As Caroline Lucas made clear last Wednesday, the amendment 45 would have had a great deal of value if only the Government had not withdrawn lines 7-14 which is why she and indeed both of the Labour Sussex MPs voted against an inadequate amendment. Their votes were also consistent with the votes from Tim Loughton, Huw Merriman, Peter Bottomley. There were also no votes from Caroline Ansell and Jeremy Quin. However the other 8 Conservative MPs did vote for the Government amendment of amendment 45. So back to Caroline Lucas
I certainly support the direction of Lords amendment 45. However, I want to ask the Minister why she is omitting lines 7 to 14 of the original amendment introduced by the Duke of Wellington in the other place, which would put a legal duty on water companies to take immediate action to tackle sewage pollution and so forth. Why has she taken some of the teeth out of this amendment?
Then a short while later Tim Loughton began his comments with the following
I wanted to speak on interim targets in the first group of amendments, but given the time constraints, I have saved myself for sewage. I rise to support the Duke of Wellington’s amendment, which is the most important amendment we are faced with this evening.
I acknowledge that this is a landmark piece of legislation. I congratulate the Minister on the way that she has listened and on the length that she has gone to on the sewage issue. Frankly, however, when it comes to sewage discharge, my constituents do not want another taskforce, an aspirational target, or a discretionary duty of care. They do not even want more consultation. They just want a legally enforceable obligation on our water companies to stop them routinely discharging raw sewage into our rivers and seas. That is the bottom line.
So we now need the response from the House of Lords today to reverse the cancellation of the Government. Let us see what happens.