Transport Minister insults North with ‘playing games’ jibe – The Yorkshire Post says

TRANSPORT MINISTER Andrew Stephenson did himself no favours with his belligerent and disrespectful tone towards Hull North MP Dame Diana Johnson during the pair’s Commons debate.

The state of Hull Station, and the funding of Transport of the North, has been the subject of an acrimonious Commons debate.

She made the case that an apparent 40 per cent cut in Transport for the North’s funding was a betrayal while Mr Stephenson said the quango had built up cash reserves that were being utilised as a one-off.

But it was at the end of a snide response where the Minister, who is also in charge of HS2, showed that he does not grasp the issues here or mistrust in the DfT.

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“Opposition Members will continue, I am sure, to play games and try to score points, but this Government will not be distracted from building back better and delivering record investment to the region,” he declared.

Andrew Stephenson is the Transport Minister.

Play games? Score points? Let’s just say it took nearly a month of Parliamentary persistence by Dame Diana, after Boris Johnson denied that a ‘cut’ to TfN funding had taken place, to elicit an explanation – why the secrecy if nothing to hide?

Yet transport users also want to know, nearly five years after Labour’s Dan Jarvis led a similar debate, why battles such as this are still having to be fought.

When elderly and vulnerable people are left standing at stations, when decrepit Pacers were left to run on a wing and a prayer, when promises of electrification are broken on a whim, when timetable changes collapse the whole network and when franchises ignore passengers – all while allowing fares to go up exponentially.

These, Mr Stephenson, are not the North’s “games”. They are the “games” that your London government is still playing here when The Yorkshire Post, and others, simply want the North to have the infrastructure that it needs to prosper and consign the likes of three year delays for urgent toilet repairs at Hull’s station to history. Either you’re on board, Minister, or not.

Dame Diana Johnson is Labour MP for Hull North.

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