Restrictions on Orders for Contributors

Orders of the Day — Legal Aid Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 6:41 pm on 26th July 1982.

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'Where a legal aid order is made pursuant to section 7 above giving legal aid

  1. (a) to a person under the age of twenty-one years;
  2. (b) to any person in respect of an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment of more than seven years.
any contribution order required shall not be payable by more than one instalment and shall not exceed the amount which he is capable of paying forthwith in accordance with the Regulations made for the purposes of section 7 above.'.— [Mr. Archer.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Mr Peter Archer Mr Peter Archer , Warley West 7:28 pm, 26th July 1982

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

The new clause concerns the most controversial provision in the Bill, which introduces contribution orders. The issue was discussed repeatedly in Committee and we have made it clear that we believe that the introduction of these orders is a profound mistake. We have given our reasons and I do not propose to repeat them at length. However, as the argument for the clause is that in two categories of case our reasons apply with particular force, I am bound to remind the House of the nature of our previous debates.

First, we believe that contribution orders will discourage those who are charged with criminal offences from accepting legal aid orders. We know that about 20 per cent. of those who are offered civil aid certificates for civil proceedings reject the offer when they are told of the contribution that they will have to make. And, as the hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. Best) said on Second Reading, there air many who will not ask for legal aid orders in the knowledge that a contribution will be required. He helpfully drew the Committee's attention to paragraph 4.35 of the report of the Benson Commission, which said: We have received evidence that potential clients are deterred from consulting a solicitor for fear of incurring substantial costs. We believe that this fear, even when unjustified, is a very real one and everything possible should be done to allay it. In the presence of the hon. Gentleman, I must tell him that we greatly regretted his absence during the Committee, which we did not believe was his fault.

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Of course, it may not be in the best interests of a defendant not to avail himself of legal aid, even when it is subject to a contribution, but people under pressure do not always act according to enlightened self-interest. So we believe that the consequences will be either that those who have a defence will nevertheless plead guilty or that they will conduct contested cases unrepresented. Those consequences will not be conducive either to the ends of justice or to the expeditious dispatch of business in the courts. That is our first objection.

Secondly, we believe that there will be problems of enforcement. The Solicitor-General explained in Committee that the normal methods of enforcement will not take effect until the proceedings are terminated, so that all that can be done during the proceedings is to invite the court to consider whether to revoke the order. If the arrears accumulate at the committal stage, the matter will fall to be considered by the magistrates' court. I am sure that it will not overlook the fact that if it revokes the order and the defendant appears unrepresented, it will be necessary to have a full committal in the old style. If there are other defendants, they will all be involved in a long committal. That will ensure that every penny which might have been recovered by way of contributions will be more than swallowed up in the additional costs.

If the matter reaches the Crown court, it will fall to the Crown court to consider whether the order should be revoked. We have been told that there will be no revocation until the defendant has had an opportunity to make representations. So there will be an interruption of all the other court business while there is a hearing before the judge, so that he can hear the representations and consider whether to revoke the order. And there will be consequent demands on court time with all the expense that accompanies it. No doubt the judge will reflect that if he revokes the order he may find himself hearing a contested case with an unrepresented defendant, so he will be unlikely to activate that consequence.

So, while the unknowledgeable, small-time criminals and inadequates will refuse legal aid orders, this will get around among the cognoscenti: "Do not refuse the order. Just apply for it and then default on your contributions. Nothing very much will happen to you". The Widgery committee gave that as one of its carefully considered reasons for advising against the proposal which the Bill seeks to introduce.

Thirdly, a new range of tasks will be added to those of the staff of magistrates' courts. It may emerge that, after all the injustice, the heartaches and the aggro, such savings as emerge will be swallowed up in overtime payments to clerks in magistrates' courts. They will have to investigate means to assess the total contribution, to divide it into the appropriate number of instalments, to collect and record such it instalments as are paid, to watch for the arrears' and notify em to the courts. They will have to reassess the resources when there is a change of circumstances.

At present the circumstances of some of my constituents change from week to week. This week they are working overtime to deliver an order and retain a much needed customer. Next week they are reduced to part-time working. The week after they are retained by their employer only with the help of temporary short-time subsidy. So all those calculations will fall to be made not once, but repeatedly.

We have seen the anxieties which have been occasioned in the legal profession by the Government's proposals to close legal aid assessment offices in areas such as Leeds and Cardiff. Solicitors believe that that will delay yet further the processing of applications for civil legal aid. We shall seek other opportunities to debate that. The magistrates' courts will not find those problems any easier to solve when applied to criminal legal aid.

The measure would entail taking on more staff. The Solicitor-General sought to reassure us that the extra work could be absorbed by the existing staff. So we assume that that would entail overtime working. We find it hard to believe that at present the staff of the magistrates' courts have so much spare capacity that they can absorb the extra work without creating a ripple on the surface.

The anxieties expressed by the Law Society in a letter sent to the hon. Members on 19 May were well founded. The contents of that letter were much discussed in Committee. It was concerned, among other things, that the proposed new arrangements will not cause any increase in delay in the grant of legal aid or in the possibility of later delays if there is a failure to pay later instalments of contribution. I hope so, too.

Those are the reasons which we deployed. I do not propose to repeat all those reasons in detail. Our arguments fell on deaf ears. The Government are persisting in their proposals. All those who offered the benefit of their expertise to the Government and who gave so much careful study to the subject—the Legal Action Group, the National Council for Civil Liberties, the Child Poverty Action Group, the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, the National Association of Probation Officers and even the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, with so much expertise and experience—will be left to cry out in future "We told you so."

