Spot the difference:
The Secretary of State will be aware that Southeastern is consistently one of the worst performing and most expensive train-operating companies in the country. Can he therefore explain why it has been given the longest extension—50 months? Can he assure my constituents that the extension is not a reward for failure? What opportunity will passengers have to engage in the process of direct awards as it is finalised?
Tracey Crouch (Chatham and Aylesford, Conservative)
I thank the Secretary of State for his statement. May I also thank him for reducing train fares in the south-east by reducing the retail prices index plus 3% provision to RPI plus 1%? Under the previous Government, Southeastern had RPI plus 3% whereas the rest of the country had RPI plus 1%, and that was exceptionally unfair.
Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham, Conservative)
The Conservatives, like Labour before them, have failed commuters by continuing the Southeastern rail franchise without competition. One Medway MP, a Conservative, has questioned this decision on behalf of her commuting constituents. Another Medway MP, also a Conservative, used the opportunity for political back-scratching.
Constituents v. Career? I know which I’d prefer from my MP…