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In other ways, however, the issue is clear cut. I have constituents who are in same-sex relationships and who want to get married. I have faith groups in my constituency that want to conduct same-sex marriages. We have heard a lot today about religious freedom. It would be totally wrong for any Church or mosque to be forced to conduct any wedding against its wishes, but it is equally wrong that faith groups in this country that want to

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conduct same-sex marriage services are prevented from doing so by the present law. There is clear public support for the proposal.

As a Conservative, I am a passionate believer in marriage as a force for good, and I lament its decline in our society. We have people who want to get married, yet some of us are not sure whether we should allow that to happen.

We have heard two main reasons for opposing the legislation. We have been asked to guarantee that it will not be successfully challenged in the courts. In fact, no Member can guarantee that the present law will not be successfully challenged. The question should be whether there is a credible risk of such a challenge, and the answer to that is no. Countries that already have this law have not been challenged. For years in this country, we have allowed divorced people to remarry in church, yet the Catholic Church’s policy of not remarrying divorcees has not been challenged. The most eminent lawyers in the country tell us that the risk is inconceivable, and the Church of England’s own briefing states that the Church does not believe it to be realistic or likely.

The other argument against the Bill is that it would undermine marriage. Mrs Barwell suffers enough as a result of my job, and if I thought it likely that I would go home tonight only to be accused of undermining my marriage by voting for the Bill, I would not vote for it. However, no one has yet come up with a credible explanation of how it would undermine marriage. Yes, it is controversial, but decriminalising homosexuality was controversial, as was our equalising the age of consent. It was also controversial when the Labour Government rightly legislated for civil partnerships. Once those things were done and the world did not end, public opinion changed, and that is what will happen when this legislation is passed.

I am by nature a small “c” conservative. I do not like change. There is a part of me that would like to take the world back to 1990 when my father was healthy, when I did not have the pressures of a demanding job and England were in the semi-finals of the World cup. There is another part of me, however, that recognises the failure of that approach. For conservatism to work, we have to accept that the world changes. If we do not, we become an anachronism. What we have to do as Conservatives is shape that change and try to preserve the best of what we inherited. That is what this Bill does. If it becomes law, it will not undermine marriage; it will not lead to Churches or mosques that do not wish to do so being forced to conduct same-sex marriages. What it will do is allow people of the same sex who love each other to exchange the same vows that Karen and I exchanged and to be part of the same institution.

I will conclude by quoting a comment that was posted on my website:

“I grew up under Thatcher, the gay son of a one parent family in Croydon, and got used to the endless moral scapegoating that the Conservatives subjected me to—ironic, given that I was otherwise a nice middle class child and classic Tory voting material—and the result of my experience was a real hatred towards the Tories. To have a group of Conservatives now fighting for me to be treated as an equal is refreshing and something I never thought I would see.”

Unlike my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Sir Gerald Howarth), who was sitting in front of me, I am a Conservative moderniser. To people watching

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this debate today, I say this: I believe in marriage, I believe in religious freedom and I believe that the law of this country must treat people equally. That is why I will walk through the Lobby and vote for this Bill with pride. When I cease to be an MP and look in the mirror, I will still be proud of that.

6.11 pm

Kris Hopkins (Keighley) (Con): I support the Bill, and I would like to compliment Members on the tone of the debate and on some of the exceptional speeches I have heard from both sides of the argument.

On the morning of 2 May 1997, I was watching TV amid the immense excitement of new Labour’s landslide. Of course, as a Conservative I was watching the news that my party had just been humiliated in one of its biggest defeats in electoral history. How had we gone from being a party with four electoral successes to become a party on the edge of political extinction? The reality is that some people were tired of us, and many hated us. There were also issues such as sleaze. My observation was that, despite the many great things we had done in government, society had moved on and we had not.

Thirteen years later, on the steps of No. 10, the Prime Minister recognised and generously acknowledged that in Labour’s time, the country had become a more open one. He was right to recognise that. The journey my party has gone on since 1997 involved rethinking some of the issues we faced—for example, the rhetoric of race and engaging with the black and ethnic minority community, single parenthood, disability, a commitment to higher education for all people and not just a minority, embracing the NHS, leadership on international development and, yes, a monumental confidence that we have shown in supporting the lesbian and gay community. All those testify to a modern Conservative party, now reflecting the values of modern Britain in ways that we could not have contemplated, let alone sympathised with, in 1997. I say that not because I am pursuing votes and constructing an argument around that, but because I want to see my party reflect the values of this country.

Mr Kevan Jones: If a majority of Conservative Members go through the No Lobby tonight or abstain, does that not show that what we have is a PR veneer rather than real change in the Conservative party?

Kris Hopkins: I do not agree with that. What it demonstrates is that a modern Conservative Prime Minister has put forward a really progressive idea, which we can support. Today we are on the road to equality—an idea promoted by a Conservative Prime Minister—fiercely debated by my party with significant challenge from within, and I would not expect anything different.

I have been contacted by about 120 people, the vast majority of whom asked me to oppose the Bill. I would like to thank most of them for giving me considered and thoughtful views on both sides of the argument. I have laid out my own case here today, but it is important to bear in mind that people of religious faith do not want Churches to be forced to marry people of the same sex. That point has arisen time and again in the debate, but I am confident that we have put the necessary safeguards in place. I want to make it clear to my

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constituents who have that fear that the Government have taken the issue seriously and are embarking on the right route.

We have debated this matter at great length, but all the polling evidence suggests that the vast majority of people out there in the real world support the principles behind the Bill—certainly the vast majority of people to whom I have spoken support them, as do the vast majority of young people. I am talking about people under 50.

Eric Ollerenshaw: Hang on!

Kris Hopkins: Sorry, Eric.

We need to respect those of religious faith, but I believe that this is right. It is right that we promote marriage to all, it is admirable, and it is the right thing to do.

6.15 pm

Dr Thérèse Coffey (Suffolk Coastal) (Con): It is a privilege to take part in the debate. Speeches of high quality have been made by Members on both sides of the argument who feel passionately about the issue, and in general the tone has been measured.

I shall be voting against the Bill because my perspective on what marriage is really about is different from that of some other Members. Of course marriage is about loving commitment to one another, but for me it is fundamentally still about family, the bedrock of society. Marriage involves special provisions, such as support for the family and the procreation of children. Of course that is not the case for all families, for various reasons, but I nevertheless think those provisions are too important to be tampered with in rushed legislation that has not been subject to adequate consultation.

We can request as many legal opinions as we like, but the Government do not plan to indemnify any institution against legal costs if the measure is challenged in courts in this country or in the European Court of Human Rights. They are also continuing to confine civil partnerships to people of the same sex, perpetuating what is effectively a two-tier institution, either by not repealing the law or by denying it to people of opposite sexes. I feel that there are too many inconsistencies, and there is no doubt that the intertwining of Church of England law with the law of England is very difficult to unpick.

I think Members recognise that those who oppose the Bill do not oppose it because they are homophobes, or solely for religious reasons. In fact, more Catholic Conservative Members will be voting for the Bill than will be voting against it. It is fair to say, however, that there is concern about the way in which the Bill is being introduced. Not enough attention has been paid to the valid concerns of people who are genuinely frightened about the possibility, mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce), that they will be prosecuted if they do not offer weddings of all kinds. Although the Minister did not say this, legal advice suggests that people who work for councils will not be able to discriminate. I understand why that might be, but it is simply not valid to say that people will not be affected by the Bill.

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I am not suggesting that the love between people of the same sex is something evil. History shows that it was Henry VIII who, at the same time as setting up the Church of England, criminalised homosexuality. That law was repealed by Queen Mary, a Catholic monarch, and reinstated by Elizabeth I. I should like to think that it is the Church of England that has played the principal role in some of that horrific abuse.

The Bill will probably be given a Second Reading, but it is important that the Government listen to all sorts of voices in Committee, and that those who are not selected as members of the Committee attend, make their views heard and table amendments.

I know that many other Members wish to speak. I thank them for their patience.

6.18 pm

Andrea Leadsom (South Northamptonshire) (Con): The debate goes to the heart of our 21st-century dilemma. In Parliament we rightly advocate equality, freedom and the protection of minority rights, but too often the rights of one group conflict directly with the rights of another. That is not new. Back in the 1850s a political hero of mine, John Stuart Mill, tried in his essay “On Liberty” to define where one person’s liberty ended and another person’s liberty began. He said that we should be

“without impediment from our fellow-creatures, so long as what we do does not harm them”.

The issue of same-sex marriage tests human liberties to the limit. As a Christian, I have been struggling with trying to square the fact that the Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman, with my belief that God loves us all equally, whether we believe in him or not, whether we go to church or not, and whatever our sexuality.

So the first point I wish to make is that I wholeheartedly believe that same-sex couples have as valid a relationship with their partner as do heterosexuals. I also believe that in the eyes of the state we all deserve to be treated equally. But I want to go back to the issue of how one’s person’s liberty should not be allowed to encroach upon another’s, and that is where I am genuinely torn. I have deep sympathy with the hundreds of my constituents who fear that legislation for same-sex marriage will profoundly encroach—although this may be unintended —on their right to live according to their faith. For many, the conviction that marriage can take place only between a man and a woman means that they feel that their own marriage is undermined by what they see as a profound change to the biblical definition. Others fear that same-sex marriage will lead to those working as teachers, priests and chaplains, and those working in the caring professions, being unable to express their own profoundly held views in the workplace. I share their concerns and believe that they are right to fear discrimination against those of faith if this legislation is enacted.

Finally, I do not believe that we have any mandate for this Bill: there is no nationwide clamour for same-sex marriage; civil partnership does provide state recognition for the love of same-sex partners; and if we were truly seeking equality, surely we would also be legislating for heterosexuals to enter into civil partnership. This Bill causes great hurt and for many represents a radical

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reform without proper consideration having been given to the consequences. I deeply regret the way in which it has diminished the principles of democracy and liberty in this country. It is being rushed through to the shock of many people. Fundamental change such as this should be given time and space for consideration.

