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10.34 pm

Mr. Gerald Howarth (Aldershot): I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Hertsmere (Mr. Clappison). Indeed, I agree with all the comments by Opposition Members, including the hon. Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Tyler), about the programme motion.

I was unfortunately unable to attend the whole debate, but I heard some of the Home Secretary's remarks on the issue that worries many hon. Members: the attacks on scientific workers who practise around the country. The problem affects many constituencies, especially that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major). When my right hon. Friend mentioned his anxieties about Huntingdon Life Sciences, the Home Secretary was good enough to say that he hoped to table amendments in Committee to deal with the serious problem that affects so many ordinary people around the country who feel intimidated. The headquarters of Novartis is in my constituency. I met the staff on Friday, and they are worried about what is happening.

However, the Home Secretary said that he could not give an undertaking to table amendments in Committee that are capable of dealing with that genuine problem. The public expect Parliament to respond to the serious problem of intimidation. If, for good and valid reasons, the Home Secretary is unable to table well drafted amendments in Committee because the Government have so programmed that stage of our proceedings that it must end by 8 March, there will be no other opportunity to table them. The idea that the Home Secretary will be able to table them on Report is unrealistic. If Report lasts only hours, and there is a statement on the relevant day, the debate will be truncated even more. We will then be in the farcical position that, although the Home Secretary has told the House that he wants to table the amendments and hopes to do so in Committee, after failing to do that, he is unable to do so on Report.

The Minister is a reasonable man; we believe that he is being groomed for even higher office. Would it not be bizarre if a matter of such importance could not be decided or even properly debated in the House because tonight the Government have hamstrung themselves with

29 Jan 2001 : Column 134

a timetable motion which will prevent a serious matter from being resolved in the House? It would therefore be the responsibility of the other place to try to resolve the matter. I have great confidence in the ability of the hereditary peers to do their constitutional duty. I believe that immense wisdom reposes in their Lordships, and I have no doubt that they would be able to deal with the matter. [Interruption.] The Minister says that they are enabled to do so by birth. That is true, but they also have the wisdom of experience.

Mr. Malins: They are independent.

Mr. Howarth: My hon. Friend is right.

It is not good enough for the Government to table such a motion. It is inconsistent with the Home Secretary's earlier commitment to deal with the matter to which I referred. The Government are curtailing the debate so that even if they are able to table amendments in Committee, there will be only four hours on Report for other hon. Members who are not members of the Committee to comment on important measures for dealing with intimidation at Huntingdon Life Sciences, and also with the hunt saboteurs who go round disrupting hunting in this country.

Mr. Heald: Does my hon. Friend agree that some Members whose constituents are affected--perhaps even our right hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major)--will not be able to sit on the Committee, but will be desperately keen to attend the debate on Report--[Hon. Members: "Why not?"] It will not be possible for every Member with a constituency interest in the matter to be a member of the Committee, so it would be wrong if they did not have the opportunity on Report to propose new clauses or amendments on further points that needed to be dealt with.

Mr. Howarth: My hon. Friend is entirely right. The case that the measure is shameful is overwhelmingly made. The motion does not even meet the Government's own requirements; it puts a straitjacket on their intentions for the Bill. It undermines one's confidence in the Government's commitment to address the serious issues.

If we can deal with the problems for scientists on Report, I hope that I shall be able to raise the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act 1875--many of whose provisions could well do with re-enactment in the Bill.

10.41 pm

Mr. Crispin Blunt (Reigate): The manner of the programme motion is not just shameful--it is scandalous. The motion brings the House into grave disrepute--as do all its predecessors during this Session.

It is an example of the complete contempt in which the Executive hold the legislature that a representative of the Executive can tell the House that he thinks there is enough time for the Committee to discuss the Bill. In a fit of seeming generosity, the Minister of State responded to an intervention by saying that, of course, if he considered that there had been serious discussion in Committee of the proposed amendments, he would generously be prepared to reconvene the Programming Sub-Committee to see whether a few more sittings could be squeezed in for the House to consider the measure. That is

29 Jan 2001 : Column 135

an appalling example of an overweening Executive, supported by legislators on the Labour Benches who betray their duty to the people whom they represent.

The motion is a scandal. We do not yet know who is to be appointed to the Standing Committee.

Mr. Charles Clarke: Does the hon. Gentleman concede that only six Back-Bench Conservative Members contributed to the Second Reading debate?

