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Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th May 1976.

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Photo of Mr Kenneth Weetch Mr Kenneth Weetch , Ipswich 12:00 am, 24th May 1976

I can give a categorical "Yes". It is the intention of the British Transport Docks Board to do whatever dredging is demanded—indeed, to sink whatever capital investment is required by the commercial demand for facilities at Felixstowe, and to do whatever is required. My point, which is a general one, is that in the long run European Ferries cannot offer the same depth and breadth of skill and experience in this matter.

It is still not advisable, even given what the Felixstowe port users are saying and have said, to have a port under the control of a single port user. On my reading of the minutes of the evidence before the Committee, I did not find that counsel for the petitioners made any objections at all in principle to the Bill. There were objections to detail but none in principle.

Whatever the sentiments are now of the port users at Felixstowe, it is still the case that control by one user is such that it would permanently be in a position to hand itself advantages. One set of people who have not spoken, and indeed cannot speak, are the port users of the future, and that is another point.