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28 Jan 2008 : Column 21

Personal Statement

3.33 pm

Derek Conway (Old Bexley and Sidcup) (Con): With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a personal statement to the House. The Committee on Standards and Privileges has today issued its report on the complaint made against me for employing my son as a researcher and parliamentary assistant.

I will not delay the business of the House by going through the contents of that report, as it is publicly available. The Committee was entitled to reach the conclusions that it did and I have accepted its criticisms in full. I unreservedly apologise to the House for my administrative shortcomings and the misjudgments I made. In my submissions to the Committee and the commissioner, I set out my case and I leave it to hon. Members to form their own judgment of my conduct. I should like to make it clear that throughout the investigation the commissioner acted with absolute courtesy and the Committee afforded me every opportunity to explain my position.

In apologising to the House, I would also like to apologise to my constituents and to the Old Bexley and Sidcup Conservative association, which has been so very supportive to me and my family throughout a very difficult period. The House will comprehend the impact that this matter has on me personally and also on my family. I have let them down very badly indeed, and no judgment from any quarter could be more harsh than that which I apply to myself.

28 Jan 2008 : Column 22

Points of Order

3.34 pm

Rob Marris (Wolverhampton, South-West) (Lab): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. It saddens me to raise this point of order. Part of your role is to uphold the rights of Back-Bench MPs; part of my role as a Back-Bench MP is to uphold the rights of my constituents and to hold the Executive to account. On 10 September, I wrote to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. Despite seven reminders since then, I have not received a reply as of 10 minutes ago. Will you call the First Lord of the Treasury to come before the House and explain what is happening with Members’ correspondence?

Mr. Speaker: I am sure that the hon. Gentleman’s deep concern will be duly recorded and heard.

David Howarth (Cambridge) (LD): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am having some difficulty understanding how motion No. 1 on today’s Order Paper can be in order. It appears to have been made under Standing Order 15(2)(b), in so far as it is a motion to be moved by a Minister of the Crown

namely 10 o’clock. Since motion No. 1 is such a motion, whether it says so or not, it should be taken not now, but at 10 o’clock. However, if it were taken at 10 o’clock, it would have no effect, because it would be too late. Therefore, in my view the motion seems to be out of order.

Mr. Speaker: If the motion were out of order, it would not be on the Order Paper and it would not be in my dossier. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the motion is definitely in order.

Simon Hughes (North Southwark and Bermondsey) (LD): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Could you tell the House whether the effect of motion No. 1, if passed, would be to make it impossible for more than one amendment to motion No. 2 to be taken? Obviously, motion No. 1 is a timetable motion for today. There are various amendments on the Order Paper, including ones tabled by my right hon. and hon. Friends. I have been led to believe that it might not have been open to you to select them even if you had been so minded, because they would have been precluded by motion—

Mr. Speaker: Order. I will stop the hon. Gentleman there. It was indeed open to me to select the amendment that he is questioning, but I did not select it. Therefore, the matter before us is the business of the House and the amendment that I have selected.

28 Jan 2008 : Column 23

Business of the House

3.37 pm

The Minister for Europe (Mr. Jim Murphy): I beg to move,

The effect of the motion would be to bring proceedings on the main procedural motion to a conclusion no later than 10 o’clock this evening. This is a straightforward motion that is procedural in nature. If the House agrees to it swiftly, we will have around six hours to discuss the Government’s proposed approach to the important scrutiny of the European Union (Amendment) Bill. That discussion will give hon. Members the opportunity to debate the substantive business motion in detail. At that time, I will make the case in favour of a structured, themed approach to scrutiny of the Bill. A themed approach will ensure that we can cover the range of issues arising from the Lisbon treaty.

David Howarth (Cambridge) (LD): Can the Minister explain what difference the motion will make and how the business of the House would be structured differently if it were not passed?

Mr. Murphy: The purpose of the motion is to bring our consideration on the main motion to a conclusion by 10 o’clock this evening. Once motion No. 1 has been considered, we will have the opportunity to discuss the structure of the table in motion No. 2 and the themed debates before the House.

The themed debates will ensure that we are able to cover the range of issues that arise from the Lisbon treaty. The issues that we have identified are: justice and home affairs; energy; human rights; the single market; common foreign and security policy; international development; EU institutions and decision making; and climate change. That will allow us to—

Mr. Speaker: Order. The Minister is going beyond the scope of the motion. The business that he is talking about relates to the next motion.

Mr. William Cash (Stone) (Con) rose—

Mr. Murphy: Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence, I shall nevertheless give way to the hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Cash).

Mr. Speaker: I have ruled this subject out of order. We shall have to wait and see what the hon. Gentleman says in his intervention.

Mr. Cash: I was going to raise a similar point, and I am grateful to you for having ruled accordingly, Mr. Speaker. Will the Minister be good enough to accept that the effect of this motion is to prevent debate, whereas there used to be a time when such programme motions and guillotines were used to ensure proper, orderly debate? This motion is designed to stop debate.

28 Jan 2008 : Column 24

Mr. Murphy: I think that the whole House will thank the hon. Gentleman for fulfilling the unusual role of keeping the House in order when it comes to a European debate.

I am confident that, with some collective self-discipline, this allocation of time and the subsequent debate on the business motion will ensure that we have a comprehensive debate.

Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody (Crewe and Nantwich) (Lab): Is the Minister saying that, if anything that we wish to debate is not on the list of subjects that he has enunciated, it will be excluded from the debate if we accept his timetable? It is a simple point, but it is rather important.

