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Column 477

Livingstone, Ken

Lynne, Ms Liz

McAllion, John

McCartney, Ian

McKelvey, William

Maclennan, Robert

Mahon, Alice

Michael, Alun

Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)

Miller, Andrew

Morris, Rt Hon A. (Wy'nshawe)

Mowlam, Marjorie

Mudie, George

Mullin, Chris

O'Brien, Michael (N W'kshire)

O'Hara, Edward

Olner, William

Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth

Pike, Peter L.

Pope, Greg

Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E)

Prescott, John

Primarolo, Dawn

Raynsford, Nick

Roche, Mrs. Barbara

Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)

Ruddock, Joan

Sedgemore, Brian

Sheerman, Barry

Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)

Simpson, Alan

Sims, Roger

Skinner, Dennis

Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)

Smith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)

Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)

Soley, Clive

Spearing, Nigel

Squire, Rachel (Dunfermline W)

Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John

Taylor, Matthew (Truro)

Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)

Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)

Wallace, James

Ward, John

Wicks, Malcolm

Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)

Wolfson, Mark

Tellers for the Noes :

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett and

Mr. Alan Howarth.

Question accordingly negatived .

Mr. John Carlisle : On a point of order, Madam Speaker. You told me privately a few moments ago, but I am sure that you will not mind if I reveal our conversation to the House, that you would not accept any Divisions on the remaining amendments to the clause. With the greatest respect, may I ask for your reasons, because the amendments were deliberately tabled on different subjects, as I tried to explain, however tediously, in a brief intervention. Apart from two possible exceptions, the amendments are quite different from each other. They are important and I am utterly disappointed that, unless you are persuaded otherwise, you will not allow Divisions on them.

Mr. Leigh : Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker. I appreciate that there is precedent for not choosing subsequent amendments, but I understand that if the amendments are substantially different and have not been covered in the debate--and I understand that up to 17 have not--there is equal precedent for allowing further Divisions.

Madam Speaker : There are no precedents for allowing Divisions on any of these amendments. I did not expect the hon. Member for Luton, North (Mr. Carlisle) to reveal the contents of a private conversation, but, as he has done so, I shall reveal to the House that I told him that I would not allow Divisions on these amendments.

Mr. McCartney : On a point of order, Madam Speaker. It is on a separate matter. It has become obvious from discussions behind the Chair that the Under-Secretary of State will seek to make a statement on the Department of Health's policy on the agreement between the tobacco industry and the Department. That is an unusual way to proceed, because he has not sought to indicate through the business of the House that a departmental statement is to be made. Because of that, the official Opposition have not been given a copy of the statement. That means that the Minister will try to make a Government statement on the back of inappropriate amendments, thus not allowing a proper questioning of him about Government policy on this matter.

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On Second Reading, the Minister for Health made it plain that negotiations were taking place and that at the end of them the Government would provide an opportunity for the Department to set out the Government's clear policy lines on this matter. It is totally inappropriate and a misuse of the House by the Minister to attempt to get a Government policy statement in this way, thus using the House's time to talk out the Bill. I should like some clarification about how the Minister intends to proceed in this matter.

Mr. Couchman : On a point of order, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker : Does it relate to this matter ?

Mr. Couchman : Yes. At the beginning of the debate, I asked why you had decided not to call new clause 3. You suggested that it was because it was not in sympathy with the Bill. I did not question you because I respect your right to choose amendments, but had you selected new clause 3 for debate it would have been an admirable vehicle for my hon. Friend the Under -Secretary to make an up-to-date position statement on the voluntary agreement.

Madam Speaker : I respect the hon. Gentleman's comments, but he appears to be challenging my decisions and, of course, the Speaker does not give reasons for the non-selection of new clauses or amendments.

Mr. Cash : On a point of order, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker : I am on my feet and about to speak.

I understand that the Minister wants to comment on the amendments. Alas, he has not been able to do so. Perhaps if we made some progress he would have an opportunity to speak and I am sure that we would all be interested in what he has to say.

Mr. Barron : Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker : There cannot be any further points of order. I have responded as best I can and we are waiting to hear what the Minister has to say--if he gets an opportunity to speak. I should have thought that the House wanted to make some progress on the matter. Mr. Barron rose

Madam Speaker : I shall hear the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Barron : I want to clarify the situation. The Bill stands alone and has nothing to do with the voluntary agreement, irrespective of whether that has been renegotiated. The Bill will replace it and nowhere does the Bill mention the voluntary agreement. As hon. Members have been saying for many months, the Bill stands alone.

Mr. Cash : Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker : No, I have heard enough points of order and they are now becoming repetitious. We must now make some progress.

Mr. Hendry : I beg to move amendment No. 38, in page 1, line 10, leave out wholly or mainly'.

Madam Speaker : With this we shall take the following amendments : No. 37, in page 1, line 10, after purpose', insert

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to an extent (in comparison with the whole area of the premises used for selling purposes) prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State'.

No. 36, in page 1, line 11, after (b)', insert

as respects premises to which paragraph (a) above does not apply'.

No. 108, in page 1, line 12, leave out from contains' to a' in line 13.

No. 10, in page 1, line 12, leave out only'.

No. 35, in page 1, leave out lines 18 and 19.

No. 9, in page 1, line 18, after advertisement', leave out to the end of line 19 and insert

is not within one metre of any external door, window or other opening, through which it is visible from outside the building'. No. 34, in page 1, line 19, at end insert

(2A) For the purposes of subsection (1) a booth, kiosk or area within retail premises divided or partitioned from the remainder of the premises shall itself be treated as being premises.'.

Mr. Hendry : The amendment-- [Interruption.] I declare no interest because I have none to declare. The only interest that I feel I should declare is that some of my constituents work for a tobacco company in Hyde and I therefore represent their interests in this matter.

