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Mr. Benn: Much emphasis has been put on clauses 5 to 7. Points that are new to me have been made. Will my right hon. Friend give me a categorical assurance that President Clinton was not told that, by the time that he arrived in Ireland, the provision would be embodied in statute? If that is the reason, let us know it and determine whether it is valid.

Mrs. Beckett: I do not speak for the American Government, but I assure my right hon. Friend that the issue that he raised has formed no part of the Government's consideration and the matter has not been discussed in that way.

I said at the outset that I did not speak at the start of the debate because I did not wish to take up the time of the House--and nor do I wish to do so now. The debate has veered between those who have complained that there has been insufficient time to consider the matters that will be before us in the Bill and those who have complained that they had heard all about the issue in the press before the House had met. Those points of view are valid, but they are not consistent with each other. I have been surprised to hear both expressed by the same person at times. The Bill follows what the Prime Minister said at Omagh. The way in which the Government intended to proceed was extensively discussed and trailed. Myhon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) and others are rightly concerned about how the provisions will operate should the House decide to pass the Bill. We have made it plain that the matter will be kept under review. It will be examined and will

2 Sept 1998 : Column 729

form part of the consultation process to which my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has referred, as will all the provisions of the Bill.

Mr. Cash rose--

Mrs. Beckett: If the hon. Gentleman will forgive me, I want to get on.

It has been said during the debate that the matters in the second part of the Bill will not form part of the review. That is not correct.

Mr. Cash: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.

Mrs. Beckett: Any issue on which hon. Members have concerns can be raised--

Madam Speaker: Order. I have a point of order. I think that it is more a point of frustration.

Mr. Cash: I have already raised with the Prime Minister and with you, Madam Speaker, the question whether the long title could be amended. I have had further discussions with the Clerks, and it is clear that there are significant difficulties, unless the Leader of the House is prepared in principle to concede that that could be done--

Madam Speaker: Order. That is not a point of order for me. It is an intervention on the Leader of the House, who may now continue.

Mrs. Beckett: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I can only say to the hon. Gentleman--

Mrs. Dunwoody: Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Mrs. Beckett: Of course.

Mrs. Dunwoody: My right hon. Friend was kind enough to refer to me. May I ask her, very seriously, whether the Government will simply accept that the Bill is a complex one which has enormous implications? Even those of us who want to see on the statute book those aspects of the Bill that are most urgently needed in Northern Ireland have real reservations about it. During the next part of the debate, will she seriously consider whether there is a way in which the guillotine can be removed?

Mrs. Beckett: The motion is not, strictly speaking, a guillotine motion. It is a business motion, which was carefully considered so as to try to give a fair amount of time for the debate. It does give more time than has been given for debate on such matters in the past. I believe that the House has the capacity thoroughly and properly to debate the proposals that the Government are making, should the House wish to use and exercise that capacity. I am anxious, as I know my hon. Friend will be, to proceed towards allowing the House to take that step.

Mr. Dafydd Wigley (Caernarfon): Does the Leader of the House accept that some of the implications of clauses 5 to 7 are technical and that Members might be well advised to consult people outside the House before

2 Sept 1998 : Column 730

coming to a conclusion on them? Given that the logic of proceeding at speed stems from the Irish situation and a desire to walk side by side with events in Dublin, and that that same logic does not apply to clauses 5 to 7, cannot the Government amend their position on that part of the Bill?

Mrs. Beckett: There have been recent terrorist events in places other than Omagh and therefore that is not the sole reason why the Government feel it necessary to put before the House the prospect of acting with some speed. The right hon. Gentleman says that the matters in the latter part of the Bill raise certain issues, but those issues have themselves been extensively discussed by the House over the past couple of years in a variety of different contexts. Therefore it has been possible for people to become conscious of some of the implications of the issues that he raises. However, it is undoubtedly the case--

Mr. Cash: Will the right hon. Lady give way?

Mr. Ian Taylor: Will the right hon. Lady give way?

Mrs. Beckett: With great respect to both hon. Gentlemen, I do not think that our constituents who send us here expect us to spend our time discussing the minutiae of how we debate the Bill. I say that with great respect to the hon. Gentlemen, who are both long-serving Members of Parliament, and bearing in mind the fact that the hon. Member for Stone has voted for a guillotine on a previous occasion.

Mr. Cash: Will the right hon. Lady give way?

Mrs. Beckett: I shall not give way. I am simply saying to the hon. Gentleman and to the House that I have been a Member of Parliament for as long as many and it has never been my practice to debate sittings motions and take up time, unless it was absolutely necessary. Hon. Members have raised important issues relating to whether matters should be handled in this way, but that question has been dealt with and I do not propose to deal with it at greater length.

Mr. Jeremy Corbyn (Islington, North): Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Mrs. Beckett: I shall give way to my hon. Friend, but I say to him and to the House that I do not intend to give way again.

