Labour to force 'no confidence' vote in Chris Grayling over his handling of rail fiasco
Labour is to force a vote of no confidence in Chris Grayling over his handling of the railways fiasco.
In a major embarassment for the Cabinet minister, Tory MPs will have to give him their backing in order to prove he still has the support of Parliament to stay in his job.
Commuters across England, particularly in the north of the country, have been left furious by hundreds of delayed and cancelled trains following the botched introduction of a new rail timetable.
A motion laid down by Labour to be debated in the Commons later today "regrets that the Secretary of State for Transport has failed to strategically manage and oversee the UK railway and take responsibility for his role in the crisis on England’s railways, whilst officials at other organisations have resigned and forgone bonuses".
Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald said: "The crisis facing our railways is a national scandal, and the person ultimately responsible must be held to account.
"Chris Grayling has failed to fulfil his basic duty to manage our railways, and failed to take responsibility for the chaos and disruption that has affected thousands of commuters across the north of England. While officials within rail franchises have resigned and forgone bonuses, the Secretary of State has continued to pass the buck.
"Passengers across our country have no confidence in Chris Grayling. It’s time Parliament steps in to hold him to account, and immediately terminate the Northern and Govia Thameslink Railways franchises, to end the crisis in our railways."
Meanwhile, a separate Labour debate will try to force the Government to stop blocking a bill which would keep the number of MPs at 650.
The Government wants to cut the total to 600 and redraw constituency boundaries in a move which Labour says will give the Tories an unfair electoral advantage.
The Labour-backed Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill, which has passed its initial Commons stage, would block the Government plans.
But ministers have refused to pass a so-called "money resolution" to allow the legislation to go any further.
Labour will call a binding vote this afternoon which would force ministers to allow the bill to be debated further.
Shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz said: "The public won’t understand why a Bill that commands unanimous support across the elected House can be blocked by the Government through procedural wheezes.
"This Bill would keep the number of MPs at 650 while equalising constituency sizes in a way that allows boundaries to take into account community ties."