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Trade Disputes Involving Seamen

Volume 130: debated on Wednesday 30 March 1988

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

`1.—That section 42 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1970 be amended to include the following at the end :—
"3. — That notwithstanding anything in any agreement, seamen in any ship registered in the United Kingdom and securely moored in a safe berth, shall have the right to combine with other seamen in contemplation of furtherance of a trade dispute and lo refuse to go to sea until such time as a ballot has been held for the furtherance of that dispute. Furthermore that any action taken under this section shall not render a seaman liable for breach of contract, and that:—
  • (a) a seamen shall be entitled to disobey any order that would require him to go to sea.
  • (b) it shall be an offence for any person to issue an order to go to sea after the giving of such a notice, and prior to either, the holding of a ballot, or the withdrawal of the notice.".'. —[Mr. Robert Hughes.]
  • Brought up, and read the First time.

    With this, it will be convenient to take new clause 6—Trade disputes involving seamen

    '1. That the Merchant Shipping Act 1970 be amended in accordance with the following provisions of this section.
    2. In section 42 shall be inserted a new subsection as follows:—
    "(3) Notwithstanding anything in any agreement, a seaman employed in a ship registered in the United Kingdom may terminate his employment in that ship by leaving the ship in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute after giving the master not less than forty-eight hours notice of his intention to do so, and shall not be compelled (unless the notice is withdrawn) to go to sea in the forty-eight hours following the giving of such a notice; but such a notice shall have no effect unless at the time it is given the ship is securely moored in a safe berth."
    3. In section 30 for the words from the beginning of paragraph (c) to the end there shall be substituted—
    "(c) combines with other seamen employed in that ship—
  • (i) to disobey lawful commands which are required to be obeyed at a time when the ship is at sea;
  • (ii) to neglect any duty which is required to be discharged at such a time; or
  • (iii) to impede, at such a time, the progress of a voyage or the navigation of the ship,
  • But not when the ship is securely moored, under which circumstances any such actions that may be taken in furtherance of a trade dispute, will not render a seaman liable to action for breach of contract,
    He shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £100.
    For the purposes of this section a ship shall be treated as being at sea at any time when it is not securely moored in a safe berth."
    4. That section 19(4) of the Merchant Shipping Act 1974, be deleted and replaced by subsection (3) above.'.

    New clause 4 deals with trade disputes involving seamen. It might be helpful to the House if I set out some of the background as to why we believe new clause 4 is necessary.

    Those with long memories will recall that in 1966 there was a series of industrial disputes involving seamen. As a result, the Pearson committee was set up. Arising out of the report of the Pearson committee, the Merchant Shipping Act 1970 included section 42(2) which conceded for the first time a legal right for seafarers to strike. Admittedly, that concession was in a convoluted form. Section 42(2) effectively allows seafarers to terminate their contracts of employment on a ship by giving the master 48 hours notice. During those 48 hours, provided that the notice was given in furtherance of an industrial dispute, seamen could not be compelled to go to sea.

    It is interesting that the General Council of British Shipping argued that it was perfectly possible for seamen to be compelled to take ferries to sea within those 48 hours if the journey could be completed within 48 hours. Some limitation was placed on the 48 hours' notice. First, the ship had to be securely moored in a safe berth, and no one would object to that. Secondly, the vessel had to be securely moored in a safe berth in the United Kingdom. The provision applied only to the United Kingdom.

    Ther Merchant Shipping Act 1974, in section 19, extended the right to strike in an even more convoluted way. Section 19 exempts a seaman from disciplinary action for disregarding a master's lawful command if he is combining with other seamen for an industrial dispute. Again, that right is limited to the secure berth of the ship. Section 19 extends the right to strike to any place in the world, unlike section 42(2) of the 1970 Act which is limited to the United Kingdom.

    That is how matters stood until, regrettably, in another place, Lord Brabazon of Tara accepted a Back-Bench amendment to delete section 42(2) of the 1970 Act. Section 19 of the 1974 Act remains in being.

    There were a number of debates in the other place. We also had a debate in Committee. I emphasise that no firm evidence was produced either in the other place or in Committee to justify the removal of section 42(2) from the 1970 Act. There was anecdotal evidence from Lord Mottistone and the Earl of Inchcape. They said that the system was being abused. I am afraid that the gullible Lord Brabazon of Tara accepted his colleagues' tales and was persuaded by his noble Friends to accept the amendment.

    We objected to that on Second Reading. We believe that the amendment was smuggled in at the last moment. We warned the Government that we would raise the matter in Committee and we pressed them very strongly on it. I expected that in Committee the Government would be extremely well briefed and that they would provide many examples of the Act having been used. Even if the civil servants were unable to produce evidence, we expected that the Minister's friends in the shipping industry would be able to provide reasons for this change in the law.

    We pressed the Minister extremely hard, because he resisted the restoration of the original text. Finally, we were told why the change had been made. He said:
    "The hon. Gentleman asks me for examples and I shall give him some. There were such abuses by the National Union of Seamen at Dover during the 1981 pay dispute and by crews of P & O ships at Portsmouth in 1984 when they were taken over by Townsend Thoresen. I trust that the hon. Gentleman would not wish to defend such actions."—[Official Report, Standing Committee B, 1 March 1988; c. 204–5.]
    That was all the evidence that he could produce after having had all the time in the world to examine the matter. His explanation was pretty limp, even by his standards.

    It would be foolish of me to say that section 42(2) has not been used recently. I know that it has been used. It was used in Aberdeen, for example, to prevent a P and O vessel, the St. Sunniva, from going to sea. It has never been part of the Opposition's case that section 42 has not been used. It does not matter how much the Government claim that people have the right to strike and take industrial action if, when they exercise that right, they describe it as an abuse.

    The Government are guilty of equating the words "use" and "abuse" with industrial relations. They do not really believe in the rights of free trade unions—at least, not in the United Kingdom. Perhaps they believe in free trade unions if they are established in Poland. Perhaps the Prime Minister supports Solidarity in Poland. If she does, it is only rhetorical support from a very safe distance. If it is close to home, we know how matters stand.

    Industrial relations have moved on a great deal since 1970, but they have not moved on in any good sense for seamen. Matters have come to a pretty pass. A trade union that wishes to hold a ballot on industrial action is taken to court to decide whether it is legal to hold that ballot. Furthermore, if a trade union holds a ballot, it can be taken to court and prevented from counting the votes. I do not know where we are going; it is hammering the trade unions very hard. Shipowners are allowed to make provocative statements that I would class as secondary action, but the National Union of Seamen is not allowed to take industrial action if it is regarded as secondary action.

    I recognise that people's minds are concentrated on the fact that there is a dispute at Dover and that their travel plans will be disrupted. Inevitably, given the nature of society, the National Union of Seamen is under severe attack for its part in the dispute.

