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Jeremy Corbyn: Briefly, because I know that other hon. Members want to raise other issues on the Bill, I shall make three points. First, can the Minister say what is happening to the review of criterion 8, when he expects that to be published, and how it will be published for us?

Secondly, it must be plain that sustainable development has to be among the criteria for arms exports. The Tanzanian fiasco points that up, as do many others; one only has to look at the arms sales that have traditionally been made around the world to the most odious regimes presiding over the greatest poverty and abuses of human rights. The two often go together.

I cannot understand why we have got ourselves into the incredibly arcane debate about whether this or that version of sustainable development is in Bill. I would like to hear from the Minister a clear answer to the effect that sustainable development will be central to the considerations, and that the Department for International Development will have an opportunity to take part in that review. It would not have to review every document, as the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key) seemed to claim, but at least it would have a say in the general criteria, and would therefore influence the decisions that were made.

Thirdly, I regret that the amendment in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell) and others was not selected, because this whole debate clearly underlines the case for proper effective parliamentary scrutiny of arms exports. Many of us have spent many years being very concerned about the fact that the arms export industry in this country is heavily subsidised, about the damage that it does to the economies

24 Jun 2002 : Column 658

that purchase arms from us, and about the fact that regimes that have no regard whatever for human rights buy arms claiming that they will be used to defend their country against external aggression, and then use them simply for internal oppression.

Those problems are at the heart of the concerns that many people have. I hope that when the Minister replies, he can convince us that the many people who are campaigning on the issue are right, that the Government have heard them, and that they will be serious about controlling arms exports. I no longer hear talk of proposals for an arms conversion industry. Perhaps this is the time for the Minister to bring those proposals forward again.

Nigel Griffiths: With the leave of the House, I shall respond to some of the points and, I hope, reassure the House, including my hon. Friends. May I start with my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Jeremy Corbyn)? On the first question that he put to me, the Government recognise the need to consider how criterion 8 can be most effectively applied in assessing relevant export licence applications, and we have agreed that there is a need for clearer procedures in Whitehall for reaching decisions when sustainable development is an issue. The Cabinet Office has been tasked with facilitating an interdepartmental discussion of the issue involving all the Departments with an interest. That discussion continues, so the Government are not currently considering a change in the policy.

The Government have already published details of how they consider, and will consider, sustainable development both now and under the Bill. The consolidated criteria published in October 2000 represent the Government's policy now, and will continue to represent it under the Bill. That is made clear by subsection (8) of the new clause to be inserted by amendment No. 17. We have a definition appropriate to that—one agreed with all our EU partners. Definitions and criteria relating to other issues and other circumstances are simply not relevant here.

I remind the House, especially the hon. Member for North Norfolk (Norman Lamb), that the Bill says that the Government must have regard to the guidance. It will not be possible simply to ignore sustainable development, as I think he mistakenly stated. The use of the words "if any" does not mean that a future Government could simply decide not to address the issue of sustainable development, or indeed any of the issues listed in the table referred to in the schedule.

6.30 pm

The hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable) implied that it would be fairly straightforward for advisers or Ministers to pass swiftly over obviously irrelevant considerations, but that fundamentally misunderstands the nature of primary legislation. A duty for the Government is not there to be applied or ignored according to the view of the Government of the day as to what is or is not relevant. That is the attitude that the Bill is designed to prevent, and we have taken care to draft our proposals in such a way that the Bill allows common-sense decisions to be taken, but only where they can be justified. The Liberal Democrat amendments would make it impossible for common sense to apply, and would encourage the absurdity of the box-ticking approach that we are seeking to avoid.

24 Jun 2002 : Column 659

The hon. Member for Twickenham mentioned the Scott report and claimed that it made a recommendation on prior scrutiny. However, the Scott report never mentioned prior scrutiny. It spoke in favour of scrutiny orders, which are provided for in the Bill.

I repeat that if sustainable development were in the schedule, that would empower the Government to control the export or trade of pretty well any goods of any kind, since almost any goods have the capacity to have an effect on the sustainable development of a recipient country. This would be a massive extension of the Government's ability to impose controls.

My hon. Friend the Member for Clydebank and Milngavie (Tony Worthington) mistakenly believes that only Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence officials consider F680 inquiries. I can assure him that Department for International Development officials are involved in every case in which it is necessary to consider criterion 8 of the consolidated national and EU code.

Tony Worthington: Will the Minister give way?

Nigel Griffiths: I will not prolong our proceedings. I gave way generously earlier, and my reward was to be accused of delaying things and spending too much time at the Dispatch Box. I am sure that my hon. Friend will find a way of coming back to the issue.

As there has been an allegation of wrongdoing and criminal activity on the part of BAE Systems, I want to put clearly on the record the fact that the Government have no evidence that the deal was in any way corrupt. We are committed to working with our international partners and the business community to ensure that there is effective action both here and abroad to tackle the problem of corruption, as the OECD convention on combating bribery of foreign public officials and the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 make clear.

Norman Lamb: Will the Minister give way?

Nigel Griffiths: I will not give way to the hon. Gentleman, whose hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham made serious allegations about Barclays and BAE Systems. I do not know if he intends to repeat them outside this House, but I would caution against it.

I hope that I have given a justification for rejecting amendment No. 1 and supporting the motion standing in the name of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State.

Question put, That this House disagrees with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 282, Noes 40.

Division No. 278
[6.34 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Austin, John
Baird, Vera
Barron, Rt Hon Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Stuart
Bennett, Andrew
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Borrow, David
Bradley, Rt Hon Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Rt Hon Nicholas
(Newcastle E & Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, Andy
Cairns, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Challen, Colin
Chaytor, David
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Rt Hon Charles
(Norwich S)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clelland, David
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Dalyell, Tam
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Drown, Ms Julia
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Field, Rt Hon Frank (Birkenhead)
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, Caroline
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foulkes, George
Francis, Dr Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, Rt Hon Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hanson, David
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Havard, Dai
Healey, John
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Margaret
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Iddon, Dr Brian
Ingram, Rt Hon Adam
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead)
Jamieson, David
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Joyce, Eric
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Luke, Iain
Lyons, John
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
MacDonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
MacDougall, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall–Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Diana
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Perham, Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Rt Hon Joyce
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Rt Hon Nick
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Robertson, John
(Glasgow Anniesland)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simon, Siôn
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Rt Hon Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Vaz, Keith
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watson, Tom
Watts, David
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Wills, Michael
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Ian Pearson and
Joan Ryan.


Allan, Richard
Barrett, John
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Brake, Tom
Breed, Colin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L
Burstow, Paul
Cable, Dr Vincent
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Carmichael, Alistair
Cotter, Brian
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Ewing, Annabelle
Harvey, Nick
Holmes, Paul
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Keetch, Paul
Kirkwood, Archy
Lamb, Norman
Llwyd, Elfyn
Oaten, Mark
Öpik, Lembit
Price, Adam
Pugh, Dr John
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Rendel, David
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Sanders, Adrian
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Thurso, John
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Tyler, Paul
Weir, Michael
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Wishart, Pete
Younger–Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Andrew Stunell and
Bob Russell.

Question accordingly agreed to.

24 Jun 2002 : Column 662

New Clause

Lords amendment: No. 17, before clause 7, to insert the following new clause—Guidance about the exercise of functions under control orders.

Amendment made: (a), in line 12, leave out from beginning to end of line 17 and insert—

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