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Mr. McDonnell: Later in my speech, I shall demonstrate that the argument for democratic socialism under this Government is based on stakeholder participation. The compromise in this Bill is the extension of stakeholder participation to businesses in the City of London. We may not like that, but we have the opportunity to legislate on it tonight.

John Smith died before he could embark, in government, on the task of establishing a responsive local democracy. However, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made it clear that amendments of the sort under discussion this evening represent the mechanism by which the stakeholder society could be created. He argued that people are disaffected with local government because they feel no sense of ownership and because they have no stake in the political process. My amendments would extend the franchise to employees, and give them a stake in the new structure in the City corporation that may loosely be described as democracy.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister supported my view when he stated:


My amendments strike at the heart of the renewal of democratic local government. They would make a reality of my right hon. Friend's vision of a stakeholder democracy--if this does not get me a job, nothing will--that involves residents, businesses and employers. All of them would have a stake in the successful operation of the City of London and its corporation.

My amendments would empower the many, and not just the few.

Mr. Skinner: My hon. Friend has been at it since 7 o'clock, as near as dammit, and has never yet mentioned the word "class". There are bosses, and there are workers. I know that he wants to get everyone all lovey-dovey and

2 May 2001 : Column 951

touchy-feely, but to this day bosses still sack workers. I hope that he will bear that in mind, despite his new-fangled ideas.

Mr. McDonnell: There is an opportunity for lateral thinking when we look at the constitution of the City corporation and its powers in the future.

Mr. Corbyn: I am getting quite alarmed. As I said earlier, I believe that there is a danger in incorporating just about everything into the new City of London. Would my hon. Friend be prepared to support a later amendment that may be tabled, which would simply put the process on hold? That would mean that all local government in the UK could be adequately consulted on the radical departure that my hon. Friend proposes in local electoral law and in its systems and administration. I realise that the amendments have been designed to fit the general ethos of the Bill, but does not he agree that there is a case for pausing and thinking a little more widely about the matter?

Mr. McDonnell: As I am just getting going in my speech, I do not want to debate the contents of other amendments. However, there will be an opportunity to table further amendments, and I should be happy to discuss them then.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) mentioned the conflict that has gone on in the past in the City corporation area, and in capitalism in general. In developing a stakeholder democracy, employees and residents may gather together to widen the powers of the City corporation to intervene in disputes between bosses and workers, as my hon. Friend described, which would effectively enhance the powers of employees.

Mr. Dismore: My hon. Friend talks about stakeholder democracy and follows the point of my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn) about consultation. The essence of stakeholder democracy is consultation with all relevant parties. My hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. O'Donnell) has described how his amendments evolved, but he has not told us what consultation he has had with employees' representatives, such as trade unions, or with business in the City. He has mentioned the discussions that he has had with the City but not what other consultations he has had.

Mr. McDonnell: The problem with this legislation is that because it was not dealt with as a draft under other procedures in Committee, I do not think that the Committee process allowed for adequate consultation. I accept that. It behoves us to take time to consult the various interest groups further, not over these amendments, because I hope to legislate this evening, but possibly on the first review of the new structure that will be in place three years after the introduction of this legislation.

Mr. Michael Jack (Fylde): I have been listening with interest to the hon. Gentleman. Was his amendment inspired by a reading of "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist"?

Mr. McDonnell: Later in my speech we may be able to deal with the exploitative relationship between workers

2 May 2001 : Column 952

and their employers, using the example of "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist" and the workers in the decorating industry. I am trying to avoid class conflict in the amendment and build a stakeholder consensus for the first time.

Mr. Brooke rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now proposed.

Question put, That the Question be now proposed:--

The House divided: Ayes 91, Noes 34.

Division No. 203
[9.56 pm


AYES


Amess, David
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Beggs, Roy
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bercow, John
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Butterfill, John
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Collins, Tim
Colman, Tony
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cotter, Brian
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Day, Stephen
Duncan, Alan
Evans, Nigel
Flight, Howard
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Garnier, Edward
Gill, Christopher
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Gray, James
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hawkins, Nick
Hill, Keith
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lansley, Andrew
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Madel, Sir David
Mates, Michael
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Moss, Malcolm
Nicholls, Patrick
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Öpik, Lembit
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pearson, Ian
Randall, John
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
St Aubyn, Nick
Sanders, Adrian
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Soames, Nicholas
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Timms, Stephen
Tredinnick, David
Tyrie, Andrew
Walter, Robert
Wells, Bowen
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Willis, Phil
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mrs. Jacqui Lait and
Mr. Peter Bottomley.


NOES


Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Barnes, Harry
Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clwyd, Ann
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cousins, Jim
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Donohoe, Brian H
Golding, Mrs Llin
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jenkins, Brian
Kilfoyle, Peter
McDonnell, John
Mackinlay, Andrew
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Quinn, Lawrie
Sarwar, Mohammad
Skinner, Dennis
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Vis, Dr Rudi
Wareing, Robert N
Watts, David

Tellers for the Noes:


Mr. Jeremy Corbyn and
Mr. Andrew Dismore.

It appearing on the report of the Division that fewer than 100 Members voted in the majority, Madam Deputy Speaker declared that the Question had not been decided in the affirmative.

2 May 2001 : Column 953

It being after Ten o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.

Debate to be resumed on Thursday 10 May.


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