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6 Nov 2002 : Column 358—continued

Mr. Thomas : I hope that the hon. Gentleman will join me in asking for the reopening of local slaughterhouses. They have been going down like nine pins in my constituency. I agree with the central point, but in his comments this evening the hon. Gentleman has put the responsibility for the outbreak directly on farmers. The problem is much more complex. There is a whole industry, driven by the retail side, which affects what happens.

Adam Price: We are discussing a Bill about animal health, and there is an animal welfare aspect to the problems caused by the delay. Of necessity, upland farmers need to trade stored animals. Any delay could cause animal welfare problems because of the lack of food and shelter. That has a knock-on effect in terms of the availability of food for breeding stock.

Mr. Thomas: I agree. My constituency was not directly affected by foot and mouth, but some areas were restricted. I had an awful case involving a farmer who could not move stock because of restrictions, even though the RSPCA was investigating what was going on.

Mr. Gummer: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that he was far too kind to the hon. Member for Newport West, (Paul Flynn)? Although the movements of animals in this country may be rather longer than they would be in an ideal world, there could be no fewer movements if we returned to the system that the hon. Member for Newport describes. Movement is part of the normal way of dealing with animals. It is only the ignorance of people locked up in towns that causes them not to understand that.

Mr. Thomas : I shall not reiterate the points that the right hon. Gentleman has made. There is a saying in Wales that we knock the gatepost for the gate to hear: I hope that the hon. Member for Newport West, heard what the right hon. Gentleman said.

I shall conclude by enumerating the basics that should underpin the debate. First, we need to prevent disease coming to the country in the first place. That is primarily a matter of dealing with illegal meat imports and production. There have been of cases of meat being produced illegally for the smokies trade in west Wales and London. That is a real concern of mine.

6 Nov 2002 : Column 359

Secondly, if disease breaks out again, we must ensure that it does not spread. That is a matter of biosecurity in the farming industry, which must be constant, rather than a one-off response to disease. We must identify the animals that have been moved around, and where they have been moved to, which means that we must have a proper animal movement identification system. If disease is present, we must deal with the animals involved, and contiguous animals. We debated earlier whether the best way to do that was by culling or vaccination. I support movement control, but it can be achieved only in co-operation with the industry and farmers, and only if it does not destroy or undermine the livestock industry. After all, we do not want the countryside to be free of disease if that means that we have to import all our meat, do we?

Mr. Morley: With the leave of the House, I should like to respond to the debate.

Lords amendment No. 45 is important. It is inevitable that the House will want to concentrate on it, given the interest in the 20-day animal movement limit. The Government accept the main thrust of the amendment. We want to make some small technical changes, which I shall explain in a moment.

The hon. Members for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr. Hayes), for Brecon and Radnorshire (Mr. Williams), for Hexham (Mr. Atkinson), for Ceredigion (Mr. Thomas) and the right hon. Member for Skipton and Ripon (Mr. Curry), and my hon. Friends the Members for Stroud (Mr. Drew) and for Newport, West (Paul Flynn) all made fair points about the impact of animal movements on the industry. They accepted the need for movements, which the Government recognise, but all speakers conceded that some movements have to be stopped as one of a range of a disease control measures.

The question is where that stop should fall, which is why an independent assessment is being conducted. The House of Lords asked for time to consider the independent reports, so I am surprised that their lordships have ignored their recommendations. That is why I am asking the House to reject this amendment. It has been useful as a platform for debate, but it does not really add to the Bill. It is inappropriate, and we should wait for the proper assessment as we continue the debate with industry.

The Government do not disagree with the arguments advanced in the other place that biosecurity must apply to everyone in the livestock industry. It must include the Department's staff, contractors, hauliers and everyone who goes on to farms. However, we have two small differences of opinion when it comes to the amendment.

First, it is unnecessary to make specific provision that the Secretary of State must send final guidance on biosecurity to those persons and organisations listed in the amendment's compliance provisions, which are very specific. It is a standard requirement for the Department that written consultations are sent out to such persons or organisations as the Secretary of State considers to be representative. The provision is worded in broad terms in the Government's proposal, so that the Secretary of State is not unnecessarily restricted. For example, the

6 Nov 2002 : Column 360

Secretary of State might want to seek the views of vets or scientists. They do not fall within the very strictly defined categories in proposed new subsection 6B(5).

Secondly, proposed new subsection 6B(1) deals with the distribution of guidance to all those listed in proposed new section 6A(3). It is significant, because it would mean that the exercise by the Government of functions under this legislation would be unlawful if the Government, for whatever reason, did not distribute guidance to all those listed, regardless of whether the guidance was relevant or applicable to them.

Clearly, it would not be acceptable for the Government to have their power to act removed in that way for failing to distribute guidance to everyone on the list. There is always someone who might claim that they did not receive the guidance. The list is so specific and narrowly defined that it would leave the Government open to all sorts of difficulties.

That is not to say that the Government are against distributing information and guidance. We are committed to openness and transparency, and to communicating relevant information about all policies and about the proportionate action that we would take to prevent the spread of animal disease.

That is why we have ensured that the requirement already in the Bill to publish the biosecurity guidance will ensure that it is available to all the people, organisations, and stakeholder representatives who need to know about it. We want to make sure that people get the information, but the amendment is unduly restrictive.

I hope that the House will accept the minor amendment that the Government propose.

Mr. Hayes: With the leave of the House, I shall say a word about biosecurity. As the Minister said, we did not debate it at the start of the discussion of this group of amendments. However, it seems to be linked intrinsically with the 20-day rule, as I said earlier. In many ways, preventing animals from spreading foot and mouth has to go hand in hand with the dispersal of information among everyone who might have contact with livestock during a disease crisis.

