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Session 2003 - 04
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House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Tuesday 22nd June 2004

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

PRAYERS.

1    Disqualification of a Member,-The Speaker laid upon the Table a notification, That Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer had this day appointed the Right honourable Terence Anthony Gordon Davis, Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill, to the office of Steward or Bailiff of Her Majesty's Three Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough and Burnham, in the county of Buckingham.

2    Report on Child Protection Procedures in Humberside Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary,-Resolved, That an Humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, That she will be graciously pleased to give directions that there be laid before this House a Return of the Report on child protection procedures in Humberside Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary, particularly the effectiveness of relevant intelligence-based record keeping, vetting practices since 1995 and information sharing with other agencies.-(Ms Hazel Blears.)

3    Energy Bill [Lords],-Mr Bill O'Brien reported from Standing Committee B, That it had gone through the Energy Bill [Lords], and made Amendments thereunto.

    Bill, as amended in the Standing Committee, to be considered to-morrow; and to be printed [Bill 123].

    Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee to be printed [No. 742].

4    Fourth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,-David Taylor reported from the Fourth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the draft Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (Codes of Practice) Order 2004.

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

5    European Standing Committee B,-Mr Nigel Beard reported from European Standing Committee B the following Resolution:

    That the Committee takes note of the unnumbered explanatory memorandum of 26th May 2004 from the Ministry of Defence on the Council Joint Action on the establishment of a European Defence Agency; endorses the Government's support for the Council Joint Action to create the European Defence Agency and its swift implementation; and supports the Government's wider aims in seeking a key role for the Agency in the development of European Union military capabilities.

    Report, together with Resolution, to lie upon the Table.

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

    The Lords agree to the Higher Education Bill, with Amendments, to which they desire the concurrence of this House.

7    Higher Education Bill,-Lords Amendments to the Higher Education Bill to be considered to-morrow; and to be printed [Bill 124].

8    Food in Schools,-Ordered, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to require all schools in England to have a food policy; to provide support for schools in drawing up, implementing and developing food policies; to make permanent the scheme for free fruit in schools and to extend it; to extend entitlement to free school meals, including to breakfasts; to amend the law relating to the nutritional values of school meals; and for connected purposes: And that Mr David Kidney, Mrs Janet Dean, Julia Drown, Dr Ian Gibson, Helen Jones, Mr Stephen McCabe, Laura Moffatt, Mr Kevin McNamara, Linda Perham, Bob Russell, Joan Walley and David Wright do prepare and bring it in.

9    Food in Schools Bill,-Mr David Kidney accordingly presented a Bill to require all schools in England to have a food policy; to provide support for schools in drawing up, implementing and developing food policies; to make permanent the scheme for free fruit in schools and to extend it; to extend entitlement to free school meals, including to breakfasts; to amend the law relating to the nutritional values of school meals; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the first time; and ordered to be read a second time on Friday 16th July and to be printed [Bill 122].

10    Opposition Day [13th 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.

    Integrity of the Electoral System,-A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House notes the constitutional importance of the forthcoming referendums on the Government's proposed regional assemblies; expresses grave concern at the threat to the integrity of the British electoral system through the Government's ill-conceived widespread extension of exclusively all-postal voting in the recent elections against the advice of the Electoral Commission and in the face of opposition from across the political spectrum; notes the public concern over reported instances of fraud, corruption and electoral malpractice; believes that the fragmentation of voting systems and methods under this Government is confusing and off-putting to the electorate; expresses concern that the integrity of the electoral roll is becoming undermined; and calls on the Government to restore a person's right to vote in a secret ballot at a polling station should they so choose-(Mr Alan Duncan);

    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 that the all-postal pilots in June 2004 were part of a process of testing alternative voting mechanisms for the benefit of making voting easier and more convenient for electors; further recognises that turnout in European elections had fallen to its lowest ever level in 1999 and that all-postal pilots assisted in making the 2004 European election turnout the UK's highest ever; welcomes the fact that voter participation for the European elections in the pilot regions more than doubled in 2004 compared with 1999; believes that allegations of fraud have been reported disproportionately and that there is currently no evidence to show that all-postal ballots are more susceptible to fraud than traditional elections; recognises that further reforms will be necessary to widen participation and engagement in the electoral system; and further believes that the integrity of elections and referendums, including the proposed referendums on elected regional assemblies, is adversely affected by declining turnout which puts in jeopardy the democratic mandate', instead thereof.-(Mr Christopher Leslie.)

