Malins, Humfrey|
|Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Maples, John|
|Evans, Nigel||Maude, Rt Hon Francis|
|Faber, David||Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian|
|Fabricant, Michael||May, Mrs Theresa||May, Mrs Theresa|
|Fallon, Michael||Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)|
|Fearn, Ronnie||Moore, Michael|
|Flight, Howard||Moss, Malcolm|
|Forth, Rt Hon Eric||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Foster, Don (Bath)||Norman, Archie|
|Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman||Oaten, Mark|
|Fox, Dr Liam||Öpik, Lembit|
|Fraser, Christopher||Ottaway, Richard|
|Gale, Roger||Page, Richard|
|Garnier, Edward||Paice, James|
|George, Andrew (St Ives)||Paisley, Rev Ian|
|Gibb, Nick||Paterson, Owen|
|Gill, Christopher||Pickles, Eric|
|Gillan, Mrs Cheryl||Prior, David|
|Redwood, Rt Hon John||Taylor, John M (Solihull)|
|Rendel, David||Taylor, Sir Teddy|
|Robathan, Andrew||Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)|
|Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)||Tonge, Dr Jenny|
|Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)||Tredinnick, David|
|Ruffley, David||Trend, Michael|
|Russell, Bob (Colchester)||Tyler, Paul|
|St Aubyn, Nick||Tyrie, Andrew|
|Sanders, Adrian||Viggers, Peter|
|Sayeed, Jonathan||Walter, Robert|
|Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian||Webb, Steve|
|Shepherd, Richard||Wells, Bowen|
|Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)||Whitney, Sir Raymond|
|Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)||Whittingdale, John|
|Soames, Nicholas||Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann|
|Spelman, Mrs Caroline||Wilkinson, John|
|Spicer, Sir Michael||Willetts, David|
|Spring, Richard||Willis, Phil|
|Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John||Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)|
|Steen, Anthony||Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)|
|Stunell, Andrew||Yeo, Tim|
|Swayne, Desmond||Young, Rt Hon Sir George|
|Tapsell, Sir Peter||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)||Mr. Keith Simpson and|
|Taylor, Rt Hon John D (Strangford)||Mr. James Gray.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.