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It is not just on child protection that the Government are getting the balance wrong. The Home Secretary’s decisions on DNA will also make it harder, not easier, for the police to fight crime. She has talked with pride about the 13,000 convicted criminals that she wants to put on the DNA database, but what she fails to point out is that taking retrospective DNA, which we strongly agree with, was made possible only by Labour’s Crime and Security Act 2010, which was passed before the general election and which she opposed. Not only did

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she oppose the whole Bill then, but she failed to enact those provisions when that should have happened, straight after the general election. She waited for a year to get round to it, and she still has not enacted the provisions in Labour’s Act to take DNA from people who commit crimes abroad.

As for the provisions in this Bill, the Home Secretary is ignoring the evidence. She is ignoring not only the evidence from the police, who estimate that 1,000 fewer crimes will be solved every year as a result of these measures, and the wise words from my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle (Alan Johnson), who tabled amendments, but the evidence that Ministers tried to hide, which was produced by their own Department. It shows that every year crimes will be committed by 23,000 people who would have been on the DNA database under Labour’s plans but will not be on it under her plans. We are talking about 23,000 criminals each year, and these are cases in which she wants to make it harder for the police to bring them to justice. Some 17,000 rape suspects will be taken off the database straight away as a result of these measures.

Stephen Phillips (Sleaford and North Hykeham) (Con) rose—

Yvette Cooper: I will give way to the hon. and learned Gentleman, but I ask him whether he can give a good reason for removing those 17,000 rape suspects so swiftly from the database, against the advice and the pleas from Rape Crisis.

Stephen Phillips: I am grateful for the right hon. Lady’s anticipation of what my intervention might be. What would she say, and what would her party say, to the millions of innocent people who regard it as offensive that their DNA is retained when they have never been convicted of any crime whatsoever? Is that really the policy that the Labour party thinks ought to be pursued in this country?

Yvette Cooper: I point out to the hon. and learned Gentleman that that is his policy and that of his party. That is what he has voted for. People will be on the DNA database who have not been convicted of any crime, but his party wants to hold their DNA for three years, based on no evidence whatsoever, whereas we believe that it should be held for six years, based on the evidence, because that is the best way to ensure that we get the balance right between protecting people’s civil liberties and ensuring that we can take the action needed to solve crime. The hon. and learned Gentleman has not given an answer to Rape Crisis and others who are deeply concerned about the impact of these measures on our ability to prevent rapes and to solve rapes in future.

We know that every year there are nearly 5,000 cases in which someone has been arrested on suspicion of rape and the police believe that there is a case to answer and have passed the file to the Crown Prosecution Service, but the CPS has decided—we know that rape cases can be complex—not to charge. In all such cases, the DNA will be wiped straight away under this Government’s proposals, despite the fact that there is considerable evidence, as well as the concerns raised by organisations such as Rape Crisis, that more, not less, needs to be done to tackle the crime of rape and to bring more rapists to justice.

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Government Members have their priorities wrong if they think that it is more important to keep people’s DNA for three years rather than six than it is to solve 1,000 more crimes, that it is more important to do that than to have DNA matches for 23,000 more criminals each year, and that it is more important to protect the rights of a rape suspect to keep their DNA code off the database altogether than to take the action that Rape Crisis has called for to make it easier to catch rapists in future.

Finally, on CCTV, which was critical in identifying the culprits in the riots, the Bill adds layers of bureaucracy that make it harder for the police to do their job.

We believe that it is important to protect people’s freedom, but protecting people’s freedom means not just protecting them against unwarranted interference by the police or by the state but protecting them against unwarranted interference, abuse or violence by other people. Freedom means protecting people from crime, too. The measures to which the Home Secretary objected in her speech helped cut crime by 40% and mean that there are now millions fewer victims of crime each year because we brought crime down. Yes, balancing acts and difficult decisions are required, and the freedom of victims of crime as well as the freedom of crime suspects should be considered. Decisions should be based on evidence, and time and again the Government have either ditched or denied the evidence in front of them.

The Home Secretary has made great play of attacking the Human Rights Act 1998, which at its heart includes protection for people’s freedom against oppression or abuse, but we should be clear that it is not the Human Rights Act that is putting privacy for child sex offenders ahead of sensible child protection measures, or putting the privacy of rape suspects above action to prevent rape in future, but this Government. It is not the Human Rights Act that is putting three years of holding DNA above action to solve 1,000 crimes a year, but a Conservative-led Government. Although the Home Secretary is very keen to be tough on the Human Rights Act, it would be rather more effective if she were tougher on crime and made it easier for the police to do their job.

We believe that this is a risky Bill that puts at risk freedom for crime victims, makes it harder for the police to do their job and ignores important evidence about the way in which crimes need to be solved. That is why we cannot support it on Third Reading, and will vote against it tonight.

9.24 pm

Tom Brake: In some respects, this is a Christmas tree of a Bill, but given that each bauble on the tree represents one of our cherished and fundamental freedoms, we can forgive the Home Office for that. Given the extent and range of its measures, it goes a long way towards restoring many of our most fundamental freedoms. Pre-charge detention is reduced to 14 days and the indiscriminate and in many ways ineffective use of stop and search is ended.

The hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) said that he did not like the concept of balancing civil liberties and security because he felt that they were intertwined. I agree; the DNA measures ensure that we intertwine civil liberties and people’s safety. Clearly that

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is an issue on which the Government and the Opposition will continue to disagree. Liberal Democrats understand victims’ concerns, but there is little evidence that the Opposition have any real appreciation of civil liberties and civil liberty concerns. On far too many occasions, Opposition spokesmen have in effect written the headlines for some of our tabloid newspapers, which I find somewhat distasteful.

On CCTV, the Government propose regulation, not obstruction. The Opposition have sought to make the point that the Government actively seek to oppose CCTV, but that is clearly not the Government’s intention. Rather, it is their intention, as reflected in the Bill, to ensure that CCTV is deployed in a way that secures public support. Clearly, there is a huge amount of public support for it, but Members will be aware of at least one occasion on which that public support was not there because there was some subterfuge around the reasons for the deployment of CCTV.

As the Home Secretary has said, subjecting 11 million people to a vetting and barring scheme would be deemed by most people in most countries to have a real impact on people’s civil liberties, and operating a system that captured the details of many hundreds of thousands of people who would not present any threat would have real practical implications. The Government have reminded organisations of the need to maintain vigilance—that they should actively consider scenarios and the circumstances in which people work and accept that they have a responsibility to ensure that appropriate safeguards and monitoring of staff are in place.

I am sure that every hon. Member has had cases of wheel-clamping raised with them. I had a particularly disturbing case involving a woman whose vehicle was clamped on her own estate when she accidentally failed to display the appropriate permit. She ended up recovering her vehicle from a site about 15 miles away, which she had to go to with her young child. She managed to secure the vehicle, but only after handing over a large sum of money to men with large Doberman dogs. I am sure that other hon. Members have had similar experiences reported to them.

Mark Tami (Alyn and Deeside) (Lab): Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that the danger of the Bill is that those same people become rogue ticketers rather than rogue clampers?

Tom Brake: Clearly, that is a risk, although as we heard yesterday, in practice that did not happen in Scotland. If parking operators want keepers’ details from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, they have to be members of the British Parking Association, which will ensure a high standard. If there are issues around BPA members, I am sure that the Government will want actively to take that up with the BPA to ensure that its standards are enhanced.

Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP): The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that there has been no issue or contention about the proposed measures in Scotland, as is the case with DNA retention, regardless of what we heard from the former Home Secretary. We in the SNP will support the Government this evening. Anything that tackles Labour’s anti-civil libertarian state deserves the support of the House.

