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3.39 pm

Mr. Douglas Hogg (Sleaford and North Hykeham): Last Thursday, at business questions, the Leader of the House made it plain that he was willing to look again at programming. He said that there should be a little more time for consideration, so as to reflect on our

19 May 2003 : Column 691

experiences. I hope that when he comes to do that, he will reflect on what will happen with this Bill, which incidentally will replicate what happened with the Finance Bill last week.

It is inevitable that many important new clauses and amendments will not be discussed in this place; they will go to the other place wholly undiscussed. As the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath) and my hon. Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) have said, those matters are of considerable importance. They include, and I will cite just three, jury trials, the way we deal with those sentenced for murder, and corporate manslaughter, the latter being the subject of a Back-Bench amendment.

Apart from the general points that I usually make on these occasions, there are others points that we should keep in mind. For many of us, this is the first opportunity to participate in debate on the detail of the Bill. It will perhaps be revealing a secret when I say that I volunteered to serve on the Standing Committee. The Whips did not find my offer very attractive and I do not wholly blame them. I was one of those who was willing, on my own terms, to serve on the Standing Committee and I was rejected, but now I would like to participate fully in the debate and I find that the Government timetable motion prevents me from doing so.

Mr. John Bercow (Buckingham): As one who was similarly underprivileged and down-trodden to the extent that I was denied a place on the Standing Committee upon the Bill, and in view of the importance of the public understanding why we are inveighing against the programme motion, will my right hon. and learned Friend confirm that, even if we were to have six and a half hours uninterrupted debate without a single vote, which is wholly implausible, there would be under two minutes to debate each of the almost 200 amendments and new clauses today?

Mr. Hogg: I am sure that my hon. Friend will not misunderstand me when I say that I do not suppose that six and a half hours would entirely accommodate my hon. Friend. I see why our Front-Bench team was uneasy at the prospect of a Hogg-Bercow axis. None the less, we are here today and we want to participate in the debate.

There are other serious points. I do not think that it is right to allow the Executive to determine the business of the House. They are entitled to come before the House and to place legislation before it, but what they are not entitled to do is to regulate the timetable. That seems to be a matter for us. I hope that, in the fullness of time, a business committee of the House, not the Executive, will regulate the timetable.

While I recognise that there are discussions between the Front-Bench teams as to what particular clauses and new clauses people want to focus on, Back Benchers do not always agree with Front Benchers. Therefore, it is important when the timetable is being regulated, that the interests of all hon. Members, Back Bench, Front Bench and minority parties as well, be properly taken into account. That is not happening in these timetable motions.

I see, Mr. Speaker, that you are going to call me to order in a moment. I come back directly to the question. A lot of important matters will remain unaddressed. We

19 May 2003 : Column 692

will send them to the other place undiscussed. That is a denial of democracy. Ultimately, we bring democracy into disrepute.

3.45 pm

Lady Hermon (North Down): My colleagues from the Ulster Unionist party are with me in spirit, although not in reality. On this occasion, they are united with me. I welcome the Minister to the Dispatch Box and am delighted to see him here today. However, I wish to commend warmly his predecessor, now the Minister of State, Department for International Development, the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Hilary Benn). When we began the 30 or so sittings in Committee—for which I had the great privilege to be selected—I was not familiar with the criminal law, but I came away from it greatly educated on double jeopardy, hearsay evidence and other matters, thanks to the Minister's predecessor.

My concern with the motion relates to the amendments on Northern Ireland. Five months ago in Committee—plus two or three days—the then Under-Secretary said:

As I understand it, only part 10 of the Bill will extend to Northern Ireland. It grieves me terribly, on behalf of the 1.6 million people of Northern Ireland, that we are only today—five months later—seeing the amendments extended to Northern Ireland, and done so selectively. I urge the Home Office to think about joined-up government, involving Northern Ireland Ministers and Home Office Ministers. Other parts of the Bill should be extended to Northern Ireland and should have been extended to it in good time.

3.47 pm

Mr. Mike Hancock (Portsmouth, South): Unlike the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) and the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow), I did not volunteer to serve on the Standing Committee, because I fully expected, as a Back Bencher, to be given the opportunity to talk about the Bill, the 500 amendments and 25 Government new clauses. To be denied that, means that Back Benchers have been denied the opportunity of voicing the criticisms and concerns of constituents on vital issues that will affect many of them for years to come.

Surely it is to neglect the responsibilities of the House towards the general population to have the debate curtailed in such a way and for so many important issues to be squeezed out. As the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham said, many of the amendments will not even be discussed in this place. That cannot be doing justice to the Bill. If the Bill is to do justice to the nation, the House should at least be given the courtesy of doing justice to it.

3.48 pm

Sir Patrick Cormack (South Staffordshire): This brief debate has already produced three rather interesting contributions. The first—from the Minister, whom we all welcome most warmly—was extremely brief, concise and to the point. My right hon. and learned Friend the

19 May 2003 : Column 693

Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) then revealed something of which I was not aware: that there are occasions on which Whips can be truly discerning. There was also a remarkable contribution from my hon. Friend the Member for North Down (Lady Hermon), who revealed something even more unusual; that there are occasions on which the Ulster Unionist party can be united. I suspect that that is because she spoke for them; the others are all absent.

