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11 Mar 2009 : Column 395

11 Mar 2009 : Column 396

11 Mar 2009 : Column 397

Anne Moffat (East Lothian) (Lab): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I seek your advice on whether the frustration that the House has experienced tonight is appropriate. Conservative Members called for a vote and then did not vote—and they did it deliberately in order to delay us from reaching a motion that would allow the youth of the country to debate in this Chamber. What makes their backsides any better than those of the youth of this country to sit on these Benches?

Mr. Speaker: The rules of the House say that when a proposition is put from the Chair, hon. Members are entitled to seek to divide the House. I am not allowed to interpret why hon. Members do this; I can only seek the opinion of the House. There would be no other motive than a wish to divide the House on the motion before hon. Members; they would not seek to delay any other matters from coming up.

Mr. James Gray (North Wiltshire) (Con): I beg to move, That the House do sit in private.

Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 163).

The House divided: Ayes 5, Noes 291.
Division No. 68]
[6.53 pm


Binley, Mr. Brian
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Gray, Mr. James
Walker, Mr. Charles
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Graham Brady and
Mr. Peter Bone

Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Alexander, Danny
Anderson, Mr. David
Austin, Mr. Ian
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baird, Vera
Barker, Gregory
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Begg, Miss Anne
Beith, rh Sir Alan
Benn, rh Hilary
Bercow, John
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Annette
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Bryant, Chris
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, rh Andy
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Lorely
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Campbell, Mr. Gregory
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Chapman, Ben
Clapham, Mr. Michael

Clark, Greg
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, rh Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cousins, Jim
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Crausby, Mr. David
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Davey, Mr. Edward
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Mr. Dai
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dodds, Mr. Nigel
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Duddridge, James
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Eagle, Angela
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Featherstone, Lynne
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, rh Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Don
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gale, Mr. Roger
Gapes, Mike
Garnier, Mr. Edward
George, Andrew
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gidley, Sandra
Gilroy, Linda
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Greening, Justine
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gummer, rh 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
Harper, Mr. Mark
Harris, Dr. Evan
Harris, Mr. Tom
Harvey, Nick
Havard, Mr. Dai
Hayes, Mr. John
Heath, Mr. David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Holmes, Paul
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Horwood, Martin
Howell, John
Howells, rh Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hunter, Mark
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Kawczynski, Daniel
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Ann
Kennedy, rh Mr. Charles
Kennedy, rh Jane
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, rh Jim
Kramer, Susan
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lamb, Norman
Lammy, rh Mr. David
Laws, Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Leech, Mr. John
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Luff, Peter
Mackinlay, Andrew
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Mr. Khalid

Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Martlew, Mr. Eric
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCarthy, Kerry
McDonnell, John
McFadden, rh Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Rosemary
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miller, Andrew
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moore, Mr. Michael
Morgan, Julie
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Mundell, David
Munn, Meg
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
Olner, Mr. Bill
Owen, Albert
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Pearson, Ian
Penning, Mike
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Price, Adam
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Pugh, Dr. John
Purnell, rh James
Randall, Mr. John
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rennie, Willie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rowen, Paul
Roy, Mr. Frank
Roy, Lindsay
Russell, Bob
Russell, Christine
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheridan, Jim
Simmonds, Mark
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Simpson, Alan
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Spink, Bob
Stanley, rh Sir John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Teather, Sarah
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Thurso, John
Tipping, Paddy
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Twigg, Derek
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walley, Joan
Watts, Mr. Dave
Webb, Steve
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willott, Jenny
Wills, rh Mr. Michael
Wilson, Phil
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, Ann
Wishart, Pete
Wood, Mike
Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Noes:

Mark Tami and
Ms Diana R. Johnson
Question accordingly negatived.
11 Mar 2009 : Column 398

11 Mar 2009 : Column 399

The Deputy Leader of the House of Commons (Chris Bryant): On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am sure that it is in order for right hon. and hon. Members to force votes even on issues on which they have no intention of voting themselves, including several Conservative Members sitting opposite. But is it really in the interests of this House and of true democracy in this country to use every trick in the book to try to
11 Mar 2009 : Column 400
prevent young people from coming into this Chamber and to try to prevent debate? Have we not seen the forces of reaction sitting across the Chamber, using old politics to frustrate young people?

Mr. Speaker: The hon. Gentleman is entering into a debate. A proposition was put and soundly defeated. That is democracy and a strength of this House; hon. Members have spoken. If other Members did not want to vote, that is their business.

