10 Nov 2015 : Column 321

Other people have made the case much more eloquently than I have, so I will not detain the House any longer on this point.

Stephen Doughty: The hon. Gentleman makes a convincing and measured case, and I have looked closely at the wording of his amendment and think it very reasonable. Given what he has just said, if the Government are unwilling to accept this reasoned amendment, does he think that we should test the view of the House on it this evening?

Jeremy Lefroy: I will wait to hear what the Minister says. He is an extremely reasonable person and there are other ways in which such things can happen. I encourage the Government to accept the amendment because I do not want to see this clause unamended in an Act of Parliament signed by Her Majesty.

Let me quote someone I greatly admire:

“In most parts of the world the suggestion that someone might be both conservative and liberal would be viewed as absurd…In the UK there is no finer tradition, no more established custom and no stronger institution than that of freedom under the law…That’s why in Anglo-Saxon countries conservatism is freedom’s doughtiest defender and why the advance of freedom gives conservatism its moral purpose.”

Those are the words of the Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Grantham and Stamford (Nick Boles), and I entirely agree with him.

Catherine West: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that there are echoes in that speech of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014, in which charities were almost proscribed for doing what they believed was right? There are also echoes from the attempts to change or alter the Human Rights Act 1998—it feels as if there is a creepy sense of authoritarianism, which I do not think Members in this place agree with.

Jeremy Lefroy: I respect the hon. Lady but I do not entirely agree with her. I would be interested to see whether the chilling effects that people so often claimed the 2014 Act would have on the 2015 general election campaign actually took place—indeed, we should have a review of that Act as it is important. I have made clear my views on the Human Rights Act: I believe that we should remain signatories to the European convention on human rights, and I hold to that. We look forward to seeing what the Government bring forward. I urge the Government, and especially the Minister whom I greatly admire, to have another look at the Bill, and to come forward with proposals that allow people who want to work together in this sort of format, and who are paying the right costs, to do so.

Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon) (Lab): I declare an interest as a proud member of Community union. I represent the south Wales constituency of Aberavon which is steeped in the history of the trade union movement—Members will imagine the strength of feeling and amount of correspondence that I have received in opposition to this unjust and vindictive Bill. We now need a cultural change in Britain’s industrial relations, and a move away from the Punch and Judy style that has evolved thanks to legislation such as this Bill. There is an urgent need to move towards more collective bargaining across

10 Nov 2015 : Column 322

the economy, as that would have a direct and positive impact on productivity—something that the Government claim they are campaigning for passionately. Regrettably, the Bill will neither change the culture nor increase productivity. Instead, it will lead to an entrenching of the “them versus us” culture that is bad for workers, employers, customers, business, and the public at large.

Let me draw the House’s attention to the sections in the Bill that deal with picketing. Conservative Members have failed completely to demonstrate why the picketing provisions in this Bill are necessary or justified. The Government’s regulatory policy committee concluded that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills impact assessment on picketing restrictions was not fit for purpose, and that no full impact assessment of the Bill has been published.

Under these new provisions, trade union pickets will be subject to levels of police scrutiny and control that go far beyond what is fair or necessary. Most importantly, the changes in the Bill will also be a waste of police time. That issue was raised by the National Police Chiefs Council and the Police Federation in oral evidence to the Bill Committee. Steve White from the Police Federation said:

“We are finding it extremely challenging to cope with day-to-day policing with the current resource levels, and the likelihood is that they are going to become squeezed even more. If there is an increased requirement for police involvement around the policing of industrial disputes, that would be more challenging.”

I understand that Conservative Members are friends and supporters of the police, so I hope they will listen carefully to that.

5.45 pm

Imran Hussain: When senior police officers are warning that neighbourhood policing is under threat, is it right that we should use police resources to further restrict the civil liberties of trade union members?

Stephen Kinnock: I agree entirely with my hon. Friend. We hear a lot from Conservative Members about smart government and deploying resources according to priorities. Does any hon. Member honestly believe that using police resources on this matter would be a good use of already stretched resources? I think not.

The digital age has brought a revolution in the world of work. That has thrown up several questions, but also offers employers, trade unions and Government alike a once in a generation opportunity to work in partnership—a chance to shape a framework that provides the blend of flexibility and security that this new reality requires. If all parties were to seize that opportunity, we could potentially see the green shoots of a 21st century industrial relations culture that would, in turn, enable the development of a labour market that is fit for purpose and resilient in this new age. Let us not waste that opportunity with an adversarial and counterproductive Bill such as this.


Mr Djanogly: rose—

Mr Speaker: Order. Before I call the hon. Gentleman, I would say to him that I wish to call the Minister at, or close, to 5.50 pm, so he has three or, at most, four minutes.

10 Nov 2015 : Column 323

Mr Djanogly: Thank you for squeezing me in, Mr Speaker.

Given the Opposition’s comments at various stages of the Bill, I am surprised that only the SNP—in new clause 4—has suggested amendment of the role of certification officer. As a shadow BIS Minister some years ago, I visited the certification officer, and everything I saw there shouted that it was a weak, toothless regulator crying out for reform. I wholly support the Government’s attempts to do so.

As for new clause 4, I do not support the idea that the certification officer should have to have expertise in trade union law, although obviously some members of his staff will need to be experts, as much as others will need general legal or accounting skills. It is also somewhat ironic to hear that specific legal qualifications should be required when we know that the last Labour Government specifically excluded unions from regulation under the Legal Services Act 2007. The requirement in new clause 4 for a certification officer for Scotland may fulfil the SNP’s political mandate, but it would be unhelpful for Scottish and other British businesses which want to see a single regulator dealing with unions equally.

Given the wide political and practical debates involved in the unions’ political funds, it is surprising that it has been left to the hon. Member for Clacton (Mr Carswell) to initiate a debate on this important issue through amendment 1. To set up a political fund, trade unions must first ballot their members to adopt political objects as a union objective. Trade unions can then support political objects only with money from their political funds. The funds may also be spent on union objectives that are not political. The amendment is unnecessary because the Bill includes an opt-in provision.

On a connected issue, will the Minister confirm that I am right in thinking that failing to opt into the levy will not necessarily mean that a union member’s overall contribution will be reduced by the amount of the political contribution? If so, should we not consider doing that? Furthermore, given that statute dictates that companies require an annual vote on political donations, why should not the political levy be voted on annually by trade union members? Perhaps that could be addressed as the Bill makes progress.

Mr Speaker: To wind up the debate I call the Minister, Mr Nicholas Edward Coleridge Boles.

Nick Boles: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I rise to support Government amendments 2, 3 and 4, and to resist Opposition amendments and new clauses.

The Government recognise picketing as a lawful activity when it is conducted in a peaceful way. We believe that when some people exercise their right to freedom of expression, it should not impact on others’ right to disagree with that view. The main requirement set out in the Bill is a statutory duty for the union to supervise picketing, in particular by appointing a picket supervisor. The picket supervisor must either attend the picket line or be readily contactable by the union and the police, and be able to attend at short notice to ensure that picketing is lawful. As you may recall, Mr Speaker, none of the measures in clause 9 is new. They reflect key aspects of the picketing code, which has been in existence since 1992; most unions have been very happy to comply

10 Nov 2015 : Column 324

with it in almost all cases. We have had no suggestions for its amendment from the Opposition, including in their 13 years in government.

Government amendment 2 deals with the requirement in clause 9 for the union to issue a letter of authorisation. I have listened very carefully to the different views expressed on this requirement. It is clear that there has been some confusion about the purpose of the letter of authorisation, its content with regard to the picket supervisor, and the entitlement to be shown it. I would like to state for the record that there was never any intention of having the personal details of the picket supervisor set out in the letter of authorisation, but given that there continues to be uncertainty about how the requirement will work in practice, we are clarifying that the purpose of the letter is to record the union’s approval of a picket related to a particular dispute.

I took on board the concerns expressed about the entitlement to see the letter, and said that I would return to this matter on Report. I assure the House that I take matters relating to data protection very seriously, and do not want to create any room for misconceived entitlement or concern about misuse of personal information. That is why we are making it clear that the entitlement to see the letter of authorisation is restricted to the employer at whose workplace picketing is taking place, or the employer’s agent. To remove any scope for the misunderstanding that the picket supervisor is required to supply their name during picketing, we have removed the reference to the constable from the clause. The police will already have been informed of the picket supervisor’s contact details following the picket supervisor’s appointment.

We have built in important flexibility; for example, the requirement should be to show the letter as soon as is reasonably practicable, to enable the picket supervisor to be at another picket line related to the trade dispute. The measures also help the employer by allowing them to ask their human resources manager or solicitor to act on their behalf. I comment the amendment to the House.

On agency workers, I simply say that new clause 1 seeks to pre-empt the Government’s response to the consultation on agency workers. The Government consultation closed in September; we are analysing responses. We will publish a response in due course, and I resist any amendment that seeks to pre-empt it.

On political funding, the Conservative manifesto on which we stood for election in May said that a future Conservative Government would ensure that trade unions use a transparent opt-in process for union subscriptions. The public rightly expect us to deliver on these promises. It would be wrong, given our mandate, for us to engage in discussions behind closed doors and agree some kind of compromise that was then presented to the public and Parliament as a done deal. Many Opposition Members believe that this change will see political funding fall for certain political parties. That betrays an extraordinary lack of self-confidence in their ability to persuade union members of the merits of supporting their party. On that basis, I do not believe the amendment is necessary.

Mr Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley) (Lab): Will the Minister do the same with the shareholders of companies that give money to the Tory party?

10 Nov 2015 : Column 325

Nick Boles: I am sorry, Mr Speaker; I will give the hon. Gentleman another go, because I had another message in another ear.

