Skip to main content

New Clause 3

Volume 978: debated on Thursday 14 February 1980

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


From the commencement of this Act no tolls shall be charged for passage through the Mersey Tunnels.—[ Mr. Alton.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

The House divided: Ayes 110, Noes 55.

8.15 pm

With this we may take the following amendments:

No. 33, in page 75, line 39, leave out clauses 91 to 99.

No. 37, in clause 101, page 80, line 4, leave out from 'enactment' to 'after' in line 7.

No. 38, in page 80, line 10, leave out 'such moneys' and insert

'moneys borrowed for the purposes mentioned in subsection (2) below, or under subsection (3) below.'.

The purpose of the clause is to remove the tolls on the Mersey tunnels. They act as an artificial barrier instead of a bond on Merseyside.

In 1929 Parliament granted powers to allow the charging of tolls for the first Mersey tunnel. The leader of the Liverpool council, Sir Archibald Sinclair, said that there would come a time when the tunnel would be made toll-free. His successor many, many years later, Sir Harold MacDonald Stewart, gave a similar pledge when the Wallasey tunnel was completed. However, in 1980 we continue to pay a toll. There is a toll of 30p if one travels by car and a charge of 70p for vehicles of over three tons. That means that many are impeded in their desire to get from their place of residence to their place of work. Frequently transporters, hauliers and businessmen are unable to transport their commodities as successfully and economically as they would wish because of the large tolls that are imposed.

Many people cannot afford the cost of travelling through the Mersey tunnel. That is adding to the problems of the Merseyside economy. Some hon. Members gave an election undertaking that given the election of a Conservative Government they would fight for the tolls to be removed from the Mersey tunnels. I hope that Conservative Members who took that view in the past will find it within their power to support me in voting for the removal of tolls.

It would be of great benefit to Merseyside if people were able more readily to travel from one side of the water to the other. Undoubtedly the tolls act as a barrier. People are forced to pay tolls that are wildly beyond what they might reasonably be expected to pay. That is why I am convinced that the Mersey tunnels should become part of the national road netword and should act as a way of linking one community with another.

A person living in the Wirral, in Birkenhead or in Wallasey will have to pay 30p each day as he travels through the tunnel on his way to work. He will have to find another 30p on his return in the evening. In addition, he will have to pay high parking charges in Liverpool.

That is a disincentive to many firms to use Liverpool as a base for their business and to the spread of commerce in the city. Equally, business men who wish to transport their goods from Liverpool to the other side of the water in order to link up with the sophisticated motorway network which runs out of Birkenhead and Wallasey are faced with large costs. That, too, is a disincentive to commerce on Merseyside.

A much smaller number of households on Merseyside and in Liverpool own cars than probably in any other part of the country. We should look at the special problems of Merseyside and deal with them accordingly. The people who have cars should be given assistance to keep those cars in use, and their overheads should be reduced by removing the tolls from the tunnels. Like any other motorists, they pay road tax and the extortionate cost of petrol, and on top of that they pay the tolls. Equally, advice should be given to advise the Merseyside county council about the way in which it should integrate the tunnels and the road system into the basic network of transportation. For a long time, I have been struck by the fact that the council's transportation policies have left much to be desired.

Earlier, I referred to the Liverpool inner ring road. It was designed to feed into the Mersey tunnels but it has proved to be a non-event. It was the brainchild of politicians and planners in the 1960s. In 1966, the city council used the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation Act 1966 powers in order to go ahead with the construction of the inner motorway. That was to be a road that might have been 16—in some places even 18—lanes wide. That is quite unimaginable in this day and age. It has been scaled down, but it will still cost the ratepayers about £40 million, at a time when people face vast increases in other costs.

Those powers are being re-enacted in the Bill. That means that people will not have the right of public inquiry. The best thing that the House and the sponsors of the Bill can do is not to look at the problems of the tunnels in isolation but to look at the problems of the inner ring road as well. I plead with the sponsors to remove the clauses, which, once again, empower the Liverpool city council and the Merseyside county council to proceed with the construction of the ring road. It will mean that many small businesses will be driven out of business. Over 1,000 more jobs—on the county council's figures—could be lost. The ratepayers will be faced with large charges.

