Martin Vickers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to attract new open access applications where there is capacity to deliver more rail services, passenger choice and competition.
Martin Vickers: Last week I was pleased to welcome a delegation from Taiwan to my constituency to meet businesses in the offshore renewables sector, and the delegation regarded the way the sector has developed in the UK as a model. Will the Minister outline what support is available to small and medium-sized businesses involved in the supply chain in this country that want to extend to countries abroad?
Martin Vickers: May I intervene on that point?
Martin Vickers: I pointed out that the 1975 referendum was to deal with the running sore within the Labour party. The Labour party was split at that time, as the hon. Gentleman will know. The fact is that both parties have been divided on this issue, which is actually a reflection of the way that the country is divided on it.
Martin Vickers: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Martin Vickers: Since the referendum, we have heard repeatedly about the myth of the £350 million. “Where is the money?” is the question repeatedly asked. Does the hon. Gentleman accept that the £350 million will become available only after we leave?
Martin Vickers: Will the hon. Lady give way?
Martin Vickers: The hon. Gentleman is speaking passionately. He made the interesting, supposed revelation that the Treasury did no assessment prior to the referendum. He will accept, then, that “Project Fear” was based, as we thought at the time, on absolutely nothing other than figures plucked out of the air.
Martin Vickers: As always, it is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir David. We need to establish early in this debate that the majority of people who signed petitions for a second referendum want to change the decision of the first one. Let us not beat about the bush. All the talk of multi-options, this deal and that deal is irrelevant. What they are really after is changing it. Yes, we are a...
Martin Vickers: I recognise that the hon. Lady has held a fixed position on this and it is a perfectly honourable one. I strongly disagree with her. The fact is that people voted for independence; to use the hackneyed phrase, they wanted to “bring back control”. People are very dissatisfied. We have never been anything other than a semi-detached member of the European Union. It has been a running...
Martin Vickers: I entirely agree. It would be a breach of trust of the British people if we went back to them and held a second referendum. We would be saying, “Sorry, you got it wrong folks. We know better”.
Martin Vickers: The Conservatives took us into the Common Market—as it was then—but they did not do it with my blessing. In the 1975 referendum I voted to leave, so I have been pretty consistent. Unfortunately, the Labour Government took us into the then Common Market; it was Harold Wilson who tried to mend the wounds of the Labour party by holding the first referendum.
Martin Vickers: That is a matter of interpretation. The reality is that Parliament voted overwhelmingly to trigger article 50. Whatever colleagues might say now, the fact is that the vote triggered an irreversible process and was an acknowledgement of the original referendum decision.
Martin Vickers: The right hon. Gentleman might think that it is not in doubt but other opinions I have read and heard differ. Whatever the situation, Parliament would undermine the clear will of the British people if it attempted in any way to reverse that position. Suppose the Prime Minister had stood up this afternoon and, instead of saying that there will be no second referendum, as she did at 4.21 pm,...
Martin Vickers: It was made very clear by speakers on both sides of the argument—there was a little package illustrating this on “The Andrew Marr Show” yesterday—that a decision to leave would mean us leaving the single market and the customs union. I was in Brussels last month to take advantage of the opportunity to speak to MEPs, officials and so on to test the water. There is no...
Martin Vickers: Does the Minister agree that we had a very effective legal system before we joined the EU, and we will have a very effective one for many years after we leave?
Martin Vickers: If we are to meet the demand for more affordable homes, there needs to be a partnership between the private and public sectors. What actions can the Minister take to ensure that local authorities work with both sectors in order to deliver the homes that we need?
Martin Vickers: Earlier this week, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy made an excellent statement to introduce the industrial strategy, many strands of which will be of particular benefit to constituencies such as mine, Cleethorpes. Do the Government have any plans to debate in Government time the various aspects of the strategy, particularly the teacher development premium,...
Martin Vickers: Although the A180 suffers from its fair share of potholes, the bigger problem for road users and residents in Healing and Stallingborough is the concrete surface. I urge the Minister to have discussions with Highways England to see how a phased programme to replace the concrete surface could be introduced.
Martin Vickers: I welcome the Secretary of State’s statement. He mentioned smaller railway operators. Will he clarify whether that includes open-access operators, and if so, does he foresee that leading to an extension of services such as those in my own area of northern Lincolnshire?