HC Deb 24 July 1990 vol 177 cc366-96

I read with dismay the article published in the Times newspaper on Tuesday, 10 July 1990 revealing that the proposal to build two stations on the Jubilee Line extension at Southwark and Bermondsey may be dropped. As a daily commuter I regularly struggle the two miles from my home in Bermondsey to my place of work near St. Paul's. This journey, which usually involves the use of two buses, can take anything from forty minutes to an hour and a quarter—I can walk it in thirty-five minutes. You might ask why I then do not walk daily. This is because the route passes various men's hostels and poorly lit railway arches—mugging territory. A direct link by tube would put women's minds at ease. A radio news bulletin this morning stated that a recent report into road usage in London showed that it had increased significantly, marking a trend away from the use of public transport towards private cars. I should have thought that the new Jubilee Line extension, including the stations at Southwark and Bermondsey, was one way of enticing the public away from private car usage and onto public transport by giving them a better choice of travel facilities. I take exception to the opinion that the cost of these two stations cannot be justified on cost grounds because there are no associated property schemes. Surely public transport is just that—for the public. Both the sites for new stations are in highly residential areas. Bermondsey in particular has seen a spate of riverside development, which is poorly served by the current public transport infrastructure. Surely there is also the possibility that if proposals for these stations are confirmed then property developers may look favourably at these areas with a view to investment, especially as a new link would provide easy commuting to the West End, and the new industrial base in the Isle of Dogs. I do not think it is fair that the population of a basically older residential area should be penalised because of a lack of new money. I therefore urge you to put the considerations of the people before monetary considerations and proceed with the building of stations at Southwark and Bermondsey on the new Jubilee Line extension.

I cite that letter in full because it contains a very ordinary request. It asks that public transport be provided where the public are, to make the whole of life—not just getting from A to B by an improved method of transport—better.

The Minister said—I accept this—that the stations do not depend on private contributions. It is important that that is confirmed and I hope that the Minister will be able to do so. The Minister has also said that the money has been provided and that there would be no need to go to the Treasury for more. I hope that that, too, can be on the record. The hon. Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Thorne) has confirmed that we are in any event to have substantial work sites in north Southwark at Ewer street and at Old Jamaica road whether we have the stations or not. We are to have the disbenefit irrespective of whether we have the benefit. That is all the more reason why we should have the benefit as well.

One view is shared by all of us who are docklands Members and by the hon. Members who represent the City of Westminster, who also see a benefit for their constituents from stations at Southwark and at Bermondsey. Southwark especially would relieve the congestion from Green Park to Charing Cross. I hope that tonight the Minister will go as far as possible. I hope that he will say, "You can have your stations." He may not quite be able to say that. However, I see my job as ensuring that the Bill does not reach its final stage unless we have our stations.

Mr. Nigel Spearing (Newham, South)

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his remarks about supporting the instruction which he and some of my hon. Friends have signed. Does he recall that London Regional Transport has a statutory duty—little known and not always universally acclaimed—to co-ordinate transport in London? London Regional Transport is the promoter of the Bill. How can the Government, therefore, throw doubt on the question of funding when they, in legislation that they promoted, put the duty of deciding what co-operation should be on London Regional Transport? Is not that a point that the Committee might consider if the Bill receives a Second Reading?

Mr. Hughes

The hon. Gentleman is right. Perhaps I am sometimes a bit unfair to Ministers in that this is not a Government Bill—as I shall no doubt shortly be told. [HON. MEMBERS: "They are whipped."] It is clear that the Government have an interest in the Bill, which is welcome even if hon. Members are whipped—which they deny. People certainly appear from strange places at the right moment, which seems to be more than coincidence. Just as some people regard you, Madam Deputy Speaker, as the fount of all knowledge, I take the general view that in the public sense, the Government are the fount of all money. If they are persuaded, London Regional Transport will deliver the goods as well. The hon. Member for Newham, South is right to say that, formally, I should address my remarks to the hon. Member for Ilford, South so that, when he winds up, he can say, after the arguments of last week, that the case is even more persuasive than we had previously thought.

We have had one bit of good news south of the river today. I suspect that the hon. Member for Vauxhall (Miss Hoey) will want to expand on this. We have heard that the Secretary of State for the Environment has not approved the developers' plans for county hall. I hope that tonight we shall have a second bit of good news and we shall hear from the Minister and the sponsors that, before the Bill gets much further, we shall have our stations in Southwark and in Bermondsey. When we hear that news, I will vote for the Bill. Until then, I reserve my judgment. I shall wait, hoping that we shall get the right answer, but threatening all sorts of mayhem if we do not.

7.47 pm
The Minister for Public Transport (Mr. Roger Freeman)

I sought to defer my remarks to the House when we debated the issue a week or so ago because certain important points had to be made. I have no doubt that more points will be made which may be addressed more appropriately by the sponsor of the Bill. However, it may be helpful to the House if I set out briefly some of the issues that should be addressed properly to the Government. I admire the eloquence of the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) in drawing his remarks to a close and taking 30 minutes to do so. I shall seek to address some of the points that he and other hon. Members raised.

I compliment my hon. Friends the Members for Ilford, South (Mr. Thorne) and for Harrow, West (Mr. Hughes) as the sponsors of the Bill. They work diligently. The House will not be surprised to learn that we strongly support the Bill. It is a private Bill, but on behalf of the taxpayer, the Government have provided more than £1 billion to ensure that the Jubilee line is built. I place on record our strong support for the Bill and I hope earnestly that it receives a Second Reading tonight.

The Jubilee line is clearly needed. We know that passenger traffic on the London underground has increased significantly in recent years. It is 60 to 70 per cent. up in passenger miles travelled since 1982. The line will bring a welcome new service to docklands, where employment is forecast to rise by between 90,000 and 150,000 by the turn of the century—a significant increase. The line will also bring welcome benefits not only to south London—I shall say more about Southwark and Bermondsey later—but to east London.

The instruction of the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) is in accord with the sentiments that I express—that we wish to see economic and social benefits brought not only to south London but to east London by this line. The hon. Gentleman and I would not be at odds on that score.

The line will open up docklands to a wide catchment area, from the north and north-west on the Jubilee line from Baker Street and Green Park; from the west and south-west by interchanging from the District and Circle lines at Westminster; from the south-west counties via the Waterloo main line terminal, where it will provide access to Europe via the channel tunnel terminal—

Mr. Harry Greenway (Ealing, North)


Mr. Freeman

I will give way shortly to my hon. Friend. I was about to refer to the area from Kent and south-east London on British Rail lines into London Bridge; and from the east and north-east on lines into Liverpool Street and Fenchurch Street via Stratford and West Ham.

Mr. Greenway

Is the Minister aware of concern in Westminster Abbey, for example, about the interchange being at Parliament square? There are strong suggestions that the fabric of the Abbey could be damaged by the interchange. It has been suggested that, while it might be more expensive to have the interchange located at St. James's Park, that should be faced by the developers. In other words, it would be better to have a more expensive interchange there than a cheaper one at Parliament square, where great institutions of that nature could be damaged.

Mr. Freeman

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that point and, as the hon. Member for Ogmore (Mr. Powell) rightly said, the arguments for and against location at Westminster or at St. James's Park—or, indeed, continuing the tube line whence it cometh at the present time, which is Green Park to Charing Cross—should be examined properly in Committee so that the Committee and the House may be clearly convinced of the arguments.

That is not a matter which the Government should address. The arguments have been set out in detail in the report of the Select Committee on House of Commons Services, having examined some of the advantages. The hon. Member for Ogmore and my hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire, South (Mr. Cormack) drew attention to the disruption to Parliament Square, and I shall come to that shortly.

In addition to supporting the rapid growth in the docklands, the new line will relieve congestion on roads and the existing rail network, including the docklands light railway, will strengthen public transport links with BR lines at Waterloo and London Bridge, and improve accessibility in areas poorly served by public transport south of the Thames, and, in the east end, in Tower Hamlets and in Newham. So not just docklands will benefit. The benefits will be felt across London as a whole.

A number of points have arisen which are properly addressed to the Government. The hon. Member for Newham, South asked questions about where the finance would come from and about the contribution by developers. I have said that £1 billion has been appropriately provided by the Government to construct the line. Olympia and York will contribute £100 million in the next three years—that is, payments in April 1992 and April 1993 and a further £300 million in subsequent years—towards the construction of the line. Further, British Gas is to contribute £25 million in cash and benefit for a station to be constructed on the Greenwich peninsula.

Mr. Ron Leighton (Newham, North-East)

Will the Minister clarify the contribution from Olympia and York? He mentioned £100 million, which I understood him to say he would get soon. When does he expect to get that? When will the other £300 million be paid?

Mr. Freeman

I am sorry if I did not make the position clear. The position is that £40 million is payable on 1 April 1992, £60 million on 1 April 1993—that is, £100 million in the next three years—and the balance, £300 million, is spread in relatively small payments over 10 to 15 years thereafter. I think that the facts are on record, but if the hon. Gentleman tables a question, I shall be pleased to spell out precisely—I do not have the figures in my head—the payments and the time scale.