    9.15 pm

    I regret very much the disruption of the Easter holiday traffic. [HON. MEMBERS: "Crocodile tears."] There are no crocodile tears. I genuinely believe that it is a great pity that the dispute is taking place. The seamen also regret it. They would far rather be at sea at a time of year when they are expecting good returns for their work.

    I do not believe—this is reflected in the remarks of the hon. Member for St. Ives (Mr. Harris) — that the seamen's case has been given a fair hearing. It is all too easy to portray them as strikers trying to hold back the tide — trying to hold up the progress of the ferry service, and to neglect the seriousness of the position. That is clearly not the case. It must be made clear that the National Union of Seamen accepts that the Channel tunnel will lead to a rationalisation of cross-Channel ferry services.

    The National Union of Seamen has agreed that P and O's proposals on manning—which are what the dispute is about — can be implemented over three years. It is prepared to do that, first, to minimise the effects on crews—that, after all, is why it is in business—and, secondly, to allow the effects on safety of the new manning systems to be monitored. That is an extremely responsible attitude for a trade union to take.

    The union accepts that the company must show a healthy profit and face the challenges ahead. In those circumstances, it is perfectly reasonable to ask, "Why the current impasse in the industrial dispute?" Again, it is necessary to set the scene.

    In October 1987, Jeffrey Sterling met the Dover P and 0 port committee — the shop stewards — and, after discussion, gave them an undertaking that any redundancies and changes in terms and conditions of employment would be phased in with the opening of the Channel tunnel, which is forecast for 1992–93.

    Suddenly, on 4 December 1987, P and O reneged on that promise. It notified the National Union of Seamen that the existing agreement would end on 4 March. That would mean 400 redundancies, 10 days' loss of annual leave with no compensatory payments, the loss of various payments for additional hours worked—which would cost the seamen between £8·25 and £40 a week—and an increase in shipboard working from 12 to 16 hours a day. Currently, the shift pattern is 24 hours on and 24 hours off. It is now being asked that that should change to 72 hours on and 72 hours off, over a longer period.

    In debates such as this, we should be fair. Let me put the case for P and O. P and O argues that the changes are necessary to meet the challenge of the Channel tunnel—which is still a long way off, but we will leave that aside. P and O says that it is also necessary to prepare for loss of earnings to the company because of the loss of the duty-free concessions due to come in in 1992. We are still four years away from that.

    What interests me particularly is that the company says that it needs the changes because it must prepare for the effects of the introduction of value added tax on passenger transport. Apparently, the company knows something that the Government will not admit. We have been pressing the Minister of State for nearly a year to give an absolute guarantee that he will veto the imposition of VAT on passenger fares, whether on bus services, railways, ferries or aircraft, but he sits quiet and will not concede the point. He pushes the matter over to his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State or to the Chancellor. Any excuse will do. He says that it is nothing to do with him.

    The hon. Gentleman nods. [HON. MEMBERS: "He has given in."] But P and O knows, and it is using the imposition of VAT as part of its case.

    P and O also states that it wishes to increase its return on investment from 10 to 12 per cent. at present to 25 to 27 per cent. It wants to double its profit margin. So far, it has done extremely well. It has declared an additional £100 million profit this year. We cannot bargain on these issues across the Floor of the House and I do not seek to usurp the negotiating rights of the National Union of Seamen, but the information that we have published shows clearly that the seamen have a very fair and reasonable case. They are right to be angry that their only weapon of self-defence—industrial action—has been whittled away and eroded.

    I hope that the Government will accept the principle of the new clauses. The Minister or State is a reasonable man and will have studied the arguments carefully since the Committee stage. If he has done that, I am sure that he will see the merit of our case.

    May we take it that the new clauses embrace fishermen employed by trawler companies? As a Member from Aberdeen, my hon. Friend will know as well as I that there are rarely trade disputes involving what are colloquially known as share fishermen, but that is not the case in relation to those employed by trawler companies. As my hon. Friend knows, those companies have made something of a comeback in the British fishing industry. It is important, therefore, to be sure that the term "seamen" includes fishermen employed by trawler companies.

    So far as I am aware, people employed by trawler companies in Aberdeen are covered in all aspects by the Merchant Shipping Act, so there is no doubt at all that the new clause would apply to them. Over the years, we have seen the necessity of protecting the rights of fishermen and seamen of all kinds. We intend to enhance their right to strike and to take industrial action in their defence.

    If there are technical drafting deficiencies — that is always the first port of call of a Minister who wishes to resist an amendment or a new clause — all the new clauses and amendments, of which volumes have been tabled by the Government, will have to be ratified in another place, so any drafting deficiencies could be put right at that stage.

    I wish to make the principles in the new clauses clear. We seek to restore to the Bill section 42 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1970. We also seek to go further than that. In our view, that section is so important that it should apply to ports outside the United Kingdom. We do not see why that right to take industrial action should be confined to United Kingdom ports. We want to see that right extended, although I emphasise that we retain the safeguard that the ship must be securely moored in a safe berth.

    I should also make it clear that when action is taken in furtherance of an industrial dispute, neither the seamen nor the union should be made liable for damages in terms of breach of contract so long as a ballot is under way or has been taken. The right of employers to free and easy access to the courts to take action against unions for damages has seriously damaged the trade union movement and it does not help industrial relations. If new clauses 4 and 6 were accepted, that would go a long way towards redressing the balance between employers and employees, which has been tilted far too much to the employers' advantage.

    Seamen, especially those working on ferries, are under intense pressure. I accept that to some extent the Channel tunnel will pose problems for the ferries, although I do not believe that the damage will be as great as many people fear. I object to the way in which the employers are maximising the fears of the effects of the tunnel to seek terms advantageous for themselves and disadvantageous for their employees.

    The current problem with industrial relations on ferries is not helped by the astonishingly intemperate remarks by Mr. Sherwood of Sealink, who said that if P and O succeeded in imposing conditions on its employees, Sealink intended to do the same.

    Yes, it is secondary action. If Sealink seamen take action to prevent their employer forcing conditions on them, the employer's response will be, "I can ride on the back of P and O's success." They are not allowed to help the P and O seamen and, as a consequence, help themselves.

    I do not disagree with the hon. Gentleman's comments about Mr. Sherwood, but we should not necessarily believe that he is typical. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that it would be hard to find a worse employer in the whole of British industry?

    That is a very fair comment. On transport, if not on other matters, the hon. Gentleman can generally be relied upon to bring some sense to our discussions. He has a keen interest in the subject. Whether or not Mr. Sherwood is typical, he is nevertheless issuing threats to his employees. Surely they have the right to defend themselves. They cannot wait until P and O has succeeded in imposing conditions on its employees, because by then the P and O dispute will have ended and its workers will be unable to strike to help the Sealink workers.

    It is quite wrong to believe that there are separate disputes in the ferry business, with primary and secondary action. It is all one series of actions. It is intolerable that seamen, especially those on the ferries, should be put under such intense pressure. We must give them the best possible defence. They should have the best possible law to assist them to protect their reasonable and valid interests in their employment, their prospects, their wages and their conditions. New clauses 4 and 6 would achieve that, and I ask the House to accept them.

