“The Environment Agency will soon use its powers to revoke or vary abstraction licences without compensation where they are causing serious damage to the environment.”—[Official Report, House of Lords, 4 February 2014; Vol. 752, c. 163.]

However, following budget cuts, the Environment Agency has cut 600 staff since 2010, so surely the Minister must concede that the Environment Agency will now have less capacity effectively to discharge its duties in that respect. What will be the priority for this smaller, rather emaciated, Environment Agency—flood defence schemes or attention to abstraction reform? Given its much reduced resource, is the Minister confident that the Environment Agency can manage all its duties effectively?

Under the new market conditions created by the upstream market reforms in the Bill, more water could be abstracted from water courses than is sustainable or suitable for local ecosystems. We support the amendment for upstream market reforms to allow new water undertakers into the market, but we still think it wise for the Government to deliver progress on abstraction reform, running concurrently.

We asked the Government to bring forward reformed abstraction licences on the same day as the upstream reform measures in the Water Bill come into effect, but they have unfortunately neglected to do so. Instead, under amendments 65 and 104, the Secretary of State is required to produce a report on progress made on water abstraction reform within five years of the Bill being passed, as the Minister indicated. We do not oppose that amendment because it is better than nothing, but it is unsatisfactory overall, because unsustainable water abstraction could continue for some time after the Bill has been passed—before DEFRA effectively addresses the issue.

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In conclusion, why are the Government reluctant to commit to ensuring that the abstraction reforms run concurrently with the upstream marketing reforms? I look forward to hearing the Minister’s answer on that point.

Miss McIntosh: I shall make just a few comments. Over the last three years, events in Yorkshire have certainly shown the unpredictability of the weather, which can swing from a real flood to a virtual drought within a matter of weeks. The hon. Member for Brent North (Barry Gardiner), whom I see in his place on the Opposition Front Bench, and my hon. Friend the Minister sat in the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee when we debated these issues—both at the pre-scrutiny stage and when the amendments to the Bill were tabled. It was a constant theme of the Select Committee to call for the implementation of abstraction reform—certainly by 2022. If I understand the Minister correctly, he is saying that this will happen within five years of the Act being passed, whereas we asked for it within seven years. It looks as if we are on course.

Personally, I would have made the case to include abstraction reform within the context of the Bill. I hope this does not come home to roost in the intervening five, six or seven-year period, but given the climatic changes and swings in weather patterns that we have seen, I hope we do not rue the day that we failed to include abstraction reform in the Bill. I understand that there was no appetite for it and that the Department felt, as I am sure the Minister will confirm, that doing so would have brought an inevitable delay to the Bill.

The reason abstraction reform should be included, and the reason I welcome this group of Lords amendments, is that the current system of managing abstraction of water from rivers and aquifers was introduced in the 1960s and is woefully out of date. It does not effectively address the severity of pressures on water resources due to increasing demands from a growing population and an increasingly varied climate. The Environment Agency has mentioned that in a number of areas, including my own, it cannot, for understandable reasons, afford the upkeep of existing flood defence banks. Farm land in those areas will be prone to future floods.

Water from rivers and aquifers has many uses, and there is a fine balance between industrial and non-industrial use. I visited the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Witham (Priti Patel), which I had the privilege of representing as an MEP for 10 years, to see the difficulties that many industrial users such as jam manufacturers and others experienced in a climate that they were not used to. Essex has on occasions been compared to Egypt in respect of the amount of water fall that it receives. The weakness in the current system means that it could start to constrain economic growth, reduce the resilience of the water supply and lead to environmental damage.


I would like to hear what discussions the Minister is having with the European Commission’s water unit. That used to be chaired by someone whom I count as a friend, Grant Lawrence, who was a British official who did great work for the European Union, but who was

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mindful of the uses of water and the competition for use between agricultural users, anglers and industrial users. Mr Lawrence left a number of years ago and since then I have been briefed on a number of occasions by the water unit, and I am struck by the fact that it does not understand our approach to water use. One reason for that, as it explains it to us, is that our rivers might seem long to us, particularly the Thames, meandering as it does through a number of counties, but compared with the Rhine and the Danube they are not. So it approaches river quality, water quality, and—dare I say?—abstraction in a completely different manner from us. When the Bill receives Royal Assent and we proceed within the timetable that my hon. Friend has set out, what discussions will he have in relation to water abstraction and abstraction reform on the reforms to the water framework directive and the other EU directives that are trundling down the river as we speak? That is important with regard to drafting and considering water abstraction reform.

I hope that my hon. Friend will again say that there will be plenty of opportunities to consult a variety of industrial users, and, obviously, I would make a bid for the Select Committee to be consulted at an early stage. I would like to make a plea for the farmers. I represent a deeply rural constituency, and there is concern among the farming community that delaying abstraction reform until 2020 or 2022 will mean that their interests are disregarded, more so in times of drought than in times of flood.

The detail of any abstraction regime will need to be developed following the Government’s consultation, which closed at the end of March, and, as my hon. Friend has set out, legislative proposals will be produced. One of the difficulties with the Bill, which I hope the water abstraction reform legislation will not suffer from, is a bane of the legislative programme. This point of the legislative Session is like midnight, and we have only one more year. I hope that we can make a plea for adequate time in the legislative programme in the next Parliament for the new regime to be introduced and properly considered.

The Opposition tabled a new clause whereby upstream reform could not have been implemented until new primary legislation on the licensing of abstraction had been passed, and they made the case for five years to elapse to allow for its implementation, and that has echoes in what the Government propose today. I would have preferred the new clause that we moved on Report to have seen greater favour, but I take this opportunity to welcome today’s amendments.

It is appropriate to raise water efficiency in terms of abstraction and the environmental protection measures that my hon. Friend set out. The Water Industry Commission for Scotland raised concerns throughout the Bill’s passage that retailers should focus on offering water efficiency advice and other environmental services as opposed to companies being encouraged to cherry-pick customers to the detriment of the generality of an incumbent’s customer base. The amendments that I understand came from WICS were not successful, but they sought to remove the link between the proposed wholesale authorisation and the proposed retail authorisation, by requiring those with wholesale authorisations to interact with water companies rather than retailers, and further that Ofwat would be under

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an obligation, among other things, to set charging rules in a way that helps to incentivise water efficiency and other services. The Government resisted those amendments, but they go to the heart of what the hon. Member for Penistone and Stocksbridge (Angela Smith) said about the background reports that have seen fruition in this group of amendments, in particular the Anna Walker report on water efficiency. Each and every one of us has a role to play by not heating more water than we need and not running water while we clean our teeth, all of which have an effect. I hope my hon. Friend will have some regard to the powerful arguments that have been made when we go on to consider greater efficiency and in the context of abstraction reform.

Dan Rogerson: Once again, I thank hon. Members for their contributions. It is fair to say that we have a great deal in common, although with slightly different emphases in aspects of debate both today and during previous outings. The crucial issues concern the interaction between what is in the Bill and what is not with regard to abstraction reform and the parallel process, so I take this opportunity to reassure the House that the Government are fully committed to abstraction reform, as our amendment tabled in the other place demonstrates.

Further illustrating that commitment, the Government’s consultation on our proposals for reform of the abstraction regime closed on 28 March. We are analysing the responses, a summary of which we will publish later this year. The proposals in our consultation document demonstrate how seriously we take abstraction reform, as well as the complexity of reforming such a long-established regime. As has been said, it is crucial that we get that right and give people an adequate chance to express their opinions and for those to be taken into account. Our proposals reflect how important abstraction reform is for people, as well as for the environment, and the fact that organisations and individuals throughout the country need access to water to run their businesses.

The Government want to see a real improvement in the quality of water bodies throughout the country, and that means that we must take action to reduce over-abstraction that damages the environment now, while continuing to protect the environment and ensuring access to water in the more challenging conditions that we will face in the future. Abstraction reform and upstream reform are both designed to help to achieve that goal. The intention is for them to be entirely complementary, both in design and in implementation. Both are part of the Government’s wider agenda for securing the long-term resilience of our water supplies and the water environment, as set out in the water White Paper. The upstream reforms in the Bill are important because they will build resilience in the sector, bringing in new thinking and innovation to drive efficiency. Upstream reform will help to keep bills affordable and benefit the environment. We estimate that these reforms will bring benefits of up to £1.8 billion over 30 years.

As I have said, the report to Parliament on progress with abstraction reform will provide the opportunity to update Parliament on the preparations for the implementation of both abstraction reform and upstream reform, and how the two are being closely aligned. There is therefore no question about our commitment to abstraction reform, and no case for delaying implementation of our upstream reforms.

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On the points made by the hon. Member for Penistone and Stocksbridge (Angela Smith), we are carrying on the process begun by the previous Government of looking at the reform issues, and we seek to demonstrate that this is an ongoing commitment. There is much support across the House for taking these matters forward, so we can have confidence that the two processes can be aligned.

We considered the sustainable development duty in depth. The Ofwat review recommended that that not be included because it was not necessary. I have sought throughout to make the point that we can integrate the desire for sustainability in the resilience duty, and that is what we did during the Bill’s passage through this place. That move was welcomed by the non-governmental organisations that originally called for the sustainable development duty. In another place we have further drawn out the emphasis on water efficiency. Water efficiency is important not just for environmental reasons—although they are crucial and we want to see the responsibility to improve environmental quality returned to water bodies—but to ensure that we have the water resources that we need to deliver the growth in the economy, allow businesses to grow and to prosper, and deal with the challenges that we face in the future.

Another issue that was raised was the capacity of the Environment Agency to use the powers that it has now and to take forward the regime without compensation. The hon. Member for Penistone and Stocksbridge rightly said that that capacity is now at its disposal. Indeed, the Environment Agency gave evidence to the Public Bill Committee and was quite clear that it has the resources to undertake such duties. It has been undertaking work to return water to the environment to bear down on unsustainable abstraction, and it will continue to do that. It is something on which it will remain focused. This is crucial in respect of our consideration of sustainable development in that, unlike other regulatory regimes, there are multiple regulators of the water sector. We have the Environment Agency, which has a great focus on that particular activity, Ofwat and the Drinking Water Inspectorate. The regime is slightly different from that in other utilities.

My hon. Friend the Chair of the Select Committee was right to make it clear that we need careful consideration of the abstraction reform process, and it is very much the Government’s position that we will provide the opportunity for such work. Were we simply to have put in the Bill some sort of broad enabling power, it arguably would not have had the consideration that it will get as primary legislation in a future Bill, and that is absolutely right in terms of taking forward that process. On that basis, I hope the House will support the amendments made in another place.

Lords amendment 1 agreed to.

Lords amendments 2 to 14, 31, 34 to 42, 65, 66 and 104 agreed to.

Clause 51

The Flood Reinsurance Scheme

Dan Rogerson: I beg to move, That this House agrees with Lords amendment 67.

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Madam Deputy Speaker (Dawn Primarolo): With this we may take Lords amendments 68 to 100, 105 and 106.

Dan Rogerson: This group of amendments is mainly to do with flood insurance measures, and includes the Government’s response to the recommendations on flood insurance from the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. It also includes a small number of minor changes.

Lords amendments 70, 75, 81 to 83 and 91 to 95 are in response to the Delegated Powers Committee’s recommendations on the flood insurance measures. The amendments include changing the scrutiny procedures so that the affirmative resolution procedure is used for all regulations—in certain cases on first use only—and placing some definitions in the Bill.

We agree with the Delegated Powers Committee that the definitions are important. However, it was not possible to include all of them in the Bill as they require further consultation and, in the case of “relevant insurer”, have separate meanings for Flood Re and for the flood insurance obligation—the alternative proposal. By defining those terms in regulations that will be subject to the affirmative procedure, Parliament will be able fully to scrutinise these definitions in due course.

