HC Deb 15 May 1963 vol 677 cc1301-2
9. Mr. Brewis

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will invite the Scottish Transport Council to carry out a study on the lines of the recent Highland Transport Inquiry into the transport needs of Galloway and South-West Scotland.

Mr. Marples

Neither my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland nor I consider that this is necessary at this stage.

Mr. Brewis

As my right hon. Friend made an alarming statement in a recent debate that he intended to close down all the lines in this part of the world in any event, will he take this opportunity of giving an assurance that he will take into account not only hardship and unemployment, but also future economic developments in that area and in Northern Ireland, as well as strategic and other needs? Secondly, will he say that he will not allow any rail closures to be made without the prior full agreement of the Northern Irish Government on matters which affect Northern Ireland?

Mr. Marples

I cannot go as far as that, but certainly the considerations mentioned in the earlier part of my hon. Friend's helpful supplementary question will be taken into account. Before any decision of any sort is reached affecting, say, the Stranraer-Larne service, I shall not only take those considerations into account but will consult my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Home Secretary. There are adequate safeguards which must be applied at the right time.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

In considering the question of the Stranraer line, will the Minister bear in mind that the views of his hon. Friend the Member for Galloway (Mr. Brewis) represent those of the overwhelming majority of people in the area? Is he aware that there will be no passenger railway stations in Galloway or in South Ayrshire and that we shall feel marooned and isolated as a result of these proposals?

Mr. Marples

The hon. Member is often marooned and isolated, but I am glad that on this issue he is in coalition with my hon. Friend. I will take into account what has been said.

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