Chris Grayling Wanted to Blow Up Pacer Trains

Before he left the department the former transport secretary, Chris Grayling, wanted to publicise the phasing out of the Pacer trains so despised by commuters. Grayling joked that he wanted to ‘blow up’ a Pacer train in a populist move to demonstrate the government’s understanding of the public’s widespread detestation of them. In response, Gavin Williamson, who was at the time Defence Secretary, offered to lend him a tank…

Whilst the photo op would have secured an incredible redemptive legacy for the former minister, the explosive imagery was never sanctioned, with the government instead looking at turning the hated “buses on train wheels” into public spaces for social enterprises. The Department of Transport is running a competition to award 3 carriages to the best 3 community projects put forward. Always trust the civil service to ruin everyone’s fun…

mdi-timer 19th September 2019 @ 5:15 pm 19th Sep 2019 @ 5:15 pm mdi-comment Comments
Grayling’s Approval Rating With Tories Hits All Time Low

Chris Grayling has sunk to one of the lowest approval ratings the ConservativeHome members survey has ever seen, plummeting to more than ten points behind even Philip Hammond, who he had been neck and neck with at the bottom of the table since July. Grayling is the only Brexiteer in the bottom dozen Cabinet ministers, in a league table that overwhelmingly rewards Brexit credentials. Tory members think he’s useless, that is apart from one Tory, Theresa May. Her debt of gratitude to him for managing her leadership campaign must surely be reaching the limit.

mdi-timer 5th March 2019 @ 10:50 am 5th Mar 2019 @ 10:50 am mdi-comment Comments
New “Chris Grayling is a Moron” Party Thwarted

Embattled Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has not been having a great time of it of late. However, he earned a brief respite this afternoon as Guido learned that the Electoral Commission has thwarted an attempt by a group of disgruntled commuters to launch a new “Chris Grayling is a Moron” party to take him on in his Epsom and Ewell seat.

The Electoral Commission told the peeved passengers that it was likely to refuse the proposed name on the basis that it “could be considered offensive” and could also include “words the publication of which would be likely to amount to the commission of an offence”. Spoilsports…

mdi-timer 20th September 2018 @ 5:18 pm 20th Sep 2018 @ 5:18 pm mdi-comment Comments
Bim Goes Quiet on Train Troubles

For months Tory MP Bim Afolami has been a vocal critic of Govia Thameslink which (nominally) provides rail services to his commuter-heavy constituency of Hitchin and Harpenden. Exasperated on June 4th he wrote to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling “demanding answers”. Three weeks ago on August 29th he wrote to Grayling again, demanding a rail fare freeze “until Govia Thameslink and Great Northern services are up to scratch.” In short he was becoming a pain in the arse being an active constituency MP looking out for his voters.

Two days after his last epistle to the Transport Secretary, it was announced that he had been appointed new PPS to… Chris Grayling. He hasn’t mentioned the rail companies since, and so far hasn’t brought it up publicly with his patron again. Will Bim keep the pressure up or go soft on the rail companies to spare his new boss’s blushes?

mdi-timer 17th September 2018 @ 3:42 pm 17th Sep 2018 @ 3:42 pm mdi-comment Comments
First “No Deal Ready” Legislation Becomes Law

Yesterday the first “no deal ready” legislation quietly got Royal Assent for a little thing called the Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act. Whilst sounding very boring, this is very significant as it is the first “no deal ready” bill to become an Act. The Department for Transport is pleased that for once they have arrived ahead of schedule with this Act in place to provide for all kinds of eventualities (in this case relating to cross-border road haulage) in a no deal situation. The word around Whitehall is that Downing Street were not keen to boast about “no deal ready” legislation. This is going to change according to friends of Dominic Raab…

The Act itself is technically the legislative equivalent of “Noel Edmonds” – it provides for a deal and no deal. In a nutshell one key thing it does: at the moment the UK doesn’t require HGV drivers to have permits to drive here. Thus there is no framework in law to issue / enforce permits. If there is a deal the UK will have permits and control the numbers of lorries with the powers to do that. If there is no deal the Act also provides for the powers to do UK permits. Solving transportation regulatory issues is a priority for a clean Brexit. So it begins…

mdi-timer 20th July 2018 @ 10:52 am 20th Jul 2018 @ 10:52 am mdi-comment Comments
Grayling Faces Judicial Review Over New Airports Cock-Up

Guido hears the airports vote has been pencilled in for Monday 25 June – and Chris Grayling faces more trouble over yet another cock-up. DAC Beachcroft, legal advisers to the Heathrow Hub consortium proposing an extended runway at Heathrow, have today indicated that they will challenge the DfT’s National Policy Statement. They say it wrongly calculated the capacity of the extended runway option after a mistake by the Airports Commission (dating back before Grayling was Transport Secretary), thus erroneously finding the 3rd runway option had a higher capacity. This was one of the principal reasons why the extended runway was rejected.

The Planning Act – Section 13 to be specific – allows for a Judicial Review of an NPS in the six weeks after it has been designated, following a vote in parliament. If this was objectively an error of process then it does not look good for Grayling…

mdi-timer 19th June 2018 @ 5:28 pm 19th Jun 2018 @ 5:28 pm mdi-comment Comments
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