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8.27 pm

Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan): There are three reasons for opposing the guillotine, as I intend to. The first is the traditional reason advanced by the right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald(Miss Widdecombe)--who, unfortunately, has voted for

9 Nov 1999 : Column 969

as many guillotines as I have voted against over the past 12 years. If she reflects on the number of guillotine motions tabled by the Conservative Government, she will realise that that rather undermines her case.

The second reason is one that was advanced by the hon. Member for Greenock and Inverclyde (Dr. Godman)--many hon. Members have mispronounced his constituency tonight, and I am sure that if anybody else does so, it will turn the hon. Gentleman himself into a secessionist. The Scottish part of the legislation will not be debated if the guillotine is carried and applied. That causes serious concern, although perhaps that is not reflected by the number of Scottish Members of Parliament here for the debate. None the less, there are serious concerns held in Scotland, which are worthy of debate. I can think of many times in the past 20 years or so when key aspects of Scottish legislation have not been debated here because of the impact of guillotines.

The third reason why this Bill should not be subject to a guillotine is by far the most important. The hon. Member for Greenock and Inverclyde was right to say that it contains provisions that directly impinge on the powers of the Scottish Parliament--on mental health, social work, housing and the rent Acts. Those are subjects that this House decided to devolve to the Scottish Parliament. Far from imposing a guillotine to prevent debate here on those vital matters, the Home Secretary--if he had any humility or any respect for the democratic process in Scotland--would send the issues to the Scots Parliament and allow time for them to be properly and effectively considered there.

When the hon. Member for Greenock and Inverclyde raised that point with the Home Secretary, he airily brushed it aside.

Mr. Straw indicated dissent.

Mr. Salmond: Yes, the right hon. Gentleman did. He said that immigration and asylum are issues for this House, but that is not the point that the hon. Member for Greenock and Inverclyde was making. He was pointing out that legislation directly within the powers of the Scottish Parliament will be substantially amended by the Bill. It is not a question of the policy of the Westminster Government, because that legislation is under the power of the Scottish Parliament and should be debated in adequate time there.

The Home Secretary has said that he wishes for good relationships between the Scottish Parliament and this place. One way to cause the breakdown of such a relationship is to act in the arrogant and high-handed manner that he has adopted over this Bill. He should send it for due consideration to the Scots Parliament, and if that means delaying the legislation and allowing more time for thought and debate, so be it. What is the point of this House devolving power over key pieces of legislation, but retaining the ability to amend them--and doing so without adequate debate even among hon. Members here? It is high-handed, arrogant and the very opposite of the process of devolution that this Administration were pledged to support. I hope that the Home Secretary will reflect on that and on the reasons why many right hon. and hon. Members will oppose the guillotine for consistent reasons.

9 Nov 1999 : Column 970

8.31 pm

Mr. Mike Hancock (Portsmouth, South): I hoped that even at this eleventh hour the Home Secretary would accept that the guillotine is excessive and that he should grant more time for this debate. Some of us have sat through at least two debates on the Bill but have not had the opportunity to contribute.

I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Prosser) for the courageous way in which he has stood up to much abuse on this issue and I hope that many of us faced with the same issue would have had the same courage. The issue does not affect only London and the south-east. I represent an area that has an ongoing problem with illegal immigrants, and with carriers who bring people into the country. The word bogus would be appropriately used for those people who advise many asylum seekers. I am sickened by the amounts of money that some people make out of innocent people who are merely trying to get their lives back together. They have come to this country to make a better life for themselves and often, more importantly, to take their families and themselves out of danger.

I am disappointed that the Home Secretary is not confident enough to give the House the opportunity to consider carefully amendments that are coming before us for the first time today, at what is the eleventh hour for the Bill. He makes the good point that Bills have tobe amended, and nobody can deny that. The 300 amendments are not excessive--last night we tried to debate 800. He has a long way to go by those standards.

This House deserves the courtesy of being able to discuss in depth such far-reaching legislation that reflects the way in which this country treats its own and people who come here seeking a safe haven. Our reputation is at stake on the type of legislation that we are prepared to put into action, and if we are not prepared to allow sufficient time to ensure the scrutiny that the Bill deserves, we are selling the reputation of this country--not to mention this House--short. I implore the Home Secretary to allow those of us who have not had a chance to speak on the Bill to discuss the issues affecting our own areas, and--more importantly--the whole House to discuss in detail the amendments before us.

8.34 pm

Mr. David Amess (Southend, West): I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Miss Widdecombe) on her magnificent speech. My only criticism is that I found her language too moderate. This is a rotten Government. They are the most anti-democratic Government of my lifetime. We all knew that the Home Secretary would say that the Conservatives used guillotines on Bills, but I advise him to re-read his election manifesto in which--sickeningly--he claimed that we would enter a new era with a new type of Government. Of course, what do we find? So far, we have had 11 Bills guillotined this Session, and four of them have been guillotined twice. I do not know how the Home Secretary can have the nerve to say that in five hourswe can analyse 367 amendments seriously. Some Conservative Members may believe that they have been sent to the House to scrutinise the Executive. Good grief: do they not realise that the Government find it offensive for anyone to scrutinise any issue?

