§ 40. Mr. Ernest Davies
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will refer the matter of the future operation of the Newhaven—Dieppe steamship service to the South-Eastern Transport Consultative Committee for its consideration and recommendations.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (Mr. Airey Neave)
No, Sir. Passenger services on this route were reintroduced on 5th April and summer services will be on the same scale as last year.
§ Mr. Davies
The service has been restarted only for the summer period and is to close down in the autumn. As the right hon. Gentleman's explanation of the closure was that it would save oil and as, presumably, by the autumn the oil situation will have improved, may I ask whether steps can be taken to keep the service open so that we may not have the excuse of the oil shortage to close it down?
§ Mr. Neave
As the hon. Gentleman knows, the conduct of the service is a joint matter for the French railways and the British Transport Commission, French Railways being the senior partner. If it is necessary to examine the future of the Commission's share of the service, I hope that that can be considered by the Transport Users' Consultative Committee, as the hon. Gentleman suggests.
§ Major Beamish
Newhaven is in my constituency, and I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving me any help he can. In the discussions with the French authorities, can my hon. Friend and his right hon. Friend use their best endeavour to try to ensure that the service is kept open all the year round and not closed down again next winter?
§ Mr. Davies
Can the Joint Parliamentary Secretary give an undertaking that before the service is closed down, the matter will be referred to the South-Eastern Transport Consultative Committee so that the Committee will be given an opportunity to consider the matter before a final decision is taken?