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House of Commons
Session 2000-01
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House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Thursday 1st February 2001

The House met at half-past Eleven o'clock.

PRAYERS.

City of London (Ward Elections) Bill,-The Order of the day being read, for further consideration of the City of London (Ward Elections) Bill, as amended by the Chairman of Ways and Means;

    Ordered,-That the Bill be further considered on Thursday 8th February.

2    Private Bills [Lords] (No Standing Order not previously enquired into applicable),-The Speaker laid upon the Table a Report from one of the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, That, in the case of the following Bill, originating in the Lords and referred after the First Reading thereof, no Standing Order not previously enquired into is applicable thereto, viz.:

    Colchester Borough Council Bill [Lords].

    Bill to be read a second time.

3    Capital Allowances Bill,- Mr Kenneth Clarke reported from the Select Committee appointed to join with a Committee of the House of Lords on Tax Simplification Bills, to which the Capital Allowances Bill was committed, That it had gone through the Bill and directed him to report the same, without Amendment.

    Bill, not amended in Joint Committee, re-committed to a committee of the whole House, pursuant to Standing Order No. 60.

    Committee to-morrow.

4    Homes Bill,- Mr George Stevenson reported from Standing Committee D, That it had gone through the Homes Bill, and made Amendments thereunto.

    Bill, as amended in the Standing Committee, to be considered to-morrow; and to be printed [Bill 38].

    Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee to be printed [No. 222].

5    Fourth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,-Mrs Ray Michie reported from the Fourth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the Representation of the People (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2001.

    Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee to lie upon the Table.

6    Fifth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,- Mr Jimmy Hood reported from the Fifth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the draft Non-Automatic Weighing Instruments Regulations 2000 (S.I., 2000, No. 3236).

    Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee to lie upon the Table.

7    Sixth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,- Mr Bill Olner reported from the Sixth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the draft Maximum Number of Judges (Northern Ireland) Order 2001.

    Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee to lie upon the Table.

8    Opposition Day [3rd allotted day],-It being an allotted day at the disposal of the Leader of the Opposition in pursuance of Standing Order No. 14 (Arrangement of public business), the House proceeded to consider Opposition business.

    Government's Asylum System,- A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House condemns the Government's failure to deal with the total chaos in the asylum system, which is detrimental to the interests of genuine refugees and the people of the United Kingdom; notes the failure of the Government's measures introduced under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999; further notes that the number of asylum applications made in 2000 reached the record level of 76,040, and that the proportion of unfounded claims increased to 78 per cent of all applications; notes with concern the continuing backlog of asylum applications and undetermined applications for British citizenship; and calls on the Government to take action to put in place measures which would both deter unwarranted claims and assist genuine refugees. - (Miss Ann Widdecombe);

    An Amendment was proposed to the Question, in line 2, to leave out from the word 'House' to the end of the Question and add the words 'reaffirms the obligations of the United Kingdom under the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees to provide asylum for those fleeing from a well-founded fear of persecution; approves the Government's strategy for reform of the asylum system and welcomes the practical improvements which have already been delivered, including substantial additional investment to provide the Immigration and Nationality Directorate with the staff and other resources essential to operate an efficient and humane asylum system; congratulates the Immigration and Nationality Directorate staff on their recent achievements including taking 110,000 initial asylum decisions in 2000; welcomes the effect which the provisions of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 and other measures have had in reducing unfounded asylum claims; welcomes the successful introduction of a coherent, national system of support for asylum seekers to replace the chaotic arrangements created by the previous Government which imposed an intolerable burden on local authorities in London and the South-East; notes that the civil penalty, a measure which was opposed by the Official Opposition, has successfully encouraged hauliers and ferry operators to introduce additional security measures to tackle clandestine and illegal entry to the United Kingdom; welcomes the Government's expansion of detention capacity to support substantial increases in the number of asylum seekers with unfounded claims who are removed from the UK; and supports the Government's commitment to working closely with other countries to deal more effectively with asylum pressures affecting the whole of Europe', instead thereof.- (Mr Secretary Straw.)

    And the Question being put, That the original words stand part of the Question;

    The House divided.

      Tellers for the Ayes, Mr John Randall, Mr Peter Atkinson: 126.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mr Gerry Sutcliffe, Mr Clive Betts: 304.

    So the Question was negatived.

    And the Question, That the proposed words be there added, being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments);

    The House divided.

      Tellers for the Ayes, Mr Gerry Sutcliffe, Mr Clive Betts: 268.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mr John Randall, Mr Peter Atkinson: 152.

    So the Question was agreed to.

    The Deputy Speaker forthwith declared the Main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.