The Delegated Powers Committee also recommended that the powers to make regulations to provide for the sharing of council tax data should be subject to the affirmative procedure. However, to meet the commitment to establish Flood Re in 2015, we need to release the council tax information as soon as possible after Royal Assent to ensure that IT systems can be put in place. Lords amendments 77 to 79 place that data-sharing power in the Bill. I hope that hon. Members will see that that is necessary owing to the challenging timetable to deliver Flood Re. Lords amendments 74, paragraph (ab) to amendment 93 and amendment 100 make consequential changes based on the new power. Although that power does not mandate the release of data, the Government are committed to doing so. They also give a power to add to the list of data releasable in the future. If we do that, the powers also allow for the application of a criminal sanction—for example, where the additional information is of a particularly sensitive nature warranting the protection of a criminal sanction for misuse. It is right that we have powers to protect the release of public information, but the sanction is not automatic and we will consider whether one is necessary following consultation.

2.15 pm

I wish to turn briefly to another Lords amendment on the subject of Flood Re’s reserves. To ensure that the power set out in clause 54 cannot compromise the sound operation of Flood Re and its orderly management, a small change was made to make it clear that the scheme administrator’s consent is to be sought first if regulations are proposed to be made requiring reserves to be paid to Government. That consent means that the scheme administrator is able to object to any prudentially unsound proposals, as well as to make representations on the retention of some or all of the reserves; consequently, there is no longer a need to consult the Prudential Regulation Authority as well. Members can be assured that the Prudential Regulation Authority will continue to be closely consulted on this and all other regulations made in relation to the Flood Re scheme.

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Lords amendment 72 allows the Secretary of State to require Flood Re, through regulations, to provide information for relevant insurers to pass on to their policyholders who will benefit from Flood Re. We expect the information to cover the Flood Re scheme, flood risk and the actions householders can take to reduce the risk and impact of flooding.

Andrew Percy (Brigg and Goole) (Con): I am intrigued by and interested in this amendment, not least because so many of my constituents—perhaps the majority of them—live in flood-risk areas. Will the Minister say a little bit more about what he envisages the Secretary of State will require to be provided to residents in terms of mitigating risk? This is an interesting idea, but my question is about the breadth of that information and whether it will include particular providers of certain solutions.

Dan Rogerson: The first thing that will be taken forward is information that a policy has been ceded to Flood Re. It is important that people should know that, as the scheme has a life span and the whole direction of policy is to protect more homes and to move to a post Flood Re period in due course. What exactly that information will take forward is a matter for discussion with the industry. When it comes to particular technologies or particular things that may help in certain circumstances, there are experts out there who offer that advice to policyholders. The Government’s current repair and renew scheme is in operation. There is also a body of work out there involving local authorities, which is giving people confidence in what might be done to support them. It is not our intention to be too specific as we consider this measure in the Bill.

I am sure that, like my hon. Friend, other Members will welcome this amendment, because it reflects our belief that it is important that policyholders whose buildings, contents or combined insurance policy are ceded to Flood Re know about their flood risk so that they can take simple steps to manage it. I am talking about signing up to free flood warnings as well as investigating other longer-term options.

To plan for the future, households also need to understand the likely impact of the transitional nature of the Flood Re scheme which is subsidising their premiums. Members should note that it is expected that standardised information will be sent to the customer by the relevant insurer that is ceding the policy to Flood Re, as that maintains the relationship between insurers and their customers.

Lords amendments 84 and 85 provide the power to define in regulations the meaning of “flood” and “flood risk” and are as a consequence of the amendment that I have just described.

Lords amendment 96 addresses the risk that secondary legislation made at the end of the life of Flood Re could be classed as hybrid. I can assure Members that, in any event, we have every intention of carrying out a full consultation before making that secondary legislation to ensure that any private interests are properly considered.

There are also a small number of technical changes made by the Lords amendments to the Bill. They cover the definition of the “eligibility threshold” and are intended to ensure the flood insurance measure is legally enforceable, as the risks relating to flooding are not calculated consistently across the various insurers.

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On another matter, the Lords amendments to clauses 56 and 71 on the period of operation of Flood Re ensure that employment contracts within the scheme are transferrable.

Turning finally to the subject of sustainable drainage systems, we have also corrected an error to schedule 3 to the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 to ensure that unused bond funds, called in by a SUDS approving body, can be returned to the right person.

Angela Smith: As the Minister has explained, this group of amendments relate, to the provisions in the Bill on flood reinsurance. Again, we will support the amendments, which we believe have materialised primarily because of pressure from a wide range of Members in the other place and from the official Opposition. However, we believe that more could have been done.

In many ways, this is yet another example of a missed opportunity to produce effective and robust legislation. We support the Flood Re scheme and believe that it is important that affordable cover is made available for those who are struggling and are at greatest risk from future floods. It is also important that the policy should be underpinned by the principle of minimal impact on wider bill payers, so it is important that the levy agreed between the Government and the industry remains equivalent to about £10.50 for each UK household with both buildings and contents insurance in place.

We also welcome the fact that Flood Re is designed to be progressive, with the benefits targeted on lower income households, but we are disappointed that the Government could not support Labour’s amendment in the other place, which would have at least enabled parliamentarians to shine a light on the potential problems created by the arrangements for leasehold and tenanted properties. As Lord Whitty pointed out, there are complicated qualifying or excluding conditions surrounding the ownership and occupation rules under the scheme.

The rules could also have an impact on the private rented market, as there is a fear that single property landlords, for instance, might find that their exclusion from the scheme means that the cost of insurance eats away at their capacity to invest in their properties. As Lord Whitty pointed out, the consequence could be increasing levels of dilapidated housing stock with potential impacts at a neighbourhood level. The only option that might be open to the landlord to raise funds for improvements could be to raise rents or the service charge, so tenants might suffer indirectly as a consequence of being excluded from the Flood Re scheme. The risk is clear: the number of new landlords prepared to invest and buy property will diminish in the areas that are affected. Given the housing crisis facing the country, that is not a welcome prospect.

Although we recognise that the actuarial calculations for Flood Re are delicate and depend on various assumptions, we feel it is important that Parliament understand, the position. Labour’s amendment would address that by ensuring that a report was made available so that Parliament could see for itself the consequences of including or excluding different combinations of property before taking the Flood Re scheme forward via statutory instrument.

We also feel that the Government have failed to grasp the importance of using reliable scientific evidence on the potential impact of climate change when making

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estimates of the current and projected number of properties eligible for inclusion in the Flood Re scheme. That is perhaps not surprising, given that the Secretary of State has been known before now to deny the reality of climate change, but the threat, as most of us agree, is real and we need to be sure that the scheme will operate effectively within its 25-year span and will be adaptable to weather conditions resulting from climate change. If they are to adapt effectively, it is crucial that households can access information that identifies current and projected estimates of the number of people eligible for the scheme.

It is entirely sensible that we should seek the advice of the Committee on Climate Change to inform as accurately as possible our calculations on the challenges that the Flood Re scheme will face over time. Only then can households truly take the necessary action to minimise risk. The Government have tabled amendments providing information on transitioning from Flood Re to risk-reflective pricing, which Labour has been arguing for throughout the passage of the Bill.

Flood Re cannot operate on a static basis. It needs to respond to changing weather patterns, and we continue to believe that the Secretary of State should take advice from a credible expert source. Lord Krebs, chair of the adaptation sub-committee, has indicated that he would be willing to take on that role. However, our amendments, along with others on access to the national database and the right to appeal, were not accepted by the Government. We think that is short-sighted, but we support the amendments in this group and will continue to engage positively on this important issue.

Miss McIntosh: When we took evidence on the insurance aspects of the Bill during the Select Committee’s scrutiny stages, we were told that the package on Flood Re stood as a whole and that we could not consider any exceptions—not small businesses or leaseholders, or anything else, and certainly not band H. I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will permit me a wry smile as I see that some of those exceptions have been included.

I hope that my hon. Friend will clarify the position on leaseholders. I—like many others, I am sure—have been contacted by constituents asking me to consider the implications for an owner who buys a leasehold property, as my constituents did in their block of flats. Apparently, the cost under Flood Re of the flood insurance alone will run to thousands of pounds, which they cannot afford and which they believe will affect their ability to resell those properties. I would be grateful for an explanation of where we are on that.

I understand that my noble Friend Lord de Mauley confirmed in the other place that domestic contents policies will be available to all under Flood Re, regardless of whether the properties are leasehold or freehold, rented or owned-occupied, except for properties in band H and those built since 1 January 2009. I have seen on many of my flood visits around the country that tenants on low incomes are often the first not to take out an insurance policy for their contents. The cost is therefore greater when they have to replace many of their possessions, some of which are of course priceless and cannot be replaced. Will domestic contents policies indeed be available to all?

Will my hon. Friend the Minister confirm the intention behind the exception for band H properties? It seems bizarre. We are going to exclude from Flood Re leaseholders

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who are perhaps on lower incomes and often in smaller, more affordable properties, but people in band H tend to be wealthier and in a better position to afford insurance. I want to understand the situation so I can explain to my constituents why these exceptions have been considered.

I know that the date of 1 January 2009 was taken as the benchmark, but did the Department ever look closely at why that was a good date to choose? With hindsight, should it perhaps have been 1 January 2012 or 1 January 2013, when we first began closely to scrutinise these issues through the proposals from the Department and the work of the Select Committee and others in this place?

It would also be helpful to understand the position for small businesses, particularly farms. If the farmhouse itself has been flooded, will that be covered in the provisions of Flood Re?

2.30 pm

The greatest concern—I am sure the Minister will recall that I raised it earlier—remains that the Government may end up as an insurer of last resort because Flood Re will not cover a one-in-200-year or one-in-250-year event. We found out that the winter floods in 2013-14 were a one-in-200-year event, so it will be sooner rather than later that the Government will end up as the insurer of last resort. The House will be interested to learn what provisions the Treasury has in place if that occurs earlier than might have been assumed, because there will not be money in the pot if the winter floods are repeated in the autumn of 2014 and 2015.

The hon. Member for Penistone and Stocksbridge (Angela Smith) raised an interesting issue that we discussed in Committee. The evidence we took was that the subsidy was then £8.50. It has already gone up to £10.50, and we need an assurance from the Minister that there will not be an open remit to the insurance industry and that the level of subsidy will be reasonable. Before the Bill leaves this place today, the Minster should comment on what the Treasury has in place were the Department and the Government to be an insurer of last resort.

I have two more issues pertaining to this group of amendments. One concerns regulated as opposed to negotiated access. Amendments were proposed to make it clear in the Bill that access should be regulated, not negotiated. The amendments were unsuccessful, but I understand that the Department has given a commitment that access terms should be regulated. Can the Minister give a commitment today that that will be in the regulations that will give effect to the Bill?

An issue that caused great concern in our pre-legislative scrutiny in Committee and later was the de-averaging of charges. Concern was raised about the risk of a competition or EU challenge to the Department’s guidance or Ofwat’s implementing rules on harmonised or regionally averaged wholesale charging, which could result in a forced de-averaging of charges. My understanding is that that could be seriously bad news for rural areas and I would like the Minister to put my mind at rest. Amendments were proposed to address that risk, but the Government did not accept that the risk existed or, if it did, that the existing provisions in the Bill were not adequate to address it. Any de-averaging of charges that might arise through the application of the Bill would be highly

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regrettable. Otherwise, I welcome this group of amendments, but I hope that the Minister can put my mind at rest on the concerns I have raised.

Andrew Percy: I intend to make only a short contribution. The Minister probably heard most of what I said in Committee, but if something is worth saying once, it is worth saying three times, so I will do so.

I begin, as I did in Committee, by welcoming Flood Re, which is important. I pay tribute to the Government for getting us here eventually. It is incredibly important for my constituents and those of my near neighbour, my hon. Friend the Member for Beverley and Holderness (Mr Stuart), who is here for this important debate. I am grateful and delighted that we have a scheme up and running to ensure that insurance cover will continue.

