Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): In the appraisals of the new competition being held for the west coast franchise, what will the role of Ministers be in setting the terms of the competition, supervising the arithmetic and making sure that a fair assessment is made?
The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Patrick McLoughlin): I hope Ministers set out the policy. I am not sure that we are there to check every line of every spreadsheet. That is something that we should rightly expect officials to do for us at the request of Ministers, to ensure that we get the best value for the taxpayer out of what has been a huge amount of investment on this railway line, which has been made on behalf of the British public. It is one of the most important lines that serves the United Kingdom so I will certainly bear in mind what my right hon. Friend says, but part of the point of going for longer franchises was to try to deliver better services to the passenger.