    Resolved, That this House reaffirms the obligations of the United Kingdom under the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees to provide asylum for those fleeing from a well-founded fear of persecution; approves the Government's strategy for reform of the asylum system and welcomes the practical improvements which have already been delivered, including substantial additional investment to provide the Immigration and Nationality Directorate with the staff and other resources essential to operate an efficient and humane asylum system; congratulates the Immigration and Nationality Directorate staff on their recent achievements including taking 110,000 initial asylum decisions in 2000; welcomes the effect which the provisions of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 and other measures have had in reducing unfounded asylum claims; welcomes the successful introduction of a coherent, national system of support for asylum seekers to replace the chaotic arrangements created by the previous Government which imposed an intolerable burden on local authorities in London and the South-East; notes that the civil penalty, a measure which was opposed by the Official Opposition, has successfully encouraged hauliers and ferry operators to introduce additional security measures to tackle clandestine and illegal entry to the United Kingdom; welcomes the Government's expansion of detention capacity to support substantial increases in the number of asylum seekers with unfounded claims who are removed from the UK; and supports the Government's commitment to working closely with other countries to deal more effectively with asylum pressures affecting the whole of Europe.

    Crisis in Agriculture,- A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House expresses its profound concern about the crisis in British agriculture, demonstrated by the collapse in farm incomes and loss of jobs; notes that, since the launch of the Government's Action Plan for Farming, incomes have continued to fall and many of the promises remain unfulfilled; condemns the Government for its failure to address this crisis and for its damaging policies which have made matters even worse; and calls on the Government to end the competitive disadvantage suffered by British farmers as a result of red tape, gold-plating and over-regulation, to introduce honesty in food-labelling and to restrict the flow of sub-standard food imports. - (Mr Tim Yeo);

    An Amendment was proposed to the Question, in line 2, to leave out from the word 'House' to the end of the Question and add the words 'recognises the continuing difficulties faced by the agriculture sector as a result of the low level of farm incomes; endorses the Government's long term vision for agriculture as sustainable, competitive and diverse, environmentally responsible, and an integral part of vibrant rural economies; recognises the important role of the new Rural Development Programmes in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in delivering this vision; welcomes the measures in the Action Plan for Farming and the Rural White Paper to give immediate financial relief to the hardest-hit sectors and to reduce the burden of regulation on farming; supports the Government's constructive engagement in Europe to reform further the Common Agricultural Policy; notes that the Conservative party's policies of banning foreign imports and taking unilateral action in areas of European Union competence are illegal and would lead to heavy penalties being levied on UK taxpayers as well as retaliatory action against UK exporters; notes that the Conservative Party have not indicated how much of the 16 billion they propose in public expenditure cuts would fall on British farmers; and calls on the Conservative Party instead to come forward with practical and constructive policies to help farmers through very difficult times', instead thereof.-(Mr Nicholas Brown.)

    And the Question being proposed, That the original words stand part of the Question;

    Mr James Cran rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

    And the Question being put, That the Question be now put:-It was agreed to.

    And the Question being accordingly put;

    The House divided.

      Tellers for the Ayes, Mr John Randall, Mr Peter Atkinson: 145.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mr Tony McNulty, Mr Jim Dowd: 267.

    So the Question was negatived.

    And the Question, That the proposed words be there added, being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments);

    The House divided.

      Tellers for the Ayes, Mr Tony McNulty, Mr Jim Dowd: 267.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mr Peter Atkinson, Mr John Randall: 114.

    So the Question was agreed to.

    The Deputy Speaker forthwith declared the Main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.

    Resolved, That this House recognises the continuing difficulties faced by the agriculture sector as a result of the low level of farm incomes; endorses the Government's long term vision for agriculture as sustainable, competitive and diverse, environmentally responsible, and an integral part of vibrant rural economies; recognises the important role of the new Rural Development Programmes in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in delivering this vision; welcomes the measures in the Action Plan for Farming and the Rural White Paper to give immediate financial relief to the hardest-hit sectors and to reduce the burden of regulation on farming; supports the Government's constructive engagement in Europe to reform further the Common Agricultural Policy; notes that the Conservative party's policies of banning foreign imports and taking unilateral action in areas of European Union competence are illegal and would lead to heavy penalties being levied on UK taxpayers as well as retaliatory action against UK exporters; notes that the Conservative Party have not indicated how much of the 16 billion they propose in public expenditure cuts would fall on British farmers; and calls on the Conservative Party instead to come forward with practical and constructive policies to help farmers through very difficult times.

9    Representation of the People,-A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118 (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation), That the draft Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001, which were laid before this House on 17th January, be approved-(Mr Graham Allen):-It was agreed to.

10    Representation of the People,-A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118 (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation), That draft Representation of the People (Scotland) Regulations 2001, which were laid before this House on 18th January, be approved-(Mr Graham Allen):-It was agreed to.