Equally, the way in which the Merseyside passenger transport executive works leaves much to be desired. I sometimes believe that MPTE stands for "make passenger transport extinct".

I agree entirely with the hon. Gentleman. However, the point is that the Government have to finance this matter. Even if the new clause is passed—I shall vote for it—in the last analysis the Government have to pay. Therefore, we should appeal to the Government to give us the money. That must be made clear, otherwise a false impression is created. Passing the new clause alone will not solve the problem. I have been writing to several Governments for years and they have all told me that it cannot be done.

The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) is correct when he says that freeing the tunnels will cost money. The danger is that if we do not free the tunnels, look at transportation policy again and reorder our priorities there will be more disadvantage to the economy of Merseyside. The hon. Member for Walton is saying that it will cost money to free the tolls. I am trying to point out that, for example, if the inner ring road scheme were abandoned, we would save a great deal of money which could be used to make the tunnels free. I do not ask merely for handouts from the Government. I plead with the sponsors to look at other clauses in the Bill which will mean that the county council will not have sufficient future money to free the tolls on the tunnels. One practical way in which that could be done is by looking at the clauses that allow the construction of the remainder of the Liverpool inner ring road.

When I spoke earlier, I tried to point out that the county council appears to have lost sight of the basic services, such as the operation of the tunnels and the clearing of grids and gulleys. It has cut back on those services and cannot even deal with matters like Dutch elm disease. It has decided that the districts should do that themselves, because it cannot provide money for those schemes. That is the reason it gives for not freeing thetolls—there is not enough money. I say that we could have the money if there were cutbacks on ludicrous schemes such as the inner ring road. I go further and say that we would save an even greater amount of money if we abolished the Merseyside county council. In the last few years, it has spent far too much time on grandiose pie-in-the-sky schemes that have turned into ratepayers' nightmares. Another example is the 139 high buildings that it wants to build on Liverpool dock front.

There has been a wide debate on the first new clause and I shall be much stricter on the second. Will the hon. Gentleman confine himself to the Mersey tunnels and not range on to subjects such as high-rise buildings?

I am trying to make the point that if the county council spent half the time that it spent on ludicrous fanciful schemes on trying to conserve ratepayers' money, the money would be available to free the tunnels. That would bring great benefit to the economy of Merseyside.

I return to the question of the number of households in Liverpool and on Merseyside with cars. In 1977, 56 per cent. of households in Great Britain had the use of at least one car. Estimates of numbers of households are not made for every year, but in 1976 there were 19·4 million households in Great Britain. That figure is drawn from the "Housing and Construction Statistics No. 25, Supplementary Table XVIII". Therefore, about 10.9 millon households had the use of at least one car. In Merseyside, the position is different. In the North-West, compared with the average number of 16 per cent. of people who own two or more cars, 9 per cent. own two or more cars.

About 41 per cent. of households on Merseyside have only one car, compared with 51 per cent. in the South-East. Fifty per cent. of households on Merseyside have no car, compared with 33 per cent. from similar samples in the South-East. Those figures graphically show the differences that exist. That is why the Bill is being promoted. It takes account of the local problems of our conurbations, but the reintroduction of tolls continues to place a charge on those who can least afford it. It does not remove a barrier or create a bond. Many of those who can least afford the toll do not own a car.

I hope that the sponsors of the Bill will think again about the clauses relating to the inner ring road. I hope that they will support the principle of removing tolls. Given the opportunity and the savings that I have mentioned, the county council could find the money to finance such a scheme.

8.30 pm

I shall be brief. I shall not ride all my Mersey hobby-horses at the same time, as the hon. Member for Liverpool, Edge Hill (Mr. Alton) has done. During the general election campaign, I do not recall making a pledge to the effect that Mersey tunnels should be toll-free.