I am still concerned about the scheme’s limitation to properties built before 2009—a point that is often made by my constituency near neighbour, the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Diana Johnson). Many people in my constituency and constituencies nearby who bought their properties in good faith post-2009 have struggled to obtain insurance. I am still concerned that major developments on flood plains are continuing, including the Lincolnshire Lakes project near the River Trent in my constituency, where the proposal is to provide up to 10,000 properties in a major flood risk area on the River Trent’s natural flood plain. I have called on the developers to put a hold on that until we know where we are with flood defence funding for the Humber catchment area, but unfortunately that has not enjoyed the support of local Labour councillors, who accused us of scaremongering in trying to prevent that building on a flood plain. That is a concern because I am worried that the properties will be built but will not be covered by Flood Re and that there will be a whole set of other problems.

When I was in my constituency on Friday, visiting Hook church, which was launching its new heritage boards, I was approached by a single-property leaseholder who is concerned about whether he will qualify for Flood Re. He is not a major investor, but an individual who is using the property as a pension pot. He has been rejected for flood insurance yet again because of the flooding in Goole two years ago, and he is worried that he will not come within Flood Re. I echo the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Miss McIntosh) about the need for clarity.

I welcomed amendment 72 when I intervened on the Minister. Informing residents that they are indeed part of Flood Re and providing practical advice on their exact flood risk and how they can deal with it are important. The Minister mentioned the renewal and repair grant, which is an excellent proposal. Providing people with the means and advice on how to protect their properties is important, and funding is required. Whether or not there is funding, there is a big job to be undertaken to ensure that residents are properly informed about their flood risk and how they can protect their properties.

Many residents have it in mind that the only way to protect their property is through every-increasing defensive banks in our area, and that may be true, but it is not the answer to everything, particularly as my constituency is so low-lying. Much of it is below high-tide level, so it is impacted not only by tidal and river flooding, but by

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surface water flooding. Getting information to residents to ensure that they know how to protect their property is vital. I welcome amendment 72 and look forward to establishing in more depth what information will be provided on flood mitigation measures.

The Minister mentioned the renewal and repair grant. I hope that it is in order, Madam Deputy Speaker, to raise that while I am on my feet. Many of my constituents are trying to use the grant, but there seems to be confusion about whether they will be able to access it if the Environment Agency has come up with community improvement schemes. That is a particular issue for one of my communities because the Environment Agency, after pressure from many of us, has come forth with a scheme that will be in place next year to raise defensive banks at Reedness in North Yorkshire. It is not now clear whether those properties will be eligible for a renewal and repair grant. They will still be at risk of flooding and, in the spirit of amendment 72, which is about providing people with more information on how to protect their properties, it is important that they still have access to the grant. It is not their fault that their improvement scheme will come forward more quickly than other schemes. I hope, Madam Deputy Speaker, that I am in order by linking the matter to amendment 72. I can see from that near-thumbs up that I am straying, so I shall move on.

Right of appeal is another issue that I spoke about in Committee. We need a mechanism of appeal for residents who are judged to be outside Flood Re. We know from the debates in Committee and elsewhere that that will be a very small number of people, but they are an important group all the same. It is important to have a mechanism that allows people to understand why they have been drawn outside the scheme, and they should have a right of appeal. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton, I ask Ministers to consider this.

I do not want to say much more. [Interruption.] I hear some chuntering from Opposition Front Benchers—in support of my last comment, I hope. If the hon. Member for Penistone and Stocksbridge (Angela Smith) wants to intervene, I will gladly give way. No? Okay.

Maria Eagle (Garston and Halewood) (Lab): Sit down!

Andrew Percy: The hon. Lady tells me to sit down; that is a good way to work cross-party, if ever there was one. I will heed her advice, however.

I hope that the Minister will be able to respond to those few comments, particularly on leaseholders. This is an important issue for residents who have made small investments for their pension pots, or in lieu of a pension pot, and who may now be drawn outside the scheme. Other than that, I support the scheme and the amendments outlined by the Minister.

Dan Rogerson: I thank all hon. Members who have contributed to this debate, across a broad range of issues, and welcome their questions.

All three Members who spoke mentioned leaseholders. Let me put on record again the point alluded to by my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Miss McIntosh). All contents policies would be eligible for Flood Re, whether leasehold, freehold, rented or owner-occupied, provided that the properties were built

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before 1 January 2009 and are in council tax bands A to G. Leasehold houses will also be within the scope of Flood Re in terms of buildings insurance, provided that the leaseholder lives in the property and purchased the buildings insurance in their own name. Flats will be eligible provided that there are no more than three flats in the building and that the freeholder, or one of those with a share of the freehold, lives in the building and takes out the cover.

Miss McIntosh: My hon. Friend says that the scheme applies if there are no more than three flats in the building. Where we lived—the current residents now have the problem—there could be 12, 16 or 20 properties. These are small properties that tend to be more affordable and occupied by those with a mortgage. Residents have put it to me that the increases are unaffordable already. Insurance companies are extracting those increases from them when they renew their insurance policies in an area that they know has already been flooded at ground-floor level because of the properties’ proximity to the river. I urge the Government to revisit this, because it is not acceptable. I do not want to pander to the Opposition’s argument about the standard cost of living, because that would be inappropriate, but I do believe that the Government should make the insurance affordable by reducing the cost. They should take out the below-three number because they have to reflect what working families are living in.

Dan Rogerson: We believe that a significant proportion of the leasehold sector will fall within the scope of Flood Re if the properties are at the highest levels of flood risk. I should emphasise, however, that we expect that most properties will not need to be in Flood Re and will find better prices through normal routes. We have been assured that there is no evidence of a systemic problem with freeholders being unable to obtain insurance for their leasehold properties. Specifically, feedback from members of the Association of British Insurers, representing over 60% of the market, including specialist commercial property insurers, showed no expectation of a widespread issue in an open market. As for the small businesses that are outside the scope of Flood Re, we and the ABI will monitor the market over time.

2.45 pm

My hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton raised a number of other issues, including small businesses, as she has done before. It is important to focus on the fact that the scheme is for residential properties, not for the commercial insurance market. Commercial cover tends to be far more bespoke and of a different nature to the policies that householders usually have. This is relevant to her point about the levy that is paid into the pot. In seeking to add to that pot in terms of what is paid out and the level of risk, we would have to add to what everyone else is paying for. We think that the balance is right and that the level of a more transparent cross-subsidy—there is already a cross-subsidy within the market that has been more hidden—is focused on household policies and not on commercial policies. The danger is that, once we start to get into the more commercial arena, we are then asking for a cross-subsidy from householders to commercial landlords. We therefore think it important to draw this line. Landlords already benefit from tax relief on the cost of their buildings

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insurance policies. They can offset many of their costs through taxable allowances that can significantly reduce their tax bill—to zero, in some instances. The hon. Member for Penistone and Stocksbridge (Angela Smith) referred to this being more progressive, and I welcome her support. That is one of the reasons why we have had the scheme structured as it is.

My hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Goole (Andrew Percy) mentioned properties built after 1 January 2009, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton. This is in line with the prior agreement with the industry. As I am sure my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton is aware, that is where the date comes from, so it should not come as a surprise to those constructing properties in flood risk areas. It is a pre-existing cut-off date that we have carried forward into the new arrangements. As my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Goole pointed out, properties built after 1 January 2009 should have been constructed in line with national planning policy and should therefore be resilient to flooding and able to access affordable insurance. Maintaining this approach under Flood Re will help to ensure that new development is appropriate and resilient to flooding. That covers the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton about the levy, in which I have confidence. We have to make sure that we base it on existing assumptions and do not seek now, at this late stage, to add other potential draws on the reserves of Flood Re and the scheme as a whole.

Flood Re will be an authorised insurer operating under the requirements of solvency II. Insurers must hold capital reserves that can be used to cover the cost of a catastrophic event. To assess the required capital reserves, insurers must keep their detailed catastrophe models up to date, including any changes in levels of insured risk such as from climate change. Flood Re will need to take account of climate change as part of its regulatory obligations in ensuring that it remains solvent over time. We therefore expect it to seek the best available advice on climate change, including external verification of its assumptions. Detailed audited information about Flood Re’s ongoing operation will be reported to Parliament on a regular five-yearly basis. Parliament will have the opportunity to vote on the levy and the eligibility thresholds of the scheme. I assure colleagues that the impacts of climate change will be considered during the entire lifetime of the scheme to ensure that Flood Re is resilient to changes to flood risk.

I would like to reassure my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton about one-in-200-year events and what we experienced during the winter flooding this year. Although she may be right to point out that we had the wettest January in about 250 years, that does not equate to a one-in-200-year flood event; they are different things. As we have heard from hon. Members in several debates over the past few months, the effects of flooding are extreme for the families and businesses affected, but because about 8,000 properties were affected during the recent winter floods, we were nowhere near triggering the sorts of events that she mentioned. Should a one-in-200-year event occur, however, we have been clear that the Government have no direct liability. The Government would take primary responsibility for deciding how all available resources would be used, but the Government are not an insurer of last resort in that they do not have financial liability for Flood Re.

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Miss McIntosh: Will my hon. Friend hark back to the evidence the Select Committee heard from the insurance industry during pre-legislative scrutiny? We were told categorically that, if there is a one-in-200-year event, the pot into which the subsidy will be paid, on which we all agree, will not be sufficient to pay out the resources, and it is generally accepted by the insurance industry that the Government will step in. Perhaps that is a different phrase from the one that my hon. Friend might use, but it means that the buck stops with the Government.

Dan Rogerson: We have been absolutely clear that, in such an event, the resources from the Flood Re pot would be significant and the Government would be involved in discussions about how that money would be used to help the people affected.

Although we have been focusing on Flood Re, my hon. Friend also asked about de-averaging. I want to use this opportunity to put on the record the fact that the Government’s charging principles on de-averaging are unambiguous. Ofwat must not allow de-averaging that is harmful to customers, particularly rural customers. Our charging guidance will follow soon. I am happy to commit, as I have before, to making it plain in that document that there must be strong, definitive boundaries for the scope of any de-averaging and that households in particular must be protected.

We should not, however, be over-simplistic. There is no doubt that there are areas where better cost reflectivity could have substantial benefits for the environment and the resilience of our water supplies. It must be right that the new upstream markets should reflect the environmental costs of supply and that there are economic incentives for business users that use large volumes of water.

My hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Goole asked about the operation of current Government grant schemes. It might not be appropriate to go into that in detail now, but I would be happy to respond to correspondence from him on the specifics of how the scheme in his area is working.

I thank hon. Members for their contributions to our debates on the Bill today and at various other stages in this and another place. I hope that the House will agree with their lordships’ amendments.

Lords amendment 67 agreed to.

Lords amendments 68 to 100 and 105 and 106 agreed to.

Immigration Bill (Money) (No. 2)

Queen’s recommendation signified.


That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Immigration Bill, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of money provided by Parliament of any expenditure incurred under or by virtue of the Act by a statutory body or recognised charitable organisation.—(James Brokenshire.)

Immigration Bill (Programme) (No. 2.)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 83A(7)),

That the following provisions shall apply to the Immigration Bill for the purpose of supplementing the Order of 22 October 2013 (Immigration Bill (Programme)):

7 May 2014 : Column 189

Consideration of Lords Amendments

(1) Proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion three hours after their commencement at today’s sitting.

(2) The proceedings shall be taken in the order shown in the first column of the following Table.

(3) The proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the times specified in the second column of the Table.

Lords AmendmentsTime for conclusion of proceedings

No. 18

90 minutes after the commencement of proceedings on consideration of Lords amendments

Nos. 16, 24, 1 to 15, 17, 19 to 23 and 25 to 36

Three hours after the commencement of those proceedings

Subsequent stages

(4) Any further Message from the Lords may be considered forthwith without any Question being put.

(5) The proceedings on any further Message from the Lords shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement. —(James Brokenshire.)

Question agreed to.

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Immigration Bill

Consideration of Lords amendments

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dawn Primarolo): I must draw the House’s attention to the fact that financial privilege is involved in Lords amendments 7, 16 and 24. If the House agrees to any of these amendments, I shall ensure that the appropriate entry is made in the Journal. I should also tell the House that Mr Speaker has selected the five manuscript amendments tabled today by the hon. Member for Brent Central (Sarah Teather). Copies are available in the Vote Office.

