Amendment 257B

Part of Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill - Committee (10th Day) – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 20 April 2023.

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Photo of Baroness Pinnock Baroness Pinnock Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Levelling Up, Communities and Local Government) 6:45, 20 April 2023

I thank the Minister for his careful response to the concerns that have been raised. I said at the outset that I understand that some planning decisions must be made rapidly in the national interest.

However, unrestrained power for an undefined purpose of national importance, as the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, said, is at the heart of this. The Executive are taking too much power without being clear on why an urgent decision is needed. If the Government had come forward with a speeded-up process for urgent decisions, shortening the planning process because something is urgent but still enabling people to have their voices heard, I would be more inclined to support that, but not them just saying that, basically, the Secretary of State can make the decision.

I end with this because it is near—well, nearish—me. Linton-on-Ouse was an abject failure of this process. A decision was made to use that accommodation. Nobody was asked, nobody was told. Lots of people said, “Oh, right, we’re not having this then”, as they do in Yorkshire and no doubt do elsewhere. They decided to have a public meeting and put an end to it, and that is exactly what happened, whereas with thoughtful, informed decision-making, the Government may have been able to get to a solution. The Minister’s proposal that this is the only way to get a timely, proportionate, faster and more effective route has not been borne out in practice.

I get upset when the phrase “illegal migrants” is used. The people coming across the channel are asylum seekers. If some of them have their asylum applications refused, they will at that point be illegal migrants, but otherwise they are asylum seekers.

I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 257B withdrawn.

Clause 101 agreed.