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Mr. Newton: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his supportive remarks.

Mr. Archy Kirkwood (Roxburgh and Berwickshire): I welcome the fact that the Leader of the House was able to tell us, on a provisional basis, the business for the second week. That is convenient for all hon. Members.

May I express a degree of disappointment that the Government's statement about small businesses was not made in the House? Will the right hon. Gentleman use his good offices and encourage his colleagues, when they make important statements, to make them in the House?

I do not think that it was appropriate for the right hon. Gentleman, in his response to the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Mrs. Taylor), to compare the IGC with Council meetings. This is an intergovernmental conference, not a Council meeting. Precedents that have applied to Adjournment debates in the past do not apply in this instance.

Mr. Newton: It certainly is a Council meeting, albeit a meeting of a special European Council. The hon. Gentleman will find that over a long period there have been various precedents, but I do not want to haggle with him, especially this afternoon. The bottom line is that I consider an Adjournment debate appropriate at this juncture, and I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Mr. Forman) for agreeing with that view.

I always try to take account of the sensitivities of the House in relation to statements on policy, and I note what the hon. Gentleman said about that. As for his opening remarks, let me simply say that I am grateful for them.

Mr. Jacques Arnold (Gravesham): I agree with what has been said in favour of holding the debate on the IGC White Paper on the Adjournment. It is clear that all parties in the House are divided on the issue. Is it not better for us

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to hear all the disparate views on this important subject than to debate it on a party political basis, playing arithmetic to find ways of embarrassing the Prime Minister?

Mr. Newton: I am not sure that I want, on this particular afternoon, to engage in arguments about the reason for holding the debate in this way. I believe, however, that the issue is wide ranging, and that it is appropriate for the House to debate it on an Adjournment motion--which can easily be arranged--rather than trying to tie it down in a restrictive way.

Ms Ann Coffey (Stockport): Does the Leader of the House share my dismay at learning that the Stockport scanner appeal continued to raise money long after it had reached its target, and in so doing, I think misled the people of Stockport, who continued to give generously? That raises some important issues about how charities raising money for national health service equipment operate. Will the Leader of the House arrange a debate on the matter?

Mr. Newton: I am not sure that I could undertake to find time for such a debate. The hon. Lady might care to think of it as an appropriate subject for a Wednesday morning. I know that she will understand when I say that I am not able to comment on the circumstances. I think I am right in saying that my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary is responsible for the charity commissioners, and he is on the Bench with me.

Mr. Bill Walker (North Tayside): Is my right hon. Friend aware that many Conservative Members who have had a long-standing interest in European matters, sometimes controversially, are delighted by the form of the motion that he and the Government have tabled, on the intergovernmental conference? The matters are so complex and wide that it is right for them to be presented in a way that allows wide debate.

Mr. Newton: I am beginning to find positively heart-warming the amount of support from behind me, and I grateful for that.

Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-West): May we have a debate on the national lottery? I am getting many letters at the moment, and a great deal of concern is being expressed in the newspapers about the possibility of a second draw each week. I notice that no fewer than seven scratchcards are now available. Some serious matters are being raised and I do not recall us being made aware in any way of Camelot's great possibilities to continue to make its own money. It seems that Peter Davis, the Director General of Oflot, is prepared to let Camelot print its own money. Indeed, at the moment he seems to be providing the printing presses. The House ought to have another look. Can the Leader of the House offer the possibility of an early debate?

Mr. Newton: All that I can do is note the hon. Gentleman's request and say that, as I understand it, Camelot has not submitted an application for a mid-week draw to the regulator. If it does, the Director General of Oflot will carefully consider its merits.

Mr. Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley): Can my right hon. Friend find time as soon as possible for a full-day debate

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on energy policy, so that we are able to look not only at the benefits of the privatisation of gas and electricity, but at alternative sources of energy? I have two issues in mind, the first of which is the siting of windmills. They are unbelievably ugly and we must be extremely careful about where they are sited. The second issue is the burning of secondary fuels. Castle Cement in my constituency is currently burning a fuel called Cemfuel and there is great cause for concern in my constituency about that. I have told Ministers that I intend to seek a meeting with them. It would be useful for the House to debate the whole question of energy policy, and I know that hon. Members in all parts of the House are interested in many issues relating to it.

Mr. Newton: That is another request which I shall most certainly note, although I cannot make a promise this afternoon.

Ms Janet Anderson (Rossendale and Darwen): There was a question on the Order Paper today for Home Office questions about the possibility of the Government introducing identity cards. Unfortunately, the right hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton) did not appear to ask his question. I remind the Leader of the House of a report a year ago in The Observer under the heading, "Major plays ID card to trump Blair". The report said:

The article continued:

Will the Leader of the House make a statement about that?

Mr. Newton: As that is a frustrated question from Home Office Question Time and as my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary is on the Front Bench beside me, I shall leave him to respond in due course, in whatever way he feels is appropriate.

Mr. Robert Key (Salisbury): May I draw my right hon. Friend's attention to early-day motion 611, which was tabled by the hon. Member for West Lancashire(Mr. Pickthall) and which I have also signed. It states:

[That this House, while recognising the value of wind turbines in producing renewable energy, is alarmed at the spread of these structures in areas of attractive landscape, particularly the up-lands of Cumbria and Lancashire; and urges the Secretary of State for the Environment to respond to the Countryside Commission's suggestion that PPG 22 be revised and strengthened to prevent the permanent defacing of many of this country's most attractive areas.]

The hon. Gentleman draws particular attention to Cumbria and Lancashire, but I assure my right hon. Friend that the impact of those infernal machines is felt increasingly throughout the United Kingdom's beautiful countryside, and that often those machines are energy sinks. They rarely provide net energy and are much more expensive. Every electricity consumer is paying a levy, which subsidises inefficient energy generation that helps to desecrate our remaining beautiful countryside.

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Mr. Newton: I shall bring my hon. Friend's remarks, along with those of my hon. Friend the Member for Ribble Valley (Mr. Evans), to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.

Mrs. Bridget Prentice (Lewisham, East): I was shocked at the complacency of the Leader of the House in his response to my hon. Friend the Member for Dewsbury (Mrs. Taylor) about the Child Support Agency and a possible debate on the ombudsman's report. It was rather like the complacency this morning of Miss Chant on the "Today" programme. I do not, however, believe the Leader of the House to be a complacent person.I remind him that that is not the ombudsman's first report about the CSA. As a member of the Select Committee on the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration,I urge the Leader of the House to think again about the possibility of a debate. The fact that only 195 cases were mentioned in the report does not mean that nothing else was wrong with the CSA, but means that those were the worst examples that the ombudsman wished to bring to our attention.

Mr. Newton: I should greatly regret it if my remarks sounded complacent, which they were not intended to be, and I am grateful to the hon. Lady for acknowledging that she does not regard me as complacent on those matters.I should like to make two other points. First, I understand that, of 20 cases in the report chosen as examples,14 began in 1993, so they go back to a significantly earlier stage. Secondly, a recent report by the Social Security Select Committee said:

I am not in any way complacent, but it is reasonable to expect some acknowledgement of the efforts to bring about improvements.

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