Previous Section Index Home Page

26 Jun 2007 : Column 301

The Minister has received representations from rural interests, farming organisations, motorcycle racing and motorcycle sports organisations, all expressing reservations about the Bill and all concerned about the extra costs implied by the money resolution. He has not had any discussions with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Secretary of State for Scotland or the First Ministers in Scotland and Northern Ireland. One assumes that there are significant cost implications in those areas.

All that cost and huge effort could be for a craze that may be on the way out. The Motor Cycle Industry Association says that in 2005, 144,905 units of motorcycles with engines of less than 50cc were imported from China. In February this year, we imported 672 units. On an annual basis, that is a drop of 94 per cent.

The Bill is going nowhere—

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order. I remind the hon. Gentleman that we are not debating the Bill at the moment, only the money resolution.

Mr. Paterson: The money resolution has huge cost implications. There is only one more Friday to debate the Bill and I cannot recommend to my colleagues, who have stayed to listen to this debate, that they should vote for the hugely disproportionate amount of public expenditure on a measure that will not work when we already have 12 effective existing pieces of legislation.

11.49 pm

Mr. Greg Knight (East Yorkshire) (Con): We all know that a money resolution can only be moved by a Minister. I was rather expecting to see this motion moved by the hon. Member for Grantham and Stamford (Mr. Davies), but he has not yet appeared on the Treasury Bench. No doubt he will do so shortly.

The Minister made a curious speech. He appeared to endorse the sentiment expressed in a similar debate by the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Mr. Wareing) who said that

Why is the Minister doing this? I hope that he will reflect on the procedure, if not for this motion then for the future. My concern is that the current practice, under which the Minister can move the money resolution for a Bill in which he has no confidence, misleads the public into thinking that prospective legislation might get through, even though we all know that the Government intend to scupper it.

The Minister should not assume that he has to move this motion just because that is what has happened in the past, and especially not if the Government are going to kill the Bill. Why should the Government take up more private Members’ time on a measure that they intend to poleaxe at the eleventh hour?

That practice should be abandoned. The Government should not move a money resolution unless a clear case has been made by the sponsoring Member as to why they should. In this case, the Bill is sponsored by the hon. Member for Manchester,
26 Jun 2007 : Column 302
Blackley (Graham Stringer), and I hope that he will tell us why he feels that his Bill should have a money resolution. Will he say where he thinks that the money will come from to fund what is a very expensive and cumbersome register?

Robert Key (Salisbury) (Con): The Manchester casino.

Mr. Knight: The Minister went through the process of moving the motion, but made it clear that the Government do not want the Bill. What is he advising Labour Members to do this evening? Is he asking them to follow his procedure in moving the motion, or the opposing sentiments in his speech? Are those on the payroll vote whipped to vote this evening? If so, which way will they vote?

This money resolution should not be passed unless the Minister says that the Bill is acceptable to the Government. Even if it is acceptable, Opposition Members have every right to divide the House if we are not satisfied about where the money is to come from.

The hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley has done well to get his Bill this far, but he should not have this money resolution unless he can convince us that it is necessary, and that he has identified where the money would come from. What taxes would he increase to pay for his proposals? We have heard this week that council tax has gone up 100 per cent. under this Government: is he suggesting a further increase in council tax, or that some existing expenditure should be cut? If he were to suggest that spending on flood defences should be cut back, he would be lynched in East Yorkshire.

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order. The right hon. Gentleman is an experienced Member of the House, and well aware of the debate’s limitations.

Mr. Knight: Thank you for reminding me, Madam Deputy Speaker.

The Bill’s proposals are unworkable and costly, with horrendous manpower implications. It should not be funded out of public money. I hope that the House will follow the words that the Minister used in his speech, rather than his actions in moving the motion, and that it votes to reject the money resolution.

11.54 pm

Graham Stringer (Manchester, Blackley) (Lab): I was not intending to speak in this debate, but the right hon. Member for East Yorkshire (Mr. Knight) has provoked me. He focused on where the money for the proposals in the Bill would come from, and the simple answer—as I suspect that every hon. Member knows—is probably from the Consolidated Fund. I shall not be as provocative as the right hon. Gentleman, but I am sure that hon. Members could think of many areas where cuts could be made. But that would be assuming that I agreed with the figures that were given by my hon. Friend the Minister.

