Chris Elmore, MP for Ogmore, has blasted Welsh Secretary, Alun Cairns MP, and Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling MP, for failing to respond to the concerns raised by 22 South Wales MPs.
The group of Welsh Labour MPs wrote to Mr Cairns and Mr Grayling on 22nd August 2017 to demand that the UK Government invest in Welsh rail infrastructure following the scrapping of plans to electrify the Great Western Mainline west of Cardiff. Since then, Mr Elmore has been elected as the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Rail in Wales.
Mr Elmore commented: “It’s been a month now and still no response to our concerns – when will the Welsh Secretary and the Transport Secretary take the need for investment in Welsh rail infrastructure seriously? There are even local Bridgend Tory councillors who have resigned from the Conservative Party following the scrapping of electrification – this isn’t a party political issue!”
The letter called upon the UK Government to fund key rail upgrades across South Wales, reverse plans to cancel electrification between Cardiff and Swansea and honour a commitment made with the Welsh Government in 2014 to secure a sustainable new Wales and Borders rail franchise.
The Ogmore MP continued: “The sheer number of MPs which came together to sign a letter about these concerns shows the depth of support for increasing funding for our railways. It’s clear that Alun Cairns and Chris Grayling don’t care about the real concerns many people across South Wales – including Tory councillors – are raising. They have demeaned their office by not responding to us.”
The Transport Secretary snuck out news of the cancellation of electrification between Cardiff and Swansea in a written statement to the House of Commons shortly before the summer recess. Damningly, former Conservative Welsh Secretary, Stephen Crabb MP, has since described the move as a “second best solution” for South Wales.