In the past, as leader of Wirral borough council, I fought for a revision of the Government's estuarial policies. I support the remarks of the hon. Member for Edge Hill concerning the need for toll-free tunnels in Merseyside. However, this is not the way to achieve that. The outstanding sum of £63 million will be left for Merseyside ratepayers to pick up. The hon. Member deludes himself—which is not unknown—if he thinks that Merseyside county council will suddenly produce that money out of thin air. The new clause will mean that costs will fall on the backs of hard-pressed ratepayers in Merseyside.

Will the hon. Gentleman accept the point made by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Edge Hill (Mr. Alton) that the sum of £50 million or more which is to be spent on the white elephant of a ring road could be put to better use?

I do not accept that. The hon. Member for Edge Hill has dragged the question of the ring road into the debate. He will have an opportunity later to mention the ring road. We are discussing the Mersey tunnels and whether they should be toll-free. We should tackle the problem in a different way. We should persuade this Government—as we attempted to persuade the previous Government—to revise their estuarial policies. I hope that the hon. Member for Edge Hill and my other colleagues from Merseyside will join me in supporting that course of action.

My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Mr. Ogden) and I took part in an Adjournment debate on a similar issue several years ago. At 3 o'clock or later in the morning we tried to persuade the former Minister of Transport to adopt this policy. We received a considerable amount of sympathy from the Minister, but unfortunately we received no assistance.

The argument for a toll-free Mersey tunnel grows day by day. More and more highways and motorways are being constructed on both sides of the Mersey. We should therefore consider including the Mersey tunnel in the national road system. I hope that the inner ring road will never be constructed. When the Mersey tunnel was first opened in 1934, it was agreed that tolls would be removed once the cost had been covered.

In the 1960s, when the Merseyside county council and the local city council decided to construct a second Mersey tunnel, it was agreed that the surplus cash should accrue and be kept to finance a second tunnel. That was opened in the early 1970s.

Some tunnels and bridges in this country are toll-free. The Mersey tunnel is important to Merseyside. We should have proper integration of our national road system. It is time that tolls were abolished, and I support new clause 3.

I am amazed at the remarks of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Garston (Mr. Thornton). He is not riding all his hobby-horses tonight because he is being whipped into voting against them. He has already been whipped into voting against proposals to encourage small businesses.

The hon. Gentleman is being whipped into voting against the very amendments that would make a reality of toll-free tunnels under the Mersey estuary. Unless hon. Gentlemen put their feet and votes where their concern and views are, that objective will never be achieved. I hope that the people of Merseyside will learn through the media—they will certainly be told through leaflets distributed by the Labour Party in Bootle—that Conservative Members who represent Merseyside are reneging on their duty. They are being cajoled and whipped into the Lobby to vote against measures that would benefit Merseyside.

I support the new clause. Why do we have tolls? Successive Governments have said that users should pay directly for at least some exceptional benefits, as they call them, in time and cost that major new and expensive estuarial crossings offer. I suggest that they are not exceptional benefits. The tunnels under the Mersey estuary provided the very communications network of which the hon. Member for Garston sang the praises only a few minutes ago. They are an integral part of the road network that serves Merseyside. They should not be treated differently from any other road or motorway. To do so would be detrimental and unjust to Merseyside.

The toll income from all the estuarial crossings in Britain is 1 per cent. of the annual expenditure on roads in England, Scotland and Wales. In the past, Ministers have said that costs should be met by those who benefit—the users. Others benefit from the Mersey tunnel—industry, commerce and everyone in the community. If the Government mean what they say about helping industry in Merseyside, hon. Gentlemen should vote for the clause and make the tunnels toll free.

About 99·99 per cent. of road mileage in England, Scotland and Wales is financed from the proceeds of national and local taxation. These crossings form the remaining 25 miles. That is all. They are financed by toll charges. Motorways are financed 100 per cent. by taxpayers' money. The user and the ratepayer pay nothing. The taxpayer pays nothing for toll tunnels. The user pays virtually 100 per cent. and the ratepayer pays hardly anything.

