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Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): Order. The right hon. and learned Gentleman must not use Third Reading to refer to those new clauses now.

Mr. Hogg: It is permitted, however, to comment on what is in the Bill and to refer obliquely to what is not in the Bill. What is not in the Bill is a power to protect citizens from the actions of the FBU—

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. Obliquely or otherwise, the right hon. and learned Gentleman should stick to what is in the Bill.

Mr. Hogg: What is in the Bill is a draconian power, given to the Deputy Prime Minister, to vary contracts of employment unilaterally, to dispose of property and to impose charges on third parties that are not properly constrained by democratic control. That is what is in the Bill, and it is a scandal. Furthermore, the result of the programme motion is that the House has not been able fully, adequately or properly to discuss, far less vote on, the contents of the Bill. We will send to the other place a Bill that may be otiose, but that gives to the Minister or his boss draconian powers. All of us know that those powers are not properly constrained. That is a disgrace, and that is what is in the Bill.

9.58 pm

Mr. Drew: I cannot agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman, even though the conclusions we reach are similar. As various hon. Members have said, especially Labour Members, the Bill is not only the wrong Bill, but it comes at the most inopportune time. I cannot think of a worse occasion to introduce a Bill that could be construed as anti-union than on the eve of an

3 Jun 2003 : Column 122

important ballot, an important meeting, and an important moment in a dispute that everybody wants to see settled.

The great sadness felt by many Labour Members is that, although a settlement will be achieved, it will arouse resentment among firefighters. I have spoken to many firefighters, both before the dispute began and during it. They have told me about their hopes for the discussions that took place when the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. O'Brien), was the Home Office Minister with responsibility for the fire service. They wanted to move to a modernised service based on risk-based management. Those hopes have been ripped asunder by the dispute, and this Bill will only make matters worse.

That saddens me greatly. No Government—certainly no Labour Government—should intervene in an industrial dispute when there are far better ways to achieve a settlement. I do not like the term "modernise" very much, but we could make the service better and more efficient, and ensure that it could do the things that all hon. Members want.

However, the most important matter has been alluded to many times by Opposition Front-Bench Members, in connection with an amendment tabled in Committee. We have at least had the opportunity to see the Opposition's approach to these matters. That is one good thing to come out of the debate, but those of us who oppose the Bill feel that the Government have taken a risk by introducing it at this time. It does not take a stretch of the imagination to see that the Bill could be followed by a raft of anti-union legislation. That much has been made only too clear by Labour Members this evening.

We have managed to get a sunset clause inserted into the Bill. That is our only victory this evening, but it could be a pyrrhic victory. It affects only this Bill, at this time. If there is another public-sector dispute in the future, some other Government could introduce legislation that is timeless, rather than time limited. Such legislation would be designed to bring in anti-union controls that go against the nature of a state that believes in both human rights and labour rights.

That is why some Labour Members are dismayed by the Bill. We will vote accordingly this evening.

10.3 pm

Mr. Llwyd: This short and insidious Bill introduces unwarranted interference in legitimate negotiating rights. I questioned the Minister earlier about the use of the word "disposal", and his response confirms my view that the Bill will be a vehicle for wholesale cuts, especially in the smaller rural services.

I am very unhappy with the Bill, and I shall be very pleased to vote against it, as will my colleagues and many other hon. Members. The Bill is an insidious attempt to skew the process of negotiation. It is a gross interference with workers' rights. It is incredible that a Labour Government of any hue—new, old, or in any shape or form—should have introduced the Bill. I am utterly unconvinced by the Minister's explanation of the use of the word "disposal". I am sure that there will be wholesale cuts in rural fire services. We will return to that debate at some point.

3 Jun 2003 : Column 123

10.4 pm

Rev. Martin Smyth (Belfast, South): I appreciate the opportunity to say a few words in this debate. Because of the guillotine, or the programme motion, to use the modern name, we were unable to discuss the provisions relating to Northern Ireland, so I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the fire service in Northern Ireland. Through the years of terrorism, its members have suffered, and some have given their lives, serving the community. As a result of the lawlessness that still prevails in certain areas, firefighters, like other public servants, are attacked as they serve the community.

Reference has been made to sunset clauses. As someone who used to watch those old westerns where the hero rode off into the sunset, I wonder who will be riding off as the hero in this case. The fire brigades will still be around when we are gone.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—

The House divided: Ayes 263, Noes 198.

