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Column 555"Let's see how we can actively work together to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities." That would encourage individual employers to meet the targets that they have said that they are willing to meet.
Much more can be done under the voluntary code. If disability groups in our constituencies said to shops, "To make your shop accessible to somebody in a wheelchair, this is what you will need to do and this is a rough idea of what it will cost", I am sure that many shopkeepers would say, "That is not as much as I thought it would cost ; I will do it." Shopkeepers probably never considered doing so before because nobody helped them to take that next step. The needs of disabled people will be increasingly borne in mind by the House and the country. We must strengthen current legislation and the Bill undoubtedly does that. The legal complications, the grey areas and the aspects open for debate in court and elsewhere still give grounds for concern, but this debate and the one next week and the future progress of the Bill give us a chance to express our genuine concerns to ensure that people with disabilities play a full part in the life and work of this country.
Question put and agreed to.
That, in the opinion of this House, Her Majesty's Ministers should provide sufficient time on the floor of the House before 27 May 1994 to allow all remaining stages of the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill to be completed, and that sufficient time be provided before the end of the Session for the consideration of any Amendments to the Bill which may be made by the House of Lords.
That this House wishes to place on record its appreciation for the lives of Mr. Jimmy Boyce, the honourable Member for Rotherham who died on 25th January 1994, Jo Richardson, the honourable Member for Barking who died on 1st February 1994, Mr. Ron Leighton, the honourable Member for Newham North East who died on 28th February 1994 and Mr. Bob Cryer, the honourable Member for Bradford South who died on 12th April 1994, all of whom were dedicated to the cause of socialism and world peace, an understanding which defined their continuity of purpose and assisted in their approach to their Parliamentary work, where they had a total of 52 accumulated years of experience, as well as many years of experience gained outside this place in the trade unions and local government which shaped their consciousness and sharpened their sense of determination so that they each in their unique way articulated through the Parliamentary procedure a radical tradition in opposing the evils of unemployment, poverty, deprivation, discrimination and inequality which they considered could only be overcome by a democratic socialist programme of reform to create a society based on freedom, justice, fairness and equality and that in this way their efforts continued to nurture the liberty tree in the way of the Levellers, Tom Paine, the Chartists and the early pioneers of the Labour Party before them.
It is with great humility, as a relatively new Member of the House, that I move the motion. I am aware of the enormous contribution to the cause of socialism and to the work of this place that the four hon. Members mentioned in the motion, individually and collectively, made.
Other hon. Members who knew some of the four former Members much more intimately than I did wish to speak in support of the motion. I am aware that some hon. Members who knew the four former Members well and who appreciated sharing their lives are not able to be here today.
I wish to make two small points at the outset. First, I noted Madam Speaker's ruling yesterday that there was sufficient provision on the Order Paper for tributes to former hon. Members, and obviously this tribute is being paid through a motion on the Order Paper. Secondly, I am not a great believer in the personality cult, but I think it right that motions can be put on the Order Paper by colleagues who wish to pay tribute to former colleagues whose lives they shared. The four hon. Members mentioned in the motion made their contribution in a radical tradition. That, I believe, is how history will record them. I shall say more about the radical tradition, but first I wish to say a little about each of the Members.
Jimmy Boyce was the hon. Member for Rotherham. He died on 25 January 1994 and was part of the new intake of members following the 1992 general election. He was a Scot who moved down to Yorkshire in search of employment. He quickly settled around Sheffield and became an active member of his local community. Jimmy was a rather thoughtful man. He became an active trade unionist, which was how I first came to know him in the 1970s. Later, he went on to Northern college, where I came to know him better. After completing his course there, he went to Sheffield university. It was in his capacity as a local councillor in Sheffield that he became respected as a hard worker. He cared about people and about his community.
Having been made redundant from the steel works, he remained unemployed until he was elected to Parliament.
