Offences Relating to Security at Aerodromes etc. I982 C. 36

Orders of the Day — Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 12:30 am on 20th June 1990.

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Lords amendment: No. 3, in page 9, line 37, leave out or".

Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

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

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

With this, it will be convenient to take Lords amendments Nos. 4, 7, 8, 9, 25, 26 and 29 to 30.

Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

The purpose of the amendments is to add the police to the list of persons to whom it would be an offence under section 21A of the Aviation Security Act 1982 and clause 37 of the Bill to make a false statement in answer to questions relating to baggage, cargo or stores intended for carriage by a civil aircraft or by sea.

The amendments also make it an offence under section 21 A—[Interruption.]

Photo of Mr Martin Redmond Mr Martin Redmond , Don Valley

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am sorry that I had to shout, but the Minister was in full flow. Do I take it that the Minister is attempting to shove all the Lords amendments through in one go, or will we be able to deal separately with those that are perhaps not strong enough or acceptable to the Opposition? I should be grateful if you would enlighten us.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring 12:45 am, 20th June 1990

I think that I can help the hon. Gentleman. We are discussing the amendments together, as suggested by the Minister in charge of the Bill. The Minister has moved Lords amendment No. 3 and is explaining the other Lords amendment grouped with it. That is the customary procedure when we deal with Lords amendments to a Bill.

Photo of Mr Martin Redmond Mr Martin Redmond , Don Valley

Further to the point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Do I take it, then, that the Minister is speaking to Lords amendments Nos. 3 to 32?

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

We are discussing Lords amendment No. 3 together with the other Lords amendments grouped with it.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

As on the selection list; that is right.

Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

As I was saying, the amendments also make it an offence under new section 21 B of the Aviation Security Act 1982 and clause 38 of the Bill to give false information to a constable in connection with the continued holding of an identity document.

The amendments would tidy up the Bill and make it clear that it would be an offence for any person travelling through our airports to give false information to those in a position to ask for information. The amendment is wholly sensible, and the House should give it the go-ahead.

Photo of Mr Peter Hardy Mr Peter Hardy , Wentworth

I had not anticipated speaking again, and I should not have done so had the Minister given way in his reply to our previous debate. In any case, my point is relevant to the present group of amendments.

The Minister appeared to pay tribute to hon. Members on both sides of the House for working together to produce a splendid Bill. In many respects, the Bill is acceptable, sound and worth while. But if, as a result of the co-operation of hon. Members, the Bill was as good as the Minister claims it was when it left this House, why was it necessary for the House of Lords to table a whole lot of amendments, some of which seem to me absurd and none of which appears to be very helpful?

I am worried about the previous group of amendments, on which further votes may well be called if the Government's attitude does not improve. As far as I can see, the amendments that were carried in the other place may well persuade the Crown prosecution service that it will be virtually impossible to bring a prosecution for an offence under the Bill. I am not a lawyer, so I do not know whether that suspicion is well founded, but I have heard nothing from the Government Benches to alleviate it.

Lords amendments Nos. 3, 7 and 9 would delete the word "or". Lords amendment No. 5 would insert the word "constable", and Lords amendment No. 8 also refers to a constable. Why do we have to delete the word "or" when hon. Members on both sides of the House were firmly of the view, before the Bill went to the other place, that that word was necessary? Why did the House of Lords decide that that word should be removed, and why have the Government accepted the omission of the word without giving this House an explanation?

I am also concerned about the reference to "a person or constable". I am raising that now so as not to have to address the House on another amendment, but my point is relevant because the amendments are grouped. I see no reason why we have to use the word "constable" and the word "person" when either would suffice. A policeman is a human being, is he not? Or perhaps the Government have changed their approach to the constabulary. Do we need to insert the word "constable" when hon. Members decided that it was not necessary?

The Minister has not persuaded us at all; he has given no explanation, but he calls us saboteurs for seeking to defend a decision that the House enthusiastically and unanimously endorsed. That is a foolish and ill-advised approach. He should consider his position a little more carefully.

Question put, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 108, Noes 18.

Division No. 246][12.50 am
AYES
Alison, Rt Hon MichaelHind, Kenneth
Amess, DavidHowarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Amos, AlanIrvine, Michael
Arbuthnot, JamesJack, Michael
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Jackson, Robert
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)Janman, Tim
Ashby, DavidJones, Robert B (Herts W)
Batiste, SpencerJopling, Rt Hon Michael
Beith, A. J.King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Boswell, TimLightbown, David
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)Lilley, Peter
Bowis, JohnLivsey, Richard
Brandon-Bravo, MartinLuce, Rt Hon Richard
Brazier, JulianLyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Bright, GrahamMcLoughlin, Patrick
Brooke, Rt Hon PeterMichie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)Mitchell, Sir David
Burns, SimonMonro, Sir Hector
Burt, AlistairMoss, Malcolm
Butterfill, JohnNeubert, Michael
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)Nicholls, Patrick
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Norris, Steve
Carrington, MatthewPage, Richard
Channon, Rt Hon PaulPaice, James
Chapman, SydneyPatnick, Irvine
Chope, ChristopherPorter, David (Waveney)
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)Raffan, Keith
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Day, StephenSackville, Hon Tom
Devlin, TimShaw, David (Dover)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesShelton, Sir William
Dover, DenShepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Durant, TonyStewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Fairbairn, Sir NicholasSummerson, Hugo
Fallon, MichaelTaylor, Ian (Esher)
Favell, TonyTaylor, John M (Solihull)
Fearn, RonaldThompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Fishburn, John DudleyThompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)Thurnham, Peter
Forth, EricTwinn, Dr Ian
Franks, CecilWalker, Bill (T'side North)
Freeman, RogerWallace, James
Garel-Jones, TristanWaller, Gary
Gill, ChristopherWardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Goodlad, AlastairWatts, John
Greenway, John (Ryedale)Wells, Bowen
Gregory, ConalWheeler, Sir John
Ground, PatrickWiddecombe, Ann
Hague, WilliamWigley, Dafydd
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)Wilkinson, John
Hanley, Jeremy
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)Tellers for the Ayes:
Harris, DavidMr. Nicholas Baker and Mr. Timothy Wood.
Hayward, Robert
NOES
Ashton, JoeMahon, Mrs Alice
Buckley, George J.Meale, Alan
Cohen, HarryNellist, Dave
Corbyn, JeremyPatchett, Terry
Cryer, BobPowell, Ray (Ogmore)
Graham, ThomasRedmond, Martin
Hardy, PeterSkinner, Dennis
Haynes, Frank
Hood, JimmyTellers for the Noes:
Illsley, EricMr. Harry Barnes and Mr. Michael Welsh.
McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Lords amendment: No. 4, in page 9, line 39, at end insert or(iii) by a constable,

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.—[Mr. McLoughlin.]

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 107, Noes 17.

Division No. 247][1.02 am
AYES
Alison, Rt Hon MichaelHowarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Amess, DavidIrvine, Michael
Amos, AlanJack, Michael
Arbuthnot, JamesJackson, Robert
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Janman, Tim
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Ashby, DavidJopling, Rt Hon Michael
Batiste, SpencerKing, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Beith, A. J.Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)Lightbown, David
Boswell, TimLilley, Peter
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)Livsey, Richard
Bowis, JohnLuce, Rt Hon Richard
Brandon-Bravo, MartinLyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Bright, GrahamMcLoughlin, Patrick
Brooke, Rt Hon PeterMichie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)Mitchell, Sir David
Burns, SimonMonro, Sir Hector
Burt, AlistairMoss, Malcolm
Butterfill, JohnNeubert, Michael
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)Nicholls, Patrick
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Norris, Steve
Carrington, MatthewPage, Richard
Channon, Rt Hon PaulPaice, James
Chapman, SydneyPatnick, Irvine
Chope, ChristopherPorter, David (Waveney)
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)Raffan, Keith
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Day, StephenRoberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Devlin, TimSackville, Hon Tom
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesShaw, David (Dover)
Dover, DenShelton, Sir William
Durant, TonyShepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Fairbairn, Sir NicholasStewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Fallon, MichaelSummerson, Hugo
Favell, TonyTaylor, Ian (Esher)
Fearn, RonaldTaylor, John M (Solihull)
Fishburn, John DudleyThompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Forth, EricThurnham, Peter
Franks, CecilTwinn, Dr Ian
Freeman, RogerWallace, James
Garel-Jones, TristanWaller, Gary
Gill, ChristopherWardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Goodlad, AlastairWatts, John
Greenway, John (Ryedale)Wells, Bowen
Gregory, ConalWheeler, Sir John
Ground, PatrickWiddecombe, Ann
Hague, WilliamWigley, Dafydd
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)Wilkinson, John
Hanley, Jeremy
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)Tellers for the Ayes:
Harris, DavidMr. Nicholas Baker and Mr. Timothy Wood.
Hayward, Robert
Hind, Kenneth
NOES
Ashton, JoeHaynes, Frank
Buckley, George J.Hood, Jimmy
Cohen, HarryIllsley, Eric
Corbyn, JeremyMeale, Alan
Cryer, BobNellist, Dave
Graham, ThomasPatchett, Terry
Hardy, PeterPowell, Ray (Ogmore)
Redmond, MartinTellers for the Noes:
Skinner, DennisMrs. Alice Mahon and Mr. Harry Barnes.
Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Photo of Mr Martin Redmond Mr Martin Redmond , Don Valley

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Unfortunately, I was unable to raise this matter previously. When I was teller in the Ayes Lobby three votes ago, I noticed that an hon. Member that went through the Aye Lobby was carrying a dagger. Is it in order for an hon. Member to carry a dagger when he is going through a voting Lobby?

