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Shipley Eastern Bypass

Volume 659: debated on Thursday 2 May 2019

I must apologise to you, Mr Speaker, because I am not possessed of either a Demosthenic or a Ciceronian eloquence, but what I can do is focus the House’s attention on this perfectly formed and important local question regarding Bradford Council’s discussions on a Shipley eastern bypass. My hon. Friend has been a highly effective campaigner for this project, and as he will know, we have supported it within my Department. My officials remain in regular contact with officers from Bradford Metropolitan District Council. The council will need to provide a detailed business case for the Department to review to take forward plans for the road scheme, and my officials are advising the council on how to develop its business case.

Frankly, the Minister is altogether too modest. However, it is my own firm conviction, based on observing the hon. Member for Shipley (Philip Davies) for the past 14 years, that he combines the qualities of both those illustrious orators.

You are very kind, Mr Speaker, but I am not sure that we would want a Division on that proposition. As the Minister has made clear, the Government have paid for a feasibility study to be carried out, for which I am extremely grateful, but since then, not a fat lot seems to have happened at the Bradford Council end. So when does he expect to see the feasibility study completed by Bradford Council so that we can crack on with delivering this vital scheme?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to focus attention on the council, because it is with the council that the situation presently lies. Bradford Metropolitan District Council has said that, by November this year, it will submit a strategic outline business case looking at how to resolve congestion issues in Shipley. The Department will then consider it and provide recommendations to Ministers.

I am not altogether sure of the link between Brecon and Radnorshire and the Shipley eastern bypass, but I have a feeling that I am about to be enlightened by the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnorshire (Chris Davies).

All will be revealed, Mr Speaker. Has my hon. Friend the Minister had any recent discussions with the Welsh Government over the urgent need for the M4 relief road, which will provide quicker and better access from Wales to Shipley and the rest of the UK?

How unwise I was to have considered this a tightly focused question. I had entirely failed to understand the national implications for this proposal across Wales and England. My officials remain in close discussions not merely with Highways England about the M4 but with the Welsh Government about the strategic road network. I therefore have no doubt that once the great Shipley bypass has been constructed, access from Wales will be as uninterrupted as my hon. Friend would wish it to be.