Rail Services

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 2:12 pm on 22nd February 1995.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr David Steel Mr David Steel , Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale 2:12 pm, 22nd February 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what has been the outcome of his consultations with British Rail on the proposed withdrawal of sleeper and Motorail services from Scotland and Carlisle.

Photo of Lord James Douglas-Hamilton Lord James Douglas-Hamilton , Edinburgh West

My right hon. Friend and I have discussed a wide range of topics with British Rail relating to railway matters affecting Scotland, including sleeper and Motorail services.

Photo of Mr David Steel Mr David Steel , Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale

Why are Ministers reneging on the undertaking given to the Scottish Grand Committee that consultation would take place before any services were withdrawn? Is the Minister aware that the phrase used by the Secretary of State this afternoon—"diminution of service"—will go down in history, along with "economical with the truth", as a euphemism for the complete destruction of the Motorail service? Does the Minister recognise that it is perverse to cancel Motorail services to Scotland just when we are opening them under the channel?

Photo of Lord James Douglas-Hamilton Lord James Douglas-Hamilton , Edinburgh West

Following publication of the passenger service requirement, the Franchising Director will consult formally—as the right hon. Gentleman has already been told—with both the rail users consultative committee for Scotland and local authorities before making final decisions on the PSR. Both under nationalisation and now, British Rail has had the power to stop a service at any time if that is its resolve and determination, but I have made it clear, both now and in the past, that final decisions will be made at the end of that formal consultation.

Incidentally, the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) was entirely wrong: Hansard was not tampered with. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton), who chaired the Grand Committee, has written to every member making the facts absolutely clear. The hon. Gentleman cannot get away with presenting facts that obviously do not accord with reality.