Orders of the Day — Referendums (Scotland and Wales) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 4th June 1997.

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Amendment No. 77, in title, line 2, leave out 'tax-varying powers' and insert 'constitutional status'.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Leader, Scottish National Party

The amendment should be considered with amendments Nos. 72 to 77. Their effect is to provide for a multi-option referendum in Scotland, to give people the choice between independence, devolution and the status quo on a preferential voting system to allow people to vote 1, 2, 3. The bottom option would be knocked out, resulting in a clear winner.

My contention is that this is the real referendum, if one is to be held at all. I must make it clear at the outset that if the Government had said that they had a mandate from the general election and therefore intended to proceed with their proposals for a devolved Scottish Parliament, they would have had no argument from me about a multi-option referendum. It is legitimate to say that the general election is a mandate to move ahead with devolution proposals. That, however, is not what the Government have done. Instead, they have taken the position, as was made clear by the Secretary of State two weeks ago, that the general election did not provide a test of the constitutional options. It was not a sufficient test because other issues prevailed during the campaign.

The issue on which the general election campaign in Scotland focused was the substantial urge to remove the Conservative party from every available seat, which the Scottish people were successful in doing in different ways in different constituencies. We all know that that was the key issue of the general election campaign in Scotland. If the Government believe that the general election did not decide the constitutional position and that therefore there must be a test of opinion, it is my position that that test of opinion must be fair and must make available to all the people the real options before the Scottish nation.

I want to discuss three arguments. First, members of all parties in the House have at one time or another supported the concept of a multi-option referendum. Secondly, I shall point to the various international precedents, and the one United Kingdom precedent, for my position. Thirdly, I shall argue that it is such a referendum that has genuine popular assent and is supported by the people of Scotland.

First, there is the argument that members of all parties have supported my position. It was certainly supported by the Secretary of State for Scotland on 23 April 1992, when he said not only that he supported the concept of a multi-option referendum but told the Scottish Trades Union Congress annual congress in Dundee that it should be "shouted from the rooftops".

The Secretary of State has been having some fun with his Tory opposite number—at least, I think that that is what the right hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Ancram) may become, although he is denying it; time will tell—about the various changes he has made in his position. The Secretary of State owes us an explanation of why the concept was to be "shouted from the rooftops" in 1992 but not even to be whispered in the Lobbies in 1997.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Leader, Scottish National Party

That is one of the hon. Gentleman's more telling contributions to debates of late. If he had been listening, he would realise that I argued that if the Secretary of State had wanted to take the Labour party's election victory as a mandate to proceed with a devolution plan without further consultation, I would have accepted that as a legitimate position. But that is not the position of the Labour party. Its position is that there has to be a test of opinion. The amendment proposes a democratic and real test of opinion.

Photo of Tommy Graham Tommy Graham Labour, West Renfrewshire

Will the hon. Gentleman give a guarantee that if there was a multi-option referendum in which people could vote for independence, but the people of Scotland rejected that, the Scottish National party would disband and join the other political parties?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Leader, Scottish National Party

Like the Labour party did after the general elections in 1979, 1983, 1987 and 1992? All democratic parties accept the result of a referendum or election. If they lose, they do not disband. They try to win another referendum in the future. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Of course. Democratic parties submit their position to the people and if they are defeated they try to find a better method of putting their arguments so that they can be successful in the future. What on earth is wrong with that? What is more interesting is why, in opposition, the Labour party supported the concept of putting independence on the ballot paper, yet in government finds that prospect too frightening.

Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry)

Is the hon. Gentleman now telling the Committee that if he is not satisfied with the result of the referendum or the legislation that follows it he will campaign immediately for a further referendum?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Leader, Scottish National Party

No. The Scottish National party will campaign to win a general election, a referendum or an election to a Scottish Assembly at some point in the future. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman, having returned to the House, fully expects the Conservative party to return to power at the next general election. His may be a minority opinion, but I am sure that he holds it dear and clutches hope to his bosom.

A multi-option referendum was supported by the late John Smith. As leader of the Labour party, he made it clear that the Labour party as a whole was campaigning in support of the concept. So in the past there has been substantial Labour party support for the idea.

The organisation Scotland United was formed and predicated on the basis of a multi-option referendum, which it recognised as the one concept that in recent years had united the forces of constitutional change in Scotland. In its policy document, "What Price Democracy", published in 1992, it argued for a multi-option referendum, noting that one of the big problems with the 1979 referendum was the absence from the ballot paper of the independence option, which meant that a significant section of the Scottish population was denied the opportunity to vote for their preferred option. Many members of that organisation are on the Government Benches today.

Not only is the concept supported by Labour Members but it was originally a Liberal party idea. In the late 1960s, Lord Steel introduced a Bill proposing a multi-option referendum. Liberal Members are fond of telling us that they have most of the good ideas and that other parties adopt them some time later. I see the hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Mrs. Michie) nodding her assent. What they tell us less often is that by the time they have convinced the rest of us that they are a good idea, they have deserted the cause and no longer espouse their original policies. I hope that, given the Liberal antecedents of the case, Liberal Members will support the amendment.

I have to accept that Tory support for our proposal is somewhat more recent. It was not evident when the Tories were in government, but at least one of the Tory leadership candidates, the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr. Lilley), announced in Scotland at the weekend that he was in favour of a multi-option referendum. To be fair, some Back-Bench Tory Members have argued over a longer period that independence should appear on the ballot paper in a constitutional referendum in Scotland.

Broad support for the concept has been expressed by hon. Members of all parties in the House. If we evaluate the amendment's chances of success, I comfort myself with the notion that the Secretary of State has held five positions on referendums on Scotland in the past five years. In 1992, when I debated with him as—

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Leader, Scottish National Party

I am coming to all five.

In the 1992 general election, when we debated as the two party leaders in Scotland, the right hon. Gentleman was against any referendum. After the election, he moved, as I have already said, to support a multi-option referendum. Last year, when he was the Labour party Chief Whip, the proposal for a two-question referendum was first put forward and he adopted joint authorship of it. Some of us think that he was just covering fire for the right hon. Member for Hamilton, South (Mr. Robertson); none the less, he was willing to accept responsibility for that notion. When the Labour party's Scottish executive decided to have two referendums with three questions, that was described by the Labour party hierarchy as a mature and sensible decision. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman, as the then Chief Whip, also shared that opinion.

That takes us to the fifth change of heart—the two-question referendum proposed in the Bill. All I am saying is that, having taken five positions in the past five years, surely it is not too much to expect the right hon. Gentleman to move back to his 1992 position by accepting our amendment. I am sure that he will when he replies.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Leader, Scottish National Party

I shall do so. I am hoping for a sixth change of position because I know that, in his heart, the right hon. Gentleman knows that the amendment represents the right course to take.

There are a number of international examples of referendums that have been put before people in a range of countries where three or more clear constitutional positions have been offered. However, perhaps the example that is of most interest to the Committee is the decision of the Attlee Privy Council of the United Kingdom in 1946.

There was to be a ballot in Newfoundland on its democratic status. Originally, a constitutional convention suggested that only two options should be allowed, but the Attlee Privy Council decided otherwise. Preecing's Contemporary Archive for 6 to 13 November 1946 states: Her Majesty's Government have come to the conclusion that it would not be right that the people of Newfoundland should be deprived of an opportunity of considering the issue and they have therefore decided that confederation with Canada should be included as a third choice on the referendum paper. The Attlee Privy Council—a Labour Government with a landslide majority—had the democratic common sense to see that it would be unfair to exclude from a referendum ballot paper an option that was supported by many people in Newfoundland. As we know, it was that option that eventually, albeit narrowly, carried the day in Newfoundland. That is why it entered the Canadian Confederation. That example is both international and pertaining to the United Kingdom.

I suggest that a multi-option referendum—a fair referendum—is the one that carries public support in Scotland. One opinion poll, which tested whether people wanted the option of independence to be included on the ballot paper of any referendum in Scotland, was published in The Sunday Times on 11 August 1996. It showed not only overwhelming support from the Scottish people—73 per cent.—for that idea, but majority support in every party for all the options of independence, devolution and the status quo to be included on the ballot paper. Of Labour supporters in Scotland, 81 per cent. suggested that that was the right thing to do. So there is public support for a fair ballot, but another factor should be recognised by the Committee and it is an argument that is not often put clearly.

According to my memory and experience, there has not been a single recent public opinion poll that presented the three options of independence, devolution or the status quo and showed a majority in favour of devolution. In the vast majority of polls, devolution has been the preferred option, but, as far as I am aware, not a single opinion poll citing those three options has shown 50 per cent. or more in favour of devolution. One opinion poll during the general election campaign suggested that independence and devolution were tied with 35 per cent. support, with support for the status quo at 24 per cent. The ICM poll in The Scotsman suggested that there was substantial support for the status quo—that was more than the other polls suggested.

