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Mrs. Taylor: I think that the hon. Gentleman misheard me. I said that the issues had been discussed. The House is being asked to facilitate elections that, when the referendum is held, I believe the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland will say they want to take place. Some of the comments made about the Bill, especially from the Bench opposite, were really made not in objection to the programme motion, but to the fact that we have the Bill and the agreement at all. There is no way in which we can hope to satisfy--or would want to satisfy--downright opponents of the agreement.

Mr. Robert McCartney: Is it not correct that any issues discussed within the talks were confidential and not available to the public? The great distinction between what took place in those talks and what takes place here is the public nature of debate in the House.

Mrs. Taylor: The agreement was published, and there was a full statement on it in the House on Monday, when those hon. Members who were present could question the Secretary of State and took that opportunity. On that aspect, it is important to remember, as the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) said, that, in two long years, Members opposite have had every chance to take part in the discussions and have not done so. On that basis and against that background, I do not think that we should be put off making progress today.

Again, I thank the right hon. Member for South-West Norfolk (Mrs. Shephard) and the spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, the hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough (Mr. Willis), for the views that they expressed. Clearly, while the House cannot itself solve the problems of Northern Ireland, it can and should do all it can to ensure that the hope that was generated by the agreement on Good Friday is turned into real achievement. The motion and the Bill will be a step in the right direction.

Question put:--

The House divided: Ayes 350, Noes 11.

Division No. 251
[4.49 pm


AYES


Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Arbuthnot, James
Armstrong, Ms Hilary
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Austin, John
Baker, Norman
Ballard, Mrs Jackie
Barnes, Harry
Barron, Kevin
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe
Bercow, John
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blair, Rt Hon Tony
Blunt, Crispin
Body, Sir Richard
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brady, Graham
Brand, Dr Peter
Brazier, Julian
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon
(Dunfermline E)
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Butler, Mrs Christine
Byers, Stephen
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Canavan, Dennis
Cann, Jamie
Casale, Roger
Clapham, Michael
Clappison, James
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
(Rushcliffe)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Corbett, Robin
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Corston, Ms Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cran, James
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Dafis, Cynog
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Dawson, Hilton
Day, Stephen
Dean, Mrs Janet
Dismore, Andrew
Donohoe, Brian H
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Drown, Ms Julia
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ennis, Jeff
Evans, Nigel
Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Fallon, Michael
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Follett, Barbara
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Fox, Dr Liam
Galloway, George
Gapes, Mike
Gibb, Nick
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godman, Dr Norman A
Goggins, Paul
Golding, Mrs Llin
Goodlad, Rt Hon Sir Alastair
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Gorrie, Donald
Grant, Bernie
Gray, James
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grocott, Bruce
Grogan, John
Gunnell, John
Hague, Rt Hon William
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hammond, Philip
Hanson, David
Harris, Dr Evan
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Heald, Oliver
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Home Robertson, John
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Mon)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
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)
Khabra, Piara S
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Laxton, Bob
Leslie, Christopher
Letwin, Oliver
Levitt, Tom
Liddell, Mrs Helen
Lidington, David
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Linton, Martin
Livingstone, Ken
Livsey, Richard
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
McAllion, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCartney, Ian (Makerfield)
McDonagh, Siobhain
McGrady, Eddie
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McIsaac, Shona
MacKay, Andrew
Mackinlay, Andrew
Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
McLoughlin, Patrick
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Malins, Humfrey
Mallon, Seamus
Mandelson, Peter
Maples, John
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Maxton, John
May, Mrs Theresa
Meale, Alan
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Milburn, Alan
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Moore, Michael
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Moss, Malcolm
Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, Paul (Torfaen)
Nicholls, Patrick
Norris, Dan
Oaten, Mark
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Mrs Diana
Ottaway, Richard
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Powell, Sir Raymond
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prescott, Rt Hon John
Purchase, Ken
Quinn, Lawrie
Radice, Giles
Randall, John
Rapson, Syd
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Reid, Dr John (Hamilton N)
Rendel, David
Robertson, Rt Hon George
(Hamilton S)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Rooker, Jeff
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
St Aubyn, Nick
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Adrian
Savidge, Malcolm
Sedgemore, Brian
Sheerman, Barry
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Spellar, John
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spring, Richard
Squire, Ms Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Stott, Roger
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Streeter, Gary
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Swinney, John
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
(Dewsbury)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Todd, Mark
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Tyler, Paul
Vaz, Keith
Wallace, James
Walter, Robert
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Whittingdale, John
Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Wills, Michael
Winnick, David
Woolas, Phil
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek
Yeo, Tim

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. Greg Pope and
Mr. John McFall.


NOES


Beggs, Roy
Forsythe, Clifford
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Hunter, Andrew
McCartney, Robert (N Down)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)

Tellers for the Noes:


Rev. Ian Paisley and
Mr. William Thompson.

Question accordingly agreed to.

22 Apr 1998 : Column 845

Resolved,


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