Orders of the Day — Football Grounds (Safety)

– in the House of Commons at 7:23 pm on 30th January 1990.

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Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook 7:23 pm, 30th January 1990

I beg to move,

That this House welcomes the thorough and thoughtful report made by Lord Justice Taylor into the causes of the Hillsborough disaster and regards its proposals as the basis for major improvements in the organisation of Association Football; endorses his outright rejection of the football identity card scheme and regrets the time and money which has been wasted on a scheme generally accepted as likely to increase rather than reduce the risk of disorder and injury at football grounds; and calls upon the Government to introduce the changes in the criminal law which the report recommends, to initiate discussions with football clubs and football supporters about the cost and advisability of all-seat grounds for every league club and to reduce the pools betting duty to its pre-1982 level, thereby releasing money which would be available for many of the improvements in safety and facilities in football grounds recommended by Lord Justice Taylor.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

Mr. Speaker has selected the amendment in the name of the Prime Minister.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

I shall not spend much time on the unlamented football identity card scheme. The debate is about improving safety at football grounds and the conditions in which football is watched. As Lord Justice Taylor makes clear, the identity card scheme, far from assisting to achieve those objectives, would have made football grounds more dangerous and more disorderly.

There are only two things that need to be said by way of requiem about the identity card proposal. First, it was a diversion which delayed real progress towards improvement over two years. Second, by advocating the scheme, the Government, as well as showing how little they understood about football, demonstrated their scant concern for the people who live and work in the immediate vicinity of football grounds. We know that identity card schemes, had they even reduced hooliganism inside football grounds, which in itself is debatable, as Lord Justice Taylor said, would have made hooliganism a feature immediately outside football grounds. To compound that mistake, the Home Secretary, in a long statement yesterday, had absolutely nothing to say about safety and civil order outside and around football grounds. Yet the safety and well-being of the shops and houses in those areas should be an essential part of any new deal for football.

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North

The right hon. Gentleman has talked about shops and houses near football grounds. He seems to forget that a successful membership scheme in my constituency has resulted in peace around the football ground on Saturday afternoons. It has been welcomed by residents, shopkeepers and pub landlords in the town and has had a contrary effect to the effect about which the right hon. Gentleman is trying to mislead the House.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

I have heard the hon. Gentleman make that point often; but does he not know the nature of the Luton scheme, or does he choose to misinterpret it? The Luton scheme is intended to, and does, keep supporters out of the ground altogether. That was never the intention of anything that even the Government suggested. The hon. Gentleman cannot compare the Luton scheme with any scheme which might apply to the whole Football League. He does his case no service by attempting to do so.

Our support for the changes in the criminal law which Lord Justice Taylor recommends is based on our desire to see improvements in the conduct inside football grounds and our determination to ensure that people with shops and houses in the areas around football grounds should be able to live in peace on Saturday afternoons and Wednesday evenings. Were the Home Secretary to introduce the changes in the law which the Taylor report proposes, we would support them. We would support a more vigorous use of exclusion orders to ensure that hooligans were kept away from the game. We urge the Home Secretary to remind magistrates, who have not made use of that power as extensively as they might, that it is available to them.

We support the extension of attendance orders, which could prevent convicted hooligans from even approaching a football ground on a Saturday afternoon, by requiring them to perform community service on match days. We urge the Home Secretary to make available sufficient attendance centres to give real force to such punishment. We support the proposal that racial and obscene chanting should become a criminal offence. We understand perfectly well, as the report makes clear, that in some circumstances such behaviour is already a prosecutable offence, but Lord Justice Taylor is right to say that making it a specific offence in and around football grounds will concentrate the minds of those who might indulge in such behavious and the minds of those who want to arrest and prosecute them.

I hope that, when the Home Secretary has completed his passages of ritual abuse, he will make it clear whether the Government are as positive as the Opposition in their support for those Taylor proposals.

Yesterday the right hon. and learned Gentleman was equivocal about the need for the new powers and evasive about the Government's attitude to them so I asked him directly, "Will he, or will he not, implement those parts of the report which not only take direct action against hooliganism inside grounds, but provide protection to families who live near football clubs?" I repeat and emphasise that were the right hon. and learned Gentleman to introduce such legislation he would certainly have our wholehearted support.

As well as omitting any reference to the problems outside grounds, the Home Secretary had nothing to say yesterday about those aspects of crowd control, encouraged over the years by the Government, which, as Lord Justice Taylor said, are a stimulus, rather than a deterrent, to brutal behaviour. Opposition Members warned the Government about the problems of high and spiked perimeter fences. I now ask the Home Secretary whether he supports Lord Taylor's call for their removal. Opposition Members warned against supporters being treated like prisoners and locked into grounds until it was thought convenient for them to leave. Will the Home Secretary endorse our view that to treat supporters like savages is to encourage them to behave like savages? For that matter, we asked for legislation against ticket touts; Lord Justice Taylor makes the same demand. Will the Home Secretary now act on that proposal? Until now, the right hon. and learned Gentleman has been prepared fully to endorse only one item in the Taylor report.

Everybody agrees that there is a desperate need for an improvement in the organisation of association football and the standards and conditions of the grounds at which it is played. Today we must decide whether the Government wish to assist in making that progress or whether they wish simply to strike another tough posture to cover their embarrassment over the identity card fiasco. Yesterday, to the surprise, I think, of some Conservative Back Benchers as well to Opposition Members' surprise, he made a statement that was wholly at odds with the established philosophy of the Government and the new Tory party. A Government who normally condemn intervention in any form and who regard regulation as always damaging and usually distasteful announced that they proposed to intervene to regulate and control our national game as the game is not controlled or regulated in any other western country. I hope that the Home Secretary—I know him to be a philosopher—will describe the principles behind that sudden change of heart and his new enthusiasm for regulation and intervention.

Of course we all agree that the Government are right and that the Government have a right—indeed, they have a duty—to intervene to ensure the safety of football grounds. It is also the Government's right—indeed, the Government's duty—to regulate to ensure that football matches are conducted in a way that is acceptable to the population in general. I want to make absolutely clear my position on the way in which the Government should discharge that duty. For my part, enthusiast for the game though I am, I should be prepared to watch football clubs go bankrupt and the game change out of all recognition if that was the only way of protecting life, avoiding injury and preventing hooliganism. Over the years, the debate has been too much concerned with the problems internal to football and not sufficiently concerned with football's place in society.

I do not believe, however, that those proper objectives, which I hope the Home Secretary seeks—the protection of life, the avoidance of injury and the prevention of hooliganism—will be best achieved by the Government's simply announcing that all football grounds must replace their terraces with seats in 10 years' time and that first and second division clubs must do so by 1994. The problem is far more complex than that; there is much more to be done than that; and much greater understanding is needed than that implies.

Photo of Mr Rhodri Morgan Mr Rhodri Morgan , Cardiff West

Will my hon. Friend accept it from me that one of the problems to be dealt with is that third and fourth division clubs can certainly not afford the move to all-seater stadiums, even over nine years? The only way of solving the problem is for local authorities to be given a share of the pools funds levies to build multi-purpose stadiums for soccer, hockey, summer athletics and a wide range of other sports, as is done in every other civilised country.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

I want to deal in a moment with the financing of all the improvements that we all want to be made. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. Morgan) says that some third and fourth division clubs may go out of business if they are not given proper financial assistance in introducing all-seater stadiums. I disagree with him in one particular: I fear that some second, and perhaps even first, division clubs will go out of business. I know that the Minister for Sport has a tenuous relationship with Millwall football club in his constituency. [HON. MEMBERS: "Charlton."] All right, just outside his constituency. I know that he has a relationship with that club. Millwall told me that he had written asking whether he might visit the club in the following season, and that it had replied that the fixture list for the following season had not yet been published and it was not sure which division it would be in anyway. Perhaps the Minister for Sport would care to ask Millwall how it will fare in the conversion to all-seater stadiums. There are clubs in the first division—Wimbledon may be one and Millwall may be another—that may find themselves in mortal difficulty by 1994 unless some specific assistance is given in providing them with the facilities that they need.

I repeat what I said yesterday: I am in favour of replacing the terraces by seats. The argument concerns the way in which that should be done. The Government delude themselves if they think that, by simply announcing that it is a statutory obligation that must be observed by an arbitrary date, they will have solved all the problems of football. Let me give an example, which the Home Secretary found it difficult to comprehend yesterday in the brief time that was available to me to explain to him the realities of the situation. Whether the Home Secretary likes it or not, and whether I like it or not—and, heaven knows, I have no wish to stand on the terraces any more; I want to watch football from the comfort of a seat—

Photo of Mr Chris Patten Mr Chris Patten , Bath

Bourgeois deviation.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

Absolutely.

I am passionately enthusiastic about seats being available for everyone who wants them. But whether the Home Secretary likes it or not, whether he finds it deviant or not, and whether it is to my liking or not, a substantial number of law-abiding supporters prefer to stand and, whether the Home Secretary understands that or not, that will cause him great problems in 1994 unless he is prepared to accommodate them. Queen's Park Rangers replaced part of its terraces with seats and then had to replace the seats with terraces because the supporters chose not to sit down but to stand in aisles and gangways, and that is a much more dangerous business than standing on terraces.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

As my right hon. Friend reminds me, so did Coventry.

I hope that I shall not be breaching any confidence if I tell the House that, as we left the Chamber yesterday, I asked the Home Secretary, "Is it really right that football supporters can stand up as long as they stand up in front of a seat?" The Home Secretary, with his usual charm, said, "Don't be stupid. Of course it is."

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

I am sure that I did not say anything of the sort, but if I had said it, it would have been entirely accurate. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that the proposal made by Taylor is that the licensing authority will, by stages, eventually prevent clubs from inviting people into areas where there are no seats. It has absolutely nothing to do with the obligations of those who are admitted to those areas, and the right hon. Gentleman must face up to that. Yesterday he made the nonsensical proposition that what Taylor proposed would involve making it a criminal offence for anyone to stand up in the stand. I have never heard such arrant nonsense in all my life.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

I assure you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that the Home Secretary and I are not in collusion as a two-man comedy act. I had no idea that he would answer in that way.

However, the right hon. and learned Gentleman has confirmed my point. Nobody is suggesting that Taylor would make it a criminal offence to stand up—[Interruption.] Well, I am suggesting that Taylor will not make it a criminal offence to stand up. However, unless the Home Secretary behaves sensibly, in some grounds people will stand up in front of the seats in large numbers. If the Home Secretary would be so good as to consult the various police organisations, he would discover that the police regard standing in seated areas as a far greater threat to safety, to order and to the good conduct of the game than standing on the terraces. It is no good the Home Secretary brushing these facts of life aside, because if he turns round he will see that those of his hon. Friends who have some acquaintance with football are confirming that these are real problems. I draw them to the right hon. and learned Gentleman's attention only because I want them solved.

If the Home Secretary hopes to overcome those real problems, which until today it appears that he did not know existed, he will have to take the game with him rather than attempt to impose his and the Government's will on the game.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt , Bury North

The problems to which the right hon. Gentleman refers go right to the heart of the issue. He is seeking to defend the right of people to stand on the terraces. If he has read the opening chapters of the Taylor report, I cannot believe that he does not realise that, as Taylor states, this is the ninth report on crowd safety and that it is adherence to the culture that he is talking about that has eventually caused the disasters that we have seen. Taking all the factors that he has described into account, I cannot believe that he regards what he has said as the right answer. How can the right hon. Gentleman disagree with the weight of evidence after so many disasters and so many other reports?

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

If the hon. Gentleman will do me the courtesy of reading what I have said in Hansard when he gets it tomorrow, he will find that all I have done up to now is to draw the Home Secretary's attention to a problem that he will face if he proceeds in this way—

Photo of David Blunkett David Blunkett Opposition Spokesperson (Local Government & Poll Tax), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for giving way. I intervene only because of the intervention that has just been made by the hon. Member for Bury, North (Mr. Burt) and the hon. Gentleman's erroneous suggestion. The disaster at Hillsborough on 15 April was not caused because sufficient seats were not available in the stadium or because the club had not invested in proper facilities. As everyone knows, and as Taylor has confirmed, it was caused because of the total inadequacies of the planning and organisation at that game, the lack of co-ordination, the inadequacy of the access, and the penning and the fencing at the Leppings lane end. I do not want any hon. Member ever to repeat again in the House that the disaster had anything to do with whether there were or were not seats.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making that correction. He has enabled me to move on to my next point and to tell the House that, as I have already spoken for almost a quarter of an hour—thanks to interventions—I must now make progress so that other hon. Members can speak in this short debate.

I said a moment ago, and I repeat, that if progress is to be made towards all-seater stadiums—as we have now come to call them, although it is a new term that is not usually applied to football—the Government will have to take the game with them rather than attempt to impose their will upon it.

