The Front Page - Copy 75(Port Second Question, Gwyn then Charlie)
Gwyn Asks Another Question on Port
Local Labour MP Gwyn Prosser managed to get a second question in yesterday (wednesday Mar 17) during Prime Ministers Questions on the Port Privatisation situation. I say second question as only relatively recently Gwyn was called on the same issue which resulted in much local debate. People were more than a tad confused as to what Prime Minister Brown meant when he said "no forced privatisation". Mr Brown who said during the exchanges yesterday that Gwyn was a "most effective campaigner on behalf of the people of Dover", confirmed his position but with further clarity. I have the full transcript here. But first up is the quote from Gwyn issued later in the day..then the transcript from The House.
Gwyn Prosser says "Charlie Elphicke is conning my constituents"...
See Charlie's latest comment immediately below...Just In..
“Today the Prime Minister has scotched the silly stories being peddled by the prospective Tory candidate who has been spending large amounts of money on glossy leaflets trying to con my constituents into believing Gordon Brown is pressing Dover Harbour Board to privatise. That’s not the story I’ve been getting from the Treasury, the Department of Transport or even from the Chief Executive and Chairman of the Port of Dover but now we have it directly from the Prime Minister in the chamber – no pressure and no forced privatisation under Labour.
But the most important development is the ferry companies’ scathing attack on Dover Harbour Board and their allegations of abuse of power and misapplication of revenues. With P&O, Norfolk Line and Seafrance all lining up to challenge the Dover Harbour Board in the courts, there’s no way the Board’s current submission can make any progress, it’s dead in the water – and a good thing too.”
Transcript: Prime Ministers Questions, House of Commons. March 17, 2010.
Gwyn Prosser :
Thank you Mr Speaker, Norfolk Line, Seafrance and P&O Ferries have all attacked Dover Harbour Board’s proposals to sell the Port of Dover, accusing them of an abuse of power and threatening legal action through the courts. The people of Dover, the seafarers and the port workers all oppose privatisation.
Does my Rt Hon Friend agree with me that to sell the Port of Dover would be the wrong thing to do – I don’t really expect him to say yes to that - but does he agree that no Government could allow the sale of the port without the proposals enjoying the trust and support of the main stakeholders.
Prime Minister :
I always see the Hon Gentleman as the most effective campaigner on behalf of the people of Dover and I can repeat what I said recently – there will be no forced privatisation under Labour and we are not pressurising the port to privatise but we are looking at new options for investment in the necessary expansion of the port and the regeneration of Dover. Any proposals, however, would need to take account of the views of the local community and the stakeholders.
from Charlie Elphicke, Conservative.
Reacting to yesterday's Prime Minister's Questions. Charlie Elphicke said:
"Mr Prosser asked does the Prime Minister agree that to sell the port of Dover would be the wrong thing? I do not expect that he will say yes to that . . . ' Why not? Why didn't Mr Prosser expect Gordon Brown to say selling Dover would be the wrong thing to do?
"Because he knows, as we all know, that Gordon Brown really wants to see Dover sold off for a quick buck, just as soon as he can. Mr Prosser really let the cat out of the bag there didn't he?
"I think we can all see what's really going on here."
Charlie Elphicke the Conservative candidate for Dover and Deal in the upcoming election, and whose voice has been heard loud and clear on this Port situation, issued the following statement earlier in the week. This keeps us up to speed on his position following our recent frontpage goodwill diversification with Christine Bleakley's channel hop and Phil Eyden's nature pictures.
Charlie Elphicke says...Gordon Brown's plan to sell off the port of Dover has hit a roadblock. The ferry operators have objected to the sell off. They say they have been made to pay higher charges to the Harbour Board to fund the development of the Western Docks. Yet, as I too have been pointing out, the Western Docks development has been kicked into the long grass and isn't likely to happen before 2020.
The operators say the Harbour Board plan to increase rates further and this will cost the people of Dover dearly with fewer jobs and less money.
What are we to make of all this? It's quite clear that this is all about Gordon Brown pressing to get the fattest possible amount of money for our port and devil take our community. There is no obligation to develop the Western Docks on the one hand. Yet operators are squeezed for every penny of cash on the other.
The expected sale price covers less than one day of Gordon Brown's binge borrowing. The price paid by the people of Dover will be measured in years. Gordon Brown's plan to sell off our port just as soon as he can is not just wrong. It's seriously damaging to our local economy.
If Labour are re-elected, I am certain that Brown will steamroller this thing through regardless. I am dead against the sell off and the Conservatives have pledged a review that I hope will put a stop to this plan.