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

Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

13/06/2019Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

The storm-battered Dawlish rail line could be “moved out to sea” and away from the “hazard” of the cliffs under new plans... more >
TfL awards contract for new DLR fleet to replace 30-year-old trains

12/06/2019TfL awards contract for new DLR fleet to replace 30-year-old trains

TfL has awarded a contract for 43 new trains to replace the oldest rolling stock on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), with the first scheduled t... more >
Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read 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

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey’s commercial account director, Anna Delvecchio, for her insight into what the Rail Sector Deal means for the rail industry and its supply chain. Anna started her career as an apprentice at the age o... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >
Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

10/06/2019Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of the West Midlands Rail Executive, described the new stations set to be built for the Black Country region o... more >
The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

10/06/2019The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

Richard Turner, head of apprenticeships at Network Rail, details the reasons for growing apprenticeship demand in the rail sector over the coming... more >
A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

10/06/2019A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

Chris Hobson, director of policy and external affairs at the East Midlands Chamber, talks in detail about what travelling through the region will... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >