Minor and Consequential Amendments

Orders of the Day — Child Support Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:45 pm on 22nd May 1995.

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Amendments made: No. 35, in page 27, line 38, at end insert— ' "(ae) compensation payments made under regulations under section 24 of the Child Support Act 1995 or under any corresponding enactment having effect with respect to Northern Ireland;" '. No. 36, in page 29, line 30, after 'insert' insert '28C(2)(b), 28F(3)'.—[Mr. Arbuthnot.]
Order for Third Reading read.

Photo of Peter Lilley Peter Lilley Secretary of State for Social Security 8:19 pm, 22nd May 1995

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

I am delighted to move the Third Reading, for a number of reasons. First, my officials inform me that this marks the 25th occasion that I have had the opportunity to debate with the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar)—not a moment too many. None the less, despite it being the 25th such occasion, it is my maiden Third Reading speech. I have looked it up to see what is required, and I see that brevity can be of the essence. One of my predecessors managed it in two sentences. However, I have been told that I have a moment or two longer than that.

I want to use the opportunity to congratulate the Committee on the Bill's smooth passage, which reflects the cross-party support for the basic principles that underlie it. I am grateful to the hon. Member for Garscadden for fulfilling his promise that there would be no trench warfare because he wanted the improvements made by the Bill as much as we did.

As a non-participant, I can objectively praise the whole Committee: the Chairmen—the hon. Member for Blaydon (Mr. McWilliam) and my hon. Friend the Member for Cornwall, South-East (Mr. Hicks)—and the constructive contributions from Opposition Members such as the hon. Members for Manchester, Withington (Mr. Bradley) and for Liverpool, Broadgreen (Mrs. Kennedy), and especially those from the hon. Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. Wicks).

Above all, I have to thank my hon. Friends the Under-Secretaries of State for taking the Bill through, especially my hon. Friend the Member for Bury, North (Mr. Burt). If any one hon. Member has gained in credit, standing and esteem on both sides of the House from this fraught and rather difficult subject, it is my hon. Friend; I am immensely grateful to him for all he has done, both in the context of the Bill and before that.

I wish that I could extend my thanks and congratulations to the Liberal party, too. Despite the great personal charm of the hon. Member for Rochdale (Ms Lynne), I am afraid that I cannot, because she has associated her party with some of the nastiest elements in British politics, and, in proposing to overthrow the Child Support Agency, has actively sought the support of the Network Against the Child Support Act and people like that. They have returned that support with delight.

I have here NACSA's latest report, which states: There is no doubt that the Liberal Democrats are delighted with the sudden input of support for their party from NACSA supporters. Campaigners in many areas"— that is, NACSA campaigners— helped them during the council elections. Word from Lib Dem HQ and the ecstatic Liz Lynne is that they have already had a foot high stack of support pledges from NACSA supporters. These are people who, a page or two later, advise people to lie and to harass. They say: Around 150 NACSA stalwarts turned out at Brierley Hill to harass the life out of the inmates of Dudley CSAC. The report goes on to say: You should try and get hold of copies of the CSA business plan. Order one for yourself. Don't say you're from NACSA or whatever, try saying something like you are a welfare rights adviser. You might have better luck. I would be happy to give way to the hon. Member for Rochdale if she wants to disassociate herself and her party from those undesirable people. However, she does not; she stands, or rather sits, condemned as a result.

I shall deal now with the basic approach of the Bill. We identified the key problem that we have faced since introducing it, and the main area of legitimate concern, as the failure to take into account fully in the formula the impact of past property settlements. That could not be permanently resolved through a formula system, although we have introduced the broad-brush approach to deal with it in the immediate future. It needed the opportunity to depart from the formula system, and that is how we decided to proceed. Primary legislation was necessary, which enabled us to introduce the departure system, and therefore to tackle a limited range of other problems which could not be covered through the formula system itself.

I welcome the fact that the official Opposition have not tried to widen the gateways too far, which would give people departures from the formula. As primary legislation was necessary, we were able also to tackle the take-on of non-benefit cases where there was a past property settlement, and to introduce the child maintenance bonus.

