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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

That is absolutely right. This is the first time that the right hon. Gentleman has got caught when everything has come home to roost while he is still in position. Usually he moves on and someone else has to sort out his problems—for example, by allowing prisoners to have books.

My constituents deserve a better service. Their services are being cut and they will have a reduced choice under the new franchise. They do not want Govia to be allowed to continue running the franchise, yet it has still been allowed to bid. They want longer trains, and I have lobbied many times in here to get extra carriages for the franchise but they have disappeared into the system. We still have eight-car trains turning up at peak times and there is not enough space for people to have a comfortable journey into town.

South-east London has been appallingly served by this Secretary of State. There has been a constant litany of letting us down, and the buck has to stop somewhere. He has never stood up to the franchise operators—the train operators—to ensure that we get value for money and the services we are entitled to in south-east London. For him, everything is fine as long as it is privatised. He has never made any attempt to take on the private enterprise that is profiteering at the expense of the people who rely on the trains. In south-east London we do not have direct access to the London underground, so anyone who wants to commute into London has to use the bus or the rail service. The rail service, as it has been run by this Government, has been appalling and it is getting worse. The buck stops with the Secretary of State, so I fully support the motion.