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I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman, particularly for trailing this intervention.
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He will know that my concern has always been that, because Shenfield is mentioned in the long title of the Bill, it will not be possible to petition the Committee or to allow it to make a recommendation to truncate the route. On Second Reading in July, the right hon. Gentleman differentiated between the principle of the Bill and the proposed route, and suggested that it would be possible for the Committee to examine where the termini should be and to make recommendations on that. For further clarity, I shall remind the House that he said of the Select Committee that
"it should treat the principle as having been established by Second Reading. Our instruction goes further, in that it suggests the route. I repeat, however, that if someone came along and said that the stations or the termini should be different, the Select Committee may well want to consider that. It would be up to the Committee."[Official Report, 19 July 2005; Vol. 436, c. 1126.]
That is at considerable variance from what the right hon. Gentleman has suggested today, which is that it is a matter of principle, set in stone, that the terminus not be anywhere other than at Shenfield.
What is the purpose of allowing a Committee to hear petitions if it is not allowed to consider them and to make recommendations? I have known the right hon. Gentleman for a long time, and I have always accepted his word without reservation, but I must ask him to reflect most carefully on the clear undertaking that he gave me in the Chamber in July, and to consider whether further instructions need to be given to the Select Committee.
Mr. Darling: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that intervention and for the way in which he expressed his view. I certainly remember that debate, and I hope that I went out of my way to accommodate as many hon. Members as I possibly could. I understand, as a constituency Member, precisely the point that the hon. Gentleman is making; it is his duty to ensure that, as far as he can, he enables his constituents to make their voices heard.
"we have tabled an instruction to the Select Committee to regard the principle of the Bill as including a proposition, namely, the provision of a railway running from Maidenhead in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, with a prescribed number of named stations on its route."[Official Report, 19 July 2005; Vol. 436, c. 1125.]
That was the principle that was established on Second Reading, and the instructions to the Committee are in line with that. A few moments ago, I said that the House could give instructions to the Select Committee. As I understand it, if there were petitions relating to Shenfield, the Committee would be able to hear them. However, to return to the points raised by my hon. Friends the Members for Hackney, North and Stoke Newington and for Hackney, South and Shoreditch, the reason that we have prescribed a terminus is to try to put a concrete proposition before the Committee. Otherwise, I fear that we would be all over the place.
I think that the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar takes the view that he wants Crossrail to terminate not at Shenfield but at some point nearer to the city. Or perhaps he is concerned about individual issues relating to Shenfield such as the loss of car parking or the alignment of the tracks. The Select Committee could certainly consider those latter points,
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but if he is asking whether it could decide that Crossrail should terminate at Liverpool Street, I have to say that it could not. On Second Reading, my exchange with the hon. Gentleman stretched into column 1127, but I am not going to read the whole thing into the record. However, it was in that context that I made the point that my proposition was that the railway ought to go to Shenfield.
Mr. Pickles: I have to say to the right hon. Gentleman that it was not in the context of Liverpool Street. His understanding of the situation was my understanding of the situation, with regard to the advice on Shenfield. However, in that debate, he told me that my worries were groundless. He clearly differentiated between the principle of the Bill and the proposed route. He said that that the instruction went further than dealing only with the principle, and that it suggested the route. He referred to the terminus as being part of the route. All I need is for my constituents to petition, as they have done, and for the Committee to hear those petitions, which it will do, so that they get a fair hearing. I then need the Committee to be able to make a recommendation to the House as to whether the terminus should be at Shenfield, Stratford or somewhere else, so that the House can decide on the matter. Having been given an assurance by the right hon. Gentleman in July, I do not now want my constituents to be prevented from having a fair hearing. Nor do I want the Select Committee to be prevented from making such a recommendation because it has been placed in a legal straitjacket by the House.
Mr. Darling: The answer to the hon. Gentleman is that the Select Committee will decide what it will and will not hear. Yes, it will be able to hear petitions, but it will not be able to decide to truncate the railway. I do not think that the hon. Gentleman and I were at cross purposes in July. Having read what I said at the time, I think that I made myself reasonably clear in this context. At column 1127, we were discussing these representations in the context of the hon. Gentleman's amendment, which was designed to terminate the railway at Liverpool Street. I made the point that our proposition stacked up, both operationally and in economic terms.
It will certainly be up to the Select Committee to decide whether it hears the petitions, and I am sure that it will try to be as liberal as it can in that regard. However, unless we give it some instruction on the parameters of the Bill, we will be in some difficulty. I appreciate that the hon. Gentleman will not be satisfied with that, and as I said a few moments ago, that is inevitable. If we do not get something manageable, however, we will get nothing at all.
Mike Gapes (Ilford, South) (Lab/Co-op):
My constituents in Ilford, South and many other residents of the London borough of Redbridge and other boroughs between Liverpool Street and Shenfield would be appalled if the line were truncated at Liverpool Street. Many people travel throughout Essex into work in London and use that line. In Ilford, we are looking forward to a new station being built to cope with Crossrail and a new entrance and redesign as part of Ilford's regeneration. My constituents are therefore supportive of my right hon. Friend's statement that the line will not be truncated.
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The third element, which has not attracted so much attention so far, but to which I should draw the House's attention, is the additional instructions that will allow the Select Committee to consider matters subsequent to the Bill's introduction, on which we know that it will have to be amended, such as provisions in relation to the removal of waste from different sites, different alignments of crossovers and so on. Basically, if the House agrees the motion, the Government will introduce amendments in line with those instructions, which will allow the Committee to hear petitions if they are received. We intend to introduce those additional provisions in two batches, reflecting the extent of the preparatory work required. The first batch will be introduced to the Committee next Wednesday, at which point a newspaper advert will appear that will trigger a four-week petitioning period on each additional provision, following which petitions lodged will be considered by the Committee in the usual way. The second batch will be brought forward once work is complete and will also have a four-week petitioning period. Currently, we expect the second batch to be introduced in March this year.
Lyn Brown (West Ham) (Lab): May I echo the comments of my hon. Friends the Members for Ilford, South (Mike Gapes), for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Meg Hillier) and for Hackney, North and Stoke Newington (Ms Abbott) and welcome Crossrail on behalf of my constituents? Will my right hon. Friend confirm, however, that the Government are keen to encourage the use of waterways, particularly the River Lea, to minimise the impact of waste removal and disruption to local road networks and residents, which will clearly be caused by the creation of this railway?
Mr. Darling: Certainly, we will use whatever way we can find to reduce the environmental impact of construction, especially that caused by the removal of a considerable amount of waste. No doubt my hon. Friend will keep an eye on the Select Committee with regard to that. I am not sure whether she is volunteering to serve on the Standing Committee that will follow, but the Whips are no doubt paying attention.
I hesitate to return to Brentwood and Ongar, but I think that I need to do so. I think that I referred to stations east of Shenfield when I should have said west. I am not sure whether this will help the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar, but were the Select Committee to come to the view that the terminus should be further east of Shenfield, that could be done, as that would extend it, not truncate it. I am not sure whether that helps him, but I thought that I should mention that for the sake of completeness.
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