Rayleigh and Wickford MP, Mark Francois, has welcomed the Government’s decision today to withdraw its proposals to close Railway Ticket offices.
Mark, who has campaigned actively against the proposals, said to the Railway Minister, Huw Merriman MP, in a Westminster Hall debate last month:
“In all seriousness, I offer him and the Government some genuine advice: look around. The proposals are completely unloved. They are not popular even among Conservative Back Benchers—quite, quite the opposite. I urge the Minister to accept that a mistake has been made. It may not have been his mistake, but I say to him: take the hint, drop it, get rid of it and retreat gracefully. Do not press forward with this. The House of Commons does not want it and nor do our constituents.”
In a response to the Passenger Bodies on Ticket Office Consultation, the Transport Secretary Mark Harper MP said earlier today:
“We have engaged with accessibility groups throughout this process and listened carefully to passengers as well as my colleagues in Parliament. The proposals that have resulted from this process do not meet the high thresholds set by ministers, and so the government has asked train operators to withdraw their proposals.”
Responding to the announcement that the ticket office closures will now be abandoned, Mark said:
“I am delighted that common sense has prevailed. As someone who has campaigned hard against these proposals, including in both a Westminster Hall debate and the Sir David Amess Summer Adjournment debate, I am glad to see that the Government has listened to the strong criticism to the proposals and responded accordingly. These plans proved highly unpopular in my constituency and so I am pleased that the Government has listened, not least for the benefit of my constituents, who felt very strongly about this issue and who will, like me, be delighted.”