HC Deb 08 March 2004 vol 418 cc1322-35

Lords amendment No. 3.

Mr. Leslie

I beg to move, That this House disagrees with the Lords in the said amendment.

Lords amendment No. 3 would require a declaration of identity to be used as part of the pilot schemes. That issue was discussed at great length in another place and the Government made clear their intention to mandate it within the pilot order that a ballot paper must be validated with a security statement signed by the elector alone. We have considered the issues raised and do not intend, as the amendment suggests we should, to require electors additionally to obtain the signature of a witness.

We have taken our lead from the Electoral Commission in this case. In its report entitled "The shape of elections to come", it identifies a number of reasons for utilising the security statement with a single signature in place of the declaration of identity with a witness signature from a third party. The commission feels that the requirement to complete a declaration discourages some electors from voting as it could be difficult to find a witness, meaning that there is a risk of disfranchisement for some. It also feels that the need for a witness, involving another person in the process, could increase the risk of a breach of security, as the witness may see the elector's vote, which would mitigate the measure as a safeguard against fraud.

The commission roported that, in 2003, all the local authorities carrying out all-postal pilots for the second year running would have preferred to dispense with the declaration of identity with a witness signature, as in their view it unnecessarily increased the number of rejected ballot papers. The commission noted: In Trafford (in 2003), just 414 ballot papers were rejected out of a total return of 84,613, Last year, with a declaration of identity, 2,164 ballot papers had to be rejected. That equates to 2.5 per cent. of the total turnout. Piloting is about learning lessons, and the clear lesson that has been learned from previous pilots is that the use of a witness requirement in all-postal ballots risks increasing disfranchisement and compromising secrecy and security.

Mr. Forth

I understand that the Minister might want to curtail his remarks in this part of the debate, but he did skate rather quickly over the analysis that he gave us. Did Trafford authority plain why it thought that ballots with a sole signature were more easily accepted than those signed by a witness? Why were so many more rejected in the second case than the first, and does that give us some clues about what is going on?

Mr. Leslie

All that I can go on is the report of the Electoral Commission, which surveyed local authorities and found that they said that they would prefer to dispense with the declaration of identity and witness signatures. I suspect that that is because of the extra complexities and hurdles that that creates for an elector, such as finding a witness, ensuring the, a the witness form is filled out correctly as well as the ballot paper and so forth.

That is not the only reason why a witness requirement is not needed. It might discriminate again those who are disabled or people who find it difficult to get a witness. There might he a specific need to consider the impact of witness requirements on people with disabilities. Officials from my Department recently met representatives from Scope and the Royal National Institute of the Blind, which expressed the strong view that a witness requirement provides another obstacle that bars many disabled people from voting in secret at their convenience. Scope felt so strongly about the issue that it wrote a letter expressing its views, which stated: We are clear that requiring voters to have their ballot witnessed by another person not only increases the likelihood of people spoiling their ballot or returning them uncompleted but also puts many disabled and older voters, who are more likely to be more isolated or live alone, at a substantial disadvantage. I thought it important to state Scope's view to the House.

Mr. John Wilkinson (Ruislip -Northwood) (Con)

Will the Minister explain how the presence of a witness to verify a signature would make it more likely that a voter would spoil his or her ballot paper because I do not understand that logic? Will he guide me through that, because I would have thought that the contrary was the case? Surely the process would be easier for a person with a visual handicap if a witness were present than if there were no witness?

Mr. Leslie

People with a visual impairment might well require somebody to help them to cast their ballot, but returning officers can assist these voters. However, the requirement would put a specific hurdle in front of electors who did not normally come into contact with people who could witness their ballot paper, especially if they wished to cast their vote in secrecy.

The forgery of one signature does not preclude the forgery of a second. It has been argued that a declaration of identity would be a more effective deterrent against fraud than the security statement with a single signature that we propose. However, it must surely be the case that people prepared to risk the consequences of forging an elector's signature would not be put off by the need to forge a witness signature on a declaration of identity. I trust that the House will disagree with that aspect of the Lords amendment.

The Lords amendment would also require returning officers to send out receipts or acknowledgements to everyone whose vote was received. I urge the House to resist that suggestion. The pilots are designed to build on the experience of previous schemes. The use of acknowledgements has not been piloted before and the Electoral Commission has not recommended that approach. Acknowledgements are not provided for postal votes returned in a conventional election. It would be extremely risky to pilot acknowledgements for the first time on such a large scale given that we have no experience to draw on.

