Rugby Union

The Olympic Games – in the House of Commons at 8:30 pm on 1 July 1996.

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—matches in the Five Nations Championship involving England, France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.'.

And the following amendment thereto: (a), at end add— `—the Welsh Rugby Union Cup Final'.

Amendment No. 1, in clause 91, page 86, line 35, leave out from 'in' to 'subsection' in line 38 and insert— `the list contained in Schedule (Listed events) to this Act.(2) The Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument vary the list of events referred to in subsection (1) above, but no such statutory instrument shall be made unless a draft of it has been approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.(2A) The power referred to in subsection (1) above to vary the list of events shall include the power to add an event to, or delete an event from, the list, or to substitute one event for another.(2B) The Secretary of State shall not exercise the power conferred by'.

Amendment No. 2, in page 86, line 47, after 'list', insert 'contained in Schedule (Listed events) to this Act.'.

Amendment No. 3, in page 87, leave out lines 1 to 7.

Amendment No. 129, in page 87, leave out lines 10 to 15.

Amendment No. 4, in page 87, line 14, leave out `(2)' and insert '(2B)'

Amendment No. 5, in page 87, leave out lines 16 to 19.

Amendment No. 130, in clause 93, page 87, line 35,, leave out 'the commencement of this section'

and insert '19th March 1996'.

Dr. Cunningham:

New clauses 12 and 15 and the associated amendments Nos. 129 and 130 refer to the listed sporting events that were the subject of considerable debate and not a little controversy not only in the other place but across the country after the publication of the Bill. The Government suffered their first defeat on the Bill in Committee in another place on the list of sporting or other events that should not be shown exclusively on pay-per-view or subscription television—in other words, events that should be reserved also for terrestrial television broadcasting.

The Government amendments were tabled at the 11th hour in the House of Lords and rightly came in for great scrutiny in Committee. Our concern now is about the process by which a sport could become listed or could be removed from the list, since we do not take the view that the existing list should remain in its present form for all time. On Second Reading, the Secretary of State claimed to have been pleased that the House of Lords overturned the Government's wishes on the matter. If we accept—as she did then—that these events are of national importance, we must also accept that they should be subject to a national debate on the future merits or demerits of listing them.

New clause 12 would make the list the property of Parliament, and not exclusively that of the Secretary of State. The new clause would impose a duty to review the list annually and to place it in the form of a statutory instrument before the House of Commons. Nothing of that nature happens at present. As the proposal has been controversial—not only here, but among sportsmen and women, broadcasters and fans—many people have argued that the list should have a number of other events added to it immediately. The five nations rugby championship has been suggested—[HoN. MEMBERS: "The four nations rugby championship, now."] Perhaps that is right. The Ryder cup golf tournament is another example.

New schedule 1 and its associated amendments in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, East (Mr. Hughes) would add the five nations tournament to the list, but we have been advised that there is a serious problem with that addition to the list, and with the addition of the five nations championship to the Bill. Indeed, our advice from the Clerks is that this schedule would make the Bill hybrid, thus placing the entire Bill in jeopardy. In many respects, that might be appealing to Opposition Members but, frankly, that is not a road down which we wish to travel. There are far too many important provisions in the Bill that we do not want to be lost, and we cannot support that approach.

New clause 15 gives the Secretary of State the opportunity to intervene in these events. We have argued for some time that the list should be reviewed and that the Secretary of State and Parliament should be allowed to add further events, if that is the decision. Amendments Nos. 129 and 130 would ensure that the full effect of listed status would apply to any event added to the list from the time the Government amendments were added to the Bill. In that way, it would be perfectly feasible for this or any future Government to add an event or events—including the four or five nations rugby championship—to the list.

For that matter, any other event that it is decided should be protected for terrestrial television broadcasting—it may not necessarily be a sporting event—may be added. One thinks of millennium celebrations, or other events over which there could be a clash of interests in deciding whether they should be exclusively broadcast or more generally available. That could be done if it was thought appropriate and practicable, and if the Secretary of State so recommended and the House agreed. That process would also give sports' governing bodies and broadcasters, in addition to the House and hon. Members, sports fans and organisations, the opportunity to contribute to the debate and discussions before any change in the listed events took place. I commend the new clause to the House.

Photo of Mr Peter Fry Mr Peter Fry , Wellingborough

I find considerable sympathy with the Opposition new clause because the right hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) mentioned the sport that is dearest to my heart—rugby union football. In the past few weeks, I have discussed the decision of the English Rugby Football Union with a considerable number of rugby players and officials, particularly from the junior clubs.

It being Ten o'clock, further consideration of the Bill stood adjourned.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 14 (Exempted business),That, at this day's sitting, the Broadcasting Bill [Lords] may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour.—[Mr. Brandreth.]

Question agreed to.

Question again proposed, That the clause be read a Second time.

Photo of Mr Peter Fry Mr Peter Fry , Wellingborough

There is widespread concern that the recent agreement between the Rugby Football Union and Sky Television not only has endangered the future of the five nations championship but will deprive the majority of people in this country of the opportunity to see home internationals when they are being played, by removing them from their television screens.

I regard that as exceedingly unfortunate after a period when rugby football was more of a minority sport than it is today. It has made great strides in recent years, has attracted many more players, especially youngsters, and has spread across all class barriers. It has had a wider and ever more enthusiastic audience. In effect, the governing body of rugby football says, "We are not too worried about all the people who want to watch—after all, only a privileged few can get tickets to Twickenham when home internationals are played—but we are concerned about making the maximum amount of money out of a deal with Sky Television."

It was not me who described the august members of the Rugby Football Union as a "collection of old farts". I suggest that a collection of money grabbers would be a more appropriate description today than that by the former England captain. For a sport that was amateur for so long to make such a transformation and do the deal with Mr. Murdoch's empire that it has done is certainly to be deplored, and it is deplored by me and by the vast majority of rugby supporters.

Photo of Michael Lord Michael Lord , Suffolk Central

My hon. Friend knows that I share his concern about this matter and I agree with every word he has said. Is not the great tragedy the fact that, although the Rugby Football Union says that the money it is getting is for the benefit of the sport as a whole, by turning it into a professional sport, which has meant that every senior club wants £1 million a year just to run the club and pay the players, the RFU has driven the deals with television companies? That is not to the long-term benefit of the sport—particularly that of the junior clubs—but is all to do with money grabbing at the highest possible level.

Photo of Mr Peter Fry Mr Peter Fry , Wellingborough

That was a good intervention and I agree with my hon. Friend, but I would go further. We have already seen the rift that has developed between the big clubs and the rest of the people who play rugby. I deplore that rift. The inevitable question is, as the Rugby Football Union picks the English team and the big clubs need the union, who is going to play for England in home internationals?

I must make it clear that I do not object to the best players in the sport receiving some remuneration. We have to accept that and move with the times. What I do object to is the Rugby Football Union saying, "Regardless of what anyone thinks, you're going to have to pay £24 a month to whoever it is to see home internationals at the time of the kick-off." That is a form of blackmail to a great many members of the public and it is a blow to the prestige of rugby union football. That is why I have sympathy with the new clauses and amendments.