Column 557That experience of unemployment deepened his understanding of the powerlessness that people can feel in that situation. He came to the House with a sense of purpose and was determined to empower people. He was also a jovial man who liked company, and company liked him. Jo Richardson, the former hon. Member for Barking who died on 1 February 1994, was a phenomenon. Her career spanned 50 years of Labour party history. Born a Geordie, she was elected in 1974 to represent Barking although she had been active in London politics for a great many years before that. Indeed, she was secretary of the Tribune group for 30 years from 1948 to 1978. She was a passionate fighter for women's rights and became chairperson of the organisation called Women's Rights, which she made an effective champion of the cause of women in society. There is no doubt that, had Labour won the previous election and if her health had held out, Jo Richardson would have become Britain's first Minister for Women's Affairs. In addition to being a feminist, she was an ardent unilateralist.
Ron Leighton, the former hon. Member for Newham, North-East, was a printer by trade and an active trade unionist. I first met him when he was spearheading the campaign against Britain's entry into the Common Market in the 1970s. It was a political position that he was to maintain for the rest of his life. He was opposed to the Common Market and to Britain's involvement in it.
During the bitter struggle in the printing industry, he kept in close touch with his union and with the men on the picket lines. As well as being interested in employment issues and Europe, he was a fervent supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Bob Cryer, the former hon. Member for Bradford, South who died on 12 April 1994, was known as an extremely hard working politician. He was a master of parliamentary procedure and was perhaps one of the House's most effective critics of Government policy. I first met him after he had been elected to represent Keighley in 1974. Over the years, I had the honour of being on a number of platforms with him. In 1958, Bob joined CND and became an official of that organisation. He was a vociferous opponent of nuclear weapons until his untimely death.
Collectively, the four former hon. Members had accumulated a total of 52 years of understanding of the procedures of the House. In addition, they were involved for many years in the wider trade union and Labour movement outside the House. Their accumulated knowledge was used in a meaningful way to help the causes that they championed.
They were aware of the pervading effects of the evils of unemployment, poverty, deprivation and inequality and what they did to the human spirit. Their understanding was born of their working class experience which fired their radicalism. That radicalism became the embodiment of their fight for democratic socialism as a means to move people out of poverty and to pave the way to economic and social freedom.
That was the radical tradition that the four hon. Members followed. Through the procedures of the House, they articulated that tradition. They understood how mastery of the procedures in this place could be used to
Column 558further their cause and the causes that they represented. They saw that as a way in which to empower the struggle for freedom, for justice, for fairness and for equality. As the motion says : "their efforts continued to nurture the liberty tree"
that had been firmly planted in the late 18th century and 19th century.
I have no doubt that had the four hon. Members lived to see it, they would have been extremely proud of the fact that South Africa was this week taking the first cautious steps towards democracy and freedom. They would have been among the first to wish Nelson Mandela good luck in implementing measures to transform his society for freedom, justice and equality.
Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover) : I am pleased that my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley, West and Penistone (Mr. Clapham), having drawn second place in the ballot for motions, has taken the opportunity to table this motion. In all the 24 years in which I have been a Member of Parliament, I have not seen that done before. In view of what Madam Speaker said yesterday, it would be a good idea if other hon. Members did the same. We all know that if one has second place in the motions on the Order Paper on a Friday or a Monday, the chance of speaking at any length is small. In most circumstances, the hon. Member who has tabled the first motion would allow the tributes motion to be moved. It is clear that the Speaker did not want to change the system, which has lasted for a long time. However, I believe that it would be a good idea for the Speaker to make an announcement straight after Question Time, similar to that made when a new Member of Parliament is introduced, enabling a statement to be made about the death of a Member when the House is relatively full. That would be a good idea, even if there was not a tribute. Because I asked for tributes to be allowed, I was attacked by The Guardian . In January 1977, I was on the Government Benches when it was announced that there would a tribute to Lord Avon who had been a Member of the House until 1957. Although 20 years had elapsed, it was decided that, because he was an ex-Prime Minister, we should have the day off. I did not oppose the tributes. What I opposed was the fact that Parliament would finish for the day. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley, West and Penistone and other hon. Members here today would not accept an elitist method whereby the deaths of ex- Prime Ministers resulted in a day off when there were many items of business with which to deal. Like my hon. Friend, I am concerned that we have a chance to speak for a few minutes about our colleagues.
