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West Coast Main Line

Volume 605: debated on Wednesday 10 February 2016

6. What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport and Ministers of the Scottish Government on the effect on communities in Scotland of the partial closure of the west coast main line. (903490)

I have had a number of discussions with the Department for Transport and others to ensure that the closure of the Lamington viaduct, which is in my own constituency, is addressed as quickly as possible. We remain absolutely committed to working together with all parties to reopen the west coast line in the first week of March.

I apologise for my lack of voice. The closure of the west coast main line has a huge impact not only on the economy of southern Scotland, but on Cumbria, too, as it is a strategic cross-border crossing on which many businesses in my constituency rely. I was pleased to hear the Secretary of State say that it will be open in the first week of March, as it is so important. Will he confirm that the entirety will be open by 1 March?

I welcome the hon. Lady’s comments because, as she will be aware, my own constituents who use Lockerbie station are among those most affected by these changes. We are determined to get the west coast main line fully reopened in that first week in March.

The Prime Minister claims that he will get a good deal for Britain in the European Union. Would the Secretary of State like to see the United Kingdom play the same role and have the same powers in the EU that he claims Scotland currently has in the UK?

That was quite tangentially related to the west coast main line, but I hope that the dexterity of the Secretary of State will admit of an answer.

Mr Speaker, the west coast main line is one of the most important routes within the United Kingdom to Europe via London. I have set out my position in relation to the EU referendum. If the SNP genuinely wants Scotland to remain in the EU, it is important that, rather than concentrate on process issues, it gets out and campaigns for it.