The Taylor report, concentrating as it did on the way in which supporters have been treated over the years, could be the basis for real co-operation between supporters, the clubs and the Government. What concerns me and my hon. Friends is not so much the Government obtaining the acquiescence of directors, who will come up smiling whatever happens, but that the Government should work in a way that the supporters know is intended to help to preserve their interests, their clubs and their ability to work with the clubs for better football.

It is important that the opportunity that Taylor provides is not missed by arbitrary and authoritarian action. That requires the Government to draw a distinction between the majority of law-abiding supporters, who want to do no more than watch the game in comfort and peace, and the minority of hooligans who must be rooted out. That distinction is not drawn by the Home Secretary telling the football authorities that he knows how the game should he organised and that he intends to impose his will upon them.

I want to try to illustrate the difference between us by telling the Home Secretary about a question that was put to me on Sunday. I shall give my answer, and I hope that the Home Secretary will give his. Yesterday my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer), who is wholly consistent in his belief in regulation and intervention, supported the Home Secretary in his insistence on compulsory seating. My hon. Friend no doubt welcomes the recent convert to central planning who is now sitting on the Treasury Bench. My hon. Friend said that his view on seating was shared by his two local clubs, Liverpool and Everton. I fear that my hon. Friend was wrong in both particulars and, indeed, the clubs have informed me of that today.

As I said, I want to pass on to the Home Secretary the question that I was asked by the chairman of Everton on Sunday afternoon to which I shall give my answer and I hope that the Home Secretary will give his. The chairman of Everton said that his ground was notably peaceful and that there had never been a suggestion that his spectators' safety was at risk. He said that his facilities were good, at least by the modest standards of British football. He went on to ask why, in my opinion, he should be required to reduce the number of standing places and to increase the number of seats at the ground when his supporters did not wish him to do so. I not only want the Home Secretary to provide his answer to that question; I hope—indeed, I warn him—that he had better reply without his usual rudeness because the chairman of Everton is also the chairman of the Merseyside Conservative Association.

I now offer my answer to the chairman's question. I believe that the successful conversion of football grounds into 100 per cent. seating is, in the long run, right and irresistible. I believe that we should encourage a speeding up of that process, but I also believe that nothing but harm can come from arbitrary and authoritarian edicts that will simply offend supporters and destroy a vital part of the game.

I hope that the Home Secretary understands that many law-abiding football supporters feel that the whole game is being condemned out of hand. We should be on their side in the campaign to improve facilities, yet they feel that fashionable opinion is against them. I take my example from the Taylor report itself. In dealing with the occasional practice of running on to pitches, Lord Justice Taylor said that it was important to distinguish between "malicious intent" and "exuberance". It was Lord Justice Taylor, not I, who used the term "joie de vivre", a phrase that is rarely heard at Hillsborough football ground. One newspaper commentator asked me this morning how I expected the police to distinguish between "joie de vivre" and malicious pitch invasion. Fortunately, in paragraph 301 Lord Justice Taylor provides his own distinction, suggesting that in association football running on to the pitch is malicious invasion, whereas at rugby union football it is "joie de vivre".

I want to tell the Home Secretary what I wish he knew—that the issue of seats cannot be separated from the question of football finance, not least if grounds are to install the facilities that Lord Justice Taylor rightly says are civilising influences on supporters. Much nonsense is still talked about sources of possible revenue. The Home Secretary compounded that yesterday by talking about the "football industry" and "commercial concerns". Dozens of clubs run at a trading loss and are kept in business only by supporters' raffles and contributions from directors. They are not commercial concerns, at least in one definition of the term. For them, the sources of revenue that the Government so glibly describe are simply not available. Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton can negotiate lucrative sponsorship deals but such deals are not available to third and fourth division clubs, many of whom have warned the Government during the past 24 hours that, unless an agreement is negotiated, what the Government intend to impose on them will force them into bankruptcy and closure.

Football clubs are often focal points for desirable community activity. During the past five years, we have all said that we want football clubs to do more for the community in which they exist. The hon. Members for Ipswich (Mr. Irvine), for Watford (Mr. Garel-Jones) and for Swindon (Mr. Coombs) must decide whether they are prepared to risk their clubs going bankrupt and ceasing to make a contribution to the life of their communities. It is no good the Government claiming that the vast sums of money now spent on transfer fees could or should be made available for other purposes.

Mr. Eric S. Heller:

I am interested in what my right hon. Friend says. He said earlier that he was not against the idea of all-seater stadiums, to use the Government's terminology, but that such provision would have to be made over a period of time and with Government assistance. Why do we not concentrate on that instead of arguing about whether the principle is right or wrong? If Mr. Carter believes that Everton should not have an all-seater stadium—that is not what the directors have told me—that is fair enough. That is his view, but he is as wrong in it as he is in supporting the Conservative party. I wish to make it clear that I believe that the idea of all-seater football grounds is important and right. It will take time. Let us concentrate on persuading the Government to provide the money for it.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

My hon. Friend will recall that John Stuart Mill said that if the practice is wrong, the principle is no good. If that is good enough for John Stuart Mill, it should be good enough for my hon. Friend and me. I am trying to examine whether it is possible to apply the principle that the Government suggest in the timescale that they recommend. In my view, the amount of money available makes that difficult and doubtful. I repeat that the transfer market does not provide money. It is a complicated system of barter in which, most often, players, rather than money, change hands. Clubs cannot go to Wimpey, Laing or Bovis and say, "Build us an all-seater stadium and we shall pay the bill with a striker, a central defender and a reserve goalkeeper." The few clubs that make money out of transfers are mainly third and fourth division clubs which are struggling for survival. They find young players and sell them to the first division to clear their debts. A levy on them would simply make their survival even more unlikely.

For the wealthy clubs, the problem is different. It is best illustrated by a statement made by Arsenal yesterday afternoon. The club said that installing seats would involve considerable capital costs and the maximum gate would be severely reduced. As a result, the minimum entrance price would go up from £5 to £12. For the past five years, the argument about football has centred on the need once again to make it a family game—a husband and wife taking their two children to the game for an afternoon's entertainment. If unfunded, unsubsidised compulsory seating is enforced, it will cost a family of four almost £50 to go to a football match.

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Pendle

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

No. I must go on because I have taken so much time.

It is worth noting that if the proposed price increases were made, precious few ambulance workers could take their families to football this coming Saturday. Football in Britain, like American football in the United States of America, would be beyond the means of a large part of the population.

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Pendle

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

No; I must press on.

The Government must help with the cost of introducing 100 per cent. seating. I know that that proposal horrifies the Home Secretary. Will he tell us the principle on which the Government justify subsidising the Royal Opera house in Covent Garden, which amounts to £50 per seat per performance, while rejecting assistance for football? Knowing the Home Secretary's propensity for misrepresentation, I inform him that I am strongly in favour of assistance to the arts.

Photo of Mr Joe Ashton Mr Joe Ashton , Bassetlaw

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, when the Conservative party conference is held at Blackpool, the cost of policing to prevent hooliganism or terrorism is paid by Lancashire county council? It costs £2·7 million for the week. The council has protested strongly that the Government should pay. Why does the Conservative party not pay for the policing of its conference in the same way as it demands that football should do?

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

We can take it a stage further. Last week the Derbyshire constabulary told Derby County that it could not provide policing for a match last Wednesday evening. Derby was told that, if it insisted on playing that night, the police would allow the game to go ahead only if it provided the entire cost of policing inside and outside the ground.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

My information is that Derby County paid the entire cost of policing the match. I hope that the Lancashire constabulary will follow that excellent precedent and do exactly the same when the Conservative party conference is next held in Blackpool.

I am strongly in favour of assistance to the arts. I should like them to receive more assistance than at present. To believe in that principle requires in logic the acceptance that other activities also deserve Government aid. During the lifetime of the Government, the tax burden on football has increased. Pools profits are now taxed, not at 40 per cent. but at 42·5 per cent. Were we to return to the 1979 level of taxation, pools promoters' net income would increase by £18 million. Yesterday, they told me and my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell) that if the old rate were renewed, every penny that they received would be passed on to the game. Tonight we call on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to accept that offer.

If the Government are serious in their wish to see football grounds improved, we call upon them to increase tax allowances for investment in stands and other facilities to make our football grounds more civilised. We ask the Home Secretary to approach the problem in a spirit of co-operation and possible compromise. I do not doubt that the best headlines could be obtained by denouncing football in the terms that he employed yesterday. I accept that, as the identity card scheme has been abandoned, a show of force is necessary to ensure that the retreat does not look like the rout that it is. However, there is still time for him to do his best for football. He must call all the parties together and decide on the basis of the Taylor report how real improvements can be made and financed. It is above all for that initiative that we shall vote tonight.

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley 7:57 pm, 30th January 1990

Yesterday I made a statement about the Taylor report, and I had the opportunity then to express my sympathy for the relatives and friends of those who died and for those who suffered injury at Hillsborough. To voice that sympathy again is not out of place, but I am sure that the bereaved would agree with me that the best service that we can now perform for the dead is to bend all our efforts towards preventing a similar tragedy in the future.

What happened at Hillsborough on 15 April last year must not finish as just another entry in the list of major tragedies which have afflicted football over the years. It must mark a new beginning for football in this country. The tragedy would never have occurred had the lessons from the past been learned and properly applied. This time they must be learned, and if they are, the loss of life will not have been entirely in vain.

Yesterday I had the chance to thank Lord Justice Taylor for his report. I would also like to thank his assessors, Mr. Brian Johnson, the chief constable of Lancashire, and Professor Leonard Maunder, who is professor of mechanical engineering at the university of Newcastle upon Tyne. Their special knowledge and experience were obviously invaluable.

I stated plainly yesterday the Government's response to the report, our determination to see a great change in the way in which the game is managed and a vast improvement in the way in which clubs treat their customers. I shall return to those matters shortly, but I have to say now that the Opposition's response to the challenge of Taylor has been nothing short of pathetic. [Interruption.] Opposition Members should listen carefully.

The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell) does not, of course, think that there is any such thing as football hooliganism.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

I am grateful to the Home Secretary for returning to this matter. Yesterday, when he made his grotesque misrepresentation of my position, I had not had the chance to consult Hansard. I have now done so, however, and I said that there was no such thing as football hooliganism, but that there was criminality in society of which it was a part. That the Home Secretary misquoted me, of all people, on football hooliganism proves that he is in a blue funk because of the rout that Taylor has imposed upon him.

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

I have a great respect for the right hon. Gentleman, but he has misquoted himself, as he has not got it right even now. He wil have to live with the words he used. Let me remind the House of what they were: I do not believe there is any such thing as football hooliganism. There is criminality in society and there is violence

Those were the right hon. Gentleman's words.

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

If the right hon. Gentleman does not know the meaning of the English language and if he cannot read the words recorded in Hansard, it is a poor thing.

The right hon. Member for Small Heath does not seem to think that there is much of a problem with British football as, on the same occasion, he voiced his pride in the fact that the Labour party had not supported measures to curb drinking in grounds. Let me quote the exact words as they appear in Hansard and we shall see whether he likes them: The Opposition have never supported the proposal that drinks should not be sold inside grounds"—[Official Report, 27 June 1989; Vol. 155, c. 861, 916.] He might like to compare that with what Lord Justice Taylor says in his report. As the right hon. Gentleman does not think there is anything wrong—

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

First I shall deal with the right hon. Member for Small Heath, then his right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) and then the hon. Gentleman can intervene.

Because the right hon. Member for Small Heath does not think there is anything wrong, it is scarcely surprising that he has not been exactly fertile with new ideas as to how to put things right.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

I am again obliged to the Home Secretary for giving way. I must draw his attention to the fact that what we believe is that it makes much more sense to close the pubs outside grounds and to stop the sale of drink in supermarkets than to do so inside grounds. where it is impossible to get drink anyway. That is the nature of the problem. The Government have not dealt with alcoholism and drunkenness outside football grounds.

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

That is all lovely blustering stuff, but the trouble is that it does not equate with a single word of Lord Justice Taylor's report.

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

I shall give way in a little while, but the hon. Gentleman should not get too involved with matters that are not his direct concern.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am sorry to intervene, but I had hoped that tonight's debate would be a serious one about the issues involved. I had also hoped that we would not necessarily become involved in great party conflict. Ninety-five people died—that is what I am thinking about—some of whom I knew. Can we not get back to a proper discussion as to the best way in which to deal with this matter rather than continuing this unfortunate conflict, which is doing us no good?

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

It is of the utmost importance that we should examine with the utmost seriousness what the Opposition are now saying about Lord Justice Taylor's report.

The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook, unlike his right hon. Friend the Member for Small Heath, knows that there is a lot wrong with the football industry. Yesterday, despite that knowledge, he announced that he did not agree with the central proposals in Lord Justice Taylor's report. He said that he disagreed with the first proposal of that report and today he has reinforced that rejection. He has entirely ignored what was said in that report about the attitude of FIFA and the fact that Lord Justice Taylor points out that the football authorities have always said that they would think it right to follow resolutions carried by FIFA.

