HC Deb 19 April 1988 vol 131 cc715-37
Dr. John Cunningham (Copeland)

I beg to move, amendment No. 141, in page 4, line 45, at end insert— '(8) A registration officer shall seek only such information as he may reasonably require in connection with his functions.'.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)

With this it will be convenient to take the following amendments: No. 142, in clause 6, page 5, line 2, at beginning insert 'After consulting his employing charging authority as to the implications for civil liberties of compiling and maintaining a community charge register and having regard to any code or codes of practice which may be issued by the local authority associations and the National Council for Civil Liberties,'. No. 2, in page 5, line 2, after 'Or, insert, 'In accordance with subsection (IA) below.'. No. 3, in page 5, line 4, at end insert, '(1 A) The registration officer shall perform his duties under this section in accordance with a code of practice drawn up by the Secretary of State in consultation with local authority representatives and the National Council for Civil Liberties.'. No. 210, in page 5, line 35, leave out from 'duty' to end of line 36 and insert 'to take all reasonable steps to obtain such information as is reasonably required by him.'

No. 153, new schedule—Personal Data

  1. '1. Information in the form of personal data which is held by the Registration Officer shall be obtained and processed fairly and lawfully.
  2. 2.Information in the form of personal data which is held by the Registration Officer shall be held only for the purposes of this Act.
  3. 3.Information in the form of personal data which is held by the Registration Officer shall not be used or disclosed in any manner incompatible with the purposes of this Act.
  4. 4.Information in the form of personal data which is held by the Registration Officer shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purposes of this Act.
  5. 5.Information in the form of personal data which is held by the Registration Officer shall be accurate and, where necessary, up to date and shall not be kept for any longer than is necessary for the purposes of this Act.
  6. 6.Appropriate security measures shall be taken against unauthorised access to, or alteration, or disclosure or destruction of, information which is in the form of personal data and which is held by the Registration Officer and against accidental loss or destruction of such information.
  7. 7.An individual shall be entitled—
    1. (a) at reasonable intervals and without undue delay or expense—
      1. (i) to be informed by the Registration Office whether he holds information in the form of personal data of which the individual is the subject; and
      2. (ii) to access to any such information held by the Registration Officer save that such access may be refused where necessary for the purposes of the prevention or detection of crime.
  8. 8.The Registration Officer shall neither request nor hold information in the form of personal data, which falls within the following description of information—
    1. (i) Police or criminal records,
    2. (ii) Medical records,
    3. (iii) Social work records,
    4. (iv) Education records,
    5. (v) Employment records,
    6. (vi) records of any individual under the age of 18, or
    7. (vii) information relating to housing benefit or housing allocation which is of a sensitive personal nature.

No. 211, in page 5, line 36, at end add— '(9) The registration officer shall be responsible for ensuring that the register remains the property of the charging authority and that no part of it is sold by the charging authority or any of its employees.'. No. 212, in page 5, line 6, at end add— '(9) A registration officer's duty to compile and maintain a register shall not include the power to cross reference the register with any electoral register.'. No. 152, in clause 21, page 13, line 33, at end insert— '(3) Schedule (Personal Data) below (which contains provisions about the collection, retention and disclosure of information) shall have effect.' No. 167, in schedule 2, page 82, line 3, leave out 'any' and insert 'the'.

No. 167A, in page 82, line 3, after 'information' insert 'set out in paragraph 16'. No. 138, in page 82, line 29, leave out paragraph 11.

No. 213, in page 84, line 6, at end insert— '(1A) The regulations may include provision that a person shown in a charging authority's register may have access to any supporting files or documentary evidence regarding themselves held by the registration officer for the purposes of determining that person's liability to a community charge of the authority.'. No. 149, in page 84, leave out lines 10 to 16 and insert— '(3) The extract and list shall not be copied and supplied to any person for any purpose other than for the purpose of administering the collection of the community charge and related purposes specified in this Act.'. No. 139, in page 85, line 5, at end insert— '21. In the course of carrying out his duties under the provisions of this Act a Registration officer shall not request or record the following descriptions of information—

  1. (i) police or criminal records,
  2. (ii) social work records,
  3. (iii) records held by the health authorities,
  4. (iv) Inland Revenue records,
  5. (v) records on the local authorities own employees held for employment purposes, and records of job applicants.'.
9. Any individual who suffers damage or distress as a result of the breach of any of the provisions of paragraphs 1 to 9 of this Schedule shall be entitled to compensation from the Registration Officer for that damage or distress unless the Registration Officer was not negligent in permitting or causing the breach. 10. For the purposes of this Schedule "personal data" means information—howsoever recorded—which relates to a living individual who can be identified from that information (or from that and other information in the possession of the Registration Officer), including any expression of opinion about the individual. 11. Nothing in this Schedule shall affect the rights of any data subject under the Data Protection Act 1984, as defined by that Act, save that for the purposes of that Act the Community Charge is not a tax.'.

Dr. Cunningham

I shall also address my remarks to amendments Nos. 142 and 152, which is a paving amendment for amendment No. 153, which is the major amendment in this group. It sets out a new schedule embodying our views about privacy, personal data and the need to have some comprehensive safeguards written into the Bill to protect individuals and families from unnecessary intrusion into their personal lives and personal affairs, and to protect them from the use of these sensitive data by other people when the poll tax register is compiled, and perhaps available for sale for commercial purposes. Amendment No. 153 embodies the data protection issues which we should like to see written into the Bill.

Many British people have always objected to personal information relating to them or their families being collected and held by anyone, whether by Government, local government or an agency. It is felt, understandably, to be an invasion of privacy that someone else can read about the details of our private lives. Such information should be kept only when absolutely essential for the proper administration of our affairs. Only those with good reason to hold such information should be able to do so or to have access to it.

In particular, many people think it undesirable that the state should know the private details of the lives of individual citizens. There is a further closely related objection to holding large amounts of personal data, which is that the use of the information can, either intentionally or otherwise, cause distress or harm to the person to whom it relates.

For many years, many organisations, political parties and individual Members of Parliament—first and foremost in this is the National Council for Civil Liberties—have received complaints from people who have suffered as a result of the information about them being disclosed without their consent, often without them having any knowledge of such disclosures. Obviously, I know of that from my experience, as I expect other hon. Members do, of seeing in my surgery constituents who have suffered in exactly this way. Notwithstanding yesterday's vote, the Government seem hellbent on proceeding with this awful legislation. That is all the more reason why some specific and detailed safeguard on these issues should be written into the Bill.

