Examination of Witnesses (Questions 7360
7360. CHAIRMAN: No, thank you very much,
Ms Lieven. Now, Mr Cameron.
7361. MR CAMERON: My Lord, can I follow
Ms Lieven's lead and deal with procedure and then merits. On procedure,
as we have got Option 1 on the screen, as Ms Lieven says, there
are two limbs to Option 1. The first is to recommend that the
Secretary of State establish powers under the 1992 Act to bring
the extension of Ebbsfleet forward without delay. The second,
of course, is to amend the Bill. As far as the first is concerned,
Bexley would wish that the Secretary of State did bring this order
forward, funded it and it formed part of Crossrail, and I make
no bones about that. However, what the request is, that the Committee
make this recommendation to the Secretary of State, would not
oblige the Secretary of State to bring such an order forward but
would be a strong encouragement. We are not asking any more than
that. Before such an order was brought forward a thorough analysis
of benefit:cost ratios and all the other aspects would have to
be carried out as part of the Transport and Works Act procedure,
so it does not pre-empt the carrying out of that work and following
7362. The second element of our request to the
Committee can stand or fall independently of the first element.
The second element is to seek the amendment and if the Committee
was with Bexley on this some minor redrafting might be necessary
if it was to be limited to the extension to Ebbsfleet, I accept
7363. CHAIRMAN: I do not think we need
worry about that. On this wording, the effect of it would be not
to deem it to be actually of national significance, but to ensure
that the procedures that would apply, if it was of national significance,
would apply to this Order. That is the effect of the amendment
because, if one looks at the wording of the proposed subsection
(2)(a) and then if your Lordships were to turn on, and we have
set out section 9 of the Transport and Works Act at page 10, the
effect is not to say that this is of national significance, but
the effect is to say that it be treated in the same way that it
would be treated if the Secretary of State was of the opinion
that it was of national significance.57
7364. BARONESS FOOKES: Deemed to be.
7365. MR CAMERON: In effect, but the
wording is to add the words "or relate to, or matters ancillary
to, the construction of the extension to Crossrail", and
that would be added on to subsections (1) and (2) of section 9
so that the procedure would then apply. The effect of the procedure
is that the Order would be brought before both Houses of Parliament
and, if a resolution was passed in favour of that proposal, no
point could be taken in effect on the principle that was approved
in those resolutions, so it is a purely procedural amendment.
It just means that any Transport and Works Act Order that was
to be promoted would have to follow this procedure when it would
not otherwise have to follow it. The advantage of that is that
the principle of the scheme would be endorsed by both Houses of
Parliament and it is hoped that any inquiry would then be limited
in scope and the principle could not be challenged, and that would
be the effect.
7366. Now, if that amendment were accepted,
and I am just dealing with the second part of Option 1, there
would be no immediate cost to the Secretary of State because she
would not have to promote an Order.58
All it means is that, if she does promote an Order, she gets the
assistance of this provision. There is no cost and there is no
obligation to proceed. Bexley actually very much hope that the
Secretary of State would proceed.
7367. CHAIRMAN: It puts the Petitioners
against the hybrid Order in a very difficult position in the same
way as Petitioners against this Bill are in a difficult position;
they cannot oppose the principle.
7368. MR CAMERON: They could not oppose
the principle by the time it got to a Transport and Works Act
inquiry. The advantage of that is that it would assist the Secretary
of State in promoting such an Order. Therefore, on the merits
of that amendment on its own, and I appreciate it was a matter
of law, but Mr Berryman, when I asked him, saw no advantage or
disadvantage in his view, so neither he nor the Promoter has identified
a disadvantage in this particular aspect of the amendment that
the Petitioner seeks. If there is no disadvantage, no cost and,
I submit, considerable advantage if and when the Secretary of
State comes forward with an Order, what, I ask on behalf of Bexley,
can be the reason for rejecting this request, this element of
it? That is the way that I have put the case before this Committee.
7369. CHAIRMAN: I think it is the `without
delay' point that is part of the trouble.
7370. LORD BROOKE OF ALVERTHORPE: It
does not say "if" and "when".
7371. CHAIRMAN: It promotes it over and
above other schemes.
7372. MR CAMERON: My Lord, yes that is
the first element of Option 1, but the second element to make
this amendment is "to facilitate", the word I have used,
or "to smooth the way if and when". That is the second
element. Now, coming back to the first element, I accept that
what Bexley is asking for is for some assistance to the Committee
and an indication that this is a desirable scheme, but, if the
Committee were against me on that, I would still seek the amendment.
7373. LORD YOUNG OF NORWOOD GREEN: You
mean you would seek the second part of the amendment as your Option
1(a), if you like?
7374. MR CAMERON: My Lord, yes. It is
undesirable, but I would seek that, if that is the amendment that
I would seek, so what that would mean would be that, if and when
the Secretary of State came forward with an Order, and it is not
some remote possibility, we know that it is at least a possibility
and almost a probability because the Secretary of State recognises
the benefits and is promoting safeguarding, so it is likely that
such an Order will be promoted at some time, so what my Lord,
Lord Young, has described as "1(a)" would smooth the
way or facilitate that process if the Secretary of State came
forward with an Order.
7375. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH: Are you
saying, Mr Cameron, that you have an accidental ambiguity in the
first two lines there and that what you are really wanting to
say is, "now to bring the extension to Ebbsfleet forward
and to amend the Bill as follows", and it is not without
delay and the implication that you have got to do the building
now without delay, but that you just want the decision now?
7376. MR CAMERON: My Lord, no, our initial
request is that it be brought forward without delay. What I am
trying to say is that, as a second best, my "and" is
my amendment and I would much rather, on behalf of Bexley, have
that encouragement, but, if it was not forthcoming from the Committee,
as a second best, I ask for the amendment.
7377. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH: It is
a very onerous demand, that point, without some restructuring.
7378. MR CAMERON: My Lord, it is my submission
that the amendment itself is not onerous at all. It assists the
Secretary of State if and when she comes forward with a proposal.
As far as the first part is concerned, that is more onerous and,
if the Committee were against me on that, I would urge you to
provide some encouragement even if it does not go as far as "without
7379. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH: I think
that is what I was saying.
56 57 Committee Ref: A35, Options for Select Committee
(8) (BEXYLB-44_05A-010) Back
58 Committee Ref: A35, Option 1-Recommend TWA Order plus amendment
which designates scheme as scheme of national significance (BEXYLB-44_05A-003) Back