Previous SectionIndexHome Page

Mr. Bercow rose--

Mr. Hogg: It is always a pleasure to give way to my hon. Friend.

Mr. Bercow: In the context of the programme motion, what does my right hon. and learned Friend think is the relationship between the time available for debate and Treasury Ministers' comprehension of the Bill? Does he not agree that one reason why those on the Treasury Bench are reluctant to have adequate debate on the subject is that they know that allowing such an opportunity would enable the Confederation of British Industry, the Institute of Directors, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Forum of Private Business and the British Chambers of Commerce to develop in detail their critiques of the Bill?

Mr. Hogg: My hon. Friend makes a serious point. I had charge of many Bills and took, I suppose, 12 or 15 of them through the House. I was not too bad at doing that and came to one clear view: no Minister can handle more than about 30 clauses, top whack. I suspect that two or three junior Ministers who are not up to the job will be responsible for the Bill. They do not like lengthy scrutiny because it proves their inadequacy. That is why they want the Bill to be completed after two days on the Floor of the House and out of Committee by 24 May. They know that an extended Committee stage--no matter where it takes place--exposes them to the criticism that they are unable to withstand because they are personally incompetent.

I want to summarise my objection--[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker: Order. The right hon. and learned Gentleman is entitled to a hearing.

Mr. Hogg: Let me take advantage of--[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker: Order. I gave an instruction, and I expect better from a senior Whip.

9 Apr 2001 : Column 815

Mr. Hogg: I want to take advantage of this burble to say that I shall never be shouted down, or intimidated by, Labour Members because, in truth, I despise them. For the past four years or so, they have consistently and persistently--

Mr. Speaker: Order. I remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman that we are entitled to hear temperate language. I do not expect him use the word "despise". [Interruption.] Mr. Bercow, you talk too much.

Mr. Hogg: Never has my hon. Friend talked too much in my hearing. I am sorry that you do not feel the same way, Mr. Speaker. If "despise" is too strong, perhaps you will accept the term "hold in disregard". I hold Labour Members in disregard because, since 1997, they have consistently and persistently undermined democracy in this place. Some did it knowingly; the others have no business being here.

The significance of the fact that we are debating a Finance Bill is lost on Labour Members because they do not understand our history. They think that the Bill can be tucked away as if it were nothing. Well, it cannot. In addition, they are denying my right hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater, who has served in the House for 20 or 30 years, the opportunity to raise on behalf of his constituents matters of fundamental importance, especially to the agricultural sector. They are also denying hon. Members the opportunity to ensure that legislation is put in proper order. Those are grave failings.

Mr. Edward Leigh (Gainsborough): The charitable view of the Government's approach is that, to use their language, they are trying to modernise our procedures, but why does that always appear to result in less, rather than more scrutiny? Surely it will be possible for the incoming Conservative Government both to modernise our procedures and to increase scrutiny.

Mr. Hogg: My hon. Friend--my constituency neighbour--is right. When Labour Members talk about modernisation, they always mean reducing scrutiny. That is characteristic of the Government. When we get back into power, it will be my business, and that of my hon. Friend, to ensure that we increase scrutiny; in fact, we will do that whichever party is in power.

10.54 pm

Mr. Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham): When I came here this evening I did not intend to make a contribution, but given the passion with which my right hon. and hon. Friends have made their case, I felt minded to make my few points. Night after night, we have sat through the charade in the democratic process that is the debate on the programme motion. This one is a programme motion too far. Programming consideration of a Finance Bill is an absolute abuse of the House. My right hon. and hon. Friends were right to say that the perfunctory, nonchalant way in which the motion was moved by the Paymaster General was beneath contempt.

In my short time in the House, I have sat on two Finance Bill Committees, and at no point during those proceedings was there any filibustering by Conservative Members. If there had been, the Chairman would have ruled us out of order. My experience of those Committees

9 Apr 2001 : Column 816

is that the longer they go on, the more the wheels fall off the Government's wagon; and the more details emerge from the clauses, the more lacking the Government's case is felt to be.

