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Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow): Following the point made by the right hon. Member for East Devon (Sir P. Emery), the Chairman of the Select Committee on Procedure, albeit that in parliamentary terms we both

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might be out of Jurassic park, what does my right hon. Friend think that people such as Judith Hart, for whom she once worked, Jack Mendelson and Michael Foot, whose parliamentary activities kept us out of the Vietnam war, would have thought of a Leader of the House who said that we have statements to keep Parliament informed? In the old days, it was a much wider matter than keeping Parliament informed; there had to be parliamentary debates on substantive motions so that Members of Parliament could reach decisions by vote. I do not doubt that the Government would get a huge parliamentary majority, and that the dissenters among us may be few. However, given what is happening in the House of Representatives, the Folketing and the Bundestag; given the grave doubts of the Italians, with Mr. Rugova coming to talk to the Italian Prime Minister; given the dissatisfaction of the Greeks; and given the enormous environmental problems, with toxins spewing forth from chemical factories throughout Europe, is it sufficient for the House of Commons to agree to be kept informed? Is it not high time that the House registered an opinion? This is a parliamentary matter, not a party matter.

Mrs. Beckett: I am not sure whether my hon. Friend entirely followed what I said to the right hon. Member for East Devon (Sir P. Emery), who is the ex-Chairman of the Procedure Committee.

Mr. Dalyell: Forgive me.

Mrs. Beckett: It is the right hon. Gentleman's successor, the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton), who needs placating.

I said to the right hon. Member for East Devon that the Government would continue to find time for statements and debates. As for what some of our distinguished predecessors--including my great and very dear friend Judith Hart--would have thought of these proceedings, they all, as great parliamentarians in their day, would have anticipated that the Leader of the House would look into the precedents with regard to the handling of discussion in the House during a campaign--namely, the provision of statements and time for debates. I have done that. I have looked into precedents from the second world war, the Falklands war and the Gulf war.

Our predecessors would also have expected the Leader of the House to look at the precedents with regard to how Parliament comes to decisions on these matters. I greatly respect the strong views of my hon. Friend, who strayed at the end of his question into whether Parliament should make a decision on a substantive motion. I tell him again that there is no precedent for that whatever.

Mr. Eric Forth (Bromley and Chislehurst): The Leader of the House will be aware that the Home Secretary has today pronounced on the matter of Mr. Fayed's citizenship. She may recall that, on the previous occasion when this matter was considered by the former Home Secretary, the present Home Secretary--in his previous Opposition incarnation--made a fuss about the need for transparency, for statements and for details to be given. Does the Leader of the House share my surprise that, apparently, no such details have been provided as yet? Will she therefore provide time as a matter of urgency for

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the Home Secretary to come to the House to give us in great detail the reasons for the decision that he has made today?

Mrs. Beckett: The mistake that the right hon. Gentleman makes is in drawing a parallel between someone not knowing the reasons why their application has been refused and someone knowing the reasons. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has announced the refusal, and has made plain his reasons, in full, to Mr. Al Fayed in a letter to his solicitors. However, my right hon. Friend believes that it is for Mr. Al Fayed to decide whether he publishes those reasons. Mr. Al Fayed now knows where he stands, whereas he did not before.

Mr. Mike Gapes (Ilford, South): Will the Leader of the House find time for an early debate on British identity and British nationality, so that we can make it clear to the wilder forms of nationalist extremism in Scotland and Wales, and to the growing English nationalist sentiment in the Conservative party, that my constituents--many of whom came to this country as refugees in the 1930s from Austria and Germany, with others coming from Somalia and fleeing from Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq--feel proud to be British? In such a debate, we could make it clear that Britain includes people of all religions, all cultures and all nationalities. We are proud of that, and we will not tolerate the wilder forms of separatism and nationalism that are being pedalled in Scotland, in particular.

Mrs. Beckett: I entirely share my hon. Friend's view that one of the honourable things about the history of this great country is that it contains people of a rich variety of shades, cultures, opinions and religions, and has always done so. That is something that we celebrate, rightly. I am confident that many will consider it unutterably complacent to say so, but I fear that I share the view of a journalist who wrote recently that the other characteristic of the British identity is that one does not need to get excited about it, because it is a matter of feeling secure in that identity.

Rev. Martin Smyth (Belfast, South): I welcome the fact that the Northern Ireland (Location of Victims' Remains) Bill has a financial measure attached to it, because relatives have already been seeking compensation for the cost of burying their dead.

Can we have a statement from the Chancellor or from someone else on a growing problem in Northern Ireland? One person is estimated to have an income of £2 million from smuggling, and some people are making £40,000 to £50,000 a week. Is it not time that we had more customs officials employed to deal with the haemorrhaging of money that should go to the Treasury?

Mrs. Beckett: The hon. Gentleman makes a serious point. As I understand it, resources for customs have been increased as a result of the comprehensive spending review. I have little doubt that my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Chancellor will keep the matter under review, because we are keen to have effective enforcement of law and order.

Mr. John Cryer (Hornchurch): I have asked my right hon. Friend before for a second debate on the Jenkins

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report on electoral reform. My request is given greater urgency by the emergence of a shadowy organisation called Make Votes Count. Has my right hon. Friend seen early-day motion 592?

[That this House notes recent articles in the Tribune newspaper regarding the decision by the Make Votes Count campaign to appoint lobbyists Lawson Lucas Medelson to run its public relations; is alarmed that LLM is not a member of the Association of Professional Political Consultants and is therefore not bound by its ethical code; and condemns LLM's threat of legal action against the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union as an attempt to suppress debate on electoral reform.]

As far as I can gather, LLM is attempting to use legal action to suppress the debate. That demonstrates that the debate on electoral reform has moved to a more vicious and sectarian stage, at least on the part of the Jenkins supporters.

We need a second debate because 50 Labour Members were unable to speak in the first debate. I suspect that the vast majority of them wanted to make it clear that they would have nothing to do with the bucket of pigs' entrails that is the Jenkins report.

Mrs. Beckett: I note my hon. Friend's somewhat colourful language. I have heard of the campaign, but I am not aware of the legal action to which he refers. I can certainly assure him that it receives no financial support from the Government and is unlikely to do so.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield): The Leader of the House will be aware that the second runway at Manchester airport is in an advanced state of construction. She will also know, as it is a matter of importance to the United Kingdom as a whole, as well as Manchester in particular, that the Commonwealth games are to take place in and around that city in 2002. People right across the party political spectrum--local authorities, business, Manchester airport itself and others--are deeply concerned that the infrastructure to serve both the airport and the games is inadequate.

Will the Leader of the House arrange for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety to make a statement as soon as possible about the need for roads to the south and south-east of Manchester, in north Cheshire, and especially the Manchester airport eastern link road, the Macclesfield-Poynton road improvement and the Poynton bypass, which are essential if we are to serve those tens of thousands of people who will be attracted to both the airport and the games? That is critical. It is vital that the multimodal study be concluded.

Mrs. Beckett: I understand the hon. Gentleman's concern, although in many ways the Manchester area has very good infrastructure compared with other parts of the country. I accept that there may be deficiencies that are causing concern. I fear that I cannot undertake to find time for a special debate in the near future, but I remind him that Environment, Transport and the Regions questions are on Tuesday 11 May, and he might find an opportunity to work the subject in there.

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