Section 2 — Registrable interests

Interests of Members of the Scottish Parliament Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:37 pm on 26 April 2006.

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Photo of George Reid George Reid None 2:37, 26 April 2006

I ask members to refer to the marshalled list of amendments. Amendment 4, in the name of Brian Adam, who is the member in charge of the bill, is grouped with amendments 5 to 10 and 33.

Photo of Brian Adam Brian Adam Scottish National Party

Amendments 4 to 10 and 33 seek to reverse a decision made by the Interests of Members of the Scottish Parliament Bill Committee at stage 2 to remove from the bill the requirement to register non-financial interests. The Standards and Public Appointments Committee's remit includes

"consideration of matters relating to members' interests, and any other matters relating to the conduct of members in carrying out their Parliamentary duties".

It was in fulfilment of our remit that we introduced the bill and included within it the registration of non-financial interests.

Six years ago, Scottish ministers introduced such a requirement on councillors when they issued a code of conduct under the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc (Scotland) Act 2000, which this Parliament passed. The 2000 act specifically required that the councillors' code should include pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests. The consultative steering group also recommended that such interests be registered. Non-financial interests potentially wield as much influence as financial interests; registration is therefore consistent with the consultative steering group's recommendations.

By far the largest response from the limited number of respondents to the Standards and Public Appointments Committee's consultation was provoked by this issue. Over half the respondents highlighted a need to disclose non-financial interests.

It is worth taking a few moments to look at what the amendments in this group actually do. The bill concentrates on interests that may influence a member. The underpinning ethos of the bill emanates from paragraph 4.1.1 of the code of conduct for members, which states:

"The main purpose of the Register is to provide information about certain financial interests of members which might reasonably be thought by others to influence members' actions, speeches or votes in the Parliament, or other actions taken in their capacity as members."

Successive standards committees have agreed that, if a financial interest could influence a member's actions, a non-financial interest could have a similar effect.

Like the bill committee, the Standards and Public Appointments Committee had difficulty in determining how best to make registration relevant, but we wanted to avoid long lists of interests that required registration. We took the purpose of the register as set out in the code of conduct—to address influence—and devised a relatively simple requirement that was consistent with that approach. That led us to the objective prejudice test.

The same test applies when we decide whether we need to make a declaration of interest before participating in proceedings. Members generally take a cautious approach to declarations; if they have any doubts, they declare. The amendments in the group will require any and all non-financial interests that meet the prejudice test to be registered. No list, no updating—just a test that members already use and are used to. Under our proposals, registration requirements will apply only when a matter is relevant, and we feel that they will not be unduly intrusive into an MSP's life when that has no bearing on our work.

As I have said, non-financial interests were the subject of much consideration. We wanted to address influence, we wanted openness and transparency within reason and we reflected what we heard in the consultation. We saw merit in taking an approach that is consistent with what is required of councillors. We decided against a list-based approach because a list would be prescriptive, and would create the potential for an organisation to be left off the list. The list would also need to be subject to continuing review. The bill committee also considered a form of list in an amendment from Mike Rumbles but rejected such an approach.

We have reflected on another of Mike Rumbles's amendments and feel that it provides a way forward that could satisfy members from both points of view. Amendment 33, which will reinsert the proposed new schedule on registrable non-financial interests, includes a power for the Parliament to amend the schedule by making a determination. That will allow the Parliament to modify the schedule in any way that it considers necessary or expedient. If we are proved wrong and the registration of non-financial interests that meet the prejudice test proves difficult in practice, Parliament could adopt a list-based approach without the need for a further bill.

Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party

Will the member expand on the amendment or modification that might be possible to the proposed new schedule? As members will see, the proposed new schedule is very short and covers any registrable non-financial interest. The introduction of a list would seem to involve deleting the proposed new schedule and replacing it with something else. If the member thinks that that is a likely or acceptable way forward, why did he not lodge an amendment in such terms?

Photo of Brian Adam Brian Adam Scottish National Party

I did not do that because the committee and I do not believe that that is necessary. Paragraph 2 of the proposed new schedule will allow the Parliament to make a determination. I presume that such a matter would in the first instance be referred to the Standards and Public Appointments Committee—that would be in the hands of the Parliament—to discuss the detail of how we might rectify any deficiency.

