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Additional Ppowers For Auditors Of Local Authorities Etc

Volume 129: debated on Wednesday 9 March 1988

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Lords amendment: No. 13, after clause 29, insert new clause—

". —(1) After section 25 of the Local Government Finance Act 1982 there shall he inserted the sections set out in Schedule [Sections to be inserted in Part III of Local Government Finance Act 1982] to this Act.
(2) In section 16 of that Act (auditor's right to obtain documents and information) for the words "for the purposes of the audit", in each place where they occur, there shall be substituted "for the purposes of his functions under this Act".
(3) This section and that Schedule shall come into force at the end of the period of two months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.
(4) This section and that Schedule shall extend to England and Wales only."

Read a Second time.

11.15 pm

I beg to move amendment (a) to the Lords amendment, in line 10, leave out 'two months' and insert 'one year'.

With this it will be convenient to discuss Lords amendment 27, amendment (b) to Lords amendment 27, and Lords amendment 35.

I sincerely apologise to the House for returning to the subject of local government, which is the purpose of the Bill, and delaying the House by seeking to debate, for the first time in the House of Commons, the new powers of the local authority auditors in relation to the new clause and schedule that was slipped into the Bill in the other place—[Interruption.]

Order. Would hon. Members whose interest in our proceedings is diminishing please leave the Chamber quickly and quietly?

I am well aware that local authority issues are pretty gripping to hon. Members, as is suggested by the interest in the Bill itself. Nevertheless, we want to go through some of the remaining Lords amendments simply because in the past the House has never had the opportunity to get from the Government the reasons for the new powers being given to the local authority auditors.

The changes involved in the part of the Bill relating to the local authority auditors are important structural changes to local government. There is no question about that. In fact, the argument that was deployed as a result of the Widdicombe report said that those changes should be made as part and parcel of a major change. We register our protest at the Government dealing piecemeal with this matter. On the one hand, the powers for the auditors are put in the Local Government Bill as Lords amendments, when powers which are similar to those of the local authority chief finance officers—again something with which the Widdicombe report dealt at length—are being put in the Local Government Finance Bill, which is known to all and sundry as the "poll tax" Bill, and which is still upstairs in Committee. Therefore, in two different Bills two substantial changes to the structure of local government are being dealt with.

I allude to amendment (a) briefly. I do not want to go over all the issues that were raised in the Lords or through all the parts of the clause because I do not think that the House would be with me if I did. Basically, the purpose of amendment (a) is to put off the coming into force of the provisions that give new powers to the local authority auditors. We are seeking to put them off for one year instead of two months. The amendment provides an opportunity to criticise the Government for using the Local Government Bill as the legislative vehicle.

I wish to put on the record two simple and short points. First, there has been minimal parliamentary scrutiny of the new auditors' powers under the Bill. We must register that point. It is OK for Governments to find things that are technically wrong with a Bill at the last minute and to make changes in the Lords. That is fine and we accept that because it is part of the process of having two Chambers of parliament. However, the debate that has just taken five hours, took five hours only because that clause was slipped in at the end of the Committee stage. In fact, it was slipped in on the very last afternoon of the Committee stage when we had an agreement with the Government, which we were going to honour, about a finish date. It was not as though we could get any extra half days or an extra few hours. We make no complaint about that. However, that is why the promotion of homosexuality took up so much time on Report and so much time today.

Hon. Members have demonstrated that they believe that the issue of homosexuality is more important than the substance of the Bill—competitive tendering, contract compliance. That is the will of the House. It is no good any hon. Member complaining about the fact that I intend to spend only a few minutes on this amendment. I believe that those hon. Members who spent so much time debating clause 28 should also be made to vote on all the other amendments down for discussion. However that is not how this place works. I believe that what took place tonight was an abuse and should be stopped.