The recommendations of the Widgery committee have been ignored. The recommendations of the Royal Commission on legal services have been ignored. But all that advocacy pales before a much more persuasive advocate. I shall quote a formulation of the case, on which I cannot improve: I quite understand that it is attractive to say that a man who is proved to have means and who, after a long trial, is convicted ought to pay something towards the costs of his own unsuccessful defence. At first sight, there would appear to be no flaw in that argument, but the answer, surely, is that if he has means he can be dealt with by being ordered to pay the whole or a substantial part of the costs of the prosecution, without any additional legislative structure, and to pay a fine in addition. If, on the other hand, he is acquitted, I see no reason why he should be asked to contribute towards the cost of his defence."— [Official Report, 12 December 1966; Vol. 738, c. 80.] That was said by the Lord Chancellor in a former incarnation. He said it during the Second Reading debate on the Criminal Justice Bill, Hon. Members who were in the Committee on that Bill will recollect an exchange between the right hon. and learned Member for Runcorn (Mr. Carlisle) and me about our respective attitudes to what became the provision of the Criminal Justice Act 1967. He opposed the proposal, as he fairly said, because the contribution was to be levied at the end of the proceedings. The right hon. and learned Gentleman argued for the proposal in the present Bill, so he can claim, as he did with a great deal of justification, that he is being thoroughly consistent, although consistency in a bad cause is a dubious value. I had the advantage of being a PPS at the time, so I retained my normal taciturnity and said nothing during the debates on the proceedings of that Bill which might be quoted against me.

I voted for the Widgery proposals, which represent the present position. I have never sought to resile from that. The Lord Chancellor, as he then was not, leading for the Opposition at the time, opposed the very principle of providing for any contribution towards criminal legal orders. He was far more hostile than either the right hon. and learned Member for Runcorn or I on that matter. He insisted that there should be no order until the result of the proceedings was known because, he said, it was monstrous that someone might have to make a contribution to the costs of the defence if it transpired that he was acquitted. In Committee, the Lord Chancellor gave the very warning which we have repeatedly given in the present proceedings. On 14 March 1967 he said: Is it not also dangerous? May it not also be the case that persons who would justifiably have asked for legal aid in order to put forward a defence which might well succeed would be deterred from doing so if they knew, as they will do as I understand Clause 45—if I am wrong I hope to be corrected—that a large sum of money will be mulcted from them towards the legal representation they thereby obtain? I think that persons of that kind will be found and that proper defences will be deterred by those provisions if they are carried into effect. "— [Official Report, Standing Committee A, 14 March 1967; c. 846.] He was less charitable to the arguments for requiring any contribution than we have been. He dismissed the then Government's briefing by invoking the words of Chesterton: easy speechesThat comfort cruel men. I do not say that. I do not believe that the Lord Chancellor is a cruel man. I do not believe that the Solicitor-General finds the speeches which he has been making on the subject easy. Perhaps the fault lay with our advocacy of the case. With all the arguments and authorities on our side, we failed to persuade the Government. So the proposal will proceed. We are realistic enough to recognise that we cannot prevent it.

The new clause accepts that and tries only to restrict it. It is common ground that we must balance the potential savings, such as they are, against the undoubted disadvantages. We propose that it might not apply in two cases where the objections appear especially strongly and where, therefore, the balance of the argument is substantially altered. The first is the case of people under the age of 21. There are many precedents in statute law for distinguishing between persons aged under 21 and persons aged 21 or more. Such a precedent appears in the Powers of Criminal Courts Act 1973 which provides in section 19 for sentences of imprisonment on people aged under 21. In section 21 of that statute, limitations are imposed on the powers to impose custodial sentences on a person under 21 if he is unrepresented.

Photo of Mr Keith Best Mr Keith Best , Anglesey

Before the right hon. and learned Gentleman develops that point, perhaps I may return to a general one that he made earlier. He was good enough to refer to me in the opening part of his speech. Does he agree that the present system is that a small down payment is required and at the end of the case further consideration is given about a final contribution? If a person is acquitted, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman will accept, it is the experience of most practitioners that that is not required. As I understand it, the Bill will provide that there will be a continuing contribution until the conclusion of the case. Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman envisage—it would seem to follow that this would be the case, to be fair—if a person is acquitted an order will be made for the repayments to that person of the payments that have been made?

Photo of Mr Peter Archer Mr Peter Archer , Warley West 7:45 pm, 26th July 1982

The present position is exactly as the hon. Gentleman outlined it. If he read the report of our debate in Committee, the hon. Gentleman would recollect that the Bill provides for the remission of contributions until the hearing. So those who have made some of their contributions but not all will not be required to pay the remainder. I understand that, except after acquittal, there is no provision for the return of contributions which have already been made. There is, therefore, a risk of real injustice, the very injustice that the Lord Chancellor referred to when he led the then Opposition. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for pointing that matter out. He will understand that I have skated over much of the ground that was covered in Committee simply in the interests of brevity.

There are respectable precedents for making the distinction which we now seek to make between people aged under 21 and people aged 21 and over. I mentioned two provisions in the Powers of Criminal Courts Act 1973, one of which specifically refers to people under 21 who are unrepresented. They are repeated in clauses 1 and 2 of the Criminal Justice Bill now reaching its final stages in the House. I notice that the first nine clauses of that Bill are headed "Custody and detention of persons under 21". So we are making a respectable distinction, especially for the purpose for which we are making it—the need for representation. There are several relevant considerations. First, if a person under 21 is asked for a series of contributions, it is less likely that that person will be in stable employment. He will therefore be less likely to have the capacity for making adjustments to his expenditure. That, in turn, will make it more likely that he will be deterred from applying for a legal aid order or from accepting one if it is offered. If that person appears unrepresented, he is probably less likely to have the assurance to deal with the situation and to make an adequate defence. He is less likely to be articulate in a formal setting. There is a real danger that justice will not be done. If the courts have that in mind, as we hope that they will, it is probably less likely that arrears will be visited with revocation. But, again, those who will benefit will be those who are knowledgeable and most in touch with professional hardened criminals, those who are most experienced in these matters. As it is less likely that someone under 21 will be in stable employment, the prospect of variations in his income from week to week will be so much the greater. That will lead to additional work and overtime in the offices of magistrates' courts. All the arguments which we have deployed against the proposals are enhanced in the case of defendants aged under 21.

As for a defendant who faces the prospect of a long term of imprisonment, the dangers of appearing without adequate advice and proper representation are clearly so much the greater than in other cases. It has been suggested that legal aid ought to be provided irrespective of means and without any contribution for some offences. To discuss the possibility of free representation for defendants in criminal cases would extend beyond the permissible boundaries of the debate. The same is true of a discussion of whether justice requires that for some offences representation should be available as of right.

