Chris Grayling hits back as Labour's bid to dock his pay fails
Top Conservative Chris Grayling today hit back at Labour as a bid to dock his pay by thousands of pounds was defeated in the Commons.
The Transport Secretary was taken to task by opposition MPs who argued he had botched the handling of the East Coast Mainline franchise.
He announced last week that the service would be taken back into public ownership for a brief period after Virgin Trains East Coast “got their bid wrong” and could no longer afford to run it.
Labour tabled a motion to cut his salary by £2,400 - the cost of a season ticket to London from his Epsom and Ewell constituency. But it was defeated by 304 votes to 271.
Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald argued Mr Grayling should have known about the problems with the Virgin contract earlier and accused him of being “asleep at the wheel”.
He also blasted the Cabinet minister for failing to provide him with a copy of his statement about the major change of policy before he read it out in the Commons last week.
“Not for the first time the Secretary of State for Transport has fallen desperately short in matters of clarity and courtesy in his ministerial conduct,” Mr McDonald told MPs.
“I believe that manners maketh the man and manners also maketh the minister."
He added: “Like his time at justice, this Secretary of State must hope that he be moved on before his wrecking ball approach to decisions at the DfT reveal their true horrors.
“This Secretary of State seems to be incapable of being direct with members of parliament and the public alike.”
But Mr Grayling shot back: “I am not going to take any lessons from a party that says it wants to dismantle capitalism, wants to create a socialist society and looks fondly towards the disaster that has been Venezuela.
“Did you hear the Shadow Chancellor at the weekend talking about his vision for a socialist Britain?
“This is a man who doesn’t even believe in private property - it would be a disaster for our country and we have got to stand up firmly against an ideology that would damage this country.”