The public are well aware of the threat that these proposals pose to them. Recently, Marketing Opinion Research International carried out a survey of opinion on this matter for Manchester city council, which showed that 76 per cent. of those questioned believed that the poll tax would involve officials snooping and intruding into their personal affairs and family lives.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)

Will the hon. Gentleman tell us in what precise terms the question was posed?

Dr. Cunningham

No. I cannot—[Laughter.] Hon. Members laugh, but I was about to say that I cannot give the hon. Lady that specific reply now but that I can furnish her with a full copy of the survey and the results, if she wishes. That shows that one should bring with one every document to which one refers. I hope that she will accept that the survey was properly conducted with a large sample and I assure her that the reputation and professional standing of the company is beyond question. It was a properly conducted survey of opinion carried out professionally.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

By whom?

Dr. Cunningham

The hon. Lady cannot have been listening to me. I said that the survey was carried out by Market Opinion Research International, which is MORI for short. I am more than happy to let her see a copy of the full document if it will help to convince her of the result.

We know that the poll tax will not be a tax or duty within the meaning of section 28 of the Data Protection Act 1984.That assurance was given to us in Committee by the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment. Therefore, it is pertinent to ask why the Government do not agree that the data protection principles should be enshrined in the Bill in a declaratory manner, as we are suggesting. That is what amendment No. 153 is mainly about.

In addition, paragraph 8 of the new schedule ensures : The Registration Officer shall neither request nor hold information in the form of personal data, which falls within the following description of information—

  1. (i) Police or criminal records,
  2. (ii) Medical records,
  3. (iii) Social work records,
  4. (iv) Education records,
  5. (v) Employment records,
  6. (vi) records of any individual under the age of 18, or
  7. (vii) information relating to housing benefit or housing allocations which is of a sensitive personal nature."
The Government have given us no assurances on those matters. Ministers say that these matters will be covered by secondary legislation which will come before the Houss in due course. I cannot see the argument for proceeding in that way, and it remains unconvincing. What is the argument against writing these guarantees of personal privacy into the Bill? There is an overwhelming case for saying that the House should do so.

The Department of the Environment and Welsh Office yellow document, "The Community Charge", was published in December 1986. Page 10, paragraph 32, states: The only sources of local authority information that will not be accessible to the registration officer will be those that contain material of great personal sensitivity—social workers' casework files, for example, and information held by the police. That is a much narrower statement than what is set out in paragraph 8 of the new schedule, but even the assurance that the Government gave in that publication is not in the Bill itself.

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We know from other disclosures since the Bill left Committee that other interference in privacy and civil liberties is guaranteed by what the Government propose to do. In a recent letter to me, the Minister for Local Government confirmed that, so that students can be "correctly and readily identified" for the purposes of the poll tax, they will have to carry personal identity cards. That is a serious step down a dangerous road.

We know that Ministers are under pressure from their own colleagues in local government—that is, Conservative councilors—to ensure that every adult over 18 is personally identified in some way by the allocation of either a personal identity number or a card. That information was contained in the minutes of a meeting of the Conservative-controlled Association of District Councils policy committee on 20 January this year. So we know that pressure is building up in the Conservative party for more and more information to be held about people and for more and more national means of identifying and checking on them for the purposes of poll tax collection and registration.

It has even been suggested by the same group of Conservative councillors and others that people presenting themselves with applications for benefit under the new social security system will have to demonstrate that they are registered for poll tax before they can even be allowed to have benefit. That is another intrusion into people's privacy.

All those matters need to be dealt with and safeguards need to be given to people by specifically writing guarantees into the legislation. I do not believe that it is acceptable or even sensible for those things to be dealt with in a piecemeal way and for those matters to come before the House in dribs and drabs, as Ministers apparently intend. They should be put into the Bill itself before it leaves this House.

Mr. Bruce Grocott (The Wrekin)

I strongly support amendment No. 153, in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham).

The House should be concernd, as it has been on occasions, about the relationship between any information collected for poll tax purposes and information that is already available on the electoral register—hence the name "poll tax", which will be attached to the tax for as long as it is in existence. I am concerned about the security of the information that may be collected for the poll tax register because at present the security for information on electoral registers is inadequate. Electoral registers are available to any type of organisation that wants to buy and use them for any purpose.

The House may be interested to know that last year I took part in a survey that was directed at about one fifth of local authorities—84 in total, including London boroughs, metropolitan, Welsh and English districts. The survey tried to discover what use people made of the electoral registers, other than for the agreed purpose of establishing people's entitlement to vote. It will not come as a surprise to any hon. Member who has ever taken an interest in these matters that no fewer than 93 per cent. of the local authorities that we surveyed sold their electoral registers indiscriminately.

We all know what electoral registers can be used for. They are used for junk mail or by debt collection agencies. We know well enough some of the methods used by those agencies. The registers are used by private detective agencies and by a whole range of other groups and people who find it convenient to get hold of electoral registers as a cheap means of establishing the people who live in certain areas.

I raised that matter because the present law is uncertain. Regulation 54 of the Representation of the People Regulations 1986 states: So long as there are sufficient copies available after allowing for the number which may be required for his registration duties … the registration officer shall supply to any person copies of any part or parts of the electors lists on payment—". If that happens with electoral registers, we need to ensure that it does not happen with the poll tax registers. Until we have proper safeguards for the use of electoral registers, to protect the privacy of those who fill in their forms in good faith, we should be keen to support amendments such as the one tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Copeland to protect people's privacy when the poll tax registers are compiled.

The simple principle is that, when people fill in their electoral registration forms, they do so with one purpose in mind—to establish their entitlement to vote. If the local authority uses the register for any other purpose whatever, that is a gross infringement of the privacy that people assume they have when they fill in their forms. It is clear that that information should not in any circumstances be sold commercially or used by private commercial companies for matters that are totally unrelated to the democratic process, which is what the electoral register is for.

We know about the flaws in the electoral register system and we know about the ambiguity of the law. So far, the Home Secretary has taken no action in that respect. It is unacceptable for the House to propose further uncontrolled registers—in this case the poll tax register—before we have dealt with the more immediate problem of the electoral register. At the very least, we would support the amendment proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Copeland.

Mr. Dalyell

I thank the Minister for his courtesy in answering my previous question. In relation to the hon. Member for Staffordshire, South (Mr. Cormack) and my worries, I can only say that the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. We shall not be able to tell who is right until we have experience of the operation of the scheme.

I ask the Minister to answer another question, which concerns the personal identity card mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham). There is real worry in the universities about the implications of a student identity card. In a sense, once again, the Scots are the guinea pigs. It has become a real issue in the university of Edinburgh. I do not normally refer to personal circumstances, but I have two children, both of whom are at that university at the moment. The students are extremely concerned about the implications of a personal identity card. Incidentally, I do not see how one can operate a poll tax at all without a personal identity card because, by their nature, students are for ever changing lodgings. How one can keep track of students' situations without a personal identity card, I know not.