Additionally, such a measure would be extremely costly and would put a significant additional administrative burden on returning officers and their staff. Initial estimates put the total cost throughout four regions at between £2 million and £2.5 million, and I am sure that Opposition Members would not want that additional spending to be incurred. That assessment is also reflected in the views of the Electoral Commission, which, in a statement produced for Report in another place, wrote: the requirement to send individual acknowledgements will place a considerable burden on Returning Officers and their staff at an extremely busy time, and it would be difficult to guarantee a swift acknowledgement. Any delay in acknowledgement could generate unfounded anxiety on the part of voters; and generate further work for the Returning Officer in dealing with queries. It is thus clear that opposition to the amendment comes not only from the Government but from those with practical experience of running and assessing pilots.

It is doubtful that the receipt process would be an effective anti-fraud measure. We are taking steps to reduce risks in such situations as houses in multiple occupation, but an individual who is willing to accept the consequences of fraudulently taking an elector's vote might well put in place contingencies to intercept any acknowledgement. There are thus many ways in which the measure would not be as strong an anti-fraud measure as it might appear to be. We feel very strongly about that.

Mr. Brady

The Minister says that the Government are taking steps to prevent fraud in houses in multiple occupation. Will he tell us what those steps are?

Mr. Leslie

I certainly will. Regional returning officers have already considered the matter in some detail. They are looking at houses in multiple occupation in their geographical areas. They are noting and visiting them and ensuring that there are mechanisms through which ballot papers can be delivered to individual apartments within the curtilage of houses in multiple occupation, if necessary. Regional returning officers have been paying great attention to the matter, which was discussed in Committee and on Report.

We feel strongly that the receipt and acknowledgement process would be unnecessary. It would be expensive and would not represent a useful anti-fraud mechanism. I hope that the House will reject Lords amendment No. 3.

Mr. Hawkins

As my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) implies, not on the strength of what the Minister said—it was very weak—would Conservative Members agree to overturn a provision that the other place rightly put in the Bill. As I have already said, the Government lost the vote on the amendment in the other place heavily—by 157 votes to 110. I wish to refer to what was said in another place by my noble Friend Baroness Hanham, and by the Liberal Democrats, Lord Rennard and Lord Greaves.

Conservative Members believe that the dangers of fraud and personation could be significantly reduced if, as the amendment provides, a signature on the declaration of identity were required. The matter was debated in Grand Committee in another place on 26 January 2004, and debated again on 23 February 2004, which is when the vote took place. On 26 January, Lord Rennard spoke for the Liberal Democrats and pointed out that in all-postal voting pilots, his party, like mine, regard it as absolutely essential that there are necessary and proper safeguards, as far as they can be introduced, to deal with some of the abuses to which Lord Greaves had referred—I cited them in the previous debate. Lord Rennard continued: Those of us who have … had to deal at first hand with … real problems with our electoral process are … more sceptical than Ministers are about the problems that will occur if postal voting or all-postal pilots are rolled out in future. Postal votes need to have a witness to say that the person receiving the postal vote is the person for whom the postal vote was intended. As he rightly said, the measure would be an effective deterrent against fraud.

Mr. Gummer

Is not the central issue raised with the Minister that of houses in multiple occupation? I did not find his explanation convincing. It seems that nothing is being done; the matter is only being considered. Can my hon. Friend think of anything that would be more effective than ensuring that a ballot paper is given an endorsement each time so that people do not pick up at least half a dozen votes, vote in one place, then send them off in the post?

8.30 pm
Mr. Hawkins

My right hon. Friend is right. I was coming to what was said in another place about houses in multiple occupation, and his intervention is helpful. I agree that the Minister is not saying that anything is being done. There is nothing to that effect on the face of the Bill. We tried to debate the matter in Committee and to introduce more safeguards, which another place has been successful in achieving.

In Grand Committee, the noble Lord Rennard talked about the protection needed in particular for people in houses in multiple occupation. He said: Houses were mentioned where perhaps 10 postal votes were put through a communal letterbox and left in the hallway … The first person who picks up those 10 postal votes will be able to fill them in and send them back. It would be a significant deterrent if those votes were not counted unless there were 10 separate declarations of identity, filled in by the person by whom it was intended that the postal vote should be received and witnessed by another person. Indeed, if there were 10 people in the property, that should not be very hard to do. I entirely agree. He went on to say: Such a measure would make the intimidation and fraud" — examples of which were given by Lord Greaves and which I mentioned earlier — very much harder. It is one thing if one could simply go to someone's house and say, 'I have come for your postal vote—take it away and fill it in in your own good time, and there is no record of identity'. It will be very much harder for someone to go to your doorstep and say, 'I have to take away your postal vote. By the way, I also need you to sign this piece of paper that confirms you are the person to whom the postal vote was sent; that I know who you are and that you have filled it in yourself. Again, I entirely agree, as my noble Friend Baroness Hanham did. Lord Rennard concluded: The declaration of identity is essential for us to agree with this principle of all-postal pilot experiments."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 26 January 2004; Vol. 657, c. GC24–25.] He said that it would also be helpful to send out receipts. If a receipt is sent to the elector, it gives the elector confidence that the process is working properly, which he or she would not otherwise have.