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However, will the right hon. Gentleman assure me that, as a Liberal Democrat, he will do all that he can to ensure that the Conservatives remain on this road and that we continue to have good civil liberties and do not go back to the bad old days of Labour?

Tom Brake: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention—for once a helpful intervention from the Opposition Benches. I assure him that I am confident that the coalition Government want to maintain a strong and direct focus on the whole issue of civil liberties.

It seems to me that the use of fingerprinting and biometrics in schools was one of the things that just slipped through and that no one in the Opposition, when in government, had thought about whether it was okay for children to have their fingerprints taken. It required the coalition Government to step in and say that parents should be able to express a view on the taking of personal biometric data from children, rather than having it imposed by schools.

Disregarding convictions for consensual gay sex is another significant step forwards for gay rights, which I am pleased the Government appear intent on pursuing in relation to gay marriage. Datasets being available for reuse will improve transparency in government.

I will point out one bauble that was missing from the Christmas tree: provisions on insulting and section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. Even if that is missing, I am pleased that the Government are fully committed to a consultation on that, because it is something I want changed. We should be able to insult people as freely as we like, as we do all the time in the House, so long as we do not incite hatred. We need to make that distinction and I hope that that change will be forthcoming.

I am very proud that the Bill will be one of the first that the coalition Government put on the statute book. We have proved without a shadow of a doubt that, where there is a will, Governments can strengthen civil liberties and safeguard safety and security—a fact that we had forgotten after 13 years of Labour rule.

9.32 pm

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): I rise to support the Bill. I am very pleased that the Government wish to strengthen our civil liberties. It is the prime duty of this House to be the fount of our democracy and its principal defender, and part of our democracy is the right to a fair trial, the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and the right to be treated with respect as a citizen of this country. Many of us feel that in recent years too many powers have been taken away from our citizens and that the presumption of guilt was visited upon those who had not stood a fair trial. Indeed, some people were detained with no trial ever in prospect, which I found profoundly shocking.

As someone who is well aware of the threat of terrorism, having been on terrorist death lists when we had a different kind of terrorism, I understand the need to tackle it, but I have never felt that we should tackle it at the expense of the civil liberties of the British people. Having watched this House give away all too many of its powers to do good to the Brussels bureaucracy, I find

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it an extraordinary paradox that that went alongside taking away more and more powers and rights from the British people, when we should have been the very origin of their liberties and the first line of defence of their freedoms.

I take issue with only one thing the Home Secretary said in her admirable speech: she said that liberties had not only been taken for granted, but been achieved without violence. Unfortunately they had to be fought for in this country, but it was so long ago that we no longer remember those who died in those conflicts. There was a civil war in this country in support of freedoms and rights, there were other battles, riots and rebellions, and over the years the British people expressed their democratic wish. At the heart of that democracy was not only this representative democracy here in Westminster, but the fundamental liberties of the British people: the right to a fair trial and the right not to be detained by the strength and might of the state without cause being given and without movement to trial on a speedy basis.

Of all the measures set out in the Bill, I am proudest of the Government’s decision to roll back the number of days of detention that is permitted without due cause being given, and I hope that the Government will always want to ensure that they arrest and detain people only when they have reasonable evidence and when they intend to move quickly to trial. If the Government are still, understandably, worried about terrorism, surely it is better that we put people under surveillance from a distance, do not arrest them until we are absolutely sure of their part in the potential terrorist cell or threat, and then make the arrest and bring the case. I am distrustful of arresting people on poor suspicion and then not being able to bring any case against them in a court of law. I thought that we were fighting for a democracy where such things did not happen, so I find it unacceptable that for a period of years they did happen in our country, whatever good or well intentioned reason lay behind it.

I am also pleased that the Bill has tackled other irritations and annoyances in our bureaucracy. The Home Secretary is quite right that 1,200 separate powers of entry into our households is unacceptable in a free society, so I am pleased that the Bill makes a modest start in trying to roll them back, but it gives the House an enabling power to get rid of some of those powers of entry by subsequent order. The list in the legislation is small, on the whole historical and will not have much impact, so I hope that my right hon. Friend and her dedicated team of enthusiastic Ministers will now go out and cull that list of 1,200 entry powers and not only agree with me that such activity should not take place in a free society, but be brave enough to come forward with a list of a few hundred such entry powers that we can do without.

An Englishman or Englishwoman should not have to fear the knock at the door. I used to read about that sort of thing in Russian novels, and I do not expect it in my own country, but too many decent, law-abiding, taxpaying and hard-working citizens do now fear the call of the bureaucrat, because they think that some of the legislation is too pernickety, not well intentioned and will be enforced perversely against them—[ Interruption. ] If the hon. Member for Blyth Valley (Mr Campbell) would like to intervene and share his dissent, I shall be very

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happy to give way, but I hope that he, like me, wishes to belong to a free society and feels that people should be innocent until proven guilty.

Mr Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley) (Lab): It was not like that during the miners’ strike, was it? I remember them coming and knocking on my door several times.

Mr Redwood: I apply exactly the same rules and philosophy to miners as to anybody else. If things were done wrongly, it is quite wrong that they were so done, and the hon. Gentleman would need to show evidence and case, but I believe in the freedoms of the British people. There are too many inspectors who can come to call and too many rights of entry, so we do not just need this piece of legislation. We need to pursue it, coming forward with a sensible list of proposals under this law, so that we can reduce the incursions upon our freedom.

I am delighted that the Home Secretary has listened to the complaints about the way in which some car parks are administered. People are not serious criminals if they have broken parking rules, and sometimes the responses by private operators, whom the Bill addresses, have been way over the top. They can also be over the top from public sector operators, who are meant after all to help the public, not to stop them driving to the shops if they have heavy bags to take back or whatever they need to do. We need a sense of proportion in parking rules, regulations and enforcement, and the Bill makes a welcome contribution to dealing with the issue.

It is also important that the Government have listened to the many representations that we have all received over the months since Labour made proposals concerning the administration of Criminal Records Bureau checks. The thing that caused me most concern about the previous Government’s proposals was the lack of a passport—the lack of common sense. One could have a perfectly good peripatetic teacher, who was going to spend two weeks in one school, three weeks in another and all the rest of it, but they apparently had to go through the cost and palaver of being checked over each time for each assignment, when any sensible person would have issued them with a letter or certificate at the beginning, saying, “This is a peripatetic teacher, at this date they were all clear.”

Obviously, we might want to check up on such people at periodic intervals, but not every fortnight or every three weeks when they change school. The situation was completely crazy, so I am glad that we have a passport and that the Home Secretary has also found a way to reduce the number of such people from 11 million, given that many grandparents, uncles and aunts were tied up in the crazy process because they were trying to help not just the children of their own family, but their children’s friends, and fell foul of the regulations. We needed some common sense and proportionality in all that.

CCTV can play an important role, but I was pleased when the tactics of the police changed in response to the recent looting and rioting. They decided that it was probably easier to arrest people at the scene of the crime so that they were their own witnesses; if several police say that a person was involved and they arrest them on the spot, the court will believe them. That is better than trying to work out who the person was a week or two later from CCTV images that might not have caught the person’s face to best effect.

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Mark Tami: Does the right hon. Gentleman not accept that a lot of people were caught through CCTV—and through DNA evidence, which the Bill would destroy?

Mr Redwood: I am just making the point that there was an easier way of capturing a lot of those criminals and that what the police decided to do was welcome. I am not saying that there should be no CCTV in future, and I do not believe that that is the intention behind the Bill; its use, however, should be proportionate and sensible.

CCTV should be used in such a way that the law-abiding community feel that it is in their interests and not being used against them. There are now cases in which the law-abiding community feels that CCTV is too intrusive and does not help tackle crime as they would like. Some of that can be tackled by the welcome change in police tactics that we saw recently. It will not all be tackled in that way, because there will be cases in which the robbing, rioting or looting is spontaneous and the police are not there immediately when it breaks out. In those circumstances, CCTV can help.

Mark Tami: Has anyone from the law-abiding community come to see the right hon. Gentleman to ask for CCTV to be removed from their area?

Mr Redwood: Constituents have put to me the case against and in favour; it depends where the CCTV is, what it is going to be used for, whether it is going to be effective and whether it provides value for money. It needs to be properly appraised and used so that people feel that it makes a contribution.

I am also glad that the Government have had another look at stop and search; we want stop-and-search powers to be used only when the police have good reason to be suspicious and the response is therefore proportionate. Abusing or over-using the power is not proportionate. Good police would not do that, but the Bill makes the Government’s intentions clear.

I know that other Members wish to speak in the limited time available, so I shall sum up. The Bill is an extremely welcome contribution to restoring the liberties of the British people, and it should be our prime duty to uphold those. I have identified some that I think are most important. If I had to single out just one, it would be the change in the approach to detention without trial or without a proper charge having being made; that is absolutely fundamental to our civil liberties.

The Government can go much further on the intrusion and powers of entry, which have got out of control. One of the reasons why we have so many criminals now is that we have so many laws that make people criminals. It would be welcome if there were fewer crimes in our laws and if we concentrated on the really serious crimes instead of giving the state enormous powers to turn anybody’s conduct into a crime if they do not happen to agree with a particular part of the bureaucracy or if they make a mistake under the bureaucrats’ methods of procedure.

Andrew Miller: How does the right hon. Gentleman square that statement with the fact that crime is falling?

Mr Redwood: If overall crime is falling, that is extremely welcome news, although there are disputes about the figures. But it is obvious that the last Government

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created an enormous number of new offences, without which we lived perfectly well for hundreds of years. We need to review how many criminal offences are on the statute book.

Stephen Phillips: Does my right hon. Friend agree that we probably did not need the new criminal offence, introduced by the last Government, of impeding an apricot orchard inspector in the course of his duties?

Mr Redwood: My hon. and learned Friend has come up with an admirable example that I did not know about; there are many others, but we do not have the time to list them all. I hope that the Home Secretary and her colleagues will review the number of crimes so that we can concentrate on the serious ones—the ones that most people consider to be proper crimes—rather than spending so much time arguing about and enforcing things of rather less significance, for the convenience of some bureaucrats and not others.

I know that others wish to speak, Mr Speaker—

Mr Speaker: Order. May I interrupt the right hon. Gentleman? It is always a great pleasure to listen to his mellifluous tones and the content of his argument. I simply say to him that he is not under any obligation to conclude if he does not wish to. If he does wish to, however, he can.

Hon. Members: More, more!

Mr Redwood: I am grateful for your generous intervention, Mr Speaker, but I have been warned that two other colleagues wish to speak. It would be discourteous to them and the House not to let them, so I draw my remarks to a close.

Mr Speaker: Order. The Question is that the Bill—[ Interruption. ] Well, it is helpful if colleagues stand if they are seeking to catch my eye. The Speaker has some qualities, but he is not psychic.

9.45 pm

Nicola Blackwood: I rise to speak as someone who was a member of the Committee scrutinising the Bill. It is the first Bill that I have followed through from beginning to end and the experience has been, in equal measure, a joy, an insight, and, at times, a disappointment.

Starting with DNA, there has been a lot of talk about the need to balance the rights of victims and the civil liberties of the public, but there has not been a lot of balanced rhetoric in those discussions. Nobody doubts that DNA is a crucial investigatory tool for the police, but it is just one of the tools at their discretion. One of the pieces of evidence given to the Home Affairs Committee when it looked into the issue was that an average of 0.67% of convictions rely on DNA evidence. It is important to remember that when the Opposition cite endless cases in which they say that otherwise people would not have been brought to book.

John Robertson (Glasgow North West) (Lab): I accept the point that the hon. Lady is trying to make, but would it not be fairer to say that in serious crimes the percentage will be a great deal higher than 0.67%? If

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one takes all crime into consideration, then DNA will not count for much, but when it comes to murder and suchlike, the percentage will be a great deal higher.

Nicola Blackwood: I take all issues of crime and the victims of crime extremely seriously, and so must this House. I would not distinguish between them in that way.

I move on to the question of a six-year limit versus a three-year limit. The Opposition have decided to lay the accusation that their choice of six years is based on secure evidence, but one of their pieces of so-called statistical evidence was based on an extremely small sample that was carried out by the Jill Dando Institute for Crime Science. Its director later noted, in September 2009, that that research study

“was probably a mistake with hindsight, we should have just said ‘you might as well just stick your finger in the air and think of a number’”.

Stephen Phillips: Does my hon. Friend agree that there is no magic in six years, as the right hon. Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) would have us believe? There is no significant or substantial evidence that supports six years; it is a number that has simply been plucked from the air in an opportunistic attempt to attack the Bill.

Nicola Blackwood: The decision to go for three years is based on the recommendation of the Home Affairs Committee, which took extensive evidence on the issue. Three years versus six years is merely a matter of judgment. Furthermore, it will be three years plus an extension of two years, to ensure that there would be the option of retaining the DNA for five years. I weigh that against the fact that the Bill will remove the DNA of 1 million innocent people from the database—people who feel that they have been criminalised by the system that was put in place. It was done with the best of intentions, to ensure that victims are protected—that is well understood—but it is important to bring proportion into the system, and that is what the Government’s proposals are designed to do.

Andrew Miller: Will the hon. Lady give way?

Nicola Blackwood: I will move on to CCTV, as another colleague wishes to speak.

No one is claiming that CCTV does not have a valuable role to play. The claim that violent criminals will go free because the Government intend to reduce the number of CCTV cameras by introducing a voluntary regulatory code is unimaginably inaccurate. The regulatory code is intended to ensure that it is possible to know where cameras will be placed. There will be consultation with the community so that there can be support from the community. Given that a major concern is the fear of crime and the escalation of the fear of crime, I feel that this is a move in the right direction.

One concern that police have raised is that they struggle to deal with many CCTV cameras being turned in the wrong direction, switched off or not functioning properly. A regulatory framework will give the opportunity to improve quality across the CCTV network and ensure that we improve crime detection by having a CCTV network that is functioning properly across the board.

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The concern of everybody in this House is first and foremost the protection of children. There is not one Member of this House who does not want to ensure that children are protected in every possible way. There is no doubt that that is the case, but even with the current vetting and barring system, under which 9.3 million people are routinely monitored, problems of child protection have persisted. I was particularly concerned by evidence given to the Public Bill Committee that the Independent Safeguarding Authority has not been passing on to the police concerns that it has received about individuals or information about individuals who have been barred. People in schools who have had concerns passed to them have also not been passing those concerns on to the police, although that might be because of concerns about children’s privacy or their being upset. I welcome the Government’s move to produce guidance and I urge that that guidance be written in the strongest possible terms, because I find it inexplicable that the ISA has not considered it a primary duty routinely to inform the police of its concerns about child protection.

Of course, I also welcome the reforms of stop and search, the reduction of pre-charge detention periods and the requirement for consent to use biometrics in schools. I cannot imagine why anybody would want to take fingerprints or obtain biometric information from children in schools.

I know that another colleague wishes to speak, so I will conclude by saying that over the past 10 years, the Labour party has given away liberties without evidence, as far as I can see, that doing so would make us safer. Our democracy and our people’s confidence in their country are weaker for that. I am happy to support the Bill.

