The Government set out in July their ambition to start hosting commercial spaceflights from the UK by 2018. The activity is being driven by a cross-Government team that reports to me as well as to Ministers in the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Transport. We have undertaken a public consultation on the potential locations—including the one in my hon. Friend’s constituency—and the criteria that will be used to select the location of a spaceport. Our response will be published shortly.
I thank the Minister for his answer. When the Government take the decision on the location of Britain’s first spaceport, will they take into account the fact that Machrihanish, with its 3 km runway, all the facilities of the former RAF base and a location that is far from densely populated areas, satisfies the criteria perfectly and is clearly the obvious choice for Britain’s first spaceport?
My hon. Friend has taken the opportunity to make a strong case for Machrihanish. He will not be surprised to hear that some of his hon. Friends make equally persuasive cases for their own constituencies. It shows that this competition has captured the public imagination and is a great one to have been launched.