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A19: Collisions

Volume 644: debated on Thursday 5 July 2018

15. What recent assessment he has made of trends in the number of collisions on the A19 in the North East. (906279)

On a point of information, the NHS was brought into policy by William Beveridge, a Liberal, and it was framed in law in a White Paper by Sir Henry Willink, a Conservative. It is therefore—[Interruption.] It ill becomes the Labour party on the 70th birthday to make a party political issue of the national health service.

Order. I indulged the Minister, who is an historian and a philosopher, and these are matters of argument. If I may say so, Mr McDonald, you are almost unfailingly a good-natured person. You are, in addition, one of the most excitable denizens of the House. I do not know whether you rejoice in that status or regard it as an accolade, but there it is.

I am grateful, Mr Speaker. I think I can calm the hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Andy McDonald) by giving my answer to the question asked.

Highways England’s 2017 regional safety report assessed the safety performance of all the routes in the Yorkshire and north-east region, including the A19. The A19 is performing well compared with other routes of its type, but Highways England is not complacent, and a number of further studies and safety improvement schemes are planned.

Happy 70th anniversary to the NHS—an institution that was opposed every step of the way by the Tories when the Labour party brought it in. Can I bring the Minister’s attention to the “Safe A19” campaign run by my local newspapers, the Shields Gazette and the Sunderland Echo, and supported by myself and my hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Grahame Morris)? It is of no surprise to anybody that the number of incidents and accidents on that road is linked to the fact that roads in the north get half the amount of investment as roads in the south-east. What is the Minister doing to protect the people of the north-east?

As the hon. Gentleman will know, we take all issues of safety very seriously, and the same is true in the case of the A19. I have visited the A19 and seen schemes at work. We have further work planned on it, always with safety in mind.

The hon. Gentleman should ask his Question 17. [Interruption.] I could have linked it, I suppose, but I did not.