Mr. Forth

I sense that my hon. Friend is in only his preliminary remarks and will come to a more profound analysis as we make progress. I hope that he will comment on the Minister's astonishing assertion that people with disabilities would find it more difficult to find someone to witness their signature than others would. Surely people with disabilities are more likely to have carers who are interested in and concerned with their welfare, and are therefore much more likely to be supported in that regard than those of us who are not in that condition. Will my hon. Friend comment on the Minister's rather facile assertion?

Mr. Hawkins

I was surprised that a couple of charities, mentioned in another place, suggested that this relatively straightforward and simple precaution would cause problems. I agree with my right hon. Friend that the regular presence of carers would make the position easier for disabled people.

Mr. Tom Clarke (Coatbridge and Chryston) (Lab)

My hon. Friend the Minister, who made a convincing case, did not simply give his own view. He mentioned Scope, which is not just another charity. No organisation has done more work to encourage access to voting and polling. I think its views should be taken more seriously.

Mr. Hawkins

The right hon. Gentleman knows that I have great respect for his views. We always consider carefully what respected charities propose, but it is still possible to disagree, as my right hon. Friend has done. However, I was not seeking to belittle Scope's submission. The right hon. Gentleman knows me well enough to know that I always take the views of respected charities and, indeed, his views, seriously.

The concerns raised by Opposition Members here and in another place about the extra precautions that need to be included in the Bill to prevent personation are serious. My noble Friend Baroness Hanham referred to the concerns expressed by senior police officers in the west midlands about the increase in personation. The noble Baroness Gould of Potternewton described some of the tactics employed by Militant Tendency in the 1980s in respect of personation at polling stations. Other noble Lords, such as Lord Alton of Liverpool, mentioned what had gone wrong with personation in Liverpool in the 1980s. There are abuses and examples of fraud in a number of places. That is why another place was right to insist that the extra precautions should be included in the Bill. We think that they should be upheld in that, and we will certainly vote to that effect.

Joyce Quin (Gateshead, East and Washington, West) (Lab)

I strongly supp1ort what my hon. Friend the Minister said in giving the Government's view on the changes introduced in another place. I am disappointed with the Lords amendment and regret the determination of Opposition parties to do their utmost to prevent all postal ballots. They seem to think, that such ballots cannot be conducted without large scale fraud. As a result, I am starting to feel somewhat insulted on behalf of my constituents, who have had three successful experiments with all postal voting without any fraud taking place. Given the success in such areas, I wish that Opposition Members would look much more at the evidence than at unfounded fears.

I was very disappointed that the noble Lord Rennard, on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, said that without the changes even the north east should not be a pilot region, despite the fact that more than 50 per cent. of its population have experimented successfully with all postal ballots. It is important to bear that statistic in mind.

Ministers here and in another place have made the important point that the Electoral Commission does not favour the added hurdles that are being proposed. Given that Opposition Members extolled the commission's role, it is ironic that they are prepared to fly in its face on this issue.

I agree with what my right hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) said.He thought that a great deal of party politicking had occurred in another place, and that is regrettable. People of all parties in my area have very much welcomed the change to all-postal ballots. They will be extremely disappointed if the amendment is upheld tonight.

Mr. Heath

Judging by the comments of the right hon. Member for Gateshead, East and Washington, West (Joyce Quin), for whom I have a great deal of respect, a casual listener to the debate might assume that the addition of a new barrier to postal voting was being proposed. However, it is in place already. It is exactly the position that the right hon. Lady had with her all-postal ballot. It is the position that will apply for half of England, all of Scotland and all of. Wales in June when the elections take place.

I note that the right hon. Lady shakes her head, but what I have said will be the case. That is what will happen in every area outside the pilot regions with postal ballots. Those who use the postal ballot will be required to have a countersignature of a witness to declaration of identity. It is hardly a novel approach that is being advocated. It is a continuation of current practice.

Joyce Quin:

Surely the hon. Gentleman will accept that when we are having all-postal ballots the scale of what is involved is extremely important. My local authority—Gateshead—has been extremely successful in this context but has been very much opposed to these procedures. It feels that they will make it extremely difficult to have an all-postal ballot in the area in time for the elections.

Mr. Heath

I can only observe that it has not been an obstacle until now for the councils that have undertaken all-postal ballots.

We must have a care in the House not to provide opportunity for electoral fraud where that opportunity is currently reduced. I accept that there is a better way of doing things. I accept that that is personal registration with the electoral registration officer, by means of providing proof of identity that is individual to that person rather than requiring an intercession by a witness. That is what I would like to see universally applied as the authentication of postal ballots. However, we are not yet in that position.