The right hon. Gentleman has also ignored paragraph 61 of the report, which states: There is no panacea which will achieve total safety arid cure all problems of behaviour and crowd control. But I am satisfied that seating does more to achieve those objectives than any other single measure. He has also entirely ignored Lord Justice Taylor's conclusions and the recommendation in paragraph 90: I therefore conclude and recommend that designated grounds under the 1975 Act should be required in due course to be converted to all-seating. I do so for the compelling reasons of safety and control already set out; also, so far as association football is concerned, because the present trend at home and abroad and the rules of the world and European football authorities make the move to all-seating irresistible.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman and I might have an interesting semantic argument about this. I described the move to all-seater stadiums as inevitable, as distinct from irresistible. I urged the Government to do all it could to speed up that process, but by the agreement of the clubs. [Interruption.] That is exactly what I said a few moments ago. It is not my fault if the Home Secretary wrote his speech before he heard mine. Given that the Home Secretary has dealt extensively with one of the Taylor proposals, will he answer my question as to whether the Government propose to implement the others? We have said that we would, but will the Government give the lead?

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

The right hon. Gentleman should not be so swift to intervene without recalling the allegation I made against him and the recommendation made by Lord Justice Taylor. That recommendation is not that a move to all-seater stadiums should be brought about by agreement; the recommendation is that that move should be required. That is what the right hon. Gentleman will not face up to. Yesterday, he was cross because I was short in my reply to him. He was cross because I pointed to the absurdity and triviality of the point that he took up yesterday and again today—that somehow or other, people who stood up in a seated area would be guilty of a criminal offence.

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

Yesterday he squirmed; now he shouts, "No, no." I refer the right hon. Gentleman to what he said yesterday, as he obviously has a short memory. He said: If he persists"— he was referring to me— in making football grounds all-seater stadiums by law, is it his intention to make it illegal for a spectator to stand…?"—[Official Report, 29 January 1990; Vol. 166, c. 23.] Well, really—if the nonsensical response to Lord Justice Taylor's proposal is not that criminal offences should be imposed on spectators, but that clubs should be subject to safety certificates which do not allow them to offer standing accommodation, one despairs.

If the right hon. Gentleman is the authentic voice of the Labour party, the world can see it as a party for which no problem is so grave that it cannot be dodged, no challenge so demanding that it cannot be shirked, no obligation so solemn that it cannot be ducked. To it, a membership scheme is poison, better stadiums a curse, vociferous inactivity sublime. The nation has heard Labour's response to the challenge of Hillsborough.

Having rejected the fundamental proposal in the report, the Opposition have the sheer effrontery to table a motion welcoming the report. Having been completely supine and negative during the past years—when we have been struggling with the problem of football hooliganism—the Opposition have the brazenness to criticise us for trying to do something.

Photo of Mr Dick Douglas Mr Dick Douglas , Dunfermline West

In view of the trivia which we are hearing from the Front Bench spokesmen, can I be assured that none of this will apply to Scotland, and that we will get a separate statement? I have some misgivings about the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland because he is not present, but I want an assurance that none of these trivia will apply to Scotland. Although football is a national—and, I accept, a United Kingdom—game, none of this absolute irrelevance should be allowed to continue and if it does so will you, Mr. Speaker, show the Home Secretary the red card?

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

I am proud of the fact that, when others were not prepared to do a thing, we rose to the challenge. Our actions have not been in vain: part I of the Football Spectators Act 1989, as the House knows, will play a vital part in implementing the Taylor recommendations.

Photo of Mr David Alton Mr David Alton , Liverpool Mossley Hill

The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) put it to the Home Secretary that there were other recommendations in the Taylor report. I wish to draw the right hon. and learned Gentleman on the matter of spiked fences and cages. He will recall that, in the immediate aftermath of Hillsborough, one of the most distressing factors was the photographs of fans cruelly crushed against the fences and cages. I know that there will be some disagreement in the House about what Lord Justice Taylor has said about this matter. Will the Home Secretary give an indication of the Government's intentions on this issue?

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

I can give the hon. Gentleman more than just an indication. I said without any reservation that those recommendations were acceptable the Government; the hon. Gentleman will find that set out in the schedule which, as I said, was put in the Vote Office yesterday.

The Opposition motion asks us to introduce the changes in the criminal law recommended by Lord Justice Taylor. I have already said that we will consider the matter urgently, but before a final decision is made some consideration must be given to the possible difficulties of enforcement of the proposed new offences and the extent to which the mischief at which they would be aimed is covered by existing offences in, for instance, the Public Order Act 1986.

The Opposition ask us to initiate discussions with the football authorities and clubs about the cost and advisability of all-seat grounds. Advisability? Lord Justice Taylor makes the advisability crystal clear. The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook is merely issuing an invitation to clubs to argue the toss about whether they even now need take any action—an invitation to them either to shirk their responsibilities entirely or to hold out the begging bowl to the taxpayer, asking him to foot the bill for the decent facilities which the clubs should have provided years ago. This, I am sure that the House will agree, is not the time for talk—it is the time for action.

Photo of Mr Brian Wilson Mr Brian Wilson , Cunninghame North

I am genuinely anxious to try to clarify what has become a ludicrous debating point between the Front Bench spokesmen about all-seater stadiums. As I understand it, the Front Bench spokesmen from both sides seem to agree that we should move towards this. However, the idea that there is nothing in that worth talking to clubs about is ludicrous. Will the Home Secretary contemplate the example of Ibrox stadium in Glasgow, which is recognised in the Taylor report as one of the finest grounds in the country. It was turned into such a ground largely because of a previous disaster and report. Inside that excellent stadium there is a well-defined area in which it is possible to stand. Would the Home Secretary accept that that is not to the detriment of the ground's safety, does not in any way diminish the excellence of the facilities and should be compatible with what emerges from the Taylor report?

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

We simply cannot get away from the fact that the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook has rejected Taylor—there is no doubt about that. He said quite firmly that he disagreed with the central recommendation of the Taylor report that grounds should be required by law to be all seater. He has completely rejected that and hon. Members will be able to read what he said in Hansard tomorrow and can read today what he said in a question to me yesterday.

The Opposition also call for a reduction on pools betting duty. I am not suggesting that there may not be a case for more money to go into the game from the pools promoters. However, a change in the tax which would undoubtedly benefit the promoters would not necessarily benefit football. Instead, the Opposition should consider how much better use could be made of £18 million from television, £8 million from the pools promoters each year and £75 million promised by the Football Trust over the next 10 years. If we add up just those sources of income, we arrive at a grand total of £309 million available to the industry between now and 1999. That is twice as much as the highest estimate that I have seen of the cost of providing all-seated accommodation.

What I think is so wrong about the Opposition's attitude is that in the motion they send the football authorities precisely the wrong message. Instead of telling them that if they are going to invite people into their grounds it is their duty to see that their grounds are safe, they coo words of comfort. They say, "You need not bother too much about your responsibilities. If we get back, we will make the taxpayer cough up."

Photo of Mr Harry Barnes Mr Harry Barnes , North East Derbyshire

It cannot just be the distinction between seats and standing that determines the quality of a ground and its safety. A disaster took place in a stadium in Bradford. Safety depends on the quality and arrangement of the seats and the quality of the standing provisions. Can we get into a debate of the Taylor report in which we start to say what the quality and provisions of a ground should be?

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

I can only repeat that Lord Justice Taylor says that all-seated accommodation is not just a bright idea which has come into his head, but FIFA has accepted that that is a desirable standard at which to aim. Therefore, it is not surprising that Lord Justice Taylor came to the conclusion that, as the football authorities said that they thought it right to observe the resolutions passed by FIFA, the authorities have accepted that they should move towards all-seater stadiums.

Photo of Mr Joe Ashton Mr Joe Ashton , Bassetlaw

Is the Home Secretary aware that Wembley will soon be an all-seater stadium? If he talks to them he will find that what scares the authorities at Wembley is the thought of the IRA planting a bomb. If the bomb went off and started a panic, an all-seater stadium would take longer to evacuate. That could make it 10 times worse than if people were to run on to the pitch from the terraces.

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

The hon. Gentleman will no doubt have his chance to speak. We cannot get away from the fact that Lord Justice Taylor made a careful examination of the matter and came to a very different conclusion from that being voiced by the hon. Gentleman and had an entirely different view from that of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook.

I shall not repeat today Lord Justice Taylor's indictment of the way in which the industry has been run. But, in fairness, I should say that, unlike the Opposition, many in the industry are now acknowledging that something must be done and that they must move to all-seat stadiums. We proposed that course immediately after Hillsborough, and we shall now press ahead.

It has been said that the move towards all-seated accommodation will force clubs to turn away spectators. I can only invite those who are worried about that to read the report. Many clubs already have more seated accommodation than the total number of spectators who usually attend their grounds, and a gradual reduction in standing capacity each year will not affect them for a time, if at all.

Some say that an end to the terraces will change the atmosphere of the game, but Lord Justice Taylor obviously thinks, and I agree, that it will be a change for the better. He points to experience in Scotland and says that he is satisfied that in England and Wales, as in Scotland and abroad, spectators will soon become accustomed to sitting, and like it.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt , Bury North

The hon. Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson) referred to Ibrox park. Paragraph 76 says: At Ibrox Park…the seated areas are the most popular and tickets for them sell in preference to those for standing. Significantly, trouble from misbehaviour and physical injuries have been reduced since most of the crowd became seated. Such trouble and accidental injuries as still occur are primarily in the remaining standing areas. It is planned to convert them to seating in the near future. Therefore, even Ibrox park will become an all-seal stadium. That is the answer to the hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

My hon. Friend is right to highlight the fact that all the arguments advanced and accepted by Lord Justice Taylor are arguments for the proposition that all-seat stadiums will not only help to civilise the game and get rid of hooliganism, but will contribute more to safety than any other step that could be taken.

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

I shall give way for the last time. I must get on.

Photo of Mr Barry Porter Mr Barry Porter , Wirral South

There is little disagreement as to whether all-seat stadiums will be desirable, irresistible, or whatever the other word was. The argument is about who will pay for them. I like football as much as anybody else, but if my right hon. and learned Friend is willing to listen to the Opposition's strictures on the spending of taxpayers' money, he should remember that there is rugby union and the national stadium at Twickenham, there is rugby league all over the place and it is growing, and there might even be a tiddlywink stadium in Barnsley. I know not where it will end. Surely we should be concentrating on where the money will come from to do that which is desirable and fair.

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

One cannot get away from the fact that, under our law, those who invite people on to their premises for reward must make their premises safe. It would be wrong for us to send out any sort of message from this place that the duty to make those premises safe rests on anyone other than the football clubs.

Let me deal now with Lord Justice Taylor's detailed recommendations about safety. The House knows that we accept them, and hon. Members have now had the opportunity to read the schedule that I have placed in the Vote Office. The licensing authority which will bring about all-seat stadiums in the way that I have described will be there to review and to keep under scrutiny the way in which local authorities carry out their safety functions.

There are a number of specific recommendations for the amendment of the green guide. That, as hon. Members will know, is a document published by the Home Office and the Scottish Office that owes its origins to the technical working party set up by Lord Wheatley in the course of preparing his report on crowd safety at sports grounds, which was published in 1972.

That document will now be revised in the light of the Taylor recommendations, but I should say, in justice to those who have been responsible for it over the years, that it has stood the test of time remarkably well, and it is difficult not to conclude that, if its guidance had been properly followed and applied at Hillsborough, and more recently at Middlesbrough, neither accident would have happened.

I should say a word about the role of the police in ensuring safety and effective crowd control. A key issue here is the liaison between the clubs and the police. There must be no opportunity for each to stand aside thinking that the other is in charge, and Lord Justice Taylor's recommendation that there should be a written statement of the respective functions of club and police for crowd safety and control is one that I can readily endorse.

I also welcome Lord Justice Taylor's recommendation that clubs should recruit and train sufficient fit, active and robust stewards, not least because the more capable the stewards, the less clubs will need to call for special police services, thus releasing police officers for duties outside the ground not necessarily connected with football—a benefit to the public generally.

For those reasons, and because it is right in principle, I support the report's recommendation that police authorities should ensure that charges made to clubs for policing inside grounds are realistic.

Lord Justice Taylor has much to say about hooliganism. Like many before him, he has concluded that no single measure will defeat football hooliganism, and even a package of measures will take time to have effect.

In recent years, the Government have been attacking the problem on many fronts. We have taken action against alcohol abuse in the Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc.) Act 1985 and we have introduced in section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 a new offence of disorderly behaviour. The police have developed their tactics by making effective use of closed circuit television at grounds and by increasing the gathering and use of intelligence on hard-core hooligans. At the end of 1989, we established the national football intelligence unit, which has already made a good start in compiling and collating centrally intelligence on the most serious and persistent football hooligans.

