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9.55 pm

Mr. Francis Maude (Horsham) (Con): Tonight’s episode has been a pretty unseemly end to what I believe the Justice Secretary will admit has not been a particularly glorious legislative process that the Bill has gone through in this House. The Bill started life in autumn last year as a thoroughly partisan measure designed to achieve—let us face it—political advantage. The policy goals were exceptionally poorly thought through, leaving the unfortunate parliamentary draftsman an impossible task. The main provisions attracted significant criticism from all sides; the Electoral Commission pointed out that a number went well beyond what it had sought and that other provisions provided no benefit and had a significant downside. All the political parties, including his own, attacked several of the Bill’s original provisions.

The storm of obloquy that the Bill attracted prompted the Secretary of State to return, belatedly, to the path of discussion and common sense, even if consensus was not achieved in all matters. The requirement to verify the source of donations was sensibly dropped, the powers for the Electoral Commission were sensibly trimmed back and the thoroughly partisan proposal to reintroduce triggering was dropped; the Bill is completely different from what was introduced in the autumn of last year. This has been achieved much less by dint of having full and open debate in the Commons—in this House and in Committee—because of the rigidity of the programme motion that was introduced, which allowed very little scope for the sort of matters that my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest, East (Dr. Lewis) raised this evening and has led to what most of the House would recognise to have been a fairly unseemly process.

The Bill is a massive missed opportunity to deal with the big donor culture by having a genuine across-the-board cap on donations.

David Howarth rose—

Mr. Maude: I do not have time to give way. The Liberal Democrats have occupied enough air time tonight and I am certainly not going to give them any more.

There was a real opportunity to put together a cap that would have applied to all donations, including those to political parties from trade union affiliation fees. At some stage these issues will need to be addressed thoroughly. Every effort should be made at all times to seek consensus on these matters.

I am glad that at the eleventh hour the Government have, at last, agreed to move ahead with individual voter registration, albeit in what still seems to be a lamentably leisurely time scale. They committed to the principle of individual voter registration many years ago, but a bit like St. Augustine, they seem to be saying, “Make me chaste, but not yet.” Some Labour Back Benchers seemed to be suggesting that this process, which is scheduled not to be completed until 2015, should be allowed to run yet further, but that is quite wrong. We approve of
2 Mar 2009 : Column 696
the decision to go ahead, and we believe that what is sought can be accomplished earlier than that. We believe that it could be accomplished by 2013, and there is support even from the Electoral Commission for that. It would be our intention that that should be achieved.

Much progress has been made, not all of it willingly, especially in the early stages by the Government, and because the Bill is now such a very different—

10 pm

Debate interrupted (Programme Order, 9 February ).

The Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair (Standing Order No. 83E), That the Bill be now read the Third time.


The House divided: Ayes 273, Noes 67.
Division No. 48]
[10 pm



AYES


Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Austin, John
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Balls, rh Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Sir Stuart
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, rh Andy
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byrne, rh Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clelland, Mr. David
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, rh Yvette
Creagh, Mary
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs. Claire
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Drew, Mr. David
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Farrelly, Paul
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, rh Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick

Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Mr. Tom
Healey, rh John
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hood, Mr. Jim
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, rh Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Lynne
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, rh Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, rh Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mackinlay, Andrew
Mallaber, Judy
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy, Kerry
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFadden, rh Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGuire, rh Mrs. Anne
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Meale, Mr. Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miller, Andrew
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Morgan, Julie
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Osborne, Sandra
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Prescott, rh Mr. John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Reid, rh John
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Roy, Mr. Frank
Roy, Lindsay
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Christine
Ryan, rh Joan
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Seabeck, Alison
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Simpson, Alan
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Spink, Bob
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen

Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Ussher, Kitty
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, rh Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Wills, rh Mr. Michael
Wilson, Phil
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Wood, Mike
Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek
Tellers for the Ayes:

Steve McCabe and
Helen Jones
NOES


Alexander, Danny
Baker, Norman
Barrett, John
Beith, rh Sir Alan
Brake, Tom
Brooke, Annette
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Bruce, rh Malcolm
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Lorely
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Davey, Mr. Edward
Davies, Mr. Dai
Farron, Tim
Featherstone, Lynne
Foster, Mr. Don
George, Andrew
Gidley, Sandra
Goldsworthy, Julia
Hancock, Mr. Mike
Harris, Dr. Evan
Harvey, Nick
Heath, Mr. David
Hemming, John
Holmes, Paul
Horwood, Martin
Hosie, Stewart
Howarth, David
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Keetch, Mr. Paul
Kennedy, rh Mr. Charles
Kramer, Susan
Lamb, Norman
Laws, Mr. David
Leech, Mr. John
MacNeil, Mr. Angus
Mason, John
Moore, Mr. Michael
Mulholland, Greg
Oaten, Mr. Mark
Öpik, Lembit
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Pugh, Dr. John
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rennie, Willie
Robertson, Angus
Rowen, Paul
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Stunell, Andrew
Swinson, Jo
Taylor, Matthew
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Teather, Sarah
Thurso, John
Webb, Steve
Weir, Mr. Mike
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Mark
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wishart, Pete
Tellers for the Noes:

Sir Robert Smith and
Dan Rogerson
Question accordingly agreed to.
2 Mar 2009 : Column 697

2 Mar 2009 : Column 698

Bill read the Third time and passed.

Business without Debate

Guide to the Rules Relating to the conduct of Members (NO. 2)

Ordered,


2 Mar 2009 : Column 699

Delegated Legislation

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): With the leave of the House, we shall take motions 3 to 6 together.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6) ) ,


Representation of the People


Government Resources and Accounts


Immigration

Question agreed to.

Business of the House

Motion made,

Hon. Members: Object.

Administration

Ordered,


2 Mar 2009 : Column 700

Petitions

Council Housing (Portsmouth)

10.12 pm

Mr. Mike Hancock (Portsmouth, South) (LD): It gives me a great deal of pleasure to submit this petition, although I do so with somewhat disappointed feelings, on behalf of the council tenants in the Portsmouth city council area. They are disappointed that the Government continue to take many millions of pounds from them; the Government have taken £8.7 million, including £4.6 million this financial year, from the rents of the city council tenants for general Government expenditure. The tenants hope that the House will urge the Government to reverse that trend and take account of not only the campaign by Portsmouth city council tenants, but that of tenants throughout the country of England; the other parts of the UK are covered by separate legislation on this point.

The petition is submitted in the names of Mr. Stothard, Ms Jacqui Reardon, Ms Shai Hancock-Richardson and Olivia Cowburn. I am proud to present this petition.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The Humble Petition of Portsmouth City council Tenants, and others,

Sheweth that the Government has taken £8.7 million including £4.6 million this financial year from the rents of Portsmouth City council tenants for general Government expenditure; and declares that this will continue for the next 30 years at an estimated cost of £500 million,

Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House will urge the Government to revise this trend so that the rent from Portsmouth City council tenants is spent directly for their benefit,

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c. ]

[P000320]

State Pension

10.14 pm

Kelvin Hopkins (Luton, North) (Lab): It gives me great pleasure to present a public petition on behalf of retired members of Unison’s south-east region branch, of pensioners and of others. As a former employee of Unison and co-chair of the Unison group of MPs, I clearly have an interest. However, I absolutely believe in what the petition is saying and have said so in this Chamber before now.

The petition states:

[P000321]


2 Mar 2009 : Column 701

Mobile Home Parks

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn. —(Mr. Watts.)


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