I will not go through the principled arguments that were won on Second Reading—that is the real reason why the matter should be given the opportunity to be
26 Jun 2007 : Column 303
debated in Committee—but we had a full four-and-a-half-hour debate and a huge majority were in favour of the measure. Despite the fact that my hon. Friend the Minister made a lengthy speech opposing it, he was unable to convince the hon. Members present.

Mr. Knight: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that, although there was a comprehensive debate on Second Reading that covered all aspects of the issue in terms of the nuisance caused to communities, there was very little debate about the financial implications? That is why we should debate them now.

Graham Stringer: With due respect to the right hon. Gentleman, I thought that that was what we were doing. Madam Deputy Speaker has reminded him and others that that is what we are doing. That is precisely the point that I was getting to. I do not have confidence in the figure of £80 million, which was given by my hon. Friend the Minister. The Bill is about extending a current registration scheme to off-road bikes.

Stephen Pound: I am convinced that my hon. Friend entered the process with the best will in the world. I have no doubt as to his good intentions. He kindly spoke to the all-party motorcycling group, which is so ably led by the hon. Member for Leominster (Bill Wiggin). After that meeting, is my hon. Friend still convinced in his heart that the best possible value for money would be achieved by the Bill proceeding in this form with this money resolution tonight?

Graham Stringer: I will come back to my hon. Friend’s point later in this completely unprepared speech.

The Bill is about extending a current registration scheme, on a computer system that already exists. It is unlikely, even given the inflated figures from the Department for Transport and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, that one could get a scheme that cost £80 million. I suspect that if that went before the Public Accounts Committee or the Transport Committee, those costs would be very quickly reduced.

To answer my hon. Friend’s point about whether I ever thought that this was a perfect Bill, there are many ways in which the Bill could be improved. Exemptions could be made— [ Interruption. ] Exemptions could be made that would reduce the costs, Madam Deputy Speaker. I do not like anticipating what you are going to say, but I suspect that you were going to bring me back to costs, which is precisely where I was going to come back to. In Committee, there would be many ways in which the costs of the Bill could be reduced.

Mr. Jim Devine (Livingston) (Lab) rose—

Graham Stringer: I will give way to my hon. Friend.

Mr. Devine: I am very grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way.

Stephen Pound: In your own time, Jim.

Mr. Devine: Thanks.

26 Jun 2007 : Column 304

Does my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Graham Stringer) appreciate that £80 million equates to 20,000 hip replacement operations in a year?

Graham Stringer: I have to admit that I did not have that precise costing in mind, either on Second Reading or when I started this speech, but it is an interesting point. That is why the opportunity should be given, in Committee, to reduce the costs. Every single right hon. and hon. Member will have received many representations from the motorbike lobby, many of them making wild accusations about the costs of the Bill. Many exemptions would be made. For example, it has been said that every speedway bike would have to be registered and licensed, but it would be possible to exempt such bikes. Following detailed discussion, it would be possible to make many exemptions that would reduce the cost of the Bill.

Stephen Pound: T.E. Lawrence, who was known as Aircraftman Shaw, died while riding a Brough Superior motorcycle. That very Brough Superior, which is in the London motorcycle museum in Greenford, is threatened by the Bill. Does my hon. Friend consider that threatening that glorious piece of British motorcycling machinery, albeit one with a tragic history, is a good use of public money?

Graham Stringer: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making that intervention because it gives me the opportunity to say that the registration of bikes in museums would be precisely one of the areas of expenditure that it would be possible to cut. Again, such a claim is one of the pieces of mischief that is being put about.

Hugh Bayley (City of York) (Lab): My hon. Friend generously admits to the House that £80 million would be too high a price to pay for his Bill. What would be a reasonable price at which the Committee might aim?

Graham Stringer: I suspect that if my hon. Friend talks to many of the communities that have been affected by antisocial behaviour and the families who have lost young children because of the problem, they will say that no price would be too high to pay. If he, as I have done, talked—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Michael Lord): Order. The hon. Gentleman must address the Chair.

