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House of Commons
Session 1998-99
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House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Wednesday 10th February 1999

The House met at half-past Nine o'clock.
PRAYERS.
1Adjournment,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House do now adjourn—(Mr Robert Ainsworth);
 
        And it being Two o'clock, the Motion for the adjournment of the House lapsed, without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
2Fifth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,—Mr Jim Cunningham reported from the Fifth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the Hallmarking (Hallmarking Act Amendment) Regulations 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 2978).
 
        Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee to lie upon the Table.
3Welfare Reform and Pensions Bill,—Mr Secretary Darling, supported by the Prime Minister, Mr Secretary Prescott, Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Secretary Blunkett, Mr Secretary Dewar, Secretary Marjorie Mowlam, Mr Secretary Michael, Mr Stephen Timms, Mr Andrew Smith, Mr Geoffrey Hoon and Mr Hugh Bayley, presented a Bill to make provision about pensions and social security; to make provision for reducing under-occupation of dwellings by housing benefit claimants; to authorise certain expenditure by the Secretary of State having responsibility for social security; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the first time; and ordered to be read a second time to-morrow and to be printed [Bill 44].
 
        Ordered, That the Explanatory Notes relating to the Welfare Reform and Pensions Bill be printed [Bill 44-EN].
4Poverty and Social Exclusion (National Strategy),—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to require the production and implementation of a comprehensive, participatory strategy for co-ordinated Government action to reduce and eliminate poverty and social exclusion in the United Kingdom—(Mr David Drew);
 
        And the Motion being opposed, after a brief explanatory statement from the Member who made the Motion and from a Member who opposed it, the Speaker put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 23 (Motions for leave to bring in bills and nomination of select committees at commencement of public business).
 
        The House divided.
 
          Tellers for the Ayes, Judy Mallaber, Mr Ivan Henderson: 228.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mr Desmond Swayne, Mr John Bercow: 16.
 
        So the Question was agreed to.
 
        Ordered, That Mr David Drew, Mr Peter Bottomley, Mr Frank Field, Mr John McAllion, Mr Chris Pond, Julia Drown, Mr Stephen Pound, Mr Ernie Ross, Mr Andrew Rowe, Ms Dari Taylor, Steve Webb and Mr Andrew Welsh do prepare and bring in the Bill.
5Poverty and Social Exclusion (National Strategy) Bill,—Mr David Drew accordingly presented a Bill to require the production and implementation of a comprehensive, participatory strategy for co-ordinated Government action to reduce and eliminate poverty and social exclusion in the United Kingdom: And the same was read the first time; and ordered to be read a second time on Friday 14th May and to be printed [Bill 45].
6Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill (Clause No. 1),—The House, according to Order, resolved itself into a Committee on the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill (Clause No. 1).
 
(In the Committee)
 
        Clause No. 1 (Reduction in age at which certain sexual acts are lawful).
 
        Amendment (No. 1) proposed, in page 1, line 6, after the word '(buggery);' to insert the words—
 
        '(aa) in sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of paragraph 3 (buggery) of Schedule 2 (punishments, etc);'.—(Dr Evan Harris.)
 
        Question proposed, That the Amendment be made:—Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
 
        Another Amendment (No. 2) proposed, in page 1, line 9, at the end to insert:—
 
          '( ) In section 12 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 (buggery)—
 
          (a) at the beginning of subsection (1), there shall be inserted the words "Subject to subsection (1D) below"; and
 
          (b) after subsection (1C), there shall be inserted the following subsection—
 
            "(1D) No proceedings shall be taken under this section against a person under the age of sixteen where the other party has at the time of the offence attained the age of sixteen."
 
          ( ) In section 13 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 (indecency between men)—
 
          (a) at the beginning, there shall be inserted the words "(1) Subject to subsection (2) below"; and
 
          (b) at the end, there shall be inserted the following subsection—
 
            "(2) No proceedings shall be commenced under this section against a person under the age of sixteen where the other party had at the time of the offence attained the age of sixteen.".'.—(Dr Evan Harris.)
 
        Question proposed, That Amendment be made:—Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
 
        Another Amendment (No. 4) proposed, in page 1, line 15, at the end to insert the words—
 
          '( ) In sub-paragraph (2)(b) (offences in England and Wales) of paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the Sex Offenders Act 1997 (sexual offences to which part I applies)—
 
          (a) after the words "(a)(iv)" there shall be inserted the words "and (vii)"; and
 
          (b) after the word "over;" there shall be inserted—
 
            "(bb) paragraph (a)(v) and (vi) does not apply where the other party to the offence was 16 or over".'.—(Mr Richard Allan.)
 
