East Coast Mainline debate

MPs have accused the government of re-privatising the East Coast Mainline franchise simply 'for the sake of it'. The Labour party wants the government to abandon the plans.

Video: MPs fight re-privatisation of East Coast Mainline

Labour MPs today they accused the government of privatising the East Coast Mainline just for the sake of it. The line's been nationalised since 2009 because private companies couldn't make it profitable. Since then it's seen record passenger satisfaction and made money for the taxpayer.

Today Yorkshire MPs joined a debate to stop it being re-privatised, as ministers prepare to sell off the franchise. Our Political Correspondent Paul Brand reports.

Rail Minister: public ownership of East Coast Mainline was only ever 'temporary measure'

The current government agrees with Maria Eagle's Labour predecessors who were always completely clear that taking East Coast into public ownership was only ever a temporary measure.

Like them, we recognise that franchising has delivered huge benefits to rail travellers, with passenger numbers doubling and major improvements in safety.

With £240 million allocated for investment in infrastructure improvements on the East Coast line, as well as a fleet of new long distance trains, it is now the right time for an innovative private sector partner to be introduced to capitalise on these opportunities and maximise the benefits for passengers.

The Labour Party needs to tell people whether they still believe in franchising or whether they would like to take our railways back to the dark days of British Rail."

– Rail Minister, Simon Burns

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Shadow Transport Sec urges Government to abandon privatisation plan

Speaking ahead of today's debate in the House of Commons regarding the future of the East Coast Mainline, Labour's Shadow Transport Secretary, Maria Eagle MP said:

"Ministers must keep East Coast on track by abandoning this unnecessary and costly privatisation. Since being run on a not for private profit basis, East Coast services have improved and more than £800million has been returned to tax-payers in contrast to the two previous failed private operators.

"Labour MPs have forced this parliamentary debate to speak up for East Coast passengers and raise our concerns about the likely consequences of this misguided privatisation. We will be stepping up our campaign over the coming weeks and urge all passengers to back our efforts to keep the East Coast on track."

– Maria Eagle MP, Shadow Transport Secretary

MPs discuss future of East Coast Mainline

The future of the East Coast Mainline is being debated

MPs are holding a parliamentary debate in the House of Commons this afternoon to discuss the future of the East Coast Mainline.

The East Coast Mainline, which runs between London and Edinburgh, has been operated by the Department for Transport since 2009 after the collapse of previous franchise, National Express East Coast. However, earlier this year the Government announced it would invite bids for a new franchise.