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Baroness Park of Monmouth: My Lords, may I begin by saying a particular thank you to the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel. He has treated this issue as a national one, as it should be. I also express my deep gratitude to noble Lords on all sides of the House who have supported the amendment. It is not a wrecking amendment but, I repeat, a national issue.

11 Jul 1996 : Column 474

The co-sponsors, the noble Lords, Lord Chalfont, Lord Swinfen and Lord Williams of Elvel all made powerful contributions which served to emphasise that the proposed sale as it has been presented by the Government is not only a grave threat to the morale and well-being of service families at a time of great turbulence, but a remarkably poor business deal for the country. It is like selling the family silver in exchange for a post-dated cheque just large enough to pay for some plastic kitchenware.

The magnificent intervention of the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Bramall, was all the more weighty because he withdrew from the 75th anniversary of the British Legion celebrations expressly to come and speak, and vote. He, more than any of us, must surely have made noble Lords stop and think.

Not least I must thank not only the many noble Lords whom time does not allow me to list individually but the army of faceless women and men who let us know that we speak for them as they are not free to speak. One of the splendid men who work in this House told me today that he had been able to be a good soldier because he knew that his family was safe. That is what it is all about. We ignore it at our peril.

Most of your Lordships were in Westminster Hall today and heard my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor speak of our proud traditions. The fighting services and their families are a part of that tradition. We owe them a special duty. They are not an industry or a business; and we are not talking about bricks and mortar but about homes. The wives have a right and even the duty to defend the patch where their families live. If their husbands overseas cannot rely on the support structure of the patch for vulnerable families, their fighting effectiveness as well as their morale will be damaged. Noble Lords may have noted that we have even fewer soldiers at the same tasks, including in Northern Ireland.

Decent housing ought to be part of the nation's provision for service families, an absolute right on the same level as health or education, or as the weapons of war. Money to pay for that should not rest on an unusual piece of manna from heaven graciously bestowed by a munificent Treasury as an exceptional favour and, incidentally, coming from the money that the ministry itself is getting. The project of sale will have major effects for future generations. If we reject it, we do so at our peril. It needs to be judged in full debate in both Houses. That is why this amendment was brought forward--not because I wished to prevent it happening but because I felt that it needed proper ventilation and proper consideration. It has not had that.

I thank my noble friend the Minister for his invariable courtesy. I must also acknowledge that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State gave me and the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, a courteous hearing, but it seems that we have not persuaded him to our point of view. I was agreeably surprised to find myself on my feet today, since, as I told your Lordships, I was assured by a succession of journalists and other Peers, first, that the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Bramall, was undoubtedly and adamantly opposed to me, then that the

11 Jul 1996 : Column 475

noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, had withdrawn his support and, finally, today, that I intended to withdraw my amendment.

I have listened in vain to hear whether I had any concession whatever from my noble friend the Minister. I had none. Therefore, I fear that I have no choice but to test the opinion of the House.

5.32 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 196) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 176; Not-Contents, 256.

