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Crosshouse Hospital And Prestwick Airport (Contingency Plans)

Volume 86: debated on Wednesday 13 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has any plans to pay an official visit to (a) Crosshouse hospital and (b) Prestwick airport to discuss Her Majesty's Government's contingency plans for their use in time of crisis or war; and if he will make a statement.

I have no plans to visit Crosshouse hospital or Prestwick airport for this purpose, but any contingency plans involving the use of those facilities would be the subject of appropriate consultations with the authorities concerned.

Is the Secretary of State not ashamed that the people affected by the plans had to read about them in the Sunday Mail? Why have no consultations taken place between Ayrshire and Arran health board and the local authorities in the area? What contingency plans have been made for the patients in Crosshouse hospital who will be ejected from the wards when American troops take over?

I have no responsibility for what appears in the Sunday Mail or any other newspaper. As the hon. Gentleman will know, any plans of this sort are necessarily classified, and are never confirmed or denied, for obvious reasons. I assure him that in the event of any such contingency plans, the requirements of the home and resident population always take priority.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that Prestwick is one of the few fog-free airports in the United Kingdom? Does he accept that it is essential that it is retained so that it can be used as an emergency airport in times of hostility?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I know the wide range of uses for which Prestwick is suitable. Fortunately, the Government, in their recent review, confirmed Prestwick airport's present role, and that is being developed.