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Extension Of Parliamentary Franchise

Volume 81: debated on Tuesday 25 June 1985

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

Lords amendment: No. 1, in page 2, line 3, after "date" insert

"subject to subsection (3A) below".

10.52 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
(Mr. David Mellor)

I beg to move, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment.

With this it will be convenient to take Lords amendments Nos. 3 to 6, 11, 13, 15 to 18 and the amendments, in the name of the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith), to Lords amendments Nos. 6, 11 and 18.

Considerable debate took place in the House and outside it to find an acceptable basis on which to make progress on the Bill. This led to the gratifying conclusion that the legislation had an unopposed Third Reading.

It is common knowledge that some Conservative Members wanted a more generous extension of the franchise to British citizens overseas than the five years contained in the Bill. It is equally clear that some Opposition Members would have preferred more modest proposals to succeed than those agreed by the House. In the proper spirit which I think should guide us when discussing issues relating to the electoral rules, a compromise was reached, and the five-year provision was agreed.

The other place proceeded to discuss the question of officials working for the European Community and concluded that European Community officials should be enfranchised as if they were diplomats and serving soldiers who, by long tradition, have had the right to vote while serving overseas. There are problems with that proposition. I can identify two of them. The first has been perceptively observed by the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith), who has noted that, if the decision is taken to extend the franchise to officials of the European Community, there is no logic in not extending it to the officials of NATO, the Council of Europe or the Western European Union. There is an irresistible logic in that proposal, as is the case occasionally with proposals advanced by the hon. Gentleman.

Secondly, there is the question whether it is appropriate for the House to make further distinctions between officials and people working overseas privately. We honour what has been dignified by a historical position in our electoral arrangements — the privilege of voting accorded to members of the armed servies and of the diplomatic corps. I should be hard put to it to say that someone who works for the European Community and undoubtedly does valuable service, as do about 1,500 of our fellow citizens, is necessarily any more worthy of being permitted to vote in a British election than someone who represents in Brussels the interests of ICI, ICL or any of our other great companies.

In logic, it is impossible to defend the Lords amendment. If we are prepared to drive that wedge into the five-year proposal, we should accept the hon. Gentleman's proposition. While I hope that, in the not-too-distant future, the House will return to this subject and determine that everyone who works overseas for a period longer than five years should have the vote, that day has not dawned. I wish to honour the arrangement into which we entered earlier. I do not think that it is right to perpetuate distinctions between officials and others and on that basis I advise the House to negative the Lords amendment.

I should like to thank the Minister for what he has said. It is highly generous of the Government to come to the House and confirm the arrangement that was reached here when the Bill was going through.

It is proper for all the reasons that the Minister has given that we maintain the Bill as it was sent to the House of Lords and that we do not start being selective in terms of allocating extended franchises to one group rather than to another.

I pay tribute to the Government for the way in which they are conducting the Bill. The Opposition will be voting to delete the amendment from the Bill.

The Government and the Opposition find themselves in a strange pickle tonight. The right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman) did not refer to the fact that his noble Friends in another place voted to include the amendment in the Bill. They did so on an official Labour party vote. The amendment would not be before us tonight if they had not done so. If we studied the arithmetic, we would find that the amendment probably would not have been accepted without their support.

A noble succession of Labour peers such as Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos joined Lord Mishcon in the Division Lobby to bring that about. The right hon. Gentleman has done us a disservice by not giving the customary summary of the arguments that his noble Friends found so persuasive in another place. Lord Mishcon said that he would put those people who worked for the European Community in the same line as members of the armed forces an the diplomatic corps. He said that he had met many of the people involved and thought that they were definitely representing British interests abroad. He said that while many of his noble Friends were in favour of continuing membership of the Community many were not. None the less, he thought it right officially to commit the Labour party to supporting the extension of the franchise to British citizens who were servants of the European Community.

