Local Government

Statutory Instruments, &c. – in the House of Commons at 7:15 pm on 28th February 1995.

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Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West 7:15 pm, 28th February 1995

I beg to move, That the draft North Yorkshire (District of York) (Structural and Boundary Changes) Order 1995, which was laid before this House on 16th February, be approved.

Photo of Miss Janet Fookes Miss Janet Fookes , Plymouth Drake

I understand that, with this, it will be convenient to discuss the following motion: That the draft Humberside (Structural Chance) Order 1995, which was laid before this House on 16th February, be approved.

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West

With modifications, the orders implement the recommendations of the Local Government Commission for the future structure of local government in North Yorkshire and Humberside. I hope that it will be helpful to the House if I take the principal issues relating to the orders in the following order: first, details of the proposed new structure in both areas; then boundaries, powers and functions; electoral arrangements; and staffing, planning and ceremonial arrangements.

From 1 April 1996, the City of York will be a unitary authority on extended boundaries, which will incorporate parts of the districts of Ryedale, Selby and Harrogate. I shall return to the details of the boundary changes in due course. The remainder of the county of North Yorkshire will remain two tier, retaining both district and county councils. On 1 April 1996, the county of Humberside and Humberside county council will be abolished and will be succeeded by four unitary authorities.

The existing authority of Kingston upon Hull, on its existing boundaries, will be given unitary powers. The existing authorities of Holderness, Beverley, East Yorkshire and the northern part of Boothferry will be abolished and will comprise a single new authority, to be called the East Riding of Yorkshire. The existing authorities of Cleethorpes and Grimsby will be abolished and will comprise a single new unitary authority, to be called North East Lincolnshire. The existing authorities of Glanford and Scunthorpe and that part of Boothferry district south of the northern boundaries of the parishes of Crowle, Eastoft, Luddington, Haldenby and Amcotts will be abolished and will comprise a new unitary authority, to be called North Lincolnshire. That is the area known as the Isle of Axholme.

As a rule, decisions about where boundaries should be drawn are difficult and provoke strong feelings. Our decisions about the boundaries of York and Hull have not proved to be an exception to that rule. In the case of the City of York, we have accepted the commission's recommendation—with only very minor modifications to exclude five small parishes—that the city's boundaries should be extended to include the York greater planning area. That will substantially increase the area covered by the city, and will increase its population from its existing 101,000 to approximately 167,000.

In making its recommendations to us, the commission took into account a number of factors, including the ability of a unitary authority to deliver services effectively and efficiently and the need to recognise community identity and the expression of local opinion. It acknowledged that opposition to the extension of the city's boundaries to include the greater planning area was strongest in the outlying areas beyond the ring road. The strength of the opposition has also been made clear to us in the many representations that we have received from local residents and their parish councils. Nevertheless, the commission concluded, and we agreed, that the balance of advantage lay with providing an enlarged boundary to enable the new authority to deliver services efficiently and effectively and to adopt a strategic approach to economic development, transportation planning and environmental issues, among other things.

Photo of Frank Dobson Frank Dobson Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

What reasons did the commission and the Department adduce to show that, if the boundary were merely extended to the ring road, the requirements would not be met?

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West

The trouble with merely extending the boundary to the ring road, as the hon. Gentleman must know, is that that road breaks through about 11 parishes and runs inside the existing city of York. At one point, it would reduce the area of the city and, at other points, it would lead to the fragmentation of communities.

Photo of Frank Dobson Frank Dobson Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

The Minister's officials have been making the fatuous point that the ring road breaks through certain parishes, but everyone regards it as an approximation of where the boundary ought to be. There is considerably more support—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Yes, there is. There is considerably more support within the ring road for joining York than there is anywhere outside it.

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West

The fragmentation of communities and rural parishes may be a trivial matter to the hon. Gentleman, who represents an entirely urban constituency, but I can assure him that the parishes concerned would not want to be split up. Some of the parishes outside the ring road are the most urban in the Greater York area.

During the debate on the Avon order, the hon. Member for Holborn and St Pancras (Mr. Dobson) accused us of proposing boundaries that would leave Bristol 'cabinn'd, cribb'd, confin'd'."—[official Report, 22 February 1995; Vol. 255, c. 410.] The city of Bristol covers an area of 10,954 hectares. The existing city of York covers an area of only 2,946 hectares.

Of course, we have said that we shall ask the commission to reconsider the Bristol boundary. I do not believe that it is necessary for it to look again at the York boundary because our proposals should ensure that the city is not "cabinn'd, cribb'd or confin'd".

The hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras was quoted in the Yorkshire Evening Press recently. An editorial on 24 February 1995 said: It is a rich irony when Labour's shadow Environment Secretary attacks plans for a Greater York authority as a 'political racket'. What else does he think he and his party are engaged in when they oppose it? Labour is not making a principled stand on grounds of whether a Greater York will best serve the people, but on grounds of whether it will best serve Labour and the signs are that it will not. I hope, however, that most people will agree with Councillor Gerald Dean, the leader of the York Conservative group, in his letter to the same paper on 14 November 1994, when he said that it was vitally important for all people within the Greater York Planning Area now to become partners in a common endeavour to create the new 'City and County of York' unitary authority to serve efficiently and effectively all the communities throughout the area, and to meet the needs and aspirations of all residents and their families and of future generations to come. Following representations made to us by local people and by their Members of Parliament, we agreed to exclude five small parishes on the outer edges of the greater planning area. We were persuaded that the characteristics of those parishes and their relationship to the districts that they are in were such that their exclusion was justified. Cases were made for other parishes to be excluded, but in our view those were not as strong.

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley , City of York

Will the Minister specify what those characteristics were in relation to the five parishes that were excluded?

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West

Certainly. Those were predominantly agricultural parishes, which had much less of a link with the city of York in terms of economic dependence and interdependence. Perhaps I may quote the Yorkshire Evening Press again, on the subject of the hon. Gentleman. In its editorial on 17 February it said: Opposition from York Labour MP Hugh Bayley too might well seem to be motivated more by the local party's fears about losing its grip on the City council if the boundaries are pushed out to the strongly Liberal Democrat and Conservative suburbs than by a disinterested appreciation of what York needs … The politicians should pay more attention to the real issue here, which is the need to deliver efficient and cost-effective services to a base of people who are defined as living and working in York. I entirely endorse that editorial.

Photo of John Greenway John Greenway , Ryedale

On the five parishes, which are all in my constituency, bearing in mind all the allegations about gerrymandering that are flowing back and forth, is not it the case that the removal of those five parishes will make not a scrap of difference to the warding arrangements for the new York authority, and that it will reduce Conservative party chances in the two wards affected?

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West

The change certainly does not make much difference to the warding arrangements. I would not know whether it made any political difference, because I certainly did not consider that.

We also took the view that if further parishes were removed, with each additional parish that was removed, the case for allowing the city to adopt a strategic approach to planning and service provision would be weakened.

In the case of Kingston upon Hull, we accepted the commission's recommendation that the unitary authority should be established on the city's existing boundaries. We have, however, decided that—in the light of representations that we received from the city—in due course its boundary with the new East Riding authority should be reviewed. That will not involve major revisions or extensions to the boundary, but will, we hope, sort out a number of small anomalies that exist at the moment.

Photo of Mr Kevin McNamara Mr Kevin McNamara , Kingston upon Hull North

In view of the fact that it was considered wise to extend the boundaries of the City of York to include the outlying villages, why was it not also considered wise to extend the boundaries of Hull to include the outlying villages, as the majority of the people who live there work in and gain all their benefits from Hull?

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West

Not only did the commission not recommend that, but it noted the opposition of the areas to which the hon. Gentleman is referring to any such proposal.

There remains one outstanding boundary issue in relation to both the Humberside and the North Yorkshire reviews—the future location of the parishes that form Goole and rural Goole. The commission had recommended that Goole and its hinterland should, with the districts of Craven, Harrogate and Selby, form a unitary authority to be called the West Riding (Dales and Vale) of Yorkshire. We rejected that recommendation because we believed that it failed to take account of community identity.

As a modification, our preferred option was to combine Goole with Selby as a new district in North Yorkshire, but in the light of the representations that we received and to enable the full range of options for the future of Goole to be considered, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment will next week direct the commission to undertake a boundary review between the districts of Boothferry, Selby, Glanford and Doncaster, in relation to the parishes that form Goole and rural Goole. The commission will be asked—taking into account the structural arrangements that the orders will produce if they are approved—to recommend whether those parishes should remain with Boothferry, transfer to one of the other authorities, be divided between them, or be established as a district council in its own right in a two-tier North Yorkshire.

The commission will be asked to give priority to that review and to submit its recommendations to us as swiftly as possible.

Photo of Mr John Townend Mr John Townend , Bridlington

My hon. Friend appreciates the great pleasure that the end of Humberside and the return of our beloved East Riding gives those of us who come from that part of the country, but there is considerable opposition to the last-minute change of view—the decision to put Goole, in the first instance, in with the East Riding of Yorkshire. There is no historical connection or commonality of interest. We welcome the proposal that that decision should be reconsidered and, on behalf of the people of east Yorkshire, I ask that that be done as quickly as possible, so that all the administrative changes caused by reorganisation do not go too far along the line before a decision is made.

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who has campaigned for the abolition of Humberside for a very long time. I am delighted that we are honouring that in the order. On the Goole issue, we shall of course ask the commission to deal with the matter as speedily as possible because of the uncertainty, not merely for planning but for staff. It is very much our view that it should be dealt with speedily and I hope that my hon. Friend and others who feel the same way will make their views known to the commission.

Photo of Mr John Sykes Mr John Sykes , Scarborough

My hon. Friend the Member for Bridlington (Mr. Townend) made an interesting argument. Many of us are delighted today at the prospect of walking through the Lobby in support of abolishing Humberside. Goole does not belong to Yorkshire, and never did for 1,000 years.

Photo of Austin Mitchell Austin Mitchell , Great Grimsby

Mind your own business.

Photo of Mr John Sykes Mr John Sykes , Scarborough

Goole never belonged to Humberside. The hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) is a carpetbagger. He is not from Grimsby; he is not from Goole. He ought to know better.

Goole was never part of Yorkshire, and today many people will rejoice in the fact that Yorkshire will once again stretch from the Humber to the Tees, as it did for 1,000 years.

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West

I do not know what Goole has done to upset my hon. Friend, but I can tell him that Goole was in the old West Riding of Yorkshire.

Once the orders are made, all the authorities in Humberside and the authorities affected by the changes in North Yorkshire will have extra duties and powers to prepare for the reorganisation. They will each be under a duty to co-operate in implementing change. Unitary authorities will have access to the information that they need.

Once the councils for the unitary authorities have been elected, they will have further powers to make the necessary preparations, including setting budgets and recruiting staff for the functions for which they will assume responsibility on 1 April 1996. They will be required to consider whether any of their new functions would best be discharged through joint arrangements with other authorities. Taken together, we believe that those provisions will ensure a smooth transition to the new structure, while providing proper safeguards for essential services.

In the absence of clear agreement between the authorities in Humberside, we have decided that the superannuation fund maintained by the county council should be vested in the council of the East Riding of Yorkshire. We believe that that will cause the least disruption to the management of the fund and the least inconvenience to its pensioners. The East Riding authority is expected to locate its headquarters in Beverley, where the county's mainframe computer and other systems and communication links and databases are located.

We believe that authorities that are to be given unitary status should be given a fresh democratic mandate. There will therefore be whole council elections to the four unitary authorities in Humberside and to the new City of York authority, in May this year.

In future, with the exception of Hull, all the unitary authorities will hold whole council elections every four years. If they wish to apply to the Secretary of State to change to a system of elections by thirds, they may do so following the passing of a resolution by the whole council, passed by not less than two thirds of the members.

Hull will return to its current arrangement of elections by thirds from 1997. That follows the city's representations that it wished to retain elections by thirds and that it did not wish to have elections in the year immediately after reorganisation. We agree that that is a sensible arrangement and have made similar provision in Bristol.

Photo of Austin Mitchell Austin Mitchell , Great Grimsby

It would be sensible to increase the number of councillors to four councillors per ward, at least in the North East Lincolnshire authority. It would also be sensible to hold elections annually—or at least more regularly than the Local Government Commission proposed. The commission said that that matter would be reviewed after five years. When will the Minister entertain an application to review the number of councillors and the frequency of elections?

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West

We have always adopted the opinion that we do not wish to lay down a specific rule and that it is for the local authorities concerned to decide whether they hold elections by thirds or all-out elections. The commission will carry out a review of ward boundaries, but naturally its priority must be areas where there are the most inequities between the present elector-councillor ratios. I shall discuss that in relation to Glanford and Scunthorpe specifically in a moment.

With the exception of minor changes that we have made to accommodate leaving Goole in Boothferry while it is being re-reviewed, warding arrangements for the new authorities are as recommended by the commission.

I have received representations from a number of the Humberside authorities that those warding arrangements are unsatisfactory and that the councillor-elector ratio recommended by the commission is inadequate. Specifically, I know that Glanford and Scunthorpe districts feel strongly about the issue. However, we have made it clear that, other than where the arrangements are technically incorrect, or where, as in the case of Boothferry, they need to be changed to reflect modifications that we have made to the commission's structural recommendations, we shall not modify the commission's recommendations for electoral arrangements without first referring them back to the commission to consider any new evidence that we have received.

On the basis of the representations that we had received, we did not consider that it was necessary to refer the recommendations back to the commission, because that would have put at risk the timetable for holding the elections to the new authorities and would have prolonged the uncertainty. We have said, however, that we shall consider asking the commission to undertake an early electoral review of authorities where there is pressure for that and it appears to be necessary, for example, for the districts affected by the York extension.

We acknowledge that staff at all levels will have a crucial role to play in implementing change and ensuring that the new structures work successfully. Most staff—we estimate at least 90 per cent.—will simply end up working for the successor authorities. The majority—the front-line service providers such as teachers and care workers—will transfer by statutory transfer order, ensuring continued provision of essential services from day one of reorganisation. Others will secure posts through open competition if the post is new, or prior consideration in which competition is limited to those in the outgoing and continuing authorities concerned.

We recognise that there may be redundancies. Local government reorganisation is intended, among other things, to achieve greater efficiency and long-term savings in the cost of providing services, and inevitably there will be some effect on staffing structures. The changing role of local government is bound to have implications for the skills and numbers of the local authority work force, whether there is structural change or not. Ultimately, it will be for the authorities to decide on their new staffing structures and how to fill them, taking account of the available resources and the need to ensure continued provision of services.

We have recently announced new measures for those who are redundant as a result of local government reorganisation. We are also consulting on a possible scheme for detriment compensation for those who take a drop in salary as a result.

As unitary authorities, the new York district council and the four Humberside district councils will be responsible for both strategic and local land use planning in their areas. We are determined that there should be adequate arrangements for strategic planning in areas affected by reorganisation.

Reflecting its recommendations for structural changes, the commission recommended that the authorities for the area north of the Humber should work jointly on a structure plan for their combined areas. It made a similar recommendation for the authorities in the area between the Humber and the Wash. However, as a result of the modifications that we have made to the commission's structural recommendations, we have also needed to modify its recommendations for planning arrangements.