As the House knows, part II of the Football Spectators Act 1989 gives the court powers to impose restriction orders on those convicted of football-related offences. Those subject to restriction orders will be prevented from travelling to key matches abroad. Its provisions will have a salutary effect on those hooligans whose disgraceful behaviour abroad has so blackened the reputation of football. We plan to implement part II as soon as practical arrangements can be made and the remaining parliamentary procedures have been completed.

I said yesterday that, following bilateral agreements with other countries, our courts will be able to impose restriction orders on offenders convicted abroad of corresponding football-related offences. We are giving priority to concluding an agreement with the Italian authorities. We aim to have those arrangements in place before the World cup. I expect the provisions of part II to have a useful deterrent effect on the behaviour of football spectators abroad.

I made it clear yesterday that the fact that we are not establishing a football membership authority does not mean that there will be any let-up in the fight against hooliganism. I have outlined the action that we are to take.

The vast majority of people who go to watch football matches, even in the appallingly squalid conditions that exist at some major grounds, are decent, well-behaved people, neither drunken louts nor hooligans. It is high time that more consideration was given to their interests, to their safety, to their enjoyment of their sport. If, by the measures proposed, we can enhance both their enjoyment and the reputation of the game, our efforts will have been well worth while.

Photo of Mr Tom Pendry Mr Tom Pendry , Stalybridge and Hyde 8:29 pm, 30th January 1990

All who love our national game owe a great deal to Lord Justice Taylor for making such a comprehensive, reasonable and thought-provoking report. My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) acknowledged that in his constructive and reasonable speech. By contrast, the Home Secretary missed an important opportunity to set the agenda for a sensible debate on football's future. I hope to follow my right hon. Friend's example.

Lord Justice Taylor's report should be studied closely by those connected with football at every level, whether they be directors of illustrous clubs, administrators and officials, or supporters. We shall do Lord Justice Taylor a great disservice if we throw away the opportunity that his report presents for conducting a fundamental, far-reaching and frank reappraisal of all aspects of the game. If Taylor teaches us anything it is the folly of hasty or half-hearted measures. As Lord Justice Taylor points out, Patchy and piecemeal approaches are themselves a great threat to safety. A lengthy and honest debate on the issues that Taylor raises is urgently needed. The issues are not simply a matter of right or wrong, black or white, them and us. They are complex and require detailed discussion. The report should be seen primarily as a catalyst for debate, not a tablet of stone.

In that debate, we must all recognise that we have something to learn from each other. It is foolish and churlish of the Government not to recognise the dangerous inadequacies of their proposal for a football identity card scheme that the report highlights. Rather than stubbornly closing their minds to arguments that they find unpalatable, the Government would do better to recognise the serious misgivings that Lord Justice Taylor expresses which led him to conclude that it would Actually increase trouble outside grounds.

Equally, those responsible for running our national game must take the opportunity to examine frankly and honestly the state of British football as it enters the 1990s. The report contains many criticisms of football as experienced by genuine and regular supporters, and it is time for those criticisms to be addressed. The Government should scrap completely the Football Spectators Act 1989 and present instead a Green Paper as the basis for informed and detailed discussion of every aspect of the national game. It should deal with the problems of hooliganism, safety and standards. The Government should commit themselves to a genuine debate and not a blind, prejudiced debate, and then introduce legislation that would command the support of the House. That debate should involve right hon. and hon. Members in all parts of the House, football authorities, and football supporters.

We must all acknowledge that there is no simple answer, no single transferable solution that can be applied to all football clubs, regardless of their status or position. We should applaud Taylor for recognising that and for his insight. We must accept that clubs need time and breathing space to assess the valuable work that went into the report and to consider the best way forward for football. I suggest that the proposals to phase out completely standing accommodation on football terraces for spectators who prefer to stand should be reconsidered.

Photo of Mr Lawrence Cunliffe Mr Lawrence Cunliffe , Leigh

The Home Secretary stated that no positive contribution was made to the debate by my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley). My hon. Friend the Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry), who is chairman of the all-party football group, spoke of the phasing in or phasing out of certain facilities. As an officer of the all-party rugby league group, I echo the concern that has been expressed about the imposition, virtually by law, of the all-seater stadium. It is not that we dispute the principle, but I have a list of all rugby league grounds showing that the average attendance figure is 3,500 to 4,000 per week. League grounds are now classified in the same way as football grounds. Would my hon. Friend accept a three-tier system—

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster Central

Order. Interventions must be brief.

Photo of Mr Tom Pendry Mr Tom Pendry , Stalybridge and Hyde

My hon. Friend has made his point. My point was that Lord Justice Taylor himself recognises the desirability of retaining the traditional culture derived from the close contact of the terraces".

I remember the experience, as a young boy at St. James's park, Newcastle, of being passed down over the heads of the crowd. That unique atmosphere and comradely spirit still exist today.

When my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook responded to yesterday's statement, he pointed out that a direct link between the abolition of standing areas and improved safety has yet to be established. The 1986 Popplewell inquiry into the Bradford disaster acknowledged the difficulty confronting spectators in evacuating seated accommodation even in the most favourable circumstances. Taylor states that the extension of seating to all parts of the ground would almost certainly lead to an increase in admission charges to those accustomed to watching their favourite game from the terraces.

Increased cost is not only a problem for the individual fan, because almost all those connected with the game who have considered the expense of converting stadiums to all-seater accommodation have concluded that in most cases the cost will be prohibitive and may lead to closure in some instances. The hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Mr. Evans), who knows something about football, yesterday, on television, described that plan as totally non-viable.

The report estimates that the cost of conversion will be about £130 million and admits that money from the Pools Promoters Association and any tax concessions given by the Government would be woefully inadequate to meet that expense. The report concludes that, in the absence of Government recognition of football as a communal activity and not simply as a commercial venture, the bulk of the finances for ground improvement must be raised by the clubs themselves. Where is that money to come from? Now that the spurious arguments about the so-called apparent wealth of clubs on the basis of the total circulation of money in the transfer market have been exposed—though I do not think that that point has got through to the Home Secretary yet—vie are faced with the sober reality that, for all the good work that has gone into producing the report, many of its recommendations will remain pie in the sky unless the Government recognise the need for an urgent injection of cash into the game in the interests of the whole community.

The impression currently given by the Government that they want to abrogate their responsibility to the national game is both disheartening and regrettable. The House can contrast their approach with that of the Italian Government, who recently invested £260 million in improving the standard of grounds. That is a somewhat smaller figure than that which the Government take from the game in taxing football pools.

A fundamental rethink is required of football funding in this country. If I am critical of Taylor, it is only because he did not do justice to the range of possible options for funding. In particular, he seems not to appreciate the considerable benefits that might accrue from the creation of a football levy board accountable to a Minister. The Minister would have responsibility for appointing the board's chairman, and its representatives would be drawn from the Football League, Football Association, Professional Footballers Association and Football Trust, who have done so much in making a valuable contribution to solving many of the problems that confront the game.

When such a proposal was made in a private Member's Bill that I tabled in 1986, it received all-party support. My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell), my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks), and the hon. Members for Woolwich (Mr. Cartwright) and for Broxtowe (Mr. Lester) all supported that Bill. Such a board would have powers to influence not only the injection of cash into the game but the possible acquisition of land for development by the football authorities. It would be the ideal vehicle for equipping football for the 21st century.

Although the current attitude of the Football Association and Football League is somewhat negative, as is reflected in the report, that has not always been the case. I have the minutes of a meeting in 1982 at which representatives of the Football Association and Football League all expressed their enthusiasm for the establishment of a football levy board. Given the obvious benefits that it would offer, it is not hard to imagine a revival of the football authorities' full support for it in the future. Such a board would be preferable to the current status quo maintained by certain vested interests.

The Taylor report may have come just in time. It highlights the problems faced by football, of outdated structures, grounds and complacent inertia at all levels, the problems that many of us who truly care about soccer have previously been attempting to highlight and combat.

Hopefully, the report will now stimulate the imagination and inspire the will to succeed. That will is present in football and, if it is given sincere and adequate support by the Government, it will ensure that the great majority of law-abiding supporters will once again enjoy the game they love in comfort and safety.

Several Hon. Members:

rose

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster Central

Order. I have before me the names of 17 right hon. and hon. Members who wish to take part in the debate. Less than an hour remains. I hope that we shall have very short speeches.

Photo of Dr Rhodes Boyson Dr Rhodes Boyson , Brent North 8:41 pm, 30th January 1990

I shall take your guidance on brevity, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

I welcome the fact that the idea of football identity cards has been dropped. It means that I can support the Government tonight, because the Home Secretary made a firm statement of action that must be taken. He was absolutely right, so, like a black sheep, I can come home, and the Whip will be pleased to hear that I shall vote for the Government.

A point that concerns me links with the whole question of the Taylor report. Football hooliganism is specific to football, but it is at the same time an outgrowth of a breakdown of law and order in society. We could see it in the permissiveness of the 1960s—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—often supported by Opposition Members; I should make that clear before they agree with me too cheerfully—when a decline in law and order was visible.

That concerns me now, because I see a trend in our schools which will create problems for us in the coming 10 or 20 years. There was a time in our schools—I am thinking in particular of the north, in the real soccer country around Blackburn and in particular near Blackburn Rovers ground—when schoolmasters went out every Saturday morning with their pupils and played soccer against other teams. They learned to play to the whistle, as we called it; the referee was in charge and one appreciated good play on both sides. The good spirit of British soccer grew out of that.

I began to recognise at Highbury Grove—it is more than 16 years since I left there—a decline in school soccer. On the one hand, it was a question of the wife wanting the husband to help with the shopping on Saturday mornings, a growing factor about which one could do little. On the other hand, it happened because of the pressures to earn money elsewhere, plus the problem of travelling greater distances.

Also, we had from the colleges of education at that time people who were not trained to take part in team sports. People came to us with abilities in individual sports. It was said that team sports were competitive, and these schoolmasters said that was wrong. Indeed, those who argued that way had mental levitation rather than physical ability. I recall one such person saying to me that under no circumstances would he have anything to do with team sports. So the idea of playing with, and behaving like, a team—either as a crowd supporter or a member of a team—began to decline.

Since then, we have taken two actions which the Government may regret in the long run. First, we have placed teachers on a 1,265-hour contract covering a year. Instead of it being a profession, we have proletarianised it. Whereas people in other work had the rule book bought out, teachers were given the rule book. In other words, after 1,265 hours they go home. Does Saturday morning football count as part of that number of hours?

That means that in many schools in London—I cannot speak for Lancashire and other areas: other hon. Members can—school soccer has gone. Cricket has gone as well. There are no cricket matches on Saturday mornings at the vast majority of schools in London, and soccer is already disappearing. Towards the end of my time at Highbury Grove, it became clear that we would have to cut down from the 12 teams that we had on Saturday mornings to eight, four or even two.

I believe that a discussion document will be published this summer about bringing outsiders into schools to help on the sports side. That will not do. The masters inside schools must appreciate the game, and we shall have to re-examine a contract that is based on time. After all, people tend to say, "When a certain time arrives, that's it."

We shall also have to review the tightness of the school curriculum. At present, it is too tight. Unless we have a million schoolboys playing soccer every week, with their masters and parents taking a keen interest, so that the real culture of soccer is built up again, we shall simply be indulging in repressive legislation. I agree that such legislation is necessary, but the Department of the Environment, the Home Office and the Department of Education and Science must come together to revive school soccer and cricket. Otherwise, there will be a dearth of those team games in this country.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Blaenau Gwent 8:45 pm, 30th January 1990

Because many hon. Members wish to take part in the debate, I shall be very brief indeed. I am glad to have the opportunity to comment, particularly after the speech of the Home Secretary, which was damaging to his cause and that of the Government in dealing with the whole question. I plead with him to alter the way in which he approaches the matter and, on the next occasion, to come forward in a very different mood indeed.

One would have thought. in view of the defeat that the Government suffered on a major matter connected with this issue, that they would have been slightly chastened in approaching it. They got into some difficulty because they refused to listen to the House of Commons. Time and again, not only my right hon. and hon. Friends but some Conservative Members, such as the right hon. Member for Brent, North (Sir R. Boyson), pleaded with the Government to listen to those who knew something about football, who had spent all their lives going to football matches, who understood what the situation was and were aware of some of the perils and dangers.

All that was brushed aside, and the responsibility must rest chiefly with the Minister for Sport. But others also have responsibility. The Prime Minister's edict was primarily responsible for the failure of Ministers to listen to the House of Commons. I plead with the Government, even at this late stage, to listen to us on this subject, because they will find that there is more wisdom on the Opposition Benches than on most of their own, although I accept that some Conservative Members contribute to that wisdom.

In particular, I plead with the Home Secretary to listen to what we are saying. My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) spelled out clearly and eloquently what the issues are. The Government must listen to our comments about the threat to the range of clubs if the whole programme is pushed forward without consideration of the financial implications.

If the whole programme is pushed through in that way, it is likely that some second and third division clubs will be driven out of existence. Indeed, we have been told how, even more seriously, some first division clubs could be threatened. The figures that my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook quoted of the charges to football represent serious issues that must be properly considered.