Mr Campbell: Will the Minister give that opportunity to shareholders in big companies that give money to the Tory party?

Nick Boles: As you will be aware, Mr Speaker, and as I am sure the hon. Gentleman is aware, any donations by public companies have to receive the approval of shareholders and are subject to the same declaration, at the exact same level, as we are proposing for trade unions, so when it comes to transparency and voting, things are equally clear.

I want to turn at some length to my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy) and his arguments in support of his amendment 5. All Members will have heard a sincere and principled man making a sincere and principled argument. I say that not because he was so kind as to quote, rather awkwardly, a speech I made in a moment of delusion, but because I genuinely believe he seeks the best for the British people, British business and trade unions. I correct him on one point of fact, however: while some trade unions compensate employers for check-off arrangements, our understanding is that this relates to only 22% of check-off arrangements in the public sector.

Melanie Onn (Great Grimsby) (Lab): Is the Minister aware that the general secretary of Unison—the largest trade union in the public sector—offered in Committee to reimburse employers for any check-off costs they incur?

Nick Boles: I am aware of that, because I was in the Committee, and the general secretary of Unison is an unforgettable man, and no one forgets when he makes them an offer. However, the purpose of the Government’s measure is not suddenly to undermine the representation of unions in the public sector—that is not what has happened in the civil service, where check-off has been removed—but to create a direct relationship between members and their trade unions by enabling them to make an active choice about which union will best represent them. We have heard from other unions that this has enabled them to compete for the membership of some in the civil service, and to form a more direct relationship with their members.

Jeremy Lefroy: I fully understand the Minister’s point, but in that case, why not let them choose whether to do this?

Nick Boles: I understand my hon. Friend’s argument, but of course the choice would be made by the employer and the union, not the individual members. I have not yet been persuaded by his arguments, and will resist his amendment, if he pushes it, but I hope I can reassure him that we absolutely do not intend the measure to be a way of making life difficult for unions or of reducing their membership. We will double the time trade unions have to transfer members from the existing check-off arrangement to the new direct debit arrangement from six months to one year. That will not satisfy him and those who support his amendment, but I hope that it will at least reassure him that we do not intend this to

10 Nov 2015 : Column 326

be a way of making life difficult for unions. If there is anything further we can do on that point, I am happy to have further discussions with him.

On that basis, I hope that my hon. Friend will be persuaded not to press his amendment. We will talk about this more. I hope that I have reassured him that trade unions will have time to form the direct relationship with their members that the Bill seeks to provide.

Kevin Brennan: I just wish to confirm that we wish to push amendment 6 to a vote.

Mr Speaker: I am exceptionally grateful to the hon. Gentleman, but I had rather anticipated that.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The House divided:

Ayes 271, Noes 304.

Division No. 118]

[

5.59 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Ahmed-Sheikh, Ms Tasmina

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Arkless, Richard

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bardell, Hannah

Barron, rh Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Black, Mhairi

Blackford, Ian

Blackman, Kirsty

Blackman-Woods, Dr Roberta

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brake, rh Tom

Brennan, Kevin

Brock, Deidre

Brown, Alan

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burgon, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Butler, Dawn

Byrne, rh Liam

Cadbury, Ruth

Cameron, Dr Lisa

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Douglas

Chapman, Jenny

Cherry, Joanna

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Cooper, Julie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Cowan, Ronnie

Cox, Jo

Coyle, Neil

Crausby, Mr David

Crawley, Angela

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cummins, Judith

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

David, Wayne

Davies, Geraint

Day, Martyn

De Piero, Gloria

Docherty, Martin John

Donaldson, Stuart Blair

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Peter

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Fellows, Marion

Field, rh Frank

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Fletcher, Colleen

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Gapes, Mike

Gethins, Stephen

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mary

Godsiff, Mr Roger

Goodman, Helen

Grady, Patrick

Grant, Peter

Gray, Neil

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Greenwood, Margaret

Griffith, Nia

Haigh, Louise

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harris, Carolyn

Hayes, Helen

Healey, rh John

Hendrick, Mr Mark

Hendry, Drew

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hermon, Lady

Hillier, Meg

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hollern, Kate

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hosie, Stewart

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hunt, Tristram

Huq, Dr Rupa

Hussain, Imran

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Gerald

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Kerevan, George

Kerr, Calum

Khan, rh Sadiq

Kinnock, Stephen

Kyle, Peter

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Law, Chris

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Clive

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Long Bailey, Rebecca

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian C.

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

Mactaggart, rh Fiona

Madders, Justin

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marris, Rob

Marsden, Mr Gordon

Maskell, Rachael

Matheson, Christian

Mc Nally, John

McCabe, Steve

McCaig, Callum

McCarthy, Kerry

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonald, Stewart Malcolm

McDonald, Stuart C.

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGarry, Natalie

McGinn, Conor

McGovern, Alison

McInnes, Liz

McLaughlin, Anne

Mearns, Ian

Miliband, rh Edward

Monaghan, Carol

Monaghan, Dr Paul

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Morris, Grahame M.

Mulholland, Greg

Mullin, Roger

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Newlands, Gavin

Nicolson, John

O'Hara, Brendan

Onn, Melanie

Onwurah, Chi

Osamor, Kate

Oswald, Kirsten

Owen, Albert

Paterson, Steven

Pearce, Teresa

Pennycook, Matthew

Perkins, Toby

Phillips, Jess

Phillipson, Bridget

Powell, Lucy

Pugh, John

Rayner, Angela

Reed, Mr Steve

Rees, Christina

Reeves, Rachel

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Rimmer, Marie

Robertson, rh Angus

Robinson, Gavin

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rotheram, Steve

Ryan, rh Joan

Salmond, rh Alex

Saville Roberts, Liz

Shah, Naz

Shannon, Jim

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheppard, Tommy

Sherriff, Paula

Shuker, Mr Gavin

Siddiq, Tulip

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Andy

Smeeth, Ruth

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Cat

Smith, Jeff

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Smyth, Karin

Spellar, rh Mr John

Starmer, Keir

Stephens, Chris

Stevens, Jo

Streeting, Wes

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, rh Ms Gisela

Tami, Mark

Thewliss, Alison

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thomas-Symonds, Nick

Thompson, Owen

Thomson, Michelle

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turley, Anna

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Watson, Mr Tom

Weir, Mike

West, Catherine

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Whitford, Dr Philippa

Williams, Hywel

Williams, Mr Mark

Wilson, Corri

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wishart, Pete

Woodcock, John

Wright, Mr Iain

Zeichner, Daniel

Tellers for the Ayes:

Vicky Foxcroft

and

Sue Hayman

NOES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Allan, Lucy

Allen, Heidi

Amess, Sir David

Andrew, Stuart

Ansell, Caroline

Argar, Edward

Atkins, Victoria

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Mr Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Berry, James

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Borwick, Victoria

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, rh James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Sir Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Cairns, Alun

Carmichael, Neil

Cartlidge, James

Cash, Sir William

Caulfield, Maria

Chalk, Alex

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Churchill, Jo

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Cleverly, James

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Costa, Alberto

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, rh Stephen

Crouch, Tracey

Davies, Byron

Davies, Chris

Davies, David T. C.

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Dr James

Davies, Mims

Davies, Philip

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Donelan, Michelle

Dorries, Nadine

Double, Steve

Dowden, Oliver

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Drummond, Mrs Flick

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evennett, rh Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fernandes, Suella

Field, rh Mark

Foster, Kevin

Frazer, Lucy

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Fysh, Marcus

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, rh Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Ghani, Nusrat

Gibb, Mr Nick

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, rh Robert

Hall, Luke

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, rh Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heappey, James

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Heaton-Jones, Peter

Henderson, Gordon

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoare, Simon

Hollingbery, George

Hollinrake, Kevin

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Howlett, Ben

Huddleston, Nigel

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, rh Sajid

Jayawardena, Mr Ranil

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenkyns, Andrea

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kennedy, Seema

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Knight, Julian

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, rh Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Lumley, Karen

Mackinlay, Craig

Mackintosh, David

Main, Mrs Anne

Mak, Mr Alan

Malthouse, Kit

Mann, Scott

Mathias, Dr Tania

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

Mercer, Johnny

Merriman, Huw

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Mrs Maria

Milling, Amanda

Mills, Nigel

Milton, rh Anne

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Morton, Wendy

Mowat, David

Mundell, rh David

Murray, Mrs Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Opperman, Guy

Parish, Neil

Patel, rh Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Philp, Chris

Pickles, rh Sir Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Pow, Rebecca

Prentis, Victoria

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pursglove, Tom

Quin, Jeremy

Quince, Will

Raab, Mr Dominic

Redwood, rh John

Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mary

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, rh Amber

Rutley, David

Sandbach, Antoinette

Scully, Paul

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simpson, rh Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Royston

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Solloway, Amanda

Soubry, rh Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Graham

Sturdy, Julian

Sunak, Rishi

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Thomas, Derek

Throup, Maggie

Timpson, Edward

Tolhurst, Kelly

Tomlinson, Justin

Tomlinson, Michael

Tracey, Craig

Tredinnick, David

Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie

Tugendhat, Tom

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, rh Mr Andrew

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Warburton, David

Warman, Matt

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Wharton, James

Whately, Helen

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, rh Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Craig

Williamson, rh Gavin

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wood, Mike

Wragg, William

Wright, rh Jeremy

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

Sarah Newton

and

Simon Kirby

Question accordingly negatived.

10 Nov 2015 : Column 327

10 Nov 2015 : Column 328

10 Nov 2015 : Column 329

10 Nov 2015 : Column 330

6.11 pm

Proceedings interrupted (Programme Order, this day).

