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Sir Norman Fowler indicated dissent.

Mr. Howarth: If the right hon. Gentleman does not accept that, he should compare the speech of the hon. Member for Hallam with his own. It will become clear to him that the hon. Gentleman knows what he is talking about.

Sir Norman Fowler: Will the Minister explain why, in two debates, not a single Labour Back Bencher has spoken in favour of the Front-Bench spokesman?

Mr. Howarth: I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the Division Lists. My hon. Friends indicate their assent by the way in which they vote at the end of the debate.

Mr. Edward Garnier (Harborough): Now say that with a straight face.

Mr. Howarth: I do say it with a straight face.

I turn to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Wrexham (Dr. Marek). I should like to pick him up on one point. If I heard him correctly, he said that he was elected on an open list of one. He will correct me if I am wrong, but when the good people of Wrexham went to the polling booth, they found that he was the only Labour candidate on the ballot paper. He therefore stood on a closed list of one. I do not think that he can argue with that.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Howarth: I am coming to my comments on the hon. Gentleman's speech. If he is not happy after I have made them, I shall give way to him.

For three consecutive parliamentary evenings, I have sat here and listened to speeches by the hon. Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne). Although I have not agreed with them, I must admit that they have improved each evening. However, they started from a pretty low point. I make this as a political point, and would not want it to be misunderstood as anything else, but I have a fear that I shall share with the House. It is that, when I wake up in the middle of the night I shall see before me a vision of the hon. Gentleman speaking, because it seems as if, every time I look up, there he is. Despite that, I enjoyed his speech tonight.

The hon. Member for Cotswold (Mr. Clifton-Brown) asked about what my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said about the review that will take place after the European elections to see how the system has worked in practice. I shall not add to what my right hon. Friend said, but as the hon. Gentleman asked about it, I shall make clear the intention behind the review. There will be a full and thorough review of the operation of the system. Nothing should be ruled out, and that includes comparisons with the way in which other systems might hypothetically have worked.

Mr. Drew: Will my hon. Friend give way?

10 Nov 1998 : Column 245

9.45 pm

Mr. Howarth: I shall not, if my hon. Friend will forgive me, because the House has further business to deal with after the debate.

We have introduced an amendment that will ensure that, after the first elections using the system, a review will take place. I hope that, when our proposal is considered in another place, careful account will be taken of that commitment.

To elect their Members of the European Parliament, almost all the larger states of the European Union already use the system that the Government propose. It is true that nine member states use open or semi-open-list systems, but, with the exception of Italy--which I might venture to suggest offers no lessons when it comes to electoral systems--all those countries are small, and their political traditions are different from ours.

For all those reasons, the House should reject the amendments that were made to the Bill in another place thanks to the votes of those who have never been elected to any Parliament. We believe that the system that the Bill provides is appropriate and simple, and offers no prospect of perverse results. The idea that unelected hereditary peers can overturn the type of democratic system that the House proposes is too bizarre to contemplate.

Question put, That this House insists on its disagreement with the Lords in their amendments:--

The House divided: Ayes 307, Noes 125.

Division No. 373
[9.47 pm


AYES


Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy
Ashton, Joe
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Barron, Kevin
Battle, John
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Benton, Joe
Bermingham, Gerald
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Boateng, Paul
Borrow, David
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Breed, Colin
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Browne, Desmond
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burgon, Colin
Butler, Mrs Christine
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Caborn, Richard
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Yvette
Corbett, Robin
Corston, Ms Jean
Cox, Tom
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cummings, John
Cunliffe, Lawrence
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Cunningham, Ms Roseanna
(Perth)
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dewar, Rt Hon Donald
Donohoe, Brian H
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Fearn, Ronnie
Fisher, Mark
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Foulkes, George
Fyfe, Maria
Galloway, George
Gardiner, Barry
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godman, Dr Norman A
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Golding, Mrs Llin
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grocott, Bruce
Grogan, John
Gunnell, John
Hain, Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hinchliffe, David
Hoey, Kate
Home Robertson, John
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Geoffrey
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
Ingram, Adam
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
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, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Jowell, Ms Tessa
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Kelly, Ms Ruth
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lawrence, Ms Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Liddell, Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAllion, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
McLeish, Henry
Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
McNamara, Kevin
MacShane, Denis
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Marek, Dr John
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Maxton, John
Meale, Alan
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W)
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Eddie
Olner, Bill
Palmer, Dr Nick
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Ms Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Radice, Giles
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Ms Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Sheerman, Barry
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Shipley, Ms Debra
Short, Rt Hon Clare
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Snape, Peter
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Spellar, John
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)
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Touhig, Don
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Vaz, Keith
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watts, David
Webb, Steve
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Wills, Michael
Wilson, Brian
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woolas, Phil
Wray, James
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. Keith Hill and
Mrs. Anne McGuire.


NOES


Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Beggs, Roy
Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Bercow, John
Blunt, Crispin
Body, Sir Richard
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Burns, Simon
Butterfill, John
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Colvin, Michael
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cran, James
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Day, Stephen
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, Iain
Evans, Nigel
Faber, David
Fabricant, Michael
Flight, Howard
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Fox, Dr Liam
Gale, Roger
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick
Gill, Christopher
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Hague, Rt Hon William
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hammond, Philip
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Horam, John
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hunter, Andrew
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Key, Robert
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lidington, David
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
Maples, John
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Moss, Malcolm
Nicholls, Patrick
Norman, Archie
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Ruffley, David
St Aubyn, Nick
Sayeed, Jonathan
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Rt Hon John D (Strangford)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Tyrie, Andrew
Wardle, Charles
Waterson, Nigel
Wells, Bowen
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wilkinson, John
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Woodward, Shaun
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:


Sir David Madel and
Mrs. Caroline Spelman.

Question accordingly agreed to.

10 Nov 1998 : Column 248

It being Ten o'clock, further consideration stood adjourned.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 15 (Exempted business),


Question agreed to.

Lords Reasons for insisting on certain of their amendments to which the Commons have disagreed, again considered.

Government amendment in lieu of the Lords amendments agreed to.


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