    I should like to respond briefly to the comments of the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes). I think that he will agree that it was not clear from the way in which he moved the new clause whether he was arguing in general terms about improving industrial relations and about the machinery for consultation in the industry, or whether he is arguing the case of the National Union of Seamen in the P and O dispute. I found his arguments fairly mixed up.

    I am grateful to have the opportunity to make the record clear. First, I believe that, in general terms, our new clauses are right. Secondly, it is perfectly legitimate in this debate to put the case of the seamen which, regrettably, has not been properly presented by the public press.

    On that latter point, I do not think that hon. Members do well in trying to settle industrial disputes across the Floor of the House on the Report stage of a Bill. It has been my own industrial experience that we are not the best forum for doing that. Therefore, I shall say no more about that dispute, other than very much to regret it.

    In the present state of the British merchant shipping industry, we should be talking about how we meet competition from other countries and about the ways in which we could work closely together, rather than about the way in which we enhance disputes. I should like us to spend our time examining how we can get rid of disputes and achieve instead agreement and co-operation.

    9.30 pm

    Of course the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North is perfectly right about the problem about holding ballots when ships are at sea. That is remarkably difficult. To that extent it is perfectly proper to discuss the way in which ballots for seamen are to be arranged, if we are to have them. I do not believe that either of the new clauses makes that proposition any easier. Indeed, it seems that, if put into the Bill in the form in which they appear on the Order Paper, both new clauses would give seafarers rights which no other trade unionists have in any other industry in the country. We should be trying to put seafarers in the same position as the remainder of British industry. That goes for both sides—the employers and the employees.

    I do not want to go through a critique of the new clauses, because I know that the House wants to proceed with the Bill. However, I do not want it to go unrecorded that one could make quite a long critique of them. I hope that the spirit with which we have been handling the Bill—one of seeking co-operation between all parties—will continue. I accept entirely that not every shipowner and not everyone in management is what I would regard as the ideal spokesman that I would invite if I were running a conference on good co-operation in industry. My hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Mr. Adley) has raised that point. It is important that this House tells all parties in the British shipping industry that some of us have been shouting the odds for the British Merchant Navy for a long time in the House.

    I hope that the sufficient response will be that everyone in the industry gets together and works together; otherwise, the competition will continue to take trade away from us. Much of that competition comes not from Europe, but from the far east. Perhaps I will be accused of racialism, but personally I do not want to see all this country's trade being run from the far east. I am sure that that is the general mood of the House. I hope that we can achieve a spirit of co-operation, not of conflict.

    I have listened to the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Sir D. Price), whom I have heard before on matters relating to industry and have always found interesting. However, I think that he would agree that we are talking about a different industry from the day-to-day work experience of most people. I worked in the engineering industry and if I had to put up with bad conditions there, it was for only eight hours of the day. However, seamen are sometimes at sea for six to seven months, and the ship is home to them for 24 hours a day, so fair's fair. Yes, in the new clauses we are asking for something different from the provisions relating to other industries, but we are dealing with a different industry.

    Captains can be tyrants and hopeless individuals who would not last 10 minutes in other industries. Seamen often have to put up with indignities and with the captain having many powers over them.

    I am the son of a seaman. My father was a member of the National Union of Seamen all his working life. He had to go to sea because of the great depression; it was the only work that he could find. So bad were the conditions that he was given a voucher in the port of Glasgow to buy his bedding to take to sea. As a stoker, he had a filthy job and at the end of his watch he received one bucket of hot water with which to wash himself. Men worked in those conditions, and the National Union of Seamen had to fight against them.

    When my father was taken ill abroad, he was put ashore in places such as Canada, Egypt and countries in the far east, and the company did not even have the decency to let my mother know that her seaman's allotment would not be paid into the post office for a while. The union looked after the family and it looked after my father, who was regarded as a distressed British seaman.

    I recall my mother telling me that on his first trip my father was put ashore in Canada because he had a poisoned hand. He was put ashore because the captain received a bonus for having a healthy crew. To its credit, the union made sure that he was looked after in Canada for six months, and I put it on record that the Canadian people looked after a young seaman much better than the British Government or the shipping company did.

    My father's ships were torpedoed three times, and many of the boys with whom he was brought up were lost during the war. I know that he would like me to say that, as a civilian community and a work force, the merchant marine lost more members during the war than any other. When I went out for a walk today, outside the Tower of London I saw a monument to British merchant seamen and fishermen.

    I am not a member of the National Union of Seamen, but I am proud of its record. It fought against a system whereby captains were allowed to keep one third of seamen's basic pay so that they could discipline them if they got up to any mischief. The union fought against the voucher system. It fought for better pay and conditions. It is a sad day when we start to consider that industry in the same light as other industries. The Government must always consider new ways of helping seamen.

    The new clause would not create bad industrial relations—anything but. Evening considering some of the conditions in which seamen must work, I believe that industrial relations between the NUS and employers are good. I remember what seamen had to put up with in the past. I support the new clauses, and I hope that we can all remember that British seamen deserve a better deal.

    As I understand it, the new clause is about whether it is safe to have an industrial dispute on board ship. The seamen to whom I have spoken believe that it is safe and I hope that when my hon. Friend the Minister replies he will say whether the Government believe that that is the case. It is noteworthy that this new clause is amending an Act that has been in existence under both Conservative and Labour Governments.

    I believe that the Floor of the House is the wrong place to raise an industrial dispute between a company and—

    Will the hon. Gentleman clarify what he said at the beginning of his speech about it being safe to have an industrial dispute on board ship? As the law stood and as our new clause has made clear, an industrial dispute can take place only when the vessel is safely moored at a berth.

    I accept that, but the key issue is not whether it is safe for the men and for the officers, but for any passengers who may or may not be on board or anyone in the port area involved with that ship. I trust that my hon. Friend the Minister will comment upon that. I believe that that is the important question and I have no doubt that the public share my concern.

    I do not believe that the Floor of the House is the right place to raise an industrial dispute that has severely affected my constituency in the past three months. I believe that such a course of action could inflame the dispute and make matters worse rather than improve the situation. When the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes) spoke about the industrial dispute, I trust that he was not seeking to make matters worse because that would be the greatest tragedy of the dispute.

    The seamen have put a strong case to me with regard to safety. I was sorry that the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North did not say much about safety. I believe that there are important issues concerning the safety of the crew, passengers and all those involved in putting ships to sea.

    I did not seek to intervene in the hon. Gentleman's speech, and I should like to continue.

    I fervently hope that an agreement is reached in the dispute. I have no vested interest in an agreement not being reached, unlike some other hon. Members. My interest in representing my constituency is that such an agreement should be reached as soon as possible and that it will not only be of benefit to the seamen and to officers, but of benefit to the public, the passengers and the company. Surely that must be good for everyone.