The Speaker put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No. 83E).

Amendments made: 2, page 5, leave out line 16 and insert

“the picketing is approved by the union.”

This amendment would make clear that the purpose of the letter from the union, held by picket supervisor, is to confirm that the picketing has been approved by the union. Approval of the picketing would require the union to supervise the picketing in accordance with the requirements inserted by clause 9.

Amendment 3, page 5, leave out lines 17 to 19 and insert—

‘(6) If an individual who is, or is acting on behalf of, the employer asks the picket supervisor for sight of the approval letter, the picket supervisor must show it to that individual as soon as reasonably practicable.”

This amendment would oblige the picket supervisor to show the approval letter as soon as reasonably practicable if requested to do so, and also specifies that such a request can be made only by the employer or someone acting on the employer’s behalf.

Amendment 4, page 5, line 27, leave out “section “picketing”” and insert

“section—

“approval letter” means the letter referred to in subsection (5);

“employer” means the employer to which the trade dispute relates;

“picketing”” —(Stephen Barclay.)

This amendment inserts definitions of expressions used in amendment 3.

New Clause 10

Application of provisions to public sector employees across the UK

“The extent and provisions of this Bill shall only apply to the public sector in the UK,

10 Nov 2015 : Column 331

(a) By consent of the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, Northern Ireland Assembly, Mayor of London and other public bodies and local authorities in England in their areas of responsibility.

(b) Where consent has been granted, this consent can be withdrawn at any time.”—(Chris Stephens.)

Brought up.

Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.

The House divided:

Ayes 267, Noes 306.

Division No. 119]

[

6.12 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Ahmed-Sheikh, Ms Tasmina

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Arkless, Richard

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bardell, Hannah

Barron, rh Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Black, Mhairi

Blackford, Ian

Blackman, Kirsty

Blackman-Woods, Dr Roberta

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brennan, Kevin

Brock, Deidre

Brown, Alan

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burgon, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Butler, Dawn

Byrne, rh Liam

Cadbury, Ruth

Cameron, Dr Lisa

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Douglas

Chapman, Jenny

Cherry, Joanna

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Cooper, Julie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Cowan, Ronnie

Cox, Jo

Coyle, Neil

Crausby, Mr David

Crawley, Angela

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cummins, Judith

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

David, Wayne

Davies, Geraint

Day, Martyn

De Piero, Gloria

Docherty, Martin John

Donaldson, Stuart Blair

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Peter

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Fletcher, Colleen

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Foxcroft, Vicky

Gapes, Mike

Gethins, Stephen

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mary

Godsiff, Mr Roger

Goodman, Helen

Grady, Patrick

Grant, Peter

Gray, Neil

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Greenwood, Margaret

Griffith, Nia

Haigh, Louise

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harris, Carolyn

Hayes, Helen

Hayman, Sue

Healey, rh John

Hendrick, Mr Mark

Hendry, Drew

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hermon, Lady

Hillier, Meg

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hollern, Kate

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hosie, Stewart

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hunt, Tristram

Huq, Dr Rupa

Hussain, Imran

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Gerald

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Kerevan, George

Kerr, Calum

Khan, rh Sadiq

Kinnock, Stephen

Kyle, Peter

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Law, Chris

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Clive

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Long Bailey, Rebecca

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian C.

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

Mactaggart, rh Fiona

Madders, Justin

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marris, Rob

Marsden, Mr Gordon

Maskell, Rachael

Matheson, Christian

Mc Nally, John

McCabe, Steve

McCaig, Callum

McCarthy, Kerry

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonald, Stewart Malcolm

McDonald, Stuart C.

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGarry, Natalie

McGinn, Conor

McGovern, Alison

McInnes, Liz

McLaughlin, Anne

Mearns, Ian

Miliband, rh Edward

Monaghan, Carol

Monaghan, Dr Paul

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Morris, Grahame M.

Mullin, Roger

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Newlands, Gavin

Nicolson, John

O'Hara, Brendan

Onn, Melanie

Onwurah, Chi

Osamor, Kate

Oswald, Kirsten

Owen, Albert

Paterson, Steven

Pearce, Teresa

Pennycook, Matthew

Perkins, Toby

Phillips, Jess

Phillipson, Bridget

Powell, Lucy

Rayner, Angela

Reed, Mr Steve

Rees, Christina

Reeves, Rachel

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Rimmer, Marie

Robertson, rh Angus

Robinson, Gavin

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rotheram, Steve

Ryan, rh Joan

Salmond, rh Alex

Saville Roberts, Liz

Shah, Naz

Shannon, Jim

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheppard, Tommy

Sherriff, Paula

Shuker, Mr Gavin

Siddiq, Tulip

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Andy

Smeeth, Ruth

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Cat

Smith, Jeff

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Smyth, Karin

Spellar, rh Mr John

Starmer, Keir

Stephens, Chris

Stevens, Jo

Streeting, Wes

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, rh Ms Gisela

Tami, Mark

Thewliss, Alison

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thomas-Symonds, Nick

Thomson, Michelle

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turley, Anna

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Watson, Mr Tom

Weir, Mike

West, Catherine

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Whitford, Dr Philippa

Williams, Hywel

Williams, Mr Mark

Wilson, Corri

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wishart, Pete

Woodcock, John

Wright, Mr Iain

Zeichner, Daniel

Tellers for the Ayes:

Marion Fellows

and

Owen Thompson

NOES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Allan, Lucy

Allen, Heidi

Amess, Sir David

Andrew, Stuart

Ansell, Caroline

Argar, Edward

Atkins, Victoria

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Mr Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Berry, James

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Borwick, Victoria

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, rh James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Sir Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, rh Alistair

Cairns, Alun

Carmichael, Neil

Cartlidge, James

Cash, Sir William

Caulfield, Maria

Chalk, Alex

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Churchill, Jo

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Cleverly, James

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Costa, Alberto

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, rh Stephen

Crouch, Tracey

Davies, Byron

Davies, Chris

Davies, David T. C.

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Dr James

Davies, Mims

Davies, Philip

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Donelan, Michelle

Dorries, Nadine

Double, Steve

Dowden, Oliver

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Drummond, Mrs Flick

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evennett, rh Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fernandes, Suella

Field, rh Mark

Foster, Kevin

Frazer, Lucy

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Fysh, Marcus

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, rh Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Ghani, Nusrat

Gibb, Mr Nick

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, rh Robert

Hall, Luke

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, rh Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heappey, James

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Heaton-Jones, Peter

Henderson, Gordon

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoare, Simon

Hollingbery, George

Hollinrake, Kevin

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Howlett, Ben

Huddleston, Nigel

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, rh Sajid

Jayawardena, Mr Ranil

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenkyns, Andrea

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kennedy, Seema

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Knight, Julian

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, rh Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Lumley, Karen

Mackinlay, Craig

Mackintosh, David

Main, Mrs Anne

Mak, Mr Alan

Malthouse, Kit

Mann, Scott

Mathias, Dr Tania

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

Mercer, Johnny

Merriman, Huw

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Mrs Maria

Milling, Amanda

Mills, Nigel

Milton, rh Anne

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Morton, Wendy

Mowat, David

Mundell, rh David

Murray, Mrs Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Opperman, Guy

Parish, Neil

Patel, rh Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Philp, Chris

Pickles, rh Sir Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Pow, Rebecca

Prentis, Victoria

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pursglove, Tom

Quin, Jeremy

Quince, Will

Raab, Mr Dominic

Redwood, rh John

Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mary

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, rh Amber

Rutley, David

Sandbach, Antoinette

Scully, Paul

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simpson, rh Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Royston

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Solloway, Amanda

Soubry, rh Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Graham

Sturdy, Julian

Sunak, Rishi

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Thomas, Derek

Throup, Maggie

Timpson, Edward

Tolhurst, Kelly

Tomlinson, Justin

Tomlinson, Michael

Tracey, Craig

Tredinnick, David

Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie

Tugendhat, Tom

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, rh Mr Andrew

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Warburton, David

Warman, Matt

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Wharton, James

Whately, Helen

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, rh Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Craig

Williamson, rh Gavin

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wood, Mike

Wragg, William

Wright, rh Jeremy

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

Sarah Newton

and

Simon Kirby

Question accordingly negatived.

10 Nov 2015 : Column 332

10 Nov 2015 : Column 333

10 Nov 2015 : Column 334

10 Nov 2015 : Column 335


Clause 14

Prohibition on deduction of union subscriptions from wages in public sector

Amendment proposed: 9, page 12, line 8, at end insert—

‘(3) None of the provisions of this section shall apply to services the provision of which is devolved wholly or partially to the Scottish Government, Welsh Government, Northern Ireland Executive, Mayor of London or local authorities in England.’

—(Kevin Brennan.)

The amendment would ensure that the provisions with regard to the prohibition on deduction of union subscriptions from wages in public sector would not apply to services devolved to the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, the Northern Ireland Executive, the Mayor of London or local authorities in England.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The House divided:

Ayes 269, Noes 304.

