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Mr. Wilshire rose—

Mr. Stephen O'Brien rose—

Dawn Primarolo: I say to the hon. Gentlemen that every effort was made in seeking from the Opposition indications that they wished the business to follow a particular pattern.

Mr. Wilshire: Will the right hon. Lady give way?

Dawn Primarolo: No. Opposition Members asked for two days. It is not always possible to have two days' debate on the Finance Bill, which, like all Government business, is dealt with on the basis of the availability of time and the business of the House in looking at the due process of consideration.

Mr. Wilshire: Will the right hon. Lady give way?

Dawn Primarolo: I will not do so, because I am explaining that, as has been discussed, as the record demonstrates, and as those who were present in the Committee can testify, after considerable informal discussion we finally reached agreement without a Division on today's business. That is why I moved the motion formally.

1 Jul 2003 : Column 184

Mr. Wilshire: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order for a Member of this House to present a picture of what took place at a meeting elsewhere that is not in accordance with what actually occurred?

Mr. Speaker: That is a point for debate. Hon. Members have an opportunity to rebut any case that is made.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien rose—

Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. Gentleman wish to raise a point of order?

Dawn Primarolo: I wished to give way to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. O'Brien: I am grateful to the Paymaster General for at last giving way; I had not realised that she was doing so, as it appeared that she had concluded her speech.

The Paymaster General will recall that, in the Programming Committee yesterday, after extensive formal and informal discussions, and in the absence of the Government being prepared even to consider allowing the usual two days for Report and Third Reading of the Finance Bill, Her Majesty's official Opposition, under protest and recording their displeasure at the arrogant approach taken by the Government in confining today's business to one parliamentary day, albeit with a few extended hours, and with some dispute on where the knives fell, decided that it was better when faced with that situation that we should pragmatically and responsibly seek to ensure that there was some form of workable programme for today. We did so under protest at not being able to secure two days. Furthermore, as she knows, it would therefore have been wholly inappropriate for us merely to play gesture politics by voting "no" after we had come through informal discussions on our secondary line of argument about getting the programme that we wanted for today.

Finally, as the Paymaster General well knows, the important concession extracted from the Government was to get at least some time by way of protected business. That formed a central part of the negotiations. I hope that the record will show that the primary argument is about having two days—[Interruption.] This may be an intervention, but I am making sure that the record is set straight about the fact that two days are required and that it is under protest that we agreed to the proposals, pragmatically and responsibly, to ensure that today's programme can at least work, despite the falling of the first knife, which we do not regard as necessary.

Dawn Primarolo: There we have it. The Opposition agreed to the programme motion as a workable programme for today. They said that they wanted two days and the Government have met their concerns and given them more time. That is what is being proposed and the hon. Gentleman confirms that.

Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham): Will the Paymaster General give way?

Dawn Primarolo: No.

1 Jul 2003 : Column 185

The hon. Member for Eddisbury (Mr. O'Brien) was present in the Programming Committee, which is why I gave way to him, and he has confirmed—I quote him—that the Opposition agreed in a pragmatic way that the programme was workable for the business today. I commend the motion to the House.

1.6 pm

Mr. David Wilshire (Spelthorne): I shall be as brief as I possibly can. We have heard some inaccuracies from the Government Front Bench. I was present in the Programming Committee yesterday afternoon. The version of events that we have heard from the Paymaster General does not represent what genuinely took place. The meeting started with a discussion of whether there should be two days of debate. That is all that the debate was about. I personally made the point that we believe that two days are necessary. We discussed that point and continued to do so until she said, in words of one syllable, "There will not be another day"—[Interruption.] I do not want to give way to the Paymaster General; she would not give way to Opposition Members, so I shall return the compliment. I have learned my lessons from her.

The first part of the discussion was about the need for two days. We got an emphatic no and were told that there would not be two days. Such an approach leaves an Opposition with two options—to be responsible or to take a wrecking approach. Faced with an intransigent and arrogant Government who were not prepared to respect democracy, we had no choice but to make the best of a bad job. That was explained at the meeting, and it is to my regret, and I hope that of the House, that the Paymaster General did not do the decent thing and say exactly what happened rather than give her own version, saying "Ah well, they agreed with it." We did not do so; we objected to what went on and I object to what is going on now. The real version should be the version that is in the record, and not her contrived version.

1.7 pm

Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham): I have declared my interests in the register.

I am amazed by the Government's attitude and conduct in this matter, and I am very disappointed, as I had thought that the Paymaster General was one of those rarer Ministers in this Administration who understood the feelings of the House and tried from time to time to adjust the script accordingly. Today, she is failing us badly, but I should like to have one quick go at persuading her to adopt a new way of handling this business in view of the great unease among Opposition Members about the shortage of time and the truncated programme that we are being asked to approve.

I see on the Order Paper that, towards the end of our proceedings today, there will be a relatively short debate on what amounts not merely to a completely new tax, but to a completely new way of handling that new tax and running our economy. We are invited to approve within two and a half hours a complete rejigging of stamp duty and stamp duty land tax and, I assume, its use—at a much higher level than we have been accustomed to in this country regarding property

1 Jul 2003 : Column 186

taxes—as a regulator of the economy, instead of the normal monetary and interest rate methods, in preparation for joining the euro.