However, the Bill has to be seen as complementary to the secondary legislative changes which we introduced: the broad-brush element in the formula dealing with past property settlements and with travel to work; the changes dealing with housing costs where there were second families; and compensation for family credit and disability working allowance losers as a result of changes elsewhere in the formula. The most important single change introduced by secondary legislation was the 30 per cent. cap on the net income which could be taken by maintenance out of people's net income.

Those changes came in at the beginning of April, over the Easter weekend. They were introduced and implemented in a very few days. The whole operation was virtually hitch-free, and I congratulate the agency on carrying it out so smoothly. It was a massive achievement. It meant major information technology changes in the whole computer system; it meant examining some 1.25 million cases that are stored on the computer system; and it meant contacting some 675,000 customers of the agency.

As a result, about a third of those who have assessments have had their payments reduced by, on average, about £8 a week, or roughly £400 a year. Some have had reductions of as much as £22 a week as a result of the changes.

The two main causes of reduction in numerical terms are the 30 per cent. rule and the shared housing cost, spreading the cost of housing of all members of second households in a way that was not previously done by the formula.

The agency has notified everyone who might be affected that they can seek changes through the formula to reflect past property settlements or travel-to-work arrangements. So far, it has been rather underwhelmed by the response. By early May, there had been some 13,000 requests for such recognition in the formula for either property or travel-to-work expenses. Such applications have to be in by 18 July, three months after the change was introduced. There is a continual stream coming in, and I reiterate that we welcome those applications up to 18 July.

The other issue which is complementary to the primary and secondary legislation is the improvement in the agency's performance, partly as a result of regulatory changes enabling it to operate more smoothly. The success in introducing the April changes is reassuring. It was, as I say, a major change, and not everyone would have backed with their shirt the certainty of it all working out as well as it did.

I hope that hon. Members are also seeing a steady improvement in the service provided by the agency to them and their constituents. Certainly we have had far fewer complaints to the agency, far speedier replies have been going out to hon. Members, and there has been a four fifths reduction in the number of queries via the direct line compared with the peak.

I hope that the overall package of reforms that we have introduced—administrative reforms, regulatory reforms and primary legislative reforms—are working out properly. I believe that it was necessary and right to introduce them all. They have been well received outside, as well as inside, the House. The changes, I believe, have smoothed many of the rough edges which were identified in the first 18 months of experience of the agency.

The changes will mean that those with a genuine grievance will be able to seek departure from the formula. As a result, I hope that the formula used and the assessments made by the agency will be seen to be fairer, and that it will therefore be possible to obtain greater compliance with those assessments, which will be better for the parents with care, and for the taxpayer.

Overall, I believe that the changes will benefit children, parents and taxpayers, and I commend the Bill to the House.

Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar , Glasgow Garscadden 8:30 pm, 22nd May 1995

This debate has something of the atmosphere of a private function. I note that even the right hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir N. Scott) has come back to haunt us for a few minutes. The Secretary of State told me that this is the 25th time that we have faced each other across the Dispatch Box. It will be a somewhat shorter event than our previous exchanges. It is a curious fact that if our exchanges have become habit forming, the right hon. Gentleman could be added to the membership of the Pensions Bill Committee for its last month of sittings, which would allow him to raise the average considerably—although I doubt whether an enjoyment factor would play a prominent part.

I accept that much of what is happening is what we have requested and we are grateful for that. I know that the Bill had a constructive Committee stage. I do not pretend to have read all the Hansards, but I have tried to keep in touch with what has been happening. I am glad that the Bill has come through all its stages, although we would have liked there to have been more changes. I must stress that because I do not want to give the impression in these pleasantries that we are satisfied and that we did not look for a great deal more change.

I was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman's tribute to the Under-Secretary, the hon. Member for Bury, North (Mr. Burt). Who knows, some day he may get his ticket to leave. He may be allowed to leave the treadmill and move to pastures green. He certainly tholed his assize—

Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar , Glasgow Garscadden

I understand that it is an English legal term. It is not one of my strange Scottish gaucheries, which occasionally trouble the Hansard reporters.

