So for those of you who were wondering what had happened to the Heritage Protect Bill, I can happily say that it is still getting support in the Common. However, the support does seem to be a lot of very cross old men using it to have a go at the Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport (or his poor beleaguered under-secretary in this example…)
Mr. Edward Vaizey (Wantage) (Con): I thank the Minister for confirming that the Secretary of State is a member of Cabinet Committee L, which clearly stands for “loser”, because heritage has lost £100 million from this Government in cuts and £1 million from the lottery. The Bill was supported by Conservative Members and would have passed through without any controversy. Can she bring it back, and can she confirm and guarantee, instead of just hope, that the planning policy statement will come out before the Easter recess?
Barbara Follett: I think that if the hon. Gentleman has a look, he will find that the “L” stands for “legislation”, not “loser”. I advise him to avoid schoolboy humour in this Chamber—it brings it down. I address that remark particularly to those on the Conservative Benches. I will do absolutely everything I can to ensure that we get that planning policy guidance through.
I had to laugh at the reference to “Committee L”! The rest of the debate really is nothing but the same old line we’ve already heard (“we are committed to putting through the bill”) and promises for a new planning policy guidance statement… hopefully this session (we’ll see if that happens).
The rest of that debate can be found here.
Further examples of our leaders making fools of each other (and themselves) over heritage can be found where Mr. Tobias Ellwood (Conservative MP for Bournemouth, East) tells the House that Robert Key (Conservative MP for Salisbury) has been in Salisbury (home of Stone Henge) “ so long that he probably deserves honorary druid status“. I’m sure the Druids won’t be insulted to hear that… not at all!