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Port of Dover

Volume 514: debated on Thursday 22 July 2010

Dover harbour board has submitted a transfer scheme to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. If—I reiterate if—that is approved, that will allow the board to privatise the port of Dover.

I thank the Minister for conducting this review. Will it consider the community’s bid to buy the port of Dover and turn it into Dover’s people’s port? It is important that people know that the big society is not just about cycle paths, canal-side tow tracks and things like that—the big society is, well, big. It should include the port of Dover, and deprived communities should benefit as much as well-off communities.

I congratulate my hon. Friend on his stalwart and continuing hard work on behalf of his constituents and his continued view on where Dover port should go. The consultation that I announced yesterday is part of the manifesto commitment to allow local people, businesses and the port to ensure that there is as much information as possible in the public domain, including the proposals on the people’s port.

The future of the important port of Dover will be very much influenced and helped by improving transport links and access to it, particularly from the north-west. Does the Minister think it important, therefore, that the proposed Mersey Gateway is given the go-ahead to improve that access?

I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on his ingenuity, but the key to this question is Dover. He is asking a separate question, and if he wants to write to me, I will be more than happy to answer it.