HC Deb 01 May 2001 vol 367 cc760-73 'The Secretary of State may require, by amending any benefit application form, that all benefit applicants shall give consent in writing, as a condition of receiving benefit, to the provision of some or all of their benefit details by an authorised officer to—
  1. (a) any person falling within section 109B(2A) of the Administration Act; and
  2. (b) any other person whose principal duty s to counter fraud;
provided that the benefit recipient has a conviction for fraud or the officer has reasonable grounds for belief that the benefit recipient may be committing, or intending to commit, fraud.'.

Brought up, and read the First Time.

4.6 pm

Mr. Frank Field (Birkenhead)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second Time.

The new clause is billed as "Disclosure of benefit details", but it could have been entitled "Joining CIFAS"—or indeed, given its genesis, termed the "wish list" of the Minister of State, who has expressed the wish that the Government could join the credit industry fraud avoidance system.

Although I doubt that any Member present does not know what CIFAS is and who belongs to it, I shall say a brief word about it before trying to explain what the new clause does. CIFAS is a fraud avoidance system, which, as I shall demonstrate later, has proved effective. As we all now know that we can wear glasses safely, I shall put mine on—they are not as expensive as some people's, but I hope that they are as effective—and read a list of the organisations that have voluntarily united to try to counter the fraud that their firms and other bodies suffer. The membership of CIFAS includes banks, building societies, insurance companies, credit card companies, share dealers and finance houses. The roll call includes more than just representatives of what we normally think of as the traditional finance industry.

The aim of CIFAS is to build up a register of those suspected of, or known to be, committing fraud against members and, therefore, against their customers and shareholders. What we must ask today is, "If this works so well for the private sector, do we not want the public sector to be fully involved in it?" CIFAS is about beating fraud and spreading the good practice that arises from attempts to beat it. Its latest press release could have been taken from any of the Green Papers that have been published during this Parliament on how best to go about protecting taxpayers' money.

Although in a previous debate on the Bill there was some questioning of the extent of social security fraud and how the total was arrived at, CIFAS has no problem working out what is saved in countering fraud. At its annual general meeting last week, it was able to register that about £203 million had been saved by member organisations as a result of their collective action—action not merely to protect each organisation itself from fraud, but to share information with other organisations, so that they are best equipped to counter fraud against them. Those who have had e-mails about last week's AGM or were there themselves know that the members reported that the fastest growing form of fraud is giving false identities. The position that the Department faces cannot be dissimilar.

In its response to the Bill, the private sector has welcomed the Government's attempt to get a better grip on countering fraud, but has expressed considerable dissatisfaction with the way in which they are approaching the issue. Although the Government talk about data sharing, the private sector views it as data raiding. The Government are not doing any sharing at all. They ask CIFAS and other organisations for information on what is known and on membership but return nothing in its place.

CIFAS and its members—the private sector—argue that while the Bill may be effective in shifting fraud around, it will be ineffective in countering fraud. The more successful the Government are in protecting taxpayers' money—something that we all wish to be pursued as effectively as possible—the greater the chance that the Bill will just push the fraudster out of the public sector and into the private sector.

There are costs for the private sector. The costs are, as required, listed in the Bill, although no one in the private sector believes that the cost will be limited to that level. New clause 2 attempts to fulfil the wish that the Minister expressed in a previous debate: that if we could join CIFAS, we would. The new clause would allow the Government to do precisely that.

One of the arguments that came up in that debate—it may or may not be advanced today—was that there was a difference between people claiming benefit and, for example, people opening a bank account: people are free to open a bank account, but, if they are eligible, and particularly if they are poor, there is no freedom about drawing benefit. I wonder whether that argument holds because the Government are intent on moving benefit payments to banks. The checking that banks will do to ensure that they are not enrolling known fraudsters will involve all the people who currently do not have bank accounts, but whom the Government wish to persuade to open them, so that benefit payments can be made much more efficiently, cheaply and, we hope, with much less fraud. The major argument for there being something special—something ring-fenced—about drawing benefit that separates it from other activities that people voluntarily undertake and prevents the Government, on behalf of taxpayers, from joining CIFAS therefore falls to the ground.