The idea of directly charging road users to pay for the provision and upkeep of roads came to an end in this country with the abandonment of the old turn-pike philosophy in the nineteenth century. But it has not been abandoned for the Mersey Tunnel.

We are asking nothing for Merseyside that has not already been granted to many estuarial crossings in other parts of the country. For example, there are the M5 Avonmouth bridge at Bristol, the M5 crossing of the River Exe at Exeter, the M62 crossing of the River Ouse at Goole, the M2 crossing of the River Medway, the M275 crossing in Portsmouth and the M85 crossing of the River Tay at Perth. The major difference between these crossings and the Mersey Tunnel is the cost of construction, which in all the major toll-free crossings was grant-aided wholly or mainly by the Government. In comparison, reflecting the "user-must-pay" policy, derisory grant aid was paid towards major toll crossings constructed by local authorities. There have been only four instances of Government grant being paid towards such facilities and in each case the amount involved was related to the orginal estimate of the cost of construction. The grant was never reviewed to allow for planning and construction delays or for the effects of inflation.

In the case of the tunnel connecting Liverpool and Birkenhead, which opened in 1934, 50 per cent. of the original estimated cost of £5 million was granted, and the actual cost was £8 million. Given such minimal grant aid, both to that tunnel and to the others that have subsequently been built, the crossing authority had to find other means of financing construction. It had to finance the construction cost pending receipts of revenue from the users.

In almost all the cases the bulk of the cost was financed by loans, many of which were provided by the Government at the prevailing market rate of interest. That has created a major problem for Merseyside because the outstanding debt on the loans is causing great difficulties. The operating cost of the Mersey Tunnel in 1977–78 was £2·6 million. The debt charges totalled £6·1 million, making a grand total of £8·7 million. Toll income was only £5·3 million, so the deficit for that year was £3·4 million. The deficit brought forward from previous years was £19·5 million, making a total deficit of £22·9 million, arising mainly from interest paid on loans that were borrowed because tunnels were financed not by Government assistance, but by money that the local authorities had to borrow. It is the continually rising interest debt burden that is causing such problems.

In the early 1960s the Birkenhead tunnel was carrying traffic close to its capacity and a second crossing was obviously needed. At that time both the Government and the local authorities concerned believed that the tunnels would eventually pay for themselves. That is not so. To make up the deficit of £22·9 million, tolls for cars would have to be increased from the present 30p to £1·35, and Mersey tunnel tolls have already quadrupled in the last 13 years.

It is obvious that the least that should be done for an area like Merseyside, which has special development area status and which needs special assistance, is for the Government to provide funding to clear some of the outstanding debts. If the local authority really wants to spend a little of the ratepayers' money in order to get maximum benefit, it could contribute to getting rid of the tolls. Nineteenth century economics dictate that travelling with a car or a commercial vehicle means paying a toll. That is bad for Merseyside, and the remedy would cost the nation a negligible amount.

I believe that it could have an amazing effect in benefits to employment and industry on Merseyside. I shall be watching, like the whole of Merseyside, to see how Conservative Members vote in the Division Lobbies on this issue.

8.45 pm

The amendment in the names of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Edge Hill (Mr. Alton) and my hon. Friends is attractive at first sight. As my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Scotland Exchange (Mr. Parry) said, he and I and other Merseyside Members had almost exactly the same debate in an Adjournment debate on 25 January 1977 at 4.55 am. I have a theory that somewhere in the Department of Transport, and in the Department of the Environ- ment there is a long-lived person called the custodian of estuarial crossings. Governments comeand Governments go, but the policy remains the same.

