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Dr. Cable: Has the Minister seen the contrary legal opinion? Before reaching a firm conclusion, is he willing to review it?

Nigel Griffiths: I have seen the opinion. The NGOs who commissioned it did me the great courtesy of coming to my office to discuss it with me. I am not a lawyer and so cannot pass legal judgment on it, but the opinion has been seen by the Government lawyers and it is that which has allowed me to respond so robustly and, I hope, helpfully. I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Central for having raised that issue and enabling us to put our position clearly on the record.

Tony Worthington: I am not convinced by the Minister's argument. There is clearly a difference of opinion, so it would seem sensible for the Government to put the matter beyond all doubt by adding sustainable development to the criteria, so that we have no court problems in future. One of the benefits of scrutiny by parliamentarians is that we can get rid of the ambiguities that the Minister admits remain.

Nigel Griffiths: No words spoken in the House and no Act of Parliament put anything beyond doubt. We know that from the plethora of court cases that arise. It is important that hon. Members respect the fact that when direct questions are put to me and I answer yes or no, we put beyond doubt the issues raised and we make clear our opinion on a legal opinion. The world is replete with legal opinions.

Many hon. Members raised the question of sustainable development, and rightly so. Several pointed out, wrongly—I am sure that that was because they have misread briefings or the Bill—that sustainable development is the only one of the consolidated EU criteria that is not included in the Bill.

Dr. Cable: Will the Minister give way?

Nigel Griffiths: No. I have given way once to the hon. Gentleman and I want to make some progress. I do not know whether he was one of those who said that—we will check Hansard—but several hon. Members did, and at least one is willing to admit to having done so.

Let us be clear. Another of the criteria that is not listed in the schedule is criterion 7, which covers diversion. I explained that if diversion were to be listed in the schedule, it would give us the power to impose controls by order solely on the grounds that the goods might be diverted, which would in effect allow us to control all exports of any goods because any goods might be diverted. That goes to the heart of the distinction between the schedule, which allows us to impose controls, and clause 7, which requires us to take the criteria into account when taking licensing decisions.

Nothing in the Bill will affect one jot the Government's current ability to take criterion 8—sustainable development—fully into account. The Bill makes it clear that matters in the schedule are not the only matters that

8 Nov 2001 : Column 416

can form the basis of a licensing decision. The purposes essentially determine the reasons for which controls can be imposed on particular goods and technology.

Another issue was raised in that context.

Mr. Roger Berry (Kingswood): Will my hon. Friend give way?

Nigel Griffiths: I shall finish what I was saying and then give way.

It has been said that no matter how benign, effective or otherwise I am as a Minister, or the Government are, a future Government may choose to ignore the EU criteria because they are not in the schedule. Even if a future Government tried to withdraw or water down the guidance on the criteria in the Bill, the EU code of conduct on arms exports would continue to apply until specifically withdrawn by the EU in its common foreign and security policy formation. I see no prospect of that happening. If anything, the direction of continuing discussions within the EU is to strengthen the code.

Mr. Berry: Does my hon. Friend not accept that there will be less doubt if sustainable development is one of the criteria in the Bill?

Nigel Griffiths: There may also be less flexibility. It is important to ensure that the EU code of conduct on arms exports is applied throughout the EU and is strengthened. We have been at the forefront of that process.

The issue of Lord Scott's opinions has been raised. The Bill clearly addresses his criticisms by setting out in the schedule the reasons for which controls may be imposed on the export of goods, the transfer of technology, the provision of technical assistance and trade in goods, and further by making it clear in clause 7 that the consolidated criteria will continue to inform day-to-day decisions on export licences.

Angus Robertson: Will the Minister clarify whether he is asserting that the EU code of conduct is legally binding?

Nigel Griffiths: The Government are taking into account, and must do so, the consolidated criteria in the EU code of conduct. We have done that, and are continuing to do so. I have made it clear that the possibility of a future Government changing the policy and trying to duck their responsibilities is virtually non-existent.

My hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under- Lyme (Paul Farrelly) referred to some specific examples, but as he knows, I cannot comment on individual cases. However, he raised an important point of principle on which I think the House will want to have the Government's views on record. I can assure my hon. Friend and the House that the Bill will give us the power to control UK citizens and anyone operating in the UK, which I think was the point that he was making. He was concerned about someone who was not a UK citizen who was a trafficker and broker in arms to arms-embargoed destinations such as Zimbabwe. Such people will be caught. That is important.

8 Nov 2001 : Column 417

I shall ensure for the benefit of the House—

Mr. Andrew Lansley (South Cambridgeshire): Will the Minister give way?

Nigel Griffiths: No. I want fully to answer the point that my hon. Friend made. No doubt will be created by the current formulation in the Bill. The code is not legally binding, but there is no realistic prospect of any Government withdrawing from it. It is a political commitment, and one that causes me to urge on the House acceptance of the Government's amendments and the rejection—

Mr. Lansley rose

Nigel Griffiths: No, I will not give way to the hon. Gentleman because he has not been in the Chamber throughout the debate.

I ask the House to reject the amendments that have not been tabled by the Government for the very good grounds that I have set out.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time.

Amendment proposed to the proposed new clause: (a), in line 4, leave out from "order" to end of line 6 and insert—

'(a) has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament, and
(b) provides—
(i) for the order to expire, or
(ii) for the provision imposing them to cease to have effect,'.—[Mr. Key.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 117, Noes 251.

Division No. 51
[3.45 pm


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Baron, John
Barrett, John
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Brady, Graham
Brooke, Annette
Burstow, Paul
Cable, Dr Vincent
Cameron, David
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
Clifton–Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Doughty, Sue
Duncan, Alan (Rutland & Melton)
Ewing, Annabelle
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London)
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
Francois, Mark
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St Ives)
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Grieve, Dominic
Harris, Dr Evan (Oxford W)
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heath, David
Heathcoat–Amory, Rt Hon David
Hoban, Mark
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Holmes, Paul
Horam, John
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jenkin, Bernard
Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles
(Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lansley, Andrew
Laws, David
Leigh, Edward
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell–Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Luff, Peter
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Moore, Michael
Murrison, Dr Andrew
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Prisk, Mark
Pugh, Dr John
Randall, John
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham)
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Sanders, Adrian
Selous, Andrew
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo
Syms, Robert
Taylor, Dr Richard (Wyre F)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Tyler, Paul
Tyrie, Andrew
Weir, Michael
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Willis, Phil
Wilshire, David
Wishart, Pete
Younger–Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Julian Brazier and
Mr. Laurence Robertson.


Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Barnes, Harry
Battle, John
Beard, Nigel
Bell, Stuart
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blizzard, Bob
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul
Borrow, David
Bradley, Rt Hon Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, Andy
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Rt Hon Charles
(Norwich S)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clwyd, Ann
Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, Rt Hon John
Dismore, Andrew
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Farrelly, Paul
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Francis, Dr Hywel
Galloway, George
Gardiner, Barry
George, Rt Hon Bruce (Walsall S)
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, Rt Hon Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Havard, Dai
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, Rt Hon Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Margaret
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, Rt Hon John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Ingram, Rt Hon Adam
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Joyce, Eric
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kemp, Fraser
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lammy, David
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Andrew
Luke, Iain
Lyons, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCafferty, Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
MacDougall, John
McFall, John
McKechin, Ann
McNulty, Tony
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Khalid
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Morgan, Julie
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Rt Hon Estelle
Mountford, Kali
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Neill, Martin
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prosser, Gwyn
Quinn, Lawrie
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Rt Hon Nick
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Robertson, John
(Glasgow Anniesland)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie
Roy, Frank
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Joan
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Shipley, Ms Debra
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tynan, Bill
Vis, Dr Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Watson, Tom
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)

Tellers for the Noes:

Jim Fitzpatrick and
Mr. John Heppell.

Question accordingly negatived.

8 Nov 2001 : Column 420

Clause added to the Bill.

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