I do not think that the measures go far enough, however. I would have liked the new schedule tabled by my friend the hon. Member for Newport, East (Mr. Hughes)—I call him my friend because we have paired in the House for many years—to be accepted. For many years, people felt certain that the five nations championship was safe, and that we could not find ourselves in the position in which we find ourselves today. Now, unfortunately, we are being told that it will be difficult to turn the clock back. It is not just a question of whether the championship will be televised; it is a question of whether it will ever be played again after the next season. Like many others, I thought that the august members of the rugby union committee would be able to compromise and find common ground with the other home unions. I was astonished that, following the agreement that was reached, there was a danger that the championship could well end.

I hope that the message that tonight's debate will send is that what has happened is not in the best interests of rugby union football, and that the House wants the championship to continue. If the threat of considerable future inconvenience for any union that does a deal with the television company that will take the sport off the screen causes the rugby unions to compromise and decide that the five nations championship is more important than one individual union in this country, I believe that our debate will have been worth while. I very much hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will be able at least to persuade me not to vote for the new clauses and amendments; at present, I would find it very difficult to vote against them.

Photo of Mr Roy Hughes Mr Roy Hughes , Newport East

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Sir P. Fry), some of whose sentiments I echo

. I find the term "listed events" rather too innocuous: I prefer to think of events such as the World cup, the FA cup final, the Scottish cup final, the Derby, the Grand National, test cricket in this country and, of course, Wimbledon as the jewels of sport.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) pointed out that, if my new schedule were passed, the Bill would be in danger of becoming a hybrid. Let me emphasise that what we are asking for, as rugby enthusiasts, is parity. We want the five nations championship to continue to be seen by millions of people throughout the country. I note that my hon. Friend the Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North (Mr. Dalis) proposes to amend the new schedule to include the Welsh rugby union cup final, and I do not disagree with that.

Dr. John Cunningham:

We share my hon. Friend's objectives; that is not the problem. The problem is that., if the new schedule is added to the Bill, we are advised that it will put the whole legislation in jeopardy. If that happened, my hon. Friend would not get what he wanted. Our amendments do what he wants, while retaining the Bill intact. That is why it is advisable to support our amendments and not press the new schedule to a vote.

Photo of Mr Roy Hughes Mr Roy Hughes , Newport East

I cannot for the life of me understand why the five nations championship was not included in the Bill in the other place.

I declare an interest. Two or three years ago, several hon. Members got together and formed an all-party rugby union group. I am not exactly declaring an interest, because there is certainly no financial remuneration in the arrangement, but I have followed the sport closely for the past 50 years.

Rugby union has become very much a national sport. Indeed, it has developed into an international sport. Let us consider some of the issues. The tickets for an international match could normally be sold many times over. Unfortunately, many tickets are still sucked into the black market and sold at exorbitant prices.

It is expensive to go to an international today. According to the official statistics which I was reading only last week, Wales is now just about the most deprived region of the United Kingdom. Therefore, many people such as redundant mineworkers and steelworkers who would normally wish to go to internationals simply cannot afford to go.

Other people—some elderly, some infirm—who have great love for the game feel that going to an international match, with a big crowd, is just too physically exacting. All those categories of people—those who cannot get tickets, those who find internationals too expensive and those who find that they are past going to internationals—watch the match on their television screen in the cosiness of their own parlour. That has been the case up to now.

I have no wish to interfere with the administration of rugby. That is a matter for the responsible officials of the game. However, as Members of Parliament we cannot help but be concerned if our constituents will be deprived of an amenity that they have enjoyed for so long. The so-called highlights of the match two hours afterwards are a very poor substitute for the real thing. Nevertheless, I appreciate the difficulties in which the rugby authorities find themselves, particularly with the advent of professionalism. Personally, I regret the fact that the game has gone that way, but there it is. As the hon. Member for Central Suffolk (Mr. Lord) said, each major club says that it needs £1 million to run its team for just one season.

Of course the rugby unions have to be concerned about the future development of the game. Naturally, therefore, they must consider the moneys coming into it, but they need to consider also what effect Mr. Murdoch might have on the game. How much control would he want to exercise? We have already seen what has happened with rugby league. It has been transferred arbitrarily manner to the summer. I understand that attendances at matches have dropped substantially.

Today, of course, the running of various sports is all to do with sponsorship. We have seen the ridiculous outfits that our cricketers wear on a Sunday. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] How daft they look.

The Broadcasting Bill is seen as a measure that will prevent ordinary people from enjoying the sport that they love. So many families just cannot afford a satellite dish outside their home. One of my constituents, Mr. Ron Stewart of Caldicot, wrote a letter to the Western Mail a couple of weeks ago in which he said that an "ordinary Joe", as he called himself, could not afford a satellite dish, but he was still very keen on rugby. Mr. Stewart loves to see the internationals and he is afraid that he will be deprived of that particular pleasure.

I say to the Government and to my right hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham), who speaks for the Opposition, that they must find some way to ensure that ordinary people can still see rugby internationals as they have done in the past. If not, I believe that the changes envisaged will have a detrimental effect on the future of the game, because ordinary people will lose interest in it.

Photo of Mr Hector Monro Mr Hector Monro , Dumfries 10:15, 1 July 1996

I agree very much with the hon. Member for Newport, East (Mr. Hughes), who indirectly moved his amendments to the new clause.

I should declare an interest as one who was a member of the Scottish Rugby Union committee for some 20 years. I therefore know a little about the discussions that have gone on every few years on the renewal of the television franchise. That is why I am particularly disappointed at what the Rugby Football Union has done this year by giving a monopoly to Sky Television. It is no use to say, "Well, that is fine. You can see the highlights or even a recording of the match two hours later". Once one knows the result of a game, half the pleasure of watching it has gone. That is a very poor answer to the attitude of the RFU.

I know that the RFU feels that it is up to it to obtain the most money possible from television to put back into the game. One appreciates that the four home unions have spent huge amounts of money developing their stadiums. We now have fine grounds in the four home countries, and in Paris as well. At the same time, however, the game has had to face a huge increase in the payments to players, and, of course, the cost of seats to the public has gone up dramatically. That makes it all the more important for the man in the street to have the opportunity to see rugby on terrestrial as well as Sky Television.

I am quite a believer in Sky. I enjoy watching golf at the weekends and rugby football from the southern hemisphere and South Africa. That is all good and we have to take our hats off to the Sky producers for the way in which they have enhanced the programmes over the years to an extremely high standard. That still does not remove from the argument the point made so strongly by the hon. Member for Newport, East and my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Sir P. Fry) that those who pay their television licences—it is a pretty high sum now—are entitled to see some top sport some of the time. Were they to lose live coverage of the entire five nations championship, they would feel seriously disadvantaged.

Most of the governing bodies of the international sports that are on the preferred list accept that and behave extremely competently and fairly to their viewers, and, of course, that is absolutely right. To me it is extremely serious that the RFU is prepared to put the five nations championship at grave risk.

The Scottish Rugby Union, the Welsh Rugby Union—as a result of a decision yesterday—and the Irish RFU are serious. They will not play England in the so-called five nations championship if the Sky Television franchise as proposed by England goes ahead. They will look forward to playing a four nations championship, probably of an extremely high standard, bringing excitement and enjoyment to all concerned but there will not be television broadcasts from Twickenham of England playing against Scotland, Wales or Ireland. That would be a sad loss to everyone in the country.

