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Mr. Richard Shepherd (Aldridge-Brownhills) (Con): How does this House defend the freedoms and liberties of all the people of this country if we are unable to
8 Dec 2008 : Column 249
defend the freedoms and liberties of this House? That is a theme that has run through our history. This guillotine motion is entirely about House of Commons matters. This is a matter not for the Government or the Executive, but for us as a collective body. When we come to debate these matters, we understand that they are central to our own concepts of the liberty of those whom we represent. To truncate debate on such matters on the basis that anyone who speaks may be representative of the House misjudges what this House is about. The quietest voice from the furthest corner of the House might illuminate something that we have missed.

Why I argue very strongly that there should be no guillotine on this matter is that it looks improper, in a sense, that the Speaker’s own statement, in which he set out the rule he wanted discussed, has been traduced by the motion before us. That is the point, and who moves the motion? It is the Leader of the House, who is also the Minister for Women and Equality—indeed, she has a whole bundle of Executive jobs—so it leaves the suspicion in people’s minds that the Government entirely run the whole business of this House. If we reflect, and if we stand as Members of Parliament, we must see that what is happening cannot be in the interest of ourselves, of the standing of Parliament or of those out and beyond the House whom we represent and whose liberties and rights we are here to defend. It cannot be in the interests of the Government either that they effectively tear up what Mr. Speaker said we would be debating today and put in its place a motion that constricts debate and designs what presumably the Government wanted rather than what Mr. Speaker wanted.

I oppose the motion and ask the House that when we debate it, it will be not a partisan matter, but a matter of this House, its competence and its authority. Why would I vote for a House that is worth nothing?

2.57 pm

Bob Spink (Castle Point) (Ind): I agree with the hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) on the guillotine, and in the light of your statement, Mr. Speaker, I believe that the House needs to debate these matters fully. I would argue, however, that today is not the time. We have two privileges to uphold: one is the privilege of this House, but another important principle that is at stake is the independence of the police. It sometimes helps if we allow the police to do their job without interference, pressure, bullying or intimidation, particularly from this House when it is involved, and before the House pontificates at length on those matters. I hope that we will have a debate, but only after the police have done their work. That is an equally important principle, so I hope that everyone who speaks in the debate will not prejudice the police’s work.

Mr. Brian Binley (Northampton, South) (Con): You should be ashamed of yourself.

Bob Spink: If the hon. Member for Northampton, South (Mr. Binley), who is shouting from a sedentary position, wants to intervene, I would delighted to give way to him— [Interruption.] It seems, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. Member has not— [Interruption.]

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Mr. Speaker: Order. I called the hon. Member for Castle Point (Bob Spink) to speak and he must be allowed to be heard. [Interruption.] Order. Let me explain to the hon. Member for Northampton, South (Mr. Binley) that where the hon. Member for Castle Point wants to sit is his business and no one else’s.

Bob Spink: I am very grateful, Mr. Speaker, and I will bring my remarks to an end, as other Members want to speak.

We must consider both principles that I mentioned, and investigate these matters calmly and in a considered manner, but at the right time.

2.59 pm

Mr. Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich, West) (Lab/Co-op): I support the Government motion, because the time given in it more adequately reflects the priorities of my constituents. When I go to my constituency, I do not hear people talk about whether there should have been a warrant to visit the offices of the hon. Member for Ashford (Damian Green); I hear them talk about housing for low-paid people. In local schools, the talk is about Labour’s policies for improving the life prospects of people who have hitherto been deprived of opportunities to go to university. Above all, faced by the credit crunch, both local manufacturers and the employees in their factories are concerned about their future employment prospects and whether they will have a job after Christmas. Those are the priorities of my constituents and the country as a whole, and every opportunity, and the maximum time, should be given to debating them in relation to the Queen’s Speech. If we are talking about truncating, we should truncate discussion of House of Commons issues in favour of discussing the issues facing my constituents and other constituents.

3.1 pm

Mr. Robert Marshall-Andrews (Medway) (Lab): May I inform you, Mr. Speaker, that one of the reasons why the Labour Benches are so gratifyingly full is that we are on a four-line box—a form of Whip that I have never seen before, but one that is a thinly disguised three-line Whip? It is wholly inappropriate that parliamentary business of this kind should be conducted under a three-line Whip, which I hope that many of my hon. Friends will ignore.