Mention has been made of the Liberal Democrat party. It is unfortunate that we have not heard a little more about its plans for an alternative to the Child Support Agency. In a few minutes, the hon. Member for Rochdale (Ms Lynne) will have her last chance to sketch for us what I am sure must be well-advanced plans for the replacement of the current system. She has been pressed on those plans on more than one occasion, but presumably she has been waiting for the right moment. I hope that Third Reading is that moment—[Interruption.] Perhaps, at some future date, a discreet pamphlet with a pleasant typeface will emerge and explain all.

I reiterate that there is no interest among Labour Members in seeing chaos, confusion and misery arising from any social initiative. It is probably too optimistic to assume that this will be the last time that we consider the CSA. Indeed, I am anxious to stress that we will want to return to it on other occasions. It is important that the changes being introduced are worked through and introduced speedily. I hope that they will help to tackle some of the problems that have undoubtedly given rise to genuine distress about the way that the system has operated. Much will depend on the small print and the way in which the new policies are implemented.

I want to cite what may be an obvious example, but I have chosen it because it was the subject of correspondence that I was dealing with yesterday. It is the suggestion that in certain cases arrears will not be enforced for a period longer than six months. That point is important because many people have substantial arrears, often of 12 months or more. We know from the agency's figures that that is quite common. It will be important how the caveats that surround that proposition work in practice. The White Paper states: Where the Agency causes a delay in setting maintenance, consideration will be given to not enforcing more than six months' worth of arrears, provided the absent parent gives a commitment to meet his on-going liability. It will be interesting to find out whether that is in fact an important and significant concession or whether it is simply decoration. It is a distinction of some moment.

There is no doubt that in the past—I referred earlier to the compensation procedures for delay—what has appeared to be quite an important concession has turned out to be the merest and feeblest of gestures. I hope that that will not prove to be the case about the contents of this Bill and the other parts of the package, of which the Bill is the core component. I know that I cannot go beyond the contents of the Bill, but I wanted to make that point.

Other important changes are still to come. We have always taken the view that capital and financial settlements, which presently come into play—even on a broad-brush approach—only if they were concluded before April 1993, could, with a little imagination, be extended to future circumstances. Again, I pray in aid the system presently operating in Australia.

As the Minister rightly recognised, the centrepiece of the Bill is the provision for departure from the financial formula where circumstances justify that. I certainly did not want an open door that would tempt everyone to go to appeal and to second-guess the system and the formula. However, it is important that the hard cases—and there are still hard cases—are dealt with sympathetically, that there is a speedy response and that the process does not get bogged down and fossilised, as so often happens in Chancery courts and other corners of the legal world. I have played my part in that. I used to do a great deal of industrial tribunal work and I started out with the assumption that it revolved around the merits of the case and looking at the facts. I then discovered that the other lawyers came to the tribunals carting case law by the tome and that if I did not also do so I was likely to be bowled middle stump. I hope that we will not go down that road with this Bill.

This is an important area and there is nothing more important than trying to re-establish a degree of public confidence in the system. I do not want to go into detail on one matter that is not in the Bill, but should have been, but it is well known, and has been argued tonight, that there should be a disregard. There is something unsatisfactory about a system under which children living in families that are most financially at risk—that is, those on income support—are the least likely to benefit from maintenance. I give notice that that argument will continue, no matter how many lists the Secretary of State compiles or how often he ridicules our efforts.

I believe that we speak for the majority of people who are involved with the system and who have followed the arguments about it. It is, perhaps, one of the few arguments that unite those who are violently opposed to the system and those who have doubts about its ability to delivery effectively for the parent with care. Both extremes of the argument agree that common sense and common humanity dictate that a disregard would strengthen the present position. I shall leave it at that. We have made some little progress and it is not unfair to say that Ministers were put under considerable pressure. I hope that the House, and the Opposition in particular, had a not dishonourable role in doing that. We have seen some movement as a result. It is not the total that is required and I am sure that we will come back to the matter, but I hope that the Bill will at least do something to bring a little fairness and a perception of justice to a system that has been terribly battered by the experiences of the past two and a half years and which we all want to be established on a true and genuine basis of public confidence.

