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23 Feb 2009 : Column 131

Ministers and officials follow a code of practice and a code of conduct which advise, among other things, that we should not take part in a decision in which we have, or might be perceived to have, a constituency interest; nor should we discuss the case with any interested party. For those reasons, it would not be appropriate for Ministers or officials to discuss the details of Nottingham’s proposals with interested parties. I can assure my hon. Friends that all written representations will be taken into account by the Minister who takes the decision on the city council’s application.

I should also perhaps clarify that, in accordance with the ministerial code of conduct, the decisions on the city council’s tram extensions, in relation to both planning and central funding, and that on the workplace parking levy scheme order, will be taken by Ministers on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, because they might have an impact on his constituency of Ashfield. He will, therefore, exclude himself from the decision- making process.

23 Feb 2009 : Column 132

Although we have yet to confirm exactly which Ministers will make decisions, in order to avoid conflicts within the decision-making process we expect different Ministers to make decisions on the Transport and Works Act order, the workplace parking levy scheme order and the funding decisions on the NET 2 scheme—that is, the extension to the tram system.

In conclusion, we recognise the potential. We recognise the passion with which the desire to move forward with the workplace parking levy and the tram extension is held by hon. Members in this Chamber who represent the city of Nottingham, and by others. We recognise that we need to have in place the proper procedures. We are moving forward with those procedures and we will make decisions as soon as possible. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving us the opportunity to explain the position.

Question put and agreed to.

10.28 pm

House adjourned.

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