Therefore, having considered representations from the local authorities and other organisations, we have concluded that the most satisfactory grouping of authorities for joint structure plan purposes would be the new York unitary authority working with North Yorkshire county council; the new East Riding of Yorkshire unitary authority working with Kingston upon Hull city council; and the new North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire unitary authorities working with Lincolnshire county council.

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley , Glanford and Scunthorpe

The Minister must be aware that there is grave concern that that decision is a departure from the Local Government Commission's original recommendation that structural planning in Humberside should be estuary-wide. As someone who once chaired the Environment Select Committee and considered coastal zone policy, I am sure that the Minister would recommend from his own Committee reports that there is a great deal more logic in having structural planning embracing an estuary in terms of industry, conservation and management than in breaking it in two, as in his recommendations. Where is the logic in those recommendations?

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West

The hon. Gentleman will not be surprised to learn that I said to my officials, "If the hon. Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley) is there, he will mention estuarial planning," because he and I have a long history of interest in that subject.

Apart from the regional guidance element, there is a duty for neighbouring structure plan authorities to consult, and we intend to ensure that that works to deliver the cross-estuarial co-operation that is necessary for those issues, while retaining the relationship between the North Lincolnshire authorities and Lincolnshire county council for issues that go wider than that. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman recognises that the area south of Cleethorpes, for example, has links with the rest of Lincolnshire to the south.

Photo of Austin Mitchell Austin Mitchell , Great Grimsby

Presumably, those estuarial matters can be arranged through the Humberside Forum. When the Minister refers to working with Lincolnshire, what does "working with" mean?

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West

As I explained to the hon. Gentleman, the authorities will have a duty to prepare their structure plans together, so obviously it is something that reflects the cross-boundary planning issues. We believe that voluntary arrangements for joint working in those groupings will achieve the desired results.

The draft orders transfer the counties' strategic planning responsibilities for the areas concerned to the new unitary authorities. Each authority will also be responsible for maintaining a local plan for its area. We look to the relevant authorities in North Yorkshire, Humberside and Lincolnshire to make the necessary voluntary arrangements for joint working on the structure plan for their respective groupings. Voluntary joint working arrangements are more accountable locally than the statutory joint authorities, which it would become necessary for us to impose if such voluntary arrangements were to fail.

The orders do not provide for ceremonial arrangements. Separate provision will be made for that in regulations. However, it may be helpful to the House if I briefly explain the arrangements that we propose to put in place. In the case of North Yorkshire, the City of York will be deemed to be part of the county of North Yorkshire for ceremonial and related purposes. It will therefore have the same lord lieutenant and high sheriff as the county.

I take this opportunity to reassure people who have expressed concern about York losing its city status. That will not happen. It would be foolish and contrary to everything that we seek to achieve by our reorganisation of local government. Before the existing authority is abolished, we shall make specific provision for the continuation of the city's status and privileges. We are discussing with the Home Office and Privy Council the most expedient way of doing that. Whatever we decide, the city will continue to be a city and it will continue to have a lord mayor.

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley , City of York

The Minister specifically mentioned the lord mayor of York. Will York retain its sheriff?

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West

Yes. I shall get back to the hon. Gentleman if I am wrong.

As Humberside is to be abolished, its lord lieutenant and high sheriff will also be abolished. Instead, north of the Humber we intend to provide for both a lord lieutenant and a high sheriff of the county of the East Riding of Yorkshire. For ceremonial and related purposes, Hull will be deemed to be part of that county and will therefore have the same lord lieutenant and sheriff. South of the Humber, we propose that the North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire unitary authorities should be deemed, for ceremonial purposes, to be part of the county of Lincolnshire and to have the same lord lieutenant and high sheriff.

The Yorkshire museum has mounted a very professional campaign not to be transferred from the county council to the City of York. However, as with other property within the new York district area, the museum will pass to the city under the regulations for the transfer of assets and liabilities. The museum is a charitable trust and the terms of the trust state that the beneficial area of that trust is the city of York. As a consequence, the museum and its gardens must transfer to the City of York on reorganisation. I hope that the House agrees that, if we are to entrust the City of York with responsibility for education and social services, it would be faintly ludicrous to say that it could not be trusted to run a museum. We are, however, aware of local concern that the museum should continue to play a role as an institution serving the areas of both North Yorkshire county council and the new City of York council, and we expect the authorities to co-operate in safeguarding that role.

I believe that the changes for which the orders provide will create more comprehensible, and consequently more accountable, local government in the areas that they affect. The abolition of Humberside and the restoration of individual and independent cities of York and Kingston upon Hull will be welcomed, as will the restoration of the East Riding to Yorkshire. I commend the orders to the House.

Photo of Frank Dobson Frank Dobson Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) 7:42 pm, 28th February 1995

Tonight we are discussing two orders. Both put asunder what the Heath Government joined together. The first breaks Humberside county into unitary authorities, as recommended by the Local Government Commission for England. The second, contrary to the commission's recommendations, does not break up the North Yorkshire county council into unitary authorities but confers unitary status on York—but York with different boundaries. Nothing could better demonstrate the inconsistency and political prejudice that have characterised the reorganisation of local government. It shows yet again that the Government are motivated largely by malice against Labour councils.

Photo of Mr David Rendel Mr David Rendel , Newbury

The Government are motivated by malice not just against Labour councils but against local authorities in general.

Photo of Frank Dobson Frank Dobson Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

I think that there are degrees of malice.

Humberside has usually been controlled by Labour, at least when it was not led by the hon. Member for Bridlington (Mr. Townend) who, as soon as he stopped being leader, decided that he wanted to abolish it. It will be broken up, whereas North Yorkshire county council, which, in normal circumstances has been Tory controlled, will not be broken up. York will be separated out, with boundaries which do not make sense and which practically no one supports.

Photo of Mr John Townend Mr John Townend , Bridlington

The hon. Gentleman talks about the political bias of the proposals. Is he aware that Hull district council, which has been Labour controlled ever since I can remember, except for two years, strongly favours doing away with Humberside and getting back unitary powers for the city and county of Hull?

Photo of Miss Janet Fookes Miss Janet Fookes , Plymouth Drake

Order. I am sorry, but we cannot have one intervention upon another.

Photo of Frank Dobson Frank Dobson Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

I apologise, Madam Deputy Speaker. I have never been beset in that way before. In a moment, I shall deal with the point made by the hon. Member for Bridlington.

Photo of Mr Kevin McNamara Mr Kevin McNamara , Kingston upon Hull North

Further to what my hon. Friend said about the record of the hon. Member for Bridlington, is he aware that, for a brief moment, the hon. Gentleman also led Hull city council? Thereafter, we went from strength to strength and now only one member of his party is there.

Photo of Mr John Townend Mr John Townend , Bridlington

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. May I point out that that statement is incorrect? I was chairman of the finance committee of Hull council, but never leader.

Photo of Miss Janet Fookes Miss Janet Fookes , Plymouth Drake

Order. That is not a point of order for the Chair.

Photo of Frank Dobson Frank Dobson Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

I am glad that I did not gloat.

All that is a product of the deliberations of the Local Government Commission and the Secretary of State, who was supposed to be acting in a quasi-judicial capacity. I must say that it was much more quasi that judicial. The break-up of Humberside gives independence back to the city of Kingston upon Hull—not before time. It should never have been taken away from Hull in the first place by a previous Tory Government. Hull city council would rather have wider boundaries. There is considerable support, not just within the Labour party in Hull, for Hull to have wider boundaries. Even the commission recognised that wider boundaries would have made more sense. They said that they recognised the merits of the argument but decided that the proposition was not popular, so did not recommend it.

If Tory Members think that this matter has been and gone and Hull could never be extended, I remind them that, on 25 October 1994, the Secretary of State did not rule out the extension of Hull's boundaries but said that, in due course, he proposed to direct the Commission to review the boundaries between East Yorkshire and Hull. Those who think that they have won that argument may find that they have not. We are asked tonight to decide boundaries which the Secretary of State proposes setting aside as soon as we have set them in place.

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West

There are clearly examples in Hull and the neighbouring authorities where houses or streets are divided by boundaries, and it is perfectly sensible to review those boundaries. Given the time scale, it is simply not possible for the commission to review them before the order is, I hope, passed by the House this evening. But that is what the Secretary of State will ask the commission to review and it is a matter of common sense.

Photo of Frank Dobson Frank Dobson Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

We do not know the time scale or whether the adjustments will be as large or small as the Minister suggests. The Secretary of State asks us to agree an order on one set of boundaries while talking about changing them immediately afterwards. He threatens further changes, thereby sentencing certain areas to a further period of uncertainty, particularly as those within the city council's boundary will be unitary authorities and those outside—as in the case of East Yorkshire—will not.

That is not the only uncertainty because, as the Minister admitted, under the commission's proposals, part of Goole was to be the amazing Dales and Vales unitary authority. Despite its rhyming, it has, thankfully, disappeared as nobody supported the proposition for more than half a minute. When the Government first drafted the order, they changed that proposition in favour of transferring Goole to the Selby part of North Yorkshire which will be a two-tier authority. The Government produced a second draft order, but apparently they forgot about Goole, because it is not mentioned at all. The Secretary of State then announced that the Local Government Commission had been instructed to undertake a further review of Goole's fate. It implied that, for the next few months, Goole will be located—probably temporarily—in East Yorkshire and then it will "enter the new East Riding unitary authority".

In the context of this complex reorganisation of local government, Goole will be moved temporarily—we do not know for how long—into a unitary authority. However, as a result of further boundary changes while the reorganisation is taking place, it could be shifted into the area of a two-tier authority, thus becoming a lower tier authority again. I do not think that the Government are serious about trying to ensure that the reorganisation goes through with minimum impact on the services that the authorities concerned are supposed to provide.

It is insulting for the people of Goole to be treated as the fag-end of a local government reorganisation. They are being pushed about and shoved to one side until it is convenient for the Secretary of State to do something about their situation.

By any standards, Humberside county council had a good performance record and I think that anyone with any sense sympathises with the councillors and staff who worked hard in the area of service provision. The new authorities must be encouraged to perform. Hull is clearly capable of running itself, which it did for several hundred years. However, all of the new authorities will need to co-operate to provide the necessary Humber-wide planning and environmental policies. Everyone wishes them well, but they will be operating in difficult circumstances because of the boundaries and the uncertainties that the orders create.

That brings me to the second order, and I must declare an interest at this point. I was born and brought up in one of the villages on the outskirts of York. I went to school in York and I have a lot of family connections with that great city and also with East Riding, where I used to live. York, quite rightly, wants its independence, which a Tory Government should never have taken away.

However, the council does not want independence at any price and it believes that the massive extension of the city boundaries is too high a price to pay for York's independence. Proposals before the commission were to retain the present boundary, which would leave York with a population of about 100,000—three times as big as Rutland which is gaining independence—or to extend York's boundaries roughly to the ring road, which would leave York with a population of about 125,000. Another alternative was to extend the boundary much further to the edge of the York planning area, which is known as Greater York, which would give York a population of 170,000.

Extending the boundary to form Greater York is an enormously unpopular proposal. York city council opposes it, as does Ryedale district council, Selby district council, Harrogate district council and North Yorkshire county council. Every parish council outside the ring road is opposed to the proposition. The Labour Member of Parliament for that area—my hon. Friend the Member for York (Mr. Bayley)—the right hon. Member for Selby (Mr. Alison) and the hon. Member for Ryedale (Mr. Greenway) also oppose the idea. Opposition to the preposterous idea that York should be extended in that way is not exactly a Labour racket.

The Local Government Commission—I shall make no further comments on its general stumbling incompetence—recommended the Greater York proposal in its document, but it did not offer a single word to justify extending York's boundary to form Greater York. It proposed a 900 per cent. increase in the city's area which would take the boundary beyond York's natural urban or suburban boundary.

York does not have three or four centres with rural patches in between. There has been gradual concentric expansion of York's urban areas and, if the boundary is to be extended, it should he extended to somewhere around the natural edge of those areas. The Greater York proposition takes in very rural areas. It leaves in some areas which are more rural than the five which were taken out at the behest of the hon. Member for Ryedale. I defy anyone to find a parish in England that is more rural than Kexby.

The people who live outside the boundaries of York do not see themselves as part of York and the people in York do not see themselves as part of York. I believe that the Local Government Commission may even—

Photo of Frank Dobson Frank Dobson Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

I am sorry. The people of York do not consider the people outside the city to be part of York. I am sorry for that slip of the tongue.

There is some suspicion that the Local Government Commission did not know what it was recommending—or at least it did not know the basis of its recommendations. According to its own figures, it seems to have misunderstood the unpopularity of its proposals. It got the figures wrong in the first report. It said that only one in three of those affected were opposed to the boundary change. That was true of people living between the existing boundary and the ring road at that time, but the local government's figures, which were collected by MORI, showed that two out of three of those people living between the ring road and the proposed new boundary opposed that proposition.

Those figures were collected during the early stages of consultation when the picture was not as clear as it was after the final recommendation was made. Since then, public opinion has become clearer. Hon. Members who are familiar with the area will know that, if anything, it has hardened against any extension of the boundary, not just beyond the ring road but beyond York's present boundaries. Strong support for York as an all-purpose authority remains, but support for the extension of its boundaries is small and it is diminishing. People living outside the ring road do not consider themselves to be part of York and, according to the commission's polling, fewer than one in three support the boundary extension.

Photo of Gordon Prentice Gordon Prentice , Pendle

Is my hon. Friend aware that the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Urban Regeneration, who has just left the Chamber, told the Craven Herald and Pioneer in November 1993 that York is virtually certain to get its own all-purpose council". He said that before there was any suggestion that the city's boundary would be extended. Perhaps the Minister, like the majority of people in York, believes that the city should retain its original boundary.

Photo of Frank Dobson Frank Dobson Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

I find it difficult to understand the mindset of Government Members.

In November 1994, the city council commissioned a MORI poll of a much larger sample than the survey conducted by the Local Government Commission. It also carried out a leaflet consultation exercise, whereby it sent questionnaires to the people concerned who were asked to complete and return them. Only 24 per cent. of those consulted in that way supported the idea of a Greater York. Within York, 41 per cent. of those surveyed wanted to retain the current boundaries and 36 per cent. supported the idea of a Greater York.

When the people who were affected by the Greater York extension were consulted, their rejection of the proposal was overwhelming. The MORI poll showed that 61 per cent. of those surveyed in the outer ring opposed the extension and 23 per cent. favoured it. The leaflet exercise—which had a remarkable 42 per cent. Return—showed that 80 per cent. of those surveyed opposed the extension and 30 per cent. supported it. In the districts which would be taken over from Ryedale district council, the MORI figures were 68 per cent. against and 17 per cent. in favour, with the leaflet method of consultation showing 86 per cent. against and 14 per cent. in favour.

In the Selby district, which contains two of the parishes which are closest to York—anybody who did not know would think that they were already part of York— Heslington and Fulford, the figures were only 47 per cent. against and 36 per cent. in favour.