I do not know what subsequently passed between Lord Mishcon and the right hon. Member for Gorton. Now that we are contemplating the televising of Parliament, provision should perhaps be made for the televising of such discussions as took place subsequently between Lord Mishcon and the right hon. Member for Gorton. It ought to be brought to our screens so that we could hear the full flow of invective from the right hon. Member for Gorton and the full range of adjectives that he deployed when the news was brought to him.

But the right hon. Member is not the only one to have reneged upon his commitments. The amendment that the Government are asking the House to overturn was not the amendment that was originally moved by Lady Elles when she proposed that British citizens working for the European Community should have the right to vote. That amendment was passed by another place, but the Government said that the amendment, although not defective, could be improved upon. They later brought before another place a Government amendment setting out in what they thought were better terms the basis upon which British citizens working for the European Community should be given the right to vote. That amendment was carried without a Division. It is the Government's own choice of words they are now asking the House to overturn in the forthcoming Division.

11 pm

Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that the vote should be extended, regardless of whether the person living abroad has a secure family background?

The hon. Gentleman's intervention is completely irrelevant. I do not speak, as did his right hon. Friend the Member for Gorton, as if those to whom we say the franchise should be extended are a wholy army of tax dodgers, criminals and fugitives from justice.

No, I shall not give way to the hon. Gentleman. My right hon. and hon. Friends and I reject the notion put about by the Labour party that British citizens living abroad are in some sense disloyal to this country because they want to vote in British elections while they are serving British interests abroad. To suggest that those who are working for the European Community, the Council of Europe or the Western European Union are disloyal to this country because of their residence abroad and have forfeited their right to take part in elections in this country is the sort of monstrous absurdity which only the modern Labour party could promote.

Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that somebody who works for Imperial Chemical Industries or any other commercial organisation is disloyal to this country? He has left them out of his amendment.

The hon. Gentleman tempts me to repeat the speeches that I made in earlier debates. I argued that the franchise should be extended to precisely those people. Who are denying the franchise to them? It is being denied to them by the hon. Gentleman's Government and the Ministers on his Front Bench. They are unwilling to extend the franchise because of the agreement that they have reached with the Labour party.

I understand why the Under-Secretary of State feels that he is bound by the agreement that has been entered into with the Labour party, but how could that agreement have remained in force once the Labour party gave such a clear signal to the Government as it gave by its vote in another place? The shackles and bonds were broken. Consensus politics were working. Members of every party in another place agreed that there should be a modest extension of the franchise, which the Under-Secretary of State claims he favours, to British citizens serving British interests abroad. However, the Government have reneged on the amendment that they moved in another place on Third Reading and have failed to seize the opportunity that was presented to them, based on consensus, to have a modest extension overseas of the franchise.

However, the Minister raised the fair question whether it was reasonable to make a partial extension. Of course, we could raise the same question about the decision for the five-year limit which is so restrictive that it will give few opportunities to British citizens living overseas.

I have stated the case and tabled an amendment. I stand by my case that there is a good reason to extend the franchise to those serving British interests in their work for the WEU, the Council of Europe or NATO. I tabled the amendment in that form knowing that, at this stage in the proceedings, there was no chance of getting back to what I originally argued for—and for which I would have been grateful for the support of the hon. Member for Faversham (Mr. Moate)—which is that there should be much wider provisions for British citizens overseas to vote. It places a very low value on British citizenship if we do not assume that it confers voting rights. I wish to place a high value on British citizenship.

There is one distinction in logic that we can make between the European Community and the other institutions that I have mentioned—one which the hon. Member for Faversham would certainly make. It is that the European Community has law-making powers in this country which are not possessed by any of the other bodies. That places it in what I am sure he and others who occupied the time of the House tonight would argue as a rather different category. However, put at its lowest, half a loaf is better than no bread. I am sufficiently committed to an extension of the franchise to British citizens working overseas to believe that the step forward taken by another place in making that extension to those working in the European Community was important enough to justify this House retaining it. That makes me both a little surprised and not a little annoyed that the Government should seek to overturn a very sensible amendment.

