Water Bill (Allocation of Time)

– in the House of Commons at 3:34 pm on 3rd July 1989.

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Photo of Michael Howard Michael Howard Minister of State (Department of Environment) (Planning) 3:34 pm, 3rd July 1989

I beg to move, That the Order of the House [6th February] he supplemented as follows:

Lords Amendments

1.—(1) The proceedings on Consideration of Lords Amendments shall be completed in two allotted days and shall be brought to a conclusion at Seven p.m. on the second of those days.

(2) The order in which those proceedings are to be taken shall be Lords Amendments 1 to 43, Lords Amendment 55, Lords Amendments 44 to 54, Lords Amendments 56 to 116, Lords Amendment 155, Lords Amendments 117 to 154, Lords Amendments 156 to 237, Lords Amendments 267 and 277, Lords Amendments 238 to 266, Lords Amendments 268 to 276 and remaining Lords Amendments.

(3) Subject to the provisions of the Order [6th February], each part of those proceedings shall, if not previously brought to a conclusion, be brought to a conclusion at the time specified in the third column of the Table set out below.

Table—Proceedings
Allotted dayLords AmendmentsTime far conclusion of proceedings
First dayNos. 1 to 136.00 p.m.
Nos. 14 to 43 and No. 557.30 p.m.
Nos. 44 to 54 and Nos. 56 to 11610.00 p.m.
Second dayNo. 155, Nos. 117 to 154,5.00 p.m.
Nos. 156 to 237 and Nos. 267 and 277
Nos. 238 to 266, Nos. 268 to 276 and
Nos. 278 to 3115.30 p.m.
Remaining Lords Amendments7.00 p.m.

(4) Paragraph 7 of the Order [6th February] (extra time on allotted days) shall not apply to the allotted days for the proceedings on Consideration of Lords Amendments; but where the conclusion of any of those proceedings is postponed until a time after Ten o'clock under paragraph 9(4) of that Order (Motions under Standing Order No. 20), paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 14 (Exempted business) shall apply to those proceedings until that time.

2.—(1) For the purposes of bringing any proceedings to a conclusion in accordance with paragraph 1 above —

  1. (a) Mr. Speaker shall put forthwith any Question which has already been proposed from the Chair and not yet decided and, if that Question is for the amendment of a Lords Amendment, shall then put forthwith the Question on any further Amendment of the said Lords Amendment moved by a Minister of the Crown and on any Motion made by a Minister of the Crown, That this House doth agree or disagree with the Lords in the said Lords Amendment or, as the case may be, in the said Lords Amendment as amended;
  2. (b) Mr. Speaker shall then designate such of the remaining Lords Amendments as appear to him to involve questions of Privilege and shall—
    1. (i) put forthwith the Question on any Amendment moved by a Minister of the Crown to a Lords Amendment and then put forthwith the Question on any Motion made by a Minister of the Crown, That this House doth agree or disagree with the Lords in their Amendment or, as the case may he, in their Amendment as amended;
    2. (ii) put forthwith the Question on any Motion made by a Minister of the Crown, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in a Lords Amendment;
    3. (iii) put forthwith with respect to each Amendment designated by Mr. Speaker which has not been disposed of the Question, That this House doth agree with the Lords in their Amendment; and
    4. (iv) put forthwith the Question, That this House doth agree with the Lords in all the remaining Lords Amendments;
  3. (c) as soon as the House has agreed or disagreed with the Lords in any of their Amendments Mr. Speaker shall put forthwith a separate Question on any other Amendment moved by a Minister of the Crown relevant to that Lords Amendment.

(2) Proceedings under sub-paragraph (1) above shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.

Stages subsequent to first Consideration of Lords Amendments

3.—(1) The proceedings on any further Message from the Lords on the Bill shall be brought to a conclusion one hour after the commencement of the proceedings.

(2) For the purpose of bringing those proceedings to a conclusion—

  1. (a) Mr. Speaker shall first put forthwith any Question which has already been proposed from the Chair and not yet decided, and shall then put forthwith the Question on any Motion made by a Minister of the Crown which is related to the Question already proposed from the Chair;
  2. (b) Mr. Speaker shall then designate such of the remaining items in the Lords Message as appear to him to involve questions of Privilege and shall—
  1. (i) put forthwith the Question on any Motion made by a Minister of the Crown on any item;
  2. (ii) the case of each remaining item designated by Mr. Speaker, put forthwith the Question, That this House doth agree with the Lords in their Proposal; and
  3. (iii) put forthwith the Question, That this House doth agree with the Lords in all the remaining Lords Proposals.

Supplemental provisions with respect to certain proceedings

4.—(1) In this paragraph "the proceedings" means proceedings on any further Message from the Lords on the Bill, on the appointment and quorum of a Committee to draw up Reasons and the Report of such a Committee.

(2) Mr. Speaker shall put forthwith the Question on any Motion made by a Minister of the Crown for the consideration forthwith of the Message or for the appointment and quorum of the Committee.

(3) A Committee appointed to draw up reasons shall report the conclusion of the sitting at which they are appointed.

(4) Paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 14 (Exempted business) shall apply to the proceedings.

(5) No dilatory Motion with respect to, or in the course of, the proceedings shall be made except by a member of the Government, and the Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith.

(6) If the proceedings are interrupted by a Motion for the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 20 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) a period equal to the duration of the proceedings on the Motion shall be added to the period at the end of which the proceedings are to be brought to a conclusion.

(7) If the House is adjourned, or the sitting is suspended, before the expiry of the period at the end of which any proceedings are to be brought to a conclusion under this paragraph, no notice shall be required of a Motion made at the next sitting by a member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order.

I move the motion as the House comes to the end of the long and exhaustive consideration of a Bill which fully honours our election manifesto commitment to return water authorities to the public and to establish a National Rivers Authority. We shall shortly see scenes of synthetic outrage from the Opposition about the time that is allowed for consideration of the Lords amendments. I want to start by getting some facts on the record.
The Bill has already been debated in this House for two days on Second Reading, for 153 hours in 35 Committee sittings, and for three full days on Report and Third Reading—a total of 198 hours before today.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Walsall North

Will the Minister explain why, despite the massive amount of money that has been spent to publicise the Bill, all the propaganda and so on, the latest poll shows that 79 per cent. of the population are totally opposed to water being privatised? Is it not clear that the Government have no mandate for it? If there were a free vote tonight, the Bill would not receive majority support, and the Minister knows that.