    Such an agreement must be safe for the seamen and for the passengers. It must also be fair. A number of seamen have said that an agreement with the officers may be unfair in relation to their agreement. Any agreement reached must be fair to the seamen and to the officers—both agreements should stand side by side.

    During the speech of the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North I was extremely upset. He said that he wanted to be fair to the company, but I do not believe that anything he said was fair to the company. I hold no brief for the company, but I hold a brief for the consituency of Dover.

    9.45 pm

    I have only a constituency interest.

    I have a brief that requires everyone to be given a fair hearing, so that it is in the interests of the seamen to go to sea and of the company to run the ships. If either side is given an unfair advantage over the other, the other will withdraw from the negotiations, which is not satisfactory.

    The hon. Member for Aberdeen, North gave profit figures of more than £100 million. He should look at the company results of Townsend Thoresen and Sealink. The turnover of each of those companies is only slightly more than £100 million, but their profits are considerably less. In the meetings that I have had with seamen they have not suggested that profits were so high.

    The hon. Member for Aberdeen, North talked about the problems of the Channel tunnel being deferred until 1993. The Channel tunnel company has just raised £5 billion. The company and the seamen must be able to compete in 1993 against a project for which I hold no brief, which I do not like and which I have been against since 1973. Many Opposition Members voted for the Channel tunnel, which was appalling enough. Not only will it come into being in 1993 but there is a real risk that duty-free sales will be lost. We in Dover must face these facts.

    It is no good saying that we can wait until 1 January 1990, or until 1 July. In Dover, the local authority, the shipping companies and the seamen have to plan today for the future. We cannot delay.

    Without balanced argument and discussion on both sides, the company will be forced into a political debate, rather than a discussion based on common sense. People should have the opportunity to get together; all parties in Dover need to get together. The company needs to be able to survive and trade successfully and the seamen and officers should be able to work in reasonable conditions and reasonable safety. Speeches that bash any side in the dispute will get us nowhere.

    The hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Shaw) is the first basher that we have heard during the debate.

    The new clause deals with the rights of seamen under the conditions that my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes) outlined. It deals with whether seamen should have the right, which other workers have, to withdraw their labour in certain circumstances—for example, when a vessel is berthed. If the hon. Member for Dover considered the matter, he might realise that one of those circumstances could arise if a vessel was not safe, in the opinion of its crew. If they felt that it should not be taken to sea because it was in an unsafe condition, they would then have the right not to sail it. At present, there is no right to object to sailing a vessel in that way, or to take such action.

    We ought to examine the Government's attitude to trade unions in general and seamen in particular. I spent the whole war at sea. I went to sea before and after the war, so I know what happened at sea in the pre-war period, when we sailed in rust buckets and old tubs that were often not safe to be at sea at all.

    The father of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin) was lucky to have a bucket of hot water—such a thing was unavailable on many of the vessels on which I sailed in the pre-war period. We had to bring our own bunks aboard — straw mattresses covered with a piece of hessian that cost half-a-crown on the dock in Liverpool before we joined the vessel. Those were the conditions that prevailed for seamen. A tin of condensed milk had to last a month, and a seaman had to whittle two pieces of wood and peg them through two holes to keep out the jaspers for the rest of the voyage.

    Seamen worked in such conditions before and during the war. There may have been reasons for that during the war because everyone was affected by the war. The ships and tramps that I served on were taken over for cargo, which was stowed in the very cabins in which we were living. We accepted such conditions during the war because seamen and people on shore just had to put up with them.

    There is a press-gang mentality which says that seamen are a different breed and can be treated in a second, third or fourth-class way by their employers and by the Government who allegedly legislate on their behalf. It is about time that the Government started to take an interest in seamen. Seamen were the first to be affected by the war. On 3 September 1939, seamen were killed. They were the only group of people in Britain who were immediately affected by the war, and that continued right through the war. One would have thought that after the war the Government would have altered their mental attitude and that seamen would have been treated as other workers and given the same rights. Many of the constraints and restrictions that are part of the seaman's life should have been removed.

    A seagoing vessel must be safe, because seamen carry burdens that would not be borne by people on shore. People working in power stations and firemen have to respond to emergencies. Those workers have seen changes that give them rights, but seamen are still excluded from almost every piece of progressive industrial legislation affecting health and safety. For some reason unknown to me, to seamen and to the National Union of Seamen, seafarers are excluded from the rights and privileges that almost every other worker enjoys. My hon. Friends were right to press that point.

    The hon. Member for Eastleigh (Sir D. Price) talked about industrial relations. How can industrial relations improve when the balance has shifted so heavily in favour of the employer? How are workers to respond when they have hanging over them the penalty of sequestration of union funds? How will seamen respond to the fact that, before a ballot is taken, an employer can go to the court? It is a denial of democracy when employers can go to court and demand that seamen should be constrained in their attempts to fight for better conditions.

    People do not get round a table today to negotiate; they go to the courts. Discussions round a table have been eroded not by seamen but by legislation. The Government have taken the trade union away from the negotiating table and into the courts. The fact that that is welcomed by Conservative Members means that the future is dim for trade unions.

    Seamen should have the same rights as other workers to take action when they know that the working conditions that obtain on a vessel are unacceptable. When the ship is in a safe berth, the seamen on board should have the right to withdraw their labour. Seamen should not be denied that right, and there is no justification for denying it.

    Hon. Members should seriously consider the matter of discrimination against seamen who do a dangerous job in normal times and a far more dangerous one in time of war. Their only reward has been to be discriminated against by legislation and by employers. I hope that the House recognises that it is about time that that discrimination was ended and that seamen were given the rights that they deserve.

    I shall be extremely brief. We have enjoyed the nostalgic reminiscences of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Garston (Mr. Loyden).

    The hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes) was kind enough to suggest that I try to take a reasonably impartial view of these matters. However, if the hon. Member for Garston recalls the words of a former leader of his party, Lord Wilson, in 1966, about the National Union of Seamen being a tightly knit group of politically motivated men, he will appreciate that the balance is probably about right as the Bill stands.

    In response to the hon. Member for Christchurch (Mr. Adley), I wish to say that I was one of those politically motivated men in the 1960s. The hon. Gentleman knows me well enough to know that, if I were one of them, there might have been an element of justice on their side during those years.

    I listened with interest to the comments of the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Shaw). The premier ferry port in the United Kingdom is in his constituency and some of his constituents are members of the National Union of Seamen. I accept some of his comments. I have a little sympathy with the hon. Gentleman when he says that we should not progress this industrial dispute in the House of Commons because it is not the right place to do so, but, in one line of the Bill, the Government are withdrawing seamen's rights to take industrial action. The forum for this issue is therefore this Chamber this evening. It is here and now.

