Previous SectionIndexHome Page

Mr. Gregory Campbell: Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Woodward: I am afraid that, as the hon. Gentleman and other members of his party have left me very little time to respond to the debate, I cannot take his intervention.

Patten also said:

that is, the human rights tests. For him, those human rights tests involved doing something to change the fundamental composition of the police force, because only a tiny fraction of the RUC was drawn from the Catholic community. Fewer than 8.3 per cent. were from that community in 1998. Today, that figure stands at nearly 20 per cent., with some 57,000 applications having been received to join the PSNI.

I recognise the arguments that have been put forward today about principle, and that the tools being used to achieve this end might not be the ones that we would use if we were in an ideal position. The fact of the matter remains that we did not start from an ideal position but from one in which only a tiny fraction of a community was represented in the police force. To change that imbalance, we put forward these proposals.

The hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) referred to a range of statistics. It is important that we are not selective, so I want to put on record the basic statistics. In the first eight competitions, more than 28,000 applications from non-Catholics were received, of which 541 will have been rejected directly as a result of the temporary provisions. In other words, less than 2 per cent. of all non-Catholic applicants will have been rejected as a direct result of the 50:50 provisions. The latest campaign has seen the highest number of applications yet for the PSNI, with 7,691 applicants competing. This is the critical point, and the reason why people are being rejected—nearly 8,000 applicants are chasing fewer than 500 places. That is the real reason why so many qualified candidates from both community backgrounds are unsuccessful.

The Government are keenly aware of how the temporary 50:50 measures also impact on ethnic minority recruitment, and we have noted the Chief Constable's concerns. As the Patten report makes clear,
20 Apr 2006 : Column 327
however, the imbalance between the numbers of Catholics and Protestants was the most striking problem in the composition of the police, above issues such as gender, ethnic minority and gay and lesbian representation, which have also been raised, though the commission rightly recognised their importance. Ethnic minorities make up 0.27 per cent. of PSNI officers. Of course, that should be considered in the context of a community in which ethnic minorities, including Travellers, comprise less than 0.5 per cent. of workers.

We firmly believe that these temporary measures are justified to correct an acute historical imbalance in the composition of the PSNI. Let me assure all Members, however, that the measures will not stay in place a day longer than is necessary. We are firmly committed to achieving a progressive increase in the Catholic representation in the police service—for us, the figure should be 30 per cent. by 2010–11. We are on course to achieve that, and it is absolutely right to be able to do so. In less than five years, under 50:50 temporary provisions, Catholic composition has increased from 8.3 per cent. to nearly 20 per cent., and it is rising.

In the same period, female composition has also risen from 13 per cent. to over 20 per cent. We should be cautious about making comparisons between gender and religious background, as the issues are not the same. That was acknowledged by Patten, who recognised the need to increase the number of women in the police service but focused on the more important need of addressing the imbalance of community background in order to have effective policing. Critically, he recognised that the provisions should be temporary, lasting until the target had been reached.

Hon. Members will be aware that these are exceptional measures that are reviewed triennially and will expire unless specifically renewed by an order. The current order allows for their continuation until 28 March 2007, at which time Members will have a further opportunity, both in this House and another place, for detailed scrutiny of these temporary provisions.

Having carefully considered the amendments, and in light of the review this summer, the consultation that will take place with all the parties and the debates that will take place in this and another place later this year and early next year, before March, I ask Members to withdraw them. I respect their arguments, and we might disagree, but ultimately, achieving a balance of 30 per cent. is not only good for members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland but right for the communities of Northern Ireland.

Mr. Peter Robinson: I shall not attempt, in the 30 seconds that remain, to wind up such a wide-ranging debate. I shall simply say that the Minister has been careless with statistics. The figures that he produced were inaccurate. Before the introduction of the 50:50 policy, the numbers had already increased from nearly 9 per cent. to well into double figures. The 50:50 policy therefore cannot take the credit for the increase.

It being Six o'clock, The First Deputy Chairman, put the Question already proposed from the Chair, pursuant to order [19 April].

The Committee proceeded to a Division.

The First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means (Sylvia Heal): Order. Will the Serjeant at Arms please investigate the delay in the Aye Lobby?
20 Apr 2006 : Column 328

The Committee having divided: Ayes 103, Noes 282.

Division No. 213
[6 pm


Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baldry, Tony
Baron, Mr. John
Bercow, John
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Browning, Angela
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, Sir John
Campbell, Mr. Gregory
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Conway, Derek
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Dodds, Mr. Nigel
Donaldson, Mr. Jeffrey M.
Duddridge, James
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Field, Mr. Mark
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Mr. Christopher
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gove, Michael
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greenway, Mr. John
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Harper, Mr. Mark
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Herbert, Nick
Hermon, Lady
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hogg, rh Mr. Douglas
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Horam, Mr. John
Howard, rh Mr. Michael
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Jones, Mr. David
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Maples, Mr. John
McCrea, Dr. William
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Paisley, rh Rev. Ian
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Pritchard, Mark
Randall, Mr. John
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Robinson, Mr. Peter
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, Mr. David
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spring, Mr. Richard
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Viggers, Peter
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Watkinson, Angela
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, Mr. David
Wilson, Sammy
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas

Tellers for the Ayes:

David Simpson and
Mrs. Iris Robinson


Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Austin, John
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Balls, Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Benn, rh Hilary
Benton, Mr. Joe
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brooke, Annette
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Mr. Des
Bruce, Malcolm
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, Andy
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Lorely
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, Mr. David
Creagh, Mary
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Durkan, Mark
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Etherington, Bill
Featherstone, Lynne
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Don
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Gapes, Mike
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gidley, Sandra
Gilroy, Linda
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hanson, Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Mr. Tom
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Heath, Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Holmes, Paul
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Huhne, Chris
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Ingram, rh Mr. Adam
Jackson, Glenda
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
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
Keetch, Mr. Paul
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khabra, Mr. Piara S.
Kidney, Mr. David
Knight, Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, Mr. David
Lazarowicz, Mark
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
MacDougall, Mr. John
Mackinlay, Andrew
MacShane, rh Mr. Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marshall, Mr. David
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McCartney, rh Mr. Ian
McDonnell, John
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh Mr. John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGrady, Mr. Eddie
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
Meale, Mr. Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, rh Mr. David
Miliband, Edward
Miller, Andrew
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Morley, Mr. Elliot
Mountford, Kali
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Norris, Dan
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Osborne, Sandra
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Prescott, rh Mr. John
Prosser, Gwyn
Pugh, John
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Reid, rh John
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob
Russell, Christine
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Seabeck, Alison
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheridan, Jim
Short, rh Clare
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Simpson, Alan
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Geraldine
Smith, rh Jacqui
Snelgrove, Anne
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Teather, Sarah
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, Mr. Stephen
Touhig, Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Twigg, Derek
Ussher, Kitty
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Watson, Mr. Tom
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Wills, Mr. Michael
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, Ms Rosie
Woodward, Mr. Shaun
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:

Joan Ryan and
Mr. Dave Watts

Question accordingly negatived.

20 Apr 2006 : Column 330

Bill (Clauses 1 to 7, 10 to 12, 19 to 22 and Schedule 2, and any new clauses and schedules other than those related to Parts 2 or 4) reported, without amendment; to lie upon the Table.

Next Section IndexHome Page