Previous SectionIndexHome Page


8.45 pm

All were offering me encouragement for my point when I stressed that the House advances any issues involving Sunday activity on the basis of a free vote because it recognises that there are employment, family and religious consequences at weekends. It would be a sad day if the House, which is the ultimate defender of our freedoms, should seek to impinge on religious freedom.

The speech made by the Minister of State, was disappointing. I say that not in a partisan spirit but because she was not able to sense the mood of the points being made to her. The Minister said that no Government or House can bind its successors. She is right, but, as my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) said, that is not an argument for not putting this in the Bill. All it means is that some future Government or Parliament would have to change the legislation. That is a more major step.

The Minister said that the previous Government did not do this and implied that, because of that, we have no right to make an issue of it now. We did not introduce this sort of legislation. We did not introduce legislation that was designed to produce a degree of harmonisation with the other countries in Europe in this electoral process.

What most concerned me about the Minister's speech was that she talked about two sets of innovations--the new system and the possibility of moving to Sunday voting. She said that the two changes would not take place in 1999 because we would not know which innovation had affected the turnout. That is slightly chilling. It seems to indicate that there was, in Government, a consideration of moving to Sunday right now and that there is certainly active consideration to look at that for a subsequent election.

The Minister has made her position clear, and she is not going to change. She has made it clear that she does not think that she has the freedom to change. The mood of the House and the mood of the debate has been quite clear. We think that there should be a clear commitment in the Bill that elections will continue to be held on a Thursday and a clear commitment that they will not be on a Sunday. The Minister will not give us that commitment on behalf of the Government so we will have to press the amendment to a Division.

Mrs. Ewing: In light of what has been said, the speech of the right hon. Member for North-West Cambridgeshire (Sir B. Mawhinney) was rather depressing because it was ungracious. I respect the points made on behalf of the Jewish faith. There are other minority faiths in the United Kingdom that we should consider, because we are an inclusive society. Given the good-natured and sensible response from the Minister, I wonder whether it would be possible to ensure that, on Report, it could be written into the Bill that the next elections will be held on a Thursday.

Ms Quin: I am grateful for the tone in which the hon. Member for Moray (Mrs. Ewing) put her question. I am

26 Feb 1998 : Column 577

happy to take advice, but I believe that that would not keep us in line with the original legal base on which the European parliamentary elections are founded. I have said that there is to be no change for these elections and that we have no plans to change the day and I would have hoped that that would be sufficient reassurance for the hon. Lady.

Question put, That the amendment be made:--

The Committee divided: Ayes 95, Noes 223.

Division No. 183
[8.48 pm


AYES


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Arbuthnot, James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Body, Sir Richard
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Browning, Mrs Angela
Butterfill, John
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Clappison, James
Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Kensington)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)
Collins, Tim
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Day, Stephen
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Faber, David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Flight, Howard
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Roger
Gibb, Nick
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hammond, Philip
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Horam, John
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hunter, Andrew
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jenkin, Bernard
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Loughton, Tim
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Maclean, Rt Hon David
Major, Rt Hon John
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Mates, Michael
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Moss, Malcolm
Norman, Archie
Page, Richard
Prior, David
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
St Aubyn, Nick
Sayeed, Jonathan
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Streeter, Gary
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Trend, Michael
Tyrie, Andrew
Walter, Robert
Wardle, Charles
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wilkinson, John
Woodward, Shaun
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. James Cran and
Mr. Nigel Waterson.


NOES


Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allan, Richard
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Baker, Norman
Ballard, Mrs Jackie
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Bennett, Andrew F
Bermingham, Gerald
Betts, Clive
Blizzard, Bob
Boateng, Paul
Borrow, David
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Browne, Desmond
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Butler, Mrs Christine
Byers, Stephen
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife)
Caplin, Ivor
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Chidgey, David
Chisholm, Malcolm
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Coaker, Vernon
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Yvette
Corston, Ms Jean
Cotter, Brian
Cranston, Ross
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Efford, Clive
Fatchett, Derek
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Fyfe, Maria
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Golding, Mrs Llin
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Grogan, John
Hain, Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hanson, David
Harvey, Nick
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Home Robertson, John
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hurst, Alan
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Kelly, Ms Ruth
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Kidney, David
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Laxton, Bob
Lepper, David
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Linton, Martin
Livingstone, Ken
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Love, Andrew
McAllion, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McDonnell, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNamara, Kevin
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Peter
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Maxton, John
Merron, Gillian
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie
Mudie, George
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
O'Hara, Eddie
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pickthall, Colin
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Ms Joyce
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Robertson, Rt Hon George
(Hamilton S)
Rooker, Jeff
Roy, Frank
Ruddock, Ms Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Sanders, Adrian
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Southworth, Ms Helen
Squire, Ms Rachel
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
(Dewsbury)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Touhig, Don
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyler, Paul
Vaz, Keith
Vis, Dr Rudi
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Wills, Michael
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Wood, Mike
Woolas, Phil
Wray, James
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:


Janet Anderson and
Mr. David Jamieson.

Question accordingly negatived.

26 Feb 1998 : Column 579

9 pm

Mr. Clappison: I beg to move amendment No. 14, in page 3, line 43, at end add--


Next Section

IndexHome Page