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Mr. Straw: I have only three minutes, so I hope that the House will forgive me if I do not respond to all the points that have been made.

Mr. Peter Bottomley: Why?

Mr. Straw: Because the Liberal Democrats' spokesman will wind up on their prayer.

I am grateful to hon. Members, and particularly my hon. Friends, for the way in which they have made their points and for the strength with which they have expressed them. I understand the strength of feeling of my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Mudie), but I do not think it is true--we might have to continue to argue about this--that there was any disingenuity at the election and in what we said in the manifesto and have said subsequently. The issue was spelled out and the range of fees is similar to that anticipated nearly two years ago in the White Paper and on Second Reading of the Immigration and Asylum Bill.

I understand the concerns that have been raised about the cost of the paper hearing and, particularly, about the cost of the oral hearing. My hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North (Mr. Gardiner) asked two questions. The first was whether it will be possible for Members to continue to make representations, and I give him an absolute assurance that it will. I will personally ensure that that continues to be so. That distinguishes this system from the system of settlement appeals where, in practice, Members' representations cannot be entertained while an appeal is pending.

Secondly, my hon. Friend asked whether the Government would monitor the number of appeals, particularly as a percentage of refusals. I have already said that there will be a formal review after a year, but in light of the concerns expressed this evening, of which I take very careful account, I also undertake to carry out the monitoring that my hon. Friend and other colleagues have urged upon me and to review the scheme's operation within three months.

I want to make it clear that fees will have to be charged under this system, and although I guarantee that I will review the scheme's operation within three months, the House will understand that I cannot give further guarantees.

11.25 pm

Mr. Simon Hughes: With the leave of the House, Madam Deputy Speaker, I shall respond to the debate, which has been very good, as I hope the House agrees. Many Members from both sides of the House speak from our similar experience; this is not a matter on which the Government have any advantage over the rest of us, and that is why the House has spoken so clearly.

Nobody argued that the Government ever said that there would be no fees. The House is saying that the definition of family is wrong or, at best, muddled, and--worse--fees should not be set at all, as some Members believe, or should be set at levels different from those that will be set by this order if it is not revoked.

The hon. Member for Rochford and Southend, East (Sir T. Taylor) was absolutely right to say that this matter concerns poverty and the treatment of the poor, and I

20 Nov 2000 : Column 140

thank him for his consistent commitment to that idea. I say to Labour colleagues, including the hon. Members for Leicester, South (Mr. Marshall) and for Leeds, East (Mr. Mudie), that this issue concerns what we say to people and what we then deliver. Although a Labour Government were elected on a commitment to introduce an appeals process, many of us shared the Labour party's view that the Tories should never have abolished the right of appeal. Now that there is a chance to reinstate that right, we must ensure that people can exercise it. If they cannot afford to do so, it is not a right of appeal. Hon. Members throughout the House know from experience what will be the reality of such a system.

The hon. Members for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) and for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart) are right to say that for most people, the real right of appeal is one that is exercised in person, not on paper--not least because people want to establish that they always had a good case and that their record does not show that they were trying to pull a fast one but had a justified case for coming here.

Of course the Home Secretary, like Lord Bassam, has given some ground, acknowledged that the system is not right and accepted that there will have to be a review, but I hope that colleagues do not think that that should only be determined by whether there is enough money in the kitty. There is enough money, but even if the coffers were tight, we should remember that this is a matter of justice and of what is right.

There have been only 18 appeals since 2 October, and 65 colleagues have signed early-day motions 1108 and 1112, tabled by Labour Members. The only figure of which I can find a mention in the Standing Committee on the Immigration and Asylum Bill, on 29 March 1999, is £357--£150 lower than the figure that is now on the table.

Mr. Straw: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Hughes: No, I cannot give way now.

The issue is whether people can avail themselves of a £500 appeal. I ask the House to come to the following simple conclusion: a review may be wonderful later, but either the fees are right now or they are wrong now. If the House agrees with our prayer and revokes the order, new orders will have to be laid, and the political reality is that they will be laid before the end of the Session. I urge all colleagues tonight to join together to correct as soon as possible a bad mistake by somebody in Government.

Question put:--

The House divided: Ayes 62, Noes 238.

Division No. 343
[11.29 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane
Allan, Richard
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy
Ballard, Jackie
Barnes, Harry
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Best, Harold
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Brand, Dr Peter
Breed, Colin
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Chidgey, David
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cotter, Brian
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davis, Rt Hon Terry
(B'ham Hodge H)
Fearn, Ronnie
Foster, Don (Bath)
George, Andrew (St Ives)
Gerrard, Neil
Gidley, Sandra
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hancock, Mike
Harris, Dr Evan
Harvey, Nick
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Keetch, Paul
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kirkwood, Archy
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Livsey, Richard
Llwyd, Elfyn
McDonnell, John
Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Mitchell, Austin
Moore, Michael
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Mudie, George
Oaten, Mark
Öpik, Lembit
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Rendel, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Sanders, Adrian
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Stunell, Andrew
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Tyler, Paul
Webb, Steve
Willis, Phil

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Tom Brake and
Mr. Donald Gorrie.


Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Banks, Tony
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blizzard, Bob
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Browne, Desmond
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Butler, Mrs Christine
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Caplin, Ivor
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Coffey, Ms Ann
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Yvette
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Crausby, David
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, John
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Dowd, Jim
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Efford, Clive
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foulkes, George
Galloway, George
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
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Hope, Phil
Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
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, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
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
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Lock, David
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
Macdonald, Calum
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McNamara, Kevin
McNulty, Tony
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Maxton, John
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle
(B'ham Yardley)
Mountford, Kali
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Eddie
Olner, Bill
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Primarolo, Dawn
Purchase, Ken
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Nick
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Rogers, Allan
Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Savidge, Malcolm
Sheerman, Barry
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Soley, Clive
Spellar, John
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
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 R (Harrow W)
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Vaz, Keith
Vis, Dr Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. David Clelland and
Mrs. Anne McGuire.

Question accordingly negatived.

20 Nov 2000 : Column 142

20 Nov 2000 : Column 143

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