London Docklands Railway (Lewisham, etc.) Bill (By Order)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:19 pm on 24th February 1992.

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Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen , Leyton 9:19 pm, 24th February 1992

The hon. Member for Hexham (Mr. Amos) is right that, in many ways, the docklands light railway has been a disaster—one might even say an unmitigated disaster. The blame for that rests with the Government because it was the Government who built it on the cheap. It is an example of market forces at work and of what happens when there is a lack of proper planning in building such a system and in seeking to provide a good transport infrastructure for the area. For 13 wasted years, this Government have let market forces run the show.

Matters will not be made better if we allow the LDDC to take over. The LDDC eulogised the system when it first appeared but the LDDC is not—and nor has it ever been—a transport operator. It will control the railway only as a first step towards privatisation. I think that the disaster will continue as a result of the Government's chosen course.

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Bow and Poplar (Ms. Gordon) on a superb constituency speech. When the general election comes—perhaps on 9 April—she will be returned with a handsome and increased majority. The people of Bow and Poplar should be told how she defended their interests in the House when the Government, LRT and the LDDC wanted to walk all over them. No doubt my hon. Friend will see off the challenge from the Liberals quite comfortably. It is interesting that they have not been here at all. I suspect that, if the Bill and the interests of the people of Bow and Poplar were up before the House for discussion again in future, they would not be here to defend the areas interests.