Having said that, I want to say this: the subsection was put in by the Minister, I presume, for some purpose. I do not know what the purpose was but I do know it is an extraordinary situation that the Minister, having brought a subsection here that names the contract, we are not entitled to the ordinary straight-forward procedure of being allowed to see the contract. What he does is to take out the subsection in order that he may hide the contract.
The Minister must realise, despite all the sermons he gave us during the passage of the Bill, that his act in relation to this has thrown an enormous question mark around this contract. Let me say quite categorically that this is not the first question mark that has gone around this contract. Last October, a notice appeared in the Press that General Motors had been given the contract for the supply of these diesel locomotives. At that time, there had been no public tenders sought, there had been no public advertisement, there had been no request anywhere, but CIE, after that notice in the newspapers, denied it was so.
Subsequently, in December, I think, there was a public advertisement. The contract is now dated 4th May last, as we see from the subsection which is being deleted. We have been told the first of the locomotives is to be delivered by General Motors in October. Now I am not a locomotive engineer or a locomotive industrialist —in fact, I know nothing whatever about the business—but I am told by those who are in a position to know and understand the manner in which locomotives of this sort are put on the assembly line and turned out that it would be utterly impossible for a locomotive to a new specification to be put on the assembly line following a contract in May and delivered in October.
I know that General Motors made no locomotives with double cabs before this contract, and therefore I am forced to the conclusion that an arrangement was made with them before the contract was signed to get these double-cab locomotives put on the assembly line. I believe it was possibly because of that arrangement that the contract was not produced to this House in the ordinary normal way it would otherwise be.
During the course of the debate, the Minister said he had not seen the contract and he was not making any inquiries about it. If he takes that point of view in relation to a contract which has already been the subject of one misunderstanding, to say the least of it, in the Press, having heard what he has now said, I submit he ought to resign as Minister for Transport and Power, because assuredly he is not carrying out the duties imposed on him as Minister. He was asked during the debate another categorical question: was the tender accepted the lowest tender— a simple question capable of a very simple answer. That answer should be given now and if the Minister does not give it now, he will have to give it when his Estimate comes up in the autumn.