But we are not going as far as that. We say only that for these offences the position should remain as it is. That has been outlined concisely by the hon. Member for Anglesey. We suggest that seven years' imprisonment should be the cut-off point. Some may believe that that leaves too wide an area in which the defendant who faces a substantial sentence will be left to the circumstances that will follow from the Government's proposals. We deliberately made our proposal extremely limited.

We are not trying to challenge what the Government are doing, however much we may deplore it. We are trying to provide for exceptions in two cases. There are two classes of case where the Government's proposals would operate especially harshly, so harshly that the whole balance of the argument is changed. Our proposals are restrained to the point where they might be criticised as selling out to the Government. I hope that the Solicitor-General will respond in the same spirit. We have a legal system of which we properly like to boast. It still enjoys the respect of the world. But I suspect that we now want to have it on the cheap. There are limits as to how far it will retain that respect if we insist on cutting too many corners. The Lord Chancellor was right in 1967. The new clause is really a proposal that he should eat only half the words that he uttered then rather than all of them.

Photo of Mr Clinton Davis Mr Clinton Davis , Hackney Central

I shall be brief. As a practising solicitor and one who practised in the criminal courts for a fair period, I read the Official Report of the Committee proceedings with great interest and formed the view—I hope that I am right—that the Solicitor-General did not really have his heart in these proposals. On the practical fears expressed by hon. Members on both sides that in some circumstances the ineluctable result of the Government's proposals would be that defendants would go unrepresented, the right hon. and learned Gentleman's replies were unconvincing to say the least and did not grapple with the real practicalities of the situation.

The new clause seeks to mitigate some of the worst features of legislation that is not only offensive but impracticable. The Government should look afresh at the likely consequences of this. The case that has been put by so many organisations is overwhelmingly against the proposals. The Government may not wish to look at it afresh as a matter of principle, but in strictly practical terms they should reconsider the proposals, because I believe that the Lord Chancellor and the Law Officers have been impelled to make this decision not on any question of principle or because they really believe in it, but because the Treasury is demanding that they try to make savings in legal aid.

If there are any savings, as the Solicitor-General claimed in Committee and on Second Reading there would be, I believe that they will be minimal. The burden rests upon him—he has signally failed to discharge it in any of the debates so far—to prove that the savings will be worth while. Indeed, he must do more than that. He must show, as in my submission he has failed to do so far, that the rights of a substantial number of people to be represented and to have their cases properly defended will not be imperilled. The courts will face grave difficulties, as they will have no real flexibility. A person may be tried on a serious charge involving complex matters on which he cannot defend himself properly. If such a defendant is without representation, that will be a grave reflection on the standards of justice that we have come to expect, and are entitled to expect, in this country.

I shall say nothing of some of the other issues that were raised, as they are not wholly germane to the new clause. In my view, however, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer) has put an unassailable case in favour of mitigating at least one of the worst consequences of the proposals. The overwhelming majority of solicitors who practise daily in the criminal courts—I am no longer one of them—fear that the consequences of the legislation will be dramatic.

To make matters worse, as my right hon. and learned Friend has pointed out, there will be a similarly dramatic increase in the administrative burdens on the already heavily overworked court staff. As a result of other Government policies, sufficient staff to undertake the increased duties are not available. That in itself is serious enough.

It is just not good enough for the Solicitor-General blandly to rebut the argument by saying that he is satisfied that everything 'will work out all right, that there are sufficient staff and so on, as he blandly asserted in Committee. Incidentally, the note that he struck in those debates was strongly in contrast to the note that he struck in debates on earlier Bills when he was leading for the Opposition and I was the Minister, when he expressed concern about the increased burden of duties on staff dealing with bankruptcies and insolvencies. In many respects, those were far less serious matters than the issues with which we are now dealing. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Warley, West took part in the debates on at least one of those Bills, he will no doubt recall the stance taken by the right hon. and learned Gentleman at that time and how markedly different it was from his stance on these proposals as Solicitor-General.

I fear that unless a new clause along these lines is accepted, grave hardship will result for this group of people. It is incumbent upon the Solicitor-General to allay the anxieties which we have expressed today and which my right hon. and learned Friend and others expressed in Committee. So far, he has signally failed to do that. We do not make these proposals in any party political sense. Grave anxieties are felt by many people in both professions. The Solicitor-General should not be allowed today to get away with the broad general assurances that posed for genuine argument in previous debates.

Photo of Mr Keith Best Mr Keith Best , Anglesey

The Government have argued that one of the objects of the Bill is to introduce greater fairness and to try to achieve a contribution towards defence costs from those who are clearly able to pay—particularly, if I may say so, those who have benefited from crime and who have managed to secrete their unlawfully gained assets. Such people find it easy to pay for the topmost lawyers in the country to put forward defences and sometimes to gain acquittals that might not have been obtained by less expert lawyers.

The position was set out quite fairly in an article in The Sunday Times of 11 July under the rather unfortunate title "How Lawyers Bend Justice". The article concludes by mentioning a case in which the juror said that the poor performance of the defence counsel was a factor in the decision to find the men not guilty—the jury felt sorry for them! No doubt that is the only reason why I ever achieved acquittals. The article also states: The three most lucrative areas for organised crime in Britain are gambling, drugs, and pornography. Men charged with serious criminal offences in these areas have virtually unlimited money to pay for their defence. It follows that they can afford to engage the finest that the Bar can offer. It is those people whom the Bill is largely designed to catch. We must judge the Bill on whether it will achieve that objective.

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Another reason for the Bill is to try to equate criminal legal aid more with civil legal aid in the way in which contributions are made. However, there is a difference in that, whereas access to the civil courts is on a voluntary basis, access to the criminal courts is not voluntary for those who are charged with offences. The hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Davis) is right to express the fear that these provisions may act unfairly. We must examine the provisions to see whether that fear can be assuaged.

I restrict my remarks to the new clause. There are three potential elements of unfairness. The first is the ability of the legally aided person to pay the contributions. Clearly, if he is unable to do so he will not be properly represented. That would be wrong. The second is the contribution expected from other persons, particularly spouses. Neither of those two matters comes within the new clause, but there will be an opportunity to debate them later.