There was nothing to prevent the Government from including the auditors' powers in the Local Government Finance Bill. We would not have complained about that. By the time the Government inserted the clause relating to the new powers for auditors in the Local Government Bill in the other place the poll tax Bill had already had its Second Reading in this place. Hon. Members will remember that the whole thing was done before Christmas. It would have been possible to add new clauses to the poll tax Bill. After all, upstairs the Government have promoted almost 500 amendments to that Bill and 16 new clauses. There is much more to come. Today we had a statement that further clauses, schedules and amendments on important issues will be introduced to the poll tax Bill even after the guillotine motion.

The new powers of the auditors will go hand in hand with the new powers of local authority chief finance officers. Those new powers resulted from the Widdicombe report and they could have been included in the poll tax Bill. In that way those powers would have been subject to parliamentary scrutiny. As it is, those powers will not receive such scrutiny and I make no apology for that. The House cannot do its job properly until those hon. Members who are interested in local government, either for party political reasons or as a result of service in local government, have the opportunity to scrutinise those matters properly. Indeed, there has been no opportunity for hon. Members to consider the implementation of the Widdicombe proposals.

I accept that, since the Minister's appointment in July, the Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) and myself have been locked in Committee almost every day of the parliamentary week. We know what the Minister has been doing, but that means that he has not had the opportunity to sit back and take a long-term view of his responsibilities and what is in the pipeline as a result of reports upon which the Government may wish to legislate, with or without the support of the Opposition — we do not oppose everything.

The Minister should learn a lesson from this parliamentary fiasco. He should decide that the rest of the Widdicombe report should be put to the House of Commons as a coherent package. In that way the House would be able to consider those legislative proposals and give the package proper scrutiny. If the Minister takes that lesson on board I will not have spent the past five minutes in vain.

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) that the relationship between auditors and local authorities and the new powers of auditors are extremely important.

It is wholly unsatisfactory that we should be dealing with this matter on the basis of amendments that were moved by Ministers at a later stage when the Bill was in another place. That denied us the opportunity of dealing with such matters at an earlier stage when we were considering the Bill.

I should declare an interest as parliamentary adviser to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. Although the provision applies only to England and Wales, the Scottish institute has an interest in audit functions generally; that is why I declare my interest.

It is nonsense to be giving additional powers in this Bill to auditors to act when they believe that a local authority may be about to behave illegally when, as my hon. Friend the Member for Perry Barr pointed out, similar provisions in relation to chief financial officers are being dealt with in the Local Government Finance Bill. It is even greater nonsense given that the Minister in charge of this Bill in the Lords said on Report that the Lords intended to move amendments to the Local Government Finance Bill relating to chief financial officers and that there may then be consequential amendments to this Bill in the House of Lords.

We are dealing with essentially the same question here. Whatever view one takes of the merit of giving the powers, they relate to circumstances in which there may be reason to believe that a local authority may be acting illegally. Certain powers are given to chief financial officers in the Local Government Finance Bill and certain powers are given to auditors in this Bill, but the two matters are very closely related.

Neither the English nor the Scottish chartered accontants are happy with the proposals. The main reason for that is that it is not the function of an auditor, in a commercial concern or in a local authority, to monitor the day-to-day activities of the organisation being audited. Therefore, in the normal course of his business, an auditor will not necessarily know that a local authority is behaving in a manner verging on illegality.

In my view there is no reason of principle for introducing the powers. However, if they are to be introduced, we need to ask how the auditor will get to know that the circumstances in which he is supposed to act have arisen. If he is to get to know because the chief financial officer supplies him with the information under the powers conferred in the Local Government Finance Bill, his responsibility will be restricted to some extent. If he will have to act only when the information is supplied to him, that at least makes a bit of practical sense, whatever the principle of the thing may be. However, if the auditor is to act on his own initiative, it is difficult to envisage how he will get to know that the circumstances have arisen in which he has been given power to act.

Even if the auditor acts only on the basis of information supplied by the chief financial officer, there will be problems. What happens if the chief financial officer takes the view that the authority may be behaving illegally but turns out to be wrong after the auditor has exercised the prohibition powers provided for in the amendment? What happens if the auditor then finds that he has caused the local authority expense? Will he be subject to claims for damages? And what happens if the chief financial officer was right in believing that an illegality was involved but the auditor took another view and did not act on his powers? If it is found that the chief financial officer is right and the auditor wrong, will the auditor be subject to action for negligence?