The figures for some of the individual villages are quite remarkable. None of the villages in Ryedale outside the ring road had more than 12 per cent. in favour of being taken into York, and using the leaflet method, the lowest figure against the extension in any parish outside the ring road was 87 per cent. In Selby district, as I have mentioned, Fulford and Heslington—which would be incorporated into almost any sensible extension of York—were the only villages where as few as 50 per cent. were against the extension. Askham Bryan had 97 per cent. against and 3 per cent. in favour and Dunnington, where I was born, had 86 per cent. against and 14 per cent. in favour.

We should consider the Local Government Commission's views on how the popularity of proposals should be borne in mind. It stated: The commission must balance the advantages of the proposed extension against the sense of community and expressed wishes of local residents". It said that about York, where there is no doubt about the expressed wishes of local residents. In respect of Hull, it said: In its consultation report, the commission recognises the merits of the argument for the extension, but on balance felt the weight of public opinion against expansion was too strong to disregard. So it was too strong to disregard in respect of Hull, but apparently nothing can be so strong that it cannot be disregarded in respect of the expansion of York.

If we then take the weight that the commission itself claims it gives to public opinion, the chief executive of the commission wrote an article saying that, had there not been a Local Government Commission, a new structure of local government would have been imposed on a largely apathetic public … I, for one, am glad that the Local Government Commission has undertaken its task in a very different way, which has produced recommendations enjoying solid local support and which has avoided the potentially expensive mistake of imposing an unwelcome new structure of local government on shire England. The Minister of State, who is not here, said: Where the commission comes up with a scheme which is endorsed by local community leaders and responds to a local sense of identity it is likely to be endorsed. However, where a recommendation appeals to defy natural gravity"— whatever that may mean— and be inconsistent with other recommendations it will earn a loud popular raspberry. We have waited in vain to hear the raspberry on the proposition for the expansion of York.

If the Government do not like the polling data or the leaflet returns that have judged opinion in those areas, they have to admit that, since the proposition was put forward, 1,066 people have argued against the extension of York and 30 in favour; seven local authorities have made representations, none of them in favour; 26 parishes have made recommendations, none of them in favour and of 15 other representations, just one was in favour. People are saying quite loudly that they do not think that the shotgun marriage of York with the outlying villages should go through. The Minister should have further second thoughts.

The Government left out Shipton and Overton from Hambleton district; they left out Upper Helmsley, Gate Helmsley and Warthill from Ryedale district—and quite right, too. They now propose forcing into York—against the wishes of the people of York and their elected representatives and the elected representatives of every one of the districts and clearly against the wishes of the vast majority of people—Skelton, Wigginton, Haxby, Strenshall, Towthorpe, Earswick, Stockton-on-the-Forest, Holtby, Murton, Kexby, Dunnington, Elvington, Wheldrake, Deighton, Naburn, Bishopthorpe, Acaster Malbis, Copmanthorpe, Askham Bryan, Askham Richard, Rufforth, Hessay and Upper Poppleton. None of them wants to join; they all want to stay out.

I should emphasise that this is a Tory idea. It was not empire building by Labour-controlled York city council; it was simply put forward by the Tory machine carrying out these local government reorganisations.

To add insult to injury, the Government propose to change the voting system for York which, not from time immemorial, but for a damned long time, has had annual elections. As the outlying districts cannot be re-warded in a way which would permit annual elections and still have sensible wards, the people of York, who are accustomed to being able to vote in or out their council or many of the councillors every year will be deprived of that.

The city council said that annual elections should continue. Last week, when I said that I thought that annual elections should continue as a principle, I was told that councils should be given a choice. York has expressed its choice, it wants annual elections, but that would not suit the Government, so it will not have them.

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West

The commission recommended that there should be all-out elections, but if the new city and county of the York authority chooses a system of one third and passes the appropriate resolution, the Government will not stand in its way. We believe that the authority should decide. The hon. Gentleman is saying that part of the authority should decide. He is saying that only the old York city council should be responsible. We think that all the councillors on the new authority should have a say on whether it will be all-out elections or elections by thirds.

Photo of Frank Dobson Frank Dobson Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

The hon. Gentleman misunderstands me. I believe that the law should be quite clear and there should be annual elections in every local authority in the country. That is right in principle.

What the Government are doing now is forcing people who have never lived in York to become part of York and they are insulting them by doing that. They are insulting the people of York by saying that the right to annual elections that they have had for all those years will be taken away. Just like the rest of the process, it is a total shambles. It is the product of a incompetent and badly conducted Local Government Commission and an even worse set of Ministers.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Lofthouse Mr Geoffrey Lofthouse , Pontefract and Castleford

Order. I remind the House of Madam Speaker's decision to limit Back-Bench speeches to 10 minutes for the remainder of the debate.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby 8:07 pm, 28th February 1995

The hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson), in a disarmingly tentative declaration of interest, reminded us that some members of his family are familiar with the part of Yorkshire that I represent. I hope that I am not disclosing a confidence in alleging that he may even have a brother who lives in the locality of Wheldrake—or at least some members of his family live in that part of the world. I cannot reciprocate by declaring an interest in that connection as I am not sure that any of them vote for me, but to that extent alone I differ from the hon. Gentleman's approach to the problem.

What lies behind the order in reality is not, as my hon. Friend the Minister keeps reiterating, advice or pressure from the Local Government Commission. It is certainly not the aspirations or expression of views of local people. The only reason behind what has been proposed is that old, dreadful and inhuman syndrome—the gentleman in Whitehall knows best. That is the only rational conclusion one can draw from the way in which the Government are proceeding in these orders.

On what the Local Government Commission has contributed to this sorry scenario, let me remind my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State why he cannot shelter his proposals behind the skirts of the Local Government Commission, whatever one may think of the commission itself. In its preliminary report of June 1993, addressed incidentally "to local people", and in its final report to the Secretary of State in June 1994, the commission was essentially and unmistakably tentative about the way in which York's boundaries should be drawn. It stated: York's boundaries should be enlarged if local people support the changes. Local residents do not support the changes, as the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras made perfectly clear. I, too, shall emphasise that point presently.

If local people do not support the changes, and if the Boundary Commission says that the proposals depend on the extent to which such support exists, why have the Government ignored this fundamental condition prerequisite and gone swanning off on their own? Admittedly, the commission preferred, again tentatively, a new boundary for York extended as proposed in the order, but I repeat that it was tentative. The essential need was to reflect what local people felt and wanted. In other words, the people, not the planners, were given priority by the commission. Why, then, have the Government not reflected that approach?

In relation to its tentative proposals, the commission stated: However a proper balance must be struck between feelings of community, and the search for the most efficient form of local government that will meet the needs of the community. Listening to my hon. Friend the Minister introduce the order relating to York, I was shocked to hear him put into the mouth of the Boundary Commission words which exactly reversed the priorities outlined in the above quotation. The Boundary Commission said that a proper balance must be struck between feelings of community, and the search for the most efficient form of local government". My hon. Friend claimed that the commission said that what was sought was the most efficient form of local government which, as far as it could be, would be compatible with what local people want. The Boundary Commission made its first priority the identities and interests of local communities and the need to secure effective and convenient local government came second.

The Government have done a disservice to local government by putting the planners first and the people second. That essential imbalance is perverse and undesirable. The people in and around York have expressed their feelings about the way in which they want local government to be organised in their locality. The hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras vividly brought out the facts.

My hon. Friend the Minister will know of the local referendum to which the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras referred. In it, more than 32,000 valid votes were cast, the overwhelming majority—more than 80 per cent.—in favour of restricting the York city boundary and repudiating the recommendations of the Boundary Commission.

It is interesting and significant that the Boundary Commission itself, in paragraph 66 of its final report to the Secretary of State, said: Bearing in mind that city extensions are usually strongly contested (as can be seen in the case of both Kingston upon Hull and Bristol) the Commission considers that the opposition to the proposed extension is relatively weak. Only 800 direct representations were received from the area that would be affected by the two boundary extensions. I hesitate to cite a letter sent to me on 17 January by my hon. Friend the Minister because I do not think that he can have read it before he added his signature to it. The letter states: However, whilst we recognise that there are pockets of strong local feeling—and this perhaps is not accurately reflected in the relatively low level of those who responded to the canvass you refer to in your letter—against extending the City's boundaries to include the major part of the Greater Planning Area, we remain convinced that the Commission's recommendation was correct. My hon. Friend refers to a "relatively low level" of participation, but the Boundary Commission managed to get 800 people to respond to its canvas in its final report and then embarked on the path that we are now disputing. The poll to which the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras referred involved 32,000 people, but my hon. Friend the Minister talks about pockets of strong local feeling … perhaps … not accurately reflected in the relatively low level of those who responded to the canvass". What does my hon. Friend really believe is the basis for his seeking to shelter behind the skirts of the Boundary Commission in going ahead with these proposals? Does he honestly believe that, had the Boundary Commission received not 800 responses to its inquiry but 32,000—something approaching 42 per cent. of the electorate, way above the average level of participation in local government polls and getting on for the level of participation in parliamentary polls—the Local Government Commission would have recommended ignoring the feelings of local people and proceeding as proposed? No, it would not. My hon. Friend cannot shelter behind the local government boundary commission.

I shall not vote against the order only because my hon. Friend the Minister has been helpful and constructive about Humberside. I give him credit for that and appreciate his help in making certain that Goole did not come into the Selby district.

Photo of Mr Kevin McNamara Mr Kevin McNamara , Kingston upon Hull North 8:16 pm, 28th February 1995

I must first apologise to the hon. Member for Bridlington (Mr. Townend) in his absence for wrongly having promoted him above his station and accused him of being leader of the Conservative majority on Hull city council. However, I must admit that I owe him a debt of gratitude as Townend's rent rise meant that my then marginal seat became safe, and Townend is a name that young mothers still use to urge their children to hurry home early and safely. He had the same distinction when leader of Humberside county council in that he cut services so much that, apart from one brief period of a hung council, Humberside, after Townend—like after Hull had had Townend—has remained Labour ever since. That brings me to the purpose of the debate.

Humberside was created out of malice and is being destroyed out of malice. It was created out of malice to try to defeat the strong Labour control in Hull, Grimsby and Scunthorpe. It was felt that going into the new county, using the excuse of an estuarial authority, would enable it to become Conservative controlled. That did not happen except for the one occasion when the hon. Member for Bridlington was leader of the Tory group.

The decision to abolish Humberside is being taken for exactly the same reason. It has been a very strong Labour council. Under its first leader, Harry Lewis, until its present one, Maggie Smith, it has provided good, efficient and cost-effective education services, social services, transport, leisure and environmental services and good economic development. People can be proud of the county council, and that applies also to the people who have served it. But despite the attempts of the Labour group on that county council over a long period, and the great quality of the services that it produced, it never succeeded in capturing the public's imagination to gain the loyalty and support that I believe it was entitled to expect, although I have always supported the case for Hull being a unitary authority. I do not know whether it was the new name that rankled with the Yorkshire people from the old East Riding, and Lincolnshire people from north Lincolnshire, or whether it was the old northbank-southbank rivalries between the "Hully Gullies" and the "Lincolnshire Yellow Bellies", but, whatever it was, despite the best efforts of many of my county council colleagues, it never won that support.

Equally, however, as far as the Labour party is concerned, since my right hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore) was Minister for the Environment in 1978 and the proposal of organic change was brought forward, the main large county boroughs, which had lost their status as a result of the Local Government Act 1972, had campaigned long and furiously to return to their old status and powers. Indeed, it was the policy of my party then—and still is—to have decentralised Westminster Government represented in strong regional authorities and to have strong unitary authorities for local government purposes.

It is an irony of fate that the order, with the exception of North Riding, or north Yorkshire, creates just the form of organisation that a future Labour Secretary of State may immediately implement to give Yorkshire its own regional authority and its strong local unitary authority, because the pattern of the old West Riding and East Riding is now of unitary authorities.

The attitude of the Government to Humberside has been particularly vindictive, but, having said that, the city of Hull has always wanted to return to its former glories. It is ready, willing and eager to seize that chance and opportunity. That has been shown overwhelmingly by the citizens of Hull and by the members of Hull city council. But it will not be an easy task for many of them, and those who were members of the old city council and who are standing as candidates for the new city council will find that many of the old powers that they once enjoyed have disappeared. They will no longer have responsibility for tertiary education, for example, and in many ways they will be only a cipher for the Government in the administration of rather than the creation of services. The new responsibilities that social services and education services have gained will be a burden that they will not have experienced over the past 20 years. It is something with which they will have to wrestle. Fortunately 12 existing members of the county council will be local government candidates in Hull. I am sure that their experience of administration of those services which they will bring to the posts will be welcomed by the new city council.

I know that many hon. Members wish to speak. I merely reiterate the point that Humberside county council has been badly treated. It has been destroyed out of malice by the Government, but I believe that Hull is entitled to and should have always maintained its role as an independent, strong unitary authority. Therefore, I welcome the creation of those powers for the city of Hull. I would have liked to see its boundaries extended. Over the years, I have often thought it wrong for people to earn their living in Hull, to use many of Hull's services, whether cultural or otherwise, its libraries, theatres and subsidised orchestras, and yet live outside the city boundary. It would have been right for them to have been brought in. One of the new city constituencies—that of my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, West (Mr. Randall)—will be Kingston upon Hull, West and Hessle. It will be divided by a county boundary, contrary to the usual recommendations given to the parliamentary commissioners when drawing up constituency boundaries. I hope that it will be part of East Riding, which will come into the city of Hull. It is true, as the Minister who opened the debate said, that there will be little bits on the margins—little bits of housing estates, old school sites and so on. But more than that should come into the city.

I welcome the order in so far as it gives unitary status to Hull, but, for the reasons given by my hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson), which will no doubt be repeated by my hon. Friend the Member for York (Mr. Bayley), if he catches your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I will vote against the order for York.

Photo of John Greenway John Greenway , Ryedale 8:25 pm, 28th February 1995

I must tell the House that I shall be voting against the order tonight, and for two reasons: first to reflect the anger and betrayal that is felt by tens of thousands of my constituents at the proposed Greater York authority, as the opinion surveys referred to have made clear. Secondly, from the very start of the local government review, my opinion was that there should be no change in the structure of local government in North Yorkshire. The debate today has shown that no one has made any case in favour of a change. That includes York remaining part of the two-tier structure of North Yorkshire. The Ryedale district population is effectively chopped in half. I think that the figure is that 49.8 per cent. goes in and 50.2 per cent. stays out.

Although there is rejoicing that we have managed to save the county council from the worst excesses of the Local Government Commission's recommendations, there is grave concern that the residual part of Ryedale, which will remain within that two-tier structure, will have a small population and only 23 councillors to deal with an area of some 600 square miles. It will be a truly rural authority, and there may be some advantages in that; nevertheless, the people who have escaped going into Greater York are no happier about the overall position than those who are going into York.

When we reflect on the last two or three years of the local government review, few people—if any—will emerge with much credit. The Government's preferences were muddled. There was far too much of the nod and a wink, "We think that unitary is what you are going to end up with," kind of attitude. I cannot for the life of me see why we had to review North Yorkshire at all. By all means deal with Humberside, Avon, Cleveland, which seems to have been very popular with our colleagues affected by the changes, and the support for the Humberside order tonight contrasts with the lack of support from those affected by the North Yorkshire order, but I just cannot see why we had to interfere with the two-tier structure of local government in North Yorkshire, which has worked extremely well. It is England's largest county.

