HC Deb 19 July 1993 vol 229 cc27-46

5.—(1) In this paragraph "the proceedings" means proceedings on any further Message from the Lords on the Bill, on the appointment and quorum of a Committee to draw up Reasons and the Report of such a Committee.

(2) The Speaker shall put forthwith the Question on any Motion made by a Minister of the Crown for the consideration forthwith of the Message or for the appointment and quorum of the Committee.

(3) A Committee appointed to draw up Reasons shall report before the conclusion of the sitting at which it is appointed.

(4) Paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 14 (Exempted business) shall apply to the proceedings.

(5) No dilatory Motion with respect to, or in the course of, the proceedings shall be made except by a Minister of the Crown, and the Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith.

(6) If the proceedings are interrupted by a Motion for the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 20 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) a period equal to the duration of the proceedings on the Motion shall be added to the period at the end of which the proceedings are to be brought to a conclusion.

(7) If the House is adjourned, or the sitting is suspended, before the expiry of the period at the end of which any proceedings are to be brought to a conclusion under this paragraph, no notice shall be required of a Motion made at the next sitting by a Minister of the Crown for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order.

I start by apologising to the House on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for his absence from this debate. I am sure that all hon. Members will be aware that my right hon. Friend is indisposed and is unable to be here, as he would very much have wished.

I do not want to spend a great deal of time introducing this supplemental order. Even those hon. Members who enjoy the occasional wrangle over procedural matters will agree that our time would be much better spent by discussing the substance of the amendments made to the Bill in another place.

We have already spent an enormous amount of time on this vital Bill, and we are about to spend another eight hours or more on it this evening. A timetable is an essential tool if the business of the House is to be conducted efficiently, not least if we are to ensure that there is no delay in implementing important aspects of the Bill for the next educational term. To that end, we will be seeking Royal Assent before the end of the month—provided, of course, that the House accepts this order, and provided that we complete all the parliamentary stages in time.

We have already spent 150 hours discussing the Bill —including, at the Opposition's request, two days on the Floor of the House on Second Reading and a further two days on Report. In addition, the other place has given the Bill 114 hours of close scrutiny, including an additional day in Committee, which was again requested by the Opposition. That is a not insignificant amount of parliamentary time, especially when we consider that parts II and IV of the Bill are largely re-enactments, with a little tidying up, of earlier education legislation.

To help the House, I should take a few moments to categorise the 570 or so Government amendments made to the Bill in another place, which we will consider today. I can deal with rather more than half the lords amendments in one fell swoop. More than 300 of the Government amendments approved by the other place are purely technical consequential, drafting or tidying-up changes flowing directly from the Bill as it left this House. Such changes are inevitable in a Bill of this size and importance. I will give some examples to set that in context.

Amendment No. 395 revises the index to the Bill. That is an important element, but I very much doubt whether it is worthy of debate. Amendment No. 515 updates the definition of "school" in the Value Added Tax Act 1983 to take account of the definition in the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.

We also have 16 purely technical amendments on middle schools; 23 amendments to ensure that local education authorities and the Funding Agency for Schools, as appropriate, can pay for the provision of places at boarding and independent schools, so as to secure continuity with LEAs' existing ability to make such arrangements; 34 technical amendments to provide for the transfer of schools to new sites; and 40 amendments to provide for the detailed arrangements for grant-maintained school premises, covering the conveying of interest to trustees, the conditions of grant for premises and the details to be included in proposals.

I can already hear some hon. Members—I cannot, actually, but that is what it says in my notes—saying, "What about the rest?" As for the rest, they flow from three sources first, the White Paper. That included, as I am sure all hon. Members will recall, proposed new arrangements for education, as the jargon goes, otherwise than at school. That of course, caters for the most vulnerable pupils on our schools.

We wanted to make sure that the proposals were absolutely right and took full account of an extended consultation period. That is why the introduction of these vital proposals took place in the other place, where indeed they received thorough scrutiny, as we would expect. Secondly, we made commitments in this House to amend the Bill in a number of respects. We promised amendments on grant-maintained acquisition, to shorten the ballot period, and on religious education and collective worship.

Thirdly, we have drafted many amendments as a result of points raised in the other place. For example, we have extended the range of options available to schools willing to enter into grouped arrangements. We have brought forward amendments to ensure that head teachers are properly informed about matters relating to their schools —amendments that are supported by the National Association of Head Teachers—amendments relating to securing value for money in grant-maintained schools, and, of course, amendments to clause 1.

Many amendments are the product of fruitful negotiations between my Department and the Churches. They reaffirm the importance of a continuing partnership between Church and state in the provision of public education. All those amendments are before us for consideration.

It is important that we have a timetable motion. I need hardly remind hon. Members who were unfortunate enough to have to endure the snail's pace of progress in Committee before Christmas of the lengths to which some hon. Members—I will not mention any names, of course —will go to avoid serious debate about education, and even evade careful scrutiny of the Bill. But that is in the past.

We have much to do in implementing the Bill, and there are reforms in it which we must not delay. For too long, too many schools have simply shrugged their shoulders at the problems which are clearly besetting them, and are causing them to fail to give their pupils an acceptable standard of education. We cannot allow that to continue.

Part V allows for a range of new measures to be taken when an inspection reveals that a school is at risk. The first inspections will take place this autumn, and we are determined that rapid and effective action should be taken as soon as possible thereafter. That is why we shall seek Royal Assent before the end of the month, provided that the House agrees the timetable motion and dispatches the business in the motion this evening.

The order is essential if we are to complete our proceedings on the legislation in a sensible and effective manner. The Bill puts in place a new framework for the organisation of our education system. It offers a new start to our most vulnerable children—those in failing schools, those with special educational needs and those whose needs cannot be met in school. I look forward to the proceedings following the motion, and I commend it to the House.

