Transport Secretary Chris Grayling's department accused of making 'absurd' claims by Labour

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling's Whitehall department has been accused of using 'absurd' and 'grossly exaggerated' language in press releases which undermines the credibility of the Government.

Labour has asked Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to review the language used in press releases to ensure that such releases are measured and reasonable.

Labour said claims from the Department for Transport, such as the Road to Zero emission reduction strategy representing “the biggest technology advancement to hit UK roads since the invention of the combustion engine”, were hyperbolic and do a disservice to official announcements and wider debate.

The headline announcement from the Road to Zero strategy was an ambition for at least half of new car sales to be ultra low emission by 2030, and the roll-out of electric car charging points and other infrastructure.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Labour also highlighted persistent claims from the DfT that it is “investing in the biggest rail modernisation programme since Victorian times”, amid timetabling chaos and questions being over whether cross-Pennine electrification will be scrapped.

In 2013, then-Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander admitted such claims were impossible to verify as the British railways were privately owned during the Victorian era before being merged and nationalised in 1947.

Labour also took issue with the DfT claiming it was launching the “biggest ever peacetime repatriation” of Britons to fly 110,000 travellers home after the collapse of Monarch Airlines.

Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald has asked Mr Grayling in a written parliamentary question to review the language used in press releases to “ensure that such releases are measured and reasonable”.

The Middlesbrough MP told The Yorkshire Post: “‘The grossly exaggerated and inappropriate claims in Department for Transport press releases contrast with the reality of transport policy under the Conservatives which is to do nothing and take no responsibility. These absurd comparisons undermine the credibility of the transport policy debate."

A DfT spokesman said: “All press releases by the department aim to be measured, reasonable and in line with the requirements of the Civil Service Code.”