In the circumstances, it seems perverse to throw away the rather rudimentary and not entirely acceptable precaution that we have, in the absence of a replacement that I think would be much better. That seems to be the right precautionary approach to take. It is the approach taken by my noble Friend Lord Rennard, which happily secured the support of others.

I accept that there are real issues to do with people with disabilities. The House knows that I do a fair amount of work with the RNIB, which has serious concerns, as has Scope. Not all those concerns are focused on the issue of identity being verified by a witness. People with visual impairments could easily be provided with templates to enable voting to take place. Another issue is single-channel voting and whether alternatives should be available for people with visual impairment.

I accept that there are issues concerning the secrecy of the ballot that involve people with disabilities, which we should take seriously. Equally, we should take seriously the possibility of fraud in postal ballots that is not confined to the pilots and not to all postal ballots. However, they might be multiplied in their effect and might take place within current voting arrangements.

If right hon. and hon. Members read the evidence given to the Select Committee on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, they will see at least anecdotal evidence, if not objective evidence, of potential for fraud in houses of multiple occupation. There is at least anecdotal evidence that increases in turnout are not largely effected by an increased number of households voting, but by more people within households voting.

That should be a matter of at least suspicion if not concern. It suggests that the head of a household, or some person within a household, has rounded up the entire family rather than there being a genuine widening of the franchise into new areas.

I want to see these experiments succeed, and I want also to encourage ways of voting. However, I ask the House to consider carefully, before removing the precautions that are now in place, the effect of voting against the amendment from another place. It is to remove for half of England—not the other half, not for Scotland, not for Wales, not for the elections in London and not for the elections in most of the country next June, but just for the pilot areas—a precaution that has hitherto been thought necessary to avoid electoral fraud. I do not think that we should do that. We should resist the Government's attempt to resist the amendment.

Mr. Wilkinson

This appears to be a modest amendment in the Government's view, and an unimportant one. However, the issue at stake symbolises all that is worst with this Administration. Their instinct is to play fast and loose with our democracy, and they do not particularly care whether there should be effective controls against impersonation.

8.45 pm

Impersonation is a problem that is traditionally endemic in elections in Northern Ireland. In the first constituency in which I stood—I can speak about this, because I lost that February 1974 election—a great Pakistani friend came up to me and said, "Mr. John, Mr. John, I have done so very well. I have voted as my uncle in Pakistan and I have voted as my brother who is dead." I was somewhat taken aback by that and explained that it was not the normal way of doing things, but he had been able to go to the polling station and impersonate in person. It is much harder to impersonate in the privacy of an individual's home, and the wise Lords amendment No. 3, from that old fox Lord Rennard, seeks to ensure that that is the case. I trust that old fox in the other place much more than I trust the promising Minister who is gabbling his lines without any great credibility.

Like the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath), I wonder why we need to call into question the status quo in the conduct of postal ballots. The postal voting system has worked entirely well, and it is a normal procedure to verify identity. For example, we seek a witness for passports and driving licences to corroborate the fact that impersonation is not taking place. Why should we debase the electoral process by seeking lower standards? We should improve standards and enhance controls against fraud and impersonation, rather than the contrary. What is the reason for doing the contrary, as is the case here? It can only be party political. The Labour party makes a facile assumption, to use the word that my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) used, that everything has to be laid on easily for its supporters. If anything is difficult!—

It being three hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Bill, MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question already proposed from the Chair, pursuant to Order [this day].

