WELCOME TO MY WEBSITE!


I set up this personal website over nine years ago to present a simple account of what I do.
Parliamentary Questions and Debates catalogues my work in the House of Lords.

You can also read about my other interests and various issues which concern me.

Richard Faulkner / House of Lords / London SW1A 0PW

FIRST WORLD WAR CENTENARY ADVISORY BOARD

8th July 2019:

The final meeting of the Government’s First World War Centenary Advisory Board took place in the House of Commons on 8 July. Afterwards the members were joined by the Prime Minister and were photographed with her.


See my comments in November 2018 on the Government's World War I advisory board here

THE OPENING OF THE NEW MORETON-IN-MARSH RAILWAY STATION WAITING ROOM

5th July 2019:

Giving my speech next to the new waiting room The new waiting room at Moreton-in-Marsh station was officially opened on the afternoon of Friday, July 5.
A plaque to mark the occasion was unveiled by Cotswolds MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown and Diana Barr and Jackie Jessop, the sisters of the late CLPG stalwarts Oliver Lovell and John Stanley respectively. I recalled their roles in fighting British Rail’s moves to close the line between Moreton-in-Marsh and Evesham in the late 1970s and campaigning since then to maintain and improve train services and the route’s infrastructure.

Read the full details here. Watch a Network Rail video of the event here. A copy of my speech can be downloaded here.

REGENERATING SEASIDE TOWNS AND COMMUNITIES

1 July 2019: Future of seaside towns

I took part in the debate on the report of the House of Lords select committee and drew attention to the importance of transport links and the role of the railway in creating Britain’s seaside resorts.

I wholeheartedly support the committee’s conclusion in paragraph 123 that states: “Inadequate transport connectivity is holding back many coastal communities and hindering the realisation of their economic potential. Emphasis should be accorded to isolated coastal communities which are at ‘the end of the line’”

Lord Faulkner of Worcester:

My Lords, I, too, am pleased to congratulate the members of the Select Committee on producing such an excellent, coherent and well-argued report. I commend especially my noble friend Lord Bassam of Brighton for the brilliant way in which he introduced this debate. I particularly commend the committee for getting such excellent coverage in local and regional media as it went around the country. Coverage of that sort for a Select Committee inquiry reflects well on your Lordships’ House. I must also thank the noble Lord, Lord Shutt of Greetland, for providing the note that appears on page 45 of the report, in which he kindly refers to the second book on post-Beeching railway politics which I co-wrote with my friend and colleague from British Rail days, Chris Austin, entitled Disconnected!—Broken Links in Britain’s Rail Policy.

Read my contribution in full here

Read what was wriiten about the debate in the Scarbourough News here

KING'S SCHOOL DEBATE

29th June 2019: King's School hosts debate on today's political problems

I took part in a debate at King's School which was hosted by one of the school's students. As well as myself, the panel also included city councillor and Labour parliamentary candidate Lynn Denham, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Beverley Nielson, Tory MP for South Norfolk Richard Bacon and Worcester City Council leader Marc Bayliss.

Read the story in the Worcester News here

Read about the debate on the King's School website here

ESK VALLEY RAILWAY LINE

26th June 2019:

I asked Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Northern Rail about the provision of additional services on the Esk Valley railway from Middlesbrough to Whitby.

Read more here

METAL THEFT ON THE RAILWAY NETWORK, FROM CONTRUCTION SITES AND FROM CHURCHES

26 June 2019:

I took part in the debate that discussed what were the plans to counter the increase in metal theft on the railway network, from construction sites and from churches.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester:

My Lords, I agree with the Minister that the Scrap Metal Dealers Act has been very successful, not least because it was followed up by Operation Tornado and the activities of the scrap metal task force. However, figures for recent times, particularly the past two years, are not as good as the Minister indicated. In the case of railway and cable theft, for example, delays caused in the year up to 2019 are 83% up compared to the previous year. Will the Minister look at these figures again and pay particular attention to the need for stricter enforcement, while encouraging police forces to visit scrapyards to ensure that metal is not being sold for cash?

Read my contribution in full here

ELGAR NAMEPLATE ADDED TO THE HIVE ARCHIVE

2 June 2019
I presented Councillor Lucy Hodgson with the Elgar nameplate from the British Rail Class 92 dual-voltage electric locomotive numbered 92009, which was built to operate services through the Channel Tunnel between Britain and France.

Click here to see full article 

DISABLED PEOPLE

9 May 2019: Lord Borwick moved:

"That this House takes note of the issues facing people with disabilities and the potential for improved treatment and outcomes in the next 50 years"

during the debate....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester:

My Lords, it is a pleasure to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Borwick, on securing this debate and also on an excellent speech, which I am glad to follow. When we speak about minorities, we all too often lose sight of the fact that disabled people are the largest minority group in our country. Out of the UK population of 66 million there are, according to the charity Scope and the Family Resources Survey, 13.9 million disabled people. Despite that, disability discrimination is still considered by the public, the media and in some cases the Government to rank below racial, homophobic and religious discrimination.....

read my contribution in full here

DISCRIMINATION IN FOOTBALL

11 April 2019: The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Lord Ashton of Hyde):

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I will now repeat a Statement made by my honourable ​friend the Minister for Sport and Civil Society in the other place earlier this afternoon. The Statement is as follows:

“The Government are concerned about the recent rise in racist abuse in football, which threatens to overshadow everything we love about our national sport ..."

Read complete statement here

during the ensuing debate:

Lord Faulkner of Worcester:

My Lords, I listened to the Minister’s Statement from the Gallery of the House of Commons. Like others, I was impressed by the consensus that existed in the House and by the Minister’s enthusiasm and commitment to what she was saying and what she intended to do.
I had a sinking feeling of déjà vu, though, because 21 years ago — almost to the day — the Football Task Force, on which I served as vice-chairman, delivered its report, Eliminating Racism From Football, to the Minister for Sport. The task force had seven objectives, of which the first and most important was eliminating racism and encouraging wider participation in the game by ethnic minorities.

read my contribution in full here

VACCINE HESITANCY

Vaccine hesitancy 1 April 2019 : Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report in the European Journal of Public Health on 25 February that there is a link between anti-establishment politics and vaccine hesitancy.

