Local Transport Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 22nd April 2008.

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Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker Shadow Secretary of State for Transport 10:30 am, 22nd April 2008

I, too, welcome you to the Chair, Mr. Taylor, and congratulate you on your appointment.

I begin where the hon. Member for Wimbledon left off. I add my support to the condolences expressed about Gwyneth Dunwoody. Genuinely, many of us feel that she was a hugely important figure in the House. She was associated, more than almost any other MP, with the transport issue. She was independent, while still being loyal to her party. It is a tremendous loss to the House that she is no longer with us. I am very sorry that is the case.

As the Minister knows, we broadly welcome the Bill, which we supported on Second Reading. Although we have differences about particular issues, we shall approach the Committee proceedings constructively. We want to make sure that our concerns, which are not necessarily the same as those of the Conservatives, are properly allocated time. I am sure that they will be. I am content with the allocation of 10 sittings.

I gently ask the Minister that when she berates the Opposition—which she may have good cause to do, for all I know—she is careful to talk about the Conservative Opposition, because I would hate to be associated with some of the policies coming from the Conservative Front Bench, affable though the hon. Member for Wimbledon undoubtedly is. The issues that we want particularly to flag up swing in the opposite direction from the Conservatives, as will become apparent. We want more localised power and will encourage the Government to go further, rather than retracting from their position. Those are all my comments for now. I look forward to the discussion.