It is important that we point out that the four people referred to in the tribute all came from the section of the party that is called working class. Jimmy Boyce came from the engineering industry. He never had a real chance to do the job that he was sent to do, but he showed a great deal of promise and he would have been a tremendous asset to the Labour party and to the socialist cause if he had been able to have his operation successfully. He was a man of real substance and hon. Friends who knew him better than I did would concur with that view.
Ron Leighton came from the printers' union and he never changed his mind about anything. As everyone knows, that is not easy because there are many pressures in the House. I remember Ron being against the Common
Column 559Market before he came to the House, and by the time he left he was still in the same place. During the many debates on Maastricht, we could always rely on Ron. Despite his illness, he turned up to vote against Maastricht. He, too, was a tremendous asset to the Labour party and to Parliament in general.
I met Jo Richardson before she was a Member of Parliament when she was secretary of the left-wing group in the House of Commons, with some of my hon. Friends. Her role in Parliament was not only as a Member of Parliament, but as a secretary and a researcher and so on for many years before that. Her role on the left wing of the Labour party was tremendous. Her role on behalf of women was even more stupendous. Nobody can deny that she poured everything into trying to achieve equality for women and she did it despite the fact that, for the last 15 years of her parliamentary life, she was crippled with osteo-arthritis of a tremendously disabling kind. Nevertheless, despite those disabilities, she carried on and travelled round the country speaking all over Britain. She was a tower of strength to all of us who wanted to help in that struggle for equality.
I shall never forget the day when she was in the Tea Room and said, "Dennis, what shall we do ? Enoch Powell is going to keep us here all weekend and stop embryo research. What can we do ?" I said, "Leave it to me." I did not have a clue what I was going to do, but I found a system, which has since been disallowed. Enoch Powell was sat ready to pounce on Friday morning to keep us here all weekend and I moved the writ for Brecon and Radnor and Jo's face beamed. Of course, there were other plans afoot that day. My association with Jo was extremely strong and she will be missed by all of us on the Labour Benches and no doubt by many Conservative Members as well.
As for Bob, it is hard for me to do it ; but a tremendous tribute was paid to him in Bradford on Saturday when more than 2,000 people turned up and lined the streets of the city. He was a great socialist, a great parliamentarian, a great politician. He knew all about railways--not only collecting numbers, but where the stations were--he knew all about old cars, he knew all about the Common Market from the inside and the outside. He, too, opposed it vigorously on all the occasions on which he had the chance. He was a great local campaigner in Bradford and in that area generally.
I shall miss him for the rest of my life because I always knew that, whenever we got the chance to challenge the Government at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning, Bob would be there to be a Teller and he would know that I would be there. As a matter of fact, I met him at a Labour party conference way back in the early 1960s. What was he doing ? He was moving a point of order. It was like the money resolution of the Labour party. That is how I first met him. Here was this bloke who had a slightly better way of speaking than me. His diction was perfect, as many who heard him late at night knew. He never changed. He moved a point of order at that conference and I thought, "He probably will not do it right. He has not been here before." But he was perfect and, from that day on, the association grew. I know that everybody in the House will miss his tremendous contribution.
A large number of people from all parties who sent letters to his wife Ann and to the family wrote great tributes to the work that he did in Parliament. Of course he was an
Column 560extra-parliamentarian as well. He did not believe that the House was where it all began--he knew that arguments and conflicts also occurred outside.
I cannot repeat all the things that were said about Bob. Other hon. Members will want to speak and I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) wants to make his contribution. I only wish to say to my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley, West and Penistone that he has done the House proud by giving us a chance to pay those tributes. I hope that other motions will follow so that such tributes may be made in future. We have lost four good people on the Labour side of the House. We would have loved those people to be here to carry on the struggle and to be here not only for South African democracy day but for the Canadian whitewash, which will come the next time that there is an election.
