Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove: My Lords, one of the difficulties about opposing the noble Earl is that I believe that he believes everything he says and I believe that he is looking for the best of all possible worlds. If the whole process was left to him I might well be persuaded that the ideas were good. What makes me think again is that in Glasgow we spent nearly two days in the Select Committee with experts on education from all walks of life. None of them believed that this was a good scheme. We had our own experiences and we listened to experts on education who came to speak to us. That is the basis on which we have opposed the scheme so vigorously.

Perhaps I may say a few words about the comments of the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy. She tried to suggest that this is a wrecking amendment. If we disagree violently with a Bill, I do not see why we should not seek to wreck it. I suggest to the noble Baroness that she studies the period when there was a Labour government instead of looking into a crystal ball. She should examine the record; she will see our scars as regards the number of Bills wrecked in this place by the party opposite. Anyone who was here at the time will remember that many Bills were destroyed or emasculated. That is why we feel strongly about the matter.

The Minister gave one example which almost perfectly illustrates part of the problem. He spoke of about 65 per cent. of those in East Renfrewshire who are keen to have the voucher system. That is exactly what we are talking about. It is one of the few areas, which includes Newton Mearns, where there is still a Tory representative. I do not believe that there are any councillors there. I wonder whether noble Lords saw the cartoon in one of the weekend magazines showing a rather imperious lady saying to a gentleman, "Oh, a Tory councillor in Scotland--how quaint!" That is exactly the position in East Renfrewshire.

The Earl of Lindsay: My Lords, it is not only in East Renfrewshire where there are pilot projects or where

13 May 1996 : Column 347

the hotlines have been swamped by parents who want this provision. We are also talking about Argyll and Bute, North Ayrshire and parts of the Highlands and Islands. The parents across these areas want this system and that is why they show such energetic interest in what is going on.

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove: My Lords, I was intending to mention the islands because I agree they are a very special case. They are desperate for any movement at all. If the Minister gives the matter a few minutes thought, I believe he will realise that East Renfrewshire does not represent a very good cross-section. I know the area very well. It does not represent a cross-section of the west of Scotland because it is only a small part of that area. Despite liking the Minister and conceding that he believes what he is saying, we are so strongly opposed to this measure that we must take the view of the House.

4.32 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 5) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 80; Not-Contents, 139.

Division No. 1


Addington, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Barnett, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Borrie, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carter, L.
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Diamond, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Ewing of Kirkford, L.
Falkender, B.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Fisher of Rednal, B.
Gallacher, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L. [Teller.]
Gregson, L.
Grey, E.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Healey, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Howell, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lovell-Davis, L.
McGregor of Durris, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Monkswell, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Nicol, B.
Peston, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Richard, L.
Robson of Kiddington, B.
Sainsbury, L.
Seear, B.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Sempill, L.
Serota, B.
Sewel, L.
Stallard, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tope, L. [Teller.]
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
White, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.


Aberdare, L.
Addison, V.
Ailesbury, M.
Ailsa, M.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Ashbourne, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Balfour, E.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Beloff, L.
Berners, B.
Blakenham, V.
Boardman, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Braine of Wheatley, L.
Brookeborough, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Bruntisfield, L.
Cadman, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carnock, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Chelmsford, V.
Chesham, L. [Teller.]
Chorley, L.
Clanwilliam, E.
Cochrane of Cults, L.
Coleraine, L.
Cork and Orrery, E.
Cornwallis, L.
Courtown, E.
Cranborne, V. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Dacre of Glanton, L.
Davidson, V.
De Freyne, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Drogheda, E.
Elibank, L.
Ellenborough, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Foley, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Fraser of Kilmorack, L.
Gainford, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Goold, L.
Goschen, V.
Granard, E.
Gray, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.
Halsbury, E.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Hardwicke, E.
Hayter, L.
Henley, L.
Hertford, M.
HolmPatrick, L.
Howe, E.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Ilchester, E.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Johnston of Rockport, L.
Kimball, L.
Kintore, E.
Knollys, V.
Lauderdale, E.
Leigh, L.
Lindsay, E.
Long, V.
Lucas, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Lyell, L.
McConnell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Masham of Ilton, B.
Merrivale, L.
Mersey, V.
Middleton, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Milverton, L.
Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Mountevans, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Munster, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Nelson, E.
Norrie, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Orkney, E.
Orr-Ewing, L.
Oxfuird, V.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pender, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Pym, L.
Rankeillour, L.
Rathcavan, L.
Rawlings, B.
Reay, L.
Rees, L.
Rennell, L.
Renton, L.
Renwick, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B.
Shannon, E.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Slim, V.
Stockton, E.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Strathcarron, L.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Strathmore and Kinghorne, E.
Sudeley, L.
Teviot, L.
Teynham, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Trumpington, B.
Ullswater, V.
Vivian, L.
Westbury, L.
Wharton, B.
Wise, L.
Young, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

13 May 1996 : Column 348

13 May 1996 : Column 349

4.44 p.m.

Lord Addington moved Amendment No. 6:

After Clause 23, insert the following new clause--

Evaluation of pilot schemes

(". No grants shall be made under section 23 of this Act until the Secretary of State has laid before both Houses of Parliament an evaluation of any pilot or experimental schemes and of their implications.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the premise of the amendment is that if there is a pilot scheme, regard should be had to what is said. After the scheme has been run--there is dispute as to whether the period is long enough to be effective--Parliament should pay attention to the results of it.

This amendment was tabled slightly late on Thursday, for which I apologise, but it has already been flagged up. In Glasgow the Minister assured the Select Committee that in a pilot scheme everything would be taken into account. When we pushed him a little further he repeated that. At the end I asked whether, if the scheme ultimately failed, the whole voucher system would be withdrawn. The Minister replied that he could not conceive of any situation in which the scheme would fail. He was probably the only person who gave evidence who could not foresee anything that could be deemed a failure of the scheme.

The amendment provides that the results of the scheme should be laid before Parliament. All of the matters referred to in the last debate--the degree of parental choice, the fact that many who knew anything about the Bill were not keen on it and so on--could be taken into account. At that time we will see what has gone wrong and what has gone right. If this scheme seems to be appropriate for the Islands of Scotland or the outlying regions, perhaps it could be retained or something else tried later on. We must remember that the voucher scheme is not in the Bill itself, which is merely concerned with a grant-making power.

On the basis of this amendment or a consideration along these lines, Parliament would be given time to think again with knowledge. I suggest that this can be easily done. If not, I suggest that dogma is taking over on all sides and the idea of providing better education has been ignored. I beg to move.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page