The Association of District Councils encouraged all its members to opt for unitary status, even though it must have been patently obvious that most were unlikely to succeed on their existing boundaries. Of course, it is subject to caveats, which I am sure that Labour Members would want to tell me about. Both Labour and Liberal Democrat policy is to have unitary local government. That was a further encouragement.

On the Local Government Commission's recommendations, the proposal for a North Riding authority was seen and will for ever be seen as a sick joke. It was not the North Riding of old—nothing like it. What was proposed was a unitary authority, measuring 100 miles from its western boundary to its eastern boundary on the edge of the North sea, in the south-eastern corner of my constituency. The commission had the audacity to say that that would bring local government closer to the people. As you know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, in Yorkshire people can see through that kind of nonsense, and in this instance they did.

It was in regard to public opinion surveys that local authorities in North Yorkshire made their greatest mistake. When it was patently obvious that we would end up with a mess, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Selby (Mr. Alison) and I had warned from the start, what did the authorities do? They embarked on opinion surveys in an attempt to prove that what people wanted was a York unitary area extending to the ring road rather than to the six-mile greater York boundary. That has been the cause of all the trouble. We battled to save the county council, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary for State deserves credit for having listened to our arguments and pleas. I feel that he has received much unjustified criticism.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Selby said that it was not possible to hide behind the skirts of the Local Government Commission. It seems to me, however, that debates such as this are really about boundaries rather than the principle of whether Yorkshire should be a unitary area. We heard last week—and again today—that Bristol and Hull should have wider boundaries. It is extraordinary to oppose the commission's proposal for Hull because the boundaries are too tight and then oppose the York order because they are too wide, as the Labour party is doing. That is sheer humbug and hypocrisy.

All that the Minister can say with his hand on his; heart is that the commission recommended the boundaries for Hull and York—subject to the five parishes that he took out at my request—and he accepted its recommendation. In that regard, I differ from my right hon. Friend the Member for Selby. Why did the commission recommend a bigger boundary for York? It was because it was not a viable unitary authority with its existing boundary. That is undoubtedly true: everyone knows that the boundary is too tight.

I believe that we could have taken more of the villages out, but there has been no cohesive agreement among all the local authorities on what the boundary ought to be. All that people say now is, "Leave the boundary where it is." York city council, however, argued for the ring road boundary month in and month out throughout the review. Anyone who considers what it would mean for local government in York will realise that the ring road boundary would represent the worst of all possible worlds, not least because the three very successful comprehensive schools in southern Ryedale are just inside the ring road but most of the children who attend them live outside it. That is no basis for a sustainable education policy.

I have a heavy heart tonight. We have ended up with the mess and unpopularity that some of us predicted. Perhaps we have not argued against it strongly enough since the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, but it was clear to many of us that the die had been cast, and that—given the controversy about the review in other parts of the country—it would be extremely difficult to change my right hon. Friend's mind about York being a unitary authority at all. As my hon. Friend the Minister knows full well, however, I asked him about six times if he would change his mind.

This is a massive leap in the dark. Will it work? Well, assuming that the order is approved, tomorrow morning we must start the process of making it work. There are a good many unanswered questions about education, social services, libraries and other financial matters that have not even been considered; there is much work to be done, and people of calibre must be elected to the new body to ensure that it does not prove to be the disaster that many of its opponents fear that it will be.

Tonight, however, is the time for me to reflect the views of my constituents. There is great anger in my constituency, and because of that—although I shall go into the Lobby with the Labour party with a heavy heart, given that Labour opposes the measure simply because it did not secure the boundary that it wanted—I shall oppose the order.

Photo of Mr David Rendel Mr David Rendel , Newbury 8:34 pm, 28th February 1995

I am delighted to be able to speak in the debate because it is, in a sense, unique.

When I arrived this evening, I expected the debate to be unique for two reasons. First, we were considering two orders jointly for the first time. I feel that that was an unfortunate decision, partly because it means that on average each order has been given rather less time than any previous orders. I am not sure why the Government have it in for Humberside and North Yorkshire, which seem to me to be just as important as other areas and should be given an equal amount of debating time—and that means considering them separately.

Secondly, for the first time we are discussing an area part of which will be left as a two-tier authority but from which will be taken—if the order is approved—a main town or city that will become a unitary authority. Although this is the first occasion on which we have discussed such a case, no doubt instances involving other areas will be debated in the near future. However, this instance presents particular difficulties and we could have done with a full-length debate on it.

I have subsequently realised, however, that those are not the only two unique aspects of the debate. Another important aspect is that for the first time Conservative Members are speaking out against the Government's position, plainly and effectively. That must make your job rather difficult, Mr. Deputy Speaker: I understand that you like to call hon. Members alternately to put opposing sides of the argument, but at present it seems that all the speakers oppose the North Yorkshire order, and that may well continue until the Minister winds up.

I will begin with the Humberside order, partly because I think that in many ways it is the easier one to deal with. One or two objections can be made to it, in particular the usual complaint about the first tranche authorities—that there was never enough consultation to establish what people really wanted, and it is therefore difficult for the House to decide how much support there is one way or the other. There is also the issue of staffing and the inadequacy of the compensation regulations. Although that issue has been raised before, it will count against the passing of the Humberside order tonight.

There are, however, many points in favour of the order. One which has not been raised sufficiently so far is the possibility of long-term savings. It is clear from the commission's report that considerable savings could be made from the move to a unitary system, and that there will be a good and short pay-back term to compensate for the transitional costs which will inevitably be incurred. There is also strong evidence of popular support for the abolition of Humberside. Like Avon and Cleveland, it was an artificial creation to begin with; it has never been loved and there will be no shortage of supporters for its abolition. A MORI poll showed that some 64 per cent. of people in the area were in favour of unitary authorities in principle, and of the 19,741 direct responses to the commission some 71 per cent. favoured a unitary solution. That is a very good proportion.

North Yorkshire is a more significant case. Most of the area will remain a two-tier authority. The Liberal Democrats, however, are not necessarily against taking out a major town or city and making it into a unitary authority, if that is the right thing to do in a particular case, as long as we consider each case on its merits. The main argument tonight, therefore, is not about the principle of taking out one town or city and making it into a unitary authority, but about whether the boundaries suggested for the new York authority are correct or have been expanded too far. As has already been mentioned in relation to Hull, the arguments in favour of the new York authority are that the people who depend on facilities in York should be part of the authority which governs that city and should have to pay for those facilities. If we were to apply that principle all over the country, however, the boundaries of London, for example, would be extended well beyond Newbury. People all over the country use facilities in major towns and cities but are not part of the authority which directly governs those towns or cities. That is therefore a weak argument in favour of expanding the boundaries of York.

There are nevertheless a number of arguments against the order. First, a difficulty exists in relation to strategic services, particularly where a two-tier authority—this is a new point which has not been debated in the House before—surrounds or nearly surrounds a unitary town or city. The Government have not adequately argued their case to persuade us that such strategic services could be properly and effectively managed.

Secondly, fears have been raised, as mentioned by the Minister, that York city might not provide the necessary funding for the Yorkshire museum. The Government have not adequately answered those fears so far tonight.

Thirdly, the fear exists—here I have some sympathy with the hon. Member for Ryedale (Mr. Greenway)—that what remains of Ryedale district in particular and, to some extent, of the other districts from which portions are being chopped away, will be too small to be effective and will be greatly disadvantaged. I understand that Ryedale district will more or less be cut in half in population terms to some 46,000, which will make it one of the smallest districts in England, and the smallest districts face difficulties which may also harm Ryedale.

Fourthly—this has been mentioned several times and is the heart of the debate—there is the question of the gross lack of public support for the recommendations. Even the commission admitted that it could find only about 33 per cent. of people in favour of the expanded boundaries of York. The lord mayor has made it clear that he is against the order. The MORI poll made it clear that support for an expanded unitary York in a two-tier Yorkshire stood at only about 8 per cent.—a minimal level for the Government to put the order through. In addition, 64 per cent. of the population outside the ring road preferred to remain outside the new boundaries for an expanded York.

A significant level of feeling exists against the order. It is no surprise, therefore, that a number of Conservative Members representing seats in the area have felt it necessary to tell the Minister that they cannot support him tonight.

Overall, Liberal Democrat Members will support the people of Humberside in their wish to see Humberside abolished. I am sure that that is right. We shall be watching with interest to see which Labour Members support the people of Humberside, who want the order to go through tonight. We shall also be supporting the people of North Yorkshire, who do not want the order relating to their region to go through tonight. We shall be voting against that order and we shall be interested to see which Conservative Members join the hon. Member for Ryedale, who has clearly made his intentions known, in voting against it, too.

The hon. Member for Ryedale, however, blamed local councils for having failed to persuade the Government to change their mind on the order. With a Government who have a technical minority in the House, he should have been able to ensure that enough hon. Members voted against the order to make sure that it fell. The people of North Yorkshire will not lightly forgive a Government who have turned their back on the wishes of local people, especially if—as I hope will happen—hon. Members who were elected to represent their views refuse to support the Government in the Division Lobby tonight. The people of North Yorkshire will doubtless be watching carefully to see how those representatives vote.

Photo of Mr Michael Brown Mr Michael Brown , Brigg and Cleethorpes 8:44 pm, 28th February 1995

I assure the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Rendel) that I shall be speaking with enthusiasm in favour of the abolition of Humberside. I came to the House 16 years ago. I was adopted as a prospective parliamentary candidate in south Humberside 19 years ago. There has not been a day of my waking life in that incarnation when I have not railed against the existence of the county of Humberside. I accept that honourable people of all the political parties serve and have served for the benefit of the people who live in that region, but the institutions, which I readily accept were wrongly set up by my party some 24 years ago, were fundamentally flawed. The local people of Lincolnshire are divided culturally, socially, politically and economically by that great River Humber that separates us forever from Yorkshire.

You, Mr. Deputy Speaker, are a Yorkshireman. You and the rest of your colleagues who come from Yorkshire recognise the pride that goes with being from Yorkshire, just as we from Lincolnshire recognise the pride that goes with being a yellow belly from Lincolnshire. One may throw hundreds of millions of pounds into fusing the East Riding of Yorkshire and north Lincolnshire together by means of the Humber bridge, but the River Humber ensures that that simply has not worked and never will work.

I pay tribute to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment for coming to the decision that Humberside must finally go. When Minister of State in 1989, he rightly identified the fact that the people of Humberside did not like that county, and he instructed the old Local Government Boundary Commission to investigate the case for returning district councils back to their old county councils. In 1990–91, that commission recommended that the borough councils of Great Grimsby, Cleethorpes, Scunthorpe and Glanford should be transferred as district councils in the county of Lincolnshire.

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

I shall not give way. I have no disrespect for the hon. Gentleman, who represents very well the constituency of Glanford and Scunthorpe, but we are under pressure of time and the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) took up nearly 40 minutes of time earlier, which has effectively cut the number of speeches in the debate.

In my constituency, great support existed for those recommendations in 1990–91, which I put to the Local Government Boundary Commission. But Glanford, Scunthorpe and Great Grimsby borough councils thought that there should be unitary authorities. I accept the likelihood that Great Grimsby borough council and Cleethorpes borough council will work together well as an entity. Although friendly rivalry exists between Grimsby and Cleethorpes, we must acknowledge and accept that the region has local cultural institutions and that it can work, whichever political party is elected by voters. It will be possible for local people to have confidence in the institutions that will be created in Grimsby and Cleethorpes.

The people of Glanford and the borough council there want to have a unitary authority with the borough of Scunthorpe and the Isle of Axholme. I opposed that originally. We should have had district councils in the county of Lincolnshire, but I accepted their wish. There is some feeling, which my hon. Friend the Minister touched on in his speech, that electoral arrangements have not yet been correctly sorted out. However, I accept, although Glanford borough council does not, that if we refer the matter back to the Local Government Commission, we shall not pass the orders in time for elections to take place this year, and so we shall not get rid of the wretched, dreaded and hated Humberside county council next year.

The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) was right to identify the case for the unitary authority structure. I accept that county councillors on all sides of Humberside county council have played their part as best they can, in the finest tradition of public service. My point is that the institution of the county council was fundamentally flawed. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North was good enough to recognise that the city of Hull wanted, deserved and will now get a unitary authority. I am not sufficiently well versed in the local argument about boundaries and it is for the hon. Gentleman, and the hon. Members representing neighbouring areas, to make representations about that. The fundamental structure seems to make sense in Hull, Great Grimsby and Cleethorpes. In Glanford and Scunthorpe there should also be the opportunity for a good working relationship that will operate effectively.

I want to see the word "Humberside" expunged from the English language. I never again want to hear anybody refer to the airport in my constituency in Lincolnshire as Humberside airport. I never want to switch on my radio and listen to a thing called Radio Humberside. Once we have expunged that word from the English language, we shall have to ensure that the airport is renamed to reflect the desires and wishes of the local people. We want to have a radio station that will cover north Lincolnshire and north-east Lincolnshire but that is not referred to as Radio Humberside. I hope that the broadcasting authorities at that station will listen to my words or at least broadcast them to the people.

In 1992, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said, "Whoever heard of Len Hutton turning out to play for Humberside?" My hon. Friend the Minister—he has been my good friend over many years and was a good and forthright Chairman of the Select Committee on the Environment—understands local government and the problems of local government in my area. At long last, it falls to him to make this announcement, which will lead to him being the toast of north Lincolnshire and north-east Lincolnshire when we pass the order at 16 minutes past 10 o'clock.

Humberside has never been popular in my constituency. There is no support for that county. There is the prospect of an excellent working relationship between Cleethorpes and Grimbsy. One must recognise that it is impossible to get from one part of my constituency to the other without going through Great Grimsby, a town for which I have the highest regard. Great Grimsby's football club ground is in Cleethorpes. The hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) and I are great supporters of that football team and we recognise that there is a closeness of community between the two councils. I was delighted when I heard that the hon. Member for Great Grimsby, even if he cannot bring himself to vote in our Lobby, will not vote with his hon. Friends. I pay tribute to the sincere way in which he has stood up for the interests of Great Grimsby and Cleethorpes in this debate.

The sentence of death has been hanging over Humberside for far too long. It is time to carry out the final execution.

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley , City of York 8:53 pm, 28th February 1995

The hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) will be delighted to know that BBC Radio Humberside is broadcasting his remarks live this evening.

York city council as it currently exists is an outstanding local authority. Since Labour gained control of the council 10 years ago, it has been a leader and has been acknowledged as such by the Government. It invented the citizens charter—it was the first public body to introduce it—which became the Prime Minister's flagship policy during the election. That policy has since faded from the Government's policy objectives, but not from the city council's.

