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Division No. 2

CONTENTS

Aldington, L.
Annaly, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Beaverbrook, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Brentford, V.
Byford, B. [Teller.]
Caithness, E.
Carnock, L.
Carr of Hadley, L.
Chorley, L.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Cox, B.
Cranborne, V.
Crickhowell, L.
Cross, V.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Fookes, B.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Harrowby, E.
Haslam, L.
Hooper, B.
Inglewood, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kinnoull, E.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lauderdale, E.
McConnell, L.
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
Mackintosh of Halifax, V.
Macleod of Borve, B.
Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monson, L.
Mountevans, L.
Norrie, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Rankeillour, L.
Rees, L.
Rennell, L.
Renton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Rowallan, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandwich, E.
Seccombe, B.
Selkirk of Douglas, L.
Sempill, L.
Sharples, B.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Swinfen, L.
Teynham, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thurlow, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Walpole, L.
Wilcox, B.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Wynford, L.
Young, B.

NOT-CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Amos, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Calverley, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Chandos, V.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Ewing of Kirkford, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Gallacher, L.
Geraint, L.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Gregson, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hacking, L.
Hampton, L.
Hardie, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hooson, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Kennet, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mallalieu, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Orme, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Renwick of Clifton, L.
Richard, L. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Serota, B.
Sewel, L.
Shepherd, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Macclesfield, L.
Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thurso, V.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

7 Jul 1998 : Column 1156

7.3 p.m.

[Amendment No. 178B not moved.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 179:


Page 78, line 40, leave out ("and vote in").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 179A to 179H not moved.]

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendment No. 180:


Page 80, line 1, leave out subsections (9) and (10).

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I said at Committee stage that I would be bringing forward amendments to address the concerns that had been expressed about the provisions of Clause 104(9) and (10). Despite the fact that I tabled Amendments Nos. 181, 182 and 186, I see that the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, nevertheless decided to replay the amendment to those clauses that she tabled for Committee. Perhaps I can start by explaining what our new clause seeks to do.

The relevant subsections placed a complete ban on activities by maintained school governing bodies or local authorities designed to influence ballots. We received representations from many concerned governors and head teachers who were unclear as to the scope of the ban which appeared to them perhaps to cover normal school marketing activities, let alone any responses they might want to give to other people's campaigns. Some correspondents suggested that we might be conflicting with the right to receive and impart information which is enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.

I said in Committee that our core concern was to prevent public money being spent on campaigning, so we have decided to reduce the restriction. The new clause reduces the restriction to prevent public money being spent on activities designed to influence the outcome of a ballot or to influence people to sign a petition. In addition, it spells out for the avoidance of doubt that we do not include in that ban the provision of three categories of material, and it allows for guidance to be available to interpret those categories. The last subsection of the clause simply defines school expenditure in terms of its budget share or, for a grant maintained school, its maintenance grants.

7 Jul 1998 : Column 1157

The first of the three categories of material is factual information presented fairly--for example, the school prospectus. Guidance will be given as to what constitutes fair presentation of factual information and the amendment provides that regard must be had to that guidance. The second category is a fair and reasonable assessment by the authority or body of the likely consequences of the result of a ballot being in favour of change. Again, guidance will spell out the principles to be adopted in deciding whether an assessment is fair and reasonable--for example, that it is based on factual evidence and information and limited to what may be likely rather than speculating about unlikely or impossible outcomes. The third category is an accurate statement by the authority or governing body of their intentions or proposals in the event of a ballot for change.

We are thus recognising the arguments of noble Lords that it should be permissible for governing bodies and local authorities to make statements about their assessment of the position and their intentions should there be a ballot for change. We will not require such assessments to be published. It is unreasonable to require LEAs or governors to publish proposals for completely hypothetical scenarios. They need to know the ballot result first. It is also misleading to assume that ending selection will always result in significant reorganisation of schools. The implications will be different in different areas. LEAs, governing bodies and--where church schools are involved--diocesan authorities will need to consider them very carefully in consultation with one another. There will be time enough for that after the ballot result is known. No grammar school will become comprehensive overnight. It will take many years for all-ability intakes to work their way through the school.

The noble Lord, Lord Baker of Dorking, said in Committee that it was a duty of the governing body to put the case for the school to the electorate, provided that a list of the electorate is available, and the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, sought to exclude school governing bodies completely from the original restrictions--an amendment which she repeated again for tonight's debate. We are now making it possible for a governing body to put out balanced and fair material using school budgets. If they wish to go further they will need to use private funds. They are no longer to be banned from trying to influence a ballot.

The effect of this amendment on schools and their staff is explicitly to allow expenditure out of school budgets on the three categories of permitted activities, and to allow influencing activity beyond those permitted types so long as school budgets are not being used. The noble Baroness, Lady Thomas of Walliswood, mentioned parent association funds at Committee stage. I can assure your Lordships that if a parent teacher

7 Jul 1998 : Column 1158

association or other body chose to use its privately raised funds to back a campaign, they could now do so. I beg to move.


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