Photo of Ms Liz Lynne Ms Liz Lynne , Rochdale 8:39 pm, 22nd May 1995

This is the last opportunity for us to debate the Bill before it goes to another place and I want to make very clear my position on it and the Child Support Act 1991, which it is supposed to amend.

The Bill does not address the real problems. Like other recent Government Bills, most notably the Disability Discrimination Bill, the Government have recognised that something needs to be done because of the extent of opposition throughout the country, but we have got half-hearted measures and that is what we have again today. Most of the Bills go some way towards a remedy, but do not cure the problem and this Bill is a case in point.

The Bill goes some way towards improving the deplorable situation in which many people—both parents with care and those without care—find themselves. Perhaps it relieves the distress a little, but it is a very small step. What we need to do and what I believe that we will do in the long term, even though we are not debating it tonight, is to repeal the 1991 Act because it will come back to the House time and again until the Government and the official Opposition recognise that that is the only way out. Then we may be able to start the process of getting a genuinely fair maintenance system.

The Government and the official Opposition—they are in collusion here—will find that opposition to the Child Support Act will not go away just because the Government have introduced the Bill and the official Opposition support them in it. The Child Support Act has not achieved its purpose—to put children first.

We all know that the Child Support Agency is in disarray. It might have got a little better recently, but it is still in disarray. The opposition is overwhelming throughout the country and has not gone away. The agency has had to defer taking on cases, to abandon other cases and to replace the chief executive. Now we have this Bill.

The Government have not learnt many lessons from what happened with the poll tax. They cannot just impose legislation on people, if it does not have their broad support, however grudging that support might be. The Child Support Act does not even have grudging support. Legislation is not generally opposed unless it is an affront to the people it affects, which is what has happened with the Child Support Act. Plenty of legislation has been unpopular, but the majority of people will abide by the law. The Government should have noted the extent of the opposition to the Child Support Act, which is almost as unpopular as the poll tax.

Many Labour Members have said that I am being opportunistic. Was it opportunistic to oppose the poll tax? We opposed it with all our strength and, after a by-election defeat, the Government decided to scrap it. The Labour party opposed it too. Perhaps new Labour would have branded opposition to the poll tax as opportunism, in the same way as my opposition to the Child Support Act is branded opportunistic. Perhaps new Labour would have supported the Government on the poll tax, as they are supporting them today, and have been during the past few months and years over the Child Support Act.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Social Security)

The House would listen to the hon. Lady with more interest and without such outrage and incredulity if at any stage during the past few months, while she has held her present position, she had enlightened the Standing Committee or the House with any alternative, but we have heard nothing and I suspect that we will hear nothing more. She rightly coined the term opportunism because I am afraid that until now that is all that we have heard.

Photo of Ms Liz Lynne Ms Liz Lynne , Rochdale

I cannot say that I am grateful for the Minister's intervention. He should have listened to what I have said in the past. We have talked of a unified family court system—that was even mentioned during the passage of the Children Act 1989—and of bringing family law under one court. Surely most people cannot object to that. [HON. MEMBERS: "Details."] Hon. Members may say give us the details, but the problem with the Child Support Act is that the Government did not consult properly. We have to consult properly about a unified family court system and then introduce those measures. We cannot have the half-baked ideas that the Government have put before us tonight. We need full and proper consultation. If the official Opposition would join us, and if they had opposed the Child Support Act instead of propping up the Government, we might get—

Photo of Ms Liz Lynne Ms Liz Lynne , Rochdale

The official Opposition are propping up the Government with the Child Support Act and I will give way to the hon. Gentleman with pleasure.

Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar , Glasgow Garscadden

Does the hon. Lady intend to vote against the Bill tonight? She has said that she recognises that it improves matters. If she does not vote against it, is she not in danger of propping up the Government?

Photo of Ms Liz Lynne Ms Liz Lynne , Rochdale

I have every intention of voting against the Bill tonight to ensure that our opposition to the Child Support Act is recognised, and members of the hon. Gentleman's party will be joining me in the Lobby. Not all of the official Opposition agree with the Front-Bench line. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman should listen to some of his Back-Bench colleagues.