Clause 60

Deprivation if conduct seriously prejudicial to vital interests of the uk

2.54 pm

The Minister for Security and Immigration (James Brokenshire): I beg to move, That this House disagrees with Lords amendment 18.

Madam Deputy Speaker: With this it will be convenient to take Government amendments (a) and (b) in lieu of Lords amendment 18.

James Brokenshire: The fundamental duty of any Government is to protect the British public and maintain the security of the UK against a range of threats. There is a small but very dangerous number of individuals who, despite having taken an oath of loyalty to become a British citizen, seek to threaten the security of this country. Those same dangerous individuals seek to exploit a loophole in our legislation preventing us from removing their citizenship if it would render them stateless, even temporarily, while they reacquire their former nationality. This Government have sought to address that issue, in line with our international obligations to protect the security of the UK.

Our proposals, previously debated in this House on 30 January, sought to extend the existing deprivation powers of the Home Secretary so that a naturalised British citizen who has conducted themselves in a manner seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the UK—I underline the high bar that has been set—can be deprived of their citizenship, regardless of whether it would render them stateless. We believe that is vital for the security of the UK and an important point of principle. It is not right that people who subvert our values and fight against our armed forces should invoke our protection and enjoy the privileges of British citizenship.

Many of the debates on this issue have focused on the use of the existing powers in the UK and overseas. I remind right hon. and hon. Members that the Home Secretary has long-standing existing powers to deprive a British national of their citizenship where that individual acquired it using fraud or where she is satisfied that doing so is conducive to the public good. Where fraud has been used, a decision can be made to deprive, which leaves a person stateless. Our proposals have built on the non-conducive powers to target a narrow cohort of naturalised Britons who are a real threat to our national security.

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Sarah Teather (Brent Central) (LD): Is the Minister able to clarify the numbers involved and how the Secretary of State and, indeed, her predecessors have used those powers? The Joint Committee on Human Rights has repeatedly asked for those data, but has been unable to access them. I have asked similar questions and have also been unable to get the data, so could the Minister tell us how many people have had the power used against them?

James Brokenshire: It might be helpful if I explain that since the law was changed in 2006, 27 people have been deprived of their citizenship through different conducive powers. Twenty-six people have been deprived on the grounds of fraud, false representation or concealment of a material fact, and one further person has been notified of the intention to deprive on those grounds. Perhaps that gives my hon. Friend an idea of the context in which the power is used. It is used extremely sparingly: it is not undertaken lightly and the Secretary of State considers its use extraordinarily carefully.

I recognise that the proposals that were suggested when the Immigration Bill was last before this House have, rightly, provoked a great deal of debate and discussion. It is important that the House understands the significance of the measures and that the other place has had an opportunity to consider them after our debate on Report. There has been much debate, both here and in the House of Lords, about the impact of leaving a person stateless, and there are concerns about those who cannot acquire another nationality.

3 pm

Although the Government are confident that our original proposals would have affected only a small number of people—given the pre-existing utilisation of the power and the high hurdle that needs to be cleared, most people would have been able to acquire their former nationality or another—we are now seeking to address the concerns expressed about leaving individuals permanently stateless and with no recourse to another nationality. Our amendment (a) provides that deprivation of nationalised citizens under clause 60 can take place only when the Home Secretary has reasonable grounds to believe that, under the laws of a country or territory, an individual is able to become a national of that country or territory.

Dr Julian Huppert (Cambridge) (LD): Amendment (a) is certainly a helpful move on some, if not all, the concerns, but how will the provision be interpreted? For example, if somebody who is not a British citizen leaves another country and would otherwise have claimed asylum in this one, will that factor be taken into account? Will the Home Secretary be able to take into account the idea that a country may refuse to give citizenship because we had taken away their British citizenship? How will she make it work in practice?

James Brokenshire: It may be helpful if I say that the Home Secretary will consider the relevant nationality laws of a person’s country and that person’s circumstances, and she will make a decision based on whether, under those laws, the person is able to acquire another nationality. The test is whether there is a route under the law, but she will have regard to other considerations—for example, about practical or logistical arrangements.

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Those considerations will obviously vary from case to case, but she will consider them in forming a view. We have reflected that in the concept of the reasonable grounds. The Home Secretary will need to be satisfied about those reasonable grounds in determining whether the proposed power can be utilised.

Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP): What happens if no other nationality is available? Does the Home Secretary simply give up?

James Brokenshire: The hon. Gentleman clearly makes the point about what we are seeking to achieve in respect of the concerns highlighted in the House and elsewhere, which is that if the Home Secretary cannot satisfy herself on reasonable grounds that the individual can acquire the citizenship of another state, she will not be able to use the power.

In this context, we are seeking to address the specific issue highlighted by the Supreme Court in the al-Jedda case, with which many right hon. and hon. Members are familiar. The case showed that the existing law was well within our international obligations, but we are seeking to act on the Supreme Court’s statement in that case about how to address the issue appropriately. We judge that the proposed provision is an appropriate mechanism for guarding our national security. It will ensure that what appears to be a loophole identified as a consequence of the al-Jedda case is not open to abuse and, building on the existing deprivation powers, it will therefore ensure that our national security is properly protected.

Several hon. Members rose

James Brokenshire: Various people are attempting to catch my eye. I give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Forest of Dean (Mr Harper).

Mr Mark Harper (Forest of Dean) (Con): I am listening carefully to what my hon. Friend is saying, and the House should realise that he is simply putting the law back to its position before it was changed by the previous Government. I listened carefully when we debated the issue on Report, and many of the concerns involved people who have no recourse to citizenship elsewhere being left permanently stateless. Government amendment (a) deals with the very real concerns of many hon. Members. It is a very welcome move that should be supported.

James Brokenshire: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his intervention. I pay tribute to him for his work on the Bill and for the steps he took, quite properly, to consider not only this issue, but the provisions more broadly. We will no doubt move on to those provisions in considering the Lords amendments. My hon. Friend highlighted the fact that the law was changed in 2002. In many respects, we are seeking to bring the law back more closely to the pre-existing position. The law was changed in 2002, and changed again in 2006. There is, therefore, a long history, with clear precedents to setting provisions that comply with our international and UN obligations on statelessness.

John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington) (Lab): I want clarification about what the reasonable grounds are. Amendment (a) could be interpreted to mean that

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someone has to prove that no country or territory on the globe is willing to accept them as a citizen. That cannot be the interpretation of reasonableness in this amendment, can it?

James Brokenshire: The hon. Gentleman needs to understand that the particular concern—the gap that has been identified—relates to someone with dual nationality who surrenders their second nationality to prevent the deprivation provision from applying to them and to prevent the Secretary of State from using the powers as she can now do for dual nationals. The Home Secretary needs to consider such factors in considering whether she is satisfied that the relevant test set out in amendment (a) has been met. She would need to show such reasonableness, and that reasonableness might be tested in the courts, because whether her determination was reasonable would be justiciable or challengeable in the courts.

Several hon. Members rose

James Brokenshire: I can see that my hon. Friend the Member for Brent Central (Sarah Teather) wants to make a second intervention, and I will then give way to my hon. Friend the Member for South Swindon (Mr Buckland).

Sarah Teather: I want to follow up the Minister’s answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Dr Huppert). The Minister said that the issue was about having a route in law to secure another citizenship, but he rather glossed over the practical barriers that many people face in obtaining another citizenship. Will he put on the record more information that might help those of us with concerns about amendment (a), as drafted, particularly about what constitutes an objection to the Home Secretary proceeding in relation to practical impediments to such people gaining another citizenship, rather than the provision necessarily being used as a route in law?

James Brokenshire: As I have said, the primary consideration is for the Home Secretary to research various materials and determine whether the individual could reacquire their former nationality, because that is what we are largely talking about in the circumstances of considering such laws. I am sure that she would also have to consider practical issues and the other surrounding circumstances. It is difficult to be specific, as individual facts and cases will no doubt be relevant to the provision. She will, therefore, wish to consider those other practical or logistical arrangements as part of her determination about whether there are reasonable grounds for the individual to secure citizenship from another state.

Mr Robert Buckland (South Swindon) (Con): I want to press my hon. Friend on justiciability. Is he now satisfied that amendment (a) deals with the convention issue about deprivation of citizenship not being exercised arbitrarily, but proportionately? Does the amendment meet such tests?

James Brokenshire: Yes. My hon. Friend rightly points to article 15 of the universal declaration of human rights, which makes a point about protection against the arbitrary deprivation of nationality. We are very

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clear that the provision is not arbitrary. It is a very focused and proportionate power that meets not only those requirements, but our obligations under the UN convention on the reduction of statelessness of 1961, and the declaration made by the UK when it ratified that convention in 1966. We have considered our international obligations very carefully. We believe that the provision absolutely complies with the obligations that we have set for ourselves.

Fiona Mactaggart (Slough) (Lab): All the examples that the Minister has used relate to cases in which he expects people to reacquire a nationality that they gave up to avoid having their British nationality taken away. If that is his intention, would it not have been better to table a much narrower amendment in which that was the circumstance in which the Home Secretary could consider withdrawing a person’s citizenship? That might have been more broadly welcomed in the House than amendment (a).

James Brokenshire: Amendment (a) was carefully framed and consideration was given to the comments of the Supreme Court in the al-Jedda case. Indeed, the amendment is more tightly framed than was suggested by the Supreme Court and is required by our obligations under the ratifying declaration that the UK signed in 1966. That speaks more widely about reserving the right in relation to statelessness, including where the person has conducted themselves in a manner seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the UK.

We have refined those broad terms in amendment (a) by requiring the Home Secretary to undertake the reasonableness test that I have highlighted. She must have reasonable grounds for believing that the individual whom we are seeking to use the powers on has the ability to obtain citizenship under the laws of another state. I argue that we have considered the matter carefully and framed the amendment appropriately to deal with the significant loophole that was created and that was highlighted by the al-Jedda judgment. We believe that it is important to close that off in the interests of national security.

Several hon. Members rose—

James Brokenshire: A number of my hon. Friends are trying to intervene. I give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Sir Richard Shepherd), who has not intervened on me thus far.

Sir Richard Shepherd (Aldridge-Brownhills) (Con): I am very grateful to the Minister. This proposal is predicated on the fact that the Home Secretary will act rationally and reasonably, but—[Laughter.] No, I do not see that as funny at all. I want to know how the people of Britain will know that the action has been taken in a rational and reasonable way, when it is obscured from public view, and is therefore challengeable.

James Brokenshire: I will make two points in answer to my hon. Friend. First, the decision of the Secretary of State would be reviewable by the courts. It would, therefore, be open to the individual to challenge the decision and the reasonableness of the Home Secretary’s determination. Secondly, I point him to amendment (b), under which there will be an independent review of the

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power, which will report after one year and then on a rolling three-yearly basis. That will provide clarity about how the power is being used and give the reassurance that he has sought to exact.

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab): Will the Minister clarify the point that he has just made? Is he suggesting that there will be a right of appeal against a ministerial decision, or will there only be a right to undertake a judicial review, which of course would relate to process and not to the facts of the case?

James Brokenshire: There is the ability to challenge deprivation decisions. Many cases have been brought before the courts that relate to the Home Secretary’s use of the existing deprivation powers. That will continue to apply for the power and the amendments relating to the specific circumstances in which someone may be rendered stateless, subject to the Home Secretary’s being satisfied of their ability to seek the citizenship of another country. The existing challenge, process and procedures will continue to apply.

3.15 pm

Mr Harper: I listened carefully to the hon. Member for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart) because I respect her opinions on home affairs matters. It would not be appropriate to narrow the scope of amendment (a) in the way that she suggested. She missed the point that the individuals concerned are not always compliant and helpful in seeking a second nationality. Indeed, they often try not to do so. That is why the Home Secretary has to take a reasonable decision, taking account of the laws of the countries involved and the behaviour of the individual. If the amendment were narrowed in the way the hon. Lady suggested, I do not think that we would succeed in closing the loophole.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dawn Primarolo): Order. I remind the hon. Gentleman that the point of an intervention is not to comment on a previous intervention, but to comment on what the Minister is saying. If he wants to challenge what the hon. Member for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart) said, perhaps he will try to catch my eye.

