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Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:30 pm on 19th July 2001.

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Photo of Robin Cook Robin Cook Lord Privy Seal 12:30 pm, 19th July 2001

I am not sure that I would encourage the hon. Gentleman to hope for an underwriting of costs by the operating company, but he has highlighted a problem associated with giving a 20-year franchise at the present time. The actions of any operator, including GNER, depend on the state of the track, which is why a two-year extension has been granted.

I am well aware of the line to which the hon. Gentleman refers. It is one of the most attractive lines in the United Kingdom, and I hope that it will soon be among the best.