Viscount Astor: My Lords, I too congratulate the three maiden speakers. When the Government first passed the legislation to combat this virus, none of us—and I suspect perhaps not the Government themselves—realised what a draconian step it was going to be and how it would undermine democratic accountability and parliamentary scrutiny. It does not help that so many of our debates have been on Zoom, but...
Viscount Astor: To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that HS2 Ltd’s Noise Model is verified for accuracy against other domestic and international High-Speed Rail services.
Viscount Astor: To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the proposed HS2 Phase One viaducts at Wendover on (1) traffic flow, and (2) the future development of the A413.
Viscount Astor: To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the conclusions of the British Tunnelling Society in their 2019 article for Tunnels & Tunnelling International entitled ‘Tunnelling costs and production rates benchmarked’, which concluded that tunnelling costs decrease per unit length with increasing overall tunnelling length, and (2) the implications of these...
Viscount Astor: To ask Her Majesty's Government whether HS2 Ltd has made changes to the design and scope of the HS2 Phase One programme since Royal Assent in 2017.
Viscount Astor: To ask Her Majesty's Government whether HS2 Ltd used (1) HS2: A Guide to Tunnelling Costs, published by HS2 Ltd on 11 June 2015, and (2) the Infrastructure Cost Review by HM Treasury and Infrastructure UK, published on 21 December 2010, as benchmarks for estimating the costs of the Wendover Short-Mined Tunnel proposal.
Viscount Astor: The Leader of the House what assessment she has made of the impact of one minute speaking time limits during debates in the House on (1) the reputation of the House, and (2) effective scrutiny of Her Majesty's Government.
Viscount Astor: My Lords, that is remarkably difficult speech to follow. I always assumed that I was the son of a Conservative politician but, who knows, following a DNA test I could be the son of a Labour politician. For all one knows, after a test, I could come into this Chamber and meet, perhaps, the noble Lord, Lord Snape, and say, “Hello Daddy”.
Viscount Astor: I am grateful to the noble Lord. Anyway, back to the matter in hand. The case against this Bill is stronger than ever. The fundamental reason why is this Government’s commitment to a constitutional convention, as set out in the party manifesto published prior to the election. It is always worth reminding noble Lords opposite that the hereditary Peers are still here not because of the...
Viscount Astor: My Lords, my noble friend Lord Forsyth and his committee have produced in their report a damning critique of HS2. However, the report must be read in conjunction with the even more damning report from the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley. I have always felt that HS2, as it is set out at the moment, is flawed for many reasons, but so often in the past my noble friend Lord Framlingham and I have been...
Viscount Astor: To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the proposals contained within the Parking (Code of Practice) Bill, what plans they have to introduce a single appeals service for the private parking sector.
Viscount Astor: My Lords, the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury quoted the King James Bible when he spoke. I offer a quote from a rather different hymn sheet, as it were: “Welcome to the Hotel California … You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”. That Eagles hit from 1976 rather aptly describes the one flaw in the Government’s exit proposal. If you do not have...
Viscount Astor: Perhaps I may remind the noble Lord that, in the previous Parliament, when he was Chief Whip, on the boundary changes Bill, his party kept your Lordships up all night, filibustering with what were, in effect, Second Reading speeches, to frustrate that Bill. He cannot have it both ways.
Viscount Astor: The noble Lord’s party blocked the Bill; that is my point.
Viscount Astor: My Lords, perhaps I may follow my noble and learned friend. The noble Lord, Lord Blunkett, said that it was a medieval process. Perhaps I should remind noble Lords opposite that the medieval process he referred to was brought to Parliament by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Irvine, when in government. It is not the fault of the hereditary Peers that nothing has happened since; it is the...
Viscount Astor: Perhaps I can help my noble friend. I voted against the Government for the first time as a rather junior Member of this House, and the following week the Prime Minister rang me up and I joined the Government Whips’ Office. It was a form of promotion.
Viscount Astor: To ask Her Majesty's Government what protocols are in place to share the genetic data of serving and retired members of the Armed Forces with the police and prosecuting authorities.
Viscount Astor: To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Ministry of Defence refused to share genetic data with the Kent constabulary in relation to an ongoing investigation into burglaries in that area; and, if so why.
Viscount Astor: To ask Her Majesty's Government how long records of genetic data on members of the Armed Forces are held by the Ministry of Defence.
Viscount Astor: To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Ministry of Defence can share genetic data relating to serving and retired members of the Armed Forces following a request by the police for criminal investigations.