In response:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Care (Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford):

My Lords, while there has not been a specific assessment on the link between anti-establishment politics and public confidence in vaccination, we take the issue of misinformation about vaccines extremely seriously land are working across government to tackle this. We are aware of global concerns regarding confidence in vaccinations knowing the protection that they give against deadly diseases, and I am pleased to say that in this country confidence in our vaccines is very high.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester:

I am grateful to the Minister for that positive Answer. She will know that the World Health Organization has declared the anti-vaccine movement as one of the top global health threats for 2019. That follows the tripling of the number of measles across Europe and the sixfold rise in the United States.

The paper in the European Journal of Public Health, to which my Question refers, says that there is a direct link between the rise in populist politics and vaccine hesitancy, and cites particularly Greece, Italy and France, and of course one would add the United States as well. There is also much disinformation about vaccines spread on Twitter and other social media.

Will the Government make vaccination compulsory as their response to this, as over one-third of countries have done and as we did in Britain in 1853 to combat smallpox? Secondly, what progress have they made in forcing the social media companies to take down this misleading information about vaccines?

Read debate in full

See article in latest issue of The House Magazine

CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS, MARRIAGES & DEATHS (REGISTRATION etc) BILL

1 March 2019

Lord Faulkner of Worcester
moved Amendment 1

My Lords, Amendment 1 is in my name and that of my noble friend Lord Collins of Highbury. This amendment is similar, but not identical, to the amendment I moved ​in Committee. The changes I have made to it reflect the concerns expressed in that debate by the Right Reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chelmsford, and the briefing note I subsequently received from Church House.

Your Lordships will be aware that under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 the Church of England and the Church in Wales are subject to what is called the “quadruple lock”.

read contribution in full

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

My Lords, I think I can answer the noble Baroness with a reply to that very last point. I gave her my word during the week that I did not intend to divide the House at the end of the debate for the very reason she said. I would not wish to do anything that made it more difficult for the Bill to get through the House of Commons and become law. It is a very good Bill. I congratulate her on the way she has presented it. She sat patiently through a debate that was not directly on the main subject of the Bill, and I accept that.

For that reason, I will not divide the House.

read more

Amendment 1 withdrawn

COLLABORATION BETWEEN UNIVERSITY OF WORCESTER & WORCESTER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE MA

February 2019

A group of students from Worcester, Massachusetts recently spent time at the University of Worcester as part of a cross-Atlantic partnership to improve sustainability.

Sixteen students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) visited the University of Worcester as part of a scheme which has been running for several years.

They took part in four sustainability projects, including the Unlocking the Severn project, a river restoration scheme, run by the Severn Rivers Trust, which aims to re-open the River Severn and its major tributaries for all species of fish.

Read Press Release issued by the University of Worcester

The concept of collaboration between the two universities was first suggested by Lord Faulkner of Worcester in 2010 and students have been coming from WPI twice yearly over the past five years.

HERITAGE RAILWAY ASSOCIATION AWARDS 2019


9 February 2019

Attended the Heritage Railway Association annual awards dinner where a new award which I had sponsored for Young Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Matthew Wilson from the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland.

The image shows the short-listed nominees, with winner Matthew Wilson second from the left.

In a short speech I said that I had been prompted to establish the award following the report produced by the All-Party Group on Heritage Rail into Engaging the Next Generation - Young People and Heritage Railways.

Published in July 2018, this report lays out the important role of heritage railways in education and the training of young people, not just in the technical aspects of railways, but in life skills as well.

CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS, MARRIAGES & DEATHS (REGISTRATION ETC.) BILL

1 February 2019

Amendment 2: after Clause 1, insert the following new Clause —

“Removal of exemption for clergy under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013
1) The Secretary of State must make regulations to amend the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 to remove the exemption for members of the clergy to solemnize the marriage of a same sex couple.
(2) Regulations under this section must be in force by the end of the period of 6 months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.”


My amendment is very simple and I hope it will be seen by the Committee as an attempt to build on the success of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013....There was, however, a major flaw in that Act.....It continued the ban on same-sex couples marrying in Church of England churches

Read more on the amendment here

And in conclusion here

Read article in Church Times

Also article in Anglican News

GUILD OF BATTLEFIELD GUIDES

19 January 2019

In my role as patron of the Guild of Battlefield Guides, I was invited to make a speech at their annual conference in Leicester.

I was asked to speak on two very different subjects - one, the work of the All-party War Heritage group in 2018 - 2019, and the other, “Brexit – what next?”

You can read the text of my speech here.

SCIENCE MUSEUM GROUP BOARD OF TRUSTEES

15 January 2019

In January 2019 my term as Deputy Group Chair of the Science Museum Group came to an end, along with my position as a trustee of the group.

I received the following letter from Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, thanking me for my years of service.

You may read the contents of his letter here.

SCOTLAND:TRANSPORT POLICING

18 December 2018
Lord Faulkner of Worcester
asked Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Scottish Government about the future of transport policing in Scotland.

.... Can the Minister confirm that the joint programme board is now focusing on retaining the role of the BTP in Scotland and enhancing statutory accountability to the Scottish Government through the British Transport Police Authority, and does he also agree that that is exactly what many of us in the House have been asking for over the last four years?

Read full text here

UNIVERSITY OF WORCESTER AWARDS HONORARY DOCTORATE TO PRESIDENT OF WORCESTER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE, MASSACHUSETTS, USA

8 November 2018


I attended the graduation ceremony in Worcester Cathedral on 8 November at which Dr Laurie Leshin, President of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA, was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Worcester.

Dr Laurie Leshin has been President of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute since 2014 and is a world authority on space exploration.

Dr Leshin was appointed by President Obama to the Advisory Board for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Prior to this, she was the Deputy Director of NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, where she was responsible for oversight of NASA's future human spaceflight programmes and activities. She is the recipient of NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal and NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal.

In 2001, the International Astronomical Union named an asteroid in recognition of her contributions to planetary science: Asteroid 4922 Leshin.

Over a period of years I have taken a particular interest in promoting links between WPI and Worcester University, and was pleased to nominate Dr Leshin for this award.

ARMISTICE DAY: CENTENARY

5 November 2018

Lord Ashton of Hyde
moved that this House takes note of the centenary of the Armistice at the end of the First World War.

during the course of the debate....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

My Lords, we are now almost at the end of this commemorative journey. I start by saying how proud I have been to serve on the Government’s World War I advisory board, along with other speakers in this debate. At meeting after meeting, I have been impressed by the diversity and dignity of the events that have been organised in all parts of the United Kingdom, in Ireland, and in France and Belgium. Others have spoken of the brilliance of the DCMS team, and I pay particular tribute to David Thompson and Jennifer Shaw for keeping the show on the road so brilliantly.