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

Offensive weapons are not allowed, but it may well have been a ceremonial one.

Photo of Mr Martin Redmond Mr Martin Redmond , Don Valley

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I accept what you say, but whether it was for decoration or for another purpose, it could still be used to inflict a wound. I am concerned that an hon. Member went through a Lobby carrying a decorative dagger: if he was ill, he might be tempted to use it. Whether for decoration or for some other reason, is it correct for an hon. Member to carry a dagger?

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is well able to look after himself. However, I assure him that the Chair will always look after him.

Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood , Clydesdale 1:15 am, 20th June 1990

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. You may be aware that the Standing Committee to consider the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Bill held its first sitting on Tuesday. The hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker), the hon. Member who was carrying the dagger in question, was accused on Tuesday of stabbing his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Perth and Kinross (Sir N. Fairbairn) in the back. Therefore, it might be dangerous for the hon. Member for Tayside, North to be allowed to carry such a weapon in the House.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

I think that we had better proceed with the business before the House.

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

Order. I am on my feet. What happens in a Standing Committee is a matter for the Chairman of the Standing Committee, not for me.

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Will you consider further the advice that you gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. Redmond) about the wearing of ceremonial or non-ceremonial items that could be described as weapons, such as the dagger in question? I know of a case in the past few days in which a Sikh lady was dismissed from work for wearing a ceremonial Sikh dagger. If there is to be a definitive ruling about what is or is not permissible in terms of decoration and the wearing of ceremonial weapons in this Chamber, I would be grateful for a considered ruling because it may assist in other areas of employment legislation.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

I am not aware of anything that is likely to cause any danger to any hon. Member. We should now proceed to consider Lords amendment No. 5 and the others grouped with it.

Lords amendment: No. 5, in page 10, line 10, leave out "course of his duty" and insert exercise of the power conferred by section 20(2)(aa) of this Act

Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

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

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

With this it will be convenient to discuss Lords amendments Nos. 5, 6, 11, 24, 27, 28, 33, and 41.

Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

This group of amendments would confer statutory authority on authorised persons to investigate and test the security practices and procedures operated by those to whom a direction can be given. It is important that those investigations and tests can be carried out, because they play a very important and necessary role in improving aviation and maritime security.

Photo of Mr Martin Redmond Mr Martin Redmond , Don Valley

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I should be grateful if you would ask the Minister to speak slower instead of gabbling through his speech. I am having great difficulty in hearing what he is saying. If I cannot hear what he is saying, I am suspicious. Will you ask the Minister to speak a little more slowly and clearly?

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

I am sure that the Minister will have noted the hon. Gentleman's request.

Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

However, we cannot afford to ignore the fact that they might, in exceptional circumstances, have a harmful effect on commercial operations. Therefore, the Government consider it necessary to have statutory authority so that checks to secure adherence to security procedures are not inhibited. Anyone who votes against this amendment would be putting profit before security—something that the Government would not contemplate.

Although the tests will be planned to avoid causing delays at airports and ports, it is not beyond the realms of possibility, for example, that an inspector carrying out a test on baggage reconciliation might cause delay to the aircraft and its passengers. That might lead to those affected claiming for damages for financial loss against those carrying out the tests, or against the Department of Transport for negligence or interference with contractual relations. It therefore seems a sensible precaution to have explicit statutory powers relating to the investigation and testing of security practices and procedures. Such powers should avoid claims being laid, provided the tests or the investigations were properly carried out for the purposes described in the enabling provision.

I repeat that hon. Members who vote against the Lords amendments will be putting profit before security, which is something that Conservative Members will not do.

Photo of Mr Peter Snape Mr Peter Snape , West Bromwich East

The House listened to the Minister with interest, but we might have been slightly more impressed if he had made that speech at an earlier stage of our proceedings, when it was tentatively suggested that in its then form the Bill might well give rise to accusations that the Government were putting profit before safety—

Photo of Mr Peter Snape Mr Peter Snape , West Bromwich East

The Minister shakes his head, but if he reads the Official Report of our previous deliberations, he will see that that was pointed out. We are grateful at least that, even at the 11th hour, the Bill, which my hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy) described as "perfect" when it left this place on its mission to another, has been amended in the way that it has. We have always felt that the Bill should make statutory provision for security checks at Britain's air and sea ports. No one would suggest that, in the Bill as it now stands, the Government would put profit before safety. Indeed, they have now established the principle that that is the last thing in their mind. We look forward to them allowing that principle to be extended so that it can embrace the other forms of transport over which the Department of Transport is charged with statutory responsibilities, because many of my hon. Friends feel that the Department has put profit before safety all too tragically often for other modes of transport.

Photo of Mr Peter Hardy Mr Peter Hardy , Wentworth

I am sure that the Minister will recall what my hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape) has just said, when he quoted me saying that when the Bill left this House it was perfect.

Lords amendment No. 5 presents an interesting situation. It relates to clause 5, which states: a person commits an offence if, in answer to a question … he makes a statement which he knows to be false". However, if someone makes a false statement under the provisions of subsection (3), which is covered by the amendment, he does not commit an offence if he makes that false statement as an "authorised person". Therefore, if a man is an "authorised person", he can make as many false statements as he likes.

I am glad to hear that the Government are today more concerned about safety than about profit, but their record suggests that they have a great deal of sympathy with people who make false statements. That is beyond all doubt.

I want to know under what circumstances a person in an authorised position would be required to tell lies, to make false statements and—presumably—to be relieved of responsibility in the course of his duty. I note that the House of Lords wants to remove the words, "course of his duty", and to replace them with exercise of the power conferred by section 20(2)(aa)", but for the life of me I cannot see why we have to legislate to allow people to tell lies. Yet that is clearly what the amendment seeks to provide. The Minister must explain that, otherwise my earlier assessment of the Bill as commendable will have to be dramatically reviewed.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

Order. I am not clear whether the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy) is giving way to the Minister.

Photo of Mr Peter Hardy Mr Peter Hardy , Wentworth

I was sitting down and had concluded, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but I shall give way.

Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

The amendment is simple. It means that those who are required to test the security measures have the power to do so. If they were not allowed to give false information, they could not check the procedures. The provisions relate only to someone authorised under subsection (1). I am sure that that makes logical sense.

Photo of Mr Peter Hardy Mr Peter Hardy , Wentworth

Obviously I shall have to resume my speech, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

One is well aware that people operating in defence of society and of the consumer will require such protection, but if the Minister reads clause 5, he will see that a person commits an offence if he makes such a statement in answer to a question". If the question is asked by a suspect or a terrorist, fair enough, the individual charged with protecting society will clearly give a false statement, but that is not the offence that would be committed. The offence would be committed if the authorised person gave a false answer to someone who was authorised to ask him the question. He would not be charged with committing an offence if he misled a terrorist. The Bill will give him the power to be protected if he makes a false statement to an authorised person what was entitled to ask him the question. The Minister needs to reconsider that part of the Bill, or at least to ensure that the amendment which stood before the other place when it interfered with the Bill receives the disapproval of the Government rather than their approval..