Those are important issues, on which I shall not elaborate at this time of night and at this stage in the Bill's proceedings. They demonstrate the close connection between the powers given to chief financial officers in the Local Government Finance Bill and the powers given to local authority auditors in this Bill. It is nonsense, and an offence to the House that these provisions are being dealt with in two Bills that are proceeding through the House simultaneously.

11.30 pm

The amendment that seeks to put power in the hands of the Audit Commission rather than in those of the local authorities has not been selected for debate. However, it is in line with the recommendations of the Widdicombe report and corresponds with the view of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. If the Government wanted to introduce the procedure, it is a pity that they did not put it in the hands of the Audit Commission.

The Opposition amendments would improve what I consider to be a fundamentally misconceived provision. A delay of one year would enable the provisions in this Bill and the Local Government Finance Bill to be more sensibly co-ordinated and allow us to see the entire picture. I do not understand why the Government cannot accept that deferral. The argument that the auditors should act only when a significant sum is involved would seem to be one of common sense. I hope that the Government, on reflection, will be able to accept it.

My personal view is that the provisions in this part of the Bill are fundamentally misconceived. If the Government want to give additional powers to local authority auditors, they should not proceed in the way set out in the clause. That which applies in England and Wales is not what applies in Scotland. I would not say that the Scottish procedure is entirely satisfactory—certainly it is not, from a local authority point of view—but it makes more sense than that which the Government seek to introduce.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) has said, the Government cannot even suggest that there has been proper consideration by Parliament of the issues that are before us. We are left with the impression that the Government are determined to bludgeon these provisions through the House.

The Government argue that they are concerned about the balancing of budgets, yet on this very day the Secretary of State for the Environment, in his statement and his actions on leasehold arrangements, has pre-empted the new clause, a provision that would empower the auditor to issue a prohibition order if he had reason to believe that the authority was about to take a decision or course of action that would lead to unlawful expenditure. The actions of the Secretary of State today have made the clause redundant.

The Government's argument is based also on the provisions that are contained in part IX of the Local Government Finance Bill. The Minister said, "It is a part of the new system of financing local government." After today's events, it seems that the system that the Government have introduced amounts to them saying, "Don't finance it at all." That is why the Government need to take swift action to extend auditors' powers. The phrase used was, "The need for a quick pre-emptive act." It is a classic case of: lest they may, prevent. That is not justice; it smacks of vindictiveness. That shows that the Government are out to get local authorities. Perhaps that is what the Prime Minister meant on election night when she talked about the inner cities and said, "We shall get them next time." This is hardly a friendly amendment that can be wrapped up in a glossy brochure entitled "Action for Cities".

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made cash available to support her statement. Sheffield has been given £50 million for an urban development corporation. There have been other initiatives over the past seven years. An urban development corporation has been set up in Sheffield and there will be others in other areas.

Order. That is all very interesting, but I find it difficult to see any relevance to the matters before the House.

I am sure that I would be ruled out of order if I were to reply that the amount put in matches in no way the amount taken out of local authorities for mainstream funding, which is a crucial issue. That is certainly the case in Leeds.

The amended clause would change fundamentally the role of the local government auditor not just to that of adjudicator or quasi-prosecutor, as the Widdicombe report put it, but to a much more active role. At present the auditor's powers are retrospective. In future the auditor will be asked to seek out unlawful acts. The Government say that these are pre-emptive powers to be used in anticipation of the accounts. That is a power to fix the accounts in advance. Auditors will be Government monitors. Dare I suggest that they will be Ridley's eyes, or Marsham street spies? Once again: lest they may, prevent.