In preparing for today, I looked back at what was said in your Lordships’ House in June 2014, on the eve of the centenary of the start of the conflict. I commented in that debate that a great deal of preparation had been put in place and hoped that it would capture the imagination of as many people as possible. I also, perhaps slightly prematurely, paid tribute to the work of Dr Andrew Murrison MP, the Prime Minister’s special representative for the centenary commemoration, and I am delighted to be able to do so again, four years on, as have other speakers in this debate. Since the summer of 2011, there have been no fewer than seven Secretaries of State at the head of DCMS but, fortunately, there has been only one Dr Murrison. It is greatly to his credit that the tone and content of the commemoration programme has been correctly nuanced.

It would have been so easy to get this wrong, but that has not happened. The theme of commemoration not celebration is right, as is the determination to combine the traditional act of remembrance with new initiatives to engage as much of the population as possible, especially young people. In such a fractured and divided world, it is great that the commemoration programme has succeeded in bringing us together—members of all races and ethnic groups, young and old particularly.

Read my contribution in full

RETIREMENT OF LORD O'NEILL AS PRESIDENT OF RAILWAY PRESERVATION SOCIETY OF IRELAND

Friday 2 November

I was privileged to be invited to a dinner held at the Ulster Reform Club in Belfast to mark the retirement of Lord O’Neill as president of the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI).

As Patron and then President, Lord O’Neill has given unstinting service to the RPSI. He has been the Society’s figurehead for a total of 54 years, a record for any heritage railway society in Britain and Ireland.

Read the tribute which I paid to Lord O'Neill here

NEW GREEN GUIDE LAUNCHED BY SPORTS GROUND SAFETY AUTHORITY (SGSA)

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Read the speech I made at the launch of the new Green Guide by the Sports Ground Safety Authority here

NATIONAL LEAGUE LINKS UP WITH CHARITY PROSTATE CANCER UK

September 2018

Vanarama, the title sponsor of the National League, changed its name to MANarama throughout September to raise awareness of prostate cancer.

A new captain's armband, which will be worn by all MANarama National League club captains on Non-League Day on Saturday, October 13th, has also been unveiled. The unique bright orange band, which includes the Prostate Cancer UK logo, underlines the stand which clubs in the National League are making in support of the most common cancer in men.

Read the press release here


UK TRADE ENVOY VISIT TO TAIWAN

19 - 21 September 2018


UK Trade Envoy visits Taiwan to strengthen bilateral trade

On 20 September, President Tsai Ing-wen welcomed UK Trade Envoy to Taiwan Lord Faulkner of Worcester at the Presidential Office to discuss further enhancing bilateral relations in the field of renewable energy. During the meeting, President Tsai highlighted Taiwan’s commitment to developing renewable energy and building a nuclear free homeland. She cited the UK’s successful experience in energy transformation and power industry reform as a potential model for Taiwan to achieve its goal of becoming nuclear free by 2025.

The President remarked on the positive results achieved in the first "Taiwan-UK Energy Dialogue" held in London in June this year, in which both nations exchanged views on offshore wind power, renewable energy and energy storage. Following the success of the dialogue, the President expressed her hope to further explore opportunities for bilateral cooperation in the field of renewable energy.

At the invitation of Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, Lord Faulkner attended the opening ceremony of the ‘Energy Taiwan 2018’ forum on 19 September. Representing the British government, Lord Faulkner and 6 UK businesses participated in the forum from 19-21 September to enhance Taiwan-UK cooperation in the renewable energy sector. On 20 September, the UK Trade Envoy to Taiwan also spoke at the ‘Hydrogen Energy Industry Trend Forum’.


FREEDOM OF CITY OF WORCESTER AWARDED POSTHUMOUSLY TO BASIL D'OLIVEIRA

14 September 2018

At a ceremony in Worcester's Guildhall, Basil D'Oliveira was posthumously awarded the Freedom of the City of Worcester. The Mayor of Worcester Jabba Riaz presented the Freedom of the City Certificate to the cricketer's son, Shaun D’Oliveira, and unveiled an inscribed plaque which will be permanently on display at the Guildhall.

The accolade was made 50 years after the so-called D'Oliveira Affair, which prompted a sporting boycott of apartheid South Africa, which saw Basil D’Oliveira, who was of Indian-Portugese descent, initially not selected to play a tour of South Africa because of South Africa’s apartheid rules. After a national outcry in the British press, D’Oliveira was called up to the England squad, a move which prompted South Africa to cancel the tour. The D'Oliveira affair is now seen as a watershed in the sporting boycott of apartheid South Africa.

I was thrilled to be invited to say a few words in honour of one of my greatest heroes and began by congratulating Worcester City Council, and particularly the Mayor of Worcester, for making the decision to confer the freedom of the city on Basil D’Oliveira. You can read my speech here


CAMPAIGN FOR BETTER TRANSPORT

July 2018

Just before the House rose for the summer recess in July I hosted an afternoon tea reception for the Campaign for Better Transport.

You can read the speech I gave here

THE NHS - MOTION TO TAKE NOTE

5 July 2018

Lord Darzi of Denham
moved that this House takes note of the creation of the National Health Service in 1948, and the case for integration of health, mental health, social and community care to equip the National Health Service for the next 70 years.     read on....

during the ensuing debate.....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

My Lords, like every other speaker I am delighted to congratulate my noble friend Lord Darzi on the brilliant way that he introduced the debate. I thank him for the hundreds — probably thousands — of lives he has saved during his very distinguished career as a surgeon.

My contribution will focus on why treating tobacco dependency must be embedded throughout the plan that NHS England has committed to delivering in return for the additional £20 billion it has been allocated. The evidence for this ​is set out in a major new report published just last week by the Royal College of Physicians. I declare an interest as a long-standing officer of the All-Party Group on Smoking and Health.

read my contribution in full.....

LORDS' DIARY


In the 2 July edition of The House Magazine, I write about attending the annual Civic Service held in Worcester Cathedral, where both the incoming mayor and his deputy are members of the Muslim faith, and when the Dean extended a welcome to the city's first purpose built mosque.

I also commented on the recent debate in Westminster Hall on the abolition of the House of Lords, and the positive support shown by many of the speakers from the House of Commons.

Finally, having attended the 2018 British Transport Police "Make the Difference" Award Ceremony, I commend the bravery and dedication shown by the British Transport Police.

