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Mr. Hughes: As I said, I represent the same borough as the right hon. Lady. It is one of the two local authorities in England with the highest number of lone-parent families--four out of 10 families in our borough are single-parent families. I just do not believe, and nor will they, that in a borough which is also among the 20 boroughs with the highest unemployment rates in Britain, those parents will have a chance to go back to work in the future. To take from them what they have, against the promise of something that they may never have, is not a fair deal for them.

Thirdly, it would have been far more honourable had the Government been honest and, rather than claiming that what they said before the election and what they are saying now is the same, had admitted that they had changed their plans. People just do not accept that the words of opposition are consistent with the words of government. That undermines government and undermines this place.

10 Dec 1997 : Column 1146

When it comes to the big choices in politics, we must choose whether to defend middle England, middle Wales, middle Scotland, or middle Northern Ireland, the advantaged or the disadvantaged. The hard choice in politics is always to defend the disadvantaged and to fight for them, thereby risking the wrath of the advantaged when they sometimes have to pay the price for that decision.

Mr. Quentin Davies (Grantham and Stamford): On a point of order, Mr, Deputy Speaker. Is it not a long-standing parliamentary convention that when a Minister is defending a particularly unpopular Government policy and is embattled on a major matter, the Prime Minister--and, if there are financial aspects, the Chancellor of the Exchequer--come to support that Minister on the Front Bench? Is it not a sad departure from that convention that the Secretary of State for Social Security has been left so friendless on the Front Bench tonight?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. Gentleman knows that that is not a matter for the Chair.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:--

The House divided: Ayes 295, Noes 58.

Division No. 116
[12.1 am


AYES


Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Ms Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Banks, Tony
Barron, Kevin
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)
Benton, Joe
Bermingham, Gerald
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Boateng, Paul
Borrow, David
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon
(Dunfermline E)
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Butler, Mrs Christine
Byers, Stephen
Caborn, Richard
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Church, Ms Judith
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Yvette
Corbett, Robin
Corston, Ms Jean
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John
(Copeland)
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)
Denham, John
Dismore, Andrew
Doran, Frank
Drew, David
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Fatchett, Derek
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Foulkes, George
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Goggins, Paul
Golding, Mrs Llin
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grocott, Bruce
Grogan, John
Gunnell, John
Hain, Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Healey, John
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Home Robertson, John
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
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)
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, Ms Tessa
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Kelly, Ms Ruth
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lawrence, Ms Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Liddell, Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCartney, Ian (Makerfield)
McDonagh, Siobhain
Macdonald, Calum
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Peter
Marek, Dr John
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Martlew, Eric
Maxton, John
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Alun
Milburn, Alan
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Mudie, George
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, Paul (Torfaen)
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Powell, Sir Raymond
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Primarolo, Dawn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Ms Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Radice, Giles
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Nick
Reid, Dr John (Hamilton N)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooker, Jeff
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Ms Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sheerman, Barry
Shipley, Ms Debra
Singh, Marsha
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Snape, Peter
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Stott, Roger
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
(Dewsbury)
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Vaz, Keith
Vis, Dr Rudi
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Wills, Michael
Wilson, Brian
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. Jim Dowd and
Mr. David Jamieson.


NOES


Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy
Baker, Norman
Ballard, Mrs Jackie
Beggs, Roy
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Brake, Tom
Brand, Dr Peter
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Chidgey, David
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cotter, Brian
Cunningham, Ms Roseanna
(Perth)
Dafis, Cynog
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Fearn, Ronnie
Foster, Don (Bath)
George, Andrew (St Ives)
Gorrie, Donald
Grant, Bernie
Harris, Dr Evan
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Mon)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, Charles (Ross Skye)
Kirkwood, Archy
Livsey, Richard
Llwyd, Elfyn
McDonnell, John
Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Moore, Michael
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Oaten, Mark
Öpik, Lembit
Paisley, Rev Ian
Rendel, David
Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Salmond, Alex
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Stunell, Andrew
Swinney, John
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Thompson, William
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Wallace, James
Webb, Steve
Welsh, Andrew
Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Willis, Phil

Tellers for the Noes:


Mr. Paul Tyler and
Mr. Adrian Sanders.

Question accordingly agreed to.

10 Dec 1997 : Column 1148

Bill read the Third time, and passed.


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