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Mr. Simon Hughes: I welcome the Minister's pluralistic attitude. In a spirit of pluralism, will he give an undertaking to the Committee that, for all the remaining votes on the Bill, there will be no sanctions against any Labour Member who votes against his or her Front Benchers? Will he confirm that the majority of Labour submissions were against a directly elected mayor?

Mr. Raynsford: I assure the hon. Gentleman that disciplinary matters are the responsibility of the Whip,

24 Nov 1997 : Column 670

but there is no question of taking measures against any Labour Members, because they are solid in support of the Government's view. If the hon. Gentleman consults Hansard, he will see that, with the exception of my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, East (Mr. Livingstone), Labour Members voted solidly with the Government in Committee last week and all Labour Members supported the Government on Second Reading. That is a measure of the support for the Government from Labour Back Benchers.

Mr. Hughes: I would not dare say who it was, but I can tell the Minister, and the Committee for its amusement, and for the sake of truth, that at least one Labour Member, having voted in the Government Lobby, asked me what they had just voted for and said, "Oh, my God, I haven't voted for that, have I?"

Mr. Raynsford: The hon. Gentleman should try a little harder. I regard that comment in the same way as I regard his earlier claim that the Labour party did not have the support of the majority of Londoners in the election. We secured a majority of electors in London at the last election and the hon. Gentleman was wrong to imply that we did not have that support.

Sir Norman Fowler: Does the Minister remember the searing attack made on him by the hon. Member for Brent, East (Mr. Livingstone), who said specifically that the only reason he would not vote against the Government that night was that, if he did so, he was likely to be debarred from further candidature for the Labour party. Is that wrong?

Mr. Raynsford: My hon. Friend the Member for Brent, East remains an active member of the Labour party, unlike the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Temple-Morris), whose existence in the Conservative party appears to have been terminated by the leader of his party. We shall take no lessons from the Conservative party on the exercise of proper disciplinary procedures.

The hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey had difficulty finding evidence to support his case.

Mr. Lansley: Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Raynsford: No, I shall not give way for the moment. I am dealing with the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey, who managed to find 10 submissions among the 1,867 from Labour party wards in London that expressed a different view from that of the Government. Ten out of 1,867 does not strike me as a problem. It may be significant in the hon. Gentleman's terms, but it is a small percentage. In Committee last week, we were discussing percentages of 0.01. That is the order of magnitude that we are discussing.

Mr. Simon Hughes: I have not added up the number of Labour party wards, but I am happy to take the Minister's word. I put the same question to him: does he deny that, of those who submitted responses, a majority opposed the Government?

Mr. Raynsford: The considerable majority of people who responded to the consultation supported the Government's proposals. I shall return to the issue of Labour branches in a moment.

24 Nov 1997 : Column 671

I want to deal specifically with two allegations by the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey about responses from my constituency Labour party in Greenwich and from the Belsize and Adelaide branch in the constituency of the Minister for Transport in London, my hon. Friend the Member for Hampstead and Highgate (Ms Jackson). The impression that the hon. Gentleman gave was not accurate. The hon. Gentleman gave the impression that the Greenwich Labour party did not support the Government's proposals. That is wrong. The Greenwich Labour party made it clear that it did support the proposals. It made a series of detailed comments on matters to do with equal opportunities, the length of term of a mayor, the financial arrangements for the authority, the authority's remit, its role in relation to strategic open space in London and the number of assembly members. They were all detailed and useful comments. It was a consultation exercise.

I have just referred to the paper that the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey has before him. He will confirm that it does not support his case for two questions in a referendum. Indeed, it makes no reference to that.

The Belsize and Adelaide branch of the Hampstead and Highgate Labour party made it clear in its response that it did not wish to go back on a manifesto pledge. The hon. Gentleman should congratulate it on rightly attaching much importance to supporting manifesto pledges. He was extremely selective in his quotations. I remind him that the one notable omission from his quotations was the view of the borough that he represents. Let me quote from the response of the London borough of Southwark, as the hon. Gentleman clearly wishes to heed the views of local communities. It says:


That is the view of the hon. Gentleman's authority and it would be good if he would fall in line with it.

The Bill is not about providing for an expensive legislative opinion poll on a multitude of different questions. It is not about recklessly offering a range of alternatives in the clear knowledge that some of them would be completely unworkable. It is about letting the people of London have their say on whether they agree with what the Government propose. Our proposal is new--a directly elected mayor working with an elected assembly is a new concept. It will be exciting and innovative. Inevitably, there are constitutional conservatives from all parties who seek to argue against it, claiming that it is too radical or not how things used to be in the past. That is always the case when one tries to institute change, but I hope that, between now and next May, when the referendum is held, we can win many of those people over and convince them to vote yes on our proposal. I am sure that, when they see our final proposals in March, they will change their minds.

Some--perhaps the type frightened by change or with an interest in the status quo--may continue to oppose, but it is absolutely clear that they do not speak for London. In a recent opinion poll, 82 per cent. of Londoners supported our plans and the business community gave them overwhelming support. Last week, the London chamber of commerce published findings showing that our proposals have the support of 86 per cent. of the capital's business leaders. Our proposals are right and they are popular, and the Government are proceeding with plans to put them into effect.

24 Nov 1997 : Column 672

We are unconvinced by arguments for more than one question. The Government think that the referendum should present a clear, single, comprehensible proposition to the people of London. The referendum should be capable of delivering an unambiguous mandate. Despite the time that was available to proponents of multiple questions, additional questions that have so far been proposed have been numerous and contradictory. There has been no single, agreed second question that would allow people to represent their views and be satisfied that they would know the outcome of their vote. No one has been able to produce that. None of the proposals that have been advanced so far would provide a clear mandate, and all of them reflect nothing more than the political priorities of those who concocted them.

6 pm

A single question on a well-thought-out package is the only fair and honest option. Everyone's vote will count in exactly the way that people intend it to count. Voters will be able to study detailed proposals in the White Paper, make a considered judgment about the whole package on offer and cast their vote. They will know exactly what they are voting for and what they will get. If they do not like it, they can vote no. That is the Government's proposition. It is correct and fair and I urge the Committee to support the clause.

Question put, That the clause stand part of the Bill:--

The Committee divided: Ayes 291, Noes 154.

Division No. 93
[6 pm


AYES


Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Ms Hilary
Ashton, Joe
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Barron, Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe
Bermingham, Gerald
Best, Harold
Boateng, Paul
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Butler, Mrs Christine
Byers, Stephen
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cooper, Yvette
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Crausby, David
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cunliffe, Lawrence
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, John
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Drown, Ms Julia
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Galloway, George
Gardiner, Barry
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Godsiff, Roger
Golding, Mrs Llin
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grocott, Bruce
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Home Robertson, John
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, John
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, Adam
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kelly, Ms Ruth
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Laxton, Bob
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Liddell, Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Livingstone, Ken
Lock, David
McAllion, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McCartney, Ian (Makerfield)
Macdonald, Calum
McFall, John
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mandelson, Peter
Marek, Dr John
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Maxton, John
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Alun
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Milburn, Alan
Miller, Andrew
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W)
Morley, Elliot
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Olner, Bill
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pound, Stephen
Powell, Sir Raymond
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Ms Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Reid, Dr John (Hamilton N)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rogers, Allan
Rooker, Jeff
Rooney, Terry
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
Ruddock, Ms Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Salter, Martin
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Spellar, John
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Stevenson, George
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
(Dewsbury)
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Wills, Michael
Winnick, David
Wise, Audrey
Wood, Mike
Wray, James
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. Clive Betts and
Mr. Greg Pope.


NOES


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Arbuthnot, James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Ballard, Mrs Jackie
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Body, Sir Richard
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom
Brazier, Julian
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Burnett, John
Burns, Simon
Burstow, Paul
Butterfill, John
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife)
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chidgey, David
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
(Rushcliffe)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cotter, Brian
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, Iain
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Evans, Nigel
Faber, David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Flight, Howard
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Roger
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick
Gill, Christopher
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Gorrie, Donald
Gray, James
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hammond, Philip
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Hunter, Andrew
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson Smith,
Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Key, Robert
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Kirkwood, Archy
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lidington, David
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Loughton, Tim
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
MacKay, Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Madel, Sir David
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Moore, Michael
Moss, Malcolm
Nicholls, Patrick
Öpik, Lembit
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Prior, David
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Rendel, David
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
St Aubyn, Nick
Sanders, Adrian
Sayeed, Jonathan
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Thompson, William
Townend, John
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Tyler, Paul
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Wallace, James
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Webb, Steve
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Willis, Phil
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:


Mr. Stephen Day and
Mr. James Cran.

Question accordingly agreed to.

24 Nov 1997 : Column 675

Clause 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.


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