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Session 2005 - 06
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House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Monday 24th October 2005

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

PRAYERS.

1    First Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,—Mr David Wilshire reported from the First Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the draft Civil Partnership (Miscellaneous and Consequential Provisions) Order 2005 and the draft Social Security (Inherited SERPS) (Amendments relating to Civil Partnership) Regulations 2005.

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

2    Message from the Lords,—A Message was brought from the Lords, as follows:

    Criminal Defence Service Bill [Lords],—The Lords have passed a Bill to make provision about representation funded as part of the Criminal Defence Service; to which the Lords desire the concurrence of this House.

3    Criminal Defence Service Bill [Lords],—The Criminal Defence Service Bill [Lords] was read the first time; and ordered to be read a second time to-morrow and to be printed [Bill 64].

    Ordered, That the Explanatory Notes relating to the Criminal Defence Service Bill [Lords] be printed [Bill 64-EN].

4    Opposition Day [8th 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 Handling of Decisions Relating to Railtrack,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House deplores the lack of openness and transparency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Ministers at the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions in their plan to restructure Railtrack; questions the Government's propriety in the method by which they sought an Administration Order for Railtrack; condemns their attempted intimidation of the Rail Regulator; abhors their cavalier and dismissive contempt for Railtrack shareholders; criticises the conduct of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's special adviser for usurping the proper role of Ministers; notes that the Government's approach to the entire project was dictated by the Chancellor; and considers this episode an example of disgraceful impropriety in the formation of policy and the execution of government decisions—(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 'welcomes the judgement in the recently concluded Railtrack court case which, after weeks of evidence fully tested by cross examination, completely dismisses the claimants' allegation of wrong-doing on the part of Government; further welcomes the fact that the judgement exonerates entirely the way the Government responded to its growing concerns about Railtrack's financial position and the propriety of the process that led to Railtrack being put in Administration, including the Government's stance in relation to the Rail Regulator; notes that the judge described Railtrack's request for unlimited public funding and support, which was made in part to maintain its share price, as a "hopeless proposition"; and that there were good public reasons for the policy developed; congratulates the Government for bringing under control the situation which resulted from the previous Government's botched privatisation and putting ownership of the track into the hands of a not-for-dividend company operating in the broad public interest; and recognises the significant progress that is being made by Network Rail in improving performance on the railway and in bringing costs under control, in stark contrast to the management incompetence shown by Railtrack', instead thereof.—(Mr Secretary Darling.)

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

    The House divided.

      Tellers for the Ayes, Mr John Randall, Michael Fabricant: 174.

      Tellers for the Noes, Kevin Brennan, Mr Tom Watson: 343.

    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, Kevin Brennan, Mr Tom Watson: 323.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mr John Randall, Michael Fabricant: 176.

    So the Question was agreed to.

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

    Resolved, That this House welcomes the judgement in the recently concluded Railtrack court case which, after weeks of evidence fully tested by cross examination, completely dismisses the claimants' allegation of wrong-doing on the part of Government; further welcomes the fact that the judgement exonerates entirely the way the Government responded to its growing concerns about Railtrack's financial position and the propriety of the process that led to Railtrack being put in Administration, including the Government's stance in relation to the Rail Regulator; notes that the judge described Railtrack's request for unlimited public funding and support, which was made in part to maintain its share price, as a 'hopeless proposition'; and that there were good public reasons for the policy developed; congratulates the Government for bringing under control the situation which resulted from the previous Government's botched privatisation and putting ownership of the track into the hands of a not-for-dividend company operating in the broad public interest; and recognises the significant progress that is being made by Network Rail in improving performance on the railway and in bringing costs under control, in stark contrast to the management incompetence shown by Railtrack.

    Licensing Laws,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House notes the growing public concern that the Licensing Act 2003 will increase levels of violent crime and anti-social behaviour; observes that the cost to the taxpayer of rising alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder is already 12 billion a year; objects to the presumption in favour of late-night drinking irrespective of the views of local residents and local representatives; disapproves of the disproportionate burden of administration and increased costs for village halls, sports clubs and community centres; calls for local councils to have greater discretion to take into account the interests of their local community; and calls on the Government to cancel the full commencement of the Act and overhaul the primary legislation—(Mrs Theresa May);

    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 'commends the Government on its effective publicity campaign that, together with the excellent work of licensing authorities, has resulted in 97 per cent. of those needing to make applications having done so, with the expectation that virtually all those who want a licence will have the necessary licence by 24th November; welcomes the involvement of more local residents than ever before in the licensing processes and their ability to influence the hours that premises open near their homes; notes that there is no presumption in favour of late night drinking in the Act and that it is for licensing authorities to decide appropriate hours of trading where any dispute arises; considers that the implementation of the powers to review premises licences after 24th November are a vital step in fighting anti-social behaviour; and believes that delaying the implementation of the Act would be contrary to the wishes of the police, licensing authorities, the Central Council of Physical Recreation, Action with Communities in Rural England and industry and would be an unacceptable waste of the resources and effort put in by those who have been preparing for full implementation since 7th February 2005', instead thereof.—(Secretary Tessa Jowell.)