We are debating an extremely serious matter this afternoon; the Government's timetable, which was never generous, but has been transformed into a guillotine of severe proportions. The subjects that the House will be called upon to debate today and tomorrow are so important that none of us should speak in this debate for more than a few seconds or minutes. However, we will not be able to go back to our constituents this weekend and say that there was a proper discussion on trial by jury and the other important matters, a litany of which were read out by the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath) in his pertinent contribution.

Frankly, this is a disgrace. The Executive should not be able to put the Commons in a straitjacket in this manner. In future, if we are to have proper programming of Bills that allows adequate discussions of important issues, the timetables must be properly agreed. There must be flexibility if the Government subject us to an avalanche of extra amendments. Otherwise, we are going to turn this place into a total non-entity, which it is close to being already.

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 283, Noes 160.

Division No. 202
[3:50 pm


Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Anderson, rh Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale & Darwen)
Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Banks, Tony
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Stuart
Benn, Hilary
Benton, Joe (Bootle)
Berry, Roger
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, rh David
Boateng, rh Paul
Bradley, rh Keith (Withington)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, rh Nicholas (Newcastle E Wallsend)
Browne, Desmond
Bryant, Chris
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, Andy
Byers, rh Stephen
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Cawsey, Ian (Brigg)
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clark, Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, rh Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, rh Tom (Coatbridge & Chryston)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann (Cynon V)
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cook, rh Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom (Tooting)
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cunningham, rh Dr. Jack (Copeland)
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Dalyell, Tam
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, rh Denzil (Llanelli)
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, rh John
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim (Heywood)
Donohoe, Brian H.
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim (Lewisham W)
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Etherington, Bill
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead)
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flynn, Paul (Newport W)
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings & Rye)
Foulkes, rh George
Gapes, Mike (Ilford S)
Gardiner, Barry
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, rh Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hanson, David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Hodge, Margaret
Hoey, Kate (Vauxhall)
Hood, Jimmy (Clydesdale)
Hope, Phil (Corby)
Howarth, rh Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N & Sefton E)
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford & Urmston)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hurst, Alan (Braintree)
Hutton, rh John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Ingram, rh Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead & Highgate)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Eric (Falkirk W)
Kaufman, rh Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Ann (Brentford)
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
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
Lammy, David
Laxton, Bob (Derby N)
Lazarowicz, Mark
Levitt, Tom (High Peak)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Liddell, rh Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
McAvoy, Thomas
McCafferty, Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDougall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNulty, Tony
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mandelson, rh Peter
Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Marris, Rob (Wolverh'ton SW)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Martlew, Eric
Meacher, rh Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Morley, Elliot
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, rh Paul (Torfaen)
Norris, Dan (Wansdyke)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter (Burnley)
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pope, Greg (Hyndburn)
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Purnell, James
Quin, rh Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N)
Raynsford, rh Nick
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Reid, rh Dr. John (Hamilton N & Bellshill)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Ryan, Joan (Enfield N)
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simon, Siôn (B'ham Erdington)
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Smith, rh Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
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 & Lochaber)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Tami, Mark (Alyn)
Taylor, rh Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Touhig, Don (Islwyn)
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Brighton Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Wareing, Robert N.
Watson, Tom (W Bromwich E)
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Alan (Swansea W)
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Jim Murphy and
Charlotte Atkins


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Allan, Richard
Ancram, rh Michael
Arbuthnot, rh James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John (Billericay)
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom (Carshalton)
Brazier, Julian
Brooke, Mrs Annette L.
Browning, Mrs Angela
Burnett, John
Burns, Simon
Burstow, Paul
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, John
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Cameron, David
Carmichael, Alistair
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chidgey, David
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Conway, Derek
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cotter, Brian
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham & Stamford)
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Doughty, Sue
Evans, Nigel
Fabricant, Michael
Flight, Howard
Flook, Adrian
Forth, rh Eric
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger (N Thanet)
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis)
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Gray, James (N Wilts)
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, rh John
Hague, rh William
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Harvey, Nick
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John (S Holland)
Heald, Oliver
Heath, David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David
Hendry, Charles
Hermon, Lady
Hoban, Mark (Fareham)
Hogg, rh Douglas
Holmes, Paul
Horam, John (Orpington)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Jack, rh Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Keetch, Paul
Key, Robert (Salisbury)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lansley, Andrew
Laws, David (Yeovil)
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, rh Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, rh Peter
Llwyd, Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Mackay, rh Andrew
Maclean, rh David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Mawhinney, rh Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Oaten, Mark (Winchester)
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Öpik, Lembit
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, John
Redwood, rh John
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Rendel, David
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Sanders, Adrian
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Shephard, rh Mrs Gillian
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns & Kincardine)
Smyth, Rev. Martin (Belfast S)
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob (Castle Point)
Spring, Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Tonge, Dr. Jenny
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyler, Paul (N Cornwall)
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve (Northavon)
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Wishart, Pete
Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:

Hugh Robertson and
Mr. Desmond Swayne

Question accordingly agreed to.

19 May 2003 : Column 696

19 May 2003 : Column 697

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