3.51 pm
Mrs. Ann Taylor (Dewsbury)

The Opposition object very strongly to the guillotine motion. The Minister is acknowledging that the Government are trying to rush through many amendments without proper consideration —without any consideration at all, in some respects. The Government are making a farce of parliamentary procedures by asking the House to debate more than 580 amendments in eight and half hours. That works out at 53 seconds per amendment. How on earth can the House of Commons be expected to carry out its responsiblities with such a time scale? Of course, that is assuming that we will have no votes on any of the amendments. That is not proper parliamentary scrutiny; that is not what our constituents sent us here to do; it reduces our proceedings to a farce.

That is typical of the way in which the Government have behaved throughout the passage of the Education Bill. The Bill is based on a White Paper which was published on 28 July. That White Paper was supposed to be the basis for consultation. The consultation period opened during the parliamentary recess when schools were on holiday, and it finished at the end of September. In other words, the consultation was a total sham, and, since that time, the Government have proved that they have riot responded to the submissions that were made in that tight time scale. Indeed, the Government have not even published those responses, despite requests to do so.

The junior Minister said that this was a vital Bill. He acknowledged that the Opposition had been keen to press for as much time as possible to debate its vital provisions. We take legislation seriously. We take our responsibilities to scrutinise legislation seriously. That is why it is totally outrageous and unacceptable for such a time scale to be imposed at this stage.

The Bill was introduced in glowing terms by the Secretary of State for Education, who claimed that he had written it almost by himself. But he then failed to go on the Committee considering the Bill, which shows that he was treating the House with contempt and not treating the legislation as it deserved and required.

The contempt for parliamentary scrutiny went deep. This is the longest Education Bill ever to be presented to the House, yet it had the shortest debate in Committee. When the guillotine was imposed, it was the tightest ever imposed on any Education Bill. It allowed only two days for Report and is allowing us only one day—today—to debate 580 Lords amendments.

The timetable is especially outrageous because many of the issues on which the House has been asked to come to a conclusion this afternoon have been debated only in the House of Lords— they have never been debated in the House or in Committee. It may well be that some amendments will be accepted and some measures will become law without one word being spoken about them in the House. That is why the guillotine is a contempt of our procedures and of parliamentary scrutiny. However, it is typical of the arrogance and the attitude of Education Ministers.

The amendments that concern us are numerous. It is impossible to list all the areas where substantial changes have been made in another place, but the junior Minister mentioned some of them. There are some issues on which we hope to have a limited debate—because of the guillotine—later this evening. However, many issues may not be debated at all. I want to remind the Minister of some of the issues which have not been debated in the House or in Committee but which have been introduced by the House of Lords and should get significant time.

Amendments have been tabled on corporal punishment. the making of new curriculum orders, the imposition of a ballot if there is a tied result, the reduction in the time scale for opting out and the new measures introduced by the Government to tip the scales even more in favour of pushing schools in the direction of opting out. I was interested to read in the 16 July edition of Education: The Department for Education is abandoning its 1,500 attainment target for GM schools". In the future, the Department will not put pressure on schools. That is an admission on the part of the Government that it has not been as easy as they thought to persuade schools to take the GM route.

Mr. Forth

The truth is that that was always a projected figure—a target has never been mentioned. We are still confident that the projected figure will be reached at about the same time, so there will be no change whatever in that.

Mrs. Taylor

The Government are so confident that their projection will be reached that they have manoeuvred and put constraints on everyone who opposed a school becoming grant-maintained, and put everything in favour of those who advocated grant-maintained status. The amendment that limits the amount of spending of those who are opposed to GM status, while not limiting the spending of those who are promoting GM status, is a clear example of what has been happening.

There are other serious issues that should not become a matter of political debate but should be a matter of constructive consideration by the House. However, they could well be squeezed in our debates this evening. I am thinking of the suggestions on pupil referral units, the abolition of indefinite exclusions and other matters of genuine concern to hon. Members on both sides of the House, where improvements could well be made to the Bill if parliamentary procedures allowed it and if we were not so short of time.

Mr. Nigel Spearing (Newham, South)

As my hon. Friend knows, unfortunately I was not involved in the Committee or substantially involved in the Report stage. Will she confirm that the first intimation that Members of Parliament or, indeed, the education public had of the Government's intention to disagree with some of the amendments made in another place was at the weekend or even this very morning? If that is so, does it not show the contempt in which the Government hold the education processes which are the responsibility of government?

Mrs. Taylor

I am glad that my hon. Friend was able to make that point. Significant amendments were made in another place which affect the rights of pupils with special needs, acknowledge the need for local authorities to have significant planning responsibilities and acknowledge the importance of nursery education. I hope that there will be full time to debate all of those issues, but there cannot be full time for all the issues in the timetable proposed by the Government. It would be difficult for us even to vote on all the issues which received so much time and consideration in another place and on which such constructive decisions were made. That is a clear example of the problems that arise with a timetable such as that proposed, covering issues which are so vital.

The House will also face difficulties later this evening with the Lords amendments on sex education. Many of us will have received letters from a wide range of organisations which are alarmed at the Government's proposals for changes in the law on sex education. I have with me a collection of matters from the National Children's Bureau, the National Association of Governors and Managers, the British Medical Association, Norwich health authority and the Royal College of Nursing. Many of those organisations feel not only that they have not been consulted about the changes, but that they have a real interest in the proposals and could cast some light and give the benefit of their experience in establishing the way forward.

It seems that a minority in another place made a fuss about sex education. The Minister there, possibly without consulting other Ministers in the Department and certainly, I suspect, without consulting Ministers in the Department of Health, tabled amendments on sex education which simply have not been widely discussed with parents, teachers, governors or the medical profession. That is a clear example of the wrong way to go about making decisions on vital matters, but it is typical of what the Government have done with the Bill.

We are short of time even to discuss the guillotine motion. If the Bill is as vital as the Minister suggests, we should not discuss it on a time scale which allows us only 53 seconds for each amendment. Such an approach and a motion such as that which the Government have tabled today show the Government's contempt for parents, teachers, governors and everyone involved in education who expect better scrutiny of legislation than the Government are prepared to allow.