None of us is opposed to the principle of both parents paying for their children—that is not in dispute and never has been. All parents must pay for their children's upkeep.

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald , Hertfordshire North

The principle is all very fine and good, but how does one make it work in practice? We tried the court system and it failed. Why does the hon. Lady believe that her unified court system would be any different, as it is the same thing? The point about the Child Support Act 1991 was that it laid down a formula, which means that many absent fathers have been paying for the first time.

Photo of Ms Liz Lynne Ms Liz Lynne , Rochdale

If the 1991 Act meant that absent fathers were paying for the first time, some people might view it differently. What it does is to make so-called absent parents who are paying, pay more. The Government are not chasing parents who have not paid.

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald , Hertfordshire North

Under the old system, a father might pay £10 a week for a child, which is nothing when compared with the costs. Is the hon. Lady seriously trying to justify that?

Photo of Ms Liz Lynne Ms Liz Lynne , Rochdale

Certainly not. That is why we want a unified family courts system. We do not want to return to the system of so-called family courts; we want a unified system that would encompass the Children Act and bring all family law under one umbrella. We are studying and consulting on that and those are the proposals that we will introduce in our own good time—not in the good time of the official Opposition or of the Government.

Photo of Ms Liz Lynne Ms Liz Lynne , Rochdale

I will not respond to that. If the hon. Gentleman would say when he intends to introduce his policies on anything I might listen to him, but he and his party do not propose policies on anything. We are the ones who have been proposing policies. During the passage of the Child Support Bill, all the official Opposition could say was, "We support the Government."

The Child Support Act is just not working. It is not good enough to introduce a Bill that tinkers at the edges of a discredited Act, which the changes before us today do nothing substantially to change. Neither the Government nor their partners in the official Opposition have brought forward any radical changes. Why do not they now come out against the Act, given that the amendments which they discussed so eloquently in Committee were not accepted?

My predecessor warned the Minister more than a year ago that Liberal Democrat support was conditional on wholesale changes. The Bill is a sorry disappointment. My main criticism of the Act is that it introduced a rigid formula, and the departure system in the Bill does not substantially change that.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Social Security)

May I remind the hon. Lady that the original Act provided a rigid formula, and that original Act was supported by her party?

Photo of Ms Liz Lynne Ms Liz Lynne , Rochdale

As the spokesman on social security for the Liberal Democrats, my predecessor made it clear in that debate, as the Minister will see if he looks at Hansard, that he would like to see the Act amended.

Instead of discussing what was or was not said in the past, we should look at the future. [Laughter.] Hon. Members may laugh, but we are talking about the future of children, which is not a laughing matter. Whether children have a proper support system is extremely serious.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Social Security)

The hon. Lady is being unfair, as hon. Members are laughing not about the future of children but at her attempts to get out of what happened. We have all been looking at the future. We have spent the past few months looking at the future, trying to devise the right system, with to-ing and fro-ing between the Government and the Opposition and without complete agreement. The Opposition sometimes challenged us to get it more right and asked us for things that we could not give. We have been looking at the future and working for it. During all that time, the hon. Lady might have made a constructive contribution but she did not. That is what her party stands accused of, and why there are wry smiles on both sides of the House.

Photo of Ms Liz Lynne Ms Liz Lynne , Rochdale

The Minister must accept that the Child Support Act is not working. If he could say that it was, that would be fine and my position might be wrong. But the Act does not take into account individual circumstances and, however much the Bill amends the formula, it will still mean that many lone parents will be worse off because their passported benefits will be taken away; so-called "absent parents"—I cannot stand that term, which should not have been used in the original Bill—

Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar , Glasgow Garscadden

I genuinely want some information and am not trying to snipe. In the past, the court system has always considered the interests of the two parties to an action and the interests of the child in reaching a financial solution. One of the characteristics of the agency is that it recognises the state's right—I use that word neutrally for the purpose of this question—to recover income support. Would the hon. Lady keep that feature in her new system?