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

    The House divided.

      Tellers for the Ayes, Mr David Ruffley, Mr John Randall: 184.

      Tellers for the Noes, Bridget Prentice, Mr Vernon Coaker: 308.

    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 recognises that the all-postal pilots in June 2004 were part of a process of testing alternative voting mechanisms for the benefit of making voting easier and more convenient for electors; further recognises that turnout in European elections had fallen to its lowest ever level in 1999 and that all-postal pilots assisted in making the 2004 European election turnout the UK's highest ever; welcomes the fact that voter participation for the European elections in the pilot regions more than doubled in 2004 compared with 1999; believes that allegations of fraud have been reported disproportionately and that there is currently no evidence to show that all-postal ballots are more susceptible to fraud than traditional elections; recognises that further reforms will be necessary to widen participation and engagement in the electoral system; and further believes that the integrity of elections and referendums, including the proposed referendums on elected regional assemblies, is adversely affected by declining turnout which puts in jeopardy the democratic mandate.

    NHS Staff Recruitment and Retention,-A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House recognises the central role of NHS professionals in delivering high quality healthcare through the NHS; notes the need for substantial increases in NHS staffing to meet future demand for healthcare; further notes that the levels of bureaucracy, red tape and imposed targets within the NHS demoralise NHS staff; regrets the problems in the implementation of the consultant and GP contracts; further regrets the delay in progress on 'Agenda for Change'; expresses its concern over staff shortages in general practice, hospital specialties, nursing, especially community nursing, midwifery, radiography and biomedical sciences; is alarmed at the extent of recruitment of health professionals from developing countries which are unable to sustain the loss of such staff; and urges the Government to give the NHS the freedoms and incentives needed to support a growing workforce-(Mr Andrew Lansley);

    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 'welcomes the Government's record extra investment in the National Health Service which has resulted in increases of 19,400 more doctors and 67,500 more nurses since 1997; supports the extra investment in training which has increased the intake of medical school students by 61 per cent. and nurse training students by 53 per cent. since 1997; notes that over one million NHS staff will benefit from improved terms and conditions; recognises that the international recruitment of healthcare professionals has already made a significant impact on the delivery of NHS services; notes the Government's commitment to ethical international recruitment, with its robust Code of Practice, the first of its kind in the world, ensuring that NHS organisations do not recruit staff from developing countries without the agreement of their government; and welcomes the sharing and transfer of experience and ideas that international recruitment brings to the health service', instead thereof.-(Mr John Hutton.)

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

    And it being Seven o'clock, the Debate stood adjourned.

11    Business of the House ,-A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 15 (Exempted business), That, at this day's sitting, the motion in the name of Mr Michael Howard relating to NHS staff recruitment and retention may be proceeded with, though opposed, until Eight o'clock-(Mr Vernon Coaker):-It was agreed to.

12    Opposition Day,-NHS Staff Recruitment and Retention,-The Question being again proposed, That the original words stand part of the Question;

    And the Question being put;

    The House divided.

      Tellers for the Ayes, Mr David Ruffley, Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: 158.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mr Nick Ainger, Jim Fitzpatrick: 282.

