Crossrail Bill

– in the House of Lords at 11:36 am on 25th October 2007.

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Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Government Whip, Government Whip 11:36 am, 25th October 2007

rose to move that if a Crossrail Bill is brought from the House of Commons in the next Session of Parliament, the Standing Orders of the House applicable to the Bill, so far as complied with or dispensed with in this Session or in the Session 2005-06 or in the Session 2004-05, shall be deemed to have been complied with or (as the case may be) dispensed with in the next Session.

Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Government Whip, Government Whip

This Motion is technical in nature and will, if approved, ensure the Crossrail Bill's continuance into the next parliamentary Session. While not wanting to detain the House for too long, I would like to say a few words about the project.

Crossrail will benefit London, the south-east and the United Kingdom as a whole. London's success as a major international financial centre is important to the national economy, and unless we invest in more transport capacity we shall all be the poorer. Crossrail will increase access to the capital for hundreds of thousands of workers who commute into London every day. Crossrail will provide a new fleet of trains, operating a 24-trains an hour peak service in both directions through central London and carry an estimated 200 million passengers a year.

The Bill, if enacted, will allow for the construction of the scheme. This hybrid Bill was introduced into another place on 22 February 2005 and received its Second Reading on 19 July that year with a majority of 375. The Motion today will ensure that the Bill can be carried over for consideration in the next Session. There will be no curtailment of scrutiny next Session. Once the other place has completed its consideration, the Bill will be passed to this House for consideration. In addition to the usual parliamentary stages a Select Committee stage will be added, because the Bill is hybrid. That Select Committee will hear the remaining concerns of petitioners. I issue a general invitation for volunteers to serve on that committee and—if they wish to do so—to come and see me afterwards. I beg to move.

Moved, That if a Crossrail Bill is brought from the House of Commons in the next Session of Parliament, the Standing Orders of the House applicable to the Bill, so far as complied with or dispensed with in this Session or in the Session 2005-06 or in the Session 2004-05, shall be deemed to have been complied with or (as the case may be) dispensed with in the next Session.—(Lord Bassam of Brighton.)

Photo of Baroness O'Cathain Baroness O'Cathain Conservative

My Lords, when I read the Motion I thought, "What sort of convoluted language is this?". Just for clarification, what does it actually mean? I am slightly suspicious about projects grinding on and on. With the Heathrow Terminal 5 issue in mind, I wonder whether this Motion is a licence to carry on for ever. It is so important for the Bill be sorted out and enacted and for construction to start, for all the reasons that the noble Lord gave, we do not want to provide a licence for delay.

Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Government Whip, Government Whip

My Lords, the Motion enables consideration of the Bill to move into the next Session, for one Session only. The noble Baroness, Lady O'Cathain, is absolutely right that we need to crack on with this. The timetable is such that, over the next 10 years, after the parliamentary process, the important work of constructing this fantastic project needs to proceed with all speed.

On Question, Motion agreed to.