9.53 pm

Stephen Phillips: I rise, of course, to lend my support to this welcome Bill and to thank the Government for starting to deal with the plethora of inroads into our civil liberties that were made by the last Labour Administration.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Tom Brake) said that this is a Christmas tree of a Bill. It deals with a number of separate matters or, as he described them, baubles on the tree. It is none the less welcome for the simple reason, of which the House will be aware, that inroads into the fundamental freedoms that this House exists to protect and that we have taken for granted for the entirety of our lives and our history need only be made, in short order, for us subsequently to see further inroads made into those liberties, in a way that none of us in this House ought to welcome.

One has only to consider the point I put to the right hon. Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) about the retention of the DNA of innocent persons to know that the last Labour Government struck the wrong balance. The proposals in the Bill, in my judgment—and it is a question of judgment, as my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford West and Abingdon (Nicola Blackwood) made clear a few moments ago—strike the right balance.

Andrew Miller: The hon. and learned Gentleman is mathematically wrong. It is not a question of judgment, it is a matter of probability, tending towards certainty, because 23,000 people will now be out there with the potential to commit crimes.

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Stephen Phillips: The hon. Gentleman expresses a view with regard to his judgment, but it is a view—

Andrew Miller: It is not judgment, it is a fact.

Stephen Phillips: It is an exercise of judgment, and in my judgment and that of the Government whom I support, three years is sufficient to retain DNA. Making inroads into the civil liberties that we have come to expect and respect, and that we wish to have in this country, is not a reason to go beyond three years. The hon. Gentleman debates whether to retain for three or six years, but I ask him and the whole House, where is the magic in the six-year figure? If six years, why not nine? If nine, why not 15? If 15, why not retain the DNA of 11 million people never convicted of a crime for the entirety of their lives and into the future?

Andrew Miller: Simply because the curve produced by the self-same Home Office that produced the Bill demonstrates what the former Home Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle (Alan Johnson), said: that there is a clear mathematical relationship and in six years we have a way of dealing very neatly with a substantially greater number of potential criminals than the three-year period offers.

Stephen Phillips: So there we are, the House has it—it is a curve. Does that not savour of the statistics, initiatives, targets and strategies that we had from the last Government? Is it not about time that hon. Members started exercising judgment with regard to what is important? In my judgment, what is important is that the British people are entitled to have their liberties respected. They were not respected under the last Government, and this coalition Government are beginning to address the inroads that the last Government made into the liberties of the British people.

I am going to draw my remarks to a close—[Hon. Members: “Hear, hear!”] Well, I am pleased to have some assent from the Opposition Benches. We have a Bill before the House of which we can all be proud, and I urge right hon. and hon. Members on the Opposition Benches who sat idly by while the liberties of the British people were not respected to go through the Aye Lobby tonight and give the Bill the Third Reading it deserves.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

The House divided:

Ayes 320, Noes 227.

Division No. 362]

[9.58 pm

AYES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Norman

Baker, Steve

Baldry, Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Bingham, Andrew

Binley, Mr Brian

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Mr Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Brine, Mr Steve

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, Annette

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, Fiona

Bruce, rh Malcolm

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burley, Mr Aidan

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burstow, Paul

Burt, Alistair

Burt, Lorely

Byles, Dan

Cable, rh Vince

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Carmichael, Neil

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Cash, Mr William

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Clappison, Mr James

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Colvile, Oliver

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, Stephen

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Davey, Mr Edward

Davies, David T. C.

(Monmouth)

Davies, Glyn

Davis, rh Mr David

de Bois, Nick

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen

Dorries, Nadine

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Edwards, Jonathan

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Fabricant, Michael

Farron, Tim

Featherstone, Lynne

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Fuller, Richard

Gale, Mr Roger

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gilbert, Stephen

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Damian

Greening, Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, Matthew

Hancock, Mr Mike

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Nick

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, Mr John

Heald, Oliver

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Henderson, Gordon

Hendry, Charles

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hollingbery, George

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Horwood, Martin

Hosie, Stewart

Howell, John

Hughes, rh Simon

Huhne, rh Chris

Huppert, Dr Julian

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, Sajid

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kelly, Chris

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Mr Greg

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Latham, Pauline

Laws, rh Mr David

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lloyd, Stephen

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Luff, Peter

Macleod, Mary

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

Main, Mrs Anne

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

McVey, Esther

Mensch, Louise

Menzies, Mark

Mercer, Patrick

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, Maria

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Moore, rh Michael

Morgan, Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mulholland, Greg

Munt, Tessa

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

O'Brien, Mr Stephen

Offord, Mr Matthew

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Opperman, Guy

Ottaway, Richard

Parish, Neil

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pugh, John

Raab, Mr Dominic

Redwood, rh Mr John

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reevell, Simon

Reid, Mr Alan

Robathan, rh Mr Andrew

Robertson, Hugh

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, Amber

Ruffley, Mr David

Russell, Bob

Rutley, David

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Miss Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Sir Robert

Soames, rh Nicholas

Soubry, Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stanley, rh Sir John

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Mr Graham

Stunell, Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swales, Ian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swinson, Jo

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Tapsell, rh Sir Peter

Teather, Sarah

Thurso, John

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Truss, Elizabeth

Turner, Mr Andrew

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Walter, Mr Robert

Ward, Mr David

Watkinson, Angela

Weatherley, Mike

Webb, Steve

Weir, Mr Mike

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whittaker, Craig

Wiggin, Bill

Willetts, rh Mr David

Williams, Hywel

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Gavin

Willott, Jenny

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wilson, Sammy

Wishart, Pete

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wright, Jeremy

Wright, Simon

Yeo, Mr Tim

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Ayes:

Norman Lamb and

James Duddridge

NOES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Barron, rh Mr Kevin

Bayley, Hugh

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Bell, Sir Stuart

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brennan, Kevin

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Bryant, Chris

Burden, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Campbell, Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Chapman, Mrs Jenny

Clark, Katy

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Connarty, Michael

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Crausby, Mr David

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Tony

Curran, Margaret

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

David, Mr Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

Davies, Geraint

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobbin, Jim

Dobson, rh Frank

Docherty, Thomas

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Field, rh Mr Frank

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Francis, Dr Hywel

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Gilmore, Sheila

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Godsiff, Mr Roger

Goggins, rh Paul

Goodman, Helen

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hain, rh Mr Peter

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harris, Mr Tom

Havard, Mr Dai

Healey, rh John

Hendrick, Mark

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hermon, Lady

Hillier, Meg

Hilling, Julie

Hodge, rh Margaret

Hood, Mr Jim

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hunt, Tristram

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jackson, Glenda

James, Mrs Siân C.

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Joyce, Eric

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Kendall, Liz

Khan, rh Sadiq

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lazarowicz, Mark

Leslie, Chris

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

MacShane, rh Mr Denis

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McClymont, Gregg

McCrea, Dr William

McDonagh, Siobhain

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Alison

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McKinnell, Catherine

Meacher, rh Mr Michael

Mearns, Ian

Michael, rh Alun

Miliband, rh David

Miller, Andrew

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Morrice, Graeme

(Livingston)

Morris, Grahame M.

(Easington)

Mudie, Mr George

Munn, Meg

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

O'Donnell, Fiona

Onwurah, Chi

Osborne, Sandra

Owen, Albert

Pearce, Teresa

Perkins, Toby

Pound, Stephen

Qureshi, Yasmin

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reeves, Rachel

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robertson, John

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Mr Frank

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Sarwar, Anas

Seabeck, Alison

Shannon, Jim

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheridan, Jim

Shuker, Gavin

Simpson, David

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Spellar, rh Mr John

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, Valerie

Walley, Joan

Watts, Mr Dave

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Wicks, rh Malcolm

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Woodcock, John

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Tellers for the Noes:

Nic Dakin and

Graham Jones

Question accordingly agreed to.