    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 welcomes the Government's record extra investment in the National Health Service which has resulted in increases of 19,400 more doctors and 67,500 more nurses since 1997; supports the extra investment in training which has increased the intake of medical school students by 61 per cent. and nurse training students by 53 per cent. since 1997; notes that over one million NHS staff will benefit from improved terms and conditions; recognises that the international recruitment of healthcare professionals has already made a significant impact on the delivery of NHS services; notes the Government's commitment to ethical international recruitment, with its robust Code of Practice, the first of its kind in the world, ensuring that NHS organisations do not recruit staff from developing countries without the agreement of their government; and welcomes the sharing and transfer of experience and ideas that international recruitment brings to the health service.

13    Electoral Commission,-Ordered, That the Motion in the name of the Leader of the House relating to the Electoral Commission shall be treated as if it related to an instrument subject to the provisions of Standing Order No.118 (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation) in respect of which notice has been given that the instrument be approved.-(Charlotte Atkins.)

14    Welsh Grand Committee,-Ordered, That-

    (1) the matter of the draft Transport (Wales) Bill be referred to the Welsh Grand Committee for its consideration;

    (2) the Committee shall meet at Westminster on Tuesday 20th July at 25 minutes past Nine o'clock and between Two o'clock and half-past Four o'clock to consider the matter of the Draft Transport (Wales) Bill, under Standing Order No. 107 (Welsh Grand Committee (matters relating exclusively to Wales)).-(Charlotte Atkins.)

15    Northern Ireland Grand Committee,-A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 116 (Northern Ireland Grand Committee (sittings)), That-

    (1) the draft Budget (No. 2) (Northern Ireland) Order 2004 be referred to the Northern Ireland Grand Committee;

    (2) the Committee shall meet at Westminster on Thursday 8th July at half-past Two o'clock; and

    (3) at that sitting-

      (a) the Committee shall consider the instrument referred to it under paragraph (1) above; and

      (b) at the conclusion of those proceedings, a motion for the adjournment of the Committee may be made by a Minister of the Crown, pursuant to paragraph (5) of Standing Order No. 116 (Northern Ireland Grand Committee (sittings))-(Charlotte Atkins):-It was agreed to.

16    Public Petitions,-Public Petitions from residents of Southfields in the constituency of Putney against certain planning applications made by the Orange mobile telephone company to the London Borough of Wandsworth, and for changes in the law relating to planning applications for the erection of mobile telephone masts in urban areas [four Petitions] were presented and read; and ordered to lie upon the Table and to be printed.

17    Adjournment,-A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House do now adjourn-(Mr Vernon Coaker);

    And the Motion having been made after Seven o'clock, and the Debate having continued for half an hour, the Deputy Speaker adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order, it being then twenty-seven minutes to Nine o'clock, till to-morrow.

[Adjourned at 8.33 p.m.

Michael J. Martin
Speaker


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


APPENDIX I

Papers presented or laid upon the Table:

Papers subject to Affirmative Resolution:

    1    Environmental Protection,-Draft Landfill (Scheme Year and Maximum Landfill Amount) Regulations 2004 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Secretary Margaret Beckett].

    2    Northern Ireland,-(1) Criminal Justice (Evidence) (Northern Ireland) Order 2004 (S.I, 2004, No. 1501), dated 10th June 2004 [by Act] [Mr David Lammy],

    (2) Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2004 (S.I, 2004, No. 1500), dated 10th June 2004 [by Act] [Mr David Lammy] and

    (3) draft Dangerous Wild Animals (Northern Ireland) Order 2004 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Mr Secretary Murphy].

Papers subject to Negative Resolution:

    3    Food,-Food Labelling (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2004 (S.I., 2004, No. 1512), dated 15th June 2004 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Reid].

    4    United Nations,-Iraq (United Nations Sanctions) (Amendment) Order 2004 (S.I, 2004, No. 1498), dated 10th June 2004 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer].

Other Papers:

    5    Child Protection Procedures in Humberside Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary,-Return to an Address to Her Majesty for a Return of the Report made by Sir Michael Bichard on child protection procedures in Humberside Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary, particularly the effectiveness of relevant intelligence-based record keeping, vetting practices since 1995 and information sharing with other agencies [pursuant to Resolution this day]; to be printed [No. 653] [Mr Secretary Blunkett].