I am fascinated by the gyrations of the Labour party, which one day of the week argues that this amendment should be passed and votes for it through its representatives in another place, but in this House take the opposite view. Things have reached a strange state, but we shall be consistent and vote against the Government.

The speech of the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith), which I assume was the official response of the Liberal party, was both bizarre and unacceptable. It was unacceptable for two reasons. First, the Liberal party is now committing itself to the bizarre view that an important distinction should be made between officials on the one part and wealth creators on the other. The Liberal party is clearly disclosing itself as the party of the bureaucrat. I have never doubted that, but I am awfully glad that the Chief Whip of the Liberal party has come to this place to make that clear.

The other reason why what the hon. Gentleman said is unacceptable is that the Liberal party and its funny little friends in the SDP have been wandering around trying to suggest that we should govern this country by some form of consensus. On a very important matter we have a consensus — it has been possible, on a major constitutional matter, to reach agreement between the two Front Benches. I find that highly desirable. But when that happens, what do we find? The funny little men in the Liberal party and the even funnier little men in the SDP come to grumble. The bizarre speech of the hon. Gentleman is not merely strange: it is utterly unacceptable.

I had not intended to make a speech, but the wholly mischievous, ill-informed and totally unprincipled speech of the hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg) so aroused me that I felt that I must at least make a short contribution.

I remind the hon. Gentleman that his Minister made a lot of the fact that some compromise had been reached. I think that he used the expression "a proper spirit of compromise". He said that some Conservatives wanted a more generous allocation, that there some Labour Members wanted a more miserly allocation, so they split the difference.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith), the Liberal Chief Whip, said, the Liberal party and the SDP also want a more generous allocation. We are on his side, and in terms of trying to weigh a compromise that is of some significance.

The hon. Gentleman absurdly—he knows it himself, by the smile on his face—suggested that we wanted to make some distinction between officials and these great wealth-makers. The hon. Gentleman has many speeches on record that show that this is quite simply not true. We would have liked to see a proper opportunity for people working for the United Kingdom abroad to vote in British elections. It is the sort of thing that is commonplace in other countries. It happens in the case of the Italians, for example, and in the case of others, who are able to vote in this country in their own elections without any difficulty. It is regarded as normal and reasonable. Why the hon. Member for Grantham should think it is unreasonable, if he is as democratic as I dare say he considers himself to be, I fail to understand.

Following the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber (Sir R. Johnston) somehow winds the clock back about 10 years to the debates that we had late into the night on Scottish assemblies, and so forth. I can remember a speech that he made that was a source of great enjoyment for the whole House at a late hour one evening. But I do not follow his line of argument this evening.

This debate is peculiar on one or two scores. First, as the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) pointed out, it is peculiar that there is such disagreement between the Labour party's stand here and its stand in the other House.

Secondly, it is peculiar that both Liberal Members who have spoken so far seemed to deride any disagreement between the other place and this House. Disagreement between them and us seems to be to be a perfectly healthy form of constitutional behaviour. It has gone on in the past and will, I am sure, go on in the future. The parliamentary democracy in which we operate is the better for it.

Thirdly, it is peculiar, as my hon. Friend the Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg) pointed out, because, as the amendments standing in the name of the Liberal party identify, it seems to put the Liberal party firmly in the peculiar position of asking for special rights for bureaucrats. It is absurd—

The hon. Gentleman says "Rubbish", but the amendment is only and solely on behalf of bureaucrats in Europe. It is no good his saying that at this late stage of the evolution of this Bill he could do no more, because I believe that that is the argument of the non-trier. He is showing the Liberal party in this marvellous new guise of being overly in favour of those people who travel round the world doing bureaucratic jobs but against those people—they are not included in this amendment—who are helping this country and earning their living abroad.

I am one of those who have been frustrated by the Government's lack of extension of the right to vote on a far more liberal basis than the Bill at present deploys. I am delighted that my hon. Friend the Minister made reference to those on these Benches who are so inclined and reiterated what the Home Secretary said during the debate in the House—that this was a step forward and that we would be returning to this at some moment in future to see what further steps forward could be contemplated.

