Previous SectionIndexHome Page

16 Oct 2002 : Column 423—continued

9.53 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mr. Elliot Morley): I welcome the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr. Hayes) to the Dispatch Box, where he is appearing for the first time with his new Front-Bench team. I am not sure that his grasp of the range of countryside issues has developed yet, but no doubt it will do so in due course.

I think it only courteous to respond to some of what has been said in the time remaining to me. The hon. Member for Gordon (Malcolm Bruce) made some very fair points about regulations on beef exports. We are trying to deal with that. The regulations are changing, which we believe will encourage more people to come into the market.

The Government have committed #30 million to broadband roll-out. We have also supported local initiatives such as XAct Now" in Cornwall, which is providing broadband access in rural areas. We currently have 67 per cent. access, which is one of the highest rates in the G7 countries.

My hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Goole (Mr. Cawsey) was right to point out that unemployment has fallen dramatically in rural areas. I would have thought that Opposition Front Benchers would congratulate the Government on the huge falls in unemployment in their constituencies under our policies, but surprisingly we heard not a word about that from them.

I strongly disagree with what the hon. Member for Hexham (Mr. Atkinson) said about the Secretary of State. This country now has a great deal of support in Europe—which, as the hon. Gentleman well knows, contrasts with the situation under the last Government, when we were completely isolated, our opinions counted for nothing, and we had no influence over anything.

16 Oct 2002 : Column 424

Now, we have support from member states who back the kind of proposals that are in the mid-term review. The Commission's proposals have been very much influenced by the arguments from this country. We are very much at the heart of the European Union, and are driving forward the changes. There has been no agreement on the mid-term review as yet, so I am not sure to what the hon. Gentleman's comments on the Meat and Livestock Commission relate.

My hon. Friend the Member for Reading, West (Mr. Salter) made an excellent point about those who wish to exploit a mythical divide between urban and rural areas. Most people in urban or rural areas have the same concerns and worries. We recognise those concerns and we do not seek to make false distinctions. My hon. Friend was right also to mention the importance of shooting and fishing and the fact that they are separate issues. He was right also that many who support shooting and angling do not support foxhunting. The distinctions ought to be made.

The hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings said that there were serious problems in agriculture, and no one would dispute that. The hon. Member for Gordon was fair to point out that those problems did not begin with the election of this Government. The problems are deep-seated, which is precisely why the Government set up the Food and Farming Commission to address them. The commission has received #500 million and the Government have provided #1.6 billion through the England rural development programme. The money has led to the reinstatement of the sort of schemes that every Member has been talking about today, including the need to reconnect farmers with the marketplace and the need to support marketing and integration. The previous Government axed marketing and processing grants; so much for their concern about agriculture and about meeting those needs. We have reinstated those grants in relation to the rural development fund. One of the problems that we face is that our share of the European rural development fund is a pathetic 3.5 per cent. [Hon. Members: XWhose fault is that?"] I will tell hon. Members; the amount is based on the historical record over the last 18 years of what was spent in rural areas. I thank hon. Members for the invitation to make that point. That was useful.

For all the rhetoric that we have heard tonight, the Conservatives, when they were in power, could have spent more in rural areas and on a rural strategy but nothing was done. We have been paying the price since. There has been selective quoting from rural advocates, as rural agencies have highlighted important successes with rural proofing, which was introduced by the Government.

Conservative policies for the countryside were summed up in the 25 new policies and initiatives about which we heard at Bournemouth. It is a pity that we did not play XName that Policy" to see who could recite them all. In a desperate bid to find new policies, someone was sent into the depths of Central Office to a filing cabinet with a skull and cross bones and a sign saying XDanger: do not open". He pulled out a drawer and, after removing Edwina's diaries, found a file marked XRejected mad policies". The policies date back to the 1980s, and include the selling of housing association houses in rural areas. How will that help

16 Oct 2002 : Column 425

rural housing need and rural communities? How will charities, many of which finance rural housing associations, feel about the fact that the Conservatives are pledged to sell off those homes, many of which were built with donations from local landowners who donated land and money and put the houses into trust for the local communities to benefit? They will be sold off at a discount—

David Maclean (Penrith and The Border) rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.

Question put accordingly, That the original words stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 192, Noes 283.