Photo of Mr Bob Cryer Mr Bob Cryer , Bradford South

The House is exercising its right and its duty to examine legislation. The fact that the Government have brought the Bill before us at a late hour—they have been overloading the legislature with a great deal of legislation—is not the fault of Opposition Members who are in their place tonight. The fault lies with the Government, whom the Minister was so eager to join. It does not add lustre to the House if the Minister, after gabbling through a speech written and typed out for him by civil servants, sits down with a smirk on his face to an organised chorus of assent from Tory Members who want the Lords amendments to go through on the nod so that the Government are not subject to any inconvenience such as explaining what the Bill is about.

We have before us a curious amendment. It removes the final six words from: subsection (1) above does not apply … to any statement made by an authorised person in the course of his duty. That is done to relate to the Aviation Security Act 1982. The deletion of those words removes the offence committed by a person who answers a question levelled at him or her by an authorised person, if the person who responds provides information about baggage, cargo or stores in a reckless way, or knowingly in such a manner that the statement is false in a material particular. In what circumstances would any person in an airport, carrying out his duty under section 22A of the Aviation Security Act 1982—it relates to the inspection of aeroplanes—be authorised to have removed from him the obligation of providing truthful information in relation to baggage, cargo or stores?

The hon. Member for Tatton (Mr. Hamilton) is muttering that the Minister will have the information. That is all well and good. If he has, it would have been prudent for him to provide it, without gabbling, when he introduced the amendment.

There is no merit in saying that the House is being inconvenienced. I remind the House that we are being inconvenienced not because Opposition Members are raising issues but because the Government are abusing the legislature to the extent that they cannot get this stage of the consideration of the Bill through the House in 24 hours unless they have hon. Members nodding in assent. It is disgraceful that the Government should adopt a complacent attitude and decide to keep about 100 of their troops in the House. It is deplorable that they mutter and grumble because we are spending more than the five or 10 minutes that the Government Whips expected would be the time spent considering the Lords amendments to the Bill. That is what it boils down to, and the Whips even had the effrontry to table other motions following that long list of complicated amendments, knowing full well that we started debating a complicated piece of legislation in the middle of the afternoon and finished discussing it at 11 pm.

Let us not have any more little smirks from the Minister after he has concluded his gabbling and got through his speeches in record time in order to justify his presence at the Dispatch Box. He is there to provide the House with some sort of explanation, which, by common consent, he has failed to do—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] If I am wrong, I am sure that Conservative Members will be only too eager to spring to their feet and give an explanation to back up the Minister.

1.30 am

When I started my brief comments, not a single Tory was rising, so I find it remarkable that they make muttered comments, as they sit on their backside, nodding their heads in eager anticipation that this legislation will slide through. They have not been leaping to their feet in order to give the Minister the help that he so clearly needs.

It worries me that, under the Aviation Security Act 1982, section 20(2)(aa) states: An authorised person inspecting an aircraft or any part of an aerodrome under subsection (1) above"— —a direction given by the Secretary of State(a) Shall have power—to subject any property found by him in the aircraft (but not the aircraft itself or any apparatus or equipment installed in it) or, as the case may be, to subject that part of the aerodrome or any property found by him there, to such tests". That person is clearly taking part in the organised security operation of the airport, which we welcome and encourage by this legislation.

What are the circumstances in which a person, engaged in a security operation, should fail to give information that, according to clause 5 of the Bill relates to any baggage, cargo or stores (whether belonging to him or to another) that is or are intended for carriage by a civil aircraft registered or operating in the United Kingdom"'? The effect of the amendment is to remove that obligation. That leads to a reasonable amount of questioning.

I do not suppose that the civil servants who drafted the Minister's speeches, and probably the amendments, are trying to produce confused legislation. It will be used by people and refers to another Act that has to be brought into operation. People must understand the legislation to enforce it, but it is not the clearest, and it will help if the Minister gives a clear—not necessarily lengthy, but not gabbled—explanation to the House of what the legislation means.

If the Minister does that, our deliberations are on record, and it assists people in the operation of legislation if there is a clear explanation so that they can refer to other legislation before employing the services of a solicitor or barrister. We legislate for the common use of ordinary citizens. We should bear it in mind that the legislation that goes out from this place should be as simple, comprehensive and comprehensible as we can make it.

I make a plea to the Minister to give an explanation that the citizen can read, learn, inwardly digest and of which we can take advantage. By common consent, certainly of Opposition Members, and, I suspect, of Conservative Members, that has not, so far, been provided tonight.

Photo of Mr Martin Redmond Mr Martin Redmond , Don Valley

Earlier I raised a point of order about the way in which the Minister for Aviation and Shipping delivered his speech on the amendments. I asked that he be requested to speak a little more slowly and clearly so that we could understand what he was saying. Unfortunately, his arrogance and conceit prohibited him from doing that.

I oppose the amendment because it would authorise people to lie. One should tell the truth and fear nowt. The Bill contains ways to promote security at aerodromes without telling lies. Airport security is breached many times. Some lads invaded Heathrow airport and tried to board a plane and took photographs to show how easy it was. This is not a good Bill. If the Minister had introduced a good Bill all these Lords amendments would not be needed. He is saying that airport security cannot be tested without lying. I do not accept that, nor do I accept that by voting against the amendment we will be voting for profit rather than safety. That is no way to proceed.

The Minister engaged in bombast in trying to push through the amendment and that showed his arrogance. The amendments should be discussed in depth and explained in a rational and logical way. The fact that we are here at this time is perhaps the fault of the Minister. If he had behaved in a proper manner, perhaps we would understand a little more clearly what is going on. The Minister is trying to stampede us into accepting the amendment.

I will not endorse any legislation that permits people to lie. Someone could sneak in somewhere, tell great lies, and point the finger of suspicion at some poor person who works in the establishment. Regretfully, cases are now before the courts because people have told lies and other people have been sent to prison. I cannot understand why the Minister supports the principle of people telling lies, but unfortunately the Government appear to be quite happy about that. They have misled the House and have been economical with the truth on many occasions since 1979. I cannot say that the Government tell lies because that would not be in order, but they have certainly misled the House. They may be used to that sort of practice, but I do not condone lying.

As I have said, without making the amendment, the Government could easily introduce practices which would tighten up security and which are so desperately needed if we are to guard the citizens residing in these islands. Obviously it is important when tourists come to this country that they know that security is good and tight. What will people in America and Europe think that we are doing if we pass legislation saying that we endorse people who tell lies? They will laugh us out of court. In view of the recent EC legislation, I feel sure that the Bill would be challenged to see whether it was acceptable under EC legislation. The Government have already accepted EC regulations.

So the Minister, no matter how he wraps it up, or how he sneers and smirks at the Dispatch Box, means that he is condoning people telling lies. What would he do if the court said, "I'm sorry, Joe Bloggs, there's nowt we can do, the Minister condones it and we're only here to interpret the law"? That is unfortunate. I shall give some credit to the Government, because they have learnt some lessons since 1979 about how to tighten up. There is an old saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I do not suggest for one minute that the Government are corrupt—far from it. I am not saying that —although I might well think it. Power means that one can tell lies and get away with it. It is not on for us to pass legislation which says that people can tell lies to test security because people are too idle to think of alternative systems to test it.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

The hon. Gentleman has said a good deal in his preamble. I am sure that he will now address his remarks to the amendments that we are discussing.

Photo of Mr Martin Redmond Mr Martin Redmond , Don Valley

I am trying to make my point. If it is correct, why did the Government wait until the Lords put the amendment in? Why did not the vast array of civil servants that the Minister has at his beck and call or all the alleged brains on the Conservative Benches think of the amendment? Why leave it to the other place to table amendments, which have such a deep effect on society? How can we expect people to tell the truth if we condone lies?

If we vote against the amendment it is not a question of our supporting profit against safety. As far as I am concerned, one has to tell the truth. I am happy to inform the Minister that if he continues in the same arrogant and conceited manner when he speaks on the other amendments before us tonight, we shall vote against every one. I cannot understand what he is saying when he rattles off ten to the dozen—

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the debate be now adjourned.—[Mr. McLoughlin.]

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

The Question is, That the debate be now adjourned. Those of that opinion, say Aye.

Hon. Members:

Aye.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

To the contrary, No.

Hon. Members:

No.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

Clear the Lobbies.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

I have put the Question. I shall hear the point of order afterwards.

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

The point of order is about the Division. You are not deaf, Sir Paul. You could hear me when I shouted. The Minister was on his feet. It is no good you looking the other way and trying to ignore people.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

Order. I have said that I shall take the hon. Gentleman's question after the Division has taken place.

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

On a point of order. I do not want a stupid hat on—[Interruption.]

