1ABecause it is not appropriate to restrict the application of a regional spatial strategy only to regions which have elected assemblies.

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:15 pm on 26th April 2004.

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Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Minister of State (Regeneration and Regional Development), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) (Regeneration and Regional Development) 3:15 pm, 26th April 2004

My Lords, I am glad that the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, made that speech. I agreed with virtually every word that he said. I shall give examples to support his and my case.

I have something to say, tongue in cheek, in reply to what I heard from the noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield. I would obviously never dream of accusing anyone in this place of bad faith; it would not cross my mind. However, there are those outside who, on one hand, are quite happy to sit down with government Ministers and agree reasonable concessions—there has been a big concession from the Government, as I fully appreciate, from how the Bill was drafted. Then we are told that those people say, with a nod and a wink, "Okay, we're happy, but we'll get what we really want through the back door via the unelected House of Parliament, not the elected House". If they do not blink at that, it seems to border on dishonourable conduct in the negotiations by the outside bodies with central government. People cannot have it both ways.