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The new clauses tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Hornchurch (James Brokenshire) are very important. I return to the question of the wash-up and the extent to which we stand firm on these questions in the interests of our constituents. Our job is to protect them and to ensure that they get a proper and a fair deal, not an unreasonable subjection to principles of proportionality,
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or other principles, and a whole series of decisions that come from the Strasbourg Court. Nor do we want to find, as the charter of fundamental rights-the Lisbon treaty-begins to work its way into our legislative arrangements, that we are having to accept those principles.

I repudiate the arguments of the hon. Member for Eastleigh because they are based on abstract principles that are, I am afraid, inherited from a period that has long since gone by. We helped to write and produce the European convention on human rights-and, indeed, the charter of the United Nations-because in those days we were repudiating fascism and the surveillance society that went with it. All that came from our tradition, and that is what we in this House should stick to rather than having a kneejerk reaction in going back to principles that were enunciated all those years ago.

Mr. Hanson: I thank colleagues for a useful and reflective debate on some important and key issues for the House as a whole. We had a long and detailed debate on these matters in Committee. I am grateful to all right hon. and hon. Members who have spoken in this debate for ensuring that those matters came before the House today.

If I can summarise, two clear positions have been stated from the Opposition Front Benches. The hon. Member for Hornchurch (James Brokenshire) said that he supports the three-year period for retention in relation to serious offences, based on the Scottish model. As I said in Committee and repeat today, we have a principled position from the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Chris Huhne), who does not believe that the DNA of anybody not convicted of crimes should be kept. We have heard important contributions from my right hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Keith Vaz), who has brought to bear the conclusions of the Home Affairs Committee. I am grateful to members of the Committee for their consideration of these matters.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hendon (Mr. Dismore) commented on the views of the Joint Committee on Human Rights and has tabled some amendments, to which I shall speak shortly. The right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) made a thoughtful speech that summarised some of the dilemmas that we face in balancing the need to protect our citizens with the need to gain their consent, and in doing so in the legal framework within which we have to work.

The hon. Member for Banbury (Tony Baldry) made the case, in part, for a full DNA database. We need to ensure that that is considered, and there are arguments for it, but the Government have had to take a proportionate view and have settled on the position that is before the House today as meeting our legal obligations. The hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Cash) talked about the primacy of this House in making decisions and expressed what I can only say are long-held concerns about the operation of these matters which are not new to anybody in the House.

There is honest disagreement about the DNA database, and I believe ultimately that the hon. Members for Hornchurch and for Eastleigh are on the wrong side of the argument for the British public. We are trying to ensure that we take a proportionate approach that meets the legal obligations that my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon mentioned and works within the
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legal framework that the hon. Member for Stone and the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham talked about, but that ultimately protects the British public, deters individuals from committing crime and supports the prevention of crime by ensuring that we have a database that is operationally efficient. There is honest disagreement, but I believe that we are proposing a proportionate system and working within the judgments of the Council of Ministers on Marper. We are trying to ensure that the six-year period that we have suggested meets our obligations in a fair and effective way.

I shall speak in due course to Government amendments 8 to 16, in the name of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. As I tried to explain in Committee, the Opposition amendments would remove the proposed framework for the retention and destruction of DNA and adopt a variant on the Scottish model. The hon. Member for Eastleigh would have a model that did not allow for the retention of matters relating to the DNA of innocent individuals at all.

I begin with Government amendments 14 to 16. We listened to the debates in Committee, as I hope the hon. Member for Hornchurch and others recognise. Issues that were raised there are partly reflected in the reports produced by my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon and my right hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East. I will consult my right hon. Friend's Committee, but we have tried to ensure that we consider both the need for consistency and how individual approaches to the database can be made.

One key issue that has been raised, which is addressed in amendments 14 to 16, is ensuring that we do not have postcode lottery on the implementation of the proposals before the House. In tabling the amendments, the Government decided on a new early deletion procedure, with the National DNA Database Strategy Board being a single point of contact for both members of the public and constituency MPs instead of their having to go to individual police forces. That was a key issue in Committee, and I know that the hon. Member for Hornchurch was concerned about it. I hope that the amendments will ensure that we have consistency across the board in relation to early deletion. Once the board receives a request, the case will be handled by a central team, which will collate the case file, offer advice and consider, based on previous decisions, whether a deletion can be agreed to. If so, it will arrange for it to be implemented.