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

I want to be quite clear that the House knows what we are doing. There was a certain amount of noise. I shall put the Question once more. The Question is, That the debate be now adjourned—[Interruption.]

Photo of Mr Donald Dixon Mr Donald Dixon , Jarrow 1:45 am, 20th June 1990

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. This motion is debatable and we demand the right to debate it.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

That is correct. This motion is debatable.

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Can we assume that as you have now recognised me we can open the debate on the motion that you called? The motion is about whether we should terminate the debate on this group of amendments at this point.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

If the hon. Gentleman wishes to speak to the motion, he may do so.

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

It is unfortunate that sometimes tempers have to rise in order to reach the point that we have now reached. It is a perfectly correct procedural point—

Photo of Mr Tristan Garel-Jones Mr Tristan Garel-Jones , Watford

The hon. Gentleman should have spoken earlier.

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

You may have heard the deputy Chief Whip remark from beside the Chair that I should have risen to speak. That was precisely what I was trying to do when I shouted, "On a point of order", at the top of my voice. I wanted to draw to your attention and that of the House what we now know to be correct—the motion is debatable. I am speaking to the motion on whether we should curtail the debate. My hon. Friends may have other reasons, but I have a couple of pertinent reasons why I do not want the debate on this group of amendments to finish now.

The first reason is the simple one that, when the Minister introduced the eight-strong group of amendments, I attempted to intervene to ask him a particular question. He refused, so I am left with no choice but to make a speech to ask my question. In future, the Minister might like to remember the lesson that he could save himself and his colleagues a great deal of time if occasionally he gave way.

The first point that I want to raise is that the group of amendments contains eight amendments, three of which —Nos. 5, 27 and 33—refer to earlier legislation. They refer to the Aviation Security Act 1982. While my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer) was on his feet, I went to the Vote Office to obtain a copy of that Act. It occurred to me, as it may have occurred to other hon. Members, that it is a little difficult to decide whether a group of amendments should be allowed to go through on the nod or whether we should vote on each one if we do not know exactly how they relate to other legislation which is not readily available.

My point to the Minister—if I may have his attention; he might like to think about it—is that amendments Nos. 5, 27 and 33 seek to remove the words in the course of his duties and insert exercise the power conferred by in the amendment No. 5—section 20(2)(aa)—and in amendments Nos. 27 and 33—section 36(2)(aa). I have a reasonable question to put to the Minister. What is the difference between a general instruction such as in the course of his duties and the specific powers mentioned in the sections of the Act to which I referred?

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

Order. The hon. Gentleman is now debating the amendments. I must remind him that we are debating whether the debate should be adjourned. His remarks must be restricted to that comparatively narrow motion before the House.

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

I do not accept that, Mr. Deputy Speaker. My problem is that, unless I tell you why I wanted the Minister to continue the debate and give me answers, I cannot make my case for allowing the debate to continue. I have questions on that group of amendments that I want the Minister to answer. I should have thought that that was reasonably in order.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

Order. The Minister cannot answer to amendments on a debate about whether or not the House should adjourn. I repeat, the hon. Gentleman must restrict his remarks to the motion that is now before the House.

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

I fully accept that, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The motion we are debating is whether or not we should pack up and go home. That is what it means in layman's language. If we pack up and go home, my hon. Friends and I will be unable to ask the Minister questions about the Bill. I have a particular question to ask the Minister, which is why I want the debate to continue.

I also want it to continue so that we can discuss an issue that was mentioned in passing by the Minister in his rapid opening speech. The accusation has been made that, if we vote against the amendments, we will be putting profit before safety. I would happily stay here until four or five o'clock in the morning debating that aspect.

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

I am not sure that it is correct to say that the motion is about whether or not we should pack up and go home. Even if the House agrees to it, there remain many other items on the Order Paper to be dealt with, including a very important measure concerning the Finance Act 1990, on which many right hon. and hon. Members may wish to speak. However, I take my hon. Friend's point that, if the motion is carried, it will destroy debate on the Bill, so we would have to return to it on another occasion.

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

My hon. Friend is right to pull me up, but when I referred to packing up, I meant that in respect of the current debate, not the whole evening's business. My hon. Friend rightly drew attention to the fact that there is plenty of meat left on the Order Paper, and I am sure that my right hon. and hon. Friends have much of value to say in respect of those other items.

If the debate concludes now, we will be unable to discuss a number of important safety matters. I take particular umbrage at the suggestion that we are uninterested in such matters, as would my hon. Friends the Members for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) and for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer), because only 13 days ago we demanded during business questions more debates on transport safety.

I refer also to the dispute lasting two or three weeks at Heathrow airport, involving British Airways maintenance and repair engineers and members of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, the Transport and General Workers Union and the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians. Right hon. and hon. Members might also wish to raise the question of the aircraft repaired in the midlands, the windscreen of which blew out on a subsequent flight. That plane had to be landed on the south coast, and the heroic air crew hung on to the pilot's legs to make sure he was kept alive to tell the tale.

The afternoon after that incident, I watched an American television programme called "They Walked Away". It was all about horrific car crashes at formula 1 race meetings and the like. Apparently racing cars can be reduced to 4 ft square and the driver can still get out and walk away. When one sees such programmes, one thinks, "Obviously it happened. It has been filmed." But it is amazing then to turn on the news and hear of an equally astonishing event that has happened on the same day—in this case, of the pilot being held by the legs for all those miles and living to tell the tale.

I do not want to prejudge investigations or inquiries that may take place into that incident, but I must emphasise that there was a link with Heathrow. The bolts that came to the midlands for use in the window were sent from somewhere. Somebody made the decision to send them, and that decision was made when those who would normally have made it were out on strike. These are matters of transport safety, and they are germane to the Bill.

I know that a number of my hon Friends will have comments to make in the debate so let me make one final point. If we do not continue our deliberations on the Bill this evening, I shall be unable to ask the Minister a question arising from his opening remarks. He said that, if anybody wanted to discuss, or even vote against, the amendments that we were debating before the motion, which you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, accepted, was moved, that would destroy the possibility for statutory authority to be conferred on an authorised person to tell lies in the course of his duties or, if the amendments were carried, in the course of implementing sections of other Acts.

I am completely unclear as to who is doing the authorising. Numerous statutory bodies, such as security defence establishments, are being given out to cowboy private security firms, whose employees are on a couple of quid an hour. I wonder whether airports will follow suit. We know what has happened in one or two instances when lax security in defence establishments has caused almost tragic consequences. We must ask who is doing the authorisation.

The Minister gabbled his way through his opening remarks, trying to get through a few scrappy bits of paper as fast as he possibly could because he and the Whips had promised the troops, "We'll have this lot through in 10 minutes and then we'll go home." But there are questions that we must ask. Many of our constituents travel on planes, both to work and during their holidays. They want to know that, every time they get on a plane, they are in safe hands. They want to know that the airport is secure and that they are travelling on an aeroplane that has been well maintained and properly repaired.

All those questions are germane to the Bill, and if we are not allowed to continue to discuss them tonight, many of our constituents will not think that we earn the high salaries that many Members of Parliament are paid to scrutinise legislation. We should not go home until we have discussed those points fully.

Photo of Mr Peter Hardy Mr Peter Hardy , Wentworth

I shall not take long, Mr. Deputy Speaker, although I remind the Minister that when we began debates on the Bill we were not making long speeches and that he may have been responsible for extending the length of Opposition Members' speeches tonight.

I believe that we should stay here and finish discussing the Bill, and I want to put two arguments in support of my case. First, the Minister told us that the Bill was urgently needed and that it was very important from the point of view of passenger safety. If it is so important, the Government should ensure that it completes its passage through the House before we adjourn. It may well be our duty to consider the safety of passengers, and therefore to ensure that the Bill completes its passage and it would have been completed by now had the Government taken a more conciliatory and courteous view.

The second reason why I want us to complete our proceedings on the Bill is that I am extremely anxious that the House should thoroughly debate a number of other major issues. I know that my hon. Friends from the Barnsley and Doncaster areas, as well as those from the Rotherham metropolitan borough, are most anxious to have a proper debate about the appalling, dishonourable and corrupt action of the Government in poll tax capping our local authorities. I want the Bill out of the way so that we can deal with that matter properly. Now the Government have run for cover. They have offended the House and insulted the Opposition. They have treated the House with a degree of contempt to annoy us into making speeches so that they could come up with an excuse to adjourn the House. No doubt they will now say, "Because you delayed matters on 20 June we do not want to give you time to debate the dishonest and corrupt decision to poll tax cap at least four authorities in Yorkshire."

