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  1. Phil Hornby

The Last Word, July 2017

Her first twelve months. Anniversaries are supposed to be happy events. But Theresa May admitted today that as she neared the end of her first year as PM, she shed a tear or two. It wasn't the election result she expected - and to be fair to the Maidenhead MP - it wasn't the election result the pollsters, or anyone else, predicted either.

Theresa May Credit: ITV

So will there be another anniversary to celebrate ? Or, as we enter the dog days of high summer, will these next few weeks see the end of her premiership? To debate that, and the never-ending troubles on Southern Rail, three Sussex MPs :-

  • Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the new Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown
  • Gillian Keegan, the new Tory MP for Chichester, and
  • Stephen Lloyd, the new (and old) MP for Eastbourne

We ask voters in central Brighton to score her out of ten. And one MP who lost her seat tells us where the "nightmare" of last month's election began.

And would this cause Mrs May to shed a few more tears? We look at the increasingly vicious way cartoonists are depicting the latest inhabitant of No 10. One expert who has surveyed the satirists for the last fifty years and more, tells us why the Prime Minister is drawn the way she is.

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Disruption for Southern passengers due to overtime ban

Southern Railway train drivers have started a ban on overtime which will lead to the cancellation of hundreds of services, causing fresh misery for the region's 300,000 passengers.

The action by members of the Aslef union, in a long-running dispute about driver-only operation, will affect a quarter of Southern's trains today and tomorrow.

Southern, which runs more than 2,200 services a day, said it was working to increase the number of trains next week.

The action started ahead of a court bid by the Association of British Commuters (ABC) for a judicial review of the Government's handling of the Southern franchise.

The passengers' group will take its case to the High Court, arguing that a judicial review should be held, following a year of disruption due to industrial action, staff shortages and other problems.

Southern passengers face more chaos on Monday July 10 because of a 24-hour strike by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union.

Rail firm's response to drivers' pending overtime ban

“After over five months of intense negotiations and two peace deals agreed and recommended by the ASLEF executive, we are dismayed the union leadership is taking this action, which is designed to impact as many of our passengers as possible.

“Driver-controlled operation with on-board supervisors was fully implemented back in January and thanks to this we are running more trains than before and our service has improved for five consecutive months. We’re safely running over 80,000 trains a month with drivers controlling the doors across our network – we’re sorry that passengers will suffer as a result of this unnecessary action.

“We have worked our hardest to resolve this dispute with ASLEF. If this action does go ahead we will run as full a timetable as possible. We will be working around the clock to evaluate the impact and develop contingency plans which will be advertised as soon as possible.”

– Nick Brown, Chief Operating Officer at Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway

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Unions condemn Southern boss's "telephone number" salary

Unions have condemned the news that the head of Southern Rail has received a pay package of nearly half a million pounds.

Charles Horton was paid nearly £500,000 despite the company having been hit by more than 30 days of industrial action by the RMT and Aslef unions over the past year.

The RMT's General Secretary, Mick Cash, said he is "astounded" by the salary:

RMT on ASLEF's decision: It reflects the deep seated concern amongst drivers

Train drivers at Southern have again rejected a deal for a Driver Only Operation.

The RMT has released a statement following ASLEF members' decision.

This ballot was entirely a matter for ASLEF and its members. However, the result reflects the continuing and deep seated concern amongst drivers and the wider workforce over the extension of DOO and the safety impact on passenger services.

Southern Rail cannot jam their heads in the sand any longer. We are in talks with the company tomorrow and we now expect the fundamental issues at the heart of our guards' and drivers' disputes to be taken seriously.

There's an easy solution to this long running industrial dispute and Southern Rail need to join with the unions in reaching an agreement that protects passengers and which recognises the safety critical issues our members have been fighting for over the past year."

– Mick Cash, General Secretary, RMT
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