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The hon. Member for South Norfolk (Mr. Bacon) is not exactly an objective observer on these matters. He refuses to acknowledge the system’s benefits of archiving, networking and core infrastructure. He selectively marshals evidence that does not represent a true or balanced picture of the benefits of the system. He referred to Milton Keynes, but the local organisation in Milton Keynes refused help from both the strategic health authority and Connecting for Health. Since our intervention, many of the problems have been resolved and significant progress is now being made. The hon.
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Gentleman also referred to questions about the iSoft group. The press statement on that issue that was released today is readily available.

My hon. Friend the Member for South Derbyshire (Mr. Todd) is an expert specialist in this area. He defined the characteristics and components that represent a good approach on the project management of the system. His main message was that he believed that best practice was being applied on the whole. He made it clear that he thought that the key was for the Government to hold their nerve. At this stage, it would be wrong to go into reverse on the project because that would have a damaging impact on the NHS and patient care.

The hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Jackson) raised the question of the disposal of documents by the Office of Government Commerce. Of course, that has nothing to do with the Department of Health. Connecting for Health was fully submitted to the OGC’s process of gateway rating and was given a green rating virtually every time. The hon. Gentleman also talked about escalating costs, but every time that the programme has been examined independently and objectively, it has been acknowledged that, on the whole, the programme is on budget and not in overspend. I would have thought that he would welcome that.

My hon. Friend the Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston (Andrew Miller) talked about the vested interests that sometimes apply when opposition is articulated against the project. He also referred to the motivation of some individuals with a common view about the use of technology to improve public services. That view is out of date. If we truly want to provide responsive, modernised and person-centred public services in a modern world, advanced technology and the sharing of information and data are absolutely crucial.

Paul Farrelly: I welcome the investment in the NHS, not least because I hope that the Department will sign off on a new £400 million hospital for north Staffordshire in the next few days. However, I have by no means been uncritical of the IT system, and I have followed iSoft along with Ian Griffiths, a former colleague who has investigated its affairs. Does my hon. Friend agree that it is a shame that the contributions from official Opposition Front Benchers were not as thoughtful as that of a Conservative Back Bencher, although he was critical, namely the hon. Member for South Norfolk (Mr. Bacon)?

Mr. Lewis: I do not agree with my hon. Friend.

The Government have saved and repaired the national health service. However, our challenge is now its transformation. To achieve that, we need to use the full potential of modern scientific and technological advances so that we can make people better and save lives; provide health care closer to patients’ homes in a way that is tailored to individual needs; give patients maximum information, choice and control; empower doctors, nurses and other professionals so that they can offer world-class patient care; and tackle the health inequalities that are an affront to a civilised society. We need advance and progress that are rooted in the Government’s principle that the NHS should be free at the point of use, irrespective of ability to pay, and
6 Jun 2007 : Column 317
funded through general taxation. That principle is not negotiable with the Conservative party or any faction in the British Medical Association.

In contrast, the Conservative party uses every opportunity to run down the NHS, its staff, its ethos and its progress. I quote:

That is not the view of one, two, three or four Tory MPs, but of at least 28 Tory MPs known as the Cornerstone group. Perhaps it is not a case of a grammar school in every town but of a private insurance policy for every family. We look forward once again to the smack of firm leadership from the right hon. Member for Witney (Mr. Cameron) in dealing with his colleagues.

I urge the House to reject the motion and support the amendment standing in the name of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.

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

The House divided: Ayes 226, Noes 282.
Division No. 133]
[4 pm


Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Alexander, Danny
Amess, Mr. David
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, Mr. John
Barrett, John
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brake, Tom
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brokenshire, James
Brooke, Annette
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Browning, Angela
Bruce, rh Malcolm
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Lorely
Butterfill, Sir John
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Cameron, rh Mr. David
Campbell, Mr. Gregory
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clegg, Mr. Nick
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Conway, Derek
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Curry, rh Mr. David
Davey, Mr. Edward
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Farron, Tim
Featherstone, Lynne
Field, Mr. Mark
Foster, Mr. Don
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Mr. Christopher
Gale, Mr. Roger
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gove, Michael
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Harris, Dr. Evan
Harvey, Nick
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heath, Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hermon, Lady
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hogg, rh Mr. Douglas
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holmes, Paul
Horwood, Martin
Hosie, Stewart
Howarth, David
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hunter, Mark
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Kennedy, rh Mr. Charles
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Kramer, Susan
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lamb, Norman
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Laws, Mr. David
Leech, Mr. John
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Maclean, rh David
MacNeil, Mr. Angus
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Maples, Mr. John
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McCrea, Dr. William
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moore, Mr. Michael
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Oaten, Mr. Mark
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, Mr. George
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penning, Mike
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Price, Adam
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Angus
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Rogerson, Mr. Dan
Rowen, Paul
Ruffley, Mr. David
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Smith, Sir Robert
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Mr. Richard
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Taylor, Matthew
Teather, Sarah
Thurso, John
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Viggers, Peter
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Walter, Mr. Robert
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve
Weir, Mr. Mike
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, Mr. David
Williams, Mark
Williams, Stephen