4.2 pm

Mr. Alan Howarth (Stratford-on-Avon)

I wish to speak on the allocation of time motion, because it is particularly unsatisfactory in respect of sex education, on which the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Mrs. Taylor) has just touched.

It seems inevitable that this evening we shall not have a debate or vote on the amendments on sex education. The amendments have been placed at the end of a series of groups that are due to be debated between 9.30 and 10.30 pm. There are four groups of amendments in that series. The opening amendments may be technical, but there are three subjects for debate, and it is inevitable that we shall not have an opportunity to debate and vote separately on the extremely important issue of sex education. I regard that as extraordinary, because the Government have proposed immensely important changes in national policy on sex education.

The Government said in the other place—where it was approved by a vote—that teaching about HIV, AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases will be taken out of the national curriculum and transferred to sex education outside the national curriculum. Sex education will become compulsory for schools, but parents will be able to withdraw their children from sex education. Those are important changes. They were introduced at a late stage in the legislative process. They should be debated in the House today.

Mr. Forth

I remind my hon. Friend that such motions are tabled broadly in agreement with the Opposition, and we have adhered to such a convention. Therefore, there has been no conspiracy or fix, in terms of the motion's shape, that may lead to what my hon. Friend has described.

Mr. Howarth

I note what my hon. Friend says, and shall return to it later,

Mrs. Ann Taylor

The Opposition are totally opposed to a guillotine motion limiting debate of the Bill o one day. We believe that a range of issues need discussing, and that has been our case all along.

Mr. Howarth

Again, I note what the hon. Lady says.

Many people have strong views on sex education. Some think that a Mephistophelean group whom they refer to as "the sex educators" are systematically eroding family values. Some think—it is a view that I respect—that sex education is such a sensitive and private matter that they should be entitled to deal with it within the family, and that teachers should not deal with it for their children. Some feel that sex education in schools is an affront to their sincerely held Christian values. Others disagree with that view, and stongly believe that good-quality sex education in our schools is vital. They care every bit as much about family values, and they too would be concerned about so-called "value-free" education.

I hold strong views on the matter, and the strongest is that it is our responsibility, as far as we can possibly fulfil it, to ensure that no one dies of ignorance. "Don't die of ignorance" has been the theme of the Department of Health's important, valuable and, in many ways, effective public education campaign.

When I was a Minister in the then Department of Education and Science, I happened to have responsibility for sex education, and worked closely with my colleagues in the Department of Health. But I wonder whether my successors are now working as closely with their colleagues in the Department of Health. It is incredible that Ministers responsible for health should have connived at a policy that takes education about HIV and AIDS out of the national curriculum.

The Department of Health's document, "The Health of the Nation", suggested that HIV was the greatest public health challenge of this century. One of the pillars of the Department of Health's strategy in relation to HIV and AIDS is sex education. The Department is due to report on the progress of the policies of "The Health of the Nation" this September, and I fancy that officials will now be working hard during August to rewrite their report before it is published in September.

The Education (No. 2) Act 1986 set in place the essential lineaments of our sex education policy hitherto. It was amplified and clarified in circular 11/87, and further developed in the Education Reform Act 1988.

In November 1991, the then Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Clarke), made a speech at a conference organised by the National Aids Trust in London, where he rightly said: The challenge presented by HIV and AIDS is one that everyone must share. So far there is no cure and no prospect of a cure. He went on to stress that the education service clearly has a significant part to play in achieving what must be our overall aim—to ensure that everyone is fully informed about the nature of HIV and AIDS, the risks that they present and what they can do to prevent their spread. He added: Education about HIV and AIDS will be effective only if all those who work in or with the education service accept their share of the responsibility and are sending out the same messages. As a consequence, in August 1992—less than a year ago —the science orders of the national curriculum were amended to ensure that they incorporated the physical and emotional changes that take place in adolescence, and that the moral responsibilities that should accompany growing sexual maturity formed part of a young person's education within the national curriculum.

The Government's policy was again amplified in a draft circular issued in April 1993. The covering letter to that draft circular emphasised the need for effective sex education within a clear moral framework. I shall not quote at length from the document, Madam Speaker, because time is short, but it seems to me that the contents of the circular should satisfy those—surely including every hon. Member—who believe that there should be sex education, and that it should be in a moral context, promoting the values of family life and a sense of moral responsibility. That is, of course, already stipulated in section 46 of the Education Act 1986 and reinforced in section 1 of the Education Reform Act 1988.

Mr. Peter Thurnham (Bolton, North-East)

I agree with my hon. Friend, but does he agree that sex education and education about HIV and Aids cannot be compartmentalised and taken out of the teaching in a school? Does my hon. Friend agree that they must be part of the ethos and teaching of the school, and should go through the school's curriculum?

Mr. Howarth


Madam Speaker

Order. I am reluctant to intervene during hon. Members' speeches, but I must remind the House that this is a motion dealing with the allocation of time. Hon. Members should he debating whether they agree or disagree with the allocation of time, and should not become involved in a Second Reading debate.

Mr. Howarth

I will heed your warning, Madam Speaker. I am trying to explain why I consider that it is singularly unfortunate that the motion will most likely deny us the opportunity of debating the subject. I am trying to explain the importance of the subject.

Between 1986 and the spring of this year, there was a consistent development of policy in what I believe to he the right direction. More has been needed in terms of guidance, training and support for teachers and in terms of evening up local education authority standards, but it was right that every child should have the opportunity to be taught the facts and should be enabled, through his or her educational experience, to reflect upon the responsibilities associated with those facts. That was at the heart of the Government's policy, and that seemed proper.

Then an extraordinary thing happened. At the end of June and the beginning of July, the Government changed their policy. On 6 July—10 days before the consultation period on the draft circular was due to be completed—we were told that the policy was to be quite different. During the Third Reading debate in the House of Lords on 6 July, my noble Friend the Minister of State said that she believed that it was a "strange phenomenon" and "extraordinary" that education about HIV and AIDS had been, as she put it, "slipped into" the national curriculum in 1992.

My noble Friend also referred to "deviant behaviour". She went on to say that there had been a moral decline, and asked whether that was possibly because of some of the sex education in schools.

In that spirit, the Government have introduced three changes which are of the utmost importance and should be debated today. I believe that one of the changes is good, while the other two are bad. It is good that the Government propose that all schools should now be required to teach sex education. That builds on the provisions of the Education Reform Act 1988. However, I believe that it is bad for the Government to propose that parents should have the right to withdraw their children from sex education.

I believe that it is bad also that sex education which goes beyond the biological aspects of human reproduction —particularly education about HIV and AIDS—should be removed from the national curriculum. I note also that, since April 1 this year, the Government have discontinued the funding of health education co-ordinators.

Why is it so bad to deprive children of the right to be educated about HIV and AIDS? It is bad because AIDS kills. It ineluctably kills any individual who contracts the virus. That is why there is a quite exceptional and heavy responsibility upon us in relation to educating young people about AIDS. It is vital that every young person is informed and thinks about the peril. Otherwise, some young people, and their partners, and the partners of their partners, may die from ignorance. That is an unpleasant reality, but it is reality that ought to be faced.

I have every sympathy with those who wish to preserve childhood innocence for as long as possible, and I have no quarrel with the Government's policy in relation to primary education—that in that case the decision whether to provide sex education should be a matter for the governors, and that parents should have a right to withdraw their children.

But by the age of 11 the innocence of a great many children is sadly already fairly frayed; they hear a great deal in the media, and they hear their elders talk. The chances are that they will become confused and even alarmed by the smattering of understanding that they have gained of HIV and AIDS. They are on the threshold of adolescence and of sexual independence.

The statistics that we ought to consider in this context are quite grim, and are certainly food for thought: 35 per cent. of under-16-year-olds and 50 per cent. of 18-year-olds have had full sexual intercourse. A third do not use contraceptives in a sexual encounter with a new partner. Some 20 per cent. of HIV infections in Britain are in the 15 to 25-year-old age group.

The proportion of HIV infection derived from heterosexual activity, setting aside infection associated with drug abuse, has risen—

Madam Speaker

Order. I have not yet heard from the hon. Gentleman why he feels that the allocation of time motion should be accepted. I need to hear reasons.

Mr. Howarth

I think that you will agree, Madam Speaker, that the facts that I am briefly stating are of the greatest importance in our national life and for the future of our children. We are debating an Education Bill—

Madam Speaker

Order. They may well be important, but we are dealing with a technical motion concerning the allocation of time. I want to hear from hon. Members why the allocation of time motion should be accepted.

Mr. Howarth

I am seeking to argue that there should not be an allocation of time, Madam Speaker—and certainly not an allocation of time that precludes our debating this extremely important subject. In emphasising the importance of the subject, I shall also be explaining why I am making the case.

The incidence of heterosexually derived HIV infections has risen, from 2 per cent. in 1985 to 28 per cent. now. That is why it is so important that our children and young people should be taught about the disease. Britain also has an exceptionally high proportion of teenage pregnancies: 8,500 under-l6-year-old girls become pregnant each year.

Parents may avert their gaze from those realities, but they are facts and they ought to be faced. Notwithstanding the statistics that I have just mentioned, in consequence of the very positive health education policy that we have had in Britain we have so far had a relatively low rate of HIV infection compared with that in other European countries. But that serves only to underline the importance of sex education and the importance of our debating it today.

To provide sex education is not to condone promiscuous behaviour, let alone to encourage it. In support of that assertion, I should like to offer the House some figures from the 19 studies recently reviewed by the World Health Organisation in connection with its global programme on AIDS in Geneva. The 19 studies indicate a clear trend.

No study found evidence of sex education leading to earlier or increased sexual activity among the young people exposed to it. Six studies found that sex education led either to a delay in the onset of sexual activity or to a decrease in sexual activity overall. Ten studies found that sex education increased the adoption of safer practices by sexually active youths. It is very important, Madam Speaker, that time should be made available today to enable the House to absorb those important realities.

Moreover, on the basis of its systematic international comparative studies, the World Health Organisation tells us that school-based sex education programmes are more effective when they are given before young people become sexually active and when they emphasise skills and social norms rather than knowledge.

If the state has a duty to educate at all, it cannot now duck responsibilty in this matter. The Government have already legislated to provide a moral context for sex education. If we are dissatisfied, the answer is to improve the nature and quality of sex education, and to match the standards that are already set forth as aspirations in policy.

I do not believe that the rights of parents in these matters outweigh the rights of children or the rights of society. A study by the Policy Studies Institute a few years ago suggested that 96 per cent. of parents wanted their children to receive sex education at school. The other 4 per cent.—this might be debated later today if we have the opportunity to defeat the guillotine motion—do not have the right to risk an increase in the spread of a lethal virus.

I do not believe—as my hon. Friend the Minister of State suggested in another place—that those who withdraw their children from sex education will always be discerning. Some will be highly conscientious people, but some will be prejudiced, some will be ignorant and some, I fear, will be those who abuse their children. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has put that case to us. I do not wish to be melodramatic or alarmist, but I respect the views and fears of the NSPCC.

The 4 per cent. also do not have the right to undermine the education of the children of the 96 per cent. of parents. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, North-East (Mr. Thurnham), who stressed the importance of sex education being integrated across the curriculum as a whole. It is meaningless to contemplate that it should not be so.

When being taught English literature, children are studying relationships; when being taught geography, they are considering the realities of life in modern Africa. It is totally absurd to suggest that their national curriculum studies should exclude them from awareness of HIV and AIDS.