Photo of Michael Howard Michael Howard Minister of State (Department of Environment) (Planning)

I welcome Opposition Members' new-found enthusiasm for opinion polls. However, opinion polls may come and opinion polls may go. By the time the only opinion poll that matters takes place the proposals will be working well in practice and their advantages will be apparent to all our people.

Although the Bill has been guillotined, we have used the timetable procedure not to impose unreasonable restraints on debate but to allow for a sensible allocation of time to the different elements of the Bill. That would not have occurred if Opposition Members had continued with the pace that they set in Committee, when they managed to go so slowly that, after 75 hours, only nine clauses had been debated. The Bill has also been examined in great detail for more than 100 hours of debate over 13 days in another place. It is simply not possible to argue that the Bill had not been fully considered. Throughout those many hours of debate, the Government have listened carefully and sympathetically to all reasonable arguments put before them. We said at the outset that if sensible improvements were suggested, we would respond positively to them. That is precisely what we have done, and that is why it now falls to this House to consider these amendments.

Photo of Mr Jeremy Hanley Mr Jeremy Hanley , Richmond and Barnes

Does my hon. and learned Friend consider that we have sufficiently discussed the protection of land that is currently owned by Thames Water? The assurances that he gave at the beginning of last month have recently been withdrawn, thus making a great deal of Thames Water's land available for redevelopment rather than protection by the local authority because of its conservation or environmental use.

Photo of Michael Howard Michael Howard Minister of State (Department of Environment) (Planning)

It is not right to say that assurances that were given earlier in the month or about a month ago were withdrawn. We shall no doubt debate this matter more fully when we consider the amendments relating to land. When we put forward our original amendments relating in particular to specific protection for land in national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty, we were met with a chorus of opposition on the basis that sites of special scientific interest should be specifically designated and that the reserve power to which we pointed as being available to deal with that aspect of the problem was, in effect, a waste of time and not worth the paper that it was written on. We responded to those criticisms as we have responded to so many other criticisms. We have inserted specific protection in the Bill for sites of special scientific interest and removed the reserve power that met with disapproval when it was introduced.

I invite the House to consider the nature of the amendments which were inserted into the Bill in another place. There are 341 of them, but many of them are so technical that they do not even warrant grouping other than in one large group. Even some of those technical amendments are to meet points raised by the Opposition. Of those that are grouped, we have difficulty with only two. Of the rest. well over half the groups of amendments on the Notice Paper are Government responses to arguments that had the support of all sides in another place. Many of the rest represented minor tidying-up points. The nature of the amendments before the House today can be judged by the fact that only once in another place were the Government obliged to go through the Division Lobby in support of them. In this House the Opposition have not put down a single motion of disagreement with any of the amendments that were made in another place.

That is the background against which the protest that we shall doubtless shortly hear from Opposition Members needs to be assessed. We have, of course, known from the outset that the Opposition were committed to a policy of delay and frustration, but we wish to press on with the Bill which provides the key to cleaner rivers and beaches and purer drinking water. It is this Bill which gives the industry access to the private capital that it needs to complete the clean up; it is this Bill which puts an end to the gamekeeper-poacher conflict that has so bedevilled the operations of the water authorities; and it is this Bill which gives the workers in one of our most important industries a real stake in the future.

The time has come to deal with the few remaining issues and to move on to the next stages—putting the regulatory framework in place, vesting the functions, assets and liabilities of the authorities with the new companies and, in November, selling the shares in those companies to the public so that they can take a direct stake in the industry that lies at the heart of so many of our environmental concerns. I commend the motion to the House.

Photo of Dr Jack Cunningham Dr Jack Cunningham Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 3:41 pm, 3rd July 1989

I am sorry to disappoint the Minister so early in my remarks, but I assure him that none of the synthetic anger that he was forced to mention so often in his brief remarks will emanate from the Opposition. There may be some synthetic support, however, from Conservative Members in the Division' Lobby.

It is eight months this week since the Second Reading of the Water Bill in the Chamber. The Secretary of State's parting words then were: This is a good Bill for consumers, for future shareholders, for taxpayers, for workers in the industry; above all, it is a good Bill for the environment."—[Official Report, 7 December 1988; Vol. 143, c. 344.] The Opposition feel rather sorry for the Secretary of State and those who have had to do the Prime Minister's dirty work on this very dirty Bill. After the Football Spectators Bill, one might say that this is the flood. Over those months, the Minister and the Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Lewisham, East (Mr. Moynihan), who is not present now, although I am sure that he will be around later in the proceedings, have had to prop up a case in support of privatising the nation's water assets which, frankly, is so ramshackle as to have no hope of surviving for very long. They have spent eight months on the pathetic task of trying to persuade the British people that water privatisation is a good or even a desirable thing for consumers, taxpayers and the environment. It seems, however, not only from the responses from the public during those eight months, but even from a survey this weekend, that they have failed to persuade anyone. The Observer Harris poll showed yesterday that 79 per cent. of people remain implacably opposed to privatisation; 79 per cent. are worried or very worried about the quality of our bathing beaches; one third of people are dissatisfied with the quality of their drinking water; 69 per cent. think that water should meet new European standards before any sell-off is even contemplated; 68 per cent. think that the Government's record on pollution control is not at all good or not very good; and 85 per cent. think that water will cost them more after privatisation.

Whatever else Ministers have been doing during the past eight months, they have singularly failed to persuade the British public that there is much good, if any, in the Bill.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Walsall North

My hon. Friend will be the first to agree that the Opposition should always be fair. Does he blame, as the Prime Minister blames, the Secretary of State and the Minister for Water and Planning? Could they be responsible for the public's failure to accept water privatisation? Does not the real responsibility lie with the Prime Minister? Were it not for her, such dangerous nonsense would not have been pursued in the first place. Does my hon. Friend agree that the public will not buy this rubbish, whoever puts it forward, and that the responsibility does not lie with the Secretary of State or the Minister, however much one recognises that the Secretary of State is the last person to persuade anyone?

Photo of Dr Jack Cunningham Dr Jack Cunningham Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

I agree with my hon. Friend. The Bill, like the Football Spectators Bill and the poll tax before it, is here because the Prime Minister has insisted on its being placed on the statute book against all the advice of independent people and, I am sure, much private advice from many of her right hon. and hon. Friends. The Secretary of State and the Minister are scapegoats for the Prime Minister's dogmatic attitudes. Too bad, one might say, for the Secretary of State and the Minister; too bad that they are forced to push through the Prime Minister's views; too bad that their campaign to persuade even the City that water is a worthwhile and desirable investment has collapsed with only a few months to go before the predicted sell-off date. Matters have become worse for the Secretary of State and the Minister following the Prime Minister's magisterial rebuke in February over their handling, or mishandling, of the issue.