Mr. Max Madden (Bradford, West) : I begin by congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley, West and Penistone (Mr. Clapham) on securing this short debate. I hope that it will persuade Madam Speaker and the Procedure Committee, as my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) has said, to change our procedures so that in future when there is the tragic death of a Member there is an opportunity for those hon. Members who wish to pay a tribute so to do in a reasonable and appropriate way.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover said, the four ex-Members to whom we are paying tribute were four different personalities. What joined them was that they came from the working class, and during their time in this place they never forgot where they came from or who they represented.
I knew Jimmy Boyce for only a short time. He was denied any reasonable parliamentary life by his tragic death. His friends have paid tributes to his constituency work and his parliamentary work. I shall refer only to his support for the self-determination of the people of Kashmir. His efforts in that regard were widely appreciated.
Jo Richardson dominated this place for 20 years. Throughout most of that time she was stuffed full of painkillers. As my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover said, she performed extraordinary duties here while having demanding speaking engagements throughout the country, all the while suffering great discomfort and, indeed, pain. The moving memorial meeting that took place at Central hall on Wednesday night allowed people throughout political and non-political life to pay their tribute to Jo. My abiding memory will be of Madam Speaker referring to Jo as her comrade and friend.
Ron Leighton was a printer. He had his heart and soul in the printing industry, and when he came to this place he brought all his values and priorities with him. I thank him for the work that he did for me in securing my first election to this place in 1974, and for all that he did for trade unionists and others in shaping or moulding legislation, especially employment legislation.
Lastly, but by no means least, I shall say a few words about Bob Cryer. I came to this place in 1974 with Bob, he for Keighley and I for what is now Calder Valley. Sadly, he was to be defeated in 1983. He was returned as the Member for Bradford, South in 1987. Throughout his time here Bob regarded himself as a full-time Member. He was
Column 561almost the definition of a full-time, Monday -to-Friday parliamentarian. Yet he did not neglect his constituency. Virtually every weekend he organised an advice centre. There were opportunities for people to bring to him their problems, however small or great. He translated those problems into parliamentary and national issues. It is extraordinary to remember that, since 1987, he had asked more than 1,600 questions, sponsored nearly 250 motions and supported 1, 127 motions. That was the nature of Bob Cryer. He was a superb parliamentarian, a conscientious constituency Member and a friend whom many of us will sadly miss for many years to come.
This place has lost four extraordinary men and women in recent weeks and months. They will all be sadly missed by this place for many years to come.
Mr. Kevin Hughes (Doncaster, North) : I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley, West and Penistone (Mr. Clapham) for giving us the opportunity to pay tribute to our ex-colleagues. As only two minutes are available to me, I shall not be able to use my notes.
We have lost four good colleagues and four good friends. I shall say a few words about Jimmy Boyce, who was a colleague and an extremely good and close friend. Given the circumstances in which we work, it is not very often that we make a real, proper and lasting friendship of the sort that Jimmy and I enjoyed. We have colleagues and people whom we know, but to have what Jimmy called a real pal is something that few of us enjoy. I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) had a similar relationship with Bob Cryer.
Jimmy Boyce and I spent quite a lot of time together and it is a crying shame that he never had a real opportunity to sparkle in this place. Given the time, he would certainly have created opportunities for himself. The man's socialism and commitment were born out of his upbringing in Paisley, Scotland. He was a determined socialist. As a politician, he was absolutely unrelenting in pushing his cause forward. As a man, he was warm, friendly and witty.
Most of the people who met Jimmy Boyce liked him. Those of us who knew him, loved him. He once said to me, "We're only here once, make sure you give the ball a good kick." My God, Jimmy Boyce gave that ball a good kick.