I hope that when we have had our debate and the Minister replies, we will all be delighted and hear not only that he wishes to join, but that he has now, with the help of his colleagues, found a way of doing precisely that. It is clear to those of us who have visited CIFAS members—I know that he has been to some of those that I have visited to see how they operate—that they probably already have in place a more effective way of countering fraud or preventing fraudsters from entering the system than the Department has. That is not to denigrate the importance of what the Department does, but CIFAS membership would be another effective string to the Government's bow in helping to counter fraud. Given that the new clause has support on both sides of the House, I hope that the Government, who are serious about dealing with fraud, will take this opportunity—late as it is in the Bill's proceedings—to ensure that after the general election whoever forms the next Government will become a full member of CIFAS.

We should use CIFAS's techniques alongside our own in protecting taxpayers' money and show that we are not merely about raiding the private sector for information or trying to shift fraud from the public to the private sector. We should also demonstrate that we do not wish merely to shift fraud around, but to limit the amount of fraud committed.

4.15 pm
Mrs. Jacqui Lait (Beckenham)

It gives me great pleasure to support new clause 2, tabled by the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field). I also thank the Minister of State for his fulsome apology, which was much appreciated.

In previous debates on the Bill in both Houses, an issue that arose time and again was the need to reduce fraud while ensuring that people's privacy is protected as much as possible. In fact, Conservatives regularly cited the concern of organisations such as Liberty, which many people would not expect from us. We did not raise CIFAS in Committee, partly because it had been raised in the other place. We were also told that one of the problems that the Government had with CIFAS was the potential for footprints to be left in the private sector's records. That appeared to be a good reason not to pursue the issue, and there were other fears, which may be further expressed later, that the broad nature of the inquiries that the public sector would need to make of the private sector would be invidious for the individual.

The right hon. Member for Birkenhead explained the work of CIFAS so effectively that I need only say that I agree whole heartedly with his comments. It is a most effective organisation. It was the first in the world to be set up to try to eliminate private sector fraud in the financial sector in its broadest definition. From information supplied to me by CIFAS, it appears that in February the number of cases with which it had dealt had increased by 50 per cent. over the year before, so it is clearly gaining force as an effective organisation.

The right hon. Gentleman also mentioned that CIFAS had its annual general meeting last week at which a question was put to the Data Protection Commissioner, Mrs. France, that made me feel able to support the new clause. Mr. Peter Hurst, the executive director of CIFAS, told me that at the AGM, in response to a question from a senior executive in the insurance industry about why the Department of Social Security could not share information about identified frauds with members of CIFAS, Mrs. France said that she considered that to be possible, provided that it was approached in the right way—possibly making use of section 29 of the Data Protection Act 1998. That section exempts crime prevention and prosecution of offenders. She went on to offer CIFAS members the assistance and involvement of her staff in any discussions about sharing such information to prevent fraud. I went so far as to track down section 29 of the 1998 Act and, as a non-lawyer, I would not challenge Mrs. France's conclusions.

There seems to be a good case for the Government to join CIFAS, having dealt with the concerns about footprints. We certainly support the right hon. Gentleman's new clause. As we did not debate it in Committee because of our concerns about footprints, we wish to have a vote so that it is on record that the official Opposition support the proposal for the Government to join CIFAS.

Mr. Steve Webb (Northavon)

This is one of those rare occasions when one listens with an open mind to the reasons for accepting a new clause. However, so far, I am not convinced about adding new clause 2 to the Bill. Perhaps I can describe my reactions to the new clause, and if I have misunderstood its purpose, I would be grateful for clarification.

My understanding is that under new clause 2, the Secretary of State could change all benefit forms and require, as a condition of payment of benefit, the person applying to give permission in writing. The permission would say that henceforth, whatever information had gone on that form—which could be very personal, such as income, who was living in the household and how many children they had—could be passed to anyone falling within section 109B(2A) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992. That, as we know from the Bill, applies to a range of private sector organisations such as banks, the student loan company, the gas board, the water board, and so on. Do we want information that people put on their benefit forms—some of it sensitive—to be passed to those organisations?

Mr. Field

As I am anxious that no one in the coming general election campaign accuses the Liberal Democrats of being soft on fraud and soft on the causes of fraud, I should like to answer the question. One would have to have grounds to suspect that there was fraud. Names would not necessarily be checked, because of false identities, but there would be a check on whether the address was being used.

If the hon. Gentleman has not yet had a chance to visit any of the organisations that are part of CIFAS, I hope that he will do so after the election. They would not have time to exchange all the information to which he refers. They want to know whether they have to be careful with a customer and whether they have to ask more questions. They merely check whether other organisations have also marked out that person. They have to think that there is something fishy about a claim and then check on the name and address. It is not a case of sharing all personal information. The system would collapse if all that information were transferred.