Mr. Spearing


Mr. Freeman

I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman shortly.

The hon. Member for Newham, South then asked from where the public moneys would come, and he mentioned that he had heard it referred to as a contingency fund. The funds are firmly provided for in the Government's expenditure profile. It is taxpayer's money and it comes by way of grant from the Department of Transport's vote to London Regional Transport in a non-repayable, non-interest bearing form. It is a once-and-for-all grant of money which will be used to construct the line.

If there is any excess of expenditure over the amount provided, the sums will have to be negotiated in the normal course of events with the Treasury. Any additional sums provided over and above that needed to provide for inflation—any real increase in sums—would come, presumably, in the same way, by way of taxpayer grant.

Mr. Spearing

I am grateful to the Minister for spelling out almost the full picture of financing and for the clarification he gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton). It appears to be a novel method of financing. In respect of the moneys that the Government will provide, will he give information on two matters? If he cannot do so tonight, perhaps he will give it by letter.

First, if there is a cost overrun, which is not abnormal in matters to do with tunnels, will it be entirely a pro rata additional payment, discounted for inflation on the long-term 15-year period that he mentioned, or will public funds have to carry any additional estimate over the relatively modest sum of £1 billion?

Secondly, despite what the Minister said about its not being a contingency in the normal way, may we be assured that the funding of the line, other than in relation to the private sums which he mentioned, will not differ in any material respect from that which might go either to the Chelsea-Hackney line or to the projected cross rail link, an announcement about which may perhaps be expected after the House has risen?

Mr. Freeman

If there is a cost overrun, it will be borne in the same way as cost overruns are borne in any other public sector project—by the Department of Transport's vote and not by the developer contributions, which are fixed in money terms.

The hon. Gentleman is right to allude to the fact that we should take the present value of the stream of payments, and I calculate that the developer contributions, in present value terms, amount to about 15 per cent. of the total cost of the line. That may not seem a great percentage, but it is the largest percentage of developer contributions to any public sector project of which I am aware anywhere in the world.

However, it is not £400 million as a proportion of £1 billion. One should take the present value as alluded to by hon. Members at today's prices and compare that with the present value of the total construction cost. The public sector contribution of £1 billion is being provided in the same way as provision would be made for any other underground line. As and when a decision is made, it would be financed in exactly the same way.

Four important points have been made and I will deal with them because it is appropriate that the Government should answer them. The first, raised by the hon. Member for Newham, South, concerned the extension to the royal docks. He asked where that was in the Government's thinking. I can confirm, as my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Thorne) confirmed in his opening remarks, that there will be a step plate junction built south of Canning Town to facilitate an extension to the royal docks. That seems a logical extension for the future. Clearly, as the future development of the royal docks will take many decades, whichever Government are in office, that seems a sensible option to consider. The hon. Gentleman would not expect me to make any commitments beyond that at the moment, but it will be facilitated.

Secondly, the hon. Members for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer), who is not in his place, and for Newham, South asked me about the environmental impact study. I confirmed that I have placed copies of that document, which is dated January 1990 and is headed "London Underground's Proposed Jubilee Line Extension—Environmental Assessment", in the Library for the convenience of hon. Members. I hope that I have placed sufficient copies there, and if any hon. Member has any difficulty obtaining a copy, I shall be glad to write to him or her and to send a copy.

Thirdly—this is one of the two most important points that have been raised—I turn to the impact on Parliament square and Parliament buildings. I know that several hon. Members who are present served on the New Building Sub-Committee of the Select Committee on House of Commons Services. My hon. Friends the Members for Staffordshire, South (Mr. Cormack), and for Ealing, North (Mr. Greenway) and the hon. Member for Ogmore have drawn my attention to the disruption to Parliament square. As the hon. Member for Ogmore has said, this is a matter for detailed examination in Committee. One cannot build an underground railway line without disturbance.

On behalf of the Department of Transport, I can say that we shall be accommodating toward whatever sensible accommodation is reached during the progress of the Bill to minimise disruption both in terms of the number of construction vehicles, length of construction and the location of the ticket hall—and there is some flexibility about the location of the ticket hall. It is most important that those issues are examined in detail in Committee. I commend London Regional Transport and London Underground for being so flexible so far.

The important point relates to phase 2 of the new parliamentary building and the payment for the concrete raft. The New Building Sub-Committee recommended that that should be paid for in its entirety by London Underground. Clearly, London Regional Transport should pay for the concrete rafting over the part of the station area that is covered by the prospective phase 2 parliamentary building, because that will be built over. London Regional Transport has budgeted for and is prepared to pay that cost, which, I understand, amounts to between £2 million and £3 million. However, at issue is the rest of the building which has nothing to do with the construction of the Jubilee line. As the hon. Member for Ogmore fairly put it, in terms of a payment on account of the disruption created not only for Parliament but in Parliament square, LRT should pay for the concrete rafting for the whole building.

The Department of Transport and I are seized of the significance and importance of that and of the fact that, although we hope that there will be no delay, some considerable delay could occur if Parliament, in exercising its role as, essentially, the planning authority, took a considerable time to consider the Bill because this issue has not been resolved. That would not be in anyone's interest. Clearly, if the parliamentary building is to go ahead, it would make a great deal of sense for LRT to construct the concrete raft in its entirety because, one way or another, the cost of the raft would be paid for out of public funds. If the parliamentary building is to go ahead, I am sure that sensible arrangements could be reached in terms of which vote the money comes out of and when construction takes place.

I am sure that the House would not wish to put London Regional Transport in the position of having to find the extra funds from its funding for transport services in London and of having to ask members of the travelling public to fund the £7 million or £8 million to build the entire concrete slab. That would be unreasonable.

Nevertheless, although I cannot make any concrete proposals or guarantees this evening, I am seized of the importance of this matter.

The hon. Member for Ogmore is in his place. I say to him again, through you, Madam Deputy Speaker, that I understand the seriousness of this issue. He implied that this issue should be addressed in Committee. I believe that it must be addressed in the autumn, and, I hope, before any Select Committee considers the Bill. I give the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues my assurance that I will treat this matter with the utmost seriousness. It is in the interests of London Regional Transport that that matter is resolved.

Mr. Don Dixon (Jarrow)

Will the Minister explain why the Committee that will deal with this Bill should take any more notice of London Underground than did the New Building Sub-Committee, on which I serve? The first time that we saw London Underground, we asked its officials whether there was a feasible alternative site. The obvious site was St. James's park. They told us that on engineering grounds that site was not feasible. We then appointed our own advisers who said that it was feasible. When that point was put to London Underground, it accepted it—after our advisers had advised us. Why should London Underground be any more forthcoming to the Committee that will consider the Bill than it was to the New Building Sub-Committee that is dealing with phase 2 of the parliamentary building?

Mr. Freeman

I understand the hon. Gentleman's concern, but surely that is a matter for the Select Committee that will be appointed to consider the Bill. That Committee is the appropriate body further to consider the evidence and to reach its own conclusions. Although I note the conclusions of the New Building Sub-Committee, it is not for me to argue that point tonight.

I understand and accept that the Select Committee will examine that issue and will doubtless wish to take into account the consequences for other buildings, including Westminster Abbey, the alignment of the route and the deviation that would be entailed in any other station than Westminster, and the ease with which the line can come into Waterloo. For the benefit of commuters coming in to Waterloo, it is important that the underground line runs smoothly and squarely into Waterloo and that it does not approach Waterloo from a difficult angle, which I gather would be the case with Charing Cross.

Mr. Harry Greenway

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way again and promise that I shall not interrupt him again. Is my hon. Friend concerned about the suspicion that is felt both in the country and the House on this matter? Does he not remember that in the 1930s people were told that they were in poverty and that although the judge's heart bled for them, it was better for them to go to the workhouse? Others have said that it would be terrible to demolish Westminster Abbey, but that that may have to be done one day for a housing estate. Such arguments are devastating. We should face up to this now and put first things first.

Mr. Freeman

As I understand it, a station at St. James's would entail severe disruption and difficulty for Westminster Abbey. A station at Westminster involves problems for Parliament square. As the spoil from the tunnel running from Green Park to Waterloo would come out at Jubilee gardens, there would thus be some inconvenience there. The hon. Member for Ogmore put me in my place when I intervened earlier and he is right to say that the spoil from constructing the ticket hall would have to come out at Parliament square if that is the location.

Mr. Ray Powell (Ogmore)

Will the Minister give way before he leaves this point?

Mr. Freeman

I have not left it yet.

Mr. Powell

The Committee has put its objections to the Bill on record, but we must bear in mind the fact that the New Building Sub-Committee was already preparing for the development of phase 2 of the building around Bridge street and had undertaken a lot of work when London Underground came up with these proposals months later. We are concerned not only about the rafting and its cost, but about the inconvenience and the delay that have been caused to the building of new office accommodation for hon. Members. I assume that the Minister appreciates all the problems that hon. Members are suffering in terms of office accommodation and that he will therefore appreciate also the inconvenience of new phase 1 being developed before phase 2 had been started. A great deal of inconvenience will be caused to hon. Members by the further development of phase 2 and the building of the raft. Given all those considerations, London Underground should be responsible for the raft covering the building. That is why some of the objections that I have outlined were made in Committee.

