HL Deb 15 February 2001 vol 622 cc341-64

3.37 p.m.

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton) rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 25th January be approved [5th Report from the Joint Committee].

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, this order exempts political parties in Northern Ireland from registering the source of their donations and from the specified list of permissible donors contained in the Act. The exemption will last for four years. It can, of course, be revoked earlier if it is no longer required. If it is thought to be needed after four years the Government may seek further exemptions from the House.

I know that this section of the Act was debated at length in your Lordships' House and in another place. The Government are well aware of the continued concerns about the principle of the order and I hope to explain to your Lordships today why we believe it is necessary. The order is based on certain recommendations produced in the 5th Report from the Committee on Standards in Public Life chaired by the noble Lord, Lord Neill of Bladen. The noble Lords, Lord Goodhart and Lord Shore of Stepney, also served on that committee. All three spoke in the Second Reading debate in your Lordships House. They did not draft this order, but it is based on the best possible interpretations of the two specific recommendations in respect of Northern Ireland.

Following evidence given to the committee when it visited Belfast, the first of those recommendations acknowledged that there were real possibilities of intimidation of those who made donations to political parties there. As a consequence, the Neill Report suggested that a short term and reviewable exemption from the reporting requirements in respect of donations should be made for political parties in Northern Ireland.

The second recommendation acknowledged the importance of the Good Friday agreement and our relations with the Republic of Ireland. This prompted the committee to suggest that a definition of a permissible source should include a citizen of the Republic of Ireland in residence in the Republic, subject to compliance with the Republic's Electoral Law Act 1997.

The Government accepted that recommendation, as they had accepted the first. Unfortunately, as the House is now aware, it did not prove possible to draft the clause in respect of the Republic of Ireland in quite the way suggested. This is because the Electoral Commission, as a UK-based organisation, would not be able to verify whether those in the Republic of Ireland who make donations are in fact in compliance with the laws of that country.

Your Lordships will know that it was not the intention of the clause to permit overseas donations for the Northern Ireland parties. Nor was it the intention that this clause should benefit one particular section of Northern Ireland life or one particular party.

The need for anonymity has been acknowledged by most of the parties in Northern Ireland. Even those which would prefer to see a list of donors' names being given, in confidence, to the commission recognised that the very existence of such a list might constitute a threat for some people.

It is an unfortunate consequence of the second recommendation, which suggested that donations should be permitted from the Republic of Ireland, that we cannot, in reality, police the source of that money and ascertain without doubt that it did not come from some other international source.

I would, however, stress to your Lordships that the other parts of this Act do extend to the Northern Ireland parties. That means that all the Northern Ireland parties must register with the Electoral Commission; that they will have a duty to keep full and detailed accounting records as directed by the commission; and that their campaign and other expenditure will be controlled.

These exemptions are being put before your Lordships' House because of very genuine fears for the safety of those who are named as donors. Equally, we all recognise the role of the Republic of Ireland in Northern Ireland's political life. This is entirely consistent with the Good Friday agreement.

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, George Howarth, has had two rounds of consultations with the Northern Ireland parties about these exemptions. While a number of concerns were expressed by the parties, there was an acknowledgement of the possibility of intimidation and the impossibility of policing donations which came from another country.

As the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State mentioned in a debate in another place, the Government of the Republic of Ireland have already given some indication that they are considering introducing legislation similar to that contained in this Act. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on or to prejudge the matter, but as my honourable friend in another place acknowledged, if there is a change in the law in the Republic of Ireland it may well have implications for these exemptions.

I can confirm to your Lordships that the Government would be happy to review the need for these exemptions or for any particular part of them if they were able to do so in the light of any changes in the law of the Republic of Ireland. They would also consider revocation or amendment if there were any material change of circumstance.

The order has a life span of four years. If it can be revoked before that time, the Government will be happy to do so. Alternatively, if after four years we believe that the situation calls for a renewal of the exemptions we will come again to the House with an affirmative order.

In the meantime, I suggest that while these exemptions have a regrettable side they are in the short-term very necessary if the democratic parties in Northern Ireland are to prosper and thrive. I therefore ask your Lordships approve the order today. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 25th January be approved [5th Report from the Joint Committee].—(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)

3.45 p.m.

Lord Cope of Berkeley rose to move, as an amendment to the above Motion, at end to insert "but that this House regrets that the draft order allows political parties in Northern Ireland to receive funds from foreign donors; dispenses with the requirement for political parties in Northern Ireland to keep records of donations and to report them to the Electoral Commission; and allows foreign funding to be used by Northern Ireland political parties when participating in future United Kingdom referendums and in any future referendum on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I hope that the terms of the amendment make clear the three aspects of the order about which we have reservations. The first is that it allows Northern Ireland parties to accept foreign donations not only from the Republic of Ireland but also from elsewhere in the world. As the noble and learned Lord acknowledged, that is against the spirit of the legislation and the recommendations of the Neill committee.

Secondly, the order means that no records will be kept of donations which can allow foreign donations to be understood. The third aspect concerns the effect on referendums, to which the noble and learned Lord did not refer.

As regards overseas funding, all parties in the United Kingdom agreed with the Neill committee on the proposed ending of foreign donations to our political parties. The Conservative Party implemented that measure before it was recommended by the Neill committee and continues to support it.

However, there has been wide recognition of the special position of Northern Ireland parties. The noble and learned Lord said that the changes that will be implemented by the order are based on the recommendations of the Neill committee, but they go much further. The Neill committee recommended that Northern Ireland parties should continue to be able to receive donations from the Republic of Ireland. That is discriminatory in favour of those parties whose views are likely to be more acceptable in the Republic of Ireland. In any event, the order goes further in allowing donations from anywhere in the world.

The noble and learned Lord again said that the problem is that the measure cannot be policed. He indicated that because of the difficulty in investigating matters in the Republic of Ireland to the satisfaction of the commission, we cannot police "without doubt" that donations do not come from outside the Republic of Ireland. That is not a strong reason for saying that we cannot do so at all; that we cannot state that it is illegal to receive donations from outside the Republic, even though the exemption cannot be policed satisfactorily all the time. We understand that in some cases there might be an element of doubt—that it cannot be "without doubt"—but that is not a strong enough reason for taking no steps at all.

We all know that for many years donations have been collected in the United States ostensibly for humanitarian or political reasons but have then been diverted to terrorist purposes. Therefore, in the Northern Ireland context, it is especially dangerous to allow the fig leaf of political donations to continue because the money can flow into terrorist hands. Although the United States is often mentioned in this context, terrorists have received support of all kinds from countries such as Libya. Such support is not confined to the United States.