This colossal and vital Bill has been guillotined at every stage. It was curtailed in Committee and on Report, and today, as we are presented with 341 amendments from the other place, debate is curtailed again, less than a week since the other place finished considering the Bill. We shall have a mere day and a half in which to debate 341 amendments and to try to amend some of them. I thank the Minister for having the courtesy and for taking the trouble to give us sight of the amendments as early as possible. I place on record our appreciation of that. His task was obviously incredibly difficult because he was able to provide information to us only as late as Wednesday evening of last week. Had it been provided to us any later, the opportunity for the Opposition to consider and table subsequent amendments would not have existed. That is not acceptable and I have no doubt that others outside the House will perceive that to be so.

The real reason for guillotining this stage of the Bill's consideration is that this is one of the most damaging pieces of legislation around, and the Government want it out of the way as quickly as possible. On every occasion on which the Bill is discussed in Parliament and outside, damage is done to the Government's credibility. I assure the Government that the fact that they may be curtailing debate today and tomorrow does not mean that the issue will go away or that the Labour party will stop opposing it and campaigning against it in the country over the weeks, months and years between now and the next general election.

We have a day and a half, and a number of important questions remain to be asked. I almost said "answered", but I suspect that there is little, if any, hope of getting answers to some of the questions. For example, when will the British people's drinking water meet minimum European standards? Almost 11 million British people are served with water that is below European minimum standards. The position for those people is unsatisfactory and it is likely to remain so.

The Minister went to Brussels last week. There was some publicity in advance of his visit, but almost a cloak of secrecy has been drawn over what happened while he was there. Almost uniquely for the Government and for the Minister's Department, there has been no press statement or announcement following his discussions with the Environment Commissioner Carlo Ripa Di Meana. That suggests that relations are not what they might be between the Government and the Commissioner about the provisions in the Bill.

No doubt the Government will later attempt to overturn an amendment carried in the House of Lords that provides for a date of 1993, already several years late, to meet the objectives for drinking water quality. We look forward to hearing from Ministers why they cannot accept even that modest attempt to put matters right. Indeed, I wonder whether the guillotine will allow time for a proper and adequate debate on that matter.

—When will we hear more from the Government—they have not yet answered our questions—about the drinking water inspectorate? The House is entitled to some meaningful details about the operation of that body, hidden away somewhere in the Department of the Environment, whose job it will be to regulate the quality of our drinking water. As yet, there have been almost no details about that body.

When will we hear the final decisions and the whole truth about the so-called cost pass-through—that provision in the appointment to allow companies to make extra charges outside the price control formula? We all remember the Secretary of State's claim at the outset that prices would rise in real terms by no more than 10 per cent. a year. That is obviously a hopelessly inadequate assessment of what the public will face.

At the end of Third Reading, in a speech when the Minister read out everything except the London telephone directory, he said that my right hon. and noble Friend Lord Callaghan of Cardiff did not mention the water industry in his memoirs. I wonder whether the Secretary of State will mention this Bill in his memoirs when he comes to write them. I doubt it. I do not think that he will regard the past eight months as a purple passage in his parliamentary and ministerial careers.

What about the flotation itself? Some kind, anonymous person today sent us a copy of a document produced by J. Henry Schroder Wagg and Company Limited, the Government's advisers on the flotation, entitled "Offer Structure". The document sets out the advice that is no doubt being given to Ministers about the structure of the offer and the flotation of the nation's water assets. Unlike previous flotations, the document recommends: There will be no maximum application value for the separate offers. The Government are obviously so concerned to ensure that they receive at least some offers to purchase that they are not setting a limit. The document continues: the Stock Exchange has agreed that neither form of prospectus need be advertised in the national press; only application forms". Presumably, the Government do not want to advertise the prospectus because they do not want people to know exactly what it is they are being invited to buy.

I do not have time to read all the document into the record, but on page 4 it states: The need to underwrite all ten offers is expected to give rise to some new variations on the now familiar structure.Early investigation suggests that the UK underwriting unit may be worth between £10,000 and £25,000, representing between 8 and 20 package units each comprising 1,000 shares in the ten WSHCs. In other words, underwriters will be obliged to buy shares in all 10 water authorities whether or not they want to do so.

Underwriters, like the rest of us, know very well that some of the water organisations are not saleable. Who, left to his own devices, would buy North West Water, Yorkshire Water, or some of the other authorities that have huge backlogs of problems in respect of pollution, inadequate plant and collapsing infrastructure? The authorities will be sold off to the underwriters in little parcels, so there will be no escape.

I wonder what Mr. Roy Watt of Thames Water thinks about his organisation being underwritten along with all those less saleable assets? Even the fund managers themselves do not want that to be done, as a poll published yesterday confirms. Seventy-nine per cent. of them want to pick and choose which water authority stock they underwrite because they, too, know that otherwise they are likely to be left with unsold stock on their hands.

Perhaps the most amusing and revealing part of the document is the outline offer timetable on page 6, which is a far more important timetable than that which the Government are talking about today in connection with the Lords amendments. The outline timetable begins: 1st September. VESTING6th September. Earliest date for launch of flotation marketing campaign.2nd October. Institutional lunches and dinners begin. Some underwriters are about to find out that there is no such thing as a free lunch. The outline continues: 31st October. All documentation in near final form.1st November. Publication of pathfinder prospectus.2nd November. Commencement of national and regional roadshows.21st November. Pricing meeting. Completion meeting.22nd November. IMPACT DAY29th November. Prospectuses generally available.6th December. OFFER CLOSES.12th December. Basis of allocation announced …20th December. Posting of documents of title… So for the man who has everything, at Christmas this year buy him a sewage works.

Given the taxpayers' interest, the national interest and the environmental interest in water privatisation, that timetable is far more important than the fatuous, shoddy little timetable that we are debating.

Photo of Mr Nicholas Baker Mr Nicholas Baker , North Dorset

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will explain to other right hon. and hon. Members who have not been so privileged as to see the document from which he quotes—it sounds as though the hon. Gentleman is indulging in mere variations on its theme—whether that document is confidential. Was the advice that it contains given confidentially? When the hon. Gentleman becomes a Minister in some future Labour Administration, what action will he take if private and confidential advice is leaked in the same way?

Photo of Dr Jack Cunningham Dr Jack Cunningham Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

I shall answer the hon. Gentleman's last question first. The action that I shall take as a Minister will be to support in the Lobby at the earliest opportunity a freedom of information Bill.

Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

The hon. Gentleman will lose his job if he does.

