§ Lords amendment: No. 4.
Mr. Deputy Speaker
With this we may take Lords amendments Nos. 43 and 73 and the Government motions to disagree thereto.
§ Mr. Ainsworth
We now come to the first serious test of whether the Conservatives are trying to do serious damage to the Bill, or whether they intend to support the measures needed to combat crime and remove its profits. I look forward to that.
This group of amendments returns us to a theme that will by now be familiar to the House—the question of mandatory versus discretionary confiscation procedures. It has been discussed at length in Committee in both Houses and on Report in another place; I refer the House to the Hansard reports for 4 December 2001, and 22 April and 25 June 2002.
It is not clear to us what the exact effect of this group of Opposition amendments would be—[Interruption.] The amendments would do serious damage, as I shall explain, and would reverse the direction in which policy in this area has been travelling for a long time, including under the guidance of Conservative Governments.
There are two schools of thought about what is being proposed. The first is that the amendments would give the courts the discretion not to mount a confiscation hearing at all. The second is that the amendments would require the court to confiscate the benefit from the defendant's particular criminal conduct, at the request of the director or the prosecutor, but would empower it not to confiscate the benefit of the defendant's general criminal conduct.
Either way, we are wholly opposed to these amendments. Replacing a mandatory procedure with a discretionary procedure would drive a coach and horses 485 through the basic policy in the Bill. The amendments would reverse a gradual historical development in the direction of an increasingly mandatory regime, not a less mandatory one.
Confiscation in England and Wales has always had a strong mandatory element. Under the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986 the court was required to make a confiscation order in every case. The assumptions procedure under the Act was discretionary, but was replaced with a mandatory assumptions procedure by the Criminal Justice Act 1993.
The non-drug confiscation legislation was originally discretionary—
§ Mr. Ainsworth
I shall give way to the right hon. and learned Gentleman in a moment.
That was changed, and the procedure was made mandatory by the Proceeds of Crime Act 1995.
To emphasise the direction in which policy has been travelling, and before I give way to the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg), I shall read what Lord Hurd, as he now is, said during the passage of the 1986 Act:the Crown court will in future be required to determine, in the case of every person convicted of a drug trafficking offence, whether he has benefited from drug trafficking and, if he has, to impose a confiscation order to deprive him of the entire proceeds of that trafficking … Therefore, we propose in clause 2 that courts should be able to assume that the whole of an offender's property, together with any assets which have passed through his hands in the previous five years, represent the proceeds of trafficking, except in so far as he shows otherwise."— [Official Report, 21 January 1986; Vol. 90, c. 243.]That shows the intention of the then Minister, way back in 1986.
§ 4 pm
§ Mr. Ainsworth
I shall give way to the right hon. and learned Gentleman in a moment, as I said I would.
Some six years later, in making amendments, the Minister said:During the six years in which the legislation has been in force, the courts have declined to apply the assumptions in a number of major cases, thereby placing the prosecution in the impossible position of being expected to prove matters in relation to the offender's property which are solely within his knowledge."— [0fficial Report, Standing Committee B, 8 June 1993; c. 76-77.]
That shows clearly—
§ Mr. Ainsworth
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is very impatient.
Those comments show clearly that the Conservative party recognised the need for a move towards a mandatory scheme. There is no evidence since that time of a huge abuse of power or of miscarriages of justice—quite the reverse. All the evidence shows that, despite such efforts, confiscation has been used a lot less than it ought to be. Given the problems that we face, there is therefore no 486 reason for us to start heading in the opposite direction by softening the regime rather than toughening it up, which, in effect, is what the amendment proposes.
§ Mr. Hogg
The Under-Secretary criticises the Opposition for championing a discretionary power. Would he be good enough to look at clause 6(3)(b)? On doing so, he will discover that his own Bill gives the court discretionary power. If the prosecutor or the director does not make an application to the court, it will be for the court to decide. That is a discretionary power.
§ Mr. Ainsworth
Exactly. We believe that the Bill as it stands contains sufficient safeguards to allow for the avoidance of injustices. Yes, it is for the prosecutor to decide whether it is appropriate to make an application, and if he thinks it inappropriate, he should not do so. Yes, in terms of the risk of a serious injustice, the court can effectively prevent an action from taking place. However, the existing mandatory system should continue, and should be toughened rather than loosened. We do not need to retreat from the direction in which we are travelling, given the continued existence of a very real problem.
Perhaps Opposition Members think that the impact of such legislation has been profound up to now, or perhaps they can give instances of its being so draconian that it has led to injustices. However, I have seen no such evidence, and nor has such evidence been presented to the House during the Bill's passage.
In effect, mandatory assumptions have been tested in court, so even if concerns exist about the Human Rights Act 1998 or the European convention on human rights, there is no particular reason why we should retreat from our current direction. In considering the mandatory application of assumptions in drug trafficking cases such as the Phillips v. United Kingdom case, which was decided on 5 July 2001, the Strasbourg court found that such applications are consistent with the convention. So I am not persuaded that there is a problem, or that the amendments would improve the Bill's effectiveness.
Without the amendments, the Bill gives a clear definition of a criminal lifestyle. When criminals commit offences, they will know exactly what they are exposing themselves to in confiscation terms. The amendments would remove certainty, turn confiscation hearings into a lottery, and reverse the trend towards a mandatory regime that has continued for some time under both Labour and Conservative Governments. I do not believe that there is any justification for the amendments; indeed, they would do considerable damage to the Bill. I therefore ask the House to oppose them.
§ Mr. Grieve
I am grateful to the Under-Secretary for his kind remarks. He pointed out that we sought to improve the Bill in Committee and on Report, and I note with great pleasure that many of the tabled Lords amendments have in fact arisen from discussions in Committee that involved all parties, and which the Government undertook to look into further. I am pleased to have this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Under-Secretary for taking those discussions on board.
However, on this matter I fear that there may be a continuing difference between us. In saying that, I should make clear my support for the Bill's confiscation provisions. Given that the Under-Secretary raised the 487 issue earlier, I should also point out that, as an Opposition, it is our job to scrutinise legislation. That process, which we hope will lead to the best possible legislation, comes to a conclusion when Royal Assent is given. We do not have to suspend our judgment or our debate and get into a happy-clappy, mutually self-congratulatory moment before that happens. I shall welcome the Bill when it receives Royal Assent, but until then I shall continue a dialogue with the Under-Secretary and other Government members on how to ensure that it is in the best possible condition.
We have indeed already discussed the question of whether there should be a discretionary or a mandatory component in initiating the confiscation procedure. As the Under-Secretary will remember, one intriguing point about the Bill was that, when it was first considered in Committee, it contained a discretionary regime for Scotland, but not for England and Wales. Apparently, that was due to an historical fact—but not one, I am bound to say, that appeared ever to have interfered whatsoever with the operation of previous Scottish legislation.
The Under-Secretary has gone on at some length this afternoon about the previous regime under previous legislation. I accept that, but the point is that that legislation was in no way as wide ranging and draconian in its powers and consequences as this Bill.
§ Mr. Tom Harris (Glasgow, Cathcart)
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, under the discretionary regime, a mere £750,000 of drug dealers' assets were confiscated in Scotland in the past year? That is an indictment of the discretionary regime.
§ Mr. Grieve
The hon. Gentleman asks me to comment on an individual decision, but I cannot do so. What is clear—the Under-Secretary and I agreed on this point in Committee, in the light of the evidence—is that earlier regimes showed signs of having started with massive confiscations, only for them to tail off rapidly. I suspect that that is far more a reflection of a lack of will on the part of those concerned rather than of a lack of means. If it was possible to make such confiscations when the system was introduced, I find it difficult to understand why it stopped being possible.
As the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Harris) may know, I was involved with drug trafficking cases in my professional capacity, and I remember that there were some successes on the regime's introduction. However, one problem was that orders for confiscation were being made that proved impossible to enforce. The orders were there, but as it turned out, the amounts that the courts estimated as capable of being confiscated were simply never found. I do not know whether that was because they were secreted away, or because they never existed in the first place. However, in my view they have nothing to do with the question of having a mandatory or a discretionary regime.
The discussion in the other place took place between extremely reasonable people, and I commend the reading of the report of the proceedings to the Minister and other hon. Members. What was envisaged was as small a final stopgap—to ensure that injustice did not occur—as could be devised, and that was the phrase "exceptional 488 circumstances". What might constitute exceptional circumstances? It appears that one could become liable to a confiscation order for acts that, as the Minister knows, any right-thinking person would be amazed to learn came within the legislation. One example is the conviction on several occasions for not having a rear light on a pedal cycle. That would not normally be the signal to scrutinise someone for signs of a criminal lifestyle.
However, it is because of such examples, and the absence of other safeguards—the Minister might wish to consider what other safeguards might be possible—that a residual right for a judge to stop the initiation of the process seems eminently sensible, and compatible with all our principles of justice and of common sense.
§ Mr. Grieve
My right hon. and learned Friend is right, and that very point was made by Lord Carlisle of Bucklow in the other place. He expressed astonishment that given that the court had the discretion to initiate the process—and the Minister seemed apologetic when he had to accept that that existed—it should not have a residual power to stop it. The Minister clearly envisages that a judge might on occasion—notwithstanding the fact that a prosecutor did not wish to initiate the confiscation process—consider the case and say, "This is outrageous. The interests of justice demand confiscation." He is content to give judges that power. That is why it is bizarre that he has such distrust of the same judges to whom he is prepared to give that power that he will not give them the discretion to say that circumstances do not warrant initiating the confiscation process. That is the point at issue between us.
In the other place, Lord Goldsmith said that the legislation would apply only to "inherently acquisitive offences". I am sure that that is the intention and I assume that, because prosecutors are people of integrity, good standing, benevolence and propriety, that is what will happen. However, the House must always have regard to the possibility that power may be abused. When we give power to bureaucrats, however well intentioned they appear, it is right to consider what safeguards we can introduce to ensure that abuse does not occur. The normal safeguard that a sensible Parliament introduces is a judicial discretion. I do not share the Minister's sudden distrust of judicial discretion, especially when, as in this case, it would be so circumscribed and limited.
The Minister claimed that the amendment would wreck the purpose of the Bill. We will consider some amendments later that pose real difficulties, and I acknowledge that, but in this case the Minister is descending—I regret to say—to the sort of comments that the Prime Minister made. I do not know whether the Prime Minister was programmed by his spin doctors to make those comments
§ Mr. Grieve
The hon. Gentleman appears to be so well programmed that he tried to raise the issue as a bogus point of order yesterday. I greatly regretted that. I hope that we can continue to have a sensible discussion about the issue, and I hope that the Minister will accept the 489 sincerity of our views. I am confident that the Bill would survive the amendment and operate perfectly, but it would do so with the safeguard that the amendment would provide against possible abuse.
§ Hugh Bayley (City of York)
I am concerned that the amendment could be used to give protection not only to people who fail to illuminate the rear light of their bicycles, but to people convicted of much more serious crimes. The Minister will be aware that I would like to see the confiscation and restraint orders applied to people charged with, or convicted of, the new offences of international bribery and corruption in the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. I have written to him on that point.
§ Hugh Bayley
The provision for confiscation applies only to those who are convicted, but the restraint orders can be applied at an earlier stage.
If a UK citizen or company obtains a contract abroad as result of bribery, it is a crime under British law. Therefore, the benefits of that crime—the income derived from the contract—are the proceeds of crime and should be subject to restraint at the point of charging, or confiscation on conviction. If the House decides to disagree with the Lords amendment, is it the Government's intention that the Bill should be used in that way against those either charged or convicted of the new offences of international bribery and corruption?
§ Mr. Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland)
Here we are again, going over well trodden ground. If the debate so far is any indication, it is not even very fertile ground. The words of the Minister filled me with sadness and disappointment in him. I had acquired tremendous respect for him in Committee, and on Report and Third Reading. To hear him describe the Lords amendment as a wrecking amendment beggars belief.
§ Mr. Carmichael
Simply repeating that untruth does not make it true. It is an exceptionally modest amendment that is limited to exceptional circumstances. It would not give a general power of discretion to the court. The discretion would also only be exercised in circumstances in which a trial of some sort had occurred and the judge or sheriff in question was already familiar with the circumstances. In the event that the discretion was abused in the way warned of by Labour Members, it would be open to the prosecutor to remedy that on appeal. What constitutes exceptional circumstances would be easily capable of judicial definition.
The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Harris) earlier intervened to criticise the discretionary regime that has existed hitherto in Scotland. He said that it produced only a few cases, but he did not make it clear that no case that has been subject to the discretionary scheme in Scotland has been refused. He risks misrepresenting the position, and misleading the House, when he suggests that 490 the discretionary system is the reason that few cases are brought in Scotland. He should consider instead the way in which the Crown Office has traditionally been structured and how it has operated, and the resources devoted to that office and to the police. He would improve the debate immensely if he concentrated on such matters instead of trying to misrepresent the current position.
Regrettably, a recurring theme in the discussion of this Bill has been the fact that the Government have said that they will not trust the judges. That is very depressing, if true. Why have the Government said that? I accept that there are faults with the judiciary, but the proposals in the Bill are not the way to tackle the problems. They would be better addressed by looking at the way in which judges are appointed, and at how people who are not members of the Faculty of Advocates can work in the Court of Session as senators of the College of Justice. We should also bear in mind the people who are entering university to study law and begin the journey to judicial appointment. Picking away piecemeal at judicial discretion is no substitute for a proper and comprehensive overhaul.
The Government may say that a degree of discretion is given already to the prosecutor in Scotland and to the director in England. I remind the House that both are arms of the Executive. Any discretion given to the Executive requires that a counter-balancing discretion be given to the judiciary. Power exercised by the Executive is always open to abuse. If proceedings are raised that are oppressive—and I defy the Minister to say that that cannot happen—it is surely vital that some balancing discretion is given to the judiciary to redress the matter.
§ Rob Marris (Wolverhampton, South-West)
I note with interest what the hon. Gentleman has said about placing checks and balances on the power of the Executive, but is not judicial review precisely that? It is designed to redress any irrational or unreasonable exercise of discretion by the Executive.
§ Mr. Carmichael
My understanding is that the decision could not be reviewed. In Scotland, the decision to initiate proceedings would not be open to judicial review. However, I welcome the hon. Gentleman's suggestion that it is important that the judiciary should be able to place a check on the powers exercised by the forces of the state.
If the Government reject the Lords amendments, a dangerous precedent will be set. The powers given to the different parts of the criminal justice system will be out of balance. My experience is that the system works best when people concentrate on their own jobs and do not try to second guess what others are going to do. Each part of the system must exercise an appropriate and responsible measure of power, but the power has to be given in the first place, and that is what the amendment would do.
§ Mr. Davidson
This is a key debate on a key amendment. For the first time, the Tories are boldly attempting to water down some of the Bill's proposals. They endorse the Lords amendment, the effect of which would be to allow some criminals to keep their assets, who otherwise would have those assets seized.
§ Mr. Grieve
The amendment would do no such thing. Its purpose is to ensure that proceedings are not brought 491 against people who have no assets that could be seized, and that they are not put through the process in the first place.
§ Mr. Davidson
I accept what my hon. Friend the Minister said—that the Bill already contains enough safeguards to make sure that that did not happen. I shall say more about the danger posed by the amendment in a moment.
We should remember that this is not an arcane or abstruse debate between lawyers. We are discussing how our decisions affect real people in the real community outside the House. We are talking about crime and drug abuse, about people making millions out of selling drugs to their victims, and about communities and lives being wrecked. We must make sure that that is at the forefront of our minds.
It struck me that Conservative Members were protesting somewhat too much about their good intentions. It is clear that, as so often, the words of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister struck them to the heart. What he said was absolutely true—and I am not slow to criticise my right hon. Friend when he disagrees with me and gets things wrong. However, what he said on this matter was absolutely correct, and I enjoyed seeing the Tories squirm.
We were not far short of the mark when we described the Tories as the criminals' friends. They have consistently acted to water down the Bill, in a way that would allow some people to escape justice who otherwise would not. The only people in the Standing Committee less supportive of the police and criminal authorities were the nationalists, and that was because they did not attend, as they did not apply for membership of the Committee. Liberal Democrat, Tory and Labour Members were there for hours and hours, week after week, but not one nationalist took part.
§ Annabelle Ewing
I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way. He is probably not surprised that I should want to intervene on this fascinating matter, on which I think he is wasting the House's precious time. The hon. Gentleman should note that only three Labour Back Benchers from Scotland are participating in this important debate.
Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I have heard equal views on this matter, which is outside the scope of the amendment.
§ Mr. Davidson
Having noted the absence of nationalists from the Standing Committee, I shall not refer to it again in this contribution.
There is a difference between mandatory and discretionary powers, and there is a danger that giving courts the discretion to apply the measures set out in the Bill will result in something resembling a plea-bargaining process. A recent murder case in my constituency was downgraded to culpable homicide, and it is clear that that 492 was part of a plea-bargaining process. Giving courts the discretion proposed in the amendment would lead to plea bargaining about whether sanctions such as confiscation should be applied.
I do not want that to happen. It is true that some of us have less confidence than we should have in the judicial system, and that we want to restrict the judiciary's flexibility in these matters.
I listened to the points made by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Carmichael) about reform of the judicial system, university admissions and all the rest of it—the doctrine of the unripe time: we should not change the system now; we should do it at some other time in some other way. Discussing access to university law studies as a means of reforming the judiciary seems too long term, even for the Liberals. We might have a Liberal Government in power by that time, but I doubt it. My constituents and I want action now on these matters. The clearest message that we can send is that we want to fetter the discretion of the judiciary; we want mandatory provisions.
§ Mr. Carmichael
I take the hon. Gentleman back to the parallel that he drew with plea bargaining. That has no bearing on the judiciary having a measure of discretion. Under the Bill, it is open to the prosecutor to decide not to take confiscation proceedings. That is where any plea bargaining between the prosecutor and the defence would come in. There is no safeguard against that, as the Bill stands.
§ Mr. Davidson
I understand that, but we ought not to remove all discretion from the prosecutor. There is some merit in what the hon. Gentleman says, but I do not want to extend the discretion, lest it waters down the mandatory aspect.
This is not an arcane debate about the law. It is about how the law impacts on real people, real lives and real communities, which we are sent to this place to represent. We are talking not about Jeffrey Archer or Jonathan Aitken, but about major league criminals. [Interruption.] All right, I concede that former Conservative Members were in a more major league than I have given them credit for.
We can discuss whether the terms of the Bill should have applied to Jeffrey Archer, Jonathan Aitken or any other Conservative MP, present or future, who comes into that category, but we should bear in mind that we are dealing with major issues—life and death for our communities. I should like to see some stiffening and some support for the Bill from the Conservative Benches, rather than the mealy-mouthed self-justification that we have heard up to now.
§ Mr. Hogg
I rise to try to ensure that the House addresses the real possibility of an injustice. Unlike, I suspect, any other Member, I have been involved in litigation arising out of legislation such as the Bill. In the Republic of Ireland, the Criminal Assets Bureau legislation contains powers very similar to those contemplated in the Bill, and I have acted in the courts of Dublin on behalf of people who have been the subject of procedures against them, so I have a certain amount of professional experience of what can happen in such cases. 493 That makes me cautious and anxious to identify areas where we can reinforce legal and civil rights. We should welcome the amendment from the other place. The Under-Secretary said that there were two interpretations of the effect of the amendment. The second one might be theoretically possible, but the first one is clearly the intended one, which is to give to the court the power to disapply the procedure in a limited number of circumstances.
§ Mr. Hogg
That is true, as far as it goes.
I am in favour of giving the court the power to disapply the process. That is consistent with the framework of this part of the Bill. A careful analysis of clause 6 indicates that there are two areas in which the court already has an important discretion. The first is the one that I drew to the attention of the Under-Secretary.
The initiating process provided under, I think, clause 6(3) arises in one of two circumstances. Either the Crown or the prosecutor applies for the process to start, or the Crown or the prosecutor does not and the court has an initiating power. At that point, the court has a discretion.
But the court has a discretion otherwise in this part of the Bill. Under clause 6(6), in certain circumstances—for example, if a victim is taking recovery procedure—the obligation to take action under subsection (5) becomes not a duty, but a discretion. So already, within this part of the Bill, one finds two clear examples where the court has a discretion.
If it be right to provide the court a discretion in the two circumstances that the Bill provides, what is the objection in principle to providing the court with a discretion in those circumstances where the Crown or the prosecutor applies to institute the process, but the court, for one reason or another, thinks it unfair to proceed?
There are two points that reinforce in my mind the importance of that. Let us be clear that the decision of the Crown or the prosecutor to initiate the process might well be made at a very junior level. The House must not assume that such decisions will be made by the Director of Public Prosecutions in person, Mr. Calvert-Smith. They will not. They will probably be made by a relatively junior official. It is important that the court should have the power to put restrictions on a decision made at a fairly junior level, if the court considers that appropriate.
The second point is that the process that arrives at the conclusion that a confiscation order is made is on the low standard of proof—the civil standard of proof, not the criminal standard of proof.
§ Mr. Tom Harris
The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that a court should he able to decide "for one reason or another" not to proceed. That phrase strikes fear and terror into my heart and it is one of the reasons that the amendment is wrong.
§ Mr. Hogg
In fact, I was advocating a looser power than that provided for in the Lords amendment. The Lords amendment confines the judicial discretion to exceptional 494 circumstances. I have many criticisms to make of the judiciary from time to time; none the less, in this case I would give the judiciary a wider discretion than that contemplated in the Lords amendment.
§ Mr. Bob Ainsworth
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is right to say that he has a great deal of experience in practising in the courts. He has another kind of experience as well: he was a member of the previous Government in various capacities. It is perturbing that it has been said that the present Government fear the discretion of the judges. The right hon. and learned Gentleman will know that mandatory assumptions were applied not by this Government, but a long time ago. Can he can give us an insight into why it was considered necessary for those mandatory assumptions to be applied by the Government of which he was a member some years ago? Can he, because of his wide experience, give us any indication where an injustice has occurred since those mandatory assumptions have been in place?
§ Mr. Hogg
Basically, I am against mandatory sentences. Yesterday, I put to the Home Secretary a proposal that judges in murder cases should have the right to impose determinate sentences, not life sentences. I have always been extremely cautious about mandatory sentences, because I believe that they do not address the particular circumstances of individual cases.
That general point, however, goes rather outwith the narrow point that I am making today, which is that in an area where the standard of proof is the relatively low one, and where the decision to trigger the process can be made at a relatively low level, the court should, in exceptional circumstances, have a power to stop the procedure. That seems to be consistent, not inconsistent, with the present framework of clause 6, and I very much hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) will press this matter to a Division.
§ Mr. Tom Harris
I start by disagreeing with my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Pollok (Mr. Davidson). I do not believe that the hon. Members for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) or for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Carmichael) can be described as friends of the criminal. I accept that, coming from legal backgrounds, they genuinely want to improve the Bill. I do not doubt their personal sincerity on that score.
When the hon. Member for Beaconsfield intervened on my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Pollok, he used the word "intention". He has used that word frequently in the House and in Committee. He has made clear his intention time and again in supporting various amendments, but he has not explained the effect of the amendments. I accept that his intentions are true, but he has to accept, whether he likes it or not, that the effect of the Lords amendment will be to undermine the purpose of the Bill.
§ Mr. Grieve
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his comments, but the intention of the Lords amendment is to introduce a safeguard that I would expect to be used extremely rarely and only in clear cases where it is apparent to the judge that a decision by the prosecutor to seek to initiate proceedings is plainly wrong. and that is it. That is the intention.
§ Mr. Harris
The hon. Gentleman has, once again, proved my point. I accept that that is his intention. 495 We agree on that, but I have to disagree about the effect, which will be to follow the path of previous legislation by being far too cautious and not achieving the intended aim.
The right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr. Duncan Smith) said yesterday in talking about the Bill:we supported that legislation … we voted in favour of the confiscation of assets from criminals, particularly drug dealers."— [Official Report, 17 July 2002; Vol. 389, c. 279.1Why was there not an asterisk at that point in Hansard, leading to a footnote saying, "Subject to the following conditions"? There is no point in saying one thing and doing another.
§ Mr. Hawkins
When Members say that they support legislation, it does not mean that they support every dot and comma in the Government's proposals. If the Conservative party did not vote against a Bill on Second Reading, Third Reading or in another place, but simply wished to scrutinise it, to improve it and propose amendments that affected only small parts of it, it is entirely right for my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr. Duncan Smith) to say that we supported it. That has always been the practice of the House in such matters.
§ Mr. Harris
The hon. Gentleman obviously has a lot more experience in the House than I do. I bow to his greater experience, but I find it slightly unfair that the Conservative party can say, "Yes, of course we support the Bill. We believe in confiscating criminals' assets", and issue a press release saying as much, while in Committee voting time and again against the very heart of the Bill. Conservative Members tabled many amendments, and on every possible occasion they forced a vote on any measure to emasculate the Bill.
The hon. Gentleman may or may not admit this, but the original point of the Bill was not to emulate previous legislation, but to introduce a brand new principle into English and Scots law. So, whether he likes it or not, discretion, which is what we need, will be available to courts. He has every right to disagree with that view, but that is what the Bill is about. He cannot say that he supports it, and then try to undermine the very heart of it.
In Committee, the Conservative party moved a very similar amendment to clause 6, and it was pressed to a Division. The amendment has returned from the Lords in a slightly different form, but it will achieve the same. The Conservative party has lost the vote once already, and it should respect the democracy of the House and accept that we have already made up our minds. I hope that it will not press this issue to the vote.
§ Mr. Boris Johnson (Henley)
Can the hon. Gentleman imagine a single circumstance in which a judge who sees a low-life drug dealer of the kind described by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Pollok (Mr. Davidson) and who has the opportunity to confiscate the assets of that criminal might decide not to proceed to do so unless he felt that an injustice might occur?
§ Mr. Harris
That is an excellent question, and the answer is no. I cannot imagine any judge looking at a 496 down-and-out drug dealer from Glasgow and saying, "No, I'm not going to confiscate your assets." What I can imagine is a judge seeing a well-to-do business man standing before him in the dock and suddenly thinking, "There is a respectable gent. Surely he can't possibly be involved in drugs."That is the point of the Bill. I am sorry, but the hon. Gentleman has to do a wee bit better than that if he is to justify his party's position.
§ Ian Lucas
Can my hon. Friend also imagine that an exceptional body of case law would develop on what precisely could be defined as exceptional circumstances? There would be many cases of doubt about that phrase, and many people who made money from death in their communities would benefit from the Lords amendment.
§ Mr. Harris
I completely agree with my hon. Friend, who also has a legal background, although I certainly would not hold that against him. The point about the phrase "exceptional circumstances" is very similar to the point made by the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg). How can we define that phrase, other than through many years of legislation? Certain people in our society hope that that phrase will be inserted into the Bill. Let us make no mistake about the fact that certain people working in this country's criminal undergrowth are desperate for the Lord amendments to remain in the Bill.
The hon. Member for Beaconsfield made a very good point during our very interesting debates in Committee. He said that previous Governments—Conservative and Labour—had tried time and again to introduce effective legislation to deal with drug dealers once and for all. Obviously, they wanted to use such legislation to fight the drugs menace. He said in his contribution that none of the Acts had been as effective as the Government of the day had intended. He was absolutely right. If the Lords amendment stays in the Bill, exactly that fate will befall this legislation.
Frankly, having been involved in 39 Standing Committee sittings, I will not suddenly change my mind and want the Bill to be enacted without the powers to do what desperately needs to be done for the sake of this country, my constituency, those of my hon. Friends and, I hope, those of Opposition Members.
§ Annabelle Ewing
I rise to speak to these Lords amendments in so far as they apply to Scotland. I believe that an important constitutional issue is raised because, as we have heard, the Lords amendment would reintroduce an element of discretion in making confiscation orders in Scotland. Although there is a valid debate to be had about mandatory versus discretionary powers of sheriff or High Court judge in making such confiscation orders, the fact is that Westminster is not the appropriate forum in which to discuss that matter because jurisdiction over Scots law is devolved to the Scots Parliament.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scotland Office (Mrs. Anne McGuire)
Will the hon. Lady give way?
§ Annabelle Ewing
May I continue for a moment; I shall give way later. 497 The Scots Parliament voted to refer the Bill to Westminster under a Sewel motion on 24 October last year. The Scottish National party supported that move, but if one reads the report of the debate in the Scots Parliament
§ Annabelle Ewing
I shall give way in a moment.
The key point is that the Bill has undergone substantial and major changes in relation to its provisions that are applicable to Scotland. In particular, the original Bill did not propose any amendment to the current and traditional discretionary powers of the sheriff or High Court judge. Even the right hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes), the then Minister in the Scotland Office, speaking to the Scottish Affairs Committee on 7 November last year, agreed that there would be a political imperative to refer the Bill back were there substantial or major changes. Unfortunately, the then Minister seems subsequently to have changed his view. When the SNP group called a Division on Report on an amendment that would have secured the referral of part 3 of the Bill—which includes this grouping of amendments—back to the Scots Parliament, although we managed to gain support from all parties in the House amounting to 172 votes, we received no votes whatever from new Labour Members.
§ Mrs. McGuire
Will the hon. Lady please explain the inconsistency in her argument given that the Scottish Parliament gave the power under the Sewel motion to legislate in this area? As far as I and, I am sure, every Member of the House is aware, it has not asked for that Bill to be sent back. It must be happy with what is happening.
§ Annabelle Ewing
I fear that the Under-Secretary has not been listening to what I said. The key point is that a substantial change has been made to the Bill. The right hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley agreed that there would be a political imperative to refer the Bill back to the Scottish Parliament if there had been substantial changes to it. Perhaps the Under-Secretary does not agree with the right hon. Gentleman.
Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. We cannot have a substantive debate on this matter. I was prepared to allow the hon. Lady to refer to it as a prologue to anything that she might wish to say about the substance of the amendment. The question of whether it is a proper matter for the House, however, has already been decided.
§ Annabelle Ewing
I thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I will be guided by your remarks.
I want to conclude by stating that I support the Bill. It is a very important piece of legislation. I supported it on Third Reading, and it is clear that it will go a great way 498 to deal with the evil of drugs barons who are a blight on communities the length and breadth of Scotland. My support has not changed, but I feel that the spirit and the provisions of the Scotland Act 1998 should none the less be respected.