Division No. 1

CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Alport, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Bancroft, L.
Barnett, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Birk, B.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Bledisloe, V.
Borrie, L.
Bramall, L.
Braybrooke, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Caldecote, V.
Callaghan of Cardiff, L.
Carlisle, Bp.
Carlisle, E.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carter, L.
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Chalfont, L.
Clancarty, E.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clifford of Chudleigh, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cochrane of Cults, L.
Coleridge, L.
Congleton, L.
Cox, B.
Craigavon, V.
Cross, V.
Cudlipp, L.
Dacre of Glanton, L.
Dahrendorf, L.
Darcy (de Knayth), B.
David, B.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Diamond, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Exmouth, V.
Ezra, L.
Falkender, B.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Freyberg, L.
Gallacher, L.
Geraint, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Gladwyn, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L. [Teller.]
Greene of Harrow Weald, L.
Gregson, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harrowby, E.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Healey, L.
Henniker, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Howell, L.
Hughes, L.
Hunt, L.
Hutchinson of Lullington, L.
Hylton, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Ilchester, E.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jellicoe, E.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Kennet, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Kilmarnock, L.
Lawrence, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Listowel, E.
Longford, E.
Lovell-Davis, L.
Lytton, E.
MacAndrew, L.
Macaulay of Bragar, L.
McCarthy, L.
McConnell, L.
McGregor of Durris, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNair, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Mayhew, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Methuen, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Monson, L.
Moore of Wolvercote, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Nelson, E.
Nicol, B.
Northbourne, L.
Norton, L.
Ogmore, L.
Park of Monmouth, B. [Teller.]
Peston, L.
Pike, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Quinton, L.
Radnor, E.
Rea, L.
Richard, L.
Robertson of Oakridge, L.
Robson of Kiddington, B.
Rochester, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Russell, E.
Sainsbury, L.
St. John of Bletso, L.
Scanlon, L.
Seear, B.
Serota, B.
Sewel, L.
Shaughnessy, L.
Shepherd, L.
Slim, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stallard, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Strafford, E.
Strange, B.
Swinfen, L.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Westmorland, E.
Whaddon, L.
Wharton, B.
White, B.
Wigoder, L.
Wigram, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.
Winston, L.
Young of Dartington, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Abercorn, D.
Aberdare, L.
Abinger, L.
Ackner, L.
Addison, V.
Ailsa, M.
Aldington, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Ampthill, L.
Annaly, L.
Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, L.
Arran, E.
Astor of Hever, L.
Balfour, E.
Banbury of Southam, L.
Barber, L.
Barber of Tewkesbury, L.
Bauer, L.
Belstead, L.
Berners, B.
Bethell, L.
Biddulph, L.
Birdwood, L.
Blake, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Blyth, L.
Boardman, L.
Bowness, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Braine of Wheatley, L.
Brentford, V.
Brightman, L.
Brigstocke, B.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Bruntisfield, L.
Burnham, L.
Cadman, L.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carnock, L.
Carr of Hadley, L.
Cayzer, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Chelmsford, V.
Chesham, L. [Teller.]
Clanwilliam, E.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Clinton, L.
Colwyn, L.
Constantine of Stanmore, L.
Courtown, E.
Coventry, E.
Cranborne, V. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Cranbrook, E.
Crathorne, L.
Crawshaw, L.
Cromer, E.
Cuckney, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Daventry, V.
Davidson, V.
De Freyne, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Deedes, L.
Denham, L.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Derwent, L.
Digby, L.
Dilhorne, V.
Donegall, M.
Donoughmore, E.
Downshire, M.
Dudley, E.
Dunrossil, V.
Eccles, V.
Eden of Winton, L.
Ellenborough, L.
Elton, L.
Erne, E.
Erroll, E.
Fairhaven, L.
Falmouth, V.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Flather, B.
Fortescue, E.
Gage, V.
Gainford, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Gisborough, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Goold, L.
Gormanston, V.
Goschen, V.
Gray of Contin, L.
Grimston of Westbury, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.
Hambleden, V.
Hambro, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Hardinge of Penshurst, L.
Hardwicke, E.
Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Harmsworth, L.
Harris of Peckham, L.
Haslam, L.
Hastings, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Hertford, M.
Hesketh, L.
Hindlip, L.
Hogg, B.
Holderness, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Hood, V.
Hooper, B.
Hothfield, L.
Howe, E.
Huntly, M.
Inchyra, L.
Inglewood, L.
Ironside, L.
James of Holland Park, B.
Jeffreys, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Johnston of Rockport, L.
Keith of Castleacre, L.
Kemsley, V.
Kenyon, L.
Keyes, L.
Kimball, L.
Kindersley, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kinnoull, E.
Kitchener, E.
Knollys, V.
Knutsford, V.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lauderdale, E.
Leigh, L.
Lindsay, E.
Liverpool, E.
Long, V.
Lucas, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Luke, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
MacFarlane of Bearsden, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
Macleod of Borve, B.
Mancroft, L.
Marlborough, D.
Marlesford, L.
Marsh, L.
Massereene and Ferrard, V.
May, L.
Merrivale, L.
Mersey, V.
Middleton, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Mills, V.
Monk Bretton, L.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Moore of Lower Marsh, L.
Mottistone, L.
Mountevans, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Munster, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Newton, L.
Norrie, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Orr-Ewing, L.
Oxfuird, V.
Parkinson, L.
Peel, E.
Pender, L.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Prentice, L.
Prior, L.
Pym, L.
Rankeillour, L.
Rawlings, B.
Reay, L.
Rees, L.
Renton, L.
Renwick, L.
Rodney, L.
Romney, E.
Sackville, L.
Sainsbury of Preston Candover, L.
Saint Albans, D.
St. John of Fawsley, L.
Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Sandford, L.
Sandys, L.
Savile, L.
Seccombe, B.
Selsdon, L.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Sheppard of Didgemere, L.
Sherfield, L.
Shuttleworth, L.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Stockton, E.
Strathcarron, L.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Sudeley, L.
Suffield, L.
Swansea, L.
Swinton, E.
Teviot, L.
Teynham, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Tollemache, L.
Torphichen, L.
Torrington, V.
Townshend, M.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Tugendhat, L.
Ullswater, V.
Vivian, L.
Weatherill, L.
Weinstock, L.
Westbury, L.
Whitelaw, V.
Wilberforce, L.
Wilcox, B.
Windlesham, L.
Wolfson, L.
Wolfson of Sunningdale, L.
Wyatt of Weeford, L.
Wynford, L.
Young, B.
Young of Graffham, L.
Zouche of Haryngworth, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

11 Jul 1996 : Column 478

5.47 p.m.

Clause 2 [Eligibility for registration]:


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