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3 Feb 2003 : Column 74—continued

Mr. Redwood: Is there not an easy way out? Why does not the Minister say that the House is right to want to consider the matter once we know the answer? When we know how many Members of the European Parliament need to be elected at the next election, all she has to do is to get the business managers to give her a day or two on the Floor of the House to bring the necessary amendment before us as primary legislation, and all will be well. It is not as though the House has very much to do. It is going home terribly early every night because it does not have enough business, and there are lots of Fridays when it does not sit at all. People outside do not understand why we do not do a decent day's work every day. Why cannot we have some time to do as I suggest?

Yvette Cooper: I am sorry to hear that the right hon. Gentleman is not enjoying his early morning rises in order to get to the House. Astonishingly, he seemed at one point to be accusing the hon. Member for Stone of not being Eurosceptic enough, which seemed to trouble the hon. Gentleman. Opposition Members are simply trying to put hurdles in the way of the accession states ensuring fair representation in the European Parliament: that, in the end, is what all this is about.

We are going through a sensible process. The order will come back before Parliament once the Council decision has been taken.

Mr. Bercow: Will the hon. Lady give way?

Yvette Cooper: In a minute.

It is perfectly sensible that the Council's decision should be implemented to complete the process. We discussed extensively in Committee the fact that future alterations to the number of MEPs must be made in accordance with a treaty or by virtue of a requirement in a treaty. The number of MEPs is set out in a treaty and, under article 5, cannot be changed, except in accordance with a treaty.

Mr. Heath: Will the hon. Lady confirm, however, that, unless the clause is amended, a future treaty that

3 Feb 2003 : Column 75

included a change in the number of MEPs would be implemented through primary legislation, not secondary legislation?

Yvette Cooper: A future treaty would have to be ratified in this country; that is how we have always handled important treaties.

Mr. Heath: This is a key point. We have no provision for the ratification of a treaty, other than for those matters that require a change in UK law. If a change in UK law was not needed because the matter was to be dealt with through secondary legislation, it would not be ratified by the House or anyone else; it would be made simply on the say-so of Government.

Yvette Cooper: I appreciate that hon. Members are desperate to place hurdles in the way of the reforms that we need to put in place, but—

Mr. Bercow: Will the hon. Lady give way?

Yvette Cooper: It would be nice to be able to answer one intervention before taking another. I will give way to the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow), as it is always a pleasure to hear the points that he makes.

There has been plenty of discussion throughout the Bill's passage through the House. I can testify to the extensive debates that we had in Committee, not only on the final numbers set out in the treaty of Nice, but on the interim arrangements. We have debated the Bill as primary legislation. The order setting out the interim arrangements for the number of MEPs as a result of the Council decision will be subject to the affirmative procedure. We will also have the opportunity to ratify the treaty of accession. There are ample safeguards for Parliament, and we are dealing with such a transitional issue—the number of MEPs, which must be established by a pro rata adjustment. That is not a number that can be plucked out of thin air by the European Commission or the European Council. There is not a wide range of decisions that need to be taken. A narrow decision has to be implemented in respect of the transitional arrangements for when some states accede. It is right that we give those countries the right to representation.

Mr. Bercow rose—

Yvette Cooper: I give way briefly to the hon. Member for Buckingham, if he can remember what he was going to ask.

Mr. Bercow: I can always remember what I was going to ask.

I simply put it to the hon. Lady that it would be wise and gracious for her to accept that in arguing that pushing something through via secondary legislation is different from an alternative to, and is less than, proper ratification, the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath) was absolutely right. The hon. Lady, I am sorry to say, was absolutely wrong.

Yvette Cooper: The hon. Gentleman is mistaking two completely different issues. I have said that the order will go through the affirmative procedure. I have made

3 Feb 2003 : Column 76

no comment about the ratification procedure. Hon. Members are putting hurdles in the way.

What is at stake is that other countries should be able to accede to the European Union. We should support that, and we should give them their fair representation. Opposition Members say that they want enlargement, that they want other countries to be able to accede, but they do not want to give them their representation in the European Parliament.

Mr. Gummer rose—

Yvette Cooper: I shall not give way. We have had considerable debate.

We must give those countries fair representation. That involves reducing the number of MEPs from this country, and also from other countries right across Europe. It is the fair thing to do in order to ensure that countries acceding to the European Union receive their fair representation. I am sorry that Opposition Members choose not to support that.

Mr. Cash: I have only one point to make, which is that the Minister has answered none of the matters raised: zero. She has given absolutely no response. She did not deal with the European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002, and she did not deal with the principal matters raised by many right hon. and hon. Members. In her final remarks, she completely failed to answer the question that my right hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer) and I and others raised, which is implicit in my amendment: what is it that leads the hon. Lady to need to substitute for the precise wording of the protocol the words


She has failed miserably to answer those questions.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 176, Noes 287.