If the Government had been fair and reasonable, they would have given us guarantees that there would be opportunities for us to put the powerful cases that can be advanced in support of our constituencies. Unfortunately, we have seen no evidence from the Government that that proper consideration will apply. That shows that we should scrutinise the Government's legislation carefully. I am glad that we did so tonight because we have had a preposterous example of lying, to the point where we could call the Bill the Aviation, Maritime Security and Falsehoods Bill. That would be appropriate to clause 5.

I said that I did not want to speak for long, and I made short contributions to the earlier debates. I deeply regret that the Government are so careless about the security of passengers on ships and aircraft that they want to rush away without fulfilling their responsibilities.

2 am

Photo of Mrs Alice Mahon Mrs Alice Mahon , Halifax

My hon. Friend referred briefly to the Government's undemocratic decision to poll tax cap councils. Is he aware that they based their criteria for capping on information that they received from authorities? They sought information about Calderdale, and we have evidence that they received it in two parts. First, the Tory manifesto—

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

Order. I cannot think that that intervention has anything to do with the motion before the House.

Photo of Mr Peter Hardy Mr Peter Hardy , Wentworth

I extracted from the Government—and it was published in the Official Report the other day—

Photo of Mr Peter Hardy Mr Peter Hardy , Wentworth

May I finish the point, after which I shall give way?

I extracted from the Government the other day—and it was published in the Official Report—a statement that listed the deprived areas of Britain in order of deprivation. Right at the bottom of the list are the metropolitan boroughs of Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster, which have suffered from the economic policies of this Government more than most parts of Britain. Given the danger that my hon. Friends and I see in that corrupt and unjust act, I hope that we shall subject every jot, tittle, comma, i and t in the Government's legislative programme to the scrutiny that we have given the Bill.

Photo of Mrs Alice Mahon Mrs Alice Mahon , Halifax

As I was saying, the Government obtained their information on poll tax capping in two parts—first, from a Tory manifesto in a local election, which clearly stated to the people of Calderdale that the Tories would reduce the poll tax by 50 per cent. The second source was a letter in the Halifax Evening Courier. The Government accepted that as information by which to set the poll tax cap.

Photo of Mr Peter Hardy Mr Peter Hardy , Wentworth

If we get time to debate those serious matters, I hope that the House will give them the same attention as it has given the Bill in the little time with which we have been provided to consider it.

I do not think that we should rise; the House should go on. It would have been possible for the Opposition to be persuaded to be a little more helpful and succinct, but we were not given that encouragement and the Government have run for cover at an excessively early hour. I am sorry that we have had to have this debate. We could have finished the Bill before now, but this simply illustrates the careless, arrogant and corrupt approach that the Government demonstrate almost every day.

Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell , Middlesbrough

I am grateful to you for calling me, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and I am sure that the House will appreciate your decision to allow us to continue this debate.

First, we should understand how today's business was decided. We all know that the Cabinet meets on Thursdays to decide the business; we all know that, earlier tonight, we had a long debate—which was guillotined, and therefore ended at 11 pm—on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. The Government knew that that debate would finish at 11 pm, leaving time for a full debate on Lords amendments to the Aviation and Maritime Security Bill. They also provided time for a debate on a motion entitled "Finance Bill [Money] (No. 2)", and another entitled "Procedure (Future Taxation) (No. 2)".

When the Government ordered tonight's business, they were well aware that both debates were open, with no time limit. They also knew that a series of amendments had been tabled to the Aviation and Maritime Security Bill, and that each amendment was likely to prompt Labour opposition and consequent votes. They must have known —particularly given that the motion entitled "Procedure (Future Taxation) (No. 2)" is a departure from the practice of the House, referring as it does to anything to the contrary in the practice of the House relating to matters which may be included in Finance Bills"— that, if the Opposition were doing their job, they would question Ministers. The Government must have been prepared for a lengthy debate, and it does not seem reasonable for the Opposition to be told at this time of night that the Minister proposes to move to adjourn the debate.

I have some sympathy with the Minister for Aviation and Shipping. He was very honest when he led the House on Second Reading of the Tees and Hartlepool Port Authority Bill—a privatisation Bill. He gave specific reasons for the separation between the public Bill that should have been considered by the House and the private Bill that was considered, and about the fact that the House would have to meet to discuss a money resolution concerning why the Government would seek to claw back some of the assets by way of a measure in the Finance Bill.

I am glad to see the right hon. Member for Southend, West (Mr. Channon) in his place. The right hon. Gentleman began the proceedings that led to the Tees and Hartlepool Bill: in a 1988 speech, he suggested that the ports should privatise themselves. Although he did not tell them that we should be sitting here at this time of the morning to discuss a money resolution whereby 50 per cent. of their assets would be taken from them, he has played an indirect part in tonight's proceedings.

Many Opposition Members—certainly, my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Barnes)—and the hon. Member for Stockton, South (Mr. Devlin) have come here, notwithstanding the early hour, to debate the Finance Bill money resolution. But we cannot debate it until we complete the debate on the Aviation and Maritime Security Bill. There is a series of wider considerations: the two motions are part and parcel of the Finance Bill, which must go back into Committee. A variety of new clauses are on the agenda, which would be debated as part of the money resolution and can only proceed if the resolution is passed tonight.

The Finance Bill motion has important ramifications which must not have escaped the Government or their business managers. Later today, the Leader of the House will make a business statement and deal with private Bill procedures. He will do so having studied reports on how to treat private legislation. By then, he should be aware of the mood of the House, as expressed in the debate on the money motion, of the fact that a private Bill is being used to privatise the Tees and Hartlepool port authority. By means of the motion, some 50 per cent. of the port's assets will be taken. It will be interesting to ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman whether that legislation should proceed. If we do not continue the debate on the Aviation and Maritime Security Bill, we will not be able to put our points to him. Unless the Government rearrange the business of the House for tomorrow or other days, they will face difficulties in continuing with the proceedings on the Finance Bill.

A number of hon. Members are in the Chamber. I am glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, North-East is back, because I know that he wants to contribute. When there are Opposition Members who are prepared, ready and willing to speak, why are we deprived of that opportunity because of the Minister's motion? It is worrying that the Government seem to feel that they can ride roughshod over the Opposition. After 11 years of Conservative government, we have seen a certain subversion of the rules of the House.

In relation to the Tees and Hartlepool privatisation, the Government used a private Bill route for public legislation. They used the Finance Bill to prevent legislation being hybrid. The Government are using the House of Commons for its convenience in relation to public Bills and hybrid Bills. Because of the difficulties with the Lords amendments to the Aviation and Maritime Security Bill, we end up with aggravation and short tempers.

The Government show a lack of consideration for the Opposition, who seek to do their constitutional duty in checking and challenging the Government and holding the Executive accountable.

Photo of Mr Raymond Powell Mr Raymond Powell , Ogmore

I wonder whether my hon. Friend will elaborate. He criticised the Minister for moving the adjournment motion. On checking the times, I found that the Minister spoke for two minutes on Lords amendment No. 5 and allowed only four hon. Members to speak before standing up to move that the debate be adjourned. Has my hon. Friend ever seen that happen before? It was rather dramatic of the Minister to speak for two minutes and allow only four speakers to contribute before he moved the motion. Some pressure must have been put on him.

Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell , Middlesbrough

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. Last night, when speaking to an amendment, the Secretary of State for Health spoke for 45 minutes. The Minister for Aviation and Shipping spoke for two minutes on the Lords amendment. We can therefore see the contrast between the approaches to this important subject. I was not present for that debate, but I wanted to refer to the Minister's honesty in an earlier debate, when he fully accepted that the Government were using the private Bill route to carry out public policy.

The result of that offhand treatment is that, later today, the Leader of the House is to explain how in future the Government intend to handle private Bills. However, we shall be unable to discuss the matter properly unless the Minister withdraws his motion and allows the House to continue the debate. I referred to the Minister's honesty when he accepted that the Government were using the private Bill route to carry out public policy, and that, in order to prevent the Tees and Hartlepool Port Authority Bill from becoming a hybrid Bill, 50 per cent. of the port authority's assets would be taken by the Treasury and added to the Finance Bill.