This is no sixth-form debate; it is legislation from one of the oldest Parliaments in the world and the message we give from this place matters deeply. So with great sadness, I shall be positively abstaining: I shall be walking through the Aye Lobby in solidarity with the minority of same-sex couples for whom marriage represents the ultimate expression of their love for one another and then I shall be walking through the No Lobby to support the liberty of those whose freedoms may well be under threat from this ill-considered legislation.

6.22 pm

Richard Fuller (Bedford) (Con): I am grateful for having caught your eye, Mr Speaker. You know, Sir, that although it caused the Prime Minister a spot of bother, he was absolutely right to bring forward and raise the principle enshrined in this Bill. One need only look at the number of European countries adopting same-sex marriage and President Obama’s statement in the United States to understand that this issue had to be addressed, and not judged. The Bill contains a noble ambition. It is one that I share, but I shall not be joining my colleagues in the Aye Lobby this evening. In this House of sharply expressed opinions on both sides, perhaps I may take a moment to explain my position.

As many speakers have said, the issue for gay people in this country has changed dramatically over many years. In my lifetime it has gone from a situation where homosexuality was not recognised in the public square, through a childhood where the absence of understanding of that issue was as loud as any absence can be, through a recognition that when one came of age the very act of having sex could lead to the catching of a contagious illness, and through a period when there was a recognition that that illness could lead to loved ones and friends dying. It has also led in the political sphere to political opponents using one’s sexual orientation as a weapon to seek to achieve the accumulation of votes, notwithstanding what their party might say is its abiding principle. Out of that period—significantly, perhaps, from the period of the reaction to HIV and AIDS—came the power for the recognition of same-sex couples having unions. This country, the previous Government and my right hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Mr Duncan) should be enormously proud of their role in bringing civil partnerships into legislation. I am enormously proud of what that means, now that I can talk to a young man—who will, I am sure, very shortly be in this place—about how important it is for him to see that he can marry his partner.

All that has taught me that, although it is important that I speak in this debate, it is as important that I listen. When one receives so many observations from one’s constituents of deeply held views, it is important for all Members to have some humility before they vote based on their own opinions. Many of those expressions have been based on a religious belief. We should understand that faith matters and we ignore the subtlety of the sinews of faith that operate in our public square if we seek to push to one side people’s concerns and objections.

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We might ultimately decide that we should pass the Bill, and I certainly hope that we can, but I hope that my right hon. Friend the Minister for Women and Equalities will recognise that there are concerns about the anomalies and the possible ramifications. As my hon. Friend the Member for Stourbridge (Margot James) said, many of them come from a misunderstanding of what the Bill contains. I also ask my right hon. Friend the Minister to consider the fact that President Obama made his position clear before he went into an election. That might not be possible in this instance, but if we want to achieve a long-standing and permanent change to the meaning of marriage, she must consider whether it might be necessary.

6.26 pm

Bob Blackman (Harrow East) (Con): I was pleased and proud early on in the discussions, when the consultation document was launched, to state publicly that I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I stand by that commitment. For saying that in public, I have been subjected to vilification, abuse, threats to my physical well-being and threats to my office. None has come from constituents, but from people outside my constituency. I have received five letters of support for a change to the sexual arrangements in marriage and 1,000 supporting my stance. The vast majority of my constituents share my view that there is no need for such a change. If I thought that same-sex couples did not have the same rights before the law in any shape or form, I would think again, but civil partnerships, introduced by Parliament well before I was elected, introduced those rights for same-sex couples.

There are differences between the relationships of same-sex couples and heterosexual couples and some have been mentioned. For example, a same-sex couple cannot consummate a marriage. It is a physical impossibility. They cannot produce children without a third party as either a sperm donor or a surrogate is required. Those two things start to change the facts of equality and unequal treatment.

As a party, we have no mandate to introduce any change to the law because we did not promise to do so. When we introduced the consultation document, it did not ask whether we should do this but how to do it. As a result, the petition from the Coalition for Marriage was completely ignored. We have heard legal opinions about challenges. I have sat through almost all the debate and we should remember that Parliament passes laws and Ministers propose laws to Parliament but the courts and lawyers interpret the laws that are passed. We can give no guarantees about people being prosecuted and forced through the courts for expressing their valid opinions.

I worry about what will happen in our schools. Disciplinary codes are the responsibility of head teachers and governing bodies, so will teachers be forced to teach things with which they fundamentally disagree because of their devout religious views? If they choose not to do so, will they be the subject of disciplinary action and sacked? It is all very well to say that the law will protect them, but one person has already lost his job. He won the court case, but he still lost his job. He has not got the court costs back, and is still way out of pocket. People fear that across the land.

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When we talk about the matter of faith, a Church or any religious institution is not the building in which it sits—it is the body of the organisation; it is the congregation. Many evangelical Churches have to hire local authority premises, and they will be told that they can no longer hire those premises to practise their religion unless they allow same-sex marriages to be introduced.

Finally, on the key subject of the title of the Bill, the aim of the measure is allegedly to create equality. We will have same-sex marriages and heterosexual marriages—two totally different things, so the object is defeated.


6.30 pm

Richard Drax (South Dorset) (Con): It is a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow East (Bob Blackman). I pay tribute to everyone who has spoken, not least my hon. Friend the Member for Bedford (Richard Fuller), who gave a gentle and humble speech. I hope to follow him along those lines, because it is important that we debate this sensibly and calmly.

I, like all Members in the Chamber, want to see loving couples and happy families. We all want that to be the case, but I think—and I shall vote against the Bill—that this is a step too far and a sad day for marriage as I and millions of people in this country understand it. I regret to say that there is an element of token politics in this, which I do not like. We are talking about redefining marriage. I do not understand “redefining marriage”. Where do we stop? What can we redefine next? Shall we redefine “husband”, “wife”, “parents”, “children”, “Mr and Mrs”? Let us keep on redefining until we change everything that I and many others hold dear.

I do not want the nation to be full of grey nothings, because that is what will happen if we go on reacting when people say that their sensibilities have been upset. I am concerned in particular about the unintended consequences of the Bill, which have been mentioned again and again, and for good reason. I paint a picture of a teacher in a school who does not agree with the Bill. Will she say to the headmaster or headmistress, “I don’t want to give this lesson”? What will happen to that teacher if she objects on grounds of conscience? Evidence shows that, regrettably, that teacher will be disadvantaged.

Barbara Keeley rose

Richard Drax: I shall carry on, because other colleagues wish to speak.

I do not agree that this is about discrimination, persecution or prejudice—words that have been used this afternoon and, dare I say it, thrown around the Chamber a bit like confetti. This is about the Christian faith. I am not a great practising Christian—I am not here in my box—but this is about the Christian faith, and we are in effect undermining its core belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. I have heard the word, “want”—“We want this”—again and again and again. All of us want lots of things, but there are consequences. What I have not heard in the cry for rights is the word, “responsibilities”. One member of my constituency, a gay man, said to me, “Richard, I do not agree with this, because I respect the institution of

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marriage, and I do not want to undermine that in any way. There is no call for that, and I do not want the gay community to go there.”

Finally, it is a sad day when a Conservative Prime Minister uses, in effect, the Opposition and our colleagues on the Front Benches to push this through. It is a sad day for democracy, and a sad day for our party.

6.34 pm

Iain Stewart (Milton Keynes South) (Con): I welcome the opportunity and the privilege of taking part in this important debate. I often recall the day a few years ago when I finally plucked up the courage to tell my parents that I was gay. I began the conversation with the line, “Mum, you know I’m never going to be able to marry.” I used that form of words as a way of broaching an awkward conversation and I did not really think much about it at the time, but I often reflect on those words and it makes me very sad that for so long that was a factually correct statement.

I look at the marriage that my parents have—45 years and going strong—and I aspire to the same thing. I do not have someone at the minute, but if I do, I want to cherish that person, love them, support them. It is not just about a ceremony; it is about being with them for the rest of a life, in good times and bad, richer or poorer, sickness and health. That can apply as much to me as to a straight couple. I do not understand why some people feel threatened that allowing me to have that in any way diminishes what a heterosexual couple has. I want the same things.

My hon. Friend the Member for South West Bedfordshire (Andrew Selous) was absolutely right when he said that we do not talk enough about helping relationships, strengthening them, rewarding people for doing the right thing. We should. But stopping gay people marrying is not part of that. It will not diminish that.

I very much welcome the Bill. There are many different interpretations of marriage. We have heard them discussed today. Some people do not wish divorcees to remarry. Others are perfectly comfortable with it. I am no theological expert, but the concept of marriage has evolved over time. It is perfectly possible to respect those who take a traditional view of marriage. I do not agree with it, but I utterly respect those who sincerely hold that view. It is surely possible both to respect that and to allow others to enjoy the benefits of marriage. Other countries have managed it perfectly well—Spain, Canada and many other countries. It is surely not beyond our wit and wisdom to devise that in law in this country. That is why I welcome the Bill and, in a little while, I will go through the Aye Lobby with pride.

6.37 pm

Guy Opperman (Hexham) (Con): This is one of the finest debates that I have ever had the privilege of listening to, with outstanding contributions on both sides. This House, I suggest, is on a journey, and it is a journey that can be traced back many years. A hundred years ago there were the suffragettes and the opportunity for women to have the vote. In 1922 women were entitled to be MPs. Fifty years ago we had the civil rights movement and in 1967 homosexuality was made

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legal. Approximately 10 years ago civil partnerships were made legal. In that context, the House is on a journey and the country is on a journey too. We are all changing. The House must change with it, and so must the country. That is why I will support the Bill tonight.

