asked the Minister of Transport whether in view of the need to decide future policy for the improvement of road and rail communications with the Continent of Europe, he will organise at the earliest possible opportunity a conference of those authorities concerned with the problem of the Channel Tunnel.
asked the Minister of Transport whether in view of the need to provide better and cheaper transport facilities for British exports to the Continent of Europe, he will now state Her Majesty's Government's policy with regard to the authorisation of a Channel Tunnel, so that a decision can be taken in this matter at an early date.
I shall not be in a position to consider calling a conference or to make a policy statement until a later stage in our consultations with the French Government.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say that conversations with the French Government on this subject are taking place? Is he not aware that there is widespread opinion in both countries that the two Governments are playing an Earl of Chatham and Sir Richard Straughan game with this business? Will he make a move?
It cannot be done unilaterally. We are in touch with the French Government through the usual diplomatic channels.
Can my right hon. Friend tell us exactly how far he is in touch with the French Government? Is he aware that there is tremendous difficulty about developments on the coast on both sides of the Channel because of the uncertainty about how the money is to be spent, as people do not know whether we are to have a tunnel or not? Is he not aware that there is an appalling increase of traffic between the countries?
All I can say is that we are in touch with the French Government. I had better leave it at that.