I have for a long time believed that the extraordinary momentum behind Irish terrorism is not connected only with politics but to some extent with finance. We know that that was the case with, for instance, the Mafia, which began as a political organisation and then turned to rackets. They are now primarily financial organisations. In my opinion, that has happened to some extent to Northern Ireland terrorism. That is why, when I was a Minister in the Province, I did as much as I could to fight the rackets that were taking place. Sadly, neither I nor others in both governments have been very successful and those rackets remain a series of problems. But there is a danger that money will come to Northern Ireland from overseas to parties that are connected with terrorists. Similarly, we do not want money from rackets to go into politics, but that is more difficult to control particularly if there is no reporting of donations.

That brings me to my second point: reporting. Obviously, I recognise the problem. To play any part in Northern Ireland politics can be very dangerous. Those of us who were in another place for some years will remember our colleague the Rev Robert Bradford and the numerous attacks on others over the years. We sympathise with the need for restrictions on publicity, but that should not rule out reporting in confidence to the Electoral Commission. I believe that it shows lack of confidence in the commission and the way that it conducts itself to suggest otherwise. We entirely sympathise with restrictions on publication, but that is quite different from sympathising with what the order does in this respect; namely, to eliminate all requirements for records of donations.

My third point concerns referendums which are of particular importance within Northern Ireland but also have repercussions in the rest of the United Kingdom. The first general point is whether foreign money should be spent in referendums. Obviously, we agree that it should not be spent in support of one side or another in future referendums, but that is not what the order achieves; indeed, it opens up loopholes. The order also confers on registered political parties in Northern Ireland benefits over other groups, because a cross-community group that may be set up to campaign in a referendum but is not registered as a political party—it should not need to be—will suffer all the restrictions in the Bill which have been criticised and accepted as far as concerns Northern Ireland. Therefore, the order is defective in not allowing some people the freedom that others will have in a Northern Ireland referendum. In that context one is always conscious of the fact that, as on a number of occasions in the past, there may be referendums on the future government of Northern Ireland and so on.

During the debates on the Bill the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, conceded the point and said: I do not pretend that the position is ideal".—[Official Report, 21/11/00; col. 768.]

That is "Bassamspeak" for saying that it is not very good but the Government do not intend to do anything about it. That is what has happened. The order means that the position has not been corrected.

The other aspect of the matter is the loophole that the order creates for UK-wide referendums. There has been recent discussion on the timing of a possible referendum on the euro should the Labour Party, unfortunately, be re-elected, but I do not want to become involved in that this afternoon. It will be possible for money from all over the world to come via existing or new Northern Ireland parties to fund campaigns for a UK-wide referendum on one side or another of the question in the referendum. All of that seems to us to be potentially deeply unfair to one side or other in the referendum. It is not a loophole which respectable parties like those represented in this House would follow, but we all know that there are less reputable—or more disreputable—people who are capable of using loopholes which are created. This order creates a loophole which allows foreign money to flow into one or other, or both, sides of any UK as well as Northern Ireland referendum.

For those three reasons we do not regard the order and the policies which it represents to be satisfactory. We did not at the time when the Act was as a Bill, and we do not today. I beg to move.

Moved, That, as an amendment to the above Motion, at end to insert "but that this House regrets that the draft order allows political parties in Northern Ireland to receive funds from foreign donors; dispenses with the requirement for political parties in Northern Ireland to keep records of donations and to report them to the Electoral Commission; and allows foreign funding to be used by Northern Ireland political parties when participating in future United Kingdom referendums and in any future referendum on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland".—(Lord Cope of Berkeley.)

Viscount Cranborne

My Lords, during the course of the passage of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill through your Lordships' House it became clear that one of its main purposes, as we knew it would be, was to impose a general rule that no one from abroad should contribute to political parties in the United Kingdom. I shall not comment on the general effects of the legislation, except to say that this order appears to be yet another example of what that Act will do to the political culture in this country by institutionalising and bureaucratising political parties and effectively rigging the system in favour of Whitehall and whatever government happen to be in power at the time.

As I understand it, two main exceptions to that general rule were imposed by the Government. The first was that companies with headquarters in other European Union countries could contribute to British political parties. I understand that the exception to that rule lay, above all, in EU law and regulation. If I correctly understood my then noble friend Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, he pointed out that the first exception—the second is the subject of this order today—made the general rule meaningless, since anyone could establish a company in, say, Amsterdam or anywhere else in the European Union, and pour money into it which could then be disbursed to the coffers of United Kingdom parties unhindered. If my then noble friend was right, he demonstrated clearly that that made a nonsense of the whole thing. On the other hand, if he was wrong, clearly it would also enable European Union nationals, or corporate nationals, to influence our internal politics in a way that no other foreign nationals could.

The second exception is the subject of this order. Quite apart from anything else, that exception is as objectionable as the first, partly on the same grounds. It gives non-United Kingdom entities, but also individuals, an opportunity to influence the politics of a part of the United Kingdom. But what makes the second exception infinitely worse than the first is that basically it licenses terrorist organisations to finance their terrorist political fronts in Northern Ireland at a particularly delicate time when it is clear that the process of peace, for which the Province in particular but also the rest of the United Kingdom are so grateful, teeters on a knife-edge. Not only does it license such donations from abroad, particularly to terrorist organisations and parties which are their political front, but it does so by providing that such donations should be kept secret. We went through that issue at various stages during the passage of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act. I do not propose to weary your Lordships with my arguments again. I merely observe that, as your Lordships well know, terrorism flourishes on secrecy and fear. Secrecy and fear go together. I am sorry to have to say this to the noble and learned Lord, but it is a pity that the Government are proposing a measure which does an enormous amount to encourage that plight.

By way of mitigation and in anticipation that this point would be made not only by my noble friend Lord Cope but also by others during the course of our discussions today, the noble and learned Lord said that parties should keep accounts and that those accounts would be subject to audit. I am sure that they will. If the noble and learned Lord believes—to take one example—that Sinn Fein or the Protestant parties affiliated to Protestant terrorist organisations are so lacking in ruthlessness or, indeed, in guile, that they are not able to hide those donations from the attentions of auditors for fear that those donations and their sources might not make them look very good in public, then I am afraid he is more naive than the House has understood him to be during the course of his distinguished tenure of a seat on that Front Bench.

For that reason alone we would be very foolish not to look carefully at every aspect of the order before we go any further and approve it.

I hope that the noble and learned Lord will be able to comment on this next point, because, if it is not true, it needs denying. I understand that there is a rumour current in Northern Ireland and that that rumour has actually been articulated by government Ministers in trying to persuade people in the Province to accept the need for this provision. The rumour is that the main beneficial effect of the order will not be to support Sinn Fein, but will be to provide a much needed source of funds for the moribund SDLP, which could not expect to find any support from elsewhere. I hope the Government realise that that is disingenuous—to put it mildly—if that is indeed being said.