The rights of children need to be considered, as distinct from the rights of the parents. That principle was upheld by the House of Lords in the judgment on the Gillick case, and it is also set out in chapter 41, part I(3)(a) of the Children Act 1989, as well as in the United Nations convention on the rights of the child, to which we are a signatory.

Society has the right to be protected from the spread of a lethal virus, just as it has the right to be protected from lethal driving or any other homicidal activity. Nor is it appropriate to draw an analogy it would be important to debate the issue later this evening if the guillotine motion allowed us to do so—with religious education, as the Government used to recognise, and as Ministers argued in the context of the Education Act 1986. I am angry about the amendment and about the guillotine motion. This is no proper way in which to legislate.

My hon. Friend the Minister of State suggested that teaching about HIV and AIDS had been slipped into the national curriculum. I submit that the amendment was slipped into the Bill in the House of Lords. With the greatest respect to their Lordships, they have no constituents. The proposed change goes way beyond their proper responsibility as a revising Chamber—it is a major change.

On 6 July, my right hon. and noble Friend Baroness Blatch said that the House of Commons would have the opportunity to consider and debate the subject. She said: That is the democratic process".—[Official Report, House of Lords, 6 July 1993; Vol. 547, c. 1320.] However, 580 amendments have been tabled, and we shall be lucky if many more than six are debated and voted on. Under the terms of the motion, the rest will receive a blanket approval.

The amendment to which I refer deals with whether young people may live or die. The national curriculum is the most cost-effective and far-reaching method of sex education we have: it is wrong that crucial aspects of sex education should be taken out of it, and wrong that the House should not have the opportunity to debate it.

Why are we to have no vote? Let me return to the intervention of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State and of the hon. Member for Dewsbury. In my time in government, it was the custom of Ministers to offer those on the Opposition Front Bench a choice of the key subjects that were to be debated under the terms of the motion. The motion was negotiated between the two Front Benches. The House should be told who is responsible for preventing us from debating and voting on the issue of sex education this evening.

I will give way again to the hon. Member for Dewsbury if she will tell me whether my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary offered her the opportunity of a debate at the beginning of one of the blocks of amendments, under the timetable motion. If she was offered a choice, did she choose to decline that opportunity, and if so, why?

Mrs. Ann Taylor

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. No offer or suggestion was made that arrangements for that debate should be changed. If the Government were not to disagree with the Lords amendment in the previous section, there could be time for that debate.

Mr. Howarth

I should be grateful if my hon. Friend the Minister would confirm what has been said.

Mr. Forth

I do not think that we should become involved in an undignified wrangle. To clarify the matter, however, let me say that I—in the normal way, and as I have done throughout the Commons proceedings on the Bill—offered the Opposition a draft timetable, and welcomed their suggestions for change. No alterations were suggested, apart from some minor changes at the beginning.

Mr. Howarth

I shall say no more, except that I believe the Government have made a grievous mistake in introducing the amendment, and that it was wrong to introduce it in the House of Lords. I consider that we should be able to debate it here today. Surely that is the responsibility of those on both Front Benches. I am very disappointed that the Labour party has not taken the opportunity—which I believe was there—to ensure that we could debate and vote on the amendment.

4.24 pm
Mr. Edward O'Hara (Knowsley, South)

Despite your valiant endeavours, Madam Speaker, the speech of the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Howarth) could not be described as "excursus interruptus".

I want to concentrate on why our debate should not be interrupted by the guillotine. The justification for my argument comes from none other than the Secretary of State, who has attributed some importance to the Bill. It was to have been the blueprint or coping stone for the legislation of the 21st century—an injudicious claim at the best of times, which probably should not be taken seriously.

What we have heard from the Government today is in keeping with their whole approach to this disreputable piece of legislation. The Secretary of State was in purdah for a matter of weeks before coming out with his White Paper "Choice and Diversity", for which he made such extravagant claims. When it was published on 28 July, it was subjected to the charade of consultation to which we have become accustomed under the present Government —which happened to coincide almost exactly with the period during which the whole education system was on holiday.

Finally, as a result of that inadequate process, a Bill was presented, containing 200 pages, 252 clauses and 17 schedules. It was guillotined on Second Reading and in Committee. It is no wonder that it hit the buffers when it reached the House of Lords, returning ultimately with 580 amendments. We should be grateful to their Lordships for slowing down a headlong, almost indecent, rush into legislation, and for reminding us of the deficiencies in the Bill.

I mean the word "deficiencies" in two senses. First, it contains shortcomings: things have been done that ought not to have been done. Secondly. it contains omissions. The result is a labyrinthine catalogue of amendments, rivalled in recent history only by the amendments tabled to the European Communities (Amendment) Bill.

The House recently debated the estimates of the Department for Education. Much was made of the misdirection of Government investment, and the absence of the investment that was needed. The same criticisms apply to the Bill. It is not, in fact, about the choice and diversity that feature in the title of the White Paper on which it is based; it is all about enforcing one type of provision—the grant-maintained system. It might more accurately be called the Grant-Maintained Schools (By Hook or By Crook) Bill, with the emphasis on the word "crook".

The Bill involves a scandalous rigging of the rules to take responsibility for educational provision away from local authorities, and to draw schools from them one by one, like teeth. The main instrument of the process is the manipulation of funds, reinforced in the recently published DFE estimates that we debated not long ago. Important issues of accountability for funding are embedded in many of the amendments to the Bill.

The Bill misses the point; there is no logical connection between the administrative arrangements it sets out and the delivery of the quality that is properly referred to in its foreword. Rather than producing a Bill that is irrelevant to the educational needs of the country, it would have been better if the Government had spent money on teachers and resources for all the nation's schools. Instead, the Bill will ensure that money is spent on bribery and bureaucracy.

Clause 1, which refers to the responsibilities of the Secretary of State, has a glaring omission, because it does not refer to nursery education. With the honourable exceptions of some local education authorities—mainly Labour ones, such as my own local authority of Knowsley —our national reputation for pre-school provision should make us hang our heads in shame. Because of the guillotine, there will not be enough time for that important issue to be adequately debated.

