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Mr. Andrew Robathan (Blaby): Behind you.

Mr. Wilson: We are very pleased--[Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman must be heard. There are far too many interventions, particularly from a sedentary position.

Mr. Wilson: Everyone knows the source of the Opposition's behaviour. I suppose that is all they have to console them.

The review will be formal and independently chaired. It will take place in the early part of next year, in time for the following academic year, so that the arguments that

13 Jul 1998 : Column 155

have been adduced on both sides of the House and in the other place over several weeks can be assessed and their impact on applications considered.

If we are wrong, we shall accept that. We do not believe that we are wrong, and I do not sense one iota of such humility on the part of the Opposition. We believe that we are right, but, if matters are in doubt, we have a committee. The Scottish university principals, with whom I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow is closely connected, will be represented on it, as will the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals. It will have independent chairmanship at its head.

If the findings were that what we were doing had any of the effects claimed by the Opposition--something that we refute--we shall learn from that and act on it. Thatis an act of generosity and magnanimity on the Government's part, which I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow will support.

On the question of legal challenge, it depends on the nature of such a challenge and the stage at which it was made. As I have repeatedly told my hon. Friend, the advice that we have received is that that challenge would not be successful.

Mr. Wallace: When the Minister answered my right hon. Friend the Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (Mr. Maclennan), he said that the legal advice that he had received was that the European rules did not apply to an internal arrangement within a member state, and that he was satisfied that the European Court of Justice would accept that.

However, as the Minister well knows, the purpose of the Human Rights Bill, which is before the House, is to incorporate the European convention on human rights into domestic law. Therefore, those matters will be justiciable in the British courts. What legal advice has he received with regard to any possible challenge under the European convention on human rights that would be heard before a British court?

Mr. Wilson: The advice is the same. There is no breach of human rights. I understand why Opposition Members and some in the House of Lords have tried to elevate the matter and make it something that it is not. A practical problem arises from the fact that, in the United Kingdom, there are two different educational systems with different school qualifications and honours degree courses of different lengths. That is what Lord Dearing's committee recommended and Sir Ron Garrick acknowledged. The recommendation was that we should take exactly the steps that we have taken. To try to leap from that to breaches of human rights is ridiculous. On that basis--

Mr. Peter Bottomley: On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. We have a genuine dilemma. Advice to Ministers is usually kept confidential. The advice of Law Officers to Ministers that what they are doing does not contradict the European convention is not advice that the House can normally obtain. In the present circumstances, the Government intend to incorporate the European law. Although the Minister said that it would be a purely domestic matter, it is accepted on both sides of the House and by Ministers that European students from outside the

13 Jul 1998 : Column 156

UK would be treated differently from many students in this country. [Interruption.] If I may continue my point of order--

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman is simply seeking to extend the debate. The point that he is raising is entirely a matter for debate.

Mr. Bottomley rose--

Mr. Deputy Speaker: I have dealt with that point of order.

Mr. Bottomley: My point of order--

Mr. Deputy Speaker: I have dealt with that point of order.

Mr. Bottomley: Mr. Deputy Speaker, my point of order--

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I have dealt with it.

Mr. Wilson: The hon. Gentleman can, as ever, be safely ignored.

We have done exactly what Dearing asked us to do. There is a practical problem, which we have addressed. We are offering an independent review of how we addressed it. We can do no more, we should do no more and, on that basis, I ask the House to support us.

Mr. Hayes: On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As you know, I am a relatively new Member of the House. The record will show that the Minister used the words "ignorant" and "dishonest" during his tirade. Could you advise me on whether those words are parliamentary? If not, should he withdraw them?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: As far as I am aware, neither was applied to individual Members of this House.

I shall now put the Question.

Question put, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment:--

The House divided: Ayes 300, Noes 168.

Division No. 335
[12.14 pm


AYES


Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Armstrong, Ms Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Banks, Tony
Barron, Kevin
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe
Bermingham, Gerald
Best, Harold
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Borrow, David
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Burden, Richard
Byers, Stephen
Caborn, Richard
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
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)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Corbett, Robin
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John
(Copeland)
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, John
Dewar, Rt Hon Donald
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fisher, Mark
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Foulkes, George
Galbraith, Sam
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grocott, Bruce
Grogan, John
Hain, Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Healey, John
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Home Robertson, John
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, Ms Tessa
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Kingham, Ms Tess
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Laxton, Bob
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Liddell, Mrs Helen
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCartney, Ian (Makerfield)
McDonagh, Siobhain
Macdonald, Calum
McFall, John
McIsaac, Shona
McLeish, Henry
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWilliam, John
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Peter
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Maxton, John
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Alun
Milburn, Alan
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W)
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, Paul (Torfaen)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Eddie
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Mrs Diana
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
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
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Ms Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Salter, Martin
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Sheerman, Barry
Short, Rt Hon Clare
Singh, Marsha
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Snape, Peter
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Spellar, John
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
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
(Dewsbury)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Tipping, Paddy
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
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wray, James
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)

Tellers for the Ayes:


Janet Anderson and
Mr. Clive Betts.


NOES


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Arbuthnot, James
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Ballard, Jackie
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom
Brand, Dr Peter
Brazier, Julian
Breed, Colin
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Butterfill, John
Cable, Dr Vincent
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife)
Chidgey, David
Chope, Christopher
Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Kensington)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
(Rushcliffe)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Cotter, Brian
Cran, James
Cunningham, Ms Roseanna
(Perth)
Curry, Rt Hon David
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Day, Stephen
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, Iain
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Evans, Nigel
Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Faber, David
Fallon, Michael
Fearn, Ronnie
Flight, Howard
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
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
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Harris, Dr Evan
Harvey, Nick
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Hunter, Andrew
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson Smith,
Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
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
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Livsey, Richard
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
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)
Moore, Michael
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Moss, Malcolm
Nicholls, Patrick
Oaten, Mark
Öpik, Lembit
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Prior, David
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
St Aubyn, Nick
Salmond, Alex
Sanders, Adrian
Sayeed, Jonathan
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swinney, John
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Rt Hon John D (Strangford)
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Tyler, Paul
Tyrie, Andrew
Wallace, James
Walter, Robert
Wardle, Charles
Waterson, Nigel
Webb, Steve
Wells, Bowen
Welsh, Andrew
Whittingdale, John
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Willis, Phil
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Woodward, Shaun
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:


Mr. John M. Taylor and
Mr. Edward Davey.

Question accordingly agreed to.

13 Jul 1998 : Column 160

Resolved,


Lords amendment disagreed to.

Committee appointed to draw up Reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to the amendment proposed by the Lords in lieu of the words left out of the Bill in page 22, lines 31 to 39: Mr. Damian Green, Mr. David Jamieson, Mr. Tony McNulty, Mr. Phil Willis and Mr. Brian Wilson; Three to be the quorum of the Committee.--[Mr. Jamieson.]

To withdraw immediately.

Reasons for disagreeing to the Lords amendment reported, and agreed to; to be communicated to the Lords.


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