I think that that is worth a day's debate on its own, and separate legislation. It is a massive change in the conduct of economy policy that will have a huge impact on homeowners and house values throughout the country if the Government are planning, on the back of that legislative change, to impose much higher rates of stamp duty to bring us into line with our European partners and to try to take the heat out of the housing market, of which euroland does not seem to approve.

I would therefore suggest to the Paymaster General, at this late stage, that she allow us sufficient time today to do all the business, up to and including that on insurance companies, which must be completed in five and a half hours but could probably be done within the eight hours that we have overall. The stamp duty provisions should be brought back at a later stage as separate legislation to allow us to have a proper debate on a new and very dangerous method of running our economy.

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 273, Noes 155.

Division No. 262
[1:10 pm


Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham
Anderson, rh Donald (Swansea E)
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Barnes, Harry
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Stuart
Benn, Hilary
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe (Bootle)
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Borrow, David
Bradley, rh Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Byers, rh Stephen
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Cawsey, Ian (Brigg)
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clark, Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, rh Tom (Coatbridge & Chryston)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann (Cynon V)
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cook, rh Robin (Livingston)
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom (Tooting)
Cranston, Ross
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, rh Dr. Jack (Copeland)
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, rh Alistair
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Davidson, Ian
Davies, rh Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davis, rh Terry (B'ham Hodge H)
Dawson, Hilton
Denham, rh John
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim (Heywood)
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Brian H.
Doran, Frank
Drew, David (Stroud)
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Etherington, Bill
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead)
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Follett, Barbara
Foster, rh Derek
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings & Rye)
Foulkes, rh George
Gerrard, Neil
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
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)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Margaret
Hoey, Kate (Vauxhall)
Hood, Jimmy (Clydesdale)
Hoon, rh Geoffrey
Hopkins, Kelvin
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
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead & Highgate)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Kaufman, rh Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham)
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
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Laxton, Bob (Derby N)
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom (High Peak)
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
Luke, Iain (Dundee E)
Lyons, John (Strathkelvin)
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
Mackinlay, Andrew
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
Mahmood, Khalid
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, rh Peter
Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Marris, Rob (Wolverh'ton SW)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Glasgow Shettleston)
Martlew, Eric
Meale, Alan (Mansfield)
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moran, Margaret
Morgan, Julie
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan (Wansdyke)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Edward
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter (Burnley)
Pope, Greg (Hyndburn)
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Purchase, Ken
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Reid, rh Dr. John (Hamilton N & Bellshill)
Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruane, Chris
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Chester)
Ryan, Joan (Enfield N)
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheridan, Jim
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, rh Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, rh Chris (Islington S & Finsbury)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Southworth, Helen
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Tami, Mark (Alyn)
Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth (Harrow W)
Tipping, Paddy
Touhig, Don (Islwyn)
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Brighton Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Wareing, Robert N.
Watson, Tom (W Bromwich E)
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Williams, rh Alan (Swansea W)
Williams, Betty (Conwy)
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wray, James (Glasgow Baillieston)
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. John Heppell and
Vernon Coaker


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Allan, Richard
Amess, David
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John (Billericay)
Barrett, John
Bellingham, Henry
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Brake, Tom (Carshalton)
Brazier, Julian
Breed, Colin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L.
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Malcolm
Burnett, John
Burns, Simon
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, John
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Cameron, David
Campbell, rh Menzies (NE Fife)
Carmichael, Alistair
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chidgey, David
Clarke, rh Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Conway, Derek
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Curry, rh David
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Doughty, Sue
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Evans, Nigel
Ewing, Annabelle
Fabricant, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Westminster)
Flight, Howard
Flook, Adrian
Forth, rh Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mark
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St. Ives)
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis)
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, rh John
Hague, rh William
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Harris, Dr. Evan (Oxford W & Abingdon)
Harvey, Nick
Hawkins, Nick
Heath, David
Hendry, Charles
Hermon, Lady
Horam, John (Orpington)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Jack, rh Michael
Jenkin, Bernard
Keetch, Paul
Key, Robert (Salisbury)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Kirkwood, Sir Archy
Knight, rh Greg (E Yorkshire)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lamb, Norman
Lansley, Andrew
Letwin, rh Oliver
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, rh Peter
Loughton, Tim
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Mackay, rh Andrew
Maclean, rh David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury & Atcham)
Mawhinney, rh Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Norman, Archie
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Price, Adam (E Carmarthen & Dinefwr)
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, John
Redwood, rh John
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham & M-Kent)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Sanders, Adrian
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Shepherd, Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns & Kincardine)
Soames, Nicholas
Spink, Bob (Castle Point)
Stanley, rh Sir John
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Syms, Robert
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Dr. Richard (Wyre F)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Thurso, John
Tonge, Dr. Jenny
Tredinnick, David
Trimble, rh David
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Weir, Michael
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Willis, Phil
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Wishart, Pete
Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Mark Hoban and
Mr. David Wilshire

Question accordingly agreed to.

1 Jul 2003 : Column 189

1 Jul 2003 : Column 190

Orders of the Day

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