Previous Section Index Home Page

Sir Patrick Cormack (South Staffordshire) (Con): I find this a very sad moment. The House is just making itself look stupid. It seems to me that what the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath) has done is to resort to a stratagem that will have one effect and one effect only: the stifling of debate on an amendment
2 Dec 2009 : Column 1245
that you yourself, Mr. Speaker, ruled to be in order. That strikes me as being fundamentally wrong.

The hon. Member for Somerton and Frome made some telling points about the nature of the appointments, the way in which they had been arrived at, and the way in which you, Sir, had agreed to them-but you had selected the amendment, and therefore you clearly believed that it was entirely proper for the House to debate this particular proposition. I came here tonight from the reception which you were graciously and generously hosting for the American ambassador in order to take part in this debate, because I believe it is legitimate for the House to have an opportunity to consider the people who are being proposed as members of this extremely important authority. I do not want to indulge in personalities. All I would like to say is this: I believe that, as it has been decided that one of the members of this important authority should be a former Member of Parliament, it is legitimate to express the view that it would be a good thing if that Member of Parliament had a fairly lengthy experience of this House, and had betrayed a great degree of affection for and knowledge of it.

I regret the fact that my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Sir Nicholas Winterton)-who spoke to his amendment very moderately-had to insert names, but he really had no alternative. That is not a criticism of him. I just think that it would be a good idea for the House to put down some markers, so that those who are to serve on the independent authority-which will have no particular impact on me, as I shall not be here in the next Parliament-are aware that we truly want this Parliament, which I believe is the greatest Parliament in the world, and the House of Commons, which is the most important part of the greatest Parliament in the world, to regain public confidence and trust. That confidence and trust cannot be regained unless those who have the supervisory role that we are discussing understand what being a Member of Parliament is all about, and what the nature of this calling-I do not describe it as a job or an occupation-involves and demands.

I hope that we can discuss this matter sensibly. Whether we need to vote is another matter entirely. I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield has performed a service by tabling this amendment, and that you, Mr. Speaker, have performed a service to the House by selecting it. I also think that it ill behoves any of us to stifle debate or stop discussion on a subject that you yourself have clearly marked as entirely legitimate to be discussed.

7.55 pm

Miss Ann Widdecombe (Maidstone and The Weald) (Con): We are witnessing a very sad exhibition of very unworthy tactics. Unfortunately, all this will do is to compound the reputation that we already have of being in a muddle, and of being untrustworthy in how we handle this wider issue. A motion, of which we all had due notice, was on the Order Paper, and you, Mr. Speaker, had selected an amendment, which means that you considered that amendment to be in order and worthy of debate in this House. Admire as I may anybody who can use "Erskine May" as the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath) has just done-despite my admiration for his technical achievement in that regard-
2 Dec 2009 : Column 1246
I think it goes entirely against the democracy of this Chamber when we cannot debate a motion that has been fairly put down, of which we have had notice, and to which you, Mr. Speaker, have approved an amendment for debate. If we vote that this be not now put, the ridicule that we will receive in tomorrow's newspapers will speak for itself.

Mr. Speaker: In these exceptional circumstances, and following the right hon. Lady's remarks, I simply put it on the record that what she said about the selectable character of the amendment is correct. That was also said, I think, by the hon. Member for Macclesfield, and certainly by the hon. Member for South Staffordshire (Sir Patrick Cormack). I hope the right hon. Lady will acknowledge that my concern in this matter must be to do what it is procedurally proper for me to do in the circumstances. Whatever may be said about the motivation for, or the reputation created by, the proposal for the previous question to be put, I have to make a judgment on the basis of what is procedurally proper. Members will no doubt be aware that the last three occasions when the previous question was moved were 20 January 1943, and 20 January and 3 May 1989. It is, therefore, a very infrequent occurrence; this is the fourth such occasion in a period of, I think, 66 years. I am guided, of course, by the advice that I am given, but I have also noted what the right hon. Lady has said.

As no other Member is rising to speak, the proper procedure now is for me to put the Question that the Question be not now put. So that there is no confusion, let me explain that the Question that is to be put before the House is that on the motion supported by the hon. Members for Cambridge and for Somerton and Frome-That the main Question be not now put.

Question put , That the main Question be not now put.

