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Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan) (SNP): The Minister has confirmed my determination never to hire him as an advocate if I am on trial for anything at all serious. He has said that the Bill is non-contentious. The title might be non-contentious, but much of the rest is highly contentious.

The Minister has said that the timetable motion will allow debate. That would be true if it had enough time in it, which it clearly does not. As has already been pointed out, my hon. Friends and I have tabled no fewer than nine amendments to a key passage of the Bill, but that passage has been allocated 45 minutes of consideration, almost certainly half an hour of which will be taken up by voting. Those nine amendments
10 Feb 2005 : Column 1684
affect Scotland, a country which the Minister might remember from time to time, but not one of them is likely to be reached under this disgraceful timetable motion.

Mr. Gummer: Will the hon. Gentleman not be taken in by the Government's use of the word "timetable"? "Timetable" suggests that time is available; this is a guillotine motion that is designed to cut off debate. It is a foreign motion and a foreign word and we should pronounce it in a foreign way. We should vote against the guillotine motion.

Mr. Salmond: The Conservative party is embracing all things French—I knew that it was only a matter of time before that happened.

Mr. Cash rose—

Mr. Salmond: I give way to the Francophile.

Mr. Cash: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that in the light of the disgraceful way in which the Government continuously introduce programme motions, the more that personal liberty is put at risk, the more certain one can be that one will get less time? We should call the motion a garrotte.

Mr. Salmond: I always agree with the hon. Gentleman, except when I disagree with him. Nevertheless, his point is substantial. The timetable motion makes it impossible to reach any of the nine amendments.

The Minister said that we should examine the splendid example of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill. Some of us tried to debate that Bill on Monday, when two extraordinary things happened. First, a whole series of amendments was no longer applicable because at the last minute the Government removed the bit of the Bill to which the amendments referred; such was the spatchcock nature of the legislation. Secondly—this is almost unprecedented in the history of this place—the Home Secretary had to adopt other parties' amendments, including one from the Scottish National party. The Government, in headlong retreat from aggravated trespass in Scotland, found themselves having to assimilate the amendments of other parties and then found that, under the timetable, they did not even have time to explain why.I know that the Minister has been preoccupied with this Bill, but he should look at what his colleagues are doing before he cites another Bill as a splendid example of examination and parliamentary democracy.

Finally, let me say this to the Minister—

Mrs. Claire Curtis-Thomas (Crosby) (Lab): Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Salmond: No, I will not take further interventions because I am anxious to complete this point.

I smell a debacle. We are informed under the freedom of information legislation that the retreat from the exchange rate mechanism cost £4 billion. I suspect that this debacle will cost double that. In days to come, when the Minister looks back at the wreckage of a once
10 Feb 2005 : Column 1685
promising parliamentary career, and as this hangs around his neck like an albatross, he will say, "I wish I'd listened to Alex Salmond on 10 February 2005. I wish I'd allowed those amendments on Scotland and on the rights of the Scottish Parliament and of people in far-flung areas of Scotland to be debated, because if I had, perhaps I and the Government would not be in the ridiculous position of spending £8 billion on a pile of nonsense."

2.11 pm

Mr. Mark Fisher (Stoke-on-Trent, Central) (Lab): This is a major Bill because it takes us into wholly uncharted waters in terms of the relationship between the individual and the state, yet we are trying to discuss it in one afternoon—the shortest of the week. It may not be a constitutional Bill, but it is semi-constitutional, in that it distinguishes a new era for the relationship between the individual and the state. A sane Parliament would give it at least two full days of debate.

Like other hon. Members, I supported the Bill on Second Reading, but with considerable reservations. I did not object to the card itself, but had many reservations about the details, such as the role of the commissioner, what will be on the register and our ability to access and change erroneous material on it. I was hoping, and thought that I had assurances from the Government, that many of those things would be addressed and changed in Committee, but I cannot see that they have been. This is the first opportunity for Back Benchers such as me, who have serious and growing reservations, to hear the debate and participate in it—yet, as hon. Members on both sides of the House have said, we simply will not have enough time.

This is a hugely important Bill and once we pass it, the relationship between individuals and the state will never be the same again. I regret bitterly that this afternoon we will be so constrained in our consideration. The Government are making a huge error.

2.13 pm

Mr. Douglas Hogg (Sleaford and North Hykeham) (Con): It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mr. Fisher), with whom I agree so often on such matters.

The detail of the Bill has been examined fully by my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) and I will not repeat what he said, but I would like to summarise my objections.

We are perpetrating a fraud on the electorate because we tell them that Bills are discussed, but this Bill has not been discussed. It is also a fraud on the judiciary, who often say when interpreting legislation that Parliament decided on it after consideration. We are not considering and we have not decided. We are dissuading hon. Members from becoming involved in legislation, because they know that they will not have a chance to speak to the detail.

