[Mr Nigel Evans in the Chair] — Southeastern Train Services

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:57 am on 2nd March 2016.

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Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Conservative, Tonbridge and Malling 9:57 am, 2nd March 2016

It is a pleasure to be here under your chairmanship, Mr Evans. I pay tribute to Clive Efford for calling this important debate. I stand here as the representative of two communities—the one that relies on and is tortured by the Tonbridge line, and the one that is tortured by the Maidstone East line. On their behalf I voice my displeasure at Southeastern’s woeful performance, not just in the past three months, which—let us face it—have been particularly awful, but in the 10 months for which I have represented my constituents, and indeed many years before that.

I have had the great privilege of meeting some people from Southeastern, and only this week I heard that they believed they were still meeting their franchise targets. I do not know quite to the smallest detail how the franchise targets are met, but if their belief is correct it tells me something simple—that the franchise targets are wrong. It cannot be right that one in five trains is coming in late, leaving workers late for meetings, leaving families without a father or mother at home for dinner, and forcing people to change plans—and that that is still somehow acceptable in relation to meeting targets.