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I so agree with my neighbour the noble Baroness, Lady Scott, that this Bill will enable not just the loud voices to be heard. That ties in very much with the comment of my noble friend Lord Hurd that it will harness the dormant interest which exists. My noble friend referred to regions. The simple fact is, as we have all learnt now—including certain leading politicians such as Mr Prescott—that people of this country do not identify with regions. They identify with their towns, with their cities, with their counties and, above all, with their parishes. That is how people think. That matters enormously.

The noble Lord, Lord Cameron, made a particular reference to the need for parishes to be involved. Parishes will be involved because as soon as people think they can matter, they take action. We are back to the dormant interest. I thought it was interesting when my noble friend Lord Bruce-Lockhart referred to European towns often being more politically conscious in some ways. It is not a coincidence that leading French politicians, for example, however eminent, important and busy they are, very often regard the probably quite small commune of which they are the mayor as their grassroots and their powerbase. This matters a great deal if we go back to de Gaulle in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises. For all the centralism in France, people there often closely identify with grassroots. I, would not compare my sympathies to any politicians, but I certainly regard the most important elected post that I ever held to be the chairman of my parish council.

I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, on this question of sustainability. Frankly, that is what it is all about. England would not be what it is today had our forefathers not sought to ensure its sustainability, protection and preservation, particularly in the rural areas.

My noble friend Lady Hanham talked about the LGA as an assessor. I hope that the LGA will be a satisfactory assessor, but the LGA is not in the Bill as an assessor. Presumably, if it did not perform properly steps could be taken to find somebody else who would do it better.

Finally, the Minister had a useful phrase, not quite a hostage to fortune but one that will be valuable to people who note it. She said that local people know the needs of their community better than anyone. That could be the motto of the Bill. I ask the House to give the Bill a Second Reading.

On Question, Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

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