The third unfairness is whether, at the conclusion of a trial, a person who is acquitted and who has been brought to trial through no fault of his own—he has not put himself in a perilous position—will receive repayment of contributions made under the present system. There is a small down payment and at the end of the trial it is a matter for the judge or the magistrates to decide whether an extra contribution should be made. Under the Bill there will be a continuing course of payment. That will operate unfairly if no provision is made for repayment, as the right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer) said, not just of payments made from the beginning of the trial, but in respect of payments made before that time.

Photo of Mr Clinton Davis Mr Clinton Davis , Hackney Central

I am not anxious to rush to the defence of the Government on this or any other matter, but there would be provision for just such a case as the hon. Gentleman cites for the judge to award costs in one form or another to a defendant. That would have the effect that the hon. Gentleman seeks to obtain.

Photo of Mr Keith Best Mr Keith Best , Anglesey

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman because he has pre-empted my peroration. Therefore, he will agree that the new clause is not justified and that the Government should be supported. Clause 8(5) states: At the conclusion of the relevant proceedings the court in which those proceedings are concluded may, if it thinks fit—(a) remit any sum due under a legal aid contribution order from a legally assisted person which falls to to be paid after the conclusion of those proceedings or, if that person has been acquitted, remit or order the repayment of any sum due from or paid by him under such an order". More important, the subsection continues (b) remit or order the repayment of any sum due from or paid by an appropriate contributor under such an order; and where a legally assisted person successfully appeals against his conviction the court which allows his appeal may remit or order the repayment of any sum due from or paid by him or an appropriate contributor under such an order. I am glad that the hon. Gentleman and I seem to be ad idem. The facility is provided within the Bill and that assuages my fears on that matter.

Photo of Mr Peter Archer Mr Peter Archer , Warley West

Will the hon. Gentleman answer two questions? Since that provision applies only where there is an acquittal, how is the person aged under 21 to know in advance whether he will be acquitted? Secondly, how many young people under 21 does the hon. Gentleman think will have read clause 8(5)?

Photo of Mr Keith Best Mr Keith Best , Anglesey

The clause does not refer only to an acquittal. It states: At the conclusion of the relevant proceedings the court in which those proceedings are concluded may, if it thinks fit". It adds: which falls to be paid after the conclusion of those proceedings or, if that person has been acquitted, remit or order the repayment of any sum". The right hon. and learned Gentleman is correct in that respect.

My point is that the unfairness would reside in a Bill that would not enable a person who was acquitted to be able to recoup, by order of the learned judge at the conclusion of the proceedings, payments made when that person had been brought to court through no fault of his own. Under the present system no costs are awarded to a successful defendant if, in the consideration of the learned judge at the conclusion of the proceedings, that person has brought the proceedings on his own head. The clause appears to make no fundamental difference to the existing system.

Photo of Mr Jeffrey Thomas Mr Jeffrey Thomas , Abertillery

Will the hon. Gentleman tell us why the normal rule and principle relating to costs should not apply? That is to say, costs follow the event. There has been a recent practice direction by the Lord Chief Justice. Why should not those rules apply?

Photo of Mr Keith Best Mr Keith Best , Anglesey

That would be importing the whole element of cost in civil courts into the criminal courts. I accept the hon. and learned Gentleman's comments about the recent direction by the Lord Chief Justice. That is helpful to the Bill. The courts will be able to translate that guidance from the Lord Chief Justice into reality through this clause. There is nothing arcane in that. There is nothing to prevent a court from following the advice of the Lord Chief Justice.

Photo of Mr Clinton Davis Mr Clinton Davis , Hackney Central

I hope that the hon. Gentleman's answer to my question will not be as arcane as that given to the hon. and learned Gentleman. Is it not a fact that the merits of the defence where a court decides to award costs are never explored? A submission may be made on grounds of law to dismiss the case and the judge may have to uphold that, although he has not heard the full nature of the defence. In such circumstamces, there is a risk that many courts will not deem it appropriate to make an award of costs or remit the payments that have been made. Does the hon. Gentleman perceive that danger?

Photo of Mr Keith Best Mr Keith Best , Anglesey

I disagree with the hon. Gentleman. One is capable of perceiving whether a defendant has brought proceedings on his own head by looking at the prosecution papers. One does not need to know the nature of the defence. The prosecution papers will show whether a person has put himself in a perilous position. Those papers are available to the learned judge who will make his decision, perhaps halfway through the case after legal argument that there is no case to answer, or on acquittal after the evidence produced by the prosecution and the defence.

Photo of Mr Jeffrey Thomas Mr Jeffrey Thomas , Abertillery

I am grateful for this opportunity to make a short contribution to an extremely important debate. If I express my apprehension that not more hon. Members are present, it is simply because this is not a lawyers' Bill—no doubt the rumour circulating in the Corridors is that it is—but rather a consumers' Bill in a real and meaningful sense of the word. Frankly, the consumer—the person who wants to apply for legal aid—is being sold very short indeed.

I hope that the Solicitor-General will not think it offensive if I ask why the Government, in a most obstinate way, are setting their face against all the advice given to them by so many bodies outside the House. Often, in Committee and thereafter, Governments of the day are faced with mounting criticism. In this case, the Law Society, National Council for Civil Liberties, the Legal Action Group and so on were to a man unanimously opposed—

Photo of Sir Ian Percival Sir Ian Percival , Southport

It must have been a slip of the tongue, but the Law Society is certainly not opposed to these proposals. I invite the hon. and learned Gentleman to look at the agreed statement made at the last sitting of the Committee.

Photo of Mr Jeffrey Thomas Mr Jeffrey Thomas , Abertillery

Although the Law Society made an agreed statement, the vast majority of the solicitors' profession—I use the Law Society in that sense—is totally opposed to certain provisions in the Bill, as the hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Davis) said, for very good reasons. Those solicitors are concerned, as is the SDP, that rights given to citizens by the Legal Aid and Advice Act 1949 will be denied to the ordinary man in the street who wishes to apply for legal aid. The Government are driving a coach and horses through the principles enshrined in that Act.

