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Baroness Anelay of St Johns: I am grateful to Members of the Committee who have supported my amendment. Naturally, I am grateful to the Minister who, as ever, has given careful and, from the Government's point of view, extremely fair attention to both the merits of her stance and, as she sees it, the demerits of mine

I must agree to differ with the Minister's reasons for considering that my amendment is defective. She referred in particular to the problems of the federal approach and the advice that has been given to Her Majesty's Government. I have also taken advice from a wide range of constabularies around the country. Their concern for the future of policing is not the jobsworth kind of saying, "My particular constabulary is going to disappear". They are concerned about the future of this country, its safety, local accountability and effective neighbourhood policing. They should be given the opportunity to show that a formal federal option is workable and cost effective. After all, as the noble Baroness will have to accept, there are considerable costs in the forced mergers the Government have sought to adopt.

The noble Baroness teases me—as she likes to do now and again—about the Government's record on increasing the number of police and police support officers, all of whom perform a valuable role. The overall increase is 14,000. On the worst case scenario that the Home Secretary had to recognise yesterday, we would lose 25,000 and be down by a net 9,000. He did not care to enlighten another place on what the best case scenario would be about the number that would be lost.

There is a reasonable alternative. The Minister said that this issue is not in the Bill. As she closed her remarks, she said that there would be another time and another place to consider this and that the Government were perfectly satisfied with our
 
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legislation of 1996 and its precursor of 1994. As I said, my amendment would not prevent voluntary mergers going ahead. It is intriguing that the Government are so wedded to our legislation. The difficulty is that we did not have the plans to abuse that legislation which the Government now have by enforcing mergers.

Looking back into history and the mists of time, I can see that on 5 July 1994, in another place, Mr Blair—not then Prime Minister—quoted Central Office research and accused us of being two-faced by saying that we had announced:

He was right; that is exactly what we said, and that is what we meant. But then he went on to say, pouring scorn upon us:

Well, by golly, he was right; but it is not us but Mr Blair who is doing precisely that.

The noble Baroness says, "Give us time. We should not be accused of being an unlistening, uncaring Government; don't take us into problems because of that. We are damned if we do and damned if we don't". The difficulty is as I described in my opening remarks. Yesterday, Mr Reid, trying to be at his most cuddly self, said, "I want to have time over the summer to consider. I am going to listen. I am going to consult". But at the same time—five times in all; I spared the Committee the fifth time—he said: "The destination remains the same". Well, that destination is not the right one.

We all want to ensure that we have the best systems in place for the most effective policing that is right for all areas of our country. We simply question whether the Government's fixation with mergers is the right way forward. This is the right place and the right time to do the right thing and ask the Government to think again about their destination of enforced mergers. I wish to test the opinion of the Committee.

5.33 pm

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 14) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 198; Not-Contents, 130.


Division No. 2


CONTENTS

Addington, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Arran, E.
Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Barker, B.
Biffen, L.
Blackwell, L.
Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury, B.
Bowness, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brookeborough, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnett, L.
Buscombe, B.
Caithness, E.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chadlington, L.
Chidgey, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Cotter, L.
Courtown, E.
Craigavon, V.
Crickhowell, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dholakia, L.
D'Souza, B.
Dundee, E.
Dykes, L.
Eccles, V.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Elles, B.
Elton, L.
Falkland, V.
Falkner of Margravine, B.
Fearn, L.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Flather, B.
Fookes, B.
Fowler, L.
Freeman, L.
Garden, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Garel-Jones, L.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Goodhart, L.
Goodlad, L.
Greaves, L.
Griffiths of Fforestfach, L.
Hamilton of Epsom, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanningfield, L.
Harris of Peckham, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Haskins, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hogg, B.
Home, E.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Hylton, L.
Inglewood, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
Kimball, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kirkwood of Kirkhope, L.
Laing of Dunphail, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Lawson of Blaby, L.
Lee of Trafford, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell of Markyate, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar, C.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marlesford, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mawhinney, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monson, L.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Montrose, D.
Moore of Lower Marsh, L.
Moran, L.
Morris of Bolton, B.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Neuberger, B.
Newby, L.
Noakes, B.
Northesk, E.
Northover, B.
Norton of Louth, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Palumbo, L.
Parkinson, L.
Patel, L.
Patten, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peel, E.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Plumb, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Powell of Bayswater, L.
Ramsbotham, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rees, L.
Rennard, L.
Renton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Roberts of Llandudno, L.
Rogan, L.
Roper, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Russell-Johnston, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selsdon, L.
Sharman, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shephard of Northwold, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L. [Teller]
Skelmersdale, L.
Slim, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Holbeach, L.
Taylor of Warwick, L.
Tebbit, L.
Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomas of Winchester, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tonge, B.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Tugendhat, L.
Tyler, L.
Ullswater, V.
Vallance of Tummel, L.
Vinson, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wakeham, L.
Waldegrave of North Hill, L.
Walker of Worcester, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Windlesham, L.
Wolfson, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Adonis, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B. [Lord President.]
Anderson of Swansea, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter of Coles, L.
Chandos, V.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
Davidson of Glen Clova, L.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Drayson, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Foster of Bishop Auckland, L.
Foulkes of Cumnock, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Giddens, L.
Gilbert, L.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Haworth, L.
Hayman, B.
Henig, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Howarth of Newport, L.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jones, L.
Judd, L.
Kingsmill, B.
Kinnock, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Leitch, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Maxton, L.
Mitchell, L.
Moonie, L.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Morris of Yardley, B.
Nicol, B.
Parekh, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Pendry, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prosser, B.
Prys-Davies, L.
Quin, B.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rooker, L.
Rosser, L.
Rowlands, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Sheldon, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Snape, L.
Soley, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Temple-Morris, L.
Tomlinson, L.
Truscott, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Wall of New Barnet, B.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Whitaker, B.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Norwood Green, L.


Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.


 
20 Jun 2006 : Column 677
 
5.45 pm

Clause 2 agreed to.

Schedule 2 [Amendments to the Police Act 1996]:


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