2.15 am

After 11 years in power, the Government have become offhand, with the result that, in the early hours of the morning, the Minister moves that consideration of Lords amendments should be adjourned. Hon. Members should be treated with greater courtesy. This is an open-ended debate. The House is entitled to hold a full debate on each amendment, to question the Minister and to elicit responses that last longer than the two minutes to which my hon. Friend the Member for Ogmore (Mr. Powell) referred.

The Opposition are ready to participate in the debate in an attempt to improve the Bill. It passed through all its stages in this House, went to the other place and has returned with amendments. It is now stranded on the beach. That amounts to further subversion of the House and to further offhand treatment by the Government of the conduct of business in the House. In a democracy, that cannot be right. The Chamber of the House of Commons is part of the legislature. We hold the Executive accountable, but we cannot do that if the Executive seek to use their powers arbitrarily.

The House of Commons evolved over many years, first by resisting the arbitrary powers of monarchs and, secondly, by resisting the arbitrary power of Governments. If the debate is not to be allowed to continue, that will be yet another arbitrary use of power by the Executive. The Government will be put to great inconvenience. They will have to arrange a date for the continuation of consideration of the Lords amendments and for debates on the two motions relating to finance. The entire legislative process will be slowed up.

Those hon. Members who wish to participate in the debate on the Bill ought to be allowed to do so. Those hon. Members who wish to take part in the debates on the Finance Bill [Money] (No. 2) and the Procedure (Future Taxation) (No. 2) motions should also be allowed to do so. If we were allowed to complete our business, we should be able to put questions later today to the Leader of the House on the private Bill routes that have been adopted by the Government. Everything would be in perspective. Such an arbitrary manner of bringing the debate to an end when hon. Members are anxious to speak is not in the best interests of the House.

Photo of Mr Michael Welsh Mr Michael Welsh , Doncaster North

I speak against the motion for two reasons. First, I should like to get the measure through, so we shall be asking for one and a half hours' debate for each of the poll tax measures. That will take up a tremendous amount of Government time. It is vital that we should finish discussing the Bill tonight, so that we have plenty of time to discuss the poll tax. That is reasonable, as it involves a tremendous number of people in our constituencies and we are asking for only one and a half hours for each authority. That is a fair and reasonable request. It shows how sincere we are about trying to help the Government fill their time.

I shall be brief, so my second and final point relates to amendment No. 5. The Minister, on behalf of the Government, is promoting legislation that will allow people to tell lies. I was under the impression that only a totalitarian state could give the power to tell lies. Under the rule of law, I do not consider that this Chamber can possibly pass an Act that allowed anybody to tell lies in the name of the Government. I do not think that that is allowed. It would not stand up in any British court, let alone the European Court.

I do not suppose that any hon. Member from either side of the House would choose to pass legislation allowing people to tell untruths under the umbrella of the House. It is immoral, and it is wrong: I should like the debate to continue so that the Minister can justify trying to pass legislation enabling individuals to tell untruths on behalf of the Government. If he is, he is in the wrong country —he is not in a democratic society but a totalitarian state.

Therefore, it is vital that the debate should continue so that the Minister can explain why he would give permission for our citizens to tell lies.

Photo of Mr Hector Monro Mr Hector Monro , Dumfries

Despite the self-righteous speeches from Opposition Members, I want to put on record the true purpose of their operation tonight. Everyone knows that late night legislation appears on the Order Paper only after the business managers of both sides of the House and the usual channels have looked at the matter and reached a general conclusion that there will be little opposition. Obviously such an agreement has not been reached tonight.

I want to put on record a point which I feel most strongly as one who has seen an aircraft destroyed by terrorism. Opposition Members are delaying the Bill through extended debate tonight, despite the possibility of such incidents occurring again. Let it be on their heads that they are delaying a Bill that will provide security for the aircraft that fly over our country. It has been a proper disgrace that the hon. Gentlemen who set out purely to make the point that they do not like the community charge are prepared to risk the security of our aircraft and airports. They should all he ashamed of that and it is on record that that is why they have delayed the Bill tonight.

Photo of Mr Raymond Powell Mr Raymond Powell , Ogmore

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. If the hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) wants to contribute to the debate, despite the early hour of 2.24 am, he should get his facts right.

The Minister spoke in support of Lords amendment No. 5 for only two minutes. After 25 minutes of debate, he decided to move the closure. The hon. Member for Dumfries has accused the Opposition of closing the debate when it is actually the Minister who is delaying the Bill. If the closure motion is carried, the Bill will be delayed. The hon. Member for Dumfries should get his facts right.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

I take that to be a contribution to the debate, and not a point of order.

Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood , Clydesdale

I am sure that we all have visited schools in our constituencies and talked to the young kids explaining how Parliament works, its procedures and how we are the bastions of democracy. There are 42 Lords amendments to the Aviation and Maritime Security Bill, and before the motion to adjourn was moved we had spent only two hours discussing that important Bill.

I was sad to hear the comments of the hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro). I am sure that after he has considered what he said, he will regret his comments. To criticise the House for wanting to spend a little longer than two hours to discuss the 42 Lords amendments is wrong. I do not need to tell the hon. Member for Dumfries or anyone else about the real dangers of terrorism at our airports and ports.

Photo of Mr Steven Norris Mr Steven Norris , Epping Forest

If the hon. Gentleman is so seized of the importance of this measure, can he point to any word in Hansard that he has uttered on this so-called vital Bill in which he professes such great interest at any stage of the proceedings on the Bill so far? If he cannot do that, is not the hon. Gentleman expressing appalling humbug?

Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood , Clydesdale

I have been accused of many things and I suppose that many hon. Members have been accused of humbug. However, there has been more humbug from the Government Benches. We should be discussing the Lords amendments. I am taking the opportunity given to an elected Member of this House to take part in our process.

If hon. Members believe that because an hon. Member has not spoken previously in debates on Bill he cannot speak now, the public will not understand that. I have heard Mr. Speaker say from the Chair that hon. Members should be careful about the image that they project to the public. Conservative Members are now claiming that any hon. Member who does not agree with the Government or has not spoken in opposition earlier is now not allowed to do so. That is the humbug that the hon. Member for Epping Forest (Mr. Norris) accuses me of.

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

Is it not peculiar that, in a House of 650 Members, hon. Members should be criticised for speaking when they have not spoken earlier? If we followed that logic, no one would be able to speak in the House.

Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood , Clydesdale

We all know how difficult it is for humble Back Benchers to speak in this place. Perhaps I have this opportunity to speak tonight because there are not many hon. Members present. I strongly oppose the motion.

It is the duty of the Opposition to scrutinise legislation. When we have 42 Lords amendments to consider and only two hours elapse before a closure motion is moved, it is unsatisfactory and—

Photo of Mr Harry Barnes Mr Harry Barnes , North East Derbyshire 2:30 am, 20th June 1990

On the point about hon. Members choosing to speak in this debate, I confess that I came into the Chamber for this debate because I was interested in what was due to be considered after this Bill—I refer to the motions relating to the Finance Bill—but having listened, I began to be interested in these proceedings. I have made only one speech on this matter, lasting three minutes, and about three interventions.

However, I believe that I am entitled to be interested in our proceedings and that later, If I catch your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I am also entitled to take part in this debate about why we should not adjourn our consideration now. That is the nature of the Chamber—an hon. Member can come in, pick up a debate, follow it, and become interested, and make his own contribution or listen to those of other hon. Members. One can thus learn and advance one's knowledge of the procedures. The trouble with Conservative Members is that they do not understand the procedures of democracy.

Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood , Clydesdale

I fully agree with my hon. Friend—[Interruption.] I am about to conclude my remarks, but the hon. Member for Bury, North (Mr. Burt) is intervening from a sedentary position. I shall give way to him if he would like me to do so.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt , Bury North

I was simply saying that the biggest humbug in this place at the moment is that Opposition Members will not admit that this is a row about timing and procedure. They will not put that on the record in Hansard. Why will not Opposition Members say what is going on and what this is all about?

Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood , Clydesdale

I do not deny that this is an argument about timing and procedure. We object to the amount of time that the House has been given to discuss 42 Lords amendments—

Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood , Clydesdale

That is what I am objecting to. That is what this debate is about.

Photo of Alan Meale Alan Meale , Mansfield

Is not the truth that all the noise that is coming from Conservative Members is because they are whingeing about why they are having to stay tonight, to do the job for which they are paid? They all want to go home to bed. That is why we are hearing whingeing from the other side of the Chamber.

Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood , Clydesdale

My hon. Friend makes a point— [Interruption.]