Amendment 14 will place the responsibility for those arrangements on the board, which, as the House will be aware, has existed since 2007. It will oversee the operation of the database and technical standards in relation to DNA. The board's core membership will be drawn from the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Association of Police Authorities and the Home Office, but it will include independent elements such as the Information Commissioner, the forensic science regulator and the National DNA Database Ethics Group.

5.45 pm

Government amendment 14 will also mean that chief police officers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland must follow that guidance. It is crucial that the removal process is consistent, and I hope that the House welcomes that amendment.

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On Government amendments 15 and 16, we listened to what was said in Committee with regard to parliamentary scrutiny over the board and the reports it produces. I thank the hon. Member for Hornchurch for raising that in Committee. Again, I believe that there is now a consensus to amend the Bill to allow that parliamentary scrutiny of the board.

Ultimately, there is a disagreement between the Government, and the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Front Benchers on these matters. New clause 1 and associated Opposition proposals return us to the fundamental questions of the length of time for retention, and whether we achieve a balance for the protection of the community at large with the Government's proposals or with the Scottish model, as the hon. Member for Hornchurch proposes.

We believe that we have the evidence and the support, that we meet our legal obligations and that the six-year retention period-regardless of the seriousness of the offence for which a person has been arrested-will lead to the prevention of crime, and ultimately and accordingly to the solving of crimes. That is important, and we have taken that view very strongly. As the House will know from discussions in Committee, we believe that rapes, murders or manslaughter cases in England and Wales have been matched to the DNA database and the DNA profiles of individuals who have been arrested but not convicted of any crime.

I say to the hon. Members for Hornchurch and for Eastleigh that it is an issue of proportion.

Chris Huhne: Will the Minister tell me when he intends to answer my parliamentary question?

Mr. Hanson: The hon. Gentleman will have an answer to his parliamentary question as quickly as possible, but we need to check the information for him to ensure that what I say in the House is correct. However, in 2008-09, 79 rape, murder or manslaughter cases were matched to the DNA database, and 36 were found to have a specific and direct value to those investigations.

Chris Huhne: It is very important that the House hears what the Minister just admitted. He admitted that the information on which he has been making his case has not been checked, which is why he has been unable to answer my parliamentary question.

Mr. Hanson: The hon. Gentleman is making it up as he goes along. I have told the House that I will respond to his parliamentary question in due course. When I do so, I want to ensure that I check that the information in my answer is sufficient to answer his question. I am telling House today that 79 rape, murder or manslaughter cases in England and Wales were matched to the DNA database, and that 36 were found to have a direct or specific value to those investigations.

Do not just listen to me. The president of ACPO, Sir Hugh Orde, has said that he believes that the database is of value in helping to secure criminal convictions, preventing crime, and in ensuring, as the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham said, that innocent people are acquitted of crimes, as they are on occasion. There is an honest disagreement
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between the Government, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, which I suspect will be tested in a Division very shortly.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hendon proposes new clause 9, which forwards the underlying principle of independent oversight. As he is aware, we have given a commitment to look at the creation of an independent oversight role on such matters, which we are doing. I cannot accept his proposal today, but we are aware of the need for such oversight. We are considering whether to introduce amendments in due course to meet those obligations.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights is also behind proposed amendments 35 to 42, which would substitute the Government's proposals for a Scottish model. My arguments on that relate to those I made to the hon. Members for Hornchurch and for Eastleigh. We have had to make judgments on these matters, and I believe we have made them in support of crime prevention. I commend the Government amendments, but I ask the hon. Member for Hornchurch to withdraw his proposal, because I believe that it is not in the interests of the prevention of crime. The Conservatives are on the wrong side of the argument, and I hope the House rejects the hon. Gentleman's proposals should he not withdraw them.

James Brokenshire: We have had an interesting debate on this important subject. The framing of today's debate with the publication of the Select Committee's report has been helpful in highlighting some of the issues, which were raised by the Chairman. It is interesting to note that the Committee did not support the Government's approach to the six-year retention period. The Committee believes that that is too long-much of the other evidence supports that-and argues for a three-year retention period. I note the points that the right hon. Gentleman made about the disproportionate impact on minority communities, and we will need to maintain our focus on that issue.

I respect the approach taken by the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Chris Huhne) and the purity of his logic, although we see the need for pragmatism in striking the balance between the interests of citizens and protecting them from the risk of crime. I support the points that he made about the evidential approach that the Government have taken and the holes in their analysis.

The hon. Member for Hendon (Mr. Dismore) set out clearly the problem of stigma that can occur in relation to the retention of a DNA profile and the impact that that might have on an individual. That stigma has been rightly highlighted in several cases, and the House will be concerned by the individual case that the hon. Gentleman brought up this afternoon and the tragic circumstances involved.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) makes the case in relation to a universal database, although I would mention the issues of cost and practicality. I take a different view when it comes to the benign nature of the state. I do not agree with the universal approach, but I do agree with my right hon. and learned Friend about the need for DNA forensics and proper cold case databases so that information can be matched speedily and effectively. It is an important detection tool, and he
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also mentioned the deterrent effect. Crime scene forensics and DNA records must be retained, so that they can be matched against DNA profiles taken on arrest for unconnected offences.

My hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Tony Baldry) highlighted the issue of justice, and that is why we support the use of DNA forensics in the detecting of crimes and bringing perpetrators to justice. That overlaps with some of the points made earlier in the debate, but I am clear that the use of the DNA database should be for the detection and prosecution of crime and for no other purpose. A universal database of the kind that my hon. Friend suggests would be disproportionate, for reasons of cost and security. The Government do not have the strongest of records when it comes to keeping information safe, and that would be even more of an issue if the database were to be extended as my hon. Friend suggests.

I appreciated the support of my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Mr. Cash) in making the case for the basic period of three years and about the primacy of Parliament. He mentioned his concerns about the surveillance society, which is a wider issue albeit connected to several of the contributions we have heard in this debate.

I acknowledge some of the changes that the Minister has made following our discussions in Committee on oversight and the scrutiny by Parliament. He has also recognised the need to be able to take samples from visitors from overseas should it be discovered, once they are here, that they have committed serious offences overseas. I welcome the changes that the Minister has brought forward, but I return to the issue of balance and judgment. We must take a proportionate approach to the retention of DNA records for those who have never been convicted of an offence. We must respect the basic principle that someone is innocent unless proven guilty, and we must not discount the stigma that can be attached to someone if those principles are breached. Therefore, I wish to test the opinion of the House on new clause 1, and see whether we do in fact respect those fundamental principles that I and my colleagues hold dear.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time.

The House divided: Ayes 185, Noes 264.
Division No. 101]
[5.55 pm


Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Alexander, Danny
Amess, Mr. David
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Beith, rh Sir Alan
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brokenshire, James
Brooke, Annette
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Browning, Angela
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Alistair
Cameron, rh Mr. David
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Davey, Mr. Edward
Davis, rh David

Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Duddridge, James
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
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Mr. Roger
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Greenway, Mr. John
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Harris, Dr. Evan
Harvey, Nick
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendry, Charles
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hogg, rh Mr. Douglas
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Holmes, Paul
Horam, Mr. John
Howarth, David
Howell, John
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Jones, Mr. David
Kennedy, rh Mr. Charles
Key, Robert
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Leech, Mr. John
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Maclean, rh David
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Mates, rh Mr. Michael
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Milton, Anne
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Oaten, Mr. Mark
Öpik, Lembit
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Price, Adam
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Rosindell, Andrew
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Smith, Chloe
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Mr. Richard
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
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Viggers, Sir Peter
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Willetts, Mr. David
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Mark
Willis, Mr. Phil
Winterton, Ann

Wright, Jeremy
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Tellers for the Ayes:

Bill Wiggin and
Mr. John Baron

Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Janet
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Austin, John
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Bain, Mr. William
Balls, rh Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
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
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, rh Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Bryant, Chris
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, rh Andy
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byrne, rh Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Caton, Mr. Martin
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, rh Yvette
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, Mr. David
Creagh, Mary
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Philip
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Etherington, Bill
Farrelly, Paul
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, rh Caroline
Flynn, Paul
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
Gilroy, Linda
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, rh John
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Hesford, Stephen
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, rh Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Jowell, rh Tessa
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara

Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
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
Mactaggart, Fiona
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFadden, rh Mr. Pat
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Meale, Mr. Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Mr. Alan
Miliband, rh David
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Mudie, Mr. George
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, rh Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Osborne, Sandra
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Prescott, rh Mr. John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, rh James
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Reid, rh John
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Mr. Frank
Roy, Lindsay
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Christine
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Seabeck, Alison
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Simpson, Alan
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, rh Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine
Smith, rh Jacqui
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Tami, Mark
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Ussher, Kitty
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, rh Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Wilson, Phil
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wyatt, Derek
Tellers for the Noes:

Helen Jones and
Mr. John Heppell
Question accordingly negatived.
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