THE contemptuous Chris Grayling is effectively condemned by the Department for Transport’s own website with his inexplicable claim that “I don’t run the railways”.
Confirming that Mr Grayling is the Transport Secretary, it then sets out his remit. “The Secretary of State has overall responsibility for the policies of the Department for Transport,” it says.
Perhaps someone at the DfT – or the Government – will remind the Minister of this. As Mr Grayling was, once again, insulting commuters on national radio, exasperated travellers here were posting pictures on social media of overcrowded and late-running trains.
Asked why he – and his department – signed off the timetable changes that are causing so much misery, he cited delays to engineering work in the North West, the DfT’s own advisors and the last Labour government.
Asked on separate occasions if he had considered resigning – Mr Grayling has been the subject of two Parliamentary votes by MPs questioning his competence – he dodged the issue and said his main focus was getting services back on track.
Really? If this was the case, he would have made the time to address the Northern Transport Summit in Manchester before returning to Westminster in time for the key Commons debate, and vote, on the expansion of Heathrow Airport.
To be blunt, this was just the latest snub to this region from a Cabinet minister who is in denial about the unacceptable state of this region’s railways, or the transformative opportunities which could exist if, for example, a spur was built off the renationalised East Coast main line to Doncaster Sheffield Airport and, in doing so, ease the environmental pressure on Heathrow.
As he cited a long list of infrastructure schemes which will accompany Heathrow’s expansion, it appears that he’s again of the view that, like with Crossrail, transport policy begins and ends at London. It does not and his support of this complex scheme is of no consolation to passengers here who just want their trains to run on time – and for the Transport Secretary to show some leadership. For, if Mr Grayling is not in charge, just who is responsible for deteriorating services which have become, frankly, a national disgrace?