The hon. Gentleman is the Deputy Leader of the House. The motion is in his hands. He can decide to give it Government time to make sure that it is debated. I have always asked for temperate language. “Every trick in the book” was perhaps not what I would have said; “Every procedure in the book.”

Martin Horwood (Cheltenham) (LD): Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker, I was in the Committee that scrutinised the motion on the control of ozone-depleting substances. Not one Conservative Member opposed it there, just as not one Conservative Member actually voted against it when we divided just now. Conservative Members were effectively voting to try to stop debate on whether or not our bottoms are so sacred that we cannot share these Benches with members of the UK Youth Parliament. Does that not bring this place into disrepute and risk lowering our reputation below that of the Youth Parliament?

Mr. Speaker: I am at risk of repeating myself. If the matter is brought before the House in Government time, nothing will be delayed. A full debate will take place with a vote to follow.

Mr. Edward Garnier (Harborough) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Have you had a request from the Secretary of State for Justice to make a statement about the fiasco of the C-NOMIS computer system for the prison and probation services? It is now disgracefully late in coming into service and has exceeded its budget by 300 per cent. to reach more than £690 million. This represents an object lesson in failure. May I suggest that the public have a legitimate expectation that the Government will come here and account for it?

Mr. Speaker: That is not a matter for the Chair. That is something for which the Speaker cannot be blamed; it is expenditure for which someone else will be blamed.

Mr. Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con): Further to the points of order, Mr. Speaker. Have you heard from the Government as to when they will give Government time for a proper debate on the Youth Parliament issue? When the Prime Minister announced the proposal, he said it would be subject to proper discussion and consultation with all Members of this House. Because that consultation has not taken place, a number of us are concerned and want a debate on it. On, I think, six or seven occasions, a motion has been on the Order Paper, but with no debate, and the Government have been trying to put pressure for this issue to be put through on the nod. I am sure that you, Mr. Speaker, would think that it is not the sort of issue that should be put through on the nod, but that it should be subject to proper debate.

Mr. Speaker: I can say no more on the matter than I have already said.

11 Mar 2009 : Column 401

Use of Chamber (United Kingdom Youth Parliament)

Motion made,

Hon. Members: Object.


Health Services (Northamptonshire)

7.10 pm

Mr. Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con): I am delighted to present a petition on the biggest issue I have had to deal with since becoming a Member of Parliament. More than 4,000 people have signed the petition, and the leading three signatories are Mr. Colin Wright and Mr. Richard Lewis, respectively the leader and deputy leader of Rushden town council, and Councillor Andy Mercer, the leader of East Northamptonshire council. The petition concerns the closure of an out-patients facility in my constituency and the moving of it to a town some distance away.

The petition states:


Care Home Residents (Allowances)

7.12 pm

Mr. Paul Burstow (Sutton and Cheam) (LD): This petition is about people who are often out of sight and out of mind: those people who live in care homes. It concerns the 240,000 people in our country who receive an allowance called the personal expense allowance, which amounts to just £3 a day, and which is based on national means-testing rules, which mean that those with savings of more than £22,250 have to surrender their pensions to pay for their care home fees. This allowance is going up by 75p this April to £21.90. Last year, in answer to a parliamentary question, the Minister responsible at the time, the hon. Member for Bury, South (Mr. Lewis), promised a consultation on these matters, and this petition is intended to raise these issues in the House this evening.

11 Mar 2009 : Column 402

The petition states:


Planning and Development (Essex)

7.14 pm

Bob Spink (Castle Point) (Ind): This petition relates to green land at the side of the Dutch Village on Canvey Island. Only six houses in the whole of the Dutch Village did not respond to the petition, which shows the determination and clarity of vision of Canvey residents. If the development goes ahead, as some borough councillors wish, it will make much worse the flooding risks for every island resident as well as further damaging our island’s environment and putting greater pressure on our infrastructure. I stand shoulder to shoulder with all the excellent petitioners and with Graham and Linda Bracci and Jan Eagle, who prepared the petition. Canvey people are astounded that some borough councillors are trying to lift the Environment Agency ban on flood risk development on Canvey Island so that the development can go ahead. The petition states:


European Union

7.16 pm

Bob Spink: I have a second petition about public opinion on the European Union. In a true democracy, hon. Members will always listen carefully to public opinion and they should avoid acting in this place as though they know better than the people who they are sent here to represent. It is with some sadness that I have to table this petition from Mr. Keith Johnson, members of the Campaign for an Independent Britain and other excellent people.

11 Mar 2009 : Column 403

The petition states:


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