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I start by apologising to my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister for being one of those fooled by yesterday's Financial Timesarticle, which said that he had secured £700 million from the Chancellor. Perhaps we should have known better, given the Chancellor's recent pronouncements. Having said that, the obvious negotiating skills of the Deputy Prime Minister and his team ensured that they did not need that amount of money.
The fact that the whole link is to be built, given the disastrous deal struck by the Conservatives, is welcome. However, given the length of time needed for the construction of the whole link, does my right hon. Friend believe that the regeneration of east London will begin before commencement of construction of the second half of the link, in 2001; and will the blight that has affected so many homes and businesses in east London also be dealt with by his statement today?