You can read my contribution to Lords' Diary in The House Magazine by clicking here

THE HON SIR WILLIAM MCALPINE BT



13 May 2018

Was asked to pay tribute at the memorial service held for Sir William McAlpine at his home at Fawley Hill which was attended by some 1500 people.

Sir William McAlpine, the 6th Baronet, who died on the 4th of March, was a director of the family construction firm who indulged his passion for steam railways, constructing a full-scale line in the grounds of his Buckinghamshire home and is remembered for rescuing the locomotive Flying Scotsman.

Read more about Sir William McAlpine

Read the tribute which I paid

COTSWOLD LINE PROMOTION GROUP

12 May 2018:

The 40th Annual General Meeting of the Cotswold Line Promotion Group heard that there had been welcome signs of improvements in the reliability and punctuality of services on the route after several months of cancellations and delays to trains.

The group’s chairman, John Ellis, told more than 90 members at the meeting held in Moreton-in-Marsh on Saturday, May 12, that the improvements came after a “serious deterioration in train performance” since the autumn of 2017.

During the meeting the GWR power car nameplate, commemorating the life of Sir Peter Parker and the Cotswold Line's 150th anniversary was presented.

In the picture are from left, GWR managing director Mark Hopwood, myself (CLPG president), GWR’s regional development manager Tom Pierpoint and Oxford, Didcot and Cotswold Line stations manager Claire King, with CLPG chairman John Ellis.

During the meeting I was presented with honorary life membership of the group.

Read the report of the AGM

SCRAP METAL DEALERS ACT 2013

10 May 2018: Question for Short Debate

Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty’s Government what was the outcome of their review of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.

"My Lords, I start by expressing my appreciation for all noble Lords and the right reverend Prelate who will be contributing to this short debate, particularly the noble Baroness, Lady Browning, for she was the sponsor of the Private Member’s Bill that became the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.....

Noble Lords may recall that at that time there were almost daily reports of lead being stolen from church roofs, metal plaques being stolen from war memorials, manhole covers disappearing, signalling cables being ripped from our railway lines, the theft of which led to trains being delayed for thousands of hours, and in one case in Dulwich, a complete metal sculpture being ripped off its plinth. The number of metal theft offences recorded by the police in England and Wales peaked at just under 63,000 in 2012-13. The Act came into force in October 2013. As well as making it illegal to pay cash for scrap metal, it set out ID check requirements and gave the enforcement authorities, such as the police and the Environment Agency in England and the Natural Resources Body for Wales, powers of inspection and access to premises. A scrap metal dealer was required to hold and display a licence issued by the relevant local authority. The lead for tackling ​metal theft was taken by the British Transport Police, who built on the success of Operation Tornado. That started as a pilot in January 2012 and required scrap metal dealers to request identification for every cash sale—such sales were, of course, legal until December 2012....."

Read my contribution in full

Read complete debate

WINDRUSH GENERATION - STATEMENT

24 April 2018

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

My Lords, with the leave of the House I will repeat a Statement made in the other place by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary.

“From the late 1940s to the early 1970s, many people came to this country from around the Commonwealth to make their lives here and help to rebuild Britain after the war. All Members will have seen the recent heart-breaking stories of individuals who have been in this country for decades struggling to navigate an immigration system in a way that they should never, ever have had to. These people worked here for decades. In many cases, they helped to establish the NHS. They paid their taxes and enriched our culture. They feel British in all but legal status, and this should never have been allowed to happen. Both the Prime Minister and I have apologised to those affected, and I am personally committed to resolving this situation with urgency and purpose...."

Read the Statement

during the debate which followed

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

My Lords, I want to underline what the noble Lord, Lord Kerslake, said about the role of David Lammy MP and the Guardian newspaper, in particular the work of Amelia Gentleman in bringing this whole matter to light over the past few weeks. I feel bound to say that someone in the Home Office should have taken the trouble to read the debate on Windrush that we had in Grand Committee on 18 January, when I first raised the question of Paulette Wilson and Anthony Bryan, both of whom had been threatened with deportation. In the case of Mr Bryan, he was given an air ticket to go back to a country he had not lived in since he was a child, while Paulette Wilson was taken to Yarl’s Wood detention centre and obviously treated like a criminal. Had some notice been taken then—following the campaign led by the Guardian and David Lammy—we would have come to where we are today very much sooner.

Having said that, I am delighted that we are where we are. I should like the Minister to confirm that the culture inside the Home Office and the immigration department will change as a result of the Home Secretary’s statement yesterday. There are terrible reports of immigration officers playing a game in which they catch people in what is known as a “Gotcha culture”. When they think they have found an illegal immigrant, they mark it up as a victory. That sort of talk and ​action can no longer be tolerated. Can she give an assurance that that will stop? Also, can we now begin to have a proper debate on and give full recognition to the importance we attach to the immigrants among us? We are all immigrants in one way or another, so we should move away from the blame culture and xenophobic attitude which is colouring so much of our public debate.

read the debate in full

WINDRUSH GENERATION

23 April 2018

Baroness Benjamin asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to make reparations for the harm and distress caused to the Windrush generation.

During the debate...

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

My Lords, is the Minister aware that on 18 January, on a Motion from the noble Baroness, Lady Berridge, the Grand Committee of your Lordships’ House debated the centenary of the arrival of the merchant vessel “Empire Windrush”? In that debate, I raised the cases of Paulette Wilson and Anthony Bryan and asked the noble Lord, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, if he could reply to me about the way in which they had been treated. Not surprisingly, he passed the letter to the Home Office, and on 11 April—almost three months afterwards—I got a letter from the Immigration Minister in which she said that the Home Office had acted appropriately based on the evidence. Would the Minister like to revise that view and possibly offer the apology to these two people, and the others, which I asked for in the debate?

Baroness Williams of Trafford

My Lords, herein lies the issue the noble Lord has highlighted. I think the two cases he refers to were dealt with appropriately. However, what was deemed as, perhaps, a blip in the system is actually a far more systemic problem that ​needs to be dealt with. I had not been aware that the debate had taken place, but certainly this is a generation of people whose status now needs to be regularised and regularised quickly.

Read debate in full

FEDECRAIL CONFERENCE 2018


Speech I gave at the Fedecrail 2018 conference in Edinburgh on 20 April

"We British have a rather complicated relationship with our railways. Our 19th century Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli prophesied that “The railways will do as much for mankind as the monasteries."

