Transport Secretary survives vote of no confidence amid rail timetable chaos

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has survived a vote of no confidence. Credit: ITV News

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has survived a vote of no confidence, amid claims his credibility will "never recover" following the rail timetablechaos.

MPs voted 305 to 285, majority 20, against the no confidence motion, after a debate which saw him heavily criticised for his handling of the railways.

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald called on the Cabinet minister to "step up and shoulder the blame" for his role in disrupting the lives ofthousands of passengers, including those on Northern and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR).

The Middlesbrough MP said he regretted having to table the motion, telling the Commons:

"But given the totally unacceptable state of the railways, I felt I had a dutyto passengers.

"The latest chaos follows meltdown on the East Coast resulting in a £2 billion bailout and huge cuts to promised electrification in Wales, the north of England and the Midlands.

"This is not shaping up to be a distinguished legacy."

He added: "I am afraid the breach of faith and trust is so great that theSecretary of State's credibility will never recover."

Mr Grayling hit back, telling MPs that Labour's policy was "confused".

He said: "For years the opposition have demanded that the railways arere-nationalised and run by the Government and they've claimed they'd be run much better if they were.

"Now it appears they think the railways are already run by the Government and if something goes wrong, it's down to us."

Tory former minister John Redwood expressed his "full confidence" in MrGrayling, saying the Transport Secretary had inherited a "difficult task" fromthe previous Labour and coalition governments.

"I think he fully understands the magnitude of that task and I think he'scoming up with a number of creative proposals and ways to try and improve it," he said.

Andy McDonald said: Credit: ITV News

The Labour motion stated that the House has "no confidence" in Mr Grayling, and noted the "failed implementation of the May rail timetables which has left thousands of commuters without services and has drastically affected their everyday lives".<

It also called for Northern and Govia Thameslink Railway to have theirfranchises terminated, and expressed regret that Mr Grayling has "failed tostrategically manage and oversee the UK railway and take responsibility for his role in the crisis on England's railways".