Division No. 72
[7:12 pm


AYES


Allan, Richard
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John (Billericay)
Barrett, John
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, rh Virginia (SW Surrey)
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom (Carshalton)
Brazier, Julian
Breed, Colin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L.
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Malcolm
Burstow, Paul
Burt, Alistair
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Cameron, David
Carmichael, Alistair
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chidgey, David
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Conway, Derek
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cotter, Brian
Cran, James (Beverley)
Curry, rh David
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham & Stamford)
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Duncan, Alan (Rutland)
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Duncan Smith, rh Iain
Ewing, Annabelle
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Westminster)
Flight, Howard
Forth, rh Eric
Francois, Mark
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St. Ives)
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis)
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James (N Wilts)
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, rh John
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Harvey, Nick
Hawkins, Nick
Heald, Oliver
Heath, David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David
Hendry, Charles
Hermon, Lady
Hoban, Mark (Fareham)
Holmes, Paul
Horam, John (Orpington)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Jack, rh Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, rh Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness)
Key, Robert (Salisbury)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lamb, Norman
Lansley, Andrew
Laws, David (Yeovil)
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, rh Oliver
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, rh Peter
Llwyd, Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Mackay, rh Andrew
Maclean, rh David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury & Atcham)
Maude, rh Francis
Mawhinney, rh Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Moore, Michael
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Oaten, Mark (Winchester)
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Price, Adam (E Carmarthen & Dinefwr)
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, John
Redwood, rh John
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Robinson, Mrs Iris (Strangford)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Sanders, Adrian
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Shephard, rh Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns & Kincardine)
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob (Castle Point)
Spring, Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Syms, Robert
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Thurso, John
Tonge, Dr. Jenny
Tredinnick, David
Tyler, Paul (N Cornwall)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve (Northavon)
Weir, Michael
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Willis, Phil
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Wishart, Pete
Yeo, Tim (S Suffolk)
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Ayes:


Hugh Robertson and
Mr. Desmond Swayne


NOES


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham
Anderson, rh Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale & Darwen)
Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Barnes, Harry
Barron, rh Kevin
Battle, John
Beard, Nigel
Begg, Miss Anne
Benn, Hilary
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe (Bootle)
Berry, Roger
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Borrow, David
Bradley, rh Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian (Brigg)
Challen, Colin
Clark, Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann (Cynon V)
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain
Connarty, Michael
Cook, rh Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom (Tooting)
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, rh Dr. Jack (Copeland)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
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
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim (Heywood)
Dowd, Jim (Lewisham W)
Drew, David (Stroud)
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff (Barnsley E)
Etherington, Bill
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead)
Fisher, Mark
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul (Newport W)
Follett, Barbara
Foster, rh Derek
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foulkes, rh George
Gapes, Mike (Ilford S)
Gardiner, Barry
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, rh Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hanson, David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Hodge, Margaret
Hoey, Kate (Vauxhall)
Hoon, rh Geoffrey
Hope, Phil (Corby)
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N & Sefton E)
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan (Braintree)
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, rh Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead & Highgate)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Joyce, Eric (Falkirk W)
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Ann (Brentford)
Kemp, Fraser
Khabra, Piara S.
Kidney, David
King, Andy (Rugby)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green & Bow)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom (High Peak)
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Liddell, rh Mrs Helen
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCafferty, Chris
McCartney, rh Ian
McIsaac, Shona
McNamara, Kevin
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
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
Meacher, rh Michael
Meale, Alan (Mansfield)
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moonie, Dr. Lewis
Moran, Margaret
Morley, Elliot
Morris, rh Estelle
Mountford, Kali
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Norris, Dan (Wansdyke)
O'Hara, Edward
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Diana
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter (Burnley)
Pond, Chris (Gravesham)
Pope, Greg (Hyndburn)
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N)
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Reid, rh Dr. John (Hamilton N & Bellshill)
Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Chester)
Ryan, Joan (Enfield N)
Salter, Martin
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, rh Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, rh Chris (Islington S & Finsbury)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh John
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Tami, Mark (Alyn)
Taylor, rh Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth (Harrow W)
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Touhig, Don (Islwyn)
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Brighton Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Robert N.
Watson, Tom (W Bromwich E)
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Alan (Swansea W)
Williams, Betty (Conwy)
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wood, Mike (Batley)
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Wray, James (Glasgow Baillieston)
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)

Tellers for the Noes:


Jim Fitzpatrick and
Derek Twigg

Question accordingly negatived.

3 Feb 2003 : Column 79

3 Feb 2003 : Column 80

Mr. Heath: I beg to move amendment No. 1, in page 2, line 27 page 2, line 27 [Clause 2], leave out subsection (4) and insert—


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