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The Deputy Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Phil Woolas): I thank all the right hon. and hon. Members who have contributed to the debate, not only this afternoon but in the extensive work that they have done before. Members such as the hon. Member for Bournemouth, West (Sir John Butterfill) and my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mrs. Campbell) have put in a huge amount of time and effort on behalf of us all—often without thanks, as we have seen this afternoon. I thank them and all the other Members who have taken part.

I emphasise that, as this is a House matter, this will be a free vote for Back Benchers on this side and, I know, on the Opposition side—[Interruption.] If hon. Members will be patient, I shall explain. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has a duty to put forward the recommendations of the independent report from the SSRB, which the House commissioned. He cannot cherry-pick, should not cherry-pick, and has not cherry-picked the recommendations. This is an independent report and it is presented to us to ensure that the integrity of the House is maintained.

I want to go through some of the arguments in favour of the motion and against the amendments—[Interruption.] If the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow) would stop chuntering, he might find that he has some sympathy with what I have to say—[Interruption.] He is chuntering and chattering, as is normally the case. As I was saying, it is incumbent on us to put these recommendations before the House. As the Leader of the House acknowledged, there is some difficulty in regard to the recommendations on incidental expenses provisions. The SSRB report recognises that some of the matters that it has been asked to deal with—it is the House that asked it to do so—go beyond the remit of considering Members' pay and allowances. Of course, there is an interaction
3 Nov 2004 : Column 362
between office accommodation, incidental expenses and staff allowances. It is also a fact—a harsh one—that the parliamentary estate is very crowded, and that has to be taken into account.

The hon. Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Tyler) made the point that there was discrimination under the current system. His worry was that the proposed new system would introduce another kind of discrimination, and that two wrongs would not make a right. That is exactly why my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has asked for a deviation from the SSRB recommendation in this one regard, by asking the Members Estimate Committee to consider this matter. He has done so because the matter is not exclusively about salaries and allowances.

Amendment (g), which has the advantage of simplicity, has been supported by hon. Members on both sides. It contains a carrot, in that it would redress the discrimination against those Members who lose out by not having staff on the parliamentary estate, but it does not provide the stick, in terms of an incentive to bear down on the staff. I am not arguing that it should do that, or that it should not. I am pointing out that the choice has been put before the House. Hon. Members should bear in mind the fact—as the House authorities, the Leader of the House and I have to—that none of these things come without a cost. We do not know the exact cost of amendment (g), but we estimate it at between £2 million and £3 million. However, we must acknowledge in our deliberations the fact that we are in a unique situation in deciding our own pay and allowances. I am grateful for the indication that amendment (h) will not be pushed to the vote.

On mileage, the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Sir Nicholas Winterton) has pointed out the shock impact of the proposal, in that Members who use cars will lose money. On the other hand, the House has to balance whether it wishes to accept the independence of the SSRB report and the fact that our mileage allowances are better than those for members of the public. If there are problems with the Inland Revenue rates, I suggest that hon. Members take that up with the Government and the Inland Revenue, not make special pleading for their own case.

On pensions, which are perhaps the most important point, it is clear that the increase in the fund is provided by Members' contributions. This is not feather-bedding by the Exchequer; Members' salaries pay those contributions, which sets a good example. However, I believe that we have a moral, as well as a political and financial, obligation to accept these recommendations that the trustees all supported.

It being three hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, Madam Deputy Speaker put the Questions necessary to dispose of proceedings, pursuant to Order [2 November].

Amendment proposed: (g), in line 9, leave out from first 'to' to 'and' in line 11 and insert—
"£80,460 for all Members with up to 10 per cent. of the Staffing Allowance being available to fund a Member's office in his or her constituency.".—[Mr. Page.]

3 Nov 2004 : Column 363

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 239, Noes 109.

