Previous SectionIndexHome Page

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr. Alan Howarth): I am grateful for the opportunity to respond, in the few minutes that remain for this debate, to a number of matters raised by Conservative Members. Our proceedings on the Bill might have been more extensive if less time had been spent discussing the principle of the guillotine, but the amendments and the new schedule allow me to respond to the concerns raised, in a spirit of practicality, by Conservative Members.

Amendment No. 6 is exciting, as it would delete two major clauses. However, the right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Maclean), who tabled the amendment, explained that he drives his coach and horses with an intent to probe, rather than to wreck. The powers of seizure, retention and sale provided in the two clauses that his amendment would knock out are essential. Fines alone, or fines plus the possibility of forfeiture in due course, would not be enough to deter the activity with which we seek to deal.

I remind right hon. and hon. Members that the powers that we seek are broadly similar--in practical terms, they are identical--to those that Parliament very recently enacted in the City of Westminster Act 1999.

The hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow) wanted to know, very reasonably, a little more about the evidence that we have about the size of the problem and the extent of what I termed the rip-off. My hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Mr. Sedgemore) made a sedentary intervention on this. At his best--he is customarily at his best at this time of night in the Chamber--my hon. Friend's sedentary interventions are worth, I venture to suggest, more than the standing interventions of a great many Opposition Members. He is a close observer of these matters, and he told the House that one is liable to pay around £4 for a hot dog or hamburger. However, the advice that I have from the Royal Parks agency is that the charge could be £7, and that on occasion charges of £12 were sought from innocent tourists. We would all agree that such extortions are not acceptable.

Last Wednesday, I was asked about the nature of the offences that we will designate as park trading offences.

22 May 2000 : Column 819

Subject to the passage of the Bill and the approval of Parliament, we shall designate regulation 4(6) of the 1997 regulations, which says that no person using a park shall

I hope that that deals with the point.

It may help hon. Members if I deal with another point that has exercised the House considerably. I refer to the powers that constables will have to deal with perishable food. A number of right hon. and hon. Members debated this matter under something of a misapprehension. Constables will have the power to seize non-perishable items--that is made plain in the Bill. They are likely to ask the person who they consider to be committing a park trading offence if he wishes to take the perishable items away. If the person so invited does not wish to take the goods away but abandons them, they may be removed by the constable to avoid a litter problem in the park. To spread litter in the park is itself an offence under the regulations. Officers of the Royal Parks Constabulary, or, indeed, Metropolitan police officers, should they happen to be in the park, will have the power to deal with perishable items. I am happy to be able to reassure the House on that significant point.

I was then asked to comment on the possibility that the barrows, having been confiscated, would be allowed back into circulation. It was suggested that the Government would get nothing like their real value, because of deterioration--

It being four hours after the commencement of proceedings on consideration of the Bill, Mr. Deputy Speaker pursuant to Order [this day], put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

Question put, That the amendment be made:--

The House divided: Ayes 6, Noes 227.

Division No. 205
[12.54 am


Gill, Christopher
Hayes, John
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Nicholls, Patrick
Swayne, Desmond

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Eric Forth and
Mr. David Maclean.


Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Beard, Nigel
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C)
Bennett, Andrew F
Berry, Roger
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blizzard, Bob
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Butler, Mrs Christine
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, David
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Dalyell, Tam
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Drew, David
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Efford, Clive
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Fyfe, Maria
Galloway, George
Gerrard, Neil
Gidley, Sandra
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Golding, Mrs Llin
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Jones, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Khabra, Piara S
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Lock, David
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
Macdonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Moffatt, Laura
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Mountford, Kali
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quinn, Lawrie
Radice, Rt Hon Giles
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Rendel, David
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Adrian
Savidge, Malcolm
Sedgemore, Brian
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Tipping, Paddy
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Tynan, Bill
Vis, Dr Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watts, David
Webb, Steve
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Wood, Mike
Woolas, Phil
Wray, James
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Jim Dowd and
Mr. Gerry Sutcliffe.

Question accordingly negatived.

22 May 2000 : Column 822

22 May 2000 : Column 823

Next Section

IndexHome Page