To the many people who have come to see me or have written to me, whether from the Catholic Church, the Church of England or other faiths, I say that I respect entirely that this is a very large step for all of us to take and that it will have a significant impact on all of us, but it is right that we should support those who wish to go on this journey.

The Bill is not perfect. Anyone who has listened to the debate will know that even the most ardent supporters in the debate accept that the Bill requires improvement as it navigates its way through Committee. I for one strongly urge the House that the Bill should have proper Committee consideration and amendment as it goes forward.

For me, this is a matter of commitment. I have spent 20 years as a community activist, councillor, lawyer, and now MP seeing examples of the difficulties that occur when couples fail to commit and fail to bring up children in the right way. Yet when two people show a desire to commit in the most serious way possible, are we to deny them that opportunity merely because they are of the same sex? That cannot be right. We know that married couples are twice as likely to stay together as cohabiting couples. Yes, there are clear religious problems with the arguments made in favour of the Bill, but I cannot conceive of a God who creates, allows and permits homosexuals but would then want us to deny them the right to seek marital fulfilment within a religious context.

The protections that have been put into the Bill are ample. The examples that we see in other countries all across the world show that this process can be navigated without recourse to the European Court of Human Rights or other legal jurisdictions. It cannot be right that we are failing to allow religious groups, including the Quakers and the Unitarians, who want to conduct such marriages to be able to move forward on that. With respect, that seems totally illogical. I am satisfied that the necessary religious freedoms are in place and that no institution or church leader, be they Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist or whatever, can be forced to conduct such marriages. Do not take my word for it, Mr Speaker. Rabbi Julia Neuberger has said:

“It is precisely because marriage is such a uniquely important institution that we should ensure that all couples who want to get married can do so, regardless of their sexuality.”

Some have insisted that same-sex marriage would undermine the institution of marriage. Does anyone here feel that they would be less married because we had gay constituents who could commit in that way? I am not married. I have yet to find the woman who would want to marry someone such as me—but she is out there, Mr Speaker, I promise you. When I do want to marry, the fact that gay friends and gay colleagues are also getting married would not stop me doing so.

6.41 pm

Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes) (Con): I think you said at the beginning of the debate, Mr Speaker, that 71 Back Benchers were going to take part. If I am the 71st or thereabouts, my speech will be an action replay of many of the points that have previously been made.

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I am going to oppose the Bill. On balance, I accept that evidence from the polls probably indicates that a majority in the country favour this change. However, the democratic process should protect those with deeply felt and sincerely held views that mean they cannot—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker: Order. I know it has been a long debate, but the hon. Gentleman must be heard, and with courtesy, I hope.

Martin Vickers: Thank you, Mr Speaker.

The democratic process should protect those with deeply felt and sincerely held views that mean they cannot go along with this change. In proposing it, we are alienating tens of thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands, of our supporters, who feel threatened. Perhaps the tide of history is moving against them, but a major social change should not be pushed through with no electoral mandate. Previous speakers have referred to the contract for equalities that was published by the Conservative party three days before the election. It is disingenuous to say that that was a manifesto commitment: clearly, it was not. Very few people knew that it existed, and at that point many people had already voted by post.

I accept that the younger generation, and perhaps even the middle-aged, are more relaxed about this issue, but those in the 50 or 55-plus age group feel, to say the least, uncomfortable with the proposed changes. I suspect that few, if any, in the 50-plus age group are offering policy advice to Ministers. Had that been the case, we would probably not be in this position tonight.

The Minister said that religious organisations take different views on this, and indeed they do. It is easy to pluck out biblical references to support arguments, but politicians, even practising Christians such as myself, should be very wary about doing so. However, in one particular exchange with a constituent I was reminded of the biblical quotation,

“love is the fulfilment of the law”.

That, combined with an e-mail that I received from a young lady—a student constituent—who is in a same-sex relationship, did, indeed, make me reflect on the situation. As I have said, however, I have still come to the conclusion that I will oppose this change.

Governments must legislate to balance the different views of those over whom they rule. Put simply, by pushing ahead with this Bill without a mandate, the Government are trampling on the strongly held views of a great many people. Significant social change should be allowed to evolve. Attitudes move on and a Bill such as this may well be accepted in the not-too-distant future, but now is not the time. The very least the Government could do, as has already been suggested, is allow us more time—they should stop, pause, reflect and give more time.

It is unfortunate that the media have represented the Conservative party as split. I can assure them that, if they visited the streets of Cleethorpes, they would see that people from across the political spectrum are very wary and concerned about the proposals. I join those colleagues who have urged the House to vote against the Bill.

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6.46 pm

Kate Green (Stretford and Urmston) (Lab): We have heard many deeply felt speeches representing a very wide range of views. Given that we have heard, I think, 66 contributions, I am sure that hon. and right hon. Members will forgive me if I do not comment on individual contributions; otherwise, we will be here all evening. What I will say is that every single one of those contributions will have been listened to with immense care and attention by lesbian, gay and transgender people around the country for whom, of course, this debate is of profound significance.

I am delighted that we have had this debate and congratulate the Government on introducing this Bill at this time. This represents a rare thing in this House—a chance for us to celebrate and debate a happy subject, and we should address it in that spirit.

Labour introduced civil partnerships legislation in 2004 and since then, in a very short period, they have become widely and readily accepted. It has quickly become time to finish what was started then and I am very pleased that we are making progress with this Bill today.

It is clear that there are concerns relating to detailed aspects of the Bill and it is, of course, right that they should be examined in Committee, but to those who say that we should be doing more important things in this Parliament I say that I cannot understand why we would not think it important to take time to recognise, encourage and enable more people to enter into marriage as an expression of their stable, loving and committed relationship.

I will pick up on one or two of the arguments that have been made. On the argument that marriage can exist only between a man and a woman, I recognise that that is the teaching in many faiths but, as hon. Members throughout the House have pointed out, marriage is not just a religious matter—it is a social institution, too, and precisely because it is a social institution the meaning of marriage changes over time as society’s values change. Those changes prove that marriage is remarkably resilient. Indeed, its resilience derives in part from its ability to adapt to changing social mores. By recognising and extending the definition of marriage to reflect today’s greater openness towards and recognition of same-sex relationships, the Bill does not weaken the institution of marriage. On the contrary, it takes it forward, strengthens it and helps to perpetuate it.

Those who have argued that marriage can exist only between persons of opposite sex have also pointed to the procreation of children as a defining element of marriage. That is to see marriage very narrowly. The possibility of marriage has always existed for couples for whom children are not an option. I am glad to say, as a 52-year-old woman, that we have never forbidden women of over childbearing age from entering into marriage.

We have heard some important contributions about how the children of parents in same-sex marriages will fare. There is plenty of evidence that what children need above all in order to thrive is to live in families where there is stability and love. I understand the concerns about stigma, but that is something that we as a society can do something about and have a responsibility to do something about.

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On the need for female and male role models for children, there are already many successful families who do not conform to the traditional two-parent nuclear pattern and whose children do very well. Wider family networks, schools and communities supply a range of role models, as they will for children who are brought up by those in same-sex marriages. We should all take a role in ensuring that that happens.

Importantly, for the young person who is trying to make sense of his or her sexuality, the public affirmation and celebration of same-sex marriage can offer a promise of acceptance and assurance.

Aspects of the Bill will be considered carefully in Committee, but we should celebrate the underlying purpose, because it is good. The public support it and three in five people of faith support it. Most tellingly, there is a changing tide, with the generation under 50 showing by far the most support. This Parliament should be proud to afford the right to marry to same-sex couples. In doing so, we will lay down a marker for equality, and our society as a whole will be stronger for it.

6.52 pm

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Hugh Robertson): By our calculations, there have been more than 70 speeches this afternoon. This has been a lively and impassioned debate, and one that has shown this House at its best. It has demonstrated how deeply Members from all parts of the House feel about this issue. I hope that we will continue to respect those differences as the Bill moves on to the Committee and Report stages.

This is a Bill with a straightforward proposition at its heart—whether extending marriage to same-sex couples strengthens marriage and increases equality, or whether it is a threat to religion and society. The Government believe that the former is the case. I believe, as my hon. Friend the Member for Battersea (Jane Ellison) said, that this is a Bill whose time has come.

In the limited time available to me, I will try to deal briefly with the main issues that have been raised. Time for interventions will be limited. My hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Sir Tony Baldry) asked whether the Government would be willing to look again at clause 11(5). We are happy to discuss that provision again with the Church of England. Doubtless it will also be discussed in Committee.

My hon. Friend the Member for Henley (John Howell) asked whether we would look at matters with an open mind in Committee and on Report. We will, but any matters that are raised must be within the scope of the Bill.

The right hon. Member for Exeter (Mr Bradshaw) asked about the position of the Church of England. In its briefing, the Church of England said that it is essential that the various locks in the Bill are preserved, as drafted. That point was also raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs Gillan).

The right hon. Member for Exeter also asked about the position of a clergyman who wishes to marry a same-sex couple in another building. A Church of England

5 Feb 2013 : Column 230

clergyman could not marry a same-sex couple according to Church of England rites, because he would need the approval of the governing authority of his church and he and the premises would need to be licensed. It is unlikely that those three criteria would all be fulfilled.

One of the Members from Northern Ireland—I am sorry, I forget which one—asked whether marriage courses run by Churches would be affected by the Bill. The answer is no. There are existing protections in the Equality Act 2010, which ensures that non-commercial religious organisations can restrict their services on the basis of sexual orientation.

A number of Members asked about the legal position in Denmark. It is very simple: when same-sex marriage was introduced in Denmark, the legislation required the established Church to conduct such ceremonies. That is fundamentally different from the position in this country. That is not the approach we are taking with this legislation.

Finally, we were asked about polygamy. The case in Brazil that my hon. Friend the Member for South West Bedfordshire (Andrew Selous) cited involved a legal marriage of three people in a civil union, so it does not apply.

