HC Deb 13 November 1950 vol 480 cc1374-5
46. Captain Orr

asked the Prime Minister to which Minister Questions concerning the defence value of any Northern Ireland railway should be addressed.

The Prime Minister

It would be convenient if such Questions were addressed to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport, though the hon. Member will bear in mind that the Minister could do no more than consult with the Government of Northern Ireland.

Captain Orr

Does this mean that there is no Minister directly responsible for deciding whether or not the railways in Northern Ireland are of strategic importance?

The Prime Minister

These are under the orders of the Northern Ireland Government. We cannot interfere with what they do.

Sir Ronald Ross

Would it not be better if such Questions were put to the Minister of Defence?

The Prime Minister

That depends on the nature of the Question. It would be much easier to answer with regard to a particular Question than a generalised one involving matters of defence and transport.

47. Captain Orr

asked the Prime Minister how far the responsibilities of the Minister of Transport extend to Northern Ireland.

The Prime Minister

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport has no responsibility in Northern Ireland for inland transport, including highways, railways, road transport, inland waterway, canals and docks. He is, however, responsible for merchant shipping and navigation, except as respects inland waters, the regulation of harbours and local health regulations; for H.M. Coastguard; and for the sea transport of Service personnel and cargoes.

Sir R. Ross

Does the Minister of Transport have consultation with appropriate Northern Ireland Ministers on these matters?

The Prime Minister

I should think that he is often in touch with them.

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