Mr. Corbyn: The leader of Plaid Cymru, the right hon. Member for Caernarfon (Mr. Wigley), made an important point relating to clauses 5, 6 and 7 and their extra-territorial implications. Does my right hon. Friend accept that there is a need for serious discussion and consultation with a large number of people before the House takes such a major legislative step, which, in effect, will give power in British law to other countries when we do not have any such control over other countries' laws?

Mrs. Beckett: I am sure that my hon. Friend has read the Bill and seen that the Government have taken steps to write safeguards into it. He will also be aware that the matter has been extensively discussed over a very long period before being put forward in legislation. I say both

2 Sept 1998 : Column 731

to my hon. Friend and to the leader of Plaid Cymru that one of the reasons for the precise nature of the Government's motion was to ensure that the House had the opportunity specifically to consider those clauses of the Bill and not to allow that time to be swallowed up by the debate on the earlier part of the Bill. The Government have tried to recognise the sensitivities that hon. Members have expressed and to deal with them.

The hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills, who feels passionately and strongly about the liberties secured in the House, spoke about the liberties secured for him here. The principal reason why the Government are introducing the Bill is that securing our liberties and securing peace within the United Kingdom are of great importance to us all. That is why those on the Opposition Front Bench supported the manner in which the Government are proceeding. The matters before us are ones that, from time to time, have to be considered with a little more dispatch than is our wont. The hon. Gentleman also said that he hoped that we would march step in step with the Irish Parliament and Government; we are seeking to do so today.

Question put:--

The House divided: Ayes 317, Noes 87.

Division No. 357
[4.54 pm


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Banks, Tony
Barron, Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Bermingham, Gerald
Berry, Roger
Betts, Clive
Blair, Rt Hon Tony
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Boateng, Paul
Borrow, David
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brazier, Julian
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon
(Dunfermline E)
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burns, Simon
Butler, Mrs Christine
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chaytor, David
Chisholm, Malcolm
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Collins, Tim
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Yvette
Corbett, Robin
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cran, James
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Curry, Rt Hon David
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, John
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Dowd, Jim
Duncan, Alan
Edwards, Huw
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Evans, Nigel
Fallon, Michael
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Foulkes, George
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Fox, Dr Liam
Fraser, Christopher
Fyfe, Maria
Gale, Roger
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gibb, Nick
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godman, Dr Norman A
Goggins, Paul
Golding, Mrs Llin
Goodlad, Rt Hon Sir Alastair
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grocott, Bruce
Grogan, John
Hague, Rt Hon William
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Hawkins, Nick
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Heald, Oliver
Healey, John
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Heppell, John
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Home Robertson, John
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, Adam
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson Smith,
Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jowell, Ms Tessa
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Kelly, Ms Ruth
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Key, Robert
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lansley, Andrew
Laxton, Bob
Leslie, Christopher
Letwin, Oliver
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Love, Andrew
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
McIsaac, Shona
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Mackinlay, Andrew
McLoughlin, Patrick
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Peter
Maples, John
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Martlew, Eric
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Maxton, John
May, Mrs Theresa
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Alun
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Moss, Malcolm
Mountford, Kali
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Nicholls, Patrick
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Hara, Eddie
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Mrs Diana
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Pickles, Eric
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prior, David
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quinn, Lawrie
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Reid, Dr John (Hamilton N)
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)
Salter, Martin
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Sheerman, Barry
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Snape, Peter
Soames, Nicholas
Soley, Clive
Spellar, John
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steen, Anthony
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Streeter, Gary
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Tipping, Paddy
Touhig, Don
Trend, Michael
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Vis, Dr Rudi
Wareing, Robert N
Waterson, Nigel
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Willetts, David
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Wills, Michael
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. David Clelland and
Mr. Greg Pope.


Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Beggs, Roy
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Blunt, Crispin
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Brady, Graham
Breed, Colin
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Cable, Dr Vincent
Canavan, Dennis
Cash, William
Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Kensington)
Clwyd, Ann
Corbyn, Jeremy
Dalyell, Tam
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Donaldson, Jeffrey
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Faber, David
Fabricant, Michael
George, Andrew (St Ives)
Gorrie, Donald
Grant, Bernie
Gray, James
Grieve, Dominic
Hayes, John
Heath, Rt Hon Sir Edward
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Hunter, Andrew
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, Charles (Ross Skye)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Livsey, Richard
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
McAllion, John
McCartney, Robert (N Down)
McDonnell, John
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McNamara, Kevin
Maginnis, Ken
Malins, Humfrey
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Mates, Michael
Mullin, Chris
Öpik, Lembit
Paisley, Rev Ian
Paterson, Owen
Randall, John
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
St Aubyn, Nick
Salmond, Alex
Sayeed, Jonathan
Skinner, Dennis
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Swayne, Desmond
Swinney, John
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Tredinnick, David
Trimble, Rt Hon David
Walter, Robert
Webb, Steve
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Willis, Phil
Wise, Audrey

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Peter Brooke and
Mr. Richard Shepherd.

Question accordingly agreed to.

2 Sept 1998 : Column 734


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