Important amendments have been tabled on special educational needs—a desperately important subject, given the evident inadequacies in the implementation of the Education Act 1981, which were exhaustively investigated by the Select Committee on Education. Those inadequacies have been compounded by the devil-take-thehindmost market philosophy that characterises the Bill and much of the Government's other legislation on education. The guillotine would by no means provide adequate time to do justice to such important matters.

Other examples of missed opportunities, which are the hallmark of the Bill, will not be subject to adequate debate if the guillotine is imposed.

The debate is important, but not in the sense intended by the Secretary of State. It is important not for its purpose of cementing in place the structure of education to take us deep into the 21st century but in order adequately to demonstrate the dangers to which the nation's children are exposed. They are being used as guinea pigs in half-baked quack experiments in miseducation.

For those reasons, I strongly oppose the imposition of the guillotine.

4.33 pm
Mr. James Pawsey (Rugby and Kenilworth)

I am sure that hon. Members on both sides of the House will join me in expressing the hope that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State shortly returns to the House and once more takes his place on the Front Bench.

The Bill has been already debated at great length. It had a two-day Second Reading debate; in Standing Committee E, it received a total of 122 hours consideration, and on Report it was considered for a further two days. It underwent a similar process in the other place: 62 hours were spent on Second Reading, with a further number of hours on Report and Third Reading. As a result, the Bill has already been debated for more than 275 hours.

Additionally, it has been discussed in schools and homes, by parents and teachers and by governors and councillors. It has been debated for months and by thousands of people. Only the Maastricht Bill has had more time devoted to it. But this Bill is fundamentally different, in that it is worth while and of benefit to the people of the United Kingdom.

We listened to the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Mrs. Taylor) with some interest. She opposed the timetable motion, but I suspect that her principal reason was doctrinal: a fundamental dislike of grant-maintained status, the belief that the only good education is local authority education, and that only local education authorities can provide state education in a form suitable for the nation's children.

I believe that the Opposition are wrong. Grant-maintained status is popular; it is popular with parents. because it gives them the type of education that they want for their children. I need hardly remind hon. Members that it is necessary for a school to ballot its parents and receive a majority in favour before it gets grant-maintained status. That is democracy in action.

On the subject of democracy, it is worth while remembering that it was that great democrat, Michael Foot, who set the record for the number of guillotine motions, when he guillotined five separate Bills in one day, on 20 July 1976. Therefore, I believe that we should take no lessons from the Opposition when they talk about the use of the timetable motion.

We want this measure on the statute book in time for the next school year. If the Opposition have their way, they will delay matters until it is too late. Those who believe that I exaggerate the position should remember the debates that we had in Standing Committee E.

Time goes on and, although I should like to speak longer on this issue. I must leave time for the winding-up speeches.

Mr. Spearing

Before the hon. Gentleman sits down, he has mentioned—

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Janet Fookes)

Order. I think that the hon. Gentleman had already concluded.

4.36 pm
Mrs Ann Taylor

With the leave of the House, I shall make a few comments following the remarks of the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Howarth), and draw his attention to a letter from Ministers that has gone out today. It says that Ministers hope that the key relevant issues will secure debate. It also says, not that they were willing to give the Opposition carte blanche to determine the timetable, but that they should discuss their proposals with us.

We have seen the Government's proposals, but do not think that there is enough time to discuss the sex education amendment, and many others. If the Government seriously consider those issues to be important, as we believe that they should, they would not table a motion that gives us only 53 seconds to debate each amendment.

The Labour party's position on the amendment that concerns the hon. Gentleman is clear. It is the only amendment on which we have tabled our own proposal, That this House doth disagree with the other place.

Mr. Alan Howarth

Did the hon. Lady, or did she not, receive from my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Mr. Forth) a draft guillotine motion which would have put the debate on sex education at the head of that block of time?

Mrs. Taylor

No, I did not. As far as I know, nor did anyone else on the Opposition Front Bench. There is still a possibility of reaching the debate that concerns and us, because we think that the Lords' proposals on sex education are damaging and wrong.

The block of amendments before the one that concerns us includes amendment Nos. 17 on special needs; 188 on the need for local authorities to review special needs provision; 189, which gives powers for local authorities to plan and review all special needs provision, including grant-maintained schools; 190 on the issue of access audits for access to schools for handicapped pupils; 191 on strategic planning; 192 on planning for nursery provision, especially for special needs children; 193, which concerns the need to have more attention for non-statemented special needs children; 196 on LEA services and the rights of special schools to buy them; and 199 on the relationship between grant-maintained schools and the LEA.

All those issues, which were debated at length in another place, are issues about which we feel that appropriate decisions were made. The Government intend to take the time of the House by insisting on reversing every one of those amendments.

Mr. George Walden (Buckingham)

Will the hon. Lady give way?

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Member for Dewsbury (Mrs. Taylor) has ended her speech.


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Further and Higher Education (Mr. Tim Boswell)

Once again, those of us who served on the Committee—I admit that I spent only half of that time in the Committee——

Mr. Forth

It seemed longer.

Mr. Boswell

I am conscious that my hon. Friend had to carry most of the burden of the Committee. However, most hon. Members who served on it had to endure the Opposition complaining, whingeing, grumbling—grizzling would perhaps be an appropriate word—about the lack of time for consideration.

I know that there is always an element of ritual in guillotine debates, but it has been ritual with knobs on this afternoon. The Opposition case has no merit, and they have not advanced it with conviction. They have not carried the House with them.

The underlying problem for the Opposition is the deliberate confusion, which they have had to cover, between their synthetic indignation at the alleged curtailment—or orderly management—of debate on lines that, as my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) said, are well precedented by the actions of the last Labour Government, and their inability to prioritise the subjects for the debate.