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Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar Secretary of State, Scottish Office

I apologise for indulging my curiosity, but is the logic of the hon. Gentleman's position that any multi-choice referendum would be invalid unless one of the options received 50 per cent. support? Does it follow that the hon. Gentleman is Suggesting a transferable vote multi-choice option?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Leader, Scottish National Party

As I said in my introduction, and as the amendments state, people would mark 1, 2 or 3 in a preferential system. The option receiving the lowest number of votes in the first count would be knocked out and the votes redistributed, giving a winner with a substantial majority.

It is often said by Labour Members that devolution is supported by the overwhelming majority of the Scottish people. As today's opinion poll showed, that claim would be justified only if the independence option were not offered. As far as I know, of recent polls that have offered independence, devolution and the preservation of the status quo, not one has shown a majority in favour of devolution.

I think that The Sunday Times poll that I mentioned has the figures about right—it is a close thing between devolution and independence. The Conservative party would no doubt like to hang on to the ICM poll that showed substantial support—almost 30 per cent.—for the status quo. The truth is, we do not know what the result would be and the only way to find out is by putting the options fairly and squarely before the people of Scotland and allowing them to decide.

Photo of Michael Connarty Michael Connarty Labour, Falkirk East

We have discussed this before. Will the hon. Gentleman explain why he would not choose to have a referendum with three options in which people could answer yes or no? One option could be: "Do you wish Scotland to remain a part of the Union or the United Kingdom?" Is he afraid that because the question is so clear, people may choose to say yes?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Leader, Scottish National Party

I do not think that anything could be clearer than the options that we propose in the amendments—whether people want no change to the constitutional arrangements, whether they want an independent Scottish Parliament or whether they want a devolved Scottish Parliament. Each option is given parity on the ballot paper and people are asked to judge. I would argue that that is a fair way to put the questions. But if the amendments are carried, if the Government want to address the issue of a multi-option referendum and if we want to reach agreement on a fair representation on the ballot paper, I am sure that that can be negotiated and arranged. The hon. Gentleman should look at what we have suggested and tell me why that is not a fair representation of the positions.

Photo of Michael Connarty Michael Connarty Labour, Falkirk East

Having taught modern studies in schools for a long time and having seen the problems faced by people at all levels—right up to those learning about government and political systems at A-level—in understanding a system where the votes are ranked between the first, second and third choices, with the consequential results of the single transferable vote, I think that the complexity involved is more likely to confuse than clarify.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Leader, Scottish National Party

Australia and southern Ireland managed to cope with the complex system of voting. Most people would argue that over the years they have managed to produce reasonable results in terms of forming Governments. To argue against a system of preferential voting that is used in many countries and say that people in Scotland would be unable to cope shows me that when the hon. Gentleman was a modern studies teacher he should have had more faith in his pupils and that he should now have more faith in the people of Scotland.

Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Conservative, Stone

Has the hon. Gentleman addressed the question of the threshold majority that should be required? Does he agree that in 1978 the number of people who voted amounted to only, I think, 32 per cent.? Does he agree that that showed such a low interest that some threshold is required in relation to the present arrangements?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Leader, Scottish National Party

Not only have I addressed that issue, but I managed to devote a large part of my speech on the guillotine motion yesterday to that point. I told the hon. Gentleman's colleagues—he was not in the Chamber at the time—that I did not think it was a very powerful argument to advance when, on the basis of the total number of the electorate, the Conservative party received 12.5 per cent. of the votes at the election. On the basis of today's opinion poll, the Conservative party's percentage of the total electorate likely to vote in Scotland would be more like 6 per cent. The threshold argument is weak when advanced from the dizzy heights of 6 or 12.5 per cent. of the total electorate. The argument for a threshold—for a fancy franchise and a rigged ballot—is a poor one. It would be far better to allow, if I may use the Scottish parlance, a square go between the various constitutional options—far, far better to put them on the ballot paper in an honest and fair manner and let the people of Scotland decide. The people of Scotland should have the right to decide this matter.

I have shared the irritation of many hon. Members at the nature of some of the contributions to this debate from Conservative Members, especially the argument that the people of England are going have to pay for this constitutional exercise in Scotland. If those hon. Members had been involved in the general election campaign in Scotland, perhaps they would have been surprised that one of the matters on which all the parties were agreed was the figures showing a substantial fiscal surplus in Scotland between 1979 and 1995. Those figures were first revealed in a Treasury answer on 13 January this year and all the political parties confirmed them, including the then Secretary of State for Scotland at a press conference.

Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin Conservative, North Essex

Rubbish—absolute rubbish.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Leader, Scottish National Party

I hear his former parliamentary private secretary telling me that that is absolute rubbish. On 8 April 1997, The Herald ran the headline: Forsyth accepts that calculations show a net cash flow of £27,000 million to England. Given that, earlier today, Conservative Members suggested to the Prime Minister that if he was misquoted he should have corrected the record, perhaps the then Secretary of State for Scotland should have corrected the record if he felt that he was misquoted during the election campaign. My point is that it is deeply insulting to people in Scotland to conduct the argument on that basis.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Leader, Scottish National Party

No, I am not giving way to the hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Leader, Scottish National Party

If the hon. Gentleman checks the record, he will find that I am more than generous in giving way to a range of hon. Members. I am not giving way because I want to refer to the nature and quality of the arguments.

It is demeaning to argue for a threshold, for a fancy franchise, for a 40 per cent. rule or for a 50 per cent. rule—that is an assault on the democratic process. It is also demeaning and inaccurate of Conservative Members to show their contempt for Scotland and for Wales by the way in which they have addressed some of those arguments over the past 24 hours.

All of us have a responsibility to find a method of reaching agreement and of holding a referendum. If we are to consult the people, if we are to offer them a fair chance to express their view and if it is a referendum that is required and not a general election, as has been argued, then surely the case for putting all the options clearly, fairly and squarely before the people on a ballot is unanswerable. Whatever the voting configurations are in the Lobbies later this evening, I know that, in their hearts, most hon. Members know that that is the right thing to do.

Photo of John McAllion John McAllion Labour, Dundee East

I shall be brief, because I have personal reservations about referendums in general.

As many hon. Members will know, the referendum device was introduced into our constitution at the end of the 19th century by a man called A. V. Dicey, who openly admitted that he did so with the purpose of blocking home rule for Ireland. In parliamentary terms, he was successful because he did block home rule for Ireland at that time, but that success had grave consequences for the people of that island and for the people of this island with which we have been living ever since. Referendums in general are a conservative measure and are usually introduced by those who want to preserve the constitutional status quo and prevent change of any sort from being introduced by radical reformers.

Indeed, promoters of referendums since Mr. Dicey have followed his example. Hon. Members will recall that my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) claims credit for having secured the 1975 referendum, but he did not do it because he wanted Britain to go into the Common Market; rather he did it for the opposite purpose. Again, in 1979 the referendum on Scottish devolution was promoted by those who wanted to stop devolution—it was the last throw of the dice for those who wanted to stop a Scottish Parliament being set up. By use of the threshold argument, to which Conservative Members have referred, they were successful in stopping devolution at that time and Scotland has paid the price ever since.

In general, therefore, I am not a natural supporter of referendums and I do not see the need to hold them, except in certain circumstances where they can be justified. I believe that referendums would have been justified in the circumstances that obtained in Scotland in the aftermath of the 1992 general election, when Scotland clearly voted for parties that had proposed a Scottish Parliament. Three out of four voters in Scotland voted for parties that were offering a Scottish Parliament, but all the voters got was five more years of the Tories, who refused to change the status quo.

In those circumstances, it was important to unite the forces for change in Scotland around the one issue that could unite them—the holding of a multi-option referendum, to give the Scottish people the chance to say whether they wanted independence, devolution or the status quo. That campaign was unsuccessful. I am as sorry as anyone else that it was, but the fact that people supported it at that time is not necessarily a reason to expect them to support the holding of a referendum at this point in our history, because there are inherent weaknesses in the multi-option referendum. The hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) did not discuss the main weakness.

It is argued that the majority of people in Scotland support devolution, but that is not necessarily the case. The 9 per cent. of the electorate in Scotland who support the Tories are not the only ones who support the status quo. Some members of the Labour party support the status quo. Some supporters of the Labour party support the status quo.

Photo of John McAllion John McAllion Labour, Dundee East

I would be here all night. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] It is a joke. [Laughter.] The likelihood is that there would be a three-way split in any such vote. We do not know what the terms of that split would be—perhaps 40 per cent. for devolution, 30 per cent. for independence and 25 per cent. for the status quo. The idea that we should settle the issue by second choices does not encourage me much.

If I had to vote in a multi-option referendum, I would put devolution first and independence second, but I would not want independence to be established in Scotland on the basis of my second choice or those of other people. People should positively vote for independence; and if independence is established, it should be established on the basis of a majority, not of second choices. Anything else is a weak position.

