Fares, rail policy and DfT news

01.02.19

‘I’m a lightning rod’: Grayling dismisses criticism from rail unions and ‘anti-Brexit brigade’

Chris Grayling has said he believes he is subject to personal criticism and “missiles fired” based on major decisions he makes because of unions such as the RMT and because he is “lightning rod for the anti-Brexit brigade.”

The heavily-scrutinised transport secretary has come under fire in recent months for delays, timetable chaos and for the blighted progress of several major rail projects.

In an interview with parliament’s The House Magazine, Grayling dismissed the criticism and said he believes he has made the right calls in an attempt to modernise the railway.

“There are people like the RMT union who have been trying to get me to resign for the last nine months,” he commented.

“This is a trade union that regards Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party as too right-wing to affiliate to and wants to stand in the way of modernisation of the railways.

“Inevitably, from an organised left-wing trade union, you’re going to get some missiles fired. But I’m going to do what I think is right.”

MPs and members of the public have called for Grayling to be sacked in the past, notably following the weeks of delays and cancellations experienced in May as well as the government’s handling of the East Coast Main Line rail franchise.

Major projects are also currently under heavy scrutiny, with Crossrail in London delayed several times and requiring multiple bail-outs and HS2 facing some calls to be scrapped altogether, although Grayling stated last week that the he would not “betray” the Midlands and the northern regions and will deliver it in full.

Grayling blamed the popularity of some of his more controversial decisions on “people who want to have a go because I’m pro-Brexit,” calling himself a lightning rod for criticism due to his political stance and his place in the cabinet.

He continued: “But this is politics. I’m not afraid of making big and sometimes unpopular calls if they’re the right thing to do. And I believe in Britain and that we can make a success of ourselves as a country outside the EU.”

The transport secretary has also been criticised for the DfT’s preparation for Brexit, during which Grayling handed out a £14m contract to ferry company despite it having no ferries, but he insisted “I’m interested in doing the right thing. I’m not interested in playing for press coverage.”

His comments have however been criticised by some, with MP David Lammy calling his leadership “woeful” and several journalists and tweeters also critiquing Grayling beyond his Brexit beliefs.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Lightning never strikes twice, unlike the rail workers let down again and again by your woeful leadership. <a href="https://t.co/P7OinTk5rb">https://t.co/P7OinTk5rb</a></p>&mdash; David Lammy (@DavidLammy) <a

Image credit -  Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Rail Minister sees new deep cleaning equipment and thanks volunteers

22/09/2020Rail Minister sees new deep cleaning equipment and thanks volunteers

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris has today (22nd Sept) thanked ‘Journey Makers’ volunteers whilst visiting Norwich Rail Station and ... more >
Ep.17 Becoming a data-driven railway, Kelley Quirk and Martin Mason

21/09/2020Ep.17 Becoming a data-driven railway, Kelley Quirk and Martin Mason

This week host Ailsa Cowen is joined by two guests from Network Rail. Martin Mason, Programme Manager, at Network Rail’s Digital Railway an... more >
Ely rail capacity upgrade open for public consultation

21/09/2020Ely rail capacity upgrade open for public consultation

Network Rail have today opened their first round of public consultation for proposals to upgrade the railway in and around Ely and will run for s... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s network of independent repair facilities across the UK and further afield in its global network. ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >