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Renton, Tim

Rhodes James, Robert

Riddick, Graham

Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas

Ridsdale, Sir Julian

Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm

Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)

Roe, Mrs Marion

Rossi, Sir Hugh

Rost, Peter

Rowe, Andrew

Rumbold, Mrs Angela

Sackville, Hon Tom

Sainsbury, Hon Tim

Sayeed, Jonathan

Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas

Shaw, David (Dover)

Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)

Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')

Shelton, Sir William

Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)

Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)

Shersby, Michael

Skeet, Sir Trevor

Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)

Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)

Soames, Hon Nicholas

Speed, Keith

Speller, Tony

Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)

Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)

Squire, Robin

Stanbrook, Ivor

Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John

Steen, Anthony

Stern, Michael

Stevens, Lewis

Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)

Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)

Stewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N)

Stokes, Sir John

Stradling Thomas, Sir John

Sumberg, David

Summerson, Hugo

Tapsell, Sir Peter

Taylor, Ian (Esher)

Taylor, John M (Solihull)

Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)

Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman

Temple-Morris, Peter

Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret

Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)

Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)

Thorne, Neil

Thurnham, Peter

Townend, John (Bridlington)

Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)

Tracey, Richard

Tredinnick, David

Trippier, David

Twinn, Dr Ian

Vaughan, Sir Gerard

Waddington, Rt Hon David

Wakeham, Rt Hon John

Waldegrave, Hon William

Walden, George

Walker, Bill (T'side North)

Waller, Gary

Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)

Warren, Kenneth

Wheeler, John

Whitney, Ray

Widdecombe, Ann

Wiggin, Jerry

Wilkinson, John

Winterton, Mrs Ann

Winterton, Nicholas

Wolfson, Mark

Wood, Timothy

Woodcock, Dr. Mike

Young, Sir George (Acton)

Tellers for the Noes :

Mr. Alastair Goodlad and

Mr. Tony Durant.

Question accordingly negatived.

Question, That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 30 (Questions on amendments), and agreed to.

Mr. Speaker-- forthwith declared the main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.


That this House welcomes the Government's proposals for reform in the National Health Service which will bring all parts of the health service up to the very high standards now achieved by the best, put the needs of patients first and secure the best value for money ; recognises that to make the health service more responsive to the needs of patients as much power and responsibility as possible need to be delegated to local level in future whether in directly managed or self-governing National Health Service hospitals ; looks forward to large general practitioner practices being able to apply for their own budgets to obtain a defined range of hospital services so as to improve the quality of service to their patients ; and fully supports the Government's decision to proceed with the implementation of the general practitioners' new contract, the contents of which were agreed with the general practitioners' leaders on 4th May.

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Road Safety

Mr. Speaker : I must inform the House that I have not selected the amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Thanet, South (Mr. Aitken).

10.14 pm

The Minister for Public Transport (Mr. Michael Portillo) : I beg to move,

That this House takes note of European Community Documents Nos. 4303/89 on road safety, 9228/88 on seat belts, 4252/89 on maximum permitted alcohol concentration for vehicle drivers, and 4156/87 and 4305/89 on speed limits ; and endorses the Government's commitment to resist proposals in this area which are outside the field of Community competence, and not clearly related to the objectives of a common transport policy of the internal market.

This debate comes late in the Session, for reasons that I have explained. It deals largely with road safety matters. First, it might be appropriate to say how inadequate to the task I feel. One would normally have expected to see here my hon. Friend the Member for Eltham (Mr. Bottomley) who has long been associated with road safety matters. He gave evidence to the Select Committee on European Legislature whose report we have.

It is obviously important that the House should have the opportunity to express its views on the Commission's overall approach to road safety and on the specific proposals now under consideration. I am sure that the House is grateful to the Select Committee for its most helpful report. The Committee fitted in an oral evidence session and should be congratulated on producing a report very quickly so that we could have this debate. It is a fair report, summarising the arguments on both sides, and there is nothing significant in it with which the Government disagree.

In one crucial respect, there is nothing between the British Government, other Governments and the Commission. We all want to reduce the appalling toll of death and injuries on Europe's roads and we all want to find the most effective ways of doing so. However, we must recognise that the task cannot be carried out by simple solutions. Safety measures need to be suited to different geographical, cultural and economic conditions. They need to be carefully judged, targeted and monitored.

Two separate groups of issues are involved in the debate. First, there is the broader political and legal question about the rightness of community action in this area. Secondly, there are the safety merits of the Commission's proposals. The basic issue is whether it is politically sensible for the Community to act on road safety matters which relate almost entirely to human behaviour. Clearly, where the Community has to grapple with difficult areas to ensure the achievement of its primary objectives--economic progress and the completion of the internal market-- the British accept that, and we play a constructive part in trying to find a Communitywide solution. However, we do not see road safety as one of those areas. Road conditions, social habits and outlooks, driver behaviour and police enforcement practices vary enormously from country to country within the Community.

Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North) : We seem to have a potential problem. The British people thought that road safety laws were a matter for the competence of the

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United Kingdom. The European institutions, probably aided and abetted by the European Court, using procedures based on a majority vote on the basis of initiatives coming from the Commission, composed basically of bureaucrats with no democratic control, seem to have taken from the British people the power that they thought they had over road safety. If that proves to be the case, how shall we recover those powers?

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