Transport secretary Chris Grayling has survived a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons after weeks of chaos on the railways.
The Labour Party tabled an opposition day debate on confidence in Grayling following a failed timetable change that has resulted in cancellations, delays and the introduction of an emergency timetable.
Grayling, who has placed the blame with Network Rail and the train operating companies, won the vote 305 votes to 285.
“I regret having to table this motion but given the totally unacceptable state of the railway I felt I had a duty to passengers,” shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald MP said introducing the debate.
“The latest chaos follows melt down on the east coast resulting in a £2bn 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.
“In his resignation letter to staff Charles Horton, the outgoing chief executive of GTR said ‘in my view this was an industry-wide failure of the timetabling process. But with leadership comes responsibility, so I feel it is only right that I step down’.
“Why is it that this chief executive of a railway company, that is only responsible for disruption on one part of the railway, is able to recognise the responsibility that comes with his leadership role and resign, yet the person truly responsible, the transport secretary, remains in post.”
Grayling said: “Passengers on GTR and Northern have faced totally unacceptable levels of service, and I apologise to passengers that have and are experiencing disruption.”
In a letter to MPs in May the transport secretary wrote: “The industry collectively has failed the passengers it serves.
“A combination of delayed Network Rail infrastructure works and reduced planning time meant that the new timetable was finalised much too late to permit adequate logistical planning for the timetable changes.”
The opposition day motion also called for Govia Thameslink Railway and Northern to be stripped of their franchise.
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