What does the Home Secretary think will happen to criminality and hooliganism if the Government drive out of existence, in many towns throughout Britain, football teams that have had the allegiance of those who live in their areas for years and generations? What will happen to the youngsters in those places? What will happen if sport is injured in many of the nation's towns and cities?

The Government do not seem to have a glimmer of knowledge about that whole issue. Indeed, the Home Secretary said, in effect, when asked that question, "It has nothing to do with me. If people have a business venture, they are responsible for the conditions in which they ask people to come and participate." I think I see the Home Secretary nodding in assent as I say that. He seems to think that that is the whole story, when it is not.

If the right hon. and learned Gentleman proceeds on his present basis, he will be rejecting the advice—as well as that of the few among his Back Benchers who know something about this matter—of the whole range of Opposition Members who know what they are talking about and who are pleading with him to use this opportunity for something other than a madcap scheme thought up by the Prime Minister as one might think something up to catch the headlines.

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

I assure the right hon. Gentleman that it is not a madcap scheme thought up by the Prime Minister. It is the proposal in Lord Justice Taylor's report.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Blaenau Gwent

I am talking about the madcap scheme that was thought up by the Prime Minister and has been rejected by Lord Justice Taylor. If he had been listening to me, even the Home Secretary should have understood the point I was making. He would have understood had he not been so hasty to intervene. I was talking about the madcap scheme, imposed on the House by the Prime Minister, that has now been rejected.

The Home Secretary should now take the opportunity to try to ensure that the fresh proposals that have come from Lord Taylor—my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook put in their correct context the other proposals that have also come forward—and all the other proposals are considered in a different way.

Before that catastrophe, fiasco or however hon. Members wish to describe the Government's previous policy, my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell) and others had made them art offer time after time in the House. They had said, "We do not believe that any great political advantage is to be gained one way or the other; let us talk, and see whether we can find a common approach to the problem." That offer has been continually rejected. My right hon. Friend extended it again following the Taylor recommendations, and today the Home Secretary has rejected it again.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman is making a great error. It is not as though the Government can boast of great triumphs in this regard; it is not as though they have displayed superior wisdom, and had all their proposals confirmed in an elaborate report conducted by a great judge. Months of the House's time have been wasted by a proposal that the Government should have known was ridiculous from the start.

Lord Justice Taylor has written of the unique position in which he has been placed: for almost the first time in history, a judge has been asked to pass judgment on what the House of Commons is supposed to have decided so solemnly. Before proceeding in such a manner and with such a tone, the Home Secretary should read Lord Justice Taylor's introduction again, and should understand that he had better listen to the views of others before proceeding along the same lines.

Can we not have the system of consultation that my right hon. Friend the Member for Small Heath has proposed? The Home Secretary talks as though "consultation" were a dirty word, but the football authorities will have to implement many of the Bill's provisions in any case. The Home Secretary talks as though this were a weak and shameful proposal. What he is afraid of is having to face the Prime Minister and telling her that he has agreed to some form of consultation. As we all know, the Prime Minister wants to run the House of Commons as Luton football club runs its matches: Luton does not allow the opposition in at all. That is an ideal system. Perhaps that is why the hon. Member for Luton, North (Mr. Carlisle) was so successful in selling his ridiculous scheme to the Prime Minister: perhaps she would like to apply here and now.

The Government will not get away with it. The next Government will have a chance to enact much wiser proposals, and it would be far better for the Home Secretary—even on the lowest ground, that of his own party's interest and his own reputation—to respond positively to the speeches made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook this evening and a few weeks ago.

Photo of Mr Michael Irvine Mr Michael Irvine , Ipswich 8:52 pm, 30th January 1990

I was one of the Conservative Members who voted against the Football Spectators Bill, because I opposed the national membership scheme. I am glad that Lord Justice Taylor has rejected that scheme. I voted against it because I considered it to be fundamentally unworkable and, although inspired by the best of motives, not targeted in the right direction. I believe that it would have damaged the finances of football clubs by seriously deterring casual spectators, and that it would have caused safety risks over and above those that already exist.

My opposition to the Bill was not based on the view that everything in football's garden was lovely; I believe that action is needed, and that Lord Justice Taylor's admirable report points the way. He singles out the squalid conditions that prevail in so many football grounds today, and I consider the point fair and relevant. Not only do squalid conditions and poor facilities drive many spectators away, but—as Lord Justice Taylor points out —they tend to brutalise the behaviour of some spectators and degrade that of others. As we know, the vast majority of football spectators are law-abiding people who detest violence and hooliganism, but squalid football grounds tend to worsen the bad behaviour to which the minority already tend. Improving facilities is, in my view, an important way of improving crowd behaviour.

Let me put in a word for my constituency football club, Ipswich Town. As I am going to say some rather nice things about the club, I suppose that I should declare my interest: I am allowed two tickets for the directors' box each season. There is no political element in that; my predecessor, who sat on the Opposition Benches, received the same facility. I readily accept it, and obtain considerable pleasure from it.

Over the past 25 years, Ipswich Town has effectively rebuilt its stadium. What is more, in recent years it has built two large all-seater stands, and it now has one of the best grounds in the country. That is a tribute to the club's foresight, and not unconnected with its excellent reputation in regard to crowd behaviour.

As a long-standing football supporter, I have some reservations—perhaps largely emotional—about the proposal for all-seater stadiums: I have stood on the terraces in my time, and there is no doubt that there is a great atmosphere there. Sadly, that atmosphere is all too often seen by the public as hooligan and over-agressive, but in fact it frequently represents the spirit of comradeship, togetherness and the will for one's team to win, and that spirit is valuable.

I understand the fears of many football supporters who prefer to stand on the terraces and who wish to continue to do so, but we must recognise that safety comes first. If Hillsborough had had an all-seater stadium, I believe that the disaster last spring would not have happened. Lord Justice Taylor's careful arguments in favour of such stadiums must be weighed against emotional considerations: I have certain feelings in my heart against all-seater stadiums but my head may lead me to support the Taylor recommendations.

In proceeding with Lord Justice Taylor's recommendations, the Government must do their utmost to take football with them. By "football" I mean not just the directors of clubs, not just those responsible for administration, but the ordinary football fans. One of the fundamental weaknesses of the membership scheme was that it alienated the law-abiding majority of football fans. Last year I received a vast number of letters about the scheme—more than on any other topic, apart from the National Health Service. I had hundreds of them, and every one was against the scheme. Ex-service men wrote to me saying that it was a gross interference with their liberties.

The scheme lost the support of the ordinary law-abiding football fan. It is most important that the Government regain the support of those people. I am sure that, by their praiseworthy immediate acceptance of Lord Justice Taylor's recommendations against the scheme, they have already gone a long way towards doing so. I hope that they will now work closely with the football authorities. I acknowledge that there must be an element of compulsion, but it is most important that the Government take the football authorities and the footballing public along with them.

Although I am against pouring vast sums of public money into a game that makes a great deal of money, I ask the Government to look at the recommendation—suggestion, perhaps—in paragraph 115 of the report, where Lord Justice Taylor makes the point that at present the payments that result in such profits on the transfer market are allowable revenue expenditure, but that investment in improvements to grounds is not. The Prime Minister made the point that too many clubs are spending too much money on the transfer market, at the expense of investment in the improvement of facilities at their grounds. Implementing the recommendations in the Taylor report will impose financial strains on the clubs. The next few years will be difficult. If the Government were to provide some tax concessions of the kind that I suggested, they would be welcome and would take undue financial pressure off the clubs. But I believe strongly that the movement towards spending money on grounds—improving facilities and increasing the number of seats—will in the long run do the game enormous good. It will attract back to the football grounds many of those fans who have lost touch with the game.

Therefore, I give a broad welcome to the thrust of the report. It will certainly have my support.

Photo of Menzies Campbell Menzies Campbell Shadow Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow Spokesperson (Defence) 9:01 pm, 30th January 1990

Now that Lord Justice Taylor's admirable and trenchant report has been universally accepted, the issue for this debate must be how it is properly to be implemented.

I have noticed with some interest the references to two developments in Scotland—one at Ibrox stadium, the home of Glasgow Rangers; the other at the ground of St. Johnstone in Perth. The implementation of the improvements in those two grounds bears careful examination. The amount of money spent at Ibrox Park was substantial. Such expenditure was possible only because Rangers football club was associated with a financial company with many interests—indeed, worldwide interests. As a consequence, the finance necessary for improvement was readily available. In the case of St. Johnstone, the change was possible only because one of the major retailers in the United Kingdom identified an opportunity for retail development that involved taking over the existing, sub-standard ground, developing it for retail purposes, and paying for the construction of a new stadium on ground that had been donated. Those are special circumstances, and it is perhaps because of them that both those examples are available to illustrate what can be done. When we look at the problem of the 92 league clubs in England and Wales we may very well find that there are not 92 similar opportunities.

Lord Justice Taylor talks about sponsorship. What has to be remembered about sponsorship is that, these days, companies do not sponsor sport or sporting clubs out of any overwhelming philanthropic desire; they do so because they want a commercial return. If one were to take Lord Justice Taylor's report to a company that could not be assured of regular television coverage and were to say, "Here is the prospectus upon which you are expected to spend large amounts of your money", I suspect that one might get quite a lot of dusty answers.

Reference has been made to transfer fees. Of course, they are grotesque, but no one has attempted to calculate precisely how much money would be available in real terms if, say, 10 per cent. of the real value of transfer fees were to be allocated for ground improvement. The hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Irvine) referred effectively to the possibility of fiscal concessions for ground improvements. Why not? We are dealing with something that will make a contribution not to the commercial viability of the clubs, but to public safety. Is it not reasonable in such circumstances to accept that there is a special case for fiscal concessions for that purpose? No doubt the Football Trust and the Football Ground Improvements Trust will make their contribution. The problem is substantial. If capacity must be cut, the ability to generate revenue is necessarily affected, so clubs will be inhibited from taking out large loans because they cannot generate the revenue to service them.

Photo of Mr Brian Wilson Mr Brian Wilson , Cunninghame North

Does the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that that point is even more true in respect of the proposal that standing attendances at grounds should be cut by 20 per cent. a year in the interim? If there is to be the stick of telling clubs that they must make their grounds all-seater, the need for the carrot of encouraging them to do that by this reduction disappears—if 20 per cent. of the revenue of many clubs is knocked off over the next five years, they will not have the money to invest in all-seater stadiums that they are told that they must invest.

Photo of Menzies Campbell Menzies Campbell Shadow Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow Spokesperson (Defence)

The hon. Gentleman's intervention reinforces the principle that I was endeavouring to explain. My only qualification is that safety must be paramount. If we have learnt anything from Hillsborough, it is surely that.

The conclusion that must be drawn from the Taylor report's financial implications is that there is grave doubt about how much money can be raised and whether sufficient resources can be generated to allow third and fourth division clubs—even by the year 2000—to effect the necessary improvements. If that happens, inevitably some of the 92 clubs in the league will close. The structure of the game will be irreversibly changed and the structure that emerges will be directly related to the way in which money is raised for those improvements and to the amount raised.

I am conscious of the fact that other hon. Members wish to contribute, so I shall pass briefly over the issue of ticket touting and say simply that I am delighted that Lord Justice Taylor has seen fit to isolate that as a potential cause of disturbance and danger. I have twice attempted to introduce private Member's Bills to deal with ticket touting but, so far, they have not commended themselves to the Home Secretary or his predecessor. Ticket touting puts at risk the maintenance of safety and prevention of disorder at football matches. I hope that, for that limited reason at least, the Government will proceed to introduce legislation speedily.

The Taylor recommendations must be implemented. It would do less than justice to the report's comprehensive nature if we did not implement them. It would he an ill-fitting memorial to those who died at Hillsborough and would be little comfort for those who suffered severe injury there. I hope that the Government will feel compelled to proceed in tandem with the football authorities. To legislate from the touch line would be far too easy, and it would undoubtedly ensure that the incorrect result was achieved. A measure of co-operation between the Government and the football authorities to implement these recommendations will bring about the best solution. It is the Government's duty to bring that about and that is why they should enter into dialogue with the football authorities.

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North 9:08 pm, 30th January 1990

The House will be aware that I and other members of the all-party football committee gave evidence to Lord Justice Taylor. At the end of that meeting, I had what was described as a "spat" with his Lordship about his attitude towards the football membership scheme. Regrettably, from my point of view and that of some of my hon. Friends, Lord Justice Taylor was against the scheme and came out against it in his admirable report. That is now water under the bridge, although I believe that the scheme will have to come back again.

It was regrettable that Lord Justice Taylor's conclusion on the membership scheme seemed to be based exclusively on the invitation to tender from the consultants to the Football League and not, as I should have hoped, on the reports in Hansard, and on the deliberations on the Floor of the House and in Committee. As the invitation to tender document had not even been agreed with the Department of the Environment, it was less than fortunate that he based much of his evidence about the membership scheme on that particular aspect.