    In one line of a schedule, the Government are removing the democratic rights of seamen to progress an industrial dispute. If the hon. Gentleman is in favour of the Government's proposals, I suggest that he goes back to Dover tomorrow and tells the members of the NUS in his constituency that the Government are revoking their democratic rights.

    I do not want to detain the House very long. Like my hon. Friends the Members for Garston, for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) and for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney), I was a member of the NUS in my formative years. I have to say to my hon. Friend the Member for Garston that, in my time, we got two tins of Coni Onie a week, not just one a month.

    The Navy was benevolent in those days.

    The hon. Member for Eastleigh (Sir D. Price) and I have had this conversation many times in the Chamber over the years. In any port in the world, one could see the red duster. The British merchant fleet was the world's premier merchant fleet. The hon. Gentleman and I and Sir Edward du Cann and Lord Callaghan have lamented the fact that the British merchant fleet has sunk so low and is but a pale shadow of its former self. The hon. Gentleman and I both know that, for an island trading nation such as ours, with our maritime history, that is an unsatisfactory state of affairs.

    The hon. Gentleman and I have told the Government that something should be done to stop the rot and the way in which our Merchant Navy has been reduced over the years. The other people in the vanguard of the defence of the merchant marine have been the NUS. In document after document, the NUS has defended its service and told the Government that there should be a different way in which to stop the fleet being diminished.

    I pay tribute to the NUS, because it has at heart the best interests of this country, this trading nation. I listened to my hon. Friend the Member for Garston talking about the war, when many merchant seamen lost their lives. We can recount an occasion that is a little nearer to home. Only a few years ago, during the Falklands dispute—

    It being Ten o'clock, further consideration of the Bill stood adjourned.

    Ordered,

    That, at this day's sitting, the Merchant Shipping Bill [Lords] may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour.—[Mr. Durant.]

    Question again proposed, That the clause be read a Second time.

    That was a minor Exocet.

    During the Falklands dispute, which lives in our memory, the British merchant marine and members of the National Union of Seamen, were the first to come to the colours. These men, constituents of the hon. Member for Dover and other hon. Members, are the people from whom the House, by the passage of the Bill, is seeking to withdraw rights.

    Never mind the Minister shaking his head. I have told the hon. Gentleman for the past eight years that the truth is not what he thinks it is but what is in writing. What is in writing is the fact that seamen will not be able to take the industrial action that they might want to.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes) is a reasonable man, and he has drafted the new clauses before the House. They are in line with what the Government have been doing in terms of trade union legislation. My hon. Friend wants a ballot. He does not want a dispute at sea. Disputes have to occur when the ship is moored. What could be more reasonable?

    My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin) has shown how seamen are different from other industrial workers. The records of the Merchant Navy and the NUS over 50 years show that industrial disputes were not needed. There were few of them. We do not have a great militant group of people, but reasonable people who are prepared to come to the defence of their country in time of war. Their reward is that this Conservative Government will, by this one Bill, deny them the basic democratic rights that are afforded to almost everyone else in the civilised world. That is why I shall vote for this new clause.

    One or two other hon. Members wish to speak, so I shall try to be brief. I begin by congratulating my hon. Friends who have spoken already about the right to strike. That is one of the few freedoms — the most important freedom — for working men and women. If the Government continue down this road much further, that right will be removed from more groups of workers than the seamen. In the cause of trying to abolish Socialism—the Prime Minister's words—they would like to remove completely the right to strike from every section of the working class. Therefore, this is an extremely important debate.

    The hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Shaw) comes in here and talks about how we should not discuss industrial relations on the Floor of the House. I have sat in here over the past fortnight, Mr. Speaker, and you and I have had to bear it all, day in, day out, listening to the Tory yobboes talking about Dundee. Industrial relations are coming out of their earholes and we have had industrial disputes by the bucketful.

    Now Conservative Members have the hypocrisy to say, "Don't talk about industrial relations on the Floor of the House." My hon. Friend the Member for Wigan (Mr. Stott) put it in context when he said that later on, in a schedule, the Government will be wiping out the right to strike. What is wrong with ordinary men and women having the right to strike? We have it in the House of Commons. Some have already exercised it this week—before we have even started our Easter holiday. In the last Division, 420 people clocked on, which means that more than 200 had gone on strike. The Government's majority dropped to 31.

    A lot of the Tories have already packed up for Easter, yet they condemn the men and women at Dover for stopping people going on holiday. Where are Conservative Members going? Are they going to Klosters in the Swiss Alps? Conservative Members attack working men and women and say that they should not have the right to withdraw their labour. We have go-slows in here; they call it filibuster. Just imagine if they did that at the seaports. They would be making Standing Order 20 applications every day. So let us have less of this hypocrisy.

    The dispute is also about overmanning. I read a report about a fellow called Peter Ford of P and O who had the gall to attack the workers at Dover. He said that there was overmanning. The report refers to a 94-day year. The only thing is that when one reads the small print it is 94 multiplied by 24 hours, which is three shifts, which is more than they work here. We are told about overmanning, but what about judges? They stand need telling working people that they cannot have a ballot when they do only 40 weeks in the year and have to be dragged from the Caribbean to turn up for work.

    We have unelected judges telling working men and women that they cannot even have a ballot. They stand need talking in the Houses of Parliament about overmanning, attacking people who provide the wealth of this country. The other place has 1,100 people eligible to attend it. I have checked out the figures and discovered that the House of Lords has never got more than 500 people to clock on for work in my 18 years here. The other place has been overmanned by 50 per cent., even on major votes, yet the Tories have the cheek to talk about overmanning in industry.

    I am pleased that my hon. Friends have stayed to vote for the new clause. It is very important to show that we are determined not to allow the Government to go any further towards removing working people's rights and liberties. The more we do that, the more we shall register accord outside.

    I have come here tonight perhaps for another reason. I want to thank the seamen for all that they did to support the miners in their struggle in 1984–85. I want to give them the same right to take on their management, which is making a small fortune, supported by Conservative Members, many of whom are directors of the company lining its pockets out of the disputes. There ought to be a law in this place to stope those making money out of the dispute marching into the Lobby to carry the Government's decisions which will lead to lower wages and to slave labour in the industry. That is what the Tory Government are after.

    Yesterday we heard the appalling statement that the same Government who are trying to cut the wages of the seamen are to give £650 million to British Aerospace on the advice of the right hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit), who is the adviser to the chairman of that company. That is the sort of society that we have. We are on the side of those who are battling for better safety conditions at sea and for the right to withdraw their labour. I say to my hon. Friends that we need to be on the Government Benches after the next election to reverse this obnoxious clause.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) is a very difficult act to follow, but I should like to make a plea on behalf of our fishermen.