Photo of Mr Nicholas Bennett Mr Nicholas Bennett , Pembroke

Some of these Labour Members did not even turn up for Third Reading or Report.

Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood , Clydesdale

If I may take a prompt—

Photo of Mr Martin Redmond Mr Martin Redmond , Don Valley

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I feel sure that you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, will not allow sub-committees in the Chamber to chat back and forth among themselves. Will you ask hon. Members who want to speak on the important issue of the closure to seek to catch your eye?

Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood , Clydesdale

I shall resume my seat when I have made my final points. I refer back to what Mr. Speaker has told us to do in connection with how we project our image outside this place and about the way in which we are supposed to encourage people to have faith in the democratic process. I take my prompt on this from the hon. Member for Bury, North. If we are talking about what is prompting hon. Members to speak, I must advise the House that Opposition Members are concerned about acts of terrorism. There is nothing wrong with our wanting to debate that in great detail.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Barnes) has said, we often hear things in the Chamber of which we were not previously aware and to which we want to respond. That is perfectly fair. Depriving Opposition Members of making their contributions may help the Government to win in the short term, but they should think about what they are doing to the democratic process in the long term. Far too often in the past 11 years this House of democracy—we tell the whole world that we are the mother of democracy—has had its democratic rights removed. The Government may be using their majority to further that process now, but as long as we are the Opposition, we shall use our time and our rights to object to that.

Photo of Mr Martin Redmond Mr Martin Redmond , Don Valley

I oppose the closure motion, and I am surprised that it was moved after our short consideration of the Lords amendments. I am interested in the security of my constituents, of the people of Great Britain and of people throughout the world, and it is a tragedy that our debates have been interrupted. Some of the controversy that seems to be developing could have been avoided if a more reasonable attitude had been adopted by the Minister. It is disgusting to speak for only two minutes on a large group of Lords amendments. It seems that the Minister seeks to treat the House with contempt.

I believe that we can complete our consideration of the Lords amendments tonight. If Conservative Members are interested in security for their constituents and for the constituents of other hon. Members, they should vote against the closure motion. There is no reason why we should not continue to discuss the Lords amendments. We could make progress in another two or two-and-a-half hours of debate. I am sure, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that you can recall many occasions when far less progress was made than that which has been achieved tonight.

It seems that the Government are not prepared to listen to arguments that are directed against Government legislation. That is a tragedy. The Government are not prepared to practise what they preach to the rest of the world. They should remember that they tell others to follow the example set by the Mother of Parliaments. They are setting a disgusting example tonight.

It appears that hon. Members want to go to bed instead of discussing safety and security. Surely they recognise that important issues are before us and—[Interruption.] If the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) wishes to intervene, I shall give way to him.

Photo of Mr Michael Brown Mr Michael Brown , Brigg and Cleethorpes

The hon. Gentleman talks about hon. Members going home to bed. The Labour party has 200-plus Members in this place, yet only 17 of them participated in the previous Division. About 95 per cent. of Labour Members are now tucked up in bed.

Photo of Mr Martin Redmond Mr Martin Redmond , Don Valley

I listened carefully to the hon. Gentleman's intervention. There is an old saying about "all wind" and so on. The hon. Gentleman yapped about the number of Labour Members currently in the House and the number of Conservative Members who are present. He should understand that the Government are keeping up their lads for their nightcaps. There is an important difference between quality and quantity. If the hon. Gentleman is interested in the safety and security of his constituents, he should support the Opposition when we vote against the closure. He should have paid more attention to our proceedings and taken his place a little earlier to listen to some of our discussions.

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman likes people to tell lies on behalf of the state. Many things come to light because people have told lies. People have been put in prison as a result of telling lies. He may be prepared to tolerate the telling of lies, but I am not. I want honesty. I want truthfulness.

The hon. Gentleman wants to give management a blank cheque with which to get out of its predicament, but the same hon. Gentleman has voted time and again to withdraw the rights for which people have fought over the years. I dare say that, given the chance, he would introduce legislation to take away the vote from the good women of this country. That is the typical, arrogant attitude of the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes.

Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood , Clydesdale

The hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown), with whom my hon. Friend disagreed, was probably influenced by his trips to South Africa, which my hon. Friend and I both know quite a lot about.

Has my hon. Friend noticed—obviously Conservative Members have not—that while the motion to adjourn is being debated, the Whips have disappeared? I wonder where they are.

Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood , Clydesdale

Yes, on the phone. We shall see the Minister come back with wax in his eyes. A Minister walked through the Chamber five minutes ago who had been pulled out of his bed. There have been so many Tories in the House tonight—the Whips are on the phone now getting them back so that they have 100 Members to win the closure motion. That is how confident the Tory Whips are of the number of Tory Members present.

Photo of Mr Martin Redmond Mr Martin Redmond , Don Valley

It could well be that the Whips had wax in their eyes, but I should have liked to see a tear or two. It takes emotions to create tears and, unfortunately, Conservative Whips do not have the sort of emotions to bring tears to their eyes.

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

I will. I wonder if my hon. Friend agrees that the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown), who does such a wonderful impersonation of B'stard that it amazes me every time—[HON. MEMBERS: "Of what?"]—of B'stard, a character on television with which you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, may not be familiar—

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

Order. I think that I heard the hon. Gentleman use an unparliamentary expression in relation to another hon. Member. Can he assure me that that is not so?

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

B'stard is a character in a television serial, with which you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, may be unfamiliar. There is an apostrophe in the word, which is not "bastard" but "B'stard"—the name of a Tory Member of Parliament in a television series, which I can highly recommend and which most of my hon. Friends enjoy watching.

I was going to ask my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. Redmond) whether he thought that the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes was wrong to complain that only 17 Labour Members were present for the debate. Does not he agree that if 17 of us can keep in the Chamber nearly 100 Members from a party that always tries to give us lectures about productivity, we must be doing something right?

Photo of Mr Martin Redmond Mr Martin Redmond , Don Valley

I am not sure whether to continue along those lines, but I should have hoped that hon. Members would be in the Chamber listening. I had better not repeat the name of the television character because I have a lisp and might not pronounce it correctly. I should not want you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to jump down my throat. It is an excellent show, but unfortunately, because of your onerous duties in the Chair, Mr. Deputy Speaker, you do not get the opportunity to see it. You should because the character represents one or two Conservative Members. I am sure that the public, having seen what has taken place here this evening on the Bill, will draw similarities between that show and what is going on here.

Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell , Middlesbrough

My hon. Friend is making an interesting and important contribution on why the debate should continue. However, when the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) made his interesting contribution and talked of 17 Opposition Members voting on the previous amendment, was not he misdirected? I made it clear that my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Barnes), the hon. Member for Stockton, South (Mr. Devlin) and I were in the Chamber so that when this debate came to its proper conclusion we could then debate the Finance Bill provisions which are important to my constituents, and the constituents of the hon. Member for Stockton, South. The hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes was under a misapprehension when he referred to 17 Labour Members voting on the previous amendment.

Photo of Mr Martin Redmond Mr Martin Redmond , Don Valley

Unfortunately, young lads have a tendency not to listen, and when they do not listen they do not understand what is going on around them. One of the reasons—

Photo of Mr Timothy Renton Mr Timothy Renton , Mid Sussex 2:45 am, 20th June 1990

rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question put, That the Question be now put:—

The House divided: Ayes 112, Noes 17.