Division No. 120]

[

6.24 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Ahmed-Sheikh, Ms Tasmina

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Arkless, Richard

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bardell, Hannah

Barron, rh Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Black, Mhairi

Blackford, Ian

Blackman, Kirsty

Blackman-Woods, Dr Roberta

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brake, rh Tom

Brennan, Kevin

Brock, Deidre

Brown, Alan

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burgon, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Butler, Dawn

Byrne, rh Liam

Cadbury, Ruth

Cameron, Dr Lisa

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Douglas

Chapman, Jenny

Cherry, Joanna

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Cooper, Julie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Cowan, Ronnie

Cox, Jo

Coyle, Neil

Crausby, Mr David

Crawley, Angela

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cummins, Judith

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

David, Wayne

Davies, Geraint

Day, Martyn

De Piero, Gloria

Docherty, Martin John

Donaldson, Stuart Blair

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Peter

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Fellows, Marion

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Fletcher, Colleen

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Gapes, Mike

Gethins, Stephen

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mary

Godsiff, Mr Roger

Goodman, Helen

Grady, Patrick

Grant, Peter

Gray, Neil

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Greenwood, Margaret

Griffith, Nia

Haigh, Louise

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harris, Carolyn

Hayes, Helen

Healey, rh John

Hendrick, Mr Mark

Hendry, Drew

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hermon, Lady

Hillier, Meg

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hollern, Kate

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hosie, Stewart

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hunt, Tristram

Huq, Dr Rupa

Hussain, Imran

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Gerald

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Kerevan, George

Kerr, Calum

Khan, rh Sadiq

Kinnock, Stephen

Kyle, Peter

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Law, Chris

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Clive

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Long Bailey, Rebecca

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian C.

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

Mactaggart, rh Fiona

Madders, Justin

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marris, Rob

Marsden, Mr Gordon

Maskell, Rachael

Matheson, Christian

Mc Nally, John

McCabe, Steve

McCaig, Callum

McCarthy, Kerry

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonald, Stewart Malcolm

McDonald, Stuart C.

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGarry, Natalie

McGinn, Conor

McGovern, Alison

McInnes, Liz

McLaughlin, Anne

Mearns, Ian

Miliband, rh Edward

Monaghan, Carol

Monaghan, Dr Paul

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Morris, Grahame M.

Mulholland, Greg

Mullin, Roger

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Newlands, Gavin

Nicolson, John

O'Hara, Brendan

Onn, Melanie

Onwurah, Chi

Osamor, Kate

Oswald, Kirsten

Owen, Albert

Paterson, Steven

Pearce, Teresa

Pennycook, Matthew

Perkins, Toby

Phillips, Jess

Phillipson, Bridget

Powell, Lucy

Rayner, Angela

Reed, Mr Steve

Rees, Christina

Reeves, Rachel

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Rimmer, Marie

Robertson, rh Angus

Robinson, Gavin

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rotheram, Steve

Ryan, rh Joan

Salmond, rh Alex

Saville Roberts, Liz

Shah, Naz

Shannon, Jim

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheppard, Tommy

Sherriff, Paula

Shuker, Mr Gavin

Siddiq, Tulip

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Andy

Smeeth, Ruth

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Cat

Smith, Jeff

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Smyth, Karin

Spellar, rh Mr John

Starmer, Keir

Stephens, Chris

Stevens, Jo

Streeting, Wes

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, rh Ms Gisela

Tami, Mark

Thewliss, Alison

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thomas-Symonds, Nick

Thompson, Owen

Thomson, Michelle

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turley, Anna

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Watson, Mr Tom

Weir, Mike

West, Catherine

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Whitford, Dr Philippa

Williams, Hywel

Williams, Mr Mark

Wilson, Corri

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wishart, Pete

Woodcock, John

Wright, Mr Iain

Zeichner, Daniel

Tellers for the Ayes:

Vicky Foxcroft

and

Sue Hayman

NOES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Allan, Lucy

Allen, Heidi

Amess, Sir David

Andrew, Stuart

Ansell, Caroline

Argar, Edward

Atkins, Victoria

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Mr Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Berry, James

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Borwick, Victoria

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, rh James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Sir Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, rh Alistair

Cairns, Alun

Carmichael, Neil

Cartlidge, James

Cash, Sir William

Caulfield, Maria

Chalk, Alex

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Churchill, Jo

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Cleverly, James

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Costa, Alberto

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, rh Stephen

Crouch, Tracey

Davies, Byron

Davies, Chris

Davies, David T. C.

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Dr James

Davies, Mims

Davies, Philip

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Donelan, Michelle

Dorries, Nadine

Double, Steve

Dowden, Oliver

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Drummond, Mrs Flick

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evennett, rh Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fernandes, Suella

Field, rh Mark

Foster, Kevin

Frazer, Lucy

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Fysh, Marcus

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, rh Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Ghani, Nusrat

Gibb, Mr Nick

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, rh Robert

Hall, Luke

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, rh Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heappey, James

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Heaton-Jones, Peter

Henderson, Gordon

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoare, Simon

Hollingbery, George

Hollinrake, Kevin

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Howlett, Ben

Huddleston, Nigel

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, rh Sajid

Jayawardena, Mr Ranil

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenkyns, Andrea

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kennedy, Seema

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Knight, Julian

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Dr Phillip

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, rh Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Lumley, Karen

Mackinlay, Craig

Mackintosh, David

Main, Mrs Anne

Mak, Mr Alan

Malthouse, Kit

Mann, Scott

Mathias, Dr Tania

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

Mercer, Johnny

Merriman, Huw

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Mrs Maria

Milling, Amanda

Mills, Nigel

Milton, rh Anne

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Morton, Wendy

Mowat, David

Mundell, rh David

Murray, Mrs Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Opperman, Guy

Parish, Neil

Patel, rh Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Philp, Chris

Pickles, rh Sir Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Pow, Rebecca

Prentis, Victoria

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pursglove, Tom

Quin, Jeremy

Quince, Will

Raab, Mr Dominic

Redwood, rh John

Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mary

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, rh Amber

Rutley, David

Sandbach, Antoinette

Scully, Paul

Selous, Andrew

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simpson, rh Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Royston

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Solloway, Amanda

Soubry, rh Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Graham

Sturdy, Julian

Sunak, Rishi

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Thomas, Derek

Throup, Maggie

Timpson, Edward

Tolhurst, Kelly

Tomlinson, Justin

Tomlinson, Michael

Tracey, Craig

Tredinnick, David

Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie

Tugendhat, Tom

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, rh Mr Andrew

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Warburton, David

Warman, Matt

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Wharton, James

Whately, Helen

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, rh Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Craig

Williamson, rh Gavin

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wood, Mike

Wragg, William

Wright, rh Jeremy

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

Sarah Newton

and

Simon Kirby

Question accordingly negatived.

10 Nov 2015 : Column 336

10 Nov 2015 : Column 337

10 Nov 2015 : Column 338

10 Nov 2015 : Column 339

Tom Blenkinsop (Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland) (Lab): On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Have you had any indication of whether there will be a written or oral statement by any Minister, given the statement today from the chief executive of Tata Steel Europe reported in The Economic Times in India that the long products division within Tata will have no future within Tata beyond this financial year? This includes the beam mill at Redcar, Skinningrove special profiles in my constituency, and Scunthorpe long products site.

Mr Speaker: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. The short answer is that I have had no such indication, but he has placed those serious matters on the record and I imagine that he will return to them when the House returns.

Third Reading

10 Nov 2015 : Column 340

6.37 pm

Nick Boles: I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

I start by thanking all Members who have taken part in our deliberations on this important Bill. We had a robust debate on Second Reading, and a lively and passionate debate continued in Committee. I thank the hon. Member for Cardiff West (Kevin Brennan), who led for the Labour Opposition, and the hon. Member for Glasgow South West (Chris Stephens) who led for the SNP. They kept me on my toes throughout, and I have to admit that on occasion their fancy footwork pushed me uncomfortably close to the ropes. It is only because of the superb support of officials in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the unfailing vigilance of my hon. Friend the Whip, and my PPS, my hon. Friend the Member for Newton Abbot (Anne Marie Morris), and the stalwart resolve of hon. Friends on the Committee that we were able to resist their forensic fusilade.

This Bill seeks to do two things—to modernise the relationship between trade unions and their members, and to redress the balance between the rights of trade unions and the rights of the general public, whose lives are often disrupted by strikes. We have brought it forward as a party that believes in trade unions, that is proud to win the support of many trade union members at elections, and that wants trade unions to carry on doing the excellent work they do to encourage workplace learning and resolve disputes at work.

Madam Deputy Speaker, I am not sure whether you are as assiduous a reader of the ConservativeHome website as I am, but today the leader of the Scottish Conservative party published a superb piece about the importance of trade unions and hailed the launch of the Conservative Trade Unionists group by the Minister without Portfolio, my right hon. Friend the Member for Harlow (Robert Halfon).

The measures in this Bill are rooted in the manifesto, on the basis of which we won a majority of the seats in the House of Commons at the election in May. They are supported by members of the public whose interests as parents, as patients and as commuters we were elected to defend. The measures have secured clear majorities on Second Reading, in Committee and on Report, and I hope they will secure a similarly clear majority on Third Reading.

Mr David Burrowes (Enfield, Southgate) (Con): Is it not important to ensure that the Bill is properly targeted and looks to where there is genuine support for changes, not least in relation to the removal of check-off? May I invite the Minister, as the Bill proceeds to the other place, to reflect on the arguments made by my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy) in speaking to amendment 5, with the recognition that there should be an agreement to compensate taxpayers for the financial burden, and the proposal for an agreement? It is important that we properly reflect on these arguments to ensure that we have this targeted approach to dealing with issues of trade unionism in the right way.

Nick Boles: I have already told my hon. Friend that I am happy to carry on talking to him about this as the Bill proceeds through the other place, and if he would like to join these discussions, I would be absolutely delighted.

10 Nov 2015 : Column 341

Mark Durkan (Foyle) (SDLP): Will the Conservative Trade Unionists group, which the Minister mentioned, be able to join online, or, given the dodginess of the internet, will they have to wait five or 10 years for that?