Although I am not a betting man, I predict that the answer of the Under-Secretary, if he cares to intervene and help us with his advice, will be the same as that given by the Under-Secretary of State in 1977, namely, "special principles". I thought that the only principle was the percentage of salt water in the river or the estuary over which, or under which, one crossed. I thought that men went round to find out where a river was tolled and where it was not. I give the words of the Under-Secretary at that time:
"Estuarial crossings are tolled—whether they are part of the national motorway network, as at Severn, or on local roads, as at Mersey—because they offer exceptional benefits for which it is thought right that the user should pay."—[Official Report, 25 January 1977; Vol. 924, c. 1459.]
I do not think that anyone on Merseyside would deny the enormous benefit that the linking of the two sides of the estuary has produced. I can go from North London to Merseyside on 200 miles of motorway which provide me with exceptional benefits, and do so free. The argument about tolls can be won by any reasonable person, but it means changing the policy of the Department.

We cannot have the enormous motorway links that exist in this country, and the attractive and useful links in Lancashire and Cheshire—the best motorway system in the whole of the United Kingdom—and have this narrow gap. I am not concerned so much about the amount of the toll. The charges are levied more on the constituents of the hon. Member for Wirral (Mr. Hunt) than on mine, but if someone can afford a motor car costing between £3,000 and £10,000—there are a fair number on Merseyside—thetoll will not make much difference. Those who can pay between £10,000 to £20,000 for a juggernaut lorry will also not worry too much about the cost of the toll. The amount of the charge is not particularly important to me. The fact that it is charged at all is important.

No Opposition Member wants a toll. Among the alternatives open to us is an attempt to persuade the Government—we were not able to persuade the Labour Government—to take over the debt and provide aid and assistance. To act as has been suggested would result in the Government saying that a resolution had been passed and the Act could not come into force, or that when it came into force there would be no tolls. The Government would tell hon. Members to go back to Merseyside and sort the matter out. They would refuse to give extra money. There could be no tolls. We would have landed our ratepayers with a bill of £5 million to £8 million without any guarantee that anyone else would pay.

I tried to make the point that massive savings could be made by Merseyside county council itself. The council could cut down its contingency fund for next year, which is well above what is required. More important, it could exercise some thrift and perhaps abandon the inner ring road scheme that will cost ratepayers and taxpayers over £40 million. If that money were saved, it could be put into the exchequer and perhaps enable the county council to fund the tolls on the tunnel.

That should bed one on a planned basis. It is a matter for conscious decision on Merseyside, though probably every other hon. Member for Merseyside would have a different set of priorities.

It is the job of county councillors, not of Members of Parliament, to run the county council. One of the problems with county councils is that so few electors take part in electing councillors, but they complain to Parliament when things go wrong. The electors should sort out their own problems. They put the Tory county council in, and if they do not like what the councillors are now doing they must sort it out themselves.

I cannot, in all conscience, on the basis of a one-off badly worded clause or amendment, land my ratepayers and others on Merseyside with an uncontrolled uncommitted bill for £5 million to £8 million.

As the Merseyside authority built two important tunnels under the Mersey, and as they serve many parts of the United Kingdom by enhancing mobility and communications between north and south, does my hon. Friend agree that it is the responsibility of the Government—if they really want to help Merseyside with its economic and unemployment problems—to take on board the cost of repairing and maintaining both tunnels?

I agree with my hon. Friend. We say that the tunnels, as estuarial crossings, should be part of the motorway network and be financed in the same way. I do not wish to land the St. Helens constituents, who hardly use the tunnels, with a £5 million to £8 million bill on a completely irrational and unconsidered basis.

I make the same point as my hon. Friend the Member for St. Helens (Mr. Spriggs) concerning the removal of tolls. Many of us have been campaigning on that issue for a long time and for that reason I appreciate that the hon. Member for Liverpool. Edge Hill (Mr. Alton) has tabled the clause. It gives us an opportunity to discuss the issues.

The only way we can deal with this in concrete terms is to get from the Government—whether they be Labour or Tory—a statement that they will meet the financial loss that would result if tolls were abolished. If we abolish the tolls, we lose £8 million. When I say "lose", I also mean that the people of Merseyside would gain that money, and that is right because they need it. There ought not to be tolls. But without a clear guarantee from the Government of the day that they would give grant aid to us as an area if we abolished the county council the ratepayers of Merseyside would have to pay that £8 million. There is no argument about that. The money has to be raised somehow.