Mr. Blunt: I am glad that the Minister made that point. He draws attention to the extraordinary fact that the number of contributions made in the debate by Members on both sides of the House reflects the relative number of Members elected to the Chamber--in other words, there were 17 speeches from Labour Members and 10 from Opposition Members, of which six were made by Conservatives. That is almost a precise reflection of the make-up of the House of Commons.

For it to be a matter of such extraordinary note that Government Back Benchers contribute to a debate in the same ratio as their election to this place shows what an idle lot they normally are, because they do not turn up to represent the interests of their own constituents. Now that we have timetabled programmes for Standing Committees, they have no excuse not to make contributions. It can make no difference to the passage of the Bill. Labour Members should be able to turn up and speak on the interests that they are supposed to represent rather than sitting in Standing Committee like a lot of jellyfish, saying nothing that would disturb the Executive.

The problem is that there is a large number of newly elected Labour Members who see their duty as simply to support the Executive. In this Parliament, legislators are betraying their duty to the people who elected them--they are betraying the House of Commons. These programme motions and the contempt they show for our legislative duty are a prime example of that. Such motions should earn the Executive the calumny that they so thoroughly deserve.

10.44 pm

Mr. Charles Clarke: There is, of course, room for argument as to whether there should be programming. As hon. Members have pointed out, it is a serious debate and it divides the House. In my opinion, and that of the Government, programming allows more contributions from the House than would otherwise be made. That key point needs to be understood. I believe that the current system is vastly superior to what went before, when debates were curtailed and guillotined all the way through. As it happens, I respect the contributions made by the hon. Member for Woking (Mr. Malins)--

It being forty-five minutes after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, Mr. Deputy Speaker, pursuant to Order [7 November 2000], put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

The House divided: Ayes 286, Noes 137.

29 Jan 2001 : Column 136

Division No. 88
[10.45 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Ashton, Joe
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield)
Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe
Bermingham, Gerald
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blizzard, Bob
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Butler, Mrs Christine
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Caplin, Ivor
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Corbett, Robin
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Crausby, David
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davis, Rt Hon Terry
(B'ham Hodge H)
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, John
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Foulkes, George
Gapes, Mike
George, Rt Hon Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Golding, Mrs Llin
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grocott, Bruce
Hain, Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Healey, John
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hoey, Kate
Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, Rt Hon Adam
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Joyce, Eric
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S
Kilfoyle, Peter
Kingham, Ms Tess
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
Macdonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNamara, Kevin
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Martlew, Eric
Maxton, John
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle
(B'ham Yardley)
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Eddie
Olner, Bill
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Pearson, Ian
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prescott, Rt Hon John
Primarolo, Dawn
Purchase, Ken
Quinn, Lawrie
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Nick
Robertson, John
(Glasgow Anniesland)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rogers, Allan
Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
Ruddock, Joan
Ryan, Ms Joan
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Short, Rt Hon Clare
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Snape, Peter
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tynan, Bill
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watts, David
White, Brian
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wood, Mike
Worthington, Tony
Wray, James
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. David Jamieson and
Mr. Don Touhig.


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Baldry, Tony
Ballard, Jackie
Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia
Brady, Graham
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Burnett, John
Burns, Simon
Burstow, Paul
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Clappison, James
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
Collins, Tim
Cotter, Brian
Cran, James
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, Iain
Fabricant, Michael
Fearn, Ronnie
Flight, Howard
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Fraser, Christopher
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St Ives)
Gibb, Nick
Gill, Christopher
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Gray, James
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Harris, Dr Evan
Harvey, Nick
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Hunter, Andrew
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Key, Robert
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Kirkwood, Archy
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lidington, David
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Madel, Sir David
Malins, Humfrey
Mates, Michael
May, Mrs Theresa
Moss, Malcolm
Nicholls, Patrick
Norman, Archie
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Öpik, Lembit
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Pickles, Eric
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Prior, David
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
St Aubyn, Nick
Sanders, Adrian
Sayeed, Jonathan
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Townend, John
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Tyler, Paul
Tyrie, Andrew
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Webb, Steve
Wells, Bowen
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Stephen Day and
Mr. Keith Simpson.

Question accordingly agreed to.

29 Jan 2001 : Column 139


Queen's recommendation having been signified--

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 52(1)(a) (Money resolutions and ways and means resolutions in connection with bills),

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