        Question proposed, That the Amendment be made:—Amendment, by leave withdrawn.
 
        Question put, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.
 
        The Committee divided.
 
          Tellers for the Ayes, Mrs Ann Keen, Ms Laura Moffat: 330.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mr Gerald Howarth, Mr Andrew Robathan: 126.
 
        Bill (Clause No. 1) to be reported.


 
        The Deputy Speaker resumed the Chair; and Jane Kennedy reported, That the Committee had gone through the Bill (Clause No. 1), and directed her to report the same, without Amendment.
 
        Ordered, That the Bill (Clause No. 1) do lie upon the Table.
7Water Industry Bill,—The House, according to Order, proceeded to consider the Water Industry Bill, not amended in the Standing Committee.
 
        A Clause (Provisions for Wales)—(Mr Cynog Dafis)—brought up and read the first time.
 
        Question put, That the Clause be read a second time.
 
        The House divided.
 
          Tellers for the Ayes: Mr Donald Gorrie, Mr Ieuan Wyn Jones: 30.
 
          Tellers for the Noes: Mr David Hanson, Mr Graham Allen: 313.
 
        Amendments (Nos. 31 to 34) made to the Bill.
 
        Another Amendment made to the Bill, in page 2, line 40, to leave out the words 'section 61(7) above' and insert the words 'paragraph 1(2) of Schedule 4A to this Act'.—(Mr Michael Meacher.)
 
        And it being Ten o'clock, further consideration of the Bill stood adjourned.
8Business 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 Water Industry Bill may be proceeded with, though opposed, till any hour—(Mr Graham Allen):—It was agreed to.
9Water Industry Bill,—The House again proceeded to consider the Water Industry Bill, not amended in the Standing Committee.
 
        Amendment (No. 26) proposed to the Bill, in page 3, to leave out from end of line 19 to the end of line 10 on page 4 and insert the words—
 
          '143A.—(1) In making a charges scheme under section 143 above, a relevant undertaker shall have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State in relation to the matters listed in subsection (2) below.
 
          (2) For the purposes of subsection (1) above, the Secretary of State may issue guidance relating to the following—
 
          (a) the factors to be taken into account in relation to the fixing, calculating and imposing of charges;
 
          (b) the making available to consumers of alternative bases of charging; and
 
          (c) the taking into account of the problems faced by the aged, ill and disabled.
 
          (3) The Secretary of State shall arrange for any guidance given by him under subsection (2) above to be published in such a manner as he considers appropriate.'.—(Mrs Caroline Spelman.)
 
        Question put, That the Amendment be made.
 
        The House divided.
 
          Tellers for the Ayes, Sir David Madel, Mrs Caroline Spelman: 120.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mr David Hanson, Mr Keith Hill: 317.
 
        Another Amendment (No. 30) proposed to the Bill, on page 5, line 48, at the end, to insert the words—
 
    '(12) When under subsection (4) the Director upholds a water undertaker's refusal to give effect to a measured charges notice the consumer shall have the right to opt to pay as an alternative to the current charge either:—
 
          (a) a charge assessed by the water undertaker by reference to the estimated volume of water supplied to the premises; or
 
          (b) the water undertaker's average household charge
 
    and any dispute between a water undertaker and a consumer as to the application of (a) above may be referred to the Director for determination under section 30A above by either party to the dispute.'.—(Mr Simon Burns.)
 
        Question proposed, That the Amendment be made:—Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
 
        Another Amendment (No. 28) proposed to the Bill, in page 6, line 33, at the end, to insert the words—
 
          '(5) Where a change in occupation of any premises occurs as a result of a change in ownership of those premises, a relevant undertaker may not begin to fix charges in respect of those premises by reference to volume in accordance with subsection 2(b) above unless the purchaser of the premises shall have been notified before the completion of the purchase of the undertaker's intention to begin charging by volume.'.—(Mr Simon Burns.)
 
        Question proposed, That the Amendment be made:—Amendment, by leave, withdrawn:
 
        Another Amendment (No. 35) made to the Bill.
 
        A Schedule (Schedule to be inserted in the Water Industry Act 1991)—(Mr Clive Betts)—brought up, read the first and second time, and added to the Bill.
 
        A Motion being made, That the Bill be now read the third time;
 
        Mr Michael Meacher, by Her Majesty's Command, acquainted the House, That Her Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the Bill, gives her Consent, as far as Her Majesty's interest is concerned, That the House may do therein as it shall think fit.
 