11 Oct 2011 : Column 297

11 Oct 2011 : Column 298

11 Oct 2011 : Column 299

11 Oct 2011 : Column 300

Bill read the Third time and passed.

Business without Debate

deferred divisions

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 41A(3)),

That, at this day’s sitting, Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions) shall not apply to the Motion in the name of the Secretary Theresa May relating to Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism, and the Motion in the name of Mr Mark Hoban relating to Financial Assistance to Ireland and Portugal.—(Bill Wiggin.)

Question agreed to.

11 Oct 2011 : Column 301

Delegated legislation

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

Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism

That the Terrorism Act 2000 (Remedial) Order 2011 (S.I., 2011, No. 631) dated 16 March 2011, a copy of which was laid before this House on 17 March, be approved.—(Bill Wiggin.)

Question agreed to.

Mr Speaker: Before I ask the Whip to move the motion 4, and before any consequent activity or indication, I ought to say that I think that there is a mistake in the wording of the motion on the Order Paper. It ought not to say “the Committee”; it ought to say “this House”. Members are nodding knowingly. I am merely reminding them of something of which they were keenly conscious in any case, but there you go.

European Union documents

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 119(11)),

Financial Assistance to Ireland and Portugal

That this House takes note of European Union Documents No. 9776/11 relating to a Draft Council implementing Decision on granting Union financial assistance to Portugal, No. 9780/2/11, relating to a Council implementing Decision on granting Union financial assistance to Portugal, and No. 9777/11 relating to a draft Council implementing Decision amending implementing Decision 2011/77/EU of 7 December 2010 on granting Union financial assistance to Ireland; notes the importance of financial stability in the Euro area for the UK; welcomes the recent steps being taken by the governments of Ireland and Portugal to promote growth and return their economies to a sustainable path; welcomes the Government’s success in securing agreement that the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism will cease to exist once the permanent, Euro area-only, European Stability Mechanism becomes operational in July 2013; and that Article 122(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, the basis for the emergency arrangements, will no longer be needed for such purposes.—(Bill Wiggin.)


The House divided:

Ayes 271, Noes 22.

Division No. 363]

[10.13 pm

AYES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Norman

Baldry, Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Bingham, Andrew

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Mr Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, Annette

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, Fiona

Bruce, rh Malcolm

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burley, Mr Aidan

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, Alistair

Burt, Lorely

Byles, Dan

Cable, rh Vince

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Carmichael, Neil

Chishti, Rehman

Clark, rh Greg

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Colvile, Oliver

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Davey, Mr Edward

Davies, David T. C.

(Monmouth)

Davies, Glyn

Davis, rh Mr David

de Bois, Nick

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Duddridge, James

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Durkan, Mark

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Fabricant, Michael

Farron, Tim

Featherstone, Lynne

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Fuller, Richard

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gilbert, Stephen

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Damian

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, Matthew

Hancock, Mr Mike

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Nick

Hayes, Mr John

Heald, Oliver

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Hendry, Charles

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hollingbery, George

Hopkins, Kris

Horwood, Martin

Hosie, Stewart

Howell, John

Hughes, rh Simon

Huhne, rh Chris

Huppert, Dr Julian

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, Sajid

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Mr Greg

Latham, Pauline

Laws, rh Mr David

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lloyd, Stephen

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Luff, Peter

Macleod, Mary

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

May, rh Mrs Theresa

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

McVey, Esther

Mensch, Louise

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, Maria

Mills, Nigel

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Moore, rh Michael

Morgan, Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mulholland, Greg

Munt, Tessa

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

O'Brien, Mr Stephen

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Ottaway, Richard

Parish, Neil

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, Mike

Penrose, John

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prisk, Mr Mark

Raab, Mr Dominic

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reid, Mr Alan

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robathan, rh Mr Andrew

Robertson, Hugh

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, Amber

Ruffley, Mr David

Russell, Bob

Rutley, David

Sandys, Laura

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simmonds, Mark

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Miss Chloe

Smith, Julian

Smith, Sir Robert

Soubry, Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Stride, Mel

Stunell, Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swales, Ian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swinson, Jo

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Tapsell, rh Sir Peter

Teather, Sarah

Thurso, John

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Truss, Elizabeth

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Walter, Mr Robert

Watkinson, Angela

Weatherley, Mike

Webb, Steve

Weir, Mr Mike

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whittaker, Craig

Wiggin, Bill

Willetts, rh Mr David

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Gavin

Willott, Jenny

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wishart, Pete

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wright, Jeremy

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Ayes:

Norman Lamb and

Stephen Crabb

NOES

Baker, Steve

Binley, Mr Brian

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Cash, Mr William

Chope, Mr Christopher

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Goldsmith, Zac

Gray, Mr James

Hermon, Lady

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Lewis, Dr Julian

Main, Mrs Anne

McCartney, Jason

McCrea, Dr William

Nuttall, Mr David

Percy, Andrew

Redwood, rh Mr John

Shannon, Jim

Simpson, David

Turner, Mr Andrew

Wilson, Sammy

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr Peter Bone and

Mr Philip Hollobone

Question accordingly agreed to.

11 Oct 2011 : Column 302

11 Oct 2011 : Column 303

business of the House (13 October)

Motion made,

That, at the sitting on Thursday 13 October,

(1) the Speaker shall put the Questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on the Motions in the name of Mr Greg Knight relating to Hand-held Electronic Devices in the Chamber, Select Committee Amendments, Explanatory Statements on Amendments to Bills, and Written Parliamentary Questions not later than one

11 Oct 2011 : Column 304

and a half hours after their commencement; and such Questions shall include the Questions on any Amendments selected by the Speaker which may then be moved;

(2) proceedings on the Motion in the name of Mr Greg Knight on Ministerial Statements may continue until three hours after commencement of proceedings on the Motions specified in paragraph (1), and shall then lapse if not previously disposed of.—(Bill Wiggin).

Hon. Members: Object.

DELEGAted Legislation (COMMITTEES)

Ordered,

That the motions in the name of Sir George Young relating to the Electoral Commission and the Local Government Boundary Commission for England shall be treated as if they related to instruments subject to the provisions of Standing Order No. 118 (Delegated Legislation Committees) in respect of which notice has been given that the instruments be approved.—(Bill Wiggin).

Welsh gRAND committee

Ordered,

That—

(1) the matter of the Government’s Work Programme and its implications for Wales be referred to the Welsh Grand Committee for its consideration;

(2) the Committee shall meet at Wrexham County Council on Thursday 20 October between 11 am and 4 pm to consider the matter referred to it under paragraph (1) above.—(Bill Wiggin).


procedure

Ordered,

That, notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order No. 121(2), Bridget Phillipson be discharged from the Procedure Committee and Nic Dakin be added.—(Bill Wiggin).

business of the House (17 October)

Motion made,

That, at the sitting on Monday 17 October, notwithstanding Standing Order No. 14(3A) (Arrangement of public business), the Speaker shall put the Questions necessary to dispose of the proceedings on the Motion in the name of Sir George Young relating to the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund not later than two hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Motion; and such Questions shall include the Questions on any Amendments selected by the Speaker which may then be moved.—(Bill Wiggin .)

Hon. Members: Object.

Steve Rotheram (Liverpool, Walton) (Lab): On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Will you specify the identity of the objector to the motion on the business of the House on 17 October so that it can be recorded in Hansard, and also explain the ramifications of the objection? Is it right that that objection will deny the House an opportunity to debate the Hillsborough disaster? It had taken 22 years to reach the point at which it was scheduled for debate in the Chamber.

Mr Speaker: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order—

Several hon. Members rose

11 Oct 2011 : Column 305

Mr Speaker: I will take more points of order if they are on the same matter—or, indeed, on other matters—and then I will respond. I will take a point of order first from the right hon. Member for Leigh (Andy Burnham), who is on the Opposition Front Bench, and then, of course, I will take one from the Leader of the House.

