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UK Space Port

Volume 592: debated on Thursday 12 February 2015

12. What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the location of the UK’s first space port. (907612)

I met Transport and Defence Ministers yesterday to discuss progress on delivering the UK’s first space port. They are both part of the cross-governmental team taking forward the national space flight agenda. The Government have undertaken a public consultation on the eight potential locations, including Machrihanish in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency, and the criteria that will be used to select the location of a UK space port. Our response to that consultation will be published shortly.

I thank the Minister for that answer. A space port would be a great boost to the British economy. Machrihanish, with its 3 km runway and all the facilities of a Royal Air Force base, and being far from densely populated areas, is obviously the clear choice for the space port. I urge the Government to go on to the next phase of the decision-making process quickly and choose Machrihanish as soon as possible.

I assure my hon. Friend that we will be taking the first part of his advice and proceeding quickly, but it would be wrong to pre-empt the outcome of that consultation and to nominate Machrihanish from the Dispatch Box today.

I call Jesse Norman. He is not here—[Interruption.] Indeed—the exhortation from the hon. Member for Broadland (Mr Simpson) was, “Take his name, sergeant major.”