HC Deb 09 February 1993 vol 218 cc823-4
Q8. Mr. Michael Brown

To ask the Prime Minister if he will make an official visit to Cleethorpes by train.

The Prime Minister

I am making plans for a series of visits to all parts of the country and hope to include my hon. Friend's constituency among them.

Mr. Brown

I am delighted to hear that reply. Does my right hon. Friend recall the days when he and I used to travel on the train to Cleethorpes, which used to stop at Huntingdon? Is he aware that if he makes his official visit to Cleethorpes by train, after May this year he will have to change at Newark and hang around on the platform catching flu for hours on end because British Rail is taking away the direct train service to Cleethorpes? Does he agree that it is vital that British Rail should continue that service at least until the Railways Bill is on the statute book, when we can take advantage of the franchising opportunities of privatisation?

The Prime Minister

I recall those journeys with my hon. Friend with great pleasure, but British Rail's monopoly service means that it decides what services to run in the light of its view of passenger demand. I stress to my hon. Friend that British Rail's reluctance to change its service now is no bar to subsequent changes. The privatisation proposals will break British Rail's monopoly and will bring in private sector operators and I believe that part of those franchises will provide a better, cheaper and more effective service for the commuter.