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The Earl of Caithness: My Lords, there has not been much communication with me since Committee. I have heard absolutely nothing from the Government. They did not comment further on any of the points that I raised; there has been a deathly silence. If the noble Lord is now saying that if I am to be slightly troublesome about this amendment he will have difficulty in consulting with the profession, that is a threat to which I shall not succumb.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I am absolutely not saying that. That was not the intention behind my words.

The Earl of Caithness: My Lords, I shall read with great care what the noble Lord said, but that is certainly how it came over to me.

I take a contrary view to that of the noble Lord, Lord Bassam. I think that the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Borrie, was well answered by the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, who put the case extremely well and certainly better than I did. We should not wait for the regulations; we are certainly not going to get them before the Bill completes its passage through this House. There is immense confusion on the issue. If the Government understand what they are trying to do, they can revise the amendment in the Commons, if it is passed, but I think that it is right to test the opinion of the House.

Before I do that, I should just like to say how sorry I am that the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, has moved away. In Committee, she said that she had a lot of sympathy with me concerning exactly the same amendment. Now it comes to the crunch, she has moved away. I am sorry about that: I supported her amendment and would have done so in the Lobby; I hope that she may have a second thought and support me. I beg to test the opinion of the House.
19 Oct 2004 : Column 664

3.42 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 144D) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 97; Not-Contents, 143.

Division No. 1


Ampthill, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Biffen, L.
Blatch, B.
Bowness, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E. [Teller]
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chorley, L.
Cobbold, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crathorne, L.
Crickhowell, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Donaldson of Lymington, L.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elles, B.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Ferrers, E.
Fookes, B.
Fowler, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B. [Teller]
Geddes, L.
Glentoran, L.
Hanham, B.
Hanningfield, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Hurd of Westwell, L.
Inglewood, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
Kilclooney, L.
Kimball, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Laing of Dunphail, L.
Lindsay, E.
Liverpool, E.
Lyell, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L.
Marlesford, L.
Marsh, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monson, L.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Noakes, B.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Peel, E.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Plumb, L.
Rawlings, B.
Rees, L.
Renton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B.
Selsdon, L.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Sheppard of Didgemere, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Steinberg, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Swinfen, L.
Ullswater, V.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wakeham, L.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Windlesham, L.


Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Amos, B. (Lord President of the Council)
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Best, L.
Bhatia, L.
Billingham, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Derby, Bp.
Dixon, L.
Drayson, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Giddens, L.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Brookwood, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Hart of Chilton, L.
Haskel, L.
Haworth, L.
Hayman, B.
Henig, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Joffe, L.
Jones, L.
Jordan, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Levy, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Northfield, L.
Parekh, L.
Patel, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Pendry, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prosser, B.
Prys-Davies, L.
Radice, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rooker, L.
Rosser, L.
Rowlands, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Sheldon, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Snape, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Strange, B.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Tomlinson, L.
Triesman, L.
Truscott, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Wall of New Barnet, B.
Walpole, L.
Warner, L.
Warnock, B.
Weatherill, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

19 Oct 2004 : Column 665

[Amendment No. 144E not moved.]

Lord Hanningfield moved Amendment No. 145:

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I wish to speak to Amendment No. 145 and the amendments associated with it. They would remove Clauses 141 to 156 and
19 Oct 2004 : Column 666
Clauses 162 to 169. It will not have escaped the Government's notice that the amendments would kill off home information packs. I shall refer briefly to Amendments Nos. 145 to 156, and my noble friend Lady Hanham will, in addition to addressing the main thrust of the amendments, give the details relating to Amendments Nos. 157 to 179.

I welcome and commend the Government's reported late decision to drop home information packs from the Bill. We look forward to receiving the Minister's confirmation of that today. It seems that the Government have finally seen the light and realised that packs will neither speed up property transactions nor stop gazumping. They have finally realised that the packs, at a cost of almost £1,000 apiece, would have been Labour's community charge—or, to put it another way, its property poll tax.

Although I applaud that noble decision, I must make one small criticism of the Government. Surely, rather than announcing the withdrawal of the packs in the most widely read Sunday newspaper in the country—I hope that both Ministers saw the report—

Lord Rooker: My Lords, before we start the debate, I can confirm to the noble Lord that we are not doing so. If that was reported in one of the Murdoch lie-sheets, does it not simply show how inaccurate the press is?

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