Andy Burnham (Leigh) (Lab): Further to the point of order from my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Steve Rotheram), Mr Speaker. The debate on 17 October will be an unprecedented occasion, because 140,000 people signed an e-petition asking for an issue that has not been properly debated here for some 22 years to be brought back to the Floor of the House. They will regard what has just happened with great dismay. People have already booked travel to the House on that evening, and the families of those who died will be attending our proceedings. Surely it cannot be right for one Member to stand up—because he wants to talk about his own pension—and deny those people the opportunity to debate the important issues relating to the Hillsborough disaster, and the huge, huge injustice that was done to the families and the people of Liverpool.

Mr Speaker: I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his point of order.

Derek Twigg (Halton) (Lab) rose—

Mr Speaker: I think it right for the House to hear from the Leader of the House before I deal with the point of order from the hon. Member for Halton (Derek Twigg).

The Leader of the House of Commons (Sir George Young): Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. The Government recognise the strength of feeling about the matter. We intend to table the motion for debate tomorrow, and if it is carried tomorrow—as I hope it will be—the business on Monday will take the shape outlined in motion 9.

Mr Speaker: I thank the Leader of the House for what he has said.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr Speaker: Before anyone else says anything, let me say that I am not sure that that will be necessary.

I feel that I owe a response to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Steve Rotheram), who is a new Member of the House. It is not the practice to name—and certainly not for the occupant of the Chair to take it upon himself to name—a Member who has uttered the word “Object”. No disorderly practice has taken place. There are rules and procedures of the House which have been followed. It is for the hon. Gentleman to

11 Oct 2011 : Column 306

interpret the effect of what was stated, and that he has done, very clearly, very explicitly, and, of course, very publicly, on the record. The right hon. Member for Leigh has done the same from the Front Bench, but I think that both Members will agree that the Leader of the House has made the Government’s position very clear.

I intend to take one more point of order on this matter, but I hope that we can then proceed to the next business.

Derek Twigg: Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. It is a worry that we will have to go through this procedure tomorrow, especially as the Government had an idea of what would happen tonight. We have families coming down on Monday who have had injustice upon injustice upon injustice heaped upon them, so why did the Government allow this situation to arise tonight? It is ridiculous that they did not sort it out earlier. They knew this could happen, and they should have sorted it out. I just hope that tomorrow we can get through this without any more problems.

Mr Speaker: I note what the hon. Gentleman has said, but the Leader of the House has made his position clear. I shall make two simple points. First, it is not the business of the Chair to worry; on the whole, it is best for the Chair not to devote any time to that, and I do not. Secondly, although of course I understand the hon. Gentleman’s feelings, I know he will appreciate that it is one thing for him to put his very real irritation and consternation on the record, but it is another thing to expect the Chair to seek to extrapolate from every event and offer an interpretation of it. I do not think that is necessary. The Leader of the House has been clear, and I think that is appreciated.

Ms Angela Eagle (Wallasey) (Lab): Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. I do not want to detain the House much longer, but I would like to put on the record our appreciation on this side of the House for the swift response of the Leader of the House, as a result of which we can get the position back to where we had all intended it to be, so that the families of all the victims—and, indeed, half of Merseyside, who will be travelling down to listen to the debate on the Hillsborough disaster on Monday—will not be denied the chance for this debate to take place in a timely fashion.

Mr Speaker: I thank the shadow Leader of the House for what she has said, and now that views have been expressed, I hope we can proceed to the Adjournment debate. [Interruption.] Order. Before I call Mr Jamie Reed, may I appeal to Members who are leaving the Chamber—if they feel they must leave—to do so quickly and quietly so that the rest of us can listen with interest to the hon. Gentleman?

11 Oct 2011 : Column 307

Nuclear Power Production (Sellafield)

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—(Bill Wiggin.)

10.32 pm

Mr Jamie Reed (Copeland) (Lab): First, I must say that it is a genuine disappointment that this debate will be overshadowed by a disgraceful attempt by an individual Member to thwart the debate on the Hillsborough tragedy. That should haunt him for the rest of his days.

I should also point out that the title of this debate is slightly incorrect. Although I will address power production and other nuclear-related issues in the course of my remarks, the title should refer to future nuclear fuel production at Sellafield.

I must declare some interests from the outset—somewhere in the region of 16,000 interests, as that is the number of jobs that rely on the Sellafield facility in my constituency. Many people wonder why I spend so much time on these issues, but, frankly, this topic means everything to my constituency. It underpins the economy, the sustainability of population levels, the housing market, our schools, our hospital services, our police service and other public services. In fact, it touches every single facet of west Cumbrian life, as I know the Minister is well aware.

I must place on record my appreciation to the Minister. We have a good working relationship, we share the same understanding of many of the complex issues before us, and I genuinely appreciate the way in which he in particular has continued to prosecute the policies of the British nuclear renaissance established under the last Government. These are issues of the utmost national importance economically, environmentally and in terms of energy security, and they require a concerted, long-term political consensus, particularly with regard to nuclear energy and nuclear policy. We both have to contend with elements in our parties who disagree with that view, but the Minister should know that he and I, and others who share our view, speak for the nation on this issue.

In April 2010 I introduced the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (Non-Proliferation and Public Liability) Bill in this House, and I commend it to the Minister as a template for future policy. It deals with how this nation treats the plutonium and uranium dioxide currently stored at Sellafield in my constituency, about which I will talk tonight. I modestly suggest that it is the best Bill of its kind ever to be introduced in this House, although I also fear that it is probably the only Bill of its kind ever to be introduced here.

Tonight’s debate takes place against a backdrop of the Fukushima disaster and the decision taken in August to close the Sellafield MOX plant. As is widely understood, the two issues were closely related, and I repeat again, as a third generation nuclear worker from a community that genuinely understands and appreciates what it is like to be a nuclear community, my incredible respect for and gratitude to all those in Japan who worked to contain those dreadful events, and my respect for all those affected by them. I know that my community and the Sellafield work force stand ready to help that community in whatever way we can.

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I know that the decision to close the Sellafield MOX plant was made with a heavy heart and had been discussed for many years. I again pay tribute to the Sellafield MOX plant work force, who are among the most talented and able in the country. They did everything humanly possible to turn that plant around. The Minister has visited the plant, so I know that he knows that. The decision to close the plant is in no way a reflection upon either the work force or their abilities, and I will always work to ensure that they have a meaningful and successful future. At this point, I must also mention the exemplary work done by the Sellafield work force, the Sellafield trade unions and the recently re-established Sellafield Workers Campaign. They undertook vital work in the aftermath of the closure announcement and gave community leadership in that context, and they represent the single best asset that either Sellafield or the nuclear industry has. I hope that the Minister and the Secretary of State will agree to join me in meeting those unions and union representatives very soon to discuss the issues raised in tonight’s debate, as well as other issues.

The Minister will be aware of the importance of the Sellafield MOX plant, not only to my constituency but to west Cumbria and to Cumbria as a whole. It has supported, and currently still supports, thousands of jobs in an area where the economy is based on public spending and the private sector is also based on the contracts let by that publicly funded investment. Indeed, a recent study by The Guardian showed that my constituency was the most heavily reliant on public spending in the country, with about 50.3% of its economy based on public spending.

We know what went wrong at the Sellafield MOX plant. I have held numerous discussions with the people involved in that plant from the very beginning—from the boardroom to the shop floor—and there is a compelling consensus: the design was wrong; there was a drive to over-automate processes in the wake of the MOX data falsification episode; and the best practices, which are usually the simplest practices, from other countries adept at MOX fuel production were not followed. The product produced by the Sellafield MOX plant was excellent and the policy drivers that underpin it are impeccable, but the design and implementation of it in that plant were wrong. That said, the case for using the nation’s stockpiled uranium and plutonium dioxide, whether in a MOX 2 or, theoretically, some other such commercial and industrial utilisation, such as General Electric-Hitachi’s PRISM—power reactor innovative small module—concept is incontrovertible.