§ Rev. Martin Smyth
I support the Bill, and I am very glad to see it moving forward, but some of the extravagant language that has been used, both for and against the Bill, has left me wondering. The heart of the Bill would be torpedoed. I do not believe that the effects would even be of the order of the injury to David Beckham's foot, and he recovered in time for the World cup.
We must be realistic. When the Minister referred to mandatory provisions to avoid plea bargaining, my mind went back to the early 1970s when the then Northern Ireland Government set a mandatory six-month sentence for those who were involved in disorderly behaviour. A young man walking down the Antrim road, whistling, suddenly discovered that he was in a riot situation. He was scooped up, brought before the magistrates court, and a charge of drunk and disorderly was read out, at which point, he was asked, "How do you plead?" He replied, "Not guilty, I don't drink." The solicitor asked whether he could approach his client. He came over to the young man, and said, "I can get you off on drunk and disorderly. A six-month sentence is mandatory for disorderly behaviour." The young man got off, but he now has a record of being drunk and disorderly.
My point is that I started out as sympathetic to the position manifested in the Bill. I have come to wonder, however, whether we are losing the thread of the argument because we are introducing aspects that are wrong. At least an understanding should be given that the court might make a judgment, in the light of the evidence in front of it, as to whether, at that stage, to proceed accordingly.
§ Mr. Bob Ainsworth
We may have got off to a had start in this debate. The Opposition are clearly so upset at the allegations made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister that, subsequently, they are desperate to suggest that the amendment is of no significance. I do not believe that it is; and I do not believe that the records shows that. It is an issue, as some of my hon. Friends have said, that caused considerable lively debate in Committee. No matter how much anybody tries to dress it up, the Lords amendment is of great significance. It moves us back in the direction of a discretionary scheme in which more discretion is granted to the courts in relation to whether they ought to get into the area of confiscation.
I asked a couple of questions of the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg). Those who listened will recognise that I received an answer to neither of them. I asked him whether he could shed some light on why the previous Government, of whom he was a part, felt that there was a need to introduce mandatory powers in this regard.
§ Mr. Ainsworth
I shall do so in a minute, when I have completed referring to the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I also asked him, based on his considerable experience, which I do not have, whether he has any 499 knowledge of any great injustice that has occurred since that date—he has great knowledge of what happens in the courts, and I am sure that he has contacts who would tell him. Again, I received no answer. Mandatory powers in this regard were introduced by the last Government about 10 years ago, as I described. I received an answer to neither of my questions, and I wonder why.
§ Mr. Hogg
In fact, I did give the Under-Secretary an answer. The answer is that I am against mandatory powers, and I always have been. I illustrated that by saying to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, yesterday, that the mandatory life sentence for murder should be done away with, and that judges should be given the option of imposing a determinate sentence. I am against mandatory sentences.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is absolutely right. He did say that, and I heard him say it, but it was not an answer to the question that. I asked. He knows that. I asked him whether he could shed any light on the decision that was taken. All I have to refer to is Hansard, which I have read to the House. The Minister, who is now in another place, referred to the fact that, over the previous six years, the courts had not been prepared to use confiscation as was envisaged, and that there was a need to go down the mandatory route. All I have to refer to is the public position of the Government; the right hon. and learned Gentleman has the inside story. He could give us an insight into why it was felt that a mandatory route should be followed. He has not done so; he has chosen to answer another question.
§ Mr. Ainsworth
Many other Members—one of whom is trying to intervene now—have experience of practising in the courts. I do not know how long the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Carmichael) has practised in the courts, but he and others could give us examples of how the mandatory nature of confiscation has led to the kind of injustices that people are saying will arise now. I have not heard such an example. What I have said consistently in Committee and on the Floor of the House is that all the evidence suggests that confiscation is under-used in this country. The powers need to be improved and built on; they do not need to be retreated from. If the hon. Gentleman can give an example of an injustice having occurred, we would all be grateful to listen to it.
§ 5 pm
§ Mr. Carmichael
The Minister is well aware that whenever power is given to the Executive, that power is open to abuse. It is therefore necessary to provide protections so that that does not happening. However, does it not cause him even the merest flicker of embarrassment to stand at the Dispatch Box as a Labour Minister justifying his Government's actions by saying, "We're doing exactly the same thing as the Tories"?
§ Mr. Ainsworth
Despite the fact that the hon. Gentleman has experience in the court, once again my 500 question was not answered in the affirmative or the negative. He could give no example of any injustice to show that there is a problem.
§ Mr. Ainsworth
The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland is entitled to bring his knowledge and experience to the debate. He asks whether I am embarrassed that the Bill is based on legislation introduced by a Conservative Government. If he reads the relevant Hansard, he will find that my party supported confiscation. The difference is that we are trying to be effective.
I told the hon. Gentleman in Committee that I had hoped that we would be able to climb over the politics. We cannot allow more than a generation of British people to go without effective measures against the profits of crime. If we fail to deliver, we will cause disquiet about our ability to do what they know needs to be done. I had hoped that hon. Members would join us in trying to be effective.
§ Vera Baird (Redcar)
Is not the argument just an invention by the Opposition? The director is a public authority. He will have to act in all respects in ways that are compatible with the Human Rights Act 1998 and all convention rights on the ownership of property and fair trials. If he does not, the victim could bring a freestanding course of action. Their argument is utter nonsense.
§ Mr. Ainsworth
My hon. and learned Friend brings considerable expertise to the debate and she is absolutely right. Opposition Members know that the safeguards are in place.
The hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) suggested that previous regimes were more draconian and less broad. He is right in the latter regard. However, on whether they are more draconian, I read out Hansard from 1986 in which it is stated that the assets of an individualthat have passed through his hands in the previous five years, represent the proceeds ofcrimeexcept in so far as he shows otherwise."— [Official Report, 21 January 1986; Vol. 90, c. 243-44.]That hardly indicates that we are introducing something that is intended to be less draconian. We supported the proposition at the time. We support it now. We want to be effective. All parties thought at the time that the measure was needed.