    6    Government Trading Funds,-HM Treasury Departmental Minute, dated 22nd June 2004, on the Companies House Trading Fund [by Act] [Mr Paul Boateng].

    7    Health,-Departmental Minute, dated 22nd June 2004, concerning a proposed contingent liability relating to indemnity for witnesses giving evidence to the Inquiry into the handling of complaints against William Kerr and Michael Haslam [by Command] [Mr Secretary Reid].

    8    National Audit,-Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General on Improving the Speed and Quality of Asylum Decisions [by Act]; to be printed [No. 535] [Clerk of the House].

    9    Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions,-Government Response to the Fourth Report of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Committee, Session 2003-04, on Coalfield Communities [by Command] [Cm. 6265] [Mr Secretary Prescott].

Papers withdrawn:

    10    Environmental Protection,-Draft Landfill (Scheme Year and Maximum Landfill Amount) Regulations 2004 [laid 15th June].

APPENDIX II

Standing Committees

European Standing Committees

    The Speaker has appointed Mr Roger Gale Chairman of European Standing Committee B in respect of European Union Document No. 15185/03 on Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Communities in place of Mr Eric Illsley.

APPENDIX III

Reports from Select Committees

    1    Constitutional Affairs,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Constitutional Affairs Committee [Draft Criminal Defence Service Bill]; to be printed [No. 746-i]; and

    (2) Memoranda laid before the Committee [Draft Criminal Defence Service Bill]; to be printed [No. 746]

    [Mr A. J. Beith].

    2    Culture, Media and Sport,-(1) Sixth Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee [Arts Development: Dance], together with Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee on 11th May and Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 587]; and

    (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [BBC Charter Renewal]; to be printed [No. 598-iii]

    [Sir Gerald Kaufman].

    3    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Food Information Sub-Committee of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee [Food Information]; to be printed [No. 690-ii] [Mr Michael Jack].

    4    Foreign Affairs,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Foreign Affairs Committee [Foreign and Commonwealth Office Annual Report 2003-04]; to be printed [No. 745-i] [Mr Donald Anderson].

    5    International Development,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the International Development Committee [Department for International Development: Departmental Report 2004]; to be printed, together with Appendices [No. 749-i] [Tony Baldry].

    6    Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions,-(1) Eighth Report from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Committee [The Role and Effectiveness of the Housing Corporation], with Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 401-I]; and

    (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [Gypsy and Traveller Sites]; to be printed [No. 633-i]

    [Andrew Bennett].

    7    Public Administration,-Minutes of Evidence taken before the Select Committee on Public Administration [Government by Inquiry]; to be printed [No. 606-iv] [Tony Wright].

    8    Statutory Instruments,-Twenty-second Report from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, together with Memoranda laid before the Committee; to be printed [No. 82-xxii] [Mr David Tredinnick].

    9    Trade and Industry,-(1) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Trade and Industry Committee [The Post Office Urban Network Reinvention Programme]; to be printed [611-ii];

    (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [Pubcos]; to be printed [751-i]; and

    (3) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [Fuel Disconnections];to be printed [752-i]

    [Mr Martin O'Neill].

    10    Welsh Affairs,-Memorandum laid before the Welsh Affairs Committee [Transcript of hearings held on 21st June by the Economic Development and Transport Committee of the National Assembly for Wales enlarged by the Welsh Affairs Committee, on the Draft Transport (Wales) Bill] [Mr Martyn Jones].


[W.H., No. 65]

Minutes of Proceedings of the Sitting in Westminster Hall

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

    Adjournment,-A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That the sitting be now adjourned-(Fiona Mactaggart);

    And the sitting having continued for two and a half hours after Two o'clock, it was adjourned without Question put, till to-morrow.

[Adjourned at 4.30 p.m.

Sir Alan Haselhurst     
Deputy Speaker          



 
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