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House of Commons
Session 2000-01
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House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Monday 12th February 2001

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

PRAYERS.

1    First Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,-Mr Jonathan Sayeed reported from the First Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the Company and Business Names (Amendment) Regulations 2001 (S.I., 2001, No. 259).

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

2     Fourth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,-Mr Peter L. Pike reported from the Fourth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the draft Transport Act 2000 (Designation of Transferee) Order 2001.

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

3    Message from the Lords,-A Message was brought from the Lords, as follows:

    Criminal Defence Service (Advice and Assistance) Bill [Lords],-The Lords have passed a Bill to clarify the extent of the duty of the Legal Services Commission under section 13(1) of the Access to Justice Act 1999; to which the Lords desire the concurrence of this House.

4    Criminal Defence Service (Advice and Assistance) Bill [Lords],-The Criminal Defence Service (Advice and Assistance) Bill [Lords] was read the first time; and ordered to be read a second time to-morrow and to be printed [Bill 43].

    Ordered, That the Explanatory Notes relating to the Criminal Defence Service (Advice and Assistance) Bill [Lords] be printed [Bill 43-EN].

5    Opposition Day [5th 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.

    Conditions in Her Majesty's Prisons,-A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House notes with concern the comments of the Director General of the Prison Service, in which he criticised intolerable conditions and referred to a number of prisons as 'hell holes', and the Reports of the Chief Inspector of Prisons which described appalling conditions at certain prisons; and calls on the Government to take urgent action to improve conditions in Her Majesty's Prisons, in order to enable them better to fulfil their role of protecting the public-(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 'supports the policy of Her Majesty's Government to make prisons work better to reduce reoffending and thus cut crime; welcomes the improved investment in the Service, and the improved performance of the Service in terms of security, literacy and numeracy, offender behaviour programmes, the reduction in drug taking and in under-18 regimes; offers its gratitude to staff and the many volunteers attached to prisons; but notes the significant and unacceptable variation in the effectiveness of different Prison Service establishments as highlighted by the Director General and Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons, and endorses the measures being put in place to secure higher and more consistent standards across establishments', 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 Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Mr Stephen Day: 159.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mr Tony McNulty, Mr Gerry Sutcliffe: 248.

    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):-It was agreed to.

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

    Resolved, That this House supports the policy of Her Majesty's Government to make prisons work better to reduce reoffending and thus cut crime; welcomes the improved investment in the Service, and the improved performance of the Service in terms of security, literacy and numeracy, offender behaviour programmes, the reduction in drug taking and in under-18 regimes; offers its gratitude to staff and the many volunteers attached to prisons; but notes the significant and unacceptable variation in the effectiveness of different Prison Service establishments as highlighted by the Director General and Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons, and endorses the measures being put in place to secure higher and more consistent standards across establishments.

    'Shifting the Balance',-A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House believes that the First Report of Session 1999-2000 from the Liaison Committee, Shifting the Balance: Select Committees and the Executive, House of Commons Paper No. 300, provides the right basis for the further development of the Select Committee system as a means of increasing the scrutiny and accountability of Government; and invites the Liaison Committee and the Government to bring forward the necessary Standing Orders for detailed consideration by the House-(Mrs Angela Browning);

    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 'notes the First Report from the Liaison Committee, Session 1999-2000, Shifting the Balance: Select Committees and the Executive, House of Commons Paper No. 300, and the Government response thereto, Cm. 4737; considers that the Select Committee system has proved its worth as a means of increasing the scrutiny and accountability of Government, endorsing in particular the Liaison Committee's judgement of the value of Select Committees (in particular paragraphs 4, 5 and 24 of the Committee's First Report); commends the initiatives already taken by the Government and by the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons to improve the accountability of Ministers to Parliament, including the provision in Westminster Hall of the opportunity for some 200 extra back bench debates each Session, and over 20 debates on Select Committee reports; but does not believe that concentrating patronage in the hands of three senior Members of the House would increase the transparency or effectiveness of the Committee system', instead thereof.-(Mrs Margaret Beckett.)

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

    Mr James Arbuthnot 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, Sir George Young, Mr Nicholas Winterton: 170.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mrs Anne McGuire, Mr Clive Betts: 280.

    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, Mrs Anne McGuire, Mr Clive Betts: 276.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mr Nicholas Winterton, Sir George Young: 164.

    So the Question was agreed to.

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

    Resolved, That this House notes the First Report from the Liaison Committee, Session 1999-2000, Shifting the Balance: Select Committees and the Executive, House of Commons Paper No. 300, and the Government response thereto, Cm. 4737; considers that the Select Committee system has proved its worth as a means of increasing the scrutiny and accountability of Government, endorsing in particular the Liaison Committee's judgement of the value of Select Committees (in particular paragraphs 4, 5 and 24 of the Committee's First Report); commends the initiatives already taken by the Government and by the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons to improve the accountability of Ministers to Parliament, including the provision in Westminster Hall of the opportunity for some 200 extra back bench debates each Session, and over 20 debates on Select Committee reports; but does not believe that concentrating patronage in the hands of three senior Members of the House would increase the transparency or effectiveness of the Committee system.

6    Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism,-A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118 (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation), That the draft Terrorism Act 2000 (Code of Practice for Examining Officers) Order 2001, which was laid before this House on 16th January, be approved-(Mr Gerry Sutcliffe):-It was agreed to.

7    Adjournment,-Resolved, That this House do now adjourn.-(Mr Gerry Sutcliffe.)

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

[Adjourned at 10.57 p.m.

Michael J. Martin
Speaker


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


    APPENDIX I

Papers presented or laid upon the Table:

Papers subject to Affirmative Resolution:

    1    Local Government Finance,-Local Government Finance (England) Special Grant Report (No. 74) on Threshold Payments [by Act]; to be printed [No. 209] [Mr Secretary Blunkett].

Papers subject to Negative Resolution:

    2    Pensions,-Pension Sharing (Excepted Schemes) Order 2001 (S.I., 2001, No. 358), dated 12th February 2001 [by Act] [Margaret Beckett].

Other Papers:

    3    Education,-Paper, entitled Schools: Building on Success [by Command] [Cm. 5050] [Mr Secretary Blunkett].

    4    Insolvency,-Accounts prepared pursuant to section 409 of the Insolvency Act 1986 of the sums received and paid by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry under section 403 of that Act, and of the sums credited and debited to the Investment Account by the National Debt Commissioners for 1999-2000, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act]; to be printed [No. 242][Clerk of the House].

APPENDIX II

Standing Committees

    Companies and Business Names (Amendment) Regulations 2001 (S.I., 2001, No. 259),- The Committee of Selection has discharged Mrs Anne Campbell and Mrs Ann Cryer from the First Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation (nominated in respect of the Regulations); and nominated in substitution Caroline Flint and Dr Ian Gibson.

APPENDIX III

Reports from Select Committees

    1    Home Affairs,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Home Affairs Committee [The Criminal Records Bureau]; to be printed [No. 227-ii] [Mr Robin Corbett].

    2    Public Accounts,-(1) Fifth Report from the Committee of Public Accounts [The Draft Social Security (Inherited Serps) Regulations 2001], together with Appendices; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 243];

    (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [The Post Office Acquisition of German Parcel]; to be printed [No. 245-i]

    [Mr David Davis].



 
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