I have great sympathy with the idea that the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan expressed—that we have a mandate to establish a Scottish Parliament and we should get on with doing it. In fact, if I, not my right hon. Friend, were Secretary of State for Scotland, that is what we would be doing.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Leader, Scottish National Party

If the hon. Member cares to look at the results of The Herald poll on the second question published this morning, he will see that the proposed second question in the referendum can be carried with a majority only on the second choices of people who want independence for Scotland. Why is it all right to carry devolution on the second choices of those who want independence, but not to carry independence on the second choices of those who want devolution?

Photo of John McAllion John McAllion Labour, Dundee East

The Government were given a mandate. The manifesto that the Labour party submitted to the Scottish people at the last general election said that, if elected, Labour would introduce a two-question referendum. The Government are honouring that mandate, and it is a bit much to say that we are being dishonourable by implementing the proposals that we submitted to the Scottish people in a general election, for which they then voted. It is a very honourable position for the Government to take.

I accept that a yes, yes vote will depend on the support of Scottish National party supporters. I hope that they will understand that if they vote yes, yes we shall get, for the first time in nearly 300 years, a Parliament in Scotland, and that can be only to their advantage. I make no pretence that it will be otherwise. It will be to the advantage of the SNP to have a Parliament in Scotland because, obviously, they will receive far better representation in that Government, under a proportional system, than they possibly could in this Parliament under a first-past-the-post system, and I entirely welcome that.

It would be open to a Scottish Parliament to decide to hold a referendum on whatever subject it wished. I accept that and I have no problem with it. However, at this stage in the fight for a Scottish Parliament, it is important to maximise the yes, yes vote. I am sure that the SNP will help.

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party, Perth

I am interested in what the hon. Member has to say, and we are all heartened when a Government honour their manifesto pledges, but is he seriously suggesting that the people of Scotland would rise up and object if the current Government decided to go even further than their manifesto pledge and offer that third option? Does he think that, having been promised 250,000 jobs, people will object if, by chance, 255,000 jobs are created? That is effectively what he is saying. Is he really arguing that people will object if the Government exceed their manifesto commitment?

Photo of John McAllion John McAllion Labour, Dundee East

The hon. Lady is asking me to agree that the Labour Government should implement the SNP manifesto now that the Labour Government have been elected. Of course that makes no sense.

In fact, the SNP manifesto does not propose a multi-option referendum. During the general election, Charter 88 called a democracy day debate, in which all the candidates had to answer questions on democracy. The question came up about Labour's proposals for a two-question referendum, and the SNP candidate who stood against me gave an assurance from the platform during the election that, if elected, the SNP would hold a multi-option referendum and stand by the result.

I took that to be SNP policy until today, when I examined the SNP general election manifesto. It shows a picture of Fergus Ewing—described as the "Cabinet Chief Secretary". [HON. MEMBERS: "Where is he?"] I do not know where he is, but the manifesto said what would happen if the SNP had won the last general election in Scotland: After the election of a majority of SNP MPs, the SNP will immediately initiate negotiations for independence with the UK Government"— and with the European Parliament. At the conclusion of this period (which is likely to take between six and twelve months) the people of Scotland will be asked to approve the 'independence settlement' in a simple one question referendum. 5.15 pm

So the commitment in the SNP manifesto was a simple one question referendum", and SNP Members should not say tonight that a two-question referendum is unfair and undemocratic when they have just fought a general election on the platform of a one-question referendum.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Leader, Scottish National Party

There is an exact parallel—that of a Labour Government receiving a mandate to pass devolution legislation and putting that, after parliamentary agreement, to the people in a post-legislative referendum. However, the Labour Government have not done that. They have said that the general election did not decide these issues, and Ministers argue that the people must be consulted. If the people are to be consulted, why not on independence?

Photo of John McAllion John McAllion Labour, Dundee East

The hon. Gentleman argued earlier that if the Labour Government had simply set up a Scottish Parliament, he would have accepted that. He also said that if there is any test of opinion, it must be a fair test of opinion and it must be a multi-option referendum, yet he intended to test the opinion of the Scottish people in a one-question referendum if the SNP had won the last general election. It is very unfair of the hon. Gentleman to accuse my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State of changing his position on the referendum issue when the SNP has changed its in the space of a month, since the general election.

Photo of Tommy Graham Tommy Graham Labour, West Renfrewshire

Is my hon. Friend aware that nearly every member of the Labour party in Scotland supported devolution but did not support separatism? We told the people of Scotland that we wanted a Scottish Parliament along the lines of the Scottish Constitutional Convention. We did not hoodwink or kid the folk that we would lead them down the road of separatism. Why should we listen when the SNP tell us to follow its separatism policies, which we did not fight the general election on?

Photo of John McAllion John McAllion Labour, Dundee East

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. This is about a general election mandate, and part of the Labour Government's mandate was that they should go ahead with the two-question referendum. It was in the manifesto and was spoken about at all the public meetings in all the constituencies in Scotland by all the candidates. In fact, they were fiercely attacked by the SNP and by others for adopting such a position.

In the event, the voters voted for us, and it should not be regarded as dishonourable or objectionable for the Labour Government to honour their manifesto commitment to introduce a referendum with two questions.

I realised the dangers of the second question more than anything during the brief period that I spent on the Labour Front Bench. I believe that it is a very weak position to put the second question to the people in a referendum. If this Parliament were to hold a referendum throughout the United Kingdom seeking the right to vary taxation throughout the UK, I doubt that a majority of UK taxpayers would give Parliament the power to vary taxation in the way in which the Tories did in the last Parliament. We must overcome that difficulty. We have a fight on our hands to win two yes votes in the referendum in September.

I do not mean this insultingly, but the Tory party in Parliament is irrelevant to the contest in September. We need to unite behind a Scottish Parliament with tax-raising powers, and then the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan and the SNP will be even better placed to argue the case than they are at the moment.

Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Conservative, Vale of York

It is a great honour for me to address the House for the first time, as the first elected Member for Vale of York. I hope that hon. Members will consider this a good opportunity for me to pay tribute to my predecessors, one of whom is the shadow Secretary of State for Wales, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Hague). Another is the shadow Minister for local government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Skipton and Ripon (Mr. Curry), the third is my hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale (Mr. Greenway) and the fourth is the former Member for Harrogate, Mr. Robert Banks. I hope that colleagues will not feel that I am insisting that it takes one woman to do the work of four men. My predecessors have paved the way for me to take over in a smooth transition as the first Member for Vale of York.

In addition to his work as the former Secretary of State for Wales, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond, Yorks did great work in north Yorkshire, especially among the farming community, as did my right hon. Friend the Member for Skipton and Ripon in his previous capacity at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Hon. Members will recall that the work of my hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale has largely been in connection with racecourses throughout Great Britain, including Scotland and Wales, and not least in my own constituency of Thirsk. Sadly, the former hon. Member for Harrogate retired at the last election. He will be remembered for the sterling work that he did for his constituency, and for the work that he did as a man of great integrity in our relations with Sudan.

I am a Scot by birth and a Scottish advocate by profession, albeit non-practising at present. I am proud to have had the benefit of a Yorkshire education. It may not be that of, say, Fettes college, but I am proud to have been educated at Harrogate college in north Yorkshire and subsequently at the university of Edinburgh. I am exceedingly attached to my Scottish roots, which I consider to be firmly established in the Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

I shall say a few words about my constituency. The Vale of York is a special place with special people in it. I have referred to four of our number. My predecessors also include the present European Commissioner, Sir Leon Brittan. Other well-known residents of my home town, Thirsk, were Thomas Lord who, as hon. Members will recall, was the founding member of Lord's cricket ground, and Alf Wight—another Scot—perhaps better known for his contribution to animals as James Herriot. All those honourable people have made special contributions to the life of the Vale of York, as I hope to do in my capacity as the first elected Member. The geographic heart of my constituency is Helperby, but the population is based on the very pretty market towns of Bedale, Boroughbridge, Thirsk and Easingwold, as well as north York.

I turn to the business in question. On amendment No. 71, I have great difficulty in understanding the need for such an amendment and in supporting it. I query the relevance of drawing on the experience of Newfoundland and Australia, unless the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) is suggesting that the Scots who live there made a contribution there from which those of us now living in England can learn.

I have a letter from a constituent who is extremely concerned that those of us Scots who are now resident in England will not have a vote in the referendum. He writes: I and tens of thousands of expatriate Scots, if not more, will not be enfranchised, nor would the expatriate Welsh. I hope that hon. Members will consider that no less relevant than the amendment.

I have great difficulty in sharing the philosophy of the Government and other Opposition Members with whom I share a Bench. They conclude from the result of the general election that we have a mandate from the Scottish people and the Welsh people—albeit those who happen to live within the borders of Scotland and Wales—on the question of a referendum. In my humble experience in my first parliamentary term, we fight general elections not on constitutional issues, of which the Bill forms a part, but on domestic issues such as education—for example, assisted places such as those that were enjoyed by hon. Members at Fettes college—health and law and order.

I shall look forward with great anticipation to the referendum campaign, to see whether there is a sufficient majority of the Scottish and Welsh people in favour of the referendum, before we proceed further.