Graham Stringer: I am grateful for your advice, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

The House cannot always take the view that no price is too high because it must consider every cost in detail. As I said, through detailed discussion in Committee, it would be possible to make many exemptions and thus reduce the cost of the Bill.

Mr. Devine: Does my hon. Friend realise that £80 million could employ 3,200 nurses?

Graham Stringer: I am extraordinarily impressed by the number of factors that my hon. Friend can cite that equal £80 million. He is an inventive and creative man.

26 Jun 2007 : Column 305

On the basis that the Bill requires further discussion in Committee, I ask the House to agree to the money resolution.

12.3 am

Dr. Ladyman: With the leave of the House, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The House expressed its will on Second Reading: it wanted the Bill to be discussed in Committee. I made the Government’s opposition to the Bill very plain then, and I make it very plain now: the Government do not want the Bill to get on to the statute book. We do not even believe that it could be amended in a way that would make it acceptable.

The simple fact is that only a Government Minister can move a money resolution, and a substantive discussion in Committee cannot take place without that resolution being passed. We have reflected the will of the House by moving the money resolution tonight. In my view, Opposition Members—who have had their fun—ought to allow the Bill to go into Committee, where the will of the House can be done and the Bill can be discussed in detail. In Committee, I hope, we will be able to expose it for the failed piece of attempted legislation that it is and ensure that it does not reach the statute book. However, the money resolution should be passed tonight.

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 197, Noes 165.
Division No. 157]
[12.4 am


Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Anderson, Mr. David
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Balls, Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Sir Stuart
Benn, rh Hilary
Benton, Mr. Joe
Betts, Mr. Clive
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Bryant, Chris
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, Andy
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Clark, Ms Katy
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Cooper, Rosie
Corbyn, Jeremy
Crausby, Mr. David
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Drew, Mr. David
Durkan, Mark
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Ennis, Jeff
Farrelly, Paul
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Don
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gilroy, Linda
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Gwynne, Andrew
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harris, Mr. Tom
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Hemming, John
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Hill, rh Keith
Holmes, Paul
Hope, Phil
Horwood, Martin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Huhne, Chris
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Keeble, Ms Sally
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Knight, Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, Mr. David
Lazarowicz, Mark
Leech, Mr. John
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mackinlay, Andrew
Mactaggart, Fiona
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Marris, Rob
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGrady, Mr. Eddie
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, Mr. Tony
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Mr. Alan
Miller, Andrew
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Morden, Jessica
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, Mr. George
Mulholland, Greg
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, James
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Rowen, Paul
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Russell, Bob
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheridan, Jim
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, John
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Stringer, Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, David
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Mr. Neil
Ussher, Kitty
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Stephen
Willott, Jenny
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Wood, Mike
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Ian Cawsey and
Liz Blackman

Afriyie, Adam
Amess, Mr. David
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, Mr. John
Beith, rh Mr. Alan
Benyon, Mr. Richard

Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bone, Mr. Peter
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brokenshire, James
Browning, Angela
Bruce, rh Malcolm
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, Sir John
Campbell, Mr. Gregory
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Clark, Greg
Clegg, Mr. Nick
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Davies, Mr. Dai
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duddridge, James
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Farron, Tim
Field, Mr. Mark
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Mr. Christopher
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gove, Michael
Grayling, Chris
Greening, Justine
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hammond, Stephen
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heath, Mr. David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hendry, Charles
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hogg, rh Mr. Douglas
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Horam, Mr. John
Hosie, Stewart
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hughes, Simon
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Keetch, Mr. Paul
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Lamb, Norman
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Loughton, Tim
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Maclean, rh David
Main, Anne
Maples, Mr. John
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Mulholland, Greg
Mundell, David
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, Mr. George
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Price, Adam
Pritchard, Mark
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, Mr. John
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rennie, Willie
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Angus
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, Mr. David
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Selous, Andrew
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, David
Smith, Sir Robert
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Mr. Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Thurso, John
Tredinnick, David
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew

Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Viggers, Peter
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, Mr. David
Williams, Mark
Williams, Mr. Roger
Wilson, Sammy
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Wishart, Pete
Wright, Jeremy
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Mark Lancaster and
Mr. David Evennett
Question accordingly agreed to.
Next Section Index Home Page