In conclusion, as I said at the beginning, this has been a good and lively debate, during which all sides have had an opportunity to place their arguments on the record. We will continue to examine the Bill in detail in Committee, as the hon. Member for Stretford and Urmston (Kate Green) said, starting with detailed evidence sessions next week.

Sir Gerald Howarth: My hon. Friend says that this has been a lively and passionate debate. Would the Government consider taking the Committee stage on the Floor of the House, so that some of those who have not been able to speak today, along with others, can have a chance to question the Minister on the detail of the Bill?

Hugh Robertson: I entirely understand my hon. Friend’s point. There is a procedural issue, which is that many of the Churches and people who wish to give detailed evidence in the evidence sessions have asked us not to do what he suggests. If we took the Committee stage entirely on the Floor of the House, we would have to forgo the opportunity for them to appear before the Committee in detailed evidence sessions. It is precisely to protect the ability of the many religious groups that wish to give evidence in person that we have been unable to do as he suggests.

Mrs Main rose

Hugh Robertson: No, I am afraid that I will not be able to take any more interventions.

At the heart of this Bill is a straightforward proposition. If a couple love each other, the state should not stop them getting married unless there is a good reason, and in this day and age being gay is not a good reason, if it ever was. I know that, for some religions and faiths, this goes beyond their beliefs. I respect that entirely; as a

5 Feb 2013 : Column 231

result, the Bill specifically protects the rights of those who do not agree and does not compel anyone to do anything. All religious organisations are free to choose whether to opt in or opt out. This Bill simply allows people to get married who are currently excluded from doing so purely because they are of the same sex. It is a clear and simple objective, delivered in a way that promotes and protects religious freedom. In short, I believe this is a sensible and timely step forward. On that basis, I commend the Bill to the House.

Question put, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

The House divided:

Ayes 400, Noes 175.

Division No. 151]

[

6.58 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Alexander, rh Danny

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Barker, rh Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Barron, rh Mr Kevin

Barwell, Gavin

Bayley, Hugh

Beckett, rh Margaret

Benn, rh Hilary

Benyon, Richard

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blears, rh Hazel

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Blunt, Mr Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brake, rh Tom

Bray, Angie

Brennan, Kevin

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, Annette

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, rh Sir Malcolm

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burley, Mr Aidan

Burnham, rh Andy

Burns, Conor

Burstow, rh Paul

Burt, Alistair

Burt, Lorely

Byles, Dan

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Cable, rh Vince

Cameron, rh Mr David

Campbell, Mr Alan

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Carmichael, Neil

Caton, Martin

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Jenny

Clappison, Mr James

Clark, rh Greg

Clark, Katy

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Clegg, rh Mr Nick

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Connarty, Michael

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

Davey, rh Mr Edward

David, Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

Davies, Geraint

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobson, rh Frank

Docherty, Thomas

Doran, Mr Frank

Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Dromey, Jack

Duddridge, James

Dugher, Michael

Duncan, rh Mr Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Engel, Natascha

Evans, Chris

Fabricant, Michael

Farrelly, Paul

Farron, Tim

Featherstone, Lynne

Field, rh Mr Frank

Field, Mark

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fovargue, Yvonne

Francis, Dr Hywel

Freer, Mike

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Galloway, George

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gilbert, Stephen

Gilmore, Sheila

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodman, Helen

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Grayling, rh Chris

Greatrex, Tom

Green, rh Damian

Green, Kate

Greening, rh Justine

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Gummer, Ben

Gwynne, Andrew

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Hain, rh Mr Peter

Hames, Duncan

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, Matthew

Hancock, Mr Mike

Hands, Greg

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Mr Tom

Harvey, Sir Nick

Healey, rh John

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Hendrick, Mark

Hendry, Charles

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Herbert, rh Nick

Hillier, Meg

Hilling, Julie

Hinds, Damian

Hodge, rh Margaret

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hoey, Kate

Hollingbery, George

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, rh Mr George

Howell, John

Hughes, rh Simon

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hunt, Tristram

Huppert, Dr Julian

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jackson, Glenda

James, Margot

James, Mrs Siân C.

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Javid, Sajid

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Dame Tessa

Joyce, Eric

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Kawczynski, Daniel

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Khan, rh Sadiq

Kirby, Simon

Lamb, Norman

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Lavery, Ian

Laws, rh Mr David

Lazarowicz, Mark

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leech, Mr John

Leslie, Charlotte

Leslie, Chris

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Lloyd, Stephen

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Long, Naomi

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

Luff, Peter

Macleod, Mary

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

Maude, rh Mr Francis

May, rh Mrs Theresa

McCabe, Steve

McCarthy, Kerry

McCartney, Jason

McClymont, Gregg

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Alison

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKinnell, Catherine

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

Meale, Sir Alan

Menzies, Mark

Miliband, rh David

Miliband, rh Edward

Miller, Andrew

Miller, rh Maria

Mills, Nigel

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Mitchell, Austin

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Moore, rh Michael

Mordaunt, Penny

Morden, Jessica

Morrice, Graeme

(Livingston)

Morris, Grahame M.

(Easington)

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mundell, rh David

Munn, Meg

Munt, Tessa

Murphy, rh Mr Jim

Murray, Ian

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

O'Donnell, Fiona

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Onwurah, Chi

Opperman, Guy

Osborne, rh Mr George

Osborne, Sandra

Ottaway, Richard

Owen, Albert

Pearce, Teresa

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perkins, Toby

Phillipson, Bridget

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Powell, Lucy

Raab, Mr Dominic

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reckless, Mark

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Steve

Reeves, Rachel

Reid, Mr Alan

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Robertson, rh Hugh

Robertson, John

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rogerson, Dan

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Rudd, Amber

Ruddock, rh Dame Joan

Russell, Sir Bob

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sandys, Laura

Sarwar, Anas

Sawford, Andy

Seabeck, Alison

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Miss Chloe

Smith, Julian

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Smith, Sir Robert

Soames, rh Nicholas

Soubry, Anna

Spellar, rh Mr John

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Stephenson, Andrew

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Stunell, rh Andrew

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Swales, Ian

Swinson, Jo

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Tomlinson, Justin

Trickett, Jon

Truss, Elizabeth

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Walley, Joan

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Weatherley, Mike

Webb, Steve

White, Chris

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Willetts, rh Mr David

Williams, Hywel

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Chris

Wilson, Phil

Wilson, Mr Rob

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Woodcock, John

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Wright, Simon

Yeo, Mr Tim

Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr Desmond Swayne

and

Mark Hunter

NOES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Amess, Mr David

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Steve

Baldry, Sir Tony

Bebb, Guto

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benton, Mr Joe

Beresford, Sir Paul

Bingham, Andrew

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackman, Bob

Brady, Mr Graham

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Cash, Mr William

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Cooper, Rosie

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, Stephen

Crausby, Mr David

Cunningham, Sir Tony

Davies, David T. C.

(Monmouth)

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

de Bois, Nick

Dinenage, Caroline

Dobbin, Jim

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Dorries, Nadine

Drax, Richard

Elphicke, Charlie

Evans, Jonathan

Evennett, Mr David

Fallon, rh Michael

Flello, Robert

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Goggins, rh Paul

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gray, Mr James

Griffiths, Andrew

Halfon, Robert

Hart, Simon

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Havard, Mr Dai

Hayes, Mr John

Heald, Oliver

Henderson, Gordon

Hermon, Lady

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Jackson, Mr Stewart

Johnson, Gareth

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Knight, rh Mr Greg

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leigh, Mr Edward

Leslie, Charlotte

Lewis, Dr Julian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Lumley, Karen

Main, Mrs Anne

Maynard, Paul

McCann, Mr Michael

McCartney, Karl

McCrea, Dr William

McGovern, Jim

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McPartland, Stephen

McVey, Esther

Metcalfe, Stephen

Morgan, Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mudie, Mr George

Murphy, rh Paul

Neill, Robert

Nokes, Caroline

Nuttall, Mr David

O'Brien, Mr Stephen

Offord, Dr Matthew

Paice, rh Sir James

Paisley, Ian

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, Mike

Pound, Stephen

Pritchard, Mark

Pugh, John

Randall, rh Mr John

Redwood, rh Mr John

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reevell, Simon

Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm

Robathan, rh Mr Andrew

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rosindell, Andrew

Roy, Mr Frank

Ruffley, Mr David

Rutley, David

Selous, Andrew

Shannon, Jim

Shelbrooke, Alec

Shepherd, Sir Richard

Sheridan, Jim

Simpson, David

Smith, Henry

Stanley, rh Sir John

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stride, Mel

Sturdy, Julian

Syms, Mr Robert

Tapsell, rh Sir Peter

Teather, Sarah

Tredinnick, David

Turner, Mr Andrew

Twigg, Derek

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Walter, Mr Robert

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williamson, Gavin

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wilson, Sammy

Wood, Mike

Wright, Jeremy

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr Peter Bone

and

Dr Thérèse Coffey

Question accordingly agreed to.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 232

5 Feb 2013 : Column 233

5 Feb 2013 : Column 234

5 Feb 2013 : Column 235

Bill read a Second time.

Mrs Anne Main (St Albans) (Con): On a point of order, Mr Speaker. On the Floor of the House today, we heard many times that the Bill should be committed to a Committee of the whole House. The Minister was asked whether that was possible, and he gave his reasons why he believed not. For clarification, Mr Speaker, and before we vote on the programme motion, is it possible to have split Committee proceedings, with some upstairs, facilitating what the Minister would like to happen, and some on the Floor of the House?

Mr Speaker: I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her attempted point of order. Her point might be interesting, but that does not render it a point of order on which I can rule. Her view, no doubt informed by a close reading of Standing Order No. 84A(2), will assuredly guide her and perhaps other right hon. and hon. Members on how to vote on the programme motion, which is about to be moved by or on behalf of the Minister.