Mr. Charles Hendry (High Peak) rose
Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Janet Fookes) : Order. I am afraid that the debate has concluded. Mr. Bob Cryer, the late hon. Member for Bradford, South, would have understood the rule perfectly. It being half-past Two o'clock, the debate stood adjourned .
Second Reading deferred till Friday 15 July .
Order for Second Reading read .-- [Queen's consent, on behalf of the Crown, signified.]
Read a Second time .
Bill committed to a Standing Committee, pursuant to Standing Order No. 61 ( Committal of Bills ).
Read a Second time .
Bill committed to a Standing Committee, pursuant to Standing Order No. 61 ( Committal of Bills ).
That, at the sitting on which the following business is set down for consideration, notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order No. 14 (Exempted business), the Speaker shall
(1) put the Questions on the Motions in the names of Mr. Secretary Patten relating to Education, Mr. Secretary Rifkind relating to Defence, Mr. Secretary MacGregor relating to Merchant Shipping and Mr. Secretary Howard relating to Immigration not later than Seven o'clock ;
(2) put the Questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on the Motion in the name of the Prime Minister relating to aid to the Italian steel industry not later than one and a half hours after their commencement ; and
(3) put the Questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on the Motion in the name of the Prime Minister relating to equal pay and equal treatment (burden of proof) not later than one and a half hours after their commencement.-- [Mr. Andrew Mitchell.]
That European Community Documents Nos. 10166/93 and 11317/93, relating to aid for restructuring the Italian steel industry, and 6703/88, relating to equal pay and equal treatment (burden of proof), shall not stand referred to European Standing Committee B.-- [Mr. Andrew Mitchell.]
That, during the proceedings on the Trade Marks Bill [ Lords ], Standing Committee B have leave to sit twice on the first day on which it shall meet.-- [Mr. Andrew Mitchell.]
Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.-- [Mr. Andrew Mitchell.]
Mr. Terry Dicks (Hayes and Harlington) : I am grateful for this opportunity to raise yet again an issue that is at the forefront of the minds of my constituents--the future of Heathrow airport and how that future will affect their lives.
The House will recall, although it bears repeating, that Heathrow airport is the busiest international airport in the world as it handles about 40 million international passengers. If we include domestic passengers, the figure rises to almost 45 million. Around 90 airlines operate at Heathrow representing 85 countries serving more than 220 destinations.
That traffic is reflected in the fact that there are more than 400, 000 aircraft movements a year at Heathrow or, to put it another way, about 1,000 movements a day. That activity is handled by 50,000 staff who work at the airport and a further 20,000 people whose jobs are directly related to the airport's activities.
Those statistics indicate quite clearly not only the international status of Heathrow, but the part that it plays in the local economy in terms of jobs and in the national economy in terms of international income earned by the airport. Heathrow has a vital role to play and it is important not to forget that it also operates within a wider local community whose views deserve to be heard and, whenever possible, acted upon, and to whom the aviation industry must pay due deference. It is within that context that Heathrow and its potential for future development must be considered.
I have been involved in the activities of the airport, first as a local councillor on Hillingdon council between 1974 and 1986, which included the public inquiry on the fourth terminal, and from 1983 until now as the Member of Parliament for the constituency that includes the airport. I believe that I am therefore competent to talk about the issues as they affect the locality and, more important, as they affect my constituents and the environment in which they have to live.
Some months ago, the Government set up a working party to examine the need for runway capacity in the south-east of
England--RUCATSE--well into the next century. That working party sat for many months and, although it had only four options to consider, its conclusions, which were published last August, were that all the options should remain open. That unhelpful conclusion, by a group of people who should have known better, was put out to consultation by the Government. The period of consultation ends at the end of May this year--I suspect that it is one of the longest consultation periods that we have had for a long time.
One of the options, that of building a third runway at Heathrow, was so ridiculous it would have meant the complete annihilation of three villages in my constituency--Sipson, Harmondsworth and Harlington--to say nothing of knocking down more than 3,000 homes which even a child of five could see was not a viable option either economically or socially. Nevertheless, the working party of so-called experts decided to leave it in their report as one of the options.