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

    Mr Patrick McLoughlin 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, Michael Fabricant, Mr John Randall: 218.

      Tellers for the Noes, Claire Ward, Gillian Merron: 293.

    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, Claire Ward, Gillian Merron: 289.

      Tellers for the Noes, Michael Fabricant, Mr John Randall: 216.

    So the Question was agreed to.

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

    Resolved, That this House commends the Government on its effective publicity campaign that, together with the excellent work of licensing authorities, has resulted in 97 per cent. of those needing to make applications having done so, with the expectation that virtually all those who want a licence will have the necessary licence by 24th November; welcomes the involvement of more local residents than ever before in the licensing processes and their ability to influence the hours that premises open near their homes; notes that there is no presumption in favour of late night drinking in the Act and that it is for licensing authorities to decide appropriate hours of trading where any dispute arises; considers that the implementation of the powers to review premises licences after 24th November are a vital step in fighting anti-social behaviour; and believes that delaying the implementation of the Act would be contrary to the wishes of the police, licensing authorities, the Central Council of Physical Recreation, Action with Communities in Rural England and industry and would be an unacceptable waste of the resources and effort put in by those who have been preparing for full implementation since 7th February 2005.

5    Civil Partnership,—A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118 (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation), That the draft Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Overseas Relationships and Consequential, etc. Amendments) Order 2005, which was laid before this House on 5th July, be approved—(Joan Ryan):—It was agreed to.

6    Marketing of Maize Genetically Modified for Resistance to Corn Rootworm and Certain Pests and Herbicides,—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 Documents No. 8635/05, draft Council Decision concerning the placing on the market, in accordance with Directive 2001/18/EC, of a maize product (Zea mays L. line MON 863) genetically modified for resistance to corn rootworm and No. 10785/05, draft Council Decision concerning the placing on the market, in accordance with Directive 2001/18/EC, of a maize product (Zea mays L. line 1507) genetically modified for resistance to certain lepidopteran pests and for tolerance to the herbicide glufosinate-ammonium; and supports the Government's view that all the requirements of the Directive have been met in relation to these products and their proposed use should be authorised—(Joan Ryan):—It was agreed to.

7    European Union Common Strategy on Russia,—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 No. 8799/05 and Addendum 1, EU-Russia: Road Maps for the Common Economic Space, the Common Space of Freedom, Security and Justice, the Common Space of External Security and the Common Space of Research, Education and Culture; and agrees with the Government that the road maps for the Four Common Spaces agreed at the EU-Russia Summit on 10th May 2005 provide a valuable framework for the EU to achieve its objectives in its relations with Russia in the medium term—(Joan Ryan):—It was agreed to.

8    Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee),—Ordered, That Mr Jeffrey M. Donaldson be discharged from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments and David Simpson be added.—(Joan Ryan, on behalf of the Committee of Selection.)

9    Trade and Industry Committee,—Ordered, That Sir Robert Smith be discharged from the Trade and Industry Committee and Mark Hunter be added.—(Joan Ryan, on behalf of the Committee of Selection.)

10    Public Petitions,—A Public Petition from supporters of the Isitfair Council Tax protest campaign for a fair and equitable replacement for council tax was presented and read; and ordered to lie upon the Table and to be printed.

11    Adjournment,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House do now adjourn—(Joan Ryan);

    And the Motion having been made after Ten 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 two minutes past Eleven o'clock, till to-morrow.

[Adjourned at 11.02 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    Capital Gains Tax,—Draft Tax and Civil Partnership Regulations 2005 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Dawn Primarolo].

2    Corporation Tax,—Draft Tax and Civil Partnership (No. 2) Regulations 2005 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Dawn Primarolo].

3    Immigration,—Draft Asylum (Designated States) (No. 2) Order 2005 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Mr Secretary Clarke].

4    Northern Ireland,—Draft Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Mr Secretary Hain].

Papers subject to Negative Resolution:

5    Civil Aviation,—Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) (Amendment) Order 2005 (S.I., 2005, No. 2763), dated 12th October 2005 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Mr Secretary Straw].

6    Civil Partnership,—Civil Partnership (Registration Abroad and Certificates) Order 2005 (S.I., 2005, No. 2761), dated 12th October 2005 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Mr Secretary Straw].