The amended clause would give power to lay a prohibition order on to put a stop notice on a local authority. No details have been given in the debate, and none were given in another place, about the procedure for the imposition of the stop notice. There were cursory references to guidelines. What does the Minister see as the guidelines, or will it be left to the Audit Commission to draw them up? What happens when the stop notice causes a local authority to break off a major contract and it is left wide open to paying damages? The auditor would be identified, but what about local authority? I am tempted to add that that in itself puts auditors in a potentially lethal position in regard to contract corruption.

The Government must accept in all natural justice fiat local authorities—in other words, the ratepayers—must be indemnified against loss. I look forward to the Minister's comments and reassurances on that. If the amended clause goes through, it will undermine the everyday working trust between auditors and local authority Officers. Who would be an auditor in those circumstances?

The auditors' professional body, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, has challenged extension of their responsibilities. In a feature in Accountancy Age, the institute recommended that any legal powers to stop local authorities spending illegally should be vested in the Audit Commission and not in individual local authority auditors. It pointed out that there were other problems:
"If the powers were to be invoked with any regularity they would soon become a costly and time-consuming obstacle to the conduct of local authorities' business and the auditors' other responsibilities."
I urge the Government, even at this late hour, to put off the introduction of these provisions which would give new powers to local authority auditors, particularly when other related legislation is being dealt with in the House. The Government should not hijack the Bill at the end of its journey through the House as the legislative vehicle for these provisions; they should use the Local Government Finance Bill. I urge the House to insist that the Government tackle the issue in that way.

This is another provision to undermine local authorities which is being slipped through Parliament by being tacked on at the end of a Bill. The Standing Committee has been prevented from considering in detail the statutory provision dealing with the powers of appointed auditors in relation to elected members. It verges on constitutional abuse and is another surreptitious shift of power to the centre. The Government are forcing it through the House without giving hon. Members the opportunity to consider it properly. That is an abuse of political power which is being used to bludgeon local authorities because their supporters have the political audacity to vote Labour.

If the Government are unable to desist from that politically vindictive strategy, can we appeal to them not to be so devious as to put the men and women who serve society as auditors into the heart of the conflict to carry out their dirty deeds? Auditors deserve to be treated fairly as independent public servants even if the Government cannot bring themselves to accept the legitimately and democratically elected Labour council. Although the councils may differ politically from the Government, they are damned good public servants and they also deserve to be treated with political respect.

That was an extraordinary speech from the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Battle). It would be difficult to extract from his remarks the fact that we are dealing with illegal conduct by local authorities, how that illegal conduct can be controlled and what the powers of the auditors should be in relation to that conduct. I had hoped that there would be common ground between the Labour party and the Government on this matter, because I assumed that Labour Members recognised that auditors should have proper powers to enable them to control illegal spending.

The hon. Gentleman nods. Although his amendment would delay the coming into force of the powers for a year, which is a little surprising if Labour Members share our view, his attitude falls far short of the language that has just been used by the hon. Member for Leeds, West.

The hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) and the right hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Millan) commented on the fact that we are seeking to extend auditors' powers in this Bill instead of in the Local Government Finance Bill, alongside the new powers which it proposes for the chief finance officer. Those measures were foreshadowed in the Green Paper "Paying for Local Government" and are part of the new system of financing local government and making it more accountable to its electorate which is provided for in that Bill. The provisions concerning the powers of auditors in this Bill follow not from the Green Paper but derive from Widdicombe, as the hon. Member for Perry Barr recognised. We consulted on them separately, and I emphasise the fact that there has been proper consultation. The proposal has not been inflicted on Parliament without proper, thorough consultation, and the matter has been fully considered.

The powers of auditors are not part of an authority's financial administration, but they relate to the legal and regulatory framework in which authorities operate. The two measures are closely related, and we have taken and will be taking steps to ensure that they operate entirely consistently. The new powers for auditors stand on their own and are not dependent on the chief finance officer's powers. We believe that the powers should be introduced as quickly as possible, and I see no case for delaying their coming into force either until the Local Government Finance Bill reaches the statute book, or—this was the second point made by the hon. Member for Perry Barr—until we are ready to make an announcement on our attitude to the other measures recommended by the Widdicombe committee.

