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Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, I am grateful to those noble Lords who have taken part in the debate. I think that my memory does not deceive me when I say that the Government Front Bench found no supporting speaker from behind it, and had to rely--as is sometimes the case--on support from the Liberal Democrats.

The noble Lord, Lord Williams, used most of the arguments he has used previously. I believed that I had countered his argument about party advantage by suggesting that even the open list system gives the party, I should have thought, sufficient advantage, even for the noble Lord. But I think his tactic about the 20 per cent. Conservative vote in Wales is a total diversion. The

4 Nov 1998 : Column 287

Welsh Conservative Party will gain the same number of seats whether it is the open or closed list. The point at issue will be whether the Welsh Conservative Party or the Conservative electorate in Wales determines who is returned from the list. That is the important point.

As regards the argument that the majority of our friends in Europe use the closed list, that may be so in terms of the number of electorate. But it is a more finely balanced issue as regards the number of countries. The Germans, the Spanish, the French, the Greeks and the Portuguese have a closed list, but Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Austria and Ireland have different systems. However, they are all systems in which the order of the names may be changed by casting personal votes.

The noble Lord, Lord Shore, encapsulated the whole issue in a phrase which I regretted that I had not thought of myself: not the electorate, but the "selectorate". That is exactly what the closed list does. It is a "selectorate". I had not intended to make any reference to the speeches in another place, in part out of respect for the Home Secretary, but the noble Lord, Lord Evans of Parkside, has tempted me. Not only did I read the Home Secretary's speech, but I listened to it. He was more intent on ridiculing the PR system than in defending the closed list against the open list system. However, perhaps I may say this to the noble Lords, Lord Beaumont and Lord Goodhart. I have always made it clear that I stand four square for first-past-the-post. I have never disguised that fact. So I take badly from them the fact that they think I am doing something underhand. I have always made the position clear. However, if we are to move to a PR system--and I made clear in my original remarks that I accepted that the argument was over in that regard so far as concerns Europe--then at least we should obey the two objectives of PR which I outlined: first, proportionality; and, secondly, voter choice.

I conclude by reference to my noble friend Lord Inglewood. My noble friend has more to gain from a continuation of the closed list than any Member of your Lordships' House. He is on the closed list in the number one position in an area where the Conservative Party is guaranteed to gain three seats. My noble friend could quite simply sit back--he will not do so because he is not like that--and wait for the seat to be delivered. He does not have to do a hand's turn. I do not think it is a wise system, and nor does my noble friend. He believes the Conservative electorate in his region ought to have some say as to which of the three or four Conservative Members are returned.

My last point concerns the position between your Lordships' House and the House of Commons. As I understand it, if we send this Bill back the other place will be able to amend my amendment and return the Bill to us for our further consideration. So the cataclysmic end is not inevitable. The Government will have the option of amending. They will have another option also. They will have the option of accepting the open list and of changing next year's European elections from being a vote for one of the party's choice to a vote for one of the people's choice.

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We have listened to the debate. I am going to insist and ask for your Lordships' opinion.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for his usual courtesy. It is theoretically possible that an amendment might be produced. But, given the shade of difference between these two positions, what conceivable workable amendment could be produced?

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, for a fee and in private I might be prepared to advise the Government. But if the Government do not have enough ingenuity to come up with an amendment, I despair for them. If they do not have enough ingenuity, they can always fall back on accepting the open list system.

4.11 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Motion shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 221; Not-Contents, 145.

Division No. 1


Aberdare, L.
Ailsa, M.
Aldington, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Alexander of Weedon, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Ampthill, L.
Anelay of St. Johns, B.
Annaly, L.
Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, L.
Arran, E.
Ashbourne, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Balfour, E.
Banbury of Southam, L.
Barber of Tewkesbury, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Bell, L.
Beloff, L.
Belstead, L.
Berners, B.
Bethell, L.
Biddulph, L.
Biffen, L.
Birdwood, L.
Blatch, B.
Boardman, L.
Bowness, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Braine of Wheatley, L.
Brentford, V.
Bridges, L.
Brigstocke, B.
Bristol, Bp.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Bruntisfield, L.
Burns, L.
Buscombe, B.
Butterworth, L.
Byford, B. [Teller.]
Byron, L.
Cadman, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnarvon, E.
Carr of Hadley, L.
Carrick, E.
Chadlington, L.
Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Chesham, L.
Clanwilliam, E.
Clarke of Kempston, L.
Clifford of Chudleigh, L.
Cockfield, L.
Coleridge, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Craigavon, V.
Cranborne, V.
Crickhowell, L.
Cross, V.
Cuckney, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Dartmouth, E.
Davidson, V.
De Freyne, L.
Denbigh, E.
Denham, L.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Downshire, M.
Dundee, E.
Ellenborough, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Exmouth, V.
Feldman, L.
Forbes, L.
Gage, V.
Gainford, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Gibson, L.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Gisborough, L.
Gladwyn, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Glentoran, L.
Hambro, L.
Hanningfield, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Harmsworth, L.
Harris of Peckham, L.
Harrowby, E.
Hayhoe, L.
Hayter, L.
Henley, L.
Holderness, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Hood, V.
Hooper, B.
Hothfield, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Ilchester, E.
Inglewood, L.
Iveagh, E.
Jeger, B.
Jellicoe, E.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Johnston of Rockport, L.
Jopling, L.
Kelvedon, L.
Keyes, L.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kinloss, Ly.
Kinnoull, E.
Kintore, E.
Kitchener, E.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Knollys, V.
Laing of Dunphail, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lauderdale, E.
Lawrence, L.
Layton, L.
Limerick, E.
Liverpool, E.
Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, E.
Long, V.
Lucas, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McConnell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Merrivale, L.
Mersey, V.
Middleton, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monk Bretton, L.
Monson, L.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Moran, L.
Mountevans, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moyne, L.
Munster, E.
Newall, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Norrie, L.
Northbourne, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton, L.
Norton of Louth, L.
Nunburnholme, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow of Woking, L.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Oxfuird, V.
Palmer, L.
Palumbo, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Pender, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Phillimore, L.
Pike, B.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Rankeillour, L.
Rathcreedan, L.
Rawlinson of Ewell, L.
Reay, L.
Rees, L.
Renton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Rowallan, L.
Saatchi, L.
St. Davids, V.
Sandwich, E.
Savile, L.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Selkirk of Douglas, L.
Sempill, L.
Shannon, E.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Slim, V.
Stanley of Alderley, L.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strange, B.
Strathcarron, L.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Sudeley, L.
Swinfen, L.
Teviot, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thurlow, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trenchard, V.
Trumpington, B.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Warnock, B.
Wilcox, B.
Wynford, L.


Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Annan, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Avebury, L.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bath, M.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Burlison, L.
Calverley, L.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
David, B.
Davies, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Ezra, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Fitt, L.
Gallacher, L.
Geraint, L.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Goodhart, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grantchester, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grey, E.
Hacking, L.
Hampton, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hardie, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollick, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hooson, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Jacobs, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
Kirkwood, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Longford, E.
Ludford, B.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNair, L.
Maddock, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Newby, L.
Nicol, B.
Northfield, L.
Ogmore, L.
Parry, L.
Paul, L.
Perry of Walton, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rochester, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Serota, B.
Sewel, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thornton, B.
Thurso, V.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Warner, L.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Whitty, L.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.
Winston, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Motion agreed to accordingly.

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4.23 p.m.


Clause 1, page 2, line 2, at end insert--

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