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Mr. Harry Barnes (North-East Derbyshire): Is the Foreign Secretary aware that there are many decent and honest people in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia who bravely stood out for a considerable period for peace,

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reconciliation and a multi-ethnic society? Is he aware that those people, often organised in their own small political parties and within community groups, have been sidelined until now, whereas the warlords have been considered all the time? Will the new situation give an opportunity for those people in Bosnia, such as the Tuzla Civic Forum, to find expression and to influence future developments?

Mr. Rifkind: The hon. Gentleman's remarks give added force to the need for the elections to take place at the earliest possible practical date. That will enable the wishes of the people of Bosnia to be reflected in their political leadership.

Mr. Mike Gapes (Ilford, South): Given the difference in the timetable--nine months for elections and six months for phasing out the arms embargo--will there not be the serious problem, when the United States decides that it wishes, presumably, to arm one side of the federation against the Republika Srpska and when there is no legitimacy for a new three-person presidency, that in effect, the United States will be arming one side in a continuation of the conflict? What thought has been given to dealing with that problem?

Mr. Rifkind: The proposal is that the elections should happen not later than nine months hence. If circumstances permit earlier elections, that would clearly be highly desirable, in part for the reasons to which the hon. Gentleman has referred.


Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 98 (Welsh Grand Committee),

    That the Matter of the implications of the Budget for Wales, being a Matter relating exclusively to Wales, be referred to the Welsh Grand Committee for its consideration.--[Mr. Bates.]

Question agreed to.



(1) Standing Order No. 13 (Arrangement of public business) shall have effect for this Session with the following modifications, namely:

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In paragraph (4) the word 'thirteen' shall be substituted for the word 'ten' in line 43; in paragraph (5) the word 'eighth' shall be substituted for the word 'seventh' in line 45; (2) Standing Order No. 90 (Second reading committees) shall have effect for this Session with the following modification, namely:
In paragraph (2) the word 'eighth' shall be substituted for the word 'seventh' in line 23; (3) Private Members' Bills shall have precedence over Government business on 19th and 26th January, 2nd, 9th and 16th February, 1st 8th, 22nd and 29th March, 19th and 26th April, 10th May and 12th July.--[Mr. Bates.]


Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 11A (House not to sit on certain Fridays),

Friday 1st December, Friday 15th December, Friday 12th January, Friday 23rd February, Friday 15th March, Friday 3rd May, Friday 24th May, Friday 14th June, Friday 28th June and Friday 5th July.-- [Mr. Bates.]

Question agreed to.


Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 14A(1) (Consideration of draft deregulation orders),

    That the draft Deregulation (Greyhound Racing) Order 1995, which was laid before this House on 16th October, in the last Session of Parliament, be approved.--[Mr. Bates .]

Question agreed to.

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Orders of the Day

Debate on the Address

[Sixth Day]

Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Question,

Most Gracious Sovereign,
We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament.--[Mr. Hurd.]

Question again proposed.

The Economy

Madam Speaker: I have selected the amendment standing in the name of the Leader of the Opposition, and the amendment in the name of the leader of the Liberal Democrats will be put forthwith after 10 o'clock for Division purposes. Between the hours of 7 and 9 o'clock, I must limit speeches to 10 minutes only.

4.14 pm

Mr. Gordon Brown (Dunfermline, East): I beg to move, as an amendment to the Address, at the end of the Question to add:

It is now sixteen and a half years since the Government came to power, and almost five years since the Prime Minister took office. The Loyal Address gives us the opportunity to assess where the Conservatives have taken Britain and where they are now trying to take us. Our amendment makes it clear that the economic test for the Queen's Speech and the forthcoming Budget is what the Conservatives will do to build an investment-rich economy that is equipped with skills, science, training and technology for the future, and whether the Government will take up our proposals to tackle the slowest increase in investment out of recession that we have seen this century.

The Queen's Speech needed to, and the Budget must, tackle the job insecurity that permeates this country, and so reduce the annual billion-pound cost of unemployment. That is why we propose a windfall tax on utilities--to get people back to work. The Budget needs to reunite the nation, as the Queen's Speech should; to build social cohesion and a fairer Britain, including a fairer tax system.

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Let us recall the central Conservative promise of 1979, the aim behind the first Loyal Address, and the objective of the first Conservative Budget. The then Chancellor, Lord Howe, said that falling behind our competitors was the issue. He said that Britain's relative decline was

He said that ending that relative decline was the real challenge and the central issue, the make or break for the Conservative Government and the decisive test on which the Conservative party should be judged.

Yet what do we find after 16 years? The Conservatives said that their whole strategy was to avoid relative decline, but that has happened. We have not risen above more competitors, as they promised; we have fallen further below them. Only a few weeks ago, the league table for national income per head showed that we are not moving upwards, but we have been moving downwards. We have not reversed that relative decline, but our decline has worsened in relation to our neighbours.

We are 18th in the world league of national income per head. In 1979, we were in front of Italy, but we are now behind it; we were in front of Norway, but we are now behind it; we were in front of Hong Kong and Singapore, but we are now behind them. Under the Government, we have slipped from 13th to 18th. Last year, when the Chancellor said we were in a hole, he should have said that we were in the 18th hole, well behind 17 players. No wonder I regard with some trepidation the statement by the Chancellor some months ago that the task of overtaking our rivals needs the election of more Conservative Governments in the future.

Mr. Gyles Brandreth (City of Chester): The hon. Gentleman mentioned job insecurity and competitiveness. He will be aware that, at the Confederation of British Industry conference last week, Sir Rocco Forte, whose company owns hotels in my constituency, spoke of the devastating effect on the competitiveness of his industry and on jobs of the minimum wage and the social chapter. Given that 16,000 of my constituents work in the hotel, retail and tourist industries, and given that a leading hotelier is saying that those policies would have a devastating effect on employment prospects, how can he continue to support those policies?

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