asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that the London and North Eastern Rail way Company have briefed counsel to oppose the applications to be heard on 28th February for public A-carriers' licenses of important and long-established road haulage contractors engaged in transporting fish from North Shields; and whether, as the action of the railway company appears to conflict with the assurances given by them that they had no desire to interfere with other forms of transport, he proposes to take action in this matter?
I have no power to take action on the lines suggested by the hon. Member.
Does not the Minister agree that the apathy he is showing is a distinct encouragement to the railways to attack other legitimate forms of transport?
I do not think that my saying that I have no power to do something is a sign of apathy.
Would it not be posible for the Minister to consider some alteration of the law which gives people power to put their competitors out of business?
As the hon. Member is no doubt aware, attempts are being made to reach agreement between the rail and road interests on a number of points, of which this is one. I understand that some agreement has actually been reached, and that it has been submitted to the Transport Advisory Council for their views, and I sincerely hope that some modus vivendi may be arrived at.
Does not the Minister agree that action of this kind by the railway companies makes agreement very difficult?