Mr. Webb

I am grateful for that intervention, although I am not entirely reassured by it. However, I shall pursue my point and will happily give way later.

The amendment refers to an authorised officer providing information to external organisations. In general, in the Bill, the authorised officers come from the Department of Social Security or the Benefits Agency. That is what I assumed was meant in this case.

I am puzzled about the sequence of events that would give rise to the exercise of the new clause. It says that the authorised officer—the person in the DSS—can give information to the third party provided, for example, that the benefit recipient has a conviction for fraud or the officer thinks that they might be intending to commit fraud.

Let us suppose that a bank is considering a loan application from someone. It would not know that that person was the subject, for example, of a fraud investigation by the DSS. Are we to assume that the authorised officer would initiate contact with these third parties? The bank could not make fishing telephone calls, to use our analogy, and would not know that there was a question mark over that person. Is the right hon. Member for Birkenhead proposing that when a bank has vague misgivings about a person applying for a loan it should ring DSS offices to ascertain whether an authorised officer has a concern about the person? If so, I am not clear how that process would work in practice.

If there is a reasonable suspicion that a person claiming benefit is committing fraud, what that person has put on the claim form can, in principle, be passed to external organisations. The right hon. Gentleman says that there is no need for information on the benefit form to be passed on, but that would happen the second that there were reasonable grounds for suspicion that a person had committed fraud. The information would cease to be confidential in the Department, and would be available to all the external organisations with which an applicant might have dealings. Even if an applicant were proven to be completely innocent, his or her personal details would already have been passed to the external organisations.

In the event that an applicant were convicted of fraud—and conviction is only one of the three categories specified in the new clause—it is perhaps arguable that other organisations would have a right to know details of a person's circumstances, as they would need to prevent any possibility of fraud against themselves. However, I do not see why suspicion of fraud should be a sufficient reason for people to lose their right to privacy. My worry is that such provisions risk breaching the principle that people are innocent until proven guilty. People suffer when privacy and confidentiality are lost. Passing on personal information is almost a punishment in itself, even if people are eventually found to be innocent.

Mr. Field

Part of me wishes that officers in the DSS had time to undertake such activities. I fear that life is much more pressured than that. I give the hon. Gentleman the example of a benefits applicant who puts on the benefits claim form a false national insurance number. In such circumstances, it is reasonable to check into that person a little more to ascertain whether there is a history of wrongdoing in other areas. The question is whether it is worth pursuing such matters with the private sector to eliminate possible frauds.

Mr. Webb

I apologise for being slightly dense, but the right hon. Gentleman gave the example of a person who puts a dodgy national insurance number on a benefits claim form. Is he saying that that would alert the authorities to the possibility that the person could not be trusted, and that the Benefits Agency should be proactive in contacting all the categories of people or organisation with whom the person might have had dealings? I presume that the agency would tell those people and organisations, "We've got a dodgy one here, keep an eye out," or, "If you've had any dealings with this applicant you might be about to get stitched up."

Mr. Field

Liberal Democrat Members may vote against the new clause, but the wish of the House is that the Government should have the power to get that information from the private sector. The new clause proposes that, to some extent, relevant information might move in the opposite direction.

Mr. Webb

The Government certainly can get information from the private sector to establish whether a person is committing benefit fraud, if there are reasonable grounds for that suspicion. Under the Bill, authorised officers of the Benefits Agency may obtain that information to verify—or otherwise—any suspicion that they might have about a claim. Under the new clause, authorised officers would not use information gained in that way only for internal purposes, but would pass it on to interested external organisations. Those organisations could not initiate the transfer of information, as they would not know that there was a suspicion of fraud.

I shall not drag this matter out. If a person has been successfully prosecuted, there might be a case for alerting other organisations to the fact. However, I am worried about alerting other organisations before anything is proved, especially if the person involved is found to be innocent in the end. I believe that private information given to the state should remain private, unless there is a good reason why it should not, and that suspicion is not a good enough reason. That is where I would draw the line.

4.30 pm

I mention in passing that in a written answer earlier this week the Minister of State told me that 15 per cent. of benefit recipients will not have their money paid into a bank account even when the Government have finished the move to automated credit transfer. The Government's target is 85 per cent., not 100 per cent. Therefore, one in six benefit recipients will still not be subject to the sort of checks to which the Minister referred. It will not be universal that, in applying for a benefit, one is subject to all those checks. For a certain category of person, there would be additional checks, beyond those that they face at present.

