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House of Commons
Session 1998-99
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House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Tuesday 24th November 1998

The House met at twenty-five minutes past Eleven o'clock.
1Message to attend Her Majesty,—A Message from Her Majesty was delivered by the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod.
        Madam Speaker,
        The Queen commands this Honourable House to attend Her Majesty immediately, in the House of Peers.
        Accordingly, Madam Speaker, with the House, went up to attend Her Majesty:—And having returned;
        Madam Speaker resumed the Chair at half-past Two o'clock.
2Elections,—Ordered, That all Members who are returned for two or more places in any part of the United Kingdom do make their Election for which of the places they will serve, within one week after it shall appear that there is no question upon the Return for that place; and if any thing shall come in question touching the Return or Election of any Member, he is to withdraw during the time the matter is in debate; and that all Members returned upon double Returns do withdraw till their returns are determined.
        Resolved, That no Peer of the Realm, except a Peer of Ireland, hath any right to give his vote in the Election of any Member to serve in Parliament.
        Resolved, That if it shall appear that any person hath been elected or returned a Member of this House, or endeavoured so to be by bribery, or any other corrupt practices, this House will proceed with the utmost severity against all such persons as shall have been wilfully concerned in such bribery or other corrupt practices.
3Witnesses,—Resolved, That if it shall appear that any person hath been tampering with any witness, in respect of his evidence to be given to this House or any Committee thereof, or directly or indirectly hath endeavoured to deter or hinder any person from appearing or giving evidence, the same is declared to be a high crime and misdemeanour; and this House will proceed with the utmost severity against such offender.
        Resolved, That if it shall appear that any person hath given false evidence in any case before this House, or any Committee thereof, this House will proceed with the utmost severity against such offender.
4Metropolitan Police,—Ordered, That the Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis do take care that during the Session of Parliament the passages through the streets leading to this House be kept free and open and that no obstruction be permitted to hinder the passage of Members to and from this House and that no disorder be allowed in Westminster Hall, or in the passages leading to this House during the Sitting of Parliament, and that there be no annoyance therein or thereabouts; and that the Serjeant at Arms attending this House do communicate this Order to the Commissioner aforesaid.
5Votes and Proceedings,—Ordered, That the Votes and Proceedings of this House be printed, being first perused by the Speaker; and that she do appoint the printing thereof; and that no person but such as she shall appoint do presume to print the same.
6Outlawries,—A Bill for the more effectual preventing Clandestine Outlawries was read the first time, and ordered to be read a second time.
7Journal,—Ordered, That the Journal of this House, from the end of the last Session to the end of the present Session, with an Index thereto, be printed.
        Ordered, That the said Journal and Index be printed by the appointment and under the direction of William Robert McKay, Esquire, C.B., the Clerk of this House.
        Ordered, That the said Journal and Index be printed by such person as shall be licensed by the Speaker, and that no other person do presume to print the same.
8Queen's Speech,—Madam Speaker reported Her Majesty's Speech and directed that it be entered in the Journal, as follows:
        My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,
        This is my Government's second legislative programme. Like the first, it will focus upon the modernisation of the country, its institutions, its public services, and its economy.
        They will continue in their drive to raise standards in our education services, to improve care in our health services and to modernise our welfare state upon the principle of work for those who can and security for those who cannot.
        My Government will continue with economic policies designed to build stability for the long term, making the United Kingdom well placed not just to weather the international financial storms but to emerge stronger from them. My Government will continue to work with our G7 partners and others to reform the international financial institutions.
        At home, the central economic objectives of my Government are high and stable levels of economic growth and employment, enabling everyone to share in higher living standards and greater job opportunities.
        My Government believe the historic decision to give the Bank of England the power to set interest rates has been crucial to the meeting of its inflation target and credibility in the system. Having reduced Government borrowing by £20 billion in its first year, my Government will continue to pursue sound public finances and abide by its fiscal rules. Productivity will be improved by measures addressing competition, investment, entrepreneurship and improving the skills of the British people.
        Legislation will be introduced to improve the regulation of financial services and markets, with a new statutory regulator, the Financial Services Authority. Legislation will be introduced to promote electronic commerce and start modernising the law, improving competitiveness by enabling the United Kingdom to compete in the new digital marketplace.
        Education remains my Government's top priority. To raise standards in our schools, we must raise standards in teaching. As part of my Government's drive to raise achievement in schools, a consultation paper will be brought forward on the most far-reaching reforms of the teaching profession for fifty years. These will enhance the status of teachers and reward high performance to secure the delivery of high standards. They will be taking other measures to continue the drive to enhance educational opportunity.
