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Mr. Hogg: One way forward for the future might be for the Government to annex to these orders an explanatory memorandum, so we would have the answer in brief form

14 Mar 2000 : Column 176

before the debate. We might then know whether we collectively wanted to address the matter on the Floor of the House.

Mr. Wilshire: I am sure that my right hon. and learned Friend is absolutely correct. It is essential that we do all in our power to ensure that no Executive--Labour or Conservative--slip money, whether it is £1,000 or £1 billion, past the House, on the nod, late at night. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) is to be commended for his vigilance. I feel guilty for not being as vigilant as he is.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield): I am listening to my hon. Friend extremely carefully. Is not he highlighting to the House, badly attended as it is for this debate, the inadequate way in which it deals with votes on Supply and estimates? Will he take note of the increasing concern expressed not only by the Procedure Committee, which I chair, but the Public Accounts Committee and, what is more, the influential Liaison Committee?

Mr. Wilshire: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I wish him well in his endeavours to ensure that this does not happen again. It is absolutely proper that we debate these issues, and it is remiss of the Government to try to slip them through on the nod and to have offered no details at the start of the debate. The document provides no details; it refers simply to a Bill and a figure, which it says is a token.

I suggest that the Government read their history books and note that quite a few members of past Executives have ended up in clink, and one or two have lost their heads trying to defy Parliament on taxation.

4.8 pm

Mr. Michael Fallon (Sevenoaks): I join my colleagues in asking questions about the supplementary vote. The Financial Secretary is perfectly entitled to put the request for a supplementary vote before the House, but we are equally entitled to ask questions about it. I am grateful to my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) for ensuring that we are doing so.

As I said earlier, it is unfortunate that the new service that is singled out as the justification for the supplementary vote is being set up by a Bill, rather than an Act that has already been passed. The House may well change the nature of the expenditure involved in the Bill before it becomes an Act. You will be aware, Madam Speaker, that the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate Bill has only just arrived in the House, and we have not yet properly debated it or seen the various money resolutions that the Financial Secretary may want to attach to it.

My right hon. Friend may well want to note that paragraph 5 of the Treasury document refers to expenditure for a new service, but the explanatory memorandum that accompanies the Bill says:

The Financial Secretary has come to the House, asking for additional resources, when the explanatory notes to the Bill make it clear that it does not involve an increase in expenditure. I can tell the House that the running costs for the inspectorate are some £2.5 million in the next financial year. Of course, the inspectorate exists already. The purpose of the Bill is to put it on a statutory basis.

14 Mar 2000 : Column 177

The explanatory notes are more than helpful. They point out that although there is an increase in expenditure in the next year, that is largely the result of the need for the inspectorate to find accommodation separate from the Crown Prosecution Service.

I repeat: there is no increase in expenditure as a direct result of the Bill. Therefore, I am mystified as to how the Financial Secretary can pick out this item of expenditure and justify it to the House as being needed

That footnote specifically states:

    Includes provision for expenditure on the Crown Prosecution Inspectorate which is being set up under the Crown Prosecution Inspectorate Bill which received Third Reading in the House of Lords.

Precisely because of the confusion about whether new money is required for the inspectorate to be put on a statutory basis, it would have been better to wait until the Bill had been considered by the House. We could have decided whether or not to assent to the money resolution that the Financial Secretary may or may not table to the Bill. However, he has not done that, so all that we can rely on is the proceedings in another place. I suggest that the Financial Secretary should be asked to take the document away and try again.

4.11 pm

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Stephen Timms): I am grateful to Opposition Members for providing me with the opportunity to explain the significance of the supplementary vote on account.

I remind the House that the purpose of the vote on account is to provide finance to allow existing services to continue during the early months of the coming financial year, pending the consideration by Parliament of the Supply estimates, which take effect from mid-July. Where it is intended that new services currently before Parliament, like the one mentioned in this brief debate, will be funded between 1 April and the passing of the Appropriation Act, that is drawn to Parliament's attention by means of a footnote. That is the standard procedure for dealing with such matters.

