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9.30 pm

Mr. Tipping: It remains to be seen whether the Nolan rules can be applied to the body that the hon. Gentleman recommends. It is not clear what accountability would apply to the form of commission proposed in new clause 3. Is Madam Speaker being asked to apply Nolan principles? Will there be a fixed term of membership? What rules will the commission have to follow in selecting names? With the greatest respect to Madam Speaker, has she the necessary resources? I believe that a tried and tested set of procedures, instituted by the Tories and strengthened by us, is preferable to what the new clauses would do.

Hon. Members of all parties have been gripped tonight by the idea of the interim House. How long is that interim House to remain? Let me remind hon. Members of our manifesto commitment to remove hereditary peers from the second Chamber. We have set up a royal commission with an independent--a Tory--chairman, to report by the end of the year. What the White Paper says is our intention. The royal commission is being asked to report by the end of 1999, to enable the Government to make every effort to ensure that the second stage of reform has been approved by Parliament by the time of the general election.

We are determined to honour our manifesto commitment. We have begun, as the right hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (Mr. Maclennan) said, an evolutionary, step-by-step process. I am confident that we can keep to the timetable.

Change is occurring. There has been a remarkable change in the attitude of Tory Members towards hereditary peers. There has been a change in the pace of debate. There is now a real desire for open debate both with and within the royal commission. Let us have the confidence, after years of struggle, to achieve that change. This time, it is in our grasp, if we take the route that the Government have recommended and reject the amendments and new clauses.

Sir Teddy Taylor: Because of patronage and the current lack of pressure, some of us thought that there would not be a vote on the amendment, as there have not been votes on many other controversial amendments. In case there is a vote, I hope that the hon. and learned Member for Medway (Mr. Marshall-Andrews) appreciates that quite a few of those who will vote for the amendment

16 Feb 1999 : Column 828

utterly reject his arguments and his scenario for the future. The amendment would achieve what I want to achieve, but not what he wants to achieve.

Mr. Marshall-Andrews: I cannot think of a better solution than to have the hon. Gentleman voting with me but rejecting all the arguments that I have made.

Sir Teddy Taylor: The last thing that I want is to form a popular front, but, as the hon. Member for Thurrock (Mr. Mackinlay) pointed out, people might look at the record, and I would not want them to think that I was supporting the hon. and learned Member for Medway because of his absurd arguments.

The idea that abolishing hereditary peers and putting life peers in their place gets rid of patronage is a load of old codswallop. There is far more patronage involved in appointing life peers than in the succession of hereditary peers.

If we get rid of hereditary peers and have an elected House instead, as the hon. and learned Member for Medway would like, the Government should appreciate what we are doing to the constitution. I have just come back from Scotland. The House of Commons has always followed the idea that one person should represent an area and be answerable to its people, but now in Scotland people will have a Euro Member, although goodness knows what he is meant to do; a Westminster Member, with no power to handle Scottish affairs; regional Scottish Members, although no one knows what they are meant to do; directly elected Scottish Members; and councillors. It is nonsense. People might have five separate representatives, all of different parties. Instead of trying to deal with people's problems, they will simply blame each other.

We will not help if, on top of that mess, we tell the people of Glasgow that we want them to elect a senator as well. I hope that the hon. and learned Member for Medway, who has great ideas on legal matters, will appreciate that, if we go down that road, we will have an army of politicians and create confusion where we used to have a good system.

The House of Lords performs the limited job of making the Executive stop and think for a year. Basically, that can be done by the hereditary peers, who in no way try to overturn the political views of the House of Commons. The figures in fact show that more proposals from Conservative Governments have been stopped than proposals from Labour Governments. If we are to abolish that useful, limited constitutional safeguard, it would be better to have no second Chamber at all.

If we go ahead and have another elected Chamber, it will cost a lot of money and create much confusion. In addition, it will destroy many of the principles of our democracy that have worked well. It is very easy to muck everything up. People should appreciate that our constitution has served us well. I and others will vote for the amendment, but certainly not for the absurd, republican views expressed by the hon. and learned Member for Medway.

