Will the Chancellor comment on reports in this morning's The Guardian that he is a leading doubter of the wisdom of rail privatisation and that he wants to see it shelved this side of the election because the policy is too difficult to sell to the general public? Is there any truth in that? What are the presentational advantages, supposed or otherwise, of the privatisation of Nuclear Electric?
I am very happy immediately to tell the hon. Gentleman that there is no foundation to those reports; they are groundless and incorrect. As for the hon. Gentleman's general point, the concept of privatisation has swept the world, with the sole exception of the Labour party. There is an international queue at the Government's door asking how to go about the privatisation process and how to go about improving public services. Privatisation and the citizens charter are the tip of a formidable iceberg. All that I will say about Labour councils and the Labour party is that the Labour party is heading for that iceberg.