Photo of Ms Liz Lynne Ms Liz Lynne , Rochdale

It is up to the court to decide in each individual case. That is the whole point of having separate assessments and not sticking to a rigid formula. That is the whole point of a unified family court system.

Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar , Glasgow Garscadden

The hon. Lady, I am sure unintentionally, has missed my point: that there is a new element in the Act, which is the recovery of benefit savings. That has not been a feature of matrimonial transactions in the past. Would the hon Lady want to retain that feature in her unified courts? It is a fundamental matter of principle. I do not prejudge whether it is right or wrong but simply ask her view on it.

Photo of Ms Liz Lynne Ms Liz Lynne , Rochdale

Obviously, that feature could be retained in a unified family court system. I see no problem with that. I am talking about individual cases, which should be judged on their circumstances. Otherwise lone parents, so-called "absent parents" and second families will all suffer and that will continue to lead to family breakdown, which no one in the House wants.

I shall continue to press the Government to repeal the Act. I wish that the official Opposition Front Bench would do the same. We need a proper process of consultation so that all these arguments can be discussed at great length. We are not in the business of introducing something like the Government have brought forward without proper thought. We want a proper unified family court system that will work and will benefit children above all.

Opposition to the Act will not go away. Ultimately, it will have to be scrapped. [Interruption.] Hon. Members and right hon. Members who laugh may realise, in a few years' time when we have tried again and again to amend the discredited Child Support Act, that they got it wrong and will have to repeal it. They will then look back at this debate and realise that what we are saying is right: the Child Support Act must be scrapped.

Photo of Mrs Mildred Gordon Mrs Mildred Gordon , Bow and Poplar 8:55 pm, 22nd May 1995

I intend to vote against the Bill because, although it contains some concessions, which have been forced on the Government, it does not change the position for millions of families. Hon. Members on both sides of the House know that from their post bags.

The Government have rejected a disregard that would lift children out of poverty. They have not included the abolition of the benefit penalty, which threatens with penury thousands of mothers who feel that they have strong reasons for not giving authorisation. The Bill does not abolish maintenance deductions from unemployed men's benefits, which cost more to collect than they are worth, and disability benefits are still taken into account when reckoning income.

The opposition to the Bill in Parliament is a pale reflection of the movement of women, men and children outside Parliament against the Government's child support policy. Hon. Members ignore that movement at the risk of bringing Parliament into further disrepute. People expect to see their deepest feelings and experiences reflected in decisions made in the House. The Bill ignores them and I shall therefore vote against it.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—

The House divided: Ayes 208, Noes 46.