It would be nice to believe that the debate and vote tonight would focus not on whether the Conservative party or the Labour party would gain from this local government boundary change but on whether it would make for more effective local government. The question of effectiveness was addressed by the then Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry) in an Adjournment debate in July last year. He said: One of the best ways of ensuring that local government is effective is having local authorities that people identify with and feel committed to."—[Official Report, 7 July 1994; Vol. 246, c. 559–60.] In a written question that the Under-Secretary answered last week, I asked how many people had made representations to the Minister's Department in favour of the Government's proposal for York and how many were against. Thirty individual members of the public have written to the Department of the Environment expressing support, compared with 1,066 who have written in against the proposal. Among local authorities, none have supported the Government's proposal and seven have come out against. Among parish councils, none has come out in favour of the Government's proposal and 26 have come out against. Among all the other organisations that have made representations, only one has supported the Government's proposal. In total, 31 individuals or bodies support the Government and 1,114 have made representations telling the Government that they have got it wrong.

The Secretary of State said that he is in favour of creating authorities with which people can identify and to which they feel committed. That is not what he is doing in north Yorkshire with this order. Last week, the Department of the Environment replied to the Yorkshire Local Councils Association, of which my hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy) is vice-president. The letter said: Ministers recognise that there are pockets of strong local feeling against extending York's boundary". Because an official wrote that letter, I can say what the right hon. Member for Selby (Mr. Alison) could not say when he attributed those words to the Minister. That statement is a lie. There are not pockets of opposition, there is massive opposition from every single one of the wards beyond the York city ring road which are being forced against their residents' expressed will to join the city of York.

The ward beyond the ring road that came closest to voting in favour of joining the city of York was Haxby. In the referendum run by the Electoral Reform Society, 43 people in that ward voted against moving into York and three voted for. More typical was the ward of Wiggington in which 102 people voted against being absorbed into the city of York and none voted in favour. Another was New Earswick and Huntington in which 199 voted against and none voted in favour. Those figures were endorsed throughout the greater York area by a referendum carried out independently by the Electoral Reform Society, in which more than 80 per cent. of the local population said that they did not want to be included in York. One ward only, which my hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) mentioned and which is on the border of York, voted in favour of amalgamation with York.

The Government's decision shows contempt for public opinion in north Yorkshire and it ignores the requirements of the Local Government Act 1992, which, in a written answer in November the Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, West (Mr. Jones), described as follows: The Local Government Act 1992 requires the Local Government Commission to have regard to the need to reflect the identities and interests of local communities… Public opinion is one important test of this."—[Official Report, 2 November 1994; Vol. 248, c. 1151.] In another place, in a debate on the Cleveland order last month, Lord Ullswater, said: In all the tests of public opinion the four unitary option has been more popular than the existing system". He used that to argue for the four-unitary option and, quoting a press release, said: It really is time they accepted the decision of local people".— [Official Report, House of Lords, 23 January 1995; Vol. 560, c. 960.] The expression of view from local people in north Yorkshire is far clearer than ever it was in Cleveland. It is high time that Ministers applied their own dictum to their own actions and reflected public opinion.

The Government's proposal is inconsistent with decisions that they have taken in other parts of country. York is the only authority in the country to be given unitary status on extended boundaries. In every other case where a unitary proposal has been endorsed by the Government, it has been on the existing boundaries of one or more than one local authority.

Nor is it the case, as the hon. Member for Ryedale (Mr. Greenway) said, that York, in its existing boundaries, would not be viable as a local authority. The following authorities, which all have broadly the same or smaller populations as the present city of York, have been given unitary status: Bedford, Reading, Slough, Hartlepool, Torbay, Poole, Darlington and the Isle of Wight. Rutland has unitary status with a population of 33,400 people.

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West

The hon. Gentleman is confusing the Commission's proposals with the proposals that the Government have decided on and have proposed. I should like to make that perfectly clear.

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley , City of York

With respect to the Minister, I am not confusing them at all. I said that, of the Government's proposals, not one has been similar to York, where the Government have combined an existing local authority with bites of two or three other local authorities. That has not happened in any other case. The York decision is inconsistent with all the other decisions that the Government have brought to the House.

The Under-Secretary said that the five parishes, which the Local Government Commission said should be included in Greater York, but which he decided should be excluded, were significantly different from all the other parishes and wards to be included because of their rural characteristics. Shipton parish, which has been excluded by the Minister despite what the Local Government Commission said, has a population density of 0.87 people per hectare. Kexby parish, which the Minister said should be included because—presumably—it does not share the same rural characteristics, has a density of 0.12 people per hectare. It is seven times more rural than the parish that the Minister has excluded. The comparison between rural wards and urban York is quite staggering. The rural wards as a whole have about the same population density as the five parishes which have been excluded: 1.02 persons per hectare. In urban York, the present city area, the population density is 35.29 people per hectare.

The Government are simply picking and choosing parishes and wards for their own purposes. The Government's proposals for north Yorkshire as a whole and for the city of York ignore—indeed, fly in the face of—the Local Government Commission's proposals, they are inconsistent with the Government's decisions elsewhere and they are incompatible with public opinion—

Photo of Mr James Cran Mr James Cran , Beverley 9:03 pm, 28th February 1995

I am very pleased to rise to support the Humberside (Structural Change) Order, although not without—I must make it clear—a little hesitation, because I think that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary realises the opposition north of the Humber to the last-minute decision to include Goole in the proposed East Yorkshire county council. None the less, I support the order simply because I have to recognise what most of my constituents have been saying for some considerable time, indeed, ever since I was elected—that they are simply opposed to the entity called Humberside county council.

I cannot quite match the colour and malice brought to the debate by my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown), but he was absolutely correct. There has been absolutely no loyalty to Humberside county council. I have discovered that all my constituents relate not to Humberside county council but to the borough of Beverley. If asked, most of them seem to think that the borough of Beverley has heretofore delivered all the services that Humberside county council is said to deliver. That simply shows that my constituents would really have liked single-tier, all-purpose local government based on the district and the borough of Beverley.

Be that as it may, I entirely agree with the Opposition Members who said that the creation of Humberside was artificial. They pointed out that a Conservative Government were responsible for that artificial creation. That is absolutely correct. There is no doubt about the fact that the wrong decision was made then. It seems only fitting, therefore, that it is a Conservative Government who are undoing the wrong that was committed then.

Although Opposition Members may not like to hear this, I must say—

Photo of Mr James Cran Mr James Cran , Beverley

I do not intend to give way, as I have only 10 minutes in which to make my speech.

My constituents do not like the high-spending propensity of Humberside county council. My constituents consider themselves to be the paymasters of that council and they do not like it. Moreover, the political leadership of Humberside county council has been extraordinarily poor in the time that I have observed it. However, I met the chief executive of Humberside county council in Central Lobby before the debate and I must pay tribute to the officers and staff of Humberside county council who have been of an extremely high order. I look to see the easy translation of most of them from the council we do not want to the one that we do want—East Yorkshire county council.

The Local Government Commission was absolutely right, therefore, to recommend abolition. I would have preferred single-tier, all-purpose local government based on the district with an expanded borough of Beverley, because that is what my constituents wanted and relate to. However, we will gladly accept an East Yorkshire county council and my colleagues in Beverley constituency will work very hard to make it a success, whereas Humberside county council could never be made a success.

I agree with the Local Government Commission, which said that there will be substantial service improvements. In particular, I am looking for improvements for my constituency in education. When I examine the county council's decisions, I discover that most capital spending on education goes not to my constituency but to most of the constituencies south of the river. With an East Yorkshire county council, I would expect more capital spending on education in my constituency.

The reform is worth while and extremely popular in East Yorkshire and I particularly want to thank the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, West (Mr. Jones), because he has been perfectly willing to listen to all opinions. His door has been open to me and to my colleagues from Beverley. I particularly thank him for the fact that he rejected the expansionary tendencies of the city of Hull.

I noted that the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) tried to sow a little discord by saying that there was to be a rather larger view of the boundaries of Hull. I believe what the Minister said. He said that the review of the boundaries is to be a minor one and not major. We look forward to that occurring fairly quickly.

Photo of Mr James Cran Mr James Cran , Beverley

No, I do not have time.

The great city of Hull wanted the suburb of Haltemprice so that Haltemprice could act as the paymaster for that great city. I am delighted that the Government have rejected that idea.

All this said, my hon. Friend the Minister will be expecting me to say that there is just one cloud in an otherwise cloudless sky. He knows that I do not understand the Secretary of State's decision to include Goole within the boundaries of East Yorkshire county council; nor do my constituents. That was not recommended by the Local Government Commission—for good reasons, which other hon. Members explained.

As hon. Gentlemen said, before 1974 Goole was in the West Riding; it has never been in East Yorkshire. It is separated from that area by the River Ouse, and has little, if any, community of interest with East Yorkshire. It is, of course, an industrial port, and a successful and good one, but East Yorkshire consists of market towns and rural areas, so there is little community of interest.

I remind the House that in the first two drafts of the order Goole was not included within the boundaries of East Yorkshire county council. On 8 February, the Secretary of State changed his mind "in the light of representations received."

Photo of Mr James Cran Mr James Cran , Beverley

I note what my hon. Friend says. But all I ask the Minister is: from where did those representations come? That is all that we want to know in my constituency. What was said? I hope that the decision did not stem from a threat of judicial review by Selby.

The position has been at least partially retrieved by the Secretary of State's decision that there will be a review of the boundaries between Goole and its neighbours. That must be done in as short a time as possible, for reasons that have already been explained by others—the uncertainty and instability not only for East Yorkshire county council but for the good people of Goole. Where are they to go? Clearly that has to be decided quickly. Will the Minister say a little more about the timing, and the how and when? Once the Boundary Commission has made recommendations, whatever those recommendations are, how will they be implemented and when?

In summary, for I must be close to my time limit, I shall support the order because I want to see an end to Humberside county council. I say that with no malice; I simply think that it has not worked. None of my constituents looks to it for services, and I want the riding of East Yorkshire to be reinstated. I would, however, repeat that we should like a speedy decision on where Goole will go, and when.

Photo of Austin Mitchell Austin Mitchell , Great Grimsby 9:12 pm, 28th February 1995

Most of what we are debating is another example of Tory folly, in which the Minister comes to us, without an apology or admission of error in any respect, to reverse a Conservative Government policy of 25 years ago—the Peter Walker memorial system of government. Peter Walker came to us as a penniless barefoot refugee from the City, where he had been Jim Slater's dog walker, to reform the whole system of local government. He imposed a new structure on us in Grimsby, not only against our will but against the wishes of the people on the south bank, and brought the two banks together as if they were leftover bits of a jigsaw puzzle, into a Humberside county that we never wanted in the first place.

Grimsby Labour party, and Grimsby's present Member of Parliament, have provided the only consistent voices in the whole debate. We have consistently said that power should be returned to unitary authorities on the south bank and that Humberside should be dismantled, and we are the only people who have said that throughout.

Now, after 25 years, when the county has woven the two banks together and it is working well, when careers have been built on it and lives have been devoted to it, and when a whole series of people have worked well to build up a good authority, along come the Government saying, "We have changed our mind; we are going to scrap it. We have changed our mind on that issue, as on most other issues, and now we are setting out to destroy what we created in the first place."

I wonder how much the whole exercise has cost—the setting up, the running and the dismantling of Humberside after 25 years of Tory folly. The Government consistently say that they have no money for any useful social purpose, but they seem to have endless money to pour out to clear up the consequences of their own folly and misguided decisions.

The reform of local government has been a mess. It has taken place under Sir John Banham, who is a misguided missile—an Iraqi Scud missile—when it comes to decision making, and is reforming local government on a Yugoslavian model. Once again, Labour will have to clear up the mess by setting up unitary authorities and regional governments above them to give us an effective system of local government.

The reform has been a piece of wilful vandalism. It has not come from the desire of the Government to listen to the people, the desire to create efficient units or the desire to give the units optimum size. It is not a carefully thought-out reform, based on a full analysis. It is a piece of pure political prejudice, as all Conservative Members have been saying. They hate Humberside because it has been an efficient, Labour-controlled authority which has provided good services for the people of Humberside. Their real accusation against the council is that it has been Labour controlled and has done a good deal for the people of the area.

Look at Humberside's record on education. School budgets have been kept at 6 per cent. ahead of the standard spending assessment, which is why very few schools in Humberside have opted out. Social services, trading standards, development, transport, leisure, the police and the fire service have all done well in Humberside.

I come to praise Humberside, but also to bury it, because the expertise to which I have referred will now be dispersed. The reform is being carried out with the same Gradgrind, mean-minded and petty-minded brutality that typifies the Government. Some 36,000 staff have been treated abominably by the Government. They are getting not 82 weeks' redundancy, as staff involved in other local government reforms have done, but 66 weeks. The provision is only £50 million for all the areas, but Humberside alone calculates that its costs will be £25 million.

Too many costs will fall on the successor authorities, which will be crippled with a burden of debt. The successor authorities—rightly, in my view—have promised a 100 per cent. take-up of staff. Will the Government make a proper financial provision to allow them to carry through an effective transition? The SSAs will need to be revised appropriately to allow us to develop the same efficient and effective services which Humberside has provided. Only the Government can make proper provision for that. We do not want council services strangled by the council tax, which penalises any small increase in expenditure by a much bigger increase in council tax. On top of that, the council tax has a capping system which cripples local authority spending.

We cannot maintain the same quality of services unless the Government work with us and help us. It will be impossible to carry through an effective reform of local government while trying to cripple local government spending in the way in which the Government will do with their stringent controls. If we have unitary authorities—and I want them—they must be allowed to live up to the high standard set by Humberside by working with the Government. The Government must help them, and not try to strangle them. The relationship between central Government and local government should be one of co-operation, and not a war. We should not have the litany of blame which central Government impose on local Government.

I have been consistent, as have Grimsby Labour party and Grimsby council, in wanting a unitary authority. In my evidence to the commission, I asked for exactly what we have got, and it was very good of the commission to reproduce my evidence as its report. That was a sensible move on its part and it was the only sensible part of the report, I might add. Grimsby council, Cleethorpes council, all political parties and the people want this unitary status for our area.

I could even vote for the order, despite the fact that the Opposition are on a 2.75 line Whip, which is known on this side of the House as the Hartlepool Whip. I could vote for it, were it not for the fact that it has been done in such a mean, nasty and Gradgrind way by the Government. As it is, I shall abstain, but I shall abstain enthusiastically because we are getting what we wanted in Grimsby and Cleethorpes. We are getting a Lincolnshire identification, we will have control of our own destinies and we will have an intimate and accountable unit Of local government which is close to the people and is well-served by good councillors. We have the benefit of starting out with huge good will, which Humberside never started out with. As a unitary authority, we are moving up in the world, Mr. Deputy Speaker—up to the big league. This is professional stuff.

In Grimsby and Cleethorpes, we are certainly moving up to face the challenge of providing the same quality of services that Humberside provided to our people and trying to do better than Humberside. It is a challenge—an exciting opportunity. After 20 years of being run from somewhere else, we are able to take control and to be masters of our own destiny, which is a very exciting prospect.

If the Government let us carry this through effectively, we will take control and we will serve the people. We want to co-operate. That is why it is important for the Government to co-operate and allow us to carry through the logic of what they are imposing in the order.

