asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied with the effect of security precautions upon the comfort and convenience of travel to Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.
Security precautions inevitably cause some inconvenience, which I regret, but the first priority must be to protect passengers and crew. All measures are kept under review.
Will the hon. Gentleman take an early opportunity of making a personal examination of the working of these arrangements, particularly at Heathrow, where they frequently involve women with children having to stand for considerable periods because there is literally no sitting room for them? Will the hon. Gentleman take up this matter personally?
I will, of course, look into the matter. The right hon. Gentleman's observations will be conveyed by me to the British Airports Authority. Both my right hon. Friend and I have questioned passengers to various destinations, including Belfast, about the security precautions which are undertaken and the inconvenience which people inevitably suffer. So far as we can ascertain, there has been overwhelming support for the measures which have been taken.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that on the other side, at Aldergrove, the security checks and so on are carried out with great courtesy but that there are also delays, whether for families or for individuals, and sometimes people passing through on their way to the baggage check have to stand for a while, perhaps in the rain or snow?
I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has confirmed that the searches are carried out with courtesy. That was my information. I will ensure that delays and inconvenience are investigated to see whether it is at all possible to mitigate the difficulties. I am sure that all appropriate steps will be taken.