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Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill [HL] - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:06 pm on 3rd February 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Crawley Baroness Crawley Labour 4:06 pm, 3rd February 2020

My Lords, it is always a delight to follow the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, with all the experience he brings to these matters.

I am relieved that my noble friend Lord Snape has been brave enough to open a discourse on that Rubik’s Cube that is the layout and signage of New Street station. I am relieved that I am not the only one who always gives myself 10 minutes extra in case I am sitting the red lounge thinking that I am going to Banbury when in fact I am sitting in the blue lounge on my way to Stoke. As my noble friend said, it is important that, for our foreign visitors to these Games, someone has a look at it. I am looking at the Minister—I am sure that she personally will not be having a look at it, but she may know somebody who can.

We are once again under starter’s orders with this important Bill to enable Birmingham and the West Midlands to be the best possible host for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Showcasing the whole West Midlands region is a crucial part of the Games experience, for our visitors and for West Midlanders.

As a former MEP representing Birmingham in the European Parliament for most of the 1980s and 1990s, I have a lifelong affection for the city. I am also aware, as are all noble Lords, of the unique opportunity that the £778 million of sports investment will mean for the city and for the region. Birmingham will not turn its back on such investment given that, 12 years after the financial crash, the city is still recovering in terms of employment, wages and productivity. Leaving the EU has also brought uncertainty to a region and a city that enjoyed the economic benefits of our connectivity with Europe over several decades.

Speaking of connectivity, I will add my voice to the rising call to keep HS2, with all its benefits for the West Midlands and the north?