Photo of Dr Jack Cunningham Dr Jack Cunningham Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

The Secretary of State says that I would lose my shirt, and he is wrong about that, too. A freedom of information Bill is one of the Labour party's principal commitments. On matters concerning environmental pollution, the British public will never be satisfied until all the facts and information are honestly and accurately presented to them. Ministers would be far better advised to be more candid about the problems of this hopeless legislation than to sit there baying their opposition to a freedom of information Bill.

Let me return to the first question asked by the hon. Member for Dorset, North (Mr. Baker). He is welcome to a copy of this document if he would like one. As I said, it is headed J. Henry Schroder Wagg and Co. Limited … Offer Structure". It says nothing about confidentiality or secrecy. I have no idea of the origins of the document; I am not claiming that it is a leak from the Civil Service, or even that it is a Government document. It is an interesting document, however, and one about which people are entitled to know.

Photo of Mr Dale Campbell-Savours Mr Dale Campbell-Savours , Workington

As the water stock will be no-growth because there will be so little opportunity for development, will not high dividends have to be paid to the investing public? Will not water charges have to reflect an exorbitant level of dividends as, in effect, the value of the company will not increase?

Photo of Dr Jack Cunningham Dr Jack Cunningham Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

I agree with my hon. Friend's analysis. Moreover, because of the problems that need to be resolved, there will be additional increases in the cost to water consumers.

Whatever the time available for our deliberations today and tomorrow, the Government will never be able to guillotine public opinion. They cannot guillotine the views of the City, or its huge and adverse reaction to the proposals. However hard they may try, they cannot guillotine the European Commissioner and the views in Europe about the inadequacies of the Bill; nor will they be able to guillotine the environmental damage and pollution problems inherent in the legislation, especially as it contains a provision to excuse private enterprise water monopolies from polluting the environment and to give them immunity from prosecution.

The Government cannot guillotine our emphatic opposition to the legislation or the political reaction against them when they come to explain all this at the polling station—and fail.

Photo of Mr Keith Raffan Mr Keith Raffan , Delyn 4:02 pm, 3rd July 1989

It is difficult to take seriously the hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) when he describes the Bill as one of the most damaging pieces of legislation. It has been widely credited—even by Opposition Members—with containing significant environmental advances, as the hon. Gentleman knows very well. His hon. Friends who were not members of the Standing Committee and clearly have never read the Bill and do not appreciate the long period of gestation before it was published may talk in gimmicky-slogan terms. The fact is, however, that the Bill represents important environmental advances.

The first main advance, alluded to briefly by my hon. and learned Friend the Minister, is the ending of the position where water authorities are both poacher and gamekeeper. When the Select Committee on Welsh Affairs looked into coastal sewage pollution in 1985, one of the main points on which Opposition Members —not at parliamentary level, but at local government level—petitioned us was the need to end that position. They said that there was no way in which water authorities could monitor sewage discharges effectively when they were discharging sewage themselves.

Photo of Mr Peter Pike Mr Peter Pike , Burnley

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Photo of Mr Keith Raffan Mr Keith Raffan , Delyn

Not now.

The setting up of a National Rivers Authority will therefore create a position that Labour Members have long requested. That is the first significant environmental advance in the Bill.

The second is one to which Opposition Members would not be expected to allude. The water authorities. as water companies, will automatically be freed from the restraint of Government external financing limits. In plain language, that means that they will not have to compete with other Government Departments for finance for important capital expenditure on water infrastructure and sewage works. Opposition Members do not refer to that because the last Labour Government cut capital spending on water infrastructure by a third and on sewerage infrastructure by a half. Let me respond directly to the point made by the hon. Member for Copeland. Compliance by 1993 might have been possible but for the gross, inexcusable and highly irresponsible neglect of the last Labour Government who slashed capital spending on water infrastructure by a third and on sewerage infrastructure by a half.

I do not want to indulge during my brief speech in non-parliamentary language, but what the hon. Gentleman said was bordering on hypocrisy. I do not think that that word is outside the parliamentary code.

Photo of Mr Allan Roberts Mr Allan Roberts , Bootle

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Photo of Mr Keith Raffan Mr Keith Raffan , Delyn

I will give way to the hon. Gentleman in a second, if he will sit down for a moment. I am sure that he does not want to hear this, but he is going to hear it, whether he likes it or not.

It is time that the Opposition and the country heard these things. If the quality of our water is not as good as it should be, although it is improving, and if our beaches are not of as good a quality as they should be, although they, too, are improving, the responsibility and the blame lie with the Opposition for their gross neglect during their period in office.

Photo of Mr Allan Roberts Mr Allan Roberts , Bootle

Will the hon. Gentleman tell us, because he has obviously been sleeping for some time, how long the Conservative Government have been in power and why they did not do something about the problem long before this?

Photo of Mr Keith Raffan Mr Keith Raffan , Delyn

That is the kind of weak intervention which one would expect from the hon. Gentleman. I am not quite sure why he is not on the Opposition Front Bench today. Perhaps he has been demoted. Capital expenditure on the water infrastructure has been steadily increased during the last 10 years to make up for the gross neglect of the Opposition when they were in power. They ought to give credit to the Government for the two significant environmental advances that are included in the Bill. They will be of major importance to all water consumers.

In his normal spirit of generosity, which those of us who were members of the Standing Committee came to expect, my hon. and learned Friend alluded in his speech only to the number of hours in both Houses that have been devoted to the Bill. He did not refer to the tidal wave—to continue my watery metaphor—of irrelevant points that were made by Opposition Members in Committee. Today the Opposition have complained about the time for debate being restricted, yet they wasted so much of their time in Committee. The hon. Member for Copeland referred in Committee to netting 24 salmon with his English setter Sam. I am glad that the hon. Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. Mullin) is here because he updated us in Committee about the Pol Pot regime in Kampuchea.

Photo of Mr Keith Raffan Mr Keith Raffan , Delyn

I will give way to the hon. Gentleman in a minute. He can wait. He has given us his dissertation. I am not finished yet with the Opposition.

The hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Roberts) told us all about his mother being an Owen and his uncles and aunties being Evanses, about Tommy Steele and "Half a Sixpence", about the landscape of William Tell and about undrinkable British tea. We had all that from the Opposition, yet they expect us to take them seriously when they ask for more time to debate the Bill. It is a bit rich of them to expect us to provide that when they wasted so much time in the first place.

Photo of Dr Jack Cunningham Dr Jack Cunningham Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

The hon. Gentleman has a particularly short, inaccurate and limited memory, as we know from previous exchanges. If he thinks back to our exchanges in Committee about my ability to catch salmon, he will remember that that matter arose only because of the question—I shall not say the allegation—of his hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh) that I am not a salmon fisherman.

