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Session 2007 - 08
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House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Wednesday 19th March 2008

The House met at half-past Eleven o'clock.

PRAYERS.

1    Eighth Delegated Legislation Committee,—Dr William McCrea reported from the Eighth Delegated Legislation Committee the draft Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cash Searches: Code of Practice) Order 2008, the draft Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Investigations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: Code of Practice) Order 2008 and the draft Serious Crime Act 2007 (Amendment of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002) Order 2008.

    Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee to lie upon the Table.

2    Ninth Delegated Legislation Committee,—Miss Anne Begg reported from the Ninth Delegated Legislation Committee the draft Tax Credits Up-rating Regulations 2008, the draft Guardian's Allowance Up-rating Order 2008, the draft Guardian's Allowance Up-rating (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 and the draft Child Benefit Up-rating Order 2008.

    Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee to lie upon the Table.

3    Message from the Lords,—A Message was brought from the Lords, as follows:

    The Lords have agreed to the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill, without Amendment.

4    Local Authority Powers (Election Campaigns),—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to impose restrictions on the types of decisions that local authorities can take during specified periods prior to local elections; and for connected purposes—(Mr Tobias Ellwood);

    And the Motion being opposed, after permitting a short explanatory statement from the Member who made the Motion and from a Member who opposed it, the Deputy Speaker put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 23 (Motions for leave to bring in bills and nomination of select committees at commencement of public business):—It was agreed to.

    Ordered, That Mr Tobias Ellwood, Sir John Butterfill, Mr Desmond Swayne, Mr Eric Pickles, Mr Richard Benyon, Andrew Rosindell, Mr Hugo Swire, Mr David Evennett, Mr Edward Vaizey, Greg Clark and Anne Main do prepare and bring in the Bill.

5    Local Authority Powers (Election Campaigns) Bill,—Mr Tobias Ellwood accordingly presented a Bill to impose restrictions on the types of decisions that local authorities can take during specified periods prior to local elections; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the first time; and ordered to be read a second time on Friday 17th October and to be printed [Bill 90].

6    Opposition Day [7th allotted day],—It being an allotted day at the disposal of the Leader of the Opposition in pursuance of Standing Order No. 14 (Arrangement of public business), the House proceeded to consider Opposition business.

    Post Office closures,—A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House regrets the proposal to close up to 2,500 post offices; recognises the vital role post offices play in local communities; notes the concern and unpopularity amongst the general public of closing such a large portion of the network; has concerns that the access criteria laid down for the closures consultation do not adequately take into account local geographical factors and public transport networks; is concerned that the consultation period is only for six weeks rather than three months, as recommended by Cabinet Office guidelines; believes that post offices must move with the times in the services they offer and that options for business expansion and developing business opportunities with local authorities should be explored further; and calls upon the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to instruct Post Office Limited to suspend the compulsory closure of sub-post offices while these issues are re-assessed—(Mr Alan Duncan);

    An Amendment was proposed to the Question, in line 2, to leave out from the word 'House' to the end of the Question and add the words 'recognises the vital social and economic role of post offices, in particular in rural and deprived urban communities; notes the decline in post office customer numbers in recent years and the financial losses of £174 million incurred by the network in 2007; further recognises the effect of changes such as direct debit facilities and increased use of the internet for payment and communication; commends the Government's action to support the post office network with investment of up to £1.7 billion up until 2011, including an annual subsidy of £150 million; further notes that this subsidy did not exist under the last government and that without it thousands more post offices would be under threat; and urges the Government to continue working with Post Office Limited to ensure a viable and sustainable network for the future', instead thereof.—(Mr Secretary Hutton.)

    And the Question being proposed, That the original words stand part of the Question;

7    Deferred Divisions,—The Deputy Speaker announced the results of the Divisions which had been deferred to this day, pursuant to Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions):

European Defence Equipment Market and European Defence Agency,—That this House takes note of European Union Documents No. 14937/07, Report by the Head of the European Defence Agency on its activity in 2007, No. 15413/07, the Council's guidelines for the European Defence Agency's work in 2008, and No. 16682/07 and Addenda 1 and 2, Commission Communication on a Strategy for a Stronger and More Competitive European Defence Industry; and endorses the Government's approach to the development of the European Defence Agency and its view that the analysis and proposed solutions in the Commission's Communication need further refinement before they could be supported.

      Ayes: 254.

      Noes: 194.

    So the Question was agreed to.

8    Opposition Day [7th allotted day],—Post Office closures,—The Question being again proposed, That the original words stand part of the Question;

    Mr Andrew Robathan rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

    And the Question being put, that the Question be now put:—It was agreed to.