Mr. Freeman

I understand the strength of that argument. If the parliamentary buildings on Bridge street are to go ahead—that is not clear in terms of financial provision, but perhaps the hon. Gentleman knows more about that than I do—there is a great deal of common sense in the proposal that London Regional Transport should finance and execute the entire raft in one go. Sooner or later, the cost of the construction of that raft will come out of the taxpayers' pocket. I accept the logic of that argument.

As a Transport Minister, I must also protect the position of London Regional Transport. It would not be reasonable for the travelling public in London to pay for rafting which is not strictly required for the line and the cost of which may be irrecoverable. When it becomes clear that the building is to proceed, sensible accommodation can be made.

Mr. Ray Powell

Let me stress one or two other points to clear the issue. We have already appointed architects and the building will already be approved when we have permission for it to proceed. The delay has been caused by the London Underground Bill. Had the Bill had not come about, we would have been a long way ahead with the development. I should make it clear to the Minister that the phase 2 development of the building on that site has already been approved.

The Minister referred to the travelling public. The Sub-Committee has as much sympathy with the travelling public as anyone else. As my hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon) said, we have already appointed advisers to suggest and recommend a different route so that the line could avoid Parliament square and all the disruption that will be caused to the House and to the travelling public. People travelling by tube, car, coach or bus will be disrupted. Surely the Minister has some responsibility in that matter.

Mr. Freeman

I regret the possible disturbance as much as the hon. Gentleman does. He, I and other right hon. and hon. Members have much to lose in terms of convenience, as have our guests visiting Parliament. Design approval of the new parliamentary building is one thing; funding is another. Funding is not my responsibility. I accept the hon. Gentleman's argument about construction in one fell swoop, possibly by London Underground. That may well facilitate or accelerate the construction of the building.

My final point concerns the south London stations at Southwark and Bermondsey. The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey knows, as I have given him a commitment personally and in writing, that it is the Government's policy that stations should be built at Southwark and Bermondsey. He will remember from the east London rail study that they were firmly in the plan. He also knows that there were question marks over both those stations and the proposed stations at Greenwich and at other points on the line, which suggested that there was further analytical work to be carried out.

I am not backtracking on the Government's commitment to a policy that stations should be built at Southwark and Bermondsey. I confirm that the construction of those stations is provided for and is not dependent on developer contributions. If the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey were standing at the Government Dispatch Box, he would be the first to say that, in order to assure the Public Accounts Committee and the House that those decisions were soundly based, there should be a robust justification. I am grateful to him and to the borough of Southwark for helping to provide that justification. That exercise will conclude by 1 October, well in advance of the Committee stage of the Bill. I am committed to meet him and Southwark when that exercise is concluded. I have no reason to believe that the cost benefit appraisals—not the financial justification—for building those two stations will be anything but positive.

Mr. Harry Cohen (Leyton)

I really should have got in before the Minister moved on from his point about the costs. He said that he thought that the cost of the concrete rafting would eventually fall to the taxpayer. Can he assure the House that the cost will not be met by increased fares to passengers or through poll tax bills across London, but that the taxpayer will pick up the bill directly?

Mr. Freeman

I am happy to give the hon. Gentleman a categorical assurance that it will be paid for by the taxpayer in the form of a grant voted from the Department of Transport. It will not fall on the fare-paying passenger who pays a proportion of the operating cost. It certainly will not fall on the community charge payer in London. It will come from the national taxpayer, who will be paying for an enhancement of transport facilities in London. I hope that the House will give the Bill a Second Reading and will note the assurances and promises that I have given.

8.15 pm
Ms. Joan Ruddock (Lewisham, Deptford)

Before I start my speech, let me associate the Labour Front Bench with the condemnation, during the point of order before the debate, of the atrocities committed this afternoon on the outskirts of Armagh, and express our sympathies to those who have been bereaved.

I give the Bill on the extension of the Jubilee line a general but qualified welcome. In the previous debate, several hon. Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Ogmore (Mr. Powell), clearly expressed the concerns of the House about Parliament square. I shall not dwell further on that issue or reiterate the points made on behalf of the Accommodation and Administration Sub-Committee, but will deal instead with the wider transport issues.

The Bill comes before us at the behest of a Government who have repeatedly failed in their duty to plan strategically for our capital city. It comes before us despite the evidence of the Government's own central London rail study, which found the extension of the Jubilee line the least likely of the proposals studied to relieve the extreme congestion experienced by users of London Underground in the central area. Even the borough of Newham, which stands to benefit from the Jubilee line extension, agrees with all other expert and interested parties in London that an east-west cross rail would have done more for London. London Regional Transport, in its latest annual report, maintains the position of the central London rail study—that the east-west cross rail and the Chelsea-Hackney line are essential if there is to be any real solution to the problem of central area congestion.

The Bill comes before us because the free-market, profit-first priorities of the Government have determined that new transport infrastructure in London is development-led. That is why it is so important that, as the instruction in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore) says,

the Committee on the Bill … have regard to the need for regeneration of local communities and local industries in and around the areas of London Dockland and Lower Lea Valley. Only by proper strategic planning can the needs of all our communities in London—not just the needs of developers—be met. The Bill must be set in the context of the extent and scale of the transport crisis afflicting London and the Government's response to it. Only then can we assess its merits.

It is remarkable that, with such a powerful consensus about the extent of that crisis, the Government continue to make a complete mess of transport in the capital. In London, the chorus of criticism about the Government's inaction comes from all sides. For example, the CBI states in a recent report: The problems exemplify the need for a co-ordinated, integrated, intermodal approach.

The London Regional Passengers Committee, in its annual report, was scathing in its criticisms. It said: On the Underground, more miles were lost, waiting times grew and while the chance of a train running on time rose, so did the chance of it not running at all. More lifts were working, but escalator stoppages hit bottom before improving gradually. The performance targets set for LRT require an improvement in all these areas. The director of planning summed it up when he said: If you regard London grinding to a halt as a crisis, then we're not there—yet. But if you regard wasting billions of pounds a year through congestion at a time when we face increasing competition, then I think you would say that we are. Against that background, the Jubilee line extension begins to appear a little like the proverbial fig leaf. However, as the Minister said, it will give additional tube capacity. It will provide much-needed access to docklands and it will be a much-valued public resource in a city that is increasingly privatised, unplanned and lacking in co-ordination. As a result of lobbying by myself, my colleagues in Greenwich and others, it will also provide a loop into north Greenwich, bringing an important tube link into an area that is poorly served by public transport.

For those reasons, and despite some reservations, the Opposition generally support the Bill. We do so also because we believe that investment in the public infrastructure in London is now an urgent task. It is the only answer to the crucial need to begin to limit the use of private cars in the city. The Bill at least shows some commitment from the Government improving and extending the capital's public transport. However, they must demonstrate their wholehearted commitment to those who do not have the developers' chequebook to hand. It appears that developers can obtain the stations that they want, but can the ordinary citizens of London?

The Minister has made some response to the representations about the construction of the Southwark and Bermondsey stations. As we heard previously in our debates, above all those stations would benefit the established residential communities that currently have to travel on inadequate public transport. Some of my constituents would be among those who would use the stations, as would the constituents of my hon. Friend the Member for Peckham (Ms. Harman), who regrets that she cannot be here tonight.

It is significant that the technical officer in the borough of Southwark could demonstrate that, on the estimates provided by London Underground, those stations would be used by more people than use some of the stations on the present Jubilee line. Given all the evidence, I should have thought that the Minister would agree that it is not just financial considerations alone that should determine the building of stations such as those in south London, but the important grounds of social justice and economic development for very poor areas with very poor people. They would benefit enormously from job opportunities that would be more accessible if they had stations nearby at Bermondsey and Southwark.

The Minister has not removed all doubt that those stations will not, in some way, be dropped from the plans. I urge him to think again. As the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) said, there will be public outrage if those stations are not built when developers with their cheque books can get what they demand.

There are further questions about the Bill with which the Minister has not dealt. Clause 29 allows London Underground to close a section of the Jubilee line from Green Park to Charing Cross at a future date, without going through the usual consultation procedure. Consumer interests are protected by law and if London Underground wishes to close a section of line, at present it is required to notify the London Regional Passengers Committee. That committee may then hold a hearing and report to the Secretary of State for his decision. It feels that there is no justification for changing that procedure.

I appreciate that London Underground intends to keep open the line nominally and use it for football specials, for example, but that is hardly a reassurance for the 20,000 commuters who use that section of the line every day. London Underground believes that many commuters will benefit from the change in the line, but those matters should be subject to a proper hearing. I urge the Minister, London Underground and the sponsor to reconsider denying transport users a voice and the opportunity to consider the implications of the proposed changes.

Mr. Spearing

Did my hon. Friend notice that the Minister referred to the alternative alignment—which was not considered by the advisers to the Services Committee—of maintaining a Charing Cross terminal and extending it via Temple to Waterloo, as being for the convenience of passengers? He did not deny that it was impractical and had certain limitations. Is not that something that the passengers committee should consider?

