Skip to main content

Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill [HL]

Volume 802: debated on Wednesday 4 March 2020

Third Reading

Relevant document: 5th Report from the Delegated Powers Committee

A privilege amendment was made.

My Lords, we are coming to the end of a marathon—and for those of us who were here the first time the Bill went through, a double marathon. All the issues were thoroughly debated once and then thoroughly debated again. It is marvellous to think that now, at last, we are gift-wrapping this and sending it to the other end of the corridor for the other place to look at.

I believe that we have tidied up the Bill: the key points have been clearly made and the unresolved matters identified. We have spoken of accessibility, sustainability and legacy; financial sticking points have been identified; workers’ rights have been adumbrated; regular reports have been required; and the bifurcatory principle, with India now coming into the scheme, has been established, perhaps modelling good practice for the future. Inclusivity has been a repeated word, and the inner secrets of Birmingham New Street station have been revealed once and for all. Those matters must now be taken further in the other House, and we look forward to that.

I understand that we are not allowed to say thanks—so I will, but not to Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all. I just want to say what a privilege it has been to be involved in a Bill that has been formulated by the whole House consensually across the Chamber. I look forward to many more such occasions in future—and I hope that tomorrow, in the debate on the BBC, we shall do exactly the same thing. I also want to say one word of courtesy to the Minister, who cut her teeth on the Bill. I am certain that we are going to dance together into the future.

My Lords, I thank the Minister and her predecessor, who have gone through the rather odd process of having to do most of the work on the Bill twice. We have tried to engage to ensure that people know how this will work, and give them an idea of what to expect from it. The Government, the whole House and the political structure have done a good thing in dealing with something that might not have happened unless Birmingham had taken it on. Durban could not do it, so Birmingham has taken it on, which means that the Commonwealth Games will go ahead. The Commonwealth is an institution that may well become more important in our lives, and it will have its big sporting festival. Sporting festivals are good things; thus endeth the lesson. We have brought something through, and the House has tried to achieve a degree of agreement and consensus on a common aim. I do not know whether we shall manage to go down that path very often, but when we can we should celebrate it, and I thank the Minister and my noble friend Lord Foster, who managed to make sure that we were still represented when I could not be here. I thank them both for their help; I enjoyed working through most of this process.

As we are not allowed to say thank you, it would be remiss of me not to break the rules, along with the noble Lords opposite. I echo the thanks of the noble Lords, Lord Griffiths and Lord Addington, for being so constructive and helpful on the Bill, and I acknowledge the extraordinary expertise of the noble Lords who contributed to our proceedings. I learnt an enormous amount about many things that I never even knew existed, including, obviously, the signage at Birmingham New Street station.

Bill passed and sent to the Commons.