While I understand the view of the private sector that the traffic is one way, the role of the public sector is special. The relationship between the individual and the state is different from that between the individual and the private sector. The information that we provide to the state should be treated with respect and privacy. For that reason, I cannot support the new clause.

Mr. Rooker

First, I shall respond to the hon. Member for Northavon (Mr. Webb), without the benefit of my written notes. The Government's objective is to pay all benefits by automated credit transfer. My written answer made it clear that in our public service agreement, by which we will be measured by 2005, the initial hurdle is 85 per cent. That does not mean that we will stop there, or that we expect to achieve only 85 per cent. Our objective will be to achieve more, but at that point in time the public service agreement that the Department has with the Treasury is to meet that benchmark. The transfer is taking place between 2003 and 2005 and it would be unreasonable to expect us to achieve 100 per cent. by 2005 in terms of that agreement. I do not want people to run away with the idea that we are writing off 15 per cent. of benefit claimants as regards ACT—far from it.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) will know from what I said on Second Reading and in Committee that, by and large, we are sympathetic to sharing information that we are able to share with the private sector to do a better job to help both sectors root out fraud. Fraud in the private sector is as bad as fraud in the public sector and it is important that the two sectors work in partnership.

The Government are taking statutory powers in the Bill to obtain information from the private sector. We cannot reciprocate by being members of CIFAS—the credit industry fraud avoidance system—for reasons that I have explained. I am not sure whether we could get the legal authority of the House to join CIFAS in a clause with the wording in my right hon. Friend's new clause 2.

The clause would give the Department carte blanche to release any information that it holds about claimants who are convicted or reasonably suspected of fraud. There is no restriction. Obviously, there has been correspondence and there have been parliamentary questions on the matter since the Bill was put before the House. I shall reiterate some of the issues and refer to the annual meeting of CIFAS, which has been mentioned.

We are constantly examining the data that may be released to the private sector and we are holding—and have held—discussions with that sector. However, there are legal considerations. I listened to the exchange between my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead and the hon. Member for Northavon. We need to distinguish between the bulk transfer of information and giving information on a case-by-case basis. Different rules apply, as will be apparent from my remarks. It is important to take on board that distinction.

We have never envisaged a complete exchange of information. The Department's legal advice remains that making entitlement to benefits conditional on claimants consenting to the release of their personal data would not constitute genuine consent because there is nowhere else to get the benefits if one does not consent and, therefore, we would have real trouble with the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998, let alone human rights legislation. Claimants have no choice but to claim from the Department of Social Security.

We are trying to be helpful: by sharing with the private sector information that would be useful to it, but also by protecting information gathered about people who have no choice but to use the DSS. We have to strike a balance—the Bill is the striking of that balance. It is a modest step—although it could be seen as a major encroachment in some ways, so we are being extremely careful about its content. There will be no fishing expeditions and reasonable grounds will have to be given if it is thought that fraud might be being committed. That is crucial. All those checks and balances have been included, so in this Bill the new clause would be a step much, much too far.

We have to protect individuals and we want to assist the private sector. We take our data protection responsibilities very seriously indeed. We are discussing with the financial sector what information we can divulge without breaching those responsibilities. For example, we have been considering items such as information on people who have died. That is a matter of public record; if we have the information, we have stopped paying their pension. Sometimes the private sector does not know that a person has died and carries on paying an occupational pension, in which case fraud is obviously committed by other people.

We are looking at whether we can help with the verification of addresses when the DSS requires people to open a bank account. Information on stolen blank birth, marriage and death certificates is also under consideration, as are details of people convicted under the "two strikes" provisions. That matter was raised in Committee and we may debate it briefly later on.

The provisions are a deterrent that will not affect more than 500 people a year. "Two strikes" mean convictions in a court of law—in a public place; the proceedings are not secret and are not held behind closed doors, yet according to the legal advice that I have received, it is not currently possible for the DSS, which would know the names and addresses of the 500 people affected by "Two strikes and you're out", to pass that information to the private sector. That would not be possible and we have legal advice to that effect, yet the information is clearly in the public sector—diffused around the country—in various courts. However, the mere act of the DSS gathering such information and handing it over to a third party breaches the legal framework under which we operate and we are, therefore, still holding discussions on that.