Division No. 248][2.46 am
AYES
Alison, Rt Hon MichaelGround, Patrick
Amess, DavidHague, William
Amos, AlanHamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Arbuthnot, JamesHanley, Jeremy
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)Harris, David
Ashby, DavidHayward, Robert
Batiste, SpencerHind, Kenneth
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Boswell, TimHowell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)
Bottomley, Mrs VirginiaHunt, David (Wirral W)
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)Irvine, Michael
Bowis, JohnJack, Michael
Brandon-Bravo, MartinJackson, Robert
Brazier, JulianJanman, Tim
Bright, GrahamJones, Robert B (Herts W)
Brooke, Rt Hon PeterJopling, Rt Hon Michael
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Burns, SimonKirkhope, Timothy
Burt, AlistairKnapman, Roger
Butcher, JohnKnight, Greg (Derby North)
Butterfill, JohnLang, Ian
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Lightbown, David
Carrington, MatthewLilley, Peter
Cash, WilliamLord, Michael
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs LyndaLuce, Rt Hon Richard
Channon, Rt Hon PaulLyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Chapman, SydneyMcLoughlin, Patrick
Chope, ChristopherMitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)Mitchell, Sir David
Day, StephenMonro, Sir Hector
Devlin, TimMoss, Malcolm
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesNeubert, Michael
Dover, DenNicholls, Patrick
Durant, TonyNorris, Steve
Fallon, MichaelPage, Richard
Favell, TonyPaice, James
Fishburn, John DudleyPattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)Porter, David (Waveney)
Forth, EricRaffan, Keith
Franks, CecilRenton, Rt Hon Tim
Freeman, RogerRoberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Garel-Jones, TristanSackville, Hon Tom
Gill, ChristopherShaw, David (Dover)
Goodlad, AlastairShelton, Sir William
Greenway, John (Ryedale)Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Gregory, ConalSpicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Stevens, LewisWells, Bowen
Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)Wheeler, Sir John
Summerson, HugoWiddecombe, Ann
Taylor, Ian (Esher)Wilkinson, John
Taylor, John M (Solihull)Winterton, Mrs Ann
Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)Wood, Timothy
Thurnham, Peter
Wallace, JamesTellers for the Ayes:
Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)Mr. Nicholas Baker and Mr. Irvine Patrick.
Watts, John
NOES
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)Meale, Alan
Bell, StuartNellist, Dave
Buckley, George J.Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Cryer, BobRedmond, Martin
Dixon, DonSkinner, Dennis
Fisher, MarkSnape, Peter
Foster, DerekWelsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Graham, Thomas
Hardy, PeterTellers for the Noes:
Haynes, FrankMr. Jimmy Hood and Mr. Harry Cohen.
Illsley, Eric
McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

Order. I must first put the next Question. I shall take the point of order after that.

Question put accordingly, That the debate be now adjourned:—

The House divided: Ayes 112, Noes 19.

Division No. 249][2.57 am
AYES
Alison, Rt Hon MichaelGarel-Jones, Tristan
Amess, DavidGill, Christopher
Amos, AlanGoodlad, Alastair
Arbuthnot, JamesGreenway, John (Ryedale)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Gregory, Conal
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)Ground, Patrick
Ashby, DavidHague, William
Batiste, SpencerHamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)Hanley, Jeremy
Boswell, TimHargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Bottomley, Mrs VirginiaHarris, David
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)Hayward, Robert
Bowis, JohnHind, Kenneth
Brandon-Bravo, MartinHowarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Brazier, JulianHowell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)
Bright, GrahamHunt, David (Wirral W)
Brooke, Rt Hon PeterIrvine, Michael
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)Jack, Michael
Burns, SimonJackson, Robert
Burt, AlistairJanman, Tim
Butcher, JohnJones, Robert B (Herts W)
Butterfill, JohnJopling, Rt Hon Michael
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Kirkhope, Timothy
Carrington, MatthewKnapman, Roger
Cash, WilliamKnight, Greg (Derby North)
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs LyndaLang, Ian
Channon, Rt Hon PaulLeigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Chapman, SydneyLightbown, David
Chope, ChristopherLilley, Peter
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)Lord, Michael
Day, StephenLuce, Rt Hon Richard
Devlin, TimLyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesMcLoughlin, Patrick
Dover, DenMitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Durant, TonyMitchell, Sir David
Fallon, MichaelMonro, Sir Hector
Favell, TonyMoss, Malcolm
Fishburn, John DudleyNeubert, Michael
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)Nicholls, Patrick
Forth, EricNorris, Steve
Franks, CecilPage, Richard
Freeman, RogerPaice, James
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyThurnham, Peter
Porter, David (Waveney)Twinn, Dr Ian
Raffan, KeithWallace, James
Renton, Rt Hon TimWardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)Watts, John
Sackville, Hon TomWells, Bowen
Shaw, David (Dover)Wheeler, Sir John
Shelton, Sir WilliamWiddecombe, Ann
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)Wilkinson, John
Stevens, LewisWinterton, Mrs Ann
Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)Wood, Timothy
Summerson, Hugo
Taylor, Ian (Esher)Tellers for the Ayes:
Taylor, John M (Solihull)Mr. Nicholas Baker and Mr. Irvine Patrick.
Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
NOES
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Bell, StuartMeale, Alan
Buckley, George J.Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Cohen, HarrySkinner, Dennis
Cryer, BobSnape, Peter
Dixon, DonWelsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Fisher, Mark
Foster, DerekTellers for the Noes:
Haynes, FrankMr. Dave Nellist and Mr. Martin Redmond.
Hood, Jimmy
Illsley, Eric

Question accordingly agreed to.

Debate to be resumed this day.

Photo of Mr Bob Cryer Mr Bob Cryer , Bradford South

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As you will have seen tonight from your own observations, the business of the House, as conducted by the Government, has been a complete shambles. The Government Chief Whip has had to organise telephone communications to 60 or 70 Members.

In view of that, I wonder whether you, Sir, have had a request from a senior Minister—perhaps the Prime Minister—to make a statement on the disorganisation of the Government business and the possibility of an early dissolution so that we can get a Government to organise the business and get some decent legislation through.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

There has been no such request.

Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell , Middlesbrough

Further to the point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As I understand it, we shall not now be debating the Finance Bill [Money] (No. 2) motion or the Procedure (Future Taxation) (No. 2) motion. If that is so, have the Government notified you of any business statement to put the business of the House, which has been so disrupted and disjointed tonight, back on the rails? Has a senior Minister told you that there will be a business statement on when we will be able to debate these orders?

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

The hon. Gentleman is jumping the gun a bit because I have not put the Question on those motions, which must be moved by a member of the Government. If they are not, the hon. Gentleman will be aware that tomorrow—or is it today?—a business statement will be made and he may have an opportunity to ask a question about that.

We now move to motion No. 4, Finance Bill [Money] (No. 2).

Lords Commissioner to the Treasury (Mr. John M. Taylor):

Not moved.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

Order. I shall complete the motions on the Order Paper. Motion No. 5, Procedure (Future Taxation) (No. 2).

Mr. Taylor:

Not moved.

Mr. Taylor:

Not moved.

Mr. Taylor:

Not moved.

Mr. Taylor:

Not moved.

Mr. Taylor:

Not moved.

Photo of Mr Steven Norris Mr Steven Norris , Epping Forest

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. May I seek your guidance on the parliamentary use of the term unutterable humbug? Tonight, a series of appallingly inept speeches were made by Opposition Members, manufacturing the most ludicrous arguments on issues about which they had not expressed the slightest interest at any other stage of the Bill. They have caused a measure dealing with the extremely serious issue of international terrorism to be postponed. Is it appropriate for me to place on the record that such conduct by the Opposition, who cannot be controlled by their party Whips, is evidence of unutterable humbug?

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

The hon. Gentleman has used the phrase, which sometimes is regarded as rather endearing.

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Do not you agree that the Government have postponed the legislation? They have moved the closure and a progress motion that the debate stand over to a further day. The Opposition were prepared, if necessary, to scrutinise the Bill through the night. If not all of us, certainly one or two of us would not accept the accusation made by the hon. Member for Epping Forest (Mr. Norris) that we are not concerned about matters such as safety. For seven years, I have brought before Parliament safety issues affecting air and other forms of transport.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

I shall take the hon. Gentleman's point of order, but the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) is sitting patiently and I am anxious to hear what he wants to say.

Photo of Mr Michael Brown Mr Michael Brown , Brigg and Cleethorpes

I do not know what the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. Redmond) and his colleagues were doing tonight. The Bill was passed on Second and Third Reading without a Division, presumably because it was regarded by all hon. Members as vital to air and maritime safety. Is it in order for one or two hon. Members who did not speak on Second or Third Reading to seek, for reasons other than the safety of passengers travelling on aeroplanes, to disrupt the safety of passengers in the way that has been done tonight?

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

Order. We cannot return to debate a matter that the House has already decided. We must get on with the Adjournment.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

Is it a different point of order?

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

Yes.

Speeches come in all shapes and sizes, as you know, Mr. Deputy Speaker—you have to hear a lot of them. But I take great exception to the behaviour of the hon. Member for Epping Forest (Mr. Norris). He should not come here and lecture us about making speeches. He made one last week when he had been to a dinner party with Mr. Speaker, who offended him—very slightly, but it upset him. He spoke against the Government for a quarter of an hour or so, and then, when we had a Division, he ran away.

If hon. Members wish to talk about wasting time, there is a prime example. If anyone was engaging in humbug, the hon. Gentleman was doing so last week.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

Order. It is high time that we got on with the Adjournment.