On clause 1, I am treading on new ground as a new Member, but I have serious reservations about substantive procedural points in the Bill being dealt with by Order in Council. Perhaps the Government could put me out of my misery by enlightening me.

One of the reasons why I sought to be the first Member of Parliament for Vale of York was that I believe that there should be proper scrutiny in the House through primary legislation. As secondary legislation, an Order in Council is not an appropriate instrument for the consideration of issues of a constitutional nature. They should be dealt with on the Floor of the House, not in Committee, in the form of a primary Bill enabling us to scrutinise draft legislation.

We can draw parallels with the European legislation that appears before the House as secondary legislation. I seek an explanation as to why the Government consider it appropriate to proceed by way of Order in Council, which I do not consider to be an appropriate instrument to use on this occasion. I believe that it infringes the heart of parliamentary sovereignty, which the Opposition hold dear.

Returning to the Vale of York, I invite the Government to consider one point. Perhaps we could have a future referendum on how Scottish Power will transfer electricity. The Government will have to reach a view on whether a new line of pylons should be built in the Vale of York. It would be more appropriate to use any so-called windfall tax to put electricity wires underground, rather than carrying them in pylon form. Would the Government consider a referendum on the matter?

Finally, if the outcome of a referendum in Scotland was clearly in favour of devolution, would the post of Secretary of State for Scotland disappear? Who in Parliament would take subsequent decisions?

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell Labour, Linlithgow

It has been the tradition in the House to welcome maiden speeches, but I do so now out of more than perfunctory politeness. I do not think that I have ever met the hon. Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh), but I warmly congratulate her on using her maiden speech to make pertinent observations on the topic in hand.

When I came into the House, it was the tradition that every maiden speech was devoted to the subject being discussed on the Floor of the House. That, alas, has rather ceased to be the tradition. It is an old tradition to which the hon. Lady returned with something pertinent and worthwhile to say. It is not for me to judge the content of her contribution to the debate, but she should be applauded by all of us for having thought about the subject under discussion and for making a highly relevant contribution. Maiden speeches are not always welcome on guillotine motions, but no one can accuse her of not treating the guillotine properly or of abusing the time of the House. She also has a locus in this matter, in that she is a graduate of the university of Edinburgh. I am sure I speak for the whole House when I say that we look forward to hearing her speak on many future occasions.

I am tempted to break the habit of a lifetime and to vote for an SNP amendment, because it has the benefit of seeming transparency. Some of us believe that once an Assembly or Parliament is established, we shall be on a motorway with no exit to something that is indistinguishable either from federalism or from an independent Scottish state. For us, then, transparency has many attractions. It will however perhaps come as a relief to the leader of the SNP, my constituent, to discover that I will not be voting with his party this evening. I strongly believe that referendums should be about only concrete, definite proposals. It is wrong to have a general referendum on independence without knowing the exact terms of that independence. Independence involves divorce, and divorces can be messy. We are entitled to know the terms of the divorce settlement in the case of England and Scotland before we have a referendum on independence.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Leader, Scottish National Party 5:30 pm, 4th June 1997

The hon. Gentleman and I have discussed this on a number of occasions. It is why, under my party's proposals, the referendum would be held after a negotiated settlement once the exact terms of the proposals were available. The hon. Gentleman will understand that our amendment today cannot follow that line because it deals with a referendum that the Government want to hold in September. So the fault of holding the referendum before the legislation is the Government's, not mine.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell Labour, Linlithgow

It would be silly of me to say that I did not understand what the hon. Gentleman is saying, given what I have said before. I just thought I would explain why I will not be in the Lobby with him, greatly tempted though I was.

Photo of Patrick Cormack Patrick Cormack Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, Shadow Minister (Constitutional Affairs)

I begin by echoing the words of the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) and congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh) on her excellent maiden speech. I hope that she will forgive me if I do not say more than that, much as I would like to expand on my compliments. The time left for this debate goes to show the absurdity of the straitjacket in which the Government have placed us. We have to vote at 6 o'clock on the most important single issue to be debated on this Bill. Many of the Back Benchers who would have liked to take part will not have had the chance to do so by then.

Time is so limited that we are having to vote only on an amendment which is rather confusing and which would produce a confused result. I shall confine my brief remarks to amendments Nos. 97 and 99, the latter being the substantive one. It details a third question to put before the people of Scotland, taking up the wording that the Government have deployed for the other two questions:



The great virtue of the amendment and the question is that there is nothing incompatible about a voter saying that he or she wants a Scottish Parliament and that he or she wants to affirm the unity of the United Kingdom. I have always made the preservation of the United Kingdom my greatest aim. That is why I took an active part in the devolution debates of the 1970s. I would argue from a rather different position this evening if Parliament were finely balanced and if it were likely that the Government could be defeated. But I accept that the Government's majority will not be overturned; I also accept that we are in a weak position following the general election, there being no Scottish Conservative Members. I therefore want to test the Government's resolve.

The Secretary of State has often proclaimed his personal belief in the integrity of the United Kingdom. I must therefore ask him how the amendment can fail to strengthen his cause and the cause of others who believe in the United Kingdom. It merely gives those who go to the polls in September the opportunity to put a cross in a third box. Some people may say that they want a Parliament but not with tax-raising powers. They may also want to remain part of the United Kingdom. If 78 or 80 per cent. want to remain a part of it, as the recent general election seemed to show, such a vote would represent a massive positive affirmation.

If, on the other hand, people voted in favour of Scotland not remaining part of the United Kingdom, I would deplore and regret that—but at least we would know where we were going. It is after all important to know that. That is why, on this one specific issue, I have always made common cause with the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) and his colleagues, who wish to test support for independence. That is precisely what the amendment would do.

I shall want to campaign vigorously on the issue. Indeed, any Member of the UK Parliament has the right to campaign in Scotland on the referendum and to support the idea of Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom. If we are successful, perhaps many of the dangers that we have forecast will be lessened—but setting up a Scottish Parliament on the basis of the referendum questions proposed in the Bill would leave the whole issue wide open. Many of those who vote for a Scottish Parliament in a two-question referendum will be those who support the SNP line, but there will be no way, as things stand, of knowing whether they support that line or the Government line.

As the Secretary of State knows, I accept that there will be a Scottish Parliament—but I want it to succeed and not to lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom. I therefore beg the Secretary of State even at this late stage to accept the logic of what I am saying and to introduce an amendment similar to mine in another place. We will not have the chance to vote on this question here tonight, a fact which I regret, but it is certainly right that the other place should examine the Bill in minute detail. It should not filibuster or hold up the Bill—it will not do so—and I hope that no accusations will be levelled at their lordships if they do examine the Bill in detail.

I am not one to suggest that the Salisbury convention should be flouted or overturned; I do not think that it would be if, in another place, an amendment along these lines were accepted. The Commons would then have the opportunity to agree or disagree with the Lords in the said amendment.

I ask the Secretary of State to take the initiative and to table an amendment along these lines in another place. That will give him the satisfaction of knowing that his devotion to the United Kingdom can be supported by a large majority of those who go to the polls in September.

Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar Secretary of State, Scottish Office

I welcome the speech made by the hon. Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh). It is always a pleasure to see another part of the Scottish diaspora appearing in the House. I do not know the hon. Lady personally, but I do know that she is the Member of the European Parliament for the constituency of Essex North and Suffolk South. It seems that her appetite for politics is insatiable. She certainly has a remarkable geographical range, and I congratulate her on her ambition. She made a good speech—there is no doubt about that. It was not made in a particularly distinctive Scottish accent, but that was possibly the impact of Harrogate in earlier and better years.

The hon. Lady showed a very lively style and made many pertinent points, but I will take some slight revenge on her, because she made the mistake of asking a fairly technical question about Orders in Council. I can assure her that they will have to be considered by the affirmative resolution procedure in both Houses, and she will have every opportunity to take part in that debate.

I must also tell the hon. Lady—here I visibly preen myself on behalf of the Government—that we have, of course, produced the Orders in Council in draft form, and they are in the Library now. Perhaps she will want to rush down there in just a few minutes to prepare her various recommendations and pleas about possible alterations, but I am sure that she will not—she is far too sensible. The Orders in Council are important, even though they might be described as crossing the t's and dotting the i's, as they deal with the small change to the mechanics of the referendum process.

The hon. Lady is extremely welcome in the House. I suspect that I shall hear her on many occasions, particularly if she is pressed into service as a kind of bearer or bag carrier for whoever is unfortunate enough to be shadow Secretary of State for Scotland. She is obviously well qualified by her Scottish antecedents.

Photo of Mr Ted Rowlands Mr Ted Rowlands Labour, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney

My right hon. Friend mentioned the referendum process. As this will be the last opportunity to raise the issue on this clause, and possibly on clause 2, will he confirm that the results of the local counts will be publicly announced in Wales and Scotland as they were in 1979?

Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar Secretary of State, Scottish Office

My understanding is that the global result will be announced publicly, and that is the one that counts, as it is the ultimate decision-making total. We hope to be able to announce the Scottish count—I am sure that my hon. Friend will understand that I cannot speak about the detail for Wales—on the night, which is a change from what happened in 1979.

Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar Secretary of State, Scottish Office

We also expect the local government area counts to become available. That is right. I hope that that is of some help.

Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar Secretary of State, Scottish Office

I recognise that the hon. Lady will want to talk to me about the problems of Argyll and Bute. We shall consult her constituents. Perhaps the modern miracle of a helicopter will have to be brought into play in order to achieve this, but it will not amount to "Apocalypse Now".

Photo of Mrs Ray Michie Mrs Ray Michie Liberal Democrat, Argyll and Bute

It is a big problem. We shall not be able to afford to have helicopters flying at night unless the Secretary of State comes up with the funding.

Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar Secretary of State, Scottish Office

I did say that it is an ambition. I am very well aware of the dangers of making of-the-cuff gifts, even to someone as charming as the hon. Lady—and that really was sucking up rather horribly. It is an ambition, but it depends on the practicalities. The House would see it as an advantage if it were possible to get the results as early as possible.

Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar Secretary of State, Scottish Office

No, I must press on, and I have some respect for hon. Members who may want to get in. The hon. and learned Gentleman is a persistent recidivist on questions of this matter.

5.45 pm

I have some things in common with the hon. Member for South Staffordshire (Sir P. Cormack). I sometimes find it a little puzzling to recognise that he is a reasonable man, but I do so quite often. I believe very firmly that we should retain our connections with the rest of the United Kingdom—I speak here from a Scottish point of view—but I do not think that the hon. Gentleman's suggestion is a helpful way to achieve that.

The hon. Gentleman invites us to put another question on the ballot paper about Scotland remaining an integral part of the United Kingdom. The word "integral" is open to many interpretations and might lead to some confusion. Anyway, it seems to me that his view is based to some extent on a misunderstanding: that in some way the devolution settlement would remove Scotland from being an integral part. I recognise what the hon. Gentleman says, but inevitably the question would be seen as an alternative and not a buttressing question. It confuses the situation and it is not one that I would be prepared to endorse.

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman understands that my position—his may be different—is that if we have the good health of the United Kingdom in mind, we have to establish that the framework of government is responsive enough to adapt to changing conditions, and to give more direct access to government, not just in Scotland but in other parts of the United Kingdom. We do not see this as an isolated move on the part of the Government. Rather it is an important part of a package.

Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar Secretary of State, Scottish Office

No, I am sorry, but I shall not give way. I recognise that it looks rude, and I hope that hon. Members will recognise that I am not given to refusing information, but I must push on.

This group of amendments would have the effect of providing a multi-option referendum of the kind described by the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond). This is a serious issue, and I do not underestimate the importance of the debate. The hon. Gentleman made his case in his usual compact style very fairly. I particularly appreciate his recognition that the preferred option, from the vast majority of tests of public opinion, has been a devolution option rather than an independence option. I hasten to say that I do not believe that that means that he cannot continue to ply his trade and push his wares, although I have a rather less optimistic view than he has of his likely success.

My essential objection to a multi-option referendum is that it is using the referendum as a way to canvass a range of options. It is a snap poll. It is, in a sense—if one is being a little pejorative, although I do not mean to be—a beauty contest. That is not the stage that we are at, and I do not think that that should be the aim of the referendum. I will give an example, which I hope that the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan will find persuasive. It is one that he gave me, but I did not recognise it until I heard the exchange between him and my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East (Mr. McAllion).

Although the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan is in favour of a multi-option referendum as a general principle, when it comes—if it ever does—to the point where he wishes to implement a specific constitutional scheme, he should put that to the people of Scotland in a single-question referendum to get it endorsed. My view is that we are at that stage now. We are trying to establish consent to a specific scheme and not merely to canvass competing options. If that scheme is rejected in the referendum—

Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar Secretary of State, Scottish Office

I will give way to the hon. Gentleman in a moment—I will make one exception—as I am attacking his party. [Interruption.] Well, disputing with his party, perfectly fairly.

If we had a rejection in that referendum, obviously we might well be back to the canvassing of options, many of us in a somewhat puzzled and disappointed state. At this stage we have a plan. We have been challenged to establish consent and we are in the business of establishing consent. It seems to me, therefore, that the single-question option is indeed the right one.

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party, North Tayside

The kernel of this point seems to be the publication of the White Paper so that we know in specific detail the contents of the Government's proposal. That is why the multi-option referendum is relevant now, and why a post-legislative referendum—post-independence—would be relevant at that stage. The kernel is the publication of the White Paper, and that is not evident from the debate today.

Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar Secretary of State, Scottish Office

There were some spirited exchanges on that subject earlier today and I seem to have been talking about it for some time—some might say interminably. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that a referendum without a White Paper setting out the scheme would be a very odd exercise indeed. We have already made it clear that we intend to publish the White Paper before the House gets up for the summer recess. I hope that that would give plenty of opportunity for people to study it. The hon. Gentleman is well aware of the essential differences between his position and mine—as, I believe, is Scotland at the end of the day.

There is a misconception about the stage that we are at and what we are trying to achieve. It is the distinction, the endorsement of a specific proposal, that conditions and dictates the subject matter of the referendum. I recognise that that is a matter about which we will disagree, but it seems to be a sensible approach. With all respect to the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan, I was not desperately impressed by some of his arguments, although he put them neatly, as I said. I well remember 28 April 1992: it was probably from the top of an open-top bus in George square in the driving rain, I suspect—at any event, I remember that period, but it was in the very different context of a Government who had been badly defeated in Scotland, who were clearly not listening to the opinion of the Scottish people and who, collectively, were as deaf as a post. In those circumstances, we thought that a test of public opinion of a more general sort had some merit, although we could not persuade the then Government of that. We are now in the very different circumstances that I have outlined, so my position is consistent and justified.

I do not intend to follow the hon. Gentleman into international comparisons, although I am always intrigued by the hard work put in by the Scottish National party, looking at the most obscure—[Interruption.] I think that the hon. Gentleman accepted that.

Photo of Donald Dewar Donald Dewar Secretary of State, Scottish Office

I know that the hon. Lady comes from Australia. She is so proud of her Australian roots that it is almost a pity that she left them. However, that is not a point that I would push because she entertains us greatly now that she is here. However, I was merely referring to Newfoundland. I remember two interesting passages in Greenland's constitution being illuminated recently by the hon. Gentleman. I should plead guilty because I can remember boring the House on one occasion with some interesting information about poll tax referendums in various obscure parts of Canada. We all do it on occasion, but it is not relevant.

I have made the main points that I want to make about the context and the aim, and in the interests of the House I shall leave the matter there.

The referendum is directly linked to delivery. I spent 20 years of my political life—perhaps more than that—arguing the pros and cons, the difficulties, advantages and opportunities of the matter. We have now got to the point where we can make progress. However, we need to settle the issue of content. The referendum is a good way to do that.

I never quarrel with my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East, but can I say to him gently that we are cracking on at some speed with these matters. He may just have caught a note of dissent from the Conservative Benches on the timetable that we have adopted and the speed at which we are moving. That is because we are determined to maintain momentum and progress. It is very much a matter of action this day.

If the Bill completes its progress successfully today and goes on to another place and, I hope, safely to the statute book, we will allow the people of Scotland to have their say and to endorse or not endorse—I cannot be blindly confident about the outcome. Clearly, the opinion polls in today's press are immensely encouraging. I agree that we have to work, but above all we must trust the people to reach the decision that they want. I very much hope that they will give us the momentum and moral authority to bring forward and complete one of the most exciting reforms in British constitutional history this century.

Photo of Michael Ancram Michael Ancram Conservative, Devizes

I understand the urgency with which the Secretary of State will bring forward the White Paper. It might be helpful if he were to consider attaching a draft Bill to it so that we could see all the details. I understand that that is something that the Government are considering doing in relation to certain White Papers and it might be useful on this occasion.

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh) on an excellent maiden speech. I am delighted that even if the Conservative party has no Scottish Members of Parliament we now have as many Scottish advocates as the Labour party and more than any other party. It was an excellent speech and we look forward to hearing many more from her.

The Conservative party is in a difficult position because we agree with the principle that there should be a multi-option question, where three relevant questions should be posed. As my hon. Friend the Member for South Staffordshire (Sir P. Cormack) said, however, we have an amendment which goes much further than that and suggests that an order of preference should be built into that multi-option question. I do not often find myself agreeing with the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. McAllion), but I do agree that to decide such constitutional matters on second or third preference is fairly dangerous.

We support the principle because at present the Bill contains two questions—whether there should be a Scottish Parliament or not. Those who vote for a Scottish Parliament could do so for two very different reasons. The Government will campaign and vote for it because, as they have often said, they believe that it will buttress the Union. Nationalists in Scotland have made it clear that they will vote for it because they think that it will lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom. There are thus two completely different and opposite reasons for voting for the same option. That is a dangerous basis on which to say that there is a mandate to take this matter forward and then to take legislation forward.