Why do the Government feel it necessary to guillotine consideration of this Bill? What is the urgency? After all, the Budget speech was over a month ago. The Government have had plenty of time to initiate these proceedings. This is the most important legislation in the parliamentary calendar, but we have been messing around with minor Bills in the past month, so why the hurry now? Will it not appear strange to the public that the day before the House breaks for a two-week recess, the Government are steamrollering through the House a programme motion to curtail debate on the most important legislation in the parliamentary year? It will appear very odd indeed to my constituents.

As my hon. Friend the Member for South Staffordshire (Sir P. Cormack) said, the Bill is unique. There might just be a case, as the Government always try to make out, for saying that Bills might be frustrated in the other place and that their Lordships might seek to prolong debate beyond the time that is legitimately required. However, that case cannot be made with the Finance Bill, because their Lordships have limited powers in that respect.

Is it not also disgraceful that the Government have singularly failed to live up to some of the timetables that they have sought to impose on measures in the Finance Bill? Only last week, we heard that the introduction of stamp duty exemptions for deprived areas, which were promised at the beginning of the new financial year, which was last week, have been postponed because the Government are incapable of coming up with the details. As we warned at the time, the measures that were heralded in the pre-Budget report, and which the Chancellor proposed in the Budget, would result in people who owned houses worth £750,000 in places such as Islington getting a £40,000 windfall. Yet it has taken the Government until now to work out that there are serious problems with the measures. The Government have failed on their own timetable, but tonight they are trying to impose a timetable on consideration of the entire Bill and its passage through Parliament. Is that not yet another abuse of the whole system?

As other hon. Members have said, the foot and mouth situation is fast moving--

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

The House divided: Ayes 303, Noes 158.

