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3.57 pm

Mr. Derek Foster (Bishop Auckland): I congratulate the Government on making the Select Committee appointments rapidly; that is unprecedented and has never been achieved before in my 22 years in the House. I am deeply disappointed by the outcome, but I congratulate them on the speed of the appointments and on having this debate in prime time, which is also unprecedented in my time. We have had enough procedural nonsense. Please can we get on with the substantive debate?

3.58 pm

Mr. Richard Shepherd (Aldridge-Brownhills): My experience of guillotine debates and subjects that the Executive propose to guillotine is that they have a natural time span. Frankly, I do not know whether debate on the nominations would reasonably run to 7 o'clock or later. However, in total, there are more than 30 amendments and motions. Some are highly contentious. The House has rarely been as full as it is today for a debate on procedural matters. We therefore know that the issues are highly contentious. The Executive, who are controlling Committee membership through the nominations on the Order Paper, now control the time during which the House can reasonably debate them.

I do not know whether the substantive debate will run until 7 o'clock; but, following this debate and a subsequent Division, there will be less than three hours for it. We should allow it to run its natural course. My guess is that it would probably run until just after 7 o'clock, so why waste time, as the Government increasingly do? The fact is that time to debate the present motion takes time out of the following debates, which are to run until 7 o'clock. That happens with every guillotine and it squeezes the time for debate, which means that many of us who feel strongly about such issues may not have an opportunity to speak on them.

We are trying to reinforce the message to the Executive, who are controlling not only the timetable, but the overall debate and Committee membership, that we should be allowed to speak on those matters as we wish. A number of Members have assembled here because they know in their heart of hearts that, however strongly they wish to speak, they will not be able to under the guillotine.

3.59 pm

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington, North): I, too, hope that we take a decision on this procedural motion very quickly, but I suggest that the whole business of appointing Select Committees, rushed timetables, timetable motions and

16 Jul 2001 : Column 30

guillotine motions does not bring Parliament into good repute anywhere outside this building. The public want Parliament to hold the Executive to account; they want Members to be able freely to question what the Executive, Ministers and agencies do; and, above all, they want Select Committees to be appointed not by the Executive or, under powers of patronage, by the Leader of the Opposition, but by non-office-holding Back Benchers.

A debate on such an important issue should not be limited to three hours. If necessary, the debate should go on longer, and I will invite the House to vote against this timetable motion, so that we can have more time seriously to discuss all the issues. It seems that too often, too quickly and too readily the House gives up its powers or allows restrictions to be placed on them and on debate, which debases the House in the public eye. We should consider the turnout in the recent general election and think about what the turnout will be in future elections.

If the House wants to be taken seriously, it must take itself and its role as a body of scrutiny, questioning, debate and proposal much more seriously than it does at present. We have already had a debate on "Shifting the Balance". Surely the message is that all is not well in the way that the House is run, and perhaps now is the time, during a debate on Select Committee appointments, to think about how to make the House more representative, more democratic and, above all, more effective in its work.

4.1 pm

Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan): I want to make a brief point that follows from what has just been said. This debate is limited to three hours, but following your strictures on the motions and amendments, Mr. Speaker, there could be eight or nine hours of votes. Three hours of debate and perhaps 10 hours voting is a strange ratio; perhaps those on the Government Front Bench will address that point.

Mr. Stephen Twigg: I am rapidly becoming used to being the Minister with responsibility for business of the House motions, and as such I am used to the synthetic anger conjured up by some Opposition Members, but the humbug that we have heard today takes the biscuit. We propose, if I am brief, to have three hours of debate, when on every previous similar occasion there has been only an hour and a half. We are debating the motion in prime time, when every similar debate under Conservative Governments was taken after 10 o'clock and often in the early hours of the morning. There are serious issues to contend with. We would have had three and a half hours of debate. We have lost time only because of the contributions made by Opposition Members. I suggest that we accept the motion immediately, so that we can have three hours of proper debate on the matter in hand.

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 290, Noes 160.

Division No. 25
[4.3 pm


Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Banks, Tony
Barrett, John
Barron, Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bell, Stuart
Benton, Joe
Berry, Roger
Blackman, Liz
Blizzard, Bob
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Brake, Tom
Brennan, Kevin
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Nicholas
(Newcastle E & Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, Andy
Burstow, Paul
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Cable, Dr Vincent
Cairns, David
Calton, Patsy
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Cawsey, Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Curtis–Thomas, Mrs Claire
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Field, Rt Hon Frank (Birkenhead)
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Goggins, Paul
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Grogan, John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Harris, Dr Evan (Oxford W)
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Harvey, Nick
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith
Hoey, Kate
Hood, Jimmy
Hope, Phil
Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, Rt Hon Adam
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jowell, Rt Hon Tessa
Joyce, Eric
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kelly, Ruth
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Laws, David
Laxton, Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Linton, Martin
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Luke, Iain
Lyons, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCafferty, Chris
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDougall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, Tony
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWilliam, John
Mahmood, Khalid
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Moore, Michael
Moran, Margaret
Morley, Elliot
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Oaten, Mark
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Edward
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Öpik, Lembit
Organ, Diana
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prescott, Rt Hon John
Pugh, Dr John
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Rt Hon Nick
Rendel, David
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Robertson, John
(Glasgow Anniesland)
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Joan
Salmond, Alex
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Adrian
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Shaw, Jonathan
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simon, Siôn
Singh, Marsha
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Southworth, Helen
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Rt Hon Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Thurso, John
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyler, Paul
Tynan, Bill
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Watson, Tom
Watts, David
Weir, Michael
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Willis, Phil
Wills, Michael
Wishart, Pete
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek
Younger–Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Ayes:

Dan Norris and
Mr. John Heppell.


Abbott, Ms Diane Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Austin, John Bacon, Richard Baldry, Tony Barker, Greg Barnes, Harry Beggs, Roy Bennett, Andrew Bercow, John Boswell, Tim Brazier, Julian Browning, Mrs Angela Burns, Simon Burt, Alistair Butterfill, John Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Cash, William Caton, Martin Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet) Clapham, Michael Clappison, James Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Clifton–Brown, Geoffrey Clwyd, Ann Collins, Tim Corbyn, Jeremy Cormack, Sir Patrick Cotter, Brian Cran, James Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley) Cryer, John (Hornchurch) Curry, Rt Hon David Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H) Djanogly, Jonathan Dodds, Nigel Duncan, Alan Etherington, Bill Fabricant, Michael Fallon, Michael Field, Mark (Cities of London) Flight, Howard Flynn, Paul Forth, Rt Hon Eric Francois, Mark Garnier, Edward Gibb, Nick Gillan, Mrs Cheryl Grayling, Chris Green, Damian (Ashford) Greenway, John Grieve, Dominic Griffiths, Jane (Reading E) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Hancock, Mike Havard, Dai Hawkins, Nick Heath, David Heathcoat–Amory, Rt Hon David Hendry, Charles Hinchliffe, David Hoban, Mark Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas Holmes, Paul Hopkins, Kelvin Horam, John Hughes, Simon (Southwark N) Hunter, Andrew Hurst, Alan Jenkin, Bernard Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak) Keetch, Paul Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness W) Kirkbride, Miss Julie Knight, Rt Hon Greg (E Yorkshire) Lait, Mrs Jacqui Lansley, Andrew Letwin, Oliver Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E) Liddell–Grainger, Ian Lidington, David Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Loughton, Tim Luff, Peter McDonnell, John McIntosh, Miss Anne MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew Mackinlay, Andrew Maclean, Rt Hon David McLoughlin, Patrick McWalter, Tony Mahon, Mrs Alice Malins, Humfrey Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Marshall–Andrews, Robert Martlew, Eric Maude, Rt Hon Francis Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian May, Mrs Theresa Mercer, Patrick Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield) Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby) Murrison, Dr Andrew O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury) Ottaway, Richard Page, Richard Paice, James Paterson, Owen Pickles, Eric Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Price, Adam Prisk, Mark Prosser, Gwyn Redwood, Rt Hon John Robathan, Andrew Robertson, Hugh (Faversham) Rosindell, Andrew Ruffley, David Sayeed, Jonathan Sedgemore, Brian Selous, Andrew Shepherd, Richard Simmonds, Mark Simpson, Keith (Mid–Norfolk) Skinner, Dennis Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe) Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent) Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns) Spelman, Mrs Caroline Spicer, Sir Michael Spink, Dr Robert Spring, Richard Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John Streeter, Gary Swayne, Desmond Tapsell, Sir Peter Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton) Taylor, John (Solihull) Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion) Trend, Michael Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight) Tyrie, Andrew Viggers, Peter Vis, Dr Rudi Wareing, Robert N Wiggin, Bill Wilkinson, John Willetts, David Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield) Wood, Mike Yeo, Tim Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. James Gray and
Mr. John Randall.

Question accordingly agreed to.

16 Jul 2001 : Column 34


That, at this day's sitting, the Speaker shall put the Questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on any Motion relating to the membership of Select Committees and the appointment of a Select Committee on the Modernisation of the House of Commons not later than Seven o'clock; such Questions shall include the Questions on any amendments selected by the Speaker which may then be moved; such Questions may be decided, though opposed, after the expiration of the time for opposed business; and Standing Order No. 38 (Procedure on divisions) shall apply and the Order [28th June] relating to Deferred Divisions shall not apply if, after the time for the interruption of business, the opinion of the Speaker as to the decision on a Question is challenged in respect of any of the said Questions.

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