Mr. Andrew Miller (Ellesmere Port and Neston)

Does the Minister think that people and groups such as the Cheshire dyslexia association are making synthetic arguments when they write to me expressing serious concern that issues that have come up in the Lords will not be dealt with here in proper time?

Mr. Boswell

We have provided a great deal of time for debate on the Bill. All the substantive issues have already been well rehearsed, and all the issues that have been debated this afternoon, save one, on which I shall touch —sex education—have been debated in Committee. I am satisfied that the Bill has been given full consideration.

Mr. Don Foster (Bath)

How many of the amendments that we shall be debating today does the Minister believe to be important and substantive?

Mr. Boswell

That is an absurd question, which is consistent with what we have heard before. Most of the amendments are purely technical and reflect consultation.

I shall now answer the debate. We face the usual dilemma for Governments, which is played on every time by the Opposition.

Mr. Walden

Does my hon. Friend agree that there is an extremely strong case for the guillotining of all Bills—a measure that has been discussed elsewhere, and with which both Labour and Conservative Members agree? What matters is what the time is used for. If the Opposition were not engaged in a Brezhnevite retreat against the whole concept of variety in our schools in the form of grant-maintained schools, we could have a wider and better debate, including a debate on sex. In the case of nursery education, I should be on the side of the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Mrs. Taylor). The problem of time, which has led to the guillotining of the Bill, is the result of the stubborn Brezhnevite tactics of the Opposition.

Mr. Boswell

As ever, I agree with much of what my hon. Friend and neighbour has said. Let me take up his point about an early guillotine. I take issue with the hon. Member for Knowsley, South (Mr. O'Hara), who seemed to be under the misapprehension that the Bill had been guillotined from Second Reading on. On behalf of my hon. Friends and those who served on the Committee, I can say only that many of us wished to God it had been. We went through the initial procedure and saw the long delays and waste of time.

The guts of the debate is simple. We are bent on the task of saving the Opposition from themselves. They are unable to prioritise their concerns or manage their time effectively or deploy their arguments. We must impose order on the structure of the debate. We are anxious to proceed with the debate and get on with the substantive issues——[Interruption.]

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. The behaviour of hon. Members at this point is not particularly good. It is certainly not an object lesson to any schoolchildren who may be watching.

Mr. Boswell

I hope that the House will note those strictures.

We wish to consider the issues. Only one new one—sex education—has been deployed this afternoon. The sooner that we get on the debate and stop continuing with the ritual, the better.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 288, Noes 222.

