East Anglian Rail Services

Ben Gummer asked the Prime Minister

Last week my right hon. Friend launched the franchise competition for rail services in East Anglia, including a demand for state-of-the-art rolling stock. He may be aware that some Members of the House want a long review of franchise competitions, leading possibly to a renationalisation of the railways. Does he understand the delays and misery that that would cause to commuters and travellers in Ipswich, Norwich, Colchester and up and down the Great Eastern main line if that were ever to happen?

The Prime Minister replied

First, I thank my hon. Friend for the work that he and other MPs from East Anglia have done to press for better rail services. We have a clear view, which is that we want to achieve journey times to Ipswich in 60 minutes and Norwich in 90 minutes, and that is what the reforms are all about.

On this day, it is worth saying happy birthday to the shadow Chancellor, given that he always makes quite a lot of noise on the Opposition Benches. Part of the aim of this programme, when the right hon. Gentleman has plenty of time after the election, is that he will be able to get to see Norwich City in just 90 minutes. I think that is only fair—he gives me a birthday present every week, so I thought I would give him one today.

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