Allowing the Parliament to make a determination means that the whole Parliament will not need to revisit the matter or go through the whole process. The question would be left to the committee structure in the same way as the Standards and Public Appointments Committee is allowed to give directions to the Scottish parliamentary standards commissioner, for example. Parliament could allow the Standards and Public Appointments Committee to make a determination of how to proceed.

Photo of Brian Adam Brian Adam Scottish National Party

Further down the page that Alasdair Morgan is holding, it can be seen that amendment 33 reflects what I have said.

Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party 2:45, 26 April 2006

I am seeking an assurance. Mr Adam seems to be giving the impression that any further modification would not require primary legislation. Is that the case? Is he saying that he believes that the introduction of such a list would not require primary legislation?

Photo of Brian Adam Brian Adam Scottish National Party

The unequivocal answer to the member's question is yes.

On problems in the light of experience as a result of my amendments, I highlight to members the fact that, as far as I am aware, there have been no problems at all for councillors. Things might well be different for members of the Scottish Parliament, but if they are, the Parliament could, without having to go back to primary legislation, instruct the appropriate committee—presumably the Standards and Public Appointments Committee—to consider the matter and bring forward a determination for the whole Parliament to agree. That can happen with the proposal.

During the stage 1 debate, I gave notice of my intention to bring forward guidance on the registration and declaration of non-financial interests. If the amendments are agreed to, the guidance will contain an indicative—not a prescriptive—list. Members are encouraged to engage in the process through the Standards and Public Appointments Committee. The idea behind the guidance is to assist members in determining whether they should register an interest, and it will be incorporated into the code of conduct. Members may be aware that the code of conduct is under review. The intention is to separate the aspirational part of the code from the regulations and the guidance.

The Standards and Public Appointments Committee reviewed all the amendments that were lodged at stage 2 and concluded that the removal of schedule 2 would, in its opinion, clearly undermine the principles of the bill and establish double standards for those in public life in Scotland.

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson Conservative

I hope that Mr Adam will acknowledge—I am sure that he will—that members of the Standards and Public Appointments Committee agreed that the amendments be lodged so that the whole Parliament could determine an outcome. Doing so did not necessarily signal individual approval of the amendments.

Photo of Brian Adam Brian Adam Scottish National Party

I am more than happy to acknowledge Mr Fergusson's point. Indeed, I have encouraged continued discussion of the major issues throughout the process so that they could be considered today and so that all of us, rather than the seven members of the Standards and Public Appointments Committee and the five members of the bill committee, could be responsible for making decisions. I acknowledge that there would be a majority view among members of the Standards and Public Appointments Committee for taking one direction or the other on several of the amendments. Indeed, I may find myself in a minority in another debate in supporting an amendment that the majority of the committee might not support. Such an approach is right. It is for all of us as individuals to make such decisions.

On behalf of the committee, I ask members to consider the public's perception of members of the Parliament and to accept that amendments 4 to 8, 10 and 33 are in tune with the founding principles of our Parliament.

I move amendment 4.

Photo of Mike Rumbles Mike Rumbles Liberal Democrat

Like Brian Adam, I am pleased that the issue is being debated by all members at stage 3. I agree that it is not right that only five members of the bill committee should make a decision on a matter that will affect all of us. We should all have an unwhipped input in making the decision.

Let us be clear about what we are being asked to do. Only one of the five members of the bill committee did not agree to removing the non-financial interests provisions from the bill. We removed those provisions for specific reasons, which I will go over.

What the Standards and Public Appointments Committee wanted, and what Brian Adam is now asking us to put back into the bill, is a requirement for substantial work: having to declare any non-financial interests that have a bearing on our work in the Parliament. It is my contention that, if we do that, we will leave it to each and every MSP to decide what is and is not declarable, so we will have 129 different interpretations of that. Why should that cause a problem? I guarantee that it will, because what is not declarable to one person—membership of a church, for example—because they regard it as no one's business but theirs, will be very much declarable to someone else. Just last week, there was a controversy about that issue. In such cases, complaints will be lodged and will be referred to the standards commissioner, who will decide what MSPs should and should not declare. That is the key issue. I am not questioning the ability, reliability or anything else of the standards commissioner—it is right that we should have an independent standards commissioner. However, it is our duty to decide what we think is important for us to declare or not to declare. It is not for the standards commissioner to do that.