There was an omission from the report which, unfortunately, did not comfort those who live near football grounds, and about which the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) was rightly concerned. It is a serious omission that the report dealt exclusively with football. Perhaps Lord Justice Taylor would say that his remit was to deal with Hillsborough and its effects, and with safety at grounds.

However, we must all understand that, although about 500,000 go to watch the game on a Saturday afternoon, there are many millions outside the grounds who find the spectacle of people going to games under heavy police escort, often with dogs and horses, and being marched like armies from railway and bus stations to the grounds unedifying, as do those who shop or visit relatives near football grounds. Apart from the obvious importance of safety, our duty is to ensure that scenes such as we all have seen over the past few years—some of us at first hand—around and inside grounds do not occur again.

The Opposition's negative attitude today and yesterday is disappointing. They have for ever taken the view that there is not too much wrong and that matters are improving. It is, of course, a fact that the incidence of hooliganism around football—I prefer to put it that way rather than to talk about "football hooliganism"—has declined, but the reason for that, as even the Opposition would admit, is heavier policing and the decisions being made by various chief constables. That has led to the number of arrests decreasing and a decreasing incidence of trouble.

We applaud that, but we must ask ourselves whether the massive cost of £30 million a year to the tax and rate payers is worth while for what is only a game. It may be the national game, but it is supported by a minority of people. Other sports, such as fishing, attract far wider interest than football does.

The Opposition's continual line seems to be that football is some sort of charity and, as such, taxpayers' money must be thrown at it. However, I am not unsympathetic to some of the points of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook and others, which were taken up by my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary.

There may be means by which certain amounts—I emphasise that they must be small—could be directed towards the improvement of grounds, in the same way that money comes from the spot-the-ball competition at present. However, it is not the duty of the House to see a problem and to pour vast sums into it. The Opposition, who are in the pockets of the Football League and the Football Association, seem always to take that attitude. [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."] I do not mean that they are in their pockets financially, but that for the Opposition, the Football League and the Football Association can do almost no wrong, although the hon. Member for Knowsley, North (Mr. Howarth), who is regrettably not in the Chamber, has other ideas, as can be seen from the early-day motion that he tabled today.

The implication of the Taylor report, which football must face, is that, if all-seater stadiums are to come about, whether by legislation or otherwise, they will cost the clubs an enormous amount—and I admit that. Clubs must ask themselves, as the House must, whether it is worth while at the majority of grounds. That is true of the old Victorian grounds—which are badly sited for modern conditions, which often have terrible access, which are a terrible nuisance to those around and which have aged and crumbling facilities—and even more true of those in the lower divisions. Will it be worth their while to continue in existence on the basis of having all-seater stadiums? Many of them must be asking tonight, as they did when the report was published, whether their very existence is now threatened, as my hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Mr. Evans) suggested, and has been endorsed by hon. Members.

There is an answer, which Lord Justice Taylor and others before him have put forward and of which I would like to remind the House. It is in paragraph 126, on page 21 of the report, where Lord Justice Taylor talks about ground sharing. The House, and football clubs must understand that this, regrettably for the sentimentalists—there are several in the House, especially among the Opposition—is the only way that many clubs can survive and retain their identity.

It is somewhat ironic that, about a week ago, Mr. Jimmy Hill of the Fulham football club came to the all-party committee and told us in heavily sentimental tones that he wished to see Fulham football club survive, and that it had the support of the local council. Yet, within a matter of days, if not hours, it was announced that the sale was to go ahead and Craven Cottage was to close. That is obviously a cause for great regret, but it is a sign of realism. There is no way that such clubs can afford to put in the necessary number of seats, and it would be impractical for them to do so in current conditions. Ground sharing is inevitable.

It is interesting to see from Lord Justice Taylor's report that Mr. Peter Robinson of the Luton football club, who is well known to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heller), said that, if his club and Everton were offered a new super-stadium on Merseyside, although the fans would not like it, he for one would be happy to go to that stadium. I suggest to the House that that must be the way; that in cities such as Sheffield, Nottingham, Bristol—and, indeed, London—if clubs are to survive and retain their identity, they will have to consider a communal facility for one, two or possibly three clubs. [Interruption.]

The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell) asks where Luton will go. We have Watford down the road and Northampton just north of us. We have to encourage the football clubs to take decisions that will certainly be sentimentally unpalatable to them but, realistically, are the only way in which they can survive.

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North

I cannot give way to the hon. Gentleman; he knows the time structure.

The other factor that must be remembered has been mooted on the Floor of the House before. It is that we must look towards super-stadiums. For this, we must have the co-operation of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and those Labour, Conservative and Liberal councillors throughout the country who consistently reject the idea of super-stadiums, and, indeed, of out-of-town stadiums.

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North

The hon. Member says, "Not true," but I have an instance in my own constituency. There is a 365-acre old chalk pit and a new super-stadium was proposed, but every man and woman on the county council rejected it and every villager was up in arms about it on the basis that they did not want it in their back yard.

Photo of Mr Joe Ashton Mr Joe Ashton , Bassetlaw

The world student games are to come to Sheffield in 1991. A municipal stadium has been built for 40,000 people, all sitting down, and the clubs have been asked if they would consider sharing and playing there. The rent they are asking is £2 million a year, because the new stadium has cost £20 million or thereabouts to build, and the public auditor, whom they have to satisfy, says that a fair rent as a return on capital is £2 million a year. The clubs says they cannot afford it. These are the finances that the hon. Gentleman is talking about.

Photo of Mr John Carlisle Mr John Carlisle , Luton North

I know, and I have spoken to the hon. Gentleman about that instance, but he is faced with the alternative of clubs going out of business, there being only one club in Sheffield and only one in Bristol. He must face the fact that those clubs will go out it they are forced by law to build the suggested number of seats. Also, of course, the clubs have to improve their facilities; they probably have to go for artificial surfaces, which I know are anathema to many people. If they are to become community facilities which I believe they will become, we shall see far fewer grounds—the same number of clubs, I hope, but far fewer grounds. That is the part of Lord Justice Taylor's report which I believe will have to be implemented if the 92 clubs in the Football League are to survive under the conditions he sets.

This is a last chance for football. That has been said in the House so many times, but everyone is screaming again today. Everyone is trying to assist, but we have to be realistic, and so has football. If it is realistic, it has a future. If it is governed by sentiment as it has been in the past, it has no future and it does not deserve one.

Photo of Mr Eddie Loyden Mr Eddie Loyden , Liverpool, Garston 9:19 pm, 30th January 1990

It is ironic and sad that it took the deaths of 95 football supporters to bring it home to the Government and to society in general that something had to be done about the game of football.

One weakness of the structure of the football industry—we must remember that, besides being a sport, football is an industry—is that those who go week after week to watch local teams play have had little say in how the game should be organised. Those are the people who pay their money at the turnstiles every week. As a football supporter who has been following one of the best teams in the country for more than 50 years, I agree wholeheartedly that the conditions in many stadiums have led to the problem in many football grounds.

It may not be the only problem, but the treatment of football spectators by clubs is an important element. In many football clubs, a spectator has to be a bully if he wants to go to the toilet: the facilities are so inadequate that people have to push and shove their way in. The same applies to catering arrangements. To get a cup of tea, a meat pie or whatever they fancy at half-time, spectators have to fight their way to the front of the queue. When people are treated in that way, they respond accordingly. That atmosphere must be removed from football if we are to solve the problem.

I do not want football to be sanitised to the extent that all the things that attract the working class to the game are removed. I accept that changes have to take place but I want a greater input by those who go to football matches season after season to support their clubs. Many supporters' clubs are like sweetheart organisations and do not adopt a positive attitude to the well-being of the people they allegedly represent. I am not saying that there are not good supporters' clubs; there are, but many are so involved in their adoration of the management of the clubs that they do not act in the interests of the spectators who attend football matches.

Football has been our national game. Many stadiums were built in the last 100 years. Many are in the wrong places. In Liverpool there are two football grounds, one on either side of a park. If they were being built today, they would not be in the same positions.

The report suggests that there has been far too much neglect by Government and by the football industry. We had had the Bradford disaster and many others, so there was no question of being taken by surprise. Many warnings have been flashed out to the industry and the Government, but no positive steps have been taken to remedy the problems.

I repeat that the football industry must realise that those who pay money to watch football matches have a right to have their voices heard and their views considered more positively than in the past. That will bring about a change in football supporters' behaviour. At the moment, most of the trouble takes place outside grounds and it is for their activities outside grounds that football supporters get a bad name. We must find a solution to that problem.

I attended that match at Hillsborough, and lost a relative there. The events that day, in all their drama, showed beyond a doubt that there is something terribly wrong with what is happening in football. 1 hope that the Taylor report will show us the way forward and that the acceptable changes will be implemented as soon as possible to the benefit of the game.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath 9:25 pm, 30th January 1990

Any reply to a debate such as this must start with an expression to Lord Justice Taylor of our great appreciation for the excellent job that he has done on behalf of football.

I am sorry that the Home Secretary is not yet here, because there is only one word to describe his speech. It was a diatribe unworthy of any senior Minister in this or any other Government. The right hon. and learned Gentleman completely misrepresented the report for purely party political ends and to camouflage the disaster that the Government face. That is extremely regrettable.

The problems of football are the problems of society. That is why Lord Justice Taylor was right to call football to account for its stewardship. It is the duty of the Football Association and Football League to provide a leadership that accepts its responsibilities not only for the state of the game but for the role of football in society. All too often., the bodies are seen as warring factions instead of administrators united in a common purpose. Even within the league, we have the spectacle of a conflict between big clubs and small clubs.

All that must change. We must develop a cohesive strategy, such as that called for by hon. Members on both sides of the House, uniting the national leadership of the Football Association and the Football League, involving all the clubs in the county associations and embracing supporters' associations and players' associations, all of which represent the game and represent public opinion.

Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey , Vauxhall

Will my right hon. Friend take this opportunity to say something about the way in which the Professional Footballers Association has tried to do something about the behaviour of players? It was therefore unfortunate that, because the report was deemed to be purely about safety, that association did not give evidence.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

Yes, and I am glad to say that Lord Justice Taylor makes the point that what happens on the field is often reflected in what goes on off the field. I pay tribute to Mr. Gordon Taylor, and Mr. Garth Crooks and to the officers of the Professional Footballers Association for their contribution to cleaning up the game, and I wish them further success.

I was on the subject of the responsibilities of the governing bodies. In the United States, those responsibilities are exercised through the establishment of commissioners for each sport. They are independent of sectional interest. Football must move in the same direction—and move fast. I hope that it will do so of its own accord; otherwise, such a solution may have to be imposed upon it. Football must seek the help of all those people of good will in responding to the Taylor report.

That approach is in contrast to the Government's response to the report, which I can only describe as excessively partisan. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) said, the Government have scorned the offer of a collective approach that I have made across the Dispatch Box at least four times. Both yesterday and today, the Home Secretary misrepresented Opposition Members, and especially myself, in the most disgraceful manner. We have had an exchange about it—

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Ribble Valley

I was quoting the right hon. Gentleman, not misrepresenting him.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

No, the Home Secretary was not quoting me. Is the Home Secretary saying that football hooliganism is not a criminal matter, because that is the only logic of the position that he adopted? My approach was much more effective and stern than anything that the right hon. and learned Gentleman said, and it is backed up by what Lord Justice Taylor and Mr. Justice Popplewell have said.

After describing how such people cause havoc in society, paragraph 47 of the Taylor report states: They plan their violence as a recreation in itself to which the football is secondary". That is exactly what I have been saying. It is what both Taylor and Popplewell have said. It is what everybody has said, except the Home Secretary.

I hope that, in future, the Government will proceed along the path of consultation and conciliation and not pursue the confrontation that we have seen so far. Their confrontational approach, which we could describe as "ministerial hooliganism", dominated the Committee stage of the Football Spectators Act 1989. Those of us who served on the Committee know that in the 120 hours that we spent on that legislation, the Minister for Sport did not accept a single amendment from any hon. Member, be it tabled by one of his hon. Friends or an Opposition Member. Those 120 hours were an exercise in pure political prejudice, as the Government attempted to rush through the House a measure dominated by the thoughts of the Prime Minister.

Lord Justice Taylor's report has demolished that arrogance. That is why we have seen this disgraceful performance from the Home Secretary and his colleagues, who are trying to bluster their way through and to camouflage the disaster that they have suffered. As I have said, the Minister for Sport rejected every amendment that was tabled in our 120 hours in Committee and has now had his attitude totally repudiated by Taylor. The only honourable thing for the Minister to do at the end of the debate is to resign his position at once.