The relationship can sometimes be a bit hostile, particularly when things go wrong. But it’s generally pretty positive, and evidence of that has been the extraordinary growth in the number of passengers on our trains – doubled over the last 10 years, with totals now higher than at any time since the 1920s.

The railway created by our 19th century ancestors has never ceased to play a vital role in the life of our country – whether it’s the standardisation of time, the development of seaside resorts, giving working people the opportunity to take holidays, the invention of commuting, allowing people to live in pleasant suburbs some distance from their places of work and travel in each day, essential logistical support in times of war, and right up to today when they provide popular and environmentally friendly alternatives to carbon emitting gas guzzling short haul aircraft and unnecessary car driving.

We take a particular pride in their history, and that is one reason why our heritage railways are popular and successful. The public seem to appreciate the services that they provide, as the around 11 million visitors and 8 million passengers a year on these railways and tramways. I’ll say more about the contribution they make to our tourist and regional economies in a moment...."

Read the speech in full

NATIONAL KAOHSIUNG CENTRE FOR THE ARTS

Friday 13 April 2018

Spoke at a function hosted by the Taipei Representative Office in London to mark the launch of the National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts, which will be opening in Kaohsiung, Taiwan in October, said to be the largest concert and theatre complex in the world with four auditoriums.

Read my speech here

REOPENING OF BROADWAY STATION

Friday 30 March 2018



In my role as President of the HRA I was charged with the task of formally reopening Broadway station on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway.

The commemorative plaque shown in the image will be on display in the waiting room.

On Good Friday, 30 March 2018, the golden age of steam returned to Broadway, 58 years after the last train pulled out of its picturesque old station.

Broadway's station was demolished by British Rail in 1963. Since 2009 volunteer workers of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR) have been painstakingly rebuilding the station and restoring it to its former glory. Read more by following this link

LETTER IN THE SUN

16 February 2018

The following letter from Lord Faulkner of Worcester was published in The Sun on 16 February in response to its editorial criticising the House of Lords the previous day.

"While I strongly disagree with your criticism of the qualities of members of the House of Lords (“Lord help us” 15/2/2018) - amongst them are some of the most distinguished and successful men and women in Britain - I would point out that we all agree about the need to reduce the size of the House, and I hope we can do so well in advance of repairs to Parliament.

The House of Lords recently endorsed the recommendations of the Burns Committee to reduce its own size to 600 members – fewer than the House of Commons - and as soon as the Government indicate that they too will support the proposals we will start the process of reducing the numbers in our House."

UK SUSTAINABLE RAILWAY MISSION TO TAIWAN


January 2018:

Led by Lord Faulkner, the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Taiwan, a UK sustainable railway mission visited Taiwan from 29 to 30 January to promote the UK’s capability in the operation and maintenance of railway and metro networks.

Made up of 19 experts representing 14 British companies as well as a UK representative from Rail Industry Association(RIA), this mission was part of the “Innovation is GREAT” campaign launched by the British Office last October to introduce innovative British technologies and services to Taiwan.

Steve Firstbrook, head of international trade and investment at the British Office in Taipei, accompanied the delegation, and can be seen in the image to the left on a visit to the disused Old Mountain Railway organised by Peter Lin (also pictured) of the Taiwan Railway Authority.



Read more about the trade mission on the gov.uk website

PRESENTATION OF SILVER MODEL OF "CHANNEL PACKET" TO NATIONAL RAILWAY MUSEUM



23 January 2018

I was delighted to be instrumental in finding a new home for a model of the Merchant Navy class "Channel Packet" presented to the grandfather of Lord Brabazon of Tara.

The image shows the presentation in the Lords on 23 January with Andrew McLean (curator and deputy director of the National Railway Museum) receiving from Lord Brabazon the silver model of the Merchant Navy class “Channel Packet” which was presented by the Southern Railway at Eastleigh works to Lord Brabazon’s grandfather in 1941.

The Rt Hon John Moore-Brabazon was minister of transport in the wartime coalition.

The presentation came about as a result of the present Lord Brabazon asking me if I could suggest a permanent new home, as he and his wife have moved into a smaller house.

The National Railway Museum were more than happy to accept it.

MV “EMPIRE WINDRUSH”

18 January 2018: Question for Short Debate

Baroness Berridge
asked Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the arrival of MV Empire Windrush.

during the course of the debate....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Berridge, on securing this debate and on her excellent speech, every word of which I agreed with. I am delighted to pay my tribute to our friends from Jamaica and other parts of the West Indies who chose to make their hope in the United Kingdom, and to thank them, their children and their grandchildren for the huge contribution that they have made to the well-being and enrichment of our nation. We think particularly of nurses in hospitals, staff on our public transport and in all our public services, artists and musicians, high-achieving sports men and women, and, more recently, trade union leaders and Members in the House of Commons and this House. It is a privilege to share the speakers list this afternoon with such distinguished Members of this House, particularly those with Caribbean origin. My noble friend Lady Lawrence of Clarendon had hoped to take part, but has been prevented from doing so by a church commitment.

Alongside so much good will and positive feeling towards people whose origins are in the Caribbean, I hope I may be forgiven for striking a slightly discordant note by raising the question of how the Home Office is treating a number of long-settled, retirement-age UK residents of Caribbean origin. One particular case—there are others—is that of a 61 year-old lady, called Paulette Wilson, who lives in Wolverhampton. She came to Britain from Jamaica in 1968 and was initially looked after by her grandparents. She went to primary and secondary school and has a British daughter and grandchild. She worked and paid taxes here for most of her life, and at one stage she worked as a cook in the House of Commons.

Under the terms of the 1971 Immigration Act, all Commonwealth citizens living in the UK were given indefinite leave to remain. Paulette Wilson never applied for a passport because she assumed she would not need one if she did not intend to travel abroad. One day, she got a letter from the Home Office telling her to register each month at the Solihull immigration centre. While she was there on a visit, officials declared that she was an illegal immigrant, had her carted off to the appalling Yarl’s Wood immigration removal complex and told her that she would be deported—presumably back to Jamaica, which she had not visited since she left as a child almost 50 years before. Fortunately, Paulette’s MP—Emma Reynolds—and the Refugee and Migrant Centre in Wolverhampton both intervened. At last, she has now been given leave to remain, although she has lost benefits for the past two years, as well as her flat, and has to rely on financial support from her daughter.

read contribution in full

CRIMINAL JUSTICE (SCOTLAND) ACT 2016 (CONSEQUENTIAL PROVISIONS) ORDER 2017

10 January 2018: Motion to Approve

Lord Duncan of Springbank
moved that the draft Order laid before the House on 13 September 2017 be approved.

during the course of the debate....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

My Lords, in opening the debate, the Minister referred to the degree of opposition to this proposal in this House. He was not wrong in that. He could also have mentioned the degree of opposition in the Scottish Parliament, most particularly among his colleagues in the Conservative ​Party, who are on record as opposing this proposal most vigorously, particularly Ruth Davidson. He could have included the Liberal Democrats and the Labour opposition in the Scottish Parliament as well. But above all, he should have mentioned the opposition of the British Transport Police and the British Transport Police Authority. When it gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament in March, it said that dealing with fatalities, for example, could take 50% longer under the new plans, and that,

“there is well-defined evidence that a non-specialist force is less able to provide the consistent levels of service that a dedicated policing commitment can offer”.