I clearly remember that after the last referendum we had arguments which lasted for a long time, which were rehearsed yesterday in the House, about non-voters and whether they should be taken as yes voters or no voters and what that meant in terms of the outcome. The idea that there could be a yes vote for a Scottish Parliament which could be based on the views of those who wish to maintain a United Kingdom and those who wish to break it up is a dangerous precedent.

It is for that reason that I say that we would have supported the amendments tabled in the names of my hon. Friends the Members for South Staffordshire and for North Essex (Mr. Jenkin). Both had amendments which clearly would have enabled the Scottish people to decide between three options—independence, a devolved Parliament in Scotland, or the status quo. Those are the real questions that should be asked, but as they are not available to us in the amendment on which we are about to vote, the Opposition spokesmen will abstain.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Leader, Scottish National Party

We have had an interesting debate, constrained by the time available, but none the less a number of important points have been made. I, too, congratulate the hon. Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh) on her maiden speech. She said that we must not think that she would replace all four of her predecessors. Having known her four predecessors and having listened to her excellent maiden speech, I am sure that she has a good chance of effectively replacing all four of her predecessors and we look forward to more contributions from her.

I was interested to hear the right hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Ancram) announce to the House that in principle Conservatives are in favour of the amendments and a multi-option referendum. That comes as a surprise to some of us. We have been waiting for the past 18 years to see some sign of that. None the less, we must accept that this is something of a breakthrough. It is the first indication during the past four weeks that Conservative Front-Bench Members have listened to the Scottish electorate's verdict. We now have it on the record that, in principle, the Conservative party is in favour of a multi-option referendum.

It is rather weak to say that things should have been done differently. Preferential voting is widely used internationally. It is not confusing or difficult. There are, if necessary, other ways to do it. Newfoundland had two referendums in successive weeks. The French managed to find their way through a similar arrangement and elect a Government. If there are at least three positions, it is only fair to put them on the ballot paper. I welcome the Conservative party's conversion in principle, but I regret that that principle does not seem to want to take Conservative Members into the Lobby in a few minutes' time.

The Secretary of State for Scotland criticises me for using international examples. He also criticised my hon. Friend the Member for Perth (Ms Cunningham). Given that he once told me that he did not obtain a passport until the age of 50, I regard my international examples as important and relevant to the debate.

The Secretary of State said that we spoke on open-deck buses. I do not remember speaking with the Secretary of State on open-deck buses, but I do remember speaking with the Minister of State on an open-deck bus in front of 25,000 people in the Meadows in 1992, articulating the case for this sort of referendum in Scotland. I see the Minister nodding assent.

The Secretary of State has given a number of reasons why what might have been relevant in 1992 is not relevant in 1997. The basic change is that in 1992 the Labour party was in opposition and in 1997 it is in government. The right hon. Member for Devizes is in a similar position.

If our proposal is right in principle—if it is right to put forward all the constitutional options to the people of Scotland—surely the amendments, which are clear, are worth supporting in the Lobby. I share many of the sentiments expressed by the hon. Member for South Staffordshire (Sir P. Cormack). If he examines amendments Nos. 72 to 77—all six are necessary in order to rearrange the ballot paper—I think that he will then find that the options are being put forward in a perfectly fair and reasonable way.

I see as the crux of the debate the fact that the Government do not seem to have realised that they are offering a multi-option referendum. In their two questions, they are offering a multi-option referendum between the status quo, a Parliament with tax-varying powers and a Parliament without tax-varying powers. The difficulty with their multi-option referendum is that they offer the wrong options—the status quo has been widely discredited and a Parliament with no tax-varying powers is not supported by any substantial body of opinion.

Would it not be fairer, more democratic and infinitely more satisfactory if the House were to find within itself the wisdom, just for once, to give Scots a genuine right of self-determination—the right to determine our future by making available to us all the constitutional options facing the nation? It cannot be said by any hon. Member that there is not significant support in Scotland for the concept and the objective of an independent country. That option, therefore, should be on the ballot paper, along with all the other constitutional options.

It being Six o'clock, THE CHAIRMAN put the Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at that hour.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 45, Noes 405.