MARRIAGE (SAME SEX COUPLES) BILL (PROGRAMME)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 83A(7),

That the following provisions shall apply to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill:

Committal

1. The Bill shall be committed to a Public Bill Committee.

Proceedings in Public Bill Committee

2. Proceedings in the Public Bill Committee shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion on 12 March 2013.

3. The Public Bill Committee shall have leave to sit twice on the first day on which it meets.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 236

Consideration and Third Reading

4. Proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading shall be taken in two days in accordance with the following provisions of this Order.

5. Proceedings on Consideration shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour before the moment of interruption on the second day.

6. Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the moment of interruption on the second day.

7. Standing Order No. 83B (Programming committees) shall not apply to proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading.

Other proceedings

8. Any other proceedings on the Bill (including any proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments or on any further messages from the Lords) may be programmed.—(Mark Lancaster.)

The House divided:

Ayes 499, Noes 55.

Division No. 152]

[

7.15 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Alexander, rh Danny

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bacon, Mr Richard

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Baker, Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Barker, rh Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Barron, rh Mr Kevin

Barwell, Gavin

Bayley, Hugh

Bebb, Guto

Beckett, rh Margaret

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benn, rh Hilary

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berger, Luciana

Berry, Jake

Betts, Mr Clive

Bingham, Andrew

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blears, rh Hazel

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Blunt, Mr Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Brennan, Kevin

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, Annette

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, rh Sir Malcolm

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burley, Mr Aidan

Burnham, rh Andy

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burstow, rh Paul

Burt, Alistair

Burt, Lorely

Byles, Dan

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Cable, rh Vince

Cairns, Alun

Cameron, rh Mr David

Campbell, Mr Alan

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Carmichael, Neil

Caton, Martin

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Jenny

Chishti, Rehman

Clappison, Mr James

Clark, rh Greg

Clark, Katy

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Connarty, Michael

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, Stephen

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Sir Tony

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

Davey, rh Mr Edward

David, Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

Davies, Geraint

Davies, Glyn

de Bois, Nick

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dobson, rh Frank

Docherty, Thomas

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Dromey, Jack

Duddridge, James

Dugher, Michael

Duncan, rh Mr Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Engel, Natascha

Eustice, George

Evans, Chris

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Michael

Farrelly, Paul

Featherstone, Lynne

Field, Mark

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francis, Dr Hywel

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Fuller, Richard

Galloway, George

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gilbert, Stephen

Gilmore, Sheila

Goggins, rh Paul

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodman, Helen

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Grayling, rh Chris

Greatrex, Tom

Green, rh Damian

Green, Kate

Greening, rh Justine

Greenwood, Lilian

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffith, Nia

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gwynne, Andrew

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Hain, rh Mr Peter

Hames, Duncan

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, Matthew

Hancock, Mr Mike

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Harris, Mr Tom

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Sir Nick

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, Mr John

Heald, Oliver

Healey, rh John

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Hendrick, Mark

Hendry, Charles

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Herbert, rh Nick

Hillier, Meg

Hilling, Julie

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hodge, rh Margaret

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hollingbery, George

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, rh Mr George

Howell, John

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hunt, Tristram

Huppert, Dr Julian

Hurd, Mr Nick

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jackson, Glenda

James, Margot

James, Mrs Siân C.

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Javid, Sajid

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Mr Marcus

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Dame Tessa

Joyce, Eric

Kawczynski, Daniel

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Khan, rh Sadiq

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Mr Greg

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lamb, Norman

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lancaster, Mark

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Latham, Pauline

Lavery, Ian

Laws, rh Mr David

Lazarowicz, Mark

Lee, Jessica

Leech, Mr John

Leslie, Chris

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Lewis, Dr Julian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lloyd, Stephen

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

Luff, Peter

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

Maude, rh Mr Francis

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McCartney, Jason

McClymont, Gregg

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Alison

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McKinnell, Catherine

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

Meale, Sir Alan

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miliband, rh David

Miliband, rh Edward

Miller, Andrew

Miller, rh Maria

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Mitchell, Austin

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Moore, rh Michael

Mordaunt, Penny

Morden, Jessica

Morgan, Nicky

Morrice, Graeme

(Livingston)

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, Grahame M.

(Easington)

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mulholland, Greg

Mundell, rh David

Munn, Meg

Munt, Tessa

Murphy, rh Mr Jim

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

O'Brien, Mr Stephen

O'Donnell, Fiona

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Onwurah, Chi

Opperman, Guy

Osborne, rh Mr George

Osborne, Sandra

Ottaway, Richard

Owen, Albert

Paice, rh Sir James

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Pearce, Teresa

Penning, Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perkins, Toby

Phillipson, Bridget

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Pound, Stephen

Powell, Lucy

Prisk, Mr Mark

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Mr John

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reckless, Mark

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Steve

Reeves, Rachel

Reid, Mr Alan

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Robathan, rh Mr Andrew

Robertson, rh Hugh

Robertson, John

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rogerson, Dan

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Mr Frank

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Rudd, Amber

Ruddock, rh Dame Joan

Russell, Sir Bob

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sandys, Laura

Sarwar, Anas

Sawford, Andy

Scott, Mr Lee

Seabeck, Alison

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Shelbrooke, Alec

Sheridan, Jim

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Miss Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Smith, Sir Robert

Soames, rh Nicholas

Soubry, Anna

Spellar, rh Mr John

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Stephenson, Andrew

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Stunell, rh Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Swales, Ian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swinson, Jo

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Trickett, Jon

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Walley, Joan

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Weatherley, Mike

Webb, Steve

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Wiggin, Bill

Willetts, rh Mr David

Williams, Hywel

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Chris

Williamson, Gavin

Wilson, Phil

Wilson, Mr Rob

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Woodcock, John

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Wright, Jeremy

Wright, Simon

Yeo, Mr Tim

Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Greg Hands

and

Mark Hunter

NOES

Aldous, Peter

Blackman, Bob

Bridgen, Andrew

Bruce, Fiona

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Cash, Mr William

Chope, Mr Christopher

Crausby, Mr David

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

Dobbin, Jim

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Dorries, Nadine

Drax, Richard

Durkan, Mark

Farron, Tim

Garnier, Sir Edward

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Gray, Mr James

Havard, Mr Dai

Hermon, Lady

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Hughes, rh Simon

Jackson, Mr Stewart

Leigh, Mr Edward

Long, Naomi

Main, Mrs Anne

McCartney, Karl

McCrea, Dr William

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McPartland, Stephen

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Paisley, Ian

Pritchard, Mark

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reevell, Simon

Shannon, Jim

Shepherd, Sir Richard

Simpson, David

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Tapsell, rh Sir Peter

Timms, rh Stephen

Turner, Mr Andrew

Vickers, Martin

Walker, Mr Charles

Walter, Mr Robert

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wilson, Sammy

Wood, Mike

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr Peter Bone

and

Mr Philip Hollobone

Question accordingly agreed to.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 237

5 Feb 2013 : Column 238

5 Feb 2013 : Column 239

5 Feb 2013 : Column 240

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill (Money)

Queen’s recommendation signified.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 52(1)(a))

That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, it is expedient to authorise—

(1) the payment out of money provided by Parliament of—

(a) any expenditure incurred under or by virtue of the Act by a person holding office under Her Majesty or by a government department, and

(b) any increase attributable to the Act in the sums payable under any other Act out of money so provided, and

(2) the payment out of the Consolidated Fund of any increase attributable to the Act in the sums payable under any other Act out of that Fund.—(Mark Lancaster.)

The House divided:

Ayes 481, Noes 34.

Division No. 153]

[

7.33 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Aldous, Peter

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bacon, Mr Richard

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Baker, Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Barker, rh Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Barron, rh Mr Kevin

Barwell, Gavin

Bayley, Hugh

Bebb, Guto

Beckett, rh Margaret

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benn, rh Hilary

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berger, Luciana

Berry, Jake

Betts, Mr Clive

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blears, rh Hazel

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunt, Mr Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Brennan, Kevin

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, Annette

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, rh Sir Malcolm

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burley, Mr Aidan

Burnham, rh Andy

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burstow, rh Paul

Burt, Alistair

Burt, Lorely

Byles, Dan

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Cable, rh Vince

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, Mr Alan

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Carmichael, Neil

Caton, Martin

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Jenny

Chishti, Rehman

Clappison, Mr James

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Connarty, Michael

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, Stephen

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Sir Tony

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

Davey, rh Mr Edward

David, Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

Davies, Geraint

Davies, Glyn

De Piero, Gloria

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dobson, rh Frank

Docherty, Thomas

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Dromey, Jack

Duddridge, James

Dugher, Michael

Duncan, rh Mr Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Engel, Natascha

Eustice, George

Evans, Chris

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Michael

Farron, Tim

Featherstone, Lynne

Field, Mark

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francis, Dr Hywel

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Fuller, Richard

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gilbert, Stephen

Gilmore, Sheila

Goggins, rh Paul

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodman, Helen

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Grayling, rh Chris

Greatrex, Tom

Green, rh Damian

Green, Kate

Greening, rh Justine

Greenwood, Lilian

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffith, Nia

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gwynne, Andrew

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Hain, rh Mr Peter

Hames, Duncan

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, Matthew

Hancock, Mr Mike

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Harris, Mr Tom

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Sir Nick

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, Mr John

Heald, Oliver

Healey, rh John

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Hendrick, Mark

Hendry, Charles

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Herbert, rh Nick

Hilling, Julie

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hollingbery, George

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, rh Mr George

Howell, John

Hughes, rh Simon

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hunt, Tristram

Huppert, Dr Julian

Hurd, Mr Nick

Irranca-Davies, Huw

James, Margot

James, Mrs Siân C.