        Mr Michael Meacher, by Command of the Prince of Wales, acquainted the House, That His Royal Highness, having been informed of the purport of the Bill, gives his Consent, as far as the Prince of Wales's interest is concerned, That the House may do therein as it shall think fit.
 
        And the Question being put:—It was agreed to.
 
        The Bill was accordingly read the third time and passed.
10Adjournment,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House do now adjourn—(Mr Clive Betts);
 
        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 three minutes to Twelve o'clock, till to-morrow.
[Adjourned at 11.57 p.m.
Betty Boothroyd
Speaker        

Madam 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:
1Local Government Finance,—Local Government Finance (England) Special Grant Report (No. 40) [by Act]; to be printed [No. 205] [Mr Secretary Dobson].
2Constitutional Law,—Draft National Asembly for Wales (Disqualification) Order 1999 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Michael].
Papers subject to Negative Resolution:
3Building Societies,—Building Societies (Contents of Accounts) Regulations 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 248), dated 8th February 1999 [by Act] [Ms Patricia Hewitt].
Other Papers:
4Treaty Series (No. 7, 1999),—Agreement, done at London on 8th December 1994, between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic for the Promotion and Protection of Investments [by Command] [Cm. 4259] [Mr Secretary Cook].
5Treaty Series (No. 8, 1999),—Agreement, done at London on 19th March 1996, between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Republic of Moldova for the Promotion and Protection of Investments [by Command] [Cm. 4260] [Mr Secretary Cook].
APPENDIX II
Standing Committees
1Social Security Contributions (Transfer of Functions, etc.) Bill [Lords]:
 
        (1) The Speaker has allocated the Bill to Standing Committee D, and has appointed Mr John McWilliam and Mr Humfrey Malins Chairmen; and
 
        (2) the Committee of Selection has appointed sixteen Members to serve on the Committee, viz.: Mr Vernon Coaker, Mr Tim Collins, Mr Quentin Davies, Maria Eagle, Mr Christopher Fraser, Ms Patricia Hewitt, Mr Kevin Hughes, Mr Alan Johnson, Miss Anne McIntosh, Mr Andrew Miller, Dr Doug Naysmith, Mr Mark Oaten, Mr David Rendel, Mr Jonathan R. Shaw, Mr Gareth R. Thomas and Mr Stephen Timms.
2Employment Relations Bill:
 
        (1) The Speaker has allocated the Bill to Standing Committee E, and has appointed Mrs Gwyneth Dunwoody and Mr Peter Atkinson Chairmen; and
 
        (2) the Committee of Selection has appointed twenty-three Members to serve on the Committee, viz.: Charlotte Atkins, Mr John Bercow, Mr Tim Boswell, Mr Graham Brady, Mr Ian Bruce, Mr David Chidgey, Mr Tim Collins, Mr Brian Cotter, Mr Geraint Davies, Mr Frank Doran, Lorna Fitzsimons, Barbara Follett, Mr John Healey, Mr Phil Hope, Miss Julie Kirkbride, Mr Bob Laxton, Mr Ian McCartney, Ms Sandra Osborne, Mr Ian Pearson, Mr Greg Pope, Mr Ian Stewart, Mr Michael Wills and Mr Phil Woolas.
3Draft Education (Student Support) Regulations 1999, and draft Education (Student Loans) (Scotland) Regulations 1999:
 
        (1) The Speaker has allocated the draft Regulations to the First Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation, and has appointed Mr Bill Olner Chairman; and
 
        (2) the Committee of Selection has appointed sixteen Members to serve on the Committee, viz.: Mr Stephen Day, Mr Donald Gorrie, Mr John Horam, Ms Beverley Hughes, Mr David Jamieson, Helen Jones, Mr Oliver Letwin, Mrs Helen Liddell, Miss Anne McIntosh, Mr Tony McNulty, Mr Gordon Marsden, Mr George Mudie, Mr Frank Roy, Joan Ryan, Rachel Squire and Mr Phil Willis.
4Draft Development Commission (Transfer of Functions and Miscellaneous Provisions) Order 1999:
 
        (1) The Speaker has allocated the draft Order to the Second Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation, and has appointed Mr Jimmy Hood Chairman; and
 