One of the reasons why we found it necessary to table some of the amendments is because of the very shabby treatment that my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, North (Mr. Carlisle) and I received in Committee. I say that because, no sooner had my hon. Friend started to move the first amendment, than the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron), the promoter of the Bill, pushed for a closure and made it clear that he did not wish us to play a constructive part in the consideration of the Bill.

He also made it clear that he wished to conclude the Committee's consideration of the Bill in three mornings. It was made very evident to us that he was not interested in detailed discussion of matters such as the voluntary agreement, which, whatever he says, is fundamental to the Bill. We found it necessary therefore to declare in Committee that we would table amendments on Report because we did not feel that we had been given the opportunity to make those points properly.

The hon. Gentleman kindly wrote to me last week and asked me to ensure that I was here today. You, Madam Speaker, know that I am a reasonable man and that on all occasions I seek to be helpful, so I went to great lengths to rearrange my diary to be here today. It comes as a bitter and devastating blow to be told, having gone to those lengths to be here and partake in further consideration of the Bill, that we are not being serious, that we are being pushed by outside bodies and are not considering matters in which we believe.

Mr. Barron : I am interested in the hon. Gentleman's comments, especially about his constituents, as I have a letter here from a Mr. John Pemberton--a constituent of his--emeritus professor of social and preventive medicine at Queen's university, Belfast. The hon. Gentleman wrote to him after Second Reading and sent him a copy of the Minister's speech, but not of my Second Reading speech. Will he tell us in the even- handed manner that he talks why he did that ?

Mr. Hendry : I am delighted to explain. My hon. Friend the Minister made such an outstandingly good speech that it was imperative that my constituent should be given the chance to see it. Dr. Pemberton wrote to me and, in one of his letters, made it clear that he was writing as a member

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of the Hope Valley Labour party-- [Hon. Members :-- "Oh!"]--and that, perhaps, explains one of the reasons why he was seeking to oppose the matters.

Mr. Alan Howarth : Just so that there is no confusion, I hope that my hon. Friend will recognise that a considerable number of his hon. Friends are strongly in support of the Bill to ban tobacco advertising.

Mr. Hendry : I fully appreciate that point and can assure my hon. Friend that I would be happy to send any of his speeches to my constituents, because they make powerful reading. He always makes a strong case, even were I to disagree with him.

We heard the most astonishing allegations earlier from the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours), who said that it was inappropriate for hon. Members to be given guidance from outside organisations. The fact that the Advertising Association believes that it will be decimated by the Bill, that tobacconists believe that they will suffer grievously, and that my constituents who work in tobacco companies feel that they would be directly affected, is a matter on which they have a duty to inform us so that we can take their views into account. I find it reprehensible in the extreme that the hon. Member for Workington should suggest that, because we have listened to the pressures that have been put on us, we have in any way been operating improperly.

It is astonishing that those who introduced the Bill have not told yet told us who paid for its drafting. We have seen the hon. Member for Rother Valley scuttling off now and again to talk to representatives of Action on Smoking and Health. Perhaps he will inform us whether it gave legal advice in the drafting of the Bill, because if it is all right for him in that way, surely it is all right for us to get proper legal advice to ensure that our amendments are effectively tabled.

Ms Liz Lynne (Rochdale) : The hon. Gentleman should remember that the hon. Member for Workington (Mr.Campbell-Savours) said that the cost of drafting the amendments had been paid for by the tobacco industry, not just drafted by it.

Mr. Hendry : I have no idea where the money comes from to pay for them. Indeed, I do not know who paid ASH to draft the original Bill. It might may not have been ASH, because looking at the Bill, it appears that it was drafted by the central committee of the Stalinist party of Great Britain. Perhaps we should be told if it was involved.

Mr. John Carlisle : My hon. Friend will realise that, since the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) has not sprung to his feet to say that he did not receive help from ASH, perhaps the hon. Gentleman should remind us that ASH receives money from the public purse--tobacco companies do not. So when the hon. Gentleman castigates the Government about the assistance that they give to hon. Members in other ways, he should castigate ASH, which is taking taxpayers' money to help him to introduce a Bill that will not only cost jobs, of course, but restrict the activities of so many people in the country who legitimately enjoy smoking.

12.15 pm

Mr. Hendry : My hon. Friend makes his point extremely well. But what we should also add, perhaps, is that a significant amount of taxpayers' money comes from

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the revenue from cigarettes and that the tobacco companies, through their taxes, are helping to fund ASH to draft the Bill, which is against the industry.

I wish to concentrate on the amendments that are on the Order Paper, because they deal with two vital aspects : the first on the definition and nature of retail premises ; and the second on communication and how adverts communicate. The first section of amendments specifically seek to allow tobacco advertisements to be displayed in any premises where tobacco products are sold, and removing the definition in the Bill that they should be "wholly or mainly" involved in selling tobacco. Nearly 250,000 outlets in this country sell cigarettes, but only a small proportion of those could conceivably be considered as specialist tobacco retailers. But what is worse is that the Bill gives no indication whatever of the criteria in defining what would be considered mainly or wholly involved in those matters. I will happily give way to my hon. Friend, given his direct knowledge.

Mr. Nigel Evans : As the House knows, I have a retail convenience store and so am one of the 250,000 retail outlets in this country selling tobacco products. I wonder what "wholly or mainly" means. For a store selling tobacco products, is it floor space ? Does it relate to turnover of tobacco products, or does it relate to the percentage profit that retail outlets make from tobacco products ? Who would enforce it ? Who would decide it ? Does it mean that the hard-pressed retailers and people who work in such outlets will then be faced with some clipboard bureaucrat from a town hall or Whitehall who will enforce the rules or regulations ?

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