Mr. Grieve: I shall be brief. The speech made by the Parliamentary Secretary was a classic of new Labour, in that what was being offered was new patronage--a sanitised version of the old patronage. I can understand why he made it, but it was not good enough.

16 Feb 1999 : Column 829

I have had serious reservations about the direction in which the second Chamber should go. By having a directly elected second Chamber, can we achieve and keep some of the qualities evident in the independence of the present House of Lords? That question has caused me some concern, and I have sometimes wondered whether some form of appointed--or partially appointed--second Chamber might not be sensible.

However, I am bound to say that the more I have considered the matter, the more convinced I have become that the general thrust of what the hon. and learned Member for Medway (Mr. Marshall-Andrews) says is correct. I believe that we need an elected second Chamber, and that we should apply ourselves creatively to determining the system of any election that might be held, the timing of that election and the criteria governing it. We must try to ensure that those who go to the second Chamber, which will have more limited functions, will be able to reflect a greater spirit of independence from party control than is evident in this House. That would create a good system of checks and balances for the future.

On that basis, the hon. and learned Member for Medway has done a great service to the House by providing the vehicle for this debate. He is to be commended for what he has done.

Question put, That the amendment be made:--

The Committee divided: Ayes 51, Noes 269.

Division No. 69
[9.39 pm


AYES


Allan, Richard
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Barnes, Harry
Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Bennett, Andrew F
Best, Harold
Brake, Tom
Butler, Mrs Christine
Caton, Martin
Chaytor, David
Clapham, Michael
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Cummings, John
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Dawson, Hilton
Etherington, Bill
Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Fisher, Mark
Flight, Howard
Flynn, Paul
Godman, Dr Norman A
Grieve, Dominic
Hancock, Mike
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Hopkins, Kelvin
Hurst, Alan
Jones, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Livingstone, Ken
Llwyd, Elfyn
McAllion, John
McDonnell, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Mitchell, Austin
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Sanders, Adrian
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shepherd, Richard
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Stott, Roger
Swinney, John
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Wareing, Robert N
Wise, Audrey
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. Bill Michie and
Mr. Bowen Wells.


NOES


Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Armstrong, Ms Hilary
Ashton, Joe
Austin, John
Banks, Tony
Barron, Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Benton, Joe
Berry, Roger
Betts, Clive
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Borrow, David
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnett, John
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chisholm, Malcolm
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cooper, Yvette
Corbett, Robin
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cunliffe, Lawrence
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack
(Copeland)
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
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
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Fatchett, Rt Hon Derek
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Gapes, Mike
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grocott, Bruce
Grogan, John
Gunnell, John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Harris, Dr Evan
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Home Robertson, John
Hood, Jimmy
Hope, Phil
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lawrence, Ms Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAvoy, Thomas
McCafferty, Ms Chris
Macdonald, Calum
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
McLeish, Henry
Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
McNulty, Tony
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Martlew, Eric
Maxton, John
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moore, Michael
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Eddie
Olner, Bill
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pope, Greg
Powell, Sir Raymond
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prescott, Rt Hon John
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Radice, Giles
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Nick
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Rendel, David
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rogers, Allan
Rooker, Jeff
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Rowlands, Ted
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Salter, Martin
Savidge, Malcolm
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Shipley, Ms Debra
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Squire, Ms Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyler, Paul
Vaz, Keith
Vis, Dr Rudi
Wallace, James
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Wills, Michael
Winnick, David
Wood, Mike
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:


Mr. Graham Allen and
Mr. Keith Hill.

Question accordingly negatived.

16 Feb 1999 : Column 831

The Chairman, being of the opinion that the principle of the clause had been adequately discussed, put forthwith the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 68, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Question agreed to.

Clause 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

To report progress and ask leave to sit again.--[Mr. Robert Ainsworth.]

Committee report progress; to sit again on Monday 22 February.


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