    The two new clauses use the definition
    "seaman employed in a ship registered in the United Kingdom".
    I hope that that definition includes fishermen. My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes) is an old friend and represents many fishermen admirably, but I have some reservations about new clause 6. It seems that my hon. Friend agrees with some Conservative Members when he talks in terms of an industrial dispute that takes place when a ship is "securely moored" to the quay. I shall ignore what the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Shaw) said, as he evidently knows nothing about industrial relations in trawler companies on the H umber and elsewhere. Fishermen may be forced into an industrial dispute while the vessel is fishing.

    Historically, share fishermen have rarely, if ever, been involved in industrial disputes. Disputes are foreign to them and have been for six or seven decades. Labour relations in the British trawler companies, however, are dramatically different. That sector is characterised by poor industrial relations and lousy management. Some trawler company managing directors could not manage an ice cream co-op or, as we say in Scotland, run a manadge.

    I welcome the revival of trawler companies on Humberside and elsewhere, but my plea to the Government is that the trawler fishermen who are being employed should not be subjected to the disgraceful management that they, their brothers and fathers suffered even until recently.

    I shall give one example of what I mean. It involves declaring loyal servants redundant. Several fishing companies received substantial decommissioning grants when they sold off their vessels. One company received more than £500,000 in decommissioning grants for a trawler which it sold for £900,000-odd. The trawler was built with a grant from the then White Fish Authority.

    The crew were treated objectionably and squalidly. One of them — my brother Leslie — was employed by the company for 19 years and received £515 in redundancy. He got much more than many of his comrades who served on that trawler in their dangerous occupation. Fishermen may wish to refuse an order when a trawler is fishing and the skipper orders the deck hands to shoot the trawl in worsening weather.

    No hon. Member can dispute that that has often happened in the Arctic. Sometimes, fishermen have died because they have obeyed an order and gone on to the dangerous deck of a side trawler and been swept overboard. They should have been below deck in that worsening weather. I would not want a single recurrence of such an incident in the south Atlantic or anywhere because of the revival of the trawler companies. The Minister of State and his ministerial colleagues must protect those fishermen, because they deserve no less.

    10.15 pm

    I rise in support of my hon. Friends in both new clauses. As my hon. Friend the Member for Wigan (Mr. Stott) said, I am a former member of the National Union of Seamen. In addition to that, for six years I worked in the port of Dover with the NUS and the Port of Dover harbour board.

    At that time, major developments were taking place in the port, paid for by the then Labour Government, which allowed the port of Dover to expand to provide job opportunities in that part of east Kent. I was involved with the former Member of Parliament for Dorking, the late Keith Wickenden, for four years as a member of the organisation that campaigned for the protection of the port, proposals for the Channel tunnel and other aspects of the port's development.

    I was more than surprised that the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Shaw) did not make one comment indicating that he would support the 2,000 seafarers at Dover who were sacked by that company. He made no reproach whatsoever about the company's tactics and the threat of disinvestment by Sealink and by the company, yet at the end of his speech he said that he did not want to debate industrial relations. He really means that he wants industrial relations and seafarers' rights decided behind closed doors at Downing street and through the special relationship that has been built up between P and O and the Government.

    That is what is behind this pernicious piece of legislation. The removal of section 42 did not simply wander into the other place late at night, proposed by a noble Lord. It was a deliberate strike against the National Union of Seamen.

    The current dispute is only one of a series of incidents that have taken place within the shipping industry over a number of years. The shipping industry is fighting a battle about the right of seamen to negotiate working conditions, and the right to some say in the deregulation of the industry and the effects of deregulation on wages and conditions, health and safety at sea and among passengers and the role of the NUS.

    I should like to examine the connections between the legislation and Conservative Members. The hon. Member for Dover said that he had no interest in P and O. However, he was one of the Conservative Members who spent 25 hours backing P and O, as he was involved scurrilously in attempting to force through the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Bill. He was involved in wining and dining that took place in relation to that Bill.

    On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) has told a complete and utter lie. I have not taken any wine or food in relation to the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Bill. I insist on you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, insisting on him withdrawing that statement.

    Order. The hon. Gentleman must first withdraw his reference to a lie. Then the hon. Gentleman who had the Floor might respond. The hon. Member must withdraw that expression.

    I will only withdraw if the hon. Member for Makerfield is prepared to withdraw.

    Based on the advice which I have received, it would seem appropriate, in the circumstances, despite the fact that an unfair and untrue allegation has been made, for me to withdraw the word "lie".

    Perhaps the hon. Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) will withdraw.

    I said that the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Shaw) was one of the Members who had offered wining and dining until the fact that this was going on was exposed. If it had not been exposed, it would have continued. During the debate, hon. Members raised points of order. What I have said is legitimate, and I do not intend to withdraw what I said.

    I request you, please, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to ask the hon. Member to be honourable and to comply with your request.

    I thought I heard the hon. Gentleman say that wining and dining had been offered. I do not think that that necessarily reflects on the character of the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Shaw). What was offered and what was accepted are two quite different matters.

    I am sorry that there has been so much objection to what I said. I have here a copy of the invitation.

    The company has recently given donations to the Conservative party. They amount to a considerable sum of money. Board members have relationships with Lord Young in terms of political advice, and Jeffrey Sterling is being canvassed for chairmanship of the Independent Broadcasting Authority. Many Conservative Members are known to have relationships with the company. Therefore, this aspect has been introduced at the behest of the company and of others who wish the negotiating rights of the National Union of Seamen to be diminished and in many respects destroyed and neutered. The company wants to introduce certain types of practice at Dover and throughout the British merchant fleet.

    It is essential that the Government should come clean. Either they believe that seafarers should have the right to strike or they should admit that they have a cosy relationship with this company. The Government intend to allow it to purchase another piece of legislation that will deny to seamen the right to take industrial action to defend the health and safety of their members and of passengers who travel daily by sea from the port of Dover. The Government have not protected health and safety if one considers the iniquitous activities of the company. Seafarers have campaigned for the health and safety of passengers. The union wants to retain the right to take industrial action to defend themselves and the health and safety of the passengers whom they take daily to sea.

    As the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes) said, there was a lengthy debate in Committee on the Bill's repeal of section 42(2) of the 1970 Act. Having been defeated there, the hon. Gentleman has returned with two variants of the section, each of which gives seamen quite unjustified immunity from the provisions of employment legislation as it applies to employees in other industries, and to each of which the Government are opposed.

    It might help the House if I say a word or two about section 42(2) and why the Government accepted that it should be repealed. I should explain that, before 1970, seamen had no lawful method of taking industrial action. In the aftermath of the 1966 seamen's strike, the Pearson committee commented that a provision enabling industrial action to be taken by seamen within the law was desirable. In due course, section 42(2) was included in the Merchant Shipping Act 1970. It permits seamen to give not fewer than 48 hours' notice of termination of their employment in furtherance of an industrial dispute, provided that the ship is safely moored in a United Kingdom port. It also provides that a shipowner is not able to circumvent matters by ordering the ship to sea while that notice is being worked out.