Nick Boles: I am tempted to say that they will have to buy a small donkey and write it on the side, but no, of course they will be able to join through the usual routes.

I look forward to engaging with Members of the upper House, alongside my noble Friend Baroness Neville-Rolfe, and we will listen carefully to any concerns they may have. I hope that I have demonstrated through amendments to the provisions on the picketing supervisor and the letter of authorisation that the Government are willing to hear persuasive arguments and to respond. In turn, I trust that noble Lords and Baronesses will respect the clearly expressed will of the British people, which is established not by retweets or by protests in Parliament Square but through the votes of their elected representatives sitting here in the House of Commons.

6.41 pm

Ms Angela Eagle (Wallasey) (Lab): As I did on Second Reading, let me begin by drawing the attention of the House to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests and declaring that I am a lifelong and proud trade unionist.

I believe that our country succeeds when government, employers and employees work in partnership to tackle our economic and social challenges. Evidence shows that good industrial relations are more likely to lead to increased productivity, higher skills, and greater safety in the workplace, so any Government who were serious about economic progress and wellbeing would be working to improve industrial relations, but this Bill demonstrates that we have a Tory Government hellbent on doing the exact opposite.

On Second Reading, I called the Bill “draconian, vindictive and counterproductive”, and during its passage through Parliament, this Government’s malign intent has been proved again and again. This Bill will do absolutely nothing to improve industrial relations in our country; in fact, it risks making them worse. It will do nothing to help build the modern economy we all want to see; in fact, it is an outdated response to the problems of decades past. It is bad for workers and bad for business.

What is it about this Conservative Government that they are so afraid of checks and balances on their power, including challenges from free trade unions and unshackled civil society? This Government are pursuing a very deliberate strategy to legislate their critics into silence or submission, whether through the gagging Act or the war being waged by those on the Tory Benches on the charities that dare to have an opinion contrary to the Government’s. They are attacking the Human Rights Act 1998, targeting the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and issuing threats against the House of Lords for daring to ask them to think again on tax credits. This Government increasingly like to use the law to clamp down on dissent. Now the Conservatives have the trade unions in their sights again.

In Committee, the Government gave no adequate justification for the many draconian measures in this Bill, and no evidence was provided to justify them. The sweeping changes to the opt-in for political funds go well beyond the current practices in Northern Ireland

10 Nov 2015 : Column 342

which have been used to justify the change. They are a nakedly partisan attack on Her Majesty’s Opposition. If enacted, these proposals would mark the abrupt end of the Churchill convention and of the long-standing consensus in British politics that the Government of the day should not introduce partisan legislation unfairly to disadvantage their political rivals. This is an abuse, and they know it.

The Bill does nothing to deal with the issue of big money in politics and it leaves Tory funding sources completely untouched, while all the while forcing through changes that threaten the very existence of all political activity and campaigning by trade unions, most of which is entirely unrelated to the Labour party, and which, by the way, is already heavily regulated.

In a healthy democracy, governing should be uncomfortable. Governments should be subject to real challenge. The Government should not use legislative means to shut down debate or dissent, as this Government are now doing. That is why Liberty, Amnesty International and the British Institute of Human Rights have opposed the Bill on the grounds of civil liberties. It breaches the international standards of the International Labour Organisation and the European convention on human rights.

The Bill gives an inadequate transitional period of just three months to re-recruit the 4.9 million current members of trade union political funds, which this Bill would arbitrarily and retrospectively set at zero. It deliberately allows insufficient time for trade unions to change their own rule books to accommodate that sudden, draconian legislative requirement.

The intrusive new investigatory powers for the certification officer make him the judge, jury and executioner on complaints, which flies in the face of the principles of natural justice.

The provisions on picketing were described by the Government’s own Regulatory Policy Committee as “Not fit for purpose”. The very minor concessions, which were made after Opposition pressure in Committee, do not go nearly far enough.

This Bill just does not fit with modern Britain. It acts as though devolution to our nations and regions never happened, with the Government seeking to ride roughshod over both check-off and facility agreements freely made between employer and employee in the devolved authorities and in English local government. If those agreements work well and facilitate good industrial relations, why do the Government wish to destroy them by central diktat? The obvious conclusion is that this Government want to destroy trade union finances and organisation and to effectively legislate trade unions out of existence.

Throughout the Bill’s passage, Labour has pushed for the introduction of e-balloting and secure workplace balloting, which are already used for a variety of purposes in both the public and the private sectors, including, of course, to choose the Tory mayoral candidate for London. I can think of no organisations besides trade unions where technological change and progress are not only discouraged by the Government, but actually banned by proscriptive legislation. There are no reasonable grounds for the Government’s continued refusal to countenance that wholly sensible change. Trade unions must be allowed to modernise and bring balloting into the 21st century, and I very much hope that my noble Friends in the other place will pick up on that.

10 Nov 2015 : Column 343

We know that trade unions have a vital role to play in a modern economy where business, employees and Government work together for the mutual benefit of our country. It is time that the Government treated trade unions as an equal in that partnership and not as the enemy within.

The Bill is divisive and undermines the basic protections that trade unions provide for people at work. It is poorly drafted, legally unsound and in conflict with international obligations, and it undermines the devolution settlement. It does nothing to tackle the pressing national challenges our public services, businesses and industries alike are facing; instead, it tries to drive a false wedge between Government, industry, employees and the public.

Stopping this Bill requires a UK-wide and united response. I urge Members on both sides of the House to join Labour in the Division Lobby to oppose this nasty, vindictive Bill in its entirety.

6.48 pm

Chris Stephens: Today we have heard, once again, divisive rhetoric against this country’s trade union movement. We have heard from some Government Back Benchers that trade unionists who are on strike get paid by their employer. That will be news to the millions of trade union members in this country. The real difficulty with and objection to some of the rhetoric we hear is the suggestion that trade union members are somehow different from taxpayers and the public. Trade union members are taxpayers and they are members of the general public.

The Bill infringes human rights and civil liberties, and if unaltered, it can only lead to more work for the courts and, sadly, more blacklisting for trade union members in this country. The Bill attacks the ability of trade unions to organise, as we have seen with the proposals on facility time and check-off. This is not just about party political funding; it is an attack on the trade union movement’s ability to fund general campaigns, such as anti-racist campaigns and campaigns in favour of public services.

It is quite astonishing that the Government believe that aspects of the Bill do not require a legislative consent motion, either from the Scottish Parliament or from the Welsh Assembly, on public services across the board. I predict that that will come back to bite them.

The Minister for Skills was very kind in his words to me, so I will reiterate the words of my hon. Friend the Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow (Dr Cameron): he gives the appearance of moderation, but his rhetoric is entirely disingenuous.

6.51 pm

David Rutley: It is an honour to speak on Third Reading. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Minister for Skills on his hard work. He has worked tirelessly on this very important Bill, which is vital in terms of accountability and transparency.

Like many Members of the House, I was fortunate enough last week to meet a delegation from Macclesfield of good, hard-working union members. They are very sincere in their support of their fellow union members.

10 Nov 2015 : Column 344

They rightly pointed out that unions do a lot of work to support members and others in the workplace. However, not all union leaders share those motives and some strikes can cause major disruption, so the Bill is important. I stress again that its importance is in terms of accountability and transparency. Who should be fearful of those principles in relation to the practices in the Bill?

The Bill will ensure that union members have the right to better information about any industrial action a union proposes to take. It ensures that union members have the right to be consulted in another ballot, so that saying yes to action in the winter does not necessarily still mean yes the following summer. The union will have to ask members if they want to opt in to political levies, and then ask them again if they want to be opted in some five years later. These are reasonable proposals and reasonable policies.

This is a profound and timely shift of power in favour of the public and of the grassroots in the union movement—Conservative democracy and accountability in action once again. We Conservatives have a democratic mandate to introduce the reforms. We are accountable to the electorate for following through on our manifesto commitments. Union leaders must now be held to a higher level of accountability when planning action that could lead to serious disruption to important public services.

It is only right that ballots for industrial action should need to reach certain thresholds of support among union members, particularly when such action relates to public services. It is right that the fear of intimidation at the picket line should be removed, which will protect the public and their services from any excessive zeal by an unrepresentative minority within the union movement. If such people are not unrepresentative, why do they fear the threshold? This is about accountability to union members and to the British public.

Of course, the hard left has always had a foothold in the Labour party, and now it has the whip hand. That far-left whip hand, Labour’s new leadership, has been busy building up momentum behind its agenda. That is Momentum with a capital M by the way: Momentum for real change—on the Labour Benches, that is—is a movement inspired by militant trade unionists who want to do to the country what they now have the momentum to do in the Labour party.

I talked earlier about how the shadow Chancellor wants to encourage more militant approaches and no doubt wants to inspire militant trade unionism. Conservative Members have been hearing that, and we have to finish the job of trade union reform that we started in the 1980s and carried on in the 1990s because there are leading Labour Members who saw the industrial strife of the 1970s and 1980s as a dry run for where they want to go next. They will not protect the regular members of trade unions and the public, but Conservative Members will, and that is why I support the Bill.

6.55 pm

Jack Dromey (Birmingham, Erdington) (Lab): My dad came here as a navvy from County Cork, joined the British Army to fight Hitler and then became a train driver. Like generations before him and generations after him, he wanted to get on.

10 Nov 2015 : Column 345

The evidence is absolutely clear that those who are in a trade union are more likely to be better paid and to enjoy equal pay, less likely to be unfairly dismissed, bullied or discriminated against, and more likely to work in a safe workplace and to enjoy a decent pension.

