Skip to main content

Associated British Ports (No 2) Bill (By Order)

Volume 175: debated on Monday 25 June 1990

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

Order read for consideration of Lords amendments.

7.28 pm

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. You will know that since the last time this subject was brought before the House, when the Associated British Ports (No. 2) Bill was debated on Third Reading, there have been some important developments on private Bill procedure. The first was the publication of the report of the Joint Committee on Private Bill Procedure, 1987–1988, House of Lords paper 97, and House of Commons paper 625. That report contained several important recommendations covering the matters before the House tonight. In particular, recommendation 9 dealt with ports and harbours.

Order. I find it difficult to relate what the hon. Gentleman says to the Lords amendments to the Associated British Ports (No. 2) Bill. I cannot see that a consultation paper is relevant.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his help. My point of order to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, is specific; I have not lost track of it. I referred to recommendation 9 dealing with harbours and ports. Procedural amendments were also made that touch upon proceedings: the deposit and advertising of private Bills that are now before the House. I draw to your attention a further development: the publication by the Lord President of the Council of the document that I hold in my hand. Last Thursday, I asked the Lord President of the Council whether he would make clear the Government's position on the private Bill procedure. At 3.30 pm, he said that a written answer and a document would be placed in the Library. This document is a consultation paper. It may be a Green Paper, or it may be a White Paper—

Order. The hon. Gentleman is referring to procedural changes that may or may not take place some time in the future. Under the existing procedure, we are about to deal with Lords amendments to a particular Bill. Any point of order must be directly related to the existing procedure.

I now approach the point of order that I have for you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. According to the latest edition of "Erskine May", page 861 states:

"If any stage of a Bill is proceeded with when the notice has not been duly given, or the proper interval allowed, or if notice is taken of any other formality, the proceeding will be null and void, and the stage must be repeated."
My point of order for you is that important and serious changes have been made to the private Bill procedure since the House last met on the issue. The Government have said that they intend to change the law of the land in relation to the private Bill procedure. That is clearly stated in the document issued by the Lord President of the Council.

Have the Government, either through their business managers or through the usual channels, intimated to you that as a consequence of the proposed changes to the law they wish to defer the private Bill that is before the House? I draw your attention to the quotation from "Erskine May". I ask you to be kind enough to suspend the sitting until you have taken the advice of the Clerks and ascertained whether the situation has changed. If it has, I ask you to rule that we cannot proceed with consideration of the Lords amendments.

What we are about to do is perfectly in order. I emphasise yet again to the hon. Gentleman and to the whole House that we are now working under our existing procedures and that what has been set down for debate today is perfectly in order. The sooner we get on with it the better. Mr. Michael Brown.

I beg to move, That the Lords amendments be now considered.

Order. I shall hear the point of order of the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. Redmond).

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) ought to keep quiet and pay attention. It is an important matter. You will recollect that when the Bill began its passage through the House we said that it was a hybrid, not a private Bill. At that time the Chair ruled, and has ruled on several occasions since, that it is not a hybrid Bill, so the procedure is correct. Would you consider suspending the sitting until you have had time to reflect on the fact that the Government have been involved in the various stages of the Bill? In view of the Government's involvement and connivance, I ask you to suspend the sitting and then to rule that this is a hybrid Bill.

There is nothing further for the Chair to reflect on. The Chair has reflected over a good many months on the Bill and on the procedures that we are following. They are wholly correct.

I shall take points of order, but it would be very much tidier if the hon. Member who is sponsoring the Bill, the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown), were able to move the motion. Then I should be prepared to take points of order.

Order. I shall hear the point of order of the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron).

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I should like to clarify the point that was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. Redmond). When the Bill received its Third Reading in the House, there was a good attendance by Opposition Members. The amendments that were made in the other place could have been made in Committee in the House of Commons. Was the Bill in its correct form when it received its Third Reading in this House? It could have been amended in this place but it was not. The Bill was introduced in 1988 and received its Third Reading in 1989. We believe that amendments were made in the other place to prevent the Opposition from tabling further amendments to the Bill here and scrutinising it properly.

The hon. Gentleman can make points of that kind when we debate whether the amendments should be considered. It is not a point of order for me. It is a genuine point that could be made in the debate. That is why I suggest that it would be much more sensible if the Question were proposed so that these points could be raised legitimately on the Question whether the Lords amendments should be considered.

I shall take the point of order of the hon. Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Mr. Lofthouse).

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I hope that I shall be able to persuade you that consideration of the Bill should not continue and that the sitting should be suspended. Paragraph 26 of the special Committee report recommended that

"In our view it is the Government's duty to take whatever steps are necessary, in the overall national interest, to protect the indigenous coal-mining industry."
The Select Committee of the House of Lords supported that view in paragraph 23. I ask you to bear it in mind that the Government have responded to neither of those reports, which recommend that special protection should be granted to the coal industry. I ask you to suspend the debate until we receive such an assurance from the Government.

I am not prepared to do that. I have dealt with that point. These are not matters for me. There may be changes to the procedure in due course, but until it is changed I am bound to observe the rules of the House and the existing procedure. What has been set down for debate today is perfectly in order. I suggest that it would be wise to get on with it.

I shall take the point of order of the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy).

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I have two points of order for you. I shall deal first with the slighter one. On Thursday afternoon, during questions to the Leader of the House, I made the point that I had tried to obtain copies of the amendments the day before and also at 3 o'clock on Thursday afternoon before I came into the Chamber. I was accompanied by my hon. Friends the Members for Doncaster, North (Mr. Welsh) and for Barnsley, East (Mr. Patchett). I was assured that the Lords amendments were not available. One hour later, the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) vigorously waved in the House a document that I think he hoped that we would accept. It was a copy of the amendments. He implied that what I had said to the House was untrue. That is unacceptable.

I am entitled to ask the hon. Gentleman to make it clear that in no way does he deny that inquiries at the Vote Office in pursuit of copies of the amendments resulted in information being given to me that they were not available. I accept that they became available some time before 4 o'clock, but they were not available at 3 o'clock. It is unreasonable that the amendments were not available until such a short time before the debate. I ask the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes to make it absolutely clear that he was not suggesting that my hon. Friends and I had misled the House.

My second point of order is much more serious. I have never been an expert in the bureaucratic aspects of parliamentary life, nor do I have a detailed knowledge of parliamentary procedures, but it appears to me that the way in which the Bill has been managed, throughout the long period in which it has been under consideration, means that we are now treated as if the House of Commons is an inferior part of the legislature to the other place. We have an obligation to maintain the importance of our democratically elected Government and to make it clear that the House of Lords cannot override or disregard the rights and powers of the House of Commons. Those rights and powers are being challenged by the way in which the Bill is being presented tonight.

First, I understand that the amendments are available and have been available for some time, and I made specific inquiries about that. As I have told other hon. Members, the other points that the hon. Member has made are legitimate points to raise in the debate that we are about to have. As a specific point was directed at the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes, if that hon. Member has anything to say on that point, of course I shall call him.

Are you calling me to make my speech, Mr. Deputy Speaker, because I am very happy to respond—[Interruption.]

Order. At the moment, I am calling the hon. Gentleman further to the point of order, if he wishes to comment on the points that were specifically made about him.

If it will assist the House, I am willing to respond to the point of order made by the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy). In no way would I ever accuse him of midleading the House, and if he took what I said as an implication that I was making such an accusation, I withdraw any such suggestion.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I draw your attention to Standing Order No. 186, dealing with private business. It states that the Chairman of Ways and Means, who governs the procedures of private business in the House, may give directions for the printing of any amendments,

"including a requirement that the clause as amended shall be printed in extenso with every addition or substitution in distinctive type, and the omissions included in brackets and underlined."
That has not been done. We have a single sheet of typescript with no clear relationship to the clause. The first two amendments alter clause 3 and the remaining four amendments alter clause 18, which is a short clause that alters the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1977 by substituting a further provision. I should have thought that the four alterations to a clause that is about 10 lines long, the extent of the alterations and the fairly radical changes involved are sufficient to suggest that the Chairman of Ways and Means should have carried out Standing Order No. 186.

This is a controversial measure, which has been going through the House for some time. I should have thought that, out of consideration for all hon. Members who are interested in the Bill, at least Standing Order No. 186 should have been carried out. It may be Mr. Deputy Speaker, that you wish to consult the Chairman of Ways and Means, and some of us would be very happy for you to suspend the proceedings while that consultation takes place.

The hon. Gentleman has very largely answered his own point. He said that the reference that he read out is permissive. I am satisfied that the amendments as printed and the Bill as available make it quite clear to what the amendments refer and that nothing further is needed.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I have no doubt that, when your office looked at the amendments from another place a week or a fortnight ago, they were in order, but as a result of an incident that occurred only a week ago——the Spanish trawler case, which called into question certain legislation passed by the House as it is affected by EC directives——it has been brought to my attention that complaints have been made to the European Commission concerning the failure to carry out an environmental assessment of the Immingham project.