Photo of Mr Clinton Davis Mr Clinton Davis , Hackney Central

While I support the general tenor of what the hon. and learned Gentleman is saying, there is something that I have difficulty understanding. The hon. and learned Gentleman served on the Committee, and although he holds these strong views I do not believe that he ventilated them or exercised his vote in any way. Does that represent the standards that are currently deployed by the Social Democrats?

Photo of Mr Jeffrey Thomas Mr Jeffrey Thomas , Abertillery

If the hon. Gentleman wishes to make a cheap party point, in keeping with the kind of philosophy permeating the old parties these days, so be it. Had he been present at the first sitting of the Committee he would have heard me voice my disquiet about these provisions. I therefore hope that he will have the courtesy to withdraw what he has just said.

Photo of Mr Jeffrey Thomas Mr Jeffrey Thomas , Abertillery

I shall certainly give way if the hon. Gentleman wishes to withdraw what he said.

Photo of Mr Clinton Davis Mr Clinton Davis , Hackney Central

The hon. and learned Gentleman was certainly present at the Second Reading Committee, but he was not present at any time when a vote was taken. Is that correct?

Photo of Mr Jeffrey Thomas Mr Jeffrey Thomas , Abertillery 8:15 pm, 26th July 1982

The hon. Gentleman alleges that I did not express my views in Committee. That is wholly untrue. I had hoped that the hon. Gentleman would withdraw his remarks, but he has not the decency to do so.

These changes are designed to bring criminal legal aid more into line with civil aid. There is a crucial difference between the two. In criminal cases it is not a question of a person voluntarily coming before the courts, and there is an assumption that a defendent is innocent until proved guilty. That is why I was surprised at some of the views of the hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. Best) on costs.

The SDP is worried about several aspects of the Bill. We are worried by the fact that the wife's income can be taken into account when deciding what contribution can or should be made to a husband's defence. If the breadwinner is convicted and imprisoned, the wife could find herself in the intolerable situation of having no alternative in certain circumstances but to apply for supplementary benefit.

The civil legal aid system costs about £12 million a year to administer. So far as I know, the Government have not given an assessment of how much this measure will cost, but the proposed new scheme will certainly equal the cost of administering the civil legal aid scheme. In 1979 the Royal Commission on legal services concluded that such costs were prohibitive.

The Government are seeking to hit persons at a most vulnerable time in their lives, when they have been charged with criminal offences and are often not at their best in reaching sensible, reasonable or dispassionate conclusions on the conduct of their affairs. That is repugnant.

The House has no power over the administration of this scheme or the civil legal aid scheme, no Minister is directly responsible for legal services and the legal system, and the Lord Chancellor's Department is the only Department that is not subject to Select Committee scrutiny. Those are three cogent reasons for supporting the new clause.

I am particularly perturbed at the twelfth report of the Public Accounts Committee on the administration of justice and court fees, which suggests that the Government should seek to recover a greater proportion of the costs of providing court services, including the salaries of judges, by increasing court fees. The cost would inevitably fall on those who use the courts. That was made plain in the evidence to the Committee, including the evidence of the permanent secretary to the Lord Chancellor's Department.

It appears that the Government's reason for introducing the proposal is to claw back as much money as possible from those who are using the criminal courts. At the same time, with regard to the civil courts, the costs of going to law will become more and more prohibitive. We believe that we are returning to the pre-1948 position, and it will be said that justice, like the Ritz Hotel, is open to all. That is the danger of the Government's proposal, and that is why we shall support the new clause.

Photo of Sir Ian Percival Sir Ian Percival , Southport

I can only describe the remarks of the hon. and learned Member for Abertillery (Mr. Thomas) as an absolute travesty of the arguments. It may be that because he has taken so little part in them to date he has not grasped them. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that I know that the overwhelming majority of solicitors are against the Government's proposal. That is absolute rubbish. If the hon and learned Gentleman had been in Committee or had read the report of it, he would know that the Law Society supports and always has supported the principle that those who can afford to make a contribution should do so.

Perhaps it has escaped the hon. and learned Gentleman's attention and that of his hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Mitchell) that the organisations which are opposed to the Bill—I shall not use the exaggerated terms that other hon. Members have used—are opposed in principle to any contribution to criminal legal aid. That is at the basis of their opposition.

The hon. and learned Gentleman also accused the Government of seeking to hit at persons at a vulnerable time. That is absurd. I have said over and over again that it is up to the Government to make the regulations. The onus is on us to make the regulations in such a form that only those who can afford to pay have to pay. If we fail to make the regulations in a form that gives effect to that, of course everyone may criticise us. I have never shrunk from that. It is a pity that there are so many prophets of doom.

Photo of Mr Jeffrey Thomas Mr Jeffrey Thomas , Abertillery

Having regard to the tone of the Solicitor-General's speech and putting aside the cant and the humbug, the Law Officers have become the Treasury's poodles.

Photo of Sir Ian Percival Sir Ian Percival , Southport

Where the cap fits, wear it. Perhaps those who speak of cant and humbug know more about it than the Government.

This is a straightforward difference of opinion. The groups to which the right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer) referred in much more measured terms than the hon. and learned Gentleman—who seems intent on cramming as much as he can into a few lines—recognised that there is a genuine difference of opinion here. I should like to tell the hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Davis), who seems to be able to deduce from the written word what one's feelings are, that there is no question of my heart not being in this. I believe the argument is right. It is a short one and I recognise that others may hold different views, but I think that they might at least do us the credit of allowing us to hold our views with equal sincerity.

I am sorry that hon. Members feel it necessary to be such prophets of doom. It is said widely that the Government's proposal will discourage people from accepting legal aid. If we get the regulations wrong and people have to pay sums that they cannot afford to pay, it will discourage them, but there is no reason to put the point in the terms in which it has been put.