My question is very precise and it is simple to ask, though possibly not so simple to answer. What is the Government's philosophy in respect of personal identity cards in any university, but particularly in the big urban universities?

Mr. Simon Hughes

I rise briefly to speak to the amendments in my name and those of my hon. Friends, which in the group selected by Mr. Speaker are amendments Nos. 2, 3, 210, 211 and 212. This is an important debate because one of the express concerns, which is an unusual one in connection with local government finance, is that of civil liberties. That is what this series of amendments seeks to cover.

Amendment No. 210 seeks to apply the same test in England and Wales as that which already exists in the Scottish legislation. A similar amendment has been tabled by the Labour party. It is important to make sure that the powers of registration officers to seek information are only those reasonably required. That test, as people know, has been well tried in the courts.

Clause 6, if left unamended, would be nothing less than a snooper's charter. The Secretary of State, when the matter was put to him in a radio interview, accepted that as an appropriate description for the sort of activity that would be carried out by people chasing up information. The clause would allow registration officers to take reasonable steps to obtain information. That phrase is much wider than that which the Scottish legislation uses and which we as a society have accepted is appropriate to govern the activities of officials. Registration officers could subjectively justify their activities.

As someone who worked as a lawyer before I entered this House, I know, as do most right hon. and hon. Members, the difference between a subjective and an objective test. Some crimes one may commit irrespective of one's intentions and one's own views. One may commit other crimes whether or not one has any understanding of what the crime is. That is the crucial difference. I should like to hear the Minister explain why we must accept this version of the Scottish wording and not correct what is an anomaly.

Mr. Douglas

The hon. Gentleman should not go away with the idea that section 17 of the Scottish Act offers any great safeguard. I hope he is not trying to indicate to this House that the provisions of the Scottish Act protect civil liberties. We know only too well, as has been said by my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell), that for the poll tax legislation to work, every official who falls within its provisions will need personal identification.

Mr. Hughes

The next point I want to make is that the Bill has become law in Scotland and that people there are now having to face the reality of it. We are seeing what happens in Strathclyde, with the way in which people have been going around with protection in order to collect information. The law as it applies to Scotland is not acceptable. All the implications of a local authority poll tax are that there will be intrusion into people's privacy all the time. The intrusion to which we already object in respect of Scotland is grossly worse in the proposal for England and Wales, without any further justification: I cannot think of any.

People need to be alert to the fact that we have in this legislation a limitless list of opportunities for people to look for information. They may refer to the housing department, season ticket records, library records, bus pass applications, and records of home improvement grants. When CIPFA reported in the context of the Scottish Bill a couple of years ago, it produced a list of 12 categories. They were the rent rolls of housing bodies; housing waiting lists; housing benefit records; registers of births, marriages and deaths; education authority records, including grants; planning and building control records; health authority records, except medical records which are protected—

Mr. Irvine Patnick (Sheffield, Hallam)


6.15 pm
Mr. Hughes

No, I will not give way because the list needs to be read in its entirety. It is a great long list of records, all of which will be available to snoopers who want information about people who have registered their names for poll tax. Those who hold those records will then be able to sell them.

The remaining categories are the records of national utilities, such as electricity and telephone companies; local authority payroll records; insurance claims; estate agents and private data sources. That is the list.

What happens if, as occurred in Strathclyde, the person canvassed is not totally willing to give information of a type that the person feels he should not have to give? The Government's original proposal in the Green Paper was: Local authorities will be able to develop new techniques to meet the new circumstances that they will face. That will hardly encourage those who are concerned about civil liberties.

Then there is the information that comes in the form of tittle-tattle from neighbours and unsigned notes delivered to the rates office. There will also be general surveillance of the kind undertaken by the DHSS, particularly if cohabitees are now to be treated as husbands and wives: who comes in through the back door after dark?

Mr. Patnick


Mr. Hughes

I will give way in a moment.

All that intrusion into civil liberties will of course cost a fortune. The administrative costs will be enormous. It will also mean that there will be available commercially a register compiled with the utmost "Nineteen Eighty-Four" mentality—the brave new world—and sold off so that almost everybody and the whole commercial world will be able to share that information.

I now give way, because I shall be interested to hear the hon. Gentleman's defence.

Mr. Patnick

I cannot understand the hon. Gentleman's logic. Much of the information is already available and, as has been discussed before in another place, is transmitted between various authorities. It is already being shoved around the country. Even under the right-to-buy provisions, one can claim benefit from another authority; other authorities are able to obtain such information. Is the hon. Gentleman saying that the commerical sale of such information is wrong?

Mr. Hughes

I object to its commercial sale, but I object also to a society in which all the information provided on every form one completes ends up a single place, in one computer, where there is a great master record. I know that the Government are determined to take over everything, but we now face significant implications in respect of the mass collection of information.

We as a country have always resisted the notion that the Inland Revenue should be able to pass information to the DHSS just at the request of the DHSS. We have always objected to there being one computer network controlled by the state. Our country is meant to defend the liberty of the individual and not the rights of the state. That is why it is vital that we do not allow individual items of information to be collected by people—in a very undesirable job—going around and locking one up if, being unsure of one's rights, one does not give that information.

I ask the Minister specifically to consider also amendment No. 213. If enacted it would provide that the regulations may include provision that a person shown in a charging authority's register may have access to any supporting files or documentary evidence". In order to compile the register, the registration officer may draw on anecdotal evidence, including letters. People will have the right to examine the register but, just as in other areas, they may want to go further than that and wish to know why it is that their name is on the register. Unless one sees the supporting documentation, one needs access to the files and not just to the register itself.

Even if the Minister does not at this stage accept our proposal that the sale of registers should be forbidden, I hope he will at least accept the concern felt by somebody who happens to represent the NCCL as its constituency Member of Parliament but who also believes in the rights of ordinary people, who know nothing about the law but who believe at the end of the day that the minimum information about them, and not the maximum, should be given to either central or local government.

Mr. Peter L. Pike (Burnley)

I wish to speak to this important group of amendments because they protect the rights of individuals in society, including their right to privacy, which many of us see as vital.

The lead amendment in the group is very simple but very important. It expresses our belief that the community charge registration officer should have only the information that is reasonably required for the purposes of collecting the poll tax. It has a good deal to commend it, and we feel that the Government should be prepared to move in that direction.

