Previous SectionIndexHome Page

Mr. Cash: I remain puzzled by the Minister's remarks. He told us that he would go through all the arguments and give us a full explanation, but he has done nothing of the kind. Furthermore, he says that a market will operate, but how can that happen if one puts an enormous roadblock in its way by saying that the unanimity rule will prevail? There will be no flexibility and no marketplace in such circumstances. On the one hand he suggests that he wants more freedom of action and opportunity, but on the other hand he takes it away.

Mr. Wills: I shall try again to illuminate the matter for the hon. Gentleman. With respect, he must focus on the purpose of the Bill—that is, for commonhold to take root. It is all very well for him to say, "Let's have a threshold of less than 100 per cent. Let's not worry about all the problems that will result or the burdensome bureaucracy, complexity and cost. Let's just assume that this will not have any deleterious effect on commonhold taking root"—

Mr. Tony McWalter (Hemel Hempstead): Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Wills: In a moment; I want first to deal with this point. We have gone over it again and again, and I want to have one last shot at convincing the hon. Member for Stone, after which I shall abandon all hope.

The hon. Gentleman must consider these matters in the round; one should never focus on just one aspect. I hope that he will finally be prepared to change his mind; that he will not be stubborn and obtuse about the matter; and that he will focus on the problems that would result from the amendment. In doing so, he should bear in mind the fact that the right-to-manage and right-to-enfranchise provisions in part 2 give leaseholders—whose concerns are in the forefront of all our minds—an effective remedy against the problems that Opposition Members have described at some length in relation to the amendment—and many times previously. Those are important advances that will benefit leaseholders everywhere, and I ask the hon. Gentleman to bear that in mind.

Mr. McWalter: Many Labour Members are worried about the matter, and I am grateful for my hon. Friend's arguments. Fears have been expressed that ultimately the Bill may be a dead letter because it is extremely difficult for people to get these associations off the ground. Will my hon. Friend undertake on behalf of the Government to reconsider the matter with a view to making such modifications as are necessary in the light of experience?

Mr. Wills: Of course I understand the concerns of my hon. Friend and of other hon. Friends who are not here, as well as those of Opposition Members, because this matter is important to their constituents. We are a flexible and responsive Government who want to deliver for the people of this country. If changes need to be made, of course we shall consider making them.

11 Mar 2002 : Column 667

Having given my hon. Friend that reassurance and, I hope, finally broken through the barriers to understanding on the part of Opposition Members, I hope that the hon. Member for Torbay will feel able to withdraw the amendment.

5.45 pm

Mr. Sanders: We have spent an extraordinarily long time on this subject in Committee and on the Floor of the House, and a great deal of time was devoted to it in the other place. As the Minister said, the purpose and principle of the Bill is to let commonhold take root. The amendment would do precisely that by removing the barriers that might prevent it from happening. We have heard some effective arguments from Opposition Members; in fact, the only unanimity has been on this side of the House.

The hon. Member for Clwyd, West (Gareth Thomas) made a good argument about the practicalities of the amendment being in place—that is, that leaseholders who voted in favour of commonhold would have to buy out the leases of those who did not. Given that the amendment calls for a 75 per cent. majority, the maximum number of leases that would need to be bought out would be to the value of 25 per cent. It is possible that those would not need to be bought out because the existing freeholder would only sell the 75 per cent. to those who wished to become commonholders. The leaseholders would not have to buy out in every event. On the other hand, if they did, the value of their commonhold association would be significant, and they would have little problem in raising the money. Of course, if they wished not to go ahead in the light of the figures, they would be at liberty not to do so. There is not, therefore, the blockage suggested by the hon. Member for Clwyd, West.

The British Property Federation believes that achieving the 100 per cent. requirement will be impossible in practice. One would not have expected that organisation to be a great ally of a Bill allowing people to enfranchise themselves with greater ease. If, as I suspect, the federation has decided, "This isn't going to work; it will be impossible for people to become commonholders", that is a good reason for Labour Members who believe in leasehold reform to support the amendment. I duly wish to press it to a vote.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 148, Noes 276.

Division No. 188
[5.48 pm


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Baker, Norman
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Brooke, Mrs Annette L
Browning, Mrs Angela
Burns, Simon
Burstow, Paul
Burt, Alistair
Cable, Dr Vincent
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Carmichael, Alistair
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
Clifton–Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Cran, James
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dodds, Nigel
Doughty, Sue
Duncan, Alan (Rutland & Melton)
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London)
Flight, Howard
Flook, Adrian
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger
Gibb, Nick
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Grieve, Dominic
Hammond, Philip
Harvey, Nick
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heath, David
Heathcoat–Amory, Rt Hon David
Hendry, Charles
Hermon, Lady
Hoban, Mark
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Holmes, Paul
Horam, John
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles
(Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Kirkwood, Archy
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lansley, Andrew
Laws, David
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell–Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Llwyd, Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Moore, Michael
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr Andrew
Norman, Archie
Oaten, Mark
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Prisk, Mark
Pugh, Dr John
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Rendel, David
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Sanders, Adrian
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Shepherd, Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swire, Hugo
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Trend, Michael
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyrie, Andrew
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve
Whittingdale, John
Wiggin, Bill
Wilkinson, John
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Wilshire, David
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Tom Brake and
Mr. Desmond Swayne.


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Banks, Tony
Beard, Nigel
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Stuart
Benton, Joe
Berry, Roger
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Bradley, Rt Hon Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Rt Hon Nicholas
(Newcastle E & Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, Andy
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Rt Hon Charles
(Norwich S)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Dalyell, Tam
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dobbin, Jim
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Farrelly, Paul
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Galloway, George
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Grogan, John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hanson, David
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Havard, Dai
Healey, John
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hoey, Kate
Hood, Jimmy
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hutton, Rt Hon John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Irranca–Davies, Huw
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Joyce, Eric
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kelly, Ruth
Kemp, Fraser
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Luke, Iain
McAvoy, Thomas
McCafferty, Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDougall, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNamara, Kevin
McNulty, Tony
McWalter, Tony
Mahmood, Khalid
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall–Andrews, Robert
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moran, Margaret
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Edward
O'Neill, Martin
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prescott, Rt Hon John
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quinn, Lawrie
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Rt Hon Nick
Robertson, John
(Glasgow Anniesland)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simon, Siôn
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stoate, Dr Howard
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Vis, Dr Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Wareing, Robert N
Watson, Tom
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Wills, Michael
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woolas, Phil
Wray, James
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Ivor Caplin and
Mr. Graham Stringer.

Question accordingly negatived.

11 Mar 2002 : Column 670

Mr. Wills: I beg to move amendment No. 10, in page 2, line 29, leave out paragraph (d).

Next Section

IndexHome Page