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Confidence in the Secretary of State for Transport

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:09 pm on 19th June 2018.

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Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Secretary of State for Transport 2:09 pm, 19th June 2018

I will give way once or twice during my speech, but as you said, Madam Deputy Speaker, we need to make progress so that people get a chance to contribute. I am going to make some progress before I give way.

As I previously told the House, over the past weeks, passengers on parts of the GTR and Northern franchises have faced totally unsatisfactory levels of service, and I apologise to passengers that have experienced and are experiencing disruption. Since the timetable has been introduced, my Department and the industry have been working round the clock to restore the reliability of the service across the network. Hour by hour, my officials are in contact with GTR, Northern and Network Rail to work to improve the service to passengers.

As I told the House, I have commissioned an independent inquiry. This will be led by the independent rail regulator, Stephen Glaister, to examine why we are in this situation and to avoid it ever happening again. I have met the owners of the franchises and demanded that they improve their operational response, including, in the case of GTR, increasing its managerial capacity. Clearly, nobody wants us to be in the position we find ourselves in today, but let me be absolutely clear: everyone in my Department is as focused as we possibly can be on improving reliability for passengers.