Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:45 am on 1st July 1983.

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Photo of Hon. Anthony Berry Hon. Anthony Berry , Enfield, Southgate 11:45 am, 1st July 1983

I shall not follow the hon. Lady on that course. She is wrong, and does not understand the problem, certainly not in my constituency.

My hon. Friend the Member for Richmond and Barnes referred to the M25, as others have. I am delighted that the Government are pressing ahead with that. He referred to the north circular as though it were the opposite to the south circular. I agree that it is better than the south circular, but it is not perfect. There is more widening to do. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary and I both have problems in our constituencies. I understand that the Government are going ahead with improvements to that road in my area. I look forward to that happening soon.

One of the real issues in the election and one of the reasons why my party did so well was the sale of council houses. There is no doubt that when there was a switch from Labour to Conservative it was particularly done by those who had bought their council houses and saw what it meant to own their own homes. One has only to drive round and see the new doors on the houses and so on to realise the effect that our policy has had. I urge particularly the Conservative London boroughs to press ahead as quickly as they can with extending that system.

It is right that we should debate London in the week when the report of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis has come out. I warmly pay tribute to the way in which Sir Kenneth Newman has carried out his work in the months since he took over. He is doing so in a quiet but firm way. Londoners will be grateful to him.

I welcome the meetings between the police and local communities in all parts of London. That is an important step forward. I hope that still more policemen will come back on the beat. About 400 more policemen have come back on the beat over the past two or three years. So far, that is mainly in central London, but I hope that before long it will be extended to outer London, including my own area.

In spite of my earlier remarks, I believe that it is right that we should debate London in the first full week of the new session. Our capital city is worthy of frequent discussion. At this time we have the maximum number of visitors in our midst. It is nice to think that, when they come to Westminster, they can see the lovely effect of the cleaning of the buildings, which is making such good progress.

This is my first speech in the House for four and a half years — and almost for eight years. I wonder what category I come into. This week there have been references to virgins and retreads. I do not think that I come into either of those categories. I turn instead to a description of my more distinguished namesake, and quote the words of Cleopatra: Give me to drink …That I might sleep out this great gap of timeMy Antony is away. This Anthony is back, but he does not promise to be here every Friday.