About the same time as RUCATSE was coming to its ineffective and inappropriate conclusions, the British
Column 564Airports Authority was in the process of making a planning application to build terminal 5. That site would be on the old Perry Oaks sludge works site to the west of my constituency. The application was based on BAA figures which indicated a need for more terminal capacity at about the turn of the century. However, it must be made absolutely clear that, from the outset, BAA has insisted that the building of a fifth terminal in no way indicated the need for a third runway. It believes that the present runway capacity at Heathrow is sufficient to cope with additional passengers using the extra terminal. Latterly, British Airways has also come to that conclusion.
Incidentally, at this juncture let me make it plain that British Airways has now purchased a site, again to the west of my constituency, to build a new head office. In doing so, it has returned a great deal of what can only be described as scrubland to the community in order to utilise a small portion of what was green belt for office use. British Airways has made it clear--I re-emphasise the point--that it is in the business of flying aeroplanes, not building terminals or runways, and that Prospect Park, which is the name given to its new site, will be used only for office facilities and has not been bought with the intention of selling the land to allow BAA to build another terminal there some time in the future. Only scaremongers who are seeking to make political capital out of the situation are peddling such malicious and unjustified rumours. Talking of unjustified and malicious rumours, I remind the House and my constituents that during the 1992 general election campaign the local Labour party, in a leaflet, told the electorate that if the Tories won the election, within six weeks of that victory a Cabinet decision would be taken to build a third runway at Heathrow. It is now some two years since our election victory and no such decision has been made ; nor is it likely to be made.
Once again, the objective of the malicious rumours and lies was to frighten people into voting Labour at the last election. They lied then about the future of Heathrow, and they are lying now when they tell people about the so-called proposals to build a third runway at the airport.
The current campaign, which is supported by the Labour-controlled Hillingdon council and paid for by local council taxpayers, is bringing a blight to many homes in my constituency. There are no proposals to build a third runway at Heathrow, and any solicitor acting on behalf of a potential purchaser of a home in any of the three villages would not in any normal search procedure find any reference to proposals to build such a runway.
However, due to the campaign augmented and orchestrated by the local Labour party, the attention of potential purchasers and their legal advisers has been drawn to the non-existent proposals to such an extent that word of mouth has been sufficient to discourage people from buying homes in these areas. The blight--that is what it is--must be laid at the door of the local Labour party and those who go along with its programme of rumour, innuendo and lies. No blame can be attached to either the RUCATSE report or the Government, neither of whom has proposed or recommended the building of a third runway at the airport.
The local Labour party in general, and one or two individuals in particular --especially my Labour opponent at the last election, who seems to believe that if he tells enough lies often enough somebody somewhere will
Column 565believe him--deserve no credit for their behaviour. I know that my constituents will not forgive them for the worry and heartache that their lies have caused them.
Let me once again spell out to the House where I stand on the issue of the future of Heathrow airport. First, I am proud of Heathrow airport and its international status. I am also proud of those who work at the airport and provide an excellent service to the many millions of travellers who pass through their hands throughout the year. I must also give credit to the BAA which has been prepared, especially in recent years, to listen to representations made to it and, where possible, to take the appropriate action. Sir John Egan, the chairman of the BAA, and Mike Roberts, who is responsible for the airport itself, must take a great deal of credit for that change of approach. I especially commend Mike Roberts for the way in which he kept the airport running during the time of the IRA mortar attacks. He did a superb job at that time, and credit for that should be put on the record.
Heathrow airport is there and is going to remain there for some considerable time, although there are occasions when I wish that I could lift it up and drop it in Hackney. That does not mean, however, that local residents have to take second place to the wishes and, sometimes, the demands of the aviation industry. I hope that my views will be seen as reflecting the wishes and needs of the community, while trying to understand the value of Heathrow airport to the economy of this country.
