My right hon. Friend expects to meet the Commissioner after Easter to discuss a range of London policing issues. These will include traffic matters.
Is my hon. Friend aware that the Metropolitan police have written to me describing the effect of coach deregulation in London as horrendous? As ours is supposed to be the party of law and order, does my hon. Friend agree that we may find ourselves with a tarnished image unless we can satisfy the Metropolitan police that we are prepared to listen to the problems that they are suffering as a result of the legislation? As I am simply asking my hon. Friend to raise the matter, and as he has already agreed to meet the Commissioner, will he ensure that this item is on the agenda?
These are essentially matters for the Commissioner, but if the Commissioner wishes to discuss them with my right hon. Friend, he will be very willing to oblige. My hon. Friend is well known for his support for and interest in railways, but the railway service will improve only if there is an alternative. Coaches provide a useful and proper alternative.
What discussions has the Minister had with his colleagues at the Department of the Environment and at the Department of Transport, which between them are turning London into a dirty, pot-holed car park? In a recent parliamentary answer we were informed that at 31 December 1983 there were 1,789 traffic wardens, but that at 31 December 1987 there were only 1,527. Is the Minister aware that Government policy is reducing London to chaos in traffic terms and that the Metropolitan police and the Home Office are not doing enough to enforce traffic regulations?
I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman does not give greater support to Government policies on this matter. He will know of our policies on wheel clamping and the improvements that have taken place as a result of fixed penalties, registering parking tickets with fines, and so on. I am surprised that he did not take this opportunity to pay tribute to what we are doing.