Division No. 155][8.57 pm
AYES
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)Gorst, Sir John
Alexander, RichardGrant, Sir A (SW Cambs)
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)
Allason, Rupert (Torbay)Hague, William
Amess, DavidHamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archibald
Ancram, MichaelHamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Arbuthnot, JamesHampson, Dr Keith
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Hanley, Rt Hon Jeremy
Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv)Hannam, Sir John
Atkins, RobertHargreaves, Andrew
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E)Harris, David
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)Hawkins, Nick
Baker, Rt Hon Kenneth (Mole V)Hawksley, Warren
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)Hayes, Jerry
Bates, MichaelHeald, Oliver
Batiste, SpencerHendry, Charles
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnHill, James (Southampton Test)
Bonsor, Sir NicholasHoram, John
Booth, HartleyHughes, Robert G (Harrow W)
Boswell, TimHunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)
Bowden, Sir AndrewHunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir RhodesHunter, Andrew
Brandreth, GylesJack, Michael
Brazier, JulianJessel, Toby
Bright, Sir GrahamJones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Brooke, Rt Hon PeterKellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Browning, Mrs AngelaKey, Robert
Budgen, NicholasKing, Rt Hon Tom
Burt, AlistairKirkhope, Timothy
Butcher, JohnKnapman, Roger
Carlisle, John (Luton North)Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln)Knight, Greg (Derby N)
Carrington, MatthewKnight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)
Carttiss, MichaelKnox, Sir David
Cash, WilliamKynoch, George (Kincardine)
Chapman, SydneyLait, Mrs Jacqui
Churchill, MrLegg, Barry
Clappison, JamesLeigh, Edward
Coe, SebastianLidington, David
Congdon, DavidLightbown, David
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Coombs, Simon (Swindon)Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Cormack, Sir PatrickLord, Michael
Couchman, JamesLuff, Peter
Cran, JamesLyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)MacKay, Andrew
Davies, Quentin (Stamford)Maclean, David
Davis, David (Boothferry)McLoughlin, Patrick
Day, StephenMadel, Sir David
Deva, Nirj JosephMaitland, Lady Olga
Devlin, TimMalone, Gerald
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesMans, Keith
Dover, DenMarland, Paul
Duncan, AlanMarlow, Tony
Duncan-Smith, IainMarshall, John (Hendon S)
Durant, Sir AnthonyMarshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)
Dykes, HughMartin, David (Portsmouth S)
Elletson, HaroldMerchant, Piers
Emery, Rt Hon Sir PeterMitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)Mitchell, Sir David (NW Hants)
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)Monro, Sir Hector
Evans, Roger (Monmouth)Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Evennett, DavidMoss, Malcolm
Fabricant, MichaelNewton, Rt Hon Tony
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)Nicholls, Patrick
Fishburn, DudleyNicholson, David (Taunton)
Forsyth, Rt Hon Michael (Stirling)Norris, Steve
Forth, EricOnslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley
French, DouglasOttaway, Richard
Fry, Sir PeterPatnick, Sir Irvine
Gallie, PhilPattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Goodson-Wickes, Dr CharlesPawsey, James
Gorman, Mrs TeresaPeacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Pickles, EricTaylor, John M (Solihull)
Porter, Barry (Wirral S)Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Porter, David (Waveney)Temple-Morris, Peter
Portillo, Rt Hon MichaelThomason, Roy
Powell, William (Corby)Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Redwood, Rt Hon JohnThompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Riddick, GrahamThumham, Peter
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)Townend, John (Bridlington)
Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)
Sackville, TomTrend, Michael
Sainsbury, Rt Hon Sir TimothyTwinn, Dr Ian
Shaw, David (Dover)Viggers, Peter
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)Walker, Bill (N Tayside)
Shephard, Rt Hon GillianWaller, Gary
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Shersby, MichaelWaterson, Nigel
Sims, RogerWatts, John
Skeet, Sir TrevorWells, Bowen
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)Wheeler, Rt Hon Sir John
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)Whittingdale, John
Spencer, Sir DerekWiddecombe, Ann
Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)Willetts, David
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)Wilshire, David
Spink, Dr RobertWinterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Spring, RichardWinterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)
Sproat, IainWolfson, Mark
Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)Wood, Timothy
Steen, AnthonyYeo, Tim
Stephen, MichaelYoung, Rt Hon Sir George
Stewart, Allan
Streeter, GaryTellers for the Ayes:
Sweeney, WalterMr. Simon Burns and
Sykes, JohnDr. Liam Fox.
NOES
Alton, DavidLynne, Ms Liz
Austin-Walker, JohnMcCartney, Ian
Barnes, HarryMackinlay, Andrew
Beith, Rt Hon A JMaddock, Diana
Benn, Rt Hon TonyMahon, Alice
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)Marek, Dr John
Carlile, Alexander (Montgomery)Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)
Clapham, MichaelMichie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Clwyd, Mrs AnnOakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)Olner, Bill
Corbyn, JeremyPaisley, The Reverend Ian
Corston, JeanPickthall, Colin
Foster, Don (Bath)Sedgemore, Brian
Gerrard, NeilSimpson, Alan
Gordon, MildredSkinner, Dennis
Graham, ThomasSpearing, Nigel
Hall, MikeSteinberg, Gerry
Hardy, PeterSutcliffe, Gerry
Harvey, NickTipping, Paddy
Henderson, DougTyler, Paul
Heppell, JohnVaz, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, MargaretTellers for the Noes:
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Môn)Mr. David Rendel and
Lewis, TerryMr. David Chidgey.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.