HC Deb 26 November 2001 vol 375 cc737-41
Norman Baker

I beg to move amendment No. 161, in page 39, line 28, at end insert— 'except that it shall not be an offence to disclose any information or thing concerning transport routes, frequency of journeys, or volume or type of material transported.'.

The Chairman

With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment No. 159, in page 39, line 34, at end insert— '(2A) In proceedings for an offence under this section it is a defence for the accused to show that the public interest in disclosure of the information relating to the transportation of nuclear material outweighed the public interest in not prejudicing the security of that material.'.

Norman Baker

May I thank you, Sir Alan, for the efficient way in which you have conducted this evening's business, which has allowed us to get to this amendment?

My hon. Friends and I have concerns about the clause, which we believe is too widely drawn. The Government are committed to a Freedom of Information Act, which they have now delayed until 2005, but these provisions move in exactly the opposite direction.

The Government are on to a good thing when they identify the need to make sure that nuclear installations are safe—nobody would disagree with that. Unfortunately, however, they have over-egged the pudding yet again by drawing the clause far too widely. That makes it difficult for legitimate political discussion about the nuclear industry to take place. We are concerned that the clause would prevent the release of information about the number and safety of nuclear movements, which take place by air and, in their thousands, by rail and road. It is important that people understand the scale of those movements and the danger of accidents—

It being Eight o'clock, THE CHAIRMAN, pursuant to Orders [19 and 21 November], put forthwith the Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that hour.

Motion made, and Question put, That clauses 79 to 87 stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 334, Noes 55.

