asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on contacts between his Department and potential operators of the Liverpool to Belfast ferry route.
Further to my right hon. Friend's statement on 11 November—[Vol. 12, c. 537–42.]—my Department has remained in close touch with the potential new operators on the basis of strict commercial confidence. I hope that the present industrial dispute between P & O and the unions will not frighten away the potential new operators.