Photo of Brian Adam Brian Adam Scottish National Party

I accept that there is a certain weight to the argument that the member deploys. However, surely if the provision was causing a problem that would have shown itself by now, given that in excess of 1,100 councillors have to deal with exactly the same rule. There are a lot more of them than there are of us.

Photo of Mike Rumbles Mike Rumbles Liberal Democrat

I do not have to address that issue. Members can make up their own minds about who is subject to greater scrutiny and media and press attention. I do not accept the argument that Brian Adam makes, because I think that a lot of mischief will be made as a result of these provisions. There will be 129 different interpretations, many complaints will be lodged and there will be many investigations. Effectively, we are telling the commissioner to create case law, whereas we should be creating statute law. The bill is statute, and we must be very clear about what MSPs should declare and what they do not have to declare.

I am a convert on the issue. Members should be aware that we are now three years further on. In the previous session, I was in Brian Adam's position and published the draft replacement for the Scotland Act 1998 (Transitory and Transitional Provisions) (Members' Interests) Order 1999 on behalf of the Standards Committee. The provision that we are debating was a fundamental part of the draft replacement. At the time, I was convinced that that was the right approach. Over the past three years, experience has shown me that if we go down that road we will be heading for a disaster. It will be a dog's breakfast, if I may say that. I am convinced that I was wrong three years ago and do not want us to take the road down which Brian Adam wants to take us. That would be a big mistake.

Photo of Kenneth Macintosh Kenneth Macintosh Labour

There is none so impressive as the converted. As another convert—a former member of the Standards Committee who initially supported the provision on the ground that it would increase transparency—I ask Mike Rumbles whether he agrees that, potentially, it would denigrate the standards of the Parliament, because it would create a host of spurious complaints that were not based on substance but involved comparing one person's declaration of membership of, for example, a church with another member's non-declaration of such membership. That would merely lower the standing of every member of the Parliament and of the institution. We should be here to protect not ourselves, but the standing of the institution.

Photo of Mike Rumbles Mike Rumbles Liberal Democrat

I could not agree more. We have all heard the saying, "There is no smoke without fire." We will have to get to grips with such issues if we agree to these amendments.

I would much prefer to have a defined list of issues to declare. Issues that can affect members but which are not financial are important. The list that I submitted to the bill committee referred to office bearers. It was about people being members of organisations in which they had influence—in other words, being officers of organisations. The list was strictly limited, and the Standards and Public Appointments Committee would have been given the power to amend it. The bill committee was not convinced by that argument. That is fair enough; it was my personal view. However, I ask members please not to make the mistake of going down the route that Brian Adam suggests, because it is the wrong route. As I said, I promoted that same route three years ago and now speak in the light of experience.

Photo of George Reid George Reid None

Since Mr Rumbles got up, another four or five members have asked to speak. Speeches will be kept to four minutes.

Photo of Susan Deacon Susan Deacon Labour

Brian Adam is right to remind us of the founding principles of this Parliament; he is right to remind us of the CSG report; he is right to remind us of the motivation that lay behind looking at the registration of non-financial interests; and he is right to remind us of the job that dozens of members have been involved in over the years of trying to enshrine those principles not just in our rules, but in our practices. All of us should regularly revisit our thinking, as well as our practices, in that area.

Let me put today's debate in context. Whatever we opt to do this afternoon, the register of members' interests is but one relatively small part of what we need to do to uphold and promote the founding principles of this Parliament. No matter how members vote on group 1 amendments this afternoon, those who vote for them will not be giving more support to those founding principles than those who vote against them. The question is not whether we should uphold high standards of conduct in this Parliament or whether we should have high standards of openness and transparency; the question is how we should best achieve those high standards.

Neither is the question this afternoon whether we should register non-financial interests. I do not know of anyone who disputes the fact that there will be occasions when non-financial interests ought to be registered. Indeed, even the most cursory look at the miscellaneous section of the current register of members' interests will show how many members opt voluntarily to do just that. The question is whether we can or should attempt to legislate in this area, or even whether we can or should adopt a prescriptive, rules-based approach.

