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Mr. Garnier : Could the right hon. Lady give us a brief definition of her understanding of the concept of ministerial responsibility of the House?

Beverley Hughes: It is to do what I am doing—implementing the Government's policy and being responsible for dramatic and radical change in the asylum and immigration system. That is what I intend to go on doing.

Tory hypocrisy is reflected not just in the record of the Tories' new leader, but in their failure to support us in most of the tough measures we have included in legislation—and, I might say, in this kind of thing. I have here a sheaf of letters, including letters from the right hon. and learned Member for Folkestone and Hythe, the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden (David Davis) and the hon. Members for Woking, for Witney (Mr. Cameron), for Rutland and Melton (Mr. Duncan), for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve), and the right hon. and learned Member for Devizes (Mr. Ancram). All the letters ask me to reverse decisions about constituents when the Department has decided that they should leave the country but those Conservative Members want them to stay. Conservative

30 Mar 2004 : Column 1478

Members want me to use my discretion to overturn decisions that people should be removed from the country. I cannot see a Member on the Conservative Benches who has not written to me— [Interruption.] I must finish my speech. Our record, in contrast—[Interruption.]

Mr. Keith Simpson (Mid-Norfolk) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Minister is preening herself. Having raised this matter, why does she not read out the names of the constituents involved and really make a hash of it?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: That is not, strictly speaking, a point of order for the Chair. It is more a matter for debate. Let me say to the House that this is a serious matter. Members should listen to what the Minister is saying. They should also remember that people outside the Chamber are noting the way in which we behave inside it.

Beverley Hughes: In contrast, our record in government shows that we have instituted systematic, step-by-step reforms of asylum procedures. We have reduced the number of claims, there has been a record number of removals, we have speeded up decision making, we have acted on border controls and tackled organised immigration crime, and we have introduced a new charging regime. I repeat that I do not suggest that all the reforms we want are necessary. I am not saying that all parts of the organisation are yet as strong as I want them to be. We have seen over recent weeks that that is not the case. However, we are moving in the right direction, and we have made much more significant progress than the Tory party ever did.

Norman Baker (Lewes) (LD): Rather than engaging in knockabout, will the Minister focus on the future? The Home Secretary has suggested an investigation. Will the Minister commit herself to making it a full, public, independent investigation of the allegations that have been made?

Beverley Hughes: We shall have the inquiry that the Home Secretary has announced. I entirely accept what the hon. Gentleman has said: these are serious allegations which require a thorough investigation, and I want that to happen.

Hon. Members have asked me a number of questions. I shall probably not be able to deal with all of them, and I hope that they will allow me to write to them about some of them. In answer to the question about whether there was any reason to suspect that the inquiry would not be legal, I can say that there is no reason to believe that the action we have taken today would be open to legal challenge. We have explored the position, and I think that our action would be generally accepted as a sensible measure. Not only will we suspend applications under the ECAA, for a short period we will suspend all applications for any purpose from Bulgaria and Romania to ensure that we have a complete view of what is happening there.

The Home Secretary has dealt with the specific allegations against me in some detail. Let me simply say that I would not be interested in hanging on to office if

30 Mar 2004 : Column 1479

I knew in my own mind that I had a personal case to answer, because it is what is in my head and on my conscience that matters to me. I would never compromise my integrity or my honesty, and I am not resigning because my conscience is clear. I believe that, working with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, I have made systematic and significant progress in implementing our policy and delivering real change and improvements. I am neither incompetent nor dishonest and I intend to carry on doing my job as long as the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary want me to do so.

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 156, Noes 378.

Division No. 116
[4:00 pm


AYES


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Ancram, rh Michael
Arbuthnot, rh James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John (Billericay)
Beggs, Roy (E Antrim)
Bellingham, Henry
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, rh Virginia (SW Surrey)
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Browning, Mrs Angela
Burns, Simon
Burnside, David
Cameron, David
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clarke, rh Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Collins, Tim
Conway, Derek
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cran, James (Beverley)
Curry, rh David
Davies, Quentin (Grantham & Stamford)
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dodds, Nigel
Dorrell, rh Stephen
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Duncan Smith, rh Iain
Evans, Nigel
Fabricant, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Westminster)
Flight, Howard
Flook, Adrian
Forth, rh Eric
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger (N Thanet)
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis)
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James (N Wilts)
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, rh John
Hammond, Philip
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John (S Holland)
Heald, Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David
Hendry, Charles
Hoban, Mark (Fareham)
Horam, John (Orpington)
Howard, rh Michael
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
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, rh Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lilley, rh Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Mackay, rh Andrew
Maclean, rh David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Mates, Michael
Maude, rh Francis
Mawhinney, rh Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Norman, Archie
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Portillo, rh Michael
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Randall, John
Redwood, rh John
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham & M-Kent)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Rosindell, Andrew
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Shephard, rh Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Smyth, Rev. Martin (Belfast S)
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob (Castle Point)
Spring, Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, Dr. Richard (Wyre F)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Tredinnick, David
Trimble, rh David
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, David
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Yeo, Tim (S Suffolk)
Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. David Ruffley and
Mr. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown


NOES


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Anderson, rh Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale & Darwen)
Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Baker, Norman
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Barrett, John
Barron, rh Kevin
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Sir Stuart
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe (Bootle)
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, rh David
Boateng, rh Paul
Borrow, David
Bradley, rh Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Breed, Colin
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L.
Brown, rh Nicholas (Newcastle E Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bruce, Malcolm
Bryant, Chris
Burgon, Colin
Burnett, John
Burnham, Andy
Burstow, Paul
Byers, rh Stephen
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Cairns, David
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies (NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Carmichael, Alistair
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian (Brigg)
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Chidgey, David
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
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Cook, rh Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Cotter, Brian
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cunningham, rh Dr. Jack (Copeland)
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, rh Alistair
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
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)
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Brian H.
Doran, Frank
Doughty, Sue
Dowd, Jim (Lewisham W)
Drew, David (Stroud)
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff (Barnsley E)
Ewing, Annabelle
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead)
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flynn, Paul (Newport W)
Follett, Barbara
Foster, rh Derek
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings & Rye)
Gardiner, Barry
George, Andrew (St. Ives)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gidley, Sandra
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)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hancock, Mike
Hanson, David
Harris, Dr. Evan (Oxford W & Abingdon)
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Harvey, Nick
Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
Heath, David
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hermon, Lady
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Hinchliffe, David
Hoey, Kate (Vauxhall)
Holmes, Paul
Hood, Jimmy (Clydesdale)
Hope, Phil (Corby)
Hopkins, Kelvin
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
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead & Highgate)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Eric (Falkirk W)
Kaufman, rh Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham)
Keen, Ann (Brentford)
Kelly, Ruth (Bolton W)
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, rh Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness)
Khabra, Piara S.
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green & Bow)
Kirkwood, Sir Archy
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Lamb, Norman
Laws, David (Yeovil)
Laxton, Bob (Derby N)
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom (High Peak)
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Liddell, rh Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
Luke, Iain (Dundee E)
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCafferty, Chris
McCartney, rh Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
MacDougall, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNamara, Kevin
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahmood, Khalid
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mandelson, rh Peter
Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Marris, Rob (Wolverh'ton SW)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury & Atcham)
Marshall, David (Glasgow Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Martlew, Eric
Meale, Alan (Mansfield)
Merron, Gillian
Milburn, rh Alan
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moonie, Dr. Lewis
Moore, Michael
Moran, Margaret
Morgan, Julie
Morris, rh Estelle
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Oaten, Mark (Winchester)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Hara, Edward
Olner, Bill
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter (Burnley)
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris (Gravesham)
Pope, Greg (Hyndburn)
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prescott, rh John
Price, Adam (E Carmarthen & Dinefwr)
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Purchase, Ken
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)
Rendel, David
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Chester)
Ryan, Joan (Enfield N)
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Adrian
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Short, rh Clare
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, rh Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E & Lochaber)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Straw, rh Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Taylor, rh Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Teather, Sarah
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Thurso, John
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Tonge, Dr. Jenny
Touhig, Don (Islwyn)
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Brighton Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyler, Paul (N Cornwall)
Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Vaz, Keith (Leicester E)
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Robert N.
Watson, Tom (W Bromwich E)
Watts, David
Webb, Steve (Northavon)
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Alan (Swansea W)
Williams, Betty (Conwy)
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Willis, Phil
Wills, Michael
Wilson, Brian
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wishart, Pete
Wood, Mike (Batley)
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek
Younger-Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Noes:


Ms Bridget Prentice and
Vernon Coaker

Question accordingly negatived.

30 Mar 2004 : Column 1483

Question, That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments), and agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Speaker forthwith declared the main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.

Resolved,


30 Mar 2004 : Column 1484


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