§ Mr. Wareing
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the decision by the Strategic Rail Authority to take over the south-east franchise. 
§ Mr. McNulty
On 26 June 2003, the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) formally notified Connex that its franchise would be terminated by 31 December 2003. This followed Connex's failure to introduce agreed changes to their financial monitoring and reporting arrangements designed to ensure that the substantial public subsidy they had received was being properly used. With Connex's agreement, the franchise was in fact terminated on 9 November 2003 and the service is now being run by the SRA through a subsidiary company, South Eastern Trains. This will continue only until a private sector operator is appointed to run the proposed Integrated Kent Franchise, which is expected to begin in 2005.