Together, Grimsby and Cleethorpes, will rise like a phoenix from the ashes of Peter Walker's funeral pyre, which we are igniting tonight. We will rise, and it is more than time that we did, so let us go forward together, building on Humberside's achievement, but doing better.

Photo of Mr Robert Banks Mr Robert Banks , Harrogate 9:20 pm, 28th February 1995

I find it confusing to follow the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) because, on the one hand, he says that he has got what he wants but, on the other, he is not prepared to vote for it. That seems rather two-faced.

When the review began in September 1992, views from local authorities and other interests in Yorkshire, Humberside and Lincolnshire were canvassed. By December of that year, the draft recommendations in the consultation reports were produced for further consultation. Those were published in June 1993 and at that stage we went through an "unprecedented consultation programme", to quote the concluding report of the local government commissioners.

That consultation exercise ran through until September of that year and residents, public bodies, local authorities, Members of Parliament and the Audit Commission were consulted. In total, the Local Government Commission heard from about 36,500 residents and received 4,500 letters. Also, 8,000 questionnaire forms were returned and 150,000 leaflets delivered to various people. In a sense, that canvas was disappointing, because the figures are not especially large for the areas and the number of people concerned.

As the debate on what sort of future local government would have grew, especially in North Yorkshire, I must agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale (Mr. Greenway) that it was felt that there was pressure for unitary authorities to be established. That was not initially the case, but it became the order of the day at a later stage in the second consultation process.

In short, local councils, such as my own Harrogate borough council, not unnaturally voiced themselves vociferously for becoming unitary authorities. Similarly, North Yorkshire county council—threatened by the unitary authority process—lobbied for the status quo. I got the impression that councillors and council officials were lobbying for their own benefit and survival. I do not doubt that that was the case.

At that stage, my position was that we had to listen to what people had to say and that we should move to a different form of local government only when it was proved that the local people demanded a change and knew what they wanted.

Significantly, the striking signal that the report of the Local Government Commission reiterated was people's reference—again and again—back to the ridings. The report states: In north Yorkshire there is a very strong affiliation with the Ridings (and an even stronger one with Yorkshire as a whole to which 55 per cent. of respondents feel they belong very strongly). Without any question of a doubt, I sense that to be the case.

The report continues with a reference to community identity and interests and says: However, the strength of feeling towards both Yorkshire and the Ridings informs the Commission's approach to reviewing local government structures north of the Humber. Having listened to all that opinion, the Local Government Commission got it hopelessly wrong at that point. Its proposals for Harrogate were for a merger, as has been said earlier, into unitary status of the districts of Craven, Harrogate, Selby and Goole, taken from Boothferry district, to be named the "West Riding (Dales and Vale) of Yorkshire". There was universal condemnation and ridicule, and I shared in that. No one in his right mind could conceivably have come up with that suggestion. Similarly, the North Riding unitary authority never got off the ground and was never acceptable.

Today's order results from strong representations for the status quo, retaining as it does North Yorkshire county council. One receives little thanks from North Yorkshire county council for battling on its behalf at the time that the proposals were made.

We have spent a great deal of time discussing the expansion of the city of York, but there is a good case for the new York authority to be a unitary authority. The question arises of where its boundaries should be. The proposal is that the areas of Nether Poppleton and Upper Poppleton, which includes Rufforth, Hessay and Knapton villages, in my constituency, should be taken into Greater York and the new authority.

My opinion about that has always been that we needed to listen to what people had to say. It was interesting to read the results of the MORI poll, because it revealed that, in the village of Nether Poppleton, 46 per cent. of people questioned were in favour of merging into Greater York, whereas 35 per cent. preferred the status quo. The next-door village of Upper Poppleton differed, a margin of 6 per cent. wishing to be outside the new York authority—46 per cent. for the status quo and 40 per cent. for joining Greater York. Leaflet responses in both those areas were in favour of the status quo.

We must ask ourselves why people did not want to merge into York. I do not think that anyone has considered what rankled with those people that made them want to stay where they were. Some wanted to go in and some did not want to go in. It has not been determined whether that was because they wanted to get away from Harrogate borough council or whether it was because they felt an affiliation with the schools, the shopping and the employment and a natural affinity towards York as a result of being so close to the boundary of York.

I have a sense that there is a fear that, by being part of Greater York, those people will be engulfed and the character of their villages will be snuffed out by future development, which will involve them in a great urban sprawl. Of course there are green-belt areas and there is protection, but I hope that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State will be able to give further evidence that urbanisation of those areas will not take place. They must be protected from that awful sprawling factor.

The Secretary of State adopted the opinion, at a later date, that the name of North Yorkshire county council should be changed to the "County of the North Riding of Yorkshire". In a sense, he was reflecting the county of the East Riding of Yorkshire, and I thought that it was a reasonable idea. In fact, the chorus of disapprobation that resulted was as loud as it might have been if we had overnight decided that North Yorkshire county council should be done away with. Instead of that, one was suggesting that an extra name be added to the title.

Let us bear in mind the fact that a riding is defined as the third part of a shire—after all, it would be the second part of it—and the ridings were established by the Danes in the latter half of the ninth century. The word derives from the old Norse word for the third part, "thrithing", which became "riding", and the term remained with us until the reorganisation of 1974. It therefore appeared quite a reasonable thing, did it not, to want to use that terminology to put back the historic character that had distinguished North Yorkshire?

North Yorkshire county council reacted in an incredible way. The chief executive issued a personal press release, headed Riding roughshod over a million pounds". The chief executive reckoned that the change of name would cost £1 million. Anyone in his right mind would have asked, "Has the council gone out of its mind, even to contemplate paying such a large sum?" That included signs and the livery of approximately 1,000 vehicles, which could have had a sticker for £30 or a total respray for £2,000. Clearly, the figure was raised for political reasons to embarrass the Government and get rid of the name "riding". Many people will, when they come to think about it, regret that. If a change is to be made, it is done sensibly by natural wastage, replenishing stocks where necessary, and as cheaply as possible. Nobody expected North Yorkshire county council to change its name to North Yorkshire Riding council overnight. That orchestration has lost us the character and attractiveness that distinguishes North Yorkshire from other local authorities in the rest of England.

Last year, the York museum had 110,000 visitors and the previous year it had 256,000 visitors, only 3 per cent. of whom came from York. However, it receives £600,000—

Photo of Mr John Gunnell Mr John Gunnell , Leeds South and Morley 9:30 pm, 28th February 1995

I do not represent an area directly affected by the proposed change and therefore speak from a different perspective. I spent 12 years as chairman of the Yorkshire and Humberside Development Association and played a part in the economic development of Humberside as part of the Yorkshire and Humberside region. My role was to work together with members and officers of Humberside county council on the acquisition of inward investment.

When the Minister listed where the powers would go and the arrangements that would be made, he omitted to mention economic development. I did not learn whether he had discussed with his hon. Friends at the Department of Trade and Industry their reaction to the proposals and I therefore do not know what arrangements will be made for the maintenance of a service that has proved valuable, for the working of the region as a whole and to Humberside county council.

That matter is important and the debate gives me an opportunity to say that I agree entirely with my hon. Friends the Members for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) and for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) about how this process is being carried forward. The orders are clearly political and intended to give political dividends. In the distant future, an attempt will be made to change the boundaries of York and make life more difficult for the Labour party. In the same way, my hon. Friends were right to say that Humberside is now to be abolished for the same reason as it was created—to give electoral advantage to the Conservative party. We must look at the practical consequences of that.

I was interested to see the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) bounce up and down in his condemnation of Humberside and anxiety to see the word eradicated from the English language. He is in the habit of bouncing up and down like that. I saw him do so when the Kimberly-Clark investment was announced. He and the Prime Minister claimed credit for that investment and he has raised the issue a couple of times at Prime Minister's Questions. As I was chairman of the YHDA at the time and worked with officers of both Humberside and the development association on that inward investment, I know that the hon. Gentleman had nothing to do with it, but Humberside county council had everything to do with it. It must be recognised that Humberside was a successful authority, particularly in the area of economic development. Recently I met a group of business men in Hull who showed no great enthusiasm for the abolition of the county council. As members of the chamber of commerce, they made it clear to me that they believed that Humberside county council had done some valuable work in the area of economic development.

The work of the YHDA in co-operation with Humberside county council has resulted in some notable inward investment successes in north Yorkshire and Humberside. Kimberly-Clark was originally interested in sites elsewhere in the region. Soon after we met its representatives, they said that they were interested in sites in Yorkshire but not elsewhere in the UK. The company located in Humberside in part because of the success of the county council in preparing and marketing a suitable site. Those successes should be recognised widely.

Citizen is another well-known company name in Humberside. That company located in Scunthorpe from Japan largely because of the work of the development association in partnership with Humberside county council. There have been a number of successes of that sort, and I pay tribute to the single-mindedness of the officers and county council members involved in that work.

I experienced the abolition of the metropolitan authorities, and I think it is disgraceful that the Department of the Environment is now offering those staff who are leaving county councils much worse terms and conditions than were offered to staff when the metropolitan authorities were abolished. That is an insult to the staff who have served local government very well.

What arrangements will the Minister make to accommodate future inward investment? Inward investment is co-ordinated by the Department of Trade and Industry. As a development association which was funded by the DTI, we were encouraged to ensure that we forged effective partnerships with each of the authorities in our region. When the metropolitan authorities were replaced with separate district councils, it made our job more difficult because we had to enter into new partnerships.

Although one may have worked with the district councils in Humberside and north Yorkshire, it is difficult to weld together a partnership which involves a number of authorities. The development association moved from four to 11 authorities, and it will now be asked to encompass an even larger number of authorities. That will certainly make life more difficult.

The Minister failed to take into account the effect of the estuary. It makes a great deal of sense to plan strategically for the Humber as a whole. Whatever the historical or political case—that is the real determinant—may be, there is no good strategic planning case for splitting the estuary geographically. Economic development follows strategic planning, and there is some logic to a Yorkshire and Humberside position. Many of the exporters from west and south Yorkshire use the Humber ports. The county council played its part in developing that port complex which is enormously important to the successful promotion of our area overseas. I ask the Minister: what strategic bodies will consider the Humber estuary as a whole? The south Humber is particularly attractive to industry. There is plenty of space, a relatively clear environment, good road facilities and no great density of traffic. All those factors bring companies to the area and have been part of the marketing strategy of the association.

Are the present responsibilities of the regional development organisations likely to remain the same? I believe that they are most effective as they are at present and disrupting them will certainly hinder the process of inward investment. Those questions have not been answered.

I shall vote against both orders as they are primarily political. The order for Humberside will destroy a council that is working effectively in many ways, particularly in economic development.

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley , Glanford and Scunthorpe 9:40 pm, 28th February 1995

It is fair to say that when Humberside county council was set up in 1974, it was based on a flawed idea by a Government who could not resist meddling in local issues and local government without thinking them through properly.

In 1972, I was a student at Hull college of education. I recall being called in by the principal, Dr. Cyril Bibby, who told us all as student leaders that we should oppose that ill-thought-out reorganisation and what it would do to local services. Yet it went through in 1974, as my hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) made clear.

Many people have invested a great deal of time, money, energy and commitment to making that authority work. Humberside county council has a great deal of which to be proud in terms of the quality of its services and what it has achieved in inward investment, and that should not be underestimated when discussing an order which brings it to an end.

It should also be recognised that Humberside county council has a great deal of support from various parts of the community. It has not been mentioned tonight that young people who were born in Humberside and have an affinity with Humberside identify with it. The business community did not want change; it felt that it worked very well for business. The voluntary sector did not want change either; the county council had tremendous support from the voluntary sector and local clubs and societies.

Humberside has delivered good, cost-effective, high-quality services, particularly in education, which many people, even its critics, recognise. When the last boundary commission undertook a review of Humberside, it did not recommend that Humberside be broken up. Although it acknowledged that there had been a job to do in trying to develop loyalty to the county, it paid tribute to the work of Humberside county council.

The decision of the Boundary Commission was overturned by the late Nicholas Ridley at the Conservative party local conference in Bridlington. His actions were based on sheer spite and malevolence. He thought that by announcing that he would refer back the recommendation of the Boundary Commission, he would win votes for the Conservative party. His objective was winning control of Humberside county council in the forthcoming local government elections. That started off the entire reorganisation. It was picked up by the then Conservative-controlled Lincolnshire county council, which made a pre-emptive bid to absorb the whole of the south bank into Lincolnshire and from that we were locked into a local government review which culminated in the Local Government Commission led by John Banham and all the problems that came with it.

We shall now have four unitary authorities in the area. I am not saying that there is no case for unitary authorities. There is an argument for unitary authorities; there is an argument for change in local government and my own local district council of Scunthorpe has a proud record of achievements. It has pioneered comprehensive education and sixth-form colleges. It has certainly been a model for industrial regeneration and attracting inward investment. Certainly, my local district council has a great deal of which to be proud and I am sure that it has the expertise and experience to make the new authority work.

Nevertheless, there are a number of serious problems with this order which have not been properly dealt with tonight. The first to which I draw attention concerns representation. The new North Lincolnshire authority is supposed to have 42 councillors to represent the amalgamated Scunthorpe borough council, Glanford borough council and the Isle of Axholme. Those 42 councillors are to replace the 100 or more sitting district and county councillors, but I do not believe that 42 councillors are sufficient adequately to represent the area.

It is also reasonable to suggest that there should be a full review of the re-warding of the new authority. I accept that it cannot be done before the shadow elections in May, but it has been a very long time since there was a re-warding in the area and the problem of re-warding in rural areas in particular needs to be considered.

Incidentally, I am disappointed that the recommendation for the new authority did not involve elections of one third of councillors every year, as my hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) suggested. There has been long-standing support for that notion, especially in Scunthorpe, which has always operated such a system. I personally believe that such elections for local government should be the norm rather than the exception.

I intervened on the Minister in respect of planning. I listened carefully to what he had to say, but he must be aware that the original recommendation of the Local Government Commission, in its report of June 1993 entitled "The Future of Local Government from the Humber to the Wash", was as follows: There is a high level of inter-dependence between the districts straddling the Humber Estuary and this needs to be reflected in an appropriate planning structure …the Commission accepts that there is a need for structure planning to be maintained at the level of the existing Humberside County area. What has happened to that recommendation? What sudden change has occurred which means that the planning structure has to be based on a north bank-south bank basis? There is a strong argument for an estuary-wide structure plan, preferably based on the old county council area. It is not clear exactly what guidance the Minister intends to give the new authority to deal with it.

Although it is all right to say that there can be consultation between local authorities, issues of structural planning often lead to major differences of opinion between localities and consultation is not enough. There has to be strong and effective structural planning. The irony is that the argument has been partly accepted in the sense that the police authority area is to be retained on a Humberside basis. The same is true for the fire authority area, so I do not understand why the structural planning area is not to be retained, as recommended in the original report. The Minister should pay extra attention to that point.

Let us consider the difficulties involved in the transfer of services, especially specialist services that are delivered on a county-wide basis. The years of smooth and effective co-operation between schools and institutions are to be swept away. That is a matter of great concern to the National Union of Teachers and other teaching unions and to local government unions such as the GMB.

