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Mr. Fitzpatrick: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way, especially as two Conservative Members had opportunities to give way but declined them. I can only imagine that that is a measure of their last-ditch efforts to defend the previous Administration's policy of creating a low-skill, low-wage economy in this country. Does my hon. Friend agree that this policy is central to our new Government's social exclusion policy which will treat British workers with dignity? The creation of a national minimum wage is long overdue. It is testimony to the difference between Conservative Members, who treated the British people with contempt--

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman must not attempt to make a speech on an intervention.

Mrs. Roche: I understand well the points that my hon. Friend made. What Aunt Sallies the Conservative party has put up. The hon. Member for Daventry--this was not worthy of him--was worried that there were terrible enforcement measures. Where did they come from? They are, of course, based on previous enforcement provisions enacted by the Government in which he served as a Minister, as did the right hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. Redwood). They said nothing about draconian enforcement then. The Conservative party has learnt nothing and forgotten nothing.

I look forward to the progress of the Bill in another place. We will watch its deliberations. I remain confident that there will be a good debate there, despite the confusion and complications spread by the Opposition. The minimum wage is above all a practical measure

9 Mar 1998 : Column 273

designed to deliver to the people we represent. It is about people who are held down and treated unfairly. It is about company managers who need, and wish, to be free from the fear that a competitor will undercut them by recruiting a desperate labour force. The Conservative party's opposition to the Bill shows how out of touch it is with business. The Bill is a practical, hard-headed business measure, but it is practicality and hard-headedness with justice and fairness thrown in.

When the Bill becomes an Act, as it surely will, it will take its proper place alongside the other landmark legislation introduced by previous Labour Administrations. When my political life and awareness began, I looked at those past Labour Administrations with great admiration. They influenced my young life. This will take second place only to the setting up by a Labour Government of the national health service, whose anniversary we will celebrate this year. What more fitting tribute than to wish the Bill's passage well. I commend it to the House.

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

The House divided: Ayes 214, Noes 124.

Division No. 194
[8.16 am


AYES


Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Barnes, Harry
Beard, Nigel
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Benton, Joe
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Blears, Ms Hazel
Bradshaw, Ben
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Browne, Desmond
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Canavan, Dennis
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Chidgey, David
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Clelland, David
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Corbett, Robin
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cox, Tom
Crausby, David
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Dalyell, Tam
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Dawson, Hilton
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Drew, David
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Efford, Clive
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Foulkes, George
Gardiner, Barry
Gerrard, Neil
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Grocott, Bruce
Hain, Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hancock, Mike
Hanson, David
Healey, John
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hoey, Kate
Home Robertson, John
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Lawrence, Ms Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Liddell, Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Livingstone, Ken
Livsey, Richard
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAllion, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McCartney, Ian (Makerfield)
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McNulty, Tony
McWalter, Tony
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Peter
Marek, Dr John
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Alun
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Milburn, Alan
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W)
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Hara, Eddie
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Mrs Diana
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Reid, Dr John (Hamilton N)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Rowlands, Ted
Ruane, Chris
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Sheerman, Barry
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stoate, Dr Howard
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
(Dewsbury)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Todd, Mark
Touhig, Don
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Tyler, Paul
Vis, Dr Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Wareing, Robert N
White, Brian
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Winnick, David
Wise, Audrey
Wood, Mike
Woolas, Phil
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. Clive Betts and
Mr. Kevin Hughes.


NOES


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Arbuthnot, James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Baldry, Tony
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Burns, Simon
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Kensington)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
(Rushcliffe)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cran, James
Curry, Rt Hon David
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, Iain
Evans, Nigel
Faber, David
Fallon, Michael
Flight, Howard
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Gale, Roger
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick
Gill, Christopher
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Gray, James
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hammond, Philip
Heald, Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Horam, John
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson Smith,
Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lidington, David
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Luff, Peter
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
MacKay, Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Moss, Malcolm
Nicholls, Patrick
Norman, Archie
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Pickles, Eric
Prior, David
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Ruffley, David
St Aubyn, Nick
Sayeed, Jonathan
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Richard
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Townend, John
Trend, Michael
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Wardle, Charles
Waterson, Nigel
Wells, Bowen
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Willetts, David
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Woodward, Shaun
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:


Sir David Madel and
Mr. Stephen Day.

Question accordingly agreed to.

9 Mar 1998 : Column 275

Bill read the Third time, and passed.


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