Will the Minister give us an idea of the circumstances in which an auditor may detect that a local authority is likely to act illegally while the chief finance officer has not?

I was coming to that point. One of the main ways in which the auditor will obtain information will be from the chief finance officer, although one Lords amendment amends section 16 of the Local Government Finance Act 1982 to ensure that the auditor has access at any time to whatever information he needs for the purpose of exercising his new powers as well as his existing functions. We had the right hon. Gentleman's points well in mind, and we are providing the auditor with powers that he will need to provide information.

The Minister is not answering my point. It is not a question of providing the auditor with powers. In what circumstances will those powers be used where the chief finance officer has not detected that the local authority is acting, or is likely to act, illegally? It is difficult to conceive of such circumstances.

The auditor may have access to many sources of information, apart from the authority. The chief finance officer is an officer of the authority. The auditor will have access to other information—

Any other sources. A member of the public or a member of the council may draw information to the attention of the auditor. But I do not suggest that that will be the ordinary way in which the auditor will obtain information. We are providing the auditor with powers to obtain the information that he needs. In many cases that information will come from the chief finance officer, but it is important that the auditor should have powers to enable effective action to be taken to control illegal activity and spending by local authorities.

11.45 pm

Does the Minister understand that if the auditor received information which was not, for some extraordinary reason, available to the chief finance office, the obvious thing for the auditor to do in the first place would be to draw it to the attention of the chief finance officer so that he could exercise his power? I do not believe that the Minister really understands the way in which audits are carried out.

The answer to the right hon. Gentleman's question is that the auditor will have to consider whether the circumstances are appropriate for the exercise of his own powers. He will consider the information that has been made available to him and make his decision in that context.

No, not necessarily without telling the chief finance officer. I did not say that the chief finance officer would not be told.

If the auditor comes by some information from a member of the public or from some organisation, he would first have to verify the authenticity or otherwise of that information with the chief finance officer or the chief executive of the authority. The district auditor cannot he given powers to act on hearsay, gossip or innuendo; he can act only on matters of fact. The people able to verify those matters of fact would be the appropriate officers of the authority who, in all circumstances, will have far more accurate and full information than the district auditor.

I did not suggest that the auditor would act on hearsay. Of course he would not do that. We would expect him to verify any information that he had received with the chief finance officer. However, there may be a difference of opinion between the auditor and the chief finance officer. The auditor may regard it appropriate to act in particular circumstances, but the chief finance officer might take a different view. As I said a few moments ago, the auditor has his own responsibilities and powers and his decisions must he taken on the basis of the information available to him in the context of his own powers.

The right hon. Member for Govan, who acknowledged that the auditor would be immune from suit so long as he acted in good faith, asked whether the auditor would be immune from suit if he did not take action against an authority when it subsequently became clear that action should have been taken. I confirm that the immunity that we are providing in the provision before the House will extend to conferring immunity on the auditor in those circumstances so long as he acts in good faith.

Will the Minister tell us whether one of the factors that prompted this amendment at this late stage in the passage of the Bill was the recent experience in Southwark? The Minister will be aware that the district auditor recently issued notices against certain present and former councillors in the borough of Southwark. He will also be aware that the group of recipients of notices included 26 Labour councillors, past and present, one independent councillor, three Liberal councillors, two present and one past, and eight Conservative councillors. Later this month they will all give evidence to the district auditor and they all face disqualification and surcharge.

I believe that I am right to say that that will be the first time that any non-Labour councillors have faced disqualification and surcharge as the result of delaying the setting of a rate, which in Southwark's case dated from 1985. From reading the district auditor's conclusions it appears that the Conservative group, as much as any other, ignored advice from the council and from its officers.