11    Companies,-A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118 (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation), That the draft Companies (EU Political Expenditure) Exemption Order 2001, which was laid before this House on 17th January, be approved-(Mr Graham Allen);

    And the Deputy Speaker's opinion as to the decision of the Question being challenged, the division was deferred till Wednesday 7th February, pursuant to Order (7th November 2000).

12    European Parliament,-A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 119 (European Standing Committees), That this House takes note of European Union Document Nos. 9712/00, relating to the proposed Statute for Members of the European Parliament, and 9560/00, relating to the audit of the expenditure of the European Parliament's political groups; supports the Government's efforts to secure agreement on a Statute for Members of the European Parliament; and notes the Nice European Council's agreement on a legal basis for a Statute to regulate the funding of European political parties, as recommended by the Report of the Court of Auditors.-(Mr Graham Allen):-It was agreed to.

13    Public Petitions,- A Public Petition from the residents of the Derby North constituency against the unnecessary importation of parrots was presented and read; and ordered to lie upon the Table and to be printed.

14    Adjournment,-Resolved, That this House do now adjourn.-(Mr Graham Allen.)

    And accordingly the House, having continued to sit till ten minutes to eight o'clock, adjourned till to-morrow.

[Adjourned at 7.50 p.m.

Michael J. Martin
Speaker


Mr Speaker will take the Chair at half-past Nine o'clock.


APPENDIX I

Papers presented or laid upon the Table:

Papers subject to Affirmative Resolution:

    1    Agriculture,-Pig Industry Restructuring (Capital Grant) Scheme 2001 (S.I., 2001, No. 251), dated 1st February 2001 [by Act] [Mr Nicholas Brown].

    2    Civil Aviation,-Draft Transport Act 2000 (Designation of Transferee) Order 2001 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Prescott].

    3    Constitutional Law,-Draft Scotland Act 1998 (Transfer of Functions to the Scottish Ministers etc.) Order 2001 [by Act] [Mrs Secretary Liddell].

Papers subject to Negative Resolution:

    4     Agriculture,-Pig Industry Restructuring (Non-Capital Grant) Scheme 2001 (S.I., 2001, No. 252), dated 1st February 2001 [by Act] [Mr Nicholas Brown].

    5     Local Government,-(1) Local Authorities (Alteration of Requisite Calculations) (England) Regulations 2001 (S.I., 2001, No. 216), and

    (2) Major Precepting Authorities (Excessive Budget Requirements-Payments) (England) Regulations 2001 (S.I., 2001, No. 219),

    dated 31st January 2001 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Prescott].

    6    Members Interests,-Register of Members' Interests as at 31st January 2001 [pursuant to the Resolutions of 22nd May 1974, 28th June 1993 and 6th November 1995]; to be printed [No. 221] [Clerk of the House].

    7    Police,-Northern Ireland Policing Board (Prescribed Period) Regulations 2001 (S.R.(N.I.), 2001, No. 35), dated 31st January 2001 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Reid].

    8    Taxes,-Taxes (Interest Rate) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations 2001 (S.I., 2001, No. 254), dated 1st February 2001 [by Act] [Dawn Primarolo].

Other Papers:

    9    Foreign Affairs,-Government Response to the Tenth Report from the Foreign Affairs Committee, Session 1999-2000, on China [by Command] [Cm. 5038] [Mr Secretary Cook].

APPENDIX II

Standing Committees

    1    Standing Committee F,-Mr Paul Tyler reported from the Committee of Selection, That it had appointed Mr Ken Maginnis to serve on Standing Committee F in respect of the Criminal Justice and Police Bill.

    2    Draft Maximum Number of Judges (Northern Ireland) Order 2001,-The Committee of Selection has discharged Mrs Helen Brinton from the Sixth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation (nominated in respect of the draft Order); and nominated in substitution Mr Jim Dobbin.

APPENDIX III

Reports from Select Committees

    1    Education and Employment,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Education Sub-Committee of the Education and Employment Committee [Higher Education]; to be printed [No. 124-vii] [Mr Barry Sheerman].

    2    Environmental Audit,- Memorandum laid before the Environmental Audit Committee [Government Observations on the Seventh Report from the Committee - Water Prices and the Environment][Mr John Horam].

    3    Public Accounts,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Public Accounts Committee [National Audit Office Estimate 2000-2001]; to be printed [No. 219-i] [Mr David Davis].

[W.H., No.16]

Minutes of Proceedings of the Sitting in Westminster Hall

[pursuant to the Order of 20th November 2000]

The sitting commenced at half-past Two o'clock.

    Adjournment (United Kingdom Space Policy),-Resolved, That the sitting be now adjourned.-(Mr David Clelland.)

    And accordingly the sitting was adjourned till Tuesday 6th February.

[Adjourned at 5.05 p.m.

Sir Alan Haselhurst
Deputy Speaker



 
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