Ms. Ruddock

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. Indeed, all his points about London transport are excellent. I am sure that the committee will consider carefully what he has said.

We want clause 14 to be removed because there is no justification for taking away standard procedures. After the defeat on the King's Cross Railways Bill, I hope that the promoters of this Bill will reconsider.

We are disappointed by London Underground's apparent unwillingness to make the new section of the Jubilee line fully wheelchair accessible. I understand that it is technically feasible to do so, even in deep tunnels, by building a walkway. Given that London Underground has said that new lines will be wheelchair accessible, it would be a missed opportunity not to start with this section of line. I urge London Underground to reconsider, and I ask the Minister to clarify the Government's policy on access to public transport for people with disabilities. I shall give way to him if he wishes to intervene.

Mr. Freeman

I do not wish to duck the question, because it is extremely important. I regret that I cannot answer a question on the adaptation of the design of the Jubilee line to accommodate wheelchairs. Although the Department does not plan the details of the line, I undertake to make inquiries of the chairman of LRT about accommodating disabled people.

If the hon. Lady reflects on the performance not only of LRT but of British Rail, I think that she will agree that it is a great deal better than has been achieved in the past, and a great deal better than other European countries. We have a great deal to be proud of, but a long way to go.

Ms. Ruddock

I invited the Minister to intervene because, as is so often the case, when judgments are made on technical matters there is always the question of finance. We are all aware that the line is primarily to be financed out of the public purse, so these considerations are relevant to Government. I am grateful to the Minister for his response.

Millions of potential travellers nationwide are denied access to many modes of public transport through lack of foresight in planning and design. When a major operator such as LRT begins construction of a new system that is essentially for the 21st century, we should insist that those who are wheelchair-bound have equal access to the system.

I noted that the promoter concluded his remarks by referring to the substantial contribution of Olympia and York and British Gas to the project. In fairness, he did not over-emphasise the important of their contributions; Minister, however, have been much more fulsome, as was the hon. Member for Kettering (Mr. Freeman), about the value for money of the scheme. Many of my hon. Friends and I have already said that the Governmetn's central London rail study did not consider the line such good value. It gave it a negative rate of return, computing its benefit to cost ratio at 0.6:1 compared with 1.6:1 for the east-west cross rail.

The Government do not have a programme for rail investment that is truly analogous to their trunk road programme. If they did, the inclusion of a scheme that does not represent the best value for money might be acceptable on the grounds that other preferable schemes would follow without hindrance. However, no such programme exists and we fear that the scheme may lead to other schemes being starved of capital. Despite the invitation extended by my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing), the Minister has not satisfied us that there is no jeopardy to other schemes, and we hear persistent rumours that the Treasury might veto the introduction of a Bill this autumn to build another new line in the London transport system.

We hope that the Government will soon make clear their intention for the cross rail and the Chelsea to Hackney line. Without those two new lines, there will be no answer to the major problems of congestion.

New public investment and public transport provision in London is welcome, but yet again we debate a piecemeal provision in isolation. London cries out for a strategic plan. As my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, South reminded us, British Rail's review of alternative routes for rail links to the channel tunnel keeps open the possibility of Stratford becoming an international station. It is symptomatic of Government action on planning that the clearly related issues of international passenger traffic and cross rail are not part of our considerations. It is hardly surprising that London's transport is in a mess if this is the nearest to sensible planning that the Government can attain.

There can be no doubt that in the two debates on the Bill, the promoters and the Government have received clear warnings of the diversity of interests involved and the necessity to respond to the needs and aspirations of the travelling public in London. We believe that the Jubilee line should be extended, but only in an environmentally sensitive way, which must include consideration of the parliamentary area of London. It must have maximum access for local residents and, I hope, full access for wheelchair-bound passengers. With those provisos, we can support the Second Reading.

8.33 pm
Mr. James Arbuthnot (Wanstead and Woodford)

The Bill raises several complex issues, including compulsory purchase and compensation. My name appears on the blocking motion to the Bill on behalf of only one of my constituents, Mr. Michael Downey, whose land and business will be compulsorily purchased.

I make no apology for concentrating on one man, because any hon. Member's constituent is as important in this respect as is the House of Commons putting its objections to disruption in Parliament square. My constituent, like me, has no objection to the general principle of the extension of the Jubilee line and agrees that it would be beneficial. His agreement means that I shall vote for the Second Reading of the Bill.

Although I generally enjoy following the hon. Member for Lewisham, Deptford (Ms. Ruddock), I would have wished to follow a more gracious welcome for the principle of the line.

My constituent believes, and again I entirely agree, that those whose land will be purchased should be treated fairly. He and his sister own some land near the proposed Canning Town station in the constituency of the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) who spoke when we last debated the Bill. They have two businesses, a petrol station and an engineering business. The first, Fleet service station, has been in business on the site for about 60 years and has built up a large clientele, mostly with local businesses. Indeed, 60 per cent. of its turnover is with account customers in the immediate vicinity. Moving that business would considerably damage that account business.

Therefore, to minimise the damage, Mr. Downey must find replacement premises as near as possible to his present premises. His business requires a prominent road position. Replacement premises that fulfil both those requirements will obviously be extremely hard to find. One must not overstate that problem, because he may find new premises in a more prominent position or he may gain in passing trade what he loses in account customers, but, nevertheless, the problem exists and it is serious. Compensation would give him not the reinstatement value of his premises but its current market value. If he had to find premises on which to reinstate his business, he would have to compete with the Essos and Shells of this world, which would regard the business and the area as a major money-spinner. They would be able to provide much more money in bidding for new businesses, and the likely result is that he would be forced out of business. That would be an unreasonable result of the Bill.

It strengthens the case that many hon. Members feel that the structure for compensation for road and rail development should be reconsidered by the House and that a new structure should apply not only in general but in particular to the Bill.

The third and most important point in Mr. Downey's case is that to be able to keep his account customers, who comprise 60 per cent. of his turnover, any replacement business must open at the same time as his existing business closes. If there is any gap between closing and opening, his account business will melt away. It might trickle back in later years, but it would be severely damaged by the hiatus.

A new business must be bought and equipped before Mr. Downey is forced out of his old business. I understand that it takes many months to equip a petrol filling station. Planning applications, and possibly planning appeals, would lengthen the time during which the equipment would have to be installed.

J. and J. Downey is an engineering business and it raises similar concerns, although they are not identical. It needs not prominent premises but premises equipped to an exceptionally high standard. It has a large overhead travelling crane weighing 5 tonnes. Obviously, that takes much time to build and install. To avoid a hiatus, it must be installed long before Mr. Downey has to move out of his existing building.

The business needs to be situated in an area where Mr. Downey could expect his business to last, because it works on long-term contracts. The Bill has already affected the type of contracts that he has been able to attract, because they sometimes require guarantees by means of performance bonds. If my constituent's business is under threat of compulsory purchase, he will obviously find it more difficult to attract more contracts. That should be taken into account in the compensation granted to him.

I am talking about my constituent, but this matter applies as well to the many other businesses that face compulsory purchase.

Mr. Spearing

This matter affects not only businesses and proprietors but the many people living and growing up in Newham who might be or hope to be employed by those businesses.

Mr. Arbuthnot

That is right. Serious consideration should therefore be given to the hon. Gentleman's instruction.

I said that, unlike the petrol station, the engineering business did not need prominent premises, and it does not. However, my constituent has found it helpful over the years to be able to manage the two businesses from the same site. If he finds a reinstatement site with the same benefits from managing the petrol station and the engineering business, resulting in a reduction in the number of staff, there will be cost savings in terms of manning, office space and efficiency gains with respect to control and management. Any loss of that benefit should be taken into account in any compensation.

The possibility of finding the right replacement site, at the right time, with appropriate compensation, is central to my constituent's business. It is not overstating the case to say that, unless that is done, there is a possibility that my constituent will go out of business. Not surprisingly, therefore, he has been looking hard for replacement premises. He has instructed Grant and Partners to pursue this matter on his behalf. It has looked hard, but there has been little reaction in the area. Property owners appear to take the view that in the present state of the property market they would do better to hang on to their property rather than sell, perhaps in order simply to see what happens.

There is one site that my constituent has identified as suitable. The land is currently owned by the British Rail Property Board and consists of disused rail sidings next to the southern roundabout of the Connaught crossing. Although British Rail was asked about the site in January this year, so far it has said that it is under review.

My constituent clearly needs help from someone like London Underground, British Rail or the London Docklands development corporation—someone with more clout than he has alone. I am pleased to say that London Underground has offered some help, for which I am grateful because it goes in the right direction, but it does not solve the problem. I am afraid that more needs to be done. London Underground has said that it is prepared to offer to buy the Fleet service station in advance of Royal Assent. I have been told that it would agree to allow Mr. Downey to trade from his existing premises even after that acquisition until London Underground needs it for the railway. That would give Mr. Downey the chance to take his compensation money and to find other premises and, if he found them, to use the money to re-equip them without any hiatus in the business.