The public inquiry into the application by the BAA to build a fifth terminal will soon be under way and, while I can understand its justification to the aviation industry, I believe that concessions must be made by that industry to local residents before I, as their local Member of Parliament, can come out in favour of a fifth terminal.
First, we need a clear statement by the Government that, once the consultation period is over and after some time has been set aside to consider the views put forward during that consultation period, there will be no third runway at Heathrow. Nobody wants it or needs it and, in any case, the social costs would be catastrophic. When a working party of so- called experts have left such an option in their report, it says little about their expertise, but an awful lot about their lack of common sense.
Secondly, there must be a ban on night flights in and out of Heathrow. I can see no reason whatever to allow any flight to take place between 11.30 pm and 5 am. If we switched to summer time, or to double summer time, 5 am would become in reality 6 am or 7 am, which would be even better for those people who live under the flight path.
Airlines will have to make some adjustments to their take-off times for planes coming from the far east, but that would be a small price to pay. The airlines' argument about quieter aeroplanes carries little weight with me, because all aeroplanes are noisy at low levels, and it is flying at those relatively low levels which causes the sleep of local residents to be interrupted.
Perhaps my hon. Friend can explain why the only opposition to my proposals regarding the adjustment of night flights comes from his officials. Perhaps he can give some details about why he is opposed to it. Incidentally, I should like to know the number of movements per night hour. That would be purely for information, but it would be indicative of the pressure points throughout the night.
Column 566Thirdly, I still believe that a limit on aircraft movements at the airport is viable. If Heathrow has international status, that means that some domestic flights have to take second place to international ones. While some passengers on domestic flights fly to Heathrow to connect with international flights, I believe that the numbers of such passengers has been overstated. There is certainly a case for doing away with some domestic flights, while the major ones--Heathrow to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Manchester and perhaps
Such a reduction in movements will do one of two things. It could enable some international airlines to arrive at Heathrow, with the contribution that that would make to the British economy, or it could reduce substantially the number of all movements in and out of the airport. Whatever the choice, the Government and the BAA must examine it closely during the next few months.
I will go further today. I believe that there should be a cap placed on movements at Heathrow at 350,000 a year. I think that that is viable and workable, and I think that I could persuade most of my constituents to accept that figure. It would mean some adjustments being made at the airport to achieve those figures.
Access by road to Heathrow has always been a problem and, at present, it can be chaotic at peak periods. Improvements are needed urgently, and widening the M25 to some 14 lanes--as was once suggested--is not the answer, because the traffic must come off those lanes and converge on a two or three-lane spur into Heathrow. Tailbacks--far from getting better--would be almost certain to get worse.
The environmental impact, to say nothing of the pollution for local residents, cannot be justified and nor can the cost to taxpayer. I am delighted that the Secretary of State is now having second thoughts about this proposal. If we cannot find environmentally acceptable ways of improving surface access to Heathrow at present, how on earth can we consider building a fifth terminal with all of the additional pressures which that would bring ?
I hope and expect that my hon. Friend's Department will announce before the House rises for the summer--and not towards the end of the year, as has been indicated elsewhere--that there will be no third runway at Heathrow and that that option from RUCATSE will be buried for ever, along with the scaremongering statements made by the local Labour party. My constituents living in the three villages of Sipson, Harmondsworth and Harlington must have this unjustified and unnecessary fear taken out of their lives, bearing in mind the pressures that they already have to accept living adjacent to the world's busiest international airport.
The Minister, when speaking to my local paper, condemned what he called the NIMBY approach which he appeared to attribute to some of my constituents. He should realise that it is not just the backyard that is under threat from a third runway, but the whole damn house. That is what worries my constituents.
In case I have not made my opposition clear, let me spell it out to my hon. Friend. No other runway required, I say. If one puts the first letters of those words together, they make the name Norris. Norris for short, but I hope not for long. The Government will ignore the warning that I give at their peril. To do so would be to commit political hara kiri in west London and the surrounding areas.