If that is so——I have no reason to believe that it is not—whether or not we debate it tonight, we are discussing the Bill in the certain knowledge that it will be challenged in the courts immediately. That challenge will come from either the European Commission or an individual. As the matter has arisen only in the past week, I should have thought that it cannot have been taken into account by Mr. Speaker in considering the Lords amendments. Perhaps there is a legitimate reason for saying that we should not debate the Bill tonight.

The hon. Gentleman's suggestion sounds to me pretty remote from what we are likely to have before the House, but when we debate whether the Lords amendments should be considered, if he catches the eye of the occupant of the Chair, he can have a go at finding out whether he is in order.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I seek your guidance on an issue that has generated some confusion because of the history of the Bill as it has progressed through the House. Everyone knows that there have been many hours of discussion on the Bill. Amendments have been tabled in the House of Lords so that they can come to this House unopposed. The Lord President of the Council, in a written reply on 21 June, stated:

"The procedure for those matters which would remain to be dealt with by private Bills will be reformed along the lines suggested by the Joint Committee and as broadly accepted by the Government in the debate on the report. The Government believe that those proposals, taken as a whole, will provide a more appropriate way to deal with infrastructure projects in the modern age by protecting the interests of all those involved.—[Official Report, 21 June 1990; Vol. 174, c. 628.]
Many people in my constituency could be affected by the legislation, so if the Lord President of the Council's reply on 21 June is as I interpret it, I assume that there is no further cause to discuss the Bill tonight. As it is confusing, I ask you to suspend the proceedings and get the Lord President of the Council to come here and give an interpretation of his reply on 21 June.

That may be ingenious, but it has nothing to do with the debate that we are about to have. I suggest to the House that it would be sensible to move the motion now so that we can debate in a proper manner whether the Lords amendments should be considered.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I should like your guidance on an important issue. My constituents may suffer tremendously as a result of the legislation. I draw to your attention the fact that, according to European legislation, an environmental assessment should have been made. As no such assessment was made, the number of lorries that will come through my constituency——

Order. That cannot possibly be a point of order, but if the hon. Gentleman succeeds in catching the Chair's eye when we reach the debate, he can have a go then.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. On local television which covers the constituency of Brigg and Cleethorpes, the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) said quite clearly that he was dissatisfied with the procedures of the House for dealing with the Bill. He said that he intended to challenge or to question the procedures of the House. Is not it unfair to proceed with the Bill until the sponsor has explained his position? He has challenged the procedures of the House, and I hope that we shall give him a fair hearing.

That is a most helpful point of order. The hon. Gentleman reinforces the point that I made: it would be much more sensible if we allowed the sponsor of the Bill to speak to the amendments. I am most grateful to the hon. Gentleman, and I hope that the House will soon feel that it would be sensible to follow him.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. During his point of order, I heard a disgraceful smear on the hon. Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Brandon-Bravo) by the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown). He shouted across the Benches that his hon. Friend was grovelling only to save his small majority in Nottingham. I have been criticised in the past for making that comment, but it is a bit much that his hon. Friend is smearing him so disgracefully. Will you come to the rescue of the hon. Member for Nottingham, South and ask the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes to withdraw his disgraceful attack?

I am trying to come to the rescue of the House so that we can get on with the business.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. You have sat in the Chair many a time on private Bills and watched them being steered through. No doubt you are aware that on such occasions there are no Whips. I must draw to your attention the fact that a breach of that convention has taken place. I have the Labour Whip here, which says, "Opposed Private Business"; there are no lines, nothing. That means that no direction whatever is being given to my hon. Friends. I received a Whip from the other side, which I picked up.

Some research assistant let it slip through. It says, "Dear Norman"——presumably that is Tebbit——

"Associated British Ports (No. 2) Bill, Lords amendments, Monday 25 June 1990 7 pm to 10 pm. I am delighted to report that this Bill has now received its Third Reading in the House of Lords"——

Order. This may be a very interesting, but whipping has nothing to do with me. What is the point of order for the Chair?

It is quite simple: private business is not whipped. The Chairman of Ways and Means finds a suitable time for the Bill. There is no collusion between the Whips to decide what the agenda will be for the parliamentary week. The Chairman of Ways and Means decides because it is a private Bill, which means that there are no Whips on it. The Tory Whip says:

"Unfortunately the Lords have made several minor technical amendments which will he heavily contested in the Commons on Monday 25 June."
I have only——

Order. As I have told the hon. Gentleman more than once, this may be very interesting and revealing but whipping has nothing to do with the Chair. We have had a good run on points of order. We really should get on with the debate before the House.

I should like to believe that that is true, but the Whip goes on to advise Conservative Members

"to be in their places between 7 and 10".
and talks about the Bill

"having gone for two and a half years. We must assist to reach the finishing post. The Brown legislative programme invites your continued support once again,
Yours ever"——

Order. The hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) is an experienced parliamentarian. I have told him three times that what he is raising is not a point of order and I am sure that he knows that that is correct.

I hope that this is a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. May I take you back to the written answer given by the Lord President of the Council? It seems to many hon. Members that it is germane to consideration of this business. Have you read that written answer? If not, will you suspend the House for five minutes so that you can do so and properly apprise yourself of its import?

I cannot possibly see that that written answer has anything to do with the business before the House.

Further to that point of order of the hon. Member for Clydesdale (Mr. Hood), a former constituent of mine whose vote I was sorry to lose. I should like to take up his point about the scurrilous remarks made by my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) about my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Brandon-Bravo) trying to save his seat. We are trying to save the seat of my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes because his rural constituents will turn him out at the next election if this goes through.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. May I thank you for at last seeing me behind my hon. Friend the Member for Clydesdale (Mr. Hood)? I was panicking that points of order were exclusively for hon. Members taller than 5 ft 1 in.

I wish to draw your attention to the Official Journal of the European Community, published in 1985, on articles of the convention relating to environmental assessment studies. Paragraph 8, which has been adopted by the Government refers to
"Trading ports and also inland waterways and ports for inland-waterway traffic which permit the passage of vessels of over 1,350 tonnes."
Parts of the Bill are covered by that European Community document, so it should have been taken into consideration before the Bill was brought before the House, but it is clear that it was not.

Therefore, the Bill should return to the other place so that that procedure can be carried out. Without it, the European Court can challenge the procedures of the House. It is important that the procedures on the article are not put aside. The article was introduced to protect petitioners against the misuse of the private Bill procedure in places such as the United Kingdom, particularly on Bills that relate to huge industrial developments such as this port. I implore you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, as someone who has looked after the interests of hon. Members, to take into account the article, stop this procedure and return the Bill to the other place.

I assure the House once more that the motion and the amendments are in order. We should now get on with the business before the House.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Lords amendments are not numbered and do not give us full details, but there appear to be six of them. Will the House take them in order? Will the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) speak initially to the first Lords amendment? I have a second point of order to raise as well, Sir.

That is a fair point. It would be better to proceed first with the debate, if we are to have one, on whether the Lords amendments should be considered. When that is out of the way, it will be perfectly legitimate for the hon. Members to raise that point again. We shall deal with it at the more appropriate time.

Order. I have called the hon. Member for Bradford, South once already and I have dealt with his point.

Order. The hon. Member has had one go. I have called every hon. Member who wished to put a point of order and have dealt with those points of order. I hope that the hon. Member will feel, either now or once he has raised his point of order, that it is appropriate to proceed with the debate.

I am grateful to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. When we deal with the Adelphi Estate Bill, reference was made to several 19th century Acts of Parliament. Madam Deputy Speaker pointed out that it was difficult to get elderly Acts of Parliament from the Library, because they were unique and precious. The first group of Lords amendments refers to changes from section 85 to section 85E of the Railway Clauses Consolidation Act 1845. I imagine that this Bill falls into the same category as the Adelphi Estate Bill.

Have the Bill's promoters troubled to produce extracts from the Railway Clauses Consolidation Act, just as the promoters of the Adelphi Estate Bill took the trouble to do after this point was brought to their attention? That leglisation was circulated to Members, rather than have Members in the Chamber handle heavy and fragile bits of legislation, dug out of the Library shelves. As we are talking about the application of a different section of the Railway Clauses Consolidation Act, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I wonder whether you have any information about the provision of copies of the legislation to hon. Members.

My impression is that all the relevant information is available. It would be better if the hon. Member were to raise those points when we consider the Lords amendments.

8.2 pm

I should like first to make it clear that I certainly did not wish to impugn the motives of my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Brandon-Bravo). If I did so, I withdraw any such suggestion unreservedly.

Clauses, 3 and 18 were amended in Committee in the other place. The amendments to clause 3 are necessary to clarify and specify the application of the clause. The amendments to clause 18 are necessary because of a change in the general law since the Bill was deposited before Parliament.

The hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) chose his words carefully and said that the Lords amendments had been tabled because of changes made since the Bill was laid before the House. We all know that the Bill was introduced in the House years ago. As I said on a point of order, these amendments could not have been tabled during the Bill's passage through the House of Commons. Consequently, they should have been tabled in Committee. The legislation to which the amendments refer was implemented more than 12 months before the Bill completed the Committee stage.

I happen to have a copy of the Railway Clauses Consolidation Act 1845. I glanced through it, looking for a reference to the date on which the amendments could have been put forward. The date has been revised to 31 October 1979. Therefore, surely the Lords amendments could have been made properly to the Bill during the past 10 years.

My hon. Friend's assessment is correct. I can do no more than agree with him.

A motion has been tabled to the effect that the Lords amendments be considered upon this day in six months' time. I support that motion. The Bill has had a long history, and we have had many debates on it. It has been scrutinised by a Committee and was passed on the Chairman's casting vote. The amendments laid were not accepted because of the Chairman's casting vote. We have had many debates about the Bill's implications for the coal industry. The amendments which were not accepted in the House of Commons or in the other place in Committee related specifically to that point.

My opposition to the Bill, because of its possible effect on the coal industry, has not wavered since the Bill was introduced.

It is obvious to everyone that great damage will be caused to the industry. Is not the Bill also important in terms of the great damage that it could do to the environment?

I am sure that that is true. I was about to say that that was a principal reason why I support the motion that consideration should be adjourned for six months. We are not saying that the Bill should be defeated, as we have done in the past—although, given the opportunity, I certainly would. We are asking the House to delay considering the Lords amendments for six months.

Our arguments on the Floor of the House and in Committee were as one in terms of the effect on the coal industry. Over the past five years, the industry has done remarkably well because of a massive improvement in productivity. Sadly, about 30,000 jobs a year had been lost over the past five years—150,000 jobs overall. This is hardly an industry that should be penalised for what it has done over the past five years, but we know what the Bill will do.

Some of those in the other place who had presented petitions against the Bill changed their minds. They argued strongly in Committee and on the Floor of the House that there should be environmental assessments of what will happen if the terminal goes ahead. My hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster, North (Mr. Welsh) made that point.

Is my hon. Friend aware of the great concern expressed in the other place about the increased transport that would result from the extension of the ports—5 million or 6 million tonnes of bulk cargo a year? An attempt was made to table an amendment, but Sir Frank Layfield advised the Committee on behalf of the petitioners that there were sufficient powers in local government legislation to control that traffic. Expert witnesses speaking on behalf of Doncaster council, including the research officer——who was an agent for the Coalfield Communities Campaign in the other place——the director of planning and the director of the public works directorate, have suggested that there is no such power in that legislation. That being so, should not we delay our debate so that Sir Frank Layfield's evidence can be examined in the other place?

I realise that the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) is painting the background to the debate and to the amendments that may eventually be considered. But before he answers that point, may I remind the House that this is a comparatively narrow debate? We are discussing whether the Lords amendments should be considered, and we should remember that those Lords amendments are limited and technical. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will bear that in mind in his comments.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Clause 18(2) says that certain things may apply,

"subject to the provisions of subsection (3) below, in its application to development authorised by this Act".
I seek your interpretation, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Do the words "this Act" refer to the Associated British Ports (No. 2) Bill or to the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1977?

That is a matter for debate, and if the hon. Gentleman catches my eye he may be able to make his points. The matter that he has raised is not a point of order.

I take your guidance, Mr. Deputy Speaker, on the intervention of my hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Mr. Lofthouse). But, of course, my hon. Friend was quite right that the evidence given in Committee in the other place suggested that the lack of an environmental assessment study would not prejudice events away from the ports. We have discovered since that more relevance was attached to lorries having access to the main motorway network than to their coming out of the ports or arriving at their destination. The local authorities have discovered that, in those circumstances, they do not have the powers that the Committee in another place suggested.

I accept the arguments advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster, North (Mr. Welsh). However, we are talking about not only the environment but jobs. In the past few days, there has been another pit closure in my constituency. British Coal has argued to the unions that closures have resulted from the fall in value of coal because of the availability of cheap foreign coal which is already coming into Britain. Much more cheap foreign coal will come in through our ports if the Bill is passed.

I am sure that the hon. Member for Rother Valley will stay in order in responding to that intervention. I remind the House once more that we are debating a comparatively narrow motion——whether the Lords amendments should be considered.

I accept your ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Mansfield, (Mr. Meale) have been debated when we have considered the Bill in the past, and I do not intend to cover old ground tonight.

Does my hon. Friend accept that the House should act consistently? You will recall, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that less than an hour ago the House voted in favour of the Government amendment to the previous motion, which was highly relevant because it referred to the Government's commitment to the protection of the environment. No doubt my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley is in order if he argues that we should not proceed to consider the Bill because the Government's commitment to the environment is imperilled by the Bills' progress.

My hon. Friend should continue to press for a delay in further consideration of the Bill so that the environmental impact assessment that has already been mentioned can be carried out. If that is not done, the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) will have to speak in terms that we can hear and understand, as we were unable to hear or understand him when he opened the debate. He must be able to convince us and to persuade those who voted less than an hour ago for the Government's commitment to the environment that the environmental impact assessment should not proceed.

The European authorities and everyone else take the view that no such proposal should be enacted until there is a guarantee that a thorough environmental impact assessment will be made.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I apologise for rising on a point of order once again but since my original point of order I have listened carefully to hon. Members' interventions and to your views, Sir, concerning the narrow nature of the debate.

It has come to my notice that the Commission in Brussels has corresponded with a number of bodies on the subject of the Bill. I should like to quote from a letter from the Commission to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds earlier this year:

"It is the opinion of the Commission that for a project to be exempted from the scope of the Directive it is necessary that an environmental impact assessment similar to that requested by the Directive is made in the process of adopting the new legislation."
That was the view of the Commission——

8.15 pm

Order. That cannot possibly have anything to do with the motion before the House.

Order. I have dealt with the hon. Gentleman's point of order. Mr. Barron.

I agree that my hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) went somewhat wide and I accept your judgment on these matters, Mr. Deputy Speaker, although what my hon. Friend said about the EEC directive was relevant.

I was questioning the arguments about the environment advanced in the other place, both in Committee and on Third Reading.

The hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) is developing his argument well and cogently. Will he remind the House of the effect that a further 10 million tonnes of imported coal and the lorry movements that it will entail will have on the local environment? The 10 million tonnes of coal will mean 500,000 juggernauts travelling through the Humberside and Nottinghamshire villages, not on motorways but on unclassified roads.

I do not wish to go too wide of the motion, but I agree with the hon. Gentleman that there is a likelihood of that. I can only refer briefly to a letter from PowerGen to the chairman of Associated British Ports. One person whose constituency will certainly be threatened by the movements of lorries is the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes, who is the sponsor of the Bill.

Is my hon. Friend aware of the damage that may be caused to roads by the movement of coal? Nottinghamshire county council recently had to take the CEGB to court because of such problems and Nottinghamshire ratepayers ended up having to pay millions of pounds to repair the damage. That is an important factor.

Order. I am sure that the hon. Member for Rother Valley will ignore irrelevant comments, from whichever side of the House they may come.

I thank you, once again, for your guidance, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

I should like to move on——

I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) will not omit to consider the argument that we should delay our consideration of the Lords amendments——that is the subject of the procedural motion before us——because of the sweeping changes that are taking place in South Africa. The Bill is designed to facilitate the importation of South African coal and the motion suggests that we should delay our consideration of the Lords' amendments for six months. Is it not possible that, in six months' time, the South Africans, under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, will refuse to export coal to Britain in the interests of preserving and securing jobs and in the name of international brotherhood? My hon. Friend should consider that.

I do not want to follow that line of argument too far, because I am sure that you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, would call me to order if I did. However, it is interesting to think about what would happen if the changes, which we all want, occurred in South Africa. We would then have to consider our attitudes to imports of coal from South Africa. As my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer) said, the price of that coal might rise if the South Africans began to pay decent wages in their coal mines. But as you said earlier, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I should not digress on that point.

My hon. Friend is arguing for delay. We are all aware that the Bill has been progressing through the House for two and a half years. It has been subject to a modicum of delay already. What has delay provided us with? We have had an opportunity to say that, when the Bill began its progress two and a half years ago, this country had a balance of payments surplus. Two and a half years later, it has a massive balance of payments deficit of £20 billion and rising.

I do not want anyone from any quarter of the House to tell me that my hon. Friend cannot refer to delay in terms of what impact the Bill might have on the economy or the environment. There has been a two-and-a-half-year delay, during which time Britain's economic position has been turned on its head. I hope that my hon. Friend will expand on the argument for delay so that the impact on the environment and on the economy can be examined. The Opposition are trying to delay the Bill because we have already learnt, during its passage, that it will make our balance of payments position even worse.