    And the Question being accordingly put;

The House divided.

      Tellers for the Ayes, Mr Crispin Blunt, Mr Richard Benyon: 268.

      Tellers for the Noes, Steve McCabe, Mr Wayne David: 288.

So the Question was negatived. And the Question, That the proposed words be there added, being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments); The House divided.

      Tellers for the Ayes, Steve McCabe, Mr Wayne David: 290.

      Tellers for the Noes, Mr Crispin Blunt, Mr Richard Benyon: 251.

So the Question was agreed to.

    The Deputy Speaker forthwith declared the Main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.

Resolved, That this House recognises the vital social and economic role of post offices, in particular in rural and deprived urban communities; notes the decline in post office customer numbers in recent years and the financial losses of £174 million incurred by the network in 2007; further recognises the effect of changes such as direct debit facilities and increased use of the internet for payment and communication; commends the Government's action to support the post office network with investment of up to £1.7 billion up until 2011, including an annual subsidy of £150 million; further notes that this subsidy did not exist under the last government and that without it thousands more post offices would be under threat; and urges the Government to continue working with Post Office Limited to ensure a viable and sustainable network for the future.

9    Constitutional Law,—A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118 (Delegated Legislation Committees), That the draft National Assembly for Wales (Legislative Competence) (Education and Training) Order 2008, which was laid before this House on 6th February, be approved—(Tony Cunningham):—It was agreed to.

10    Fees and Charges,—A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118 (Delegated Legislation Committees), That the draft Department for Transport (Driver Licensing and Vehicle Registration Fees) (Amendment) Order 2008, which was laid before this House on 18th February, be approved—(Tony Cunningham):—It was agreed to.

11    Government Resources and Accounts,—A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118 (Delegated Legislation Committees), That the draft Government Resources and Accounts Act 2000 (Audit of Public Bodies) Order 2008, which was laid before this House on 26th February, be approved—(Tony Cunningham):—It was agreed to.

12    Electronic Communications Networks and Services,—A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 119 (European Committees), That this House takes note of European Union Document No. 15371/07, Commission Communication, Report on the outcome of the Review of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services in accordance with Directive No. 2002/21/EC and Summary of the 2007 Reform Proposals; further notes the Government's support for the European Commission's objectives and most of the Commission's proposals to revise the regulatory framework for electronic communications and services in pursuit of open competition; but acknowledges the Government's intention to continue to analyse both the case for a veto on national remedies and establishing a new EU Market Authority in order to consider whether alternative methods could better achieve results—(Tony Cunningham):—It was agreed to.

13    Public Petitions,—Public Petitions from—

    (1) residents of Wirral relating to Clatterbridge Hospital (Wirral);

    (2) residents of Bristol relating to climate change; and

    (3) the friends of All Saints Southill, the parishioners of Southill, Byng family members and the supporters of Admiral John Byng in relation to Admiral John Byng

    were presented and read.

14    Adjournment.

    Subject: Organ donation (Gordon Banks).

    A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House do now adjourn—(Tony Cunningham);

    And the Motion having been made after Seven o'clock, and the Debate having continued for half an hour, the Deputy Speaker adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order, it being then one minute past Eight o'clock, till to-morrow.

[Adjourned at 8.01 p.m.

Michael J. Martin

Speaker


Mr Speaker will take the Chair at half-past Ten o'clock.


APPENDIX I

Papers presented or laid upon the Table:

Papers subject to Negative Resolution:

1    Excise,—(1) Hydrocarbon Oil, Biofuels and Other Fuel Substitutes (Determination of Composition of a Substance and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2008 (S.I., 2008, No. 753); and

    (2) Other Fuel Substitutes (Rates of Excise Duty etc.) (Amendment) Order 2008 (S.I., 2008, No. 754),

    dated 19th March 2008 [by Act], with Explanatory Memoranda thereon [by Command] [Angela Eagle].

2    Immigration,—Asylum Support (Amendment) Regulations 2008 (S.I., 2008, No. 760), dated 18th March 2008 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Secretary Jacqui Smith].

3    Landfill Tax,—Landfill Tax (Amendment) Regulations 2008 (S.I., 2008, No. 770), dated 19th March 2008 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Angela Eagle].

4    London Government,—Greater London Authority (Limitation of Salaries) (Amendment) Order 2008 (S.I., 2008, No. 724), dated 11th March 2008 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Secretary Hazel Blears].

5    Medical Profession,—Abortion (Amendment) Regulations 2008 (S.I., 2008, No. 735), dated 13th March 2008 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Secretary Alan Johnson].