        My Government will continue to build a modern National Health Service to meet the needs of the whole nation. A Bill will be introduced to replace the NHS internal market which put hospitals, doctors and nurses in competition with each other. In its place will be decentralised arrangements based on partnership, quality and efficiency to put doctors and nurses in the lead in shaping local services.
        Following the White Paper, my Government will be taking forward proposals for the Food Standards Agency.
        My Government will continue to tackle crime and its causes and to modernise the justice system. A Bill will be introduced to modernise the youth courts and to give greater protection for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses in criminal cases.
        My Government will introduce legislation to modernise legal aid to make the system fairer and more cost effective; to provide for a Community Legal Service; and to make other changes to overhaul the justice system.
        Members of the House of Commons,
        Estimates for the public service will be laid before you. These will include substantial increases for education and health, laying the foundations for investment of £40 billion extra over the next three years. This investment will be tied to meeting the challenges of modernisation.
        My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,
        My Government has made clear its determination to modernise the welfare state upon clear principles of work, security, fairness and value for money.
        A Bill will be introduced giving greater help to those in need by reforming benefits for people with long-term illness or disabilities, and modernising benefits for widows, including for the first time, provision for widowers. It will include the introduction of a single gateway to the benefit system for those of working age. It will also make provision for pension sharing on divorce and introduce stakeholder pension schemes, offering a new, flexible and good value alternative form of pension.
        A Bill will be introduced for the Working Families Tax Credit and Disabled Persons Tax Credit as part of my Government's determination to make work pay.
        My Government will introduce legislation to establish a Disability Rights Commission which will assist disabled people in securing comprehensive civil rights and help employers to meet their obligations.
        My Government will continue to work in partnership with business, and welcome the improved relations between business and trade unions, who worked together in informing the Government's proposals for fairness at work. They will bring forward measures to establish a forward-looking balance of rights and responsibilities for employers and employees and will promote partnership at work.
        A Bill will be introduced to transfer the Contributions Agency to the Inland Revenue, paving the way for better and simpler collection of National Insurance Contributions and tax.
        My Government have fulfilled their commitment to establish a Scottish Parliament and a Welsh Assembly in accordance with the wishes of the people. People will be able to vote in elections to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly next year, and my Government will work to ensure that both are established successfully.
        In Northern Ireland, my Government will continue to work towards the full implementation of all aspects of the Belfast Agreement and maintain close co-operation with the Republic of Ireland.
        My Government will introduce legislation to modernise local government in England and Wales and secure delivery of high quality local services on a sound financial footing.
        Legislation will be introduced to create a new Greater London Authority made up of a directly elected Mayor and a separately elected Assembly. There will be a range of powers to help make London a world class city, including new powers to tackle road congestion and improve public transport.
        Regional Development Agencies will be established in England, decentralising decision-taking to the English regions. They will have a remit to serve both rural and urban areas.
        A Bill will be introduced to remove the right of hereditary peers to sit and vote in the House of Lords. It will be the first stage in a process of reform to make the House of Lords more democratic and representative. My Government will publish a White Paper setting out arrangements for a new system of appointments of life peers and establish a Royal Commission to review further changes and speedily to bring forward proposals for reform.
        My Government believe in open Government. Consultation on draft legislation is a contribution to this. They propose that a draft Freedom of Information Bill be given pre-legislative scrutiny in both Houses. My Government will also publish in draft several Bills, including those to reform Party funding, to improve councils' conduct of business and to establish a Strategic Rail Authority.
        Legislation will be brought forward to provide a fair basis for water charging in England and Wales.
        Parliament will be given an opportunity to vote on the age of consent. The Bill will strengthen the protection of young people from abuse of trust.
        A Bill will be introduced to modernise the law on immigration and asylum, including reform of the appeals system and new support arrangements for asylum seekers.
        My Government are committed to tackling global poverty and promoting sustainable development. They will introduce a Bill to convert the Commomwealth Development Corporation to a public private partnership to increase investment in developing countries.
        Other measures will be laid before you.
        The Duke of Edinburgh and I look forward to receiving State Visits by His Excellency the President of the Federal Republic of Germany next month and His Excellency the President of the People's Republic of China next year. We also look forward to our State Visit to Korea next year and to visiting South Africa for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.
        My Government will play a leading role in preparing the European Union for the historic challenge of enlargement. In particular, they will work to secure reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and Structural and Cohesion Funds and to ensure that the EU policies and institutions meet the concerns of our citizens.