§ Mr. Grieve
I agree with the Minister. I think he accepts that the breadth of the scope of the legislation means that it is possible to attach confiscation proceedings to individuals who have committed crimes that were not contemplated in earlier legislation which an ordinary person, looking in from the outside, would not necessarily have associated with money laundering or the possession of criminal assets. That is why we think that the extra safeguard is sensible. The Minister may also agree that if there is a power of judicial review, it might be sensible to allow the judge who decides the matter to carry out the review himself.
§ Mr. Ainsworth
The Lords amendments reintroduce the concept of discretion. We could never be certain how 501 that would be used because courts would apply it differently. The hon. Gentleman's party did not support that idea when it was in government. We do not support it now. The system incorporates safeguard that can be relied on. Confiscation hearings are instigated only by the court itself or on the application of the director, the agency or the prosecuting authorities. The director and the prosecuting authorities are under a duty to act reasonably and will not mount hearings for inappropriate cases.
Furthermore, the court has the power in criminal lifestyle cases not to make the assumptions if there is a serious risk of injustice. The only valid arguments that I have heard relate to events that would constitute a serious risk of injustice. The safeguards are in place. Opposition Members know that. There is no need to return to the idea of discretion, with all the inconsistencies and uncertainties that it implies.
§ Mr. Boris Johnson
Why might a judge choose to exercise his discretion against confiscating assets unless he thought that there was a serious risk of injustice? Can the Minister give any substantive reasons why a judge might so act?
§ Mr. Ainsworth
I do not believe that it is necessary to go backwards. Quite the reverse. We have a serious problem with organised crime which is built largely around drugs. The hon. Gentleman knows that and it is widely recognised by all hon. Members. This is not the time to go backwards and water down proposals.
Safeguards are available to cover serious injustices. We do not need more safeguards. If hon. Members want to be effective against drug dealers and organised crime they will support us in the Lobby to reject the Lords amendments.
§ Question put, That this House disagrees with the Lords in the said amendment:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 260, Noes 149.
|Division No. 312]||[5.6 pm|
|Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)||Brennan, Kevin|
|Alexander, Douglas||Brown, Rt Hon Nicholas|
|Allen, Graham||(Newcastle E & Wallsend)|
|Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)||Buck, Ms Karen|
|Atherton. Ms Candy||Burden, Richard|
|Atkins, Charlotte||Burnham, Andy|
|Bailey, Adrian||Cairns, David|
|Baird, Vera||Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)|
|Barnes, Harry||Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)|
|Bayley, Hugh||Caplin, Ivor|
|Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret||Casale, Roger|
|Begg, Miss Anne||Caton, Martin|
|Beggs, Roy||Challen, Colin|
|Bell, Stuart||Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)|
|Benn, Hilary||Chaytor, David|
|Bennett, Andrew||Clapham, Michael|
|Benton, Joe||Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)|
|Best, Harold||Clark, Dr Lynda|
|Betts, Clive||(Edinburgh Pentlands)|
|Blackman, Liz||Clarke, At Hon Tom (Coatbridge)|
|Blizzard, Bob||Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)|
|Blunkett, Rt Hon David||Clwyd, Ann|
|Borrow, David||Coffey, Ms Ann|
|Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)||Cohen, Harry|
|Bradshaw, Ben||Coleman, lain|
|Colman, Tony||Joyce, Eric|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton N)||Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)|
|Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)||Keen, Ann (Brentford & lsleworth)|
|Cooper, Yvette||Khabra, Piara S|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||kidney, David|
|Corston, Jean||Kilfoyle, Peter|
|Cousins, Jim||King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)|
|Cranston, Ross||Knight, Jim (S Dorset)|
|Crausby, David||Kumar, Dr Ashok|
|Cruddas, Jon||Lammy, David|
|Cryer, John (Hornchurch)||Lawrence, Mrs Jackie|
|Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)||Laxton, Bob|
|Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)||Lazarowicz, Mark|
|David, Wayne||Lepper, David|
|Davidson, Ian||Linton, Martin|
|Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)||Love, Andrew|
|Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)||Lucas, Ian|
|Davis, Rt Hon Terry||Luke, lain|
|(B'ham Hodge H)||Lyons, John|
|Dawson, Hilton||McAvoy, Thomas|
|Dean, Mrs Janet||McCabe, Stephen|
|Denham, Rt Hon John||McCafferty, Chris|
|Dismore, Andrew||McDonagh, Siobhain|
|Dobbin, Jim||McFall, John|
|Dodds, Nigel||McGuire, Mrs Anne|
|Donohoe, Brian H||McIsaac, Shona|
|Doran, Frank||McKechin, Ann|
|Dowd, Jim||McKenna, Rosemary|
|Drown, Ms Julia||MacShane, Denis|
|Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)||McWalter, Tony|
|Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)||Mallaber, Judy|
|Efford, Clive||Mann, John|
|Ennis, Jeff||Marris, Rob|
|Farrelly, Paul||Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)|
|Field, Rt Hon Frank (Birkenhead)||Marshall, David (Shettleston)|
|Fisher, Mark||Martlew, Eric|
|Fitzpatrick, Jim||Meacher, Rt Hon Michael|
|Flint, Caroline||Merron, Gillian|
|Flynn, Paul||Michael, Rt Hon Alun|
|Follett, Barbara||Miliband, David|
|Foster, Rt Hon Derek||Miller, Andrew|
|Foster, Michael (Worcester)||Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)|
|Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)||Moffatt, Laura|
|Francis, Dr Hywel||Mole, Chris|
|Gapes, Mike||Morgan, Julie|
|Gardiner, Barry||Morley, Elliot|
|Gerrard, Neil||Mountford, Kali|
|Gilroy, Linda||Mudie, George|
|Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)||Mullin, Chris|
|Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)||Munn, Ms Meg|
|Grogan, John||Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)|
|Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)||Naysmith, Dr Doug|
|Hamilton, David (Midlothian)||Norris, Dan|
|Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)||O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)|
|Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)||O'Hara, Edward|
|Havard, Dai||Olner, Bill|
|Hendrick, Mark||O'Neill, Martin|
|Heppell, John||Organ, Diana|
|Hesford, Stephen||Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)|
|Hill, Keith||Owen, Albert|
|Hodge, Margaret||Palmer, Dr Nick|
|Hoey, Kate||Pearson, Ian|
|Hopkins, Kelvin||Perham, Linda|
|Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)||Picking, Anne|
|Hughes, Beverley (Stretford)||Pike, Peter|
|Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)||Plaskitt, James|
|Hutton, Rt Hon John||Pond, Chris|
|Iddon, Dr Brian||Pound, Stephen|
|Illsley, Eric||Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)|
|Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead)||Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)|
|Jenkins, Brian||Primarolo, Dawn|
|Jones, Helen (Wamngton N)||Prosser, Gwyn|
|Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)||Purchase, Ken|
|Jones, Kevan (N Durham)||Quin Rt Hon Joyce|
|Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)||Quinn, Lawrie|
|Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)||Rammell, Bill|
|Rapson, Syd||Timms, Stephen|
|Reed, Andy (Loughborough)||Tipping, Paddy|
|Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)||Todd, Mark|
|Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)||Touhig, Don|
|Ross. Ernie||Trickett, Jon|
|Roy, Frank||Truswell, Paul|
|Ruddock, Joan||Tumer, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)|
|Ryan, Joan||Tumer, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)|
|Salter, Martin||Tumer, Neil (Wigan)|
|Savidge, Malcolm||Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)|
|Sedgemore, Brian||Tynan, Bill|
|Shaw, Jonathan||Vaz, Keith|
|Sheridan, Jim||Vis, Dr Rudi|
|Simon, Siôn||Ward, Claire|
|Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)||Wareing, Robert N|
|Skinner, Dennis||Watson, Tom|
|Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)||Watts, David|
|Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)||White, Brian|
|Smith, John (Glamorgan)||Wicks, Malcolm|
|Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)||Winnick, David|
|Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)||Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)|
|Spellar, Rt Hon John||Wood, Mike|
|Squire, Rachel||Woodward, Shaun|
|Steinberg, Gerry||Worthington, Tony|
|Stewart, Ian (Eccles)||Wray, James|
|Stinchcombe, Paul||Wright, David (Telford)|
|Stoate, Dr Howard||Wright, Tony (Cannock)|
|Sutcliffe, Gerry||Wyatt, Derek|
|Taylor, Rt Hon Ann (Dewsbury)|
|Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)||Mr. Nick Ainger and|
|Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)||Derk Twigg.|
|Amess, David||Djanogly, Jonathan|
|Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James||Doughty, Sue|
|Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)||Duncan, Peter (Galloway)|
|Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)||Evans, Nigel|
|Bacon, Richard||Fallon, Michael|
|Baker, Norman||Field, Mark (Cities of London)|
|Baldry, Tony||Flight, Howard|
|Barker, Gregory||Forth, Rt Hon Eric|
|Barrett, John||Foster, Don (Bath)|
|Beith, Rt Hon A J||Fox, Dr Liam|
|Bercow, John||Francois, Mark|
|Beresford, Sir Paul||Garnier, Edward|
|Boswell, Tim||Gibb, Nick|
|Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)||Gidley, Sandra|
|Brady, Graham||Gillan, Mrs Cheryl|
|Brake, Tom||Goodman, Paul|
|Brazier, Julian||Gray, James|
|Brooke, Mrs Annette L||Grayling, Chris|
|Browning, Mrs Angela||Green, Damian (Ashford)|
|Bruce, Malcolm||Grieve, Dominic|
|Burnett, John||Hammond, Philip|
|Butterfill, John||Hancock, Mike|
|Cameron, David||Harris, Dr Evan (Oxford W)|
|Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies||Hawkins, Nick|
|(NE Fife)||Heath, David|
|Carmichael, Alistair||Heathcoat—Amory, Rt Hon David|
|Cash, William||Hendry, Charles|
|Chapman, Sir Sydney||Hoban, Mark|
|(Chipping Barnet)||Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas|
|Chidgey, David||Holmes, Paul|
|Chope, Christopher||Horam, John|
|Clappison, James||Howard, Rt Hon Michael|
|Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth||Jack, Rt Hon Michael|
|(Rushcliffe)||Jackson, Robert (Wantage)|
|Clifton—Brown, Geoffrey||Jenkin, Bernard|
|Collins, Tim||Johnson, Boris (Henley)|
|Cormack, Sir Patrick||Keetch, Paul|
|Cotter, Brian||Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles|
|Craft James||(Ross Skye & Inverness W)|
|Curry, Rt Hon David||Key, Robert|
|Davey, Edward (Kingston)||Kirkbride, Miss Julie|
|Davies, Quentin (Grantham)||Kirkwood, Archy|
|Lait, Mrs Jacqui||Rosindell, Andrew|
|Lansley, Andrew||Ruffley, David|
|Leigh, Edward||Russell, Bob (Colchester)|
|Letwin, Oliver||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)||Selous, Andrew|
|Liddell—Grainger, Ian||Simmonds, Mark|
|Loughton, Tim||Spicer, Sir Michael|
|Luff, Peter||Spink, Bob|
|McIntosh, Miss Anne||Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John|
|MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew||Steen, Anthony|
|Maclean, Rt Hon David||Streeter, Gary|
|McLoughlin, Patrick||Stunell, Andrew|
|Malins, Humfrey||Swayne, Desmond|
|Maples, John||Swire, Hugo|
|Mates, Michael||Syms, Robert|
|Maude, Rt Hon Francis||Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)|
|Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian||Taylor, Sir Teddy|
|May, Mrs Theresa||Thurso, John|
|Mercer, Patrick||Tonge, Dr Jenny|
|Moss, Malcolm||Trend, Michael|
|Murrison, Dr Andrew||Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)|
|Oaten, Mark||Tyne, Andrew|
|Öpik, Lembit||Viggers, Peter|
|Osborne, George (Tatton)||Waterson, Nigel|
|Ottaway, Richard||Watkinson, Angela|
|Page, Richard||Whittingdale, John|
|Paice, James||Wiggin, Bill|
|Paterson, Owen||Willetts, David|
|Pickles, Eric||Wilshire, David|
|Portillo, Rt Hon Michael||Winterton, Sir Nicholas|
|Pugh, Dr John||(Macclesfield)|
|Randall, John||Young, Rt Hon Sir George|
|Redwood, Rt Hon John||Younger—Ross, Richard|
|Robathan, Andrew||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Robertson, Hugh (Faversham)||Mr. Stephen O'Brien and|
|Roe, Mrs Marion||Mr. Laurence Robertson.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Lords amendment disagreed to.