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Mr Marcus

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Dame Tessa

Joyce, Eric

Kawczynski, Daniel

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Khan, rh Sadiq

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Mr Greg

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lamb, Norman

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lancaster, Mark

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Lavery, Ian

Laws, rh Mr David

Lazarowicz, Mark

Lee, Jessica

Leech, Mr John

Leslie, Chris

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Lewis, Dr Julian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lloyd, Stephen

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Long, Naomi

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

Luff, Peter

Macleod, Mary

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

Maude, rh Mr Francis

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McCartney, Jason

McClymont, Gregg

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Alison

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McKinnell, Catherine

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

Meale, Sir Alan

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miliband, rh David

Miller, Andrew

Miller, rh Maria

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Mitchell, Austin

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Moore, rh Michael

Mordaunt, Penny

Morden, Jessica

Morgan, Nicky

Morrice, Graeme

(Livingston)

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, Grahame M.

(Easington)

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mulholland, Greg

Mundell, rh David

Munn, Meg

Munt, Tessa

Murphy, rh Mr Jim

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

O'Brien, Mr Stephen

O'Donnell, Fiona

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Onwurah, Chi

Opperman, Guy

Osborne, rh Mr George

Osborne, Sandra

Ottaway, Richard

Owen, Albert

Paice, rh Sir James

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Pearce, Teresa

Penning, Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perkins, Toby

Phillipson, Bridget

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Pound, Stephen

Powell, Lucy

Prisk, Mr Mark

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Mr John

Reckless, Mark

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Steve

Reeves, Rachel

Reid, Mr Alan

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Robertson, rh Hugh

Robertson, John

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rogerson, Dan

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Mr Frank

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Rudd, Amber

Ruddock, rh Dame Joan

Russell, Sir Bob

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sandys, Laura

Sarwar, Anas

Sawford, Andy

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Shelbrooke, Alec

Sheridan, Jim

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Miss Chloe

Smith, Julian

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Smith, Sir Robert

Soubry, Anna

Spellar, rh Mr John

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Stephenson, Andrew

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Stride, Mel

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Stunell, rh Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Swales, Ian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swinson, Jo

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Trickett, Jon

Truss, Elizabeth

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vaz, Valerie

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Walley, Joan

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Weatherley, Mike

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Wiggin, Bill

Willetts, rh Mr David

Williams, Hywel

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Chris

Williamson, Gavin

Wilson, Phil

Wilson, Mr Rob

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Woodcock, John

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Wright, Jeremy

Wright, Simon

Yeo, Mr Tim

Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Greg Hands

and

Mark Hunter

NOES

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Bruce, Fiona

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Cash, Mr William

Chope, Mr Christopher

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Dorries, Nadine

Drax, Richard

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Gray, Mr James

Hermon, Lady

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Jackson, Mr Stewart

Leigh, Mr Edward

McCartney, Karl

McCrea, Dr William

McPartland, Stephen

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Paisley, Ian

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reevell, Simon

Shannon, Jim

Simpson, David

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Vickers, Martin

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wilson, Sammy

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr Peter Bone

and

Mr Philip Hollobone

Question accordingly agreed to.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 241

5 Feb 2013 : Column 242

5 Feb 2013 : Column 243

5 Feb 2013 : Column 244

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 Secretary Maria Miller relating to Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill (Carry-over).—(Karen Bradley.)

Question agreed to.


MARRIAGE (SAME SEX COUPLES) BILL (CARRY-OVER)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 80A(1)(a),

That if, at the conclusion of this Session of Parliament, proceedings on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill have not been completed, they shall be resumed in the next Session.—(Karen Bradley.)

The House divided:

Ayes 464, Noes 38.

Division No. 154]

[

7.50 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Aldous, Peter

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bacon, Mr Richard

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Baker, Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Baron, Mr John

Barron, rh Mr Kevin

Barwell, Gavin

Bayley, Hugh

Bebb, Guto

Beckett, rh Margaret

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benn, rh Hilary

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berger, Luciana

Berry, Jake

Betts, Mr Clive

Birtwistle, Gordon

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blears, rh Hazel

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunt, Mr Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Brennan, Kevin

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, Annette

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, rh Sir Malcolm

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burley, Mr Aidan

Burnham, rh Andy

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burstow, rh Paul

Burt, Alistair

Burt, Lorely

Byles, Dan

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, Mr Alan

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, Neil

Caton, Martin

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Jenny

Chishti, Rehman

Clappison, Mr James

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Connarty, Michael

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, Stephen

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Sir Tony

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

Davey, rh Mr Edward

David, Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

Davies, Geraint

Davies, Glyn

De Piero, Gloria

Dinenage, Caroline

Dobson, rh Frank

Docherty, Thomas

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Dromey, Jack

Duddridge, James

Dugher, Michael

Duncan, rh Mr Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Engel, Natascha

Eustice, George

Evans, Chris

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Michael

Farrelly, Paul

Farron, Tim

Featherstone, Lynne

Field, Mark

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francis, Dr Hywel

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gilbert, Stephen

Gilmore, Sheila

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Grayling, rh Chris

Greatrex, Tom

Green, rh Damian

Green, Kate

Greening, rh Justine

Greenwood, Lilian

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffith, Nia

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gwynne, Andrew

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Hames, Duncan

Hamilton, Mr David

Hamilton, Fabian

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, Matthew

Hands, Greg

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Harris, Mr Tom

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Sir Nick

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, Mr John

Heald, Oliver

Healey, rh John

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Hendry, Charles

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Herbert, rh Nick

Hilling, Julie

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hollingbery, George

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, rh Mr George

Howell, John

Hughes, rh Simon

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hunt, Tristram

Huppert, Dr Julian

Hurd, Mr Nick

Irranca-Davies, Huw

James, Margot

James, Mrs Siân C.

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, Diana

Johnson, Gareth

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Mr Marcus

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Dame Tessa

Joyce, Eric

Kawczynski, Daniel

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Khan, rh Sadiq

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Mr Greg

Lamb, Norman

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Lavery, Ian

Laws, rh Mr David

Lazarowicz, Mark

Lee, Jessica

Leech, Mr John

Leslie, Chris

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Lewis, Dr Julian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lloyd, Stephen

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Long, Naomi

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

Luff, Peter

Macleod, Mary

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

Maude, rh Mr Francis

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McCartney, Jason

McClymont, Gregg

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Alison

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McKinnell, Catherine

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

Meale, Sir Alan

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miliband, rh David

Miller, Andrew

Miller, rh Maria

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Mitchell, Austin

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Moore, rh Michael

Mordaunt, Penny

Morden, Jessica

Morgan, Nicky

Morrice, Graeme

(Livingston)

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, Grahame M.

(Easington)

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mulholland, Greg

Mundell, rh David

Munn, Meg

Munt, Tessa

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

O'Brien, Mr Stephen

O'Donnell, Fiona

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Onwurah, Chi

Opperman, Guy

Osborne, rh Mr George

Osborne, Sandra

Ottaway, Richard

Owen, Albert

Paice, rh Sir James

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Pearce, Teresa

Penning, Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perkins, Toby

Phillipson, Bridget

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Pound, Stephen

Powell, Lucy

Prisk, Mr Mark

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Mr John

Reckless, Mark

Redwood, rh Mr John

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Steve

Reeves, Rachel

Reid, Mr Alan

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Robertson, rh Hugh

Robertson, John

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rogerson, Dan

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Mr Frank

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Rudd, Amber

Ruddock, rh Dame Joan

Russell, Sir Bob

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sandys, Laura

Sarwar, Anas

Sawford, Andy

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Shelbrooke, Alec

Sheridan, Jim

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Miss Chloe

Smith, Julian

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Smith, Sir Robert

Soubry, Anna

Spellar, rh Mr John

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Stephenson, Andrew

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Stride, Mel

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Stunell, rh Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swales, Ian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swinson, Jo

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Trickett, Jon

Truss, Elizabeth

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vaz, Valerie

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Walley, Joan

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Weatherley, Mike

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Wiggin, Bill

Willetts, rh Mr David

Williams, Hywel

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Chris

Williamson, Gavin

Wilson, Phil

Wilson, Mr Rob

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Woodcock, John

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Wright, Jeremy

Wright, Simon

Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mark Hunter

and

Joseph Johnson

NOES

Amess, Mr David

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Bruce, Fiona

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Cash, Mr William

Chope, Mr Christopher

Davies, David T. C.

(Monmouth)

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Dorries, Nadine

Drax, Richard

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Gray, Mr James

Hermon, Lady

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Jackson, Mr Stewart

Latham, Pauline

Leigh, Mr Edward

McCartney, Karl

McCrea, Dr William

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McPartland, Stephen

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Paisley, Ian

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Shannon, Jim

Simpson, David

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Turner, Mr Andrew

Vickers, Martin

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr Peter Bone

and

Mr Philip Hollobone

Question accordingly agreed to.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 245

5 Feb 2013 : Column 246

5 Feb 2013 : Column 247

5 Feb 2013 : Column 248

Business without Debate

Delegated Legislation

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

Public Bodies

That the draft Public Bodies (Abolition of British Shipbuilders) Order 2013, which was laid before this House on 1 November 2012, be approved.—(Karen Bradley.)

Question agreed to.

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

That the draft Public Bodies (Abolition of the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Arbitration Tribunal) Order 2013, which was laid before this House on 1 November 2012, be approved.—(Karen Bradley.)

Question agreed to.

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

Social Security

That the draft Social Security (Loss of Benefit) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, which were laid before this House on 8 January, be approved—(Karen Bradley.)

Question agreed to.

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

Climate Change

That the draft Climate Change Levy (Combined Heat and Power Stations) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, which were laid before this House on 10 January, be approved.—(Karen Bradley.)

Question agreed to.

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

Income Tax

That the draft Enactment of Extra-Statutory Concessions Order 2013, which was laid before this House on 7 January, be approved.—(Karen Bradley.)