        They will pursue their initiative to make the European Union's foreign and security policy more effective.
        My Government will continue to promote with their European partners the economic reforms which will help to create growth and higher employment. They will encourage preparations in the United Kingdom for the introduction in other Member States of the Euro and will maintain the United Kingdom's abatement.
        My Government will ensure strong arrangements for defence based on the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and promote international peace and security, especially in the Middle East and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They will also actively pursue a resolution to the problems in Kosovo.
        My Government will pursue reform of the United Nations and an early resolution of its funding crisis. They will work to maintain the authority of the Resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations, including in relation to Iraq.
        As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, my Government remain committed to the effective promotion of human rights world-wide.
        My Government will continue the fight against terrorism and serious crime at home and abroad. They will continue their leading role in protecting the environment, including the global climate.
        My Government see this as a substantial set of measures, addressing its priorities and seeking to meet the important and difficult challenges before us.
        My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,
        I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your counsels.
9Queen's Speech (Motion for an Address),—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty as follows:
        Most Gracious Sovereign,
        We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament—(Mr Joe Ashton);
        Ordered, That the Debate be now adjourned.—(Mr Greg Pope.)
        Debate to be resumed to-morrow.
10Adjournment,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—(Mr Greg Pope.)
        And it being Ten o'clock, the Motion for the adjournment of the House lapsed, without Question put.
11Adjournment,—Resolved, That this House do now adjourn.—(Jane Kennedy.)
        And accordingly the House, having continued to sit till sixteen minutes past Ten o'clock, adjourned till to-morrow.
[Adjourned at 10.16 p.m.
Betty Boothroyd

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

Papers delivered to the Votes and Proceedings Office during the Prorogation of Parliament on the undermentioned dates pursuant to Standing Order No. 159 (Presentation of statutory instruments):
Papers subject to Negative Resolution:
20th November 1998
1Merchant Shipping,—Merchant Shipping (Vessels in Commercial Use for Sport or Pleasure) Regulations 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2771), dated 11th November 1998 [Mr Secretary Prescott].
2Sea Fisheries,—Hearing (Specified Sea Areas) (Prohibition of Fishing) Order 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2867), dated 18th November 1998 [Mr Nicholas Brown].
23rd November 1998
3Local Government,—Residuary Body for Wales (Winding Up) Order 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2859), dated 18th November 1998 [Mr Secretary Michael].
4Registration of Political Parties,—(1) Registration of Political Parties (Fees) Order 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2872), and
        (2) Registration of Political Parties (Prohibited Words and Expressions) Order 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2873),
    dated 21st November 1998 [Mr Secretary Straw].
5Social Security,—Income-related Benefits (Subsidy to Authorities) Amendment Order 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2865), dated 17th November 1998 [Mr Secretary Darling].
Papers presented or laid upon the Table on Tuesday 24th November 1998:
Papers subject to Negative Resolution:
6Rating and Valuation,—Non-Domestic Rating (Rural Settlements) (England) (No. 2) Order 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2836), dated 17th November 1998 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Prescott].
7Town and Country Planning,—Town and Country Planning General (Amendment) Regulations 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2800), dated 13th November 1998 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Prescott].
Other Papers:
8Agriculture,—(1) Report on smallholdings in England for 1995-96 [by Act] [Mr Nicholas Brown]; and
        (2) Report on smallholdings in Wales for 1995-96 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Michael].
9Appropriation Accounts, 1997-98,—Appropriation Account of sums granted by Parliament for 1997-98 for Class I (Ministry of Defence) [by Act]; to be printed [No. 1-I] [Dawn Primarolo].
10Arts Councils,—Report and Summary Financial Statement of the Arts Council of Wales for 1997-98, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Command] [Mr Secretary Michael].
11Charities (Scotland),—Report of Scottish Charities Nominee for the year ended 31st August 1998 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Dewar].
12Defence Executive Agencies,—Report and Accounts of the Army Technical Support Agency for 1997-98, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act]; to be printed [No. 8] [Mr Secretary Robertson].
13Development of Tourism,—Statement of appointment of new members and of determination of salaries of chairman and members of the Scottish Tourist Board [by Act] [Mr Secretary Dewar].
14Local Government (Wales),—Report and Accounts of the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales for 1997-98, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act] [Mr Secretary Michael].
15Museums and Galleries,—Report and Financial Statements of the Greater Manchester Museum of Science and Industry Trust for 1997-98 [by Command] [Mr Secretary Smith].

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Revised 25 November 1998