An argument that we had during a debate on a private Member's Bill in February 1986 about disqualification and surcharge revealed that many of us, myself included, believed that there should be a power of pre-emptive action. Obviously, it is far better that intervention on behalf of ratepayers should take place early, when it looks as if something is going wrong, rather than its being left until much later after the event, when action to recover any loss will take years. The Southwark case is an example. The principle, therefore, strikes me as appropriate and worthy of support.

The only point that troubles me is one that was raised by the right hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Milian). I think that the Minister may have misuderstood how the Widdicombe report, for instance, envisages that the powers will be used. The problem is not that the district auditor will be acting on information not available to the chief finance officer of a local authority. Experience suggests that the evidence of a chief finance officer is either that his or her advice may not be followed, or that he or she may not be certain about the result in law—as then perceived and adjudicated by the district officer — of certain actions of council members.

Clearly, what is necessary is an authoritative decision. Of course, the district auditor will have to go to the chief finance officer, because he will have all the figures; I cannot imagine that anyone else will be similarly equipped. But the district auditor, surely, will be acting as the judical intervention, if that is thought appropriate. The merits of whether that will be achievable at notice of a few days or, at most, a week or two, are questionable. If an injunction could be sought whereby the district auditor could intervene—which is the effective aim of the amendment — that method of intervention would seem to be appropriate.

In Southwark, a meeting is taking place at this moment to set this year's rate. While we need powers for the auditor, or someone authoritative, to intervene at an early stage to protect the ratepayer, we also need to tidy up the system so that officers are equipped with the information and the basis of auditors' decisions and can give councillors accurate and authoritative information as early as possible.

Rather than base the law only on what is in the legislation, a better course may be to reflect a bit more on the proposal in the Widdicombe report—in conjunction with others—and to seek some form of declaration, as is available in other parts of the law, on exactly what is the duty of the council in a particular circumstance. Although the intention is clearly sensible, I feel that the clause may be somewhat otiose in practice.

The hon. Gentleman will not expect me to comment on the matters into which the district auditor for Southwark is currently inquiring. But one of the reasons why we think that the power contained in the provisions is so necessary is the frustration that is undoubtedly felt at the working of the present system. It takes a very long time for hearings to take place and for decisions to be made; meanwhile, the ratepayers see no investigation taking place.

As for the hon. Gentleman's other points, I can add little to what I said a few moments ago to the right hon. Member for Govan. The powers of the district auditor and chief finance officer will not be the same, and will not be conterminous. The chief finance officer will have the power to put a stop on spending pending the meeting of the council, but if the council wishes to proceed it will be able to do so, notwithstanding any reservations that the chief finance officer may have.

On the other hand, the auditor will be able to obtain an order preventing the spending from taking place. Therefore, they are different powers. The auditor has more extensive powers and, in the Government's view, it is right that he should have those powers as soon as possible For those reasons, I commend the Lords amendment to the House and invite the rejection of the amendments tabled by the Opposition.

Question put. That the amendment to the Lords amendment be made:

The House divided: Ayes 77, Noes 175.

Division No.208]

[11.55 pm

AYES

Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Cook, Robin (Livingston)
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)Cryer, Bob
Battle, JohnCummings, John
Bermingham, GeraldCunningham, Dr John
Boyes, RolandDarling, Alistair
Bradley, KeithDavies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)Dixon, Don
Clay, BobDoran, Frank
Clelland, DavidEvans, John (St Helens N)

Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)Nellist, Dave
Fisher, MarkO'Brien, William
Foster, DerekO'Neill, Martin
Fraser, JohnParry, Robert
Garrett, John (Norwich South)Patchett, Terry
Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)Pike, Peter L.
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Henderson, DougPrescott, John
Home Robertson, JohnRoberts, Allan (Bootle)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)Robertson, George
Hughes, John (Coventry NE)Rooker, Jeff
Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)Salmond, Alex
Jones, Ieuan (Ynys Môn)Short, Clare
Kinnock, Rt Hon NeilSkinner, Dennis
Livingstone, KenSpearing, Nigel
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)Steinberg, Gerry
Lofthouse, GeoffreyStott, Roger
McCartney, IanStrang, Gavin
McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
McNamara, KevinTurner, Dennis
McWilliam, JohnWall, Pat
Marek, Dr JohnWareing, Robert N.
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Martlew, EricWelsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Meacher, MichaelWigley, Dafydd
Michael, AlunWise, Mrs Audrey
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Milian, Rt Hon BruceTellers for the Ayes:
Moonie, Dr LewisMr. Frank Cook and
Morgan, RhodriMr. Frank Haynes.
Mowlam, Marjorie