I have worked for 40 years in the trade union movement with good employers, including those in the automotive industry such as Jaguar Land Rover, who praise their trade unions for the transformation of the industry to a high-pay, high-quality, high-productivity culture. I have also fought the bad. My whole experience is that trade unions are a force for good and for liberty.

Now, the so-called party of working people wants to weaken working people. It is part of a wider agenda that will brook no opposition: first the charities, then the BBC, even the House of Lords and now the trade unions. The Tory party wants a one party, one nation state.

The great Jack Jones once said that the way for working people to access power was through their union card on the one hand and their right to vote for the Labour party on the other.

Let me show what is so obnoxious about this Bill. When I was treasurer of the Labour party in 2006, against the background of the secret loans scandal and the Hayden Phillips process, it was put to me, “Jack, if we impose a cap on donations of £5,000, it will bankrupt the Tory party.” I said no to doing that because it would be immoral for one party to abuse its power to bankrupt another party. Would that the Conservative party had the same moral compass now.

In conclusion, this is a pernicious and iniquitous Bill. It is born out of malice, informed by prejudice and has no place in a democracy. That is why the true party of working people, the Labour party, will vote against it tonight.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

The House divided:

Ayes 305, Noes 271.

Division No. 121]

[

6.57 pm

AYES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Allan, Lucy

Allen, Heidi

Amess, Sir David

Andrew, Stuart

Ansell, Caroline

Argar, Edward

Atkins, Victoria

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Mr Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Berry, James

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Borwick, Victoria

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, rh James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Sir Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, rh Alistair

Cairns, Alun

Carmichael, Neil

Cartlidge, James

Cash, Sir William

Caulfield, Maria

Chalk, Alex

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Churchill, Jo

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Cleverly, James

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Costa, Alberto

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, rh Stephen

Crouch, Tracey

Davies, Byron

Davies, Chris

Davies, David T. C.

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Dr James

Davies, Mims

Davies, Philip

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Donelan, Michelle

Dorries, Nadine

Double, Steve

Dowden, Oliver

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Drummond, Mrs Flick

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evennett, rh Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fernandes, Suella

Field, rh Mark

Foster, Kevin

Frazer, Lucy

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Fysh, Marcus

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, rh Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Ghani, Nusrat

Gibb, Mr Nick

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, rh Robert

Hall, Luke

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, rh Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heappey, James

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Heaton-Jones, Peter

Henderson, Gordon

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoare, Simon

Hollingbery, George

Hollinrake, Kevin

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Howlett, Ben

Huddleston, Nigel

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, rh Sajid

Jayawardena, Mr Ranil

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenkyns, Andrea

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kennedy, Seema

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Knight, Julian

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, rh Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Lumley, Karen

Mackinlay, Craig

Mackintosh, David

Main, Mrs Anne

Mak, Mr Alan

Malthouse, Kit

Mann, Scott

Mathias, Dr Tania

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

Mercer, Johnny

Merriman, Huw

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Mrs Maria

Milling, Amanda

Mills, Nigel

Milton, rh Anne

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Morton, Wendy

Mowat, David

Mundell, rh David

Murray, Mrs Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Parish, Neil

Patel, rh Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Philp, Chris

Pickles, rh Sir Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Pow, Rebecca

Prentis, Victoria

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pursglove, Tom

Quin, Jeremy

Quince, Will

Raab, Mr Dominic

Redwood, rh John

Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Gavin

Robinson, Mary

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, rh Amber

Rutley, David

Sandbach, Antoinette

Scully, Paul

Selous, Andrew

Shannon, Jim

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simpson, rh Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Royston

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Solloway, Amanda

Soubry, rh Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Graham

Sturdy, Julian

Sunak, Rishi

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Thomas, Derek

Throup, Maggie

Timpson, Edward

Tolhurst, Kelly

Tomlinson, Justin

Tomlinson, Michael

Tracey, Craig

Tredinnick, David

Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie

Tugendhat, Tom

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, rh Mr Andrew

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Warburton, David

Warman, Matt

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Wharton, James

Whately, Helen

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, rh Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Craig

Williamson, rh Gavin

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wood, Mike

Wragg, William

Wright, rh Jeremy

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Ayes:

Sarah Newton

and

Simon Kirby

NOES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Ahmed-Sheikh, Ms Tasmina

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Arkless, Richard

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bardell, Hannah

Barron, rh Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Black, Mhairi

Blackford, Ian

Blackman, Kirsty

Blackman-Woods, Dr Roberta

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brake, rh Tom

Brennan, Kevin

Brock, Deidre

Brown, Alan

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burgon, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Butler, Dawn

Byrne, rh Liam

Cadbury, Ruth

Cameron, Dr Lisa

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Douglas

Chapman, Jenny

Cherry, Joanna

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Cooper, Julie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Cowan, Ronnie

Cox, Jo

Coyle, Neil

Crausby, Mr David

Crawley, Angela

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cummins, Judith

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

David, Wayne

Davies, Geraint

Day, Martyn

De Piero, Gloria

Docherty, Martin John

Donaldson, Stuart Blair

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Dowd, Peter

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Fellows, Marion

Field, rh Frank

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Fletcher, Colleen

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Gapes, Mike

Gethins, Stephen

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mary

Godsiff, Mr Roger

Goodman, Helen

Grady, Patrick

Grant, Peter

Gray, Neil

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Greenwood, Margaret

Griffith, Nia

Haigh, Louise

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harris, Carolyn

Hayes, Helen

Healey, rh John

Hendrick, Mr Mark

Hendry, Drew

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hermon, Lady

Hillier, Meg

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hollern, Kate

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hosie, Stewart

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hunt, Tristram

Huq, Dr Rupa

Hussain, Imran

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Gerald

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Kerevan, George

Kerr, Calum

Khan, rh Sadiq

Kinnock, Stephen

Kyle, Peter

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Law, Chris

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Clive

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Long Bailey, Rebecca

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian C.

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

Mactaggart, rh Fiona

Madders, Justin

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marris, Rob

Marsden, Mr Gordon

Maskell, Rachael

Matheson, Christian

Mc Nally, John

McCabe, Steve

McCaig, Callum

McCarthy, Kerry

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonald, Stewart Malcolm

McDonald, Stuart C.

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGarry, Natalie

McGinn, Conor

McGovern, Alison

McInnes, Liz

McLaughlin, Anne

Mearns, Ian

Miliband, rh Edward

Monaghan, Carol

Monaghan, Dr Paul

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Morris, Grahame M.

Mulholland, Greg

Mullin, Roger

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Newlands, Gavin

Nicolson, John

O'Hara, Brendan

Onn, Melanie

Onwurah, Chi

Osamor, Kate

Oswald, Kirsten

Owen, Albert

Paterson, Steven

Pearce, Teresa

Pennycook, Matthew

Perkins, Toby

Phillips, Jess

Phillipson, Bridget

Powell, Lucy

Pugh, John

Rayner, Angela

Reed, Mr Steve

Rees, Christina

Reeves, Rachel

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Rimmer, Marie

Robertson, rh Angus

Robinson, Gavin

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rotheram, Steve

Ryan, rh Joan

Salmond, rh Alex

Saville Roberts, Liz

Shah, Naz

Shannon, Jim

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheppard, Tommy

Sherriff, Paula

Shuker, Mr Gavin

Siddiq, Tulip

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Andy

Smeeth, Ruth

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Cat

Smith, Jeff

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Smyth, Karin

Spellar, rh Mr John

Starmer, Keir

Stephens, Chris

Stevens, Jo

Streeting, Wes

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, rh Ms Gisela

Tami, Mark

Thewliss, Alison

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thomas-Symonds, Nick

Thompson, Owen

Thomson, Michelle

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turley, Anna

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Watson, Mr Tom

Weir, Mike

West, Catherine

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Whitford, Dr Philippa

Williams, Hywel

Williams, Mr Mark

Wilson, Corri

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wishart, Pete

Woodcock, John

Wright, Mr Iain

Zeichner, Daniel

Tellers for the Noes:

Vicky Foxcroft

and

Sue Hayman

Question accordingly agreed to.

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10 Nov 2015 : Column 347

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10 Nov 2015 : Column 349

Bill read the Third time and passed.

Business without Debate

Speaker’s committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority

Ordered,

That Mr Nicholas Brown, Chris Bryant, Mrs Cheryl Gillan, Mr Charles Walker and Pete Wishart be appointed to the Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority

10 Nov 2015 : Column 350

until the end of the present Parliament, in pursuance of Schedule 3 to the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009, as amended.—

(Dr

Thérèse

Coffey.)

delegated legislation

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

Financial Services and Markets

That the draft Small and Medium Sized Business (Finance Platforms) Regulations 2015, which were laid before this House on 7 September, be approved.

That the draft Small and Medium Sized Business (Credit Information) Regulations 2015, which were laid before this House on 7 September, be approved. —(Kris Hopkins.)

Question agreed to.

European Union documents

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 119(11)),

The EU and the post-2015 Development Agenda

That this House takes note of European Union Document No. 5902/15 and Addendum, a Commission Communication: A Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015; welcomes this document as a contribution to a debate that is central to sustainable development policy; and supports the Government’s approach to the post-2015 development agenda.—(Kris Hopkins.)

Question agreed to.

Petition

Funding Formula for Leicestershire Constabulary

7.10 pm

Keith Vaz (Leicester East) (Lab): I wish to present a petition on the funding formula for Leicestershire constabulary, which was collected over the past 10 days. Of course, that was prior to the Government’s decision, because of the problems we heard about in the urgent question on Monday, to pause the formula to allow local constabularies to make fresh representations. Happily, that is exactly what the Government decided to do on Monday, so I present the petition in celebration: the results of the petition have already been accepted and there will be a further review.