It is remarkable that a major and constitutional advance has been made across the House by agreement between the two major parties. I fear that, judging by its amendments, the alliance eschews being a major party.

There is agreement across the House about this major constitutional improvement. I hope that the Government will stand fast in denying the Lords their amendment. In the same breath, I say that the Government will have to return to the subject with energy and enthusiasm and take it a step forward.

11.15 pm

The offensiveness of the attack by Government Members on public servants operating in communities to which this country belongs by treaty will be noted widely and will do no credit to those who have committed such remarks to the Official Report.

The spectacle of the Government going through the gyrations which they have thought appropriate in relation to the Bill are not edifying. They have not sought to explain why it is right to reject the principles embodied in the amendments, to accept and redraft them, and then to recommend to the House that it should throw them out, having commended them to the other place.

The hon. Gentleman is wrong. The Government spokesman in another place did not commit the Government to accepting this proposition. It seemed fair that he should ensure that the other place having made its views clear in a Division should ensure that the Bill was set in a form approved by parliamentary draftsmen. It was made clear at every stage that the Government reserved their position for when it came back to this House.

The Minister is adding to his earlier statement. To use the language of the "silly little man", the hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg), it is bizarre. To improve the language of the Bill, it is extraordinary for the Government to commend these measures to the other place and not to produce a single argument of substance. That will not be noted.

The Minister talked about the distinction between officials and others and suggested that—

The hon. Gentleman will, in his own time, make his speech without interruption from me.

There should be no doubt that my right hon. and hon. Friends believe that the right to vote should be enjoyed by British citizens regardless of the territory in which they live. It is of great importance that citizens should enjoy that fundamental right of citizenship and not be deprived of it by some temporary arrangement between certain spokesmen—apparently there is not unanimity on this subject in the Labour party—of the Labour party and the junior Minister who happens to be responsible for the conduct of the Bill tonight.

One has only to read the record of earlier debates on these matters to draw a stark contrast between what the Minister said tonight and what was said by his colleague in another place. It is patent nonsense to suggest that there is anything other than a squalid political deal which deprives citizens of rights which they ought properly to enjoy. The two Front Benches have collaborated to stop the clock and to prevent people from enjoying their proper constitutional rights. That is no credit to Ministers, or would-be Ministers, and they will learn to regret it.

These amendments represent matters of great substance to many thousands of citizens, who will dislike being drawn into this debate. It has become clear that their services to the country are little appreciated by those who continue to deprive them of the right to influence the country's future. The idea that servants of the country in NATO are not worthy of a vote is not a concept that can commend itself to anybody who cares to speak about defence in the West, as the Government do.

It does not do the country any credit to deprive our officials in the Western European Union of a vote. The Government tell us that that organisation must be the centre of European defence in future. They appear to believe that increasing diplomatic weight should be put on it, and yet they wish to continue to deprive our citizens who work for it of any right to participate in our general elections. What kind of logic is that? It is all to appease right hon. and hon. Members on the other side of the Gangway. It is being done for a simple political purpose—to elevate the political importance of people, such as the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman), who posture as members of an alternative Government. The more they posture, the less it will be believed that they are worthy of support.

The people who serve the country in commerce, banking and industry around the world are equally deserving of the vote. We shall return to this matter when we are in a position to amend our constitution. As long as our constitutional law is arranged by squalid little fixes, we live in the 19th century.

I must tell the hon. Members for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith), for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber (Sir R. Johnston) and for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) that their argument is profoundly wrong. They will recall that I originally proposed the amendment that the right to vote for British subjects resident abroad should be open and large, and not restricted by a time limit. I was delighted that the hon. Gentlemen were prepared to support my hon. Friend the Member for Lewes (Mr. Rathbone) and me in the Division Lobbies.