Your Lordships will be well aware that one of the tragedies of the politics of the Province in the past few years, and particularly in the past few months, has been the decline in the political support enjoyed by the parties of the centre—basically the SDLP and the official Ulster Unionist Party. We all know that the present Government's policy, and particularly the previous government's policy, has been designed, above all, to help to support the moderate centre on both sides of the sectarian divide. I fear that what has happened is that the policy has had exactly the opposite effect. Instead of supporting the moderate parties of the centre, the effect has been to weaken them. If your Lordships doubt what I say, I have to remind you only of the results of the recent South Antrim by-election.

Therefore, this policy has achieved diametrically the opposite effect of what it was designed to achieve. The way that it has been implemented has pandered to the extremes on both sides, thereby weakening the centre, because no one is really prepared to go to the stake for it. The terrorists and their representatives are therefore enormously strengthened.

So what we are seeing in the Province now is the progressive destruction of the SDLP and the united Ulster Unionists. I am afraid that that destruction has been the direct result of policies pursued by governments of both complexions. If this order is designed to give a financial lifeline to the SDLP, I fear that that will not work. The SDLP can be revived only by a robust defence of the ballot box against the Armalite, and an understanding that the British Government will always go to the stake for that principle, rather than honour it more in the breach than the observance.

Whether or not the rumour that I described in the latter part of my remarks is true, this policy will continue a process that gives comfort to the terrorist and gives official protection to the darkness in which terrorism flourishes. On those grounds alone noble Lords should oppose the order.

4 p.m.

Lord Fitt

My Lords, I rise early in the debate to support the amendment. I rise early to give my opinion to this House of what I really believe is happening in Northern Ireland in advance of any member of the Unionist party speaking, so that it will not be reported in newspapers in Ireland tomorrow morning that I was speaking in support of what the unionists may contribute.

I have just returned from Belfast. I was there over a week ago. I spoke to many people about the order and its implications. I can only say with great honesty and certainty that the order does not have the support of democrats in Northern Ireland. If we are ever to reinstate democracy in Northern Ireland, it will not be done by making further concessions to anti-democrats. That is exactly what the order is doing.

Let us analyse the issue in language that we will all understand. It is about political parties. Political parties exist because they want to get candidates elected to whatever the political forum may be. In this case it is to the House of Commons, to the Northern Ireland Assembly and to Europe. The parties say that they need financial support to have their candidates elected. All the political parties say that. I can say this afternoon which candidates are likely to be returned to the parliamentary seats in the forthcoming election. One can say with a great deal of accuracy who those candidates may be and which parties they may represent. There may be one or two seats in question that one cannot predict. Yet I would not be very far off if I were to make a prediction as I stand here today.

The political parties in Northern Ireland are not, as they say in Northern Ireland, "exactly on their uppers". I fought 22 elections in Northern Ireland. In all the elections that I fought I had to go outside and get my own financial backing to fight them. It did not take thousands and thousands of pounds to win seats in Northern Ireland. At the moment, one of the main political parties in Northern Ireland is Sinn Fein. It is reputed to be the richest political party in Europe because of the donations which it receives—for which it sometimes intimidates.

The candidates who will be fighting the next European election and the Assembly elections are already well known because many of them are "two-jobbing". Many of the SDLP candidates who will be defending their seats in the forthcoming election to this country's Parliament are already there, and in the Assembly. The UUP candidates will be defending their seats, and they are already sitting in the Assembly also. They are in receipt of a ministerial salary and a salary from this Parliament. The candidates who will be fighting the next election are already in receipt of over £100,000 a year. One might think that with that sort of income they might be able to make provision for a rainy day, and they might be able to save something to finance the forthcoming elections. It is not the case that the political parties are in such a penurious state that they have to obtain money from either the Republic, Socialist International or America.

Sinn Fein will not abide by any restrictions placed on it by the withdrawal of this legislation. Sinn Fein will get its money wherever it gets its money. There have been many involuntary donations to the Sinn Fein election kitty over the past 30 years, mostly from banks and post offices in Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein will get its money and nothing will stop that.

The SDLP has an annual collection hosted by the political parties in the Republic of Ireland. I think that I attended two of them during my term as leader of the SDLP. It was well known who were the personnel making these donations to the SDLP, and no one killed them. We are now being told that we have to introduce exclusion to prevent subscribers to political parties in Northern Ireland being murdered. What a convenient way this is for all the political parties in Northern Ireland to hide their finances.

I am not sure where the Official Unionist Party obtains its finances. I have no doubt it receives some subscriptions from Orange Lodges in Canada and elsewhere. The SDLP receives subscriptions from political parties in the Republic and from Socialist International. How Socialist International can recognise the SDLP as being a socialist party is far beyond me. Paddy Devlin and myself were responsible for having the SDLP admitted into Socialist International. That was a big undertaking. Since Paddy Devlin died and I left the SDLP, there are very little remnants of socialism left in that party.

The DUP has Ministers in the Executive in Northern Ireland and it has seats over here. Many of those politicians are in receipt of two salaries, one from the Assembly and one from here, and one of them has a ministerial salary. They are in receipt of over £100,000 a year. If they cannot finance their own election, what are they going to do with this money? Dr Paisley's party has three seats—one each at the Assembly, Westminster and Europe. We all read in our newspapers about the fiddles that go on with expenses in Europe. Dr Paisley should have enough to finance his candidates in the forthcoming elections—not forgetting the bucket collection he has every Sunday in the Martyrs Memorial church. There is no shortage of money.

Some people say that they are frightened that people who would make donations to the Women's Coalition are in danger of being intimidated or killed. Who would kill anyone making donations to the Women's Coalition Party in Northern Ireland? Who will carry out these assasinations and intimidations? Will it be the Real IRA, the Continuity IRA and all the other IRAs which assasinate persons making contributions to the Unionist parties? Will it be the UVF or the UDA which will kill persons making donations to the SDLP? The whole thing is ridiculous. It reminds me of some people from this House and some from another place who have spent time in Northern Ireland. Some of those people have spent lunchtime there and they believe that that entitles them to bodyguards and free transport for the rest of their lives. I do not believe that any political party will cease to exist if people refrain from making donations because they are in danger of being killed.

The reason for the exclusion of Northern Ireland does not bear scrutiny. Any political party can say that people who give it money are in danger of being killed. It is a very convenient way of hiding financial support.