The problem is not the money—money can be borrowed and the loss of money can be compensated for with replacement money. The problem is that Mr. Downey by himself cannot find the replacement site. He needs help, and that is the sort of help that so far he has been refused. It is at this stage that my constituent begins to wonder if the compulsory purchase is needed.

Is too much land being taken? The hon. Member for Newham, South raised that point. In the Bill, London Underground is taking powers to take a great deal of land. The question must arise whether it is taking more than it needs for the purposes of building the Canning Town station and building a Jubilee line station and a bus interchange. All the evidence possessed by my constituent suggests that London Underground is taking too much land, but that evidence is extremely sketchy. The plans for the station and the bus interchange are unclear. The risk is that they will remain so. The injustice from my constituent's point of view is that he does not know what case he will have to answer. That goes against all the principles of British justice and will, I hope, be seriously considered by the Committee.

I hope that London Underground will lean over backwards to prove to my constituent that it is not taking too much land and to give him the information that he needs to satisfy himself to that effect. I said in an intervention in the speech of the hon. Member for Newham, South that if London Underground took too much land it would benefit from the uplift in value which would follow. I do not suggest that London Underground has any such motive, but it should make it plain that it has no such motive by giving the information that my constituent and others in a similar position need to satisfy themselves that not too much land is being taken.

8.46 pm
Mr. Stanley Orme (Salford, East)

I intervene in the debate as a member of the New Building Sub-Committee and as a provincial Member, and I make no apology for speaking as a provincial Member. Hundreds of millions of pounds of public expenditure will be invested in this development and we are entitled to question it. This development in the capital will affect many people—not just those who live there but those who visit it—and will be important to them.

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, Deptford (Ms. Ruddock) that the development of new undergound links in London is crucial. Public transport must be promoted if we are to discourage the use of the motor vehicle, thereby easing traffic congestion and lessening environmental damage. I start from that point. I am not opposed to the extension of the Jubilee line. As other hon. Members have said, when we look at London Transport 2000 and transport forecasts, this is not necessarily the first priority that comes to mind; it is third or fourth on the list of what is needed in the capital.

Faced with the Bill, we must examine it on its merits. The Minister said that the Government were not promoting the Bill although they were very much in favour of many aspects. Questions were raised about the siting of stations in Southwark and the use of Parliament square as the junction for the new Jubilee line extension and the Central and District lines. It is extraordinary that the Minister did not discuss these matters with London Transport. He said that they were a matter for the Committee. The New Building Sub-Committee discussed these matters in detail with London Underground. First, we were dismayed at its proposals for a Bill preceded by no consultation.

Mr. Dixon

The report by the Services Committee states, in paragraph 17 on page ix, We must put on record at this point our regret that neither the Services Committee nor the authorities of the House were consulted during preparation of the bill. We find it astonishing that neither London Underground nor the Department of Transport realised that the parts of the bill relating to Westminster would cause considerable concern to Members of Parliament.

Mr. Orme

Neither the actions nor the attitude of London Underground have been to its credit. Following our initial discussions with its officers—including the chairman—we went to see the Secretary of State for Transport, who told us that the Government would support the Bill. We asked, "What about all the criticisms of your proposal to put hundreds of millions of pounds of public money into a project that your Department has not examined?" We were told that the Government would go ahead, using private Bill procedure—which is, of course, the subject of a good deal of criticism in the House at present.

Mr. Dixon

Not only the private Bill procedure but the rotation of Chairmen is under close examination. It has not gone unnoticed that all the Committees debating controversial Bills have had Conservative Chairmen. Moreover, all those Chairmen have, with their casting votes, opposed the introduction of any amendments in Committee, making a Report stage impossible.

Mr. Orme

I hope that the House will indeed examine private Bill procedure. The conduct to which my hon. Friend has referred is most regrettable, and we must hope that it will not be repeated.

In the past, the purpose of private Bill procedure was to assist the railway industry, in particular, with the purchase of land that crossed many estates and many counties. That was done on an individual basis; what is so regrettable about this and other recent Bills is their use by the Government as a vehicle to push through legislation. I hope that the Minister will tell his Department that, if the Bill is given its Second Reading, we shall be watching the way in which it is handled very carefully, for we have serious misgivings.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett (Denton and Reddish)

Is it not worrying when the Minister says that it is up to the Committee? Traditionally, with private Bills, efforts have been made to negotiate away most of the problems so that the Committee is left with only the minimum of residual difficulties and not much time is taken up. We have already seen how much time—hon. Members' time—has been taken up by the King's Cross Railways Bill: I understand that the Whips have encountered considerable difficulty in persuading hon. Members to serve on the Committee. I hope that my right hon. Friend will press the promoters to find ways of resolving the outstanding problems, so that the length of the Committee stage can be minimised.

Mr. Orme

My hon. Friend is quite an expert on this kind of procedure; I hope that note will be taken of what he has said.

We cannot but suspect that enthusiasm for the Bill has a great deal to do with the fact that a private development is under way on Canary wharf and in the east end. Of course, I accept that others will benefit. I have received a letter from Rita Bensley, secretary of the Barkantine tenants association, expressing regret that some of us do not support the Bill. She writes: I am sure that you must be aware that this extension is vital to the regeneration programme for Docklands. The worst possible scenario for the local people of Docklands is for this programme to fail". She adds that she and her neighbours live in an area that has been used as a building site for 10 years, with another seven to come. I understand her feelings; our criticisms are intended not to stop the Bill, but to ensure that it is substantially improved.

The interchange of Parliament square is not a little local issue. We are not talking about the self-interest of Members of Parliament; we are talking about the centre of the capital, which attracts millions of people. As has already been pointed out, this area contains not only both Houses of Parliament but St. Margaret's church, Westminster abbey, the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre, the Methodist Central hall, Whitehall and the Thames and its immediate surroundings. Phase 1 of the new building programme is in progress; it is behind schedule, and members of our Committee are being severely criticised by hon. Members for allowing the delay.

My hon. Friend the Member for Deptford is one of our strongest critics. If, however, we allow the Bill to proceed unchanged, we shall have to take people out of the new building. Occupation may be delayed for two or three years, depriving hon. Members and staff of necessary accommodation. This is not special pleading; we are continually told that the accommodation is essential, and that anything that stops or delays its completion is detrimental to the working of the House. We have an alternative to London Underground's proposals.

Ms. Mildred Gordon (Bow and Poplar)

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the use of county hall might provide a temporary solution to the problem of accommodation for hon. Members?

Mr. Orme

That proposal has often been put forward and the next thing we will see is a proposal for an underground link from County hall to Westminster.

If we can complete phase 1 and start phase 2, we can begin to provide the kind of accommodation which some of the newer hon. Members who are present in the Chamber now are crying out for. We want to see that development proceed.

The interchange at Westminster will delay phases 1 and 2 and it will add an extra 30,000 people a day to Westminster. Westminster city council, in its petition against the Bill expressed considerable concern for the safety and convenience of pedestrians and other passengers leaving the station in such numbers. The council believes that congestion in the area could be increased with a concentration of passengers requiring interchange with private cars, taxis and buses. An extra 30,000 people a day is an extra 10 million a year travelling into this centre.

It is clear from the present congestion in Westminster as people pass through the square on public transport and in other ways what would happen if Parliament square were to become a building site. We have an alternative to London Underground's proposals.

Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South)

My right hon. Friend described the conditions that would exist after the building works were concluded and the number of people in Parliament square had increased. However, he has not explained to the House that the building work could occupy the site for between five and seven years. The environmental impact statement explains that the National Heritage Act 1983 provides powers for an archaeological inspector to apply for a suspension of constructional activity if any areas of archaeological interest are discovered during the excavations. Does my right hon. Friend agree that there are likely to be many areas of archaeological interest in Parliament square and the building period may be extended for a longer period?

Mr. Orme

Bringing this interchange into Parliament square is not in the interests of the capital and it is certainly not in the interests of the general public. Because of that we examined the proposal and we suggested an alternative to London Underground. We suggested that the interchange should be at St. James's Park. London Underground told us that that was not feasible. London Underground told us that its engineers said that that was not possible.

Therefore, we employed our own engineers to examine the site. They said that it would be feasible for the interchange to be at St. James's Park. London Underground then accepted that, but it still objects to our proposal. I wonder whether it opposes that because London Underground's headquarters happens to be over St. James's Park tube station.

We are driven to the conclusion, after the very reasonable case that we put to London Underground, that there are obviously other forces at work that are opposed to the interchange being moved.

If the Bill is passed and the development begins in the next Parliament and Parliament square becomes a building site for five or six years, I hope that hon. Members do not come screaming to the New Building Sub-Committee wanting to know why we allowed the development to proceed when an alternative was available.

Mr. Dixon

Does my right hon. Friend accept that our prime concern in the New Building Sub-Committee was to provide adequate office accommodation for hon. Members and staff? While we may have the finest car park in central London, this House has possibly the worst office accommodation. That is why the New Building Sub-Committee was concerned about the connection at Westminster and its effect on phase 2 of the new building.