Division No. 322
[9:59 pm


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Allan, Richard
Amess, David
Ancram, rh Michael
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Bacon, Richard
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John (Billericay)
Beggs, Roy (E Antrim)
Bellingham, Henry
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom (Carshalton)
Brazier, Julian
Breed, Colin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L.
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Malcolm
Burnett, John
Burns, Simon
Burnside, David
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, John
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Cameron, David
Campbell, rh Menzies (NE Fife)
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clarke, rh Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Conway, Derek
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cotter, Brian
Curry, rh David
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dodds, Nigel
Donaldson, Jeffrey M.
Dorrell, rh Stephen
Doughty, Sue
Duncan, Alan (Rutland)
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Evans, Nigel
Ewing, Annabelle
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Westminster)
Flight, Howard
Forth, rh Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mark
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St. Ives)
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis)
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James (N Wilts)
Grayling, Chris
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Hague, rh William
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Harris, Dr. Evan (Oxford W & Abingdon)
Harvey, Nick
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John (S Holland)
Heald, Oliver
Hendry, Charles
Hermon, Lady
Hoban, Mark (Fareham)
Horam, John (Orpington)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Jack, rh Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Key, Robert (Salisbury)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Kirkwood, Archy
Knight, rh Greg (E Yorkshire)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Laws, David (Yeovil)
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, rh Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, rh Peter
Llwyd, Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
MacKay, rh Andrew
Maclean, rh David
Malins, Humfrey
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury & Atcham)
Maude, rh Francis
May, Mrs Theresa
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Moore, Michael
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Norman, Archie
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paisley, Rev. Ian
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Portillo, rh Michael
Price, Adam (E Carmarthen & Dinefwr)
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, John
Redwood, rh John
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham & M-Kent)
Robinson, Iris (Strangford)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Salmond, Alex
Sanders, Adrian
Selous, Andrew
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns Kincardine)
Smyth, Rev. Martin (Belfast S)
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob (Castle Point)
Spring, Richard
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, Dr. Richard (Wyre F)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Thurso, John
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyler, Paul (N Cornwall)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Waterson, Nigel
Webb, Steve (Northavon)
Weir, Michael
Widdecombe, rh Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Willis, Phil
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Wishart, Pete
Yeo, Tim (S Suffolk)
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. David Wilshire and
Angela Watkinson


Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale & Darwen)
Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Barnes, Harry
Beard, Nigel
Begg, Miss Anne
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe (Bootle)
Berry, Roger
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Boateng, rh Paul
Bradley, rh Keith (Withington)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, Andy
Cairns, David
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian (Brigg)
Challen, Colin
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clarke, rh Charles (Norwich S)
Clelland, David
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain
Connarty, Michael
Cook, rh Robin (Livingston)
Cox, Tom (Tooting)
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Curtis-Thomas, Claire
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, rh Alistair
Davidson, Ian
Davies, rh Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davis, rh Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, rh John
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dobson, rh Frank
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim (Lewisham W)
Drew, David (Stroud)
Dunwoody, Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Etherington, Bill
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead)
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul (Newport W)
Follett, Barbara
Foster, rh Derek
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foulkes, rh George
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike (Ilford S)
George, rh Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, rh Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hanson, David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Hodge, Margaret
Hoon, rh Geoffrey
Hope, Phil (Corby)
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, George (Knowsley N & Sefton E)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford & Urmston)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan (Braintree)
Hutton, rh John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Ingram, rh Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Joyce, Eric (Falkirk W)
Keen, Alan (Feltham)
Kidney, David
King, Andy (Rugby)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, David
Laxton, Bob (Derby N)
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
Luke, Iain (Dundee E)
MacDonald, Calum
MacDougall, John
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Khalid
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Marris, Rob (Wolverh'ton SW)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
McAvoy, Thomas
McCartney, rh Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, Tony
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Meacher, rh Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Alan
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Mole, Chris
Moonie, Dr. Lewis
Morgan, Julie
Morley, Elliot
Mountford, Kali
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, rh Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan (Wansdyke)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Hara, Edward
O'Neill, Martin
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter (Burnley)
Plaskitt, James
Pond, Chris (Gravesham)
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N)
Raynsford, rh Nick
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Chester)
Ryan, Joan (Enfield N)
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Sheridan, Jim
Short, rh Clare
Simon, Sion (B'ham Erdington)
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe Lunesdale)
Smith, rh Chris (Islington S & Finsbury)
Smith, rh Andrew (Oxford E)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh John
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stewart, David (Inverness E Lochaber)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Stringer, Graham
Tami, Mark (Alyn)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Touhig, Don (Islwyn)
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Brighton Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Vaz, Keith (Leicester E)
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Wareing, Robert N.
Watson, Tom (W Bromwich E)
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Williams, Betty (Conwy)
Williams, rh Alan (Swansea W)
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wood, Mike (Batley)
Woolas, Phil
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Fraser Kemp and
Mr. Gerry Sutcliffe

Question accordingly negatived.

16 Oct 2002 : Column 428

Question,That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments):—

The House divided: Ayes 279, Noes 185.

Next Section

IndexHome Page