As has already been said, the transfer arrangements for the staff are also entirely unsatisfactory. It is unfair that, in previous local government reorganisations in the metropolitan areas, staff were given far more generous redundancy packages and transfer arrangements than are being proposed for Humberside. It is also unreasonable to treat local government staff far worse than civil servants.

I deal now with Goole, which certainly seems to get around in terms of being transferred from area to area—it is clearly a cosmopolitan kind of place. I would welcome Goole into the proposed new North Lincolnshire area. Clearly, it is a matter for the people of Goole to decide, but the Minister should take into account the parliamentary boundary of the new Brigg and Goole seat which will encompass Goole. The health authority is currently called the Goole and Scunthorpe health authority, so they are linked in that respect, too; the education division is based on Scunthorpe and Goole; Goole was in the Humberside police authority; and the Isle of Axholme is in the Goole travel-to-work area. So I think that there is a strong case to be made for transferring Goole to North Lincolnshire, if that is what the people of Goole want. I am sure that they will make their views known on that.

If the order goes through tonight, I want to see all that has been good and successful in Humberside transferred to the new authorities, particularly the North Lincolnshire authority. I must emphasise that there has been much support for Humberside. There is not unanimous opposition to Humberside. Ironically, the strongest pockets of support, as measured by letters and opinion polls, are on the south bank. The reason why there is strong support for Humberside, both at its creation and at the present time, is that people on the south bank remember what a bad deal they got from the old parochial and mean-minded Conservative-controlled Lindsey county council.

That is why I believe that if people want to maintain high-quality services—all that is good about Humberside—they cannot do it through any kind of agreement. The only guarantee for that is a Labour victory in the forthcoming shadow elections.

Photo of Frank Dobson Frank Dobson Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) 9:50 pm, 28th February 1995

With the leave of the House. There has been a good debate about the past of Humberside and the future of unitary authorities, which is to be welcomed. It reflected a great deal of local knowledge, and clearly there were divisions of opinion, but I remind the Minister that, unless I misunderstood the speech of the hon. Member for Harrogate (Mr. Banks), there was not a single speech in the House in favour of the extension of the boundaries of York—to what is preposterously referred to as Greater York. That reflects the views of all the local authorities and Members of Parliament in the area, of whatever political complexion, and clearly represents the views of the bulk of the people living outside York in the outer ring beyond the ring road and, in some cases, well within the ring road.

On the standard that the Government have laid down for themselves in the past—that, for any proposition to go through, it must he popular with local people so that the council will command their support—the proposition fails in relation to Greater York. It is equally obvious that all those who seek election, and the officers of the local authorities who will be the products of that, will do their best, but in the circumstances we should be giving them better boundaries within which to do their best, and we should wish them well in their task.

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West 9:51 pm, 28th February 1995

With the leave of the House. I confirm what I said to the hon. Member for York (Mr. Bayley), who asked me earlier about the sheriff. He was expressing some doubt as to whether my first answer was correct. I can confirm that that is the case.

When the hon. Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley) said that we should maintain what is best and pass it on to the new authorities, he spoke for the whole House. Indeed, that was enhanced by his hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell), who said that he wanted the new authorities to do better than the outgoing authorities. Whether we think that it is one or the other, I am sure that the consensus is that we want to see local government providing good, cost-effective services and being responsive to the people of the area.

That apart, the debate has revealed that local government reform divides all parties. That is clearly true on the Conservative Benches, from the speeches of my hon. Friends about the extension of the city of York; but it is just as true of Labour Members, and we heard the views of the Jacobins, from the hon. Members for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) and for Great Grimsby, who wanted to sweep away the authority which they thought should never have been created in the first place and which was a mistake; of the Dantonites, who wanted unitary authorities, but did not quite want them on the present boundaries; of the remnants of the ancien regime, represented by the hon. Member for Morley and Leeds, South (Mr. Gunnell); and of the hon. Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe, who saw merit in what Humberside county council had done.

It is almost impossible to understand how the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) can come to the House and say that he is in favour of extending the boundaries of Bristol, even though the commission did not recommend it, and that he wanted to extend them at the behest of the people of Bristol, but not with any regard to the people living outside the city. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North came along with exactly the same proposition about the boundaries of the city of Kingston upon Hull, saying that people who take advantage of the services in that area, who use the libraries, the schools, the leisure facilities and so on, should be within the city of Kingston upon Hull, but that somehow that argument could not apply to the city of York.

Photo of Mr Kevin McNamara Mr Kevin McNamara , Kingston upon Hull North

The hon. Gentleman applies that argument to York, but not to the other places involved. It is he who is being inconsistent.

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West

I am applying the test of what the commission recommended. Opposition Members would kick up a pretty row if the Government extended or contracted boundaries against the commission's recommendation: they would soon say that we were up to some political shenanigans.

The city of York has dominated the debate. The solution recommended by a number of Opposition Members is what my hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale (Mr. Greenway) described as the worst of all possible worlds: the ring road. The ring road not only breaches the boundaries of parishes, but leaves outside it some of the parishes that are most urban and most dependent on the city of York. Anyone who looked at a map of the city, or visited it, would see a continuous built-up area that extends beyond the ring road in a number of directions. The hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras illustrated that with respect to Fulford, saying that someone in Fulford would not realise that he was anywhere other than York. I think that that is true.

Photo of Mr Robert Jones Mr Robert Jones , Hertfordshire West

No. I am trying to reply to a large number of hon. Members, but time will prove the truth of what I have said.

Other hon. Members have rightly said that Goole is a difficult issue. The hon. Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe, for example, presented some of the arguments for it to be linked with the new Glanford and Scunthorpe authority. He probably advanced those arguments to the commission; he certainly presented some of them in a letter a copy of which he kindly sent to the Department. There are links, in that the Isle of Axholme and Goole work together in the Boothferry authority, but there have been links between Goole and the rest of Boothferry under the present Boothferry authority, and it was Boothferry borough council that argued that the two should go together into East Yorkshire.

There are arguments for Goole to he linked with Selby and the other river towns in part of what was the West Riding. It is also argued that it has links with the metropolitan borough of Doncaster to the south. I think that the only way of achieving a solution is for the commission to examine the matter specifically, consulting the people of Goole and presenting the Government with a recommendation. We want that to be done speedily. I can confirm to my hon. Friend the Member for Beverley (Mr. Cran), who raised the point, that we shall ask the commission to consider the issue as quickly as possible: that is essential to the local authority's planning procedures, and for staff to know where they are.

My hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale raised the problems of the rump Ryedale, as it might be called. Even as a rump, Ryedale is not the smallest of non-metropolitan districts. I have every confidence that the leadership of the authority will do a very good job in running the remainder of Ryedale, but my hon. Friend raised a valid point when he pointed out that only 23 councillors were left. As I said in my opening speech, we think that that problem also should be resolved.

On Friday 17 February, the Yorkshire Evening Press summarised the issue of York. I think that it hit the nail on the head. It said: The danger is that the self evident commonsense of having one authority running the affairs of York is lost in the melee of councillors and MPs who are too busy jumping on a bandwagon of their own making to take a clear-sighted view of the situation. Anybody would think that the absurdity of the existing set up is worth preserving, and absurd it is that people who live within two miles of the Minster should find themselves in Harrogate borough or Ryedale district or ruled over from Selby, and that all of them should have their overlords in a North Allerton based county council. That newspaper hit the nail on the head. That is why I commend both orders to the House.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 283, Noes 243.

Division No. 90][9.59 pm
AYES
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)Conway, Derek
Aitken, Rt Hon JonathanCoombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)
Alexander, RichardCoombs, Simon (Swindon)
Amess, DavidCope, Rt Hon Sir John
Ancram, MichaelCormack, Sir Patrick
Arbuthnot JamesCouchman, James
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Cran, James
Atkins, RobertCurrie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E)Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)Davis, David (Boothferry)
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)Day, Stephen
Baldry, TonyDeva, Nirj Joseph
Banks, Matthew (Southport)Devlin, Tim
Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Bates, MichaelDover, Den
Batiste, SpencerDuncan, Alan
Bellingham, HenryDuncan-Smith, Iain
Bendall, VivianDunn, Bob
Beresford, Sir PaulDurant, Sir Anthony
Bonsor, Sir NicholasEggar, Rt Hon Tim
Booth, HartleyElletson, Harold
Boswel, TimEmery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)
Bottomley, Rt Hon VirginiaEvans, Jonathan (Brecon)
Bowden, Sir AndrewEvans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)
Bowis, JohnEvans, Roger (Monmouth)
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir RhodesEvennett, David
Brandreth, GylesFaber, David
Brazier, JulianFabricant, Michael
Bright Sir GrahamFenner, Dame Peggy
Brooke, Rt Hon PeterField, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Brown, M (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)Fishbum, Dudley
Browning, Mrs AngelaForman, Nigel
Burt, AlistairForth, Eric
Butcher, JohnFox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)
Butler, PeterFreeman, Rt Hon Roger
Butterfill, JohnFrench, Douglas
Carlisle. John (Luton North)Fry, Sir Peter
Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln)Gale, Roger
Carrington, MatthewGallie, Phil
Cash, WilliamGardiner, Sr George
Channon, Rt Hon PaulGarelJones, Rt Hon Tristan
Chapman, SydneyGarnier, Edward
Churchill, MrGillan, Cheryl
Clappison, JamesGoodlad, Rt Hon Alastair
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochtord)Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Clifton-Brown, GeoffreyGorman, Mrs Teresa
Coe, SebastianGorst Sir John
Colvin, MichaelGrant Sir A (SW Cambs)
Congdon, DavidGreenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)Mills, Iain
Grylls, Sir MichaelMitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Gummer, Rt Hon John SelwynMitchell, Sir David (NW Hants)
Hague, WilliamMoate, Sir Roger
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir ArchibaldMonro, Sir Hector
Hampson, Dr KeithMontgomery, Sir Fergus
Hanley, Rt Hon JeremyNeedham, Rt Hon Richard
Hannam, Sir JohnNelson, Anthony
Hargreaves, AndrewNeubert, Sir Michael
Harris, DavidNewton, Rt Hon Tony
Haselhurst AlanNicholls, Patrick
Hawkins, NickNicholson, David (Taunton)
Hawkstey, WarrenNicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Hayes, JerryNorris, Steve
Heald, OliverOnslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley
Heathcoat-Amory, DavidOppenheim, Phillip
Hendry, CharlesOttaway, Richard
Higgins, Rt Hon Sir TerencePage, Richard
Hill, James (Southampton Test)Paice, James
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)Patnick, Sir Irvine
Horam, JohnPawsey, James
Hordem, Rt Hon Sir PeterPeacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Howard, Rt Hon MichaelPickles, Eric
Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)Porter, David (Waveney)
Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Hughes, Robert G (Harrow W)Powell, William (Corby)
Hunt, Sr John (Ravensboume)Rathbone, Tim
Hunter, AndrewRedwood, Rt Hon John
Jack, MichaelRenton, Rt Hon Tim
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)Richards, Rod
Jenkin, BernardRiddick, Graham
Jessel, TobyRobathan, Andrew
Johnson Smith, Sir GeoffreyRoberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)
Jones, Robert B (W Hertfdshr)Robinson, Mark (Somerton)
Jopling, Rt Hon MichaelRoe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Kellett-Bowman, Dame ElaineRowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)
Key, RobertRumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela
Kilfedder, Sir JamesRyder, Rt Hon Richard
King, Rt Hon TomSackville, Tom
Kirkhope, TimothySainsbury, Rt Hon Sir Timothy
Knapman, RogerScott, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)Shaw, David (Dover)
Knight, Greg (Derby N)Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian
Knox, Sir DavidShepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Kynoch, George (Kincardine)Shersby, Michael
Lait, Mrs JacquiSims, Roger
Lang, Rt Hon IanSkeet Sir Trevor
Lawrence, Sir IvanSmith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Leigh, EdwardSmith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Lennox-Boyd, Sir MarkSoames, Nicholas
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)Speed, Sir Keith
Lidington, DavidSpencer, Sir Derek
Lightbown, DavidSpicer, Sir James (W Dorset)
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Lord, MichaelSpink, Dr Robert
Luff, PeterSpring, Richard
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir NicholasSproat, Iain
MacKay, AndrewSquire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Maclean, DavidStanley, Rt Hon Sir John
McLoughlin, PatrickSteen, Anthony
Madel, Sir DavidStephen, Michael
Maitland, Lady OlgaStern, Michael
Malone, GeraldStewart, Allan
Mans, KeithStreeter, Gary
Marland, PaulSumberg, David
Marlow, TonySweeney, Walter
Marshall, John (Hendon S)Sykes, John
Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Martin, David (Portsmouth S)Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Mates, MichaelTemple-Morris, Peter
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr BrianThomason, Roy
Mellor, Rt Hon DavidThompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Merchant, PiersThompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Thornton, Sir MalcolmWatts, John
Thurnham, PeterWells, Bowen
Townend, John (Bridlington)Wheeler, Rt Hon Sir John
Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)Whitney, Ray
Tracey, RichardWhittingdale, John
Tredinnick, DavidWiddecombe, Ann
Trend, MichaelWiggjn, Sir Jerry
Twinn, Dr IanWilletts, David
Vaughan Sir GerardWilshire, David
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Viggers, PeterWinterton, Nicholas (Macc'fld)
Waldegrave, Rt Hon WilliamWolfson.Mark
Walden, GeorgeYeo, Tim
Walker, Bill (N Tayside)Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Waller, Gary
Ward, JohnTellers for the Ayes:
Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)Mr. Timothy Wood and
Waterson, NigelMr. Simon Burns.
NOES
Adams, Mrs IreneCunningham, Rt Hon Dr John
Ainger, NickDafis, Cynog
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)Dalyell, Tam
Allen, GrahamDarling, Alistair
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)Davidson, Ian
Armstrong, HilaryDavies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)
Ashton, JoeDavies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Austin-Walker, JohnDavis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'I)
Barnes, HarryDenham, John
Battle, JohnDewar, Donald
Bayley, HughDixon, Don
Beckett, Rt Hon MargaretDobson, Frank
Beggs, RoyDonohoe, Brian H
Beith, Rt Hon A JDowd, Jim
Benn, Rt Hon TonyDunnachie, Jimmy
Bennett, Andrew FDunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Benton, JoeEagle, Ms Angela
Bermingham, GeraldEastham, Ken
Berry, RogerEtherington, Bill
Betts, CliveEvans, John (St Helens N)
Blunkett, DavidFatchett, Derek
Boyes, RolandField, Frank (Birkenhead)
Bradley, KeithFlynn, Paul
Bray, Dr JeremyFoster, Rt Hon Derek
Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E)Foster, Don (Bath)
Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)Foulkes, George
Burden, RichardFraser, John
Caborn, RichardFyfe, Maria
Callaghan, JimGalbraith, Sam
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)Gapes, Mike
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)George, Bruce
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)Garrard, Neil
Campbell-Savours, D NGilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Cann, JamieGodman, Dr Norman A
Carlile, Alexander (Montgomery)Godsiff, Roger
Chidgey, DavidGolding, Mrs Llin
Chisholm, MalcolmGordon, Mildred
Church, JudithGraham, Thomas
Clapham, MichaelGrant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Clark, Dr David (South Shields)Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Clelland, DavidGrocott, Bruce
Clwyd, Mrs AnnGunnell, John
Coffey, AnnHain, Peter
Cohen, HarryHall, Mike
Connarty, MichaelHanson, David
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)Hardy, Peter
Corbett, RobinHarvey, Nick
Corbyn, JeremyHenderson, Doug
Corston.JeanHeppell.John
Cousins, JimHill, Keith
Cox, TomHinchliffe, David
Cummings, JohnHodge, Margaret
Cunliffe, LawrenceHoey. Kate
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)Hogg, Norman (Cumbernauld)
Home, Robertson, JohnMorris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Hoon, GeoffreyMudie, George
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)Mullin, Chris
Hoyle, DougMurphy, Paul
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)O'Brien, William (Normanton)
Hughes, Roy (Newport E)O'Hara, Edward
Hutton,JohnOlner, Bill
Illsley, EricO'Neill, Martin
Ingram, AdamOrme, Rt Hon Stanley
Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)Patchett, Terry
Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)Pendry, Tom
Jamieson, DavidPickthall, Colin
Johnston, Sir RussellPike, Peter L
Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side)Pope, Greg
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Mon)Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)Prentice, Bridget (Lew'm E)
Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)Prescott, Rt Hon John
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)Primarolo, Dawn
Kaufman, Rt Hon GeraldPurchase, Ken
Keen, AlanRaynsford, Nick
Kennedy, Charles (Ross,C&S)Reid, Dr John
Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn)Rendel, David
Khabra, Piara SRobertson, George (Hamilton)
Kilfoyle, PeterRobinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW)
Kirkwood, ArchyRoche, Mrs Barbara
Lamont, Rt Hon NormanRogers, Allan
Lestor, Joan (Eccles)Rooker, Jeff
Lewis, TerryRooney, Terry
Liddell, Mrs HelenRoss, Ernie (Dundee W)
Litherland, RobertRuddock, Joan
Livingstone, KenShort, Clare
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)Skinner, Dennis
Llwyd, ElfynSmith, Chris (Isl'ton S & F'bury)
Lynne, Ms LizSmith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
McAllion, JohnSoley, Clive
McAvoy, ThomasSpearing, Nigel
McCartney, IanSpellar, John
Macdonald, CalumSquire, Rachel (Dunfermline W)
McFall, JohnSteinberg, Gerry
McKelvey, WilliamStrang, Dr. Gavin
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Mackinlay, AndrewTaylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Maclennan, RobertTaylor, Matthew (Truro)
McMaster, GordonThompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
McNamara, KevinTimms, Stephen
MacShane, DenisTipping, Paddy
McWilliam, JohnTouhig, Don
Maddock, DianaTurner, Dennis
Mahon, AliceTyler, Paul
Marek,Dr JohnWalker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
Marshall, David (Shettleston)Wallace, James
Martin, Michael J (Springburn)Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Marttlew, EricWatson, Mike
Maxton, JohnWicks, Malcolm
Meacher, MichaelWigley, Dafydd
Meale, AlanWilliams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)Wilson, Brian
Milburn, AlanWise, Audrey
Miller, AndrewWorthington, Tony
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)Wray, Jimmy
Molyneaux, Rt Hon JamesWright, Dr Tony
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Morgan, RhodriTellers for the Noes:
Morley, ElliotMs Estelle Morris and
Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wy'nshawe)Mr. Stephen Byers.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That the draft North Yorkshire (District of York) (Structural and Boundary Changes) Order 1995, which was laid before this House on 16th February, be approved.