The Government have repeatedly claimed that this is not a tax to vote, and therefore disclaim the name "poll tax". But, as I said many times in Committee, the position is even worse. It is not merely a tax to vote, but a tax on putting one's name down on the register to vote, for it is not even necessary for a person to use his vote. As has been made clear throughout our proceedings, the registration officer will have the right to check the electoral register. It stands to reason that, immediately a person places his name on the register so that he can vote in local or parliamentary elections, he will be charged the poll tax. This is a tax for claiming the right to vote, a right that we have upheld for many years. It is not so many years since it was extended to 18-year-olds. Obviously, we want to protect a right that is so important in our society.

The tax will prove both unpopular and difficult to collect. As well as creating a register for its collection, the legislation will enable that register to be sold. We must add provisions to stop that. The Government have said that they have made no decision on the matter, but we hope that they will be prepared to amend the Bill to prohibit such sales.

We are also concerned about the sources from which the registration officer can obtain information. On 9 February in Committee, the Under-Secretary of State said: the Secretary of State will have power to place prescribed information off limits to registration officers. We have made it clear that the power will be used to ensure that registration officers do not have access, for example, to social work case files and national sources of data, such as Inland Revenue records and health records. There is a danger of becoming embroiled in a debate on sensitive information when the basic information required by the registration officer will be simply the names and addresses of adults resident in his area. It will be unnecessary for him to have access to more sensitive information."—[Official Report, Standing Committee E, 9 February 1988; c. 484.] If that is what the Government intend to do, and if they intend to do it by regulation, it is no good telling hon. Members that the Secretary of State will have the power to put certain sources of information "off limits". If the Government believe that those sources of information should be off limits, they should be prepared to accept some of the amendments.

Amendment No. 139 refers to police and criminal records, social work records, health authority records and Inland Revenue records. That would seem to go along with the wording used by the Under-Secretary in Committee, and the Minister has used similar words on a number of occasions. If the Government are saying that they agree with us that those sources of information should not be available to the registration officer, they should be prepared at least to accept amendment No. 139.

We believe that the legislation will result in an intrusion on privacy. The danger of it is that the Government recognise that the tax will be extremely difficult to collect, and are therefore leaving open as many doors as possible. They want to use every behind-the-scenes method. They may use snoopers, or intrusion on records here, there and everywhere. They know that if they have not the sources of the information, they will not obtain it, and will then find it extremely difficult to make the tax work.

If the Government were convinced that the legislation was fair, and a better system than that which it replaces, the people would be prepared to accept it. It is because the system is wrong that the Government have had to include these provisions. I hope that they recognise the need to safeguard the information that is required, the way in which it is required and the way in which it can then be used. That is very important if we are to protect the rights of our citizens.

Mr. John Butterfill (Bournemouth, West)

Much of what we have heard from the Opposition today reflects what we heard in Standing Committee. It seems to indicate a degree of paranoia among certain Opposition Members about what is required under the legislation.

The community charge registration officer requires only to know names and addresses to compile the register. He does not need large amounts of sensitive information, as is being suggested by some Opposition Members. There is no necessity for him to acquire such information, nor, even if he were able to acquire it, would he be able to sell it. All that he would be selling would be a list of names and addresses.

Mr. Simon Hughes

Our concern is that we should not give the power for the information to be obtained. We should limit what is obtainable to the minimum that is necessary. We could then preclude any chance of the information being available. As the Bill is now worded, it is available, and people will be able to ask for it.

Mr. Butterfill

The point has been made a number of times. The problem is where the registration officer should go. It was suggested in Committee that he should not be permitted to ask the police for the information. That strikes me as ludicrous. Opposition Members cannot have it both ways. In yesterday's debate on new clause 1, they were suggesting that there was not a problem. My hon. Friend the Member for Hampshire, East (Mr. Mates) said, I recall, that 99 per cent. of the British public were law-abiding. If that is the case, we are talking merely about catching up with the odd 1 per cent. I suspect that it may be rather more than 1 per cent., and I also suspect that some Opposition Members agree with that. Nevertheless, a minority of people will have to be pursued for their names and addresses—people who would otherwise try to evade the tax. It seems to me entirely reasonable that the officer concerned should have power to obtain from other Government Departments the information that he needs, names and whereabouts of those people, in the execution of his duties. If he is entitled to do that, he has no real interest in their medical or social welfare records. All he wants to know is where they are in order to perform his statutory duty.

6.30 pm
Mr. Simon Hughes

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that the real objection is that for the first time ever—not just in our lifetime—registers will be compiled for people's right to vote which will automatically allow them then to be taxed? Even if no further information is sought, that is the fundamental objection and that practice must be wrong. People will have a disincentive to use their vote because as soon as they are registered to vote they will be liable to pay the tax.

Mr. Butterfill

The hon. Gentleman is wrong. The purpose of the register that we are discussing is not for voting but for the collection of the community charge. There is no relationship between the electoral register and this register. Of course it is true that the electoral register will be one other source of information for the community charge registration officer, in as much as it is also a source of information—

Mr. Douglas


Mr. Butterfill

If I have not already answered the hon. Gentleman's point by then, I shall give way to him later.

All of the things we are discussing and about which the House is concerned are sources of information, of which the electoral register is only one. It is quite wrong for the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) to single it out and make a crucial connection between the two registers. Of course, some people will try to evade the charge; some may go as far as to deprive themselves of social security benefits in an effort to do so—but I doubt it. The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey is making far more of this than is necessary.

Mr. Douglas

The hon. Gentleman will recall that in yesterday's debate the Secretary of State for the Environment pleaded in aid and asserted the fact that the Inland Revenue did not know where everyone lived, and defended the idea that it should not. For the first time in our history there will be an inter-relationship between registers and information being collected for the purpose of making people pay a tax, as the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) said. So the tax is directly related to the right to vote and if Conservative Members do not object to that, God help our individual liberties.

Mr. Butterfill

It is not directly related; it is indirectly related, in the same way as any other personal particulars that have been registered are related to the tax. The register is merely another source of information.

Secondly, I wish to correct the hon. Gentleman. My right hon. Friend did not defend, as the hon. Member for Dunfermline, West (Mr. Douglas) suggested, the principle that the Inland Revenue should not have the right to know where people live. It has that right and often knows that information. The difference is that the Inland Revenue does not always know because it deals with people who live outside the districts in which they work—it deals with them in their places of work rather than where they live. Unless the Inland Revenue has a person's reference number, it is extremely difficult for it to trace an individual because he may well work miles from where he lives. That is the point that my right hon. Friend made yesterday.

Mr. Patnick

I wonder whether my hon. Friend remembers what our hon. Friend the Member for Hampshire, East (Mr. Mates) said yesterday? We would have to give the local authority power to send to the Inland Revenue a random selection of answers received from the taxpayers, stating that Mr. X has stated that he is".—[Official Report, 18 April 1988; Vol. 131, c. 576.] We heard nothing yesterday from Opposition Members about that invasion of privacy, but today the game has changed.

