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Confidence in the Secretary of State for Transport

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:44 pm on 19th June 2018.

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Photo of Clive Efford Clive Efford Labour, Eltham 2:44 pm, 19th June 2018

I wholeheartedly support the motion because somebody has to take responsibility for what is happening to my constituents who use the trains on a daily basis. This Government have history in terms of how they have treated my constituents. They interfered with the Thameslink project when they first got their hands on the Department for Transport, taking the Blackfriars Thameslink trains away from south-east London. They not only took the trains away, but wasted £50 million of public money in order to do so. As a consequence, they shortened the trains going through the centre of London to allow them to go on to the Wimbledon line. I am sure that had nothing to do with the fact that the then trains Minister represented Wimbledon—I make no accusation in that regard whatsoever—but that reduced the capacity of the Thameslink trains going through central London. I will be contacting the National Audit Office to ask whether we are getting value for money out of the Thameslink train service, certainly in south-east London, as a consequence of such decisions on that scheme.

Since 2009, my constituents have been suffering a great deal of disruption as a consequence of the excellent refurbishment of London Bridge. I pay tribute to everyone involved in that refurbishment, but my constituents have had to accept that their services have been cut to certain destinations in central London. There have been no trains to Cannon Street for a number of years, and no trains to Charing Cross as the work switched over on to another set of lines. My constituents were told all the time that, at the end of the process, the network would go back to the original train timetable, meaning that they would have Charing Cross, Cannon Street and Victoria as a choice of destinations.