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I hate to bring politics into this debate. My right hon. Friend reminds me of the point that I was making about the hon. Member for Islington, North, who could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be described as one of the usual suspects or one of the Whips' narks. I therefore regard his appointment as rather interesting and something that I should like to support.
Let me return to the hon. Member for Regent's Park and Kensington, North, for whom I also have a great deal of respect. Years ago, we sat on the Committee that considered the Bill that became the Greater London Authority Act 1999. What a fantastic Committee that was to serve on, for many happy hours. Sadly, many of the other hon. Members on that Committee have now gone or passed away. The hon. Lady sat through many of those Committee sittings, as is the wont of Government Members who are not able to speak. Perhaps she would speak more on this London Committee; she is a great expert on housing in London. I respect her for that, so hers is a very useful appointment to the Committee.
Clive Efford-my wife was born in Eltham-and I have crossed swords on various things. He was on the Transport Committee with me, which was very interesting. I have to say though that we differ about the expansion of Heathrow. As my hon. Friend Justine Greening said, Heathrow expansion is a very important matter for the whole of London.
I know that the Whips want to do the job properly-we always do. We want to make sure that democracy is seen to be done in the fullest and best way. I looked down the list of members and just when I thought I was getting cynical, just when I began to think that the Committee would be full of people who were for the third runway at Heathrow, I saw the name of Mr. Slaughter. He and I are old friends. Back in '97, he stood against me in a by-election. What a charming man he was-he let me win. I am sure he did so out of the goodness of his heart, and if it comes to a vote I might find it difficult in my heart to say that the man who let me come into this place to serve my Uxbridge constituents might not be allowed to be on the Committee.
Since the hon. Gentleman ceased to be a Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Department for Transport, he has been a redoubtable opponent of the third runway. Maybe-just maybe-there is some balance in the list.
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