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Mr. James Wray (Glasgow, Baillieston): Has the Leader of the House made time available to debate the shipbuilding industry throughout the UK? A question was asked in the other place about the number of schemes set up since 1997. I notice that the answer was nil.
Mr. Cook: I fully understand my hon. Friend's constituency interest and the great importance of the shipbuilding industry to our economy. There is an Adjournment debate on the matter next week, but obviously I shall consult my colleagues on what further facilities they can make available to allow my hon. Friend to register his views with them.
Sir Michael Spicer (West Worcestershire): Will the Leader of the House confirm that the appalling measure he proposes to introduce next week with respect to Sinn Fein/IRA does not apply to the staff of those concerned?
Mr. Cook: The position in relation to staff of the four Members who have not taken the Oath will be precisely the same as that for any other member of staff. [Interruption.] No, they will be subject to the same security vetting as any other member of staff.
Ms Debra Shipley (Stourbridge): With reference to my right hon. Friend's answer on paedophiles, can a statement be made on the monitoring of all the features that the Government have put in place since 1997, to find out how effective they are? I took the Protection of Children Act 1999 through the House and I am very concerned that effectiveness is not being monitored, although such monitoring is desirable. With reference to paedophiles in particular, will my hon. Friend reassure me and the House that the sentencing White Paper promised for spring will be introduced then or preferably sooner, but certainly not later?
Mr. Cook: I can assure the House and my hon. Friend that the Secretary of State for the Home Department attaches great priority to the matter, and work is proceeding with all speed. I hope that we can keep to the timetable we have set ourselves. It is important that sentencing policy should be reviewed and, as my hon. Friend says, it is important that we put the sense into sentencing.
Mr. Cook: I am advised by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland that the matter was discussed two years ago, so it has not arisen unknown and unheralded. As to the vote next Tuesday, it will be on a one-line Whip. If Labour Back Benchers do not share the view I have expressed, they are perfectly entitled to express theirs. As to other members of the Government, I shall move the motion on the Government's behalf and of course I shall, not unreasonably, look to the Government for support.
Mr. Harry Barnes (North-East Derbyshire): The Leader of the House is aware that I have never been soft on Sinn Fein or the IRA, but is he further aware that Sinn Fein, at one time, would not take its seats in the Republic of Ireland or in Stormont, because there was no united Ireland at the time? Now it is involved in those bodies and involved in the Northern Ireland Executive. A Sinn Fein Member has toured the Floor of the House as a guest of the British-Irish parliamentary body. The more such people are involved in our activities, the more influence that will have on them. Their involvement means that they are selling out some of their distorted principles from the past, which is very welcome indeed.
Mr. Cook: Before I reply to my hon. Friend, may I clarify something that I said earlier? I am advised that it was the SDLP that agreed to the crest for the Northern Ireland police yesterday; Sinn Fein has no members on the policing board for the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
I fully recognise my hon. Friend's deep and long-standing interest in Northern Ireland politics, and I welcome the sentiments that he expressed. We are engaged in a process; we want that process to advance; we want to draw into that process precisely those who have resisted peace in Northern Ireland in the past. If we refused to take the modest step of allowing them into the precincts[Hon. Members: "Modest?"] Indeed it is a modest step to allow them access to the Vote Office and the Library. If we refused to take that step, would it be any surprise if they themselves doubted whether we were interested in taking the process any further?
Mr. James Arbuthnot (North-East Hampshire): Will the Leader of the House confirm that he began by saying that Tuesday's debate would involve a free vote, went on to say that there would be a free vote for Back Benchers, and then said that the equivalent of a Whip would be issued to all Labour Front Benchersall Ministers and all parliamentary private secretaries? That means that the right hon. Gentleman will, in effect, be whipping through the House of Commons entry to the House of Commons for people who deny the basic constitution of this country. Is that what the right hon. Gentleman is saying?
As for Tuesday's vote, yes, it will be unwhipped for the parliamentary Labour party. But the right hon. Gentleman has been a Chief Whip: he is not wet behind the ears. He knows perfectly well that when a Minister moves a Government motion he will expect other Ministers to support him.
Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield): I know that a private notice question was asked last week, but should there not be an emergency debate or a statement next week, given the events of the past 24 hours in the middle east? Does my right hon. Friend agree that our correct condemnation of terror attacks on buses in no way gives a green light for tanks on the streets of Ramullah, jet or helicopter gunship attacks, or what now appears to be a rather blatant attempt by the Sharon Government to topple President Arafat altogether?
Mr. Cook: My hon. Friend will know that there was a statement on the middle east the other week. I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary will want to consider when another might be appropriate. In the meantime, I fully share my hon. Friend's anxiety about the present desperate situation in the middle east. We are particularly concerned about the statement that the Israeli Government will not engage in further talks with Chairman Arafat. The fact is that there will be no progress on peace unless there is dialogue about peace. As I have told the House before, it is not by means of tanks or helicopter gunships or suicide bombers that we will establish peace in the middle east; we will do so only by means of negotiations at the peace table.
Mr. Alan Duncan (Rutland and Melton): As we look across the Chamber at the crest of Airey Neave, we should bear in mind the fact that this is a week in which immigrants may have to swear an oath of allegiance, and in which IRA funds from the United States may finally have dried up. Next week, we will debate a completely contemptible motion giving special recognition to people who refused to swear any allegiance, and whose funds will now be provided by the state. Will that motion be amendable, allowing those people's cash benefits and allowances to be set at zero?
Mr. Cook: The motion will be amendable. The hon. Gentleman and his colleagues can table any amendment that is in order. That is out of my hands, but I would expect amendments of the kind proposed by the hon. Gentleman to be capable of being tabled and debated in the House.
The whole purpose of the peace process is to ensure that tragic deaths and murders such as that of Airey Neave do not occur again. It is therefore important to make certain that the peace process continues. Yes, it is challenging, and many people in Northern Ireland have had to face challenging decisions as a result of it; but I hope that the House will not shrink from what it is asked to do.
[That this House opposes the increase in segregated faith schools as outlined in the Education White Paper, Schools achieving success; notes that the White Paper says that church and other faith schools must be inclusive but that schools with a particular religious ethos cannot by their very nature be inclusive, because there is discrimination through selection with those of a particular faith being favoured over children who are not of that faith or indeed are atheist, that religious schools choose their children rather than the other way around, that an increase in religious schools may lead to less integration of communities, causing division; and being taught in a religious school is not necessarily a sound basis for living in a multi-cultural society; and further notes that events in Northern Ireland and also in Bradford indicate that we should be working for the greater integration rather than the division of our schools.]
In the light of recent reports on the riots in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford, which clearly point to segregated education as a problem; and of Lord Ouseley's report, published during the summer, which blamed segregated education for the lack of understanding between different cultures; and of the fact that, in opinion polls, an overwhelming number of people come out against any more faith schools, may we have a debate just on that issue before it appears in a Bill and is lumped in with lots of other things? Given the overwhelming opposition to more faith schools, we need to debate the issue.