§ Mrs. Dunwoody
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the applications by some train operating companies to extend the duration of their franchise agreements. 
§ Ms Glenda Jackson
My right hon. Friend has recently received such an application from Great North Eastern Railway Limited. Applications will be considered on their merits. However, there would need to be very convincing arguments of public interest and value for money to justify renegotiation of contracts which were freely entered into following a competitive process.