John Redwood: Will the Minister remind the House of the latest estimate of the total cost of the whole project and the timing of the payments—how many years?
John Redwood: The project will also reveal part of our industrial history. When the building was first constructed, it drew on crafts and skills from across the country, and some of the companies involved might still be around in one form or another and be able to bid again. It was a national endeavour, not a London endeavour.
John Redwood: New clause 1 seems to imply, in answer to a question I was asking earlier, that the Comptroller and Auditor General would have a duty to examine policy value for money with regard to how much work is done, the timing of the work, whether we need to move, and so forth. Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is absolutely fundamental that that should be part of the process, because the way in...
John Redwood: These are very important considerations and I am glad my hon. Friend is raising them. One of the problems in dealing with a building that has 1,000 years of history on its site, as a royal palace and as legal and government buildings, is to know which era or eras one is most concerned about, what one is trying to conserve, and what one can hope to re-use or conserve. Does he have any thoughts...
John Redwood: Again, an additional complication is that this is a complete Victorian rebuild of an earlier building, which also reflects the Victorian view of the history that predated the building. We therefore have a double time capsule: it is a piece of Victorian Britain and it is their view of the previous few hundred years.
John Redwood: Of course, when the works need to move on to parts of the Palace that MPs use more often and more directly, alternative arrangements will need to be made. However, I do not think that means that all MPs need to move out of the old Palace for a long period of time, when it has been shown that bits of work can be done around the historic Palace without everybody having to decamp.
John Redwood: I do not think it does at all, because I have also pointed out that there are a lot of roofing works going on. The hon. Gentleman is using the parts of the building that are being reroofed without being interrupted in his work. Again, I pay tribute to those who are carrying out the works without the need for fundamental change. If we want value for money, we need to ensure that before any...
John Redwood: I am very willing to do so. As I say, I welcome the principle that where works are conducted, there needs to be a proper audit. However, I go back to the intervention that I made at the start of the debate, when I said that any audit should also look at the policy, because I note that the legislation we are being asked to approve today makes it very clear that the policy has not been...
John Redwood: Does the hon. Gentleman recall that some £400 million of common taxpayers’ money was spent on the Edinburgh Parliament, and no equivalent English Parliament has been granted? This is the Parliament of the Union, so we all share in it. His fellow countrymen and women voted to stay in that Union and are proud of their Union’s Parliament.
John Redwood: I entirely agree that where work has to be done, it should be spread around the country. Is the right hon. Gentleman envisaging that the audit should take into account the policy issues? For example, will it look at whether it is good value to move MPs out of this building, or whether there is some easier way of doing this without something so fundamental?
John Redwood: I am very happy that there should be proper audit and review, and I think the right spirit was struck by the right hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside (Mark Tami) in speaking about his proposal. However, I would like to raise the bigger policy issue. The underlying Bill he is seeking to amend says that the Delivery Authority is “to formulate proposals relating to the design, cost and...
John Redwood: Can the Minister give us some indication of how many machines the Government think are still out there which could be risky, in the light of the high incidence of fires that she has reported?
John Redwood: Will the Secretary of State confirm that there was a very sharp fall in real incomes at the end of Labour’s period in office, and the good news is that we are now above that old level and rising? Rising real incomes is the way to get people out of poverty.
John Redwood: Will the hon. Lady give way?
John Redwood: rose—
John Redwood: Will the Government now review the very high vehicle excise duties they have imposed, as well as the squeeze on car loans and the regulatory uncertainty about buying new petrol and diesel, because these are all factors that have done a lot of damage to demand and output in the UK car industry?
John Redwood: What does the Prime Minister say to the many members of the public who think the Government should have kept their promise to take us out on 29 March with or without the draft treaty? What does she say to the millions of angry leave voters who do not see the agreement as any kind of Brexit, but a lock-in for many months with no clear way out?
John Redwood: The Secretary of State has done well in getting the extra money that the NHS needs. Will he briefly summarise what extra service and capacity we will get for that money? It is important to spend it wisely.
John Redwood: I have declared my business interests in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, but I am not speaking for them of course; I wish to speak on behalf of the retail businesses in my constituency, as others have already done. While I am sure it is well intended and necessary to develop a digital payment system for this tax, can the Minister reassure us that it will not be used as a...
John Redwood: Can the Minister give an idea of the cost involved and what sort of efficient and better system might emerge?