I thank the 216 people who signed the petition, which was collected by volunteers in the north Leicester area: Sanjeev Sharma, Baljeet Singh and Pradeep Dullabh. I also thank Councillors Mo Chohan, Manjula Sood, Ross Willmott and Rita Patel for their support.

The petition states:

The petition of residents of Leicester East,

Declares that current proposals to change Leicestershire’s policing budget through the revision of the funding formula as well as other cuts could jeopardise the safety of thousands of residents; further that this will result in an unacceptable loss of £700,000 from the force’s budget; and further that the proposals will lead to fewer officers keeping Leicester safe and give a green light to criminals.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to immediately review the proposed funding formula for Leicestershire Constabulary.

And the petitioners remain, etc.

[P001553]

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Hedgehog Conservation

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

7.12 pm

Oliver Colvile (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport) (Con): Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for giving me an Adjournment debate on hedgehog habitats and the need to protect the species. Before I go any further, I draw the attention of the House to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. I still retain an interest in a small public relations company that gives advice to developers, although I am not sure they will want to talk to me after this. I thank the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, and especially Henry Johnson, who has spoken to me about the importance of hedgehog conservation.

An article in The Guardian in July 2013 pointed out that hedgehogs are prickly in character, have a voracious appetite and a passion for gardens, and have a noisy sex life. I leave it to you, Madam Deputy Speaker, to decide which of those traits I share. In a BBC wildlife poll, hedgehogs were chosen as the best natural emblem for the British nation, beating the charismatic badger and the sturdy oak. The victory for the ultimate underdog came about with 42% and more than 9,000 votes cast for the hedgehog. I know what it is like to be an underdog, because that is how I felt in the run-up to the last general election, when I placed a bet on myself with Paddy Power at 4:1 against.

In short, the British people have taken hedgehogs to their hearts. Even though we are a nation of animal lovers and have played a key role in the emergence of the modern conservation movement in the western world, Britain does not have a designated national species, unlike many other countries, including Russia, Australia and South Africa. That is why I am calling on my hon. Friend the Minister to hold a national campaign to identify which animal should be our designated national species. Needless to say, I will be launching a petition after this debate to name the hedgehog as our designated national species.

Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP): I was interested to hear the hon. Gentleman set the scene for us, but there are more than 100 priority species across the UK, many of which reside within my constituency. Does he agree we need a strategy for all those species, including the hedgehog?

Oliver Colvile: Yes, I am happy to agree, but I am talking about, and campaigning for, the hedgehog.

Perhaps the BBC might like to run a competition similar to one to find the greatest Briton, with a series of people arguing the case for their preferred animal over a series of weeks. I would be willing to do the job on behalf of the hedgehog.

Martin John Docherty (West Dunbartonshire) (SNP): Does the hon. Gentleman agree that hedgehogs are a devolved issue to be decided on by the Scottish Government?

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Oliver Colvile: I am told that in the western isles, there are no hedgehogs at all.

My relationship with the hedgehog goes back to my own childhood in suburban Woking, when I was read by my actress mother Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle”—hon. Members will not be surprised to learn that this is not the only Mrs T who has been important in my life. I was therefore deeply shocked to discover that in the last 10 years, hedgehog numbers have declined by about one third nationally. According to the House of Commons Library, the principal reason for this prickly animal’s decline is the loss of habitats. Likely factors in the hedgehog’s demise are the loss of permanent grasslands, larger field sizes, the use of pesticides and herbicides and a reduction in hedgerow quality. I understand that badgers are a natural predator of hedgehogs and that consequently they avoid sites where badgers are present.

Gavin Williamson (South Staffordshire) (Con): Does my hon. Friend recognise the importance of using our gardens as a vital habitat for hedgehogs? I recently built a hedgehog house in my garden. Sadly, as yet I have no residents in it, but I hope it will encourage diversity and a growth in hedgehog numbers in South Staffordshire.

Oliver Colvile: I will be making a similar point in a moment.

Hedgehogs seem to thrive in urban and suburban areas, but the move to tidy, sterile gardens—I am sure the garden of my right hon. Friend the Member for South Staffordshire (Gavin Williamson) is not sterile—has also contributed to their demise. However, these suburban habitats are broken up by fences and roads, pushing hedgehogs into unsuitably small areas.

Rebecca Pow (Taunton Deane) (Con): Another fascinating fact about hedgehogs, which my hon. Friend might be aware of, is that they run up to 1.2 km a night, but they have to find a mate. Thinking about wildlife gardening, I wonder if he might make a hole in his garden fence so that the hedgehogs can run through to find a mate? This is essential.

Oliver Colvile: My hon. Friend has been reading my speech or has had prior notice of it.

Hedgehogs need to move a surprising distance to search for food, mates and nesting sites, so we need to make it easier for them to move between gardens, perhaps by making holes in fences. During a visit to Plymouth’s hedgehog rehabilitation and care centre this autumn, in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Moor View (Johnny Mercer), I learned that the way to tackle this problem is to stop habitat loss. I was also rather surprised to learn that we should not leave milk and bread out for hedgehogs. Additionally, slug pellets are a great danger that can be fatally harmful to them.

Julian Knight (Solihull) (Con): I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this debate. Does he agree that the advent of specific hedgehog conservation areas, such as the one in Elmdon in my Solihull constituency, can play a major part in arresting the alarming decline in the numbers of the great British hedgehog?

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Oliver Colvile: I am delighted to hear about the area in my hon. Friend’s constituency, and I think it important to continue with the theme of ensuring how we can look after the hedgehog.

I was also told that elastic bands, which postmen discard when delivering letters, are also detrimental to hedgehog survivals. There is no robust evidence on this point, but it is one of many concerns that have been raised with me about the pitfalls that hedgehogs must dodge.

Not only do we need hedgehog-friendly gardens, but I also want my hon. Friends and the Government to give local authorities advice on ensuring that hedgehogs do not get caught up in bonfires. Last week, we celebrated bonfire night and I raised my concerns about hedgehogs making nests in the bonfires before they were set alight. One of my hon. Friends suggested that this might be a Catholic plot to ensure that attention was taken away from Guy Fawkes—but I rather dismissed that.

Although it is not thought that badgers are the principal culprit in the demise of hedgehogs, they cannot be totally blame free. In a major DEFRA study, which assessed the ecological consequences of badger removal during the randomised badger culling trial lasting from 1998 to 2006, it was found that removing badgers from a habitat had a number of consequences for other species. The report said that hedgehogs rarely encountered badgers in rural sites, but were found relatively frequently in amenity areas.

Population density increased by over 100% over the course of the randomised badger culling trial in amenity sites in proactive cull areas, while declining slightly in no-cull control sites. No similar increases were detected in rural sites. The report also found that there is strong evidence that badger predation restricts hedgehog populations and that amenity areas in villages act as a spatial refuge for hedgehogs.

In 2011, a further report on the state of British hedgehogs concluded that, while badgers are a natural predator of hedgehogs, where there are good foraging opportunities for worms and beetles, badgers and hedgehogs can coexist. However, when there is no safe refuge, and badgers and hedgehogs compete for these scarce resources, hedgehogs may be in serious trouble.

A more recent study in 2014 found that in areas of preferred habitat, counts did not change where there was no badger culling. An analysis of the original badger culling experiments, published in April 2014, shows that while at some sites hedgehog numbers did increase, following a reduction in the number of badgers, it was thought that some of the sample sizes might have been too small.

I must point out that there have been widespread calls for more research into the effects of the badger, and I welcome this. As I explained earlier, badgers are not the sole cause of the decline in the hedgehog population, but I believe that there is a real danger that if more research is not put into the badger cull, hedgehog numbers will continue to decline. I hope that the Minister will take note of that.

There is a pressing need to support hedgehogs in urban areas. It is very important to focus on the barriers created by walls and impermeable garden fences and the consequent fragmentation of the hedgehog population. The House may like to know that I am pressing my

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fellow neighbours at the Royal Naval hospital in Plymouth to ensure that we can create a hedgehog-friendly community and increase the number of hedgehogs in this part of my inner-city constituency.

Dr Lisa Cameron (East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow) (SNP): I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on securing this debate. I am just reading on the British Hedgehog Preservation Society site that Saturday 21 November is hedgehog day, so I wish to congratulate the hon. Gentleman on one of the timeliest debates on this issue.

Oliver Colvile: Everybody else seems to have had notice of my speech before I ended up making it.

The progressive loss of suitable feeding areas through intensive gardening or inappropriate management of amenity grasslands are also major issues about which we can take action. When new garden fences are installed there are “hedgehog-friendly” options, such as a small hole so that hedgehogs do not become trapped in gardens, and I urge people to consider those in future. More than 36,500 hedgehog champions are campaigning to create hedgehog-friendly neighbourhoods. I have now volunteered to be one, and I am the 150th hedgehog champion from Plymouth to sign up to this excellent scheme.

I am sure, Madam Deputy Speaker, that you will want to know what you can do. Like me, you can sign up to be a hedgehog champion on the “Hedgehog Street”' website, where you can report sightings of hedgehogs on the “big hedgehog map”. Although it is not a scientific survey, it is an excellent way in which to engage the public, and I challenge as many right hon. and hon. Members as possible to sign up to the cause.

I am delighted to report that Saturday 21 November is the day of the hedgehog, and that hundreds of people are expected to descend on the International Centre, in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Telford (Lucy Allan). I myself will be attempting to set up an all-party parliamentary group for hedgehogs, so that we can advance the cause of those prickly characters. If any Members are interested, I should be delighted if they contacted me on [email protected] On the same day, the next report reviewing the four main surveys covering hedgehogs in rural and urban areas will be released. It must be remembered that hedgehog numbers are a good indicator of the state of the natural environment, which is why these creatures are so important to the United Kingdom’s ecology.