NOES

Alexander, RichardDevlin, Tim
Alison, Rt Hon MichaelDickens, Geoffrey
Amess, DavidDouglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Amos, AlanDover, Den
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Durant, Tony
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)Fairbairn, Nicholas
Ashby, DavidFallon, Michael
Aspinwall, JackFarr, Sir John
Atkins, RobertForman, Nigel
Batiste, SpencerForsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Bellingham, HenryForth, Eric
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)Fox, Sir Marcus
Blackburn, Dr John G.Franks, Cecil
Bonsor, Sir NicholasFreeman, Roger
Boscawen, Hon RobertFrench, Douglas
Boswell, TimGale, Roger
Bottomley, PeterGarel-Jones, Tristan
Bottomley, Mrs VirginiaGill, Christopher
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Bowis, JohnGriffiths. Sir Eldon (Bury St E')
Braine, Rt Hon Sir BernardGriffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Brandon-Bravo, MartinGrist, Ian
Brazier, JulianGround, Patrick
Bright, GrahamHamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)
Brittan, Rt Hon LeonHamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Brooke, Rt Hon PeterHanley, Jeremy
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Buck, Sir AntonyHargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Burns, SimonHarris, David
Burt, AlistairHawkins, Christopher
Butler, ChrisHayward, Robert
Carlisle, John, (Luton N)Heathcoat-Amory, David
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Heddle, John
Carrington, MatthewHeseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Carttiss, MichaelHicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Chope, ChristopherHolt, Richard
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)Howard, Michael
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)
Conway, DerekHowarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon)Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Cran, JamesHunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Currie, Mrs EdwinaHunter, Andrew
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)Irvine, Michael
Davis, David (Boothferry)Jack, Michael
Day, StephenJanman, Tim

Johnson Smith, Sir GeoffreyPage, Richard
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)Paice, James
Jones, Robert B (Herts W)Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil
Kellett-Bowman, Dame ElainePatnick, Irvine
Key, RobertPatten, Chris (Bath)
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)Pawsey, James
Knapman, RogerPeacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Knight, Greg (Derby North)Porter, David (Waveney)
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)Portillo, Michael
Knowles, MichaelPowell, William (Corby)
Lee, John (Pendle)Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)Rathbone, Tim
Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkRedwood, John
Lightbown, DavidRenton, Tim
Lilley, PeterRhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Lord, MichaelRiddick, Graham
Luce, Rt Hon RichardRidley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Lyell, Sir NicholasRoberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Macfarlane, Sir NeilRossi, Sir Hugh
Maclean, DavidRyder, Richard
McLoughlin, PatrickSackville, Hon Tom
McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Major, Rt Hon JohnShaw, David (Dover)
Malins, HumfreyShaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Mans, KeithShaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Marlow, TonyShelton, William (Streatham)
Martin, David (Portsmouth S)Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir PatrickSims, Roger
Miller, HalSmith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Mills, IainSoames, Hon Nicholas
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
Moate, RogerSpicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Monro, Sir HectorStewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Moss, MalcolmThompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Moynihan, Hon ColinThurnham, Peter
Neale, GerrardWaddington, Rt Hon David
Needham, RichardWiddecombe, Ann
Neubert, Michael
Nicholls, PatrickTellers for the Noes:
Nicholson, David (Taunton)Mr. Stephen Dorrell and
Onslow, Rt Hon CranleyMr. Peter Lloyd.
Oppenheim, Phillip

Question accordingly negatived.

Lords amendment agreed to.