Mr. Butterfill

I thank my hon. Friend for his valuable point and contribution to the debate.

We say that someone should have a right to obtain the information that he needs to perform his duties. He does not need any of the other extraneous information that the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey suggested—

Mr. Simon Hughes

He might.

Mr. Butterfill

I cannot conceive of circumstances in which he might. Still less can I conceive of a new breed of local authority official who, for his own amusement or private profit, compiles detailed registers on private citizens in some sort of nefarious and conspiratorial way. That would not happen and the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey well knows it.

Finally, I turn to the other point to which I object—

Mrs. Audrey Wise (Preston)


Mr. Butterfill

I object to the inclusion in the amendment tabled by the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey of the National Council for Civil Liberties. That is in no way to denigrate that body or to decry the excellent work that it does in many areas. My objection is that the hon. Gentleman proposes to enshrine in statute a body that is not democratically accountable, or accountable to this place. It may be internally democratic, but it is not accountable to the British public. It is fundamentally wrong to enshrine in legislation any body, however admirable it may be, that is not accountable to this place through ministerial responsibility.

Mr. Simon Hughes

The hon. Gentleman has misread the amendment. The responsibility resides with the Government; it is only a duty to consult with local authorities and the NCCL. Surely that cannot be objectionable.

Mr. Butterfill

It is objectionable that we are singling out a body that is not democratically accountable. Local authorities may be so, and there may be an argument in their case, although I disagree with it. They are at least democratically accountable to their electorate. I object to singling out a body that is not thus accountable.

Mr. Terry Davis

The hon. Member for Bournemouth, West (Mr. Butterfill) gave a hostage to fortune, and he may find his last point quoted back at him in the future when we talk about consultation with the representatives of British industry and business.

My hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) will be shocked to know that when the issue of identity cards was raised in Standing Committee several Conservative Members had the greatest difficulty—to understate the case—in understanding the concern expressed by Labour Members about identity cards. Several of them looked forward to the day when we would have identity cards in this country and advocated the system as being one that already worked satisfactorily in some continental countries.

Mr. Butterfill

I can tell the hon. Gentleman that I for one will welcome the day when we introduce identity cards in this country.

Mr. Davis

The hon. Gentleman has identified himself; there were others. My hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow will share my concern about such tendencies appearing among Conservative Members. To be fair to the Government, they did not advocate identity cards. I am sure that the Minister for Local Government will deny any responsibility for them—the Government will leave it to local authorities, and they have made that clear. Local authorities will introduce a system of identity cards, if we have one, so the Minister's point was that of Pontius Pilate.

Mr. Tim Devlin (Stockton, South)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Davis

The hon. Gentleman voted for the guillotine. Many of my hon. Friends want to take part in the debate; I shall not give way.

I share the concern of my hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin (Mr. Grocott) about the sale of these registers. This information is collected for the purpose of taxation. The Secretary of State said on the radio this morning that this was a taxation measure, and objected on those grounds to the House of Lords amending it. He denied that point in Standing Committee, but at least he has accepted it now. We shall have a register that is collected, established and available for the purpose of taxation and the Government want to make it available to the public and allow it to be sold to them. The Government have made it clear that they intend to keep people's names on the register for two years after they have died, at the address at which they lived before they died. All hon. Members have had the experience, while canvassing during an election, of knocking on doors and asking for the votes of people who had died a few months before.

After the death of a partner, widows and widowers will be bombarded for two years with junk mail addressed to people who have died. Everybody should be able to understand the distress that is caused to widows and widowers on receiving that sort of mail. We have seen people upset because they have received an election address for somebody who died a few weeks before, but for two years people will be subjected to uninvited letters from every Tom, Dick and Harry in all sorts of businesses addressed to people who are deceased. That is one of the most reprehensible but also one of the most avoidable aspects of the Bill.

It should be possible for us to ensure that the register is not made available. Information collected for income tax purposes is not available to anybody—I believe not even to Ministers unless the taxpayer wishes it. Quite rightly, it is kept confidential. For the purpose of this register inquiries will be made about who is living where, for how long, and on which nights. We can all see the intrusion that that involves into people's privacy. It is time someone said that it is not necessary for the Government to authorise registration officers over the length and breadth of the country to inquire into who slept where, on what night. and for how long. That is an intolerable intrusion into personal relationships.

The hon. Member for Bournemouth, West says that it is not an issue and that, according to one of his hon. Friends, 99 per cent. of our people are law-abiding and that this will apply to only 1 per cent. The point is that the information would be sought and inquiries would be made not of 1 per cent. of the population but of 100 per cent. of the population. Everybody will be required to give this information.

The hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. Patnick) says that this is nothing new and that local authorities already transfer this information from one local authority to another. The hon. Gentleman gave as an example the right to buy. The hon. Gentleman does not appreciate that the only basis on which that information is transferred from one local authority to another is where the person asks for that to be done. He does it because he is seeking to obtain a right, to increase his discount on the purchase of a house, and therefore asks the local authority to transfer the information. There is a great difference between that situation, between someone claiming income support or a tax allowance—something for which a person has to provide information—and having that information obtained from one's relatives, one's family, and neighbours. It is that to which I and my hon. Friends object.

At the moment information obtained by the Inland Revenue is not made available. I would go further than some of my hon. Friends and make this register private. I do not see why the information should be made available at all and that is why I urge all hon. Members to support amendment No. 141.

Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South)

I want to make a few brief comments on this important area of legislation, and especially on amendment No. 141 which modifies the registration officer's powers. Without that amendment the Bill is a snooper's charter, and with an extreme Right-wing Government in power we can be sure that those powers will be used.

Clause 25 gives the Minister power to issue a directive to require further information from the registration officer. That directive is not subject to any affirmative resolution or to any scrutiny by the House. We must look extremely carefully at that power. In addition, we have the Scottish experience, because, in its 18th report, the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments, an all-party Committee with a Tory majority, said that the Secretary of State for Scotland was abusing his power and trampling on the rights of Parliament by granting himself powers additional to those provided by the primary legislation. The registration officer was provided with powers of sub-delegation to enable him to ask any questions that he liked without any modification by the primary legislation, although the primary legislation limited the powers that he had.

6.45 pm

The Secretary of State for Scotland has decided that the registration officer can demand documents, even though the primary legislation does not give him that power and says that he can only request information. With that very recent background, the statutory instrument was pushed through the House only a few weeks ago. We should say yes to amendment No. 141 which would modify the registration officer's powers and provide some clear guidance in the legislation that the registration officer's powers are not unlimited.