I argue that the clause, though I agree totally with its principle, would leave us in a difficult situation if it were passed in its present form. I shall vote for it because I feel that it would be a good expression of opinion. I fear that it will not get through anyway, because the Government have sufficient forces here to stop us.

If only for that reason, I think that we should have added at the end of the clause words such as "provided that the Government finance the needs of the tunnel" or something of that kind. That is the reality. We are not in the glorious situation that the state of Louisiana was in in the days of Huey Long when tolls were charged on State bridges. Huey Long solved the problem simply. Private enterprise ran those bridges and he told the operators that if tolls were not removed he would erect free bridges next to those on which tolls were charged. He built a free bridge and solved the problem, because once the free bridge was built no one used the toll bridge.

We cannot build another tunnel because the cost would be astronomical. The only way to solve the problem is for the Government of the day to accept responsibility. It is right that they should. We have argued this case for years. Despite all the aid given by Labour Governments, there has not been sufficient aid given to help Merseyside to solve its problems. The case is unanswerable.

If the clause were accepted, difficult problems would be created for the local authority despite the argument that has been put forward that there could be some trimming back by the Merseyside county council. I have never been in favour of Merseyside county council. Long before I entered the House of Commons, I moved a motion in the Liverpool city council opposing the idea of the Merseyside county council. Unfortunately, the motion was lost.

I shall vote for the clause only because it is an expression of opinion. I do not think that it will be passed. If it were, I would have to accept responsibility for adding £8 million on to the ratepayers' bill. I do not want to accept such a responsibility. I ask the Under-Secretary of State to make a two-minute speech and say that the Government will accept total responsibility and meet the deficit that will arise. That will solve the problem of the Merseyside ratepayers. If he does that, he will please hon. Members on both sides of the House, there will be unanimity, and there will be no need for a vote. The ball is in his court.

What a marvellous speech the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) made. I have heard of hedging bets, but for the hon. Gentleman to say that he will vote in favour of the clause in the expectation and hope that it will be lost was a slightly tortuous argument. I know exactly what he means.

I fully support the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Mr. Ogden) in an all-party approach to remove the toll on tunnels, and I would like that all-party approach to be strengthened. I am delighted with the efforts of the consortium of Mersey, Tyne, Dartford and Humber crossing authorities, which deserves our fullest support. A review is necessary of estuarial policy.

I support the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Garston (Mr. Thornton), who lives in my constituency. He spoke extremely ably and asked why we should have this artificial, psychological and costly barrier just to enable us to get from our homes to our place of work. I support the notion that our crossing should be free.

9 pm

Will the hon. Gentleman say how he would finance the objective that he favours? Many people express the pious hope that some day the Merseyside tunnels will be toll-free. That was said by those who built the first tunnel in 1929 and the second tunnel. How would the hon. Gentleman finance the project? The clause does not specify that. It deliberately leaves the question open. It can be a matter either for the local authority or the Government, or perhaps both. That is why the clause does not go into detail.

The taxpayer should bear the cost of our tunnel tolls. I do not need to quote political speeches made in 1934 or since. I have lived in Liverpool for most of my life. As a child I went through those tunnels. I remember, quite vividly, a friendly old man with a moustache who used to beam benignly down at me sitting in the car. He said "Do not worry, young lad. When you are grown up, there will not be any tolls."

If I had known at that time that the old gentleman was the hon. Gentleman's father-in-law, my response might have been very different.

We must face realities. The new clause has given us an opportunity to debate an important issue. I realise the public expenditure constraints. Nevertheless, I believe that all of us from Merseyside, from all parties, should press for a new national policy on estuarial crossings.

I hope that the hon. Member for Liverpool, Edge Hill (Mr. Alton) will not press his new clause. If he does, he may become known as the most expensive Merseyside Member of Parliament. It is not just a question of £8·7 million. We should still have to repay £63million, without the revenue with which to make repayments. If that happened, Merseyside rates would double. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would not want to be responsible for that.