We must try to persuade the RFU that money is not everything and we must try to find a compromise. It is very sad, when the four home unions and France have been the closest of colleagues for at least 100 years, that one country wishes to opt out and be particularly difficult when it comes to giving the viewers of this country what they want to see, while ploughing a huge amount of money back into the game, whether the money comes from the BBC or elsewhere.

We must try to help the RFU off a hook that it has put itself on, and to get back to running a five nations championship. It is no use England thinking that it can have fun and games playing Italy or Romania in show games at Twickenham and perhaps playing a touring side. We must look at the touring sides too. Those from the southern hemisphere—the three main countries that we wish to see are New Zealand, Australia and South Africa—will need to negotiate television arrangements with the four home unions. If England carries on as it is, it will have great difficulty in reaching a favourable agreement with the other countries. Sadly, we are reaching an impasse.

Putting the five home unions on to the approved or special list is not the way forward. It is far more important that we retain the status quo with a degree of flexibility so that the rugby unions, if they wish, can have part Sky, part terrestrial television for other games in the five home unions. It would be wrong to reduce their opportunity for negotiation by putting them on to the preferred list.

The House should send the RFU at Twickenham a very strong indication that we are especially disappointed at the attitude that England has taken towards the five nations championship, that we know that the other countries are dead serious about not handing over their rights to the five nations championship and that England really should come to the negotiating table, call a meeting as soon as possible and begin negotiations all over again, which will bring an enormous amount of money to all the countries, not only England.

Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey , Vauxhall

I strongly support new clause 12. I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, East (Mr. Hughes) will accept the reasoned arguments about his new schedule. If his schedule were on the statute book, Euro 96 would not have been one of the listed events. It is important that we proceed as my right hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) said.

It is unfortunate that we even have to move and discuss a new clause like this. If the governing bodies of sport took their long-term duty seriously, we should not be in this position. Of course money is important, and of course we want to get more money into sport, but the short-termism of our sports governing bodies, in not worrying about the future of the sport so not encouraging young people to enter it, has meant that more and more of our sport is being changed and manipulated at the will of the people who run television.

I support Sky Television. I welcome what it has done for sport generally, but the balance is beginning to move too much in favour of those who have satellite television at the expense of others who do not but who want to see the jewels of our sporting heritage. The new clause proposes a check on our governing bodies. It will make them sit up and realise that they can no longer act in a vacuum, or assume that what they think is good for sport actually is.

The phrase "the property of Parliament" was used earlier in the debate. I think that sport is the property of the people. As Members of Parliament, we must be able to represent our constituents' point of view. The annual review affords us that opportunity. It is not too much to ask for this compromise. Conservative Members who may feel that we are trying to dictate terms must realise that sport matters enough for Parliament to take it seriously. If we are serious about the future of sport, I see no reason not to support the new clause.

Photo of John Greenway John Greenway , Ryedale

For the sake of good order I declare my interests as an adviser to Tyne Tees Television and as president of York City football club—not that I want to discuss channel 3 interests or second division football tonight.

The Rugby Football Union has displayed breathtaking timing. The contract that it has signed with BSkyB could not have come at a worse time for the other sporting bodies that are trying to put together a sensible compromise solution to genuinely held concerns about the sale of sporting rights. My right hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) was right: this is a dispute which the national rugby football unions need to resolve themselves. In any case, what has happened does not make the case for new clauses such as these.

I want to mention the interests of racing, speaking in my capacity as chairman of the all-party racing and bloodstock industries committee. Two of the eight listed events are horse races of international importance—the Derby at Epsom and the Grand National at Aintree. Both race courses are owned by the Racecourse Holdings Trust. With some sadness, it has accepted the amendment canted in another place, believing, however, that it has to some extent closed down its opportunities and undermined the value of the sale to terrestrial channels of both the Derby and the Grand National.

As in this House, so within racing there are differing views. Tonight I could construct a convincing argument for further legislative intervention. It is perhaps more difficult to construct an argument against it—except to say that we cannot for ever expect our sporting bodies and their sports to achieve international success while depriving those sports of the lucrative returns from the sale of television rights.

In the recent Friday debate—more leisurely than this one—we were concerned with where all the money goes. We need to insist, for instance, that the Premiership pushes more money down to the clubs in the lower divisions. Without the second and third divisions, and even the Vauxhall Conference, we will not win Euro 2000 or the World Cup in, say, 10 years' time.

The new clauses propose that the Secretary of State will have the power to increase the list in the future. What does that mean for four-year or five-year agreements? For example, I refer to the five-year agreement between the Derby and Channel 4. What about the other big race festivals, such as Cheltenham, Ascot and the August meeting at York? It will undermine the value of the rights of sale, even to terrestrial television.

Dr. John Cunningham:

The Secretary of State has the power to add events to the list now. The amendments circumscribe the power of the Secretary of State—she can do it now on her own, without consultation, without reference to the House of Commons, without consultation with the sporting bodies or the racing organisations. The hon. Member for Ryedale has got the point wrong: we are asking for a consultation process before any changes are made, not arbitrary changes in or out of the list.

Photo of John Greenway John Greenway , Ryedale 10:30, 1 July 1996

I very much doubt that the Secretary of State has the power now to add an event to the list retrospectively or to do so in a way that would undermine a contract that is already entered into. If that were the case, it would solve the problem of the Rugby Football Union's sale of the five nations championships—all the Secretary of State would have to do is say, "I am adding this to the list, and the contract is null and void". That is not a sensible proposition.

As I have said, all hon. Members have strong views on this issue. I was a member of a delegation of Conservative Members who went to see the Minister in the early part of the discussions—we wanted to find a way through the difficulty. I have found that the more I have looked into this, and the more that I have addressed the vexed issue of unbundling, the more I have come to the conclusion that legislation is not the solution. Despite what I said earlier about the poor timing of the Rugby Football Union, I believe that the national sporting bodies have made a genuine attempt through their voluntary codes.

We have before us a unique situation in which the Central Council of Physical Recreation has taken out a full page advertisement in The House Magazine so that hon. Members can see how seriously it views this situation. It is to the credit of the House and the way in which hon. Members on both sides have pursued this issue that it has brought the CCPR, on behalf of all sporting bodies, to the point where, for the first time, they are prepared to put in writing a code of practice and to police it. On balance, that is what the House should support. More legislation is not the solution.

Mr. Menzies:

Campbell: I do not declare an interest in this matter so much as an obsession. I have had an obsession with sport since I enjoyed the only access available to the 1948 Olympic games—the radio, or the wireless as it was called in those days. Access has a lot to do with the extent to which people become enthusiastic about sport and the extent to which they are persuaded to take up certain sports. I have an interest in a narrow sense in that I am a debenture holder of the Scottish Rugby Union at Murrayfield. That does not always bring pleasure—it occasionally brings a substantial amount of pain.

The powerful speeches of the right hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) and the hon. Member for Newport, East (Mr. Hughes) underline just how extraordinary the decision of the Rugby Football Union is at this time. While it is not the oldest tournament in the world, it is the envy of many other sports, it has lasted a long time, it has given a great deal of pleasure to a large number of spectators and it has ensured the maintenance of the highest standards of proficiency in the sport of rugby football in the northern hemisphere. It seems pretty shortsighted to throw that away in favour of the possibility of a substantial financial return and a large fee paid by one form of television.