Decades of experience of dealing with IRA threats would be lost, and the work that the BTP undertakes as the lead authority on scrap metal theft across the whole of Great Britain would also be lost if this proposal went through.

Fortunately, there is an opportunity for the Scottish Parliament to think again about the model of devolution which it is putting forward. Indeed, it would have been helpful if this House had passed the amendment which a number of us tabled almost exactly two years ago, which made it clear that, while we were not opposed to devolution of transport policing in Scotland, that devolution should be on the basis that a force linked to the British Transport Police should be the agency that carries it out. I spoke to the chief constable of the British Transport Police, and he is entirely happy with that. Indeed, in its evidence to the Scottish Parliament the BTP said that it is happy to have a direct relationship with Scottish Ministers and with Holyrood. If it is necessary to change the name of the force in Scotland, for the reasons that the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, referred to, that is possible—there is no reason why it should not be called “Transport Police Scotland” or “Scotland Transport Police”. Nobody is hung up on the name of the British Transport Police. What matters is that the job is done properly and in the most effective way.

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean

The noble Lord says that nobody is hung up on the name of the British Transport Police, but the Scottish National Party is.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

The noble Lord is of course absolutely right.

I will finish by picking up one of the points that the noble Lord made and adding to it. He referred to the no-detriment principle in the Smith commission report. Principle 5 of that report says that the package of powers agreed through the Smith commission process should,

“not cause detriment to the UK as a whole nor to any of its constituent parts”.

It is evident that there is a financial implication. There is also an implication for travellers travelling between England and Scotland, who will suffer a detriment, as a number of speakers in this debate have indicated. Therefore, when the Minister goes back to talk to the Scottish Government, he must take seriously the need for that no-detriment principle to be applied and impress on them that it certainly applies in this case.

KIDDERMINSTER RAILWAY MUSEUM



Wednesday 3 January 2018



At Kidderminster Railway Museum (as chairman of the Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board) handing over to the curator of the museum the special Kidderminster station sign produced in gold to commemorate the town’s Olympic gold medal winners.

On 27 October 2017 I also presented a similar sign for Kidderminster station to the National Railway Museum in York, in honour of Team GB Paralympian swimmer Claire Cashmore

See Golden History for London Midland

HOUSE OF LORDS: LORD SPEAKER'S COMMITTEE REPORT

19 December 2017: Motion to Take Note:

Lord Burns moved that this House takes note of the Report of the Lord Speaker’s committee on the size of the House.

During the course of the debate....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

"My Lords, I have known the noble Lord, Lord Burns, for some 30 years as a friend and I have always admired his ability to win people over by the power of persuasion. That quality he and his fellow committee members have shown in abundance with this brilliant report, and I, like other speakers in this debate, congratulate them.

My most earnest hope is that this report will not go the same way as an earlier Burns report on another British institution, which in that case was oversized, outdated, unrepresentative and predominantly white, male and middle-class. I am referring, of course, to the English Football Association. Despite early indications in 2006 that the recommendations of the noble Lord, Lord Burns, were to be accepted in full, so little progress was made that the noble Lord appeared in ​front of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee five years on, and the report in the Guardian of that session carried the headline:

“Lord Burns accuses FA of losing plot over regulation.”

As numerous speakers in this debate have already said, this may be the last opportunity we have to address the challenges facing this place, and I urge us not to lose the plot...."

... continue reading this contribution


PAINTING POWER: THE ART OF TERENCE CUNEO


12 December 2017:

In my capacity as Deputy Chair of the Science Museum Group, I was invited to open a wide-ranging exhibition of Cuneo's art, this being the University of Hull's final contribution to Hull's year as the UK City of Culture 2017.

Curated by Science Museum group director Ian Blatchford, and Chief Curator of the National Railway Museum, Andrew McLean, the exhibition explores Cuneo's portrayal of power through the Science Museum Group's collection of his work and from rarely seen loan material.

Amongst the exhibits was the painting shown entitled "Giants refreshed: Pacifics in the Doncaster Locomotive Works", courtesy of the Doncaster Heritage Services © the estate of Terence Cuneo/ Bridgeman Images

Read what I said in opening the exhibition

Further information about visiting the exhibition can be found at Painting Power: the art of Terence Cuneo

SURPRISE INSPECTION OF MALVERN SCRAP DEALERS


Friday 17 November: Police joined forces with the Environmental Agency and Worcestershire County Council’s regulatory services for a surprise inspection of two Malvern scrap dealers.

The officers were joined on their mission by Lord Faulkner of Worcester, a guiding force behind the passing of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, which outlawed the cash sales of scrap metal.

Lord Faulkner said he was delighted to take part. He said: “This year’s increases in the prices of copper and other metals meant that metal theft is growing, so the need for enforcement of the laws and regulations controlling scrap metal dealing is needed more than ever.

“The increasing rate of metal theft has prompted me to call for a Parliamentary debate in the New Year.”

Read article in Worcester News

SCRAP METAL DEALERS ACT 2013

2 November 2017: Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness and enforcement of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con)

The Government have conducted a review of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 to assess whether it has met its intended objectives and whether it should be retained or repealed. A report of the findings of this review will be published later this year.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)

I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. Only organised criminal gangs would like to see the Act repealed. It was immensely successful initially thanks to rigorous enforcement, led by the British Transport Police, and the work of the scrap metal task force.
Is she aware that in the past two years, from the second half of 2016 and through this year, the incidence of theft has been growing again, particularly of high-value items, through the work of organised gangs? The increase is due also to the rise in the value of scrap metal—for example, copper is now worth more than £5,000 per tonne.
Should not the Act be strengthened and the task force reconstituted?