Division No. 307
[3:51 pm


Adams, Irene (Paisley N)
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale & Darwen)
Arbuthnot, rh James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Austin, John
Bacon, Richard
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Barron, rh Kevin
Beggs, Roy (E Antrim)
Bellingham, Henry
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom (Carshalton)
Brazier, Julian
Breed, Colin
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Malcolm
Burnett, John
Burns, Simon
Burnside, David
Burstow, Paul
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, Sir John
Byrne, Liam (B'ham Hodge H)
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Campbell, Gregory (E Lond'y)
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies (NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Carmichael, Alistair
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clapham, Michael
Clappison, James
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Clwyd, Ann (Cynon V)
Connarty, Michael
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cotter, Brian
Cox, Tom (Tooting)
Cranston, Ross
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S)
Curry, rh David
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
David, Wayne
Davidson, Ian
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dobbin, Jim (Heywood)
Dobson, rh Frank
Dodds, Nigel
Donaldson, Jeffrey M.
Donohoe, Brian H.
Doughty, Sue
Dowd, Jim (Lewisham W)
Duncan, Alan (Rutland)
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Duncan Smith, rh Iain
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Evans, Nigel
Ewing, Annabelle
Fabricant, Michael
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead)
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Westminster)
Flight, Howard
Flook, Adrian
Flynn, Paul (Newport W)
Forth, rh Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
Gapes, Mike (Ilford S)
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St. Ives)
George, rh Bruce (Walsall S)
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James (N Wilts)
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, rh John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hancock, Mike
Harvey, Nick
Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
Hawkins, Nick
Heald, Oliver
Hendrick, Mark
Hendry, Charles
Hermon, Lady
Hoban, Mark (Fareham)
Hood, Jimmy (Clydesdale)
Hopkins, Kelvin
Horam, John (Orpington)
Howarth, rh Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jack, rh Michael
Jenkins, Brian
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Kennedy, rh Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness)
Key, Robert (Salisbury)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Greg (E Yorkshire)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Laws, David (Yeovil)
Leigh, Edward
Lepper, David
Lewis, Dr. Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, rh Peter
Loughton, Tim
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
Luke, Iain (Dundee E)
McCabe, Stephen
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFall, rh John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Mackay, rh Andrew
McKenna, Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
Maclean, rh David
McLoughlin, Patrick
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Marshall, David (Glasgow Shettleston)
Mates, Michael
Mawhinney, rh Sir Brian
May, rh Mrs Theresa
Meale, Alan (Mansfield)
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr. Lewis
Morgan, Julie
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Oaten, Mark (Winchester)
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
O'Hara, Edward
Öpik, Lembit
Organ, Diana
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Portillo, rh Michael
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Purchase, Ken
Quinn, Lawrie
Randall, John
Redwood, rh John
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Rosindell, Andrew
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruane, Chris
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Salmond, Alex
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Singh, Marsha
Smith, rh Chris (Islington S & Finsbury)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns & Kincardine)
Smyth, Rev. Martin (Belfast S)
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob (Castle Point)
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Teather, Sarah
Thurso, John
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Brighton Kemptown)
Tyler, Paul (N Cornwall)
Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walter, Robert
Wareing, Robert N.
Watkinson, Angela
Weir, Michael
Whittingdale, John
Wiggin, Bill
Wilkinson, John
Williams, Betty (Conwy)
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Wilshire, David
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Wishart, Pete
Worthington, Tony
Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Miss Ann Widdecombe and
Mr. Richard Page


Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Allan, Richard
Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Barnes, Harry
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Bell, Sir Stuart
Blears, Ms Hazel
Brennan, Kevin
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, Andy
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Caplin, Ivor
Clark, Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Coaker, Vernon
Colman, Tony
Conway, Derek
Cook, rh Robin (Livingston)
Cousins, Jim
Cunningham, rh Dr. Jack (Copeland)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dean, Mrs Janet
Doran, Frank
Drew, David (Stroud)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Fallon, Michael
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gidley, Sandra
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Hain, rh Peter
Hanson, David
Healey, John
Heath, David
Heppell, John
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Holmes, Paul
Humble, Mrs Joan
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Johnson, Alan (Hull W)
Keetch, Paul
Kidney, David
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green & Bow)
Laxton, Bob (Derby N)
Lazarowicz, Mark
Levitt, Tom (High Peak)
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
McAvoy, Thomas
McGuire, Mrs Anne
Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Martlew, Eric
Merron, Gillian
Miller, Andrew
Moore, Michael
Moran, Margaret
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter (Burnley)
Pond, Chris (Gravesham)
Pope, Greg (Hyndburn)
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N)
Reid, rh Dr. John (Hamilton N & Bellshill)
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham & M-Kent)
Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Rooney, Terry
Ruddock, Joan
Sanders, Adrian
Sheridan, Jim
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Spellar, rh John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Dr. Richard (Wyre F)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Trickett, Jon
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Ward, Claire
Webb, Steve (Northavon)
White, Brian
Woolas, Phil
Wright, David (Telford)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:

Joan Ryan and
Mr. Tom Watson

Question accordingly agreed to.

3 Nov 2004 : Column 365

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