        (2) the Committee of Selection has appointed fifteen Members to serve on the Committee, viz.: Mr Graham Allen, Jackie Ballard, Mr Nigel Beard, Mr Tom Brake, Mr Colin Burgon, Mr Simon Burns, Mr John Cummings, Chris McCafferty, Mr Michael Meacher, Mr Terry Rooney, Mr Martin Salter, Mr Brian Sedgemore, Mrs Caroline Spelman, Mr David Tredinnick and Mr Shaun Woodward.
5Draft Diplomatic Privileges (British Nationals) Order 1999:
 
        (1) The Speaker has allocated the draft Order to the Fourth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation, and has appointed Mr Humfrey Malins Chairman; and
 
        (2) the Committee of Selection has appointed sixteen Members to serve on the Committee, viz.: Mr Alan Campbell, Ms Judith Church, Dr David Clark, Tom Cox, Mr Mark Fisher, Mr Patrick Hall, Mr David Heath, Jane Kennedy, Mr Tony Lloyd, Mr Denis MacShane, Sir David Madel, Mr Richard Page, Bob Russell, Mr Richard Shepherd, Mr Gerry Steinberg and Mr Michael Trend.
European Standing Committees
6European Standing Committee C,—Mr John McWilliam reported from the Committee of Selection, That it had nominated thirteen Members to serve on European Standing Committee C, viz.: Mr David Borrow, Mr David Crausby, Mr Keith Darvill, Mr Ivan Henderson, Mr Stephen Hesford, Mr Michael Jack, Dr Stephen Ladyman, Mr Tim Loughton, Miss Anne McIntosh, Mr Mark Oaten, Miss Geraldine Smith, Mr John Swinney and Mr Anthony D. Wright.
7The unnumbered Explanatory Memorandum submitted by MAFF on 20th November 1998, relating to Agenda 2000: Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, has been referred to European Standing Committee A.
8European Community Document No. 5123/99, relating to electronic commerce in the single market, has been referred to European Standing Committee C together with European Community Document No. 5562/98 referred to the Committee on 3rd December 1998.
Grand Committees
9Welsh Grand Committee,—The Speaker has appointed Mr Barry Jones Chairman of the Welsh Grand Committee in respect of the meeting of the Committee in Aberaeron on Monday 22nd February.
10Northern Ireland Grand Committee,—The Speaker has appointed Mr Frank Cook Chairman of the Northern Ireland Grand Committee in respect of the meeting of the Committee on Thursday 25th February.
APPENDIX III
Reports from Select Committees
1Defence,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Defence Committee [The MoD Performance Report 1997-98]; to be printed [No. 241] [Mr Bruce George].
2Education and Employment,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Education Sub-Committee of the Education and Employment Committee [The work of OFSTED]; to be printed [No. 62-vii] [Mr Malcolm Wicks].
3Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs,—(1) Sixth Report from the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee [Maritime and Coastguard Agency], with the Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence taken before the Transport Sub-Committee; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 31]; and
 
        (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Transport Sub-Committee of the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee [The Future of the UK Shipping Industry]; to be printed [No. 172-iii]
 
    [Mrs Gwyneth Dunwoody].
4European Scrutiny,—Ninth Report from the European Scrutiny Committee, together with Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee on 10th February; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 34-ix] [Mr Jimmy Hood].
5Modernisation of the House of Commons,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons [The Main Committee]; to be printed [No. 194-iii] [Margaret Beckett].
6Procedure,—(1) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Procedure Committee [Procedural Consequences of Devolution]; to be printed [No. 185-ii]; and
 
        (2) Memoranda laid before the Committee [Procedural Consequences of Devolution]
 
    [Mr Nicholas Winterton].
7Public Accounts,—(1) Fifth Report from the Committee of Public Accounts [Department of Trade and Industry: The Sale of British Energy] [No. 242]; and
 
        (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [National Savings: Developments in Financial Reporting]; to be printed [No. 243-i]
 
    [Mr David Davis]
8Science and Technology,—First Special Report from the Science and Technology Committee [Government Response to the Sixth Report from the Committee, Session 1997-98, on Science and the Comprehensive Spending Review]; to be printed [No. 234] [Dr Michael Clark].
9Trade and Industry,—(1) Fourth Report from the Trade and Industry Committee [Draft Limited Liability Partnership Bill], together with the Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 59];
 
        (2) Fifth Report from the Committee [Telephone Numbering], together 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. 139]; and
 
        (3) Third Special Report from the Committee [Government Observations on the First Report from the Trade and Industry Committee, on Vehicle Pricing]; to be printed [No. 236]
 
    [Mr Martin O'Neill]



 
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