Our Standing Order No. 55(2)(a) covers votes on account and specifies that questions arising from such votes on account should be tabled not later than 6 February. The documentation for the vote on account 2000-01 was submitted last November, and both Houses agreed it on 16 December.

Because the most appropriate vote for the crown prosecution service inspectorate had not been confirmed by last November, the vote on account 2000-01 did not include a footnote referring to the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate Bill. I am pleased to tell the House that parliamentary progress on that Bill has been faster than anticipated at that time. A supplementary vote on account for spending in the period from the start of the new financial year until mid-July will make it possible to implement Parliament's decision in respect of the Bill when Royal Assent is achieved.

14 Mar 2000 : Column 178

The motion amends--

Mr. Fallon: Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Timms: I shall give way just once, then I must make progress.

Mr. Fallon: The Minister is referring to progress on a particular Bill. Will he confirm that the House has not yet started its consideration of that Bill?

Mr. Timms: Indeed, but the Bill has reached Third Reading in the House of Lords and is on its way to be considered here. It is normal for initial spending on such measures to be authorised in this way.

The motion amends Standing Order No. 55--

Mr. Hogg: Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Timms: No, I cannot give way again.

Mr. Hogg: Will the Minister give way? He is not short of time.

Mr. Timms: No, I will not give way again.

The motion amends Standing Order No. 55 for today, so that we can take the necessary vote on account resolution with the spring estimates to be considered tonight, rather than with the winter supplementary estimates with which the earlier vote on account was taken. That is the standard procedure to meet the requirements of the House when it has to take estimates at times different from those normally allowed for in Standing Orders. For example, that procedure was adopted in January 1992 when the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) was a Minister at the Foreign Office, and a supplementary vote on account was required to provide cover for a late new estimate for the European Communities budget. I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman recalls that. The procedure is perfectly standard.

Mr. Hogg: Will the Financial Secretary give way?

Mr. Timms: I shall not give way because I do not want to detain the House longer than necessary.

The procedure is intended to draw Parliament's attention to the fact that the vote on account will be used to fund an important new service as soon as Royal Assent is given to the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate Bill.

Opposition Members also referred to the £1,000 token votes. Again, that is standard procedure; there are 13 in the spring supplementary estimate. They are a device for drawing the House's attention to the intention to incur spending on a new service.

I commend the motion to the House.

14 Mar 2000 : Column 179

Question put:--

The House divided: Ayes 320, Noes 16.

Division No. 104
[4.16 pm


Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy
Ashton, Joe
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Baker, Norman
Ballard, Jackie
Barron, Kevin
Beard, Nigel
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield)
Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Borrow, David
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brake, Tom
Brand, Dr Peter
Breed, Colin
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clapham, Michael
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cotter, Brian
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Dalyell, Tam
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Dobbin, Jim
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Fearn, Ronnie
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Fyfe, Maria
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
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Gunnell, John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Harris, Dr Evan
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
Hoey, Kate
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howells, Dr Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, Rt Hon Adam
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
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)
Kelly, Ms Ruth
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles
(Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Laxton, Bob
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Linton, Martin
Livsey, Richard
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McIsaac, Shona
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
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
Merron, Gillian
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moore, Michael
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Rt Hon Sir John (Aberavon)
Mountford, Kali
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Oaten, Mark
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Eddie
O'Neill, Martin
Öpik, Lembit
Organ, Mrs Diana
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Radice, Rt Hon Giles
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Nick
Rendel, David
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Sanders, Adrian
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
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, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Squire, Ms Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Touhig, Don
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyler, Paul
Tynan, Bill
Ward, Ms Claire
Watts, David
Webb, Steve
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Wood, Mike
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mrs. Anne McGuire and
Mr. Kevin Hughes.


Chope, Christopher
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
Donaldson, Jeffrey
Fallon, Michael
Gill, Christopher
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Johnson Smith,
Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Robathan, Andrew
Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Shepherd, Richard
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Taylor, Rt Hon John D (Strangford)
Townend, John
Wardle, Charles
Wilkinson, John
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Eric Forth and
Mr. David Wilshire.

Question accordingly agreed to.

14 Mar 2000 : Column 181


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