I hope that "shortly" is in the near future. Although I am grateful to my hon. Friend for the personal interest that he has shown in the subject and the meetings that he has held with interested parties, will he confirm that he recognises that the improvement of that line is essential if the area is to build up its industry and employment? Is he aware that the area has been sadly neglected by successive Governments for the past 30 years?
I fully recognise that the improvement of the line is wrapped up with the future of Hastings as a business growth area. I received a deputation that my hon. Friend brought to see me last week. It presented a formidable case for early investment in the line. I have taken that fully on board.
Is my hon. Friend aware that the line is important not simply because of Hastings? It runs through many constituencies and is vital to a large part of the south-east region.