I understand that early-day motion 986 will be debated in tonight's Adjournment debate. I hope that the Home Secretary will wait to hear that debate, in which a former

9 Nov 1999 : Column 971

Labour Minister, the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn), will tell the House exactly what he feels about this rotten Government.

I am very angry about the Government's cavalier attitude, as I wanted to spend some time sharing thoughts with the Home Secretary about the impact of his appalling measures on my poor constituents in Southend. The shambles that is this Bill will have a very adverse effect on genuine asylum seekers there, and on local residents.

The Government are a disgrace and the Bill is a shambles. I hope very much that those Labour Members who are not sycophantically waiting for preferment from this rotten Government will have the courage to join us in the Lobby to vote against this wicked guillotine motion.

Mr. Straw: The House will excuse me if I do not follow the lead of the hon. Member for Southend, West (Mr. Amess), except to say that I suggest that he should not start exchanging statistics about numbers of guillotine motions. He was a Member of Parliament in 1988-89, a Session in which 11 Bills, rather than nine, were guillotined.

I shall deal with two points that were raised. The hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock) said that there ought to be more time in which to debate the Bill. I understand the concern expressed by hon. Members of all parties about the large number of Government amendments that have been tabled towards the end of proceedings on the Bill. That sometimes happens, under all Governments and on all sorts of Bills. However, if the hon. Gentleman looks at the total range of consultation that has been held on this Bill and the White Paper that preceded it, he will accept that it has been very extensive.

Finally, my hon. Friend the Member for Greenock and Inverclyde (Dr. Godman) raised the question of the relationship between this Bill and the clear duties and rights of the Scottish Parliament. I think that all parties accept that the matter at the heart of the Bill is reserved, but from 1 April 2000, the support of asylum seekers--in Scotland, as well as in the rest of the United Kingdom--will rest with the Secretary of State and not individual local authorities.

Question put:--

The House divided: Ayes 339, Noes 175.

Division No. 315
[8.38 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Ashton, Joe
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Barnes, Harry
Barron, Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield)
Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe
Bermingham, Gerald
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul
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
Burgon, Colin
Butler, Mrs Christine
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
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)
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Yvette
Corbett, Robin
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, Ross
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunliffe, Lawrence
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Drew, David
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Fyfe, Maria
Galbraith, Sam
Gapes, Mike
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
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
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Healey, John
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Home Robertson, John
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
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
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, Rt Hon 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)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lawrence, Ms Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
Macdonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle
(B'ham Yardley)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Mountford, Kali
Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Mrs Diana
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Powell, Sir Raymond
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prescott, Rt Hon John
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooker, Jeff
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Shipley, Ms Debra
Short, Rt Hon Clare
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tynan, Bill
Vaz, Keith
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Wills, Michael
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wise, Audrey
Worthington, Tony
Wray, James
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Jim Dowd and
Mr. David Clelland.


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Allan, Richard
Amess, David
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Baldry, Tony
Ballard, Jackie
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Body, Sir Richard
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom
Brand, Dr Peter
Brazier, Julian
Breed, Colin
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Burnett, John
Burns, Simon
Burstow, Paul
Butterfill, John
Cable, Dr Vincent
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Canavan, Dennis
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chidgey, David
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
Collins, Tim
Colvin, Michael
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cran, James
Curry, Rt Hon David
Dafis, Cynog
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Duncan, Alan
Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Faber, David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Fearn, Ronnie
Flight, Howard
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Fox, Dr Liam
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Roger
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St Ives)
Gibb, Nick
Gill, Christopher
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Gorrie, Donald
Gray, James
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Harris, Dr Evan
Hawkins, Nick
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Hunter, Andrew
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles
(Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Key, Robert
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
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
Luff, Peter
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
McLoughlin, Patrick
Madel, Sir David
Malins, Humfrey
Mates, Michael
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
May, Mrs Theresa
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Moss, Malcolm
Norman, Archie
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Öpik, Lembit
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Prior, David
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
St Aubyn, Nick
Salmond, Alex
Sanders, Adrian
Sayeed, Jonathan
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Swinney, John
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Wardle, Charles
Waterson, Nigel
Webb, Steve
Wells, Bowen
Welsh, Andrew
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Willis, Phil
Wilshire, David
Woodward, Shaun
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:

Mrs. Jacqui Lait and
Mr. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown.

Question accordingly agreed to.

9 Nov 1999 : Column 975


That the Order of the House [15th June] be supplemented as follows:

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