Graham Stringer: Before I call the Minister, I remind him that it would be helpful if he left a couple of minutes for the debate’s sponsor to wind up.
Graham Stringer: The restraint on interventions and speeches means that we have gained a couple of minutes, so the Front-Bench spokespeople will have a generous 10 minutes each. I call Angela Crawley.
Graham Stringer: To help the hon. Gentleman, there were roughly five and a half minutes for everybody if they self-allocated. He has now been speaking for six and a half minutes.
Graham Stringer: It is probably easier if I impose a five-minute time limit on speeches.
Graham Stringer: I draw Members’ attention to the fact that our proceedings are being made available for people who are deaf or hearing-impaired. The interpreters are using British Sign Language, and Parliament TV will show a live, simultaneous interpretation of the debate. We are also trialling live subtitling for the first time on channel 15 on parliamentlive.tv. I call Jim Fitzpatrick to move the motion.
Graham Stringer: Order. Eight people wish to speak in the debate, and we have 45 minutes. I am not going to impose a time limit straightaway. I hope people will do the arithmetic and follow that. If not, I will have to impose a time limit. I call Peter Aldous.
Graham Stringer: It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Howarth. I congratulate the hon. Member for Stone (Sir William Cash) on bringing HS2 to Westminster Hall for a serious debate today. Although I agree with him on a number of issues, on this issue we unfortunately find ourselves on opposite sides of the debate. I gently tease him about the start of his speech, where he referred to an...
Graham Stringer: The right hon. Lady makes a good point. I am a Manchester MP, I went to university in Sheffield and I always wanted the project to start in Manchester and Sheffield, but it would have been a unifying factor for the United Kingdom for the project to start in Scotland. There is no reason for it to start in only one or two places—it could have started in three; many projects of this scale...
Graham Stringer: The right hon. Gentleman is making some sound and sensible points about the negotiations on the future of Horizon 2020. We have been a net beneficiary of those funds. Does he accept not only that, overall, as the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee said, we contribute a great deal more than that to the EU budget but that Horizon 2020, which deals with elite science, is not the...
Graham Stringer: A recent paper by the International Solid Waste Association has shown that much of the plastic we declare as recycled, when it is exported to China and other Asian countries, ends up in rivers and accounts for at least 25% of the plastic pollution going into the seas. Is the Secretary of State aware of that, and what action does he intend to take to improve the situation?
Graham Stringer: On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Earlier in the debate, I asked the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Sir Vince Cable) why, if he was so keen on referendums, the Liberal Democrats—and he in particular—had not voted for a referendum on the Lisbon treaty in 2008. He said that they had. Since then I have had the opportunity to check the Official Report, and I can tell the...
Graham Stringer: On this point at least, the Minister is making a great deal of sense. Does she agree that the Lib Dems are more interested in being good supporters of the EU than in being democrats? They are following the long tradition of the European Union, exemplified by referendums in Ireland. When the Irish people vote against various constitutional amendments, they keep having to vote until they get...
Graham Stringer: Why did the right hon. Gentleman not take the opportunity to vote for a referendum on the Lisbon treaty?
Graham Stringer: The chaos on Northern rail is apparent, but even had there not been the timetabling problems, the Northern rail and trans-Pennine franchises were let on a no-growth basis. Does the Secretary of State now realise that it was a mistake to let rail franchises on a no-growth basis and that it led to road congestion?
Graham Stringer: I did mention road congestion, Mr Speaker.
Graham Stringer: I was pointing out that particular franchises led to road congestion.
Graham Stringer: Precisely.
Graham Stringer: In a deregulated bus system, local authorities have no control over routes and fares, and the amount of money for tendered services is being cut by 45%. How can the Prime Minister justify her statement that local authorities should be improving bus services? Will the Secretary of State give the Prime Minister a lesson in how the bus service system works?
Graham Stringer: I will join the Secretary of State in the Lobby tonight because I think that the third runway is a piece of infrastructure of national importance that will benefit the whole nation. However, what it must not do is increase the disparity of wealth and income between the regions of this country and London and the south-east. Can the Secretary of State tell us what extra funds he will invest in...
Graham Stringer: I agree with what the hon. Gentleman is saying. Does he agree with me that franchisees that walk away from a franchise should be banned from bidding for a significant period?