Willis, Mr. Phil
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Wilson, Sammy
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Wishart, Pete
Wright, Jeremy
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Ayes:

Andrew Rosindell and
Mr. Crispin Blunt

Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Balls, Ed
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, rh Margaret
Benn, rh Hilary
Benton, Mr. Joe
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, Andy
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Creagh, Mary
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs. Claire
Darling, rh Mr. Alistair
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Mr. Dai
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Farrelly, Paul
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gardiner, Barry
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Healey, John
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay

Hughes, rh Beverley
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda
James, Mrs. Siân C.
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
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Mr. Khalid
Mallaber, Judy
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, Dr. Alasdair
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Milburn, rh Mr. Alan
Miliband, Edward
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mudie, Mr. George
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
Olner, Mr. Bill
Osborne, Sandra
Owen, Albert
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Prosser, Gwyn
Purnell, James
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Reid, rh John
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Christine
Ryan, Joan
Salter, Martin
Seabeck, Alison
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Simpson, Alan
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine
Smith, rh Jacqui
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stringer, Graham
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, David
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Ussher, Kitty
Vaz, rh Keith
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire

Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Wills, Mr. Michael
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Woodward, Mr. Shaun
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek
Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Frank Roy and
Tony Cunningham
Question accordingly negatived.
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6 Jun 2007 : Column 321

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

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


6 Jun 2007 : Column 322

Department of Trade and Industry

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Michael Lord): We now come to the second debate on the Opposition motions. I must inform the House that Mr. Speaker has selected the amendment in the name of the Prime Minister.

4.16 pm

Alan Duncan (Rutland and Melton) (Con): I beg to move,

We have initiated this debate for a number of reasons. One of them is that too infrequently does the House ever look at the overall picture of an entire Department. Over the past few months we have debated energy, the Post Office, and Select Committee reports, but we have never stopped to take an overall look at the functions and effectiveness of the entire Department. It is the purpose of today’s debate to try to do that.

The attempt to take an overall look comes at a timely moment. With the inevitable series of changes that will follow the change of Prime Minister, there is likely to be upheaval in a number of Departments, reform, change and reallocation of responsibilities—and the newspapers are full of rumours that the Department of Trade and Industry is under the spotlight. Many think that the Department is even fighting for its very existence, and that it may not be long for this world. It is important to take a step back and assess and evaluate the purpose and effectiveness of the Department.

The DTI does not enjoy a high reputation among many people who have to deal with it. It is easy to deride. Some describe it as the Department of tinkering and interference, or the Department of timidity and inaction. Behind that lies a difficult paradox, with which we all have to wrestle. In a world of globalisation where free markets are left to be free as much as possible, the interference from a Department should be minimal.

Over the years there have been extreme contrasts of approach, even among Conservatives. [Interruption.] The right hon. Member for Coventry, North-East (Mr. Ainsworth) has taken the very words out of my mouth: Lord Heseltine, when he was President of the Board of Trade, said that he would intervene before breakfast, before lunch and before dinner. In contrast, the late Lord Ridley, as Nicholas Ridley, when he was Secretary of State for Trade and Industry said—I have to amend the quotation slightly in order to conform to the forms of the House—“What’s the DTI for? I’ve got
6 Jun 2007 : Column 323
damn all to do and thousands of staff to help me do it.” He did not use the word damn.

I confess that I do not totally share the late Lord Ridley’s utterly uncompromising laissez-faire approach. I am an unapologetic free market liberal, but that does not mean that there is not an important role for a Department of State that is a genuine champion of Britain’s interests and a champion of an enterprise culture in the country. There are real questions in the minds of many about whether the DTI is doing much good, or enough good; hence the rumours that the current Chancellor, the future Prime Minister, is likely to restructure it.

We should examine the Department’s record, and one of the best ways of doing that is to turn to the Department’s annual report. I was disappointed when I opened the report, which is a pretty shoddy document full of misprints. Indeed, I am surprised that the Secretary of State ever put his name to it. I am a complete apostrophe fascist, and my copy of the report is covered in red ink. I hope that the next report will be of a much higher standard. In addition to many thousands of misprints, in some cases paragraphs just come to an end. [ Interruption. ] The Minister for Science and Innovation has said that that is why they are paragraphs, but they should not end in the middle of the paragraph. Section 1.11 of the report reads:

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