The House divided: Ayes 268, Noes 163

Division No. 77 [8.03 pm
Adams, Irene (Paisley N) Anderson, rh Donald (Swansea E)
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE) Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary
Alexander, Douglas Atkins, Charlotte
Allen, Graham Austin, John
Banks, Tony Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Barnes, Harry Foster, rh Derek
Barron, rh Kevin Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings &
Bayley, Hugh Rye)
Beard, Nigel Foulkes, rh George
Beckett, rh Margaret Francis, Dr. Hywel
Bell, Sir Stuart Gerrard, Neil
Bennett, Andrew Gibson, Dr. Ian
Berry, Roger Godsiff, Roger
Betts, Clive Goggins, Paul
Blears, Ms Hazel Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Blizzard, Bob Grogan, John
Bradley, rh Keith (Withington) Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Bradshaw, Ben Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Brennan, Kevin Hanson, David
Brown, rh Nicholas (Newcastle E Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Wallsend) Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil &
Browne, Desmond Rhymrey)
Bryant, Chris Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Buck, Ms Karen Hendrick, Mark
Burden, Richard Hepburn, Stephen
Burgon, Colin Hesford, Stephen
Caborn, rh Richard Heyes, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth) Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Hinchliffe, David
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Hoon, rh Geoffrey
Caplin, Ivor Hope, Phil (Corby)
Casale, Roger Hopkins, Kelvin
Caton, Martin Howells, Dr. Kim
Challen, Colin Hoyle, Lindsay
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Chaytor, David Hutton, rh John
Clapham, Michael Iddon, Dr. Brian
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough) Illsley, Eric
Clark, Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Irranca-Davies, Huw
Pentlands) Jamieson, David
Clark, Paul (Gillingham) Johnsor, Miss Melanie (Welwyn
Clarke, rh Tom (Coatbridge & Hatfield)
Chryston) Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S) Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Clelland, David Jones, Martyn (ClwydS)
Coaker, Vernon Joyce, Eric (Falkirk W)
Coffey, Ms Ann Keeble, Ms Sally
Cohen, Harry Keen, Alan (Feltham)
Coleman, lain Kemp, Fraser
Colman, Tony Khabra, Piara S.
Connarty, Michael Kidney, David
Corbyn, Jeremy Kilfoyle, Peter
Cousins, Jim King, Andy (Rugby)
Cruddas, Jon Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Cryer, Ann (Keighley) Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Cummings, John Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S) Larnmy, David
Cunningham, Tony (Workington) Laxton, Bob (Derby N)
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire Lepper, David
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) Leslie, Christopher
David, Wayne Levitt,Tom (High Peak)
Davies, rh Denzil (Llanelli) Lewis,Terry (Worsley)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C) Linton, Martin
Dean, Mrs Janet Llwyd, Elfyn
Denham, rh John Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
Dhanda, Parmjit Luke, Iain (Dundee E)
Dobbin, Jim (Heywood) McAvoy, Thomas
Dobson, rh Frank McCabe, Stephen
Donohoe, Brian H. McCartney, rh Ian
Drew, David (Stroud) MacDonald, Calum
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey) McDonnell, John
Eagle, Maria (L'poolGarston) MacDougall, John
Efford, Clive McFall, John
Ellman, Mrs Louise McGuire, Mrs Anne
Ennis, Jeff (Barnsley E) Mclsaac, Shona
Farrelly, Paul McKenna, Rosemary
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead) Mackinlay, Andrew
Fisher, Mark McNulty, Tony
Fitzpatrick, Jim MacShane, Denis
McWalter, Tony Shaw, Jonathan
McWilliam, John Sheerman, Barry
Mahmood, Khalid Sheridan, Jim
Mahon, Mrs Alice Short, rh Clare
Mallaber, Judy Simon, SiÓn (B'ham Erdington)
Mandelson, rh Peter Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Mann, John (Bassetlaw) Skinner, Dennis
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S) Smith, rh Chris (Islington S &
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Finsbury)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe &
Martlew, Eric Lunesdale)
Michael, rh Alun Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Milburn, rh Alan Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Miller, Andrew Soley, Clive
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby) Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Moffatt, Laura Steinberg, Gerry
Mole, Chris Stevenson, George
Moonie, Dr. Lewis Stewart, David (Inverness E &
Mountford, Kali Lochaber)
Mudie, George Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Mullin, Chris Stinchcombe, Paul
Munn, Ms Meg Stoate, Dr. Howard
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck) Straw, rh Jack
Naysmith, Dr. Doug Stringer, Graham
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton) Sutcliffe, Gerry
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks) Tami, Mark (Alyn)
Olner, Bill Taylor, rh Ann (Dewsbury)
Organ, Diana Owen, Albert Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Perham, Linda Thomas, Gareth (Harrow W)
Picking, Anne Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Pickthall, Colin Tipping, Paddy
Pike, Peter (Burnley) Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Plaskitt, James Touhig, Don (Islwym)
Pollard, Kerry Trickett, Jon
Pond, Chris (Gravesham) Truswell, Paul
Pope, Greg (Hyndburn) Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham Twigg, Derek (Halton)
E) Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Prescott, rh John Vaz, Keith (Leicester E)
