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Mr. Gummer: Does my hon. Friend agree that it then becomes increasingly difficult to explain to English constituents the fact that some parts of the United Kingdom have powers from which other parts are excluded, yet the representatives of those parts in this House still play their part in making decisions on the future of English constituencies?

Mr. Grieve: My right hon. Friend is right. That is a serious issue, which is likely to continue to grow. Indeed, it has become more serious in the past eight years since devolution and it will continue to be a subject of debate.

For the purposes of this debate, I shall concentrate on the impact of these measures on the people of Wales, for whom we have a major responsibility, and we will continue to have that responsibility even after part 3 is enacted. If part 4 were ever enacted, however, our responsibility would shift considerably.

Ian Lucas: Does the hon. Gentleman consider that the passage of the part 3 measures should mean that I, as a Member of Parliament from Wales, should have my power to participate in proceedings in this House reduced? Should part 3 mean that my votes here will count for less?

Mr. Grieve: I shall avoid having a major constitutional debate with the hon. Gentleman, although that is a relevant and important topic. If part 4 were ever enacted, the argument about reducing the role of Welsh Members would become similar to that for reducing the role of Scottish Members. The same applies to a reduction in the number of Welsh MPs.

From the Government's point of view, the nice thing about part 3 is that it blurs all that and provides a mechanism by which Parliament sheds its law-making powers to a mixture of the Secretary of State and the Assembly, but in a way that preserves the notion that Parliament remains in complete control of Welsh matters.

I shall now bring my remarks to a close, because that is precisely why I tabled amendment No. 161 in the first place. Its merit is that it would ensure that Parliament scrutinised the end product of an Assembly Measure before it was enacted. If I may say so to the Minister, that reflects exactly the constitutional position for which he is trying to argue.

I found the Minister's arguments about my proposal being a kick in the face for the Assembly odd. Under part 3, the Assembly's powers would be enhanced. We
 
23 Jan 2006 : Column 1206
 
gradually drew that out from the Minister. It took time to succeed, but finally we got an acknowledgment that these powers are different from the pre-existing powers. A final ratification procedure therefore seems to me fairly reasonable.

The Minister argued that that would interfere grossly with the way in which the Assembly carries out its functions and delay things. I find that an odd argument. What on earth is wrong with a one and a half hour debate in this House to enable the House to satisfy itself that the Assembly has operated in compliance with the remit originally given to it, and that the Measure does not offend constitutional propriety or cause difficulties? All those are powers that we are to give to the Secretary of State, but apparently we do not want to keep them for ourselves.

The longer this debate has gone on, the more convinced I have become that my decision to table the amendment was correct. I listened carefully to the arguments of the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Lembit Öpik), who suggested that we would be taking back something from the old devolution settlement of 1998, but he will have heard what the Minister said, and I do not think that we are doing that. Even if there is an area of interface between the two—I fully acknowledge that constitutional issues can be blurred at the edges—I genuinely think that this is an improvement in the system.

After all, the Bill is about all sorts of ways of improving that system. I do not think that my proposal would diminish the Assembly's ability to do the detail, and it certainly would not reduce or interfere with the power that the Government propose to give the Assembly to do the detail, or with its existing powers to implement what was previously the Secretary of State's remit. My amendment would provide a way by which the House could continue to be involved.

I agree with the right hon. Member for Torfaen and the hon. Member for Wrexham (Ian Lucas) about the scrutiny issues. I am not sure what all the solutions are. I am open-minded on that subject. On its own, the proposal before us would not be a substitute for the pre-legislative scrutiny. These things have to go hand in hand, but to suggest that the idea behind amendment No. 161 is an insult to the Assembly or the people of Wales is far off the mark.

6.15 pm

Lembit Öpik: It sounds as if the hon. Gentleman is saying that he wants to institute a system that would give the Assembly the latitude to make the tactical decisions within subject areas, but that he would like to maintain the strategic decision making in this Parliament, here in London. That is a legitimate position to hold, but he will understand that I have a different view, because I think it right to devolve the strategic decisions as well. Nevertheless, I understand his position, even if there is a genuine difference of view.