    Unfortunately, those who drafted section 42(2) did not foresee that it would be abused. Crews of short sea ferries have in the past given notice in sequence by departments, each group of seamen then withdrawing their notice before it expired. In that way, they have been able to immobilise the ship while, because they are still available for work, they are still being paid. This device, which I am sure the House will agree is indefensible, was adopted, for example, in Portsmouth in January 1985 following European Ferries' takeover of P and O's Portsmouth operation. However, even if section 42(2) were not open to abuse in that way, there would be a good case for its repeal, in that it has been largely overtaken.

    The hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Stott) suggested that the seamen's right to strike was being removed. That is just not true. The hon. Gentleman then saw me shaking my head, and said, "Never mind shaking your head." What he meant was, "Never mind confusing me with facts." That is what he is worried about.

    Let me tell the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) —who made up in volume what he lacked in accuracy—that the facts are very simple. The Merchant Shipping Act 1974 legitimised industrial action by seafarers while their ship was not at sea. Without section 42(2), seafarers will still be able to give notice of their intention to take industrial action in accordance with their terms of employment, in the same way as employees in other industries.

    The hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes) said that there had not been many examples of abuse of the system. We do not have to experience a break-in before we lock our doors. The provision closes a massive loophole that is open to abuse on a major scale.

    The hon. Gentleman went on to suggest—as did the hon. Member for Liverpool, Garston (Mr. Loyden)—that the courts had forbidden the National Union of Seamen to ballot its members on a strike, and implied that that right to ballot had been removed. The High Court has ruled that, in balloting its members about a national strike, the union was in breach of injunctions made a month ago, covering the last illegal action, and was thus in contempt of court. The judge described the ballot as an "ingenious but ingenuous" attempt to get round the law. The hon. Gentleman should not try to pull the wool over the eyes of the House.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Shaw) is right: the House is not the place in which to seek to negotiate any trade disputes. The talks were adjourned by ACAS last Friday, until such time as it would be profitable for them to be resumed. I feel that we should leave the matter there.

    The hon. Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin) spoke with passion of the conditions of seamen between the wars. No one wants to return to those conditions. His remarks might be relevant if the new clauses introduced the right to strike, but they do not. That right is established in law, and there is no intention to remove it.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Dover sought clarification of the position of seamen in dispute, on ships and ferries and at sea. The safety of passengers is assured, because for the right to strike is limited to when a ship is securely moored in a safe berth. There is no question of seamen going on strike in mid-Channel.

    Each of the two new clauses, far from recognising that section 42(2) has been overtaken and is open to abuse, go considerably beyond it. New clause 4 would enable seafarers to immobilise a ship—for example, whenever the local trade union leadership considered that it had a trade dispute with one or more employers—during the holding of a ballot on the matter. No time limit is imposed on the conduct of the ballot, and, if the crews of foreign-going vessels are to be consulted, it would be well over two weeks. Even then, if the ballot failed to produce the desired result, there would be nothing to prevent another ballot from being called immediately, thereby maintaining the embargo on ships sailing.

    Meanwhile, the crew would be available for work. It would have only given notice to strike; it would not have gone on strike. The crew would remain on full pay while immobilising the ship. Anyone who votes in favour of the new clause will vote for a charter for abuse. That would be an outrage, and I urge the House to reject the clause.

    10.30 pm

    The outrage is that the Government, in introducing the Bill, made no reference to the removal of legitimate trade union rights from seamen. It was only because of Back-Bench pressure in another place that the Government caved in and accepted the argument of the General Council of British Shipping and others.

    The Minister might have the advantage over my hon. Friends and me in not understanding the Bill. He talks about a massive loophole, but it has not been used over the past 15 or 18 years. He referred to ferries sailing from Portsmouth in advancing his argument, but it is the opinion of the General Council of British Shipping that under existing law it is possible for a master to order his crew to take his ship to sea within the 48-hour period of notice, provided that it will be engaged in a voyage and back in port before expiry of the notice. The Minister does not understand that his example does not come within current legislation.

    We cannot accept that the position of seamen is analogous to that of workers in other industries, and my right hon. and hon. Friends and I will press the new clause to a Division.

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

    The House divided: Ayes 183, Noes 225.

    Division No. 245]

    [10.30 pm

    AYES

    Abbott, Ms DianeGould, Bryan
    Adams, Allen (Paisley N)Graham, Thomas
    Allen, GrahamGriffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
    Archer, Rt Hon PeterGriffiths, Win (Bridgend)
    Armstrong, HilaryGrocott, Bruce
    Ashley, Rt Hon JackHardy, Peter
    Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Harman, Ms Harriet
    Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
    Barron, KevinHaynes, Frank
    Battle, JohnHealey, Rt Hon Denis
    Beckett, MargaretHeffer, Eric S.
    Benn, Rt Hon TonyHenderson, Doug
    Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)Hinchliffe, David
    Bermingham, GeraldHogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
    Bidwell, SydneyHome Robertson, John
    Blair, TonyHood, Jimmy
    Boyes, RolandHowarth, George (Knowsley N)
    Bradley, KeithHoyle, Doug
    Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
    Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
    Buchan, NormanHughes, Roy (Newport E)
    Buckley. George J.Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
    Callaghan, JimIllsley, Eric
    Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)Ingram, Adam
    Campbell-Savours, D. N.Janner, Greville
    Clark, Dr David (S Shields)John, Brynmor
    Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
    Clay, BobKinnock, Rt Hon Neil
    Clelland, DavidLamond, James
    Clwyd, Mrs AnnLeadbitter, Ted
    Cohen, HarryLewis, Terry
    Cook, Frank (Stockton N)Litherland, Robert
    Cook, Robin (Livingston)Livingstone, Ken
    Corbett, RobinLloyd, Tony (Stretford)
    Corbyn, JeremyLoyden, Eddie
    Cousins, JimMcAllion, John
    Cox, TomMcAvoy, Thomas
    Crowther, StanMcCartney, Ian
    Cryer, BobMacdonald, Calum A.
    Cummings, JohnMcFall, John
    Cunliffe, LawrenceMcKelvey, William
    Dalyell, TamMcNamara, Kevin
    Darling, AlistairMcTaggart, Bob
    Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)McWilliam, John
    Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)Madden, Max
    Davis, Terry (B'harn Hodge H'l)Marek, Dr John
    Dewar, DonaldMarshall, David (Shettleston)
    Dixon, DonMartin, Michael J. (Springburn)
    Dobson, FrankMaxton, John
    Doran, FrankMeale, Alan
    Douglas, DickMichael, Alun
    Dunnachie, JimmyMichie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
    Dunwoody, Hon Mrs GwynethMillan, Rt Hon Bruce
    Eadie, AlexanderMitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
    Eastham, KenMoonie, Dr Lewis
    Evans, John (St Helens N)Morgan, Rhodri
    Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
    Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)Mullin, Chris
    Fatchett, DerekMurphy, Paul
    Field, Frank (Birkenhead)Nellist, Dave
    Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
    Flannery, MartinO'Neill, Martin
    Flynn, PaulOrme, Rt Hon Stanley
    Foot, Rt Hon MichaelParry, Robert
    Forsythe, Clifford (Antrim S)Patchett, Terry
    Foster, DerekPendry, Tom
    Foulkes, GeorgePike, Peter L.
    Fraser, JohnPowell, Ray (Ogmore)
    Galbraith, SamPrescott, John
    Galloway, GeorgePrimarolo, Dawn
    Garrett, John (Norwich South)Quin, Ms Joyce
    Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)Randall, Stuart
    George, BruceRichardson, Jo
    Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr JohnRobertson, George
    Godman, Dr Norman A.Robinson, Geoffrey
    Gordon, MildredRogers, Allan