Division No. 216
[10:05 pm


AYES


Ainger, Nick
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale & Darwen)
Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Banks, Tony
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Begg, Miss Anne
Benn, Hilary
Benton, Joe (Bootle)
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Boateng, rh Paul
Borrow, David
Bradley, rh Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Browne, Desmond
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, Andy
Byers, rh Stephen
Cairns, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian (Brigg)
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Clark, Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, rh Tom (Coatbridge & Chryston)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Colman, Tony
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Darling, rh Alistair
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, rh John
Dobbin, Jim (Heywood)
Dobson, rh Frank
Dowd, Jim (Lewisham W)
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Ennis, Jeff (Barnsley E)
Farrelly, Paul
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flint, Caroline
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)
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, rh Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Healey, John
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Hodge, Margaret
Hood, Jimmy (Clydesdale)
Hoon, rh Geoffrey
Hope, Phil (Corby)
Howarth, rh Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N & Sefton E)
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford & Urmston)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan (Braintree)
Hutton, rh John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, rh Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead & Highgate)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Eric (Falkirk W)
Keen, Ann (Brentford)
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S.
King, Andy (Rugby)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green & Bow)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom (High Peak)
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
Luke, Iain (Dundee E)
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCartney, rh Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
MacDougall, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNulty, Tony
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Glasgow Shettleston)
Martlew, Eric
Meacher, rh Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Mole, Chris
Moran, Margaret
Morgan, Julie
Morley, Elliot
Morris, rh Estelle
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, rh Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan (Wansdyke)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Diana
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter (Burnley)
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris (Gravesham)
Pope, Greg (Hyndburn)
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prescott, rh John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quin, rh Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N)
Raynsford, rh Nick
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Reid, rh Dr. John (Hamilton N & Bellshill)
Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Ruane, Chris
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Chester)
Ryan, Joan (Enfield N)
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh John
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Straw, rh Jack
Stringer, Graham
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, rh Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Brighton Kemptown)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Ward, Claire
Watson, Tom (W Bromwich E)
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Alan (Swansea W)
Williams, Betty (Conwy)
Wills, Michael
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. Fraser Kemp and
Mr. John Heppell


NOES


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Allan, Richard
Amess, David
Ancram, rh Michael
Arbuthnot, rh James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Austin, John
Bacon, Richard
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Barnes, Harry
Baron, John (Billericay)
Barrett, John
Beggs, Roy (E Antrim)
Beith, rh A. J.
Bellingham, Henry
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Berry, Roger
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, rh Virginia (SW Surrey)
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Breed, Colin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L.
Browning, Mrs Angela
Burgon, Colin
Burnett, John
Burns, Simon
Burnside, David
Burstow, Paul
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, John
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Campbell, Gregory (E Lond'y)
Campbell, rh Menzies (NE Fife)
Carmichael, Alistair
Chidgey, David
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clarke, rh Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Collins, Tim
Connarty, Michael
Conway, Derek
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Curry, rh David
Davidson, Ian
Davies, rh Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham & Stamford)
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Dismore, Andrew
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dodds, Nigel
Donaldson, Jeffrey M.
Doughty, Sue
Drew, David (Stroud)
Duncan, Alan (Rutland)
Evans, Nigel
Ewing, Annabelle
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Westminster)
Forth, rh Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger (N Thanet)
George, Andrew (St. Ives)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis)
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James (N Wilts)
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, rh John
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hammond, Philip
Harris, Dr. Evan (Oxford W & Abingdon)
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John (S Holland)
Heald, Oliver
Heath, David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David
Hendry, Charles
Hermon, Lady
Hoey, Kate (Vauxhall)
Hogg, rh Douglas
Holmes, Paul
Hopkins, Kelvin
Horam, John (Orpington)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Jack, rh Michael
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Keetch, Paul
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lansley, Andrew
Laws, David (Yeovil)
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, rh Oliver
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Llwyd, Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
McDonnell, John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Maclean, rh David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury & Atcham)
Maude, rh Francis
Mawhinney, rh Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Norman, Archie
Oaten, Mark (Winchester)
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Pickles, Eric
Portillo, rh Michael
Price, Adam (E Carmarthen & Dinefwr)
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Pugh, Dr. John
Redwood, rh John
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham & M-Kent)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Mrs Iris (Strangford)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Salmond, Alex
Sanders, Adrian
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Shephard, rh Mrs Gillian
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns & Kincardine)
Smyth, Rev. Martin (Belfast S)
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob (Castle Point)
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Syms, Robert
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Dr. Richard (Wyre F)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Tonge, Dr. Jenny
Tredinnick, David
Trimble, rh David
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyler, Paul (N Cornwall)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Wareing, Robert N.
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Weir, Michael
Whittingdale, John
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Willis, Phil
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Wishart, Pete
Wood, Mike (Batley)
Yeo, Tim (S Suffolk)
Younger-Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Noes:


Mr. Andrew Stunell and
Mr. Mark Hoban

Question accordingly agreed to.

3 Jun 2003 : Column 126

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.


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