Question agreed to.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 249

Outdoor Pursuits

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

8.4 pm

David Rutley (Macclesfield) (Con): It is not often that the indoor activity of parliamentary debate focuses on participation in outdoor pursuits, so I am grateful to you, Mr Speaker, for selecting and granting this debate on this important subject. I am also grateful for the presence of the Minister of State because I know that today has been particularly heavy for him and his Department, and thank him for being willing to respond to the debate.

I also want to draw Members’ attention to the register of all-party groups and say for the record that I am co-chairman of the all-party group on mountaineering, vice-chairman of the all-party group on mountain rescue —it is good to see members of both those groups present—and secretary of the all-party group on national parks.

I am a passionate participant, when time and this job permit, in outdoor pursuits. I am also a great supporter of the Government’s efforts to increase participation in sports and sports-related activity. I believe that outdoor pursuits play a vital role, which is sometimes undervalued, in achieving that aim. The health and well-being benefits associated with participation in those pursuits are clear for all to see.

There are also economic benefits. Increasing the volume and value of tourism in the great outdoors, particularly activity and adventure tourism, is of fundamental importance to the Government’s wider strategy for jobs and growth, for the lasting Olympic legacy and for rebalancing the UK economy in favour of many rural communities.

It is right to put the spotlight on activity and adventure tourism in particular, because I believe that this sector has the greatest as yet unexploited potential for sustainable economic growth and jobs.

Andrew Bingham (High Peak) (Con): Is my hon. Friend aware that the Buxton adventure festival was held in my constituency of High Peak only last year and that more than 800 people attended it? I tend to agree with him—we have neighbouring constituencies that have a lot in common—that the outdoor pursuits available in our constituencies, which are coterminous in many ways, are a fantastic thing for both tourism and local people.

David Rutley: I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention. I see that the Whip, my hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire Moorlands (Karen Bradley), is nodding her head. She represents Leek and these things are vital for our community. I have met the organiser of the Buxton festival in the past and it is a tremendous initiative showing what can be done to move things forward and help jobs and growth in our rural communities.

The experiences associated with outdoor pursuits, such as hill walking, rock climbing and mountaineering, are real and tangible. If we add mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing and even ghyll scrambling, we will see that there is huge potential that needs to be exploited.

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Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP): I thank the hon. Gentleman for bringing this issue to the House. He mentioned the outdoor pursuits of hill walking, mountain climbing and so on but, on country sports and, indeed, shooting sports, does he agree that the Countryside Alliance and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation could work with young people to give them opportunities in those adventure sports?

David Rutley: The hon. Gentleman makes an important contribution and I think that Members of all parties would agree that there is room for those activities as well. Debates about them are quite frequent—they have been in the past anyway—and today I want to put the spotlight on other outdoor pursuits, but there is definitely work to be done in that regard, too.

There is a lot to do. My contribution is less about having my head in the clouds and more about having—in the best traditions of mountaineering—a summit in mind and a determination to reach it.

According to VisitBritain’s most recent edition of Foresight—issue 111—the Olympic and Paralympic games have already massively improved the nation’s brand, with 99% of international communications experts saying that the games have helped tremendously to move our brand forward. We need to build on that extraordinary momentum, which the Minister himself was pivotal in making possible. He will know, no doubt, that, while we are ranked fourth in the world as a tourist destination—primarily for our culture and heritage—we are a very disappointing 18th with regard to the rich natural beauty of our outdoors, and that that is an improvement on where we were before the Olympics. A lot of work needs to be done.

Given that the North Downs way runs through the Minister’s constituency, he will appreciate that our national trails are a very important aspect of what we have to offer and they need to be cherished.

Graham Evans (Weaver Vale) (Con): Does my hon. Friend agree that the Ramblers Association plays a vital role, especially the north Cheshire branch? Is he aware of Helsby hill in my constituency and, indeed, the Sandstone trail, which are significant for weekend walkers?

David Rutley: I am well aware of them and have climbed on Helsby crag myself. Those are important trails. Ramblers play an important role, as do many other organisations, such as the British Mountaineering Council, which I will talk about in a minute.

There is more to be done. When VisitEngland speaks to visitors within the UK, it is clear that visitors do not know what the options are. Somebody said in one focus group:

“I was struggling to think of places I wanted to go to, because I don’t know the country, what’s all this in the middle?”

There is the Peak district and the Pennines for a start, as well as many other wonderful places. We need to get the word out and help people understand what is going on. We need to provide opportunities for the sun seekers to come and find winter excitement and enjoyment in the UK. People need to have access to information. The Minister’s Department has an important role to play in that.

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We are making Britain a more welcoming place, but we need to find a way of making our outdoors more welcoming. The new “Walkers are Welcome” initiative is certainly doing that. It has created a number of welcoming destinations for walkers, which currently total 100. That will be important in putting the focus on that activity.

This debate is not just about tourism; it is about sports-related activity. Interestingly, hill walking and mountaineering is one of only four sports that are growing in participation. Indoor rock climbing is seeing explosive growth, particularly among younger people. It is incredible to see that. Climbing is one of five or six sports that have been shortlisted for inclusion as an Olympic sport. The International Olympic Committee will make a decision on 7 September. Perhaps the Minister will consider that bid, offer advice and support that aim.

Guto Bebb (Aberconwy) (Con): I have the privilege of representing Aberconwy, which includes Coed y Brenin, part of the main Plas y Brenin mountaineering centre. There is a perception that these sports are for the middle classes. Through the outdoor partnership, the Plas y Brenin centre is trying to make young school children feel that this is something that people in their local area are involved in. Participation has grown significantly as a result.

David Rutley: Absolutely. I know that my hon. Friend is a passionate supporter of Plas y Brenin and other outdoor activities in his constituency. I am grateful for that, as are other people. As he says, it is vital that these activities are not only for middle-income groups and older people, but for people across the age ranges. These pursuits can be enjoyed throughout a person’s life, unlike other elite or competitive sports. It is vital to involve younger people.

The health and well-being aspects of outdoor pursuits are clear for everybody to see. It is important to note, as Change4Life has pointed out, that regular activity reduces the risk of early mortality by more than 30%, and yet only 6% of men and 4% of women aged 16 and over meet the Government’s recommendation. Outdoor pursuits can help to tackle that.

Simon Hart (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire) (Con): Given the benefits, which my hon. Friend has outlined so well, does he agree that this debate is as much about outdoor education as it is about outdoor entertainment? Would it not be good if the Department of Health and the Department for Education were represented on the Front Bench too, because they have as much at stake in this matter as the Minister’s Department?

David Rutley: My hon. Friend makes an interesting and important point. I would love to see Ministers from both those Departments here. However, it has been a long day and I am grateful that we have the Minister with responsibility for sport and tourism in the Chamber.

Thank goodness we have organisations such as the Scouts and the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme that engage young people, places such as Plas y Brenin and the Manchester climbing centre that engage people who are disadvantaged or who have disabilities, and charities such as the David Lewis Centre that get involved in these pursuits and allow people to expand their horizons.

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Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South) (Lab): I know that the hon. Gentleman and I share a love of the outdoors. I agree with the interesting points that he has been making. Does he agree that volunteers have a vital role to play in making the outdoors accessible, especially to young people? Barbara Green runs a Duke of Edinburgh’s award open group in Clifton in my constituency, which not only provides young people with fantastic experiences, but gives them skills and confidence that can help them to thrive in education, as well as a great love of the outdoors.

David Rutley: The hon. Lady—my friend—makes an important point. When we were on Snowdon back in September, we saw a group of Asian girls from London on the Duke of Edinburgh scheme making their first trip up. Those are the sorts of experiences we want to promote and encourage.

Jim Shannon: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

David Rutley: Forgive me, but I need to make some progress, because we also want to hear from the Minister.

Progress has been made. The Minister has met the British Mountaineering Council and he supported the first ever reception for the Great Britain climbing team here, with the great Dame Kelly Holmes. That was an outstanding event, for which I thank him. We have also had the launch of Britain on Foot, an important scheme that the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Anna Soubry), came and supported, so the participation is there. Britain on Foot in particular is a scheme that we need to get behind. It is an amalgamation of groups, including trusted campaigners such as the British Mountaineering Council, the Ramblers—which we have already heard about—the Camping and Caravanning Club and, of course, the National Trust, along with 200 businesses involved in the outdoor industry and related matters. Those groups are vital. The public launch is in May and there will be three major projects: “Get Britain walking” week, led by the Ramblers, the “Outdoor adventure” week and the National Trust’s “50 things to do” week, which will encourage younger people to get involved.

Andrew Jones (Harrogate and Knaresborough) (Con): I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing the debate and also on being a Sport and Recreation Alliance’s sports parliamentarian of the year. I heartily agree with his comments about Britain on Foot and how people can get out and enjoy our countryside. Does he agree that one way people can get out is on their bikes and that we should encourage cycling as a way of enjoying outdoor pursuits?

David Rutley: As a former resident of Harrogate, I appreciate how important cycling is in my hon. Friend’s constituency. I have often seen him out in the hills enjoying the great sights—when he has any time and is not campaigning, of course. He is absolutely right: these are important pursuits to support.

Britain on Foot is ahead of us, so momentum is building. We have heard about volunteers doing their work, creating the Bollington walking festival and walking festivals elsewhere across the country. Let us get behind

5 Feb 2013 : Column 253

those things. The Government are moving forward on the Olympic legacy with the “Adventure is Great Britain” campaign, which is now an important pillar of that legacy. I hope we will hear about that from the Minister.

Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West) (LD): I commend my hon. Friend’s leadership of the all-party group on mountaineering, of which I am proud to be a member. The legacy is important, yet we are talking about things that are not necessarily seen as organised sport, but which are wonderful ways of getting involved, getting engaged and keeping fit, so we must ensure that they are included in all the plans. I am delighted to support the Britain on Foot campaign with him.

David Rutley: I thank my hon. Friend. It is encouraging to see support from all the different parties across the House. I think we are all united on this issue, which makes such a big difference to people throughout their lives. I recognise the work he does in various sports, including rugby league. The activities that we are talking about can make a difference across people’s lives.