James Brokenshire: I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who has made his point. I am sure that he will make it again in the debate. He is right to underline the careful way in which we have framed the amendments.

Sarah Teather rose

Dr Huppert rose

Sir Richard Shepherd rose

James Brokenshire: I will take one further round of interventions, then I will make some progress.

Sarah Teather: Will the Minister comment on the time frame in which he thinks it is reasonable to expect somebody to obtain another citizenship? In the Government’s mind, would somebody be stateless for two years, five years or 10 years? Is there any sense of how long the process could go on for?

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James Brokenshire: That is largely in the hands of the individual. When the power is exercised, it will be open to the individual to seek the citizenship of the other country. We are unable to compel them to act in that way. That goes to the heart of the problem that we have identified. It is open to the individual to seek the citizenship of the other country, so it depends on what action they take.

Dr Huppert: The Minister is being very generous; I am sure that there will be questions on later sections of his speech as well. It is possible for the Home Secretary to have reasonable grounds to believe something, but for it not to be the case. What will happen if somebody in the UK goes through the process, the Home Secretary believes that they are able to get citizenship from another country and they make a bona fide application for that citizenship, but it is turned down?

James Brokenshire: In those circumstances, the Home Secretary would have exercised her power to deprive, so the case does not relate to the specific power under discussion. Obviously, we are able to deprive somebody of citizenship, whether they are in the UK or outside the UK, under the existing powers. That is an important mechanism for maintaining national security and ensuring that the actions of an individual who may be involved in terrorism are addressed by restricting their ability to become involved in terrorism-related activity and by preventing travel that might be a key component of terrorism-related activity. That underlines the importance of deprivation as a means of addressing the very small cohort of individuals who would seek to do us harm.

Sir Richard Shepherd rose

Alok Sharma (Reading West) (Con) rose

James Brokenshire: I give way to my hon. Friend who has not intervened on me before.

Alok Sharma: I want to press the Minister on the point that my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Dr Huppert) made. If the Home Secretary has every reason to believe that an individual could get the citizenship of another country, but the Government of that country say that they do not want them as a citizen, what will happen to that individual? Will he or she remain without citizenship?

James Brokenshire: If the individual is in the UK, which I think is the situation on which that comment is predicated, there is precedent for giving limited restricted leave to remain. That might impose specific conditions. It would also mean that an individual would not have the usual rights of a citizen to access public services and enjoy public benefits. In seeking to mitigate the risks, that of itself may be considered a significant and relevant factor.

Keith Vaz (Leicester East) (Lab): I apologise for missing the Minister’s opening remarks, which I am sure were extremely important.

I and other Members have a lot of sympathy with what the Minister says and understand and support what he is trying to do, but we are concerned about the practicalities of what will happen if he takes citizenship

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away from someone and leaves them stateless. That was what upset the other place. Has he studied any other country that has a similar power, and what has he gleaned from that comparative study?

James Brokenshire: It is difficult to make general comparisons with other states, because of the different natures of the threat that countries face, the court judgments that have been made there and the international conventions that apply to them. However, other states do have the ability to render citizens stateless, and some have made protocols and reservations to that effect. Some people have sought to portray those states as somehow despotic, or—[Interruption.] I know that the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) is eager for me to get to his point, and I am happy to do so, but I do not think anybody would regard countries such as Belgium or the Republic of Ireland as despotic, and those states have reserved powers to make citizens stateless. Although it is difficult to make generalisations, because of the different treaties and conventions to which each country is subject, other countries have reserved powers to make individuals stateless in certain circumstances.

Keith Vaz: As usual, I have asked a question and the Minister has given me a straight answer, and I am extremely grateful. He mentioned Belgium, but what are the practicalities of what it has done? I accept that the power in question is used in other countries, but what happens when a citizen of Belgium has their citizenship removed and is left stateless? Is not the truth that they cannot go anywhere else?

James Brokenshire: I would hesitate to provide commentary on the laws of Belgium, the Republic of Ireland or other countries that have reserved this power. I have explained to the House this afternoon what would happen in this country if someone were left in those circumstances, and I hope that I have provided clarity.

Glenda Jackson (Hampstead and Kilburn) (Lab): Although I was not present for the beginning of the Minister’s speech, I have been watching the debate assiduously in my office.

In my constituency, there have been cases in which an individual has rightly been threatened with deportation by Her Majesty’s Government, yet their home nation state has categorically refused to take them back. I have constituents who have automatically lost their nationality by making an application in this country not for citizenship but for asylum. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Leicester East (Keith Vaz) asked, what are the practicalities? Do we wander the world trying to sell those individuals to some accepting nation state?

James Brokenshire: It is not about that at all. I am sorry that the hon. Lady may have missed some of my earlier comments, although I appreciate that she has been watching from afar. As I stated earlier, the provision is about dealing with a small cadre of individuals who may have waived or surrendered their previous citizenship as a means of frustrating the Government’s attempts to guard our national security by using our existing deprivation powers. The Home Secretary would need reasonable satisfaction in exercising the power to deprive. It would

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then be open to the individual in question to take whatever steps they needed to take to regularise their position. We are closing a gap that the Labour Government left us by virtue of the changes that they made in 2002 and built on in 2006. The Supreme Court highlighted that gap in the al-Jedda case. Our proposal is intended to guard our national security.

We recognise the comments that have been made here and in the other place, but Lords amendment 18 would prevent deprivation of citizenship from being pursued in the case of an individual who had no recourse to another nationality. Every country operates its own nationality law, and there are a range of requirements and eligibility criteria. As part of the “reasonable grounds” consideration, the Home Secretary will of course consider whether there are any legal points that would prevent an individual from regaining their former nationality. The individual in question will retain a full right of appeal, which will be to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission. The courts will be able to consider whether the Home Secretary was correct to conclude that there were reasonable grounds to believe that that person was able to become a national of another country or territory under its laws.

As the Government have stated in both Houses, the proposal to extend the Home Secretary’s powers to deprive citizenship is an important and timely measure to strengthen the security of the UK. It has rightly been subject to substantial debate, and to scrutiny by the Joint Committee on Human Rights and Members of both Houses. We do not agree that a small Committee from each House would be the right place to consider the matter. It would not have access to the appropriate closed material to make further assessments beyond what has already been discussed in the House. Having such a Committee would also cause unnecessary delay, leaving a loophole to be exploited and creating a barrier to effective action for a considerable number of months, if not years. It is important that we close the loophole in a timely way, which is why the Government have decided to proceed with a narrower measure than we had originally proposed in preference to allowing delays for a Committee to consider the issues.

Sir Richard Shepherd: Is the Minister saying, then, that the person deprived of their citizenship will not know the reasons for that, and that the only course of court action will be through SIAC, which is a secret court? We will therefore never know whether the deprivation was justified.

James Brokenshire: My hon. Friend will gain satisfaction from the judgment that SIAC will make in each individual case. He will be familiar with debates that we have had on other legislation and with the challenge for any Government of how to handle sensitive material. He will also know the existing case law on the gisting of some material, and that is a matter of active consideration by the courts. I therefore think that the public, the House and the country can be satisfied that if SIAC has considered a matter, it will have done so appropriately and reached an appropriate outcome in respect of the actions by the Secretary of State.

Glenda Jackson: Will SIAC have the information from the individual’s home Government? For example,

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will there be a requirement on the Chinese embassy—I cite China because it is the first example that comes to mind—to furnish evidence as to why it is refusing to allow its former citizen to regain their nationality, and will that information be furnished to SIAC?

James Brokenshire: It is difficult to comment on individual circumstances and cases. The Secretary of State will need to show that her judgment was reasonable in bringing forward and using the power that we are contemplating, if the amendment is accepted, and it would obviously be open to the individual to present evidence to SIAC in non-closed circumstances regarding their situation, and to challenge that decision. That right of challenge is obviously protected by provisions in the Bill.

3.30 pm

On Report in the Lords, the Government tabled an amendment to provide for an independent review of the use of the new power to deprive. That was in response to concerns expressed in earlier debates that there should be independent scrutiny and that a report should be made to Parliament, and that provision is included in the measures we propose today. We recognise the importance of scrutinising the operation of the power at the earliest opportunity, and we have therefore proposed to review it after 12 months, with a subsequent 36-month review period. A report to the Home Secretary will be laid before Parliament alongside those reviews, which can then be debated in both Houses. We have not yet decided who will conduct those reviews. It may be appropriate, for example, to appoint the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation—currently David Anderson—to take on that additional task, but we are mindful that if the review of the deprivation power is added to the demands on him, that must not be to the detriment of his capacity to meet his existing important statutory reviews.

Several hon. Members rose—

James Brokenshire: I will draw my comments to a close, as I have been generous to hon. Members across the House.

In conclusion, this power is narrowly drawn and aimed at addressing a real and current threat posed by a small number of individuals. The Government have taken steps to listen to the concerns of both Houses about statelessness. We are committed to taking proportionate action to protect the public and remove the privileges of British citizenship from those who abuse it. That is what these provisions do, and I commend them to the House.

Mr David Hanson (Delyn) (Lab): I support the Lords amendments. Having listened to their lordships and to contributions from Members across the House, and having noted the keen interest there appears to be in this debate, I hope that the Minister will reflect on what he has said and support the Lords amendments in due course.

I will start with a quote:

“If we identify someone as a person proposing to commit a serious terrorist offence, for example, surely the obligation is on

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us to deal with that person. If we simply deport him, we shall be handing on—in my submission, irresponsibly—this terrorist problem to another state which may not have the same capability of dealing with it as we do. It cannot be a proper response to the terrorist threat to refuse to deal with it ourselves”.—[

Official Report, House of Lords,

9 October 2002; Vol. 639, c. 277-78.]

That was the late Lord Kingsland who spoke in October 2002 as Conservative shadow Lord Chancellor when these matters were debated in relation to nationality. At that time, the then Labour Government determined that statelessness should not be part of the legislative framework, and that prompts the question why have the Government brought forward this proposal at this time?

I think the Lords did a service to Parliament in providing it with an opportunity to discuss this proposal again, and I remind the House that the Lords voted by 242 votes to 180 to ensure that the amendment was accepted in another place. Among those who voted were a large number of Labour peers, and it is fair and proper that I report that to the House. There were also many others, both Cross-Bench, from the Government Benches and among the Bishops, who voted to ask this House to consider the matter again. Those included Lord Judge, a former Lord Chief Justice, and Lord Hannay, a former senior diplomat, as well as such Liberal Democrat notaries as Lord Lester, Lord Willis of Knaresborough, Lord Roberts of Llandudno, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, Lord Oakeshott and Baroness Neuberger, and also the notable former Foreign Secretary Lord Howe of Aberavon. That group of peers did not vote for the amendment to cause trouble for the Government; it is a group of peers who take an interest in this matter and have reflected on the Government’s approach. Whatever else can be said, the Home Secretary did not convince the other place that her measures were right and proper. In fact, the charitable view is that the Home Secretary has made a mess of this matter. She has tried to rush the proposals through.

James Brokenshire: No.

Mr Hanson: The Minister says no, but the Home Secretary brought forward the proposals on 30 January on Report, after they were tabled on 29 January. We had to table a manuscript amendment on Report, which we withdrew because we wanted to take legal advice. That legal advice led to a cross-party Lords amendment, moved by Lord Pannick, to ensure proper consideration of the proposals in Committee.