    Rooker, JeffTurner, Dennis
    Ruddock, JoanVaz, Keith
    Salmond, AlexWall, Pat
    Sheerman, BarryWalley, Joan
    Sheldon, Rt Hon RobertWardell, Gareth (Gower)
    Shore, Rt Hon PeterWelsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
    Skinner, DennisWilliams, Rt Hon Alan
    Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
    Smith, C. (lsl'ton & F'bury)Winnick, David
    Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)Wise, Mrs Audrey
    Snape, PeterWorthington, Tony
    Soley, CliveWray, Jimmy
    Spearing, NigelYoung, David (Bolton SE)
    Steinberg, Gerry
    Stott, RogerTellers for the Ayes:
    Strang, GavinMr. Allen McKay and
    Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)Mrs. Llin Golding
    Taylor, Rt Hon J. D. (S'ford)

    NOES

    Adley, RobertCran, James
    Aitken, JonathanCurrie, Mrs Edwina
    Alexander, RichardCurry, David
    Alison, Rt Hon MichaelDavies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)
    Allason, RupertDavis, David (Boothferry)
    Alton, DavidDay, Stephen
    Amess, DavidDevlin, Tim
    Amos, AlanDorrell, Stephen
    Arbuthnot, JamesDouglas-Hamilton, Lord James
    Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Dover, Den
    Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)Dunn, Bob
    Ashby, DavidDurant, Tony
    Atkinson, DavidEggar, Tim
    Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)Fallon, Michael
    Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)Farr, Sir John
    Baldry, TonyFavell, Tony
    Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
    Batiste, SpencerFookes, Miss Janet
    Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyForman, Nigel
    Bendall, VivianForsyth, Michael (Stirling)
    Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)Forth, Eric
    Benyon, W.Fox, Sir Marcus
    Bevan, David GilroyFranks, Cecil
    Biffen, Rt Hon JohnFreeman, Roger
    Blaker, Rt Hon Sir PeterFrench, Douglas
    Bonsor, Sir NicholasFry, Peter
    Boscawen, Hon RobertGale, Roger
    Bottomley, PeterGarel-Jones, Tristan
    Bottomley, Mrs VirginiaGill, Christopher
    Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)Glyn, Dr Alan
    Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)Goodlad, Alastair
    Bowis, JohnGoodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
    Braine, Rt Hon Sir BernardGorman, Mrs Teresa
    Brandon-Bravo, MartinGrant, Sir Anthony (CarnbsSW)
    Brazier, JulianGummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
    Bright, GrahamHargreaves, Ken (Hynadburn)
    Brittan, Rt Hon LeonHarris, David
    Brooke, Rt Hon PeterHaselhurst, Alan
    Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)Hayward, Robert
    Browne, John (Winchester)Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
    Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)
    Burns, SimonHowarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
    Burt, AlistairHowells, Geraint
    Butcher, JohnHughes, Robert G. (Harrow. W)
    Butler, ChrisHughes, Simon (Southwark)
    Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)Hunt, David (Wirral W)
    Carlisle, John, (Luton N)Hunter, Andrew
    Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
    Carrington, MatthewKing, Rt Hon Tom (Briagwater)
    Carttiss, MichaelKnapman, Roger
    Cash, WilliamKnight, Greg (Derby North)
    Channon, Rt Hon PaulKnight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
    Chapman, SydneyKnox, David
    Chope, ChristopherLang, Ian
    Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)Latham, Michael
    Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)Lawrence, Ivan
    Colvin, MichaelLee, John (Pendle)
    Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
    Cope, JohnLester, Jim (Broxtowe)
    Cormack, PatrickLilley, Peter

    Livsey, RichardMoss, Malcolm
    Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)Neale, Gerrard
    Luce, Rt Hon RichardNelson, Anthony
    Lyell, Sir NicholasNeubert, Michael
    Macfarlane, Sir NeilNewton, Rt Hon Tony
    MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)Nicholls, Patrick
    Maclean, DavidNicholson, David (Taunton)
    McLoughlin, PatrickNicholson, Emma (Devon West)
    McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
    Madel, DavidOppenheim, Phillip
    Malins, HumfreyPage, Richard
    Mans, KeithPatten, Chris (Bath)
    Maples, JohnPawsey, James
    Marland, PaulPorter, Barry (Wirral S)
    Marshall, John (Hendon S)Porter, David (Waveney)
    Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Portillo, Michael
    Martin, David (Portsmouth S)Powell, William (Corby)
    Maude, Hon FrancisPrice, Sir David
    Mawhinney, Dr BrianRaffan, Keith
    Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinRaison, Rt Hon Timothy
    Meyer, Sir AnthonyRathbone, Tim
    Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)Redwood, John
    Miller, HalRiddick, Graham
    Miscampbell, NormanRidsdale, Sir Julian
    Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
    Mitchell, David (Hants NW)Roe, Mrs Marion
    Montgomery, Sir FergusRossi, Sir Hugh
    Morrison, Hon Sir CharlesRyder, Richard
    Morrison, Hon P (Chester)Sackville, Hon Tom

    Sainsbury, Hon TimThornton, Malcolm
    Shaw, David (Dover)Tracey, Richard
    Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)Tredinnick, David
    Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')Twinn, Dr Ian
    Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)Vaughan, Sir Gerard
    Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)Waddington, Rt Hon David
    Shersby, MichaelWakeham, Rt Hon John
    Sims, RogerWalker, Bill (T'side North)
    Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)Wallace, James
    Soames, Hon NicholasWaller, Gary
    Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
    Squire, RobinWarren, Kenneth
    Stanbrook, IvorWatts, John
    Steen, AnthonyWells, Bowen
    Stern, MichaelWhitney, Ray
    Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)Widdecombe, Ann
    Stewart, Ian (Hertfordshire N)Wilkinson, John
    Stradling Thomas, Sir JohnWilshire, David
    Sumberg, DavidWolfson, Mark
    Summerson, HugoWood, Timothy
    Taylor, Ian (Esher)Woodcock, Mike
    Taylor, John M (Solihull)
    Tebbit, Rt Hon NormanTellers for the Noes:
    Temple-Morris, PeterMr. Mark Lennox-Boyd and
    Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)Mr. David Lightbown.
    Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)

    Question accordingly negatived.