Photo of Mr Keith Raffan Mr Keith Raffan , Delyn

That is another lame intervention. I also remember the hon. Gentleman saying to the Chair that he realised that he was being diverted into irrelevancies. We do not think that he is such a weak-minded individual that he cannot resist challenges by my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh), which are never of a highly provocative nature and which most of us are able to resist. If most of my hon. Friends are able to resist them, surely the hon. Gentleman is not so weak-minded that he cannot resist them.

There have been few pieces of legislation in this Parliament or in the previous Parliament that have had such a long period of gestation. The Government's first mention of water privatisation was as long ago as 1985, after which a consultation document was published. There was then a discussion document, and after the announcement in 1986 there was a White Paper, two consultative papers and wide Government consultation. This led to a manifesto commitment which has been widely ignored by the Opposition.

The Opposition are highly selective. They choose their opinion polls to suit them. One opinion poll which used a far wider sample than that published in The Observer yesterday was the one on 10 June 1987 using a sample of some 25 million people as opposed to just over 1,000 people. We believe in an opinion poll sample of half the electorate while the Opposition pick and choose one of between 800 and 1,000 people. We have a strong manifesto commitment which has been backed by the people. The Government have an absolute right to see the legislation passed through both Houses of Parliament so that it receives Royal Assent in time for privatisation to take place. As my hon. and learned Friend the Minister said, by the next general election the new water plcs will be up and running and working extremely effectively. I doubt that it will remain a party political issue for long, and probably will not be raised the next election.

There have been few examples of privatisation for which the argument is stronger than it is for water. Of course the Opposition have conveniently ignored the arguments against them, as they always do, especially the fact that one in four consumers already receives water from private statutory water companies, and therefore from a private source. They receive their water efficiently and they do not complain about its quality. That situation will prevail for everyone in this country after privatisation. We have heard nothing but humbug and hypocrisy from the Opposition. Let us get on with debating the amendments.

Photo of Matthew Taylor Matthew Taylor Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Trade and Industry), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Local Government, Housing and Transport), Chair of Communications, Liberal Democrat Party 4:11 pm, 3rd July 1989

The hon. Member for Delyn (Mr. Raffan) spoke with great virulence, but it was not always clear whether he was waving or drowning.

The Government are in serious difficulty with the Bill for a number of reasons. It is certainly an unpopular Bill. We have heard at length about the opinion poll evidence that the British people are opposed to it. Hon. Members on both sides of the House must be aware that many members of the public who are against the Bill have been motivated to write to their Members of Parliament. Many of those people do not normally write to their Members of Parliament. but feel sufficiently strongly about this issue to do so.

The most recent opinion poll shows that four out of five people are still steadfastly opposed to what the Government are doing, while millions of pounds of their money is being spent on promoting the issue on their television screens and on poster hoardings. Perhaps more significant, and of greater concern to Ministers, who have never shown great signs of being worried by public opinion and what ordinary people think, is the fact that six out of 10 fund managers are also opposed to the privatisation of water, certainly until EC standards are met. The experts in the City know a dead duck in the water when they see one. That is what the Government are bringing to the people by producing a Bill which is unpopular and is unlikely to be a success, even in the Government's limited terms.

In response to all that, the Government are not reconsidering whether to go ahead; they are not looking to the British people, or the fund managers if they prefer, and saying, "Maybe we have got something fundamentally wrong." Instead, they squirm around within the Bill looking for ways in which they can reduce the duties that they were originally proposing to place on the water industry in order to buy off their worries and doubts and sell down the river the people who seek improvements in the water industry. At the last minute, an amendment has been sneaked in to wipe the slate clean and to give private water companies immunity from prosecution for at least a year after the sell-off.

Photo of Matthew Taylor Matthew Taylor Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Trade and Industry), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Local Government, Housing and Transport), Chair of Communications, Liberal Democrat Party

The lion. Member for Dorset, North (Mr. Baker) has intervened many times, and there is little time for debate.

The Minister may wish to take into account the strong feelings that have been expressed in my part of the country. Given South West Water's record locally, I suspect that it will experience difficulty in finding buyers. This week, the police will probably be giving the findings of their investigation into the Camelford incident, so it is a poor gesture for the Government to be offering water companies further immunity in order to make the sell-off work. Few people in my part of the world will be satisfied by that. Anyone considering water privatisation would do well to consider what happened to the people of Camelford and the Government's action in offering water companies immunity from prosecution.

Photo of Mr Roger Knapman Mr Roger Knapman , Stroud

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Photo of Matthew Taylor Matthew Taylor Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Trade and Industry), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Local Government, Housing and Transport), Chair of Communications, Liberal Democrat Party

Time is short, so I will not give way.

The Government have stated that they wish to reverse a Lords amendment that aims to bring Britain's drinking water standards up to EEC standards by 1993, which is already eight years late. The commitments that we thought might he given and the opportunities for change that we expected are receding further into the distance.

The Government propose to legalise thousands of spillages of raw sewage into rivers and streams. One cannot have confidence in a Government who are so sternly led on the water privatisation course by a Prime Minister who is unaware that untreated sewage is being pumped into seas around our coast. More sewage is pumped into the sea in my area than any other throughout the country. I recently spoke at a meeting in my constituency at Gorran Haven, which was organised by local residents who by no means are stern opponents of the Government. The water authority attended to present its case. My constituents still see water being polluted by raw sewage and must still pull their children out of the water when they see turds floating in the sea. The most striking aspect of that meeting was the feeling that such pollution needed to be tackled and that the Government's approach was fundamentally wrong. People of all backgrounds and political persuasions rightly believed that the Government's approach was fundamentally wrong.

Once again, debate is being guillotined, as it has been throughout every stage of the water privatisation proposals, thereby not only putting private profit before public debate but gagging debate on the Bill. That is not acceptable, but it should come as no surprise as the Minister, despite all his soft words, knows that he does not carry the British people with him. However much the Government cut debate and rush the Bill through, they do not and will not carry the British people with them. People in my part of the country are rising up and saying that they want public investment to solve public problems. They are clear that the pollution of our seas and water courses and the trouble that we have had with our water authority are not private but public problems. Nothing that the Minister does in selling off water authorities will change their opinion.

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh , Gainsborough and Horncastle 4:19 pm, 3rd July 1989

I thought that a hint of desperation entered the speech of the hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Taylor). I would be desperate if my party went down to 7 per cent. in the opinion polls.

