Maria Caulfield has called for Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the operator of Southern trains, to be stripped of its franchise in an interview on Rocket FM (Friday 21st October).
Speaking on Up with Dino and Ruth, the Lewes MP also revealed that the Rail Minister, Paul Maynard MP, has intervened specifically to attempt to avert planned industrial action affecting Lewes’ bonfire celebrations.
Maria told Rocket FM: “For the last two years the performance (of Southern Rail) has gradually been getting worse. I would love to strip Southern Rail of their franchise but the difficulty is that, while there is a dispute, no-one wants to touch it. No-one will touch it with a barge pole; whether it’s the Department for Transport if we were to renationalise it, whether it’s other rail operators … who have been approached.”
She went on to say: “I’ve never been impressed by the management there, they are quite aggressive in their nature towards their workers.”
The Lewes MP told listeners that she had spoken with the RMT union and Southern Rail about the strike planned for Lewes Bonfire, and that the minister had also spoken directly with the parties. There had been progress but talks were ongoing. She conceded that feelings in the town were mixed about limiting access by rail on the Fifth, but that, “it does have safety implications for the town.”
In an hour long interview to mark the station’s first day on FM for its 2016 season, Ms Caulfield answered listeners’ questions on issues such as Brexit, the NHS, her work as a constituency MP and what life was like in the House of Commons.
On Brexit, she was challenged by former Lewes mayor Merlin Milner on her recent vote in the Commons against a motion defending the rights of nationals from other EU countries working in the UK.
The interview can be heard again on the Up with Dino and Ruth show page or by clicking on the links below:
Maria Caulfield MP discusses Brexit with Dino and Ruth > LISTEN AGAIN
Maria Caulfield MP answers your questions on the NHS > LISTEN AGAIN
Maria Caulfield MP addresses the issue of Southern Rail > LISTEN AGAIN
Maria Caulfield MP talks about her work as an MP > LISTEN AGAIN