Division No. 338] [4.44 pm
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Clappison, James
Aitken, Jonathan Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)
Alexander, Richard Coe, Sebastian
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby) Colvin, Michael
Allason, Rupert (Torbay) Congdon, David
Amess, David Conway, Derek
Arbuthnot, James Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv) Cope, Rt Hon Sir John
Ashby, David Cormack, Patrick
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E) Couchman, James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Cran, James
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North) Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon)
Baldry, Tony Davies, Quentin (Stamford)
Banks, Matthew (Southport) Davis, David (Boothferry)
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Day, Stephen
Bates, Michael Deva, Nirj Joseph
Batiste, Spencer Devlin, Tim
Bendall, Vivian Dickens, Geoffrey
Beresford, Sir Paul Dicks, Terry
Bitten, Rt Hon John Dorrell, Stephen
Blackburn, Dr John G. Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Body, Sir Richard Dover, Den
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Duncan, Alan
Booth, Hartley Duncan-Smith, Iain
Boswell, Tim Dunn, Bob
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham) Durant, Sir Anthony
Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia Dykes, Hugh
Bowden, Andrew Eggar, Tim
Bowis, John Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)
Brandreth, Gyles Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)
Brazier, Julian Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)
Bright, Graham Evans, Roger (Monmouth)
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Evennett, David
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes) Faber, David
Browning, Mrs. Angela Fabricant, Michael
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Fenner, Dame Peggy
Budgen, Nicholas Fishburn, Dudley
Burns, Simon Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Burt, Alistair Forth, Eric
Butcher, John Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Butler, Peter Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)
Carlisle, John (Luton North) Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Freeman, Rt Hon Roger
Carrington, Matthew French, Douglas
Cash, William Fry, Peter
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Gale, Roger
Chapman, Sydney Gardiner, Sir George
Garel-Jones, Rt Hon Tristan Merchant, Piers
Garnier, Edward Milligan, Stephen
Gill, Christopher Mills, Iain
Gillan, Cheryl Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair Mitchell, Sir David (Hants NW)
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Moate, Sir Roger
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Monro, Sir Hector
Gorst, John Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Grant, Sir Anthony (Cambs SW) Moss, Malcolm
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Nelson, Anthony
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N) Neubert, Sir Michael
Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Hague, William Nicholls, Patrick
Hamilton, Rt Hon Archie (Epsom) Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Hampson, Dr Keith Norris, Steve
Hanley, Jeremy Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley
Hannam, Sir John Ottaway, Richard
Hargreaves, Andrew Page, Richard
Harris, David Paice, James
Haselhurst, Alan Patnick, Irvine
Hawkins, Nick Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Hawksley, Warren Pawsey, James
Hayes, Jerry Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Heald, Oliver Pickles, Eric
Hendry, Charles Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Hicks, Robert Porter, David (Waveney)
Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence L. Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Horam, John Powell, William (Corby)
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford) Rathbone, Tim
Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk) Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W) Richards, Rod
Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W) Riddick, Graham
Hunter, Andrew Rifkind, Rt Hon. Malcolm
Jack, Michael Robathan, Andrew
Jackson, Robert (Wantage) Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn
Jenkin, Bernard Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)
Jessel, Toby Robinson, Mark (Somerton)
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine Ryder, Rt Hon Richard
Key, Robert Sackville, Tom
Kilfedder, Sir James Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Kirkhope, Timothy Shaw, David (Dover)
Knapman, Roger Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash) Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Knight, Greg (Derby N) Shersby, Michael
Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n) Sims, Roger
Knox, Sir David Skeet, Sir Trevor
Kynoch, George (Kincardine) Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman Soames, Nicholas
Lawrence, Sir Ivan Speed, Sir Keith
Legg, Barry Spencer, Sir Derek
Leigh, Edward Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)
Lennox-Boyd, Mark Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe) Spink, Dr Robert
Lidington, David Spring, Richard
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Sproat, Iain
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Lord, Michael Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Luff, Peter Steen, Anthony
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Stephen, Michael
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Stern, Michael
MacKay, Andrew Stewart, Allan
Maclean, David Streeter, Gary
McLoughlin, Patrick Sumberg, David
McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick Sweeney, Walter
Madel, David Sykes, John
Maitland, Lady Olga Tapsell, Sir Peter
Malone, Gerald Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Mans, Keith Taylor, Rt Hon John D. (Strgfd)
Marland, Paul Taylor, John M. (Solihull)
Marlow, Tony Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Temple-Morris, Peter
Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel) Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Mates, Michael Thornton, Sir Malcolm
Mellor, Rt Hon David Thurnham, Peter
Townend, John (Bridlington) Wells, Bowen
Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th) Wheeler, Rt Hon Sir John
Tracey, Richard Whitney, Ray
Tredinnick, David Whittingdale, John
Trend, Michael Widdecombe, Ann
Trotter, Neville Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Twinn, Dr Ian Wilkinson, John
Vaughan, Sir Gerard Willetts, David
Viggers, Peter Wilshire, David
Waldegrave, Rt Hon William Wolfson, Mark
Walden, George Yeo, Tim
Waller, Gary Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Ward, John
Wardle, Charles (Bexhill) Tellers for the Ayes:
Waterson, Nigel Mr. David Lightbown and Mr. Tim Wood.
Watts, John
Abbott, Ms Diane Eagle, Ms Angela
Ainger, Nick Eastham, Ken
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Enright, Derek
Allen, Graham Etherington, Bill
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Evans, John (St Helens N)
Armstrong, Hilary Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Austin-Walker, John Fatchett, Derek
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Fisher, Mark
Barnes, Harry Flynn, Paul
Battle, John Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Bayley, Hugh Foster, Don (Bath)
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret Foulkes, George
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Fraser, John
Benton, Joe Fyfe, Maria
Betts, Clive Garrett, John
Blair, Tony George, Bruce
Blunkett, David Gerrard, Neil
Boateng, Paul Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Boyce, Jimmy Godman, Dr Norman A.
Bradley, Keith Godsiff, Roger
Bray, Dr Jeremy Golding, Mrs Llin
Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E) Gordon, Mildred
Burden, Richard Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Byers, Stephen Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Caborn, Richard Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Callaghan, Jim Grocott, Bruce
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Gunnell, John
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Hain, Peter
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Hall, Mike
Canavan, Dennis Hanson, David
Cann, Jamie Hardy, Peter
Chisholm, Malcolm Harman, Ms Harriet
Clapham, Michael Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Henderson, Doug
Clelland, David Heppell, John
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Coffey, Ann Hinchliffe, David
Connarty, Michael Hoey, Kate
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Hogg, Norman (Cumbernauld)
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Home Robertson, John
Corbett, Robin Hood, Jimmy
Corston, Ms Jean Hoon, Geoffrey
Cousins, Jim Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Cox, Tom Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Cryer, Bob Hoyle, Doug
Cummings, John Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE) Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Dafis, Cynog Hutton, John
Dalyell, Tam Illsley, Eric
Darling, Alistair Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)
Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral) Jamieson, David
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Janner, Greville
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Johnston, Sir Russell
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'l) Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side)
Dewar, Donald Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)
Dixon, Don Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)
Dobson, Frank Jowell, Tessa
Donohoe, Brian H. Kaufman. Rt Hon Gerald
Dowd, Jim Keen, Alan
Dunnachie, Jimmy Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn)
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Khabra, Piara S.
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil (Islwyn) Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E)
Leighton, Ron Prescott, John
Lestor, Joan (Eccles) Primarolo, Dawn
Lewis, Terry Purchase, Ken
Litherland, Robert Quin, Ms Joyce
Livingstone, Ken Reid, Dr John
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Robertson, George (Hamilton)
Loyden, Eddie Roche, Mrs. Barbara
Lynne, Ms Liz Rooker, Jeff
McAllion, John Rooney, Terry
McAvoy, Thomas Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
McCartney, Ian Rowlands, Ted
Macdonald, Calum Ruddock, Joan
McFall, John Sedgemore, Brian
Mackinlay, Andrew Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
McLeish, Henry Shore, Rt Hon Peter
McMaster, Gordon Short, Clare
McNamara, Kevin Skinner, Dennis
McWilliam, John Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Madden, Max Smith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
Mahon, Alice Smith, Rt Hon John (M'kl'ds E)
Mandelson, Peter Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Marek, Dr John Snape, Peter
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Spearing, Nigel
Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S) Steinberg, Gerry
Martin, Michael J. (Springburn) Stevenson, George
Martlew, Eric Stott, Roger
Meale, Alan Straw, Jack
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Milburn, Alan Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Miller, Andrew Tipping, Paddy
Morgan, Rhodri Turner, Dennis
Morley, Elliot Vaz, Keith
Morris, Rt Hon A. (Wy'nshawe) Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley) Walley, Joan
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Mowlam, Marjorie Wareing, Robert N
Mudie, George Watson, Mike
Mullin, Chris Wicks, Malcolm
Murphy, Paul Wigley, Dafydd
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
O'Brien, Michael (N W'kshire) Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
O'Brien, William (Normanton) Wilson, Brian
O'Hara, Edward Winnick, David
Olner, William Worthington, Tony
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Wright, Dr Tony
Patchett, Terry Young, David (Bolton SE)
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L. Tellers for the Noes:
Pope, Greg Mr. John Spellar and Mr. Peter Kilfoyle.
Powell, Ray (Ogmore)

Question accordingly agreed to.


That the Order of the House [15th December] be supplemented as follows: