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Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Kilfoyle: No.

7 Jul 1998 : Column 957

Mrs. Bottomley rose--

Mr. Kilfoyle: No. I will not give way.

Mrs. Bottomley rose--

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael J. Martin): Order. The right hon. Lady cannot remain standing--the Minister is obviously not giving way. The right hon. Lady must sit down.

Mrs. Bottomley rose--

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The right hon. Lady must sit down. I am ordering her to be seated, please.

Mrs. Bottomley: In that case, I shall leave.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: That is up to the right hon. Lady.

Sir Peter Tapsell (Louth and Horncastle): On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it not an invariable convention in the House that when one hon. Member not only names another, but positively launches an attack on her, he always gives way?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. That is not a matter for the Chair. What is a matter for the Chair is that when I give an order for an hon. Member to be seated, that hon. Member must be seated.

Mr. Kilfoyle: I had not even finished what I was saying, but it seems academic now.

The hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Cash) commented, on a point of order, that the Select Committee on European Legislation had been refused the opportunity to refer certain matters to a Standing Committee. I rebut that. It was the Select Committee that changed its mind about referring matters to the Standing Committee. It is important that that should go on the record.

My hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Mr. Mackinlay) is a singular individual. I am sorry that I was unable to persuade him on another occasion to vote in a certain way. I am sure that tonight he will see the sense of the Government's amendment to the Opposition motion, and I know that he will support us.

My hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley, Central (Mr. Illsley) made the point, which seems to have escaped the notice of several hon. Members, that there is at times a problem of secrecy with Select Committees. Some right hon. and hon. Members acknowledge that, but others act as if Ministers did not sometimes have to face the problem of how to deal with Select Committees. That must be recognised by all concerned.

The hon. Member for Romsey (Mr. Colvin) made a constructive contribution on the possible development of the role of Select Committees. He asked how advice to Ministers should be construed. I would construe it with great circumspection.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, North and Stoke Newington (Ms Abbott) rightly pointed out the importance of the debate, but I should tell her to beware of Tories bearing gifts of support. It is a poisoned chalice,

7 Jul 1998 : Column 958

make no mistake about it. She referred to the Foreign Secretary being forced to change his mind about his response to the Select Committee. I can only say to my hon. Friend that if a Secretary of State does not wish to give information, that information will not be forthcoming.

If my hon. Friend needs confirmation of that, I refer her to the Trade and Industry Committee's third report of Session 1995-96, paragraph 168, which refers to the former President of the Board of Trade. The Committee remarked:

That is obduracy from a Secretary of State.

Mr. Mackinlay: That does not make it right.

Mr. Kilfoyle: It certainly does not make it right, as my hon. Friend says from a sedentary position. That is why my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has offered time and again to compromise with the Select Committee.

I agree with the hon. Member for South Staffordshire (Sir P. Cormack) that the right hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster made a witty contribution based on an analogy with the game of cricket. However, my hon. Friend the Member for Clydesdale (Mr. Hood) pointed out that the Opposition had scored an own goal in the debate. What came to mind was the own goal scored by Colombia in 1994, and we know what happened to the player who put that own goal into his net. I hope that the same does not happen to any Opposition Member.

The hon. Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Mr. Luff) made a general contribution on the role of Select Committees and raised again the Tory myth about resources for the Select Committees. There may indeed be a huge problem of resources, but it is not a problem for the Government. That is a matter for the House. I hope that the hon. Gentleman does not blame this Government for the situation.

My hon. Friend the Member for Greenock and Inverclyde (Dr. Godman) presented a reasoned, sensible approach to a mutually acceptable resolution of the difficulties faced by the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The hon. Member for South Staffordshire told us lots and lots about what we are not discussing. I am always amazed by his comments. Hon. Members are depicted as good Members of the House as long as they agree with the Conservative Opposition. He said that we should begin by asking why the debate had been held. I prefer the views of those of my hon. Friends who have said that some people are playing a game. The Tories are not interested in the way in which Select Committees are constituted, or in the powers of the Secretary of State or Ministers vis-a-vis particular Select Committees, but in scoring cheap political points.

For example, the hon. Gentleman referred to the alleged inability of the Leader of the House to find time for today's debate. We have had today's debate now, and I did not see many Opposition Members enjoying any stage of it. The Opposition could have chosen a half-day debate, but instead they chose a full day's debate on something that has turned out to be a damp squib.

7 Jul 1998 : Column 959

The right hon. Member for North-West Hampshire (Sir G. Young) started off with a whimper and ended up with a sigh--at least, there was certainly a sigh of relief on Government Benches. The right hon. Gentleman made no impact and added nothing to our understanding of the issues before us.

What we are saying to the Foreign Affairs Committee is simple; it is "Not yet," rather than "No." There is nothing unusual about a Select Committee awaiting the outcome of a specific formal inquiry. There is nothing unusual about the Government deferring answers until such an inquiry has reported. The previous Government declined to answer parliamentary questions about arms to Iraq while the Scott inquiry was being held.

The present Government are committed to being open with Parliament. We are not trying to frustrate the Foreign Affairs Committee's inquiry in any way. The Committee could look at the relevant telegrams in private now, and Ministers will answer outstanding questions when Legg has reported. The only issue is whether there should be public disclosure, before Legg reports, of part of the evidence that Legg is considering.

The Legg report will be published. We want that inquiry to do a proper job and to report soon, and it cannot do so if those involved also have to answer questions in a parallel inquiry by the Select Committee. We fully respect Select Committees' right to ask for information. That is at the very heart of the way in which Parliament works, with individual Members, Select Committees and the House collectively seeking information.

Select Committees have the powers that the House gives them. They cannot be more powerful than the House itself. The House debated Sierra Leone on 18 May and agreed a resolution that included approval of the Government's commitment to an urgent outside investigation and publication of a full report. The Chairman of the Select Committee said that

Those are his words, not mine. He also said that if the Legg inquiry were conducted in public,

    "such an inquiry would take a long time".--[Official Report, 18 May 1998; Vol. 312, c. 621.]

Those, too, are his words, not mine.

I hope that the Committee will now accept the opportunity, generously offered, to see the summary of the telegrams for which it has asked, on a well-precedented, confidential basis--named, ironically enough, the Pergau process, after an inquiry during the previous Administration that many in the House will remember well.

The Foreign Secretary has offered to appear before the Select Committee, and that may prove a way for the Committee to find its own way out of its difficulties--difficulties, I have to say, that the Committee itself has created.

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:--

The House divided: Ayes 173, Noes 339.

Division No. 329
[9.57 pm


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Arbuthnot, James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Ballard, Jackie
Beggs, Roy
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Body, Sir Richard
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia
Brady, Graham
Brand, Dr Peter
Brazier, Julian
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Burnett, John
Burns, Simon
Burstow, Paul
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife)
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chidgey, David
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Kensington)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Colvin, Michael
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cotter, Brian
Cran, James
Cunningham, Ms Roseanna
Dafis, Cynog
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Day, Stephen
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, Iain
Evans, Nigel
Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Faber, David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Fearn, Ronnie
Flight, Howard
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Fox, Dr Liam
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Roger
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St Ives)
Gibb, Nick
Gill, Christopher
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Gorrie, Donald
Gray, James
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Harris, Dr Evan
Hawkins, Nick
Heald, Oliver
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hunter, Andrew
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Mon)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, Charles (Ross Skye)
Key, Robert
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Kirkwood, Archy
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lidington, David
Livsey, Richard
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Madel, Sir David
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Mates, Michael
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Moss, Malcolm
Nicholls, Patrick
Norman, Archie
Oaten, Mark
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Pickles, Eric
Prior, David
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
St Aubyn, Nick
Sanders, Adrian
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swinney, John
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Townend, John
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Tyler, Paul
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Wardle, Charles
Waterson, Nigel
Webb, Steve
Wells, Bowen
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Willis, Phil
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Woodward, Shaun
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Peter Brooke and
Mr. Peter Luff.


Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Ms Hilary
Ashton, Joe
Atherton, Ms Candy
Austin, John
Banks, Tony
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe
Bermingham, Gerald
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Boateng, Paul
Borrow, David
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Butler, Mrs Christine
Byers, Stephen
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Canavan, Dennis
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Chisholm, Malcolm
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Corbett, Robin
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Ms Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunliffe, Lawrence
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Dalyell, Tam
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, John
Dewar, Rt Hon Donald
Dismore, Andrew
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Fatchett, Derek
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Fyfe, Maria
Galbraith, Sam
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godman, Dr Norman A
Goggins, Paul
Golding, Mrs Llin
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Gunnell, John
Hain, Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Home Robertson, John
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, Ms Tessa
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Liddell, Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Livingstone, Ken
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAllion, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McCartney, Ian (Makerfield)
McDonagh, Siobhain
Macdonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McLeish, Henry
McNamara, Kevin
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Peter
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Alun
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Milburn, Alan
Mitchell, Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W)
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Mudie, George
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Eddie
Olner, Bill
Organ, Mrs Diana
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Powell, Sir Raymond
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Ms Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Radice, Giles
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Reid, Dr John (Hamilton N)
Robertson, Rt Hon George
(Hamilton S)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rogers, Allan
Rooker, Jeff
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Ms Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Salter, Martin
Savidge, Malcolm
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Short, Rt Hon Clare
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Snape, Peter
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stoate, Dr Howard
Stott, Roger
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Vaz, Keith
Vis, Dr Rudi
Ward, Ms Claire
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wise, Audrey
Wood, Mike
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. John McFall and
Mr. David Jamieson.

Question accordingly negatived.

7 Jul 1998 : Column 963

Question, That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments), and agreed to.

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