Photo of Michael Lord Michael Lord , Suffolk Central

Does the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that the Rugby Union has put itself in an impossible position? Twelve months ago it did not—at least openly—pay the players anything, but now it is paying players throughout the sport, and especially those from senior clubs, large sums. As a consequence, each senior club wants £1 million a year in order to run its organisation. Did not the Rugby Union create the situation itself by deciding to go professional and, in my view, destroy the game?

Mr. Campbell:

The hon. Gentleman and I have had that debate before. I understand his desire to stick to what one might call the Corinthian values of rugby football. However, events in the southern hemisphere proceeded at a pace, there was a recognition of rugby players' commitment to the game and the time that they devoted to it and it was decided that they should be paid. We adhered to the Corinthian code in the northern hemisphere, while in the southern hemisphere substantial sums were being paid to players.

Mr. Campbell:

Things may have been different in parts of the country with which the hon. Gentleman is more familiar than I. However, the degree of commitment necessary from players in the Scottish international XV, who trained five or six days a week and spent weekend after weekend away from home for no financial reward, was such that it was not realistic to expect individuals to continue to make that sort of contribution. I think that professionalism was inevitable—and I speak from my experience in the sport with which I was intimately connected. Eventually the degree of commitment necessary becomes such that one cannot expect people to continue doing it for nothing. That may be regrettable, but they are the circumstances.

Dr. John Cunningham:

The reality.

Mr. Campbell:

Yes, that is the reality. It seems to me that there is a fundamental question whether we believe that the widest possible range of people should have access to special sporting events. It is correct to say that individual sports wish to maximise their access to resources. However, I want to be satisfied that those resources will be spent in sensible ways—the development for which people argue must be funded properly. The truth is—the hon. Member for Vauxhall (Miss Hoey) is correct—that there is a degree of short-termism in the approach of many sporting bodies that are not willing to think beyond the immediate offer in a particular contract. In many respects, they are not mindful of the sport for which they presently have responsibility and of their obligations to maintain that heritage and to pass it on to succeeding generations.

There is no doubt that for a long time certain sports were inadequately rewarded. The fact that the BBC was the only broadcaster willing to buy sport meant that there was no proper market. In that sense, many sports did not receive a return on their product. However, that should not be a justification for creating circumstances in which a monopoly is ultimately produced through the operation of the market. If a sporting organisation—no doubt it is substantially generous at this stage—has a monopoly, who is to say that it will not exploit that monopoly again in due course?

Sport is the area in which the non-terrestrial broadcasting organisations are able and willing to compete on financial terms. They are not queuing up to make "Pride and Prejudice" or "Sense and Sensibility", or to make detailed documentaries, or to film all of Shakespeare, or to provide access to the finest opera or music. They have chosen sport. Because the non-terrestrial broadcasting organisations can pay substantial sums, they believe that they will be able to take away from the BBC an important part of the service that the BBC offers. Of course, it is inevitable that the BBC will not be able to compete with the sums of money being offered by other organisations and it will have to consider other methods of funding. The BBC may be driven to introduce subscription and, as soon as that happens, the justification for the licence fee funding of broadcasting becomes increasingly difficult to sustain. So although we are anxious about sport and although the individual enthusiasm of hon. Members is reflected in what they say about sport, a longer-term implication lies behind those matters.

I have much sympathy with new clause 12. A period of 12 months is mentioned in subsection (3), and we can argue about whether the period should be one year or three years. But the thrust of the new clause should recommend itself to the House because it will provide a balance between the legitimate right of any sport to capitalise on its television potential and, at the same time, it will maintain the right of virtually universal access that has been part of the sporting heritage and tradition of the United Kingdom.

Photo of Alan Haselhurst Alan Haselhurst , Saffron Walden

With your indulgence, Mr. Deputy Speaker, we have had a general debate.

Photo of Mr Michael Morris Mr Michael Morris , Northampton South

Order. There has been no indulgence from the Chair. Everything has been in order, so far.

Photo of Alan Haselhurst Alan Haselhurst , Saffron Walden

I am relieved, Mr. Deputy Speaker, because my words are therefore unlikely to incur your censure.

The debate has shown the House at its best, because we are united by our concern for sport and for the access of the public to sport. The issue is almost apolitical, and general concern has been expressed by hon. Members on both sides of the House. If any political instincts intrude on my attitude to the subject, they suggest a minimalist approach; I do not approve of new clause 12 because of its over-prescriptive nature.

If I have a bias, it is to believe that the rights to sport belong to the sporting bodies. We might have views about whether the sporting bodies always conduct their affairs in ways of which we approve, but they might think that we do not always conduct ourselves in a way that they would approve as citizens. I am anxious not to go overboard in placing heavy regulations on the sporting bodies. I recognise the great public interest in the subject and we are all concerned that sport should be revived—we have been concerned that there has not been enough participation in it. We want more resources to go into sport, and one of the easiest ways in which that can be done is through the sale of broadcasting rights.

I have a special interest in cricket. I have the honour to be the secretary of the all-party group on cricket, although I do not speak for the group because we all have our individual opinions. I am also a member of the committee of Essex county cricket club, so I can express a view from that direction. I am concerned that the sport of cricket could be severely prejudiced if we hedge it about with too many restrictions. Cricket needs reviving in this country, and we are concerned about the amount of cricket played by young people in school. For the first time recently, cricket has had a glimpse of the amount of money that it might get, and it will be able to use the increased income from the most recent deal on broadcasting rights to the real good of the sport. All the evidence so far is that it wants to use that money sensibly. When it has an opportunity to gain more money through the sale of its broadcasting rights, it would be cruel of us to restrict that.

Much more needs to be done if we are to revive interest in our great national game. We must think carefully about how we restrict the powers of the cricket authorities to sell what they have. In the last agreement that they made, they demonstrated that they understand the wider needs. While it is important to raise income to plough back into the game, it vital to the lifeblood of cricket that the public as a whole should be able to develop their interest and experience the excitement of the sport through hearing and watching, through the electronic media, the game being played at the highest level. There must be a balance between the two.

10.45 pm

I happen to think that the cricket authorities might be the best people to judge how to get the balance right, and I am a little doubtful about whether we should second guess them. I should be satisfied to give the Secretary of State a reserve power in case something goes seriously wrong, but I should like the matter to be played out to see what kind of deals are done.

Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Opposition Whip (Commons)

Was the hon. Gentleman entirely happy with the coverage of the recent world cup on terrestrial television?

Photo of Alan Haselhurst Alan Haselhurst , Saffron Walden

The hon. Lady betrays a misunderstanding of the matter. There is no way in which hon. Members can control what an overseas organisation does with the television rights to what it possesses. We could exercise no control over what the Indian and Pakistan boards happened to do with the television rights of the world cup in their countries. It is a common misconception. We accuse the British authorities of letting down viewers in this country because, apparently, we cannot get the rights to live, ball-by-ball coverage on terrestrial television here, but we can have no effect on that. We can simply claim to have some effect on what happens with the game as it is played in this country and how it is presented.

At this stage, we would be wiser to accept the work of the sporting authorities, who are signing up to the code of conduct. I instinctively prefer that approach, rather than being over-prescriptive. If they show that they cannot achieve a balance covering the interests of participants, spectators, viewers and listeners, the Secretary of State should have a residual power to intervene, but I urge the House not to go overboard in trying to tie the hands of the various authorities, as we would live to regret it.

