Clause 44 - Nominated undertaker

Part of High Speed Rail(London - West Midlands) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:15 pm on 3 March 2016.

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Photo of Andy McDonald Andy McDonald Shadow Minister (Transport) 12:15, 3 March 2016

We are talking about Bill Powers, not the left half for Aston Villa in 1956—no, he does not exist—but the powers contained within the Bill. My singular concern is about the wording of subsection (1)(a), which says:

“The Secretary of State may by order…appoint a person specified in the order as the nominated undertaker for such purposes of such provisions of this Act as may be so specified”.

The Minister made clear in his opening remarks—but I want to impress this on him—that this is about building HS2 and nothing more. By trying to extend the remit of the clause, we could give the nominated undertaker carte blanche in terms of all the powers in the Bill. It is probably not the Minister’s intention that the powers be limited during the building of phases 1 and 2. I have a slight anxiety that, if read in another way, those powers would extend beyond building to compulsory purchase and acquisition, development and even the closure of stations, which we discussed a few moments ago. Will the Minister help me with that now, or should we return to it at a later date so that he can look into it? I have a slight anxiety that the phraseology is far too wide.