The Lords amendment is reasonable. It asks for the establishment of a Joint Committee of both Houses to consider and report on the complications of the removal of citizenship and the issues raised by Members across the House. From discussions I have had with the Minister, I know he is concerned that that would lead to delay, but I hope I can reassure him. Through agreement outside this House, we could, if the Lords amendment was accepted, give a time scale to that consideration to ensure that we have detailed examination and, effectively, pre-legislative scrutiny of the proposal, so that we can take the concerns raised in another place seriously, look at what points are being made even today by Members of this House and come to a consensus on this extremely serious issue—the removal of citizenship from individuals.

I think we can come to an agreement whereby a proposal is considered and completed perhaps, dare I say it, by the summer recess. I do not want to pre-empt

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the Gracious Speech in a couple of weeks’ time, but it will undoubtedly include a criminal justice Bill. Measures could be introduced at that stage and looked at in detail.

Dr Huppert: The shadow Minister is talking about the process and that is very interesting, but can I press him on the Labour party’s view on the policy principle? Some of us, including some Labour Members, voted against the measure on principle. He says that it may be a positive thing to have this sort of deprivation. His party abstained, with Whips quite forcefully stopping people voting. What is the Labour party’s position on the principle at stake?

Mr Hanson: If the hon. Gentleman will allow me, I will come on to that point in a moment. We abstained on 30 January because we wanted to ensure that we gave proper consideration to this matter, and we supported the amendment in another place to ensure that we did consider this matter. My noble Friend Baroness Smith of Basildon signed the amendment before the House today. We want to support the amendment today and return it to the Lords.

The Labour party and my right hon. Friend the Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) will not do anything that puts the security of the United Kingdom at risk. I want to ensure that we do not remove citizenship without a proper right of appeal. I want to ensure that people know the grounds of that removal of citizenship and that the consequences are considered. I want, with the Minister, to tighten up how the Government intend to exercise that power. How do the Government intend to ensure that what is “reasonable” is deemed to be reasonable? I want to give the Minister the opportunity to explain that. This is a serious matter that needs proper parliamentary scrutiny. We have had a very short time in another place and one day in this House to consider this matter. We need to look at it in much more detail and we need to take evidence. A large number of people outside this place have raised concerns and we need to ensure, and not just in one-and-a-half hours, that the Minister justifies the opportunity and practice over a period of time.

Mr Harper: The more the right hon. Gentleman speaks, the more confused I am about his position. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary tabled the amendment in January, so more than three months have passed since she put this provision before Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman has now said, notwithstanding the fact that the amendment says the Committee will serve for the duration of the Parliament, that it could all be sorted out before the summer recess, which is only two months away. What does he expect to learn in the next two months that he has not learnt in the past three?

Mr Hanson: I think both Houses of Parliament should have an opportunity to take evidence, as happens during pre-legislative scrutiny, and I am not the only person who thinks that. Moving the amendment in the House of Lords, Lord Pannick said:

“A Joint Committee is required because Clause 64 was added to the Bill very late in the passage of the Bill through the other place—that is, 24 hours before Report and Third Reading…so there was no pre-legislative scrutiny of this proposal, no consultation

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and no opportunity for consideration by the Public Bill Committee of the other place. The absence of pre-legislative scrutiny and proper consultation is especially unfortunate in a context such as this.”—[

Official Report, House of Lords,

7 April 2014; Vol. 753, c. 1168.]

The hon. Member for Forest of Dean (Mr Harper) may want to steamroller the Bill through, but I think it important that we get it right.

Glenda Jackson: There is a great, gaping hole in the Government’s argument. However much the Minister may speak about the powers of the Home Secretary, no British Home Secretary in the House of Commons has ever had the power to impose on a sovereign nation state laws governing whom it should or should not take back, and to whom it should or should not give a passport and citizenship.

Mr Hanson: My hon. Friend has anticipated some of my own arguments. Like the hon. Member for Cambridge (Dr Huppert), I think we need to examine important issues relating to both the deprivation of citizenship and the impact on terrorism prevention. The Minister is seeking to delete the amendment in order to prevent potential terrorist action. I want to test him on that, potentially during scrutiny in the Committee, but also in the House today.

If citizenship is removed from an individual who happens to be outside the country, we shall have given up all jurisdiction over that individual, who could be returned to the United Kingdom by a third-party country that did not recognise him as having citizenship of that country. As Lord Kingsland said in 2002, he will not be the responsibility of the United Kingdom, but will still be potentially able to undertake activity that the Minister would not support, as a result of the Minister’s own actions.

James Brokenshire: I am somewhat confused by what the right hon. Gentleman is now saying. Does he not support the Government’s existing use of the deprivation powers to deal with counter-terrorism?

Mr Hanson: The Minister should reflect on that. He will know that the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 specified just two grounds on which citizenship could be removed: it could be removed from those who had gained it through fraud, and it could be removed

“if the Secretary of State is satisfied that the person has done anything seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of…the United Kingdom”,

provided that the revocation of citizenship did not render the person stateless. That is the point, and that is the position that was taken by the Labour Government in the 2002 Act, about nine to 12 months after the horrendous events of 9/11. Surely, if we made that judgment in 2002, at the height of concern about the impact of 9/11, the Minister will be able to back it up in 2014. If he cannot, let him justify that to a Joint Committee. Lord Pannick said in another place:

“The Joint Committee will also want to consider whether the benefits, if any, of the proposed new power justify the… international implications.” .”—[Official Report, House of Lords, 7 April 2014; Vol. 753, c. 1169.]

How can the British Government lecture others, or promulgate international law, when the Bill proposes the establishment of circumstances which, in my view,

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would break international requirements across the board? The Minister says that that is not the case, which is a view that we need to discuss.

Jeremy Corbyn: I agree with what my right hon. Friend has just said, but is not one of the fundamental problems the fact that what the Government are doing has about it more than a whiff of Executive decision making on major issues to which there is no simple legal remedy? The Government are trying to avoid a court process, and to give powers to an elected politician over an independent judiciary.

Mr Hanson: I am grateful for that because my hon. Friend anticipates the concerns we had and that we raised in the debate on 30 January. The proposal then from the Minister was that the Home Secretary could determine, on reasonable grounds, the deprivation of citizenship. There was no judicial oversight promised. The Minister has today brought forward amendments (a) and (b) which would provide for a review. I do not happen to think they go far enough. I think we need to stick to the original idea of an examination by a Joint Committee. The Minister, however, has brought forward those amendments which move slightly from his original proposal of some six or seven weeks ago. Why has he done that? He has done so because he has been roasted in another place and, this proposal having been considered by Members of that other place, has lost the vote quite considerably. Yet today we find that, rather than listening to those concerns, the Minister wishes to vote down this amendment and has brought forward proposals that, again, I think do not go far enough.

3.45 pm

Richard Fuller (Bedford) (Con): Like my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Sir Richard Shepherd), when I hear phrases such as “review by SIAC” I shudder on the question of process, but I am interested to hear what the right hon. Gentleman would say to my constituents who want us to move quickly on all immigration issues—who say we are not moving fast enough, we are not making change quickly enough. What is the relative merit of his proposal to support Lords amendments that would delay enactment as opposed to the Government proposal to see and review the impact after enactment?

Mr Hanson: That is a legitimate question, and it is one that deserves an answer. The point I would make is that we are legislating. If we legislate for this and if it goes back to the other place in the form the Minister has brought forward, it will be enacted: it will have Royal Assent within a matter of, presumably, days. We will therefore have one year of operation between May or June 2014 through to May or June 2015. That is fair enough. We will then review it and make changes. All the concerns raised by Members today would potentially be applicable in that 12-month period. The argument I would make is that if we accept the amendment that has been considered by the Lords, we can look at this, get it right and ensure that the concerns that have been raised not just here today but by Members in another place are dealt with. The measures that are taken will then have the full confidence of both Houses of Parliament. At the moment, given the vote that was taken in the other

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place—242 in favour and 180 against— the proposals the Minister brought forward previously do not have the support and confidence of both Houses. The removal of citizenship is such a challenging and extreme measure to take that it must have the confidence of both Houses of Parliament.

Mr Buckland: I listened with interest when the right hon. Gentleman talked about his fear that the UK would be in breach of its international obligations in relation to statelessness if the Government’s proposals went through. Which particular international obligations does he think the UK would be in breach of?

Mr Hanson: I am trying to ensure that we propagate good practice. There are many states that currently remove citizenship from individuals. It has happened in Iraq and it has happened in other countries before, and we have been critical of that. We are trying to ensure that any action taken by a Government, particularly when it is one of Executive power by the Home Secretary, is supported by both Houses of Parliament.

Let me give the hon. Gentleman the opinion of international lawyer Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill, who says that:

“any state that admitted an individual on the basis of his or her British passport would be fully entitled to ignore any purported deprivation of citizenship and as a matter of right return that person to the UK.”

That was the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Hampstead and Kilburn (Glenda Jackson). We need to consider this in considerable detail.

Mark Reckless (Rochester and Strood) (Con): The shadow Minister did say that this was in breach of our international obligations, but he now says it is only a matter of good practice. He has quoted another international jurist and many Members from the other place, but we are the elected Members. Some of us have come to this debate to try to make up our minds. If we could hear more of what the right hon. Gentleman thinks of the principle of the Bill and the arguments around it, we could make a decision today, and I for one would enormously appreciate that.

Mr Hanson: I could do worse than to cite what Lord Deben, a Conservative peer, has said—[Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman looks as though he lacks concern about this, but I am expressing a number of concerns that have been expressed, both in this House and in—[Interruption.] My view is that we need to ensure that if we take this step, we do it in an effective and appropriate way that does not damage the credibility of the anti-terrorism case. Removing someone’s citizenship is an extreme measure and it has to be done in a way that is appropriate. The Minister has not made it clear to me that the “reasonable” judgments of the Home Secretary—[Interruption.] If the Parliamentary Private Secretary would like to join in the conversation, he could go to the Back Benches and do so. For the past three months we have received wodges of legal advice and wodges of views saying, “This is not practical, it will not be effective and it will damage our attacks on terrorism.” The Minister is asking us to take things on trust, but the other place has determined that it wants to examine these issues in detail, argue them and test the Minister on them, and that is a fair proposal.

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Lord Deben, a Conservative colleague of the hon. Member for Rochester and Strood (Mark Reckless), has said that

“to take away someone’s citizenship, it is not reasonable to say that you assume that they can get another country’s citizenship. It is only reasonable to say that you know that they have another citizenship; anything less than that is wrong. It may not be convenient, but it is not right.

We have been the signatory to and the driver of much of the international law that seeks to reduce statelessness to its minimum. I fear that in this particular case, we may, for very good reasons—in seeking to close loopholes…do something which will do great injustice to a very small number of people.”—[Official Report, House of Lords, 19 March 2014; Vol. 753, c. 213.]

That is what we need to test by a Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament and that is what we need to test over the next few weeks and months, which is why the other place has given its support. Justice, Liberty and the Immigration Law Practitioners Association, among others, have made cogent arguments as to why we need to consider this in detail. We need to examine it, and I support the retention of the Lords amendment and hope the House will do so.

Sir Richard Shepherd: I am greatly concerned about this measure, and I will just make some observations. The Minister referred to the power that the Home Secretary used to have in relation to something being not conducive to the public good. Its removal created a real difficulty for Governments, but my concern is not the difficulty for Governments; my concern is for the British common law system. This is not about the European Court of Justice—its rulings or anything else. The issue of concern to me is: what is our process?

I believe, and this was fundamental to our legal system, that a person should know the reasons they are to be aggrieved, but that is not possible under the Bill. He or she will not know the reasons they are being deprived of citizenship, so they can make no case that can be held to be valid, because they do not know what they are challenging—or they will claim they do not know what they are being challenged with. We do not know and the public do not know, so this violates one of the first principles of our legal system—our common law system. I want the House always to remember that our common law system in England has been absolutely essential to our liberties, freedoms, standing and our sense of who we are.

I understand the difficulties that Governments face, as there are a lot of wicked, evil people out there, but the answer has always been to prosecute. We are told, “Oh we can’t prosecute because in a prosecution we may have to reveal our sources.” This is the nightmare situation that the world in which we now live is facing: we are not to know, we cannot know and we cannot challenge. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission is one of the most monstrous extrusions on the national scene, as not even the solicitor representing the accused or the person who loses their citizenship knows the reasons their client is there. Gisting? Well, all those rules that have been put in place essentially deny open justice using the argument of national security.