The money from America may not be an issue at the moment; but it is liable to be an issue in the future. The money that has come to Sinn Fein and the SDLP—mostly from Democratic sources—may be called into question. The Bush Administration are intent on discrediting ex-President Clinton and some of the financial upheavals that took place then. Some of that money was going to Sinn Fein, and from Sinn Fein to the IRA. We may not have heard the last of that matter.

The Minister said that the order will be looked at again in four years. In Northern Ireland we know that there is nothing more permanent than that which is temporary. We have seen border polls and we were told that they were going to be brought back. We have seen the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act. The emergency provisions were supposed to last for two or three weeks. Here we are now, 20 years later.

If the order is passed as it stands, it will be seen as a total surrender to those who would deny democracy and threaten those who are trying to bring about democracy in Northern Ireland.

I heard what was said by the noble Viscount, Lord Cranborne. Representations are being made far and wide—particularly to me as a founder member of the SDLP—not to do anything that may prevent the SDLP receiving financial support from abroad. If I had a violin, I would play it. There are only 17 seats in Northern Ireland. There is enough slush-fund money coming from America to finance all of those seats. This order violates the democratic principle of elections as it applies to the United Kingdom. I do not think that it is necessary. I do not think that anyone will be intimidated, assasinated or harassed by making a donation to any of the democratic parties in Northern Ireland. Saying that is a total exaggeration of the situation. Many people have used the emergency situation in Northern Ireland to make their lifestyles very comfortable. To whoever spent lunchtime in Northern Ireland and now has transport for the rest of his life, I repeat that what is proposed is a total and absolute waste of taxpayers' money, which should not be misused to such an extent.

I support the amendment. I do so because I believe that it is unnecessary to exclude Northern Ireland from all the provisions of the Act that apply to other parts of the United Kingdom.

4.15 p.m.

Lord Campbell of Alloway

My Lords, it is perfectly plain from the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Fitt, that, on the merits, there is no justification for the order. Putting it very briefly, if one or two seats—that is all—are in question, this is really nothing more than to legitimise a channel for foreign funds to reach Sinn Fein for the purposes to which we know they are put.

I shall say no more about the merits but look at the powers. The order is produced under Section 70(1)(b) of the Act, which states: The Secretary of State may by order make provision … for disapplying"— that is the word— any specified provisions of this Part, for such period as is specified, in relation to a Northern Ireland party". This is not strictly a disapplication. What it does is to remove something contrary to the general intendment of the provisions of the Act, which is designed to control foreign donors. I am far from certain what the High Court would say about the legality of this proposal. I am not sure whether it is within the vires conferred by the Act. That is apart from the merits, of which there are none.

Baroness Blood

My Lords, I rise to speak in favour of the order. I shall comment in a moment on what was said by the noble Lord. Lord Fitt, but I want first to register an interest. I am one of the founder members of the Women's Coalition, to which the noble Lord, Lord Fitt, referred. While I was listening to the noble Lord, I thought that we might appoint him treasurer because he said that getting money is no problem. I can tell him that, from the point of view of the Women's Coalition, it is a big problem.

When we set up the Women's Coalition, we tried to bring together a cross-community group of men and women, believe it or not, to look at setting up a political party that would present an agreed agenda. The noble Lord, Lord Fitt, said that he was in Northern Ireland last week and another noble Lord said that he had also been over. I live in Northern Ireland. I live in Belfast. I live in the Shankhill Road in Belfast, and Y can tell the House that intimidation is rife. You would be intimidated for a lot less than getting a donation from a foreign donor. I can be intimidated for getting down to my car at the wrong time of the day.

What are the facts of life in Northern Ireland? For a long time, politics has not been at the centre of thinking for ordinary people. People decided that they wanted to do something about it. It was not the easiest of projects to put together. You are putting together a group of people from both sides of the community in order to organise themselves into a political party. It was not the easiest of projects, but it has been achieved by the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition and by the Alliance Party. It is possible.

However, as noble Lords will know, putting together any kind of project takes funding. It takes funding to have full-time staff, to equip offices, to hold meetings and to deal with correspondence. I listened to the noble Lord, Lord Fitt. I am sure that in the early days the SDLP had that problem. The party would have looked for someone to support it. When a small party like the Women's Coalition decides to get going, where does it get the means to do it? Where does it get the funds to do it? Various methods of funding have to be looked at. Funding has to be sought. I say right now that such means of funding should be transparent. The Women's Coalition believes that funding should be transparent to all and that a proper audit trail should be in place for public scrutiny. We have never done any differently.

A small party like the Women's Coalition does not have access to funding from trade union members or to funding from private business. Many businesses would shy away from giving support to a political party within Northern Ireland. Noble Lords who have served in Northern Ireland know that to be a fact of life. Even if such funding were possible, it has to be remembered that Northern Ireland is a very small place. We have a plethora of political parties seeking funding. Therefore, we have to find ways of getting funding through other channels.

I have to say at this point that the Women's Coalition owes a debt of gratitude to the people of the Republic of Ireland. They funded us very generously to help us to get started. If the order were to fall today, where would such funding come from? I understand that noble Lords have been talking about the large parties. The noble Viscount, Lord Cranborne, referred to the Official Unionist Party and the noble Lord, Lord Fitt, referred to the SDLP. They are large parties. They have a great deal of money and can fund themselves. But I am talking about small groups of people who want to change the political way forward in Northern Ireland. They are tired of confrontational and megaphone diplomacy and want to get away from that. They want to fight elections. How do we do that? Do we go along to the SDLP or the Official Unionists and say, "We hear you have a load of money. Give us some"? We would not get it.

I find myself in a bind. I am not opposed to the amendment. I understand what the amendment seeks and would not disagree with it. I have already said that any funding for political parties in Northern Ireland should be scrutinised. But if the order were to fall today, small groups like the Women's Coalition would find it hard to survive, let alone grow. That is what we are after. We are trying to make the organisation grow.

I listened carefully to what was said by the noble Viscount, Lord Cranborne, the noble Lord, Lord Fitt, and other noble Lords. I understand that those who support the amendment seek in some way to starve funds from the like of Sinn Fein. Noble Lords need to reflect carefully on whether that would be achieved. I have to tell the House that it would not be so. The noble Lord, Lord Fitt, has already said that these people would find another way of bringing in the money. If the order is not passed, the Women's Coalition and parties like it will suffer the most. That would do immense damage to a great many people in Northern Ireland who are seeking to get away from confrontational politics. I ask noble Lords to think very deeply about this matter and I urge the House to support the order.

Lord Smith of Clifton

My Lords, we have just hear a powerful speech from the noble Baroness, Lady Blood. It is a great pleasure to speak after her in the debate.

In reluctantly accepting the need for this order to be passed unamended, we are acknowledging the reality that Northern Ireland's political system has not yet reached the point where all desirable legislative provisions can apply. This is regrettable but it is a fact.