Mr. Orme

The development will probably put phase 2 back into the next century. Phase 2 will take between eight and 10 years. Phase 1 is nearly complete and it would be an outrage if, because of the development, people had to be decanted from the new development and moved back into a crowded Palace of Westminster.

I hope that the Government will consider this matter. We are not being Luddites. [Interruption.] The promoter of the Bill wants to be careful about the way in which he handles the matter. We can make the passage of the Bill very difficult. I should have thought that the hon. Gentleman wanted co-operation and would not laugh when I say that we are not Luddites. We have a solution to the problem. We want his and the Government's co-operation, and we shall continue to press for it.

9.4 pm

Sir John Stanley (Tonbridge and Malling)

I intervene briefly in the debate, as have other provincial Members, but my constituency is rather closer to London than that of the right hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Orme). Thousands of my constituents come to London every day and are then dependent on the efficiency and capacity of London transport to be able to get to work. I earnestly hope that the House will give the Bill a Second Reading on two grounds—first, because of the general transport situation in London and, secondly, because of the specific area of London the transport needs of which the Bill is designed to help. The Bill deserves support.

As has been said, London is in a very serious transport position. The seriousness of London's transport position is undoubtedly already having some effect on its attractiveness as a place for tourists and on the general perception of London as a capital city compared with other European capital cities, and must have an impact on the long-term attractiveness of our capital as a major international financial and commercial centre.

I am in no doubt that, if there is to be a significant improvement in London's transport, it must be through a public transport system. The only way in which we can make a satisfactory improvement in the public transport system in a way in which we can provide sufficient capacity and is environmentally acceptable is through rail systems, in particular through sub-surface rail systems. I very much welcome the Bill.

On the Bill meeting the needs of the east end and docklands, I share with the House one of the most remarkable aerial experiences that I have ever had. It was about 10 years ago, shortly after we came into government, and when I was in the Department of the Environment. At the time, we were considering the powers that were to be included in the first Local Government Bill, and, in particular, powers to establish the urban development corporations. Along with my right hon. Friends the Members for Henley (Mr. Heseltine) and for Bridgwater (Mr. King), now Secretary of State for Defence, I took the helicopter journey down the Thames towards the docklands. That was the first time that I had had that aerial view of the east end of London. It was a staggering spectre of enormous desolation on a vast scale 10 years ago—miles and miles of waste, dereliction and abandonment. It is one of the most signal achievements of the Government that, in that dramatic period of just 10 years, there has been a total visual and built transformation of that crucial part of our capital city.

The creation of better homes, new homes and jobs on an enormous scale has outstripped the provision of transport capacity. That process is continuing: indeed, it looks like becoming worse, with the further development of the Isle of Dogs and the enormous development of Canary wharf. Almost certainly the process, which I welcome, will spread further east, eventually into the development of the royal group of docks. Therefore, it is vital that we begin to provide that area with a proper mass transit system of which the Bill is a crucial component.

The Bill is vital to docklands and the east end, and I hope that it will be a precursor to the Government introducing the first of the London cross-rail links in the forthcoming session. The Bill relates to the extension of one tube line, but the cross-rail links are even more important than the Bill as a means of solving London's transport problems.

The Bill is important, and I hope that the House will support it.

9.9 pm

Mr. Ron Leighton (Newham, North-East)

I am pleased to follow the right hon. Member for Tonbridge and Mailing (Sir J. Stanley), who, as a latter-day Dr. Livingstone, discovered the east end in a helicopter. That is about the only way in which one can get around London these days.

Those of us who represent the east end believe that we should evaluate the proposal to extend the Jubilee line against the background of London's crisis of traffic and transport. The congestion in London is now deplorable and one gets the impression that London is almost strangling itself.

Things are getting worse. Public transport is dirty, squalid and congested. Surface traffic is slower moving than in the days of the horse and cart. I do not know whether the right hon. Member for Tonbridge and Mailing ever travels on the underground—

Sir John Stanley

Every day.

Mr. Leighton

In that case he will be aware, should he travel at rush hour, that the overcrowding is obscene. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that such conditions are completely unworthy of a European capital city. It is vital that our transport infrastructure is internationally competitive. The French would not allow similar conditions to develop in Paris, and should Berlin become the capital of the united Germany, just watch the transport infrastructure that will develop.

Congestion leads to inefficiency. The Confederation of British Industry has said that congestion in London costs £10 billion—that is a big bill, which must be paid by every London family. Some of the costs of that congestion are obvious and can be quantified—for example, the late arrival of staff. Vehicles that are constantly stuck in traffic jams must be serviced more frequently than others and are subject to extra repairs. Those traffic jams also lead to an increased consumption of fuel. One must also consider the overtime payments to staff who are delayed as well as the cost of those inordinate delays.

Other costs faced by Londoners are less tangible. Many of our constituents find their journeys to and from work a twice-daily nightmare. No one can cost the frustration and sheer physical discomfort with which those people are obliged to put up every day. Millions of people who work and live in London must endure that and we cannot gauge easily the effect of that on their health and productivity. We are aware, however, that more and more days are lost to mental and stress-related illnesses. Many of those illnesses are related to the strain of getting to and from work. The congestion and the hours that it adds to the working day also add a huge cost to the social and family lives of Londoners.

The problem is that no one is responsible for transport in London. The Secretary of State for Transport has told us that he is not responsible. London must be the only major city in the world, east or west, without an elected authority responsible for transport. There is no co-ordination, coherence or strategy. Everything is piecemeal and ad hoc.

The London transport infrastructure has been subject to decades of neglect, but our forefathers built a first-class transport system when they established the tube lines. That development took place when the country was not as wealthy as it is today. Now we hear about the economic miracle and all the rest of it, but in the past decade we have done nothing serious to improve our transport systems.

On a previous occasion the Secretary of State told us that there was over-demand in London and that therefore he intended to put up fares—such was the policy behind the increases in fares. In recent years, fares have increased above the rate of inflation.

For the foreseeable future, the policy is to increase fares higher than the rate of inflation. The idea is to price people off London Transport services. I know that London Transport quibbles about that and says that its policy is to put up fares to constrain the increase in the use of its services. I had lunch with the management last week and we discussed the matter. London Transport is playing with words. Constraining the increase in the use of London Transport services amounts to the same thing as pricing people off them.

When the docklands light railway was first thought of—a Mickey Mouse elevated tram which was to cost £70 million—some of us said that it would not be sufficient and that we should have a proper railway. Now, the whole thing is being rebuilt and there will be no docklands light railway service of an evening or of a weekend until 1992. Incidentally, I agree with the right hon. Member for Tonbridge and Mailing that the solution to our transport problems lies in public transport rather than in making arrangements for the private motor car.

Studies have produced three ideas. The first is the east-west cross rail, the second is the north-south Chelsea to Hackney line and the third is the extension of the Jubilee line. That third idea has been given priority. I represent the London borough of Newham, to which the line will come. I cannot oppose the line coming to Newham, but I have to ask whether this should have been the priority if our main aim was to end congestion in London. The answer to that is a clear no.

The line is being built as a developers' railway. It is being built because of the Canary wharf development by Olympia and York, which will be importing people to 50,000 jobs. The developers need that railway and they have been leaning on the Government. The development in that area has been market-led. No infrastructure was built and there has been no planning. So what happens? Olympia and York leans on the Government with its cheque books or whatever. It has more power and more clout than the rest of us, so we get the extension of the Jubilee line. I asked the Minister what Olympia and York was to put in and was told that it would be £100 million over three years and the rest in a period of up to 15 years. Bearing in mind inflation, what are we talking about here? Very little. We are not talking about putting money up front. The truth is that Olympia and York has had an extremely good deal.

The House is familiar with the Public Accounts Committee's report on the development of Canary wharf, which said that Olympia and York had bought the land very cheaply. At the time, the land was changing hands at £5 million an acre but Olympia and York got its for £440,000 an acre. The PAC also said that there should have been an arrangement whereby the community should have reaped the benefit had there been super-profits. There has been no such arrangement.

The idea of the Jubilee line has been around for 40 years; it is not a new idea. We are told that this is not the Government's Bill, although the Minister spoke for half an hour on it and so more or less took paternity for it. Why should he have spoken for half an hour on a Bill that had nothing to do with him?

The truth is that the Government are always doing too little, too late. The idea of the Jubilee line first surfaced in 1948, when the London planning working party approved proposals for a number of new tube railways in the capital. They included a route J from Moorgate to New Cross and on to Woolwich and Plumstead and a line D, which included a section from Trafalgar square to Ludgate circus. For four decades the link to docklands has refused to die, although it has appeared in a number of guises. At one time it was called the River line; then it was called the Fleet line; now it is an extension of the Jubilee line.

In 1970 London Transport sought powers to construct a line from Stanmore to Lewisham. The necessary consents were obtained for the first section to Charing Cross, which included a new tube tunnel from Baker Street, via Bond Street and Green Park. Debate continued about the line's future beyond that point.

In October 1973, a study reported that the line could be a catalyst for the rejuvenation of docklands, so there is nothing new about the proposal. Sir Richard Way, who was then chairman of London Transport, observed: transport and land use planning could work together so as to give maximum economic and social benefits. One of the main planks of the study was that the provision of homes, employment and commerce should be integrated with rapid transit to minimise the use of the private car. What, therefore, was being talked about then is our instruction now.

