Opening the debate, Mr Redwood said he believed in true devolution, in a Wales where free institutions - the family, churches and companies - should also be sources of strength and moral consideration. "We do not want Cardiff and London to be mere lobby towns, where the politically correct mingle with the glitterati and the hired hands. "Lobbyists and spin doctors deserve each other. The politically correct obey the lobbyist. The politically astute obey the people." Mr Redwood said British Conservatives should take heart from the American revival in Conservative beliefs. "American fashions in politics are often followed a year or to later in Britain." Repeatedly pressed on when he was going to talk about Wales, he met concerns about unemployment in the Valleys with eulogy to information technology and the Internet. "Politicians should interfere less and be true to their word," he said. But Ron Davies, for Labour, said democracy in Wales was in a shambles and social divisions were deeper "as the super-rich become ultra-rich at the expense of the poor. "And presiding over all of that is a party whose members, whose government and whose cabinet are split from top to bottom and a Secretary of State for Wales who is barely in touch with reality."
Norman Lamont, the former Chancellor turned Euro-rebel, entered the Commons to a loud cheer from Labour backbenchers after voting with them at the close of Wednesday's debate on the Government policy. Dennis Skinner reserved a place for him on the Opposition bench below the gangway with "For Lamont" displayed on the back of an Order Paper but the rebel took his usual seat and chatted, apparently amiably, with Tory colleagues. Mr Major shrugged off the disloyalty and narrow five vote majority during an exchange with Robert Maclennan, the Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness and Sutherland. "As the Prime Minister failed to persuade the his campaign manager, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time of Maastricht, on Europe, how can he hope to persuade anyone else?" However Mr Major replied: "What has piqued Mr Maclennan is that I managed to persuade a sufficient number of people into my lobby to win the vote." He went on to describe Wednesday as "a very excitable day" and said a number of Labour sceptics had "flatly contradicted" the speech by Tony Blair. But Mr Skinner struck again. "We all voted in the same lobby," barked the MP for Bolsover. Earlier, during Treasury Questions, Kenneth Clarke quoted Mr Major's qualified acceptance that monetary union did not necessarily mean political union. He seemed also to endorse leaving open the question of a referendum on a single currency though GordonBrown, the shadow chancellor, wondered if Mr Clarke now regretted saying those who desired one were "slightly up the creek".
The Prime Minister told MPs he will not be supporting the backbench Bill to ban hunting which comes before the Commons for second reading today. He will instead be at Chequers, holding a day of policy discussions with all his ministers of state.Reuse content