Division No. 81] [8 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Chaytor, David
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE) Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Rt Hon Donald (Swansea E) Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Clelland, David
Atherton, Ms Candy Coaker, Vernon
Atkins, Charlotte Coffey, Ms Ann
Austin, John Cohen, Harry
Bailey, Adrian Coleman, Iain
Baird, Vera Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Banks, Tony Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Barnes, Harry Corston, Jean
Barron, Kevin Cousins, Jim
Beard, Nigel Cox, Tom
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret Cranston, Ross
Begg, Miss Anne Crausby, David
Benn, Hilary Cruddas, Jon
Benton, Joe Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Berry, Roger Cummings, John
Best, Harold Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Betts, Clive Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Blackman, Liz Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Blizzard, Bob Dalyell, Tam
Blunkett, Rt Hon David Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Borrow, David Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Bradley, Rt Hon Keith (Withington) Davidson, Ian
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Bradshaw, Ben Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Brennan, Kevin Dean, Mrs Janet
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Denham, Rt Hon John
Browne, Desmond Dhanda, Parmjit
Bryant, Chris Dismore, Andrew
Buck, Ms Karen Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Burden, Richard Dodds, Nigel
Burnham, Andy Donohoe, Brian H
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen Doran, Frank
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard Dowd, Jim
Cairns, David Drew, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth) Drown, Ms Julia
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Caplin, Ivor Edwards, Huw
Caton, Martin Efford, Clive
Cawsey, Ian Ellman, Mrs Louise
Challen, Colin Farrelly, Paul
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Field, Rt Hon Frank (Birkenhead)
Fisher, Mark Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Fitzpatrick, Jim Kumar, Dr Ashok
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Flint Caroline Lammy, David
Flynn, Paul Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Foster, Fit Hon Derek Laxton, Bob
Foster, Michael (Worcester) Lazarowicz, Mark
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings) Lepper, David
Francis, Dr Hywel Leslie, Christopher
Gapes, Mike Levitt, Tom
Gardiner, Barry Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
George, Rt Hon Bruce (Walsall S) Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Gerrard, Neil Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen
Gibson, Dr Ian Linton, Martin
Gilroy, Linda Lloyd, Tony
Godsiff, Roger Love, Andrew
Goggins, Paul Luke, Iain
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E) Lyons, John
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) McAvoy, Thomas
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) McCabe, Stephen
Grogan, John McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
Hain, Rt Hon Peter McDonagh, Siobhain
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) MacDonald, Calum
Hall, Patrick (Bedford) MacDougall, John
Hamilton, David (Midlothian) McGuire, Mrs Anne
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE) McIsaac, Shona
Hanson, David McKechin, Ann
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet McKenna, Rosemary
Havard, Dai Mackinlay, Andrew
Healey, John McNulty, Tony
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N) Mactaggart, Fiona
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) McWalter, Tony
Hepburn, Stephen McWilliam, John
Heppell, John Mahmood, Khalid
Hermon, Lady Mallaber, Judy
Hesford, Stephen Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Heyes, David Mann, John
Hill, Keith Marris, Rob
Hodge, Margaret Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Hope, Phil Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Hopkins, Kelvin Martlew, Eric
Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E) Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Hoyle, Lindsay Merron, Gillian
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford) Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Humble, Mrs Joan Miliband, David
Hurst Alan Miller, Andrew
Hutton, Rt Hon John Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Iddon, Dr Brian Moffatt, Laura
Illsley, Eric Moonie, Dr Lewis
Ingram, Rt Hon Adam Moran, Margaret
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead) Morris, Rt Hon Estelle
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough) Mountford, Kali
Jamieson, David Mullin, Chris
Jenkins, Brian Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle) Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N) Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Naysmith, Dr Doug
Jones, Kevan (N Durham) O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak) O'Hara, Edward
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S) Olner, Bill
Jowell, Rt Hon Tessa O'Neill, Martin
Joyce, Eric Organ, Diana
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Keeble, Ms Sally Owen, Albert
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston) Paisley, Rev Ian
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth) Palmer, Dr Nick
Kelly, Ruth Pearson, Ian
Kemp, Fraser Perham, Linda
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree) Picking, Anne
Kidney, David Pickthall, Colin
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth) Pike, Peter
Plaskitt, James Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Pond, Chris Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Pound, Stephen Stinchcombe, Paul
Powell, Sir Raymond Stoate, Dr Howard
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E) Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Primarolo, Dawn Stringer, Graham
Prosser, Gwyn Stuart, Ms Gisela
Purchase, Ken Tami, Mark
Purnell, James Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Quin, Rt Hon Joyce Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Quinn, Lawrie Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Rammell, Bill Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Rapson, Syd Timms, Stephen
Raynsford, Rt Hon Nick Tipping, Paddy
Reed, Andy (Loughborough) Todd, Mark
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N) Touhig, Don
Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland) Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Robinson, Mrs Iris (Strangford) Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Roche, Mrs Barbara Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Rooney, Terry Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Ross, Ernie Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Roy, Frank Vis, Dr Rudi
Ruane, Chris Walley, Ms Joan
Ruddock, Joan Ward, Ms Claire
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester) Wareing, Robert N
Ryan, Joan Watson, Tom
Salter, Martin Watts, David
Sarwar, Mohammad White, Brian
Savidge, Malcolm Whitehead, Dr Alan
Sawford, Phil Wicks, Malcolm
Shaw, Jonathan Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Shipley, Ms Debra Wills, Michael
Simon, Siôn Wilson, Brian
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S) Winnick, David
Skinner, Dennis Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Smith, Angela (Basildon) Wood, Mike
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe) Woodward, Shaun
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch) Wray, James
Smith, John (Glamorgan) Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent) Wright, David (Telford)
Southworth, Helen Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Spellar, Rt Hon John Wyatt, Derek
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis Tellers for the Ayes:
Steinberg, Gerry Mr. Phil Woolas and
Stevenson, George Mr. Nick Ainger.
Allan, Richard Harris, Dr Evan (Oxford W)
Baker, Norman Harvey, Nick
Barrett, John Heath, David
Beith, Rt Hon A J Holmes, Paul
Bennett, Andrew Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Brake, Tom Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Breed, Colin Keetch, Paul
Brooke, Mrs Annette L Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Burnett, John
Cable, Dr Vincent Kirkwood, Archy
Calton, Mrs Patsy Lamb, Norman
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife) Laws, David
Llwyd, Elfyn
Carmichael, Alistair Moore, Michael
Chidgey, David Oaten, Mark
Corbyn, Jeremy Price, Adam
Cotter, Brian Pugh, Dr John
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Ewing, Annabelle Rendel, David
Foster, Don (Bath) Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Galloway, George Sanders, Adrian
George, Andrew (St Ives) Shepherd, Richard
Green, Matthew (Ludlow) Spink, Bob
Hancock, Mike Stunell, Andrew
Taylor, Matthew (Truro) Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion) Willis, Phil
Tonge, Dr Jenny Younger-Ross, Richard
Tyler, Paul Tellers for the Noes:
Webb, Steve Sir Robert Smith and
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon) John Thurso.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Clauses 79 to 87 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

The First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means (Sylvia Heal)

I remind all hon. Members that under the programme agreed by the House, the Bill's Report stage will follow immediately after the conclusion of the Committee stage at 11 o'clock this evening. Arrangements have been made for an amendment paper to be prepared in advance of the commencement of the Report stage. The Public Bill Office will issue an unofficial amendment paper at 9.30 pm incorporating all amendments tabled by 9 pm. A final paper for Report stage will be issued shortly before 11 pm incorporating amendments received up to 10 pm.

Simon Hughes

On a point of order, Mrs. Heal. Following your helpful announcement, it may assist the Committee and, later, the House to know that, on Report, it is expected that between 11 and 12 o'clock, Conservative and Liberal Democrat Members will wish to debate and vote on at least one amendment on the elusive clause 17 of last Wednesday. I hope that that will help colleagues to make arrangements later.

The First Deputy Chairman

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his point of order which, of course, will be noted.

Mr. Letwin

Further to that point of order, Mrs. Heal. I wish to put on the record the fact that it is an astonishing state of affairs for us to spend 15 minutes discussing that subject, which will eat into Third Reading. However, that is the best that we can do.

Norman Baker

On a point of order, Mrs. Heal. I wish to put it on record that, in relation to part 9, which has been debated, Liberal Democrat Members opposed clause 79, but not the whole group of clauses. Perforce, we had to vote as we did.

The First Deputy Chairman

We understand that that is precisely why the hon. Members were voting.

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