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The debate on this group of amendments is the main event this evening. Three elements have emerged from the discussion so far, and I suppose that I, too, should refer to them.
First, we had an interesting exchange about the aviation White Paper and the designation of national policy statements. Mrs. Lait has said that she was encouraged by what the Minister said about the conclusion of his debate with John McDonnell. However, my recollection is that the Minister said that the matter would be one for the relevant Secretary of State. I do not find that wholly reassuring, because there will be many pressures on the Government, as we all know, to deliver all sorts of things, particularly on aviation.
I hoped that the prompting of the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington about the different nature of the White Paper and how it relates to what a national policy statement is designed to be would mean that it could not be considered. The Minister was clear that there are criteria by which the Secretary of State must examine a White Paper or any existing guidelines, to determine whether it could function realistically as a national policy statement. That is a huge responsibility to place on the Secretary of State's shoulders, when all the other national policy statements may be considered by another process. I am therefore a little concerned that we are not quite at the stage of being reassured on that point.
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