Photo of Mr John Maxton Mr John Maxton , Glasgow Cathcart

I agree with the hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Sir A. Haselhurst) on one point: we should do as much as we can to encourage people to participate in sport. We have a duty to do so, because evidence shows that exercise is good for individuals' health; and if we improve individuals' health through their participation in sport, we improve the general health of the nation. I presume that we all want that.

Money spent on the development of sport does not, alone, encourage young people to participate in it. Seeing their sporting heroes on television is the major incentive. How many children do we now see on public tennis courts with tennis rackets in their hands because Wimbledon is on television? The whole House has been congratulating the English on how they have run Euro 96. How many kids are now out playing football?

What better case can be made for keeping our major sporting events on terrestrial television than Euro 96? As my hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin (Mr. Grocott) said in Question Time this afternoon, 25 million people were interested enough in football to watch the England-Germany game last Wednesday. Those figures cannot be matched by cable television or by satellite television. One tenth of that number would have been able to watch Euro 96 if it had been exclusive to satellite. If Euro 96 had been exclusive to satellite, many more people would have gone into pubs to watch it. That would have led to more drinking and thus to more trouble on the streets.

I shall quote briefly from a letter I have received—I am sure that other hon. Members have received it—from Tony Hallett, who is the secretary of what calls itself the Rugby Football Union. That is pretty insulting in itself because it is, of course, the English Rugby Football Union, not the Rugby Football Union. Mr. Hallett says: We wish to be free to negotiate on our own behalf the best package for our game. In the same letter, he claims that the agreement the union has reached with BSkyB will mean greater coverage of live rugby union games". More matches might be shown live, but the audience will be considerably smaller.

Why should we not accept absolutely the argument that the sporting bodies have a right to sell their broadcasting rights where they wish and how they wish? The answer is this: an enormous amount of public money goes into sport. Money goes directly from government through Sports Council grants. Increasingly, money comes from the lottery, with which there is a five-year deal. So far, almost £200 million has gone from the lottery into all sport. Under the five-year deal, the total figure will be almost £1 billion. Does not that give us some right to say how sport should be run and who should be able to see it?

Large amounts come from local government in terms of playing fields given cheaply, changing rooms and coaching. Then there are coaching and sports facilities in schools. All that is public money. There is also an enormous number of people who give their time freely, or who pay subscriptions to play their sport. Surely with all that money going into sport, we as the representatives of the people who watch sport on television have some right to a say in how sport is shown on television. That seems to me to be a fairly straightforward case. That is why I support what my right hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) said.

There has been great emphasis on the fact that the five nations tournament is likely to disappear as a result of the rugby deal. That is deeply regrettable. The argument is not whether the five nations disappear—I hope that the Scottish Rugby Union, the Welsh Rugby Union, the Irish Rugby Football Union and the French will stand firm and play a four nations tournament rather than try to keep the five nations.

What is more important to rugby is the disappearance of rugby from the television screens of most of our people. Only 15 per cent. of viewers will be able to watch live rugby matches in this country. As the right hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) said, it is live rugby that people want to watch. They want live sport, not highlights or a recording of the event two hours later.

Interest in rugby will decline. Fewer young people will come into the game and the long-term interests of rugby will be damaged as a result of the deal that the English union has done. The only reason that Tony Hallett gives for the deal is that he wants England to be able to compete with the countries from the southern hemisphere, particularly New Zealand and South Africa. That will never happen, because there is one basic difference between rugby in Britain and rugby in New Zealand and South Africa: rugby is our second or third most important sport. Football is our premier sport, whereas in New Zealand and South Africa rugby is the premier sport—the sport that every youngster wants to play. That is why it will always be extremely difficult for the home nations to compete with those countries.

I am appalled that the English Rugby Football Union is prepared to throw away the five nations championship for the doubtful prize of being able to take on New Zealand and South Africa at some future date. It should concentrate on the five nations championship and develop the sport in Britain.

Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale , North Thanet

May I ask my hon. Friend the Minister briefly to concentrate his mind on amendment No. 130 and to comment on its legality? It seeks to make certain specific provisions retrospective to the Bill's publication on 19 March. Following publication of the Bill, Back-Bench organisations, sporting bodies and other groups made representations to my hon. Friend the Minister for Sport and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. On the back of those representations, the Central Council of Physical Recreation put in an enormous amount of hard work with the governing bodies of many sports in an attempt to produce what everyone believed might work—the voluntary code to which my hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale (Mr. Greenway) referred.

The voluntary code was published while we were debating the Bill in Committee. It covered live transmission rights, repeat rights and radio rights and it was hailed as a great achievement. Everyone believed it to be a fair deal for sports, for sporting bodies that needed television and media money, and for spectators. However, before the ink was dry, a deal was struck between BSkyB and the Rugby Football Union. To be fair to BSkyB and to the RFU, that deal, which separates highlights and radio rights from live transmission rights, honoured the letter of the agreement, but that deal was struck in the knowledge that the other four of the five nations championship were already negotiating a deal with the fifth nation—England—to provide coverage for the whole of the five nations championship. In other words, two organisations—BSkyB and the RFU—sought deliberately to drive a coach and horses through the voluntary code. I believe that the RFU has undermined all the work by the CCPR and my hon. Friend the Minister to establish that voluntary code.

We now know that the five nations championship is at risk and could well become the four nations championship. That will deprive an enormous number of tomorrow's rugby players—the young players—of the opportunity to watch the stars of today. They will no longer have the opportunity to see those games live on television. That is important.

It is important to note that only 10 per cent. of the massive fee will go into developing the game. The other 90 per cent. will be used to pay off the mortgage on Twickenham. I do not believe that 10 per cent. is sufficient to pay for the training and development of young players. Is it legally possible to make the Bill retrospective? Although I do not like retrospective legislation, the deal was struck in the knowledge that the House was debating the Bill and my hon. Friend and the Central Council of Physical Recreation were negotiating a voluntary code. Action was taken to pre-empt those negotiations. Is it legally possible for the House to make that part of the Bill retrospective so that the deal can be overturned?

Photo of Mr Bruce Grocott Mr Bruce Grocott , The Wrekin

It is ironic that in the week after Euro 96 we are debating whether major national sporting events should be broadcast on the main television channels that everyone can watch. As my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) said, the semi-finals attracted an audience of around 27 million. That must be close to a record television audience for a sporting event. Had England reached the final, which was played yesterday, there is no doubt that the audience watching would have broken all records for any televised sporting event.

I assume that the Government will oppose the new clause. They have been absolutely intransigent in opposing any attempts by any of us over the years to try to ensure that the major sporting events are shown on the main channels. If—I know that it is a big if—England had won the European championships in front of a huge audience, it would have been in the knowledge that the next European championships could well be available only to an audience of about 2 million people.

11 pm

We know what happens to audiences when events are transferred from terrestrial channels to cable and satellite. Throughout the European championships, we were constantly reminded about the World cup 30 years ago. This is a Department of National Heritage Bill, and we are talking about our national heritage. To those of us who watched that game 30 years ago, England winning the World cup is part of our national heritage—but it would not have been if it had been available only to a tiny minority on a subscription channel. The immortal words, "They think it's all over—it is now," would not even have been remembered; they would certainly not have become part of the country's language.

That loss of heritage applies to many other events too. What would have happened to the interest in athletics if the Coe and Ovett duels of the early 1980s had been available only on a narrowly subscribed channel? Those are the questions that hon. Members should ask themselves before more and more of our major events are lost.