The delay in consideration of this Bill is important. It is also important that my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley and others can extend the debate so that we can prove to the country that we are doing a good job by delaying the Bill. It can already be argued that 10 million tonnes of coal—

I thought that that was a very good intervention as well, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am sorely tempted to continue along those lines, but I am sure that you would call me to order if I were to do so.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) is aware that energy imports have gone into deficit in this country over the past 12 months. As people look round the country and see that we are rich in energy, they must be shaking their heads and saying what fools we are for importing more than we are exporting.

My hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) is aware that it is more than 12 months since a cargo of extremely dangerous poison reached my constituency and was close to his. That stuff came into this country through a port. It could have come in through the port that we are discussing in the Bill. This country still lacks adequate legislation to control properly the import of such toxic materials. Therefore, it is reasonable to argue that no new port facility or private Bill which facilitates such a development should be allowed to pass through the House until we have adequate regulations to prevent other people from suffering the anxiety, risk and severe disadvantage that beset my constituency. The Government have been powerless to do anything about that for the past 12 months.

I really do not want to pursue that line, although I have much sympathy with my hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy). I have received many letters about recycling which I can pass on to my hon. Friend. The port to which my hon. Friend refers is not many miles from my home, which is almost on the doorstep of my hon. Friend's constituency.

Far be it from me to take my hon. Friend down a road along which he does not wish to travel, but it is important to be clear that no attempt is being made through the Standing Orders to legitimise the gagging of hon. Members on either side of the House to prevent them from debating the issue.

On 6 June this year, the markers that we had attempted to raise about environmental impact assessments and others matters, were properly debated in another place. For the life of me I cannot understand why, if unelected Members in another place could on 6 June consider those matters to be relevant to the Bill and reach a decision upon them, we should be prevented from doing the same this evening. Who is in charge of legislative procedures? Is it those in another place or the elected Members of this place? It is vital to make it absolutely clear that hon. Members will not be gagged and prevented from discussing the consequences of the Bill and the inability of the sponsor to bring forward environmental impact assessments as required by the European Commission.

I am grateful for that intervention. I shall refer later to comments made in another place about those points.

As for the problems with imports, I do not recollect that we were given any guarantee by the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) about nuclear fuel being imported or exported via the new facility. The hon. Gentleman might want to give that guarantee now, but I do not recollect such a guarantee being made before.

The hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes appeared on television several times saying that there would be no nuclear dump in his constituency. Given that the new port could import nuclear fuel, has the hon. Gentleman had a change of heart? Is he satisfied that nuclear waste could pass to and fro through the new port?

If I was to comment on that point in any detail you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, would rightly call me to order. However, it makes me smile wryly to wonder, if the Bill had been promoted by British Nuclear Fuels plc or Nirex, whether the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes would be its in-house sponsor. Perhaps he would not. He might cause a by-election if he did so.

As a sober-minded citizen, as everyone knows, I believe that the motion that we are considering is, to say the least, absolutely reasonable. Six months is not a long time in the light of what is happening in the world. When the Bill first appeared, the political shape of the world was different from what it is today. Eastern Europe has changed massively. None of us thought that the miners in the Soviet Union could possibly strike, and suddenly we were alarmed when the miners went on strike in the Soviet Union.

Let us consider South Africa, where the situation is even more fluid than it was in the Soviet Union. The right wing was out in South Africa the other day and its supporters had their badges on their arms. I believe that they are fascists. The situation in South Africa——

Order. The hon. Gentleman cannot make a speech within a speech. I am sure that the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) has got the drift, and that he will resist the temptation to get out of order.

8.30 pm

I shall indeed resist that temptation, although I was quite enjoying the intervention of my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery)——

I had not finished my sentence. I was saying that, in the past six months, the position in South Africa has been fluid. Certain people have attempted to overthrow the state and threatened to kill President de Klerk and Mr. Mandela. I think that, as patient people, we should wait another six months before we discuss this matter.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his ingenuity in asking for the six-month delay in this motion, which involves eastern Europe and South Africa. I shall be even more grateful if it makes hon. Members vote with the Opposition tonight.

My hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield touched on an important point when he referred to the constitutional aspects of the Bill and the amendments, which all relate to planning matters. If the EC directive were implemented by another country, or by an individual or group of individuals in this country, we could be passing legislation knowing full well that we are supporters of that directive.

I shall tell the House briefly what is in the EC directive——

I understand my hon. Friend's keenness on the question of European Community directives. I shall refer to directive 185/337/EEC. Article 4(1) of directive 185/337/EEC says:

"Subject to Article 2(3), projects of the classes listed in Annex I shall be made subject to an assessment in accordance with Articles 5 to 10."
I shall resist the temptation to waste the time of the House by reading out all of it——

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. My hon. Friend has rightly quoted from a number of important articles. However, unless he gives us clear indications of the precise nature of the subsections, Opposition Members will not be able to follow his argument as well as we would like. I implore you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to insist that my hon. Friend reads out the appropriate article.

It would be better to let the hon. Member for Rother Valley make his own speech in his own way.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. An interesting issue arises here. During debate on Government Bills, if a Minister quotes from any document, he is required by Standing Orders to place a copy of that document on the Table. I would be grateful, Mr. Deputy Speaker, if you would tell the House what the position is with regard to these documents, copies of which have not been placed on the Table. As my hon. Friend is quoting, will he have to place a copy of the directive on the Table?

Order. I must protect the hon. Member for Rother Valley, who is being put off by all these bogus points of order.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It seems to be bordering on a contempt of the House for such an important document to be quoted without any hon. Members having access to it, without its being placed on the Table and without my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) giving the House the benefit of reading it. I implore him to do that, as it is absolutely germane to the debate.

I do not wish to upset my hon. Friends; I may need their support in the Lobby later. If hon. Members would like to see a copy of the directive, I could put it through a photocopier later, and perhaps they could read it before they go to sleep.

My hon. Friend could move the Adjournment of the House until appropriate copies of the regulations have been made available, so that hon. Members can consider them in detail. It would be more appropriate for hon. Members to see them now, rather than after the Division.

May I take my lead from the Chair, and say that the Adjournment of the House is not a matter for me? I was quoting from the EC directive, and explaining what article 4(1) meant. Annexe 1, which is mentioned in article 4, relates to planning matters that should have an environmental assessment, according to the directive. I am sure that all hon. Members know that Britain is a signatory to that directive. It refers to

"Trading ports and also inland waterways and ports for inland-waterway traffic which permit the passage of vessels of over 1,350 tonnes."
In those circumstances, it is relevant that the Bill fits the EC directive. I question whether it is right for the House to pass the Bill now, and not to wait the six months proposed in the motion so that an environmental assessment can be made.

All hon. Members know that the proposed terminal would make this facility the largest bulk terminal in the United Kingdom, other than ports used exclusively for the use of British Steel. It cannot be considered a mere extension of the existing facility, as it would scrap the existing facility.

The terminal is aimed primarily at a new market—those needing steam coal for power stations——rather than intended as an extension for existing customers. In those circumstances, it fits the directive.

I support the point that the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) is making.

It is almost unnecessary even to debate whether this is a modification or not. Associated British Ports has already argued that it wants the new facility to compete with Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. If the port authority is seeking to compete with ports of that size, there cannot be a shadow of a doubt that the directive is relevant. Therefore, the environmental considerations have to be taken into account. We are wasting our time debating the matter until that question is resolved.

I agree with the hon. Gentleman. More to the point, because direct competition with European ports is involved, it is more likely that there will be a challenge on the ground that the Bill is against the EC directive. If the Bill is passed, Britain could end up in the European Court. Consequently, as legislators, we would all be made to look fools because we did not take the right course when the Bill passed through both Houses of Parliament.

My hon. Friend mentioned the European Court. The decision on Spanish trawling rights is even more serious, as it has meant that legislation passed by both Houses of Parliament can now be suspended, for the first time. The precedent has been established that legislation approved by the House can be suspended pending the outcome of the final hearing. It is even more serious than my hon. Friend has suggested. Because there is an EC directive, any other organisation, port authority, port, shipper or transport organisation can go to a British court and ask for an injunction suspending the legislation. In view of that, it behoves us to defer any consideration of Lords amendments until the position is clarified.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I feel that it would be hasty at this stage for us not to take heed and have a six-month break. Article 1.5 of the EC directive appears to provide an exemption from having to conduct an environmental assessment. It is an exemption relating to

"projects the details of which are adopted by a specific act of national legislation, since the objectives of this directive, including that of supply and information are achieved through the legislative process."
No information was supplied by the developers. Therefore, the exemption should not apply.