Photo of Nicholas Soames Nicholas Soames , Crawley

It is down to 3 per cent. in the Boy Scouts' poll.

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh , Gainsborough and Horncastle

I will not add to my hon. Friend's comment. Unfortunately, he is disbarred from speaking in this debate. He would bring great knowledge to it, particularly about salmon fishing.

The Liberal party is not doing well because it has lost much of its green vote. Once the Bill becomes an Act we shall recoup much of the ground which, according to the Opposition, we may have lost. Fundamentally, this is a green Bill. It is a matter of pride to Conservative Members that we are setting up, for the first time, a national environmental protection agency.

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh , Gainsborough and Horncastle

At the next general election it will be clear that the Conservatives have not lost any support because of the Bill. As Bills go through it is necessary for the Government to explain their case. Sometimes people are genuinely worried about a radical measure, but once this Bill becomes an Act and people see how things settle down, they will come to thank the Government because, as my hon. Friend the Member for Delyn (Mr. Raffan) has said, for the first time the gamekeeper-poacher problem has been tackled.

I shall not deal with the financial record of the previous Labour Government, but the hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) failed to answer some questions. No doubt the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Mrs. Taylor), as an upwardly mobile member of the Labour party, will answer them when she replies on behalf of the Opposition.

This is a green, environmental Bill. Perhaps the hon. Member for Dewsbury will tell us why the Labour Government failed to list a single bathing beach for the purposes of the 1975 bathing waters directive. Can she explain why Labour took no action to implement part II of the Control of Pollution Act 1974? Perhaps she will explain why the previous Labour Government prevented members of the public from initiating prosecutions of river polluters. I note that the hon. Lady is busy talking to her hon. Friends on the Front Bench. It is clear that she does not want to explain, but the House wants answers. We are the green party because we are setting up an environmental protection agency. It is no good the hon. Lady looking round desperately as I have a couple of other questions for her. How did the previous Labour Government discharge their responsibilities for monitoring involuntary pollution by sewage treatment works when they kept no record of the adequacy of their performance?

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh , Gainsborough and Horncastle

I shall give way with pleasure, but can the hon. Lady explain why the Labour Government kept the details of discharge consent applications secret from the public and refused to allow the public to participate in the process of granting them?

Photo of Joan Walley Joan Walley Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

As the hon. Gentleman has claimed that the Conservative party represents green votes, will he admit that the only thing that is green about this Bill are the green worms that came through London's tap water and the people whose hair turned green in Camelford as a result of aluminium poisoning? What has he got to say about that?

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh , Gainsborough and Horncastle

If the hon. Lady wants to be a member of the next Labour Government she must do much better than that. She must answer the five questions that I put, which were perfectly reasonable. The hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Ms. Walley) is not prepared to answer them, but I hope that the hon. Member for Dewsbury will.

Debates such as this always follow the same pattern. I think that I shall scream if someone again, says that, on one day, the right hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Foot) moved five guillotine motions. I accept that it is a good point, but it is always made. Usually the right hon. Gentleman attends such debates, which are, fundamentally, always the same.

If there were a Labour Government in the future and if the hon. Member for Dewsbury decided to renationalise electricity, water and British Telecom and, by that stage, perhaps British Rail and British Coal, would she produce five guillotine motions in one day? We shall have to wait and see.

I believe that I now know something about how Standing Committees work. I was not only a member of the Committee that considered the Water Bill, which sat for more than 150 hours, but a member of the Standing Committee that considered the Self-Governing Schools Etc (Scotland) Bill, which also sat for 150 hours. It was also guillotined and we heard the same arguments as we have heard today. Television is about to enter the Chamber and no doubt it will cover our Standing Committees. It is about time, therefore—this is a non-party political point—that we considered timetabling Bills from the very start. Once television comes into the Standing Committees, we cannot have the procedures and speeches that we have had not only on this Bill, but on others of whose Committees I have been a member.

I am surprised that no hon. Member has so far mentioned the irrelevant speeches and the speeches on the Tatler of the hon. Member for Brent, South (Mr. Boateng). When I was a member of the Committee on the Self-Governing Schools Etc. (Scotland) Bill, the hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Macdonald) talked for several hours in his lilting Gaelic on a matter totally irrelevant to the Bill because Labour Members had to prove to the people of this country that they were a powerful, virile Opposition who would continue to speak ad nauseam. As soon as a timetable motion for this Bill was introduced the quality of debate improved markedly, as it did on the Self-Governing Schools Etc. (Scotland) Bill. I am convinced that we should bring in timetable motions at the beginning of Bills.

My hon. and learned Friend the Minister will remember that I tabled several amendments in Committee. I suspect that once the timetable motion has been accepted, there may have been some collusion between the two Front Benches.

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh , Gainsborough and Horncastle

My hon. Friend the Member for Crawley (Mr. Soames) says no. However, once a Bill has been timetabled, it is far easier for the Front-Bench spokesmen to ensure that the main Labour party amendments are discussed. It keeps them happy, and they can then go to their constituents and say that they are doing their job. However, serious amendments tabled by Conservative Back-Bench Members, which do not make a party political point, but merely wish to improve the Bill, are frozen out. If Bills are to be timetabled regularly, it should be done near the beginning of the Bill. In addition, the Chairman should be given more authority in deciding how the Bill should be split up so that Conservative, Labour and minor party Back-Bench Members are given time to debate the Bill.

In principle, after so much time has been devoted to the Bill, there is no reason why we should not have a timetable motion. Most of the amendments that we are to discuss today are technical. On that basis, I support the timetable motion. My plea to my hon. Friends on the Treasury Bench is for them to consider for next year, once our proceedings are televised, whether Bills should be timetabled far earlier.

Photo of Mr Peter Pike Mr Peter Pike , Burnley 4:26 pm, 3rd July 1989

The hon. Members for Delyn (Mr. Raffan) and for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh) are kidding themselves if they believe that this is a green Bill as it does nothing to solve the problems facing the water industry. They know that they will pay the price for this legislation at the next general election, not only because of the Bill's unpopularity, as shown in the opinion poll, but because it will not deal with the problems facing the water industry.

The timetable motion is outrageous in that it seeks to limit our ability to debate the many important principles that we still need time to consider adequately. As I have said several times recently, the Government increasingly dislike democracy and the opportunity for debate because they do not want people to have the opportunity to voice opinions in any way different from their own. So long as they remain in power, democracy will become a sham as they remove the opportunity for genuine debate.

Photo of Mr Peter Pike Mr Peter Pike , Burnley

My hon. Friend says that it has already become a sham, and to some extent he is right.