Division No. 184
[10.59 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Anderson, Rt Hon Donald (Swansea E) Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Atherton, Ms Candy Atkins, Charlotte Austin, John Bailey, Adrian Banks, Tony Barnes, Harry Barron, Kevin Battle, John Bayley, Hugh Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield) Bennett, Andrew F Benton, Joe Bermingham, Gerald Berry, Roger Best, Harold Betts, Clive Blackman, Liz Blears, Ms Hazel Blizzard, Bob Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Borrow, David Bradley, Keith (Withington) Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Bradshaw, Ben Brinton, Mrs Helen Brown, Rt Hon Gordon (Dunfermline E) Browne, Desmond Buck, Ms Karen Burden, Richard Burgon, Colin Caborn, Rt Hon Richard Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth) Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Campbell-Savours, Dale Cann, Jamie Caplin, Ivor Casale, Roger Caton, Martin Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Clapham, Michael Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Clark, Paul (Gillingham) Clarke, Charles (Norwich S) Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Clelland, David Clwyd, Ann Coffey, Ms Ann Cohen, Harry Coleman, Iain Colman, Tony Connarty, Michael Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Corbyn, Jeremy Corston, Jean Cousins, Jim Cox, Tom Crausby, David Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley) Cryer, John (Hornchurch) Cummings, John Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S) Dalyell, Tam Darling, Rt Hon Alistair Darvill, Keith Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Davies, Geraint (Croydon C) Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H) Dean, Mrs Janet Denham, Rt Hon John Dismore, Andrew Dobbin, Jim Dobson, Rt Hon Frank Donohoe, Brian H 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 Fitzpatrick, Jim Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna Flint, Caroline Flynn, Paul Follett, Barbara Foster, Rt Hon Derek Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings) Foster, Michael J (Worcester) Foulkes, George Fyfe, Maria Gapes, Mike George, Rt Hon Bruce (Walsall S) Gerrard, Neil Gibson, Dr Ian Gilroy, Mrs Linda Godman, Dr Norman A Godsiff, Roger Golding, Mrs Llin Gordon, Mrs Eileen Griffiths, Jane (Reading E) Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Grocott, Bruce Hain, Peter Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE) Healey, John Hendrick, Mark Hepburn, Stephen Heppell, John Hill, Keith Hinchliffe, David Hodge, Ms Margaret Hoey, Kate Hood, Jimmy 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 Jamieson, David Jenkins, Brian Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle) Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield) Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn) Jones, Helen (Warrington N) Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak) Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa Joyce, Eric Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Keeble, Ms Sally Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston) Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth) Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree) Khabra, Piara S Kidney, David King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth) King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green) Kumar, Dr Ashok Ladyman, Dr Stephen Lammy, David Laxton, Bob Lepper, David Leslie, Christopher Levitt, Tom Lewis, Terry (Worsley) Linton, Martin Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C) Lock, David Love, Andrew McCabe, Steve McCafferty, Ms Chris McCartney, Rt Hon Ian (Makerfield) McDonagh, Siobhain Macdonald, Calum McDonnell, John McFall, John McGuire, Mrs Anne McIsaac, Shona McKenna, Mrs Rosemary Mackinlay, Andrew McNulty, Tony MacShane, Denis Mactaggart, Fiona McWalter, Tony McWilliam, John Mahon, Mrs Alice Mallaber, Judy Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S) Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury) Marshall, David (Shettleston) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Martlew, Eric Maxton, John Meacher, Rt Hon Michael Meale, Alan Michael, Rt Hon Alun Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley) Milburn, Rt Hon Alan Miller, Andrew Mitchell, Austin Moffatt, Laura Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N) Morley, Elliot Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley) Mountford, Kali Mullin, Chris Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck) Murphy, Jim (Eastwood) Naysmith, Dr Doug O'Brien, Bill (Normanton) O'Brien, Mike (N Warks) Olner, Bill O'Neill, Martin Organ, Mrs Diana Osborne, Ms Sandra Pearson, Ian Perham, Ms Linda Pickthall, Colin Pike, Peter L Plaskitt, James Pollard, Kerry Pond, Chris Pope, Greg Pound, Stephen Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E) Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Prescott, Rt Hon John Primarolo, Dawn Prosser, Gwyn Quinn, Lawrie Radice, Rt Hon Giles Rapson, Syd Raynsford, Nick Reed, Andrew (Loughborough) Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland) Roche, Mrs Barbara Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff Rooney, Terry Rowlands, Ted Roy, Frank Ruddock, Joan Russell, Ms Christine (Chester) Ryan, Ms Joan Salter, Martin Sarwar, Mohammad Shaw, Jonathan Sheerman, Barry Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S) Skinner, Dennis Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E) Smith, Angela (Basildon) Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S) Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale) Smith, Jacqui (Redditch) Smith, John (Glamorgan) Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent) Soley, Clive Southworth, Ms Helen Spellar, John Starkey, Dr Phyllis Steinberg, Gerry Stevenson, George Stewart, Ian (Eccles) Stoate, Dr Howard Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin Straw, Rt Hon Jack Stringer, Graham Stuart, Ms Gisela Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury) Taylor, David (NW Leics) Temple-Morris, Peter Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W) Timms, Stephen Tipping, Paddy Touhig, Don Trickett, Jon Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE) Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown) Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk) Turner, Neil (Wigan) Twigg, Derek (Halton) Twigg, Stephen (Enfield) Tynan, Bill Vis, Dr Rudi Walley, Ms Joan Ward, Ms Claire Wareing, Robert N Watts, David White, Brian Wicks, Malcolm Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W) Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen) Wills, Michael Winnick, David Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C) Wood, Mike Woodward, Shaun Woolas, Phil Worthington, Tony Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth) Wright, Tony (Cannock)

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Graham Allen and
Mr. Mike Hall.


