Business of the House: Access to Peers' Car Park

– in the House of Lords at 3:22 pm on 16 October 2001.

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Photo of Lord Peyton of Yeovil Lord Peyton of Yeovil Conservative 3:22, 16 October 2001

My Lords, can the noble Lord the Chief Whip offer an explanation for the continued restricted access to these premises?

Photo of Lord Carter Lord Carter Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Lords Chief Whip (HM Household)

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Peyton, who, with his customary courtesy, informed me of his intention to ask this Question. I should make clear that the Government have no locus in this matter, but I am happy to respond.

The work that has been carried out on the West Front of the House in the area of the Peers' car park in the Summer Recess is phase 2 of a three-phase project to create Old Palace Yard as a World Heritage square. Next summer will see the roadway restored. This summer's work should have been completed by 8th October 2001. Unannounced and unco-ordinated work to lay a gas pipeline by Transco along the pedestrian side of Old Palace Yard started shortly before the House rose for the Recess.

Accordingly, our contractors asked for and were granted two extra weeks to complete the pavement. The pavement work will be completed by 26th October; that is, at the end of next week. The car park is complete and provides 64 parking spaces, one more than before. I am sure that, had he been with us, Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe would have been the first to congratulate the authorities of the House.

Photo of Lord Peyton of Yeovil Lord Peyton of Yeovil Conservative

My Lords, I make it clear that my Question involved no criticism of the noble Lord. I am grateful to him for his courtesy and for the Answer he has now given. However, does he find it embarrassing to agree on behalf of the Government that the continued mixture of sloppiness and bad manners on the part of those who run large organisations such as Transco is greatly to be regretted? It would be a welcome change and an example if they were to determine from now on to treat the public with greater consideration and rudimentary good manners.

Photo of Lord Carter Lord Carter Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Lords Chief Whip (HM Household)

My Lords, I am not in the least embarrassed to agree, not on behalf of the Government but on behalf of the House.

Photo of Lord Peston Lord Peston Labour

My Lords, my noble friend referred to the much lamented Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe. At the risk of my noble friend having a heart attack, perhaps I may ask him to accept that I now realise, having looked at the car park, that when I intervened before on this subject I was mistaken. It seems to me that for once the authorities of the House have done something right, which is why I risked the heart attack.

I do not know what message Lord Cocks is sending down to me from Heaven, but I have to confess that the car park looks more attractive and appears to be more efficient in terms of parking. I regard that as miraculous, which is why I felt I should intervene.

Photo of Lord Peyton of Yeovil Lord Peyton of Yeovil Conservative

My Lords, no point is raised about the car park. My point relates to the delay caused by Transco's operation.

Photo of Lord Carter Lord Carter Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Lords Chief Whip (HM Household)

My Lords, as Chief Whip, I cannot respond without referring to the fact that my noble friend voted for reference back to the sub-committee. We then recommended the scheme and the House supported it. Perhaps I may remind my noble friend of the biblical injunction that good works precede redemption.