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6 am

Mr. Dorrell: I shall be as brief as the Secretary of State. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton and Honiton (Mrs. Browning) for her support during the passage of the Bill. I thank hon. Friend the Member for South-West Bedfordshire (Sir D. Madel), who acted as Whip, and my hon. Friends who served in Committee and who stayed in the House this evening. I also thank the officers and staff of the House of Commons for supporting us through a long sitting.

We shall not support Third Reading. The Secretary of State has said times without number, both inside the House and outside, that his priority is standards, not structures. However, the Bill damages key structures which deliver the standards that we all want in our schools. It is committed to the abolition of grant-maintained schools and to an overly restrictive control on class sizes which will reduce choice for parents with children in infants schools. It establishes a one-way ratchet for the abolition of successful grammar schools.

Earlier, the Government sustained yet again their view that we should continue to have a division at the heart of our school system between the independent sector and the maintained sector, a division which I believe continues to damage opportunities for many children. This is a bad Bill which should not command a majority in the House. We shall oppose its Third Reading.

6.2 am

Mr. Don Foster: I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough (Mr. Willis), who has worked tirelessly with me in Committee and on Report.

We made it clear on Second Reading that, like the Government, we were interested in raising standards in our schools and that the Bill contained many measures that had our full support and many exciting ideas. We also made it clear that we disagreed with the Government about the appropriate way forward on certain aspects. We discussed those issues in Committee and on Report. On some, we received assurances from the Government about our concerns; on others, we continue to believe that the Government are not necessarily pursuing the most effective way forward. Broadly speaking, because there are so many measures that we support, and because we are keen to show our desire to be part of the process of moving forward to raise standards in our schools, we will certainly vote for Third Reading.

24 Mar 1998 : Column 403

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

The House divided: Ayes 208, Noes 19.

Division No. 229
[6.3 am


Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Atherton, Ms Candy
Ballard, Mrs Jackie
Barron, Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Bennett, Andrew F
Berry, Roger
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Brand, Dr Peter
Breed, Colin
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burstow, Paul
Byers, Stephen
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Canavan, Dennis
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Chaytor, David
Chisholm, Malcolm
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clelland, David
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Yvette
Corston, Ms Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunliffe, Lawrence
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Dalyell, Tam
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davidson, Ian
Dawson, Hilton
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Edwards, Huw
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flynn, Paul
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Galloway, George
Gapes, Mike
George, Andrew (St Ives)
Gibson, Dr Ian
Godman, Norman A
Golding, Mrs Llin
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Grogan, John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hanson, David
Harris, Dr Evan
Harvey, Nick
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hoey, Kate
Home Robertson, John
Hope, Phil
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Jamieson, David
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, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keetch, Paul
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Kidney, David
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Laxton, Bob
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Lock, David
McCabe, Steve
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Marek, Dr John
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
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
Oaten, Mark
O'Hara, Eddie
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Öpik, Lembit
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Rapson, Syd
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Rendel, David
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Sanders, Adrian
Savidge, Malcolm
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Soley, Clive
Squire, Ms Rachel
Steinberg, Gerry
Stoate, Dr Howard
Stott, Roger
Stringer, Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Tyler, Paul
Wallace, James
Wareing, Robert N
Watts, David
Webb, Steve
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Willis, Phil
Wills, Michael
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wise, Audrey
Woolas, Phil
Wray, James
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Clive Betts and
Mr. Robert Ainsworth.


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Arbuthnot, James
Brazier, Julian
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Evans, Nigel
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Jenkin, Bernard
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Maclean, Rt Hon David
Nicholls, Patrick
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Sayeed, Jonathan
Swayne, Desmond
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann

Tellers for the Noes:

Sir David Madel and
Mr. John Whittingdale.

Question accordingly agreed to.

24 Mar 1998 : Column 404

Bill read the Third time, and passed.


Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118(6) (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation),

Local Government Finance

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118(6) (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation),

24 Mar 1998 : Column 405

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