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Shona McIsaac (Cleethorpes): Who would be Monica?

Mr. Pound: I shall not mention the name that I just heard from the Cleethorpes side of the House.

23 Oct 2000 : Column 64

The hon. and gallant Gentleman and the hon. Member for Congleton are a team, and we have seen that team in action. We have also come to respect that team. It matters not whether we agree or disagree with them, they work well together.

Today, however, we are considering the case for the hon. and gallant Gentleman. I think that that case is proven. He is the man whom no Government functionary would ever choose for Speaker. He is a paid-up member--he is almost the shop steward--of the awkward squad. I see that he is sitting next to the right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth), who would have been the first choice for Speaker of many of the more iconoclastic hon. Members.

Nevertheless, for all that we find the hon. and gallant Gentleman occasionally to be brutish if not short in his contributions, none of us would doubt for a moment that he speaks his mind without fear or favour. He never ceases to represent his constituents to his best. Every single time that he has been put to the test in relation to the rights of the Back Bencher against those of the Executive, the Back Bencher has won out.

From my worm's eye perspective, I have great pleasure in seconding the nomination of the hon. Member for Macclesfield, and have probably cost myself a lot of friends in doing so--[Interruption.] It is said that that pre-supposes that I had any friends to start with.

Sir Edward Heath: Mr. Nicholas Winterton has been proposed and seconded. I give him the opportunity to submit himself to the House.

6.50 pm

Mr. Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield): Thank you, Sir Edward, for giving me the opportunity of submitting myself to the will of the House.

Sir Edward, I think that I am right in saying that you entered the House of Commons in 1950 when Earl Winterton was the Father of the House, and I entered the House when you were Prime Minister. Whether either of those facts will do me any good today, I have my doubts.

I am now in my 30th year of unbroken service, and I have served for all that period, for whatever reason--as I said at the hustings this morning--as a Back Bencher in this House of Commons. For me, the House of Commons, its institutions and its Committees have been my total political life, and I have enjoyed it through all its vicissitudes. In many ways, I share the view of Edmund Burke, who said:

That is what I have sought to be.

Of course, I accept, as my seconder, the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Pound) said, that constituency duties and responsibilities and heavy involvement have become increasingly important since Edmund Burke represented Bristol. The parliamentary timetable and the parliamentary week should take those matters into account. Whoever takes the Chair has the prime and vital task not only of guaranteeing the meaningful independence and integrity of the House but, as my proposer and seconder have already said, of safeguarding the rights and concerns of every Member, irrespective of political party affiliations or, in the case of the hon. Member for Tatton (Mr. Bell), of none.

23 Oct 2000 : Column 65

The hon. Member for Ealing, North was very generous in referring to my chairmanship of the Committee considering the Greater London Authority Bill. In addition, as the longest-serving member of the Speaker's Panel, I hope that I have established a record of total impartiality, integrity and independence. My time chairing the Select Committee on Health has been referred to. It was a fantastic Committee because of the co-operation of all its members, who were seeking to do the job that Select Committees are there to do.

Speaker Boothroyd rightly emphasised that the requirement of effective scrutiny and the democratic process must take priority over the convenience of Members. However, let me say to those on both Front Benches that that is a message not to Back Benchers, who are burdened with long hours, but to the Government, who should not seek to put too much badly drafted legislation through the Commons in unseemly haste, riding roughshod over the legislature in the process.

I would welcome more private notice questions from Back Benchers as part of their individual responsibility of holding the Government to account and representing their constituencies. Let us modernise our procedures where that can be done without undermining the essential roles of amending legislation and opposition. Although Lord Randolph Churchill said that the duty of an Opposition is to oppose, opposition does not come simply from Opposition parties--it sometimes comes from within political parties. Such opposition should be heard and given a say, otherwise Parliament will become a pathetic poodle of the Government of the day and of the establishment. That is not the purpose of this place.

The Select Committee on the Modernisation of the House of Commons, on which I sit, and the Select Committee on Procedure, which I have the honour to chair, have both contributed to bringing the procedures and practices of this place more up to date. I am convinced that they will continue to do so. Having been, as it were, almost challenged by a previous candidate, I am sure that the Procedure Committee, whatever the outcome of the speakership election, will wish to consider the Standing Orders covering the election of the Speaker.

I was questioned on my next point this morning at the hustings. Despite my initial reservations about it, the Westminster Hall experiment has, in my view, been a great success. The Speaker of the House has always had the opportunity to comment on, and contribute to, the continuing debate on modernisation and changes in procedure. I am in favour of a Speaker's Conference, but the Speaker is the servant of the House and the House, surely, is its own master, as long as it is prepared to exercise that power. Again, I share the view of Edmund Burke, who said:

Surely it is the Speaker's difficult task to guard against such delusion, not only in the House's dealings with the Executive, but in respect of outside bodies, international organisations and, as was said earlier, large corporations.

