No less a figure than the late Rhodri Morgan, former First Minister of Wales, described the M4 as the great infrastructure project in Wales of the 20th century. He recognised that the M4 is not just a matter of local convenience for people living in and around Newport; it also has a huge impact on the whole Welsh economy. Those of us from the Newport area know what it has done for that area. We have seen the development of Severnside, and my right hon. Friend mentioned the major sporting and musical events that now take place in Cardiff. I very much hope that the convention centre will host the Conservative conference sometime soon—I am told that it is the largest conference, and the one that generates the most income locally, so I am sure the whole of Newport would welcome it. We want to see that happen. We have also seen the development of the haulage and warehousing industry along the M4, particularly in the Severnside area.
The M4 has wider implications as it is one of the European Union’s critical routes. Although it is not labelled as such, it is part of the E30, which stretches all the way from Cork to Omsk, so even the European Union recognises its importance. As a great fan of the European states—it is important that we trade with all of them—I very much hope that, if they are going to tie us up in red tape, they insist that we maintain that critical piece of infrastructure.
We all know that there are many problems with the M4—other hon. Members have highlighted them—and this is not just about the Brynglas tunnels area. There are massive and unnecessary delays westbound, towards the Coldra roundabout—unfortunately, right where the convention centre is—and eastbound, coming out of Cardiff towards Tredegar Park, which has an impact on residents of Cardiff.