A reason why the Liberal amendment is wrong is that, having taken the five year cut off point, they propose that a limited class of persons should be enabled to vote beyond that period. The franchise should either be universal, subject to the limited exceptions that we make of convicted criminals, lunatics and members of the House of Lords, and rest in everybody or nobody. The hon. Gentlemen propose to extend that right to a small number of people, which will create anomalies. That is why they are profoundly wrong to advance the case that they have. If we want to extend the right to vote beyond the five year period, as I do, we must extend it for more than five years, not create little classes of people here and there who are given that right beyond the five year period, regardless of the rights of our people as a whole.

I shall make a further point, which is of wider constitutional importance. We live in an age when the other place imagines that it has a duty beyond that of being a revising chamber. More and more, it is taking major and substantive political initiatives, which it knows have been rejected in the House. In this area, which determines the right of people to vote for members of this House, above all other when the House has reached a deliberate, settled political conclusion, we are entitled to expect that that decision receives respect in the other place. The other place has tried to take a political initiative, which it is neither right nor proper for it to take.

In those circumstances, I commend my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary and the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman) for the way in which they have handled the matter. I shall certainly support them tonight.

Tonight the House would do our electors a great service by rejecting the amendment from the Liberal offshore alliance. On Thursday I pointed out to the voters in Brecon and Radnor, including many Liberals, that this Tuesday we would have a debate about giving £252 million to the Common Market because it was bankrupt and that later there would be a debate about giving votes to the claret drinking tax dodgers in the Common Market.

I have always argued that SDP and Liberal Members are Common Market fanatics, and that has been proved tonight. We would do the electors of Brecon and Radnor a service by ensuring that tonight's voting list is sent there to show how many of those hon. Gentlemen are prepared to serve the interest of those in the Common Market before that of those in Brecon and Radnor, and Wales.

I thought that the Liberals would have more sense. They will soon want to give a vote to Ronnie Biggs, all the tax dodgers on the Costa del Sol, and Tony Jacklin with his golf clubs in Spain. It is high time we paid more attention to those who pay taxes in Britain, rather than to those who have swanned off on the gravy trains to evade paying tax. No representation without taxation.

Question put, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 327, Noes 13.

Division No. 248

11.30 pm


Aitken, JonathanAmess, David
Alexander, RichardAncram, Michael

Anderson, DonaldDavis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)
Archer, Rt Hon PeterDeakins, Eric
Ashby, DavidDewar, Donald
Ashley, Rt Hon JackDickens, Geoffrey
Ashton, JoeDicks, Terry
Aspinwall, JackDobson, Frank
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)Dorrell, Stephen
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)Douglas, Dick
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)Dubs, Alfred
Baldry, TonyDunn, Robert
Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.
Barnett, GuyDurant, Tony
Barron, KevinDykes, Hugh
Batiste, SpencerEadie, Alex
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyEastham, Ken
Beckett, Mrs MargaretEggar, Tim
Beggs, RoyEvans, John (St. Helens N)
Bell, StuartEwing, Harry
Bellingham, HenryFairbairn, Nicholas
Bendall, VivianFallon, Michael
Benn, TonyFatchett, Derek
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)Favell, Anthony
Benyon, WilliamFenner, Mrs Peggy
Bermingham, GeraldField, Frank (Birkenhead)
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnFisher, Mark
Blackburn, JohnFlannery, Martin
Blair, AnthonyFookes, Miss Janet
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir PeterFoot, Rt Hon Michael
Boscawen, Hon RobertForman, Nigel
Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n)Forrester, John
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Boyes, RolandForsythe, Clifford (S Antrim)
Boyson, Dr RhodesForth, Eric
Brandon-Bravo, MartinFoster, Derek
Bray, Dr JeremyFoulkes, George
Bright, GrahamFranks, Cecil
Brinton, TimFraser, Peter (Angus East)
Brittan, Rt Hon LeonFreeman, Roger
Brooke, Hon PeterFreeson, Rt Hon Reginald
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes)Galley, Roy
Brown. N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E)George, Bruce
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)Godman, Dr Norman
Bruinvels, PeterGould, Bryan
Buck, Sir AntonyGow, Ian
Burt, AlistairGower, Sir Raymond
Butcher, JohnGregory, Conal
Butterfill, JohnGriffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)
Caborn, RichardGround, Patrick
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)
Campbell-Savours, DaleHamilton, James (M'well N)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Carttiss, MichaelHardy, Peter
Cash, WilliamHargreaves, Kenneth
Chalker, Mrs LyndaHarris, David
Chapman, SydneyHarrison, Rt Hon Walter
Chope, ChristopherHaselhurst, Alan
Clark, Dr David (S Shields)Hawkins, Sir Paul (SW N'folk)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)Hawksley, Warren
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)Hayes, J.
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)Haynes, Frank
Clarke, ThomasHayward, Robert
Clay, RobertHealey, Rt Hon Denis
Clegg, Sir WalterHeathcoat-Amory, David
Clwyd, Mrs AnnHickmet, Richard
Cockeram, EricHiggins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.)Hind, Kenneth
Cohen, HarryHirst, Michael
Conway, DerekHogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston)Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Coombs, SimonHolland, Sir Philip (Gedling)
Cope, JohnHolland, Stuart (Vauxhall)
Corbett, RobinHolt, Richard
Cowans, HarryHoward, Michael
Craigen, J. M.Howarth, Alan (stratf'd-on-A)
Cranborne, ViscountHowarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Crouch, DavidHowell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford)
Cunliffe, LawrenceHoyle, Douglas
Currie, Mrs EdwinaHubbard-Miles, Peter
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)

Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)Neubert, Michael
Hunt, David (Wirral)Newton, Tony
Hunter, AndrewNicholls, Patrick
Jackson, RobertNicholson, J.
John, BrynmorNorris, Steven
Johnson Smith, Sir GeoffreyOakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)O'Brien, William
Jones, Robert (W Herts)O'Neill, Martin
Kaufman, Rt Hon GeraldOppenheim, Phillip
Kershaw, Sir AnthonyOsborn, Sir John
Key, RobertOttaway, Richard
Knight, Greg (Derby N)Page, Sir John (Harrow W)
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)Page, Richard (Herts SW)
Knowles, MichaelPark, George
Knox, DavidParry, Robert
Lang, IanPatchett, Terry
Leadbitter, TedPatten, Christopher (Bath)
Lee, John (Pendle)Patten, J. (Oxf W & Abdgn)
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)Pavitt, Laurie
Leighton, RonaldPawsey, James
Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkPeacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Lester, JimPendry, Tom
Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd)Percival, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Lewis, Terence (Worsley)Pike, Peter
Lightbown, DavidPollock, Alexander
Lilley, PeterPortillo, Michael
Litherland, RobertPowell, Rt Hon J. E. (S Down)
Lloyd, Ian (Havant)Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)Powell, William (Corby)
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)Powley, John
Lofthouse, GeoffreyRadice, Giles
Lord, MichaelRandall, Stuart
Loyden, EdwardRathbone, Tim
Luce, RichardRenton, Tim
McCartney, HughRhodes James, Robert
McCurley, Mrs AnnaRhys Williams, Sir Brandon
McDonald, Dr OonaghRichardson, Ms Jo
MacGregor, JohnRoberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
McKay, Allen (Penistone)Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)Robertson, George
McKelvey, WilliamRobinson, G. (Coventry NW)
MacKenzie, Rt Hon GregorRoe, Mrs Marion
McQuarrie, AlbertRoss, Wm. (Londonderry)
McTaggart, RobertRowe, Andrew
McWilliam, JohnRowlands, Ted
Madden, MaxSedgemore, Brian
Madel, DavidShaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Maginnis, KenSheldon, Rt Hon R.
Major, JohnShersby, Michael
Malins, HumfreyShore, Rt Hon Peter
Malone, GeraldShort, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Maples, JohnSilkin, Rt Hon J.
Marland, PaulSilvester, Fred
Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Skeet, T. H. H.
Martin, MichaelSkinner, Dennis
Mather, CarolSmith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'bury)
Maude, Hon FrancisSoley, Clive
Mawhinney, Dr BrianSpearing, Nigel
Maxton, JohnStokes, John
Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinStradling Thomas, J.
Mayhew, Sir PatrickStrang, Gavin
Meacher, MichaelStraw, Jack
Mellor, DavidTaylor, Rt Hon John David
Merchant, PiersThompson, Donald (Calder V)
Millan, Rt Hon BruceThompson, J. (Wansbeck)
Miller, Hal (B'grove)Thorne, Stan (Preston)
Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)Thurnham, Peter
Mills, Lain (Meriden)Trippier, David
Miscampbell, Normanvan Straubenzee, Sir W.
Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)Waddington, David
Mitchell, David (NW Hants)Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Moate, RogerWalker, Bill (T'side N)
Molyneaux, Rt Hon JamesWall, Sir Patrick
Montgomery, Sir FergusWaller, Gary
Moore, JohnWiggin, Jerry
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)Wilkinson, John
Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)Williams, Rt Hon A.
Moynihan, Hon C.Winnick, David
Neale, GerrardWinterton, Mrs Ann
Nelson, AnthonyWinterton, Nicholas

