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Mr. Robert Key (Salisbury) (Con) rose—

Mr. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (Cotswold) (Con) rose—

Mr. Raynsford: I am answering the points made by my hon. Friends.

If it were decided to locate the regional control room elsewhere—no doubt conflicting proposals will be advanced by other hon. Members, some of whom have not been in the Chamber for very long, and certainly not as long as my hon. Friends who have sat through the whole debate—only 10 per cent. of the existing tri-service centre's work load is fire-related, and 90 per cent. of it is not, and it is therefore questionable whether such a decision would threaten the continued operation of the Gloucester centre. However, we want to discuss the issue in detail with all concerned because I understand the anxieties.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: Will the Minister give an undertaking this evening on behalf of the Government that, if there is any cost involved in moving the fire element of the tri-service centre away from Gloucester, the council tax payers of Gloucestershire will not have to bear it?

Mr. Raynsford: I am delighted to see the hon. Gentleman, whom we missed in Committee because he was frequently absent. I am glad to see him this evening on this brief appearance after several hours of debate.

15 Mar 2004 : Column 104

I assure him that cost-effectiveness is one of the main considerations, and we will certainly examine the financial implications, including the potential savings that will come from the establishment of a regional control centre, for all authorities involved before final decisions are taken. I assure him that the issues will be examined impartially.

My hon. Friend the Member for Stroud asked about accountability. One existing fire and rescue authority in England, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, is already constituted on regional lines, and it was created under the Greater London Authority Act 1999. It is thoroughly accountable, and, interestingly, it includes not only directly elected members of the Greater London authority but representatives from London boroughs. It is an interesting example of achieving a proper framework of accountability within the regional structure.

With those comments, I hope that the House will agree that the Government amendments should be endorsed, and I ask the hon. Member for Runnymede and Weybridge to withdraw his amendment.

Mr. Hammond: I could say a great deal, but I must speak against the backdrop of the Minister's filibuster. I shall give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that the failure of the annunciator system allowed him to go on for rather longer than he wanted to.

The Minister has not attempted to make a case for the existing Government offices for the regions being the optimum basis for the organisation of our fire and rescue services. All we have heard from him is the ludicrous charge that because we introduced Government offices for the regions in the first place, it is somehow our fault. In view of the time, I do not intend to use any more of it up, but simply urge my hon. Friends to support new clause 5 in the Lobby.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 149, Noes 263.

Division No. 88
[8:43 pm


AYES


Allan, Richard
Amess, David
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Bellingham, Henry
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Brooke, Mrs Annette L.
Browning, Mrs Angela
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Butterfill, Sir John
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chidgey, David
Chope, Christopher
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Cotter, Brian
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham & Stamford)
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Westminster)
Flight, Howard
Flook, Adrian
Foster, Don (Bath)
Gale, Roger (N Thanet)
Garnier, Edward
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
Harris, Dr. Evan (Oxford W & Abingdon)
Harvey, Nick
Hawkins, Nick
Heald, Oliver
Heath, David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David
Hendry, Charles
Hermon, Lady
Hoban, Mark (Fareham)
Holmes, Paul
Horam, John (Orpington)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hunter, Andrew
Jack, rh Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Key, Robert (Salisbury)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Greg (E Yorkshire)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Laws, David (Yeovil)
Leigh, Edward
Lewis, Dr. Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Llwyd, Elfyn
Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Mackay, rh Andrew
Maclean, rh David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Maples, John
Maude, rh Francis
Mawhinney, rh Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Norman, Archie
Oaten, Mark (Winchester)
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Pickles, Eric
Portillo, rh Michael
Price, Adam (E Carmarthen & Dinefwr)
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Randall, John
Redwood, rh John
Rendel, David
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Sanders, Adrian
Selous, Andrew
Shephard, rh Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob (Castle Point)
Spring, Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Syms, Robert
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Dr. Richard (Wyre F)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Teather, Sarah
Thurso, John
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyler, Paul (N Cornwall)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve (Northavon)
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Willis, Phil
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Ayes:Hugh Robertson and Mr. Mark Francois



NOES


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Baird, Vera
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Battle, John
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Benn, rh Hilary
Bennett, Andrew
Best, Harold
Blackman, Liz
Blizzard, Bob
Borrow, David
Bradley, rh Keith (Withington)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, rh Nicholas (Newcastle E Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burnham, Andy
Caborn, rh Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian (Brigg)
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Clark, Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, rh Tom (Coatbridge & Chryston)
Clelland, David
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom (Tooting)
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, rh John
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim (Heywood)
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Brian H.
Doran, Frank
Drew, David (Stroud)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff (Barnsley E)
Etherington, Bill
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead)
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Follett, Barbara
Foster, rh Derek
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings & Rye)
Foulkes, rh George
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hanson, David
Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Margaret
Hope, Phil (Corby)
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford & Urmston)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan (Braintree)
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, rh Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead & Highgate)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W)
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Kaufman, rh Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
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
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Laxton, Bob (Derby N)
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom (High Peak)
Linton, Martin
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
McCabe, Stephen
McDonnell, John
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNulty, Tony
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Marris, Rob (Wolverh'ton SW)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Glasgow Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Meacher, rh Michael
Meale, Alan (Mansfield)
Merron, Gillian
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moonie, Dr. Lewis
Moran, Margaret
Morley, Elliot
Morris, rh Estelle
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Olner, Bill
Organ, Diana
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pickthall, Colin
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris (Gravesham)
Prescott, rh John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quinn, Lawrie
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)
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruane, Chris
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Chester)
Ryan, Joan (Enfield N)
Salter, Martin
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Short, rh Clare
Simon, Siôn (B'ham Erdington)
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, rh Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Soley, Clive
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
Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
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)
Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Wareing, Robert N.
Watson, Tom (W Bromwich E)
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Wills, Michael
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:Charlotte Atkins and Mr. John Heppell


Question accordingly negatived.

15 Mar 2004 : Column 107

New Clause 7

Directions Relating to Particular Classes of Fires and Emergencies


'(1) The Secretary of State may direct a Fire and Rescue Authority to take, or not to take, action specified in the direction in relation to—
(a) a fire of a type or occurring in circumstances specified in the direction, or
(b) an emergency of another kind of a type or occurring in circumstances specified in the direction.
(2) A direction under this section may require a fire and rescue authority to act outside the authority's area.
(3) A direction under this section may be varied or revoked by a further such direction.
(4) A direction under this section shall be made by order.'.—[Mr. Hammond.]

Brought up, and read the First time.


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