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Mr. Redwood: My right hon. Friend is right, and the Minister has just mislead the House again. [Interruption.] I shall explain my allegation. Lords amendment No. 9 refers to:


It does not refer to page 41.

I am much more interested in the bigger debating point that has come out tonight. How does the Minister propose that he and his colleagues should consult the National Assembly for Wales? Will he consult every Member in turn, will he consult just the ruling coalition, or will he consult just the Presiding Officer even though the Bill makes it explicit that the Presiding Officer is to be consulted in Northern Ireland, but not in Wales?

The Minister is clearly all at sea over an extremely scruffily amended Bill. Even now he is reading cobbled-together notes from officials, who know the Bill better than he does. It is pathetic that he is responsible for the Bill but does not know what is in his own amendments. He then tries to mislead the House by saying that he is amending something that amendment No. 9 does not amend.

Mr. O'Brien: I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for allowing me to deal with his concern that I have misled the House. I certainly had no intention of doing so. Page 41 excludes the National Assembly for Wales from the definition. If he looks at the Bill, he will see that that is the position. The public who read Hansard will be able to judge the seriousness with which some Conservative Members have made their points.

Mr. Redwood: That intervention shows just how important this examination is. In contrast to what he said originally, the Minister has now said that amendment No. 9 does not make the change that I am seeking. Amendment No. 9 clearly does not do that. The Minister remains in a sedentary position, so he confirms that I am right and that the amendment has nothing to do with it.

I ask the Minister to read page 41, because he has not read that very well, either. Page 41 says clearly that the definition of "government department" includes--we go down to line 9 and paragraph (c)--


Is the Minister going to strike out that provision or not? Why has he not tabled an amendment to try to make sense of his cobbled-together and useless Bill? This is a week of more than 1,000 amendments--national guillotine week--and what a mess he is making of the first Bill this week to come before us under a guillotine.

We still await a response on how the Minister intends to go ahead and consult a complete National Assembly. Why is the United Kingdom Parliament not treated in the same way? Why is the Northern Ireland body treated differently from the Welsh body? It looks as though strong and special representations were made by the First Secretary, who realised what an insult to Wales the whole procedure was. The Government have made a half-hearted and bodged attempt to deal with the matter.

27 Nov 2000 : Column 774

Mr. David Taylor rose--

Mr. Redwood: I will give way to the hon. Gentleman, although it is a bit rich his asking to intervene because he has not been here for this important debate.

Mr. Taylor: The right hon. Gentleman describes the drafting and content of the Bill as an insult to the Welsh Assembly and to the people of Wales. Does he agree that what is more of an insult to the Welsh Assembly and the people of Wales is the way in which Conservative Members have dealt with Lords amendments this evening? They have done that in such a way that the 12 o'clock closure means that seven groups of amendments have received no debate. That has occurred because of the way in which the Conservative party has approached this debate.

Mr. Redwood: If the guillotine had not been imposed, we would have had three more hours to discuss the Bill's substance. If Ministers had come to the Dispatch Box and tried to explain the amendments and win the House over at the beginning of the debate, we might have saved a lot of time.

My right hon. and hon. Friends, as well as Liberal Democrat and Welsh nationalist Members, have asked serious, detailed and important questions as is befitting of proceedings at this stage of a Bill. If the Minister had had the wit, the gumption, the wisdom and the information to have provided explanations at the beginning of the debate, some of those questions might not have been necessary.

Mr. Lilley: Can my right hon. Friend confirm that, on this Bill on the freedom of information, the Minister has not only not replied to most of the questions put to him but has not, as is customary, promised to do so in writing subsequently? Will my right hon. Friend seek to elicit such a response from the Minister in the dying moments of this truncated debate?

Mr. Redwood: It has not even been a question of a mute Minister, which, as my right hon. Friend implies, is normal in this Parliament. The Minister does not know his own Bill and then seeks to give wrong information to the House when he is put on the spot.

Mr. O'Brien: The right hon. Gentleman keeps referring to page 41 and accusing me of not knowing the Bill. Perhaps he should read the Bill. It uses the words "but does not include"--

It being Twelve midnight, Mr. Deputy Speaker put the Question required to be put at that hour, pursuant to Order [this day].

Question put, That this House agrees with the Lords in the said amendment:--

The House divided: Ayes 368, Noes 115.

Division No. 356
[12 midnight


AYES


Abbott, Ms Diane
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
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Ballard, Jackie
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Barron, Kevin
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Begg, Miss Anne
Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul
Borrow, David
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brake, Tom
Brand, Dr Peter
Breed, Colin
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Butler, Mrs Christine
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Cann, Jamie
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Chidgey, David
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Corbett, Robin
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Jean
Cotter, Brian
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, David
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack
(Copeland)
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davis, Rt Hon Terry
(B'ham Hodge H)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ennis, Jeff
Fearn, Ronnie
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Foulkes, George
Galloway, George
Gapes, Mike
George, Andrew (St Ives)
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
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)
Grocott, Bruce
Grogan, John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hancock, Mike
Hanson, David
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Harris, Dr Evan
Harvey, Nick
Healey, John
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Home Robertson, John
Hood, Jimmy
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
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)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kirkwood, Archy
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Laxton, Bob
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Linton, Martin
Livsey, Richard
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
(Makerfield)
McDonagh, Siobhain
Macdonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McNamara, Kevin
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Maxton, John
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moore, Michael
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Morris, Rt Hon Sir John (Aberavon)
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Norris, Dan
Oaten, Mark
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Öpik, Lembit
Organ, Mrs Diana
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
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
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Adrian
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
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, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Snape, Peter
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
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
(Dewsbury)
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Tonge, Dr Jenny
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
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watts, David
Webb, Steve
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Willis, Phil
Winnick, David
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wray, James
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. Don Touhig and
Mr. Gerry Sutcliffe.


NOES


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Baldry, Tony
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Burns, Simon
Butterfill, John
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
(Rushcliffe)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Cran, James
Curry, Rt Hon David
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Duncan, Alan
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Evans, Nigel
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Flight, Howard
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Roger
Gibb, Nick
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Hammond, Philip
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Horam, John
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lidington, David
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Luff, Peter
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Madel, Sir David
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Nicholls, Patrick
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Pickles, Eric
Prior, David
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Ruffley, David
St Aubyn, Nick
Sayeed, Jonathan
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
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
Waterson, Nigel
Wells, Bowen
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:


Mr. Peter Atkinson and
Mr. Stephen Day.

Question accordingly agreed to.

27 Nov 2000 : Column 778

Lords amendment agreed to.

Madam Deputy Speaker then put the remaining Questions required to be put at that hour.

Question put, That this House agrees with the Lords in the remaining Lords amendments:--

The House divided: Ayes 364, Noes 116.


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