We have had another exchange about all-seat stadiums and about what the Home Secretary thought we were saying about people who insisted on standing in seated areas. I remind the Home Secretary that I drew attention to that problem both in Committee and in the House. Indeed, I have given my eye-witness account of the 10,000 Leeds United supporters who were provided with seated areas, but who refused to sit down. What does the Home Secretary say about that? When the right hon. and learned Gentleman was asked yesterday what he would do about that, he said: when people go into a seater stand, it will be up to them to decide whether they stand or sit"—[Official Report, 29 January 1990; Vol. 166, c. 36.] That is the Waddington recipe for future disaster. The Home Secretary is saying that people can stand in seated areas, even though we know that it will cause mayhem and friction among the fans behind them.

I should like some answers from the Government. Do they intend to make standing in seated areas a criminal offence, and, if not, how do they intend to deal with the phenomenon that has afflicted Coventry City and Queen's Park Rangers and which some of us have witnessed ourselves? We want an answer to the question, but it is clear that we shall not get one.

I refer now to the problems surrounding the World cup, which is to be held in June. Again, the Government have not referred to that. All that the Home Secretary said yesterday was that the problems of English hooliganism that may emerge in Italy in June will be the responsibility of the Italian Government. The Government expect a foreign Government—[HoN. MEMBERS: "He did not say that."] The Home Secretary did say that. He outlined the message to the Italian Government, which was that they could do the dirty work.

The Minister for Sport has been completely unable to take preventive action about the World cup in June, because he has no names of people to disbar. The number of people against whom he could obtain orders to prevent them from attending could not be more minuscule. He has the names of only 15 people who were on the boat, which was in such a state of riot that the skipper had to return to the British port and call for the help of Kent police.

Photo of Mrs Elaine Kellett Mrs Elaine Kellett , Lancaster

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is the right hon. Member fitted with a swivel head? He constantly addresses the Back-Bench Members behind him and not the Chair.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

It is not unusual for hon. Members on both sides of the House to turn both to the right and to the left. However, it would be much easier for the House to hear the right hon. Member if he directed his remarks in front of him so that they are picked up by the microphones.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

I am obliged for that advice. You will understand my difficulty, Mr. Speaker. Naturally, I address those parts of the House where intelligence is to be found.

I wish to make it perfectly clear that we believe in all-seater stadiums. I believe in them. I said so yesterday, when I said that they are inevitable and desirable.

Cost concerns us all. First, I must declare an interest. I am a director of Wembley stadium. We have gone all-seater. We have removed 20,000 standing places and replaced them with 10,000 seats. I am putting into practice the advice of the Taylor report. Wembley has spent £25 million on that exercise of refurbishment and creating seated areas. That is a colossal amount but the cost of a seat at Wembley is the same as the cost of a seat in a fourth division club. That is the point at which we must start when we consider the financial problems.

I can tell the House the cost for each division of the football league to go all-seater. For the first division, it is £8·4 million, or £420,000 per club. For the second division, it is £9·5 million, or £400,000 per club. For the third division, it is £6·8 million, or £283,000 per club. For the fourth division, it is £4·8 million, or £200,000 per club.

Lord Justice Taylor rightly said that clubs cannot simply provide seats. They will have to put a roof over them, especially for a bad winter. That will cost at least £1 million per club. When a club puts a roof on a seated terrace, it must provide creature comforts such as toilets, a refreshment area and supporters' club rooms. That costs £250,000 per club. The minimum cost of implementing Taylor, which I want to happen, in every fourth division club will be at least £1·5 million.

The Home Secretary charges the Opposition that we have no policies. Not only do we have a policy: we have a splendid record in government.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

If the hon. Gentleman will listen, he will learn that not only do we have a good policy, we have a magnificent record in government. In 1966, when we wished to host the World cup, we took it as a duty to provide at least 50 per cent. and in some cases 90 per cent. of the cost of all the capital work needed on grounds where it was to be played.

In 1970, we encouraged Scotland to stage the Commonwealth games and, in contrast to the Government, we provided substantial funds so that Scotland and Edinburgh could acquit themselves with credit.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

The hon. Gentleman must listen to the catalogue of events; then I shall give way.

In 1975, we not only passed the Safety of Sports Grounds Act, but negotiated with the football pools authorities to create the Football Trust. With the agreement of the then Chancellor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), we agreed that no taxation would be imposed on the spot-the-ball competition. In return for that agreement, 8 per cent. of the take went to the Football Trust for the ground improvements on which we were insisting. This year, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook and I negotiated a new deal with the pools promoters which we offered to the Government. I hope that they will accept it, as it will produce £18 million a year for the football improvements—£180 million in the 10 years in question.

Photo of Mr Robert Hayward Mr Robert Hayward , Kingswood

If I heard the right hon. Gentleman correctly, he spoke about when "we"—the Labour Government—took the decision to host the 1966 World cup. What year was the decision taken to host the World cup in this country?

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

When I came to office, I was told by Denis Follows that he had approached the previous Conservative Government. He had been told that they would give every help and that they would provide motor cycle policemen to go round the country. I had to go to the Treasury to get some money myself. If hon. Members want to know the story, my autobiography comes out shortly and it is all there. It costs £14·95 and it is well worth a read. I am sorry to say that one of the people who comes out best is the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary. I hope that he will reform from his practice of misrepresenting me in view of the justice I do to him in my book.

The levy of 42·5 per cent. on the pools is a disgrace. It is disgraceful that men and women who fill out their football pools are called upon to pay 42·5 per cent. in tax, when the tax on bingo, horse racing and everything else is 8 per cent. only. I hope that the Government will consider that problem.

It is important to consider the effects that the Taylor report will have on rugby union, rugby league and on cricket. All those sports will be required to provide all-seater grounds; it is a major problem for all sports, not just football. I hope that the Government will consider it.

I endorse what the hon. Member for Luton, North (Mr. Carlisle) said about planning and local authorities. Taylor rightly calls upon local authorities to understand the need to improve and replace stadiums and to be sympathetic to planning applications. I am glad to see that the Secretary of State for the Environment is present and I hope that he will recognise that, time and time again, local authorities turn down such applications. If they continue to do so, they will sabotage the Taylor report—none of us wants to see it sabotaged on those grounds. I would be grateful for the right hon. Gentleman's sympathy in that regard.

We must consult the supporters' clubs more often. They have a wealth of wisdom and knowledge and I am sorry that much of the football industry does not take it on board. I believe that every football club should have a genuine, independent, but sympathetic and realistic supporters' club, which should work in co—operation with its club. The supporters' clubs should be represented on the new Football Licensing Authority, which we have not discussed, and the sport itself should also be represented now that the Football Membership Authority has gone.

It is important that friction does not develop in the future, because the licensing authority—acting with great powers—has no representative from football or football supporters. I hope, in a constructive spirit, that when he makes his appointments, the Minister will consider that matter seriously.

Yesterday, the Home Secretary's response to the Taylor proposal about the need to deal with new laws to prevent pitch invasions, racial and obscene chanting and the throwing of missiles was disappointing—as was his response to my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook's call for the need to provide more attendance centres. However, I was heartened that the Home Secretary said that he would look at the matter again urgently rather than merely rely on the Public Order Act 1986. I welcome that, and hope that he will do so. Lord Justice Taylor must have looked at the Public Order Act and concluded that it was inadequate. We know that it is, because the number of prosecutions for racial chanting, obscene calls or such matters is minuscule.

I endorse Lord Justice Taylor's report. I cannot do any better than to quote his fine summing up under his chapter headed, "A better future for football": I hope in these two chapters I have made it clear that the years of patching up grounds, of having periodic disasters and narrowly avoiding many others by muddling through on a wing and a prayer must he over. A totally new approach across the whole field of football requires higher standards both in bricks and mortar and in human relationships. Those words have the full support of Her Majesty's Opposition. We trust that the Government will provide the resources which will turn fine words into reality.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East 9:46 pm, 30th January 1990

Those of us who have been here throughout the debate will have heard with interest the opening remarks of the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), for two reasons. First, he addressed three comments to me. He said that I was a supporter of Millwall, that it was in my constituency, and that I wanted a fixture list for next season. I am a supporter not of Millwall, but of Charlton. Neither club is in my constituency. I do not need a fixture list for next season; we are hardly through this season.

The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook should address at the Dispatch Box now an issue which is fundamentally important. Those who were present for his speech will have noticed that during his early remarks he said that supporters who wanted to stand should be allowed to do so. That led to an intervention by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heller), who could not accept that premise. He clearly and cogently put the argument for all—seater stadiums which is at the centre of Lord Justice Taylor's report. Later on, the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook's position was echoed by the hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry), who also argued against Lord Justice Taylor and said that those supporters who wanted to stand should be allowed to do so.

It is absolutely essential to the House, and as a message to people outside the House, for the Opposition to make their position absolutely clear. Do they support all-seater stadiums along the lines proposed by Lord Justice Taylor or do they not? I shall happily give way to the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook. [HoN. MEMBERs:"Answer."] It does not surprise me that the right hon. Gentleman does not rise to his feet because Hansard and coverage of this debate will show clearly that the Opposition have rejected the main tenet of Lord Justice Taylor's report. They went further than that on a whole range of different issues and challenged his arguments on other matters. They even questioned whether the new penalties and criminal offences which Lord Justice Taylor has urged the Government to consider carefully and enact should be so enacted. It is disgraceful that the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook has not backed Lord Justice Taylor's report or all-seater stadiums along the lines outlined in that report.

The message from my hon. Friends is far clearer. Urgent solutions must and can be found to the problems that beset football. An ailing game must be treated and brought from the inward-looking boardrooms of Victorian England into the 1990s. That will not be done overnight, nor will this report alone provide the cure. We need a complete change in attitude, a new realism and, above all, courage from those who run the game and those who support it.

I recognise, as my hon. Friends have made clear, that football can creak and lumber on as it has been doing for years, bedevilled by trouble and shabby venues. Of course, change can remain a dirty word at most football clubs. Yesterday, in the intervention of the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr Ashton), we saw symptons of such an attitude when he was unwilling to accept that football is an industry, a part of the leisure industry, which has to compete for spectators.

There is simply no excuse for the raw deal that most supporters get from their clubs nowadays. Clubs must move closer to their supporters. I agree with the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell) that the views of supporters need to be taken fully into account by clubs.

But the reality is that too often in football local shopkeepers are too terrified to open and supporters have to be herded into grounds and protected every match day for their own safety by 5,000 or more police. The police are on duty to contain the problem, not to cure it. What other industry has the nerve to presume to ask the police to marshal its paying customers in and out of its premises? The police would be far better deployed in the local community and towns upholding law and order.

The football authorities should be leading the way. Like every form of activity for the paying spectator, be it cinemas, tennis or fitness clubs, football clubs must pay for the safety improvements themselves.

If every ground converted to all-seater and all those seats were covered, the Football Trust estimates that the cost would be £130 million. The calculation made by the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook was even less than that. Many clubs, particularly in the lower divisions, have attendances well below capacity and many currently uncovered standing areas will no doubt simply not be used, thus substantially lowering the cost.

Meanwhile, the Football Trust has offered £75 million towards ground improvements, and even if only half the income that the Football Association and the Football League derive from television—currently about £18 million a year—was spent on ground safety over the next 10 years, the costs would be covered in full. That is without considering the sponsorship and commercial arrangements, gate money and transfer fees, all of which provide important sources of revenue.

Photo of Mr John Fraser Mr John Fraser , Norwood

If the Minister is so keen on sponsorship, why does the chairman of the Tory party have a subsidy as a Cabinet Minister? Why does not he get some sponsorship and run round with "Rupert Murdoch" across his chest, or something like that?

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

As usual, the hon. Gentleman talks nonsense. He should concentrate on what I have just said, which is that television income alone over the next 10 years, or half that plus the money that the Football Trust has said that it will make available, would allow all the division clubs in 1999 to provide covered seating, which would meet the fundamental tenet of Lord Justice Taylor's report, with which every Conservative Member agrees even if the Opposition are divided on the merits of that proposal.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

Why have we not heard one word about the identity card scheme? Lord Justice Taylor condemned every stand that the Minister took on that.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

If the right hon. Gentleman continues to intervene, he will not hear me deal with that, which I shall be only too happy to do.

Photo of Mr Gary Waller Mr Gary Waller , Keighley

Let me stress the predicament of rugby league clubs, particularly those in the nether regions of the second division, which count their crowds in hundreds, have no access to the Football Trust and find it difficult to obtain sponsorship, but which may nevertheless find themselves, as designated clubs under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975, faced with considerable costs.

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

As my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary has clearly stated to the House, the application of the Taylor report to other sports will be given detailed consideration—not least in taking into account the point that my hon. Friend makes.

I return to the question of finance. The Opposition urged the Government to make more taxpayers' money available. It cost just under £1 million to police Chelsea football club, for example, last season, of which £140,000, net of value added tax, was recovered from the clubs—and £860,000 is a high price for the ratepayers of Hammersmith and Fulham to pay for the disruption caused outside the club and in the neighbourhood, particularly since the club estimates that only 2 per cent. of its gate comes from the local population.