Price, Adam (E Carmarthen & Ward, Claire
Dinefwr) Watson, Tom (W Bromwich E)
Prosser, Gwyn Watts, David
Pumell, James White, Brian
Quin, rh Joyce Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Quinn, Lawrie Wicks, Malcolm
Rammell, Bill Williams, Betty (Conwy)
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N) Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Raynsford, rh Nick Winnick, David
Reid, rh Dr. John (Hamilton N & Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster
Bellshill) C)
Robertson, Angus (Moray) Wishart, Pete
Robertson, John (Glasgow Woodward, Shaun
Anniesland) Woolas, Phil
Roche, Mrs Barbara Worthington, Tony
Rooney, Terry Wright, Anthony D. (Gt
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Yarmouth)
Roy, Frank (Motherwell) Wright, David (Telford)
Ruane, Chris Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Wyatt, Derek
Ryan, Joan (Enfield N) Tellers for the Ayes:
Savidge, Malcolm Gillian Merron and
Sedgemore, Brian Mr. John Heppell
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Barrett, John
Allan, Richard Beith, rh A. J.
Amess, David Bellingham, Henry
Ancram, rh Michael Bercow, John
Arbuthnot, rh James Beresford, Sir Paul
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Boswell, Tim
Bacon, Richard Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Baker, Norman Brady, Graham
Baron, John (Billericay) Brake, Tom (Carshalton)
Brazier, Julian Lamb, Norman
Breed, Colin Lansley, Andrew
Brooke, Mrs Annette L. Laws, David (Yeovil)
Browning, Mrs Angela Leigh, Edward
Bruce, Malcolm Letwin, rh Oliver
Burnett, John Lewis, Dr. Julian (New Forest E)
Burstow, Paul Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Burt, Alistair Lidington, David
Calton, Mrs Patsy Lilley, rh Peter
Cameron, David Loughton, Tim
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies (NE Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
Fife) Mcintosh, Miss Anne
Carmichael, Alistair Mackay, rh Andrew
Cash, William Maclean, rh David
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping McLoughlin, Patrick
Barnet) Malins, Humfrey
Chope, Christopher Maples, John
Clappison, James Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury &
Clarke, rh Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Atcham)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Mates, Michael
Collins, Tim Maude, rh Francis
Conway, Derek May, Mrs Theresa
Cormack, Sir Patrick Mercer, Patrick
Cotter, Brian Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Coldfield)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham & Moore, Michael
Stamford) Moss, Malcolm
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice & Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Howden) Norman, Archie
Djanogly, Jonathan Őpik, Lembit
Doughty, Sue Osborne, George (Tatton)
Duncan, Alan (Rutland) Page, Richard
Evans, Nigel Pa ice, James
Fabricant, Michael Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Fallon, Michael Pugh, Dr. John
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Redwood, rh John
Westminster) Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Flight, Howard Rendel, David
Flook, Adrian Robathan, Andrew
Forth, rh Eric Robertson, Hugh (Faversham &
Foster, Don (Bath) M-Kent)
Gale, Roger (N Thanet) Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Garnier, Edward Roe, Mrs Marion
George, Andrew (St. Ives) Rosindell, Andrew
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis) Ruffley, David
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Goodman, Paul Sanders, Adrian
Gray, James (N Wilts) Sayeed, Jonathan
Grayling, Chris Shephard, rh Mrs Gillian
Green, Damian (Ashford) Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Green, Matthew (Ludlow) Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns &
Greenway, John Kincardine)
Grieve, Dominic Soames, Nicholas
Gummer, rh John Spicer, Sir Michael
Hague, rh William Spring, Richard
Hammond, Philip Stanley, rh Sir John
Hancock, Mike Steen, Anthony
Harris, Dr. Evan (Oxford W & Stunell, Andrew
Abingdon) Swayne, Desmond
Harvey, Nick Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Hawkins, Nick Syms, Robert
Hayes, John (S Holland) Taylor, John (Sollhull)
Heath, David Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David Taylor, Sir Teddy
Holmes, Paul Tonge, Dr. Jenny
Horam, John (Orpington) Tredinnick, David
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot) Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Hunter, Andrew Tyrie, Andrew
Jack, rh Michael Waterson, Nigel
Jackson, Robert (Wantage) Watkinson, Angela
Johnson, Boris (Henley) Webb, Steve (Northavon)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham) Whittingdale, John
Kennedy, rh Charles (Ross Skye & Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Inverness) Wiggin, Bill
Key, Robert (Salisbury) Wilkinson, John
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Willetts, David
Williams, Roger (Brecon) Young, rh Sir George
Willis, Phil Younger-Ross, Richard
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Sir Nicholas Tellers for the Noes:
(Macclesfield) Mr. John Randall and
Yeo, Tim (S Suffolk) Mr. Mark Francois
Division No. 78 [8.47 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Brennan, Kevin
Adams, Irene (Paisley N) Brown, rh Nicholas (Newcastle E
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'tiy NE) Wallsend)
Alexander, Douglas Browne, Desmond
Allen, Graham Bryant, Chris
Anderson, rh Donald (Swansea E) Buck, Ms Karen
Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary Burden, Richard
Atkins, Charlotte Burgon, Colin
