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Lord Molyneaux of Killead: My Lords, perhaps I may, first, say something to mitigate some of the fears of the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, as regards the possibility of blood-letting if this matter were to be discussed on the floor of the Northern Ireland Assembly. I believe that the noble Lord would concede that the elections held for the Assembly produced a result not very different from that which was obtained the previous year in the general election for the House of Commons. On occasions, when Members representing Northern Ireland in another place were confronted with this issue, they unanimously and right across the political and religious divide voted roughly in line with my amendment. I hope that what I have said will do something to allay the noble Lord's fears. Indeed, whatever else may happen in the Assembly, that is not likely to happen.

I have been greatly encouraged by the volume of correspondence which I have received in the past two or three weeks since I first tabled the amendment. It has come from Church men and women representing all the main denominations in Northern Ireland. I venture, to say that, if one could have a vote in the shadow Assembly at present, that would reflect the volume of opinion expressed in the other place by the elected representatives. I do not believe that there is a great gap in the attitude of those who were elected to the House of Commons and those who were elected to the Assembly.

I join the noble Lord, Lord Alton, in his expression of appreciation for the helpful attitude of the Minister. We realise that he has his problems with the Good Friday agreement. It is rather interesting to note that the Government now appear to be using two entirely different reasons for withholding powers over abortion for Scotland and for Northern Ireland; indeed, there are two entirely different grounds on which they stand. However, that may be resolved in due course.

11 Nov 1998 : Column 801

I trust that your Lordships will concede that I have sought to set this debate in a wider constitutional sphere. Most noble Lords have followed that course. I can see that the Minister does not find himself in a position to meet the desire of what I believe to be a large number of your Lordships. In those circumstances I feel compelled to test feeling in a Division.

5.41 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 153) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 104; Not-Contents, 160.

Division No. 1


Aldington, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L. [Teller.]
Ampthill, L.
Ashbourne, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Berners, B.
Biffen, L.
Blatch, B.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Braine of Wheatley, L.
Brentford, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Byford, B.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Chesham, L.
Chichester, Bp.
Clanwilliam, E.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Cochrane of Cults, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Craigmyle, L.
Cranborne, V.
Denbigh, E.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Downshire, M.
Dundee, E.
Effingham, E.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Fitt, L.
Forte, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Gainsborough, E.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Gisborough, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Haddington, E.
Halsbury, E.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Home, E.
Hooper, B.
Hylton, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Kenyon, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Lauderdale, E.
Leigh, L.
Liverpool, E.
Long, V.
Longford, E.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
McConnell, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Mersey, V.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Mountevans, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moyne, L.
Munster, E.
Napier and Ettrick, L.
Newall, L.
Norfolk, D.
Northesk, E.
Nunburnholme, L.
Palmer, L.
Patten, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Pender, L.
Perth, E.
Prior, L.
Rankeillour, L.
Rathcavan, L.
Rawlinson of Ewell, L.
Renton, L.
Saint Albans, D.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Southwell, Bp.
Stallard, L. [Teller.]
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Swinton, E.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Vinson, L.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wigram, L.
Wilcox, B.
Wise, L.
Wynford, L.
Young, B.


Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alderdice, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Annan, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Brightman, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Chandos, V.
Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Chorley, L.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crawley, B.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Ewing of Kirkford, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Flather, B.
Gallacher, L.
Garel-Jones, L.
Geraint, L.
Gilbert, L.
Glanusk, L.
Glenamara, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grey, E.
Hacking, L.
Hampton, L.
Hanworth, V.
Hardie, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Islwyn, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Jopling, L.
Judd, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Kinnoull, E.
Kintore, E.
Kirkhill, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Lovell-Davis, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNair, L.
McNally, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Monson, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Nicol, B.
Noel-Buxton, L.
Northfield, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Paul, L.
Peston, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Razzall, L.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Russell, E.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sandwich, E.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Shannon, E.
Sharples, B.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Slim, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thornton, B.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Warnock, B.
Westbury, L.
Whitty, L.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

11 Nov 1998 : Column 803

5.50 p.m.

[Amendments Nos. 154 and 155 not moved.]

Lord Dubs moved Amendment No. 156:

Page 57, line 34, leave out ("to this Act").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Dubs moved Amendment No. 157:

Page 57, line 34, at end insert--
(". The subject-matter of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, although this amendment has already been dealt with, I understand that the noble Lord, Lord Cope of Berkeley, would like to develop the argument. I would therefore like to reserve my position to speak when he has done so.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: My Lords, the Minister is very kind to give me the opportunity. I did not particularly seek it. This amendment reserves the minimum wage to Westminster, for the time being at any rate. It is part of the single market that such restrictions, if they are to exist, should take place right across the United Kingdom.

The contrary argument is that in areas of highest unemployment and greatest economic difficulty, such regulations do the greatest damage. Given that the wage levels and so on in the more difficult areas of any country, including Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom, are likely to be lower than they are elsewhere--and that this helps the region to do better than it otherwise would--it is dubious whether the minimum wage should extend in exactly the same form across the whole United Kingdom. But that is what the amendment seeks to achieve. The Minister will obviously do his best to make the case for a single minimum wage across the United Kingdom in support of this amendment. I have some reservations about it, but I will leave it to the Minister.

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