I have a note on environmental assessment. I am sure that hon. Members will be more than pleased to hear this as well. I have a list of projects that are going through parliamentary procedures and which have conducted environmental procedures. They include the King's Cross redevelopment by British Rail and London Underground, the light rapid transit project in the west midlands and the Jubilee line extension by London Underground, which will shove its head out somwhere near the House. Other Bills include measures in respect of the port of Hull and Associated British Ports. An environmental assessment of more than 200 pages has been published since that Bill was published. We have not had one sentence on this Bill.

Hon. Members will recall—I hope that the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) will attend to this point—that we have had several debates, and all that the hon. Gentleman has wanted to do is formally move the Bill and get it through. The hon. Gentleman is again trying to pull a fast one by gabbling his introductory words when no one could hear them. I do not know whether he was trying to give information. I hope that the authorities of the House will take the view that was advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron)—that the exemption cannot apply in respect of this legislation because at no stage has the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes provided necessary details of the environmental assessment.

I agree with my hon. Friend. I have a small list of projects in accordance with annexe 1 of the directive. They include the Isle of Grain gas importation and the other was the Isle of Grain container port with Highland Participants plc. Another was the Pittenween development by Fife regional council and another was the Hayle harbour development by the Hayle harbour company. All those projects involved inland ports and waterways that needed environmental assessments.

My hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth is quite right. The hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes and Associated British Ports have not given one detail about environmental assessment.

Will my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) willingly give way to the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) if he wishes to clarify that matter and perhaps explain why he has not done so previously? May I have an assurance that my hon. Friend would give way to the hon. Gentleman?

I take a strong view on matters of this kind. I was one of those hon. Members——probably in the minority, but we were joined by the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner)——who voted against our entry in to the EC. I did so because I believe that this House, and this House alone, is the determining factor in the government of this country. I am not impressed by any impost that is forced upon this House or any legislation that it chooses to pass. I have a low opinion of anything that the European Commission might be inclined to do to contravene legislation passed by this honourable House and the other honourable House. I have a low opinion of any European legislation that would override decisions taken in this House.

I hear what the hon. Gentleman says, but I do not recall that he has opposed every European issue that has come before the House. I do not want to be distracted from the points that I am trying to make. This matter is about the environment and the hon. Gentleman's constituents. The hon. Gentleman should have made sure that the environmental impact of the development was taken into account before it was forced on to his constituents.

8.45 pm

The hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) cannot get away with that anti-Europeanism. In 1988, the House passed two set of country planning and environmental assessment regulations. Local authorities are now required to act on assessment studies under the regulations, which are not precisely based on European regulations. The House has passed legislation that the company and the hon. Gentleman should take into account.

My hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) will realise that people in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire travel to that area for their summer holidays. I refer to the Camping and Caravan Club. Many hon. Members, particularly those from Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire, have caravans and they go to Brigg and Cleethorpes. I have heard rumblings about what they would think if the development went ahead. I should have thought that it was in the hon. Gentleman's interests and those of his constituents to withdraw the Bill right now.

I shall certainly pass on that offer to the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes. The correspondence that I have had from people in the hon. Gentleman's constituency is more concerned about proposed changes in a caravan site. For example, I have had correspondence with the clerk to the hon. Gentleman's council.

I also have had many letters from people in that area. It has not been made clear that the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes is supporting alterations to the caravan site. I wish that the hon. Gentleman would make it clear to people who go to that area that he does not support them and that, as far as he is concerned, they can go elsewhere.

Before my hon. Friend leaves that subject, I invite him to deal with environmental assessment procedures published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office. I hope that the Minister is listening, just in case he might like to respond to my hon. Friend. Page 23 of a document on projects approved by a private Act of Parliament states:

"an environmental statement which can be considered by the select committee and standing committees of each House on the Bill"
should be paraded by the promoter. That has not been done. If that is not a flagrant attack on parliamentary procedures, I do not know what is.

My hon. Friend is right. The Minister owes it to my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) to make the Government's position clear on the failure to follow the procedures that were set down by the Government.

Order. The debate is again moving away from the matter before the House. I remind hon. Members that the subject is relatively narrow—it is whether or not the Lords amendments should be considered.

I want to explain why I believe that we should support the amendments when we consider them in six months' time. There have been several interventions——

Is my hon. Friend as puzzled as I am about the question of environmental assessment, as it links in with the amendments? There is to be a change in clause 18, which shows the difference between using the Town and Country Planning General Development Orders 1977 and 1988. I do not think that there is a conflict of interest between the environmental assessment argument and the use of the General Development Order. I have some experience of planning matters, and they all involve environmental issues. There is no conflict.

Whether or not there is a conflict is not a matter for me, but I take my hon. Friend's point. He had many years' experience of planning matters before he came to this House.

There is a lack of information, because there has been no consultation either in this House or in the other place——

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I have just received an urgent message that two prisoners have died at Hindley remand centre in Greater Manchester. Could arrangements be made for the appropriate Home Office Minister to come to the House at 11 pm to make an urgent statement about the conditions in that remand centre and the background to the appalling deaths that occurred this evening?

The hon. Gentleman will realise that I cannot deal with that sad matter at the moment, but I am sure that his comments have been heard by those on the Government Front Bench.

I am sorry to hear the news that my hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) has just given the House.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. My hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Central (Mr. Caborn) has just informed me that a bomb has exploded at St. James's, so there should be a statement on that important matter. Indeed, I wonder whether we should continue with the debate. There should be discussions between the appropriate people about an urgent statement by the responsible Minister.

Although we are discussing the important subject of the environment, I am not sure that we should continue, because we need statements on other important matters. Prisoners have been killed and bombs have exploded, yet we are discussing a matter that we all know can be discussed later. The Minister——he is the only Minister present——has good reason to speak to the Government Whip about urgent statements. You, Mr. Deputy Speaker, could quite easily facilitate that by suspending our discussions——even if only for a relatively short time—while arrangements are made for those urgent statements.

Those are serious matters, if they are correct. Again, what has been said has been noted by those on the Government Front Bench. One of the great glories of the House of Commons is that our proceedings are not interrupted by any incident outside.

I was talking about the lack of consultation on environmental assessment. Simply because no information has been supplied does not mean that there has been an exemption in the operation of the EEC directive. Indeed, in a letter dated 14 February 1990, Mrs. Elizabeth Dissing of the European Commission wrote to Mr. Standaring of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds about the Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill, and said:

"For a project to be exempted from the scope of the directive, it is necessary that an environmental impact assessment, similar to that requested by the directive, is made in the process of adopting new legislation. If an environmental impact assessment is not made through the legislation process, the project is not exempted from the scope of the directive."
If that is the case, it is probable that it can be challenged under the European laws——

I am pleased that my hon. Friend has mentioned that point. The Bill must not be passed without an environmental impact survey, and not just because the damage that will be done to roads in Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and elsewhere. The Government are discussing with the European Community the planting of a national forest—a new Sherwood forest. My understanding is that the main area that it will cover will be part of Nottinghamshire, through Leicestershire and up to Yorkshire. It will envelop the area through which all the lorries will be trundling. The survey is essential before the Bill is passed.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am sorry to interrupt my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron), who is doing a good job. I am having difficulty in following the debate because the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) is continually engaged in conversation with Conservative Members who are coming into the Chamber to ask him what time there will be a vote, what time he is fixing for a vote, and so on. That is interrupting our concentration. It is yet a further sign that there is a plot and that the hon. Gentleman is attempting to gag many Opposition Members who want to take part in the debate.

I have briefly read what was said by the European Commission about the operation of the directive in relation to the Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way and assure him that this intervention is relevant, given his reference to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Indeed, my point illustrates the argument that my hon. Friend is advancing. Last week, an extremely rare bird, the night heron, arrived and can currently be found in the Denaby nature reserve in Don Valley. Its arrival has been well reported and many people have descended on the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. Redmond).

At the moment, that bird is protected because it is in one of the reserves of the Yorkshire Wildfowl Trust, of which I am proud to be patron, and several people are supervising its welfare. But, if in a little while the bird decides to fly away, to tell other night herons of the splendid security, welcome and hospitality that can be found in Don Valley, it might fly east, and if it does, it will fly down the Humber——

No, it is a night heron.

It might fly east, down the Humber, However, all the disturbances could prevent that bird either from reaching its home or from returning to my hon. Friend's constituency. That fact fully strengthens the argument of my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley.

9 pm

Once again, I am grateful to my hon. Friend for an intervention. Indeed, my hon. Friend is a scholar on the birdlife of Britain. I am more than interested to know that the night heron is currently residing within a few miles of my constituency. I may be tempted to go to see it at some stage, provided that I do not have to go out at night.

Does my hon. Friend agree that the people of my constituency are concerned about environmental matters and make generous provision to enable visits from not only wildlife but the constituents of other hon. Members, who come to enjoy our quality of life? Yet it is that quality of life which the Bill and the Lords amendments are seeking to destroy.