I would like the Minister to focus on three things—if he is in agreement—as he looks at this great, hidden gem, in this Aladdin’s cave of opportunity for British tourism. First, we would like him to recognise the important role—which we all recognise—that opportunities for outdoor pursuits play in our rural communities for participation in sport and for health and well-being. Secondly, we also very much hope that he will be able to spend time meeting a group of people from the outdoor organisations we have talked about and the industry, to consider how to come up with pragmatic plans—which will hopefully fit with some of his that are already in place—to move the agenda forwards. Finally, we urge him to ensure that his Department and the related bodies, including VisitBritain, VisitEngland and, for that matter, English Heritage, give their full support to the Britain on Foot in the campaign over the months ahead. It is interesting to note that President Obama is supporting such initiatives in the States. The US has a “Great outdoors” month. I am not particularly competitive —not much—but I think we could do a lot more, a lot better than the US. The ideas we have discussed this evening would be great for that.

I want to end by recognising the huge contribution made by some of this country’s great adventurers, such as Bonington and Whillans—all these great climbers—but let us focus on Whymper, who was the first to climb the Matterhorn, in 1865. He said:

“There have been joys too great to be described in words, and there have been griefs upon which I have not dared to dwell, and with these in mind I say, climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are naught without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end.”

Determined and inspired words, and hopefully from my remarks tonight the Minister will feel a similar resolve to reach new summits in sports and the other activities mentioned today. The view from the top? Enduring economic benefits and the improved health of our nation. It is surely a climb worth making.

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8.20 pm

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Hugh Robertson): At the start of what I think is my seventh hour in the Chamber today, I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (David Rutley) for initiating this debate on the important role that participation in outdoor pursuits can play in supporting tourism, health, well-being and sports-related activity.

The Government recognise that tourism is a cornerstone of growth. We also recognise the role that tourism plays in rural economies, and within that the role that outdoor pursuits such as camping, hill walking, climbing and outdoor adventure play in underpinning key local tourism economies. The GREAT campaign, run from the Prime Minister’s office, celebrates the UK’s rich heritage and contemporary culture, our people and places to visit, as well as our great commercial strengths. Outdoor leisure is a key element of that campaign as it enables us to promote the United Kingdom as a fantastic destination for adventure and exploration.

Officials in my Department are exploring the possibility of linking the campaign with other areas of Government activity, such as the Department of Health’s Change4Life scheme. Across the piece, VisitBritain’s greatest ever global tourism campaign, supported by GREAT, is expected to bring in 4.6 million extra visitors, £2.3 billion additional spend, and create nearly 60,000 jobs over four years. Analysis has shown that investment in GREAT to date is projected to help generate around a quarter of a billion pounds for the British economy over the next two years. The rural economy is well placed to benefit from that investment.

Greg Mulholland: I was delighted to be at King’s Cross station to welcome the new Discover Leeds tourism campaign. It has received regional growth funding, which is marvellous. Will the Minister acknowledge the important role and opportunity provided by Britain on Foot to get people walking in urban and suburban areas? We have a great example in the Meanwood valley trail that goes from Leeds city centre through my constituency, nature reserves and parks, to connect with the countryside. The scheme applies to all areas.

Hugh Robertson: I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention and—I say this every time—for the work he has done on the rugby league world cup. I am sorry that I was not able to join him this morning—the reason is obvious: the Bill—but I acknowledge his contribution. The scheme has been incredibly successful, and a key objective of much of the reconstitution work around the Olympic park was to create such walking trails. Indeed, I led quite a lot of work last year to ensure that the full commitments on the cycling area are upheld when the track is reconstituted after the games.

In tandem with the VisitBritain investment, VisitEngland has a £25 million campaign, including “Holidays at Home Are GREAT”, which is expected to create more than 12,000 jobs, with £500 million extra spent by tourists between 2011 and 2015.

The current economic climate is, of course, making life hard for many communities and businesses, so apart from GREAT, what are the Government doing to help? There is specific Government support. For example, VisitEngland includes the promotion of outdoor activity

5 Feb 2013 : Column 255

in its work with the support of the regional growth fund and investment from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. My hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield will be pleased to hear that it is entirely supportive of the aims of the Britain on Foot campaign, as they align with increasing activity in the great outdoors and the subsequent economic benefit for tourism businesses. VisitEngland recognises the connection between increased outdoor activity-related tourism and increased sales of outdoor clothing and equipment. The agenda of the Outdoor Industries Association and Britain on Foot is very much aligned with VisitEngland’s strategic framework for tourism in England. Its focus on modernising the rural offering and getting younger people in particular interested in outdoor experiences will ultimately benefit the rural economy.

Kris Hopkins (Keighley) (Con): My constituency has the Pennine way running through it, Brontë country, Top Withens and Ilkley moor—I will not sing the song. It is a great privilege to be part of that fantastic countryside, but its economy is important and the money that the Minister is speaking of is important in stimulating the economy. Does he recognise the importance of the rural service economy?

Hugh Robertson: It has been quite a day for me, moving from the same-sex marriage debate to Ilkley moor, but I enthusiastically endorse what my hon. Friend says.

Hon. Members will be pleased that mountaineering is receiving £3 million through Sport England’s whole sport plans from 2013 to 2017. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has announced a £2 million fund for the creation of new permanent access rights within a £25 million package to promote rural tourism and support rural tourism businesses, following the rural economy growth review in 2011. The paths for communities scheme funded by the rural development programme for England aims to develop and enhance the rights of way network to the benefit of the local economy by funding projects developed by local communities.

Lilian Greenwood: How should people get to those great outdoor places? Rural transport is important, particularly for young people and people on low incomes who might not have access to a motor car. Has the Minister discussed that with his colleagues in the Department for Transport?

Hugh Robertson: In all honesty, the answer is no, but that is an extremely good point and I will ensure we follow it up. If the hon. Lady is happy for me to write to her, I will do so. Part of the attraction of many places is that they are remote. It is important that we open them up, particularly to young people, while maintaining the correct balances.

In the past 12 months, the Government have announced that £107 million will be made available during this Parliament for cycling. That included last month’s announcement of a fund worth up to £12 million being made available to local authorities working in partnership with the national parks to improve conditions for cyclists.

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What else has happened? Access, through rights of way and open access, is probably the best it has ever been in England. Access is incredibly important for the economy, and we can be very proud of our network of national trails, which can be important generators for local business. For example, university of Exeter research shows that the south-west coast path generates around £300 million a year for the economy of the region and supports around 7,500 jobs.

Natural England is committed to increasing the number and range of people who can experience and benefit from the natural environment, and it is leading on the Government’s ambition that everybody should have fair access to a good-quality natural environment. It is championing “Outdoors for All” and the natural environment on behalf of the Government and ensuring that the green-space volunteering and heritage sectors work side by side with partners to help to improve the quality of everybody’s experience of natural places.

I will touch on two of the issues my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield mentioned in a minute, but first let me say that the Olympic legacy has been making an impact on health and well-being since we won the bid back in 2005. If he had told me that might happen on that happy night in Singapore when we were celebrating the success of the bid, I would have replied that that wonderful ambition was unlikely to be realised, but since the bid to stage the games was won in 2005 we have managed to ensure that more than 1.5 million more people are playing sport regularly. That is a remarkable achievement and one that no other host nation has managed.

Sport England and the Department of Health are working together to align programmes to support those who are least active. We have recently had an opportunity for interested organisations to apply to the “Get Healthy, Get into Sport” fund. The fund is seeking to improve the evidence base on the role of sport to engage inactive people—many of whom, I suspect, would be attracted by precisely the activities my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield is advocating—and produce the right type of information that is of interest to those who commission public health programmes.

Let me touch on two issues my hon. Friend mentioned. I always get asked about International Olympic Committee votes. It is important to say that the only people who vote on which sports go into the mix—he is absolutely right, the vote is in the September IOC session in Buenos Aires—are the IOC members, and they are extremely resistant to pressure from Government to get sports in and out. A number of sports are trying to get in this time around, some of which would do us, as a country, quite a lot of good, so we would like to see them in. The advice to mountaineering—indeed, the advice I would give to any sport—is that it is important to take a strategic long-term view. Mountaineering may be lucky in 2020, but if it is not, the sport’s representatives need to keep plugging away, because the programme changes regularly. Even in London, we could sense that there were some sports that may not have a long-term future in the summer games. There is a case for mountaineering in either the winter or the summer games; as there is a place for it in both, it is well worth plugging away at the strategic level.

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I hope that my hon. Friend will take confidence from what I have said. I absolutely acknowledge the opportunities for outdoor pursuits, and I would be delighted to meet the organisations he mentioned. If he does not mind, could he give me a month while we get this uncontroversial little piece of legislation through Parliament? I give him my assurance that I will ensure that the arm’s-length bodies give full support to the Britain on Foot initiative.

Mr Speaker, thank you for remaining with us for most of these seven hours—

Andrew Percy (Brigg and Goole) (Con): My hon. Friend the Member for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire (Simon Hart) raised the issue of using outdoor pursuits in education. Will the Minister give a commitment to work with the Department for Education to achieve that?

5 Feb 2013 : Column 258

Hugh Robertson: I think at this stage of the evening I might just say, “Indeed, yes. Trust me, it will be done.”

In conclusion, and before I go off and make my final speech of the evening outside the Chamber, I will finish by confirming that through many of the initiatives in place, the Government recognise entirely the important role that informal outdoor activity and sport-related activity play in supporting tourism and the health and well-being agendas. There is a unique opportunity to market this country, and we have seen the effects already, with an increase in visitor numbers post-2012. The hon. Gentleman and others can be assured that outdoor pursuits will play a key part in that process.

Question put and agreed to.

8.32 pm

House adjourned.