It is also said that there will be problems of enforcement. There will be assessment and administrative problems, but no one on the Government Benches has ever shrunk from these. What very few right hon. and hon. Members on the Opposition Benches seem to want to recognise is that we have had extremely detailed discussions with those who will have to work the system. Surely they are the people best able to express an opinion about it. They might be wrong. Some of the fears expressed might come about, but there has been a tremendous amount of thought and effort put into ensuring that those fears do not come about. The system will be as simple as possible. The Justices Clerks Association, representing those who will have to carry out the administrative work, accepts the difficulties that will have to be faced and assures us that it can cope with them. This scheme is not something thought up by the Government themselves. The essence of it originated from those professions, which are now said, without justification, to be overwhelmingly against it. The Justices Clerks Association has had a hand in the detailed working from the start.

The right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West referred to the speech of my noble and learned Friend in the other place. He gave me 10 minutes' notice but that is not sufficient time in which to take instructions. I should, however, like to remind the House of what my noble and learned Friend said at the beginning—

Photo of Mr Peter Archer Mr Peter Archer , Warley West

The speech was not in another place. It was in this House.

Photo of Sir Ian Percival Sir Ian Percival , Southport

I am grateful for the correction. I shall not take more time on the matter. I shall simply remind the House of what my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor said at the outset of the debate on this matter in the other place. Those who suggest that there are Treasury machinations behind the proposal and that I or any other Law Officer is a tool of the Treasury might take heed of what he said. My noble and learned Friend said: When urgent improvements to the legal aid system are delayed for lack of money—and I regard that as the present situation—it cannot be right to stay as we are. We must ensure that those who cannot afford to contribute are not required to contribute. But we must improve the arrangements so that those who can afford to contribute do make some contribution".—[Official Report, House of Lords, 16 March 1982; Vol. 428, c. 541.] That is the purpose of the provisions in the Bill. The Government will stand or fall by whether they give effect to them in the practical details appearing in the regulations. I hope that most people will subscribe to the principle that, while those who cannot afford to contribute should not, those who can afford to contribute should, and that they would wish the Government well in these endeavours.

Photo of Mr Arthur Davidson Mr Arthur Davidson , Accrington

One of the unique features of the contribution proposals outlined in the Bill is the fact that no individual, let alone any reputable organisation, has come out enthusiastically in their favour. The Solicitor-General says that the Justices Clerks Association will willingly work the scheme and will not shrink from the difficulties. That is very different from actively wanting the scheme or actively supporting the scheme. Nothing that the Solicitor-General has said in his speech today or in his speeches in Committee has answered the criticisms made about the administrative costs of the new scheme, of the increased bureaucracy to be brought about and of the potential dangers to the liberty of the individual. The best the Government have managed is some sort of tepid, sceptical and reluctant acquiescence while the fact remains that the overwhelming—

Photo of Sir Ian Percival Sir Ian Percival , Southport

Would the hon. and learned Gentleman describe the words of the Law Society as being tepid and reluctant acquiescence when it says: The Law Society has always supported the basic proposition that those who can afford to make a contribution, out of income or capital, towards the cost of criminal legal aid, should do so".

Photo of Mr Arthur Davidson Mr Arthur Davidson , Accrington 8:30 pm, 26th July 1982

Yes, I would, because the Law Society in its briefings to us has never said that it supports the proposals. The Solicitor-General knows that well. Any support that the Law Society has given has been qualified. Whether the Solicitor-General wishes to accept it or not, the fact remains that an overwhelming number of organisations have expressed outright hostility and opposition to the idea of assessing and means testing contributions for criminal legal aid in the same way as for civil legal aid. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer) listed those organisations. Since I have referred to the Law Society, I shall add that the West London Law Society is strongly opposed to the provisions and said so in its briefings to myself and to other Members of the Committee.

The Government stand in solitary and far from splendid isolation in supporting the proposals. That is not surprising, since there is no rational justification for them. Nothing that the Solicitor-General said has succeeded in convincing the critics that there will be any discernible saving for the legal aid coffers. On the contrary, all the evidence is that more court staff will be necessary to work out the complicated contribution and payment arrangements. Delays will be caused by defendants wishing to represent themselves rather than seek legal representation. That will place a greater strain on the resources of the police and on court staff. As more defendants either refuse legal aid or withdraw their application on the grounds that they cannot afford the contributions or because they have what they conceive as more urgent claims on their resources, so the administrative costs will grow. Defendants will wish to represent themselves, which will lengthen court proceedings, and more time will be spent by the police and court staff in dealing with defendants personally rather than with solicitors or counsel. It will also lead to further delay in cases that come to trial due to indecision or uncertainty in instructing solicitors to act on a defendant's behalf.

Thus the proposals cannot be justified on the grounds of making substantial savings. The civil legal aid scheme costs £12 million a year to administer. It is most unlikely that the criminal legal aid scheme, as envisaged by the Government, will cost any less. Since the scheme cannot be justified on grounds of either savings or cost, we are entitled to ask on what grounds can it be justified. It cannot be justified because of major dissatisfaction with the present procedure for granting criminal legal aid. The only reason that can be advanced is the desire that is shared by everyone in the House and everyone with experience of the courts, that those who have high incomes or capital salted away and who are charged with a criminal offence—including the frauds, pornographers and drug peddlers referred to by the hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. Best)—should not have their legal aid costs paid entirely out of public funds. Of course we agree that we wish to catch such people but it is unlikely, for the reasons put forward by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Warley, West and by others in Committee, that they will be caught by the provisions. They will know how to evade payment and will succeed in salting away their funds.

Those who are likely to be caught are those who are uncertain of their rights and who will plead guilty rather than seek legal representation because they believe that it would be too costly or because they wish to get the case over quickly and more cheaply. But they do not appreciate fully the effect of that or understand that they may have a proper, respectable and ultimately successful defence. Among those greatly at risk are young offenders and juveniles. We wish to protect them by our new clause. A conviction brought about because someone wishes to plead guilty rather than seek legal advice in the mistaken belief that it is better to do so can jeopardise him for the rest of his life. A criminal conviction obtained unnecessarily will haunt him for the rest of his career. We also wish to protect those who face sentences of imprisonment of seven years or more.