7    Disabled Persons,—Disability Discrimination (Service Providers and Public Authorities Carrying Out Functions) Regulations 2005 (S.I., 2005, No. 2901), dated 17th October 2005 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Mr Secretary Blunkett].

8    European Communities,—European Communities (Designation) (No. 3) Order 2005 (S.I., 2005, No. 2766), dated 12th October 2005 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Mr Secretary Straw].

9    Immigration,—(1) Immigration (Procedure for Formation of Civil Partnerships) Regulations 2005 (S.I., 2005, No. 2917), dated 19th October 2005 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command]; and

    (2) Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules [by Act]; to be printed [No. 582]

    [Mr Secretary Clarke].

10    Justices of the Peace,—Local Justice Areas (No. 2) Order 2005 (S.I., 2005, No. 2949), dated 24th October 2005 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Ms Harriet Harman].

11    Social Security,—Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (General) Amendment Regulations 2005 (S.I., 2005, No. 2904), dated 17th October 2005 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Mr Secretary Blunkett].

Other Papers:

12    Air Force (Constitution),—(1) Amendment List 17 to Air Publication 1269—The Royal Air Force Manual of Medical Management and Administration, (Eighth Edition);

    (2) Amendment List 29 to Air Publication 1269—The Royal Air Force Manual of Assessment of Medical Fitness (Third Edition); and

    (3) Amendment List 11 to Air Publication 3394—The Royal Air Force Aeromedical Evacuation Service (Third Edition)

    [by Act] [Secretary John Reid].

13    Criminal Justice and Court Services,—Consolidated Accounts of the Local Probation Boards Account for 2004-05, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act]; to be printed [No. 343] [Clerk of the House].

14    Government Resources and Accounts,—Account of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum for 2004-05, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act]; to be printed [No. 591] [Clerk of the House]; and

    (2) Resource Accounts of the Department for International Development for 2004-05, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act]; to be printed [No. 550] [John Healey].

15    National Audit,—Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General on National Offender Management Service: Dealing with increased numbers in custody [by Act]; to be printed [No. 458] [Clerk of the House].

16    Northern Ireland,—Direction given by the Secretary of State under section 51B(6)(a) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 on 20th October 2005 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Mr Secretary Hain].

17    Pensions,—(1) Report of the Pensions Regulator for 2004-05; and

    (2) Report and Accounts of the Pension Protection Fund for 2004-05

    [by Act] [Mr Secretary Blunkett].

APPENDIX II

Standing Committees

1    Draft Civil Partnership (Miscellaneous and Consequential Provisions) Order 2005 and the draft Social Security (Inherited SERPS) (Amendments relating to Civil Partnership) Regulations 2005,—The Committee of Selection has discharged Anne Moffat and Dr Gavin Strang from the First Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation (nominated in respect of the draft Order and draft Regulations) and nominated in substitution Mr David S. Borrow and Jim Sheridan.

2    Education (School Organisation Proposals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2005 (S.I., 2005, No. 1801),—The Committee of Selection has discharged Mark Pritchard from the Second Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation (nominated in respect of the Regulations) and nominated in substitution Justine Greening.

3    Licensing Act 2003 (Second Appointed Day) Order 2005 (S.I., 2005, No. 2091),—The Committee of Selection has discharged Jo Swinson from the Third Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation (nominated in respect of the Order) and nominated in substitution Mr Paul Burstow.

APPENDIX III

Reports from Select Committees

1    Education and Skills,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Education and Skills Committee [Citizenship Education]; to be printed [No. 581] [Mr Barry Sheerman].

2    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee [The Reform of the EU Sugar Regime]; to be printed [No. 585-ii] [Mr Michael Jack].

3    Foreign Affairs,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Foreign Affairs Committee [Foreign Policy Aspects of the War against Terrorism]; to be printed [No. 573-ii] [Mike Gapes].

4    Home Affairs,—Memoranda laid before the Home Affairs Committee [Draft Terrorism Bill 2005] [Mr John Denham].

5    Home Affairs and Work and Pensions,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Draft Corporate Manslaughter Bill Sub-Committees of the Home Affairs and Work and Pensions Committees [Draft Corporate Manslaughter Bill]; to be printed [No. 540-i] [Mr John Denham].

6    Human Rights,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Joint Committee on Human Rights [Counter-terrorism Policy and Human Rights]; to be printed [No. 561-i] [Mr Andrew Dismore].

7    Public Accounts,—(1) Twelfth Report from the Committee of Public Accounts [Helping those in financial hardship: the running of the Social Fund]; to be printed [No. 601]; and

    (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [Securing strategic leadership for the learning and skills sector in England]; to be printed [No. 602-i]

    [Mr Edward Leigh].



 
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