This afternoon is clearly the time for confessions and conversions, so I will join the queue. I also sat on the former Standards Committee some years ago and was involved in the earlier debate that set us in the direction of travel that Brian Adam has continued since and described to us this afternoon. I also think that we got it wrong. We were well intentioned and we were right to try to see whether we could enshrine non-financial interests in our rules and in statute. However, it is important that when we reach a point at which we think, "Actually, not only can it not be done, but it will have all sorts of unintended consequences", we ought to say so.

If I have a concern, it is that I have spoken to several members of the Standards and Public Appointments Committee, who have said, "Well, I have my doubts, but we felt obliged to continue in that direction of travel because it was what we inherited." I suggest to colleagues that that mindset occurs frequently in this place. Even if somebody started the train running in a particular direction, if we get on part of the way along the journey and think that it is going in the wrong direction, we should be prepared to say so. Some of us are saying just that this afternoon.

I have three further points to make. First, although the prejudice test is a good addition to the bill in this area, it is not a panacea. Secondly, the comparison with local government is an apples-and-pears comparison, in relation to both the letter of the law and the environment in which individuals operate. Thirdly, I remind members that the code of conduct will be reviewed in the near future, when there will be ample opportunity to promote high standards in it.

Although I am in no doubt that intentions are good across the chamber this afternoon, if we go down the road that Brian Adam suggests, we will create an unworkable and disproportionate system. We will have myriad cases that will be subject to dispute and, ultimately, to interpretation by the standards commissioner. We will not aid transparency, but add to the fog and noise in the system, and there will be a genuine risk of our disappearing into a vortex of detail and damage with the potential to inflict serious damage to the reputation of this institution.

I urge members to support the bill as amended at stage 2 and to reject Brian Adam's amendments.

Photo of Bill Aitken Bill Aitken Conservative 3:00, 26 April 2006

I regret having to take issue with my good friend Brian Adam, who consistently speaks good sense in the chamber, but I believe that we are in serious danger of making life far too complicated for ourselves. Although we all believe in transparency and accountability, with issues such as these we face a very thin line that it can be dangerous to cross. What we are being asked to do is simply not sensible.

As far as amendment 33 is concerned, I believe that the existing prejudice test is enough to maintain the balance between transparency and privacy.

Day in, day out, members of the public make representations to us that, quite frankly, show a lack of balance in their opinions. Who is to decide what constitutes a fair-minded member of the public? I know that the reasonable man or woman is a concept in Scots law—although I have to admit that, in my experience, it has been somewhat elusive—but amendment 33 might leave us vulnerable to attack from all sorts of people who have a particular axe to grind and whose course of action could, as Susan Deacon pointed out, place us in a fairly chaotic situation.

We must place some faith in elected members' probity. I have criticised my political opponents in the chamber for many things, but I have had no cause to question their personal probity and I do not imagine that I will have to do so in future.

The bill committee got this matter perfectly right. It is a pity that amendment 33 is being debated today. If the rules become any more intrusive, people will simply opt out of public life, which would be disappointing.

When does an interest become registrable? The answer is dead easy with regard to pecuniary interests, but does my membership of the Partick Thistle supporters association render me liable to criticism if I speak in a sports debate?

Photo of Bill Aitken Bill Aitken Conservative

I fully accept that members might question my sanity, but I do not think that my membership of that association would create any problems in a sports debate. However, some unfair-minded member of the public might think differently and the matter might then have to go before the standards commissioner for his determination. Why make ourselves hostages to fortune? We should reject the amendments, because what they propose is much more trouble than it is worth.

Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party

This whole area requires a workable and practical proposal. I largely understand the motivation behind the amendments, but they are far too broadly drawn. Amendment 33 asks us to register any non-financial interest—not just membership of organisations—that "meets the prejudice test". According to section 3(2), an interest meets the prejudice test if it could

"give the appearance of prejudicing" our

"ability ... to participate in a disinterested manner in any proceedings of the Parliament", including, I presume, proceedings that are as yet undreamt of.

