Building Britain's Future — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:20 pm on 29th June 2009.

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Photo of Lord McNally Lord McNally Leader in the House of Lords, Spokesperson for Constitutional Affairs , Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords 5:20 pm, 29th June 2009

The noble Lord, Lord Hoyle, makes a great horse laugh, my Lords. It is very sad that, in their dying months, a Labour Government suddenly commit themselves to something they should have done 12 years ago when they were not being outmanoeuvred by Lord Cranborne and Lord Weatherill. The truth is—and I say this with some sadness—that the Prime Minister is now the Archie Rice of politics. He is going through an old routine that the public have grown tired of.

When people made promises they could not keep, my old mentor Jim Callaghan liked to use a quote:

"I can call spirits from the vasty deep.

Why, so can I, or so can any man;

But will they come when you do call for them?"

We have had some pretty vast spirits summoned in this Statement, but there is great doubt about whether the Government have either the capacity or the time to deliver them.