Some of us have been saying these things for years and the Government have basically done nothing. I could cite a great string of events that have already been lost, but I will mention just one or two. The hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Sir A. Haselhurst) talked about the cricket deal. One-day cricket internationals have been lost from terrestrial channels. Although they never attract anything like the viewing figures that football attracts, it is worth looking at what happened to the figures. The last time the one-day internationals in England were available on the terrestrial channels—England against New Zealand in 1994—the audience was 2 million, which I accept is not huge. For the first one-day international match this year, between England and India, shown on satellite, the audience was 170,000. If that is in the long-term interests of cricket, the cricket authorities must have a different view of those interests than common sense dictates.

Those people who say, as the hon. Member for Ryedale (Mr. Greenway) did—the fallacy is frequently quoted in the House—that somehow the sporting authorities would be in dire need of money and would not get the cash without the generosity of Sky Television should be reminded of the most damaging deal which resulted in the loss of a major event from the main channels: the Premier league football deal, which is currently in operation. In that deal—we know that the money offered has gone up dramatically since then—Sky offered £300 million, while ITV offered about £260 million, which is not peanuts; it is not exactly asking the sporting authorities to accept sackcloth and ashes.

The notion that the chairman of the Premier league, who sat down to negotiate the current deal or the one that has most recently been negotiated for an astronomical sum, was thinking of the long-term interests of the sport and the desperate concern that young people should see it is foolish. I do not particularly blame such people for riot sharing that interest, because running a football club is not necessarily the most lucrative way to pass one's time. Their interest is in next year's balance sheet. That is why they want the deal with Sky. They are not concerned about the most crucial element of sport—that young people should see it at its best.

Anyone who thinks that the Government can be trusted to secure the national events for the nation has only to look at the record. This matter has been raised repeatedly in the past five years. As recently as last December, Ministers were saying that there was no case whatever for intervening in any way, shape or form to try to protect more events. It was only when they lost the vote in the House of Lords that they had a Damascus road conversion.

It is important that the major sports of our nation are available to the people whom we represent and, my word, there is no doubt about what they are saying. We have a responsibility to them, and to the long-term interests of sport which I am afraid that the sporting authorities are simply not taking into account in the way they should. It is our duty to see that the list is regularly reviewed and. I believe, extended to respond to what the public want.

Photo of Mr Iain Sproat Mr Iain Sproat , Harwich

I will try to speak at no great length. I start by saying that this is certainly a serious issue, but the Labour party's proposals are not the answer. The rig ht hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) explained that new clause 12 would require the Secretary of State to review the list of events in clause 91 within 12 months, and annually thereafter. Following the review, the Secretary of State would be required to present an order in Parliament, specifying events to be listed for the following year. This would be subject to negative resolution, or to affirmative resolution if an event were taken off the previous year's list.

The Government are not convinced that there is any need for an annual review process. The protections envisaged in part IV of the Bill for listed events are intended to apply to a limited list of sporting and other events which have a clear national significance. Occasions when an event should come on to the list—or come off it—are likely to be rare and, on past practice, the contents of the list have tended to be adjusted only every five years or so. Nor do the Government agree that the composition of the list should be subject to a process of parliamentary approval. Current arrangements for the Secretary of State to decide on the contents of the list after consultation with interested bodies—such as the BBC, ITC, S4C and the governing bodies of the sports concerned—maintain the necessary flexibility and allow a fair balance to be struck between the various interests involved.

The process envisaged in the new clause would be cumbersome and bureaucratic, and could be expected to bring continuing turbulence to the make-up of the list and pressures continually to add to it. The list system has worked well and there is a clear system to review it as necessary over time. We are accordingly not persuaded of the case for a new clause requiring an annual review and an order-making process as proposed.

Photo of Mr John Maxton Mr John Maxton , Glasgow Cathcart

If the ability exists to review the list regularly, did the Government consider putting the five nations championship on the list?

Photo of Mr Iain Sproat Mr Iain Sproat , Harwich

No doubt my right hon. Friend will consider doing so, given what has happened tonight, but she will make up her mind after the House has decided what the process should be.

Photo of Mr Iain Sproat Mr Iain Sproat , Harwich

No, I must get on. The right hon. Member for Copeland explained that new clause 15 would enable the Secretary of State to declare void any contract to televise an event that he or she concluded was not in the national interest. That would entail wiping out, at the decree of a Secretary of State, the commercial freedom to strike deals. That is an exceptionally interventionist and draconian measure of virtually unlimited scope with wide-ranging implications for which the Government see no public policy rationale.

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden (Sir A. Haselhurst) that if we must make a choice, the people who run the sport concerned—in his case, cricket—must have a better understanding of the game than hon. Members. It is clear that these provisions would introduce major uncertainty in the negotiation of television rights for sporting and other events. I cannot see how a rights holder can be expected to negotiate a contract with a broadcaster if both parties know that there is a possibility that, after they have negotiated a deal, the Secretary of State could declare it void because the Government have decided that what they entered into freely cannot obtain.

The clause is based on an extreme view of the extent to which it is in the national interest to watch certain events on television. It would cause serious damage to a market which, by and large, regulates itself effectively. Adequate and proportionate provisions already exist to protect those events that are of special resonance to this country. If the amendment is pressed to a Division, the Government will certainly oppose it.

Photo of Mr Rhodri Morgan Mr Rhodri Morgan , Cardiff West

Will the Minister answer the question posed by the hon. Member for North Thanet (Mr. Gale)? Since the deal between BSkyB and the RFU was done after it was evident that the House would discuss on Report whether the five nations championship would be added to the list, does he not regard that deal as an attempt to bounce the House into not putting that event on the list? Does he agree that, in the event of anyone attempting to bounce the House into not doing something that it might otherwise have done, the House should respond strongly and exercise its rights accordingly with his support?

Photo of Mr Iain Sproat Mr Iain Sproat , Harwich

I do not. Retrospective legislation is nearly always bad and would certainly be bad in this case. It is up to the House to decide if it wants to do it—as it certainly could—but I would strongly oppose it.

The hon. Member for Newport, East (Mr. Hughes) explained that his amendments Nos. 1 to 5 and the new schedule would enshrine in statute his proposed list of events, which differs in certain ways from the current list. They would make any amendment to the list subject to affirmative order statutory instrument.

As the right hon. Member for Copeland mentioned, one fundamental objection to that is that it would make the Bill hybrid. A second objection is that, in the Government's view, it is wrong to short-circuit the listing process now. The right process is to establish the framework of controls in the Bill and review the list of events subsequently. As I have explained, we are also opposed to a process that would make amendments to the list subject to statutory order.