A year later, Sir David Barran, who chaired the London rail study, described as "speculation" newspaper reports that the Fleet-Jubilee line would not run beyond Trafalgar Square-Charing Cross. There were doubts about that then.

In 1976, the strategic study of the docklands joint committee—a committee of local authorities that the Government knocked on the head—described the line as the key to the transformation of Docklands and east London. In 1976, therefore, the local authorities in east London asked for an extension of the Jubilee line.

By 1979, the Greater London council said that it was prepared to go it alone by extending the line from Charing Cross to Fenchurch Street. Sir Horace Cutler, who was then leader of the Greater London council, said that the line was an integral part of the investment in London's future.

The coup de grace seemingly fell on the Charing Cross to docklands link in July 1980 when the Government came out in favour of a £100 million programme of road improvements. The then Secretary of State for Transport, the right hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Sir N. Fowler) and Sir Horace Cutler set out in a joint statement what they called a "firm" programme of docklands transport improvements over the next 15 years.

The total cost of the roads programme was then put at £359 million. It included the docklands northern relief road, a new east London river crossing and road improvements on the Isle of Dogs.

Nine years later, the Jubilee line extension to docklands has suddenly sprung back into the frame, but at something like five times the estimated £200 million cost of the proposed 1977 link to Thamesmead and Woolwich. All these ideas were on the stocks during the last 40 years. Had they been carried out then, they would have cost only a fraction of the total cost now. Our instruction asks that this development should take into account the economic and social benefits and the provision of homes and employment.

My last and most important point is that the Jubilee line will not be the main means of solving London's congestion. There are two other proposals: the east-west crossrail and the north-south Hackney to Chelsea line. When we raised the matter with the Secretary of State for Transport, especially after he had abandoned his roads programme which would have cost £3 billion—so arguably that sum of money would have been available—we said that both proposals should be carried out, not just the one. However, he told us that it could not be done technically; it would be impossible to cope with the disruption and the spoil.

Last week my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) and I met the management of London Transport and asked whether both proposals could be carried out simultaneously. They said that without any doubt both could be carried out. Last week, London Transport gave evidence to the Select Committee on Transport and said that it wanted both simultaneously. I asked the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, whose members would have to carry out the work, and asked whether it could be done, technically. The answer was yes. Therefore we support the extension of the Jubilee line to the London borough of Newham and understand why it has been given priority. But we want those other two lines as well and we want them carried out at the same time. That is technically possible and that cannot be denied. They are needed now to ease London's congestion.

9.24 pm
Mr. Hugo Summerson (Walthamstow)

I shall not detain the House for long and I shall confine my remarks largely to the Bill. It is a good thing to have extra underground lines in London, not merely because they are a good thing in themselves but because some areas of London are not well served and the Jubilee line extension will serve them well.

The Jubilee line extension will also serve Canary wharf. Those two words are guaranteed to drive many Opposition Members to apoplexy. To them Canary wharf is a temple of capitalism, a place where large profits will be made. It is because of Canary wharf that many Opposition Members cannot bring themselves to offer a completely unequivocal welcome to the Bill.

Ms. Ruddock

Let me put it on record that we have no objection to Canary wharf in principle. The developers have a job to do and their business is to make a profit. What we object to is that the Government's transport policy and the transport of London is developer-led, and the Canary wharf developers are among those who appear to be able to set priorities.

Mr. Summerson

I am delighted to hear the hon. Lady say that she does not object to Canary wharf. That is certainly not my impression from the speeches of several Opposition Members.

I attended a debate in the early hours of this morning, or rather yesterday in parliamentary terms, on the subject of global warming and I spoke about the internal combustion engine and how I hoped that the day would come when it would be banned from our towns and cities. But before that can happen we need a good public transport system—not a publicly owned transport system.

My constituency in north-east London, arguably in the lower Lea valley, is served by the Victoria line, but I am sure that many of my constituents would find the Jubilee line extension irresistible.

I have heard a great deal, especially from Opposition Members, about the effect that the Jubilee line extension will have on Parliament square. I have listened to them with complete incredulity. The line is needed, yet we hear complaints about the effect that it will have on us and our work. I am sure that we can manage perfectly well to get on with our work. Our facilities are appalling, but we still manage to do our work. We would be displaying ourselves to the public as people who think more of their own interests than of the interests of the travelling public and of London itself if we opposed this.

I also believe that we would get a new station. The present Westminster station is grotty. It is a disgrace. It is a place through which many people pass when they come to visit this famous and historic part of London, yet it has a horrible concourse and in heavy rain the underpass drips. It is revolting. We need a new station.

Some hon. Members have said that the proposals will bring in more tourists and that that would be appalling. It may bring more tourists in but, my goodness, it will take them away again just as quickly. A new station and a new line may encourage tourists to come by underground and that would mean fewer coaches bunging up Parliament square and parking in the surrounding streets with their engines running.

The new line will be to my convenience as well. I use the tube frequently to reach my constituency. At the moment I have to make a detour. I have to go from here to Victoria station and then on the Victoria line. To travel from Westminster up to Green Park and then straight on up the Victoria line will certainly cut my travelling time. The opposite side of the coin is that my constituents will have a quicker journey down to see me—and very welcome they will be.

It is most important for London to maintain its position as a world capital and as a world financial centre. If we do not do that, we shall drop behind other places in Europe. We need the financial centre at Canary Wharf. We need a better transport infrastructure. The Bill will provide both, and I support it.

Mr. Thorne

rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put—

Question put, That the Question be now put—

The House divided: Ayes 180, Noes 65.

Division No. 313] [9.30 pm
Alexander, Richard Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Amess, David Harris, David
Amos, Alan Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney
Arbuthnot, James Holt, Richard
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)
Ashby, David Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Aspinwall, Jack Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Atkins, Robert Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Irvine, Michael
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Jack, Michael
Batiste, Spencer Janner, Greville
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Jessel, Toby
Bellingham, Henry Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Bendall, Vivian Key, Robert
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Kilfedder, James
Benyon, W. King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Bevan, David Gilroy King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Knapman, Roger
Body, Sir Richard Knowles, Michael
Boscawen, Hon Robert Lang, Ian
Boswell, Tim Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)
Bowis, John Lightbown, David
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Lord, Michael
Brandon-Bravo, Martin MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Brazier, Julian Maclean, David
Bright, Graham McLoughlin, Patrick
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Major, Rt Hon John
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Mans, Keith
Budgen, Nicholas Maples, John
Burns, Simon Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Burt, Alistair Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Butterfill, John Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Miller, Sir Hal
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Mills, Iain
Carrington, Matthew Miscampbell, Norman
Cash, William Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda Mitchell, Sir David
Chapman, Sydney Monro, Sir Hector
Chope, Christopher Moss, Malcolm
Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n) Moynihan, Hon Colin
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Neale, Gerrard
Conway, Derek Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Nicholls, Patrick
Couchman, James Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Currie, Mrs Edwina Norris, Steve
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Davis, David (Boothferry) Oppenheim, Phillip
Devlin, Tim Page, Richard
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Paice, James
Dover, Den Patnick, Irvine
Dunn, Bob Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Durant, Tony Porter, David (Waveney)
Dykes, Hugh Portillo, Michael
Emery, Sir Peter Redwood, John
Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Fallon, Michael Rhodes James, Robert
Favell, Tony Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Fenner, Dame Peggy Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Roberts, Sir Wyn (Conwy)
Fishburn, John Dudley Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Fookes, Dame Janet Sackville, Hon Tom
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Fox, Sir Marcus Shaw, David (Dover)
Fraser, John Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Freeman, Roger Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Gale, Roger Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Gill, Christopher Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
Goodhart, Sir Philip Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Goodlad, Alastair Squire, Robin
Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW) Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Gregory, Conal Steen, Anthony
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Stern, Michael
Hague, William Stevens, Lewis
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Hampson, Dr Keith Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Stradling Thomas, Sir John Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Sumberg, David Waller, Gary
Taylor, Ian (Esher) Ward, John
Taylor, John M (Solihull) Warren, Kenneth
Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman Wells, Bowen
Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N) Wheeler, Sir John
Thorne, Neil Winterton, Mrs Ann
Thurnham, Peter Wood, Timothy
Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath) Woodcock, Dr. Mike
Tredinnick, David Yeo, Tim
Trippier, David Young, Sir George (Acton)
Twinn, Dr Ian
Viggers, Peter Tellers for the Ayes:
Waldegrave, Rt Hon William Miss Ann Widdecombe and
Walden, George Mr. Hugo Summerson.
Anderson, Donald Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Armstrong, Hilary Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Lamond, James
Beith, A. J. Lewis, Terry
Bermingham, Gerald Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Blackburn, Dr John G. Loyden, Eddie
Callaghan, Jim McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) McWilliam, John
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Meale, Alan
Cohen, Harry Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Coleman, Donald Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Mowlam, Marjorie
Cryer, Bob Nellist, Dave
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Neubert, Michael
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) O'Brien, William
Dixon, Don Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Duffy, A. E. P. Parry, Robert
Dunnachie, Jimmy Pike, Peter L.
Eadie, Alexander Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Eastham, Ken Primarolo, Dawn
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray) Redmond, Martin
Fearn, Ronald Ruddock, Joan
Foster, Derek Skinner, Dennis
Fyfe, Maria Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
Godman, Dr Norman A. Vaz, Keith
Golding, Mrs Llin Wareing, Robert N.
Gordon, Mildred Wilson, Brian
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Hoey, Ms Kate (Vauxhall)
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Tellers for the Noes:
Home Robertson, John Mr. Andrew F. Bennett and
Hood, Jimmy Mr. George J. Buckley.
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Question put accordingly, That the Bill be now read a Second time—

The House proceeded to a Division:

Ms. Gordon

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean)

I shall take it after the Division.