The noble and learned Lord the Minister has already presented the case for why Northern Ireland should be exempted from the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act in two main respects: that the names of donors to political parties need not be disclosed, and that the Northern Ireland political parties may receive funds from overseas.

The first exemption is required because of the need for anonymity where intimidation or worse are still ever present. Until the political life of Northern Ireland becomes more peaceful, the rules applying in Britain should not be enforced in Northern Ireland. Moreover, there is the additional fact that the professional classes have all but forsaken participation in political life and the prospect of the public disclosure of donations to political parties would be a further disincentive to any political involvement on their part. That would be regrettable; there is more than enough alienation from politics as it is.

As to allowing foreign donations, again, this is to accept the reality of the situation. As the Minister has pointed out, Sinn Fein operates as a political party both in Northern Ireland and in the Irish Republic. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to prevent it from moving its funds across the border between the two jurisdictions. I should declare an interest at this point as a board member of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. During the elections to the assembly, we gave donations to all the parties described by the noble Viscount, Lord Cranborne, as the "centre parties". I can tell noble Lords from experience—I can assure the noble Lord, Lord Fitt, that I did not go over simply for lunch; I stayed for eight years in another capacity and I did not enjoy free transport or any other such benefits—that the political parties in Northern Ireland are chronically underfunded in comparison with their British counterparts. To that end, I endorse entirely what was said by the noble Baroness, Lady Blood. If ever there was a case for the state funding of political parties, surely it is Northern Ireland. But that discussion is for another day.

Along with all Members of this House, we on these Benches would like to see political parties in Northern Ireland regulated in precisely the same way as political parties in Britain—as the amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Cope of Berkeley, seeks to achieve. But it is premature to attempt to do that now, which is why we shall oppose the amendment. However, no one would wish to see this disapplication order enforced if circumstances change for the better and it could be cancelled ahead of the time period of four years within which it is set to operate in the first instance. To that end, I was pleased to hear the noble and learned Lord say that if conditions were to become favourable, the Government would review the operation of the order with a view to rescinding it before four years had passed. Would he be willing to say that he would go further and undertake formally to look at the continuing need for the order after it has been in operation for two years? If such an assurance could be given, we on these Benches would support even more strongly the approval of this order.

4.30 p.m.

Baroness Park of Monmouth

My Lords, I greatly respect all that was said by the noble Baroness, Lady Blood, and I understand her problems. Unfortunately, however, the party that is likely to gain the most from this will be Sinn Fein/IRA. It has the biggest sums coming in and, sadly, the most desperate plans to fund. It is the political wing of an armed paramilitary organisation.

What has been its record since the Belfast agreement? We have released all the IRA prisoners, reduced Army numbers and virtually destroyed the RUC, the police force which has saved countless lives and lost many of its own. What has Sinn Fein/IRA done, except to ask for more? We were told that the restructuring of the police as the result of the Patten report was to open the door to Catholics so as to achieve fair representation in the police force and thus gain the confidence of the Republican community. Everyone but those serving on the Patten commission knew that the reason why so few Catholics served in the RUC was that their lives and those of their families were at risk from Sinn Fein/IRA if they joined.

Once the Bill was passed and a 50 per cent quota was assured, we asked the Minister a question. Would Sinn Fein/IRA and, indeed, the SDLP and the Church tell Catholics that they could now join without fear? The Government maintained a touching faith that this would happen. We knew that it would not. Sinn Fein/IRA and, I am sorry to say, the SDLP are now demanding more powers for the police board, the abolition of the Special Branch—incidentally, our chief protection against bombs on the mainland—and the inclusion of paramilitaries released from prison in the district policing partnerships. Once again, we would be putting the Kray brothers in to police the criminals.

Sinn Fein/IRA promised to divulge the whereabouts of nine of the disappeared, whom they had murdered. Only three bodies were produced, but the IRA secured splendid media coverage for its caring attitude. Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness have refused to encourage those who have come forward as witnesses to the Omagh bombing because they do not recognise British justice. Why then, are they causing us to spend upwards of £30 million so far on the Bloody Sunday inquiry?

I am weary of telling the House about the beatings and the exiles that Sinn Fein/IRA, as well as the Loyalists, continue to carry out on their own people. It was described only recently as "paramilitary domestic housekeeping". If this were happening in England, would it be tolerated? Of course not. In the Belfast agreement, and over and over again since, the Government have ignored the IRA when it told the truth—i.e. that it would never decommission its arms—and believed it when it spoke with a forked tongue.

How many times have we explained in this House that when the IRA says that it will "consider how to put arms and explosives beyond use in the context of the removal of the causes of conflict", what it really means is the total removal of British forces and the destruction of the RUC as preconditions for something which it never intends to do? It has said again and again that it will never decommission. The ridiculous so-called "confidence-building measure" of allowing two middle-aged politicians—not soldiers and certainly not General de Chastelain—to take a look in the dead of night at arms which they will be wholly unable to identify, is another indication of the contempt in which it holds us and mirrors how deeply Mitchel McLaughlin holds us in contempt. Only yesterday he told the Bloody Sunday inquiry that he had absolutely no idea whether Mr McGuinness was a member of the IRA.

Whenever the Prime Minister and the Irish Prime Minister go to Northern Ireland, we know that more concessions will be made, but never by the IRA. General de Chastelain's report published in December 2000 states clearly that the IRA representative has not gone near the commission. For that reason, it is difficult to understand, other than perhaps through thought transference, how the IRA could say, on 5th December, that it has not broken contact with the commission. It has not been seen near the commission.

The commission believes it to be crucial to secure substantial engagement with representatives from the IRA—as it has had with the Loyalists—as soon as possible if it is to meet the June 2001 deadline. That will never happen. I can tell noble Lords that Her Majesty's Government will make more concessions, but the IRA will do absolutely nothing but ask for even more. In the meantime, it is achieving all of its objectives.

According to the Irish Times of 13th February, by this summer, the RUC will have lost one-half of its senior management. Some 51 of those officers are taking early redundancy and, indeed, have already left. One-half of the detective branch will have left by the summer. This is affecting not only the RUC; senior Garda officers are now alarmed at the reduction of strength and effectiveness of policing in Northern Ireland. Morale is collapsing. The Garda has stated that there will be a major deficit of policing in the North. The Irish people and the Dublin Government should be worrying about that as well, but of course we are not worrying about it.

All this is the work of Sinn Fein/IRA. It cannot be right, on top of everything else that it has received, to give it the ability to raise limitless foreign funds without control. I fully accept that it is difficult to police, but we have done it on other occasions. Why cannot we do it now? I do not know of any other political party which conducts its canvassing by breaking the limbs of young boys and girls with iron bars. If this order goes through, it will send a terrible message of appeasement and sheer stupidity.

