HC Deb 18 February 1964 vol 689 cc1004-5
15. Mr. Small

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works to what extent his Department will be involved in the construction of the Channel Tunnel.

Mr. Rippon

The arrangements for the construction of the tunnel have still to be worked out by Her Majesty's Government and the French Government.

Mr. Small

As this will be an historical landmark and an engineering event, does not the right hon. Gentleman consider that even at this early stage he should lake a deep interest in the construction of the tunnel?

Mr. Rippon

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Clark Hutchison

Will my right hon. Friend do his best to see that no Government money is spent, or wasted, on such a ridiculous idea as a Channel Tunnel?

Mr. Rippon

No, Sir.

Mr. C. Pannell

The Minister rather brushed off my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Scotstoun (Mr. Small) with a somewhat smart reply, but does he appreciate that, as his is the major building Department representing the Crown, the question of a geological survey is very necessary? Can he inform the House at the earliest possible moment how far his Department will be implicated in this project? Obviously, he will want his Department to be implicated, because there is too much money involved here for the project to be farmed out to various private firms of contractors. Might I further inquire whether the ignorance of his hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Clark Hutchison) is shared by the Front Bench opposite?

Mr. Rippon

I do not call it brushing off the hon. Member when I agreed with him completely.

Mr. Rankin

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the disappointing answer given by the Minister to his hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Clark Hutchison), I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment.