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House of Commons
Session 1998-99
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House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Tuesday 29th June 1999

The House met at half-past Two o'clock.
PRAYERS.
1City of London (Ward Elections) Bill,—Ordered, That the City of London (Ward Elections) Bill be considered to-morrow.
2Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Bill [Lords],—Mr Jim Cunningham reported from the Second Reading Committee on the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Bill [Lords], That it had come to the following Resolution, which it had directed him to report to the House: That the Committee recommends that the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Bill [Lords] ought to be read a second time.
 
        Report to lie upon the Table.
 
        Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee to be printed [No. 603].
3Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Bill [Lords],—Mr George Stevenson reported from Standing Committee E, That it had gone through the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Bill [Lords], and made Amendments thereunto, and had amended the Title as follows:
 
        A Bill to provide for the referral of offenders under 18 to youth offender panels; to make provision in connection with the giving of evidence or information for the purposes of criminal proceedings; to amend section 51 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994; to make pre-consolidation amendments relating to youth justice; and for connected purposes.
 
        Bill, as amended in the Standing Committee, to be considered to-morrow; and to be printed [Bill 130].
 
        Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee to be printed [No. 606].
4Eighth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation,—Dr Michael Clark reported from the Eighth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation the Excise Duties (Personal Reliefs) (Amendment) Order 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 1617).
 
        Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee to lie upon the Table.
5Message from the Lords,—A Message was brought from the Lords, as follows:
 
        The Lords agree to the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Bill, without Amendment.
 
        The Lords agree to the Road Traffic (Vehicle Testing) Bill, without Amendment.
6Regulation of Operating Department Practitioners,—Ordered, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make provision for a registration scheme for operating department practitioners and for the regulation of their professional conduct; and for related purposes: And that Helen Jones, Charlotte Atkins, Laura Moffatt, Dr Alan Whitehead, Mrs Joan Humble, Mr Jonathan Shaw, Mrs Diana Organ and Mr Stephen Hesford do prepare and bring it in.
7Regulation of Operating Department Practitioners Bill,—Helen Jones accordingly presented a Bill to make provision for a registration scheme for operating department practitioners and for the regulation of their professional conduct; and for related purposes: And the same was read the first time; and ordered to be read a second time on Friday 23rd July and to be printed [Bill 129].
8Opposition Day [16th 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.
 
        Delays in the Issue of Passports,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House deplores the Government's handling of the current crisis in the issuing of passports including the untimely introduction of children's passports, the untimely introduction of a flawed computer system, the unsatisfactory manner in which the above were introduced, the failure to instruct the passport office to work around the clock to meet demand, confusion over compensation, the failure to deliver passports in time for many families who have now missed overseas trips, the failure to meet the Passport Agency's turn around target of 10 days and the great inconvenience and distress caused to the general public; and calls upon Her Majesty's Government to take urgent measures to ensure the speedy and efficient delivery of passports and that there are no further instances of UK citizens being denied overseas trips due to the combination of bad planning, inefficiency and complacency—(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 'acknowledges the difficult operational situation that the Passport Agency is facing and greatly regrets the inconvenience caused to the public; notes the measures that the Agency is taking to remedy the situation including the deployment of 300 additional staff, the streamlining of processes to boost productivity whilst maintaining security and the willingness of Agency staff to work seven days a week to help clear the arrears; further notes that in spite of this difficult position the Agency is meeting 99.99 per cent. of travel dates and will continue to do so throughout the summer and beyond; and agrees that it is right to introduce the policy of separate passports for children', 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 Stephen Day, Mrs Jacqui Lait: 165.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mr David Clelland, Jane Kennedy: 351.
 
        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 acknowledges the difficult operational situation that the Passport Agency is facing and greatly regrets the inconvenience caused to the public; notes the measures that the Agency is taking to remedy the situation including the deployment of 300 additional staff, the streamlining of processes to boost productivity whilst maintaining security and the willingness of Agency staff to work seven days a week to help clear the arrears; further notes that in spite of this difficult position the Agency is meeting 99.99 per cent. of travel dates and will continue to do so throughout the summer and beyond; and agrees that it is right to introduce the policy of separate passports for children.
 
        Planning and Transport Congestion,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House condemns the Government's contradictory signals on transport and planning policies; requests the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions to cancel the M4 bus lane, and find a way of reopening the Circle Line and keeping other tube lines open; notes that the Government has no policies to increase road or rail capacity in line with traffic growth forecasts; is appalled that motorists are paying more and more tax under Labour to sit in ever worse traffic jams; and urges the Government to revitalise town centres and to follow transport and planning policies that can get Britain moving again—(Mr John Redwood);
 
        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 'deplores the previous Government's record of under-investment and disintegration in the transport network, its failure to tackle congestion as traffic rose by 75 per cent., the £1.2 billion investment backlog it left on the London Underground and its cut in road maintenance; commends the Government for producing the first Transport White Paper for 20 years, taking a far-sighted and more integrated approach than the previous administration, and linking together planning and transport policy more closely; and notes that the present Government has begun to tackle the inherited problems of under-investment, pollution and increasing traffic congestion, by a new radical integrated strategy, including an extra £1.8 billion for public transport and local transport management, winning back passengers to public transport, improving road maintenance, encouraging greater fuel efficiency, reducing pollution, and introducing the long-term policies needed to increase transport choice and improve Britain's transport system', instead thereof—(Mr Secretary Prescott.)
 
        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, Mrs Jacqui Lait, Mr Stephen Day: 137.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mrs Anne McGuire, Mr Mike Hall: 350.
 
        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 Mike Hall: 311.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mrs Eleanor Laing, Mrs Jacqui Lait: 147.
 
        So the Question was agreed to.
 
        The Deputy Speaker forthwith declared the Main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.
 
        Resolved, That this House deplores the previous Government's record of under-investment and disintegration in the transport network, its failure to tackle congestion as traffic rose by 75 per cent., the £1.2 billion investment backlog it left on the London Underground and its cut in road maintenance; commends the Government for producing the first Transport White Paper for 20 years, taking a far-sighted and more integrated approach than the previous administration, and linking together planning and transport policy more closely; and notes that the present Government has begun to tackle the inherited problems of under-investment, pollution and increasing traffic congestion, by a new radical integrated strategy, including an extra £1.8 billion for public transport and local transport management, winning back passengers to public transport, improving road maintenance, encouraging greater fuel efficiency, reducing pollution, and introducing the long-term policies needed to increase transport choice and improve Britain's transport system.
9Estimates,—A Motion being made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 145 (Liaison Committee), That this House agrees with the Report [24th June] of the Liaison Committee—(Mr Keith Hill):—It was agreed to.
10Broadcasting,—Ordered, That Mr Ivor Caplin be discharged from the Select Committee on Broadcasting and Mr Kelvin Hopkins be added to the Committee.—(Mr Keith Hill.)
11Public Petitions,—A Public Petition from residents of the village of Thorney, Peterborough, for the construction of a proposed A47 Thorney Bypass was presented and read; and ordered to lie upon the Table and to be printed.
12Adjournment,—Resolved, That this House do now adjourn.—(Mr Keith Hill.)
 
        And accordingly the House, having continued to sit till five minutes to Eleven o'clock, adjourned till to-morrow.
[Adjourned at 10.55 p.m.
Betty Boothroyd
Speaker        

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

APPENDIX I
Papers presented or laid upon the Table
Papers subject to Affirmative Resolution:
1Civil Aviation,—Draft Aeroplane Noise (Amendment) Regulations 1999 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Prescott].
2Parliament,—Draft Ministerial and other Salaries Order 1999 [by Act] [Margaret Beckett].
Papers subject to Negative Resolution:
3Consumer Protection,—Cigarette Lighter Refill (Safety) Regulations 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 1844), dated 28th June 1999 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Straw].
4County Courts,—Register of County Court Judgements (Amendment) Regulations 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 1845), dated 29th June 1999 [by Act] [Mr Keith Vaz].
5Education,—(1) Education (Mandatory Awards) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 1824), dated 28th June 1999 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Blunkett]; and
 
        (2) Education (School Information) (Wales) Regulations 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 1812),
 
        (3) Education (School Performance and Unauthorised Absence Targets) (Wales) Regulations 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 1811), and
 
        (4) Education (School Performance Information) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 1470),
 
    dated 24th June 1999 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Michael].
6Food,—(1) Animal Feedingstuffs from Belgium (Control) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 1764), and
 
        (2) Food (Animals and Animal Products from Belgium) (Emergency Control) (Amendment) Order 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 1763),
 
    dated 29th June 1999 [by Act] [Mr Nicholas Brown].
7Local Government,—Local Government Reorganisation (Wales) (Capital Finance) (Amendment) Order 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 1782), dated 24th June 1999 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Michael].
8National Health Service (Scotland),—(1) Road Traffic (NHS Charges) (Reviews and Appeals) (Scotland) Regulations 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 1843), and
 
        (2) Road Traffic (NHS Charges) (Scotland) Order 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 1842),
 
    dated 28th June 1999 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Reid].
9Northern Ireland,—Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (Supplementary Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 1804), dated 23rd June 1999 [by Act] [Secretary Marjorie Mowlam].
Other Papers:
10Development of Tourism,—Report and Accounts of the Scottish Tourist Board for 1998-99, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act] [Mr Secretary Reid].
11International Labour Conference,—Paper, entitled International Labour Conference: Proposed action on three Conventions, three Recommendations and a Protocol adopted at the 84th (Maritime) Session of the International Labour Conference (1996) by Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland [by Command] [Cm. 4372] [Mr Secretary Blunkett].
12Northern Ireland,—Northern Ireland Trading and Other Accounts for 1997-98, with the Reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General for Northern Ireland thereon [by Act]; to be printed [No. 557] [Secretary Marjorie Mowlam].
13Science and Technology,—Paper, entitled The Forward Look of Government-funded Science, Engineering and Technology 1999 [by Command] [Cm. 4363] [Mr Secretary Byers].
APPENDIX II
Standing Committees
1Value Added Tax (Abolition of Zero-Rating for Tax-Free Shops) Order 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 1617),—The Committee of Selection has discharged Rosemary McKenna from the Ninth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation (nominated in respect of the Order); and nominated in substitution Mrs Eileen Gordon.
2Draft Contracting Out (Jury Summoning Functions) Order 1999,—The Committee of Selection has discharged Mr David Lock and Mr Syd Rapson from the Tenth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation (nominated in respect of the draft Order); and nominated in substitution Mr Michael Jabez Foster and Ms Linda Perham.
APPENDIX III
Reports from Select Committees
1Education and Employment,—(1) Third Special Report from the Education and Employment Committee [Government Response to the Second Report from the Committee, on Part-time Working]; to be printed [No. 609];
 
        (2) Fourth Special Report from the Committee [Government Response to the Third Report from the Committee, on Highly Able Children]; to be printed [No. 610]; and
 
        (3) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [Opportunities for Disabled People]; to be printed [No. 111-v]
 
    [Mr Derek Foster].
2Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Environment Sub-Committee of the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee [Town and Country Parks]; to be printed [No. 477-iv] [Mr Andrew F. Bennett].
3Environmental Audit,—Sixth Report from the Environmental Audit Committee [The Greening Government Initiative 1999], 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. 426] [Mr John Horam].
4Home Affairs,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Home Affairs Committee [Drugs and Prisons]; to be printed [No. 363-iv] [Mr Chris Mullin].
5International Development,—(1) Third Special Report from the International Development Committee [Government Response to the Second Report from the Committee, on The Provisions of the Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill [Lords]]; to be printed [No. 604]; and
 
        (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [The Future of Sanctions]; to be printed [No. 454-iv]
 
    [Mr Bowen Wells].
6Local Government (Organisation and Standards),—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Joint Committee on Local Government (Organisation and Standards); to be printed [No. 542-iv] [Mr Peter L. Pike].
7Public Administration,—Minutes of Evidence taken before the Select Committee on Public Administration [Freedom of Information Draft Bill]; to be printed [Nos. 570-iii and -iv] [Dr Tony Wright].
8Standards and Privileges,—Eighth Report from the Committee on Standards and Privileges [Premature Disclosure of Reports of the Foreign Affairs Committee], together with Appendices and Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee on 15th June; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 607] [Mr Robert Sheldon].
9Statutory Instruments,—Twenty-Third Report from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, together with Memoranda laid before the Committee; to be printed [No. 50-xxiii] [Mr David Tredinnick].
10Trade and Industry,—Eighth Report from the Trade and Industry Committee [Trade Marks, Fakes and Consumers], 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. 380] [Mr Martin O'Neill].
11Treasury,—(1) Seventh Report from the Treasury Committee [Public Service Agreements], 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. 378]; and
 
        (2) Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee [Demutualisation]; to be printed [No. 605-i]
 
    [Mr Giles Radice].
12Welsh Affairs,—(1) Fourth Report from the Welsh Affairs Committee [Health Issues in Wales], 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. 343-I & II]; and
 
        (2) Fifth Report from the Committee [Paediatric Cardiac Services in Wales]; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 608]
 
    [Mr Martyn Jones].



 
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