The right hon. Member for Copeland explained that amendments Nos. 129 and 130 to clauses 91 and 93 would remove the provisions which prevent retrospection. They would make any contract signed after 19 March 1996 subject to the provisions. The Government oppose those amendments on grounds of principle. The intention is to legislate retrospectively so that the five nations championship can be brought within the provisions of part IV of the Bill. My right hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) rightly said what a lot of people in different parts of the United Kingdom, including England, say about the way that was done, but it is not our right to tell people who own assets what they can or cannot do with them. That is the prime principle on which we stand. Those assets belong to the sports bodies. Whatever we may have as private individuals—[Interruption.] Yes, they belong to the sporting bodies and Parliament should not take away the right of those people to decide how they are going to dispose of them

To sort this out, we asked the Central Council of Physical Recreation to come up with a voluntary code that would meet the two prime concerns involved: the need for as many people as possible to see what they want to see on free-to-air television; and the need for the sports bodies, which develop and are responsible for the sport, to own their own assets. We have reached a compromise in the voluntary code, by which the sports bodies make certain that either the full match is on terrestrial television, or—within a short space of time in the case of the RFU deal—it is on free-to-air terrestrial television within two hours of the match being over. That compromise does not please everyone, but it achieves the best of both worlds that both sides can achieve.

The Government will certainly not agree to any amendment that takes away the rights of the sporting bodies to dispose of their assets. The right hon. Member for Copeland has not made a compelling case for retrospection and the Government reject all his amendments.

Dr. John Cunningham:

With the leave of the House. I want to begin by correcting one error in the contribution of the hon. Member for North Thanet (Mr. Gale), who said that 19 March was the date of the publication of the Bill. It was not. It was a much more important date—the date on which the Government added their own amendments in the House of Lords to cover these issues, following the vote there. The English Rugby Football Union did its deal with BSkyB after 19 March. So that deal was done after the Government had expressed their intention—by tabling amendments—of preventing such deals being done.

The Minister said nothing in his reply to deal with that issue. Is he content, or is he just thumbing his nose at his hon. Friends who have asked those important questions about the future of the five nations championship? Does he believe that the way the English Rugby Football Union is going is in the best interests of that championship? He ignored those questions from his right hon. and hon. Friends and he has failed to respond effectively to the debate.

In response to the comments of the hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Sir A. Haselhurst), the hon. Gentleman would do far better to support our amendments. If any sport has a good case for being reviewed on the list of events, it is cricket, including Test matches. If the hon. Gentleman supported our amendment, at least there would be an opportunity for that to be done. I therefore intend to press the motion to a vote.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 272, Noes 287.

