CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

WELSH AFFAIRS – TAXATION – 2 March 2000

Dr Julian Lewis: I apologise for intervening so early in my hon. Friend's [Owen Paterson's] speech. Is not the argument that was made to him rather like saying that, just because someone invented income tax, that person is to blame when other people increase it by vast amounts?

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Dr Lewis: Did my hon. Friend [Nigel Evans] notice that, when I raised the matter in an intervention, the Secretary of State did not answer my point about the right hon. Member for Caerphilly [Ron Davies], who does not lead his party in the Assembly and by January had not participated in a single Division in the House? Is that not an appalling abnegation of the duties of a Member of Parliament?

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Dr Lewis: Let us be fair. Does my hon. Friend [Nigel Evans] agree that one thing that has been achieved is that there is much less work for officials of the Welsh Office to do in London, which probably explains why the Box is packed with them today? Evidently, their duties weigh lightly on their hands.

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Dr Lewis: I do not wish to dissent from wishing the hon. Gentleman [ex-Welsh Secretary, Alun Michael] well, but does not the Secretary of State [Paul Murphy] agree that it has not set a good precedent that after the last two incumbents as Secretary of State for Wales went to the Assembly they proceeded never to vote, in one case, or on only one occasion, in the fulfilment of their parliamentary responsibilities in this House? Does he also agree that this sort of dual mandate is proving deeply unsatisfactory?