Lord Monson

My Lords, I am sure that all noble Lords will have been interested to hear the speech of the noble Baroness, Lady Park. I should like to put a brief question to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer. Even if one rejects the powerful and well-informed argument advanced by the noble Lord, Lord Fitt—although I would never do so—and continued to insist on the need for anonymity for donors resident in Northern Ireland, what is the justification for exempting Northern Ireland parties from having to declare the total sum received by way of donations from abroad in any given period, without having to identify individual donors? It is difficult to see how such an exemption can be justified.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts

My Lords, when the Government introduced the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill, they did so on the grounds that it was to restore confidence in UK public life and thereby encourage a greater degree of public participation. Both were worthy objectives.

They sought to do this through two principles: first, the principle of transparency; and, secondly, the principle of independent supervision. Transparency was to be achieved by disclosure, and independent supervision was to be achieved by the creation of an independent electoral commission. This order drives a stake through the heart of both principles.

I listened when the Minister spoke about the need to avoid transparency and the disclosure of donations in Northern Ireland. Having heard the noble Lord, Lord Fitt, speak on this issue, it seems to me that "fig-leaf" is an inadequate description of what the Minister said.

I am more concerned about the impact that this order will have on the reputation of the Electoral Commission. The Act is half the size of a telephone directory, and it is difficult to see how an Act of that size will encourage public participation. With all its sanctions, some of which are of a criminal nature, it is likely to achieve the reverse. If the Act is to achieve many of the objectives we hoped for, it will be because the Electoral Commission is independent and above reproach.

Today, the Minister has said that the Electoral Commission is not to be trusted with information about donations and it is not to be trusted to keep an audit trail, albeit on an entirely private and confidential basis. If the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act is to be effective, the Electoral Commission must be effective. For that reason, I strongly support the amendment of my noble friend Lord Cope.

4.45 p.m.

Lord Molyneaux of Killead

My Lords, the greater number of people in Northern Ireland—by that, I do not mean the unionist or Protestant majority, but the sensible, law-abiding people of all religions and of none—take the view that they do not wish this order to be imposed. As a democrat, I therefore have to support the amendment.

The order will permit "Northern Ireland parties" to receive global foreign funding but will place no obligation on them to keep records of donations received or to disclose the value or source of donations. I join other noble Lords and plead with the Minister to place his trust—and to encourage others to place their trust—in the Electoral Commission. During my time in active politics, I have always found that electoral officers, who conduct elections at all levels, are people of absolute integrity. I have the greatest confidence in the commissioner and his commission in this regard. While a reluctance to publish names is understandable—that case has been made—I hope that the Government, even at this late stage, will decide that no one should try to oppose records of donations being submitted in strict confidence to the Electoral Commissioner and his commission.

I do not believe that parties in Northern Ireland should be treated differently from those in other parts of the United Kingdom. If foreign funding is banned in mainland Britain and transparency is deemed necessary, the same should apply to Northern Ireland.

As your Lordships are aware, the legislation to which this order is to apply, or, in this case, to disapply—I refer to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000—was founded on the fifth report of the Neill committee. In that report, Recommendation 24 states: Political parties should in principle be banned from receiving foreign donations". It has been pointed out already that there was a slightly different, or amending, recommendation in that report. Paragraph 29 stated: In relation … to political parties in Northern Ireland, the definition of a permissible source should also include a citizen of the Republic of Ireland resident in the Republic subject to compliance with the Republic's Electoral Act". But the fifth report did not recommend that Northern Ireland parties should be able to receive unrestricted global funding. It provided for a limited exception, a limited extension, to permit funding from the Republic of Ireland. I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Blood, that that funding is not a major issue.

For your Lordships' information, the Republic's Electoral Act does not prohibit foreign funding at this time. However, as has been pointed out, the Republic's Prime Minister strongly indicated in the dying months of last year that such a prohibition will be introduced. Concrete proposals have not yet been made available, but I have good reason to believe that legislation will be introduced in the current parliamentary session.

It is not surprising that the Republic is to introduce a package of funding reforms similar to those suggested in the Neill report when two recent investigatory tribunals have found scandal and corruption to be rife. However, it may be more of an influence that parties in the South fear, as we do, the immense wealth that Sinn Fein is amassing. The Irish Parliament has two good reasons for bringing its law into line with that which currently applies in Great Britain, but not in Northern Ireland.

Men such as Martin Galvin use a romanticised image of Irish republicanism to prey on the purses of people in America who have not witnessed—as we in various parts of the United Kingdom have witnessed—the misery and sheer brutality of the Provisional IRA and its so-called dissidents, who are in fact its allies, in its campaign in Northern Ireland and throughout the United Kingdom over 30 years. His malevolent skills are now being deployed for the benefit of the so-called dissident elements of the IRA. As they are a happy band of brothers, I do not think that they will be too worried about the niceties of accountancy.

It was reported in the Irish Times on 9th December last year that the Friends of Sinn Fein organisation has raised 4.5 million US dollars for the IRA's political wing. An amazing 500,000 US dollars were raised at one annual fund-raising dinner at the Sheraton Hotel in New York in November last year, only three months ago. I wonder how many cocktail parties it held over Christmas.

Those figures were discovered because the Friends of Sinn Fein in America—there is a lesson here for us—as an agency raising funds in the United States for a foreign organisation, must make annual returns to the American Department of Justice. So all has been revealed. In the six months to the end of October 1999, Friends of Sinn Fein raised 396,000 US dollars; in the same period, according to the department, Friends of Fianna Fail raised 116,000 US dollars in the United States. Sinn Fein also raised substantial funds in Australia through Friends of Sinn Fein Australia.

I should prefer to see a complete ban on foreign funding for Northern Ireland parties. But if an exception must be made, it should be limited to the Republic of Ireland, in the hope—now the expectation, based on the declaration of the Irish Prime Minister—that it, too, will eventually prohibit foreign funding. Indeed, it is to be hoped that that will happen in the not-too-distant future; it needs to be in the present parliamentary Session. It is appropriate at this point to remember that nationalist parties in Scotland and Wales could have benefited from foreign funding, but none has been made available to them.

Transparency in the funding of Northern Ireland political parties will simply not exist if the order is approved unamended. If a Northern Ireland party cannot identify the source of a donation, there will be no issue. Anonymous donations will continue to be permitted in Northern Ireland. No improperly obtained funds will be subject to forfeiture, as there will be no concept in Northern Ireland of "improperly obtained funds". Sources need not be voluntary, as is implicit in the term "donor"; racketeering will continue to be a form of funding for paramilitary-linked parties in Northern Ireland—indeed it will be made legitimate by this order.