Austin, John Caborn, rh Richard
Banks, Tony Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Barnes, Harry Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Barron, rh Kevin Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Battle, John Caplin, Ivor
Bayley, Hugh Casale, Roger
Beard, Nigel Caton, Martin
Beckett, rh Margaret Challen, Colin
Bell, Sir Stuart Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Bennett, Andrew Chaytor, David
Berry, Roger Clapham, Michael
Betts, Clive Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Blears, Ms Hazel Clark, Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh
Blizzard, Bob Pentlands)
Bradley, rh Keith (Withington) Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Clarke, rh Tom (Coatbridge &
Bradshaw, Ben Chryston)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S) Joyce, Eric (Falkirk W)
Clelland, David Keeble, Ms Sally
Coaker, Vernon Keen, Alan (Feltham)
Coffey, Ms Ann Kemp, Fraser
Coleman, lain Khabra, Piara S.
Colman, Tony Kidney, David
Connarty, Michael Kilfoyle, Peter
Cousins, Jim King, Andy (Rugby)
Cruddas, Jon Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Cryer, Ann (Keighley) Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Cummings, John Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Cunningham, Jim (Coveritry S) Lammy, David
Cunningham, Tony (Wonkngton) Laxton, Bob (Derby N)
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire Lepper, David
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) Leslie, Christopher
David, Wayne Levitt, Tom (High Peak)
Davies, rh Denzil (Llanelli) Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C) Linton, Martin
Dean, Mrs Janet Llwyd, Elfyn
Denham, rh John Love, Andrew
Dhanda, Parmjit Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
Dobbin, Jim (Heywood) Luke, lain (Dundee E)
Dobson, rh Frank McAvoy, Thomas
Donohoe, Brian H. McCabe, Stephen
Drew, David (Stroud) McCartney, rh Ian
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston) MacDonald, Calum
Efford, Clive McDonnell, John
Ellman, Mrs Louise MacDougall, John
Ennis, Jeff (Barnsley E) McFall, John
Farrelly, Paul McGuire, Mrs Anne
Fisher, Mark Mclsaac, Shona
Fitzpatrick, Jim McKenna, Rosemary
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna Mackinlay, Andrew
Foster, rh Derek McNulty, Tony
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings MacShane, Denis
& Rye) McWalter, Tony
Foulkes, rh George McWilliam, John
Francis, Dr. Hywel Mahon, Mrs Alice
Gerrard, Neil Mallaber, Judy
Gibson, Dr. Ian Mandelson, rh Peter
Godsiff, Roger Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Goggins, Paul Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Grogan, John Martlew, Eric
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) Michael, rh Alun
Hall, Patrick (Bedford) Milburn, rh Alan
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE) Miller, Andrew
Hanson, David Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart) Moffatt, Laura
Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil & Mole, Chris
Rhymney) Moonie, Dr. Lewis
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) Mountford, Kali
Hendrick, Mark Mudie, George
Hepburn, Stephen Mullin, Chris
Hesford, Stephen Munn, Ms Meg
Heyes, David Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Hill, Keith (Streatham) Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Hinchliffe, David O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Hoon, rh Geoffrey Olner, Bill
Hope, Phil (Corby) Organ, Diana
Hopkins, Kelvin Owen, Albert
Howells, Dr. Kim Perham, Linda
Hoyle, Lindsay Picking, Anne
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Pickthall, Colin
Hutton, rh John Pike, Peter (Burnley)
Iddon, Dr. Brian Plaskitt, James
lllsley, Eric Pollard, Kerry
Irranca-Davies, Huw Pond, Chris (Gravesham)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough) Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham
Jamieson, David E)
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Prescott, rh John
Hatfield) Price, Adam (E Carmarthen &
Jones, Kevan (N Durham) Dinefwr)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak) Prosser, Gwyn
Jones, Martyn (ClwydS) Purnell, James
Quin, rh Joyce Stringer, Graham
Quinn, Lawrie Sutcliffe, Gerry
Rammell, Bill Tami, Mark (Alyn)
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N) Taylor, rh Ann (Dewsbury)
Raynsford, rh Nick Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Reid, rh Dr. John (Hamilton N & Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Bellshill) Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Robertson, Angus (Moray) Thomas,Gareth (Harrow W)
Robertson, John (Glasgow Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Anniesland) Tipping, Paddy
Roche, Mrs Barbara Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Rooney, Terry Touhig, Don (Islwyn)
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Trickett, Jon
Roy, Frank (Motherwell) Truswell, Paul
Ruane, Chris Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Chester) Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Ryan, Joan (Enfield N) Vaz, Keith (Leicester E)
Savidge, Malcolm Walley, Ms Joan
Sawford, Phil Ward, Claire
Sedgemore, Brian Watson, Tom (W Bromwich E)
Shaw, Jonathan Watts, David
Sheerman, Barry White, Brian
Sheridan, Jim Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Short, rh Clare Wicks, Malcolm
Simon, Sion (B'ham Erdington) Williams Betty (Conwy)
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S) Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Skinner, Dennis Winnick, David