Division No. 11][6 pm
Bercow, JohnLoughton, Tim
Blunt, CrispinMates, Michael
Chope, ChristopherMorgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Kensington)Nicholls, Patrick
Cormack, Sir PatrickNorman, Archie
Cunningham, Ms RoseannaPaice, James
(Perth)Paterson, Owen
Dafis, CynogRoe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Day, StephenSalmond, Alex
Duncan Smith, IainSayeed, Jonathan
Ewing, Mrs MargaretShepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Fabricant, MichaelSpring, Richard
Fallon, MichaelSwayne, Desmond
Forth, EricSwinney, John
Gale, RogerTaylor, Sir Teddy
Garnier, EdwardTredinnick, David
Gibb, NickWaterson, Nigel
Gill, ChristopherWhittingdale, John
Gorman, Mrs TeresaWigley, Dafydd
Greenway, JohnWilkinson, John
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon DavidWinterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Jenkin, Bernard (N Essex)Tellers for the Ayes:
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Môn)Mr. Elfyn Llwyd and Mr. Andrew Welsh.
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Abbott, Ms DianeBreed, Colin
Ainger, NickBrinton, Mrs Helen
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)Brown, Rt Hon Gordon
Allan, Richard (Shef'ld Hallam)(Dunfermline E)
Allen, Graham (Nottingham N)Brown, Rt Hon Nick
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)(Newcastle E & Wallsend)
Anderson, Janet (Ros'dale)Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Armstrong, Ms HilaryBrowne, Desmond (Kilmarnock)
Ashdown, Rt Hon PaddyBruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Ashton, JoeBuck, Ms Karen
Atherton, Ms CandyBurden, Richard
Atkins, Ms CharlotteBurgon, Colin
Austin, JohnBurstow, Paul
Baker, NormanButler, Christine
Ballard, Mrs JackieByers, Stephen
Banks, TonyCable, Dr Vincent
Barnes, HarryCaborn, Richard
Barron, KevinCampbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Battle, JohnCampbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Bayley, HughCampbell, Menzies (NE Fife)
Beard, NigelCampbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs MargaretCampbell-Savours, Dale
Begg, Miss Anne (Aberd'n S)Canavan, Dennis
Berth, Rt Hon A JCann, Jamie
Benn, Rt Hon TonyCaplin, Ivor
Benton, JoeCasale, Roger
Berry, RogerCaton, Martin
Best, HaroldCawsey, Ian
Betts, CliveChapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Blackman, Mrs LizChaytor, David
Blears, Ms HazelChidgey, David
Blizzard, RobertChisholm, Malcolm
Bradley, Keith (Withington)Clapham, Michael
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Brake, ThomasClark, Dr Lynda
Brand, Dr Peter(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)Gibson, Dr Ian
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)Godman, Dr Norman A
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)Godsiff, Roger
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)Goggins, Paul
Clelland, DavidGolding, Mrs Llin
Clwyd, Mrs AnnGordon, Mrs Eileen
Coaker, VernonGraham, Thomas
Coffey, Ms AnnGrant, Bernie
Cohen, HarryGriffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Coleman, IainGriffiths, Win (Bridgend)
(Hammersmith & Fulham)Grocott, Bruce
Colman, Anthony (Putney)Grogan, John
Connarty, MichaelGunnell, John
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)Hain, Peter
Cooper, Ms YvetteHall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Corbett, RobinHall, Patrick (Bedford)
Corston, Ms JeanHamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Cotter, BrianHancock, Mike
Cousins, JimHanson, David
Cranston, RossHarman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Crausby, DavidHarvey, Nick
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)Healey, John
Cummings, JohnHeath, David (Somerton)
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr JohnHepburn, Stephen
(Copeland)Heppell, John
Curtis-Thomas, Ms ClareHesford, Stephen
Dalyell, TamHill, Keith
Darling, Rt Hon AlistairHinchliffe, David
Darvill, KeithHoey, Kate
Davey, Edward (Kingston)Home Robertson, John
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)Hood, Jimmy
Davidson, IanHoon, Geoffrey
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)Hope, Philip
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)Hopkins, Kelvin
Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Dawson, HiltonHowells, Dr Kim
Dean, Ms JanetHoyle, Lindsay
Denham, JohnHughes, Ms Beverley
Dewar, Rt Hon Donald(Stretford & Urmston)
Dismore, AndrewHughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Dobbin, JimHughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Dobson, Rt Hon FrankHumble, Mrs Joan
Donohoe, Brian HHurst, Alan
Doran, FrankHutton, John
Dowd, JimIddon, Brian
Drew, DavidIllsley, Eric
Drown, Ms JuliaIngram, Adam
Dunwoody, Mrs GwynethJackson, Ms Glenda (Hampst'd)
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)Jackson, Mrs Helen (Hillsborough)
Eagle, Ms Maria (L'pool Garston)Jamieson, David
Edwards, HuwJenkins, Brian (Tamworth)
Efford, CliveJohnson, Ms Melanie
Ellman, Ms Louise(Welwyn Hatfield)
Ennis, JeffJones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Fearn, RonnieJones, Ms Fiona (Newark)
Field, Rt Hon FrankJones, Helen (Warrington N)
Fisher, MarkJones, Ms Jenny
Fitzpatrick, Jim(Wolverh'ton SW)
Fitzsimons, Ms LornaJones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Flint, Ms CarolineJones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Flynn, PaulKeeble, Ms Sally
Follett, Ms BarbaraKeen, Alan (Feltham)
Foster, Rt Hon DerekKeen, Mrs Ann (Brentford)
Foster, Don (Bath)Keetch, Paul
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)Kemp, Fraser
Foster, Michael John (Worcester)Kennedy, Charles
Galbraith, Sam(Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Galloway, GeorgeKennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Gapes, MikeKhabra, Piara S
Gardiner, BarryKidney, David
George, Andrew (St Ives)Kilfoyle, Peter
George, Bruce (Walsall S)King, Andy (Rugby)
Gerrard, NeilKing, Miss Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kingham, TessaOrgan, Mrs Diana
Kirkwood, ArchyOsborne, Mrs Sandra
Kumar, Dr AshokPalmer, Dr Nick
Ladyman, Dr StephenPendry, Tom
Lawrence, Ms JackiePerham, Ms Linda
Laxton, BobPickthall, Colin
Lepper, DavidPike, Peter L
Leslie, ChristopherPlaskitt, James
Levitt, TomPollard, Kerry
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)Pond, Chris
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)Pope, Greg
Liddell, Mrs HelenPound, Stephen
Linton, MartinPowell, Sir Raymond
Livingstone, KenPrentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Livsey, RichardPrimarolo, Dawn
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)Prosser, Gwyn
Lock, DavidPurchase, Ken
Love, AndyQuin, Ms Joyce
McAllion, JohnQuinn, Lawrie
McAvoy, ThomasRadice, Giles
McCabe, StephenRammell, Bill
McCafferty, Ms ChrisRapson, Syd
McCartney, Ian (Makerfield)Raynsford, Nick
McDonagh, Ms SiobhainReed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Macdonald, CalumReid, Dr John (Hamilton N)
McDonnell, JohnRendel, David
McFall, JohnRobertson, Rt Hon George
McGuire, Mrs Anne(Hamilton S)
McIsaac, Ms ShonaRobertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
McKenna, Ms RosemaryRogers, Allan
Mackinlay, AndrewRooker, Jeff
McLeish, HenryRooney, Terry
Maclennan, RobertRoss, Ernie (Dundee W)
McMaster, GordonRowlands, Ted
McNulty, TonyRoy, Frank
MacShane, DenisRuane, Chris
Mactaggart, FionaRussell, Bob (Colchester)
McWalter, TonyRussell, Ms Christine (Chester)
McWilliam, JohnSalter, Martin
Mahon, Mrs AliceSanders, Adrian
Mallaber, Ms JudySavidge, Malcolm
Marek, Dr JohnSawford, Phil
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)Sedgemore, Brian
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)Sheerman, Barry
Marshall, David (Shettleston)Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Marshall-Andrews, RobertShipley, Ms Debra
Martlew, EricSimpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Maxton, JohnSingh, Marsha
Meacher, Rt Hon MichaelSkinner, Dennis
Meale, AlanSmith, Ms Angela (Basildon)
Merchant, PiersSmith, Miss Geraldine
Merron, Ms Gillian(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Milburn, AlanSmith, Ms Jacqui (Redditch)
Miller, AndrewSmith, John (Glamorgan)
Mitchell, AustinSmith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Moffatt, LauraSmith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Moonie, Dr LewisSnape, Peter
Moore, MichaelSoley, Clive
Moran, Ms MargaretSouthworth, Ms Helen
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)Spellar, John
Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W)Squire, Ms Rachel
Morley, ElliotStarkey, Dr Phyllis
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)Stevenson, George
Mountford, Ms KaliStewart, David (Inverness E)
Mudie, GeorgeStewart, Ian (Eccles)
Mullin, ChrisStinchcombe, Paul
Murphy, Dennis (Wansbeck)Stoate, Dr Howard
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)Stott, Roger
Naysmith, Dr DougStrang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Norris, DanStraw, Rt Hon Jack
Oaten, MarkStringer, Graham
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)Stuart, Mrs Gisela (Edgbaston)
O'Brien, William (Normanton)Stunell, Andrew
Olner, BillSutcliffe, Gerry
O'Neill, MartinTaylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Öpik, Lembit(Dewsbury)
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)Watts, David
Taylor, David (NW Leics)Webb, Steven
Taylor, MatthewWhite, Brian
(Truro & St Austell)Whitehead, Alan
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)Wicks, Malcolm
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Timms, Stephen(Swansea W)
Tipping, PaddyWilliams, Dr Alan W
Todd, Mark(E Carmarthen)
Tonge, Dr JennyWilliams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Touhig, DonWillis, Phil
Truswell, PaulWills, Michael
Winnick, David
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Turner, Desmond (Kemptown)Wise, Audrey
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)Wood, Mike
Twigg, Derek (Halton)Woolas, Phil
Tyler, PaulWright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Vaz, KeithWright, Tony (Gt Yarmouth)
Vis, Dr RudiWyatt, Derek
Wallace, James
Walley, Ms JoanTellers for the Noes:
Ward, Ms ClaireMr. Jon Owen Jones and Ms Bridget Prentice.
Wareing, Robert N

Question accordingly negatived.

It being quarter past Six o'clock, THE CHAIRMAN put the Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at that hour.

Question put, That the clause stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 360, Noes 66.

