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6.56 pm

Mr. Donald Anderson: There is no opportunity to refer to colleagues' specific speeches, but I am confident that the debate has fully justified the Select Committee's decision to embark on our project and update the work of our predecessors in 1995. The quality of debate has been high. Our job was to provide an informed basis for the debate, and I pay tribute to all who have participated. I shall enjoy reading many of the contributions.

15 Mar 2001 : Column 1282

There has been consensus, with perhaps two exceptions. The problem was clearly stated. The certainties of the cold war period have ended, and we face new, more complex threats. We must decide how best to respond to the gamut of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

National missile defence understandably dominated the debate. Its deployment is not imminent; the new proposals that are under review by the United States Administration will take considerable time. Indeed, deployment is not inevitable, although there is considerable steam behind the project in the US.

Such deployment would have substantial implications. With the end of mutually assured destruction, there is a danger that the US might consider itself invulnerable. It was pointed out in the debate that the US proposals do not cover a series of vulnerabilities. The Government can buy time because the US has not concluded its review or made a request to use RAF Fylingdales and upgrade its radar capacity.

There is hope of some convergence and movement, for example in the case of China and Russia. The Russian proposals that were made to the Secretary General of NATO a few weeks ago suggest that Russia is at least prepared to enter into debate.

Our final hope is that the Government have understood the anxieties. There is danger of general misunderstanding. Our report's conclusion on NMD states:


The debate shows that that is relevant, and I hope that--

It being Seven o'clock, Mr. Deputy Speaker proceeded to put forthwith the Questions relating to Estimates which he was directed to put at that hour, pursuant to Standing Order No. 54(4) and (5).

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,


It being after Seven o' clock, Mr. Deputy Speaker proceeded to put forthwith the Questions relating to Estimates which he was directed to put at that hour, pursuant to Standing Order No. 55(1) and (3) (Questions on voting of estimates, &c.) and Order [27 February].

ESTIMATES, 2001-02 (NAVY) VOTE A

Resolved,


Resolved,


15 Mar 2001 : Column 1283

Resolved,


Resolved,


Resolved,


Resolved,


Ordered,



Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order 119(9) (European Standing Committees)

Motor Vehicle Distribution and Servicing


15 Mar 2001 : Column 1284

Question agreed to.

LIAISON COMMITTEE (SUB-COMMITTEE)

Motion made,



Line 31, at end add--
'( ) The committee shall have power to appoint a sub-committee, which shall have power to send for persons, papers and records, to sit notwithstanding any adjournment of the House, and to report to the committee from time to time.
( ) The committee shall have power to report from time to time the minutes of evidence taken before the sub-committee.
( ) The quorum of the sub-committee shall be three.'.-- [Mr. Clelland.]

Hon. Members: Object.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE

Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Question [31 January],


Hon. Members: Object.

SELECT COMMITTEES (JOINT MEETINGS)

Motion made,



Line 40, before the word 'European' insert the words 'Environmental Audit Committee or with the'.
Line 50, before the word 'European' insert the words 'Environmental Audit Committee or with the'.
Line 52, at the end insert the words:--
'(4A) notwithstanding paragraphs (2) and (4) above, where more than two committees or sub-committees appointed under this order meet concurrently in accordance with paragraph (4)(e) above, the quorum of each such committee or sub-committee shall be two.'--[Mr. Clelland.]

Hon. Members: Object.

Footwear Industry (Norwich)

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.--[Mr. Clelland.]


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