The nuclear industry is one of the few industries that can facilitate what I call “sweet-spot economics”. That is the support of industries that, by themselves, can deliver improvements, progress and, in some cases, solutions to some of the most intractable policy problems facing us as a country. In west Cumbria the much admired and increasingly copied energy coast programme, of which a new MOX plant is a part, is based upon the sweet-spot theory. The development of the energy coast will: safeguard west Cumbria’s economic future; help to rebalance the economy; increase the security of our energy supplies; deliver our non-proliferation objectives; and, in many ways, resolve the long-running policy problem of radioactive waste disposal.

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The case for MOX 2 is based upon sweet-spot economics as well. There exists at Sellafield tens of thousands of tonnes of uranium dioxide and approximately 115 tonnes of plutonium oxide. The consultations on how to classify that material recently ended and we now all anxiously await the Government’s response.

To put it simply, there is a stark choice to be made. These materials are either waste or assets. If they are classified as waste, it will cost us billions of pounds of public money to treat, store and dispose of them. If, however, they are classified as assets, which they undeniably are, their value as component materials to service the growing international demand for MOX fuel will be enormous and they will be worth tens of billons of pounds to the British taxpayer and the nation.

As the Minister is aware, there is real interest from certain parties in developing a new MOX fuel manufacturing plant at Sellafield, and that should be pursued in the national interest. Using plutonium and uranium oxides in that way would certainly change the nature of the radioactive waste inventory that will eventually be placed in a deep geological facility somewhere in this country, perhaps in my constituency. That decision will be entirely in the hands of local people, not politicians, but the status and use of the plutonium and uranium oxides will inevitably have an effect on the process of voluntarism for the deep geological facility and on public attitudes as we go forward. The two are linked in the popular local consciousness, and so they should be.

In addition, the cost of disposing of those materials will easily outstrip the costs of a new MOX facility, even before the additional benefits are considered, but the fundamental question is why we need MOX 2. We need it to strengthen the industrial base that facilitates the nuclear fuel cycle in this country and provides us with the single best chance we have not only of meeting our nuclear non-proliferation objectives but helping other countries, particularly the United States, to meet theirs, too. We need it to help rebalance the British economy. An early intention from Government to proceed with MOX 2 would galvanise the local and national supply chain surrounding new build in west Cumbria and send out precisely the right investment signals at a time of real anxiety.

Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP): Does the hon. Gentleman, like many in this House—the majority, I hope—feel that Sellafield is a significant player in the future energy supply for this country? Following on from the urgent question earlier, does he also feel that the issues of health and of safeguarding health and security for the population around there are also paramount, and guaranteed by Government?

Mr Reed: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. Sadly, I missed the urgent question earlier, as I could have spoken for hours about the misconceptions, lies and myths about not only Sellafield but the nuclear industry. Sellafield is without doubt one of the most important industrial facilities in this country. There is nothing like it. In fact, it is one of the most important industrial facilities anywhere in the developed world. It no longer produces fuel, although we hope to see a site adjacent to Sellafield producing fuel with at least two new nuclear reactors in the very near future.

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On the health issues surrounding the nuclear industry, I am a third generation nuclear worker, and the Sellafield work force are probably the most extensively and exhaustively studied and investigated work force anywhere in the world. The community I represent, which I am very proud to be from, has also been studied and investigated exhaustively over decades. There are locks, double locks and triple locks from the Government and a variety of health bodies about the environmental operating standards and public health standards of the nuclear industry. There is no issue to answer, and those who persist in maligning the industry and spreading malicious and false rumours do not only themselves but my community and this industry, which is so important to the country, a huge disservice, so I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that intervention.

I was talking about the need for MOX 2 and building the case for it. As well as needing it to rebalance the British economy and the local economy in west Cumbria, we need it to produce the fuel that we need to help power CO2-free electricity generation through nuclear in the future. We need it to secure our national energy supplies better. We need it to expedite better and more quickly the creation of a geological disposal facility. West Cumbria needs it, the country needs it, and my constituents deserve nothing less.

Given the strength of the case, the overwhelming need and the ready ability of industry to develop such a facility, all that is now missing is an affirmative decision from Government and a rapid response to the plutonium consultation paper. The longer that takes, the harder it will be to deliver. The Minister understands haste. After some impassioned discussions, he accepted the logic and brought forward the operational date of a future geological disposal facility from 2040 to 2029, and that is absolutely to his credit.

Speeding up this process is important—and the process of voluntarism is another debate entirely, which is also within the hands of Government, or perhaps, more particularly, in the dead hands of the Treasury. We now need a quick decision from Government on the plutonium consultation. Industry, investors and the supply chain all require some clarity and certainty, as does my local work force and local community. If the Government respond positively to the plutonium consultation as I am asking them to do tonight, I would hope—this is an essential point—that a timetable would accompany such a decision, whereby the development of a new MOX plant could be prosecuted more quickly and the programme delivered effectively, on time and to budget in a way that would be entirely predictable for us all to see.

The need for urgency is real—a point that I consistently made to the last Government as I do to the present Government. If the Minister can provide the required urgency my community can provide the necessary partnership, and collectively we can solve some of the most pressing public policy issues facing our country.

10.45 pm

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Charles Hendry): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for granting this debate. I congratulate the hon. Member for Copeland (Mr Reed) on securing it and thank him for doing so. The matter is timely and important, not just to his constituency but to our national interest

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more generally. I am delighted to see on the Front Bench and to congratulate the right hon. Member for Don Valley (Caroline Flint) and the hon. Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West (Tom Greatrex) on their appointments to the important positions in the shadow team.

I am grateful for the chance to clarify the Government’s position on the future of the nuclear industry in Sellafield, although I cannot give the hon. Member for Copeland all of the answers that he seeks today. I begin by acknowledging the vital contribution that the nuclear industry makes to the economic prosperity of west Cumbria, and also the important contribution that the people of Copeland have made and continue to make to Britain’s nuclear heritage. West Cumbria is at the heart of the UK’s nuclear industry and has been since the early days in the 1950s. There is an enormous wealth of nuclear expertise and knowledge, and we want to maintain and use that for the future. The future is promising for west Cumbria as a nuclear community. There are plans for new nuclear to play a part, local authorities are expressing an interest in hosting a geological disposal facility, and decommissioning commitments are ongoing.

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the Government are fully focused on working with west Cumbria to deliver these commitments, as we are in ensuring that new nuclear has a role to play in the UK's future energy mix. The hon. Gentleman was kind and generous in his comments and we agree on much, but I hope that he will understand that I was a little disappointed by some of his recent media comments about the pace of movement and progress in these areas. I hope that in the light of the terrible events in Fukushima some months ago he will have welcomed the ongoing commitment that the British Government have shown to nuclear in comparison with many other Governments elsewhere.

The UK has everything to gain from becoming the No. 1 destination to invest in new nuclear. Nuclear is the cheapest low-carbon source of electricity around, so it keeps the bills down and the lights on. The Government have remained committed in their efforts to ensure that the conditions are right for investment in new nuclear in the UK. We are very pleased to build on the legacy that we received in this area from Lord Hutton when he was Secretary of State.