Amendment No. 142 invokes a code of practice. A code of practice is not a legislative instrument. It does not require an absolute provision, as is the case with a statutory instrument or primary legislation. But at least it is some safeguard against the jackboot powers of the Minister given to him in clause 25. That clause gives the Minister power to issue a directive to the registration officer, saying that if he believes that information has not been collected he can demand further information. At least the registration officer could rely on a code of practice to offer some safeguard about his code of conduct.

The new schedule, amendment No. 153, lists many safeguards. I do not have time to go into them, but I should like to emphasise what has been said about the prevention of the sale of information from what is essentially a private register. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis), who emphasised that the register should be private. It is appalling that the register will be considered to be in the public domain. Recently the Yorkshire water authority included in its demand note advertisements by moneylenders so that hard-pressed people could immerse themselves even further in the debt-ridden society created by this wretched Tory Government. No doubt that is the sort of enterprise culture of which the Government would approve. We are opposed to private information obtained from citizens being hawked around to organisations that have nothing more to do than to sell to people and in some cases to immerse them in even greater debt.

The last point that I want to emphasise is that, although it is not covered by the amendment, clause 25 gives the Secretary of State enormous power to issue directives to the registration officer in relation to the poll tax. If the Secretary of State is not satisfied, and if he has only a belief—he does not even have to entertain any evidence about that belief—he can demand further information. Even a registration officer seeking balanced information can be made subject to the Secretary of State's demand and fiat. For that reason, we ought to build into the legislation adequate safeguards to protect the ordinary citizen from this vicious snooper's charter and the jackboot heel of this wretched Government who want to invade people's civil liberties—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for Crawley (Mr. Soames) can sneer, but there will be snoopers knocking on doors and demanding information, and) behind them they will have the imprimatur of the Secretary of State. We hope that the amendments will be accepted because they provide a modest safeguard against this intrusion.

Mr. Patnick

I listened closely to the speech by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis) and found that he seemed to have double standards. As I said in an intervention during the speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth, West (Mr. Butterfill), there was very little protest when yesterday my hon. Friend the Member for Hampshire, East (Mr. Mates) suggested that three extra questions should be included on the form. They were, "Are you a higher taxpayer, a basic taxpayer, or a non-taxpayer?".

Mr. Allan Roberts (Bootle)


Mr. Patnick

I assure the hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Roberts) that I shall be brief and will speak for four minutes or less. When my hon. Friend the Member for Hampshire, East suggested asking for information, there was not a word from the Opposition. Now they say different.

Mr. Howard

This is a large and important group of amendments covering many aspects of information-gathering for the purposes of the community charge, the powers of the registration officer, data protection and the rights of the individual. We debated all those issues in some detail in Committee, and I shall endeavour to respond to the points raised in the short time that is available.

As hon. Members who served on the Committee will know, I alway attempt to adopt a conciliatory tone. Therefore, I shall begin my reply to the debate on this group of amendments by adopting a conciliatory attitude towards amendments Nos. 141 and 210. Those amendmens were addressed by the hon. Members for Burnley (Mr. Pike) and for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes). They seek to restrict the information officer to obtaining information that he "reasonably requires"—the phrase that is in the Bill.

We had a long discussion on that point in Committee and I explained then that the Government's intention on this point was exactly the same as that of the Opposition—that registration officers should not be permitted to ask for information, other than that which was clearly needed for the purpose of maintaining the register. I said that we believed that the Bill, as presently drafted, achieved that result. Having reflected on the points made in Committee and listened to the points made today, I shall certainly look at the matter again to see whether an amendment can be made which would make even clearer the policy that we all wish to see followed.

The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey referred to the amendments that would require registration officers to have regard to the civil liberties implications of registration and, in particular, to the codes of practice drawn up by or in consultation with the National Council for Civil Liberties. I have no desire whatever to cast aspersions on the aims and objectives of the NCCL, but I do not accept the suggestion that the NCCL should have a formal role in determining what should or should not be permissible under the law. That is the responsibility of Parliament, Government and the courts. As I made clear in Committee, the Government take very seriously the anxieties that have been expressed about the protection of privacy. It was with those concerns in mind that I met the Data Protection Registrar in February and agreed to draw up guidance, with his participation, on compliance with the data protection principles. I suggest that guidance of that kind is the correct way forward and is preferable to the issue of the NCCL codes of guidance, as proposed in the amendments.

Amendments Nos. 211 and 149 seek to limit or restrict the supply of any part of the community charges register. I shall attempt to deal with this question quickly, as it was also discussed at considerable length in Committee. Paragraph 18 of schedule 2 empowers my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to make regulations requiring the sale of an extract from the community charge register and a list of dwellings designated for the purposes of the collective community charge. We have made it clear that we have not taken a final decision on the sale of the extract and list, or, indeed, on the question of allowing people to opt out before the extract is sold. We have received a number of representations on this issue, all of which we shall consider carefully before a decision is reached. There is nothing more that I can usefully say at this stage, although I would remind the House that the extract will consist only of a list of addresses and names and that it will in any case be available for public inspection.

Mrs. Alice Mahon (Halifax)

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Howard

I shall not give way, as I do not have time.

The hon. Members for The Wrekin (Mr. Grocott) and for Burnley spoke to amendments which seek to prevent the registration officer from cross-checking his register against the electoral register. There is a simple and obvious response to that suggestion, which I have given on many occasions. I am surprised that it has not yet been grasped by Opposition Members. The electoral register is a public document. It is available to the public and it would be absurd to suggest that it should not be available to the community charge registration officer.

Amendments Nos. 152 and 153 seek to impose a schedule of restrictions on registration officers, most of them derived from the Data Protection Act. A similar amendment was discussed in Committee. I said then that I saw no point in repeating the provisions of one piece of legislation in another. Registration officers will, of course, observe the provisions of the Data Protection Act—both the data protection principles enshrined in the Act and the exemptions which it provides. There is no need whatever to restate or amend the Data Protection Act for the purposes of this Bill. We also noted the points made by the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey in respect of amendment No. 213, which seeks to give registered individuals the right to inspect any information held by registration officers on backing files. That amendment is not necessary, as people who are registered already have a right to inspect the whole of their register entry under paragraph 17(1) of schedule 2. Under the Data Protection Act, individuals have additional rights to see any personal data held by a data user. That right of inspection under the Data Protection Act will extend to community charge backing files.

Amendments Nos. 139, 167 and 167A are concerned with sensitive information, to which registration officers should be denied access. Amendment No. 139 seeks to specify on the face of the statute that police, social work, health authority, Inland Revenue and employment records are "off limits"to registration officers. That proposal is similar to one in the new schedule proposed in amendment No. 153.