Order. We should leave the night heron to itself and get back to our business.

I agree entirely, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and I shall not be dragged further into a debate about the night heron at Denaby or anywhere else.

I referred to the Commission's letter to the RSPB merely to point out that we should not ignore the fact that we, as legislators, should ensure that an environmental impact assessment has been carried out. We should instigate an environmental assessment as part and parcel of our legislation. However, most hon. Members—of all parties—agree that that has not taken place in relation to this Bill.

I should like to refer my hon. Frind back to our discussions a short time ago about a new national forest for Britain which, as I said, would cover Nottinghamshire, parts of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire. It will involve about £1 billion of European and British taxpayers' money. It is outrageous that any measure that could inflict such damage on the environment could proceed without an environmental survey of its effects being considered, if not carried out. Will my hon. Friend comment on that?

Although I do not want to go too wide of the motion, Madam Deputy Speaker, I believe that the new forest that might be planted would cover part of my constituency. Like many other coal miners, I greatly appreciate long-term planning for the coal industry and planting a new Nottingham forest will help us in a few million years.

Just as you took the Chair, Madam Deputy Speaker, I was referring to our position as legislators and to the fact that we shall ignore at our peril the EC directive on the environmental assessment that should be carried out by legislators in the different EC countries, or in some other form, and to the lack of it——

I shall give way in a moment, but I should like to carry on for a little while, to get over the page.

Complaints have already been made to the Commission about the failure to cary out any environmental assessment of the Immingham project. However, I shall give way now to my hon. Friend before outlining the principle complaints.

I shall be brief. The promoters of the Bill say that this is a private Bill, so they do not need an environmental statement or assessment, although it has been pointed out that the Government believe that the promoters of the Bill should provide an environmental statement. Does my hon. Friend agree that, even if they are right, 61 Tory Members, 18 Cabinet Ministers and 10 Whips voted for the Bill on Third Reading? Therefore, is this not also a Government Bill?

My opinion about whether this is a Government Bill is on the record. I do not for a minute disagree with my hon. Friend's figures, but if I commented I know that you, Madam Deputy Speaker, would rightly call me to order because I would be going wide of the debate.

I have mentioned the possibility of likely complainants if the Bill proceeds in its present form. I hope that in the distant future the Lords amendments will be accepted by the House.

I have with me a letter sent by one of the original petitioners to the legal services department of the European Community about directive 85/337/EEC and the Associated British Ports (No. 2) Bill. It comes from Greg Kayser of the European relations sector of the Coalfield Communities Campaign secretariat. I shall not read the whole letter——[HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] I know that some of my hon. Friends will be disappointed; perhaps somebody else can do so. I shall read the relevant parts. It states:
"I write as a matter of urgency following a complaint by the Coalfield Communities Campaign that directive 85/337/ EEC has been breached in the United Kingdom."
The breach relates specifically to the passage of the Bill through this House and the other place. The last paragraph of the letter states:

"The Coalfield Communities Campaign urges you to give this matter your immediate attention and to apply pressure on the Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords to recommit the Bill. The Coalfield Communities Campaign will be available to discuss the case either by telephone or in Brussels at any time."
The Coalfield Communities Campaign, which is one of the original petitioners against the Bill, is not taking lightly the absence of the EEC directive with regard to this legislation. The legislation is likely to be challenged in the European Court, and certainly in the British courts, if the House does not recognise what has been said and change its mind to provide a breathing space of six months.

To discuss the Bill further now would pre-empt the outcome of the complaints. We can hazard a guess now that the CCC will be one such complainant, but we must remember that when the Bill started its passage, more than nine petitioners were against it. I understand one or two of them have direct interests in the particular area of Immingham. They continue to oppose the Bill in the other place and are likely to oppose it in any way that they can. One of the nine is likely to secure a judgment against the Bill because it is outwith the EEC directive. In those circumstances we should slow the Bill's passage and stop proceedings now, so that we do not make a fool of the House which is our principal legislature.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. He will recall that the difficulties of Nottinghamshire county council arose because of damage caused and that the Trent area, where the power stations are situated, is about 70 miles from Immingham. But that council, which is part of the Coalfield Communities Campaign, said that it would have to go to appeal because of the likely environmental damage and because an environmental impact survey will not be undertaken before the Bill is passed.

In a letter from that council to the CCC stressing its reluctance to support the Bill, it gives as one reason the fact that being a highway authority, which it is, it cannot restrict the movement of heavy goods vehicles on primary road networks. Another is that the power of the council as a highway authority is limited to the immediate access road to a power station, so it is unlikely that access could be prevented for more than eight hours in any one day.

Those are both important factors. Millions of pounds of damage will be done to the environment and to the road network throughout Nottinghamshire with no environmental survey in sight before a Bill that will affect the county so badly is passed.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Before you took the chair, I raised on a point of order with the previous occupant of the Chair the need for a statement on the explosion just down the road at St. James's. It seems more than a little, not odd, but out of place and insensitive, for the Government not to make a statement before 10 o'clock on that incident purely because they want this debate concluded. I raised that point of order at least a quarter of an hour ago, and I thought that the Minister for Public Transport would convey that request to one of his ministerial colleagues and would manage to get one of them to give the House a report on that explosion. It seems to me that the Government are in a conspiracy with the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) and that they are refusing to make a statement because it might interrupt the debate, with the result that we would not conclude the business before the House. If that is the case, the Government are playing a very dangerous game.

I heard the hon. Gentleman's point of order when he raised it some time ago. The then occupant of the Chair gave the hon. Gentleman the correct response, that there has been no request at this stage for a statement by any Minister. But of course members of the Treasury Bench are fully aware of the hon. Gentleman's comments.

Before returning to my arguments, I will reply briefly to my hon. Friend the Member for Mansfield, who raised the important issue of an environmental assessment. I have a letter from the chief executive of PowerGen, Mr. Ed Wallace, to Mr. Stuart Bradley, managing director of Associated British Ports, the promoters of the Bill, on 21 March. It is a short letter, but its contents are important in terms of the environmental impact of the proposal on the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Mansfield, and of neighbouring constituencies, including that of the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes. Mr. Wallace wrote:

"Following our recent conversation, PowerGen has given consideration to the various methods of transport which are available to take coal from the port of Immingham to PowerGen's various generating stations. We have looked at both the commercial and environmental issues involved"——
hardly an environmental assessment. He continued:

"I am pleased to be able to confirm that we view the use of rail transport by British Rail to be an acceptable means of transport having a minimal environmental impact."
I am sure all the right hon. and hon. Members agree with that. He goes on:

"Clearly, the use of such a mode of transport by PowerGen would not preclude the use of any other method if PowerGen so determine it to be desirable for commercial reasons."
That letter was relevant to my hon. Friend's question, and I read it out because any hon. Members with coal mines in their constituencies——there are a considerable number in mine——will know that when British Coal or anyone else, such as the CEGB, moves coal and the load is not sizeable enough to fill a train, it goes by road. That creates havoc in my constituency and in many others, and we do not want that to spread.

We have changed the nature of buying coal for electricity generation. The industry is now considering buying coal in small amounts on the spot market at set times to make a quick buck. It is not importing coal as it used to do, under a 12-month contract, at a set price. With the changed circumstances, the coal may be imported in small ships, and it will not go by train because the shipload is meant for diverse locations and the amounts will be smaller than a train load. Therefore, we will have lorries running round the countryside.

9.15 pm

My hon. Friend is right to raise the issue of the environmental impact assessment. In Committee, it was suggested that coal could be transferred to rail, as my hon. Friend pointed out, and to barges. That was rejected. It is important for me to mention that point because other Opposition Members and one Conservative Member are also concerned about the issue and because there are no canals in and around the north Nottinghamshire area which could be used to take coal to power stations—it has to come by road.

Because of the Beeching cuts, only limited use of the rail network is possible from Retford works to Nottingham city and on to the Trent Valley power stations. If any coal is transferred from the Humberside-Immingham area to my part of the country it has to go by road, and the local authority—Nottinghamshire county council—has to bear the financial burden, because there is no alternative.

My hon. Friend makes his point very well and understands the dangers involved.

Will my hon Friend consider examples of areas where coal is transported by road to power stations? If he goes to Ferrybridge C power station he will find that the grass verges and the road are black with coal dust from the wagons which transport the fuel into the power station. There are canals and rail services, but because the Government in many instances oppose British Rail and British waterways they encourage transport by road, which creates tremendous problems.

The environmental issues are significant, and my hon. Friend is right to mention that the Bill will cause more transportation of coal by road. The examples are there and if anyone wants to see them I invite them to my hon. Friend's constituency, where I live. There is evidence of environmental blight caused by extensive use of road transport to carry coal. I hope that Conservative Members will listen attentively to what my hon. Friend is saying.