Read debate in full

RAILWAYS: RELIABILITY

31 October 2017: Baroness Randerson asked Her Majesty’s Government what measures they intend to take to improve the reliability of railway services.

During the debate..... Lord Faulkner of Worcester

I join other noble Lords in thanking the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, for securing this very interesting debate. I too welcome the Minister to her first railway debate. I am sure there will be many more and I hope she will be here to take part in those as well. There can be no one in your Lordships’ House who disagrees with the aspiration to improve the quality of Britain’s rail services....

We have had a number of briefings for this debate. I particularly commend that of the Railway Industry Association, which points out that passenger numbers have doubled in the last 20 years, that the rail industry employs 240,000 people and contributes £11 billion gross added value to the economy, and that with a vibrant rail industry at home, we are now again able, as we did in the past, to sell our railway expertise abroad.

Read my contribution in full

GOLDEN HISTORY FOR LONDON MIDLAND



In 2016, London Midland turned its station signs gold to mark the success of local heroes such as Megan Giglia and Jon-Allan Butterworth at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

On 27 October 2017 the sign at Kidderminster station, in honour of Team GB Paralympian swimmer Claire Cashmore, was handed over to Science Museum Deputy Chairman, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, to be displayed at the National Railway Museum in York.

The powers of the Railway Heritage Committee in designating objects with special heritage significance were passed to the Science Museum trustees in 2013, who are advised by the Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board (RHDAB).



Read press release from London Midland

See Spotlight on Golden History for London Midland

BATTLE OF PASSCHENDAELE

19 October 2017: Lord Black of Brentwood moved the motion:

That this House takes note of the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele and of Her Majesty’s Government’s plans to commemorate it.

during the debate......

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

..... We have been reminded today about the horror that was Passchendaele and the unimaginable scale of the casualties on the allied and German sides. After the wettest summer for 30 years, the ground under foot was a quagmire, and the mud was so deep that men and horses drowned in it—described by Siegfried Sassoon in his heart-breaking poem, “Memorial Tablet”, quoted to such effect by the noble Lord, Lord Black, in his speech.

One soldier who fought at Passchendaele and survived was Harry Patch, who died in 2009 at the age of 111, the last British survivor of the trenches. I had the privilege of meeting him in Ypres the year before, when he paid his last visit to the Western Front. His Great War service was uncovered only in 2000, when he began to talk of his wartime experiences. He was an ardent spokesman for the promotion of peace, saying that war benefits no one but merely leaves individuals and families irretrievably scarred. He travelled back to the battlefields of Ypres regularly during the last decade of his life, and attended the “Last Post” ceremony at the Menin Gate, always promoting the same message: dialogue, rather than show of arms.

He agreed to meet a German veteran while in Ypres in 2006, and their coming together was a powerful symbol of reconciliation. I think that he would have agreed with David Lloyd George, about whom the noble Lord, Lord Lexden, spoke, when he described Passchendaele in his war memoirs as,
“one of the greatest disasters of the war... No soldier of any intelligence now defends this senseless campaign”.....

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RAILWAY HERITAGE EVENTS IN FERMANAGH

On 30 September 2017 the Headhunters Barber's Shop and Railway Museum in Enniskillen received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service , which was presented by the Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh, Viscount Brookeborough at Enniskillen Castle Museum.

Speaking at the event in my role as President of the Heritage Railway Association (HRA)

“Headhunters is a remarkable and unique establishment which offers a high quality barber’s shop service in a heritage railway museum environment. The collection of artefacts assembled there is without doubt the best in the county, and possibly in the whole of Northern Ireland. It is almost 60 years since Fermanagh and the surrounding area lost all their railway services and it is therefore imperative that local people and the thousands of people who visit Enniskillen as tourists have the opportunity to get a sense of what the railway was like. Headhunters manages to do that excellently.

“As with railway heritage projects across the United Kingdom, the key to Headhunters’ success as a museum lies with its volunteers. It is hard to think of a more worthy candidate for this prestigious award.”

Earlier in the year the museum had received an award from the HRA at their annual dinner in February

See more news and images here

During my visit to Fermanagh I also made a speech at the opening of Fermanagh & Omagh District Council’s launch of the council’s “Each a Glimpse and Gone Forever – Fermanagh’s Railway Story” exhibition at Fermanagh County Museum in Enniskillen Castle. This exhibition marked the 60th anniversary of the closure of all railway lines in the north west of the island of Ireland.

Read the speech I gave at the launch of the exhibition here

ALISHAN FOREST RAILWAY, TAIWAN



At the end of September I visited Taiwan as President of the Heritage Railway Association (HRA), but also in the position I hold as the British Government's Trade Envoy to Taiwan.

I represented the HRA at the signing of a friendship agreement between the Alishan Forest Railway and the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway on 28 September.

Those shown in the image are L to R - Lord Shutt of Greetland (vice chair parliamentary all-party heritage rail group),

Steve Clews (chair of the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway),

Steve Firstbrook (head international trade and investment, British Office, Taiwan),

Michael Reilly (former British representative in Taipei and now secretary of the W&LLR).

Article in Taiwan Today

REAPPOINTMENT AS TRADE ENVOY TO TAIWAN

31 July 2017:

I was honoured to receive a letter from the Rt. Hon. Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State at the Department for International Trade, inviting me to continue in the role of Trade Envoy to Taiwan

Read the letter in full here

PRINCE HENRY'S HIGH SCHOOL SPEECH DAY 2017



At the end of June I was delighted to be invited by the Head at Prince Henry's High School in Evesham, Worcestershire, to present the prizes at their Speech Day.

This was a return visit, having previously visited the school in January as a representative of the Lord Speaker’s Peers in Schools programme

You can read the speech I gave here

More photos from Prince Henry's High School Speech Day can be found by linking to the school website

RAILWAYS: NORTHERN ENGLAND

10 July 2017: Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty’s Government what support they are giving to connecting communities and economies in the north of England by the re-opening of railway lines.

during the debate....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)
My Lords, I remind the House of my railway interests in the register. The Minister will be struck by the support that exists all over the House for the reopening of rural railway lines. Can I draw his attention to the Report by the Association of Train Operating Companies in 2009, which looked at communities with more than 15,000 inhabitants, and at the potential for reopening services where they used to exist? There were 14 lines of the highest priority where there was either an existing freight line or a disused line. No Government have yet acted on that report, so will the Minister now please have a look at it?