Mr. Murphy: Mr. Speaker, I think that you would discourage me from responding to that point until our second debate this afternoon, at which time I shall be happy to respond to my hon. Friend’s question.

The allocation of time up to 10 o’clock this evening will give us ample opportunity to discuss the Government’s motion and the amendment tabled in the name of the Opposition.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke (Rushcliffe) (Con): Will the Minister explain why he seems to be wasting time on a motion on the 10 o’clock rule? We always finish at 10 o’clock on Mondays unless the business is suspended. If, by chance, we are still talking at 10, it will be up to the Government Chief Whip to rise to his feet and move that the question be now put. I cannot anticipate your ruling, Mr. Speaker, but it is likely that that would be granted. We could have this debate every Monday. Is this an elaborate attempt on the part of the Government to demonstrate how generous they are with their time? In reality, the Minister is simply giving us the usual amount of time for a Monday debate.

Mr. Murphy: The right hon. and learned Gentleman makes a fair point. The important point, however, is that the hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Cash) probably would not have given us the opportunity to conclude our proceedings at 10 o’clock, and the purpose of the motion is to ensure that we can do so. Based on the encouragement of the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Clarke), I urge the House to support the motion.

3.43 pm

Simon Hughes (North Southwark and Bermondsey) (LD): I just want to make sure that the House understands the point made by the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Clarke). This motion is complete nonsense. It is unnecessary. If it were necessary, it would be serving to reduce the opportunity for amendments. However, Mr. Speaker, you have ruled that that is not the case and that you had full discretion over the amendments. This motion should therefore not be on the Order Paper.

The Government have consulted about the style of dealing with the Bill, but not about the timetable. I am afraid that they have started today badly, because they are not only alienating the people whom they have alienated before by bringing the Bill to the House, but, procedurally, alienating some of their friends who
28 Jan 2008 : Column 25
support the Bill but who cannot support this motion or a timetable that has not been carefully negotiated to accommodate all the interests of the House. We shall oppose the motion when it is put to the vote.

3.44 pm

Bob Spink (Castle Point) (Con): This motion seeks to limit debate to 10 o’clock tonight, which in view of its importance is quite improper. The whole country is interested in our constitutional relationship with the European Union. We are debating the timetable for that debate, so it is important that we do not curtail the debate in any way.

Last night, BBC Radio 4’s “Westminster Hour” at 10 pm covered the House’s upcoming business, yet at no time was the EU debate mentioned. That shows, of course, the lack of publicity given by the BBC, because of its bias and probably as a result of the EU’s funding of the BBC. The soft loans and other funding amount to some €256 million over the past five years alone. That shows the importance of our having an unlimited debate in this House, so that people in this country can understand the importance of the question. I am certainly against the motion and I urge the House to vote against it so that Members can debate the matter for as long as it takes and we can get publicity and understanding in the country on its importance.

3.46 pm

Rob Marris (Wolverhampton, South-West) (Lab): In response to the hon. Member for Castle Point (Bob Spink), I have to say that my constituents would find it odd if we were to have a long debate about timetabling a debate for a timetable.

3.46 pm

Mr. William Hague (Richmond, Yorks) (Con): The Minister might have done better to have moved the motion in 10 or 20 seconds rather than partly to have got on to other things. As the Opposition, we disapprove of all the restrictions proposed so far on debating this particular measure, but we believe that the sooner that we get on to the main motion before the House, the better.

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 248, Noes 204.
Division No. 055]
[3.46 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Anderson, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Austin, Mr. Ian
Austin, John
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Balls, rh Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Sir Stuart
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
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard

Burgon, Colin
Burnham, rh Andy
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coffey, Ann
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, rh Yvette
Cousins, Jim
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
David, Mr. Wayne
Davies, Mr. Dai
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Mr. Tom
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Hood, Mr. Jim
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jowell, rh Tessa
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Ann
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mackinlay, Andrew
Mactaggart, Fiona
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall, Mr. David
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McCartney, rh Mr. Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFall, rh John
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mullin, Mr. Chris

Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Osborne, Sandra
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, rh James
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reid, rh John
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Mr. Frank
Russell, Christine
Seabeck, Alison
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
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
Snelgrove, Anne
Southworth, Helen
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
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
Twigg, Derek
Vaz, rh Keith
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wyatt, Derek
Tellers for the Ayes:

Ms Diana R. Johnson and
Tony Cunningham

Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Amess, Mr. David
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, Mr. John
Barrett, John
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brake, Tom
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Breed, Mr. Colin
Brokenshire, James
Brooke, Annette
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Browning, Angela
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Alistair
Burt, Lorely
Butterfill, Sir John
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
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
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Curry, rh Mr. David
Davey, Mr. Edward
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
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
Featherstone, Lynne
Field, Mr. Mark
Foster, Mr. Don
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mr. Mark
Gale, Mr. Roger
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Gove, Michael
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
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
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heath, Mr. David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Horam, Mr. John
Howarth, David
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hunter, Mark
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Keetch, Mr. Paul
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Kramer, Susan
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Laws, Mr. David
Leech, Mr. John
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Maples, Mr. John
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moore, Mr. Michael
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Mulholland, Greg
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Oaten, Mr. Mark
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, Mr. George
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Angus
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Rogerson, Dan
Rosindell, Andrew
Rowen, Paul
Ruffley, Mr. David
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Teather, Sarah
Thurso, John
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Walter, Mr. Robert
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, Mr. David
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Mark
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wilshire, Mr. David

Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Wishart, Pete
Wright, Jeremy
Young, rh Sir George
Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Roger Williams and
Willie Rennie
Question accordingly agreed to.
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