6    Taxes,—Taxes (Interest Rate) (Amendment) Regulations 2008 (S.I., 2008, No. 778), dated 19th March 2008 [by Act], with an Explanatory Memorandum [by Command] [Jane Kennedy].

Other Papers:

7    National Security Strategy,—Paper, entitled The National Security Strategy of the United Kingdom: Security in an interdependent world [by Command] [Cm. 7291] [The Prime Minister].

8    Registration Service,—Mortality Statistics: Review of the Registrar General on deaths by cause, sex and age in England and Wales for 2006 [by Act] [Angela Eagle].

9    Wales,—Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of the Proposed Draft National Assembly for Wales (Legislative Competence) (Social Welfare and Other Fields) Order 2008 [by Command] [Cm. 7343] [Mr Secretary Murphy].

APPENDIX II

General Committees

1    Health and Safety Offences Bill,—The Speaker has appointed Mr Greg Pope Chairman of the Health and Safety Offences Bill Committee.

2    Draft Bedfordshire (Structural Changes) Order 2008:

    (1) The Speaker has allocated the draft Order to the First Delegated Legislation Committee and has appointed Mr Roger Gale Chairman; and

    (2) the Committee of Selection has nominated seventeen Members to serve on the Committee: Hilary Armstrong, Alistair Burt, Mrs Nadine Dorries, Julia Goldsworthy, Mr Peter Hain, Mr Mike Hall, Mr Fabian Hamilton, John Healey, Mr Nick Hurd, Chris Mole, Robert Neill, Dan Rogerson, Joan Ryan, Andrew Selous, Ian Stewart, Paddy Tipping and Mr Dave Watts.

3    Draft Local Involvement Networks (Duty of Services-Providers to Allow Entry) Regulations 2008:

    (1) The Speaker has allocated the draft Regulations to the Second Delegated Legislation Committee and has appointed Sir John Butterfill Chairman; and

    (2) the Committee of Selection has nominated seventeen Members to serve on the Committee: Mr Graham Allen, Mr James Arbuthnot, Mr Peter Atkinson, Mr David S. Borrow, Mr Bruce George, Mr Jeremy Hunt, Mrs Si‚n C. James, Helen Jones, Ann Keen, Mr Edward Leigh, Martin Linton, Mr Andrew Love, Steve McCabe, Greg Mulholland, Mr Stephen O'Brien, Dr John Pugh and Mr Virendra Sharma.

4    Draft Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (Prescribed Criteria) (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2008:

    (1) The Speaker has allocated the draft Regulations to the Third Delegated Legislation Committee and has appointed Joan Walley Chairman; and

    (2) the Committee of Selection has nominated seventeen Members to serve on the Committee: Kevin Brennan, Annette Brooke, Michael Fabricant, Paul Flynn, Mr Michael Foster (Worcester), David Heyes, Dr Brian Iddon, Mr David Laws, Mr Khalid Mahmood, Mr Humfrey Malins, Mr Gordon Marsden, Mrs Maria Miller, Mr Denis Murphy, Christine Russell, Mr Hugo Swire, Mr Robert Syms and Jon Trickett.

5    Draft Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2008:

    (1) The Speaker has allocated the draft Regulations to the Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee and has appointed Mr Robert Key Chairman; and

    (2) the Committee of Selection has nominated seventeen Members to serve on the Committee: Richard Burden, Paul Farrelly, Michael Jabez Foster, Julia Goldsworthy, Mr Nick Hurd, Mrs Jacqui Lait, David Lepper, David Maclean, Margaret Moran, Lembit ÷pik, Chris Ruane, Alison Seabeck, Mr Ian Taylor, Mr Andrew Turner, Dr Rudi Vis, Mr Anthony Wright and Mr Iain Wright.

6    Draft Categories of Casino Regulations 2008 and the draft Gambling (Geographical Distribution of Large and Small Casino Premises Licences) Order 2008:

    (1) The Speaker has allocated the draft Regulations and draft Order to the Fifth Delegated Legislation Committee and has appointed Mr John Bercow Chairman; and

    (2) the Committee of Selection has nominated seventeen Members to serve on the Committee: Mr Richard Benyon, Mr Richard Caborn, Colin Challen, Mr Tobias Ellwood, Mr Don Foster (Bath), Mr George Howarth, Mr Adam Ingram, Ms Diana R. Johnson, Sarah McCarthy-Fry, Mr Malcolm Moss, Mr Andrew Smith, Dr Howard Stoate, Mr Gerry Sutcliffe, Mr Paul Truswell, Peter Viggers, Mr Charles Walker and Richard Younger-Ross.

7    Non-Domestic Rating (Unoccupied Property) (England) Regulations 2008 (S.I., 2008, No. 386):

    (1) The Speaker has allocated the Regulations to the Sixth Delegated Legislation Committee and has appointed Mr Christopher Chope Chairman; and

    (2) the Committee of Selection has nominated seventeen Members to serve on the Committee: Mr Ronnie Campbell, Mr Ian Cawsey, Mr Parmjit Dhanda, Julia Goldsworthy, Mr Nick Hurd, Mr Stewart Jackson, Ms Sally Keeble, Mr Alan Milburn, Chris Mole, Mr Elliot Morley, Lembit ÷pik, Sandra Osborne, Sir Peter Soulsby, Mr Robert Walter, Mr Dave Watts, Mr Rob Wilson and Mr Tim Yeo.

8    Draft Companies Act 2006 (Consequential Amendments etc) Order 2008 and the draft Companies Act 2006 (Consequential Amendments) (Taxes and National Insurance) Order 2008:

    (1) The Speaker has allocated the draft Orders to the Seventh Delegated Legislation Committee and has appointed Mr John Bercow Chairman; and

    (2) the Committee of Selection has nominated seventeen Members to serve on the Committee: Charlotte Atkins, Mr Richard Bacon, Tony Baldry, Mr John Baron, Lorely Burt, Mr Jonathan Djanogly, Linda Gilroy, Mr Lindsay Hoyle, Alan Keen, John McDonnell, Dr Nick Palmer, Alison Seabeck, Ms Gisela Stuart, Sarah Teather, Mr Gareth Thomas, Mr Mark Todd and Sir George Young.

9    Draft Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cash Searches: Code of Practice) Order 2008, the draft Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Investigations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: Code of Practice) Order 2008 and the draft Serious Crime Act 2007 (Amendment of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002) Order 2008,—The Committee of Selection has discharged Ms Karen Buck, Martin Salter and Geraldine Smith from the Eighth Delegated Legislation Committee (nominated in respect of the draft Orders) and nominated in substitution Mr Robert Flello, Andrew Gwynne and Dr Alan Whitehead.

10    Draft Sex Discrimination (Amendment of Legislation) Regulations 2008:

    (1) The Speaker has allocated the draft Regulations to the Eighth Delegated Legislation Committee and has appointed Mrs Joan Humble Chairman; and

    (2) the Committee of Selection has nominated seventeen Members to serve on the Committee: Mr Stephen Byers, Mr Douglas Carswell, Mr Charles Clarke, Mr Geoffrey Cox, Mr Stephen Crabb, Mr David Crausby, Lynne Featherstone, Barbara Follett, Keith Hill, Ms Diana R. Johnson, Barbara Keeley, Fiona Mactaggart, Mr Nick Raynsford, Mr Andrew Robathan, Jo Swinson, Emily Thornberry and Mr Shailesh Vara.

11    Draft Tax Credits Up-rating Regulations 2008, the draft Guardian's Allowance Up-rating Order 2008, the draft Guardian's Allowance Up-rating (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 and the draft Child Benefit Up-rating Order 2008,—The Committee of Selection has discharged Ian Stewart from the Ninth Delegated Legislation Committee (nominated in respect of the draft Regulations and draft Orders) and nominated in substitution Chris McCafferty.

    Grand Committees

12    The Speaker has appointed Mr Martin Caton Chairman of the Welsh Grand Committee in respect of its meeting on 26th March.

    European Committees

13    The Speaker has appointed Mr Martyn Jones Chairman of the European Committee in respect of European Union Document No. 13832/07, relating to Insolvency and second chances.

14    European Union Documents No. 14993/07, No. 14995/07, No. 14996/07, No. 14997/07, No. 14999/07 and No. 15001/07, relating to the Accession Process in the Western Balkans, No. 15616/07 and Addenda 1 and 2 and No. 15690/07 and Addenda 1 and 2, relating to Interim Political Agreement on Co-operation between the European Union and its Member States and the Republic of Serbia, and Unnumbered Explanatory Memorandum, dated 15th February 2008,—The Committee of Selection has discharged Ms Katy Clark, Tony Cunningham, Mr Edward Davey, Mr Quentin Davies, Mr David Evennett, Mr Mark Francois, Mr Greg Hands, Mr Ian McCartney, Mr Malcolm Moss, Mr Jim Murphy, Mr Ken Purchase, John Reid and Jo Swinson from European Committee B (nominated in respect of the Documents).

