Chris Grayling branded ‘insulting’ after insisting he has apologised 'many times' for rail fiasco

Posted On: 
5th December 2018

Chris Grayling's response to recent rail timetabling chaos has been branded a "pathetic insult" by a union chief, despite his insistance that he has apologised “many, many times.”

Chris Grayling has been fiercly criticised for his reponse to railway disruption
Credit: 
PA

The Transport Secretary announced on Tuesday that Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) would be forced to pay an extra £15m to better improve services for passengers, as well as having their profits capped for the next three years.

But he refused to pull the franchise early, saying it would “cause further and undue disruption for passengers and is not an appropriate course of action.”

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The move came hours after a scathing report from the Transport Select committee blasted Mr Grayling for his department’s “extraordinary complacency” in dealing with the recent crisis that has engulfed Britain's railways.

But Mr Grayling provoked further fury after insisting he had apologised “many, many times” already over his role in the timetabling chaos.

He told the BBC’s Today programme: “The reality is, at no point did I get the information I would have needed to intervene and we must make sure that never happens again and I absolutely accept responsibility for my department and myself not asking the tough enough questions.”

Lilian Greenwood, the chair of the Transport Committee, said the response proved that Mr Grayling “hasn’t got the message”.

She added: “People will be understandably sceptical that the DfT has chosen today to announce it is forcing GTR to spend £15m on ‘improvements for passengers’. This has been tried before and failed.”

Meanwhile, the RMT union called for Mr Grayling to step down as Transport Secretary.

The union’s general secretary Mick Cash, said: “Chris Grayling’s half-hearted slap on the wrists for GTR is a pathetic insult to the many thousands of passengers who have suffered daily misery at the hands of this basket case franchise.

“By refusing to strip them of the contract they are being given yet another licence to carry on with chaos by the man who is Britain’s leading specialist in failure.

“Chris Grayling should resign, and he should take his bankrupt private franchise operation with him and give the public sector a chance to clean up the mess he has left behind.”