In the 30 years that I have been a Member of this House, I have experienced the art and intrigue of the Executive--I fear to my disadvantage. However, it did me a lot of good because it merely encouraged me to defend the rights of Back Benchers and the role of Parliament all the more robustly. Let us use the Select Committees more positively, as the Liaison Committee has recommended,

23 Oct 2000 : Column 66

not only to hold the Government of the day to account, but to assist the Government to produce better drafted and considered legislation through the production of draft Bills and the development of business sub-committees for the proper programming of the Standing Committee stage of Bills.

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Ruislip- Northwood (Mr. Wilkinson) for his supportive and generous remarks in proposing me. Like me, he has always been a Back Bencher, and he believes fervently in the role and purpose of this House. I also thank the hon. Member for Ealing, North for his most entertaining and flamboyant speech. It was a pleasure to listen to it, not just because I was involved, but because it was a very good contribution. He was forthright and positive, and I was delighted at the way in which he seconded me. We got to know each other well during the Committee stage of the Greater London Authority Bill, on which he spoke with great commitment and knowledge.

Finally, it is a great honour even to be proposed and seconded as Speaker. I think that there is a great deal more that Members wish to say. I hope that the House, in considering the nominations for Speaker, will be zealous in its power, role and integrity. I guarantee and promise that I will strive to uphold that authority whenever abuses and threats are made to the integrity of this House. Let us use the new millennium to help to rebuild the power and authority of our parliamentary democracy in this House. I offer myself as the servant and the voice of the House.

Sir Edward Heath: The original question was, "That Mr. Michael J. Martin do take the Chair of this House as Speaker", since when an amendment has been proposed to leave out "Mr. Michael J. Martin" and insert instead thereof "Mr. Nicholas Winterton".

Question put, That the amendment be made:--

The House divided: Ayes 116, Noes 340.

Division No. 305
[7 pm


Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Bercow, John
Blunt, Crispin
Body, Sir Richard
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Butterfill, John
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Cran, James
Curry, Rt Hon David
Dalyell, Tam
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Day, Stephen
Donaldson, Jeffrey
Drew, David
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, Iain
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Fabricant, Michael
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Fox, Dr Liam
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Roger
Gill, Christopher
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Gray, James
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Hague, Rt Hon William
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hayes, John
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hunter, Andrew
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson Smith,
Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lidington, David
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
McCartney, Robert (N Down)
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Major, Rt Hon John
Mates, Michael
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Mitchell, Austin
Moss, Malcolm
Nicholls, Patrick
Norman, Archie
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Prior, David
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Rendel, David
Robertson, Laurence
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Ross, William (E Lond'y)
St Aubyn, Nick
Sayeed, Jonathan
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Spicer, Sir Michael
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Thompson, William
Tipping, Paddy
Townend, John
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Wells, Bowen
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. John Wilkinson and
Mr. Stephen Pound.


Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Ashton, Joe
Atkins, Charlotte
Baker, Norman
Ballard, Jackie
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Barron, Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C)
Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe
Bermingham, Gerald
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul
Borrow, David
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Brake, Tom
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon
(Dunfermline E)
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burstow, Paul
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Cable, Dr Vincent
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Canavan, Dennis
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chidgey, David
Chisholm, Malcolm
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)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Corbett, Robin
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Jean
Cotter, Brian
Crausby, David
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davis, Rt Hon Terry
(B'ham Hodge H)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, John
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Fearn, Ronnie
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Foulkes, George
Galloway, George
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, Andrew (St Ives)
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gidley, Sandra
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Golding, Mrs Llin
Gorrie, Donald
Graham, Thomas
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grocott, Bruce
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
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
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hood, Jimmy
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Mon)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keetch, Paul
Kelly, Ms Ruth
Kemp, Fraser
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Kirkwood, Archy
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Livsey, Richard
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAllion, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
Macdonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNamara, Kevin
McNulty, Tony
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Maxton, John
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Moore, Michael
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Rt Hon Sir John (Aberavon)
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Oaten, Mark
O'Hara, Eddie
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Öpik, Lembit
Organ, Mrs Diana
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Powell, Sir Raymond
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prescott, Rt Hon John
Prosser, Gwyn
Quinn, Lawrie
Radice, Rt Hon Giles
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rogers, Allan
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Salmond, Alex
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Adrian
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
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)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Timms, Stephen
Todd, Mark
Tonge, Dr Jenny
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)
Tyler, Paul
Tynan, Bill
Vis, Dr Rudi
Wallace, James
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Watts, David
Webb, Steve
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Willis, Phil
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wray, James
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Peter Snape and
Ann Keen.

Question accordingly negatived.

23 Oct 2000 : Column 69

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