Mr. Grieve: I am most grateful to the hon. Gentleman. I do not want to go over the point again, but if we want to devolve strategic decision making to the Assembly, part 4 would do exactly that. One may disagree about whether that would be a good or a bad thing, but part 4 has an internal coherence that part 3 does not possess.
 
23 Jan 2006 : Column 1207
 

Part 3 is about a troika—one individual and two institutions. There is the Secretary of State with his Executive functions, the Welsh Assembly and this Parliament. It is for us to bring about a system that, if this is what the House wants, will enable us to give the necessary powers to the Assembly to deal with the detail while still—this is what the Government say that they want to achieve—leaving us with residual responsibility. What could be a better expression of that residual responsibility than our voting, after a one and a half hour debate, on the ratification of the Assembly Measure when it comes back to us?

The alternative is to tolerate a situation in which we give a power, yet once we have lost it, problems can arise, and the criticism can come back to us. I have great reservations about part 3, but if it is to be made to work, the amendment would be an improvement, so I commend it to the House.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 160, Noes 314.

Division No. 135
[6.18 pm


AYES

Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, Mr. John
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brokenshire, James
Browning, Angela
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, Sir John
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Conway, Derek
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Curry, rh Mr. David
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duddridge, James
Duncan, Mr. Alan
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evennett, Mr. David
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Field, Mr. Mark
Forth, rh Mr. Eric
Francois, Mr. Mark
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hammond, Stephen
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Herbert, Nick
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hogg, rh Mr. Douglas
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Horam, Mr. John
Howard, rh Mr. Michael
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Key, Robert
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Law, Peter
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Maclean, rh David
Main, Anne
Maples, Mr. John
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McCrea, Dr. William
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Mundell, David
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Osborne, Mr. George
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Randall, Mr. John
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, Mr. David
Scott, Mr. Lee
Shapps, Grant
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Mr. Richard
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Viggers, Peter
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, Mr. David
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Winterton, Ann
Wright, Jeremy
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Michael Fabricant and
Andrew Selous


NOES

Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Alexander, Danny
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Baker, Norman
Balls, Ed
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Bell, Sir Stuart
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Mr. Des
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burnham, Andy
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Lorely
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Caton, Mr. Martin
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clelland, Mr. David
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Creagh, Mary
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs. Claire
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Farron, Tim
Featherstone, Lynne
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Don
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gidley, Sandra
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goggins, Paul
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harvey, Nick
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Heath, Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hoey, Kate
Holmes, Paul
Hood, Mr. Jimmy
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Horwood, Martin
Howarth, David
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hunter, Mark
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Jackson, Glenda
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Lynne
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khabra, Mr. Piara S.
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, Jim
Kramer, Susan
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lamb, Norman
Lammy, Mr. David
Laws, Mr. David
Leech, Mr. John
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Linton, Martin
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
MacDougall, Mr. John
Mackinlay, Andrew
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Mr. Khalid
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh Mr. John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, rh Mr. David
Miliband, Edward
Miller, Andrew
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moore, Mr. Michael
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, Mr. George
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
Olner, Mr. Bill
Öpik, Lembit
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Prescott, rh Mr. John
Price, Adam
Prosser, Gwyn
Pugh, Dr. John
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, Angus
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rogerson, Mr. Dan
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob
Russell, Christine
Ryan, Joan
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Seabeck, Alison
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Short, rh Clare
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andrew
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, John
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Swinson, Jo
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Teather, Sarah
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Ussher, Kitty
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Watts, Mr. Dave
Webb, Steve
Weir, Mr. Mike
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Mark
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wills, Mr. Michael
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, Ms Rosie
Wishart, Pete
Wood, Mike
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:

Tony Cunningham and
Mr. Ian Cawsey


Question accordingly negatived.


 
23 Jan 2006 : Column 1210
 

Mrs. Gillan: I beg to move amendment No. 48, in page 50, line 9, at end insert—


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