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Rail Franchising

Part of NHS Winter Crisis – in the House of Commons at 4:44 pm on 10th January 2018.

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Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Secretary of State for Transport 4:44 pm, 10th January 2018

May I begin with the one thing on which we agree this afternoon? I thank Andy McDonald for his generous comments about my right hon. Friend Mr Hayes, who has been a great servant of my Department and other Departments for a very long period. He has been on the Front Bench for 19 years, in government and in opposition. That is an epic career, and we all very much appreciate the work that he has done, particularly on legislation and on building bilateral discussions and so on, so I pay tribute to him for all that he did. I am grateful for the warm words from the hon. Member for Middlesbrough.

Apart from that, we have just heard about 45 minutes of complete nonsense from the Opposition. I suspect that you would say it would be unparliamentary of me to call them hypocritical, Madam Deputy Speaker, so I will not do so, but I have no doubt that others in the know will be astonished by the gall with which they simply forget their actions in government; with which they pretend that their ideas will not cost a penny—I keep hearing that, but it is absolutely untrue; and with which they make inaccurate claims based on a lack of facts about subjects they appear not to understand.

Let me set out why the Opposition’s ideas do not stack up and why their positions do not add up.