Allan, Richard Amess, David Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Baker, Norman Baldry, Tony Bercow, John Beresford, Sir Paul Blunt, Crispin Body, Sir Richard Boswell, Tim Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia Brady, Graham Brand, Dr Peter Brazier, Julian Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Browning, Mrs Angela Burns, Simon Butterfill, John Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife) Cash, William Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet) Chidgey, David Chope, Christopher Clappison, James Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Collins, Tim Cormack, Sir Patrick Cotter, Brian Cran, James Curry, Rt Hon David Davey, Edward (Kingston) Davies, Quentin (Grantham) Donaldson, Jeffrey Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen Duncan, Alan Duncan Smith, Iain Evans, Nigel Fabricant, Michael Fallon, Michael Fearn, Ronnie Flight, Howard Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman Fraser, Christopher Garnier, Edward Gibb, Nick Gidley, Sandra Gill, Christopher Gillan, Mrs Cheryl Gray, James Green, Damian Greenway, John Grieve, Dominic Gummer, Rt Hon John Hague, Rt Hon William Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie Hammond, Philip Hancock, Mike Harvey, Nick Hawkins, Nick Hayes, John Heald, Oliver Heath, David (Somerton & Frome) Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas Horam, John Howard, Rt Hon Michael Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot) Hughes, Simon (Southwark N) Jack, Rt Hon Michael Jackson, Robert (Wantage) Jenkin, Bernard Johnson Smith, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham) 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 McCrea, Dr William MacGregor, Rt Hon John McIntosh, Miss Anne Maclean, Rt Hon David McLoughlin, Patrick Madel, Sir David Malins, Humfrey Maples, John Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian May, Mrs Theresa Moore, Michael Moss, Malcolm Oaten, Mark O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury) Öpik, Lembit Page, Richard Paice, James Pickles, Eric Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Prior, David Redwood, Rt Hon John Rendel, David Robathan, Andrew Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry) Robinson, Peter (Belfast E) Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne) Ruffley, David Russell, Bob (Colchester) St Aubyn, Nick Sanders, Adrian Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian Shepherd, Richard Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk) Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns) Soames, Nicholas Spelman, Mrs Caroline Spicer, Sir Michael Spring, Richard Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Streeter, Gary Stunell, Andrew Swayne, Desmond Syms, Robert Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton) Taylor, John M (Solihull) Taylor, Matthew (Truro) Taylor, Sir Teddy Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion) Tonge, Dr Jenny Tredinnick, David Trend, Michael Tyler, Paul Tyrie, Andrew Viggers, Peter Walter, Robert Waterson, Nigel Webb, Steve Wells, Bowen Whitney, Sir Raymond Whittingdale, John Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann Wilkinson, John Willetts, David Willis, Phil Wilshire, David Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton) Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield) Yeo, Tim Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Owen Paterson and
Mr. Stephen Day.

Question accordingly agreed to.

9 Apr 2001 : Column 820



    (3) If either of those allotted days is Thursday, the times specified for that allotted day in the third column of the Table are brought forward by three hours.

    (4) On the first of those allotted days, paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 15 (Exempted business) shall, notwithstanding sub-paragraph (a) of that paragraph, apply to the proceedings on the Bill for only two hours after ten o'clock or, if that day is Thursday, for only two hours after seven o'clock.

    (5) On that allotted day, any period during which proceedings on the Bill may be proceeded with after ten o'clock (or, if that day is Thursday, seven o'clock) by virtue of paragraph (4) or (5) of Sessional Order I (provision in the event of a debate under Standing Order No. 24) made by the House of 7th November 2000 shall be in addition to that period of two hours.

    (6) Sessional Order B (Programming Committees) made by the House on 7th November 2000 shall not apply to proceedings in Committee of the whole House.

    (7) An allotted day is one on which the Bill is put down as first Government Order of the day.

    3.--(1) The Standing Committee shall have leave to sit twice on the first day on which it shall meet.

    (2) Proceedings in the Standing Committee shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion on Thursday 24th May 2001.

    4. When the provisions of the Bill considered, respectively, by the Committee of the whole House and by the Standing Committee have been reported to the House, the Bill shall be proceeded with as if it had been reported as a whole to the House from the Standing Committee.

9 Apr 2001 : Column 821

Next Section

IndexHome Page