I think that there is more to be done, and I have therefore suggested to the Chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton and Honiton (Neil Parish), that it should hold an inquiry into how we can save hedgehogs.

I hope that I have set out the case for hedgehogs clearly, Madam Deputy Speaker, and that you too will become a hedgehog supporter. Now is the time to increase the public’s awareness of the plight of these plucky characters. I trust that the aforementioned Mrs T would be delighted that someone is taking up this important cause.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Mrs Eleanor Laing): I think I had better confirm, lest my customary silence be taken as negative, that I will of course do so.

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7.27 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Rory Stewart): Multa novit vulpes, verum echinus unum magnum, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Tom Tugendhat (Tonbridge and Malling) (Con): In every happy home is a hedgehog, as the Pashtuns would say. I urge my hon. Friend to encourage our Pashtun community in this country to follow that example.

Rory Stewart: I am very grateful for that Pushtun intervention, but my hon. Friend refers, of course, to the Asian variety of the hedgehog rather than the western hedgehog, which is the subject of our discussion today.

The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.

I am extremely pleased to have the opportunity to respond to my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Oliver Colvile). I believe that this is the first time that Parliament has discussed hedgehogs since 1566, when the subject was famously raised in relation to the attribution of a bounty of tuppence for the collection of the hedgehog throughout the United Kingdom.

The hedgehog has undergone an extraordinary evolution. The year 1566 seems very recent, but the hedgehog was around before then. It was around before this Parliament. The hedgehog, and its ancestor, narrowly missed being crushed under the foot of Tyrannosaurus rex. The hedgehog was around long before the human species: it existed 56 million years ago. It tells us a great deal about British civilisation that my hon. Friend has raised the subject, because the hedgehog is a magical creature. It is a creature that appears on cylinder seals in Sumeria, bent backwards on the prows of Egyptian ships. The hedgehog has of course a famous medicinal quality taken by the Romany people for baldness and it represents a symbol of the resurrection found throughout Christian Europe.

This strange animal was known, of course, in Scotland, Wales and Ireland originally in Gaelic as that demonic creature, that horrid creature, and is the hedgehog celebrated by Shakespeare:

“Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen…

Come not near our faerie queen”,

and famously of course in “Richard III” there is that great moment when Gloucester is referred to as a hedgehog. It tells us something about Britain today; it represents a strange decline in British civilisation from a notion of this magical, mystical, terrifying creature to where it is today, and I refer of course to my own constituent, the famous cleanliness representative of Penrith and The Border, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.

I want to be serious for a moment. The hedgehog is of course an important environmental indicator, with its habitat, its ability to occupy 30 hectares of land, and its particular relationship to the hibernaculum, by which I mean the hedgehog’s ability, almost uniquely among animals in the United Kingdom, to go into a state of genuine hibernation. Its heartbeat goes from 240 a minute to only two a minute for six months a year. It has a particular diet—a focus on grubs and beetles. The street hedgehog initiative, which my hon. Friend has

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brought forward, reminds us that, by cutting holes in the bottom of our hedges, we can create again an opportunity for hedgehogs to move.

The hedgehog provides a bigger lesson for us in our environment—first, a lesson in scientific humility. The hedgehog has of course been studied for over 2,000 years. The first scientific reference to the hedgehog is in Aristotle; he is picked up again by Isidore of Seville in the 8th century and again by Buffon in the 18th century, and these are reminders of the ways in which we get hedgehogs wrong. Aristotle points out that the hedgehog carries apples on his spine into his nest. Isidore of Seville argues that the hedgehog travels with grapes embedded on his spine. Buffon believes these things might have been food for the winter, but as we know today the hedgehog, hibernating as he does, is not a creature that needs to take food into his nest for the winter.

Again, our belief in Britain that the five teeth of the hedgehog represent the reaction of the sinful man to God—the five excuses that the sinful man makes to God—is subverted by our understanding that the hedgehog does not have five teeth. Finally, the legislation introduced in this House, to my great despair, in 1566 which led to the bounty of a tuppence on a hedgehog was based on a misunderstanding: the idea that the hedgehog fed on the teats of a recumbent cow in order to feed itself on milk. This led to the death of between of half a million and 2 million hedgehogs between 1566 and 1800, a subject John Clare takes forward in a poem of 1805 and which led my own Department, the Ministry of Agriculture, in 1908 to issue a formal notice to farmers encouraging them not to believe that hedgehogs take milk from the teats of a recumbent cow, because of course the hedgehog’s mouth is too small to be able to perform this function.

But before we mock our ancestors, we must understand this is a lesson for us. The scientific mistakes we made in the past about the hedgehog are mistakes that we, too, may be mocked for in the future. We barely understand this extraordinary creature. We barely understand for example its habit of self-anointing; we will see a hedgehog produce an enormous amount of saliva and throw it over its back. We do not understand why it does that. We do not really understand its habit of aestivation, which is to say the hedgehog which my hon. Friend referred to—the Pushto version of the hedgehog—hibernates in the summer as well as the winter. We do not understand that concept of aestivation.

For those of us interested in environmental management, the hedgehog also represents the important subject of conflict in habitats. The habitat that suits the hedgehog is liminal land: it is edge land, hedgerows and dry land. The hedgehog is not an animal that flourishes in many of our nature reserves. It does not do well in peatland or in dense, heavy native woodland. The things that prey on the hedgehog are sometimes things that we treasure. My hon. Friend mentioned badgers.

Rebecca Pow: Does the Minister agree that the successful survival of our hedgehog population is a direct reflection of how healthy and sustainable our environment is? It is important that we should look after the environment, because the knock-on effect of that will be that our hedgehog population will be looked after.

Rory Stewart: That is an important point. The hedgehog is a generalist species, and traditionally we have not paid much attention to such species. We have been very

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good at focusing on specialist species, such as the redshank, which requires a particular kind of wet habitat. The hedgehog is a more challenging species for us to take on board.

As I was saying, the hedgehog is a good indicator for hedgerow habitat, although it is not much use for peatland or wetland. The hedgehog raises some important environmental questions. One is the question of conflict with the badger. Another is the question of the hedgehog in the western isles, which relates to the issue of the hedgehog’s potential predation on the eggs of the Arctic tern.

Patrick Grady (Glasgow North) (SNP): On the point about the hedgehog in the western isles, we have established that hedgehogs are a devolved matter. My hon. Friend the Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Mr MacNeil) is not in the Chamber at the moment. Scottish Natural Heritage is doing careful work to humanely remove hedgehogs from the Hebrides, and it would be interesting to hear how the UK Government intend to support that work.

Rory Stewart: This is an important reminder that things that matter enormously to our civilisation, our society and our hearts—such as the hedgehog—have to be in the right place. In New Zealand, hedgehogs are considered an extremely dangerous invasive species that has to be removed for the same reasons that people in Scotland are having to think about controlling them there. It does not matter whether we are talking about badgers, hedgehogs or Arctic terns—it is a question of what place they should occupy.

Finally—and, I think, more positively—what the hedgehog really represents for us is an incredible symbol of citizen science. The energy that my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport has brought to the debate is a great example of British, or perhaps English, eccentricity, and it is on the basis of English eccentricity that our habitat has been preserved. Gilbert White, the great 18th century naturalist, was himself an immense eccentric. It has been preserved thanks to eccentrics such as my hon. Friend and, perhaps most famously of all, Hugh Warwick, the great inspiration behind the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. He has written no fewer than three books on the hedgehog, and he talks very movingly about staring into the eyes of a hedgehog and getting a sense of its wildness from its gaze. These enthusiasts connect the public to nature, sustain our 25-year environment programme and contribute enormously to our scientific understanding of these

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animals. This is true in relation to bees, to beavers and in particular to Hugh Warwick’s work on hedgehogs. I am also pleased that the hon. Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow (Dr Cameron) mentioned national hedgehog day in an earlier intervention.

Ultimately, we need to understand that the hedgehog is a very prickly issue. The reason for that is that my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport has raised the question of adopting the hedgehog as our national symbol. Some hon. Members will remember that the hedgehog was used by Saatchi & Saatchi in an advertising campaign for the Conservative party in 1992 general election. We should therefore pay tribute to the hedgehog’s direct contribution to our election victory in that year. But I would like to challenge my hon. Friend’s assertion that the hedgehog should become our national symbol. I ask you, Madam Deputy Speaker, as I ask those on both sides of this House, because this question concerns not only one party, but all of us: do we want to have as our national symbol an animal which when confronted with danger rolls over into a little ball and puts its spikes up? Do we want to have as our national symbol an animal that sleeps for six months of the year? Or would we rather return to the animal that is already our national symbol? I refer, of course, to the lion, which is majestic, courageous and proud.

If I may finish with a little testimony to my hon. Friend and to those innocent creatures which are hedgehogs, perhaps I can reach back to them not as a symbol for our nation but as a symbol of innocence to Thomas Hardy. He says:

“When the hedgehog travels furtively over the lawn,

One may say, ‘He strove that such innocent creatures should come to no harm,

But he could do little for them; and now he is gone.’

If, when hearing that I have been stilled at last, they stand at the door,

Watching the full-starred heavens that winter sees,

Will this thought rise on those who will meet my face no more,

‘He was one who had an eye for such mysteries’?

Madam Deputy Speaker (Mrs Eleanor Laing): I paused because I wanted to encourage some more positive noises for the Minister, who has just made one of the best speeches I have ever heard in this House.

Question put and agreed to.

7.41 pm

House adjourned.