I have been a Member of Parliament for 36 years, and I look back over the decline of our sense of who we are, what our system is, and our freedoms and liberties, which are concentrated in the concept of the common

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law. I did not invent it—we did not invent it—it came from the movement of the people of this country over hundreds of years and the development of our legal system. Year after year, in a way that one could never assume would happen, Governments have gone out searching for new measures to conceal the openness of what justice should be. We, as citizens of this country, have a right to know why people are charged. That is why we have an open court system, so that we can judge whether the measures are competent, reasonable or truthful to the purpose of our nation. That is why I cannot support the very notion that so much power should be concentrated in one individual—a Home Secretary—whether good or bad, that they may make decisions of this nature without our being able to challenge whether they are valid, true or right. I want the House to stand up for who we are and what our system of justice is—and it is not secret justice.

Pete Wishart: It is always a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Sir Richard Shepherd). What a powerful case he has made about the closed process of justice, which has become a feature of the Government as they proceed on issues of national security.

When the Government first came to power, I cheered them on, as they practically went around deconstructing Labour’s anti-civil libertarian state, which we all remember: identity cards; the national database; pre-charge detention. I cheered the Government on when they did that, but they have now constructed a closed process with a lack of justice—all the things that the hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills powerfully expressed. We have created a new anti-civil libertarian state, helped by the Liberal Democrats. This is not the type of justice, society, country and community that we want. We are better than that. Yes, we need to balance national security and civil liberties, but this is another Government who have got it wrong.

The plans were roundly monstered in the House of Lords, as they deserved to be. If one looks at how many Lords supported the amendment and spoke against the measures, we find one former Director of Public Prosecutions, a former Supreme Court judge and even 23 Liberal Democrat peers. The measure was defeated by 242 to 180 votes in the House of Lords, which demonstrates wide-ranging opposition and great concern about proceeding in this way.

The Lords amendment does not even seek to delete the clause. I wish that it did. I do not have a vocation like Labour spokespeople. I think that this is a bad measure, and I voted against it in principle because it is fundamentally wrong to remove the citizenship of people of this country just because they are suspected of being terrorists. That is absolutely wrong—I make no bones about that—and I wish that the amendment deleted the entire clause. However, it does not do so; all that it seeks to do is to set up a Committee of both Houses to look at the implications of the measure and see whether we are doing the right thing.

We have not had a chance to look at the measure properly in the Commons. It was introduced on Report without our having any opportunity to consider its value or implications and what it meant in the context of the Bill. The Lords had a little more time; we have an hour and a half to consider what the Lords said, to look

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at the measure again and, I hope, to make the right decision. The amendment does not ask us to reject the measure; it just asks us to look at it again.

Panicked by the Lords defeat, the Government have introduced their own amendments, which would provide a review once the measure had been implemented. That is closing the stable door after the horse has left without its passport, having been deprived of its citizenship. It is too late to do anything then. We have to take a look at how the measure would impact on what we are trying to achieve and secure before we effect any legislation rather than afterwards.

4 pm

Under the Government amendments, before depriving people of their British citizenship, the Home Secretary would be required to have

“reasonable grounds for believing that the person is able”

to acquire another nationality, and a review of the measure after one year and then again every three years would also be required. There are so many difficulties with the Government’s suggestions, however. The principal power would still be exercised by the Home Secretary, who would subjectively assess whether another nationality was theoretically available. We have just heard the Minister’s desperate attempts to answer the many points paraded before him during this debate. How will this work in practice? We were looking for answers when this proposal was first promoted on Report, and we are looking for answers today, but nobody knows how much of a limbo effect this will have on people who are suspects and will be subjected to this attempt to deprive them of their citizenship. We have had no clear answer on how it will impact on the individual.

The Government review will allow the Home Secretary a veto on the information put before Parliament, thus compromising both the independence and the transparency of the process. If the Government are so confident of their proposals, surely they have nothing to fear from making the case to a parliamentary Committee in a timely, considered and evidence-based manner. This contempt for the legislature and this rushed approach to law-making is no way to produce the type of outcome that we want. This measure is so draconian that it must be looked at before it is implemented, and we must have a pre-legislative look at it rather than a post-legislative review.

Of all the things said in the Lords debate, the words of Lord Pannick were the most powerful, when he said:

“There are, regrettably, all too many dictators around the world who are willing to use the creation of statelessness as a weapon…and we should do nothing to suggest that such conduct is acceptable.”—[Official Report, House of Lords, 7 April 2014; Vol. 753, c. 1169.]

It seems as though the Government message has been listened to already, when we have heard Marine Le Pen, the leader of the Front National party in France calling on the French Government to implement the Home Secretary’s plans. That just shows what a bad international example we are setting—a dreadful example around the world. This is a policy for despots, not democrats and for “liberal strippers”, not liberals. The UK’s reputation as a country that values the rule of law will be put at risk if MPs do not oppose the Home Secretary’s plans

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for citizenship-stripping. People need only to be suspected of terrorism to be deprived of citizenship, and we have still not heard any satisfactory answer on what will happen to these people.

This measure is unfair, possibly unlawful and unlikely to make the UK any safer. It is also a feature of the type of democracy that we are beginning to see here in the United Kingdom, with the rise of UKIP and a grotesque race to the bottom between this Government and UKIP to see who can be the toughest on immigration measures and who can be the best at stripping off our citizens’ civil liberties. Let me tell the Government that they will never beat UKIP on this. It is an absolute certainty that UKIP will always triumph when it comes to this appalling race to the bottom.

The Lords amendments would provide time for further reflection; the Government amendments are no substitute. Let us make sure that we support the Lords amendment; let us make sure that we look at this issue properly before going down this appalling road.

Mr Harper: Let me first remind the House what we are asking it to do today—to disagree with the Lords in their amendment. I have a reason for saying that. I listened carefully to what the right hon. Member for Delyn (Mr Hanson), the shadow Minister said, as he carefully avoided setting out his party’s view and quoted lots of other people back at us. His proposed solution was to spend the next two months before the summer recess coming to a rapid conclusion. I think that he accepts that there is a legitimate national security issue here, but what he said does not reflect what the amendment says.

Paragraph (2) of Lords amendment 18 talks about nominating a Committee that would serve

“for the duration of the present Parliament”,

with no deadline to reach a conclusion. I repeat what I said in my intervention on the right hon. Gentleman. I accept his point that there was not much time between tabling the amendment and the Report stage in this House. It is a perfectly fair point that we had discussions before the issues were discussed in the House of Lords. However, three months have elapsed and these matters have been considered in the other place, and I really do not understand what we are going to learn in the next two months that we have not been able to learn in the past three months.

Mr Hanson: The hon. Gentleman is right to say that the proposal is that the Committee shall serve for the duration of this Parliament. I was trying to be ever helpful by offering the Minister the opportunity that we could, through the usual channels, determine to examine these matters in a reasonable time. We could set that time informally even if the Committee did serve for the duration of the Parliament.

Mr Harper: I accept the right hon. Gentleman’s point, but that is not provided for. The Committee regulates its procedure. Nothing here talks about the balance of party members on the Committee. The Chairman of Committees in the other place will nominate the members from the House of Lords, and the Speaker of the House of Commons will nominate those from this place. There is no provision in the amendment to do what the right hon. Gentleman suggests.

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If a Committee of members of both Houses considers the matter at length, it will produce a report. If we accept for the sake of argument that it manages to agree on the right outcome, it will only produce a report that will inform a further debate in this House. Members of this House will still be required to take a decision. We will still be required to weigh up the arguments that my hon. Friend the Minister for Security and Immigration so ably laid out before the House today and the Home Secretary did in January. We will still be required to consider the arguments that the shadow Minister did not put before the House; he simply recited the views of others. We will not be freed from the responsibility of taking a decision. It is the “kick the can down the road” amendment, which allows the House to avoid taking a decision.

These are difficult issues. I listened carefully to my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Sir Richard Shepherd), whom I respect hugely on these matters, but there is a balance to be struck between defending the liberties of our citizens and protecting us from terrorism. I do not reach easily for the national security argument. I was pleased when I was elected to the House to vote against the provisions for 90-day pre-trial detention. But this is a proportionate and limited proposal. I supported the previous measure. The Home Secretary has listened to the debate on 30 January in this House and to the debate in the other place. Amendments (a) and (b) do two things. First, they ensure that we are not left with a situation of someone left unable to seek citizenship. She has to have reasonable grounds for believing that they are able to, and that addresses many of the concerns raised previously by the Chair of the Home Affairs Committee and my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Dr Huppert), who set those out on 30 January.

A review mechanism is now in place, whether by the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation or another independent person, which will enable the House to look quite quickly, after an initial one-year process, and then every subsequent three years, at the actual implementation of the legislation in practice, so enabling us, if there are issues, if some of the concerns set out by my hon. Friend for Aldridge-Brownhills or others come to light, to enable the House to amend the legislation. The concern that the Home Secretary set out with the al-Jedda judgment leaves a gap in our legislation, which leaves us vulnerable to those who would do us harm.

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): Given my hon. Friend’s expert knowledge on this subject, can he give the House some indication of how many people this treatment might be applied to? Are we talking about very few people?

Mr Harper: My hon. Friend the Minister set out how many individuals had been deprived of their citizenship on non-conducive grounds, so not using this power, since 2006, and it was 27. It is not possible to know in advance, but we are talking about very small numbers. We are talking about people who conduct themselves in a way that is seriously prejudicial to our national interests. It is a small number of people, but it is a small number of people who mean to do us serious harm, but whom we are not able to prosecute.

This is a proportionate use of the Home Secretary’s power. It is reviewable by the independent judiciary, so there is a check and balance in place. We have to ask

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ourselves whether we want to leave ourselves open to this vulnerability, exposed by the Supreme Court. We are, as I said, only putting the law back to what it was before 2002. I do not think that any of the scenarios set out by Members happened before 2002. I urge Members to disagree with the Lords in their amendment and to put amendments (a) and (b) on the statute book when we vote this afternoon.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Mrs Eleanor Laing): Order. Before I call anyone else to speak, let me say that we have a very short time in this part of the debate, so I urge Members to be brief in consideration of their colleagues.

Fiona Mactaggart: I will be brief. I spoke in 1997 in the debate on the formation of SIAC, and I was wrong. I thought that the changes that were being made from the previous system were sufficient to protect people who are accused of terrorism. I reminded the House then that the previous arrangements had been used against not just people who wanted to blow up our country but journalists and others such as Mark Hosenball. One reason why we need to have a publicly accountable system, as mentioned by the hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Sir Richard Shepherd), is that, without it, there cannot be a guarantee that a Home Secretary will not end up doing the same again.

I said in the debate about the formation of SIAC that transparency is the most effective protection against terrorism. I am really concerned that this arrangement not only risks creating statelessness but depends on a grossly untransparent system. I think that we should adopt the route that the Lords has offered us: yes, it is kicking the can down the road, but it is stopping and thinking so that the can is not mashed, thus destroying the reputation of our country.

Dr Huppert: It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart). I pay tribute to her for her acceptance that SIAC was an error and a big problem. Indeed, it is rare in this place for any of us to admit making a mistake. The encroachment of secret justice started with that commission and has continued in a number of other ways.

In the interests of time, I will not go through all my concerns. I have expressed them on a number of occasions in debates in the main Chamber and in the Home Affairs Committee and in discussions with the Minister. The reasons for my concerns remain the same, which is why I was proud to oppose the measure when we discussed it previously, and acted as a teller for the other side. It is a shame that more people did not join us, and I pay tribute to those who did, especially those Labour Members who braved the wrath of their Whips to fight their way into the Lobby, where we saw some interesting rows. It is also interesting to see people who voted for it on that occasion now opposing the principle. I still oppose the principle. There has been much more debate, both in the other place and on the Home Affairs Committee, which has helped to clarify how the measure might work. The Select Committee’s report on counter-terrorism is due out shortly, and I hope the Minister will look carefully at what it says. Obviously, I cannot presage its comments on anything, but I am sure that he will be interested to see it.

