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My goodness, one can see why he was made a Minister, and perhaps why he was moved on.

The problem with the access criteria is that they are fundamentally flawed. It is simply a matter of somebody at a computer deciding, as a matter of geography, which post offices should close and which stay open. They have failed to take account of major new housing developments and, worse still, they have not paid sufficient attention to hills, public transport links or unsafe roads. It will therefore be vulnerable people, older people and people with disabilities who suffer most. They are the people who depend most on their local post offices, and who will lose out most when the changes are made.

Let us be in no doubt: this is not the Post Office’s policy. This is the Government’s closure programme, because they decided how many post offices should close. They decided what the funding package and access criteria should be, and they decided which rules apply to the businesses that many people may continue once their post office has closed down. The Government can, if they wish, tonight instruct the Post Office to stop the programme.

We want a Post Office fit for the challenges of the 21st century, a Post Office not stuck in the past but able to take full advantage of the business opportunities present today. We welcome change, but we have a vision for the post office network; it should be sustained by new business, freed from the restrictions that tie it down today, and increasingly become a hub for local council and government services. However, that is not what the change programme is delivering; it is dismantling an important, much-loved service. We do not object to change, but we do object to the change that the Government are proposing, the flawed access criteria, the shortened consultation process, the lack of vision for future business and the appalling restrictions on future business activity.

At the end of the day, what people say on their websites and press releases will not save a single post office. If Labour Members of Parliament genuinely want to save their post offices, they have one chance, and that is to vote with us today.

This comes down to a question of trust. If we want people to have faith in their politicians, they must believe that politicians will not say one thing in their constituency on behalf of their communities, and vote against those words in the House of Commons. Constituents will not understand how MPs told them that they were on their side, but when they had the chance to vote against closures, they failed to do so. MPs will have failed their constituents, and they will have failed to live up to the standards that people should rightly expect of their Member of Parliament. Worse still, they will have turned their back on the elderly and others who are most in need. That betrayal of the most vulnerable people in their constituency will haunt them for the rest of their career.

19 Mar 2008 : Column 1036
6.45 pm

The Minister for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs (Mr. Pat McFadden): We have seen from the debate today the strong feelings that post office closures can arouse not only in the House, but in local communities. I understand that, as do the Government. That is why the Government support the post office network with such significant investment, and why we have done so over many years.

There is the subsidy of £150 million a year, without which thousands more post offices would be under threat. There is other support in the package of £1.7 billion up till 2011—support to cover losses over and above those that the subsidy covers, support to enable new outreach services to provide post office services in new ways, and other support that adds up to significant backing for the Post Office up to 2011. That was acknowledged by some in the debate, including my hon. Friend the Member for Hastings and Rye (Michael Jabez Foster).

The reason why we do that, as the Secretary of State said in his opening speech, is that we do not see the Post Office as a purely commercial concern. We appreciate its social and community role. Without the backing that the Government give to the Post Office, which was not there when the Conservatives were in power, a commercial network would consist of only about 4,000 branches. So when the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath) says that it is not just a commercial service, we agree. That is why we have put so much public backing behind it.

Even with the high level of subsidy, because of the decline in custom and the level of losses, some offices are having to close. I understand that that is unpopular, but sometimes government is about taking difficult decisions.

Mr. Greg Hands (Hammersmith and Fulham) (Con): The Minister visited a post office in my constituency last week which is housed by WH Smith in Kings mall, but is he aware that the other WH Smith housing a post office in my constituency was threatened with closure the very same week that it opened, owing to a planning application to demolish the building? Does he further think it is acceptable that the whole of London W14—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): Order. Just one point at a time.

Mr. McFadden: I visited the post office in WH Smith and spoke to customers there. That post office is operating well.

It is understandable that some people wish that the closures did not have to happen, but we are mindful of the amount of funding that taxpayers can put in to support a service that is facing profound change in terms of technology, how people live their lives and pay their bills, and competition.

Those issues used to matter to the Opposition, but faced with a difficult decision, what have they chosen to do? They have chosen to try to make it go away. They have chosen to say that the closure programme should stop. Thousands of post offices closed while they were in power. The sub-postmasters never got a penny in compensation. Today the Opposition have chosen to try to make the problem go away.

19 Mar 2008 : Column 1037

Miss Anne McIntosh (Vale of York) (Con): Will the Minister tell me how many villages in the Vale of York will be more than 3 miles away by car from the nearest post office?

Mr. McFadden: I shall come to the access criteria later.

Funding is a critical weakness of the Opposition motion. We have seen three different positions on funding in the debate. In his opening speech, the hon. Member for Rutland and Melton (Alan Duncan) was not clear at all that the Conservative party was committed to matching our funding. The hon. Member for Wealden (Charles Hendry) said that the party was clear on that, but if the motion goes through tonight the Conservatives will have to not only match our funding, but increase it. There have been three different positions on funding in one debate; that is the critical credibility problem with the motion.

