Comment: How long must North wait for answers, Mr Grayling?

Yorkshire Post 16th November 2017 “Four months ago, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was sent a polite letter by 10 MPs from the North East calling for new investment in the Tyne and Wear Metro which serves Newcastle and the surrounding area. Exactly four months later, they are still waiting for the courtesy of an acknowledgement, never mind a reply, from the Cabinet minister.

Frankly, I’m not surprised writes Tom Richmond. After all, Mr Grayling is the cavalier Transport Secretary who told the North – via these columns – in August to sort out its own difficulties after downgrading pre-election plans to electrify two busy railway lines before snubbing last week’s Commons debate which was supposed to hold him to account for this decision, and the subsequent watering down of Transport for the North’s proposed powers. Yet it is the latest insult that is, in fact, the most perturbing. Why? If Cabinet ministers are allowed to dodge their Parliamentary duties, and then ignore letters from MPs speaking up for concerned constituents, how can they be held to account?

Though some readers will find it ironic that The Yorkshire Post is highlighting a lack of investment in Newcastle’s Metro system when cities like Leeds are bereft of a light rail system, the Department for Transport’s attitude, I venture, is symptomatic of a wider malaise – namely its reluctance to advance the Northern Powerhouse and provide parity of funding for the whole country.”

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