We expect and hope to resolve outstanding legal and operational issues about information that we can share with the private sector by the end of this month—so the matter should not be dragged out. We do not want to drag it out because there is no incentive to do so. In any case, we need the good will of the private sector, even though we are taking statutory powers. Where we have the legal authority to share information, we want to do so. Thus, it is in everybody's interest that we get on with that as quickly as possible.

Mrs. Lait

The right hon. Gentleman will recall that when the Bill was published, the Data Protection Commissioner expressed significant reservations about it, although the right hon. Gentleman told us in Committee that she had subsequently withdrawn them. Was CIFAS part of the negotiations? Are the right hon. Gentleman or his officials holding discussions with the commissioner about section 29 of the Data Protection Act 1998? The commissioner has given us to understand that that section covers the points made by the right hon. Gentleman and the legal advice that he has taken.

Mr. Rooker

The answer to the hon. Lady's first question is—to the best of my knowledge—no. There were no prior discussions with the commissioner when the Bill was being planned. That has now changed because, given that we have only heard reports of what was said at the annual meeting of CIFAS by the information commissioner, we have written to her to sound her out more fully on what she said and on the legal advice underpinning it. It is crucial that such legal advice is correct.

Obviously, I cannot state categorically what the commissioner said last week, because I was not present. I understand, via her office, that she was answering a question, but that she was referring to cases in which the private sector prosecutes an individual. In such a case, there may be scope for the DSS to give relevant information to the company concerned. We are happy to discuss that further with the commissioner, but she seems to be talking about providing information on a case-by-case basis, which is a wholly different matter from the bulk transfer of DSS information to the private sector.

We have discussed with the industry only information routinely issued in bulk, for which we have not found a legally workable solution, but I understand that the commissioner was discussing information provided on a case-by-case basis. So as long as there is no breach of the legal framework within which we work, such as the data protection legislation and other relevant statutes, clearly, we would seek to provide such information. However, we are seeking further and better particulars from my learned friends and others and to open a conversation with the data protection commissioner.

There is good will on both sides; we want to work in partnership with the private sector. This is not a criticism of the drafting of new clause 2, but it would represent a step too far if included in the Bill. Nevertheless, in the fight against fraud, the more we can transfer information, compatible with the protection of privacy and data protection legislation, the better for everyone all round. Therefore, I hope that my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead will not press new clause 2 to a Division.

Mr. Field

Even if I do not press new clause 2 to a Division, it appears that others may well do so. I am still slightly puzzled about what is meant by the quantity of information being exchanged. No one thinks that anyone is asking for bucket loads of information to come from the DSS into the private sector arbitrarily, without relating to any real problems. We are trying to locate information on people who may be committing fraud against the taxpayer, who are probably committing fraud against the private sector as well. Indeed, we have said in previous debates that it is inconceivable that the biggest of all Government budgets is somehow immune from attack by fraudsters, as we know that smaller budgets are under attack in the private sector.

I do not wish, at this late hour, to wind up the hon. Member for Northavon (Mr. Webb)—the Liberal Democrat in this debate—but I shall provide the House with the information that, on 30 April of this year, the Government gave in their press release, headed, "DSS Assists in the Fight Against Crime", on the agreement that they have drawn up with the police. It states: The revised DSS policy on disclosure is that all personal information held in social security records will continue to be regarded as confidential. Information will not normally be disclosed to third parties without the consent of the person concerned. Then comes the key point: However, information may be disclosed without consent to assist in the prevention or detection of crime or to aid the apprehension or prosecution of offenders. The notes to editors in the press release state that that would be done in trying to prevent vandalism. New clause 2 is about whether we are striking the right balance.

Mr. Rooker

I do not want to protract the debate, but we were talking about information given to the police. The memorandum of understanding between the Association of Chief Police Officers, the DSS and the Home Office deals with information given to the police, not to the private sector.

Mr. Field

I merely quoted the press release because the Liberal Democrats were understandably concerned that the information that must be supplied to claim benefits may be needed and could be handed over. The new clause is about trying to strike a balance in exchanging the information that would be of real value to the private and the public sectors. At present, the private sector feels that all the demands will be made one way, that it will bear most of the costs and that a major opportunity is being lost, not merely because, by sharing information, we could stop people moving from the public to the private side of fraud.