Mr. John Taylor rose—

Mr. Hogg: If I may just finish this point, of course I shall give way.
10 Feb 2005 : Column 1686

We are disqualifying the minority parties from playing a proper role in the discussion—

It being forty-five minutes after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, Mr. Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair, pursuant to Standing Order No. 83A(8).

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 220, Noes 131.

Division No. 80
[2.14 pm


Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham
Austin, John
Baird, Vera
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Sir Stuart
Benton, Joe (Bootle)
Berry, Roger
Bradley, rh Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Brennan, Kevin
Browne, Desmond
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, Andy
Byrne, Liam (B'ham Hodge H)
Cairns, David
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Caplin, Ivor
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian (Brigg)
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clark, Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clwyd, Ann (Cynon V)
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Dalyell, Tam
David, Wayne
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim (Heywood)
Dobson, rh Frank
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim (Lewisham W)
Drew, David (Stroud)
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead)
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul (Newport W)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings & Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike (Ilford S)
George, rh Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Grogan, John
Hain, rh Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
Healey, John
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Heyes, David
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hood, Jimmy (Clydesdale)
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N & Sefton E)
Hughes, rh Beverley (Stretford & Urmston)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hutton, rh John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead & Highgate)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, rh Alan (Hull W)
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, rh Tessa
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham)
Keen, Ann (Brentford)
Kelly, rh Ruth (Bolton W)
Kennedy, rh Jane (Wavertree)
Kidney, David
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green & Bow)
Laxton, Bob (Derby N)
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Love, Andrew
McAvoy, rh Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCafferty, Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, John
MacDougall, John
McFall, rh John
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Rosemary
McNamara, Kevin
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahmood, Khalid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Marris, Rob (Wolverh'ton SW)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Glasgow Shettleston)
Martlew, Eric
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Mole, Chris
Moran, Margaret
Morgan, Julie
Morley, Elliot
Morris, rh Estelle
Munn, Ms Meg
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Organ, Diana
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter (Burnley)
Plaskitt, James
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quin, rh Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N)
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Chester)
Salter, Martin
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Siôn (B'ham Erdington)
Singh, Marsha
Smith, rh Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Tami, Mark (Alyn)
Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Timms, Stephen
Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Touhig, Don (Islwyn)
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Robert N.
Watson, Tom
Watts, David
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Alan (Swansea W)
Wills, Michael
Wood, Mike (Batley)
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Iain (Hartlepool)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Nick Ainger and
Mr. Jim Murphy


Allan, Richard
Amess, David
Arbuthnot, rh James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Bacon, Richard
Baker, Norman
Barker, Gregory
Beggs, Roy (E Antrim)
Beith, rh A. J.
Bellingham, Henry
Bennett, Andrew
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Brake, Tom (Carshalton)
Brazier, Julian
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Malcolm
Burnett, John
Burnside, David
Burstow, Paul
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, Sir John
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Cameron, David
Carmichael, Alistair
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Cotter, Brian
Curry, rh David
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Duncan, Alan (Rutland)
Evans, Nigel
Ewing, Annabelle
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Westminster)
Fisher, Mark
Flook, Adrian
Foster, Don (Bath)
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger (N Thanet)
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St. Ives)
Gill, Parmjit Singh
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James (N Wilts)
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, rh John
Hammond, Philip
Harris, Dr. Evan (Oxford W & Abingdon)
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John (S Holland)
Heald, Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David
Hendry, Charles
Hoban, Mark (Fareham)
Hogg, rh Douglas
Horam, John (Orpington)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Jack, rh Michael
Jenkin, Bernard
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Kennedy, rh Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Leigh, Edward
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, rh Peter
Llwyd, Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Malins, Humfrey
Mawhinney, rh Sir Brian
Mercer, Patrick
Moore, Michael
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Oaten, Mark (Winchester)
Öpik, Lembit
Ottaway, Richard
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, John
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham & M-Kent)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Roe, Dame Marion
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Salmond, Alex
Shepherd, Richard
Short, rh Clare
Simmonds, Mark
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns & Kincardine)
Soames, Nicholas
Spicer, Sir Michael
Steen, Anthony
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Dr. Richard (Wyre F)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Trimble, rh David
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyler, Paul (N Cornwall)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Willis, Phil
Wilshire, David
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Peter Atkinson and
Mr. Mark Prisk

Question accordingly agreed to.

10 Feb 2005 : Column 1688

Mr. Malins: On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. We now have no more than 18 or 19 minutes to discuss no fewer than 24 amendments and three new clauses. That is a disgrace. It gives us no chance to make meaningful contributions. Is there any way that the Government could be persuaded through you to take the proceedings out of today and return on another day when we can have a proper debate? Otherwise, the proceedings are a farce.

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