Luke Pollard MP

Labour & Co-operative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport

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Government delayed action on improving rail connections

News that the Government has purposefully delayed action on improving our rail connections in the south west should come as a surprise to no one. Ministers have chosen to delay the decisions we so desperately need because they don't fear any consequences or lobbying from MPs in the south west.

Plymouth's Tory MPs have been asleep at the wheel on rail. Despite election promises of action and not voting for other transport scheme until we get the rail link we deserve, they've allowed the Government to long grass action at Dawlish. And they've sat on their hands, voting for transport upgrades across the UK, but with nothing more than broken promises for us in the far south west.

Today, Oliver Colvile seems to be shocked that the Government he supports - and was a member of for the past few years as a PPS - have ordered delays into south west rail improvements. Check out the video. What has he been doing all these years? He seems shocked at what we all know - the Government has not been helping us, they've been hindering us.

He should be raising merry hell in Westminster, not just because of the latest revelation, but because the Tory Government is treating Plymouth and the far south west with contempt over rail.

We deserve a fast, resilient additional rail line bypassing Dawlish. We deserve faster train services to London and the rest of the UK and we deserve new, faster rolling stock. We are not short of promises and press releases from the Tories or the Department for Transport - what we are short of is action.

I want to see two things happen now: I want to see our south west Tory MPs snap out of their malaise and start to put real pressure on the Government over rail. Theresa May has a majority of 12 votes. That's six Tory MPs voting the other way and the Government has no majority. It is time the south west's army of Tory MPs started to band together to demand action on rail. Talking shop all-party groups aren't working. We need Tories to take action. I will happily back that action if they take it and work alongside them to get the improvements we need.

And secondly, I want to see the Department for Transport reverse their decision to long-grass and delay action and reports on south west rail improvements and re-opening Plymouth airport. Let's have those reports published without delay.

Let's keep the pressure on the Tories. Plymouth deserves better. Much better.


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