We accept that there are certain records to which registration officers should not have access only, and we have made provision accordingly, both by stipulating that registration officers should have access to local sources of data and by providing that even some locally held records should be withheld from registration officers. In the light of these provisions, I do not believe that anything would be gained by accepting the amendments before us.

Let me consider in turn the sources of data set out in amendment No. 139. It refers to health authority and Inland Revenue records. I can assure the House that there is no need to place those records "off limits", as the Bill does not authorise registration officers to obtain information from those sources. So far as those records are concerned, therefore, the amendment is unnecessary. It also refers to police and social work records, yet we have already made clear that we intend to use the power conferred under paragraph 9(d) of schedule 2 to prevent registration officers having access to any police records and to the most sensitive social service records.

In other words, the only real effect of amendment No. 139 would be to deny registration officers access to non-sensitive social service records and employment records. I can see nothing objectionable in allowing registration officers access to information of that kind, and I therefore urge hon. Members to reject the amendment. I remind the House that the only information that registration officers will require is a list of names and addresses. They will not need, and will not therefore be authorised to ask for, any other information which is not relevant to their functions. As all adults will in any case by under a duty to supply their names and addresses to the registration officer, I can see no objection whatever to names and addresses being checked against non-sensitive local authority records.

The hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) raised a point regarding student identity cards. The provisions that we are introducing into the Bill relate to certificates for the status of students which will enable them to obtain the advantage of the special arrangements for students pursuant to the provisions of the legislation. I do not believe that it can be properly characterised as a student identity card any more than the card which entitles students to concessionary rail travel, or the National Union of Students card which students customarily carry with them. Indeed, the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals has said that it is content with our proposals.

The hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis) sought to make a number of rather surprising points in view of the fact that he served on the Standing Committee and must have known that both the points to which I am about to refer were nonsense. The hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that the registration officer will not want to know whether someone spends a night away from home. All that he will need to know is the address of someone's sole or main residence and when that residence changes.

The hon. Gentleman also made an entirely misconceived point about the names of people who have been dead for two years. The register will contain names and addresses for up to two years after people die, but, as we made clear—

Mr. Cryer

My hon. Friend said precisely that.

Mr. Howard

No, he did not say that. The hon. Gentleman intervenes from a sedentary position, but, if he will wait for a moment, he will see how misconceived was the point made by his hon. Friend the Member for Hodge Hill. We made it clear in Committee that the public extract from the register would show only people currently subject to the charge. It is the public extract that may be sold, so that point was nonsense.

I accept that there are legitimate concerns about the implications of the community charge for data protection. Our aim, both here and in Committee, has been to allay those concerns, not to dismiss them. It has always been our policy that the new system should be fully consistent with the provisions of the Data Protection Act, but it is astounding that we should have to listen to complaints from the Opposition about the civil liberties implications of the community charge, when a far greater threat to privacy would be posed by a local income tax, which is now part of the policy proposed by the official Opposition and the whole policy put forward by the Social and Liberal Democrats.

Mr. Cryer


Mr. Howard

No, I shall not give way.

Let me compare the exchanges of data needed for community charge purposes with those needed for the purposes of a local income tax. For the community charge, the registration officer needs to know the name and address of every person subject to the charge. For a local income tax, the local authority would need to know not only the name and address of each person liable to pay, but comprehensive details of every person's income. I ask the House to consider what represents—

It being Seven o'clock, Mr. Deputy Speaker, proceeded, pursuant to the Orders [22 February and 13 April] and the Resolution yesterday, to put forthwith the Question already proposed from Chair.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 220, Noes 331.

