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9.44 pm

Mr. Flight: This is the largest piece of legislation introduced by this Government. As described, it will affect 1 million people, our biggest industry and our biggest exporter. It is not exactly a red-hot sphere of party politics, but I think that the Government could be forced to accept that the Opposition's opposition has endeavoured to be constructive, to scrutinise the Bill in huge detail and to get it right--for the sake of our country, the industry and the people who work in that industry. I offer our thanks particularly to the lawyers who have advised us in our task, and who are sitting under the Gallery.

Although I am pleased to note that the Government have concurred on many of the issues that we have raised--that is largely why Report has taken so long--there are, as I said when we began our consideration, certain key points of principle that we wanted the Government to acknowledge and to put right. We feel that those principles continue to be fudged, which is undesirable for the legislation's success. My colleagues have dealt with those principles in our debates.

If a body as powerful as the FSA is to enjoy legal immunity, there will have to be, as Burns recommended, a clearly independent complaints procedure empowered to award recompense. The Government have come close to making such provision, but why will they not fully accept it?

The FSA's regulatory mandate should be to accept and to promote both domestic competition and international competitiveness. The Government have added their cumbersome machinery--including the Office of Fair Trading, the Competition Commission and the Treasury--but such an addition makes no sense unless the FSA is instructed up front that its regulatory activities are to be essentially pro-competition.

The FSA is a leviathan. It is the governor of a particularly large industry and is able to go forth without having to hold elections on its actions. It is surely right that its starting mandate should be to be reasonable, fair, open, accountable and proportionate. The Minister said that that is what the Bill says, but it does not--although the Opposition tried on several occasions to get it in there.

9 Feb 2000 : Column 370

A body as large as the FSA surely should be subject to periodic independent reviews of its operation, efficiency, cost and cost-effectiveness.

On the chief executive, we have agreed with the Government that we should let Howard Davies sort out the issues. Thereafter, however, it must be right to follow the private sector's precedent of good practice by having a non-executive chairman and giving the non-executive board responsibilities analogous to those performed in the private sector.

It must be wrong to have a situation in which United Kingdom firms are damaged in their overseas business by attempted United Kingdom regulation. It must be completely wrong to pass legislation that the Government themselves have essentially accepted will damage our e-commerce.

The Bill has already been tremendously improved, but it will be further improved in the other place. Today, however, we shall be voting against it, to register the key points of principle that we have banged on about since we started consideration in Committee.

9.48 pm

Miss Melanie Johnson: It is my great privilege to bring to a close the House's very extensive consideration of this necessarily very extensive Bill.

My right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury has already paid generous tribute to the work of the great many people, inside and outside the House, who have contributed to this work. I strongly endorse that tribute, as does my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. We should like also to endorse the work of our predecessors and of the Burns committee.

This has been a model process of how to deal with important, but technically very complex, legislation. We have had extensive public consultation, followed by pre-legislative scrutiny of the most important aspects of the Bill, followed by constructive and co-operative line by line consideration. The Government would be the first to acknowledge that the Bill has been significantly improved at each point of the process. There is likely to be further scope for refinement in another place before the Bill returns to us for final consideration.

I have been much entertained by the speeches during the debate. I was pleased that my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman) felt able to rejoin the debate this evening, and I appreciate the contribution of my hon. Friend the Member for Bexleyheath and Crayford (Mr. Beard) and other members of the Select Committee who have contributed positively to the Bill. I was much entertained also by our debates on fine targeting with the Liberal Democrats.

I was particularly entertained by the comments of the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Mr. Loughton) and his heavily laboured analogy concerning the birth of the Bill. I was somewhat bemused, as one of the reasons why the Bill has had so many amendments--the hon. Member for Arundel and South Downs (Mr. Flight) did say this--is that it has been much improved, and some of the amendments have been in

9 Feb 2000 : Column 371

response to points made by the Opposition. Some Opposition Members have dug themselves into opposition and kept digging, despite the fact that the Government have responded so positively to the many points that they raised.

The Bill will give the Financial Services Authority a coherent set of modern regulatory powers, and, as such, it constitutes a thorough and necessary overhaul of a relevant part of the statute book. The result will be to enable the FSA to operate as an effective, fair and accountable regulator. The reforms to be facilitated by the Bill are pro market confidence, pro consumer protection and pro consumer awareness. They are anti financial crime, anti-abuse and anti-malpractice. Scams, malpractice and market abuse will do nothing for a world-class industry, and consumers must be protected. That has been one of our overriding concerns, along with making sure that we have a first-class regulator.

One wonders why the Opposition are voting against the Bill, and what that will do for a world-class industry. The Bill is a prime example of the Government's aim to reform and modernise Britain. It responds to the changing face of the financial services industries, and it will bring a fair deal to those operating within one of our most successful industries, as well as to those who use and rely on financial services for their well-being and prosperity.

The industry is well regulated in the UK, and it has been maintained and secured. It is that success, the high standards and the high regard in which financial services in the UK are held around the globe, that the Bill seeks to maintain. The Bill is central to maintaining and enhancing that success. It will increase accountability, and it will have regard to competition. It will make sure that competition is at the heart of the consideration that the FSA gives to its work as a regulator. It will protect consumers.

Above all, the Bill will strike the right balance. It will provide light-touch regulation, and protection where necessary. It is a new regulator for a new millennium, and I trust that the House will support the Bill tonight.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:--

The House proceeded to a Division--

Mr. Deputy Speaker: I ask the Serjeant at Arms to investigate the delay in the No Lobby.

The House having divided: Ayes 340, Noes 128.

Division No. 70
[9.54 pm


Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Ashton, Joe
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Ballard, Jackie
Barnes, Harry
Barron, Kevin
Battle, John
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield)
Benton, Joe
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul
Borrow, David
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brake, Tom
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Butler, Mrs Christine
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Chisholm, Malcolm
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
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Yvette
Corbett, Robin
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Jean
Cotter, Brian
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Darvill, Keith
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, John
Dobbin, Jim
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
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
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, Andrew (St Ives)
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
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)
Grogan, John
Gunnell, John
Hain, Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hancock, Mike
Hanson, David
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Healey, John
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
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, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
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)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Keetch, Paul
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Livsey, Richard
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
Macdonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
McNamara, Kevin
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
Maxton, John
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Moore, Michael
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle
(B'ham Yardley)
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Eddie
Öpik, Lembit
Organ, Mrs Diana
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
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
Radice, Rt Hon Giles
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Rendel, David
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Adrian
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, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Tyler, Paul
Tynan, Bill
Vis, Dr Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watts, David
Welsh, Andrew
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Willis, Phil
Wills, Michael
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wise, Audrey
Wood, Mike
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mrs. Anne McGuire and
Mr. Gerry Sutcliffe.


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Baldry, Tony
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
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
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Colvin, Michael
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cran, James
Curry, Rt Hon David
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Day, Stephen
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Duncan Smith, Iain
Evans, Nigel
Faber, David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Flight, Howard
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick
Gill, Christopher
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hammond, Philip
Hayes, John
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hunter, Andrew
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson Smith,
Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Key, Robert
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lidington, David
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Moss, Malcolm
Nicholls, Patrick
Norman, Archie
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Prior, David
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Ruffley, David
St Aubyn, Nick
Sayeed, Jonathan
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Townend, John
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Wardle, Charles
Wells, Bowen
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wilkinson, John
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Keith Simpson and
Mrs. Eleanor Laing.

Question accordingly agreed to.

9 Feb 2000 : Column 375

Bill read the Third time, and passed.

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