We all hoped that the criticisms of the Bill advanced by the various groups and in Committee by hon. Members on both sides of the House would have caused the Solicitor-General and the Government to withdraw the proposal. However, they have not done so. They have ploughed on and their arguments have become more ragged and spurious. I hope that my right hon and hon. Friends will support the clause in the Lobby and, in so doing, protect many people from the folly of the Lord Chancellor in adding the provision to an otherwise worthwhile Bill.

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

The House divided: Ayes 211, Noes 274.

Division No. 291][8.40 pm
Abse, LeoEnnals, Rt Hon David
Allaun, FrankEvans, Ioan (Aberdare)
Anderson, DonaldEvans, John (Newton)
Archer, Rt Hon PeterEwing, Harry
Ashley, Rt Hon JackField, Frank
Ashton, JoeFlannery, Martin
Atkinson, N.(H'gey,)Ford, Ben
Bagier, Gordon A.T.Forrester, John
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (H'wd)Foster, Derek
Beith, A. J.Foulkes, George
Benn, Rt Hon TonyFraser, J. (Lamb'th, N'w'd)
Bennett, Andrew(St'kp't N)Garrett, John (Norwich S)
Bidwell, SydneyGarrett, W. E. (Wallsend)
Booth, Rt Hon AlbertGeorge, Bruce
Bottomley, Rt Hon A.(M'b'ro)Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Bray, Dr JeremyGourley, Harry
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Graham, Ted
Brown, R. C. (N'castle W)Grimond, Rt Hon J.
Brown, Ronald W. (H'ckn'y S)Hamilton, W. W. (C'tral Fife)
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)Hardy, Peter
Buchan, NormanHarrison, Rt Hon Walter
Callaghan, Jim (Midd't'n & P)Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith
Campbell, IanHattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Campbell-Savours, DaleHaynes, Frank
Cant, R. B.Heffer, Eric S.
Carmichael, NeilHogg, N. (E Dunb't'nshire)
Carter-Jones, LewisHolland, S. (L'b'th, Vauxh'll)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields)Home Robertson, John
Clarke, Thomas C'b'dge,Homewood, William
A'drieHooley, Frank
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S)Howell, Rt Hon D.
Cohen, StanleyHowells, Geraint
Coleman, DonaldHoyle, Douglas
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.Huckfield, Les
Conlan, BernardHughes, Mark (Durham)
Cook, Robin F.Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Cowans, HarryHughes, Roy (Newport)
Craigen, J. M. (G'gow, M'hill)Janner, Hon Greville
Crowther, StanJay, Rt Hon Douglas
Cryer, BobJohn, Brynmor
Cunliffe, LawrenceJohnson, James (Hull West)
Cunningham, Dr J. (W'h'n)Johnson, Walter (Derby S)
Dalyell, TamJones, Rt Hon Alec (Rh'dda)
Davidson, ArthurJones, Barry (East Flint)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli)Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)Kerr, Russell
Davis, Terry (B'ham Stechf'd)Kinnock, Neil
Deakins, EricLamond, James
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)Leighton, Ronald
Dewar, DonaldLestor, Miss Joan
Dixon, DonaldLewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Dobson, FrankLitherland, Robert
Dormand, JackLofthouse, Geoffrey
Douglas, DickMcCartney, Hugh
Dubs, AlfredMcDonald, Dr Oonagh
Duffy, A. E. P.McElhone, Frank
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.McGuire, Michael (Ince)
Eadie, AlexMcKay, Allen (Penistone)
Eastham, KenMcKelvey, William
Edwards, R. (W'hampt'n S E)MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Ellis, R. (NE D'bysh're)McWilliam, John
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)Marks, Kenneth
English, MichaelMarshall, D(G'gow S'ton)
Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)Silkin, Rt Hon J. (Deptford)
Martin, M (G'gow S'burn)Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Mason, Rt Hon RoySilverman, Julius
Maynard, Miss JoanSkinner, Dennis
Meacher, MichaelSnape, Peter
Mikardo, IanSoley, Clive
Millan, Rt Hon BruceSpearing, Nigel
Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)Spriggs, Leslie
Mitchell, R. C. (Soton Itchen)Stallard, A. W.
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)Stoddart, David
Morris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw)Stott, Roger
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)Strang, Gavin
Moyle, Rt Hon RolandStraw, Jack
Mulley, Rt Hon FrederickSummerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Newens, StanleyThomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
O'Halloran, MichaelThomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
O'Neill, MartinThorne, Stan (Preston South)
Orme, Rt Hon StanleyTilley, John
Palmer, ArthurTinn, James
Park, GeorgeTorney, Tom
Pavitt, LaurieUrwin, Rt Hon Tom
Pendry, TomVarley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Pitt, William HenryWainwright, E.(Dearne V)
Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)Walker, Rt Hon H.(D'caster)
Prescott, JohnWeetch, Ken
Price, C. (Lewisham W)Wellbeloved, James
Race, RegWelsh, Michael
Radice, GilesWhite, Frank R.
Rees, Rt Hon M (Leeds S)White, J. (G'gow Pollok)
Richardson, JoWhitehead, Phillip
Roberts, Albert (Normanton)Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Roberts, Allan (Bootle)Williams, Rt Hon A.(S'sea W)
Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)Wilson, Rt Hon Sir H.(H'ton)
Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)Wilson, William (C'try SE)
Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)Winnick, David
Rooker, J. W.Woodall, Alec
Roper, JohnWoolmer, Kenneth
Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)Wrigglesworth, Ian
Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)Wright, Sheila
Rowlands, TedYoung, David (Bolton E)
Sandelson, Neville
Sever, JohnTellers for the Ayes:
Sheerman, BarryMr. James Hamilton and
Sheldon, Rt Hon R.Mr. George Morton.
Alexander, RichardBudgen, Nick
Alison, Rt Hon MichaelBulmer, Esmond
Amery, Rt Hon JulianButcher, John
Ancram, MichaelCadbury, Jocelyn