The hon. Member for Delyn also referred to the National Rivers Authority. He must remember that Labour Members never opposed the establishment of that authority. From the outset we have accepted that it is right that the roles of poacher and gamekeeper should be separated. We have said, however—and we shall say it again tomorrow—that if the Government are serious about the N RA, they should give it the powers to carry out the functions for which it is being established. We know that steps are already being taken to remove the ability of the NRA to prosecute water authorities for sewage pollution once privatisation takes place and that there will be derogations and exemptions. Already, the Government are trying to remove the authority's teeth.

The hon. Member for Delyn also referred to investment and said that the last Labour Government reduced investment. I have never denied that. Like the Minister and other Conservative Members, however, he failed to point out that as the Government have been in office for 10 years they must accept responsibility for the fact that investment in the water industry, in real terms, is still only two thirds what it was in the mid-1970s.

The Government must also accept that the Select Committee on the Environment proposed a National Rivers Authority and referred to the investment problems mentioned by the hon. Member for Delyn and the clash with the public sector borrowing requirement. The Select Committee suggested changing the borrowing powers of the water industry and allowing it to remain in the public sector. Both the developments that the hon. Member for Delyn regards as important—establishing a National Rivers Authority, and changing the way in which we finance it—could thus have been achieved if the industry had been allowed to remain in the public sector. That would have gained our support because we believe it to be the right way forward. After the many hours of debate on the Bill. it is clear that changing the ownership of the industry will not solve its problems, but that investment in it will. If the Government were prepared to put in the investment to deal with the problems of drinking water quality, river pollution, sewage works and beach pollution, those problems could be solved.

Instead, the Government are considering a long sea outfall at Rossall point at Fleetwood. It is outrageous that the Government believe that long sea outfalls are the right way to deal with sea pollution in 1989 when we should be moving towards constructions that will serve the country well into the 21st century. It is wrong that in 1989 the Government still believe that long sea outfalls are the answer. They simply shift the pollution a little further out to sea, but it will still be washed back on to our shores. That is not an acceptable solution for the next century.

Later this afternoon we shall discuss amendments dealing with land. As my hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) has said, who would want to buy the North West water authority with the River Mersey and all its problems? The only attraction of buying that water authority lies in selling off its land to make money while removing access to the countryside and the free rights over the land that people enjoy at present.

I have raised the question of appointing a land development officer with the North West water authority, and in questions to the Minister. Brian Alexander the managing director of that authority and its acting chief executive—its former chief executive, who was also its deputy chairman, has been retired, neatly removed, because he opposed privatisation—has replied: The appointee's role is to look at surplus land to see what development opportunities there may be and, to ensure that we obtain the maximum returns possible from these possibilities. The next sentence refers to the need to ensure that we get the best returns from surplus land.

Photo of Mr Barry Porter Mr Barry Porter , Wirral South

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I have listened with interest to the hon. Gentleman's speech, which is partly a Second Reading speech and partly more appropriate to Committee stage but the hon. Gentleman is not addressing his mind or his speech to the timetable motion. Is it not time that somebody intervened—

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

Order. I have heard nothing out of order from the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Pike).

Photo of Mr Peter Pike Mr Peter Pike , Burnley

I have been following the arguments of other hon. Members who have spoken. This is one of the important issues that we shall not be able to debate sufficiently because we have only an hour and a half on this important principle.

Many organisations, such as the Ramblers Association, anglers' associations, and many others, are still extremely fearful about the consequences of the legislation.

Tomorrow we shall discuss sewage treatment works and the problems of pollution entering the rivers because the use of storm overflows is exceeding consent and they are being used on too many occasions. We need time to debate such problems, but the Government are afraid to debate them because they know that they are responsible for the present position and that they must accept—

It being one hour after commencement of proceedings on the motion, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to order [6 February.]

The House divided: Ayes 285, Noes 168.