I am sure that my hon. Friend is right. The problem affects his constituency and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract and Castleford.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. As you know, my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) mentioned the bomb explosion not far away from here. I understand that there are a number of trapped and injured people at St. James's. Could you tell the House whether the Home Secretary will be dealing with the police regulations which follows this business, in which case it would clearly be convenient for him to make a statement at 10 o'clock about the explosion? If you have received no information, can you tell the Home Secretary that the House expects a statement at that time because of his presence here?

I have received no information, but I am sure—as I said earlier and as Mr. Deputy Speaker said earlier—that it has been noted by the Treasury Bench.

On a separate point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. About 30 minutes ago I rose on a point of order concerning Henley remand centre. Since then I have been informed that two 19-year-olds, who had not been found guilty of any offence, have hanged themselves in their cells. To my certain knowledge, there have been four deaths at the remand centre in the past 24 months. The position is becoming intolerable, due to the closing of Risley remand centre because of the conditions there and the need to transfer its inmates to other centres in the north-west. This amounts to a crisis for the families. They know that deaths have occurred at the centre. Moreover, on three occasions during the past 12 months industrial action has been taken by the staff because of conditions that affect both the staff and those on remand.

There is to be a debate later on the police regulations. I hope that the usual channels will refer this matter back as a matter of urgency. All hon. Members want information as soon as possible from the Home Office about both incidents. One is very much more serious than the other, but the deaths at the remand centre amount to a tragedy for all the families concerned.

Both incidents are seriously to be regretted. I have received no information about the matter, but I am sure that those on the Treasury Bench will have noted it. It is not, however, a matter for this debate.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Compared with the previous two points of order, this is a minor, technical and procedural matter that relates to the Associated British Ports (No. 2) Bill. Before you came to the Chair, my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer) suggested that the Bill should not be proceeded with until the promoters had provided us with the relevant sections of the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act 1845. This may be an even more serious matter than that which was raised by my hon. Friend. The only copy of that Act in the Chamber is held by my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley, Central (Mr. Illsley).

The first Lords amendments seems to be minor and technical: that the reference to section 85 should be changed to a reference to section 85E. The sections of the 1985 legislation that are relevant to this measure are sections 77 to 85. Section 85 is now to be referred to as section 85E. The 1845 Act consisted of only nine sections that occupied two and a half pages——

Order. I heard the original point of order. [Interruption.] Order. The Chair must occasionally be allowed to say a word. The matter that the hon. Gentleman has raised will be an important matter to debate as soon as we reach the amendments. Mr. Michael Brown.

Question put, That the Question be now put:—

The House divided: Ayes 173, Noes 145.

Division No. 261]

[9.24 pm


Allason, RupertHolt, Richard
Arbuthnot, JamesHowell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Ashby, DavidHughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Ashdown, Rt Hon PaddyHughes, Simon (Southwark)
Atkinson, DavidHunter, Andrew
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)Irvine, Michael
Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Jack, Michael
Bellingham, HenryJanman, Tim
Bendall, VivianJones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Benyon, W.Kennedy, Charles
Bevan, David GilroyKey, Robert
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnKing, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Body, Sir RichardKirkhope, Timothy
Bonsor, Sir NicholasKirkwood, Archy
Boswell, TimKnapman, Roger
Bottomley, PeterKnight, Greg (Derby North)
Bottomley, Mrs VirginiaKnight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Braine, Rt Hon Sir BernardLawrence, Ivan
Brazier, JulianLee, John (Pendle)
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)Lightbown, David
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)Lilley, Peter
Buck, Sir AntonyLloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Carlisle, John, (Luton N)Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Macfarlane, Sir Neil
Cash, WilliamMajor, Rt Hon John
Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n)Malins, Humfrey
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)Mans, Keith
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)Maples, John
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)Marlow, Tony
Coombs, Simon (Swindon)Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Cope, Rt Hon JohnMaxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Couchman, JamesMayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Cran, JamesMeyer, Sir Anthony
Currie, Mrs EdwinaMichie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
Curry, DavidMonro, Sir Hector
Davis, David (Boothferry)Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Devlin, TimMoore, Rt Hon John
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesMorrison, Sir Charles
Dover, DenMoss, Malcolm
Dunn, BobNewton, Rt Hon Tony
Durant, TonyNicholls, Patrick
Emery, Sir PeterNicholson, David (Taunton)
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Evennett, DavidNorris, Steve
Fairbairn, Sir NicholasOnslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Fearn, RonaldOppenheim, Phillip
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)Page, Richard
Fishburn, John DudleyPaice, James
Fookes, Dame JanetPatnick, Irvine
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath)
Fox, Sir MarcusPawsey, James
Franks, CecilPorter, David (Waveney)
Freeman, RogerRaffan, Keith
Gale, RogerRathbone, Tim
Gardiner, GeorgeRedwood, John
Garel-Jones, TristanRhodes James, Robert
Gill, ChristopherRiddick, Graham
Glyn, Dr Sir AlanRidley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Goodlad, AlastairRidsdale, Sir Julian
Goodson-Wickes, Dr CharlesRifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Gorman, Mrs TeresaRoberts, Sir Wyn (Conwy)
Gow, IanRost, Peter
Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)Rowe, Andrew
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)Sackville, Hon Tom
Ground, PatrickSainsbury, Hon Tim
Hague, WilliamScott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Harris, DavidShaw, David (Dover)
Hayward, RobertShaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Hill, JamesShersby, Michael
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)Sims, Roger

Skeet, Sir TrevorWalker, Bill (T'side North)
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)Wallace, James
Soames, Hon NicholasWard, John
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)Wells, Bowen
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir JohnWheeler, Sir John
Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)Widdecombe, Ann
Stewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N)Wilshire, David
Stokes, Sir JohnWinterton, Mrs Ann
Stradling Thomas, Sir JohnWinterton, Nicholas
Sumberg, DavidWolfson, Mark
Taylor, John M (Solihull)Wood, Timothy
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)

Tellers for the Ayes:

Thurnham, Peter

Mr. Derek Conway and

Waddington, Rt Hon David

Mr. Edward Leigh.

Walden, George


Alexander, RichardGrant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Allen, GrahamGriffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Alton, DavidGriffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Anderson, DonaldGrocott, Bruce
Archer, Rt Hon PeterHardy, Peter
Armstrong, HilaryHarman, Ms Harriet
Ashton, JoeHaynes, Frank
Barron, KevinHeal, Mrs Sylvia
Beckett, MargaretHenderson, Doug
Bell, StuartHinchliffe, David
Benn, Rt Hon TonyHood, Jimmy
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Bermingham, GeraldHowells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Bidwell, SydneyHughes, John (Coventry NE)
Boateng, PaulHughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Brandon-Bravo, MartinIllsley, Eric
Buckley, George J.Janner, Greville
Caborn, RichardJones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Callaghan, JimJones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Carr, MichaelKilfedder, James
Clark, Dr David (S Shields)Knowles, Michael
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)Lamond, James
Clay, BobLatham, Michael
Clwyd, Mrs AnnLeadbitter, Ted
Cohen, HarryLeighton, Ron
Coleman, DonaldLewis, Terry
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)Litherland, Robert
Cook, Robin (Livingston)Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Corbett, RobinLofthouse, Geoffrey
Cousins, JimMcAvoy, Thomas
Cryer, BobMcCartney, Ian
Cummings, JohnMcLeish, Henry
Cunliffe, LawrenceMadden, Max
Dalyell, TamMahon, Mrs Alice
Darling, AlistairMarek, Dr John
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)Maxton, John
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)Meale, Alan
Dewar, DonaldMichael, Alun
Dixon, DonMichie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Dobson, FrankMitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Douglas, DickMorgan, Rhodri
Dunnachie, JimmyMorris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs GwynethMowlam, Marjorie
Eastham, KenNellist, Dave
Evans, John (St Helens N)O'Brien, William
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)O'Neill, Martin
Fatchett, DerekParry, Robert
Faulds, AndrewPatchett, Terry
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)Pendry, Tom
Fisher, MarkPike, Peter L.
Flannery, MartinPowell, Ray (Ogmore)
Flynn, PaulPrimarolo, Dawn
Foot, Rt Hon MichaelQuin, Ms Joyce
Foulkes, GeorgeRandall, Stuart
Galloway, GeorgeRedmond, Martin
Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
George, BruceReid, Dr John
Godman, Dr Norman A.Richardson, Jo
Golding, Mrs LlinRobertson, George
Graham, ThomasRuddock, Joan

Sheldon, Rt Hon RobertTurner, Dennis
Shore, Rt Hon PeterWareing, Robert N.
Short, ClareWelsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Skinner, DennisWinnick, David
Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)Wise, Mrs Audrey
Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)Worthington, Tony
Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)Wray, Jimmy
Spearing, NigelYoung, David (Bolton SE)
Stevens, Lewis
Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)

Tellers for the Noes:

Stott, Roger

Mr. Harry Barnes and

Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)

Mr. Michael Welsh.

Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Question put accordingly, That the Lords amendments be now considered:—

The House divided: Ayes 174, Noes 156.

Division No. 262]

[9.37 pm


Allason, RupertGill, Christopher
Arbuthnot, JamesGlyn, Dr Sir Alan
Ashdown, Rt Hon PaddyGoodlad, Alastair
Atkinson, DavidGoodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Baldry, TonyGorman, Mrs Teresa
Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Gow, Ian
Bellingham, HenryGrant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Bendall, VivianGregory, Conal
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')
Benyon, W.Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Bevan, David GilroyGround, Patrick
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnHague, William
Body, Sir RichardHarris, David
Boswell, TimHayward, Robert
Bottomley, PeterHicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Bottomley, Mrs VirginiaHill, James
Braine, Rt Hon Sir BernardHogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Brazier, JulianHolt, Richard
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Buck, Sir AntonyHughes, Simon (Southwark)
Burns, SimonHunter, Andrew
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)Irvine, Michael
Carlisle, John, (Luton N)Jack, Michael
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Janman, Tim
Cash, WilliamJones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Chapman, SydneyJones, Robert B (Herts W)
Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n)Kennedy, Charles
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)Key, Robert
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon)Kirkhope, Timothy
Cope, Rt Hon JohnKirkwood, Archy
Couchman, JamesKnapman, Roger
Cran, JamesKnight, Greg (Derby North)
Currie, Mrs EdwinaKnight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Curry, DavidLawrence, Ivan
Davis, David (Boothferry)Lee, John (Pendle)
Devlin, TimLightbown, David
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesLloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Dover, DenLloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Dunn, BobLyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Durant, TonyMacfarlane, Sir Neil
Emery, Sir PeterMajor, Rt Hon John
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)Malins, Humfrey
Evennett, DavidMans, Keith
Fairbairn, Sir NicholasMaples, John
Fearn, RonaldMarlow, Tony
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Fishburn, John DudleyMaxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Fookes, Dame JanetMayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)Meyer, Sir Anthony
Forth, EricMichie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
Fox, Sir MarcusMonro, Sir Hector
Franks, CecilMontgomery, Sir Fergus
Freeman, RogerMoore, Rt Hon John
Gale, RogerMorrison, Sir Charles
Gardiner, GeorgeMoss, Malcolm
Garel-Jones, TristanNewton, Rt Hon Tony

Nicholls, PatrickSoames, Hon Nicholas
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Norris, SteveStanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Onslow, Rt Hon CranleyStewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Oppenheim, PhillipStewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N)
Page, RichardStokes, Sir John
Paice, JamesStradling Thomas, Sir John
Patnick, IrvineSumberg, David
Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath)Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Pawsey, JamesTemple-Morris, Peter
Porter, David (Waveney)Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Raffan, KeithThompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Rathbone, TimThurnham, Peter
Redwood, JohnVaughan, Sir Gerard
Rhodes James, RobertWaddington, Rt Hon David
Riddick, GrahamWalden, George
Ridley, Rt Hon NicholasWalker, Bill (T'side North)
Ridsdale, Sir JulianWallace, James
Rifkind, Rt Hon MalcolmWard, John
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)Wells, Bowen
Rost, PeterWheeler, Sir John
Rowe, AndrewWiddecombe, Ann
Sackville, Hon TomWilshire, David
Sainsbury, Hon TimWinterton, Mrs Ann
Scott, Rt Hon NicholasWinterton, Nicholas
Shaw, David (Dover)Wolfson, Mark
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)Wood, Timothy
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Shersby, Michael

Tellers for the Ayes:

Sims, Roger

Mr. Derek Conway and

Skeet, Sir Trevor

Mr. Edward Leigh.


Adams, Allen (Paisley N)Eastham, Ken
Alexander, RichardEvans, John (St Helens N)
Allen, GrahamEwing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)
Alton, DavidFatchett, Derek
Anderson, DonaldFaulds, Andrew
Archer, Rt Hon PeterFields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)
Armstrong, HilaryFisher, Mark
Ashton, JoeFlannery, Martin
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Flynn, Paul
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Barron, KevinFoster, Derek
Beckett, MargaretFoulkes, George
Bell, StuartGalloway, George
Benn, Rt Hon TonyGarrett, Ted (Wallsend)
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)George, Bruce
Bermingham, GeraldGodman, Dr Norman A.
Bidwell, SydneyGolding, Mrs Llin
Boateng, PaulGraham, Thomas
Boyes, RolandGrant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Bradley, KeithGriffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Brandon-Bravo, MartinGriffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Caborn, RichardGrocott, Bruce
Callaghan, JimHardy, Peter
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)Harman, Ms Harriet
Carr, MichaelHattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Clark, Dr David (S Shields)Haynes, Frank
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Clay, BobHenderson, Doug
Cohen, HarryHinchliffe, David
Coleman, DonaldHood, Jimmy
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Cook, Robin (Livingston)Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Corbett, RobinHughes, John (Coventry NE)
Cousins, JimHughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Cryer, BobJanner, Greville
Cummings, JohnJones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Cunliffe, LawrenceJones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Dalyell, TamKaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Darling, AlistairKilfedder, James
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)Knowles, Michael
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)Lamond, James
Dewar, DonaldLatham, Michael
Dixon, DonLeadbitter, Ted
Dobson, FrankLeighton, Ron
Douglas, DickLewis, Terry
Dunnachie, JimmyLitherland, Robert
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs GwynethLloyd, Tony (Stretford)

Lofthouse, GeoffreyReid, Dr John
McAvoy, ThomasRichardson, Jo
McCartney, IanRobertson, George
McLeish, HenryRuddock, Joan
Madden, MaxSheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Mahon, Mrs AliceShore, Rt Hon Peter
Marek, Dr JohnShort, Clare
Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)Skinner, Dennis
Martlew, EricSmith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Maxton, JohnSmith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Meale, AlanSmith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)
Michael, AlunSpearing, Nigel
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)Steinberg, Gerry
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)Stevens, Lewis
Morgan, RhodriStewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Morley, ElliotStott, Roger
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Morris, M (N'hampton S)Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Mowlam, MarjorieTurner, Dennis
Mullin, ChrisWareing, Robert N.
Nellist, DaveWelsh, Andrew (Angus E)
O'Brien, WilliamWelsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
O'Neill, MartinWilliams, Rt Hon Alan
Orme, Rt Hon StanleyWilson, Brian
Parry, RobertWinnick, David
Patchett, TerryWise, Mrs Audrey
Pendry, TomWorthington, Tony
Pike, Peter L.Wray, Jimmy
Powell, Ray (Ogmore)Young, David (Bolton SE)
Primarolo, Dawn
Quin, Ms Joyce

Tellers for the Noes:

Randall, Stuart

Mr. George Buckley and

Redmond, Martin

Mr. Eric Illsley.

Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn

Question accordingly agreed to.

The Question is, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendments.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. If an hon. Member rises to respond to your suggestion that we debate the proposition that we agree with the Lords in the said amendments, is it appropriate for you to decide that I am making a point of order?

If an hon. Member rises and seeks to catch my eye, I decide whether to bestow my favour on him.

I am exceedingly grateful, Madam Deputy Speaker. I take it that we are dealing with all the Lords amendments in the one debate, but that, at the end of that debate——if it ends——we shall proceed to divide the House on each amendment in turn. I should be grateful if you would clarify that point, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Yes, the procedure is that we debate the amendments en bloc, but any hon. Member may call a Division on any one amendment.

I am most grateful. That means that we are in difficulty, and that the debate may not be as concise and simple to follow at it would have been if we were taking each amendment separately. Inevitably, we shall be jumping from one amendment to another. If that is the rule of the House, hon. Members will have to be more patient and accept that the debate will inevitably be more convoluted and complex than if we were debating each amendment separately.

A number of Conservative Members——not least the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown)——may take the view that the amendments are completely trivial, and perhaps rather technical. However, Opposition Members do not accept that they are trivial, and—obviously——we are critical of the proposition that because they are relatively technical the House should not consider them at all. We could not possibly subscribe to such an illogical and unreasonable approach. Each amendment deserves careful scrutiny and detailed consideration.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Before you were in the Chair I referred to Standing Order No. 186 on private Bills. The Chairman of Ways and Means may require the promoters to set out amendments and to print clauses fully with the amendments in brackets and in bold print to help the House. As the debate is to finish shortly, it would be helpful if you could ask the Chairman of Ways and Means to arrange for that printing to be done. As you have made the point that we are dealing with the first two amendments together——I hope that we shall take the last four amendments separately——it would help the House if there were a requirement under Standing Order No. 186 to produce the information for the House. I hope that you will agree to request the Chairman of Ways and Means to do that.

The Chairman of Ways and Means has made his decision on that matter. He may or may not print the amendments as he wishes. The amendments are by no means substantive.