7 May 2014 : Column 211

There are many issues relating to what happens if somebody is stateless in this country. If we end up leaving someone stateless because they cannot get the passport that we thought they could apply for, we have taken somebody who is apparently dangerous to us and prevented them from leaving the country. That does not seem a great success to me. There is also the issue about what happens if they are overseas. It also fosters the idea of two classes of citizen—people whose citizenship can be taken away without them being convicted of something and those who cannot have it taken away. It is about how the legal process works and much, much more.

In the interests of time, let me talk about the Government concessions, which I welcome. They are a step in the right direction, but they do not go far enough for me. There are two of them. I welcome the concession about the independent reviewer, and I was pleased to hear the Minister imply that it may be the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, for whom I have huge respect. I would be more encouraged if he, rather than others, was taking on the role. I understand that no decision has yet been made. Will the Minister clarify whether the reviewer will look at specific cases, or just the overall process? Will they be able to trigger a review if a particular case has gone wrong? Will they have full access to all the information that SIAC has? If the independent reviewer does not have all that information, it will be hard for them to make a proper judgment.

Let me turn to the other amendment about reasonable grounds for belief. I welcome this step, because it addresses the key issue of avoiding statelessness. We should all be very concerned to avoid anything that will leave people stateless. My concern is about how certain we are. It was helpful to hear the Minister say—I ask him to correct me if I misquote him—that if someone wanted to claim asylum from a country, that would be deemed to mean that the Home Secretary could not act. If it was not possible to get the citizenship without travelling and the person was stuck in this country, that would be an issue.

I am still concerned about the appeal rights and about what will happen if the Home Secretary makes an error. What will happen if she acts reasonably, but it turns out that she is wrong and someone cannot get citizenship? That would be very alarming and I hope that the Minister will consider the issue and perhaps even tighten this up in the other House.

4.15 pm

John McDonnell: It is a disgrace that we are talking about civil liberties and yet we have only nine minutes left, the debate in the Lords ended only 18 hours ago, and the amendments land before the House when it is likely to rise early next week because of insufficient business. Our job is responsibly to look after our constituents’ interests, which means both their human rights and their protection and security. Not one of the amendments we are considering is capable of doing that as a result of this bouncing of the House. I have been in this place only 17 years now and the worst civil liberties violations have occurred when the House has been bounced into urgent decisions. That is what is happening today and I resent that.

7 May 2014 : Column 212

I resent it on behalf of my constituents. The practicalities of the provisions mean that we will deprive some of their citizenship and, as the hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Sir Richard Shepherd) has said, we will do so in a way that will not even allow them to answer the charges themselves. That is the SIAC process, which I voted against all those years ago.

What are the practicalities of depriving someone of their citizenship when they are a threat, particularly if they are abroad? In the other House there was a discussion about the comity of interest between individual states. What are we to do? Will we deprive a suspected terrorist of their citizenship and leave them as the responsibility of another state? Will that protect our citizens’ interests, if that person can then roam free to take action against this country? That is not fair, just or based on human rights, and it does not practically tackle the issue of security.

Their lordships want time to set up a Joint Committee to give this difficult area of policy the detailed consideration it needs. The Minister referred to the Government’s proposed review as independent, but the amendment makes no reference to independence. The reviewer will be appointed by the Government, not by an independent process. In addition, the Secretary of State will have a veto over what is reported to the House and that applies not just to national security but, as the amendment says, to public interest. Public interest has been used in this House by successive Governments to avoid embarrassments and to avoid providing the House with information on which we can make considered judgments.

The Government’s amendments are not acceptable. I do not think they resolve the concerns that the other House has raised and I hope that that place holds firm so that we can negotiate a proper process. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Delyn (Mr Hanson) that we need a reasonable process within a limited period of time to allow us to return to the House to consider proper proposals that protect civil liberties while, just as importantly, protecting the security of our constituents.

Mr Buckland: I feel like I am in an episode of “Just a Minute”, Madam Deputy Speaker, but here goes.

I support the Government’s amendments, as we must focus on the issue. This is not some descent into despotism; all we are talking about is a return to the law as it stood before 2002. We are not even talking about the principle of statelessness, because the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 allows for a person to be stateless when that nationality has been obtained by fraud. We are talking about only a very small cohort of people who pose a serious threat to the safety of the citizens we represent.

It is important that the Government ensure that they do not end up with decisions being made in an arbitrary or disproportionate way, which is why the provision about reasonable grounds is important and goes a long way towards answering that point. The report of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, of which I am a Member, correctly said that the decision to deprive people of their state per se does not breach any international conventions. That is the case that was not properly answered by the Opposition.

7 May 2014 : Column 213

In the seconds I have left in which to speak, all I can say is that the Government have moved a significant way and that that allows me and others to support their amendments and reject the Lords amendment.

James Brokenshire: It is worth outlining again at the outset the purpose of the Government’s amendments, which is to close a gap that has been highlighted by the Supreme Court, to guard our national security and to deal with a very small number of individuals who put this country’s security at risk. It is only to deal with those very serious cases of people whose conduct meets the requirement of being

“seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the UK.”

It is important to understand the context and how the Home Secretary, in exercising the power based on the amendments, must have reasonable grounds to believe that under the laws of a country or territory an individual is able to become a national of that country or territory. We have listened to the points that have been made about statelessness, and the amendments address and significantly close the issues that have been highlighted in the other place.

On scrutiny, as my hon. Friend the Member for South Swindon (Mr Buckland) said, the matter has been considered by the Joint Committee on Human Rights, as well as in the other place, so it is not correct to say that it has not been subject to careful consideration in the other place and by Members of this House, or considered in detail. That was incorrectly suggested by the right hon. Member for Delyn (Mr Hanson), who spoke for the Opposition. He has made various assertions that in some way the provisions are not compliant with our conventions and obligations to the United Nations. I reject that. We do not accept that in some way the provisions that are contemplated in the amendments do not comply with our conventions. Indeed, we believe that they adhere more closely to our obligations.

Yasmin Qureshi (Bolton South East) (Lab) rose

James Brokenshire: I am afraid that I do not have time to give way.

We have reflected on the need for oversight and have provided for periodic independent reviews. My hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Dr Huppert) asked whether David Anderson is an appropriate person. He is certainly someone we are examining and we want to have discussions, if the amendments are accepted, to consider his role in that context.

We take our obligations on statelessness extraordinarily seriously and in terms of common law the House has considered these matters in the recent past. My hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Sir Richard Shepherd) has consistently made that point. There are challenges for the Government in what we are able to do to ensure that evidence can be provided appropriately in guarding our national security, and that gisting of facts and information remains available. It is important that the right of challenge exists, but it is also important that we guard our national security, which is why I commend the amendments to the House.

7 May 2014 : Column 214

4.23 pm

Ninety minutes having elapsed since the commencement of proceedings on consideration of Lords amendments, the debate was interrupted (Programme Order, this day).

The Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair (Standing Order No. 83F), That this House disagrees with Lords amendment 18.

The House proceeded to a Division.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Mrs Eleanor Laing): I ask the Serjeant at Arms to investigate the delay in the No Lobby.

The House having divided:

Ayes 305, Noes 239.

Division No. 266]


4.23 pm


Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Alexander, rh Danny

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Steve

Baldry, rh Sir Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Barker, rh Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Bingham, Andrew

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, James

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, Fiona

Bruce, rh Sir Malcolm

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burley, Mr Aidan

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burstow, rh Paul

Burt, rh Alistair

Burt, Lorely

Byles, Dan

Cable, rh Vince

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, Neil

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Clappison, Mr James

Clark, rh Greg

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, Stephen

Crouch, Tracey

Davey, rh Mr Edward

Davies, David T. C.


Davies, Glyn

Davies, Philip

de Bois, Nick

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen

Dorries, Nadine

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Duddridge, James

Duncan, rh Mr Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Jonathan

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Field, Mark

Foster, rh Mr Don

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Fuller, Richard

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Gilbert, Stephen

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, rh Damian

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hancock, Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Sir Nick

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Oliver

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Henderson, Gordon

Hendry, Charles

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Hopkins, Kris

Horwood, Martin

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Hughes, rh Simon

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, rh Sajid

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kelly, Chris

Kennedy, rh Mr Charles

Kirby, Simon

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lamb, Norman

Lancaster, Mark

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Latham, Pauline

Laws, rh Mr David

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lopresti, Jack

Loughton, Tim

Luff, Sir Peter

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

Main, Mrs Anne

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McCrea, Dr William

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Maria

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Moore, rh Michael

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mulholland, Greg

Munt, Tessa

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

O'Brien, rh Mr Stephen

Offord, Dr Matthew

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Opperman, Guy

Ottaway, rh Sir Richard

Paice, rh Sir James

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Phillips, Stephen

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pugh, John

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Sir John

Reckless, Mark

Redwood, rh Mr John

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reevell, Simon

Reid, Mr Alan

Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm

Robathan, rh Mr Andrew

Robertson, rh Hugh

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, Amber

Ruffley, Mr David

Russell, Sir Bob

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shannon, Jim

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, David

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Sir Robert

Soames, rh Nicholas

Soubry, Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Mr Graham

Stunell, rh Sir Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Syms, Mr Robert

Tapsell, rh Sir Peter

Thornton, Mike

Thurso, John

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Truss, Elizabeth

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Ward, Mr David

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Weatherley, Mike

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Willetts, rh Mr David

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Gavin

Willott, Jenny

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wright, Jeremy

Wright, Simon

Yeo, Mr Tim

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Ayes:

Claire Perry


Mark Hunter


Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Barron, rh Kevin

Bayley, Hugh

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Benn, rh Hilary

Benton, Mr Joe

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blears, rh Hazel

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brennan, Kevin

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Caton, Martin

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Jenny

Clark, Katy

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Connarty, Michael

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Sir Tony

Curran, Margaret

Danczuk, Simon

David, Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

Davies, Geraint

Davis, rh Mr David

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobbin, Jim

Docherty, Thomas

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Engel, Natascha

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Field, rh Mr Frank

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Francis, Dr Hywel

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Gilmore, Sheila

Glass, Pat

Goodman, Helen

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Hain, rh Mr Peter

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harris, Mr Tom

Havard, Mr Dai

Healey, rh John

Hendrick, Mark

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hermon, Lady

Heyes, David

Hilling, Julie

Hodge, rh Margaret

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hoey, Kate

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hosie, Stewart

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hunt, Tristram

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jackson, Glenda

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Dame Tessa

Kane, Mike

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Khan, rh Sadiq

Lavery, Ian

Lazarowicz, Mark

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McClymont, Gregg

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonnell, Dr Alasdair

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Alison

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McKinnell, Catherine

Meacher, rh Mr Michael

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Miller, Andrew

Mitchell, Austin

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Morrice, Graeme


Morris, Grahame M.


Mudie, Mr George

Munn, Meg

Murphy, rh Mr Jim

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

O'Donnell, Fiona

Onwurah, Chi

Osborne, Sandra

Owen, Albert

Pearce, Teresa

Perkins, Toby

Phillipson, Bridget

Pound, Stephen

Powell, Lucy

Qureshi, Yasmin

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Mr Steve

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Robertson, Angus

Robertson, John

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Ruddock, rh Dame Joan

Sawford, Andy

Seabeck, Alison

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Shepherd, Sir Richard

Shuker, Gavin

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, Angela

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Spellar, rh Mr John

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Tami, Mark

Teather, Sarah

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, Valerie

Walley, Joan

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Weir, Mr Mike

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Williams, Hywel

Williamson, Chris

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wishart, Pete

Woodcock, John

Woodward, rh Mr Shaun

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Tellers for the Noes:

Nic Dakin


Tom Blenkinsop

Question accordingly agreed to.