Division No. 12][6.18 pm
Abbott, Ms DianeByers, Stephen
Ainger, NickCaborn, Richard
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Allen, Graham (Nottingham N)Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Anderson, Janet (Ros'dale)Campbell-Savours, Dale
Armstrong, Ms HilaryCanavan, Dennis
Ashton, JoeCann, Jamie
Atherton, Ms CandyCaplin, Ivor
Atkins, Ms CharlotteCasale, Roger
Austin, JohnCaton, Martin
Banks, TonyCawsey, Ian
Barnes, HarryChapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Barron, KevinChaytor, David
Battle, JohnChisholm, Malcolm
Bayley, HughClapham, Michael
Beard, NigelClark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs MargaretClark, Dr Lynda
Begg, Miss Anne (Aberd'n S)(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Benn, Rt Hon TonyClark, Paul (Gillingham)
Benton, JoeClarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Bermingham, GeraldClarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Berry, RogerClarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Best, HaroldClarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Betts, CliveClelland, David
Blackman, Mrs LizClwyd, Mrs Ann
Blears, Ms HazelCoaker, Vernon
Blizzard, RobertCoffey, Ms Ann
Bradley, Keith (Withington)Cohen, Harry
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)Coleman, Iain
Brinton, Mrs Helen(Hammersmith & Fulham)
Brown, Rt Hon NickColman, Anthony (Putney)
(Newcastle E & Wallsend)Connarty, Michael
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Browne, Desmond (Kilmarnock)Cooper, Ms Yvette
Buck, Ms KarenCorbett, Robin
Burden, RichardCorston, Ms Jean
Burgon, ColinCousins, Jim
Butler, ChristineCranston, Ross
Crausby, DavidHesford, Stephen
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)Hill, Keith
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)Hinchliffe, David
Cummings, JohnHoey, Kate
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)Home Robertson, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr JohnHood, Jimmy
(Copeland)Hoon, Geoffrey
Curtis-Thomas, Ms ClareHope, Philip
Dalyell, TamHopkins, Kelvin
Darling, Rt Hon AlistairHowarth, George (Knowsley N)
Darvill, KeithHowells, Dr Kim
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)Hoyle, Lindsay
Davidson, IanHughes, Ms Beverley
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)(Stretford & Urmston)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)Humble, Mrs Joan
Dawson, HiltonHurst, Alan
Dean, Ms JanetHutton, John
Denham, JohnIddon, Brian
Dewar, Rt Hon DonaldIllsley, Eric
Dismore, AndrewIngram, Adam
Dobbin, JimJackson, Ms Glenda (Hampst'd)
Dobson, Rt Hon FrankJackson, Mrs Helen (Hillsborough)
Donohoe, Brian HJamieson, David
Doran, FrankJenkins, Brian (Tamworth)
Dowd, JimJohnson, Ms Melanie
Drew, David(Welwyn Hatfield)
Drown, Ms JuliaJones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Dunwoody, Mrs GwynethJones, Ms Fiona (Newark)
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Eagle, Ms Maria (L'pool Garston)Jones, Ms Jenny
Edwards, Huw(Wolverh'ton SW)
Efford, CliveJones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Ellman, Ms LouiseKeeble, Ms Sally
Ennis, JeffKeen, Alan (Feltham)
Field, Rt Hon FrankKeen, Mrs Ann (Brentford)
Fisher, MarkKemp, Fraser
Fitzpatrick, JimKennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Fitzsimons, Ms LornaKhabra, Piara S
Flint, Ms CarolineKidney, David
Flynn, PaulKilfoyle, Peter
Follett, Ms BarbaraKing, Andy (Rugby)
Foster, Rt Hon DerekKing, Miss Oona (Bethnal Green)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)Kingham, Tessa
Foster, Michael John (Worcester)Kumar, Dr Ashok
Galbraith, SamLadyman, Dr Stephen
Galloway, GeorgeLawrence, Ms Jackie
Gapes, MikeLaxton, Bob
Gardiner, BarryLepper, David
George, Bruce (Walsall S)Leslie, Christopher
Gerrard, NeilLevitt, Tom
Gibson, Dr IanLewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Gilroy, Mrs LindaLewis, Terry (Worsley)
Godman, Dr Norman ALiddell, Mrs Helen
Godsiff, RogerLinton, Martin
Goggins, PaulLivingstone, Ken
Golding, Mrs LlinLloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Gordon, Mrs EileenLock, David
Graham, ThomasLove, Andy
Grant, BernieMcAllion, John
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)McAvoy, Thomas
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)McCabe, Stephen
Grocott, BruceMcCafferty, Ms Chris
Grogan, JohnMcCartney, Ian (Makerfield)
Gunnell, JohnMcDonagh, Ms Siobhain
Hain, PeterMacdonald, Calum
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)McDonnell, John
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)McFall, John
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)McGuire, Mrs Anne
Hanson, DavidMcIsaac, Ms Shona
Harman, Rt Hon Ms HarrietMcKenna, Ms Rosemary
Heal, Mrs SylviaMackinlay, Andrew
Healey, JohnMcLeish, Henry
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)McMaster, Gordon
Hepburn, StephenMcNulty, Tony
Heppell, JohnMacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, FionaSawford, Phil
McWalter, TonySedgemore, Brian
McWilliam, JohnSheerman, Barry
Mahon, Mrs AliceSheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Mallaber, Ms JudyShipley, Ms Debra
Marek, Dr JohnSimpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)Singh, Marsha
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)Skinner, Dennis
Marshall, David (Shettleston)Smith, Ms Angela (Basildon)
Marshall-Andrews, RobertSmith, Miss Geraldine
Martlew, Eric(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Maxton, JohnSmith, Ms Jacqui (Redditch)
Meacher, Rt Hon MichaelSmith, John (Glamorgan)
Meale, AlanSmith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Merron, Ms GillianSnape, Peter
Milburn, AlanSoley, Clive
Miller, AndrewSouthworth, Ms Helen
Mitchell, AustinSpellar, John
Moffatt, LauraSquire, Ms Rachel
Moonie, Dr LewisStarkey, Dr Phyllis
Moran, Ms MargaretStevenson, George
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W)Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Morley, ElliotStinchcombe, Paul
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)Stoate, Dr Howard
Mountford, Ms KaliStott, Roger
Mudie, GeorgeStrang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Mullin, ChrisStraw, Rt Hon Jack
Murphy, Dennis (Wansbeck)Stringer, Graham
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)Stuart, Mrs Gisela (Edgbaston)
Naysmith, Dr DougSutcliffe, Gerry
Norris, DanTaylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)(Dewsbury)
O'Brien, William (Normanton)Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Olner, BillTaylor, David (NW Leics)
O'Neill, MartinThomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Organ, Mrs DianaThomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Osborne, Mrs SandraTimms, Stephen
Palmer, Dr NickTipping, Paddy
Pendry, TomTodd, Mark
Perham, Ms LindaTouhig, Don
Pickthall, ColinTruswell, Paul
Pike, Peter LTurner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Plaskitt, JamesTurner, Desmond (Kemptown)
Pollard, KerryTurner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Pond, ChrisTwigg, Derek (Halton)
Pope, GregVaz, Keith
Pound, StephenVis, Dr Rudi
Powell, Sir RaymondWalley, Ms Joan
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)Ward, Ms Claire
Primarolo, DawnWareing, Robert N
Prosser, GwynWatts, David
Purchase, KenWhite, Brian
Quin, Ms JoyceWhitehead, Alan
Quinn, LawrieWicks, Malcolm
Radice, GilesWlliams, Rt Hon Alan
Rammell, Bill(Swansea W)
Rapson, SydWilliams, Dr Alan W
Raynsford, Nick(E Carmarthen)
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Reid, Dr John (Hamilton N)Wills, Michael
Robertson, Rt Hon GeorgeWinnick, David
(Hamilton S)Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Rogers, AllanWise, Audrey
Rooker, JeffWood, Mike
Rooney, TerryWoolas, Phil
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Rowlands, TedWright, Tony (Gt Yarmouth)
Roy, FrankWyatt, Derek
Ruane, Chris
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)Tellers for the Ayes:
Salter, MartinMs Bridget Prentice and Mr. Jon Owen Jones.
Savidge, Malcolm
Allan, Richard (Shef'ld Hallam)Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Ashdown, Rt Hon PaddyKeetch, Paul
Baker, NormanKennedy, Charles
Ballard, Mrs Jackie(Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Beith, Rt Hon A JKirkwood, Archy
Brake, ThomasLaing, Mrs Eleanor
Brand, Dr PeterLivsey, Richard
Breed, ColinMaclennan, Robert
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)Mates, Michael
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)Merchant, Piers
Burnett, JohnMichie, Mrs Ray (Argyll Bute)
Burstow, PaulMoore, Michael
Cable, Dr VincentOaten, Mark
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife)Öpik, Lembit
Chidgey, DavidRendel, David
Chope, ChristopherRobathan, Andrew
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Colvin, MichaelRussell, Bob (Colchester)
Cotter, BrianSanders, Adrian
Davey, Edward (Kingston)Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Duncan Smith, IainSmith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Fallon, MichaelTaylor, Matthew
Fearn, Ronnie(Truro & St Austell)
Forth, EricTaylor, Sir Teddy
Foster, Don (Bath)Tonge, Dr Jenny
Gale, RogerTyler, Paul
George, Andrew (St Ives)Wallace, James
Greenway, JohnWebb, Steven
Hancock, MikeWilkinson, John
Harris, Dr EvanWillis, Phil
Harvey, NickWilshire, David
Heath, David (Somerton)Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)Tellers for the Noes:
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)Mr. Andrew Stunell and Mr. Donald Gorrie.
Jenkin, Bernard (N Essex)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Clause 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn Labour, Newport West

On a point of order, Sir Alan. It arises out of the previous Division, and the conduct of Divisions in the House in the entirely unprecedented situation in which we find ourselves. According to "Erskine May", Under Standing Order No. 39, if the Speaker or the Chairman considers that a division is unnecessarily claimed, he may, after the lapse of two minutes, take the vote of the House or committee by calling upon the Members who support and those who challenge his decision successively to rise in their places; and he thereupon, as he may think fit, either declares the determination of the House or the committee or names tellers for a division. That provision allows votes to be taken without the ritual of going through the Division Lobbies. Although it has been used rarely in the past, in the present situation, when the results of Divisions are entirely predictable—the result of one was 400 to 45, and another looks likely to be similar—for the sake of efficient running of the House and use of Members' time, it would be reasonable for us to consider using that provision on certain occasions.

Photo of Alan Beith Alan Beith Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 6:30 pm, 4th June 1997

Further to that point of order, Sir Alan. Thank you for exercising your duties in the Chair so as to recognise the fact that the Division was not unnecessarily claimed, and was a very proper expression of opinion by hon. Members in the Committee. The procedure described should not be invoked as an alternative to a proper review of the voting system in the House, in the light of the new circumstances.

Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin Conservative, North Essex

Further to that point of order, Sir Alan. If Labour Members are concerned about the time that we have to debate the measures before us, perhaps they should have thought twice about applying such a draconian guillotine.

Photo of Mr Teddy Taylor Mr Teddy Taylor Conservative, Rochford and Southend East

Further to that point of order, Sir Alan. As someone who has been in the House for many years, I have the impression that the excellent procedure described by the hon. Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) was introduced to stop time being wasted when Members call vote after vote. That is certainly not the case today. Will you also bear in mind the fact that on an issue as vital as devolution, it is desperately important that the people of Scotland and Wales should be able to see for themselves how each Member voted? That would not be possible if the other procedure were used. Do you therefore agree that although it is an excellent procedure, which has to be used on occasion, it should happen only when there is deliberate time wasting?

Photo of Alan Haselhurst Alan Haselhurst Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Ways and Means

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) for giving me notice, albeit short notice, that he intended to raise the matter. I think that Standing Order No. 40 was conceived with different circumstances in mind, and I respectfully suggest to the hon. Gentleman that if he would like to pursue his point, that might be better done through the Procedure Committee. Now, if the Committee is willing, we shall proceed to the next amendment.

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