4.45 pm Let us think ahead to the next Parliament and consider how we shall draw up measures to be more effective in countering fraud and other forms of unacceptable behaviour. Surely, there is a need to establish a means of exchanging information about criminal records, fraud against the Department of Social Security and fraud in the private sector. Once someone begins to behave in a way that is unacceptable to the community, all parts of the community should be able to pool their information to determine what sort of charge sheet should be drawn up against that individual.

Earlier in this Parliament, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister suggested that police should have the powers to apprehend yobbos, take them to cashpoints and make them hand over a fine. If a yobbo were apprehended for bad behaviour in Birkenhead, one might find that that person had also committed credit card fraud, mortgage fraud, housing benefit fraud and a few other frauds. Therefore, the different groups involved might wish to pursue collectively in the courts their case against that individual.

Once a person has behaved unacceptably, a general check should be available. Information could be collected and a collective charge—with the costs being shared between the public and private sectors—could be pursued. Although we cannot pursue that aim through an amendment to the Bill, my new clause is a modest measure that is designed to fulfil the wish of my right hon. Friend the Minister of State. As the Opposition say that they will press the new clause to a Division, I will join them because it stands in my name.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 133, Noes 312.

Division No. 200] [4.46 pm
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Hague, Rt Hon William
Amess, David Hammond, Philip
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Hawkins, Nick
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Hayes, John
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Heald, Oliver
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Heathcoat—Amory, Rt Hon David
Bercow, John Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Beresford, Sir Paul Horam, John
Blunt, Crispin Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Body, Sir Richard Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Hunter, Andrew
Brady, Graham Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Brazier, Julian Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Jenkin, Bernard
Browning, Mrs Angela Johnson Smith, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Burns, Simon Key, Robert
Butterfill, John King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet) Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Clappison, James Lansley, Andrew
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Clifton—Brown, Geoffrey Lidington, David
Collins, Tim Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Cormack, Sir Patrick Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Cran, James Loughton, Tim
Davies, Quentin (Grantham) Luff, Peter
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Day, Stephen McIntosh, Miss Anne
Duncan, Alan MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Evans, Nigel Maclean, Rt Hon David
Faber, David McLoughlin, Patrick
Fabricant, Michael Madel, Sir David
Fallon, Michael Major, Rt Hon John
Field, Rt Hon Frank Malins, Humfrey
Flight, Howard Maples, John
Forth, Rt Hon Eric Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Fox, Dr Liam May, Mrs Theresa
Fraser, Christopher Nicholls, Patrick
Gale, Roger Norman, Archie
Garnier, Edward O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Gibb, Nick Ottaway, Richard
Gill, Christopher Page, Richard
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl Paice, James
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Paterson, Owen
Green, Damian Pickles, Eric
Greenway, John Prior, David
Grieve, Dominic Randall, John
Gummer, Rt Hon John Redwood, Rt Hon John
Robathan, Andrew Tredinnick, David
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry) Trend, Michael
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E) Tyrie, Andrew
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne) Viggers, Peter
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham) Walter, Robert
St Aubyn, Nick Wells, Bowen
Sayeed, Jonathan Whitney, Sir Raymond
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian Whittingdale, John
Shepherd, Richard Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Soames, Nicholas Wilkinson, John
Spelman, Mrs Caroline Wilshire, David
Spring, Richard Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Steen, Anthony Yeo, Tim
Streeter, Gary Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Swayne, Desmond
Tapsell, Sir Peter Tellers for the Ayes:
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton) Mr. Keith Simpson and
Taylor, John M (Solihull) Mr. James Gray.
Abbott, Ms Diane Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Ainger, Nick Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Allan, Richard Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Allen, Graham Clwyd, Ann
Anderson, Rt Hon Donald (Swansea E) Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Colman, Tony
Ashton, Joe Connarty, Michael
Atherton, Ms Candy Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Austin, John Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Bailey, Adrian Corbett, Robin
Barnes, Harry Corbyn, Jeremy
Barron, Kevin Corston, Jean
Battle, John Cotter, Brian
Bayley, Hugh Cousins, Jim
Begg, Miss Anne Cranston, Ross
Beith, Rt Hon A J Crausby, David
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield) Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Bennett, Andrew F Darvill, Keith
Benton, Joe Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Bermingham, Gerald Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Berry, Roger Davidson, Ian
Betts, Clive Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Blears, Ms Hazel Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Blizzard, Bob Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Dean, Mrs Janet