LOCAL ARTS & CULTURAL SERVICES - QUESTION FOR SHORT DEBATE

30 March 2017: The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they intend to take to protect and improve local arts and cultural services, including museums, libraries and archaeological services.

during the debate...

Lord Faulkner of Worcester: ....... I declare an unpaid interest as chair of a charity called Worcester Live, which is the main provider of the arts in the city. ....

Worcester Live exists for three reasons. First, it receives generous core funding support from Worcester City Council, which, per head of population, probably contributes more to the arts than any other district council. Secondly, it has a small number of wonderful individual benefactors, trusts and patrons. Thirdly, its productions and events are well-supported by local residents.

However, Worcester Live gets not a penny from the Arts Council, and that means that its finances are constantly on a knife edge. In my view, a disproportionate amount of arts money goes to London, and a huge percentage of it goes to classical music in one form or another—orchestras, opera and ballet—and to flagship ​venues, a point made earlier by the noble Baroness, Lady Murphy. I am far from convinced that the balance is entirely right, and I would like the Arts Council to recognise the value to local communities outside the south-east of popular non-elitist organisations such as the one that I am involved with.......

read contribution in full

see also item in Worcester News

DISABLED ACCESS: PUBLIC PREMISES

15 March 2017: Baroness Deech asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to improve accessibility for disabled people to public premises.

during the debate.....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)
My Lords, is the Minister aware that a significant number of Premier League football clubs will fail to honour the commitment that they gave in 2015 to make all their stadia disabled accessible by August 2017? Will he remind them that Section 20 of the 2010 Act is not an option but is mandatory? Will the Government empower the Sports Grounds Safety Authority to enforce the law and make sure that accessible stadia guidelines are observed?

to which Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth responded:
My Lords, the noble Lord is absolutely right and I know that he has raised this issue many times before. Some are of course stepping up to the plate and some are not. Some are partly there. I mention my own club, Leicester City, which I hope will do a bit more but is already part of the way there. I take the point seriously. I will write to him on his second point about enforcement because I am not sure where we are on that, but I agree that we need to keep their feet to the fire to make sure that they are performing.

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION VISITS ST LUCIA



14 - 16 February 2017

Recently visited St Lucia as a member of a UK parliamentary delegation which hosted a two-day workshop for local parliamentarians.

Ahead of that session, the three-member delegation met with representatives of non-governmental organizations.

The two events are part of regular post elections parliamentary workshops conducted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

See local media coverage

HERITAGE RAILWAY ASSOCIATION AGM

11 February 2017: Addressed the AGM of the Railway Heritage Association in Wolverhanpton

Read full transcript of the speech here

HIGH SPEED RAIL (LONDON-WEST MIDLANDS) BILL

24 January 2017: Lord Bradshaw moved Clause 1: Power to construct and maintain works for Phase One of High Speed 2 - Amendment 1

speaking to this amendment Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)

Will the noble Earl take the trouble to read the very wise words of noble Lord, Lord Brabazon, who spoke a few moments ago about the consequences of accepting these amendments? If one of them were passed, the Bill would have to be re-hybridised. It would have to go back to the hybrid Bill Committee and months and months would be taken up by looking at the Bill again with these provisions in it.

I cannot believe that the House would want to do that, bearing in mind the exceptionally good job that the hybrid committee did. I see a number of its members are in the Chamber at the moment and they deserve the thanks of all of us for looking at this Bill in such detail and displaying such patience in listening to huge numbers of petitions and far too many lawyers who were presenting them on behalf of people with, in some cases, entirely spurious objections. The committee went through that very well and came up with a series of recommendations for change, and the Government, to their great credit, have accepted them all either in spirit or literally. The fact that the committee has done that job and we have a Bill to which we can give Third Reading and get work under way is very important.​

Old Oak Common is a wonderful place. It is where my great-grandfather lived in a Great Western Railway house when he was a top link driver on the railway in the early years of the 20th century. But it is not a place where people want to go when they are travelling on high-speed trains from Birmingham or the north of England. Indeed, the practicality of finishing a journey there has been addressed by Transport for London. It answers the point made by my noble friend Lord Berkeley about Crossrail. Yes, Crossrail is going really well and will be a great success. But when HS2 arrives at Old Oak Common, it is estimated that about a third of the passengers will get off, get on to Crossrail and go into the City. However, if they were all required to go on to the City, the difference between these two—HS2 terminating at Euston or at Old Oak Common—would, in the words of Transport for London, be the difference between Crossrail coping and Crossrail falling down. That would be the implication of accepting this amendment.

read this contribution



Amendment 2 moved by Lord Stevenson of Balmacara

speaking to this amendment Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)

My Lords, I pick up the theme of my noble friend Lord Snape and express my disappointment at the lack of ambition that some Members of this House seem to demonstrate towards our capacity as a nation to build wonderful railways. Some of the finest structures created in the 19th century were built by railway engineers, whether it was viaducts ​through the Peak District or magnificent railway stations. To have such a lack of ambition and to say, “Gosh, this new line must all go in tunnels because it’s going to be so obtrusive”, is very disappointing. Also, as my noble friend says, it is very expensive. I remember at one of the early briefing meetings given by Sir David Higgins I asked him, “Wouldn’t it be possible to reduce the cost of the project if we didn’t have so much tunnel in it?”. He said, “Yes, but I’m not allowed by the Government to answer that question”. I am not sure whether it was this Government or the previous one who made it impossible for him to answer, but it has undoubtedly added to the cost.

I also make a plea for the people who like travelling by train and love the Chilterns and want to be able to see them. There is no reason why we should not be able to see them rather than the inside of a tunnel from the railway. Look at the other engineering projects in the Chilterns. The M40 is a six-lane motorway which carved a swathe through the Chiltern escarpment, and probably the largest intrusion into an area of outstanding natural beauty in the south of England. There was a lot of objection. It is used by very large numbers of people, but it still causes an intrusion and environmental damage far greater than the two-track railway that we are discussing this evening. Wendover benefits from a new bypass, which is being constructed to one side of the existing Chiltern railway line and is producing a huge amount of noise and traffic. It is very nice for the town because traffic is taken out of the town, but the new railway is going to go alongside that as well. Why is that somehow unreasonable compared with the road that is already there?

The Chilterns are beautiful. The environment of the Chilterns will be enhanced by the building of the railway, and many more people will be able to enjoy them. There is no need for these amendments.

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