CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

CRONYISM & SUMMER SITTINGS – 24 January 2002

Dr Julian Lewis: I was going to ask for a debate on early-day motion 700, which states:

[That this House is dismayed by the report in the Evening Standard of 21st January that the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions has blocked the appointment of the career civil servant lan Jones as head of media in his Department; notes that his preferred choice, Ms Ann Wallis, is an outsider who is a friend and former colleague of Jo Moore; urges him to abandon this further attempt at politicisation; and fears that if successful, this will bury the impartiality of the Civil Service.]

In other words, it concerns the Transport Secretary's attempt to impose a crony of Jo Moore as head of media in his Department.

As that has been blocked, may I instead ask why the right hon. Gentleman thinks that the roadworks scheduled for September will hinder us from sitting then? We have been informed by the office of the Serjeant at Arms that both the Black Rod's Garden entrance and the Carriage Gates will be open, and that access will be unimpeded. If the right hon. Gentleman thinks that such minor roadworks will be an obstacle, what does he think will happen in 2003 and 2004, when massive roadworks are planned for Parliament Square as a result of one of the crazy schemes of his former parliamentary colleague, Ken Livingstone?