Division No. 263] [7.00 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Forsythe, Clifford (Antrim S)
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Foster, Derek
Allen, Graham Foulkes, George
Alton, David Fraser, John
Anderson, Donald Fyfe, Maria
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Galbraith, Sam
Armstrong, Hilary Galloway, George
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Ashton, Joe Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) George, Bruce
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich) Godman, Dr Norman A.
Barron, Kevin Golding, Mrs Llin
Battle, John Goodhart, Sir Philip
Beckett, Margaret Gordon, Mildred
Beggs, Roy Gould, Bryan
Bell, Stuart Graham, Thomas
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Bermingham, Gerald Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Bidwell, Sydney Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Blair, Tony Grocott, Bruce
Blunkett, David Harman, Ms Harriet
Boateng, Paul Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Boyes, Roland Heffer, Eric S.
Bradley, Keith Henderson, Doug
Bray, Dr Jeremy Hinchliffe, David
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Holland, Stuart
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Home Robertson, John
Buchan, Norman Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Caborn, Richard Howells, Geraint
Callaghan, Jim Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Canavan, Dennis Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Cartwright, John Illsley, Eric
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Janner, Greville
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) John, Brynmor
Clay, Bob Johnston, Sir Russell
Clelland, David Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Jones, leuan (Ynys MÔn)
Cohen, Harry Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Coleman, Donald Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Lambie, David
Corbett, Robin Leighton, Ron
Corbyn, Jeremy Lestor, Joan (Eccles)
Cousins, Jim Lewis, Terry
Crowther, Stan Litherland, Robert
Cryer, Bob Livingstone, Ken
Cummings, John Livsey, Richard
Cunliffe, Lawrence Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Cunningham, Dr John Loyden, Eddie
Dalyell, Tarn McAllion, John
Darling, Alistair McAvoy, Thomas
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) McCartney, Ian
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) McFall, John
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Dixon, Don McKelvey, William
Dobson, Frank McLeish, Henry
Doran, Frank McNamara, Kevin
Douglas, Dick McTaggart, Bob
Duffy, A. E. P. McWilliam, John
Dunnachie, Jimmy Madden, Max
Eadie, Alexander Mahon, Mrs Alice
Eastham, Ken Marek, Dr John
Evans, John (St Helens N) Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray) Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Fatchett, Derek Martlew, Eric
Faulds, Andrew Maxton, John
Fearn, Ronald Michael, Alun
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n) Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Flannery, Martin Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Flynn, Paul Moonie, Dr Lewis
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Morgan, Rhodri
Morley, Elliott Skinner, Dennis
Mowlam, Marjorie Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Mullin, Chris Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Murphy, Paul Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Snape, Peter
O'Brien, William Soley, Clive
O'Neill, Martin Spearing, Nigel
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Steel, Rt Hon David
Parry, Robert Steinberg, Gerry
Patchett, Terry Stott, Roger
Pendry, Tom Strang, Gavin
Pike, Peter L. Straw, Jack
Powell, Ray (Ogmore) Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Prescott, John Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Primarolo, Dawn Thomas, Dr Dafydd Elis
Quin, Ms Joyce Turner, Dennis
Radice, Giles Vaz, Keith
Randall, Stuart Walker, A. Cecil (Belfast N)
Redmond, Martin Wall, Pat
Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn Wallace, James
Reid, Dr John Walley, Joan
Richardson, Jo Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Roberts, Allan (Bootle) Wareing, Robert N.
Robertson, George Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Rogers, Allan Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Rooker, Jeff Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Wilson, Brian
Rowlands, Ted Winnick, David
Ruddock, Joan Wise, Mrs Audrey
Salmond, Alex Worthington, Tony
Sedgemore, Brian Young, David (Bolton SE)
Sheerman, Barry
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert Tellers for the Ayes:
Shore, Rt Hon Peter Mr. Frank Haynes and
Short, Clare Mr. Frank Cook.
Aitken, Jonathan Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)
Alexander, Richard Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Buck, Sir Antony
Allason, Rupert Budgen, Nicholas
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Burns, Simon
Amess, David Burt, Alistair
Amos, Alan Butcher, John
Arbuthnot, James Butler, Chris
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Butterfill, John
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Carlisle, John, (Luton N)
Ashby, David Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Aspinwall, Jack Carrington, Matthew
Atkins, Robert Carttiss, Michael
Atkinson, David Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Channon, Rt Hon Paul
Baldry, Tony Chapman, Sydney
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Chope, Christopher
Batiste, Spencer Churchill, Mr
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n)
Bellingham, Henry Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)
Bendall, Vivian Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)
Bevan, David Gilroy Colvin, Michael
Biffen, Rt Hon John Conway, Derek
Blackburn, Dr John G. Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Body, Sir Richard Cope, John
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Couchman, James
Boswell, Tim Cran, James
Bottomley, Peter Currie, Mrs Edwina
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Curry, David
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Davis, David (Boothferry)
Bowis, John Day, Stephen
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes Devlin, Tim
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Dickens, Geoffrey
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Dicks, Terry
Brazier, Julian Dorrell, Stephen
Bright, Graham Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Brittan, Rt Hon Leon Dover, Den
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Dunn, Bob
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Durant, Tony
Browne, John (Winchester) Eggar, Tim
Emery, Sir Peter Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd) Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Evennett, David Knowles, Michael
Fallon, Michael Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Farr, Sir John Lang, Ian
Favell, Tony Latham, Michael
Fenner, Dame Peggy Lawrence, Ivan
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Fookes, Miss Janet Lee, John (Pendle)
Forman, Nigel Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Forth, Eric Lightbown, David
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Lilley, Peter
Fox, Sir Marcus Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Franks, Cecil Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Freeman, Roger Lord, Michael
French, Douglas Luce, Rt Hon Richard
Fry, Peter Lyell, Sir Nicholas
Gale, Roger McCrindle, Robert
Gardiner, George Macfarlane, Sir Neil
Goodlad, Alastair MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Maclean, David
Gorman, Mrs Teresa McLoughlin, Patrick
Gorst, John McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)
Gow, Ian McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)
Gower, Sir Raymond Major, Rt Hon John
Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW) Mans, Keith
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Maples, John
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Marland, Paul
Gregory, Conal Marlow, Tony
Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E') Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Grist, Ian Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Ground, Patrick Mates, Michael
Grylls, Michael Maude, Hon Francis
Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom) Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Hampson, Dr Keith Mellor, David
Hanley, Jeremy Miller, Hal
Hannam, John Mills, Iain
Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr') Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Harris, David Mitchell, David (Hants NW)
Hawkins, Christopher Moate, Roger
Hayes, Jerry Monro, Sir Hector
Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Hayward, Robert Moore, Rt Hon John
Heathcoat-Amory, David Morris, M (N'hampton S)
Heddle, John Morrison, Hon P (Chester)
Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE) Moynihan, Hon Colin
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Neale, Gerrard
Hill, James Needham, Richard
Hind, Kenneth Nelson, Anthony
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Neubert, Michael
Holt, Richard Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Hordern, Sir Peter Nicholls, Patrick
Howard, Michael Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Oppenheim, Phillip
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford) Page, Richard
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Paice, James
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Patnick, Irvine
Hunter, Andrew Patten, Chris (Bath)
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Patten, John (Oxford W)
Irving, Charles Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Jack, Michael Pawsey, James
Jackson, Robert Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Janman, Tim Porter, David (Waveney)
Jessel, Toby Portillo, Michael
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Powell, William (Corby)
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Price, Sir David
Jones, Robert B (Herts W) Raffan, Keith
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Key, Robert Rathbone, Tim
Kilfedder, James Redwood, John
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Renton, Tim
Kirkhope, Timothy Rhodes James, Robert
Knapman, Roger Riddick, Graham
Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Thorne, Neil
Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm Thornton, Malcolm
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy) Thurnham, Peter
Roe, Mrs Marion Townend, John (Bridlington)
Rossi, Sir Hugh Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Rost, Peter Tracey, Richard
Rumbold, Mrs Angela Tredinnick, David
Ryder, Richard Trippier, David
Sackville, Hon Tom Trotter, Neville
Sainsbury, Hon Tim Twinn, Dr Ian
Sayeed, Jonathan Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Scott, Nicholas Viggers, Peter
Shaw, David (Dover) Waddington, Rt Hon David
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Shelton, William (Streatham) Waldegrave, Hon William
Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW) Walden, George
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge) Walker, Rt Hon P. (W'cester)
Shersby, Michael Waller, Gary
Sims, Roger Walters, Dennis
Skeet, Sir Trevor Ward, John
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick) Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Warren, Kenneth
Soames, Hon Nicholas Watts, John
Speed, Keith Wells, Bowen
Speller, Tony Wheeler, John
Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W) Whitney, Ray
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Widdecombe, Ann
Squire, Robin Wiggin, Jerry
Stanbrook, Ivor Wilkinson, John
Steen, Anthony Wilshire, David
Stern, Michael Winterton, Mrs Ann
Stevens, Lewis Winterton, Nicholas
Stewart, Allan (Eastwood) Wolfson, Mark
Stewart, Andy (Sherwood) Wood, Timothy
Stewart, Ian (Hertfordshire N) Woodcock, Mike
Stokes, John Yeo, Tim
Stradling Thomas, Sir John Young, Sir George (Acton)
Sumberg, David Younger, Rt Hon George
Summerson, Hugo
Tapsell, Sir Peter Tellers for the Noes:
Taylor, Ian (Esher) Mr. Robert Boscawen and
Taylor, John M (Solihull) Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones.
Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman

Question accordingly negatived.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

then proceeded to put forthwith the Questions on Amendments, moved by a member of the Government, of which notice had been given, to that part of the Bill to be concluded at seven o'clock.

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