HC Deb 24 July 1990 vol 177 cc364-96

[Relevant document; Third Report of the Select Committee on House of Commons (Services) of Session 1989–90, New Parliamentary Building (Phase 2) and the Jubilee Line Proposals (HC334).]

Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Question proposed [12 July], That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Question again proposed.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)

I remind the House that Mr. Speaker has already selected the instruction standing in the name of the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore). He has now selected the instruction standing in the name of the hon. Member for Ogmore (Mr. Powell). Mr. Simon Hughes had the Floor.

7.34 pm
Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark and Bermondsey)

In the last sentence recorded in Hansard in the debate on 12 July I say that other hon. Members wish to speak. I understand that, with the passage of time, that is still the case, so as I have told the Minister, I shall be brief and conclude my remarks and allow other hon. Members to do just that.

It is 12 days since we last debated this matter and that is a long time in politics. Some people who were here yesterday are gone today. I am happy that the Minister for Public Transport remains the same as yesterday. I do not know about for ever. I am sure that he would not wish that himself. But I am glad to see that our proceedings have not been further disrupted by any change on the Front Bench in this debate and higher up in the same Department.

I have not had a chance to check the precedents, but it struck me as amazing that the Bill came back so quickly. Private Bills sometimes take a long time to return. I just observe—it may be an appropriate metaphor for the debate—that there can be wheels within wheels when matters are thought important enough.

Two points were made in our debate 12 days ago. The first, made by hon. Members on both sides of the House, was about the effect of the Jubilee line on and around Westminster. The second, made particularly by Members from docklands and detailed in the instruction in the name of the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) and other dockland Members which was selected, was about the effect that the Jubilee line would have south of the river and in docklands.

For many of us, and I think for the majority of people, the second is the more important issue. Without in any way wanting to interfere with or alter the effect of the contributions made so far and to be made by many hon. Members about the effect on Westminster, when the history of the proposal comes to be written we will see that the great issue was whether the Jubilee line should be extended to become a community line or a developers' line. I think that the Minister and others agree with that.

Since our previous debate, in the light of publicity and reports of the debate, I have received some unsolicited correspondence, as, I understand, has the Minister. I shall quote one or two letters to confirm that it is not just those of us with a vested interest—although being an elected representative of the people is a pretty justifiable vested interest—who would argue for stations for local communities.

I received a copy of the letter sent by the Jubilee and Bakerloo Line Users' Committee to the Secretary of State for Transport, a copy of which has also been received by the hon. Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Thorne) and others, about the Southwark and Bermondsey stations. It says: On the matter of the proposed stations at Southwark and Bermondsey, we do most strongly represent that they be retained in the Bill. Though inclusion of Waterloo and London Bridge was the largest single factor in influencing us some seventeen months ago to propose the Westminster route (as against the Aldwych version—then the only one on offer), the second highest consideration was that it would serve areas of London that greatly warranted an Underground service. Inner Cities revival greatly relies on such provision. Our Line would be opened up to entirely fresh usage and thus make its contribution to the relief of congestion in London. The committee also wrote to me separately to say: We very much support retention of Southwark and Bermondsey stations in the extension plans (as well as Canada Water). I also received a letter from the British Property Federation headed "Transport Infrastructure" and dated 13 July. Its director general, Sir Peregrine Rhodes, said: I note that you are campaigning to oppose any decision to omit stations at Southwark and Bermondsey on the proposed Jubilee Line extension. The British Property Federation has for some time been urging on the Government the need for immediate and decisive action to cope with the problems of transport infrastructure both in London and throughout the country. I thought that you would like a copy of the enclosed press release which we have just issued following a meeting of those associated with our initiative. You will see that there is specific reference to the point about Bermondsey and Southwark". I also have a press release dated 13 July, which I shall not cite in its entirety. This is from a federation representatives' meeting on 11 July, attended also by the City of London corporation, Westminster city council, the Confederation of British Industry, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Chartered Institute of Transport, the Westminster Property Owners Association and the Associated Owners of City Properties. It ends: They were also concerned about reports that the Government are for short team reasons to abandon plans for the Bermondsey and Southwark stations on the proposed Jubilee Line extension. These stations would make a valuable contribution to the urgently needed urban regeneration in these deprived areas. Delay in coping with London's problems will create an image of London as outdated and failing to grasp the need to modernise existing systems. The letter continues in similar vein. The British Property Federation, as well as the users, came out clearly in favour of the two stations—about which there was some doubt—after our previous debate.

One letter reflects that there was even internal lobbying among those professionally concerned. It would be improper for me to reveal the source, although I am happy to show the Minister the letter later. I had a letter from somebody who is involved in the process of getting the Bill round the circuit here who said that behind-the-scenes lobbying has been going on because people recognise the importance of the issue.

have a copy of a more personal letter sent to the Secretary of State for Transport. Copies were sent to me and also to the hon. Member for Dagenham (Mr. Gould), who is a constituent of mine and who lives within walking distance of where Bermondsey station would be if it were built. The letter is from a woman constituent who lives in Wrayburn House, which is a Southwark council block near the river in the middle of Bermondsey. She says: Dear Mr. Parkinson,

  1. JUBILEE LINE EXTENSION 17,248 words, 2 divisions
  2. c396
  3. Redbridge London Borough Council Bill 46 words
  4. c396