Mr. Peter Bottomley:
Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. The explanation is that I made a mistake.
Madam Deputy Speaker:
The hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. McDonnell) has had the answer to his point of order.
Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. May I associate myself with the comment of the hon. Member for Worthing, West (Mr. Bottomley)? There were two of us telling. If mistakes were made, they were made by both of us.
Madam Deputy Speaker:
Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Perhaps when we undertake an investigation into the events that occurred tonight, we should consider how we can overcome the levels of fallibility that have been identified and what mechanism we can put in place to address the problem.
Madam Deputy Speaker:
Order. We have heard from both hon. Members who were Tellers, and they have explained to the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington how the mistake occurred.
Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. We have heard from the hon. Member for Worthing, West (Mr. Bottomley) and from my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Pound), who confessed to having made a mistake. In fact, 100 hon. Members made a mistake. When we count the Division list tomorrow, as I intend to do, line by line, Florida-style, we will see all those on the payroll, all those on the Opposition Front Bench, all the people who line up with the undemocratic Corporation of the--
Madam Deputy Speaker:
Order. The hon. Gentleman may hold that view, but I and the House have accepted the verdict of the tellers.
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. An interesting situation has developed. The House
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heard from the Minister that the Government would in future request certification under the Human Rights Act, yet the House has specifically rejected consideration of the applicability of the Act to the Bill. Where does the Bill stand in respect of legislation already passed by the House--the Human Rights Act?
Madam Deputy Speaker:
I remind the hon. Gentleman that the debate on new clause 2 has been concluded and a vote taken. We must now proceed to the rest of the business of the House.
I beg to move amendment No. 7, in page 1, line 18, at end insert--
'"business electoral college" means a body comprising voters appointed under section 3(1)(c) with responsibility for electing the business voters entitled to vote in ward elections.'.
Madam Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Sylvia Heal):
With this it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments: No. 8, in page 1, line 18, at end insert--
'"employees' electoral college" means a body comprising voters appointed under section 3(1)(d) with responsibility for electing the employees' voters entitled to vote in ward elections.'.
No. 19, in clause 3, page 2, line 33, leave out from 'person' to second 'a' and insert--
'elected from the business electoral college comprising voters appointed by'.
No. 56, in clause 3, page 2, line 33, leave out from 'person' to 'ordinarily' in line 34 and insert--
'elected from the business electoral college comprising voters appointed by the qualifying bodies which are'.
No. 22, in clause 3, page 2, line 37, at end insert--
'(d) is a person elected from the employees' electoral college comprising voters who are employees of a qualifying body which is ordinarily in occupation for relevant purposes as owner or tenant of the whole or part of a hereditament situated in that ward which is shown in the local non-domestic rating list as having a rateable value of not less than £200.'.
No. 58, in clause 3, page 2, line 37, at end insert--
'(1A) the business electoral college shall reflect the range of business activity within the City, and shall comprise relevant business operational constituencies for which a qualifying body must register based upon its principal business operation; and the proportion of voters to be elected from a business operational constituency will be determined in proportion to the number of qualifying bodies registering for a particular business operational constituency in relation to the total registrations.'.
No. 57, in clause 3, page 2, line 37, at end insert--
'(1B) the employees' electoral college shall reflect the range of occupations operating within the City of London, and shall comprise relevant occupational constituencies for which an employee must register based upon his/her principal occupation as defined under the DfEE Standard Occupational Classification Major Groups; and the proportion of voters to be elected from an occupational constituency shall be determined in proportion to the number of employees registering for a particular occupational constituency in relation to the total registrations.'.
No. 23, in clause 3, page 2, line 37, at end insert--
'(1C) The number of business voters elected from the business electoral college shall be no more than 2,000.'.
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No. 24, in clause 3, page 2, line 37, at end insert--
'(1D) The number of employee voters elected from the employees' electoral college shall be no more than 2,000.'.
No. 59, in clause 3, page 2, line 41, at end insert--
'(2A)--(1) For the election of voters to represent the business operational and occupational constituencies within the electoral colleges, each vote in the poll shall be a single transferable vote.
(2) A single transferable vote is a vote--
(a) capable of being given so as to indicate the voter's order of preference for the candidates for election as members for the constituency; and
(b) capable of being transferred to the next choice when the vote is not needed to give a prior choice to the necessary quota of votes or when a prior choice is eliminated from the list of candidates because of a deficiency in the number of votes given for him.'.
No. 29, in clause 3, page 3, line 18, at end insert'subject to subsections (1C) and (1D) above'.
The amendments are complex. Bearing in mind the evidence of the fallibility of hon. Members this evening, perhaps we should investigate the amendments in detail, so that the House will understand and be able to follow the debate.
Amendment No. 7 is a proposal to introduce a business electoral college.
A business electoral college. I accept that the proposals offend some hon. Members. I shall come on to the justification for them in due course. At this stage, I simply want to put the detail on the record and explain it to hon. Members. If they have difficulty calculating to 100, they will have more difficulty understanding the complexities of my proposals.
Does my hon. Friend propose to describe the amendments one by one in order, or will he go through them all generally and then go back through them in detail? Several Members want to hear about them in detail, especially the first one. Will my hon. Friend deal with the others first, or come back to amendment No. 7?
As semantic issues are at stake, I should like to go through the amendments in order initially, return to the explanation of their import, and go on to the justification for them. If my hon. Friend is happy with that approach, I shall proceed, but if he can suggest an alternative one, I shall proceed with that.
That approach is a little confusing. When my hon. Friend introduced the amendments, he said that he would talk about a business electoral college. I thought that the group of amendments would create an electoral college from a series of different functions. Would it not be better for my hon. Friend first to describe in principle what an electoral college is about before talking about the mechanics of which bits go where?
Okay, we shall start with that approach, if my hon. Friend is happy with that, and then return to the detail of how the legislation is affected.
Perhaps it would be better if my hon. Friend explained all the amendments, as there is clearly a jigsaw that has to be put together.
I am tempted to put the matter of the approach to the vote. However, given that we probably would not add up the votes correctly, I suggest that we proceed with the approach that I originally proposed.
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Amendment No. 7 introduces a proposal for a business electoral college, comprising voters appointed with responsibility for electing voters who will represent the business community in the City of London Corporation.
I know that my hon. Friend has been meeting the promoters and that he is strong-willed on the issue, but is he telling me that the business college will be based on the model of so many trade unions? Will there be a bloc vote? Is that where we are going? That is the only sort of college vote that I am acquainted with. The business of fitting in with demands sounds a bit dodgy to me. I hope that my hon. Friend will not disappoint me, or will at least make me feel a bit better about the matter. He has not been meeting the promoters too often, has he?