That was the subject of consideration in the other place. The Lords was determined to ensure that the information was comprehensible, coherent, and distributed as widely as possible. If people are going to make lots of movements in and out of infected areas that requires them to be informed about risk as fully and well as possible. That is part of risk management, as the Minister acknowledged in his brief remarks. However, the Lords would like a specific list of organisations that the Secretary of State is obliged to contact on biosecurity measures. The Minister said that that is standard practice, that it is done all the time, and that he was sure that the Secretary of State would use her judgment. That is fine and good, but I think that the Lords are right in saying that distributing and publishing such information and sending out draft material needs to be specified clearly in the Bill. To that end, we support the Lords amendment.

6 Nov 2002 : Column 361

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

The House divided: Ayes 283, Noes 178.

Division No. 356
[8:10 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale & Darwen)
Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Barnes, Harry
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Stuart
Benn, Hilary
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe (Bootle)
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blears, Ms Hazel
Borrow, David
Bradley, rh Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Byers, rh Stephen
Cairns, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian (Brigg)
Challen, Colin
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, rh Tom (Coatbridge & Chryston)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann (Cynon V)
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cook, rh Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom (Tooting)
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, rh Dr. Jack (Copeland)
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Darling, rh Alistair
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Davidson, Ian
Davies, rh Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim (Heywood)
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim (Lewisham W)
Drew, David (Stroud)
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff (Barnsley E)
Etherington, Bill
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead)
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul (Newport W)
Follett, Barbara
Foster, rh Derek
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings & Rye)
Foulkes, rh George
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike (Ilford S)
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hanson, David
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
Healey, John
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Margaret
Hoey, Kate (Vauxhall)
Hoon, rh Geoffrey
Hope, Phil (Corby)
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, George (Knowsley N & Sefton E)
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford & Urmston)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan (Braintree)
Hutton, rh John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Joyce, Eric (Falkirk W)
Keen, Alan (Feltham)
Keen, Ann (Brentford)
Kemp, Fraser
Khabra, Piara S.
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green & Bow)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Laxton, Bob (Derby N)
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom (High Peak)
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Liddell, rh Mrs Helen
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
Luke, Iain (Dundee E)
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCafferty, Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
MacDougall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNamara, Kevin
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
Mahmood, Khalid
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, rh Peter
Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Marris, Rob (Wolverh'ton SW)
Marshall, David (Glasgow Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Meale, Alan (Mansfield)
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Mole, Chris
Morgan, Julie
Morley, Elliot
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, rh Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
O'Hara, Edward
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Owen, Albert
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pond, Chris (Gravesham)
Pope, Greg (Hyndburn)
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prescott, rh John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, rh Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N)
Raynsford, rh Nick
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Chester)
Ryan, Joan (Enfield N)
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simon, Siôn (B'ham Erdington)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, rh Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Spellar, rh John
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, David (Inverness E & Lochaber)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Tami, Mark (Alyn)
Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth (Harrow W)
Tipping, Paddy
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Brighton Kemptown)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Vaz, Keith (Leicester E)
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Claire
Watson, Tom (W Bromwich E)
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Alan (Swansea W)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wood, Mike (Batley)
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Wray, James (Glasgow Baillieston)
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Ivor Caplin and
Derek Twigg


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Allan, Richard
Amess, David
Arbuthnot, rh James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John (Billericay)
Barrett, John
Beith, rh A. J.
Bellingham, Henry
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Bottomley, rh Virginia (SW Surrey)
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom (Carshalton)
Brooke, Mrs Annette L.
Browning, Mrs Angela
Burnett, John
Burns, Simon
Burnside, David
Burstow, Paul
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, John
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Cameron, David
Campbell, Gregory (E Lond'y)
Carmichael, Alistair
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Cotter, Brian
Cran, James (Beverley)
Curry, rh David
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham & Stamford)
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dorrell, rh Stephen
Doughty, Sue
Duncan, Alan (Rutland)
Evans, Nigel
Fabricant, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Westminster)
Flook, Adrian
Forth, rh Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
Fox, Dr. Liam
Gale, Roger (N Thanet)
George, Andrew (St. Ives)
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis)
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James (N Wilts)
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, rh John
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Hayes, John (S Holland)
Heath, David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David
Hendry, Charles
Hermon, Lady
Hoban, Mark (Fareham)
Hogg, rh Douglas
Horam, John (Orpington)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Jack, rh Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, rh Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness)
Key, Robert (Salisbury)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Kirkwood, Archy
Knight, rh Greg (E Yorkshire)
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lansley, Andrew
Laws, David (Yeovil)
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, rh Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lilley, rh Peter
Llwyd, Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, rh Andrew
Maclean, rh David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury & Atcham)
Maude, rh Francis
Mawhinney, rh Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Norman, Archie
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Oaten, Mark (Winchester)
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Portillo, rh Michael
Price, Adam (E Carmarthen & Dinefwr)
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, John
Redwood, rh John
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham & M-Kent)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Mrs Iris (Strangford)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Sanders, Adrian
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob (Castle Point)
Spring, Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Taylor, Dr. Richard (Wyre F)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Thurso, John
Tonge, Dr. Jenny
Trend, Michael
Trimble, rh David
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyler, Paul (N Cornwall)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve (Northavon)
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Willis, Phil
Wilshire, David
Yeo, Tim (S Suffolk)
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Noes:

Chris Grayling and
Mr. Mark Francois

Question accordingly agreed to.

6 Nov 2002 : Column 364

It being three and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings, Mr Deputy Speaker put the remaining Question required to be put at that hour, pursuant to Order [this day].

Amendments proposed to the Lords amendment No. 45: (a) and (b).

Question put, That the amendments be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 292, Noes 174.

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