Acceptance of the order will mean that the words, evasion of restrictions constituting an offence", will not apply to Northern Ireland. As there will be no restrictions, there will be no restrictions to evade. Northern Ireland parties will not need to concern themselves with reporting on donations, weekly, quarterly or otherwise, during an election period or at other times.

In giving evidence to the Neill Committee, Unionists expressed concerns that public disclosure of donors might provide security problems, but those concerns did not preclude transparency and accountability by having records scrutinised by the electoral commission. For the life of me, I cannot see the objection to that clear-cut, straightforward way out.

The consequences of Sinn Fein dictating this piece of legislation in this Parliament, as it did with the Disqualifications Act, appear to be even more far-reaching than the Government anticipated. The order provides for political parties in Northern Ireland potentially to receive foreign funding generally, and to use the funding resource generally. This raises the issue of referenda already referred to.

The reference in the Belfast agreement, within the concept of the principle of consent", provides for the possibility of a referendum on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland, although such a referendum may never take place. It is of concern to all that if a referendum on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland were to take place, disproportionate funding would then be available to the different sides in a referendum campaign on the status of Northern Ireland.

Lavish campaigning by republicans and nationalists in any future referendum on Northern Ireland's constitutional position would not persuade Unionists to be anything other than unionist. However, disproportionate funding could affect the turn-out in any such campaign. The lack of foresight in regard to this exemption to suit Sinn Fein will result in organisations being specifically set up to campaign in any such referendum—unlike political parties, which will not be permitted to receive foreign funding.

This lack of foresight becomes even more apparent when considering the issue of UK-wide referenda. A British mainland party banned from receiving foreign donations could use a Northern Ireland party to receive foreign funding and to campaign on its behalf. There is no restriction on where Northern Ireland parties spend the resources obtained from foreign funding: the provision also works that way round. Surely this, too, must be regulated. Indeed, the party in government has a sister party in Northern Ireland; however, it is more likely that Sinn Fein would help the government who have been so helpful in legislating on its behalf.

It is apparent that the order does no service to Northern Ireland or to its electorate. They gain no transparency, and they risk their politics being heavily influenced by foreign countries. Politics in Northern Ireland will be aided only by the removal of the contamination that is implicit in foreign funding. The transition from fascism to democracy that we all hope certain individuals in Northern Ireland will make, can only be slowed by their organisations being allowed the leeway to continue their economic dependency on extortion, drug dealing, robberies and foreign funding. Northern Ireland can only benefit from firm regulation of such contributions to political parties in line with the rest of the United Kingdom; and that can only assist in the restoration of stability and normality for which we are all striving.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton

My Lords, this has been a good debate on an important order. I think all of us would agree that the principles of openness, transparency and accountability in the funding of political parties are principles for which we would all strive—none more so than the members of the Neill committee, who, in the course of taking evidence for their reports on the funding of political parties, went to Belfast and took evidence on the issue from a large number of people who wished to give it. The evidence that they received led them to propose the exception that forms the first basis of the exemption in the proposals before the House; namely, that sources within Northern Ireland would not need to be revealed.

The form and substance of that evidence was perhaps best summarised in a speech that was made in another place by the Member for South Down. He said: We have resisted violence over the years and have tried to create a normal political society. We have been tested in every possible way by sectarianism and violence. Now, every morning in news bulletins, we hear about pipe bombing. That is where we are at. In that context, we asked the Neill committee and the Government to exempt Northern Ireland parties for a trial period of four years to ascertain whether we could achieve some normality and subsequently be covered by the whole Act".—[Official Report, Commons, 6/2/01; col. 885.] It was not the Government in any concession to Sinn Fein who decided to accept that evidence; it was the Neill committee, in relation to the first exemption. The Government decided to act in relation to that.

Noble Lords opposite have suggested that this exemption is some kind of concession to Sinn Fein. This is not a provision for which Sinn Fein is asking. The democratic constitutional parties are asking for it. As to whether it will benefit Sinn Fein, perhaps it is worthwhile to quote again the words of the Member for South Down, who went on to say: Hon. Members may be worried about the wrongdoers doing wrong, but they will continue to do wrong anyway. They will have the advantage of doing wrong and not being caught. If a paramilitary organisation wants to get funds from Timbuktu, it will get funds from Timbuktu irrespective of any legislation passed by this House. However, the democratic political parties, which form a bulwark against such activities, must be given the ability to sustain themselves until the day arrives when we have normal politics in Northern Ireland".—[Col. 886.] So the democratic constitutional parties do not agree with the proposition that has been put by noble Lords opposite. The parties believe that this order helps them, and that it makes little difference to what happens to the paramilitary parties. I note that that view is supported by the noble Baroness, Lady Blood, and the noble Lord, Lord Smith of Clifton, who spent eight years in the Province. We believe that the proposition has considerable force. We do not want there to be exceptions for Northern Ireland, but we recognise the reality.

Perhaps I may deal with the points raised. In effect, they fall into four categories. First, the noble Lords, Lord Hodgson and Lord Cope, together with the noble Viscount, Lord Cranborne, asked, "Why don't you record, if not publish, the donations that have been received?" With the greatest respect to the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson, I must point out that this is not a provision which in any way seeks to criticise the Electoral Commission; rather, it simply recognises that people are more wary of giving donations if they are recorded, irrespective of the fact that promises of confidentiality are given.

The honourable Member for South Down quoted from a letter received by the SDLP from the Ulster Unionist Party, which says: As you know, business people and individuals are already wary of making donations to political parties and are likely to be even more sensitive if their donations are to be recorded". I stress the word "recorded", not publicised. The letter continues: I am afraid that reassuring people and organisations that their donations will be recorded but not published will make no difference". One can understand. It is a point about perception, not a point about the reliability, or otherwise, of the Electoral Commission. No one would seek for a moment to suggest that the commission was unreliable.

Secondly, it is said that there is no need for an exemption in respect of all foreign donations and that surely it would be enough to deal with the Republic of Ireland alone. The problem in relation to the Republic of Ireland, is that, as the Neill committee recommended, such a provision would almost certainly be unenforceable for two reasons. First, the Electoral Commission has no power in the Republic of Ireland to require information that would be necessary to enforce such a ban; and, secondly, if one accepts the principle that there should be no recording of donations, there would be no basis whatever for seeking to enforce it because one would not have the basic information. Therefore, once one accepts the principle that the Republic of Ireland should be an exception, there would be no meaningful way to give effect to that without there being some sort of worldwide exemption.