The crucial word in that regard is "disinterested". We all come to this Parliament with a variety of interests. After all, that is why we are here; if we did not have those interests, we would be poorer parliamentarians and our decisions and judgments would be the worse for it. [Interruption.] Back-bench members are determined to interrupt me with bottles.

We are not a court of law. We do not come here without views or interests to make us impartial. In the terms of the prejudice test, we are very definitely not "disinterested". The amendments under discussion would force us to list all our interests—assuming we could think of them at the time.

I argue that almost all of our interests would meet the prejudice test. For example, I am particularly interested in renewable energy. I would be hard pushed to say that I would be impartial in an energy debate, but does that mean that I need to register my interest in wind farms in the register of members' interests? No matter how long my or every other member's list of interests might be, under the terms of the prejudice test we would always forget some other interest. Although that would not be a criminal offence, it would leave us open to complaints and all sorts of public opprobrium.

Two of these amendments include an interesting measure to allow a determination by the Parliament to change the legislation. That is a new one on me. If his argument is valid, I would be interested in using the measure a lot more, because there are a lot of bills in which it could be inserted, but I am reluctant to use it for the first time in this bill. Brian Adam's introduction of the measure at this stage betrays a definite uneasiness on his part about what he is proposing.

The councillors' code of conduct, which Brian Adam mentioned, refers specifically to membership of organisations, but the amendments refer simply to interests. If we were talking only about membership of organisations, that would be one thing, but what he proposes is far wider—much, much too wide—and would force us to register everything under the sun, including membership of our own political parties, for goodness' sake, which would presumably fail the prejudice test. However, we would have to put that in the list, not to mention a few other things.

The tenor of the debate has shown that, as one member said, we got on the train at an early stage, but we have now decided that it is going to the wrong destination.

Photo of Donald Gorrie Donald Gorrie Liberal Democrat

The high standard of the debate is an argument for abandoning whips altogether and having debates in which members say what they actually believe.

I will concentrate on two points, the first of which concerns the prejudice test and non-financial interests. If Brian Adam's proposal is agreed to, the sin will not be that a member has allowed a particular interest to prejudice his performance and make him vote in a funny way: the sin will be that he failed to dream up all the right things to put in the list for the prejudice test, when somebody else thinks that a membership or a view that he holds prejudices him. I have not felt that. The proposal would create a whole new sort of crime—the crime of failing to think of all the strange things that one believes in that might influence one's performance.

My second point concerns the analogy that Mr Adam has drawn with councillors' interests. There is a difference between MSPs and councillors. In politics, ministers can do things and councillors can do things, but members of the Parliament, although they can pass bills and make life difficult for the Executive, cannot take executive action. For a councillor, the fact that he or she is a member of a body to which he or she might give planning permission, or the fact that that body might have some involvement in a new development, could be highly relevant, but we are not in that sort of position. Very rarely has a member of the Scottish Parliament been in a position materially to advance the cause of whatever he is interested in, so there is no parallel with councillors, who are involved in different things.

Today is a day for confessions, so I should say that I originally thought that we should address non-financial interests. However, the more I thought about it the more it seemed that we were sowing dragons' teeth that would—I do not know what dragons' teeth do—[Laughter.] They would probably bite us in the backside. So, like many members, I have honestly changed my view on the matter. Although the motives of everyone involved are excellent, I cannot personally support the amendments in the group.

Photo of Tricia Marwick Tricia Marwick Scottish National Party

I welcome the opportunity that Brian Adam has given the Parliament by lodging the amendments and allowing us to hold this debate. We need to put in context how we got here. In 1999, there was a new Labour Government, we had come through the Tory years of corruption and sleaze, this Parliament was brand new and we were aware that we wanted to do things differently from the way in which they had been done at Westminster. I was on the Standards Committee at the time.

Like other members, I now believe that declarations of non-pecuniary interests should not be part of the bill. I genuinely and sincerely believed then that, given that the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc (Scotland) Act 2000 put an onus on councillors to make a declaration vis-à-vis organisations, it was right and proper that as the Parliament had so legislated on behalf of councillors it should legislate in the same way on its own behalf.