Division No. 184]


[9.03 pm

Booth, Rt Hon AlbertHamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)Penhaligon, David
Buchan, NormanHardy, PeterPowell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Campbell-Savours, DaleHaynes, FrankPrescott, John
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S)Heffer, Eric S.Price, Christopher (Lewisham West)
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire)Ross, Stephen (Isle of wight)
Cook, Robin F.Home Robertson, JohnSever, John
Cryer, BobHowells, GeraintSpriggs, Leslie
Dalyell, TamHughes, Robert (Aberdeen North)Stallard, A. W.
Davis, Clinton (Hackney Central)Johnston, Russell (Inverness)Strang, Gavin
Davis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford)Jones, Dan (Burnley)Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)Kilfedder, James A.White, Frank R. (Bury & Radcliffe)
Dewar, DonaldLomond, JamesWhitlock, William
Dixon, DonaldLeighton, RonaldWoodall, Alec
Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale)Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Field, FrankMcDonald, Dr OonaghTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)McKay, Allen (Penistone)Mr. David Alton and Mr. Allan Roberts.
Golding, JohnO'Neill, Martin
Hamilton, James (Bothwell)Parry, Robert


Ancram, MichaelGlyn, Dr AlanPattie, Geoffrey
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)Goodlad, AlastairPollock, Alexander
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)Grist, IanPym, Rt Hon Francis
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay)Hawkins, PaulRaison, Timothy
Berry, Hon AnthonyHicks, RobertRathbone, Tim
Best, KeithHunt, David (Wirral)Rees-Davies, W. R.
Blackburn, JohnHunt, John (Ravensbourne)Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Blaker, PeterHurd, Hon DouglasRossi, Hugh
Boscawen, Hon RobertJessel, TobySainsbury, Hon Timothy
Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich West)Jopling, Rt Hon MichaelShaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Boyson, Dr RhodesKellett-Bowman, Mrs ElaineShepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Brinton, TimLangford-Holt, Sir JohnShersby, Michael
Brittan, LeonLe Marchant, SpencerSims, Roger
Brooke, Hon PeterLester, Jim (Beeston)Speller, Tony
Browne, John (Winchester)Lloyd, Peter(Fareham)Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)
Buchanan-Smith, Hon AlickLuce, RichardSproat, Iain
Butler, Hon AdamMacfarlane, NeilStanbrook, Ivor
Carlisle, John (Luton West)MacGregor, JohnStanley, John
Chalker, Mrs LyndaMcQuarrie, AlbertStevens, Martin
Channon, PaulMajor, JohnStewart, John (East Renfrewshire)
Clark, Sir William (Croydon South)Marlow, TonyStradling Thomas, J.
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Thompson, Donald
Colvin, MichaelMarten, Neil (Banbury)Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Cope, JohnMather, CarolTownend, John (Bridlington)
Corrie, JohnMaude, Rt Hon AngusWaddington, David
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesMaxwell-Hyslop, RobinWakeham, John
Dunn, Robert (Dartford)Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove & Redditch)Walker, Bill (Perth & E Perthshire)
Elliott, Sir WilliamMills, Iain (Meriden)Wheeler, John
Emery, PeterMonro, HectorWhitney, Raymond
Fenner, Mrs PeggyMorrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester)Wickenden, Keith
Finsberg, GeoffreyMyles, DavidWiggin, Jerry
Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesNeedham, RichardYoung, Sir George (Acton)
Fookes, Miss JanetNelson, AnthonyYounger, Rt Hon George
Forman, NigelNeubert, Michael
Fowler, Rt Hon NormanNewton, TonyTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Fox, MarcusPage, Rt Hon Sir R. GrahamMr. Malcolm Thornton and Mr. Graham Bright.
Gardiner George (Reigate)Parkinson, Cecil

Question accordingly negatived.

The promoters of the Bill are aware of the strong feelings on this issue. However, they cannot possibly accept a denial of the revenue from the tolls under existing Government policy. I therefore urge hon. Members to vote against the new clause.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time: —

The House divided: Ayes, 48, Noes 110.