§ Mr. Ashdown
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what reasons underlay the decision of the Franchising Director of the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority concerning of the amount of notice given between the announcement of a possible new micro franchise on the Waterloo/Exeter rail line and the pre-qualification date for bidders; if he will instruct the Regulator to extend this deadline; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Hill
[holding answer 22 June 2000]: The Secretary of State has asked the Franchising Director to write to the right hon. Member explaining the history of this decision and the future proposals for both the Waterloo/Exeter railway line and replacement plans for South West Trains franchise and other franchise in the area. This letter will be placed in the Library.