Bradshaw, Ben Dobbin, Jim
Brake, Tom Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Breed, Colin Donohoe, Brian H
Brinton, Mrs Helen Doran, Frank
Browne, Desmond Dowd, Jim
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Drown, Ms Julia
Buck, Ms Karen Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Burden, Richard Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Burgon, Colin Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Burnett, John Efford, Clive
Burstow, Paul Ellman, Mrs Louise
Butler, Mrs Christine Etherington, Bill
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth) Flint, Caroline
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Flynn, Paul
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife) Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Don (Bath)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Campbell—Savours, Dale Gapes, Mike
Cann, Jamie Gardiner, Barry
Casale, Roger George, Rt Hon Bruce (Walsall S)
Caton, Martin Gerrard, Neil
Cawsey, Ian Gibson, Dr Ian
Chidgey, David Gidley, Sandra
Clapham, Michael Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godman, Dr Norman A McNamara, Kevin
Godsiff, Roger McNulty, Tony
Goggins, Paul MacShane, Denis
Gordon, Mrs Eileen Mactaggart, Fiona
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E) McWilliam, John
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Mahon, Mrs Alice
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Mallaber, Judy
Grocott, Bruce Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Hain, Peter Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford) Martlew, Eric
Hanson, David Merron, Gillian
Harvey, Nick Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Healey, John Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome) Miller, Andrew
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N) Mitchell, Austin
Hendrick, Mark Moffatt, Laura
Hepburn, Stephen Moore, Michael
Hesford, Stephen Moran, Ms Margaret
Hewitt, Ms Patricia Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Hill, Keith Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Ms Margaret Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie
Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey Mudie, George
Hope, Phil Mullin, Chris
Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E) Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Howells, Dr Kim Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N) Naysmith, Dr Doug
Humble, Mrs Joan Oaten, Mark
Hutton, John O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Iddon, Dr Brian O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Illsley, Eric O'Hara, Eddie
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead) Olner, Bill
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough) O'Neill, Martin
Jamieson, David Öpik, Lembit
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield) Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn) Pendry, Rt Hon Tom
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark) Pickthall, Colin
Jones, Helen (Warrington N) Pike, Peter L
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak) Plaskitt, James
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S) Pollard, Kerry
Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa Pond, Chris
Joyce, Eric Pope, Greg
Keeble, Ms Sally Pound, Stephen
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth) Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Kelly, Ms Ruth Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree) Primarolo, Dawn
Khabra, Piara S Prosser, Gwyn
Kidney, David Quinn, Lawrie
Kilfoyle, Peter Radice, Rt Hon Giles
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth) Rammell, Bill
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green) Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Kingham, Ms Tess Rendel, David
Kumar, Dr Ashok Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lammy, David Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie Roche, Mrs Barbara
Laxton, Bob Rogers, Allan
Lepper, David Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Leslie, Christopher Rooney, Terry
Levitt, Tom Rowlands, Ted
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S) Roy, Frank
Lewis, Terry (Worsley) Ruane, Chris
Linton, Martin Ruddock, Joan
Livsey, Richard Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C) Salter, Martin
Lock, David Sanders, Adrian
McDonagh, Siobhain Sarwar, Mohammad
Macdonald, Calum Sedgemore, Brian
McDonnell, John Sheerman, Barry
McFall, John Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
McGuire, Mrs Anne Shipley, Ms Debra
McIsaac, Shona Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Mackinlay, Andrew Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E) Truswell, Paul
Smith, Angela (Basildon) Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch) Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Smith, John (Glamorgan) Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent) Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Snape, Peter Tynan, Bill
Soley, Clive Vis, Dr Rudi
Southworth, Ms Helen Walley, Ms Joan
Spellar, John Wareing, Robert N
Squire, Ms Rachel Watts, David
Starkey, Dr Phyllis Webb, Steve
Steinberg, Gerry White, Brian
Stevenson, George Whitehead, Dr Alan
Stewart, David (Inverness E) Wicks, Malcolm
Stewart, Ian (Eccles) Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Stringer, Graham Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Stuart, Ms Gisela Wilson, Brian
Sutcliffe, Gerry Winnick, David
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury) Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wood, Mike
Taylor, David (NW Leics) Woolas, Phil
Taylor, Matthew (Truro) Worthington, Tony
Temple—Morris, Peter Wray, James
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W) Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion) Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy Tellers for the Noes:
Todd, Mark Mr. David Clelland and
Trickett, Jon Mr. Don Touhig.

Question accordingly negatived.

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