Wood, TimothyTellers for the Ayes:
Woodall, AlecMr. Tristan Garel-Jones and
Young, David (Bolton SE)Mr. Tim Sainsbury.


Alton, DavidSteel, Rt Hon David
Ashdown, PaddyWallace, James
Bruce, MalcolmWigley, Dafydd
Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y)Wrigglesworth, Ian
Freud, Clement
Kennedy, CharlesTellers for the Noes:
Maclennan, RobertSir Russell Johnston and
Meadowcroft, MichaelMr. A. J. Beith.
Meyer, Sir Anthony

Question accordingly agreed to.

Lords amendment disagreed to.

Lords amendment: No. 2, in page 2, line 4, leave out "resident outside" and insert "not resident in".

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

With this it will be convenient to take amendments Nos. 8, 9, 10, 12 and 14.

Tempting though it is, after my eloquence caused such a huge majority in that Division, to expand at length on this series of amendments, I shall content myself by confining my remarks to urging hon. Members to agree to the said amendment.

Question put and agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 3 to 6 disagreed to.

Lords amendment: No. 7, in page 2, line 21, at end insert—

"( ) The reference in subsection (1) above to a person being subject to a legal incapacity to vote on the qualifying date does not include a reference to his being below the age of 18 on that date."

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Question put and agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 8 to 10 agreed to.

Lords amendment No. 11 disagreed to.

Lords amendment No. 12 agreed to.

Lords amendment No. 13 disagreed to.

Lords amendment No. 14 agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 15 to 18 disagreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 19 to 43 agreed to.


That a Committee be appointed to draw up Reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to certain of their amendmerits.—[Mr. Mellor.]

Motion made, and Question proposed, That Mr. Secretary Brittan, Mr. Robin Corbett, Mr. Gerald Kaufman, Mr. David Mellor and Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones, be Members of the Committee.— [Mr. Mellor.]

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Perhaps you will give me an opportunity to move an amendment to the motion. Lest it be thought that this is a two-party carve-up, I beg to move, as an amendment to the proposed motion, to leave out "Mr. Robin Corbett" and to insert "Mr. A. J. Beith".

Question, That the amendment be made, put and negatived.

Main Question put and agreed to.


That Mr. Secretary Brittan, Mr. Robin Corbett, Mr. Gerald Kaufman, Mr. David Mellor and Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones, be Members of the Committee.—[Mr. Mellor.]


That Three be the Quorum of the Committee. —[Mr. Mellor.]


That the Committee do withdraw immediately. — [Mr. Mellor.]

Reasons for disagreeing to certain of the Lords amendments reported, and agreed to; to be communicated to the Lords.