The third point related to the referendum. This would allow political parties to obtain funding in relation to referendum campaigns. As long as the money is given to a political party, it is true to say that those referendum campaigns could both be in respect of a Northern Ireland-only issue and in relation to a United Kingdom issue. But, as noble Lords will know, the Act makes provision for the fact that there should be a limit on expenditure in referendum campaigns. So there will be restrictions on the amount that can be obtained from abroad. That limit will apply right across the United Kingdom in the event of a UK campaign, and it will apply in Northern Ireland if it is a Northern Ireland campaign.

The noble Lord, Lord Smith of Clifton, asked whether the Government would be willing to undertake to review the working of the order after a two-year period. I can tell the noble Lord that we most certainly would be willing to do so. I hereby give that undertaking to the noble Lord. The noble Lord, Lord Monson, asked why we should not record the total amount that would be obtained from abroad. We do not believe that that would be a wise provision because such a declaration could not be validated in any meaningful way: there would neither be the recording of individual donations, nor the recording of their source. Therefore, political parties would be able to say anything they liked in that respect. It would not be appropriate to have a provision that allowed such a situation when there could be no real validation of it. The noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, asked whether there was vires for such an order. Yes, there is. It is to be found under Section 70(1)(b) of the Act.

I earnestly ask noble Lords to consider the evidence given to the Neill commission in Northern Ireland, and the views of the Northern Irish parties. This is not an order designed to help the paramilitaries, or those parties associated with them. It is an exemption order designed to help the constitutional and democratic parties in Northern Ireland upon which the future depends. I commend the order to the House.

Lord Cope of Berkeley

My Lords, I shall not add to the debate at this stage. I wish simply to press my amendment and test the opinion of the House.

5.5 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 112; Not-Contents, 154.

Division No. 1
Alexander of Weedon, L. Boardman, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V. Bowness, L.
Ampthill, L. Brabazon of Tara, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B. Bridgeman, V.
Arran, E. Brittan of Spennithorne, L.
Astor, V. Brougham and Vaux, L.
Astor of Hever, L. Burnham, L.[Teller]
Attlee, E. Buscombe, B.
Baker of Dorking, L. Caithness, E.
Barber, L. Campbell of Alloway, L.
Biffen, L. Campbell of Croy, L.
Blaker, L. Carnegy of Lour, B.
Blatch, B. Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Courtown, E. Miller of Hendon, B.
Cox, B. Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Craig of Radky, L. Monson, L.
Craigavon, V. Montrose, D.
Cranborne, V. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Crickhowell, L. Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Eden of Winton, L. Naseby, L.
Elles, B. Noakes, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L. Northesk, E.
Elton, L. Norton of Louth, L.
Erroll, E. Oxfuird, V.
Feldman, L. Palmer, L.
Fitt, L. Palumbo, L.
Flather, B. Park of Monmouth, B.
Gardner of Parkes, B. Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Geddes, L. Platt of Writtle, B.
Goschen, V. Plumb, L.
Hanham, B. Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Harris of Peckham, L. Rawlings, B.
Hayhoe, L. Rawlinson of Ewell, L.
Henley, L. [Teller] Reay, L.
Higgins, L. Rees, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L. Renton, L.
Hogg, B. Roberts of Conwy, L.
Hooper, B. Rotherwick, L.
Howe, E. Ryder of Wensum, L.
Howe of Aberavon, L. St John of Fawsley, L.
Hurd of Westwell, L. Sandwich, E.
Hylton, L. Seccombe, B.
Jellicoe, E. Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L. Stewartby, L.
Kelvedon, L. Strange, B.
Kingsland, L. Swinfen, L.
Laird, L. Tenby, V.
Lamont of Lerwick, L. Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Lawson of Blaby, L. Trumpington, B.
Listowel, E. Vivian, L.
Lucas, L. Waddington, L.
Lyell, L. Walker of Worcester, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L. Wilcox, B.
Mackay of Clashfern, L. Williamson of Horton, L.
Marsh, L. Wolfson, L.
Acton, L. Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Addington, L. Crawley, B.
Ahmed, L. Currie of Marylebone, L.
Alli, L. Darcy de Knayth, B.
Amos, B. David, B.
Andrews, B. Davies of Coity, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L. Davies of Oldham, L.
Avebury, L. Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Bach, L. Dholakia, L.
Barker, B. Donoughue, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L. Dubs, L.
Berkeley, L. Eatwell, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L. Elder, L.
Billingham, B. Evans of Watford, L.
Blackstone, B. Ezra, L.
Blood, B. Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Boothroyd, B. Falkland, V.
Borrie, L. Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Bradshaw, L. Filkin, L.
Bragg, L. Gale, B.
Brennan, L. Geraint, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L. Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Brookman, L. Gladwin of Clee, L.
Burlison, L. Goldsmith, L.
Carter, L. [Teller] Goodhart, L.
Chandos, V. Goudie, B.
Christopher, L. Gould of Potternewton, B.
Clarke of Hampstead, L. Graham of Edmonton, L.
Clement-Jones, L. Greaves, L.
Clinton-Davis, L. Grenfell, L.
Hardy of Wath, L. Puttnam, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L. Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Harrison, L. Randall of St. Budeaux, L
Haskel, L. Razzall, L.
Hayman, B. Rea, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B. Redesdale, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B. Rendell of Babergh, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B. Rennard, L.
Howie of Troon, L. Richard, L.
Hoyle, L. Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L. Rogers of Riverside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L. Roper, L.
Jacobs, L. Russell, E.
Janner of Braunstone, L. Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal) Sandberg, L.
Sawyer, L.
Jeger, B. Scotland of Asthal, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L. Scott of Needham Market, B.
Judd, L. Serota, B.
King of West Bromwich, L. Sharman, L.
Kirkhill, L. Sharp of Guildford, B.
Layard, L. Shepherd, L.
Lea of Crondall, L. Shutt of Greetland, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L. Simon, V.
Levy, L. Smith of Clifton, L.
Lincoln, Bp. Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Lipsey, L. Southwark, Bp.
Lockwood, B. Stone of Blackheath, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L. Taverne, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller] Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B. Thomas of Walliswood, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L. Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L. Thornton, B.
McNally, L. Tomlinson, L.
Maddock, B. Turner of Camden, B.
Massey of Darwen, B. Uddin, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L. Warner, L.
Mishcon, L. Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Mitchell, L. Wedderburn of Charlton, L
Molloy, L. Whitaker, B.
Morris of Manchester, L. Whitty, L.
Newby, L. Wigoder, L.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L. Wilkins, B.
Paul, L. Williams of Elvel, L.
Peston, L. Williams of Mostyn, L.
Plant of Highfield, L. Winston, L.
Prys-Davies, L. Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly

On question, Motion agreed to