§ Mr. Burstow
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if he will set out the timetable for awarding the rail franchise for the services operated by Connex South Central; 
(2) pursuant to his answer of 7 July 2000, Official Report, column 314W, on rail franchises, what contractual commitments Connex South Central has to provide for a well-planned and smooth changeover period if it fails to win the next franchise; and what action he can take if Connex fails to meet these commitments. 
§ Mr. Hill
Although Connex have no such contractual requirements, they currently hold more than one franchise and are pre-qualified bidders or potential bidders for other replacement franchises. The Franchising Director is entitled to take into account the past performances of operators when considering the award of franchises. The Franchising Director has set no specific dates for the award of any replacement franchise, as to do so may prejudice his negotiating position.