Mr. Speaker: I remind the House that two amendments are before us. Amendment (a) has been proposed.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 234, Noes 308.
Division No. 1]
[3.2 pm


Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Alexander, Danny
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, Mr. John
Beith, rh Sir Alan
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter

Brady, Mr. Graham
Brake, Tom
Brazier, Mr. Julian
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
Cameron, rh Mr. David
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clegg, rh Mr. Nick
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Curry, rh Mr. David
Davey, Mr. Edward
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh David
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Duddridge, James
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Farrelly, Paul
Farron, Tim
Featherstone, Lynne
Field, Mr. Mark
Fisher, Mark
Flynn, Paul
Foster, Mr. Don
Francois, Mr. Mark
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
Greening, Justine
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hancock, Mr. Mike
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
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Holmes, Paul
Horam, Mr. John
Horwood, Martin
Hosie, Stewart
Howard, rh Mr. Michael
Howarth, David
Howell, John
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hunter, Mark
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Keetch, Mr. Paul
Kennedy, rh Mr. Charles
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
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
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
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
Maclean, rh David
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Maples, Mr. John
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
Mason, John
Mates, rh Mr. Michael
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Mulholland, Greg
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
Oaten, Mr. Mark
Öpik, Lembit

Osborne, Mr. George
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Price, Adam
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Pugh, Dr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rennie, Willie
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Rogerson, Dan
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, Mr. David
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Short, rh Clare
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spicer, Sir Michael
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swinson, Jo
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Taylor, Matthew
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Teather, Sarah
Thurso, John
Timpson, Mr. Edward
Tredinnick, David
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Viggers, Sir Peter
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Walter, Mr. Robert
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, Mark
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Wilshire, Mr. David
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Wishart, Pete
Wright, Jeremy
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Douglas Hogg and
Mr. Colin Breed

Abbott, Ms Diane
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, rh Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Beckett, rh Margaret
Bell, Sir Stuart
Benn, rh Hilary
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, rh Andy
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Byrne, rh Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Chapman, Ben
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
Cohen, Harry
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, rh Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy

Cousins, Jim
Crausby, Mr. David
Creagh, Mary
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs. Claire
Darling, rh Mr. Alistair
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Mr. Quentin
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.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, rh Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
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
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Mr. Tom
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, rh John
Henderson, Mr. Doug
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
Hoey, Kate
Hood, Mr. Jim
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Ingram, rh Mr. Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Lynne
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Knight, rh Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, rh Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mackinlay, Andrew
MacShane, rh Mr. Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, John
McFadden, rh Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGuire, rh Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann

McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Meale, Mr. Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Mr. Alan
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Mudie, Mr. George
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, rh Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Osborne, Sandra
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prescott, rh Mr. John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purnell, rh James
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Reid, rh John
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Mr. Frank
Roy, Lindsay
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Ryan, rh Joan
Salter, Martin
Seabeck, Alison
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
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
Smith, John
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Spink, Bob
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Ussher, Kitty
Vaz, rh Keith
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, rh Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Wills, rh Mr. Michael
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek
Tellers for the Noes:

Helen Jones and
Chris Mole
Question accordingly negatived.
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Main question put and agreed to.

Ordered ,

8 Dec 2008 : Column 255

Speaker’s Committee on the Search of Offices on the Parliamentary Estate

Mr. Speaker: I inform the House that I have selected amendments (b), (e), (c) and (d).

3.16 pm

The Leader of the House of Commons (Ms Harriet Harman): I beg to move,

Mr. Speaker, in your statement last Wednesday, you asked for a motion to set up a Committee to review the matter of the seizure by the police of material belonging to the hon. Member for Ashford (Damian Green). The motion before the House sets up such a Committee, which would have all the powers of a Committee of the House to get papers and evidence, and would adjourn, after choosing a Chair, until after the completion of the police investigation or any court proceedings in this particular case.

A number of issues are involved. The first is the immediate one of whether the papers and data of hon. Members are properly protected as of now. The second is what led up to the search of the hon. Gentleman’s office. The third is whether the important constitutional principles at stake were properly protected in this particular case and whether they are protected for the future.

Mr. Andrew Robathan (Blaby) (Con) rose—

Ms Harman: I shall be giving way, but I wish to develop my argument for a few moments.

I know that hon. Members want the issue of the search of Parliament to be sorted out now; they do not wish to wait until after the police have finished their investigation. Last Wednesday, Mr. Speaker, in your statement, you told the House that you have reviewed the handling of this matter. You said:

That should provide immediate reassurance about the future to those hon. Members who have criticised the consent to the search.

Several hon. Members rose

Ms Harman: I shall give way in a moment, because I know that hon. Members wish to intervene.

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