Simon Hughes: Will the Minister give way?

Mr. McFadden: I will not for the moment.

The divide is about whether we support the Government’s investments or whether, like the Conservative party, we are utterly incoherent on financial support for the Post Office. The decision to close any post office is, of course, unpopular; worse, however, is the knowledge that when the Conservative party faces a problem, it simply asks for it to stop with an utterly incoherent financial position.

Anne Snelgrove: I have been listening to the debate today with great interest. Will the Minister tell me how voting for the Conservative motion would save a single sub-post office in this country?

Mr. McFadden: My hon. Friend asks a good question. Voting for the motion will not save post offices because the Conservative party has acknowledged that post offices have to close. All the motion would do is delay the decision, put sub-postmasters under further uncertainty, and then, the Conservatives have said, the closures would have to continue.

Let us consider some of the challenges that the Post Office is facing. Every day it is open for business, it loses £500,000. It has lost 4 million weekly customers in the past few years. Some of the least used post offices are subsidised at up to £17 per transaction.

Mr. James Gray (North Wiltshire) (Con): The Minister says that some post offices cost £17 per transaction. Perhaps he could do what Allan Leighton could not do during a recent conversation with the sub-postmistress of Yatton Keynell in my constituency. When she asked him how many post offices made a profit, he said, “I don’t know—I’m just waiting for my bonus when I give up my job at the end of my time.” Will the Minister tell us how many post offices make a profit? Why is he closing them too?

Mr. McFadden: If the hon. Gentleman had been listening, he would have heard me say that the commercial network is made up of about 4,000 post offices.

19 Mar 2008 : Column 1038

Alan Duncan: In the process of deciding which post offices should close, what is the principal criterion—profitability or access?

Mr. McFadden: The thing driving the closures is, of course, the loss of custom and money. That is what is behind the need to rationalise the network.

Eight out of 10 pensioners now choose to have their benefit paid directly into the bank; among new retirees, the figure is nine out of 10.

Dr. William McCrea (South Antrim) (DUP): Will the Minister give way?

Mr. McFadden: I am afraid that I want to make progress.

People have a choice about how to pay their car tax, and 1 million a month choose to renew it online—half of them outside the normal office hours of 9 to 5. More people are paying bills by direct debit and there is, of course, the issue of competition. My hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Goole (Mr. Cawsey) made a serious speech about competition and its challenge to the Post Office. Unlike Conservative Members, he realises that that is a big challenge when it comes to winning business such as bill and television licence payment.

Mr. Oliver Heald (North-East Hertfordshire) (Con): Will the Minister give way?

Mr. McFadden: I want to make progress. [Hon. Members: “Give way!”] I have given way a few times, and I would like to make progress.

The Opposition say that they want to make the issue go away. The issue is not just about the profitability of the post offices, but about what the Opposition would do about how benefits are paid. Are they really saying that they will turn back the clock and pay benefits and pensions by girocheque when the vast majority of people choose to pay them directly into the bank? Doing that would add a further £200 million of costs a year. If they are not saying that, why do they not accept that the Post Office faces those major challenges?

Let me turn to some of the specifics raised in the debate.

Mr. Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley) (Con): Will the Minister give way?

Mr. McFadden: I am afraid that I want to make progress.

Many Members raised the issue of consultation, including my hon. Friends the Members for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden) and for Brigg and Goole, the hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Turner), and my hon. Friends the Members for Barnsley, West and Penistone (Mr. Clapham) and Hastings and Rye. I acknowledge that there has been dissatisfaction and disquiet about the consultation process. Representations have been made that we should extend it from six weeks to 12, but six weeks was the period used during the last period of post office closures and is the period agreed between Postwatch and Post Office Ltd in their code of practice— [ Interruption. ]

19 Mar 2008 : Column 1039

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I am sorry to interrupt the Minister, but there is too much noise in the House. We have had a full debate and the Minister is entitled to make a reply that can be heard.

Mr. McFadden: Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Many hon. Members talked about the consultation, which is about how, not whether, this is to be done. The Select Committee on Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform picked up on that in its most recent report, and it was right to do so. Post Office Ltd must be clearer that that is the question before the people, because that is what is producing some of the frustration in local communities. Hon. Members have expressed confusion about this. Let me quote the letter that was sent to all hon. Members back in July, before the process began. It said that the consultation

Simon Hughes: Given that the Minister will not change his policy on delaying consultation, will he at least instruct the Post Office to ensure that it gives all the information to Members of Parliament so that the individual merits of every post office can be in the public domain and we can win an argument on the basis of the facts?

Mr. McFadden: As I have said, the Post Office needs to be clearer about the consultation and about the question before people.

My hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley, West and Penistone and the hon. Members for Newbury (Mr. Benyon) and for Clwyd, West (Mr. Jones), among others, mentioned the access criteria. Let me be clear. Those criteria represent a minimum, and Government funding is to fund the network to a much higher extent than that minimum would require. In plans so far—

Dr. McCrea rose—

Mr. McFadden: I am afraid that I do not have time to give way again.

To give some sense of perspective, let me say that 99 per cent. of people will either see no change in the post office that they use or be within a mile of an alternative post office. If we followed the advice of Conservative Members by abandoning the access criteria and closing only the post offices that are least used, vast areas of rural Britain would be without post office provision at all, and those are precisely the areas that hon. Members say that they are interested in.

Some local authorities, for example in Essex—not in Swindon, unfortunately, despite the efforts of the local MPs—have expressed interest in taking over post offices scheduled for closure. We have said that the Post Office should sit down and discuss that seriously with those local authorities. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has written to the chief executive of Post Office Ltd today saying that that should happen, and if local authorities are interested they should have those discussions. The Post Office will expect to recover all costs, but that is a serious conversation that should take place.

19 Mar 2008 : Column 1040

On commercial freedom, let me quote the general secretary of the National Federation of SubPostmasters, who said

They do not lose all compensation. An adjustment is made—

Mr. Andrew Robathan (Blaby) (Con) 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, That the original words stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 268, Noes 288.
Division No. 131]
[6.59 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane
Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Alexander, Danny
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, Mr. John
Barrett, John
Beith, rh Mr. Alan
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brake, Tom
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Breed, Mr. Colin
Brokenshire, James
Brooke, Annette
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Browning, Angela
Bruce, rh Malcolm
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Alistair
Burt, Lorely
Campbell, Mr. Gregory
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clegg, rh Mr. Nick
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Cummings, John
Curry, rh Mr. David
Davey, Mr. Edward
Davies, Mr. Dai
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dodds, Mr. Nigel
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Drew, Mr. David
Duddridge, James
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Farron, Tim
Featherstone, Lynne
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Field, Mr. Mark
Flynn, Paul
Foster, Mr. Don
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Mr. Roger
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
George, Andrew
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gove, Michael
Gray, Mr. James
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Greenway, Mr. John
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Grogan, Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hancock, Mr. Mike

Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Harris, Dr. Evan
Harvey, Nick
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heath, Mr. David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hoey, Kate
Hogg, rh Mr. Douglas
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Holmes, Paul
Hopkins, Kelvin
Horam, Mr. John
Horwood, Martin
Howarth, David
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hunter, Mark
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Keetch, Mr. Paul
Kennedy, rh Mr. Charles
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Kramer, Susan
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Laws, Mr. David
Leech, Mr. John
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Maclean, rh David
MacNeil, Mr. Angus
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Maples, Mr. John
Martlew, Mr. Eric
Mates, rh Mr. Michael
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McCrea, Dr. William
McDonnell, John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Meale, Mr. Alan
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moore, Mr. Michael
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Mulholland, Greg
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Osborne, Mr. George
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Price, Adam
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rennie, Willie
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Angus
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Rogerson, Dan
Rosindell, Andrew
Rowen, Paul
Ruffley, Mr. David
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Alan
Simpson, David
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Smith, Geraldine
Smith, Sir Robert
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Mr. Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swinson, Jo
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, David
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Taylor, Matthew
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Teather, Sarah
Thurso, John
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Viggers, Peter
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa

Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Walter, Mr. Robert
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve
Weir, Mr. Mike
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, Mr. David
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Mark
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wilshire, Mr. David
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Wishart, Pete
Wood, Mike
Wright, Jeremy
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Crispin Blunt and
Mr. Richard Benyon

Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Austin, John
Baird, Vera
Balls, rh Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Sir Stuart
Benn, rh Hilary
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, rh Mr. Gordon
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, rh Andy
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Caton, Mr. Martin
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Cook, Frank
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, rh Yvette
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, Mr. David
Creagh, Mary
Cruddas, Jon
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Darling, rh Mr. Alistair
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, rh Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter

Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Mr. Tom
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hood, Mr. Jim
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hughes, rh Beverley
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Lynne
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mackinlay, Andrew
MacShane, rh Mr. Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Mr. Khalid
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Mr. Alan
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Morden, Jessica
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, Mr. George
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Osborne, Sandra
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prescott, rh Mr. John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, rh James
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Reid, rh John
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Christine
Ryan, rh Joan
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Seabeck, Alison
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, rh Jacqui
Snelgrove, Anne
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Twigg, Derek
Vaz, rh Keith
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Wills, Mr. Michael
Wilson, Phil
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek
Tellers for the Noes:

Steve McCabe and
Mr. Wayne David
Question accordingly negatived.
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