It is wholly reasonable for the ratepayers of Hammersmith and Fulham to ask the Opposition why, when they face such large bills today, they should agree with a Labour party that seeks to increase taxation to pay for safety improvements at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.

There are three key reasons why we should reject Opposition calls to repeal the Football Spectators Act 1989. First, the Act provides the framework for the measures that Lord Justice Taylor discusses and recommends. Forty of Lord Justice Taylor's recommendations that impact directly on safety can be implemented by a football licensing authority, which is at the heart of part I of the Act.

Secondly, part I enables us to act swiftly in replacing stands by seated accommodation. If we did not have the legislative vehicle in place, we would not be in a position to give clubs as much time as possible to meet the timetable outlined in the report.

Thirdly, Lord Justice Taylor comments positively on part II of the Act, which will be a crucial measure later this year. Those three measures should have the unanimous support of the House, and it is sad to see Labour opposing them this evening. Those measures have the support of my right hon. and hon. Friends and of the British public. Only the Opposition parties appear divided between outright calls for repealing the Act and internal division as to how they should respond to the key safety measures that the report recommends.

Lord Justice Taylor was quite right to address himself to the invitation to tender issued by the management consultants employed by the football authorities.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

What about the identity card scheme?

Photo of Mr Colin Moynihan Mr Colin Moynihan , Lewisham East

The right hon. Gentleman asks about the ID card scheme. If he had read the report, he would know that the only reference to the invitation to tender is right at the heart of Lord Justice Taylor's assessment of the national membership scheme. I shall be more than delighted to outline it in more detail to the hon. Gentleman after the debate.

On the basis of Lord Justice Taylor's recommendations, we have decided not to proceed with the scheme's implementation. As I have always told the House, we were insistent that we would not move to the establishment of the FMA until we had given full consideration to Lord Justice Taylor's report. That we have done. However, as my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary made clear yesterday, the provisions in part I of the Football Spectators Act 1989 will remain in force, and the proposals for a national membership scheme will be put on the back burner. Work will continue to establish how Lord Justice Taylor's anxieties about the scheme can be met.

The problem of hooliganism has not gone away and it would be grossly irresponsible of the Government and the House not to give Lord Justice Taylor's package every support and to implement it. But be aware that we have a national membership scheme which, should we need it—[Interruption.] We can return to the House in due course to tackle the problem of hooliganism. As I have said many times, I believe in the national game. I want to see it fit that description—

Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.

Question put accordingly, That the original words stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 210, Noes 277.

Division No. 57][10.00pm
AYES
Abbott,Ms DianeBoyes, Roland
Adams,Allen (Paisley N)Bradley, Keith
Allen,GrahamBray, Dr Jeremy
Alton,DavidBrown, Gordon (D'mline E)
Archer,Rt Hon PeterBrown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)
Armstrong,HilaryBrown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)
Ashley,Rt Hon JackBuchan, Norman
Ashton,JoeCaborn, Richard
Barnes,Harry (Derbyshire NE)Callaghan, Jim
Barnes,Mrs Rosie (Greenwich)Campbell, Menzies (File NE)
Barron,KevinCampbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)
Battle,JohnCampbell-Savours, D. N.
Beckett,MargaretCanavan, Dennis
Beith,A. J.Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)
Bell,StuartCartwright, John
Benn,Rt Hon TonyClark, Dr David (S Shields)
Bennett,A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)
Bermingham,GeraldClay, Bob
Bidwell,SydneyClelland, David
Blair,TonyClwyd, Mrs Ann
Blunkett,DavidCohen, Harry
Boateng, PaulCook, Robin (Livingston)
NOES
Aitken, JonathanDurant, Tony
Alexander, RichardEggar, Tim
Alison, Rt Hon MichaelEmery, Sir Peter
Amess, DavidEvans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)
Amos, AlanEvennett, David
Arbuthnot, JamesFallon, Michael
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Favell, Tony
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Ashby, DavidFishburn, John Dudley
Aspinwall, JackFookes, Dame Janet
Atkins, RobertForman, Nigel
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Baldry, TonyForsythe, Clifford (Antrim S)
Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Forth, Eric
Batiste, SpencerFowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyFox, Sir Marcus
Beggs, RoyFranks, Cecil
Bellingham, HenryFreeman, Roger
Bendel!, VivianFrench, Douglas
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)Gale, Roger
Benyon, W.Gardiner, George
Bevan, David GilroyGarel-Jones, Tristan
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnGill, Christopher
Blackburn, Dr John G.Glyn, Dr Sir Alan
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir PeterGoodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Body, Sir RichardGorman, Mrs Teresa
Bonsor, Sir NicholasGorst, John
Boscawen, Hon RobertGow, Ian
Boswell, TimGrant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Bottomley, PeterGreenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Bottomley, Mrs VirginiaGreenway, John (Ryedale)
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)Gregory, Conal
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr SirRhodesGriffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Braine, Rt Hon Sir BernardGrist, Ian
Brandon-Bravo, MartinGround, Patrick
Bright, GrahamGrylls, Michael
Brown, Michael (Brigg & CITs)Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)
Browne, John (Winchester)Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)Hampson, Dr Keith
Buck, Sir AntonyHanley, Jeremy
Budgen, NicholasHannam, John
Burns, SimonHargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Burt, AlistairHarris, David
Butcher, JohnHaselhurst, Alan
Butler, ChrisHawkins, Christopher
Butterfill, JohnHayes, Jerry
Carlisle, John, (Luton N)Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Hayward, Robert
Carrington, MatthewHeathcoat-Amory, David
Channon, Rt Hon PaulHeseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Chope, ChristopherHicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Churchill, MrHiggins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)Hind, Kenneth
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Colvin, MichaelHowarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)
Conway, DerekHowarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Coombs, Simon (Swindon)Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Cormack, PatrickHunt, David (Wirral W)
Couchman, JamesHunter, Andrew
Gran, JamesIrvine, Michael
Currie, Mrs EdwinaIrving, Sir Charles
Curry, DavidJack, Michael
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)Jackson, Robert
Davis, David (Boothferry)Janman, Tim
Day, StephenJohnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Devlin, TimJones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Dicks, TerryJones, Robert B (Herts W)
Dorrell, StephenJopling, Rt Hon Michael
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesKellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Dover, DenKey, Robert
Dunn, BobKilfedder, James

MR. SPEAKER forthwith declared the main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.

Corbett, RobinMcAllion, John
Corbyn, JeremyMcAvoy, Thomas
Cousins, JimMcCartney, Ian
Crowther, StanMacdonald, Calum A.
Cryer, BobMcFall, John
Cummings, JohnMcKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Cunliffe, LawrenceMcLeish, Henry
Cunningham, Dr JohnMaclennan, Robert
Dalyell, TamMcNamara, Kevin
Darling, AlistairMcWilliam, John
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)Madden, Max
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)Mahon, Mrs Alice
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I)Marek, Dr John
Dewar, DonaldMarshall, David (Shettleston)
Dixon, DonMarshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Dobson, FrankMartin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Doran, FrankMartlew, Eric
Douglas, DickMaxton, John
Duffy, A. E. P.Meacher, Michael
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs GwynethMeale, Alan
Eadie, AlexanderMichael, Alun
Evans, John (St Helens N)Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Fatchett, DerekMichie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
Fearn, RonaldMitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)Moonie, Dr Lewis
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)Morgan, Rhodri
Fisher, MarkMorley, Elliot
Flannery, MartinMorris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Flynn, PaulMorris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Foot, Rt Hon MichaelMowlam, Marjorie
Foster, DerekMullin, Chris
Foulkes, GeorgeMurphy, Paul
Fraser, JohnNellist, Dave
Fyfe, MariaOakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Galloway, GeorgeO'Brien, William
Garrett, John (Norwich South)O'Neill, Martin
George, BruceOrme, Rt Hon Stanley
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr JohnOwen, Rt Hon Dr David
Golding, Mrs LlinPatchett, Terry
Gordon, MildredPendry, Tom
Gould, BryanPike, Peter L.
Graham, ThomasPowell, Ray (Ogmore)
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)Prescott, John
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)Primarolo, Dawn
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)Quin, Ms Joyce
Harman, Ms HarrietRandall, Stuart
Hattersley, Rt Hon RoyRees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Haynes, FrankRichardson, Jo
Heffer, Eric S.Robinson, Geoffrey
Henderson, DougRogers, Allan
Hinchliffe, DavidRooker, Jeff
Hoey, Ms Kate (Vauxhall)Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Hogg, N. (C'nauld &Kilsyth)Rowlands, Ted
Home Robertson, JohnRuddock, Joan
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)Sedgemore, Brian
Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)Sheerman, Barry
Howells, GeraintSheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Hoyle, DougShort, Clare
Hughes, John (Coventry NE)Skinner, Dennis
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Hughes, Roy (Newport E)Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark)Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Illsley, EricSnape, Peter
Ingram, AdamSoley, Clive
Janner, GrevilleStott, Roger
Jones, Barry (Alyn &Deeside)Strang, Gavin
Jones, Ieuan (Ynys Môn)Straw, Jack
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Kennedy, CharlesTaylor, Rt Hon J. D. (S'ford)
Kirkwood, ArchyTaylor, Matthew (Truro)
Lamond, JamesTurner, Dennis
Leadbitter, TedVaz, Keith
Leighton, RonWallace, James
Lestor, Joan (Eccles)Walley, Joan
Litherland, RobertWareing, Robert N.
Livingstone, KenWatson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Lofthouse, GeoffreyWilliams, Rt Hon Alan
Loyden, EddieWilliams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Wilson, BrianYoung, David (Bolton SE)
Winnick, David 
Wise, Mrs AudreyTellers for the Ayes:
Worthington, TonyMr. Ken Eastham and
Wray, JimmyMr. Jimmy Dunnachie.
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Kirkhope, TimothyMorrison, Sir Charles
Knapman, RogerMorrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)
Knight, Greg (Derby North)Moss, Malcolm
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)Moynihan, Hon Colin
Knox, DavidMudd, David
Lamont, Rt Hon NormanNeale, Gerrard
Lang, IanNelson, Anthony
Latham, MichaelNeubert, Michael
Lawrence, IvanNicholls, Patrick
Lee, John (Pendle)Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkNorris, Steve
Lilley, PeterOnslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)Oppenheim, Phillip
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)Page, Richard
Luce, Rt Hon RichardPaice, James
Macfarlane, Sir NeilPatnick, Irvine
MacGregor, Rt Hon JohnPatten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath)
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)Patten, Rt Hon John
Maclean, DavidPattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
McLoughlin, PatrickPawsey, James
McNair-Wilson, Sir MichaelPeacock, Mrs Elizabeth
McNair-Wilson, Sir PatrickPorter, Barry (Wirral S)
Made!, DavidPorter, David (Waveney)
Malins, HumfreyPortillo, Michael
Mans, KeithPowell, William (Corby)
Maples, JohnPrice, Sir David
Marland, PaulRaison, Rt Hon Timothy
Marlow, TonyRedwood, John
Marshall, John (Hendon S)Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Martin, David (Portsmouth S)Rhodes James, Robert
Mates, MichaelRiddick, Graham
Maude, Hon FrancisRoss, William (Londonderry E)
Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinRost, Peter
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir PatrickRumbold, Mrs Angela
Mellor, DavidSackville, Hon Tom
Meyer, Sir AnthonyScott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Miller, Sir HalShaw, David (Dover)
Mills, IainShaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Miscampbell, NormanShaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Moate, RogerShepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Monro, Sir HectorShepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Shersby, MichaelWakeham, Rt Hon John
Sims, RogerWaldegrave, Rt Hon William
Skeet, Sir TrevorWalden, George
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)Waller, Gary
Stern, MichaelWardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Stevens, LewisWarren, Kenneth
Stradling Thomas, Sir JohnWatts, John
Summerson, HugoWells, Bowen
Taylor, Ian (Esher)Widdecombe, Ann
Taylor, John M (Solihull)Wiggin, Jerry
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)Wilshire, David
Temple-Morris, PeterWinterton, Mrs Ann
Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)Winterton, Nicholas
Thorne, NeilWolfson, Mark
Thornton, MalcolmWood, Timothy
Thurnham, PeterYeo, Tim
Townend, John (Bridlington)Young, Sir George (Acton)
Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)Younger, Rt Hon George
Tredinnick, David 
Trippier, DavidTellers for the Noes:
Twinn, Dr IanMr. Sydney Chapman and
Vaughan, Sir GerardMr. David Lightbown.
Waddington, Rt Hon David 

Question accordingly negatived.

Question, That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 30 (Questions on amendments), and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House welcomes the thorough and thoughtful report made by Lord Justice Taylor into the causes of the Hillsborough disaster and regards its proposals as the basis for major improvements in the organisation of Association Football; welcomes the lead given by the Government in pressing for all-seater stadia, a proposal since endorsed in Lord Justice Taylor's report; welcomes the Government's acceptance of the majority of Lord Justice Taylor's recommendations; and urges the football authorities and the clubs to implement swiftly those recommendations which require action of them.