Chair, Defence Sub-Committee
I thank the Secretary of State for speaking to the House about this matter because it is not good enough for the south-west to be cut off again, or to be the poor relation of the national rail network. The report by the Peninsula Rail Task Force that was presented yesterday must be the framework for a fair deal going forwards, so will he commit to doing everything in his power to deliver on this piece of work and to make sure that Network Rail delivers for my constituents?
The Secretary of State for Transport
I absolutely understand the importance of the task ahead of us. The report, which I have read carefully, shares my view that the No. 1 priority is the sea wall and the cliffs at Dawlish. My hon. Friend will also be aware that last Thursday I announced—this was also in today’s autumn statement—the provision of £10 million for the next stage of the project. I am committed, as is the Chancellor, to making sure that it happens. It is a strategically important project for our nation—we cannot have a situation where the south-west can be cut off via its principal railway routes—so I assure him that we will move ahead expeditiously with it.