Arnold, TomCarlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Aspinwall, JackChalker, Mrs. Lynda
Atkins, Robert (Preston N)Chapman, Sydney
Atkinson, David (B'm'th.E)Churchill, W. S.
Baker, Kenneth(St.M'bone)Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n)
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyClarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Bendall, VivianClegg, Sir Walter
Bennett, Sir Frederic (T'bay)Cockeram, Eric
Benyon, Thomas (A'don)Colvin, Michael
Benyon, W. (Buckingham)Cope, John
Best, KeithCormack, Patrick
Bevan, David GilroyCorrie, John
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnCostain, Sir Albert
Biggs-Davison, Sir JohnCranborne, Viscount
Blackburn, JohnCrouch, David
Blaker, PeterDickens, Geoffrey
Bonsor, Sir NicholasDorrell, Stephen
Boscawen, Hon RobertDouglas-Hamilton, Lord J.
Bowden, AndrewDover, Denshore
Boyson, Dr RhodesDunn, Robert (Dartford)
Braine, Sir BernardDurant, Tony
Brinton, TimEden, Rt Hon Sir John
Brooke, Hon PeterEdwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)
Brown, Michael(Brigg & Sc'n)Eggar, Tim
Browne, John (Winchester)Elliott, Sir William
Bruce-Gardyne, JohnEmery, Sir Peter
Bryan, Sir PaulEyre, Reginald
Buchanan-Smith, Rt. Hon. A.Fairbairn, Nicholas
Fairgrieve, Sir RussellMcCrindle, Robert
Faith, Mrs SheilaMacfarlane, Neil
Farr, JohnMacmillan, Rt Hon M.
Fell, Sir AnthonyMcNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)
Fenner, Mrs PeggyMcNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)
Fisher, Sir NigelMcQuarrie, Albert
Fletcher, A. (Ed'nb'gh N)Madel, David
Fletcher-Cooke, Sir CharlesMajor, John
Fookes, Miss JanetMarland, Paul
Forman, NigelMarlow, Antony
Fowler, Rt Hon NormanMarshall, Michael (Arundel)
Fraser, Peter (South Angus)Marten, Rt Hon Neil
Fry, PeterMates, Michael
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)Maude, Rt Hon Sir Angus
Garel-Jones, TristanMawby, Ray
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir IanMawhinney, Dr Brian
Glyn, Dr AlanMaxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Goodhart, Sir PhilipMayhew, Patrick
Goodhew, Sir VictorMellor, David
Goodlad, AlastairMeyer, Sir Anthony
Gorst, JohnMiller, Hal (B'grove)
Gow, IanMills, lain (Meriden)
Gower, Sir RaymondMills, Sir Peter (West Devon)
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)Miscampbell, Norman
Gray, HamishMitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Greenway, HarryMoate, Roger
Griffiths, E.(B'y St. Edm'ds)Montgomery, Fergus
Griffiths, Peter Portsm'th N)Moore, John
Grist, IanMorgan, Geraint
Gummer, John SelwynMorrison, Hon C. (Devizes)
Hamilton, Hon A.Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Mudd, David
Hampson, Dr KeithMurphy, Christopher
Hannam, JohnMyles, David
Haselhurst, AlanNeale, Gerrard
Hastings, StephenNeedham, Richard
Havers, Rt Hon Sir MichaelNelson, Anthony
Hawkins, Sir PaulNeubert, Michael
Hawksley, WarrenNewton, Tony
Hayhoe, BarneyNormanton, Tom
Heddle, JohnNott, Rt Hon John
Hicks, RobertOnslow, Cranley
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.Osborn, John
Hill, JamesPage, John (Harrow, West)
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil
Holland, Philip (Carlton)Parris, Matthew
Hooson, TomPattie, Geoffrey
Hordern, PeterPawsey, James
Howe, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyPercival, Sir Ian
Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldf'd)Pink, R. Bonner
Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk)Porter, Barry
Hunt, David (Wirral)Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)Price, Sir David (Eastleigh)
Hurd, Rt Hon DouglasPrior, Rt Hon James
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)Proctor, K. Harvey
Johnson Smith, Sir GeoffreyRaison, Rt Hon Timothy
Jopling, Rt Hon MichaelRathbone, Tim
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir KeithRees, Peter (Dover and Deal)
Kaberry, Sir DonaldRenton, Tim
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs ElaineRhodes James, Robert
Kershaw, Sir AnthonyRhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Kimball, Sir MarcusRidley, Hon Nicholas
King, Rt Hon TomRidsdale, Sir Julian
Knight, Mrs JillRifkind, Malcolm
Knox, DavidRoberts, M. (Cardiff NW)
Lamont, NormanRossi, Hugh
Lang, IanRost, Peter
Langford-Holt, Sir JohnRumbold, Mrs A. C. R.
Latham, MichaelRyman, John
Lawrence, IvanSainsbury, Hon Timothy
Lawson, Rt Hon NigelScott, Nicholas
Lee, JohnShaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkShaw, Sir Michael (Scarb1)
Lester, Jim (Beeston)Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Shepherd, Richard
Lloyd, Ian (Havant & W'loo)Shersby, Michael
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)Silvester, Fred
Loveridge, JohnSims, Roger
Luce, RichardSkeet, T. H. H.
Lyell, NicholasSmith, Dudley
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)Townsend, Cyril D, (B'heath)
Speed, KeithTrippier, David
Speller, TonyTrotter, Neville
Spence, Johnvan Straubenzee, Sir W.
Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)Viggers, Peter
Sproat, lainWaddington, David
Squire, RobinWakeham, John
Stainton, KeithWaldegrave, Hon William
Stanbrook, IvorWalker, B. (Perth)
Stanley, JohnWall, Sir Patrick
Steen, AnthonyWaller, Gary
Stevens, MartinWard, John
Stewart, A.(E Renfrewshire)Warren, Kenneth
Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)Watson, John
Stradling Thomas, J.Wells, Bowen
Tapsell, PeterWells, John (Maidstone)
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)Wheeler, John
Tebbit, Rt Hon NormanWickenden, Keith
Temple-Morris, PeterWilliams, D.(Montgomery)
Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs M.Wolfson, Mark
Thomas, Rt Hon PeterYounger, Rt Hon George
Thompson, Donald
Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)Tellers for the Noes:
Thornton, MalcolmMr. Anthony Berry and
Townend, John (Bridlington)Mr. Carol Mather.

Question accordingly negatived.