It being after Ten o'clock, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the remaining Question required to be put at that hour.

Motion made, and Question put, That the draft Humberside (Structural Change) Order 1995, which was laid before this House on 16th February, be approved.—[Mr. Robert B. Jones.]

The House divided: Ayes 304, Noes 212.

Division No. 91][10.14 pm
AYES
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)Davis, David (Boothferry)
Aitken, Rt Hon JonathanDay, Stephen
Alexander, RichardDeva, Nirj Joseph
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)Devlin, Tim
Amess, DavidDouglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Ancram, MichaelDover, Den
Arbuthnot, JamesDuncan, Alan
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Duncan-Smith, Iain
Atkins, RobertDunn, Bob
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E)Durant, Sir Anthony
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)Eggar, Rt Hon Tim
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)Elletson, Harold
Baldry.TonyEmery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Banks, Matthew (Southport)Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)
Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)
Bates, MichaelEvans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)
Batiste, SpencerEvans, Roger (Monmouth)
Beith, Rt Hon A JEvennett, David
Bellingham, HenryFaber, David
Bendall, VivianFabricant, Michael
Beresford, Sir PaulFenner, Dame Peggy
Bonsor, Sir NicholasField, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Booth, HartleyFishbum, Dudley
Boswell, TimForman, Nigel
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)Forsyth, Rt Hon Michael (Stirling)
Bottomley, Rt Hon VirginiaForth, Eric
Bowden, Sir AndrewFoster, Don (Bath)
Bowis, JohnFox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir RhodesFreeman, Rt Hon Roger
Brandreth, GylesFrench, Douglas
Brazier, JulianFry, Sir Peter
Bright Sir GrahamGale, Roger
Brooke, Rt Hon PeterGallie, Phil
Brown, M (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)Gardiner, Sir George
Browning, Mrs AngelaGarel-Jones, Rt Hon Tristan
Burt, AlistairGarnier, Edward
Butcher, JohnGillan, Cheryl
Butler, PeterGoodlad, Rt Hon Alastair
Butlerfill, JohnGoodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Carlile, Alexander (Montgomery)Gorst, Sir John
Carlisle, John (Luton North)Grant, Sir A (SW Cambs)
Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln)Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Carrington, MatthewGreenway, John (Ryedale)
Cash, WilliamGriffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)
Channon, Rt Hon PaulGrylls, Sir Michael
Chapman, SydneyGummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Chidgey, DavidHague, William
Churchill, MrHamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archibald
Clappison, JamesHamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)Hampson, Dr Keith
Clifton-Brown, GeoffreyHanley, Rt Hon Jeremy
Coe, SebastianHannam, Sir John
Colvin, MichaelHargreaves, Andrew
Congdon, DavidHarris, David
Conway, DerekHarvey, Nick
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)Haselhurst, Alan
Coombs, Simon (Swindon)Hawkins, Nick
Cope, Rt Hon Sir JohnHawksley, Warren
Cormack, Sir PatrickHayes, Jerry
Couchman, JamesHeald, Oliver
Cran, JamesHeathcoat-Amory, David
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)Hendry, Charles
Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon)Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence
Hill, James (Southampton Test)Nicholls, Patrick
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Horam, JohnNicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Hordern, Rt Hon Sir PeterNorris, Steve
Howard, Rt Hon MichaelOnslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley
Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)Oppenheim, Phillip
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)Ottaway, Richard
Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)Page, Richard
Hughes, Robert G (Harrow W)Paice, James
Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)Patnick, Sir Irvine
Hunter, AndrewPawsey, James
Jack, MichaelPeacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)Pickles, Eric
Jenkin, BernardPorter, Barry (Wirral S)
Johnson Smith, Sir GeoffreyPorter, David (Waveney)
Johnston, Sir RussellPortillo, Rt Hon Michael
Jones, Gwitym (Cardiff N)Powell, William (Corby)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)Rathbone, Tim
Jones, Robert B (W Hertfdshr)Redwood, Rt Hon John
Jopling, Rt Hon MichaelRendel, David
Kellett-Bowman, Dame ElaineRenton, Rt Hon Tim
Kennedy, Charles (Ross,C&S)Richards, Rod
Key, RobertRiddick, Graham
Kilfedder, Sir JamesRobathan, Andrew
King, Rt Hon TomRobertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)
Kirkhope, TimothyRobinson, Mark (Somerton)
Kirkwood, ArchyRoe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Knapman, RogerRowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)
Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela
Knight, Greg (Derby N)Ryder, Rt Hon Richard
Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)Sackville, Tom
Knox, Sir DavidSainsbury, Rt Hon Sir Timothy
Kynoch, George (Kincardine)Scott, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Lait, Mrs JacquiShaw, David (Dover)
Lamont, Rt Hon NormanShaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Lang, Rt Hon IanShephard, Rt Hon Gillian
Lawrence, Sir IvanShepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Leigh, EdwardShersby, Michael
Lennox-Boyd, Sir MarkSims, Roger
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)Skeet, Sir Trevor
Lidington, DavidSmith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Lightbown, DavidSmith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)Soames, Nicholas
Lord, MichaelSpeed, Sir Keith
Luff, PeterSpencer, Sir Derek
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir NicholasSpicer, Sir James (W Dorset)
Lynne, Ms LizSpicer, Michael (S Worcs)
MacKay, AndrewSpink, Dr Robert
Maclean, DavidSpring, Richard
Maclennan, RobertSproat, Iain
McLoughlin, PatrickSquire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Maddock, DianaStanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Madel, Sir DavidSteen, Anthony
Maitland, Lady OlgaStephen, Michael
Malone, GeraldStern, Michael
Mans, KeithStewart, Allan
Marland, PaulStreeter, Gary
Marlow, TonySumberg, David
Marshall, John (Hendon S)Sweeney, Walter
Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)Sykes, John
Martin, David (Portsmouth S)Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Mates, MichaelTaylor, John M (Solihull)
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr BrianTaylor, Matthew (Truro)
Mellor, Rt Hon DavidTemple-Morris, Peter
Merchant, PiersThomason, Roy
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Mills, IainThompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)Thornton, Sir Malcolm
Mitchell, Sir David (NW Hants)Thurnharn, Peter
Moate, Sir RogerTownend, John (Bridlington)
Monro, Sir HectorTownsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)
Montgomery, Sir FergusTracey, Richard
Needham, Rt Hon RichardTredinnick, David
Nelson, AnthonyTrend, Michael
Neubert, Sir MichaelTwinn, Dr Ian
Newton, Rt Hon TonyTyler, Paul
Vaughan, Sir GerardWhittingdale, John
Viggers, PeterWiddecombe, Ann
Waldegrave, Rt Hon WilliamWiggin, Sir Jerry
Walden, GeorgeWilletts, David
Walker, Bill (N Tayside)Wilshire, David
Wallace, JamesWinterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Waller, GaryWinterton, Nicholas (Macc'fld)
Ward, JohnWolfson, Mark
Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)Yeo, Tim
Waterson, NigelYoung, Rt Hon Sir George
Watts, John
Wells, BowenTellers for the Ayes:
Wheeler, Rt Hon Sir JohnMr. Timothy Wood and
Whitney, Ray Mr. Simon Burns.
NOES
Adams, Mrs IreneDixon, Don
Ainger, NickDobson, Frank
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)Donohoe, Brian H
Allen, GrahamDowd, Jim
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)Dunnachie, Jimmy
Armstrong, HilaryDunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Ashton, JoeEagle, Ms Angela
Austin-Walker, JohnEastham, Ken
Barnes, HarryEtherington, Bill
Battle, JohnEvans, John (St Helens N)
Bayley, HughFatchett, Derek
Beggs, RoyField, Frank (Birkenhead)
Benn, Rt Hon TonyFlynn, Paul
Bennett, Andrew FFoster, Rt Hon Derek
Benton, JoeFoulkes, George
Bermingham, GeraldFraser, John
Berry, RogerFyfe, Maria
Betts, CliveGalbraith, Sam
Blunkett, DavidGapes, Mike
Boyes, RolandGeorge, Bruce
Bradley, KeithGerrard, Neil
Bray, Dr JeremyGilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E)Godman, Dr Norman A
Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)Godsiff, Roger
Burden, RichardGolding, Mrs Llin
Caborn, RichardGordon, Mildred
Callaghan, JimGraham, Thomas
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Campbell-Savours, D NGriffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Cann, JamieGrocott, Bruce
Chisholm, MalcolmGunnel, John
Church, JudithHain, Peter
Clapham, MichaelHanson, David
Clark, Dr David (South Shields)Hardy, Peter
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)Henderson, Doug
Clarke, Tom (Monkfands W)Heppell, John
Clelland, DavidHill, Keith (Streatham)
Clwyd, Mrs AnnHinchliffe, David
Coffey, AnnHodge, Margaret
Cohen, HarryHoey, Kate
Connarty, MichaelHogg, Norman (Cumbernauld)
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)Home Robertson, John
Corbett, RobinHoon, Geoffrey
Corbyn, JeremyHowells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Corston, JeanHughes, Kevin (DoncasterN)
Cousins, JimHughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Cox, TomHughes, Roy (Newport E)
Cummings, JohnHutton, John
Cunliffe, LawrenceIllsley, Eric
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)Ingram, Adam
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr JohnJackson, Glenda (H'stead)
Dafis, CynogJackson, Helen (Shefld, H)
Dafyeil, TamJamieson, David
Daring, AlistairJones, Barry (Alyn and D'side)
Davidson, IanJones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Mon)
Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'I)Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)
Dewar, DonaldKaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keen, AlanPowell, Ray (Ogmore)
Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn)Prentice, Bridget (Lew'm E)
Khabra, Piara SPrentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Kilfoyle, PeterPrescott, Rt Hon John
Lestor, Joan (Eccles)Primarolo, Dawn
Lewis, TerryPurchase, Ken
Liddell, Mrs HelenRaynsford, Nick
Litherland, RobertReid, Dr John
Livingstone, KenRobertson, George (Hamilton)
Lloyd, Tony (Stretfbrd)Robinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW)
McAllion, JohnRoche, Mrs Barbara
McAvoy, ThomasRogers, Allan
McCartney, IanRooker, Jeff
Macdonald, CalumRooney, Terry
McFal, JohnRoss, Ernie (Dundee W)
McKelvey, WilliamRuddock, Joan
Mackinlay, AndrewShort, Clare
McMaster, GordonSkinner, Dennis
MacShane, DenisSmith, Chris (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
McWilliam, JohnSmith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Mahon, AliceSoley, Clive
Marek, DrJohnSpearing, Nigel
Marshall, David (Shettleston)Spellar, John
Martin, Michael J (Springburn)Squire, Rachel (Dunfermline W)
Martlew, EricSteinberg, Gerry
Maxton, JohnStrang, Dr. Gavin
Meacher, MichaelSutcliffe, Gerry
Meale, AlanTaylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Miller, AndrewTimms, Stephen
Molyneaux, Rt Hon JamesTipping, Paddy
Mconie, Dr LewisTouhig, Don
Morgan, RhodriTurner, Dennis
Morley, ElliotWalker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wy'nshawe)Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)Watson, Mike
Mudie, GeorgeWicks, Malcolm
Mullin, ChrisWilliams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
Murphy, PaulWilliams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Oakes, Rt Hon GordonWilson, Brian
O'Hara, EdwardWise, Audrey
Olner, BillWorthington, Tony
O'Neill, MartinWray, Jimmy
Orme, Rt Hon StanleyWright, Dr Tony
Patchett Terry
Pendry, TomTellers for the Noes:
Pickthall, ColinMs Estelle Morris and
Pike, Peter LMr. Stephen Byers.

Question accordingly agreed to.