Division No. 271][4.34 pm
AYES
Adley, RobertAlison, Rt Hon Michael
Aitken, JonathanAmess, David
Alexander, RichardAmos, Alan
Arbuthnot, JamesForth, Eric
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)Fox, Sir Marcus
Ashby, DavidFreeman, Roger
Aspinwall, JackFrench, Douglas
Atkins, RobertFry, Peter
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)Gale, Roger
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)Gardiner, George
Baldry, TonyGill, Christopher
Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Glyn, Dr Alan
Batiste, SpencerGoodhart, Sir Philip
Bendall, VivianGoodlad, Alastair
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnGorman, Mrs Teresa
Blackburn, Dr John G.Gow, Ian
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir PeterGrant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Bonsor, Sir NicholasGreenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Boscawen, Hon RobertGreenway, John (Ryedale)
Boswell, TimGregory, Conal
Bottomley, PeterGriffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Bottomley, Mrs VirginiaGrist, Ian
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)Ground, Patrick
Bowis, JohnGummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir RhodesHague, William
Braine, Rt Hon Sir BernardHanley, Jeremy
Brandon-Bravo, MartinHannam, John
Brazier, JulianHargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Bright, GrahamHargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Brooke, Rt Hon PeterHaselhurst, Alan
Browne, John (Winchester)Hayes, Jerry
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney
Buck, Sir AntonyHayward, Robert
Budgen, NicholasHeathcoat-Amory, David
Burns, SimonHeddle, John
Burt, AlistairHeseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Butcher, JohnHicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Butler, ChrisHicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)
Butterfill, JohnHiggins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Hind, Kenneth
Carrington, MatthewHogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Carttiss, MichaelHolt, Richard
Cash, WilliamHordern, Sir Peter
Channon, Rt Hon PaulHoward, Michael
Chapman, SydneyHowarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Chope, ChristopherHowell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)
Churchill, MrHughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)Hunter, Andrew
Colvin, MichaelHurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Conway, DerekJack, Michael
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)Jackson, Robert
Coombs, Simon (Swindon)Janman, Tim
Cope, Rt Hon JohnJones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Cormack, PatrickJones, Robert B (Herts W)
Couchman, JamesJopling, Rt Hon Michael
Cran, JamesKellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Critchley, JulianKey, Robert
Curry, DavidKing, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)Kirkhope, Timothy
Davis, David (Boothferry)Knapman, Roger
Day, StephenKnight, Greg (Derby North)
Devlin, TimKnight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Dickens, GeoffreyKnowles, Michael
Dicks, TerryKnox, David
Dorrell, StephenLamont, Rt Hon Norman
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesLatham, Michael
Dover, DenLawrence, Ivan
Dunn, BobLawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Durant, TonyLee, John (Pendle)
Dykes, HughLeigti, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Eggar, TimLightbown, David
Emery, Sir PeterLilley, Peter
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Evennett, DavidLyell, Sir Nicholas
Fallon, MichaelMcCrindle, Robert
Favell, TonyMacfarlane, Sir Neil
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Fishburn, John DudleyMaclean, David
Forman, NigelMcLoughlin, Patrick
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Madel, DavidSainsbury, Hon Tim
Major, Rt Hon JohnSayeed, Jonathan
Malins, HumfreyScott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Mans, KeithShaw, David (Dover)
Maples, JohnShaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Marland, PaulShaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Marlow, TonyShersby, Michael
Marshall, John (Hendon S)Skeet, Sir Trevor
Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Mates, MichaelSoames, Hon Nicholas
Maude, Hon FrancisSpeller, Tony
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir PatrickSpicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
Miller, Sir HalSpicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Mills, IainSquire, Robin
Miscampbell, NormanStanbrook, Ivor
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Mitchell, Sir DavidStern, Michael
Moate, RogerStevens, Lewis
Monro, Sir HectorStokes, Sir John
Montgomery, Sir FergusStradling Thomas, Sir John
Moore, Rt Hon JohnSumberg, David
Morrison, Sir CharlesSummerson, Hugo
Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)Tapsell, Sir Peter
Moss, MalcolmTaylor, Ian (Esher)
Moynihan, Hon ColinTaylor, John M (Solihull)
Mudd, DavidTaylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Neale, GerrardThompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Nelson, AnthonyThompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Neubert, MichaelThorne, Neil
Newton, Rt Hon TonyThurnham, Peter
Nicholls, PatrickTownend, John (Bridlington)
Nicholson, David (Taunton)Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Norris, SteveTracey, Richard
Onslow, Rt Hon CranleyTrippier, David
Oppenheim, PhillipTwinn, Dr Ian
Page, RichardVaughan, Sir Gerard
Paice, JamesWaddington, Rt Hon David
Parkinson, Rt Hon CecilWakeham, Rt Hon John
Patnick, IrvineWaldegrave, Hon William
Patten, John (Oxford W)Walden, George
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyWalker, Bill (T'side North)
Pawsey, JamesWaller, Gary
Porter, Barry (Wirral S)Walters, Sir Dennis
Portillo, MichaelWard, John
Powell, William (Corby)Warren, Kenneth
Raffan, KeithWatts, John
Raison, Rt Hon TimothyWells, Bowen
Rathbone, TimWheeler, John
Redwood, JohnWhitney, Ray
Renton, TimWiddecombe, Ann
Rhodes James, RobertWiggin, Jerry
Riddick, GrahamWilshire, David
Ridley, Rt Hon NicholasWolfson, Mark
Ridsdale, Sir JulianWood, Timothy
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)Woodcock, Dr. Mike
Roe, Mrs MarionYoung, Sir George (Acton)
Rossi, Sir HughYounger, Rt Hon George
Rost, Peter
Rowe, AndrewTellers for the Ayes:
Rumbold, Mrs AngelaMr. Tristan Garel-Jones and
Ryder, RichardMr. Alan Howarth.
Sackville, Hon Tom
NOES
Abbott, Ms DianeBray, Dr Jeremy
Allen, GrahamBrown, Gordon (D'mline E)
Anderson, DonaldBrown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)
Archer, Rt Hon PeterBuckley, George J.
Armstrong, HilaryCaborn, Richard
Ashley, Rt Hon JackCallaghan, Jim
Ashton, JoeCampbell, Menzies (Fife NE)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Campbell-Savours, D. N.
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)Canavan, Dennis
Battle, JohnCartwright, John
Beckett, MargaretClark, Dr David (S Shields)
Beith, A. J.Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)
Bidwell, SydneyClay, Bob
Boateng, PaulClelland, David
Boyes, RolandClwyd, Mrs Ann
Bradley, KeithCohen, Harry
Cook, Robin (Livingston)Madden, Max
Corbyn, JeremyMahon, Mrs Alice
Cousins, JimMarshall, David (Shettleston)
Cox, TomMarshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Crowther, StanMartin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Cryer, BobMartlew, Eric
Cunningham, Dr JohnMaxton, John
Dalyell, TarnMaxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Darling, AlistairMeacher, Michael
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)Meale, Alan
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)Michael, Alun
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Dewar, DonaldMorgan, Rhodri
Dixon, DonMorris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Dobson, FrankMullin, Chris
Doran, FrankMurphy, Paul
Dunnachie, JimmyNellist, Dave
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs GwynethO'Brien, William
Evans, John (St Helens N)O'Neill, Martin
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)Pendry, Tom
Fisher, MarkPike, Peter L.
Flannery, MartinPowell, Ray (Ogmore)
Flynn, PaulPrescott, John
Foster, DerekQuin, Ms Joyce
Foulkes, GeorgeRandall, Stuart
Fraser, JohnRees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Fyfe, MariaReid, Dr John
Galloway, GeorgeRichardson, Jo
Garrett, John (Norwich South)Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)Robertson, George
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr JohnRogers, Allan
Godman, Dr Norman A.Rooker, Jeff
Gould, BryanSedgemore, Brian
Graham, ThomasSheerman, Barry
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Grocott, BruceSkinner, Dennis
Harman, Ms HarrietSmith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Hattersley, Rt Hon RoySmith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Haynes, FrankSmith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Henderson, DougSnape, Peter
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)Soley, Clive
Hood, JimmySteinberg, Gerry
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)Stott, Roger
Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)Strang, Gavin
Howells, GeraintStraw, Jack
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Hughes, John (Coventry NE)Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)Turner, Dennis
Hughes, Roy (Newport E)Vaz, Keith
Ingram, AdamWall, Pat
Janner, GrevilleWallace, James
Jones, Barry (Alyn S Deeside)Walley, Joan
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Kennedy, CharlesWareing, Robert N.
Kinnock, Rt Hon NeilWatson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
Lestor, Joan (Eccles)Wigley, Dafydd
Livingstone, KenWilliams, Rt Hon Alan
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Lofthouse, GeoffreyWilson, Brian
McAllion, JohnWinnick, David
McAvoy, ThomasWise, Mrs Audrey
McCartney, IanWorthington, Tony
Macdonald, Calum A.Wray, Jimmy
McFall, JohnYoung, David (Bolton SE)
McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
McKelvey, WilliamTellers for the Noes:
Maclennan, RobertMr. Ken Eastham and
McWilliam, JohnMrs. Llin Golding.

Question accordingly agreed to.