We have made significant progress in the 18 months we have been in power to ensure that the conditions for investment are right. Last October, the Secretary of State made his decision that two nuclear reactor designs should be justified, which was approved by the House by a large majority of 520 votes to 27—one of the largest majorities that we have seen on any issue. In July we designated the national policy statements for energy infrastructure, including a list of suitable sites for nuclear power stations. Those had been delayed as a result of amendments to emissions in the earlier drafts, but I know that the hon. Gentleman was pleased that Sellafield was one of the sites included in that list. We have also created the Office for Nuclear Regulation, and we plan to bring forward legislation to create a new independent statutory body as soon as we can. The regulators are continuing to work with the industry to take forward the generic design assessment process for new reactors. They have published agreed resolution plans for the issues that need to be resolved, and they will also need to factor Dr Weightman's report into their final assessment.

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In the coming months the Government will look to finalise the framework governing the financing of decommissioning and waste management for new nuclear power stations. That will ensure that operators make secure financial provision from the outset in line with the Government's policy that there should be no subsidy for new nuclear. We have done all that in the wake of the tragic circumstances at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. We needed to understand the facts before making any decisions. That is why my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State asked the chief nuclear inspector, Dr Mike Weightman, to look at what Fukushima means for nuclear energy in Britain and what lessons can be learned.

The UK is most certainly open for business in the nuclear sector. Investors know that EDF Energy will begin preliminary works at Hinkley Point soon and is preparing its planning application as we speak to put to the Infrastructure Planning Commission this autumn. I am also encouraged by the prospects for new nuclear in west Cumbria. The NuGeneration consortium has set out plans to build up to 3.6 GW of new nuclear capacity at Sellafield. We hope that construction will begin in 2015, with commercial operation of a new nuclear power station expected by 2023. Both Iberdrola and GDF SUEZ remain confident about new nuclear in west Cumbria and have increased their stakes in the project. They see no reason why the decision by Scottish and Southern Energy to end its involvement with NuGen should impact on their plans or timetable.

Sellafield is central to the west Cumbrian economy. The Sellafield site has been around for over half a century and has brought many new opportunities to the area. There are opportunities because we are pushing forward scientific frontiers in relation to clean-up and the management of radioactive waste. I congratulate west Cumbria sincerely on taking the lead in decommissioning one of the world’s largest and most complex facilities. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will welcome the fact that the Government have allocated extra resources to that vital work. As I have mentioned, new nuclear power is once again on the agenda and west Cumbria is at the forefront of this, with land earmarked for development next to the Sellafield site. That will potentially provide 5,000 construction jobs at peak and 1,000 long-term operating jobs. We join him in wanting to see the economic success for the community he represents.

Radioactive waste is of course always an issue of great importance when talking about the future of the nuclear industry. West Cumbria has also expressed an interest in the process of geological disposal of radioactive waste. We are working in partnership to explore what that would involve. Should west Cumbria decide to participate in the next stages of the process—I emphasise that, in relation to this matter, we strongly believe in the voluntarist principle—it would show a real commitment to finding a long-term solution for nuclear waste disposal. The community is to be applauded for having the vision to find out more about the reality of that process and for fully considering all the implications, including the potential economic benefits. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for welcoming the fact that we have sought to speed up the process by a decade.

The geological disposal facility would be a multi-billion pound engineering development on an enormous scale which will employ an average of over 500 people for

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perhaps a century to come. Apart from the income generated, we expect that there will also be spin-off benefits through associated engineering and supply chain developments and potentially further additional benefits. Therefore, notwithstanding the long-term decommissioning of Sellafield that will see billions of pounds spent on cleaning up the site over the next 100 years, there are potentially major opportunities available to west Cumbria through the nuclear sector.

I now turn to the options for plutonium and the implications for future production of mixed oxide fuel at Sellafield. The future of MOX production at Sellafield can be described primarily by two recent events. The first was the publication in February of the Government’s consultation on the long-term management of the UK’s plutonium—we have the largest stockpile of plutonium in the world. The second was the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s announcement in August that it was to close the existing Sellafield MOX plant. Although both events are to an extent linked, it must be remembered that the Sellafield MOX plant was built to deal with overseas-owned plutonium recovered through reprocessing and was never intended to deal with the UK’s plutonium. A decision to close the SMP was taken by the NDA following a changed commercial risk profile arising from potential delays after the earthquake in Japan and subsequent events.

To ensure that the UK taxpayer did not carry a future financial burden from the SMP, the NDA concluded that the only reasonable course of action was to close the facility at the earliest practical opportunity. It was apparent that the SMP was never going to provide a solution for the large volumes of UK plutonium, which would need to be managed in new facilities. I am very grateful for the realistic approach that the hon. Gentleman has taken on that.

In our consultation on plutonium management we set out three high-level options for dealing with plutonium: continued storage; immobilisation followed by disposal as a waste; and reuse of the plutonium in the form of MOX fuel. The consultation set out at a high level the advantages and disadvantages of each option, but the Government’s preliminary view was that the best prospect of implementing a successful solution lay with the option of reusing MOX as a fuel and, therefore, with seeing its value rather than simply its cost, as the hon. Gentleman rightly called for us to do.

That option was the more technically mature, given that MOX fuel had been successfully fabricated and used in reactors in Europe, and given that by comparison no equally mature immobilisation technology was readily employable. Nevertheless, we recognised that there were still risks with the reuse-as-MOX option, particularly given the poor performance of the Sellafield MOX plant. The poor performance put limitations on throughput, which meant that, even if we wanted to use it, the Sellafield MOX plant would never be able to deal with all the UK’s plutonium.

For that reason, we acknowledged that to implement a reuse solution the Government would need to procure a new MOX plant, but as the hon. Gentleman is well

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aware, the UK also stores significant quantities of overseas-owned plutonium, so pursuing a reuse-as-MOX option for UK plutonium could offer an opportunity for the overseas owners of plutonium currently stored in the UK to have their plutonium managed in the same way.

Mr Reed: The Minister is making a series of important and well thought-through points, which I welcome. On overseas materials and foreign waste, could we at some point in the very near future sit down with concerned parties to undertake a scoping exercise with regard to what happens to the waste currently stored in my constituency which, in the event of Scottish independence, would no longer be British waste?

Charles Hendry: That departs just a little from the subject of the debate, and, although the hon. Gentleman is as determined as I am to see off that threat, we are dealing with an issue that is not going to arise. However, in the event of separation there would clearly be implications for a settlement and they would need to be addressed and resolved. It is premature, however, to sit down and deal with those issues at this stage.

Were we to proceed down the path of a reuse, any new MOX plant would need to learn from the lessons of the past and take into account the experience from overseas. Additionally we anticipate that, for security reasons and to minimise the transportation of plutonium, any new MOX facilities would be located as close to the plutonium as possible and most likely in west Cumbria, which I believe many of the hon. Gentleman’s constituents would actively welcome. Plutonium management is a high-profile issue that requires appropriate consideration, and it is not a decision that can be taken quickly. The Government are in the process of clearing our response through Cabinet, and we anticipate being in a position to publish our response shortly.

I, like the Prime Minister, have made it clear that nuclear should remain part of the future energy mix, alongside other technologies such as renewable and carbon capture and storage, provided that there is no public subsidy for nuclear, and the Weightman report, published today, provides no grounds to question our approach that nuclear should be part of the energy mix in future, as it is today. The next step on plutonium management is for the Government to publish their response to the consultation paper, and, as I have just said, we are in the process of clearing our response through Cabinet and anticipate being in a position to make an announcement shortly.

We all recognise that nuclear power plays a significant role in the UK’s electricity supply, but that nuclear also results in radioactive waste. West Cumbria has expressed interest in the geological disposal of radioactive waste, and we are working in partnership to explore what that would involve. I pay tribute to the community as a whole, to the hon. Gentleman as their Member of Parliament and to the local authorities for having the vision to find out more about the process and to work very closely with us to see how we can take it forward.

Question put and agreed to.

10.58 pm

House adjourned.