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Mr. Beith:

I must point out to the right hon. Gentleman that the deal was not in the least secret; it was public from the day that it was concluded.

Sir Brian Mawhinney:

Oh no. What was public from the day that it was concluded was that there was a deal. The terms of the deal are slowly coming to light, and the more we see of them, the less we like them.

The third element of the amendments relates to our belief that there should be democratic accountability within the parties at a regional level before the election

26 Feb 1998 : Column 592

can proceed. As has been made clear, the Conservative party will choose its regional candidates democratically, as will the Liberal Democrats, but the Labour party will not. I am grateful to someone, who will remain un-named, for letting me have a copy of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy's response to the Labour party's consultation paper on European parliamentary selections. It is absolutely relevant to the amendment before us, because it makes clear the opposition of many Labour party members to the fact that, although local members will be able to select one man and one woman, party apparatchiks will determine the candidates. That is typical of new Labour: new Labour, new control.

I tabled the amendments to ensure that voters throughout the country can have confidence in the democratic nature of the selection of candidates in all the parties. I commend them to the Committee.

Mr. Hogg:

I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for North-West Cambridgeshire(Sir B. Mawhinney). One of the most objectionable features--there are many--of the Bill is that it potentially gives control over the selection of candidates to the central institutions of the party. The Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats are not falling victim to the temptation to do that, but the Labour party is. It is reserving to the central institutions of the Labour party the power to adopt and re-adopt candidates. That is profoundly undemocratic. The advantage of my right hon. Friend's amendment is that it enables the Committee to consider the desirability of putting into commencement the Bill. It may sound improbable, but the Labour party will repent of its folly. At least it should be given the opportunity to do so. That is the great charm of my right hon. Friend's amendment.

Ms Quin:

Amendment No. 16 would require both Houses of Parliament to affirm that legislation, which both would have passed, should come into force. If either House is not content with the provisions in the Bill, it can refuse to approve and enact them.

I accept that there are precedents, although they are few, for the affirmative resolution procedure to be used to bring Acts, or parts of Acts, into force. That procedure is usually reserved for situations where the commencement of the provision is contingent on some other event and Parliament needs to be satisfied that the contingent event had taken place.

There are no contingent events relating to the Bill that would justify the use of the affirmative resolution procedure for commencement and transitional procedure orders.

Amendment No. 53 would prevent the Secretary of State from bringing into force the provisions of the Bill until Lord Neill's Committee on Standards in Public Life has produced a report. That Committee is not looking at issues relating to elections to the European Parliament; its main concern at the moment, as we know, is party funding. The Bill allows the Secretary of State to make regulations that would include regulations to limit the national expenditure of political parties in relation to European elections.

That is necessary because, with the elections proposed for the European Parliament, candidates would campaign not on their behalf but on behalf of their parties and the

26 Feb 1998 : Column 593

party list on which they are represented. It is therefore necessary to provide for expenditure limits on parties as well as on independent candidates. Those regulations could take account of any recommendations that Lord Neill's committee might make in relation to the national expenditure of political parties during elections.

Amendment No. 53 would also impose a condition on political parties requiring democratic approval at regional level of the party lists and the order in which names appear on such lists. Although, on several occasions during our debates, we have welcomed the Conservative party's conversion to party democracy, it is not for the Government to interfere in political parties' internal affairs.

It was interesting that, during our debate on Tuesday, a Conservative Member complained bitterly about his party's approach to organising the European elections and said that it would disadvantage his party. He referred to the meetings arrangements for which the Conservative party was responsible. However, each party must decide for itself how, within the limits of its constitution, it selects candidates for public office. However, the electorate will take account of how parties determine their lists when they vote.

Amendment No. 70 introduces two further conditions before the Secretary of State can bring into force the provisions of the Bill. The first relates to a report of the boundary commission. However, as we discussed on Tuesday, there is simply no need to involve the boundary commissions in the dividing of the country into established regions--the Conservative party is familiar with those, as it established them--which can be adopted with little amendment. The amendment is therefore simply a delaying tactic on behalf of the Conservative party. Why else would the Secretary of State have to wait a further four months after the boundary commissions complete their task before making the relevant order giving effect to their work?

The Opposition now want us to wait for the outcome of the independent commission on voting reform for this Parliament as well, before we introduce the new system for the European elections. We have always made it clear that there should be different systems of elections for different public bodies, and that each electoral system should be appropriate to the body concerned. As has been said many times, unlike this Parliament, the European Parliament does not determine a Government, so the issues that we need to consider are different from those of the Westminster Parliament.

The Government considered this issue carefully in bringing before the House a system based on regional lists, so I ask the right hon. Gentleman to withdraw the amendment.

Sir Brian Mawhinney:

We shall not withdraw the amendment. The contingent event to which the Minister refers is the complicated nature of this Bill. The electorate will have confidence in a centralised regional list system only if they can be sure that the people have been chosen democratically. For that reason, we shall press the amendment to a vote.

Question put, That the amendment be made:--

The Committee divided: Ayes 93, Noes 215.

26 Feb 1998 : Column 594

Division No. 185
[9.58 pm


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Arbuthnot, James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
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
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)
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
Whittingdale, John
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.


Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Baker, Norman
Ballard, Mrs Jackie
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Beith, Rt Hon A J
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
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
Cranston, Ross
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
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
Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Fatchett, Derek
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Fyfe, Maria
Galloway, George
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
Gerrard, Neil
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
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)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kelly, Ms Ruth
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
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
McCartney, Ian (Makerfield)
McDonnell, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNamara, Kevin
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Peter
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Maxton, John
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
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Pearson, Ian
Pickthall, Colin
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prosser, Gwyn
Quin, Ms Joyce
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Robertson, Rt Hon George
(Hamilton S)
Rooker, Jeff
Roy, Frank
Ruddock, Ms Joan
Ryan, Ms Joan
Sanders, Adrian
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Shipley, Ms Debra
Short, Rt Hon Clare
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Squire, Ms Rachel
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
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
Wills, Michael
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Wood, Mike
Woolas, Phil
Wray, James
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:

Janet Anderson and
Mr. David Jamieson.

Question accordingly negatived.

26 Feb 1998 : Column 596

It being after Ten o'clock, The Chairman left the Chair to report progress and ask leave to sit again.

To report progress and ask leave to sit again.--[Jane Kennedy.]

Committee report progress; to sit again tomorrow.

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