Smith, rh Chris (Islington S & Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster
Finsbury) C)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe & Wishart, Pete
Lunesdale) Woodward, Shaun
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch) Woolas, Phil
Smith, John (Glamorgan) Worthington, Tony
Soley, Clive Wright, Anthony D. (Gt
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis Yarmouth)
Steinberg, Gerry Wright, David (Telford)
Stevenson, George Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Stewart, David (Inverness E & Wyatt, Derek
Stewart, Ian (Eccles) Tellers for the Ayes:
Stinchcombe, Paul Mr. John Heppell and
Stoate, Dr. Howard Gillian Merron
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Cash, William
Allan, Richard Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping
Amess, David Barnet)
Ancram, rh Michael Chope, Christopher
Arbuthnot, rh James Clappison James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Clarke, rh Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Bacon, Richard Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Baker, Norman Collins, Tim
Baron, John (Billericay) Conway, Derek
Barrett, John Cormack, Sir Patrick
Berth, rh A. J. Cotter, Brian
Bellingham, Henry Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Bercow, John Davies, Quentin (Grantham &
Beresford, Sir Paul Stamford)
Boswell, Tim Davis, rh David (Haltemprice &
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Howden)
Brady, Graham Djanogly. Jonathan
Brake, Tom (Carshalton) Doughty, Sue
Brazier, Julian Duncan, Alan (Rutland)
Breed, Colin Evans, Nigel
Brooke, Mrs Annette L Fabricant, Michael
Browning, Mrs Angela Fallon, Michael
Bruce, Malcolm Field, Mark (Cities of London &
Burnett, John Westminster)
Burstow, Paul Flight, Howard
Burt, Alistair Forth, rh Eric
Calton, Mrs Patsy Foster, Don (Bath)
Cameron, David Fox, Dr. Liam
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies (NE Gale, Roger (N Thanet)
Fife) Garnier, Edward
Carmichael, Alistair George, Andrew (St. Ives)
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis) Osborne, George (Tatton)
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl Page, Richard
Goodman, Paul Paice, James
Gray, James (N Wilts) Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Grayling, Chris Pugh, Dr. John
Green, Damian (Ashford) Redwood, rh John
Green, Matthew (Ludlow) Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Greenway, John Rendel, David
Grieve, Dominic Robathan, Andrew
Gummer, rh John Robertson, Hugh (Faversham &
Hague, rh William M-Kent)
Hammond, Philip Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Hancock, Mike Roe, Mrs Marion
Harris, Dr. Evan (Oxford W & Rosindell, Andrew
Abingdon) Ruffley, David
Harvey, Nick Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Hawkins, Nick Sanders, Adrian
Hayes, John (S Holland) Sayeed, Jonathan
Heath, David Shephard, rh Mrs Gillian
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Holmes, Paul Smith, Sir Robert (WAb'd'ns &
Horam, John (Orpington) Kincardine)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot) Soames, Nicholas
Hunter, Andrew Spicer, Sir Michael
Jack, rh Michael Spring, Richard
Jackson, Robert (Wantage) Stanley, rh Sir John
Johnson, Boris (Henley) Stunell, Andrew
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham) Swayne, Desmond
Key, Robert (Salisbury) Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Syms, Robert
Lamb, Norman Taylor, John (Solihull)
Lansley, Andrew Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Laws, David (Yeovil) Taylor, Dr. Richard (Wyre F)
Leigh, Edward Taylor, Sir Teddy
Lewis, Dr. Julian (New Forest E) Teather, Sarah
Liddell-Grainger, Ian Tonge, Dr. Jenny
Lidington, David Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Lilley, rh Peter Tyrie, Andrew
Loughton, Tim Waterson, Nigel
Mcintosh, Miss Anne Watkinson, Angela
Mackay, rh Andrew Webb, Steve (Northavon)
Maclean, rh David Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
McLoughlin, Patrick Wiggin, Bill
Malins, Humfrey Wilkinson, John
Maples, John Willetts, David
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury & Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Atcham) Willis, Phil
Mates, Michael Wilshire, David
Maude, rh Francis Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
May, Mrs Theresa Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Mercer, Patrick (Macclesfield)
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Yeo, Tim (S Suffolk)
Coldfield) Young, rh Sir George
Moore, Michael Younger-Ross, Richard
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew Tellers for the Noes:
Norman, Archie Mr. John Randall and
Őpik, Lembit Mr. Mark Francois

Question accordingly agreed to

Lords amendment disagreed to

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER then proceeded to put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that hour.

Lords amendments Nos. 4 to 50 agreed to

Motion made, and Question put, That a Committee be appointed to draw up a Reason to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to their amendment No. 3; Geraint Davies, Mr. Nick Hawkins, Mr. David Heath, Mr. Christopher Leslie and Ms Bridget Prentice to be members of the Committee; Mr. Christopher Leslie to be the Chairman of the Committee; Three to be the quorum of the Committee; Committee to withdraw immediately.—[Ms Bridget Prentice.]

The House divided. Ayes 266, Noes 124.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Reasons for disagreeing to the Lords amendment reported, and agreed to; to be communicated to the Lords.

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