The House having divided: Ayes 188, Noes 50.

Division No. 314] [9.42 pm
Alexander, Richard Bendall, Vivian
Amess, David Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)
Amos, Alan Benyon, W.
Arbuthnot, James Bermingham, Gerald
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Bevan, David Gilroy
Ashby, David Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Aspinwall, Jack Body, Sir Richard
Atkins, Robert Boscawen, Hon Robert
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Boswell, Tim
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)
Bellingham, Henry Bowis, John
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Leighton, Ron
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Bright, Graham Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Lightbown, David
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Lord, Michael
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Budgen, Nicholas Maclean, David
Burns, Simon McLoughlin, Patrick
Burt, Alistair McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael
Butterfill, John Major, Rt Hon John
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Mans, Keith
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Maples, John
Carrington, Matthew Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Cash, William Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Chapman, Sydney Miller, Sir Hal
Chope, Christopher Mills, Iain
Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n) Miscampbell, Norman
Colvin, Michael Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Conway, Derek Mitchell, Sir David
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Monro, Sir Hector
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Moss, Malcolm
Couchman, James Moynihan, Hon Colin
Currie, Mrs Edwina Needham, Richard
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) Neubert, Michael
Davis, David (Boothferry) Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Devlin, Tim Nicholls, Patrick
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Dover, Den Norris, Steve
Dunn, Bob Oppenheim, Phillip
Durant, Tony Page, Richard
Dykes, Hugh Paice, James
Emery, Sir Peter Patnick, Irvine
Fallon, Michael Porter, David (Waveney)
Favell, Tony Portillo, Michael
Fenner, Dame Peggy Redwood, John
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Fishburn, John Dudley Rhodes James, Robert
Fookes, Dame Janet Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Roberts, Sir Wyn (Conwy)
Forth, Eric Ruddock, Joan
Fox, Sir Marcus Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Fraser, John Sackville, Hon Tom
Freeman, Roger Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Gale, Roger Shaw, David (Dover)
Gill, Christopher Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Goodhart, Sir Philip Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Goodlad, Alastair Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Gordon, Mildred Spearing, Nigel
Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW) Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
Gregory, Conal Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Squire, Robin
Ground, Patrick Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Hague, William Steen, Anthony
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Stern, Michael
Hampson, Dr Keith Stevens, Lewis
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn) Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Harris, David Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Holt, Richard Sumberg, David
Home Robertson, John Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Thorne, Neil
Irvine, Michael Thurnham, Peter
Jack, Michael Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Janner, Greville Tredinnick, David
Jessel, Toby Trippier, David
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Twinn, Dr Ian
Key, Robert Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Kilfedder, James Walden, George
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Walker, Bill (T'side North)
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater) Waller, Gary
Kirkhope, Timothy Ward, John
Knapman, Roger Warren, Kenneth
Knowles, Michael Wells, Bowen
Lang, Ian Wheeler, Sir John
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Winterton, Mrs Ann
Wood, Timothy
Woodcock, Dr. Mike Tellers for the Ayes:
Yeo, Tim Miss Ann Widdecombe and
Young, Sir George (Acton) Mr. Hugo Summerson.
Anderson, Donald Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Lamond, James
Beith, A. J. Lewis, Terry
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Blackburn, Dr John G. Loyden, Eddie
Blunkett, David McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Callaghan. Jim McWilliam, John
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Meale, Alan
Clelland, David Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Cohen, Harry Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Cryer, Bob O'Brien, William
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Dixon, Don Parry, Robert
Duffy, A. E. P. Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Dunnachie, Jimmy Primarolo, Dawn
Eadie, Alexander Redmond, Martin
Eastham, Ken Skinner, Dennis
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray) Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
Fearn, Ronald Turner, Dennis
Foster, Derek Wareing, Robert N.
Fyfe, Maria Wilson, Brian
Godman, Dr Norman A. Wise, Mrs Audrey
Golding, Mrs Llin
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Tellers for the Noes:
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Mr. Harry Barnes and
Hughes, Roy (Newport E) Mr. George Buckley.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read a Second time and referred to the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills.

Ordered, That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill to have regard to the need for regeneration of local communities and local industries in and around the areas of London Dockland and Lower Lea Valley.—[Mr. Spearing.]

Ordered, That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill that in its consideration of the Bill it take account of the findings and recommendations contained in the Third Report of the Select Committee on House of Commons (Services) of Session 1989–90, New Parliamentary Building (Phase 2) and the Jubilee Line Proposals.—[Mr. Ray Powell.]

Ms. Gordon

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Only two hon. Members were waiting to speak at 9.30 pm, both of whose constituencies are affected by the Bill. Both hon. Members sat through the whole of the debate on 12 July, and again today—yet the debate was closed at 9.30 pm when it could have continued till 10.30 pm. I hope that my constituents, who support the extension of the Jubilee line but have suffered from years of disruption because of the building of the docklands light railway, Canary wharf and the docklands highway, will be treated with more consideration during the building of this extension than their representative was tonight.

Miss Kate Hoey (Vauxhall)

On a similar point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I hope that the reason why the two hon. Members were not called was not that they are women. I am sure that that is not so. My constituents are concerned about Jubilee gardens and the effect of it. I hope that London Underground will treat them with more respect than the promoter treated the two hon. Members tonight.

Mr. Cryer


Mr. Andrew F. Bennett


Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I shall deal with the points of order by the hon. Members for Vauxhall (Miss Hoey) and for Bow and Poplar (Ms. Gordon). I am sorry that they were disappointed and that time ran out, but if it helps I can confirm that they were here for the majority of the Second Reading debate.

Mr. Cryer

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. In the debate on 12 July, I mentioned the environmental statement that London Underground had produced. The promoters have provided a statement for the Bill, and this links with the two points of order that have been made. I was sent a copy of the statement through the post, but only because I had said that the statement was not available to hon. Members in the Vote Office. Will you, through your good offices, Mr. Deputy Speaker, draw the attention of promoters to the desirability of making environmental statements readily available? I know that they are expensive, but compared with the hundreds of millions of pounds that are being poured into the line, a small amount of money is involved. Hon. Members who will serve on the Committee that considers the Bill should be provided with it as a matter of right. I know that this is not a Standing Order obligation, but I hope that you can use your good offices to ensure that that is done.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

As the hon. Gentleman knows, as he has raised this with the Chair before, it is the job of the Chair to be satisfied that the relevant parliamentary documents are available. His comments about documents being provided by promoters will be heard in the appropriate quarter. As he recognises, it is not a matter for the Chair.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Will you consider how the Chairman of the Committee will be appointed? My hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Mr. Dixon) mentioned how Chairmen have been appointed to Committees in recent months. The feeling in some quarters is that there has been manipulation of the order in which Bills have been taken to ensure a Conservative Chairman for controversial Bills and an Opposition Chairman for non-controversial Bills. As I understand it, the tradition of private business is that hon. Members are totally independent and are not involved with the Bill. Are you satisfied, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that any hon. Member can be totally impartial on a Bill that will affect our access to and from the House?

If the tradition of hon. Members being independent is to be maintained—four of them will consider the Bill, one of whom will have a casting vote—careful inquiries must be made to discover whether the Bill was set down for consideration a fortnight ago and again today to secure a Conservative Member as Chairman of the Committee. I think that that would have serious implications for the impartiality of that Committee and of hon. Members.

Mr. Simon Hughes

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Is it the same point of order?

Mr. Hughes

Yes, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It is further to and in support of the point of order made by the hon. Member of Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett). I ask you and your colleagues to reflect on the matter. I do not make a personal comment when I say that the Bill's sponsor is a Conservative Member—[Interruption.] No, that is not an offence. The issue of the impartiality of the Chairman of a Committee is relevant in view of the direction of the promotion. For understandable reasons, London Transport chooses—as it is entitled to do—which Member sponsors its Bill. Surely that should be a factor in influencing the choice of Chairman of the Committee, by having someone other than a Conservative Member as the Chairman. I hope that a balance can be sustained to show that the Committee is truly impartial.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I understand the points of order that have been made by the hon. Members for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) and for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes). The House recognises the onerous task of hon. Members who chair and serve on Opposed Bill Committees. I do not believe that any of the points raised are issues for the Chair, although of course I shall carefully consider the hon. Members' comments. This is a matter for the Committee of Selection. I feel sure that the two hon. Members will wish to draw their points to the attention of the Chairman of that Committee.