The House divided: Ayes 41, Noes 194.
Division No. 14]
[8 pm


Alexander, Danny
Baker, Norman
Brooke, Annette
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Lorely
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Clegg, rh Mr. Nick
Davey, Mr. Edward
Featherstone, Lynne
Foster, Mr. Don
George, Andrew
Gidley, Sandra
Goldsworthy, Julia
Harris, Dr. Evan
Heath, Mr. David
Hemming, John
Holmes, Paul
Howarth, David
Huhne, Chris
Lamb, Norman
Laws, Mr. David
MacNeil, Mr. Angus
Moore, Mr. Michael
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rennie, Willie
Rowen, Paul
Russell, Bob
Stunell, Andrew
Swinson, Jo
Teather, Sarah
Thurso, John
Watson, Mr. Tom
Webb, Steve
Williams, Mark
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Wishart, Pete
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Ayes:

Sir Robert Smith and
Mr. Roger Williams


Abbott, Ms Diane
Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Anderson, Janet
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Bain, Mr. William
Baird, Vera
Baron, Mr. John
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Berry, Roger
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brennan, Kevin
Brokenshire, James
Brown, Lyn
Brown, Mr. Russell
Burnham, rh Andy
Burns, Mr. Simon
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Byrne, rh Mr. Liam
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Clark, Greg
Clark, Ms Katy
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, rh Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Tony
David, Mr. Wayne
Davies, Mr. Dai
Davies, Philip
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobson, rh Frank
Dodds, Mr. Nigel
Donaldson, rh Mr. Jeffrey M.
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Dorries, Nadine
Dowd, Jim
Duddridge, James
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Fabricant, Michael
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, rh Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Francois, Mr. Mark
Gale, Mr. Roger
Gapes, Mike
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goggins, rh Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gray, Mr. James
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hammond, Stephen
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harper, Mr. Mark
Harvey, Nick
Hayes, Mr. John
Healey, rh John
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hosie, Stewart
Howells, rh Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Lynne
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kawczynski, Daniel
Keeley, Barbara
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Lloyd, Tony
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mason, John
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McFadden, rh Mr. Pat
McKechin, Ann
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miller, Andrew
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Mole, Chris
Mudie, Mr. George
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Mundell, David
Munn, Meg
Murphy, rh Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, rh Mr. Mike
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Owen, Albert
Paice, Mr. James
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Penning, Mike
Pope, Mr. Greg
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Price, Adam
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Randall, Mr. John

Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Angus
Robertson, Hugh
Roy, Mr. Frank
Seabeck, Alison
Shapps, Grant
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Spink, Bob
Spring, Mr. Richard
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Stewart, Ian
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Tami, Mark
Taylor, David
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Timpson, Mr. Edward
Tipping, Paddy
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Watkinson, Angela
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Weir, Mr. Mike
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, Hywel
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Wilson, Sammy
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Wood, Mike
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Tellers for the Noes:

Jenny Willott and
Mr. Adrian Sanders
Question accordingly negatived.
2 Dec 2009 : Column 1247

2 Dec 2009 : Column 1248
8.11 pm

Sir Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I shall be brief. Do you not think it is a sad day for this House when a political party-the Liberal Democrats-seeks to silence transparent, open and important debate? Will you therefore look at what has occurred this evening and study "Erskine May" to see whether the use of this dishonest, devious device can be removed?

Mr. Speaker: Order. I am genuinely grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. He is an enormously experienced Member; will he withdraw the word dishonest, please?

Sir Nicholas Winterton: I am happy to do that, Mr. Speaker. May I say "this unfortunate, devious device", and ask that it be removed so that the House can openly debate issues of great importance for the future of Parliament?

Mr. Speaker: It is in keeping with the hon. Gentleman's long experience of this House that he should use that opportunity to make a second point of order. He has exhorted me to do two things: to think and to look at the matter. I think I have to say, in respect of the first, that it is not the obligation of the Chair to think. However, it is perfectly reasonable for him to invite me to look at the matter, and I am always happy to have my eyes open as he advises that I should. Beyond that, the safest thing that I can say is that he has put his views on the record with his customary force and élan.

Mr. Patrick McLoughlin (West Derbyshire) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Can you confirm that if the Liberal Democrats had been successful in their attempt this evening, the House would not be able to vote on the setting up of IPSA? That party has tonight attempted to stop the setting up of IPSA.

2 Dec 2009 : Column 1249

Mr. Speaker: What I would say in response to the right hon. Gentleman's point of order is that I have already said what the consequences of particular votes on given propositions would be. That observation from me is on the record, and it would not be seemly now to go beyond that, but he has, in his point of order, put his views on behalf of the official Opposition very explicitly on the record for others to see. We must now vote on the main motion.

Main Question accordingly put forthwith.

Question agreed to.


Business without Debate

Delegated Legislation

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Legal Services

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No.118(6)),

Legal Services

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Environmental Protection

The Speaker's opinion as to the decision of the Question being challenged, the Division was deferred until Wednesday 9 December (Standing Order No. 41A).

Welsh Grand Committee

Ordered ,

2 Dec 2009 : Column 1250

Regional Select Committee (London)

Motion made,

Hon. Members: Object.

Sittings of the House

Motion made,

Hon. Members: Object.


Badman Report (Bridgwater)

8.15 pm

Mr. Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater) (Con): I shall try and keep this concise after all that- [ Interruption. ]

Mr. Speaker: Order. I am sure that Members will want to hear the presentation of the petition by the hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Liddell-Grainger), but if they do not they can always amuse themselves elsewhere.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: The petition is from the residents of the town of Bridgwater.

The petition states:

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The Petition o f persons resident in the Bridg water parliamentary constituency,

Next Section Index Home Page