Division No. 162][11.14 pm
Abbott, Ms DianeCaborn, Richard
Adams, Mrs IreneCallaghan, Jim
Ainger, NickCampbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)
Allen, GrahamCampbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Alton, DavidCampbell-Savours, D N
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale)Canavan, Dennis
Armstrong, HilaryCann, Jamie
Ashdown, Rt Hon PaddyCarlile, Alexander (Montgomery)
Ashton, JoeChidgey, David
Austin-Walker, JohnChisholm, Malcolm
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Church, Judith
Barnes, HarryClapham, Michael
Barron, KevinClark, Dr David (South Shields)
Battle, JohnClarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Bayley, HughClarke, Tom (Monklands W)
Beckett, Rt Hon MargaretClelland, David
Beggs, RoyClwyd, Mrs Ann
Bell, StuartCoffey, Ann
Benn, Rt Hon TonyCohen, Harry
Bennett, Andrew FConnarty, Michael
Benton, JoeCook, Frank (Stockton N)
Bermingham, GeraldCook, Robin (Livingston)
Berry, RogerCorbett, Robin
Betts, CliveCorbyn, Jeremy
Blunkett, DavidCorston, Jean
Boateng, PaulCousins, Jim
Bradley, KeithCox, Tom
Bray, Dr JeremyCummings, John
Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)Cunliffe, Lawrence
Byers, StephenCunningham, Jim (Covy SE)
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr JohnJanner, Greville
Cunningham, RoseannaJenkins, Brian (SE Staff)
Dafis, CynogJohnston, Sir Russell
Dalyell, TamJones, Barry (Alyn and D'side)
Darling, AlistairJones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Davidson, IanJones, Lynne (B'ham S O)
Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)
Davies, Chris (L'Boro & S'worth)Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)Jowell, Tessa
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'l)Keen, Alan
Denham, JohnKennedy, Charles (Ross, C&S)
Dewar, DonaldKennedy, Jane (L'pool Br'dg'n)
Dixon, DonKhabra, Piara S
Dobson, FrankKilfoyle, Peter
Donohoe, Brian HKirkwood, Archy
Dowd, JimLestor, Joan (Eccles)
Eagle, Ms AngelaLewis, Terry
Eastham, KenLiddell, Mrs Helen
Etherington, BillLitherland, Robert
Evans, John (St Helens N)Livingstone, Ken
Ewing, Mrs MargaretLloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Fatchett, DerekLlwyd, Elfyn
Faulds, AndrewLynne, Ms Liz
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)McAllion, John
Flynn, PaulMcCartney, Ian
Forsythe, Clifford (S Antrim)Macdonald, Calum
Foster, Rt Hon DerekMcFall, John
Foster, Don (Bath)McKelvey, Wlliam
Foulkes, GeorgeMackinlay, Andrew
Fyfe, MariaMcLeish, Henry
Galbraith, SamMaclennan, Robert
Galloway, GeorgeMcNamara, Kevin
Gapes, MikeMacShane, Denis
Garrett, JohnMcWilliam, John
George, BruceMadden, Max
Gerrard, NeilMaddock, Diana
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr JohnMahon, Alice
Godman, Dr Norman AMandelson, Peter
Godsiff, RogerMarek, Dr John
Golding, Mrs LlinMarshall, David (Shettleston)
Gordon, MildredMarshall, Jim (Leicester, S)
Graham, ThomasMartin, Michael J (Springburn)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)Martlew, Eric
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)Maxton, John
Grocott, BruceMeacher, Michael
Gunnell, JohnMeale, Alan
Hall, MikeMichael, Alun
Hanson, DavidMichie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Hardy, PeterMichie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Harman, Ms HarrietMiller, Andrew
Harvey, NickMitchell, Austin (Gf Grimsby)
Henderson, DougMolyneaux, Rt Hon Sir James
Heppell, JohnMoonie, Dr Lewis
Hill, Keith (Streatham)Morgan, Rhodri
Hinchliffe, DavidMorley, Elliot
Hodge, MargaretMorris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wy'nshawe)
Hoey, KateMorris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Hogg, Norman (Cumbernauld)Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Home Robertson, JohnMowlam, Marjorie
Hood, JimmyMullin, Chris
Hoon, GeoffreyOakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)O'Brien, William (Normanton)
Howarth, George (Knowsley North)O'Hara, Edward
Howells, Dr Kim (Pontypridd)Olner, Bill
Hoyle, DougO'Neill, Martin
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)Parry, Robert
Hughes, Roy (Newport E)Pearson, Ian
Hughes, Simon (Southwark)Pendry, Tom
Hutton, JohnPickthall, Colin
Illsley, EricPike, Peter L
Ingram, AdamPope, Greg
Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)Prentice, Bridget (Lew'm E)
Jackson, Helen (Shefld, H)Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Jamieson, DavidPrimarolo, Dawn
Purchase, KenSteinberg, Gerry
Quin, Ms JoyceStevenson, George
Radice, GilesStrang, Dr. Gavin
Randall, StuartStraw, Jack
Raynsford, NickSutcliffe, Gerry
Rendel, DavidTaylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Robertson, George (Hamilton)Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW)Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Roche, Mrs BarbaraTimms, Stephen
Rogers, AllanTouhig, Don
Rooker, JeffTrickett, Jon
Rooney, TerryTurner, Dennis
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)Tyler, Paul
Ross, William (E Londonderry)Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
Rowlands, TedWallace, James
Ruddock, JoanWalley, Joan
Salmond, AlexWardell, Gareth (Gower)
Sedgemore, BrianWareing, Robert N
Sheerman, BarryWicks, Malcolm
Sheldon, Rt Hon RobertWilliams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
Shore, Rt Hon PeterWilliams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Short, ClareWilson, Brian
Simpson, AlanWise, Audrey
Skinner, DennisWorthington, Tony
Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)Wray, Jimmy
Smith, Chris (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)Wright, Dr Tony
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)Young, David (Bolton SE)
Snape, Peter
Spearing, NigelTellers for the Ayes:
Spellar, JohnMr. Peter Hain and Mr. George Mudie.
Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)Butterfill, John
Aitken, Rt Hon JonathanCarlisle, John (Luton North)
Alexander, RichardCarlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln)
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)Cash, William
Allason, Rupert (Torbay)Channon, Rt Hon Paul
Amess, DavidChapman, Sir Sydney
Arbuthnot, JamesChurchill, Mr
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Clappison, James
Ashby, DavidClark, Dr Michael (Rochford)
Aspinwall, JackClarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ru'clif)
Atkins, Rt Hon RobertClifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E)Coe, Sebastian
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)Colvin, Michael
Baker, Rt Hon Kenneth (Mole V)Congdon, David
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)Conway, Derek
Banks, Matthew (Southport)Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)
Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Bates, MichaelCope, Rt Hon Sir John
Batiste, SpencerCouchman, James
Bellingham, HenryCran, James
Bendall, VivianCurrie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)
Beresford, Sir PaulCurry, David (Skipton & Ripon)
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnDavies, Quentin (Stamford)
Body, Sir RichardDay, Stephen
Bonsor, Sr NicholasDeva, Nirj Joseph
Booth, HartleyDorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Boswell, TimDouglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)Dover, Den
Bottomley, Rt Hon VirginiaDuncan, Alan
Bowden, Sir AndrewDuncan Smith, Iain
Bowis, JohnDunn, Bob
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir RhodesDurant, Sir Anthony
Brandreth, GylesDykes, Hugh
Brazier, JulianEggar, Rt Hon Tim
Bright, Sir GrahamElletson, Harold
Brooke, Rt Hon PeterEmery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Brown, M (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)
Browning, Mrs AngelaEvans, Jonathan (Brecon)
Bruce, Ian (South Dorset)Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)
Budgen, NicholasEvans, Roger (Monmouth)
Burt, AlistairEvennett, David
Butcher, JohnFaber, David
Butler, PeterFabricant, Michael
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)Leigh, Edward
Fishburn, DudleyLennox-Boyd, Sir Mark
Forman, NigelLester, Sir James (Broxtowe)
Forth, EricLidington, David
Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Fox, Rt Hon Sir Marcus (Shipley)Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Freeman, Rt Hon RogerLord, Michael
French, DouglasLuff, Peter
Gale, RogerLyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Gallie, PhilMacGregor, Rt Hon John
Gardiner, Sir GeorgeMacKay, Andrew
Garel-Jones, Rt Hon TristanMaclean, Rt Hon David
Garnier, EdwardMcLoughlin, Patrick
Gill, ChristopherMcNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Gillan, CherylMadel, Sir David
Goodlad, Rt Hon AlastairMaitland, Lady Olga
Goodson-Wickes, Dr CharlesMalone, Gerald
Gorman, Mrs TeresaMans, Keith
Gorst, Sir JohnMarland, Paul
Grant, Sir A (SW Cambs)Marlow, Tony
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Greenway, John (Ryedale)Marshall, Sr Michael (Arundel)
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Grylls, Sir MichaelMates, Michael
Gummer, Rt Hon John SelwynMawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian
Hague, Rt Hon WilliamMayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir ArchibaldMellor, Rt Hon David
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)Merchant, Piers
Hampson, Dr KeithMills, Iain
Hanley, Rt Hon JeremyMitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Hannam, Sir JohnMitchell, Sir David (NW Hants)
Haselhurst, Sir AlanMonro, Rt Hon Sir Hector
Hawkins, NickMontgomery, Sir Fergus
Hawksley, WarrenNeedham, Rt Hon Richard
Hayes, JerryNelson, Anthony
Heald, OliverNeubert, Sir Michael
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon DavidNewton, Rt Hon Tony
Hendry, CharlesNicholls, Patrick
Heseltine, Rt Hon MichaelNicholson, David (Taunton)
Hicks, Sir RobertNorris, Steve
Higgins, Rt Hon Sir TerenceOppenheim, Phillip
Hill, Sir James (Southampton Test)Ottaway, Richard
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)Page, Richard
Horam, JohnPaice, James
Hordern, Rt Hon Sir PeterPatnick, Sir Irvine
Howard, Rt Hon MichaelPatten, Rt Hon John
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)Pattje, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)Pawsey, James
Hughes, Robert G (Harrow W)Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)Pickles, Eric
Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Hunter, AndrewPorter, David (Waveney)
Hurd, Rt Hon DouglasPortillo, Rt Hon Michael
Jack, MichaelPowell, William (Corby)
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)Rathbone, Tim
Jenkin, BernardRedwood, Rt Hon John
Jessel, TobyRichards, Rod
Johnson Smith, Sir GeoffreyRiddick, Graham
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)Robathan, Andrew
Jones, Robert B (W Hertfdshr)Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn
Jopling, Rt Hon MichaelRobertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)
Kellett-Bowman, Dame ElaineRobinson, Mark (Somerton)
Key, RobertRoe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
King, Rt Hon TomRowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)
Kirkhope, TimothyRumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela
Knapman, RogerSackville, Tom
Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)Sainsbury, Rt Hon Sir Timothy
Knight, Rt Hon Greg (Derby N)Scott, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Knight Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)Shaw, David (Dover)
Knox, Sir DavidShephard, Rt Hon Gillian
Kynoch, George (Kincardine)Shepherd, Sr Colin (Hereford)
Lait, Mrs JacquiShepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Lamont, Rt Hon NormanShersby, Sir Michael
Lang, Rt Hon IanSims, Sir Roger
Lawrence, Sir IvanSkeet, Sir Trevor
Legg, BarrySmith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Soames, NicholasTredinnick, David
Spencer, Sir DerekTrend, Michael
Spicer, Sir JimTrotter, Neville
Spicer, Sir Michael (S Worcs)Twinn, Dr Ian
Spink, Dr RobertViggers, Peter
Sproat, IainWaldegrave, Rt Hon William
Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)Walden, George
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir JohnWalker, Bill (N Tayside)
Steen, AnthonyWaller, Gary
Stephen, MichaelWard, John
Stewart, AllanWaterson, Nigel
Watts, John
Streeter, GaryWells, Bowen
Sumberg, DavidWheeler, Rt Hon Sir John
Sweeney, WalterWhitney, Ray
Sykes, JohnWhittingdale, John
Tapsell, Sir PeterWiddecombe, Ann
Taylor, Ian (Esher)Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Taylor, John M (Solihull)Wilkinson, John
Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)Willetts, David
Thomason, RoyWinterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)Yeo, Tim
Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Thornton, Sir Malcolm
Townend, John (Bridlington)Tellers for the Noes:
Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)Mr. Timothy Wood and Mr. Simon Burns.
Tracey, Richard

Question accordingly negatived.