As Alasdair Morgan said, the 2000 act referred to councillors declaring interests with regard to organisations, but the amendments go much further than that, which is what gives me the greatest concern. MSPs are being invited to declare non-financial interests that meet the prejudice test, which is that the interests could give the appearance that we would be influenced by them. As other members have said, if we do not make a declaration someone could make a complaint against us in the future—with hindsight—to the standards commissioner. The test would not be whether we believed at that point that we should have made a declaration. It would be open to interpretation by an individual—the standards commissioner—who could decide that we should have registered the interest. If we had not done so, we would be deemed to have committed an offence.

Photo of Brian Adam Brian Adam Scottish National Party

It was perhaps remiss of me not to advise Parliament that a breach of the provision, if the amendments are passed, would not carry the same sanction as a breach of the provision on financial interests. No criminal offence would have occurred.

Photo of Tricia Marwick Tricia Marwick Scottish National Party

I am sure that members welcome the measure of comfort that Mr Adam has given us. Nonetheless, as Mr Adam acknowledges, an offence would be created. We are talking about putting the provision into statute and must consider the issue carefully before we go down that road.

The amendments are too widely drawn. It would be almost impossible to capture every interest that we might have and we would leave ourselves open to an interpretation by others of what we should have declared previously. We should now say that we have gone this far on the train and it is time to reverse.

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

I ask Brian Adam to wind up and to indicate whether he wishes to press or withdraw amendment 4.

Photo of Brian Adam Brian Adam Scottish National Party

My friends in this debate may be as rare as gnats'—or hens'—teeth rather than the dragons' teeth to which Donald Gorrie referred. I will look with close interest at the positions adopted by Mike Rumbles, Ken Macintosh, Susan Deacon, Bill Aitken—not Bill, because he has not been involved in the process up to now—Alasdair Morgan, who had a fleeting time on the Standards and Public Appointments Committee, Donald Gorrie and Tricia Marwick, to see how many times they admit between now and the election that they have made mistakes. There is now a range of declared recanters.

I will deal with the substantive issues. Colleagues who have taken part in the debate so far have reflected concerns that many of us have, as individuals and collectively, about the way we have been treated. The concern is not so much about the way we have treated our posts as the way we have been treated. There are also fears about how we might be treated in the future, not necessarily by complainers, but by the press—no one used the word but it lay hidden behind the comments—and about how others, in particular the standards commissioner, might choose to interpret what we do. We will still be in a position whereby others will interpret what we do, so the principle of amendment 4 is still correct.

I want to address the point that Donald Gorrie made about drawing a distinction between councillors and MSPs. Not all councillors have executive roles, so the comparison is invalid. The implication of what Donald Gorrie said is that MSPs are powerless while councillors are all-powerful. There may well be a political argument there that I could support, but I do not wish to address amendment 4 on that basis.

Photo of Christine May Christine May Labour 3:15, 26 April 2006

Does Brian Adam accept that on, for example, licensing boards and planning committees councillors do have executive powers?

Photo of Brian Adam Brian Adam Scottish National Party

A number of councillors have executive powers and a number of MSPs have executive powers. The code that deals with those who have executive powers in the Parliament is certainly different from the code that deals with those of us who do not have such powers. I accept that distinction. However, it is not generally true that all councillors have executive powers.

What is being proposed for the registering of non-financial interests is different from the original provision in the bill, because it would allow the Parliament to make a determination about the register in the light of experience. I am all in favour of our addressing things in the light of experience—that is the way forward. I found it disappointing that I was attacked for recognising that the argument on the other side of the debate might have some weight.

I am delighted that we have had this debate, but I hope that I find that I have more friends than those who took part in it. I commend amendments 4 to 10 and 33 to the Parliament.

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

Just for the record, Mr Adam, can you confirm whether you are moving amendment 4?

Photo of Brian Adam Brian Adam Scottish National Party

I moved amendment 4 at the end of my initial speech.

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

The question is, that amendment 4 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

There will be a division. We will have a five-minute suspension before the question is resolved.

Meeting suspended.

On resuming—

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative 3:22, 26 April 2006

While members resume their seats, I remind you all that this will be a two-minute division.

I remind everyone that the question was, that amendment 4 be agreed to. We were not agreed and there will therefore be a division.

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

The result of the division is: For 19, Against 56, Abstentions 2.

Amendment 4 disagreed to.

Amendment 5 not moved.