I congratulate the Secretary of State on his, to use a commercial term, remarkable shelf life in his present job. Why is he dealing only with Messrs. MacBrayne and allowing charges to one of my more prosperous islands to be exactly one third of the cost per mile to one of my less prosperous islands? This does not make sense to my constituents or to me.
I begin to wonder and realise why the right hon. Gentleman is on the shelf. [HON. MEMBERS: " Oh!"] The distance to be travelled or the time taken to cover it are not by any means the only factors to be taken into account in fixing the charges on particular routes. These include the total costs of operating the service and the volume of traffic.