Ronnie Campbell: Will my hon. Friend give way?
Ronnie Campbell: Like many north-east MPs, I travel on the east coast line every week, and I am always being asked this question by passengers and staff: why on earth did the coalition Government get rid of a perfectly good company that put £1 billion over four years into the Treasury and give the franchise to Virgin-Stagecoach? That has never really been explained.
Ronnie Campbell: As has been said, three private companies have run the east coast main line, and they have all failed, except for the one that was disposed of by the last Government under the previous Transport Secretary. I wonder sometimes whether we should look at the current Secretary of State’s slush bucket and see how much Stagecoach put into it.
Ronnie Campbell: Is the Prime Minister sure and confident that the EU negotiators will not put more obstacles in her way on the second agreement, because quite honestly I would not trust them as far as I can throw them?
Ronnie Campbell: The east coast main line was run for many years by a not-for-profit company and it made a profit for the Treasury, but that is not what I want to ask about. I have been campaigning for 30 years to reopen the Blyth and Ashington line. Now that that is on the cards, will the Secretary of State tell me when it will happen, so that I can tell my constituents? I do not want to have to wait another...
Ronnie Campbell: When?
Ronnie Campbell: As a Labour MP who wants to leave Europe, I am a rare animal. I am a non-believer in the undemocratic way that the European Union has been run for many years, but I do get a bit worried when I think about how we are going to pay £40 billion to leave the place. It beggars belief, and I wonder what is going to come next. Are we going to agree to the rules for another two years? Things keep...
Ronnie Campbell: And here’s me thinking you weren’t going to call me, Mr Speaker. Seeing as we are not in the euro, will the Prime Minister guarantee that none of the money that the EU finally gets off us will be used to prop up the euro? That is a good question, like Mr Speaker said. We are not in the euro, so our money should not be used for it. The only problem the Prime Minister has is that...
Ronnie Campbell: Whether the Government plan to continue to apply the Dublin III Regulation after the UK leaves the EU.
Ronnie Campbell: The Minister will be aware that the north-east of England is one of the poorest areas in the United Kingdom. We have not got a Barnett formula and the Government have only four or five MPs there—at least the last time I counted—so obviously we are going to get nowt, but is he giving our money away? Will we get what we are getting or are we going to get nowt?
Ronnie Campbell: I should have had this debate on the day of the terrorist attack, but unfortunately it was cancelled and I have had to wait three or four weeks for this replacement debate. That is a long time and things have developed in the factory since then. It is always sad when a Member comes to Parliament to say that a lot of jobs have been lost in their constituency—in this case at least 450 and...
Ronnie Campbell: According to figures from SPARSE Rural, by 2020 the Government revenue grant will give each person in Northumberland £6.85, while those in the neighbouring metropolitan boroughs across the Tyne and Wear conurbation will get £68.53. Can the Secretary of State explain that?
Ronnie Campbell: rose—
Ronnie Campbell: I’m looking pretty slim as well, Mr Speaker! I had five months of NHS treatment at the Newcastle Royal Victoria infirmary under the auspices of Professor Griffin, a marvellous surgeon. Seeing as I might have come out with palliative care, I think he has just about saved my life. That is the best side of the NHS. The service I received was absolutely wonderful, but there is a flip side....
Ronnie Campbell: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I’ll be able to tell you more about it next week, when I meet my consultant. What plans does the Prime Minister have to make super-economic zones? The Blyth estuary was given an economic zone by the last Tory Chancellor, as we have acres and acres of land around that river. I hope that that is in her mind.
Ronnie Campbell: Does my hon. Friend agree that we should take over and run these dodgy banks that have been in trouble all these years?
Ronnie Campbell: Has the Secretary of State given, or does she envisage giving, any aid to any country in the European Union?
Ronnie Campbell: You’re doing it!
Ronnie Campbell: Could we press the Communities and Local Government Committee to have an inquiry, covering the whole gamut of this issue?
Ronnie Campbell: I feel a little embarrassed coming in here when Northumberland is getting £600,000. However, I am told that it will all go to the rural area of Northumberland where two Tory MPs sit.