15    European Union Document No. 16071/07, relating to Fisheries: Control, Inspection and Sanction Systems,—The Committee of Selection has nominated thirteen Members to serve on European Committee A, nominated in respect of the Document: Mr Richard Benyon, Ms Karen Buck, Ms Dawn Butler, Mr Alistair Carmichael, Tony Cunningham, Jim Dobbin, Mr James Gray, Mr Greg Hands, Mr Angus MacNeil, Jonathan Shaw, Helen Southworth, Dr Gavin Strang and Bill Wiggin.

16    European Union Documents No. 5055/07 and Addenda 1 and 2, No. 10327/07, No. 14593/07, No. 15336/07 and No. 6427/08, relating to The European Police Office (EUROPOL) have been referred to European Committee B.

APPENDIX III

Reports from Select Committees

1    Children, Schools and Families,—Looked-after children: Minutes of Evidence taken before the Children, Schools and Families Committee; to be printed [No. 442-i] [Mr Barry Sheerman].

2    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,—(1) British Waterways: Minutes of Evidence taken before the Sub-Committee of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee; to be printed [No. 438-ii]; and

    (2) Correspondence with Defra: Memoranda laid before the Committee; to be published

    [Mr Michael Jack].

3    European Scrutiny,—(1) Eighteenth Report from the European Scrutiny Committee; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 16-xvi];

    (2) Minutes of the Public Deliberations of the Committee; to be printed [No. 361-v]; and

    (3) Ministerial Correspondence: Memoranda laid before the Committee; to be published

    [Michael Connarty].

4    Foreign Affairs Committee,—(1) Global Security: Japan and Korea: Minutes of Evidence taken before the Foreign Affairs Committee; to be printed [No. 449-i]; and

    (2) Foreign and Commonwealth Office Annual Report 2007-08: Memoranda laid before the Committee; to be published

    [Mike Gapes].

5    Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills,—(1) The use of Government Statistics in Evidence-Based Policy-Making: Minutes of Evidence taken before the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee; to be printed [No. 443-i]; and

    (2) Biosecurity in UK research laboratories: Memoranda laid before the Biosecurity in UK research laboratories Sub-Committee of the Committee; to be published

    [Dr Ian Gibson].

6    International Development,—DFID and the African Development Bank:

    (1) Minutes of Evidence taken before the International Development Committee; to be printed [No. 441-i]; and

    (2) Memoranda laid before the Committee; to be published

    [Malcolm Bruce].

7    Northern Ireland Affairs,—Policing and Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland: Minutes of Evidence taken before the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee; to be printed [No. 333-iv] [Sir Patrick Cormack].

8    Procedure,—e-Petitions: First Report from the Procedure Committee, with Memoranda; to be printed, with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee relating to the Report [No. 136] [Mr Greg Knight].

9    Public Accounts,—(1) Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Management of expenditure: Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee of Public Accounts; to be printed [No. 447-i]; and

    (2) Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: Letter laid before the Committee

    [Mr Edward Leigh].

10    Public Administration,—(1) Better Government: Minutes of Evidence taken before the Public Administration Committee; to be printed [No. 431-i]; and

    (2) Lobbying: Memorandum laid before the Committee; to be published

    [Dr Tony Wright].

11    Statutory Instruments,—Fourteenth Report from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, with a Memorandum; to be printed [No. 38-xiv] [David Maclean].

12    Transport,—Delivering a Sustainable Railway: A 30-year Strategy for the Railways: Minutes of Evidence taken before the Transport Committee; to be printed [No. 219-v] [Mrs Gwyneth Dunwoody].

13    Treasury,—The 2008 Budget: Minutes of Evidence taken before the Treasury Committee; to be printed [No. 430-iii] [John McFall].

14    Work and Pensions,—Health and Safety: Minutes of Evidence taken before the Work and Pensions Committee; to be printed [No. 246-v] [Mr Terry Rooney].

[W.H., No. 43]

Minutes of Proceedings of the Sitting in Westminster Hall

The sitting began at half-past Nine o'clock.

Adjournment.

    Subjects:

      Neighbourhood policing (Mr David Kidney).

      Housing need in Warrington (Helen Jones).

      Access to safe water in developing countries (Alistair Burt).

      Commercial activities of the Forestry Commission (Mr Christopher Chope).

      Impact of the Licensing Act 2003 in Durham (Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods).

    Resolved, That the sitting be now adjourned.—(Mr Bob Blizzard.)

    And accordingly the sitting was adjourned till to-morrow.

[Adjourned at 4.59 p.m.

Sir Alan Haselhurst

Deputy Speaker



 
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